Tag Archive: Spring Rose Cottage

Kitchen Tools: Dutch Oven

When it comes to slow cooking or low heat cooking in the oven, you just can’t beat the Dutch Oven.  If you are a fan of Country French cooking, you should consider getting one.

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I have made Beef Bourguignon in various types of cookware–covered casserole dish in the oven, crock pot, and stew pot on the range top–but nothing compares to using a Dutch Oven which allows braising and simmering of the bacon, beef, onions, carrots, etc. on top the range and then moved into the oven for the slow cooking process.

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There are a few things to consider before buying and using a Dutch Oven.  Dutch Ovens are heavy. You have to be confident that once it is full of hot food, that you will be able to move it about as is needed.

All exposed bits of iron on your Dutch Oven need to be oiled to keep it from rusting. I use a light vegetable oil for this task. If your Dutch Oven is enamel coated iron, the enamel coating can chip. If it chips the iron beneath can rust.  If your Dutch Oven is only partly enamel coated, same thing goes—all exposed bits of iron need to be oiled to keep from rusting.

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You have to give it time to transition from hot to cold and cold to hot. Fast changes in temperature can cause cracking or chipping of the enamel glaze.

It is because of the very thick, heavy walls of the pot that make it so good for slow cooking at a very consistent temperature. It is the kind of cooking that requires you to slow yourself down. The cooking cannot be rushed.

Once you have the Dutch Oven in the oven, you can use that cooking time–sometimes hours–to prepare the rest of the meal. Or you could have a nice cup of tea and relax.

A Dutch Oven isn’t as user friendly as a crock pot—and it is heavy; but, you won’t be disappointed with the results if you follow the recipes and treat your Dutch Oven with the care it requires.

 

 

Kitchen Mantel: Blue & White China

One of the really wonderful things about a kitchen hearth mantel is having a space to make a display.

 

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Our kitchen is a bit of a blank canvas. What do I mean by that?  Well, that the colors are neutral.  Neutral back grounds make it much easier to decorate with color.

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The kitchen can be changed just by displaying splashes of color on the mantel and the counter tops.

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In the case of the Blue and White China theme, it also allows me to bring in some of my personality. I love English Transfer ware and I collect many colors and variations. But, one of my favorites is the Blue and White.

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Blue and White China is a classic look that never goes out of style. It always looks fresh and clean–which I think is a wonderful look to bring into the kitchen.

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The pieces don’t all have to be antique or one particular style. The beauty of the blue and white color ties the collection together. Being too matched can make a collection look boring. You want a variety of shapes, styles and sizes.  This same concept can used on a mantel, table, bookcase, curio cabinet…the possibilities are endless!

Foyer Book/Display Case

One of the things I have always enjoyed is creating patriotic themed display cases for public libraries and schools (mostly using Children of the American Revolution and Daughters of the American Revolution themes).

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Especially when the children were little, we had many opportunities to do those displays.  Now that the little ones aren’t little anymore, the reasons to do them are pretty rare.

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So I decided to create a space in Spring Rose Cottage that we could explore creating and displaying books and things of interest based on a theme.

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The theme for July, August and September was “The Birth of Our Nation”.  Here are the Books that were highlighted:

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1776 book by  David  McCullough.

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Justice for All — Earl Warren and the Nation he made by Jim Newton

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The bottom row has many more books (especially children’s books) that help support the theme. There are also eye catching items that grab your interest.

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I can’t guarantee that the theme will always be Patriotic (because it won’t!), what I can guarantee is that any display we create will be filled with books and interesting visuals that will support a theme or idea that I hope will lead you to reading a really captivating book.

Happy Reading!!

 

Simple Elegant Christmas Tablesetting

Dressing the dinner table for a holiday is easy if you take one element or seasonal item to create a theme that can be used throughout the design to tie eat place setting to the whole table. I decided to use a very simple but classic motif—the magnolia blossom and leaves. Magnolias are evergreen, so you can use real magnolias to decorate or silk flowers to make a centerpiece or table scape.

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I began the table with a covering of a deep red almost burgundy. Then I placed a golden charger plate at each of the places. The china that I used is a Lenox China pattern called Citation Gold. It is a classic cream china with a gold band and fluted rim on the plate.

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The flatware is Oneida Heirloom 18/10 Stainless pattern called Louisiana.

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The napkins are 100% cotton and have a beautifully simple magnolia blossom and green leaves embroidered on them. I like to check for after Christmas sales to pick up bargains. I found these napkins through the Colonial Williamsburg on-line store last year.

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The 2 inch wide napkin rings are made of wire with beads in dark red to gold. They are from Pier One, but I picked them up a few months ago at a local consignment store.

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I think the contrast between the dark table cloth and the lighter charger and china really makes for a striking table setting.  I chose not to place an arrangement or centerpiece on our Christmas table, because we wanted to place the food on the table. This allowed us the convenience of eating family style and the benefit of seeing the beautiful food for which we are so thankful.

 

Thanksgiving Guests

Thanksgiving is the most traveled holiday in the United States. The chances are pretty good that you will travel or someone else will travel to visit you. Sometimes that may be a day trip, but there will come a time when you have to provide a place to sleep for a guest.

This was the first guest room that we used at Spring Rose Cottage. This Red Bedroom is decorated with Red/pink/cranberry English Transferware.  Since we didn’t have a designated “guest room” at that time, the least used bedroom in the house was used to serve that purpose. Our primary concerns were how to make the most of the space and solutions that we used to help our guest have a pleasant stay.

 

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The most important thing of course is a bed.  The next  would be the bed linens, blanket or quilt (depending on season and indoor temperatures), and a pillow are pretty much the basics. The only thing I will say about that is if you can provide a variety of blankets and pillows that is a plus.

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A vintage Lane hope chest serves as a place to lay out a suit case. But in many guest rooms space is tight so try to provide some space either for suitcase or hanging space in the closet.

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It is very helpful to have a bedside table with a lamp, tissues, a waste basket nearby and a coaster for a cup. Ours is a small room and really only has room for one small bedside table and we put it to good use.

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This bedroom does not have an ensuite. So I have provided water bottles so the guest doesn’t have to leave the bedroom to find water.

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I like to have a desk and chair available that someone can sit and write a letter or journal or use a laptop or tablet to do work. I keep the top drawer clean of personal items except some envelopes, pens, pencils, stamps and stationary. There is a power strip next to the desk for charging phones, laptops, or other devices.

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Especially in cases of a bedroom without an attached bathroom, it is helpful to provide bath towels, washcloths, and various sundries in the room. I like to use red English transfer ware to hold the washcloths and sundries. The red English transfer ware on the desk ties the color theme together with the artwork and plates on the wall.

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Another really nice thing to have is a comfy chair or settee with a reading lamp next to it—and maybe a few books or magazines.  The important thing is to make your guests feel as comfortable and welcome as you can manage. We had this antique settee and it fit perfectly in this room and the color went beautifully with the Cranberry color English Transferware.

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Do your preparation ahead of time. When your guests arrive, you will be truly thankful for the opportunity to spend time together.

Quiche Lorraine

This is a lovely custardy quiche!

Ingredients

1 pie crust uncooked                                      2 cups cream
1 cup shredded Swiss Cheese                      ¾ teaspoon salt
8 slices of bacon                                            ¼ teaspoon white sugar
½ cup minced onion                                      1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 eggs beaten

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Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Place bacon in a large skillet, fry over medium heat until bacon is crisp. Add the onion and cook until onion is translucent not brown.

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Drain bacon and onion on paper towels, then chop bacon in large pieces. Sprinkle bacon, cheese and onion into pastry shell.

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In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, salt, sugar and cayenne pepper. Pour mixture into pastry shell.

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Bake 15 minutes in the Preheated oven. Reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake an additional 30-40 minutes, or until a knife inserted 1 inch from edge comes out clean.

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Allow quiche to sit for 10 minutes before cutting the quiche into wedges. I like to serve quiche with a salad of field greens.

Kitchen-The Heart of the Home

At Spring Rose Cottage, we love to cook. The kitchen is a gathering place to feed the family, hang out with each other, entertain friends and be creative.

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When we designed the kitchen at Spring Rose Cottage, we had several main concerns:

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Would there be enough room to have a crowd of people in the Kitchen. We wanted to make sure there was space to move around easily.

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There needed to be enough work surface space for several people to work at one time.

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There needed to be a variety of storage cupboards.

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We designed the room to have lots of windows facing south and it is so lovely almost the whole day long. It is always a pleasure to be in this room, regardless of the task or time of day.

 

The Blue and White Tower Room

It’s that quirky, not quite octagon shaped room off of the master bedroom. It isn’t painted blue, but it is known as the Blue and White Room, for one obvious reason.

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I love to collect china and there is nothing more lovely than Blue and White China! This room is my space. No one else in the house ever uses it. This space has all of the things I love–china, porcelain dolls, lace curtains, books, pillows…even blue and white china depicting scenes of England!

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The tower space also has a painting of me that has a blue background that looks really nice with the china on the walls.  The oil on canvas painting is by Theo and every time I see it, it makes me smile. Not because I think I look wonderful (I have never looked good in photographs)…it is because he puts so much heart into all of his art.

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There is a small upholstered bench, where you can curl up with a throw and read a book or magazine, relax, do some writing, or meditate. The little side table next to the bench is actually an antique sewing table that holds all of my sewing thread, needles, and other miscellaneous sewing items. I sometimes embroider in this spot because the lighting is so good.

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The actual function of this little space is that of a dressing room it holds my antique hand-carved walnut vanity. The light in this space is brilliant because of the really tall windows, it is a wonderful space to style hair or put on makeup.

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I love to use china in ways that are unusual.  Here is a pierced bowl. It is shallow, so it makes a nice tray for the vanity and it is fun because it is unexpected.

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For such a tiny room, roughly 8 ft x 8 ft, with the angled walls and 12 foot ceiling, It really packs a punch!! This is one of the spaces in the house that makes it feel like a cottage!

 

 

Parlor Dwelling

Parlor Dwelling

Slow down you move too fast!!

During the cooler months, one of the most pleasant things we do at Spring Rose Cottage is to sit in the parlor in the evenings. Theo first used the term “Parlor Dweller” to describe people like me who thrive on both the quiet and reserve of the space.

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He subsequently painted “The Parlor Dweller” acrylic on canvas, a study in burnt umber. It is me in one of my favorite wing chairs.

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Wayne defines a parlor as a living room with no television—and he is quite correct. Sometimes “parlor dwelling” is a solitary affair where one can read, do needlework, write a book chapter or blog posts. Sometimes it can be a group activity like playing a board game, cards, name that tune, or playing music.

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One of our favorite endeavors is to take turns reading a book, short story or poems. I enjoy reading out loud and I love to hear someone else read.

I find the parlor is a most agreeable place to dwell.

Daughters of Painted Ladies

I can highly recommend the book Daughters of Painted Ladies, by Elizabeth Pomada (Author), Michael Larsen (Author), Douglas Keister (Photographer), especially if you are interested in Victorian Architecture and decorating in a traditional style.

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The book gives many wonderful examples for reference. It is organized by geographic regions and lists the cities—many of the homes are open to the public. The really great thing about the book is that it covers all types of American Victorian architecture from places all across the United States. Mostly exterior pictures, but it also does have some examples of interior.

Bulls eye block tapemeasure

This is one of the Bulls Eye trim that is used on the Mahogany door at Spring Rose Cottage. It is paired with a fluted molding to create the door casing on the inside and outside of the Front Door. The same design is placed on the newel posts on the main staircase.

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We used this book during the design process of Spring Rose Cottage and for decorating reference. It is especially helpful in woodworking, color schemes and trim ideas.

Front view of house