Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Search for brocante

If I am correct, today was a search for brocante (french for treasure!)....
Anyway, we had a great time and I found some delightful little treasures!

I just love the totally unnecessary things....like this little wire basket with the ceramic egss....


This little hard trivets...yes, 75 cents!
And the best of course......

This little jar, made in France,...for $5....
And of course, who can resist a crock for $1??
Oh, and the white thing?? and 85" x 107" Linen Damask Tablecloth, $5!
Yes, a good day....
As well as a large collection of books to read, including a copy of Larousse  Gastronmique, free!!
Not bad...we will see what stays, and what goes into the store....
Nancy

Monday, July 30, 2012

Jammin

No, not that kind of "jammin", making jam.
I am trying a recipe for tomato jam. If it is delicious, I will share it with you....
It is supposed to be better than catsup. Catsup often has corn syrup and I am allergic to all things corn. Do you know how many things are made with corn? Yeah, lots.
Anyway, I found this recipe as I was skimming around trying to figure out what I was going to do with all these tomatoes (let alone the ones in the freezer from last year!)
So, I found this recipe. It sounded divine and fairly easy. We will see. It takes up to 2 hours to simmer down to be ready.

In the meantime, I have been cleaning....and cleaning and cleaning. When you live with two labradors, you get dirt and fur and stuff throughout your house. Every once in a while things need to be fully stripped and washed and scrubbed! It is a good time to do that while waiting for....tomato jam!
Have a great evening!
Nancy

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A day of Inspiration

Sometimes you just have to change direction, do something new, try a new thing....
for me this weekend I created some wine glass charms. I didn't want to use the wire ones you buy, they are difficult sometimes to put on and well....you find the same everywhere....so, I came up with a different style using magnetic closures....

I have never wanted to do beading...but my daughter got me going...using seed beads these are definitely jewelry for a wine glass.
Then.....when I was done with those....I got out the new fabric I bought. A bit of a stretch for me as it wasn't particularly inexpensive, a linen blend fabric that has a backing to it and is a French script grey and natural/cream background. It is beautiful fabric and it just called to me. Ever have that happen??
Anyway, I decided to make a table runner...not just a runner but a reversible one with burlap on the back....and a ruffle at each end. Yup a busy day.



Did you have any inspiration this weekend??
Nancy

Friday, July 27, 2012

The tomatoes are coming!!

Well, last night I picked some of the tomatoes. They need a little "ripening" to go as we have "varmints" in the yard at night, and I didn't want to risk losing them....
These are from the Mortgage Lifter....
They weighed in at 1.3 lbs, 16 oz., 15 oz and 14 oz and more are on the way....
I am so excited I just had to share! They will fill a piece of bread....hummm, I am thinking tomato, basil and mozzarella sandwiches... or maybe I should buy some bacon....


How are your tomatoes coming?? Are you finding secrets to keeping wildlife from eating them??
We also have a squirrel who wants to eat them, but the dogs do the protecting during the day.
Have a great day!
Nancy

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The figs are in!

Summer at our house is marked in time by the harvest, small though it may be, by the crops we receive.
Yesterday, the first figs were ready! These figs are "Brown Turkey", with a brown outside and a slightly honey flavor inside.
Once, when I was younger and not aware, I thought all figs were the same. Wrong. There are a variety of figs and each has a different flavor. Some are green on the outside and beautifully strawberry colored inside. Others are green and light honey colored inside with a taste of strong, sweet honey. Brown Turkey figs are mild, and great beginner fig...which this one was. A couple of years ago, it was gigantic...too big for our yard. So, she got  cut back, a great deal. So, last year it didn't produce at all. Not one. But this year, the fig has forgiven us, and has started to give us figs! Yay!
Our favorite way of serving them is either right off the tree, or for appetizers....cut in half with a bit of bleu cheese or goat cheese, a slight drizzle of honey and light sprinkle of pepper. Yup, pepper. I found the recipe on the internet from many sources....

 So, as the evening came, we had our figs outside and had dinner there too...that's what summer is about, right? Eating outside, enjoying the bounty of our labor...wonderful...

The salad is an arugula salad with tomatoes, pomegrantes, walnuts and parmesan with a olive oil/pomegrante white basalmic vinegar dressing. Isn't summer great?
Hope you had a great day...
Nancy

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Framed French Treasure

I wanted to show you a new addition to the store....
A delightful pair of framed French art, looks like they are from a book, just sweet....


Sorry about the reflections in the one, it does show that one has glass and the other doesn't...but they are fun...
I am off for the day...have a great day!
Nancy

Monday, July 23, 2012

Finding treasure

Sometimes, you find treasure even when You aren't looking....
We were going down to visit my Father-in-Law, and stopped by an estate sale....
In most of the rooms there wasn't anything that jumped out at me....but then, under a pile of old sheets, I found these two items that I was told she had received in the '70s and had NEVER used....
Imagine....
Was it the fear of linen wrinkles? Possibly...
Linen in the towel...hummm, it is so environmentally friendly!
Oh well...
And then there was this french bread bag...apparently also from the '70's and also unused! Still with it's hanger....
sad....



If you are interested in these items, they are available in my Etsy shope, WildOakDesigns.esty.com...
Nancy

Festival of Sunflowers

Okay,
I know I have been showing my sunflowers a great deal, and you are probably tired of them. However, the season is just about done. They are falling over, crashing like trees being cut down. Their heads have gotten so heavy...so I must enjoy them...
So, Please forgive the pictures.
We had my Father-in-law over for dinner so I set the table with a great linen tablecloth I made years ago, from a remnant, that I love and placed all the flowers left from the Moulin Rouge sunflower and the big yellow head that fell recently...
Simple and delightful evening....
Nancy

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Fall lights

Well, it has happened, again.....
In fact, it happens every year at this time....
There is something in the light or is it the smell in the air? Maybe it is all of the components. My husband laughs as I suddenly pull out all the previously canned jars from all the stash areas (I don't have a root cellar or a big pantry).  Like a squirrel I have stashed jars of tomatoes, jellies, jams and dried fruits and herbs. The light or the smell tell me it's time to assess what we have.
Now, this day and age, when one lives in the city or very close to it, one doesn't need to can anything. That what grocery stores are for. Right?
But, once upon a time, when we were much younger and had no children and lived in the country....my neighbor taught me how to can.
We canned everything and stocked up. She was a pioneer, Mrs. Crumb. She was a wonderful lady and much of my "stocking up" was garnered from her. I don't have the space that we had there, but I still get that feeling....the same that the squirrels around here have....time to stock up....
Yes, I have a freezer...it is already quite full.
However, the "pantry" is not.....
Yesterday, the sunflowers were falling over from the weight of their heads...good thing we took pictures the day before....they are starting to dry outside the back door so I can have seeds for next year. (If I have enough, there will be "Moulin Rouge" sunflower seeds in the WildOakDesigns store soon)
The sunflowers are also a key signal for me to get ready for fall....


 Yes, I know, it is still summer...and our hot days are still to come here in Southern California. But still, the light reminds me that Fall is not too far away and it is never a bad idea to get organized and get ready.
So, now I am off to our little "orchard" to thin the apple trees...they have set too many fruits per branch and as my little peach taught me, thinned fruit gives bigger and better fruit....
And then I am going to organize the canning jars with my wonderful Hubby...
Have a great day!
Nancy

Friday, July 20, 2012

A quiet moment away

Ok, so you my readers noticed that I didn't post for a few days....
Yup, I was away. We were invited to Mammoth Lakes for a few days and since we could go, we went...a 6+ hour drive from Orange County. It is a long drive up there. But it was so lovely....
These pictures are my husband's so I appreciate not copying them....he is a real artist with a great eye and he so needed a break. Thanks to our friends we got that little vacation he wanted! It was wonderful!
Nancy

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pickens...

Sometimes there are too many "pickens"....
Today due to drizzle the garage sales were slim....
however, from another sale we have added a little hanging shelf to the shop....



For more info on it, take a look at the shop....www.wildoakdesigns.etsy.com
any questions? contact wildoakdesigns@gmail.com
Have a great weekend....
Nancy

Friday, July 13, 2012

Cool Friday

Ah, Friday.
It rained last night, much more than expected. I woke up to a cool overcast day.
Our local fair for Orange County opens today. I won't be going...I haven't gone in years. Not since the kids were in 4H and we had to practically live there......
No, today, I am enjoying the cool air and sounds of silence.
The rain was great for the garden....



I also found that I have won an award in blogging!
Thanks to Dani at Frugal Ain't Cheap for the Liebster Award!
Frugal Ain't Cheap

Nancy

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cozy Thursday

Thursday dawned with clouds rolling in dark and threatening. They have been predicting rain and thunderstorms. In a way, it is wonderful. It gives me a chance to hunker in and cook a cozy meal. I went to the market and though I had been thinking chicken, I chose a half turkey breast. After several nights of casual entertaining with many hors d'oeuvres, a roast turkey sounded wonderful...but with a twist. I am cooking it in clay.
Clay cooking for me is relatively new, and started with one clay chicken that I dearly love...and who now just gets to sit on the shelf letting the newer pieces of German clayware take over....


 I have been adding to the collection of clay cookware for about three years now, and have done cooking in various pieces a dozens or so times. It produces delightfully moist pieces, especially for cuts that could otherwise be dry and disappointing. And clayware makes for amazing cooked apples and poached pears....simply amazing. You can find these treasures at almost every thrift store. No one knows what to do with them. Many have never been used, or very lightly. In stores such as Sur La Table, they go for an outrageous price, as they are made in Germany, or Italy or France....but then they are sent away to thrift stores....Find yourself a newer one and you have a real find!

Tonight, with the weather being "iffy", I put the chairs under cover on the patio and have started soaking the clay....
In the morning, I gathered a bunch of zucchini and plan to incorporate some into the dinner....
Then, about 3:30 I filled the sink and added the clay cookware to soak for at least an hour.

Then, when it's time I will fill it with turkey, onions, zucchini, seasonings and a splash of wine. The moisture in the clay steams while roasting the meat, creating a wonderful dinner. Hmmmm, what wine shall I use?? Perhaps the sangoivese that is open from the other night...it is a light red...and will cook down into a thick sauce...
Yup, a cozy Thursday in the house. No guests tonight.
Cheers!
Nancy