This past weekend, I took a trip out to one of the largest antique shows in Canada. It's held about an hour from our place so it was barely a trip at all, but it felt kind of like a road trip: The anticipation of what you'll bring home, the getting up while it's dark, the early morning, peaceful drive, and the good coffee and donuts. Road trip.
Though there are some highlights from the show coming later, I wanted to share one specific booth with you. It was one of my two favourites of the entire show, and, you'll soon see why.
It's actually kind of funny because the brilliant woman behind the booth happens to be someone who I see, quite regularly, at a local auction. In fact, I can often expect some competitive bidding from her on certain items I love. I figured she was just a typical dealer with good taste... then I saw her booth.
It's filled with the most gorgeous mix of vintage linens, rustic garden ware, French antiques and just a hint of industrial chic. Gorgeous.
Take a peak inside this lovely booth belonging to Joanne Price of Feathers.
This tiny little rabbit has a new home amongst the Lilly of the Valley and Ivy, under a tall Oak tree, in our back woods.
Isn't he just the sweetest little thing? He was found in town, from a nest in the middle of a parking lot, before being brought here to make his new home.
My son named him Max while we searched the woods for the perfect little place to set him free.
He was so small, he didn't even fill the palm of my hand. But, we were informed that once their eyes are opened, little wild rabbits are left by their mother. Eventually, once they are hungry enough, they will wander out of their cozy little nest, and begin their search for food. It honestly broke my heart to think about this tiny little, helpless rabbit having to fend for himself. But then I was reminded of this:
"Look at the birds of the air:
They do not sow nor reap nor gather into barns,
and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not of more value than they?"
It's a gentle little reminder, like the way that this seemingly helpless little rabbit is cared for, that reminds me of the vast love of my Heavenly Father, and how great His love is for me.
My rhubarb seems to just be exploding this year, which is probably due to all the rain we've been getting.
I am not complaining though! I love fresh Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, Stewed Rhubarb over Custard, and my latest making; Rhubarb Berry Crumble! I've been trying to freeze as much as I can, so I can enjoy this lovely seasonal treat all year long.
Here is the easiest recipe for Rhubarb Berry Crumble. It's paired perfectly with some vanilla icecream, making it a lovely early summer dessert.
Rhubarb Berry Crumble
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For the Fruit Filling:
In a medium saucepan, bring a pint of blackberries and raspberries, as well as about 5 cups of chopped and cleaned rhubarb, with 1 cup of sugar to a boil. Add 1 tsp. cinnamon, if desired, and continue stirring occasionally until everything is stewed nicely. About 20 minutes. If the mixture seems a bit runny, I mix 1 tsp. clear gel with about 1/8 cup of cold water and whisk in to thicken.
While stewing the fruit, hand mix the following ingredients for the Crumble in a large bowl:
2 cups flour
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 sticks of butter, softened
Mix everything thoroughly with hands together, similarly to how you would cut in butter when making pastry. Crumble should stick together when compact, but break apart easily when dropped. Add a bit more flour or butter if the consistency is either too moist, or too dry.
Next, take an 8" x 11" pan and sprinkle half of the crumble mixture in the bottom. Pour fruit over layer, and add the remaining crumble to the top, one handful at a time to give it a nice crumbly look. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until nicely golden brown on top, and remove. Serve warm over vanilla icecream.
Stalks should be between 1 1/2" and 2 1/2" in thickness, firm, and a nice dark pink in colour. Harvesting season is between late spring through summer.
I've learned that when picking the rhubarb, it's important not to cut the stalks off with a knife, but rather grip them near the base, wiggle a bit and gently pull them from the main plant. They easily break off and apparently it's best for the plant.
The crumble looks so gorgeous when served up in vintage Hall custard dishes and pretty silver plated spoons.
This past weekend was our first long weekend of the summer (at least for us in Canada), and it was gorgeous! There was sun each day, with the odd bit of rain here and there, and a beautiful thunderstorm last night, which was lovely to fall asleep to.
We spent the weekend in the gardens, eating on the back deck and around the campfire at night. It really was wonderfully relaxing. But, I did manage to get some work done as well. The gardens were all weeded and prepped for planting, and I was able to fish my sun room! This was quite the task, as it meant transferring all of our coats, shoes and other things into our front entrance to empty the space before I began redecorating.
The only one who didn't seem to mind the chaos was our cat, who thoroughly enjoyed lounging on my netting in the sun.
Once everything was out, I spent a good of couple hours cleaning the whole space. I cleaned windows inside and out, touched up paint, patched holes (well, my husband took care of that), washed walls, and scrubbed floors and baseboards. Then I started moving things in and setting the room up as a proper sunroom, and not just a back mud room.
To see the before photos, since there are already enough photos here for one post, you can see them here.
I'm really happy with how it turned out, especially since I didn't purchase one thing for the makeover! I may still go out and buy an area rug, but that's it.
This room has the best view in the house, but was previously used as a back door and mudroom. I always hated that a space with such gorgeous potential was housing my shoes, especially since we had a front entrance way that was never used!
I've had this old cast iron bed, which was originally a crib, for a long time, stored, and waiting to be used.
On the left side of the room, opposite the daybed, are these two chairs, which have always been in the space. I thought about replacing them with arm chairs, but there is no room. These fit in perfectly, so they'll stay. As you can see, they are in front of the french doors, which go to our back deck. It's beauitful to have them wide open, with the netting pulled across. This little pefestal table was an old Ikea find. It will work perfectly until I find a slightly larger replacement.
It really is my new favourite spot in the house to curl up with a book, and a coffee, and just relax, while basking in the sunlight, overlooking the yard, and watching the curtains gently blow in the breeze.
This is the view coming into the room from the deck. The daybed works nice as a couch.
We still wanted to be able to walk through to the deck. Plus, with more seating outside, it's a great extension on the room while entertaining!
You may recognize these cushions from the living room, before I redid it. I figured they could be reused in this space since they go perfectly with the decor anyway!
I didn't want to paint the bed, so I decided to go with clear lacquer instead to seal it. I made it into a daybed by taking off one of the sides.
I had a few old corbels and vintage finds lying around that I used on the shelves above the bed.
These are from my bleeding hearts in the garden - they are in full bloom, and larger than ever! I think a few cuttings look pretty in a white enamel pitcher.
There have been few recipes that have exhausted my patience as much as these tiny French delicacies have.
The French Macaron. It's on my list of "culinary feats", and has been for quite some time now. The recipe seems simple: a basic meringue folded into a mixture of powdered sugar and finely ground almonds. The technique however, seems like nothing less than rocket science. In theory, these cookies are simple, but the unsuccessful batches preceding these speak for themselves.
It's actually quite funny how this batch turned out relatively decent. (I say that because anyone who knows macarons, knows there are processes and techniques, neither of which I paid much attention to, but the end result was deceivingly close to the real things!). While preparing a meringue for some chewy meringue nests, I noticed that the consistency of the meringue was just what I was failing to achieve while attempting the macarons. The smooth, glossy mixture was disappearing just as it should and was holding it's own, instead of melting away. On a whim, I decided to throw technique to the wind and experiment. I sprinkled some almond meal right into the mix (I can hear the gasps of pastry chefs near and far!). I filled my piping bag and began to quickly pipe out perfectly round little tops and bottoms. To my surprise they formed perfect little circles in true macaron fashion. I let them rest and baked them, estimating at the time and temperate based on the numerous other recipes I have tried previously. I don't think anyone was prepared for my excitement when I pulled them out of the oven to discover that they have puffed perfectly, while staying smooth, with perfect little "feet" as they call them (the ruffled bottom)! You would have thought I had won the lottery!
But, to be honest, I was ecstatic! This was a challenge, that time after time, continued to get the best of me. Batch after batch, I produced nothing but mis-shaped, flat or overcooked blobs of meringue. So when by accident I was able to produce one good batch of perfectly dainty macarons, I was obligated to celebrate!
I filled them with Vanilla Bean Buttercream, and sandwiched them together, finding satisfaction with each one. They tasted amazing - they tasted like victory. I enjoyed every bit of them, which is a good thing because I won't be attempting them again in the near future. But, at least I can finally check them off my list!
This past week has been a blur. Between my sister's wedding preparations and a trip out of town earlier this week, the days have just flown past!
But, I managed to sneak in a few minutes today (between batches of cupcakes for a shower tomorrow), to post quickly on my Mother's Day Brunch.
For the past few years (since I've been married), I've hosted a tea for my moms (and sisters), in celebration of Mother's Day. I like to go all out with little hors d'oeuvres and pretty tablescapes to make the day more special.
They always appreciate it and I always have a lot of fun planning and getting things ready.
Here are a few (actually, a ton) of photos from the morning.
Enjoy, and have a lovely weekend!
Fresh cut hicaynths made the room smell divine.
A few apple blossoms from a local orchard.
They where so pretty and made a lovely centerpiece.
The table - simple and white.
I found these gorgeous napkin rings on the clearance shelf at Pottery Barn. Each number from 1 to 6 is slightly different around the edge.
A few different kinds of loose tea made for a good selection for a special occasion. I wrote the names of each on little tags and tied them to the holder with twine.
Loose leaf tea balls were provided.
The selection for brunch.
(clockwise from the top)
Petite Croque Monsieur, Cherry Turnovers, Sweets, Mini Scones with an Assortment of Jams, French Toast Cups with Bacon and Maple Cream, and Petite Potato Pancakes with Creme Frais and Chives.
The Sweets - Petite Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream, Truffled Chocolate Brownies and Petite Rosewater with Vanilla Buttercream French Macarons (Yes! I got them! - - Post coming soon on those!)