My Precious Vintage Place Card Holders

Many years ago I found a lovely set of vintage place card holders at a flea market in New York. Alas I’ve never used them. Our dinner invitations are of the more informal kind and don’t require carefully laid out seating arrangements. Of course I could employ them in alternative ways, say, to describe different dishes at a buffet table. Unfortunately I usually don’t think of this until after the party is over.

So they sit in their pretty little box wrapped in tissue paper, whence they emerge once in a blue moon to be admired by me. But today their moment of glory has come. I’ve decided to share them with the world – or anyway with those who care to read this blog.

 

I found these vintage beauties ages ago at a flea market in New York.

 

There are actually two different designs: one a winged youth holding a cornucopia, the other a bunch of grapes.

 

I just love the details!

 

Here a close up of the grapes.

 

One of them still has the manufacturer’s label on the bottom.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! Thanks for visiting.  Please sign up for e-mail notification for updates on future posts. Or follow on Instagram, facebook or bloglovin’.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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From my Kitchen: Acerola Liqueur

When we bought our house it came with a beautiful acerola tree in the backyard. Acerolas are cherry sized red fruits jam-packed with vitamin C. This year’s first harvest was especially bountiful, so we made plenty of juice and also froze some pulp for later use. And of course like every year I prepared a few bottles of delicious acerola liqueur.

Homemade liqueur makes a great gift.
Ingredients:
  • 1 kg ripe acerolas
  • 1 l vodka or cachaça
  • 700 g sugar
  • 1 l mineral water (still) or filtered tap water
Preparation:

Wash the acerolas. Mix the water and the sugar and bring to a boil. Let boil until all the sugar is dissolved, about 20 minutes. Add the acerolas and boil for an additional 3 minutes. Remove the mixture from the stove and allow to cool. Strain through a colander to remove the seeds and skins. Add the vodka or cachaça. Transfer to glass containers, close tightly and store in a dark place for 20 to 25 days.

Strain first through a cheesecloth and then through a paper coffee filter to remove all pulp. Fill into clear glass bottles and close tightly. Let rest for a minimum of 90 days – if you can resist.

Enjoy responsibly.

Hard to believe, but after just about two months we’re almost ready for the second harvest of the year!

Licor de acerola

Ingredientes:
  • 1 kg de acerolas maduras
  • 1 litro de vodka ou cachaça
  • 700g de açúcar
  • 1 litro de água mineral (sem gás) ou água filtrada
Como fazer:

Lave as acerolas. Prepare o xarope com o açúcar e a água. Deixe ferver por 20 minutos. Junte as acerolas. Deixe ferver por mais 3 minutos. Retire do fogo e deixe esfriar. Passe por peneira de malha grossa para retirar os sementes e as peles. Junte ao vodka ou à cachaça. Coloque em vasilhames de vidro e guarde em um lugar escuro por 20 a 25 dias.

Depois disso passe tudo por um pano e em seguida coe em filtro de papel. Engarrafe. Feche bem. Use após 90 dias no mínimo.

Aprecie com moderação.

Let me know, how it turned out. Or, if you like, share your own recipe.

As always I appreciate your visit. And remember to look me up on facebook or Instagram.

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Backyard Bliss with Moroccan Flavor

The backyard seating area is one of my favorite spots of our house. Here I enjoy my first cup of coffee in the morning and plan the day ahead while listening to the birds. It’s also our second dining room and a perfect place to relax with a glass of wine at the end of the day.

To create a warm and inviting space we painted the rear wall of the house a soft yellow and hung an array of lanterns from the rafters. A large mirror reflects their light as well as the greenery from the garden. Additional candle holders on the table and jewel tones round off the dose of Moroccan flair. An old street sign adds a touch of tongue-in-cheek.

 

“Beco do Motta” , a narrow alley a stone’s throw away from the Cathedral, was Diamantina’s red light district through the 1970s. It has been immortalized in a song by famed Brazilian musicians Fernando Brant and Milton Nascimento. We found the battered street sign in the rubble of a renovation site.

 

Jewel tones and Moroccan lanterns set the mood.

 

There’s nothing like candles to create a warm atmosphere.

 

Glass varnish and dimensional paint transformed an ordinary tomato sauce jar.

 

The mirror was rescued from a New York City sidewalk.

 

Lulu photobombing.

 

A detail of the garden is reflected in the large mirror.

 

As night falls the mood grows romantic.

 

Bliss.

 

I hope you enjoyed our little tour. Please stop by again. I invite you to sign up for e-mail notifications or follow on bloglovin’ , facebook or instagram. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

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Living in White – Greetings from Denmark

Villa Fryd means Villa Joy in Danish. A perfectly appropriate name for this centennial home bought by Charlotte and her husband more than 10 years ago. Since then the owners have invested countless hours and their prodigious creativity to restore it and filled every nook and cranny with cheerful bright Nordic country style and shabby chic seasoned with French country elements.

Amazingly most of this transformation has been achieved on a shoestring budget, in part thanks to Charlotte’s singular ability to uncover hidden beauty in unlikely places.Her motto is: “Everything can be used and anything can be beautiful.”

 

The entry hall of the house welcomes guests with a display of vintage gems. The floor is original from 1914 and was discovered under layers of linoleum and chipboard.

 

The piano was a gift from a friend. Originally a glossy Mahogany, Charlotte painted it white to blend in with the Scandinavian decor.

 

A baby carriage and the dog bed sit next to a bench under the stairs.

 

Decoupage and white paint transformed this simple metal container.

 

In the reading room.

 

The guest bedroom with its luxurious linens and painstaking attention to detail is worthy of a queen.

 

Reflection.

 

The large kitchen window allowed for a shelf to be put up halfway. On it Charlotte displays some of her  lovely glass dishes. The counter holds a collection of retro sugar dispensers.

 

A wish fulfilled: after a long search Charlotte finally found the perfect vintage butcher scale.

 

Kitchen detail.

 

The glass house was built exclusively of reclaimed material.

 

Sitting and dreaming on the porch.

 

In the Summer most meals are taken outdoors.

 

Charlotte’s husband built the green house – or l’orangerie as they like to call it.

 

I would like to thank Charlotte for letting me share her awesome home with you. All the images are hers. In case you want to explore more please visit her blog Hos Villa Fryd.

Thanks for stopping by. I invite you to sign up for email notification or follow me on facebook  or bloglovin’.

In case you’d like to leave a comment, but don’t see the comment link, please click on the post title.

 

 

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Being a Gracious Party Guest: 12 Ways of Showing Appreciation to Your Hosts

Invitations to a person’s home are always memorable. It may be a birthday or special celebration, a house warming or just a more or less informal get together for a group of friends to catch up.
Obviously your gift for the host or hostess will depend on the occasion, but even if the gathering is just for fun you don’t want to arrive empty handed. Start by asking if you can bring something for the party, a beverage or dessert maybe. A stylish carrying tote, dessert platter or lovely tea towel can easily double as present.
Alternatively choose from the suggestions below. While some assume that you know your hosts’ lifestyle and habits, others are quite universal.

One – Homemade food specialties

Your homemade Jam, Chutney, Pesto, Liqueur or cookies presented in an attractive container are sure to please and are truly individual. Add a personalized label and if you like include the recipe.

Presentation is everything. Make sure your homemade delicacy is wrapped in style.
Two – Wine

A fine bottle of wine is an obvious choice for oenophiles.  Afraid it might come across as unimaginative? Spruce up your offering with a creative wrapping. You can find inspiration here.

A fabulous bag makes any wine or beverage special. Image source
Three – Mixed drink kit

Arrange all the ingredients of your friends’ favorite mixed drink in a basket or ice bucket along with cocktail napkins and/or stirrers and coasters.

This Margarita gift crate comes complete with a miniature lime tree .
Four – Wineglass markers

Glasses get easily misplaced at parties. Color coded glass markers are a fun way to help everyone identify their drink. A small gift that is sure to be appreciated. You can follow this step-by step guide to create a one of a kind set.

These handmade wineglass markers are as cheerful as they are practical.
Five – Candle holders

Candles are a gift universally liked, however unless you know the recipient really well I recommend staying away from the scented kind. Complement them with candle holders – you might even want to make your own for a unique flair. Here are some charming yet easy projects.

Use your imagination to create charming candle holders from materials you may already own.
Six – Flowers

Flowers are always well received. If you choose cut flowers present them in a receptacle, your host/ess is probably busy enough as it is and won’t be too happy having to hunt for a suitable vase in the back of a kitchen cabinet. Or you can opt for a potted plant instead.

A humble mason jar embellished with a string serves as a vase for this adorable arrangement.Found here.
Seven – Plant for the garden

Your hosts live in a house with a garden or patio? How about a perennial plant that can be moved outdoors? A lasting gift that will grow with time. Depending on the size of the property and the type of garden you might even consider a tree sapling.

Give a perennial like this eye catching Mandevilla.
Eight – Herbs for the windowsill

For  your friends who like to cook potted herbs for the windowsill make a splendid offering, especially if it’s a collection of several different plants.

Assorted herbs are arranged in a wooden planter box. Source
Nine – Special olive oil or vinegar

Food lovers will likewise appreciate that distinctive bottle of olive oil or vinegar. Buy it ready at a gourmet store or make your own by infusing good quality olive oil with herbs and spices.

Delicious herb infused olive oil.
Ten – Apron

Yet another option for the cooking or barbecue enthusiast.  Available in a wide range  of fabrics and styles, from classic to colorful to whimsical. For a more personal touch sew it yourself.

You can find a sheer endless variety of apron DIY projects on Pinterest. I like this unisex model for its classic simplicity. Instructions here.
Eleven – Picture

Maybe you have a great photograph of your friend or of the two of you together. Print it and frame it for an genuinely personal present.

Choose a frame that matches both your picture and the personality of your host.
Twelve – Breakfast kit

After a successful (and tiring) party the last thing your hosts want to worry about is breakfast the morning after. Put together a basket with the ingredients for a healthy – or totally irresponsible – way to start the day.

Your hosts will adore a nicely arranged breakfast kit. Why not include something home made, like a loaf of delicious banana bread?

You’re all set for your next invitation. Thank you for visiting. Please feel free to sign up for e-mail notification or follow me on facebook or bloglovin’.

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From my Kitchen: Guava Bread

It’s guava season in our part of Brazil, and while we don’t own a guava tree ourselves our generous friends are happy to share their bounty with us.The other day we received a bag of this deliciously fragrant fruit and we made some juice and froze some of the pulp for later use – either for more juice or jam.

Deliciously sweet and fragrant: fresh guava

I did some research on the internet for additional ideas and among a vast variety of different recipes this Breakfast Guava Cake caught my eye. (The author herself says it’s actually more like a Guava Bread – so that’s what I’m calling it here.)

I tried it immediately, tweaking the ingredients slightly, and the result was simply yummy. Allow me to share it with you.

Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened (200g)
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp rum extract or 1/2 cup raisins soaked in rum (optional)
1½ cups finely chopped guava, seeds removed

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180° C
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition, then add vanilla extract and raisins or rum extract if using.
Turn the mixer to low and gradually add in the flour mixture until well combined.
Fold in chopped guava.
Pour mixture into a greased loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Just before serving dust with confectioner’s sugar.

Eat within two days.

Adapted from Betsylife

Pão de Goiaba

Ingredientes

2 xícaras de farinha de trigo
1 colher de chá de fermento em pó
1½ colher de chá de canela
1 xícara de manteiga, amolecida (200g)
1 xícara de açúcar mascavo
3 ovos
1 colher de chá de extrato de baunilha
1 colher de chá de extrato de rum ou 1/2 xícara de passas embebidas em rum (opcional)
1½ xícara de goiaba finamente picada, sementes removidas


Modo de fazer

Pré-aqueça o forno a 180 ° C
Em uma tigela média, misture farinha, fermento em pó e canela. Deixe de lado.
Em uma tigela grande, bata junto manteiga e açúcar mascavo até macio.
Adicione os ovos, um de cada vez, em seguida, adicione o extrato de baunilha e as passas ou o extrato de rum, se estiver usando.
Com o batedor em velocidade baixa, adicione gradualmente a mistura de farinha até ficar bem combinado.
Adicione a goiaba picada.
Despeje a mistura em uma forma
de pão de ló untada e ase por 50-60 minutos ou até um palito introduzido no centro sai limpo.
Tire do forno e deixe descansar na panela por 15 minutos. Transfere para uma grade de arame ou tábua para esfriar completamente.

Pouco antes de servir povilhe com açúcar de confeiteiro.

Coma em até dois dias.

Adaptado de Betsylife

Hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did. Let me know how it turned out.

 

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Color Code Your Guests’ Wine Glasses

It happens at every party: guests mingle, put down their drinks and later are not sure which glass was theirs. So they go and get a new beverage. There is a simple and whimsical way to avoid this. Color coded drink markers. For cocktails just use different stirrers, beer glasses can be personalized with adhesives. Wine glasses on the other hand deserve more style. Their stems downright call for some fancy adornments.

Surprisingly, while there is a decent selection of wineglass markers available on the internet, they are quite elusive at most stores. However they can be a quick and easy DIY project. Make them for your next party or as a host/ess gift or stocking stuffer come Christmas time.

I’ve been making this beaded model in numerous variations. Thanks to its wire base it attaches to the glass by a simple twist. Follow the step-by-step instructions to copy it or use it as inspiration for your own creation.

You will need thin pliable wire and for each marker beads from within the same color family in different sizes. In addition I used the same clear beads and silver sequins for all color variations.

Thin wire and different beads are all you need for this project.Recommended tools are rounded pliers and sturdy scissors for cutting the wire. Cat optional.

Start by cutting off two lengths of wire, 18 – 20 cm each. Thread a small bead on each, folding back the end of the wire, about 1 cm.

Thread beads in the same sequence on both wires, about 2 – 3 cm.

Join the wires and continue with a sequin, a large bead and another sequin.

Continue with the two wires together.

Maintain the joined wires and create a pattern with small and medium sized beads for about 8 –  9 cm. Finish with another large bead between two sequins.

Creating a pattern along the double wire.

Separate the wires and repeat the design of the opposite end.

Trim the excess wire to about 1 cm and bend it around the last small bead.

This is the tricky part: tuck the remaining wire into the preceding beads.

Pull the wire as tight as possible.

Voilà. Your first marker is done.

Approved by Galileo.

Repeat with different colors.

A complete set of six markers

Enjoy this playful little project which can be completed in a small amount of time.

Thanks for stopping by. As always your comments and feedback are appreciated. And don’t forget to follow me on facebook or bloglovin’.

 

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