Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Coffee and Calico: Setting a Table with Antiques and Vintage

What could be more inviting then NEW scents of Pumpkin Spice Apple Muffins greeting guests
 as they make their way up your walk for a morning Coffee Klatch?

A week ago, it was still late summer in Chicagoland, with only the hints of Fall.
Spindly petunias struggled to bloom in the heat,
while the marigolds blended nicely with Fall mums.

A (GREEN) garden pumpkin and a rusty mum were added to our summer planters, 
a great REDO.
Our decorative grass was the most gorgeous shade of mahogany brown.

 But, it was the scents of pumpkin, apples, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cardamom 
coming from the kitchen that greeted my guests.

An OLD antique saucer (very early McCoy?) filled with fresh and faux produce 
flanked the centerpiece of an arrangement now dried of Hosta leaves, 
Sedum, Marigolds, Zinnias, and grasses from an earlier post. 

Dried gourds, fresh gourds, and faux pumpkins surrounded the blue square glass canning jar vase. 
 I bought one of those NEW gridded arrangement tops
 that screw on--great for arranging.

The OLD kitchen/dining table was my husband's great-grandmother's 
1890's oak table with five leaves. IT IS HUGE! 
The rusty red hopsacking tablecloth was a find in the original packaging 
at a garage sale for $2 and is 90" round, I call this a REDO.
We have added two oak reproduction chairs on each end. It's great for conversations or 
a 'kaffeeklatsch', German for 'coffee noise'.

Inexpensive natural bamboo placemats are perfect for a Fall backdrop. 
Faux leaves are placed under the cups, the dried gourds, and around the silverware. 
The luncheon plates are part of my everyday collection of anything earthenware in blue and white. 
The luncheon plates are 'Calico' pattern made in Staffordshire England, 
and some also marked 'QUEENS' made in Malaysia.
 I've pick them up at TJMax and Homegoods. 
The cups are marked 'CHURCHILL' also made in Malaysia, marked est 1795 
which was the same thing on the Queen's plates.
 NEW nearly matching napkins (IKEA) finished off each placesetting.

 I used my grandmother's OLD Royal Copenhagen Blue Flowers coffeepot, 
creamer, sugar bowl, and leaf plate to serve. 
We've inherited a service for ten for dinner and many more for a formal coffee service. 
I'm such a klutz though, I only use the cups
 when I have help to hand-wash, as they are see-through thin.

I have the kitchen blinds partially closed because the sun was so bright 
from our huge South and East windows
 the photos were nothing but glare.

 My 'Happy Fall' banner was a bargain at Walmart for 99 cents, very early in the season. 
It's simple design was the perfect low-key colors for the kitchen with all the blues. 
Grandparents sign is a craft show piece, 
I'm sorry I don't have the name of the crafter.

 My white shelf is topped with more bamboo placemats, my granny's enamelware coffeepot filled with my only burlap-anything-anywhere (burlap sunflowers-because they didn't smell from the Dollar Store), while Xmas Pig has her own trough of corn and real acorns.

Granny's stoneware mixing bowl was filled with real and faux fruit with 
dark rattan balls found in their original packaging at GoodWill, a great REDO.
 My grandmother's OLD Monk cookie jar looks on...dressed in his golden robes for Fall.
My husband's great-grandmother's OLD wool carders finish off the counter, 
while my mom's OLD porcelain rabbit vase holds a dried gourd.

You can almost hear Xmas Pig snorting over her corn and acorns in her own trough.

Extra muffins were served in an OLD Swedish blue glass compote.

The everyday silverware was tied up with string and a faux leaf.

The Pumpkin Spice Apple Muffins 
were delish as was the conversation...that I will never repeat, LOL.
from a previous post.

Thanks for coming for a coffee klatch.


All the opinions and photographs in this blog are my own,
 I have not been paid or reimbursed in anyway for my opinions or posts.
 Please do not use photos without linking back to this blog without my permission. 
 Thank you for your cooperation, Sandi Magle

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sojourn to Northern Wisconsin

Going back home is always nostalgic. 
You don't go back just physically, but the trip becomes a step-back through memories. 
My husband's family settled in Kewaunee County, Wisconsin back in the 1850's 
when the land was covered with hardwood forest, 
and farming meant clearing the land, building a cabin, and then farm for a living.

 Early Saturday morning..I tried to catch the sunrise over Lake Michigan out the door. 
Imagine, the soft sounds of the gentle waves lapping at the beach.

The beach is groomed each morning, I'm sure the gulls watch in amusement.
 Far in the distance is the Algoma lighthouse which must have 
received a new coat of red paint this year.

Add caption

This shot is a mile and a quarter away South of the lighthouse.

Walking along the beach, you never know what you will find. 
 Here are Lichens and Moss---at least six different types.

Further South, I looked back.
 It was a warm day, a brisk wind and steady waves rolling in.
 The stones are all smooth from being tossed by the waves and easy to walk on.


The path began to narrow, and the ledges of sand were a bit unsafe. I went as far as I could.

Looking back, I wasn't the only one on the beach.

The  soft tones of an almost lavender blue sky, the blue greens of the lake, growing into turquoise then to a mossy green, waves rolling onto the sand and rocks. 
The subtlety took my breath away.

Some refuse strewn the shore, from branches and rocks,
but mostly natural items. I saw very little evidence of man. 
Lake Michigan has improved in water quality and from no dumping policies.
I never even found a piece of beach glass.

A small cedar tree struggles to maintain a foothold along the path.

 The tiniest ladybug was content to sun herself on a leaf.

A rusty maple leaf, from where I don't know, lay on the beach.
Its sharp points a contrast among all the rounded stones.

The small pink tab was the only evidence of man I saw on this entire stretch of beach in three days.  
I did see several Monarch Butterflies resting on the rocks, some at the end of their short lives.

 The constant roll of the waves, reminds you of your own mortality, as they will keep coming in...generation after generation, long after you are gone.

 Algoma in the distance; the entire town stretching to the photographic red lighthouse.

Sunrise our last morning.

My husband standing where seven generations of his family have lived, 
and probably where they watched many sunrises on
beautiful Lake Michigan.

A month ago, the sixth and seventh generations, our son and his daughter
 played in the water on this very beach.

Generations and generations of waves.
Algoma, Wisconsin September 2015

thanks for visiting with me, 

and Linking with these great blogs:


Monday, September 28, 2015

Pumpkin Spice and Apple Muffins


Fall Pumpkin Spice Apple Muffins  

Good Afternoon, sit down, pour a cup and have a tasty muffin made with fresh ingredients and whole wheat/grains. 

This is a recipe I have adapted for the way I cook, homemade, healthy and as farm-to-table as possible. 

Though, it all begins last fall with the GREEN homegrown and sometimes farm bought fresh pumpkins and squash we roasted in the oven and froze in bags, for use all season long. (Canned pumpkin can be used)

DIY Fresh squash/pumpkin is high in fiber, low in calories, and high in flavor. For roasting, slice your pumpkins in large chunks, pile skin side-up in roasting pans, add 1/2 to 1 cup of water in bottom of pan, cover with foil or lid, and roast 1-2 hours in your oven at 350degrees, until fork easily inserts and all the 'meat' is the same color or cooked through. 

Measure scraped pumpkin flesh into bags, mark and freeze. Use for soups, breads, cakes, brownies, muffins, throughout the year.


With fresh apples in season also, I opened a defrosted bag of pumpkin and drained the excess water off. This leaves the best part...which I chopped up in the food chopper until smooth. 

Assemble your dry ingredients. I chose Crisco for this recipe instead of butter, though there are saturated fats, it has no cholesterol.  I'm having dairy sensitivities, right now so am not using butter.  But this recipe works well with butter or any oil for that matter, as it is measured after melting. I use  use flours from Hodgson Mills.

Lots of spices, flours, and oatmeal measured into first bowl.

 I made a double batch which still worked perfectly.

Bowl #2 holds the eggs, pumpkin, chopped apples, and vanilla. Mix well.
Fold the wet ingredients of the two bowls together. 
Do not beat, this is a quick bread, so just combine. Add applesauce if extra moisture is needed.

You get 12-18 muffins depending on your pan size. I also baked two round coffee cakes from this double-batch, which I froze. This recipe freezes well.

 Here they are before puffed up in baking. The coffeecakes took about 35-40 minutes at 375 degrees.

Here is the fresh muffin, still warm on the plate.

 The texture is excellent with big chunks of fresh apple and raisins in this batch. 
You can't tell this is made with whole wheat flour and rolled oats it is so tender.

Fall Pumpkin Spice Apple Muffins  makes 12-18 muffins (single batch)

1st bowl
1 cup of unbleached flour (I use Hodgson Mills or Cerasota)
1 cup of whole wheat flour (I use whole wheat pastry flour (Hodgson Mills) as it is ground finer than whole wheat but with the same benefits. Makes great pancakes, too.)
1 cup of long-cooking rolled oats (trusty old Quaker Oats)
1 1/2tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp  ground allspice
1/2 tsp cardamom (this is the secret to this recipe)
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2nd bowl
3/4 cup of melted stick margarine, butter, or crisco cooled
1 cup of packed brown sugar (light or dark)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup of roasted fresh pumpkin drained and blended smooth or canned
1 apple-cored and loosely chopped
(up to 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce if needed)
heat oven to 375 F. Line or butter/flour 12-18 muffin tins holes.

In large bowl whisk together flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cardamom, clove, salt, raisins or cranberries, and nuts. (I add everything together---dusts your nuts and fruit at the same time.)
In second bowl whisk together cooled melted shortening/butter/oil, brown sugar  and vanilla, whisk in eggs until frothy and blended, then stir in pumpkin and apples. 

Gently, but thoroughly mix this into the dry bowl ingredients,  folding until well incorporated. 
Do not over-mix. If batter is too thick, add up to 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce. (Dense (whole wheat or multi grain) flours are subject to dryness which can effect the moisture content of your recipes as can weather, so applesauce is the perfect consistency to add.)
Fill muffin cups to desired fullness, bake at 375F for 25-30 min, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the tops are a bit crusty. These are very moist muffins.

Cool in pan for 5 minutes and then finish cooling on rack.
These are tasty, moist, and freeze well. 
The original recipe called for a crumble on top, or I have lightly frosted with cream cheese frosting or a dusting of cinnamon and sugar, but plain is excellent. 

ENJOY! and thanks for stopping by,

Linking to these wonderful blogs: 
A Stroll Through Life
Show and Share no 281 
Inspiration Monday 928 
Vintage Bliss
Share Your Style 
All About Home

All the opinions and photographs in this blog are my own, I have not been paid or reimbursed in anyway for my opinions or posts. Please do not use photos without linking back to this blog without my permission. Thank you for your cooperation, Sandi Magle

My Fall Decorating: Natural, Formal, or Spooky?

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I was digging in my photo archives, as I just started blogging this summer and wish I had a stash of pics for everything under the sun, but I don't. I'm still struggling with Fall decor. 
So many ideas out there, but I want to stay within my own comfort zone and my home's limitations.

 If I had a huge house, this would be my choice over a fireplace or credenza. This was from The Chicago Botanic Gardens wreath contest a few years back, I can't read the exhibitors name, but I
thought it was amazing. Anyone who wishes to claim it, I will be glad to post your name.

My upclose shot was far more in focus...I love natural Fall colors and the simplicity of nature. 
Here and there in my home, will always be naturals, which go so well with my fabrics and rugs.

My last year's assortment of gourds and fresh pumpkins.
 I don't have as many to choose from this year. 
This simple arrangement sat on our coffee table as we had a two-year old everyday for seven weeks during the Fall 2014 season. So breakables were placed out of reach.

This year,  I've chosen(and the decorator squirrel) naturals for on our Front Porch.

 Last year I used fresh pumpkins and the huge selection of gourds from the garden. 
The sparkly pumpkin was a thrift store find, enhanced with bits and pieces, berries and a tiny bit 
of glitz from Angel hair. (It doesn't shed like glitter.)

Last week, the kitchen table for hosting a coffee. 
The OLD flower pot saucer holds tomatoes, squash, and dried gourds from our GREEN garden and faux leaves and pears. My granny's bluebird (Copley or McCoy)
 looks on, from the side of one the OLD GoodWill sugared faux pumpkins. 
The napkins are NEW from IKEA.
 I love IKEA paper goods, they are thick and substantial for a reasonable price.
The arrangement is the dried version from Monday's Wash Day  .
 Next post will be the entire table setting and Pumpkin Spice Apple muffins.

From Natural, I would love to go into FORMAL decorating; this could be my style.
Last weekend in Naperville, Illinois at an art show on the River Walk, we ventured up the hill into town and stumbled across this little shop of wonders, called Little Luxuries
Basically a floral and Interior design shop with wonderful accessories. 

If only I had a formal house with a huge front walkway, these topiary planters were gorgeous and just dripping with sunflowers, pumpkins, amaranthus, hops, vines and berries.

These topiaries and the window made you-HAVE TO-walk in.
 The store was packed with (too many) people and gorgeous product, 
ideas everywhere. and barely elbow room enough to take pictures. 
So, do visit their FB page. 

Little Luxuries went big into door swags and velvet pumpkins, lots of texture and color.
 Feathers were everywhere, and lots whimsy. 
Their **AWESOME **was their SPOOKY!

This Halloween Cabinet was at least 10 feet high... 
Skulls and skeleton hands reached out of everything: pots, wreaths, 
arrangements, swags, and furniture. 
Lighting and spiderwebs cast and eerie glow,
and SPOOKY decor with lots of purple, orange and green and bright fall leaves. 
Glitz was there, but not overwhelming, more shiny than glitter.

The cabinet was flanked on both sides by skeleton Mardi Gras colors and feathers, 
lots of feathers and grass. Sorry it was out of focus, I was dodging customers.

Looking up---stark lighting, pheasant feathers and glittered was awesome.
BUT, How SPOOKY can you get with a 3-year old grandgirl I wonder?

Last year I had spiders everywhere with the pumpkins and gourds and that was about it, because of the two-year old around through the whole season.
How far can I go, this year???
Spiders were bad enough, but they were sparkly and googlie-eyed, so that made it okay.

The black netting came from vegetable bags...and was great to surround the hurricane, candles and a glass pitcher filled with ears of corn. The tablecloth was a great print, I will probably use it again.

I found these sparkly spiders to spice SPOOKY up..., Grandgirl should love them to go with the copper and black ones, I already have.
Last three magentas sparkle spiders at Party City for $1.49 each.
 I need to maybe add some more interesting things this year.

I've already promised this Guinea Hen feather thingy to E, I'm sure she will come up with something spectacular- $2 at GoodWill. 

 I've roamed the stores for ideas. This was our local JoAnn's Fabrics, the same day they set up the two pumpkin aisles. I have a couple of pumpkins to decorate...but which way to go, lol.

Sometimes, I think going white, must be easier---because there are less choices, but my home is all about color and which way should I choose?

My favorite though were these glitter polka dot ones, and judging from the holes on the shelves, they were other's favorites also.

I think these were at Michael's.  Scaredy Cats would be safe and would go with polka-dot pumpkins.
Hard to tell what a three-year old may shy away from. 
She is terrified of her Uncle's (hissy) fat REAL cats.

But then she has a demonic streak too, she wants to be an "Avengers" or be Nick Fury...for her
Three-year old birthday party.

LOL...perhaps I need to make one of her photos look like these spooky ones, (from Michael's) with her wearing an eye patch and a long dark coat. Samuel Jackson would be proud, LOL.

Such is my dilema, Natural, Formal or Spooky?

I'll be partying at these great blogs:
Inspire Me Monday
A Stroll Through Life
Show and Share no 281 
Lets Talk Vintage 
Vintage Bliss
Tuesdays at our Home 131 
Halloween Spooktacular Party
Share Your Cup Thursday
Best of the Weekend 
Fall Halloween Decorating

All the opinions and photographs in this blog are my own, I have not been paid or reimbursed in anyway for my opinions or posts. Please do not use photos without linking back to this blog without my permission. Thank you for your cooperation, Sandi Magle