Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Cead Mile Failte"- 100,000 Welcomes, Recipes & A Rainbow Treasure Hunt

Happy St. Patricks Day to you all!!

   I love to celebrate and this day my friend Barbara wishes St. Patrick would come to her house and get rid of all of the snakes. She hates snakes. But on to better subjects like the great things to eat and to do.. besides drink green beer!!

   Don't you love this little March Angel? She has the prettiest face and spagetti gilding around her dress.
This and my Belleek creamer with shamrocks, gold chocolate coins and green "ice" on a silver tray make a lovely, simple St. Patricks Day centerpiece for the kitchen table.

Rainbow Treasure Hunt

In the spirit of having a fun celebration that doesn't involve gaudy bowler hats and green beer, I came up with a Rainbow Treasure Hunt for the girls.
You can adapt this to any age outdoors or inside. You just need items in your home that correspond to the colors of the rainbow. I don't have very much color inside and we have had lovely weather outdoors so mine is starting at our driveway with my "red" van. 1st clue. When they get there the 2nd clue and red Lifesaver jelly beans are waiting. The next clues are in the colors of the rainbow without indigo. I have included blue jump ropes (must jump 3 times in a row) with the blue clue, and purple bubbles with the purple clue (must blow 7 bubbles). The "Pot of Gold" is gold wrapped chocolate coins in a jar that I buried in the garden (2 steps and count 3 rocks, then dig for treasure!). They have little green bags with St. Patricks Day stickers on them to gather all of the goodies. Who doesn't love a great hunt??  You could do this indoors finding the clue in the "red" wagon or the "oranges" in the kitchen. Have fun!!!

Next (and I apologize that my pictures aren't done for these) are 3 yummy recipes for St. Patricks Day.

This is a absoloutely delicious spin on the huge Corned Beef and Cabbage everyone feels required to make today. Sooo much easier and so yummy!!!

Irish Cabbage Rolls

3C thinly sliced red potatoes
16 large green cabbage leaves approx. same size
8 pieces of Canadian Bacon cut into 1/8" pieces or very meaty thick sliced bacon chopped and cooked.
2 large Granny Smith apples cored, peeled and thinly sliced
1 Red Onion thinly sliced
3 tsp coarse black pepper
3 tsp sea salt
2 TBS fresh parsley chopped
2 cups white cheese shredded
non stick cooking spray
Bowl of ice water
8 slices beer or soda bread

To a large pot of boiling salted water, add potato slices. Cook 3 min. Remove and blanch by plunging in a bowl of ice water. Remove, drain, and set aside. Cook cabbage in remaining boiling water for 2 min. Plunge in ice water to blanch. Remove, drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray 3 qt. casserole dish with non stick cooking spray.

Place 2 leaves overlapping a little. Place chopped bacon in center of leaves. Add onion, apple and potatoes into a large bowl. Toss with pepper, salt and fresh parsley. Top bacon with mixture (about 3 TBS). Fold in sides and roll up like an egg roll. Place into baking dish seam side down. Cover with foil and bake for 25 min. Remove foil and bake 10 more min.

To serve, remove one or two rolls to plate. Drizzle with juices and top with shredded cheese. Serve with fresh beer bread or soda bread and butter.

Beer Bread

3 cups self rising all purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 can beer (the kind you pick will affect the flavor)
1/4 cup melted butter

1. Pre heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly greas a 9" X 5" baking pan
2. In bowl mix all dry ingredients
3. Pour beer into well in the middle of dry ingredients. Mix just until moistened.
4. Transfer to prepared baking pan. Split middle of bread with a knife  to crease top.
5. Pour melted butter over top of bread.
6. Bake 45-55 min. in pre-heated oven until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
7. Cool on rack.

Baileys Irish Cream Fudge

3 cups semi sweet choc. chips
1 cup white choc. chips
1/4 cup butter
3 cups confectioners sugar
1 cup Bailey's Irish Cream Liquer
1 1/2 cup chopped nuts

1 1/2 cup white choc chips
4 TBS Baileys Irish Cream Liquer
2 TBS butter
green food coloring
8X8" pan (or 3 aluminum pie pans to split it up)
Plastic wrap

1. Butter 8x8" pan
2. In the top of a double boiler melt the choc. chips, the white choc. chips and the butter from the first set of ingredients until soft. Stir to make sure all is smooth. Transfer to mixing bowl while hot and .....
3. Add confectioners sugar 1/2 cup at a time and Baileys Irish cream until smooth. Stir in chopped nuts.
4. Pour mix into prepared pan and lay a sheet of plastic wrap on top. Press and smooth down. Place in refrigerator.
Clean double boiler (OR just have 2 double boilers going)
1. In double boiler melt white choc chips until soft. Add Bailey's Irish Cream and butter with a whisk until smooth. Add green food coloring until desired tint is achieved. * I added 3 drops to the Baileys before adding them to the chocolate*
2. Remove plastic wrap from pan of fudge. Spread over first layer with knife. Place plastic wrap over top.
Press to smooth.
3. Refrigerate 1-2 hours. Cut and enjoy.
Can be frozen.

I split this recipe and put it into 3 aluminum pie pans that I buttered so that I could "share" more easily. A little goes a long way as it is just chocolate, butter, sugar and Baileys. I put it in gallon freezer bags and smoothed it down before refrigerating it .

I hope you enjoy today and celebrate wisely. Remember most importantly, that you don't have or can never get "LUCK", with or without being Irish or drinking green beer. We all are instead, Blessed and Blessed beyong measure.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Blowing Kisses to You All and the Do Able Plan

Thank you all of you who are checking out the blog and encouraging me to have niche in the wealth of blogs that are so fabulous out there. If you haven't checked out Marta Ramos in for the love of junk blog you are missing out. This woman is a whirlwind of ideas, passions and wonderful finds. I treasure her as a friend and sister in Christ as well as trading ideas and "stuff". We laugh because she buys something(s) from my sales and I take the money and go spend it at her shop. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but we always ASK if we can have a vignette design before we run gleefully to reproduce it in our homes or shop.
So... KISSES to all of you.

I have a PLAN in place. Just a few weeks now until Round Top/Warrington and the Antique Show of the Season here in Texas. That means Sheri my soul sister in Calif. is coming out. Possibly with her new business partner and friend Michelle. Why do we accelerate with a deadline? Why can't I just do the same amount of work anytime?? I am not really envious of those who I feel are driven by clean. I actually feel sorry for them. I want my house lovely. I want the house clean of course but my magazine shoot days have gone by as have the years and guess what? Nobody cares. If they are friends they will either ignore the mess or pitch in and help clean it up. I can't wait to have Sheri and Michelle help me with my "April Showers Tablescape". I can't do it by myself and I'm going to put it up before they leave. Guess I'd better get Easter's up now!!!

You know working just really gets in the way of my day! And the hired help is a luxury of the past, my DH gave up helping in the yard or house for Lent (even though we are not Catholic) in 1998 unless threatened mightily and even then he is grumpy about it so why bother...., the boys are gone, and Barbara is 3 hours away in Lufkin, Texas. Sometimes a good friend Kim will help with my many garage sales or dig in the yard but like all of us, she has her schedule and life first and foremost. I decided I needed CONSISTANCY and a DO-ABLE PLAN.
So the plan is... THINK SMALL. Do something in ONE HOUR and see what I can get done in that hour. Put on praise music, light the candles and don't stop until that one hour is up. No phone calls. No T.V., no garden or chickens. Just one thing. One area. Not the whole room or garage. Just an hour. Today is believe it or not.... The "Ironing Board". It has become the state collection site for that room. It must be 2' high in things. UGH.
What can you do in an hour that makes a difference? Water dripping on a rock can create a hole. A river running over the earth can make the Grand Canyon so what in one hour, by 7 days, by 4 weeks can we accomplish that we don' t want to tackle as a huge thing??
Comment and let me know and let's encourage each other to see what we accomplish at the end of this month.

In the meantime, check out the decorating, gardening and recipe tab/pages. I finally got a few things uploaded to them.

Love and blown kisses,

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rising Above Your Circumstances

       The way I decorate is in layers, colors, themes and codes. I love whimsy; that little touch of suprise that makes one look again and try and figure something out or make you smile when you look at it. One of the things I never change in my kitchen eating area is my collection of creamers. My friend Marta who is amazing and has the most imagination in decorating that I have ever seen wondered why I never change it.
    Do you remember that I said every vintage thing tells me a story? Well this collection is one of my "codes".
    Hang in there with me... this is important and I write like I talk..... like a storyteller (My husbands eyes literally GLAZE over when I try to tell him something).
    Do you ever feel like you are special but nobody notices? Do you ever think if you act in a way that shows your talent that somehow you are egocentric? God calls us all to be light. To SHINE and be seen. He gives us gifts to use. That is confidence not arrogance. Would you receive a beautifully wrapped present that someone had chosen so carefully, knowing how much you would love it and waiting for your look of happiness when you opened it; would you then say, "Oh Thank you." and go put it hidden in the top of a closet and shut the door? Well you have gifts and we all need to use them daily. Boldly. With Confidence that they are ours to have and to use and to share.
   This all gets back to my collection of creamers. Do you ,in this homoginized society of "go to the store and buy 1% milk" even KNOW what cream is?? It is from a process of thick, foamy milk straight from the cow.  It was set into a big jar and allowed to separate. There were layers. But it needed time to rest and separate.
The cream, the richest, the "best", rose to the top and was skimmed off to use on berries and shortbread and in coffee and churned into butter.  There was "buttermilk" from the layer just under the cream. Another portion was rich milk to be used and sold for extra money.
What was left was what my mother called  "Blue John"; skim milk that nobody wanted (now we buy it and pay a premium for it.)
   The creamers were for that rich, good , SPECIAL cream for the table. Separated from all of the other and savored.
   The creamers on this shelf remind me that God has separated me from my "old" self. He calls me to rise up everday out of the mundane, the thin whats leftovers and be rich in His word and deeds. To be the special woman using the gifts I have. To do my best in everything I do.
    Each creamer on this shelf was given to me by a different dear friend who knows "the creamer parable". When I look at them every day I'm smiling remembering them. To know they love me and God loves me. To never be afraid to be special and rich and yummy whatever my circumstances are for that day or that season. I can't do it on my own. I need help from His words of encouragement and constant reassurance. From true friends that love me in spite of my self. My struggles are not new but they don't have to define me or you. Rise up.
  Do not hide your light under a bushel and do not live on thin leftovers. Endulge in a little cream on your berries, a little butter on your scone and BE the rich gift to everyone around you that you can rise to be.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Vintage Decorating in Cali's Nursery

    I brought up some of my favorite vignettes of my grandaughter Cali's nursery. She had no choice in the scheme because of my passion for all things black and cream and white but I loved her nursery. The little tan book with the Victorian lady is a book of Bryant's Poems ( in the left hand corner of the curio shelf). It is one of the only things I inherited physcially is from my Kentucky grandmother. She got it as a prize when she was 8 years old for having  "the most marks in spelling."  The baby doll is a one armed sweetie. I got her at the Alameda Flea and Antique Show in Calif. with two of my soul sisters, Sheri and Joy. They thought I was nuts because she is so "disabled and shabby",:I love her anyway; her face is wonderful.

   Hope you enjoy the look too. Enjoy!

This is her tall bookshelf set in the niche of the room.

The top of the shelf has encyclopedias that spell "CALI"

The light from the window made this overexposed but her music shelf and the vintage Lambchop were two of my favorite shelves on this. I love the old children's readers on the music shelf too.
These baby shoes were given to me by a friend of my son Joshua in Calif. They are over 100 years old, made of black velvet and satin and have every button on them. They were packed in a trunk of family heirlooms for over 50 years. Thank you so much. I love, love, love them!!
This little Shirley Temple doll is falling apart. She sits nicely though. The other doll is composition and the black and cream silk dress is from another doll. The vintage plate with the mirror and crystal are one of the things I sell.

   Her room had a beautiful spindle crib, a changing table, a three tiered pie crust table with baby shoes and a small black spindle rocking chair. Now it is redecorated again and almost completed as the girls Play Room. The tea mural is painted, the bookshelf moved. The girls want more "modern" things as well as vintage and they wanted hot pink in there. is for them. I aquiese to their desires too.  I want some place when they come that they are not so much shuttered away, but have total freedom to go and do whatever they want without boundaries. They love to get dressed up with my vintage hats and their party dresses and have tea parties. Kitchens are BIG things around here so they wanted their own. I'll post their Play Room in the next day or two.

   Kylie in her finery, watering the morning glories. Really. Not even staged. Really. Love the girls!!!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New Beginnings and a Fun Garden Project!

   Aren't you all ready for Spring?? We have had some of the coldest weather on record all over this country this year. Finally, with a Capital "F", Spring is here in Central Texas.  In Texas, our Spring  can last 2 months or 2 weeks but it calls all of out of the house and outdoors. We take it while it lasts because the heat is coming! That means a very fast garden that has about 8-12 weeks for a growing season. We try to get our vegetable gardens in from January to March because in April we CAN have 100 degrees. It is always a suprise to see when it will be, but we know it WILL be hot. While it is 60-85 we call it "Spring" and love every minute of it. So here it is after a bitter cold and we welcome it!
   In January I planted a new variety of sugar snap snow peas that a friend started: "Alaska Snow Peas".
3 Little Alaska Snow Peas in an urn
They are supposed to get 4' tall, produce three times as much as regular peas and grow fast for a short growing season. Crystal shared 3 with me and they grew quickly, protected by the hurricane lamp glass that I use for chic cloches. Time to take the cloches off and give them some support. The lamp glass also prevents cut worms from slicing through the tender shoots as them come up. Cheap chic!! Go find some at Goodwill or garage sales and hurry your seedlings up.

   Of course it is time to clean up and that is all about Beginnings again isn't it?? We begin again each new Spring to re-evaluate what is necessary and what is not, roll up our sleeves and dig in. There is a catharsis in this. It allows us to open up our homes and rooms and closets and gardens for the fresh and new and clean.
Butterfly Garden Sign
   New beginnings are easiest to be seen in the garden. As I rake away the old leaves and dead brush, pull up clumps of grasses that were hinding under the foliage, I see all of the new plants reaching up for the warmth and air. My butterfly theme garden is right off of the driveway although there are butterfly plants all over the yard. There is nothing more pleasurable (well I guess that is up for personal conjecture...) than driving up to the house in late Spring and Summer and seeing clouds, and there are literally clouds, of Fritallary Butterflies on the  periwinkle blue Greggs's Blue Mist 'Eupatorium greggi', Monarchs love this plant too as well as Queens and Soldier Butterflies. We also have Giant Swallowtail, Yellow Sulphurs, Painted Ladies, Skippers and the occasional Zebra Longwing.
Gregg's Blue Mist Flower just peeking through the earth
   These will get to be a solid mass of 2' clumps of plants with pretty periwinkle blue fuzzy flowers on the tips of the long stems. The butterflies collect nectar from them but I have no idea how as they are so fuzzy.
Indigo Spires Giant Salvia
   Also coming up are the Indigo Spires Salvia , Salvia x 'Indigo spires', that get to be 3' tall and have the most amazing black/blue flowers on them. I have mine in the shade but they do well in the sun too.
   Artemesia, Artemesia 'Powis Castle' with frothy silver gray leaves, Texas Superstar yellow gold lantana, Lantana spp is still a clump of sticks. Bronze fennel, Fennel 'Foeniculum vulgare', Mexican mint marigold,
'Tageas lucinda', Culinary Sage, 'Salvia officinalus', and many more plants make up the bulk of this little butterfly haven. There is a wildlife waterer that they can drink from and rest on the side of  (I will show you how to make one in another post). The bronze fennel is a sacrifice plant so I have lots of them in there. The caterpillars from the Giant Black Swallowtail butterfly use it as a host food source. At one time I had over 50 caterpillars on it in different instar stages on one plant alone. I'm sure the Texas state bird, the Mockingbird, thought that is was a buffet line set up just for her. I digress as usual...You can get a great list of plants for a butterfly garden by going to http//     . If you want, I will send you a list of all of the ones that have been successful here for me. Just post that in your comments.

  Look around you. Really LOOK instead of rushing out of the house to work, to get kids to school, to the next baseball game. God has called the earth to renew herself. To fufill the promise of MORE. More life, more warmth, more fragrance. To get rid of the dead grass in your garden and your heart and soul. Pull it up, give yourself some room to breathe and enjoy. Broom out the cobwebs and the dust and take a deep breath of new. Sit out with a cup of tea and listen to the bird song this week. See what is trying to come up in you and give it a chance.
Blessings don't have to be huge to be had,  they just need a beginning.

                                                         A FUN Project to do:

   If you don't have room for a big garden, how about a small grouping of pots of kitchen herbs??
   Here is a fun project that takes less than 2 hours to complete and is economical to do from scratch.
If you don't have a clean terra cotta pot sitting around, they are available for less than $1.50 each at a local craft or garden store. These used are the 4" pots that will hold one planting of each herb.
  I'm enamored with all things black and cream and white and khaki but especially blackboard surfaces.
I use them all over the house and thought these would be perfect to welcome the softer colors of Spring.
  So Supplies you will need:
4- 4" Terra Cotta pots
1-2 oz. bottle of  black outdoor paint
1-4 oz bottle of  blackboard paint (do not use spray blackboard paint-it is AWFUL)
Foam disposable painting brush
Colored chalk in "red", yellow, blue, purple and white for writing
 Organic Potting Soil
Herbs (I used Sage, Dill, Lemon Thyme and Orange Mint)


Make sure the pots have all labels removed and are clean and dry

Painted pot with Black Outdoor Paint and then Blackboard Paint
2. Paint pot with black outdoor paint in direction AROUND pot with foam brush. Let dry.
3. Repeat painting of pot with one coat of Blackboard paint. Coat completely and let dry.
Outdoors this dried in less than 10 min. but it was warm with a breeze.
4. Color the rims of the pot with a selected color of sidewalk chalk. With white chalk write the name of the herb you will plant.
5. Place organic potting soil into pot to about 2". Add herb of choice. Tamp down lightly and water.
6. Set in sunny window or on a garden table.
7. Keep soil moist but not wet.
Finished Pots

Love to all,

Friday, February 25, 2011

Welcome to "The Gilded Wren" Texas Vintage Style Postings

Welcome to The Gilded Wren blog. I am so excited to share Inspiration, Decorating, Design, Recipes, Art and Gardens with all of you in the upcoming months.
My German grandmother and my Kentucky grandmother had as much to do with how much I love vintage items as they did teaching me to cook, craft and garden. The timeless traditions and values seem to me to last in this "Throwaway Society" we have now. Whether it is a beautiful antique piece of furniture or hand made pillowcase, a rusty tin oil container or a much loved-falling apart doll, an aged stained book or a china "something", things from the past speak to me with stories to tell and love in all of them. To me they have a beauty that layer upon layer make a house and garden more personal; that say, "This is who we are and how we live." The food we share, the way we decorate speak of who God is in us and invite others to come, sit and relax with us. To slow down from the worry and stress of the "gotta do's" and be friends again.
So... I layer my looks, find beauty in the shabby and not so chic sometimes, combine with color and theme and cook from the recipes handed down to me from years ago. Come share with me recipes, tutorials, hints and decorating styles with Special Flea Market Friday sales of some of my great finds.
Thanks to the artistic genius of Rebecca E. Parsons of and her patience with me, I can finally share the joy of living with Beauty in a Vintage Style!! Thanks Rebecca.

The inspiration for the name is from my love of all birds but especially wrens and doves. I love, love, love the beautiful song of the wren. We have several pair at home here in Central Texas. They not only sing glorious songs, but are the busiest of all the birds I have seen. Always flitting and hunting for the choicest tidbits to eat, the best nesting spots (well maybe they are not the brightest birds when it comes to nesting spots) and resting on the arm of my porch chair or deck wireware plant stand. Maybe gilding one of God's already perfect creatures is a wrong thing. This one already was so she became the inspiration for this site. Want to name her for me? Please... NOT "Goldie".
My friend Barbara, who has an absolute obsession with the looks on faces... mostly Santa Claus faces to be exact... has said this wren looks "mean". Well, wrens have that fold over their eyes so what are you going to do?? Fortunately, Barbara has many other redeeming qualities not which the least is that she is the source for finding of most of my obscure quotes. She has a house in and amongst her library which reminds me of a great English Manor house with a fire, a comfortable chair (hers will never be in chintz, more likely leather), and books upon books to snuggle down with. So I forgive her her opinon of my "mean" wren. Hugs BJ!

The gilded wren in the rose. She does have a Beautiful song!

I will post on New Beginnings this week. There are SO many!!!
Thanks for visiting and come back often.