April 29, 2015

My Wicker Trunk Moves!

I have been itching to change the coffee table in our great/media room. I have had a cherry butler's tray table in front of the sofa since we moved in...but the scale was off for the size of the sofa...and the size of the room.

I have looked in furniture stores, and online, and have not seen a coffee table that really speaks to me. So...
In an effort to "shop" my own house I decided to move this wicker trunk into the greatroom. Hubby helped me remove it from the bedroom it was in and bring it to the greatroom. I used this trunk in the old Georgian sunroom...but with a different sofa. The sunroom was a large room and it worked there. Hubby liked the idea of the wicker in the great room...so I was able to recruit his help with the moving. Luckily, there are large sturdy handles on each side.
I refer to this piece as a trunk...because it is very heavy and substantial. The frame and interior "box" are solid wood. It gives me great storage too!
The next step was to begin to create a pleasing arrangement on top. I pulled a wood tray from my stash and placed candles on it. With the uneven top ...I needed something to provide a flat surface for some things. I also put my old brass bowl and pears on top too. Next I added in an orange candlestick. 

I was not sure of the orange candlestick...so I took it away. If I bring my orange velvet pillows to the sofa...I will bring back the orange candlestick.

The wood tray is newish...but has a distressed look.

I still have my leopard down filled pillows on the sofa. They have a heavy fabric...but are comfortable. Can I use these through the summer?  I usually put some lighter weight fabric pillows on this sofa during the warmer months.
Here are the sturdy handles! Great for when you need to slide or lift the trunk.

Here is an old antique Kentucky jug that we have had for years. I began to wonder what it might look like on the distressed tray.
You can see that this is a very primitive old jug...rough and rustic. Would it go with my more refined pieces?  Sometimes I think that opposites attract. The juxtaposition of styles can be interesting.

I will leave the jug, hurricaines, and brass bowl on the top of the trunk for a few days and then see if there is something else I might like better. I am always moving things around...so we shall see what the next few days bring.

I caught Mikey in my lens...taking one of his (senior) naps! 

Speaking of Mikey, he went to see his vet a couple of weeks ago for his annual checkup.Plus this time he had a "senior" blood panel. He has lost weight over the year because we had him on weight reduction dog food. Like his people...he had gained some weight.  We wanted to check that all was ok. Mikey also had a cyst on his right shoulder...and so he had a biopsy of that. We waited on pins and needles a good week before we got the results. The vet thought some of the cells looked suspicious...so we were worried. Good news...all blood work was great, and the cyst was ok afterall. Whew...! Glad we dodged a problem. Mikey is our baby.

I will be sure to share photos if I create a different table top, or rather trunk top! I will play around with books, trays, etc. and see what looks I can design. 

The greatroom is a dark room, and I find it to be the most challenging room in the house. It is great for watching movies and
television because of low light. But overall it is much darker than any other family living spaces we have ever had. And, there is no way to add more windows. The room is dark because of our back porch roof. Can't have it all I guess. ha! 

Maybe with your help I can brighten up this room with some tweaks along the way. 

Thanks for visiting!

Linking with the following blogs…

April 28, 2015

Kentucky Bourbon Balls For Your Derby Table

In honor of this week's Kentucky Derby I am trotting out my bourbon ball recipe again. 

April 27, 2015

History of Julep Cups

SCKY09 B 300x300 Handcrafted Pewter Julep Cups are Ideal for Southern Soirees
Kentucky Julep Cup Style

Julep cups are very popular at Derby time ...
And there is a an interesting story of silver design behind the antique designs.

Whether you have sterling silver cups passed down through the family, more recent pewter versions, or the easily collectible silver plate versions this is the time of year to bring them out of storage and use them.

In the early colonial days silversmiths crafted beautiful sterling silver items for well to do families up and down the eastern seaboard, and even as far west as Kentucky (Remember...Kentucky used to be a county in Virginia.) 

Antique sterling silver items fetch a huge price! I love to stalk antique silver...knowing that it is most likely above my pay grade. ha! I think I should have lived in the 1800s as design, architecture, silver, etc. from that period is so interesting to me.

The Speed Museum in Louisville used to have a Kentucky room with old silver, furniture, paintings, and such on display. As a grad student I would visit from time to time, as the museum is located on the edge of the U of L campus. I never tired of looking at the old artifacts...chairs, sugarchests, early KY silver, etc.

If you google silversmiths of the seventeen and eighteen hundreds there are certain names that rank high in the craft, depending on the state and city/town. 

I once read that families would melt down their silver from time to time for a silversmith to create a new design. (I wonder if that was something the wife wanted to do...when she tired of their silver design.)  :-)

Currently if you want to purchase julep cups you can find them made in sterling silver and polished pewter.  Get ready to spend some big cash if you want to collect sterling silver julep cups. I have seen some selling for $700.00.+ The polished pewter versions are considerably less...ranging in the $75.00 range, more or less depending on the manufacturer. My mother gave me a few for Christmas over the years...and with my monogram. Those will be passed down as they are part of our family history.

As I was researching Jefferson cups once...
                                    Salisbury Monticello Jefferson Cup
I discovered that julep cups come in various designs... based on states. Who knew? I was fascinated to look at all of the cups to see the difference between say a Kentucky julep cup vs a Louisiana julep cup. (Also...note that different silversmiths then tweaked their designs.)

Most of you probably know what a Kentucky julep cup looks like...as it is used in lots of Derby advertising and such. If you want to see others...it is as close as your computer mouse. I tried to borrow pics...but some were not able to be used. You will just have to click the link.

The differences are slight, but when you put the cups side by side you can see the differences in style. I think that all of them are beautiful. But since I am a Kentuckian...I will have to lean that direction.

Handcrafted Pewter Julep Cups are Ideal for Southern Soirees (I borrowed images from Silver Pewter and Gifts to illustrate the differences in cups.) silverandpewtergifts.com

SCKY09 B 300x300 Handcrafted Pewter Julep Cups are Ideal for Southern Soirees
The Kentucky Julep Cup

Louisiana Julep Cup
Modeled after the works of Bavarian-born silversmith Anthony Rasch von Tauffkirchen.
Louisiana julep cup
Alabama Julep Cup
Carolina Julep Cup Collection...in various ounce sizes.
Georgia Julep Cup Collection

Tennessee Julep Cup Collection

Mississippi Julep Cup (image could not be saved or used)
Those who prefer the timeless work of silversmith George Macpherson may want to gravitate towards the Mississippi Julep Cups.
Many companies also make a silverplate versions of julep cups...which usually costs less than the pewter ones. I would stick with a well known silver company so that you get quality silverplate. Julep cups make great graduation gifts, wedding gifts, anniversary or birthday gifts. Also...remember them for hostess gifts too. I imagine that any hostess would love to receive a nice julep cup for her collection. :-)

Look at the beautiful silver from Reed & Barton. (Drool.)
See the Reed & Barton website. 
They offer fifteen uses for julep cups.

And here is a Mint Julep Recipe From 
What's Cooking in America

The wonderful refreshing Mint Julep drink is very popular in Kentucky. 

Derby Day in Kentucky! To the people of other states and the uninitiated, this phrase has little meaning. But lovers of horse racing all over the country thrill at the mention of these words. For the Kentucky Derby is the most important horse race of the world. Thousand of visitors come to Louisville just for the event on the first Saturday of May.

Traditionally Mint Julep is served at the Kentucky Derby and served in silver or pewter mugs, although it is by no means essential. If you are lucky enough to own such heirlooms, chill the cups thoroughly before mixing your mint juleps. Glass tumblers may be substituted for silver cups if necessary - they will not frost, however.  According to some Southerners, a Mint Julep is the not the product of a formula, but a ceremony. The drink as we know it today is an American invention.

Click the link below to see the pdf.
Kentucky Derby Party Planning Guide
Thanks for visiting...and Happy Derby! 

April 26, 2015

The Kentucky Hot Brown

Are you familiar with the Kentucky Hot Brown?

A "hot brown" is named for the Brown Hotel (downtown Louisville) where it was first made/served. I would say that this is one of Kentucky's most well known recipes...and you might see it during Derby season also.

It is an open faced sandwich composed on top of toast points...then baked in the oven.

 Everyone may have a few different twists to the recipe...but there are some basic ingredients that each hot brown has: toast points, real turkey slices, morney sauce, cheese, bacon slices, and tomato slices. ( I always feel that a hot brown should have a slice of ham, and I prefer a slice of salt cured "country ham.")

The Brown Hotel’s Legendary Hot Brown
Here is the recipe and history behind this now legendary dish. 
 In the 1920's, the Brown Hotel drew over 1,200 guests each evening for its dinner dance. By the wee hours of the morning, guests would grow weary of dancing and make their way to the restaurant for a bite to eat. Sensing their desire for something more glamorous than traditional ham and eggs, Chef Fred Schmidt set out to create something new to tempt his guests' palates. His unique dish? An open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and a delicate Mornay sauce. The Hot Brown was born!
 (The Hot Brown—a Louisville tradition with worldwide appeal—has been featured in Southern Living, The Los Angeles Times, NBC's Today Show, ABC News with Diane Sawyer, Travel Channel's Man v. Food, and The Wall Street Journal, and is a regular entry in many of the world’s finest cookbooks.)
1  1/2 tablespoons salted butter
1  1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1  1/2 cups heavy cream 
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for garnish
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper
14 oz. sliced roasted turkey breast, slice thick
4 slices of toast (crusts trimmed)
4   slices of bacon
 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced in half

In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined to form a thick paste or roux. Continue to cook roux for 2 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk heavy cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2-3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino-Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
For each Hot Brown, place one slice of toast in an oven safe dish and cover with 7 oz. turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and two toast points and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast. Pour half of the sauce over the dish, completely covering it. Sprinkle with additional cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove and cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley and serve immediately.
Note…many people also include a thick slice of ham along with the turkey.

Note…The Kentucky State Park system includes a thick slice of salt cured “Country Ham” …and that is my favorite recipe!!!!

Once you get the basic recipe down...then you may tinker with the recipe some to suit your taste. I love a hot brown...and that is what I usually order when we go to Lure Lodge at Lake Cumberland State Resort Park. 

I have been to catered events where "mini" hot browns were served. Same ingredients except on a much smaller scale, served as finger food. Start with a really small piece of toast. Then start building as for a regular hot brown, except with a dab of this and a pinch of that. You can use a mini-muffin pan to contain your mini hot browns while creating and baking.

Here are a few more versions too...

Kentucky Hot Brown Tart Recipe

If you are really short on time and do not want to make a Mornay sauce from scratch...consider using some Alfredo sauce from a jar and thicken it with Parmesan cheese. It will not have the thickness of a Mornay sauce, but will work fine if you need to feed some hungry kids on short order! Toast, turkey, ham, cheese sauce, bacon, tomato, more cheese. Bake. What's not to like!

Happy Cooking!
Thanks for visiting today.

Derby is Social Season in Kentucky

Derby is social season...with parties, food, and Kentucky tradition! 
Please click the link to read post.

Thanks for visiting,

Linking with the following blogs…
Cozy Little House, Tweak it Tuesday
Stone Gable Blog, The Scoop,
SavvySouthern Style, Wow Us Wednesday
Savvy Southern Style, Wow Us Wednesday
Northern Nesting, Share Your Style Thursday
Common Ground, Share Your Style Thursday

Rattlebridge Farm, Foodie Friday and Everything Else

April 23, 2015

Let's Talk Derby...

Today is a hodge podge of items for you...
but they are all about The Kentucky Derby.

The excitement is building...whether you will be in Louisville, or whether you will be hosting your own Derby affair. If you are a guest at someone else's party, you are probably putting together your hat, dress, shoes, jewelry, etc. 
If you will be watching the race on television...be sure to turn your tv on early and watch the pre-race festivities. There are races all day long...but the Derby is run in the late afternoon...four, five, or six depending on your time zone. So, be sure to check out when the race is televised in your area. I love to look at the beautiful horses and hats! The tv cameras usually find some celebrities up on Millionaire's Row to chat with...so that is fun to see. It is fun to watch...whether they are showcasing kids and folks from the infield or the box seats. 
Everyone can be a southern belle at the Kentucky Derby. 
Just add a beautiful hat!

I was able to do a copy and paste about the wonderful Kentucky Derby Pie. (see below) It is patented by the Kerns Bakery family...and no one else is allowed to call their pie a "Derby Pie."  So, other folks have to call theirs a Derby like pie, kentucky nut pie, or whatever name they can come up with so as not to infringe on the "Derby Pie" name. If you want an official Derby Pie you can order one from A Taste of Kentucky. If you want to try your own...there are recipes all over for an almost Derby Pie. Think pecan pie, with chocolate, and a splash of very good bourbon. (At our house we always use Kentucky Makers Mark. I use it for bourbon balls and other things... :-)  A Makers and Coke (mixed well) is nice for sipping if you don't like Mint Julips.

I encourage you to click these links I have for you...
 to obtain more information!

A Taste of Kentucky...find food, party supplies, history, etc.

Talk Derby To Me ....fun stuff to order! I love this. I ordered "Talk Derby to Me Cups" for my last Derby party. 

All Things Bourbon...A great shopping site. Learn about the history of bourbon, julep cups, and julep glasses. 

Derby Pie, Cakes, Candy...Find yummy things to order. 

  atasteofkentucky.com • 800-444-0552

Derby PieAbout Derby-Pie®

Derby-Pie® was born nearly a half century ago as the specialty pastry of the Melrose Inn in Prospect, Kentucky. The manager of the restaurant, George Kern, developed the recipe with the help of his parents, Walter and Leaudra. Because each family member had their own favorite name for this new pie, the name Derby-Pie®had to be pulled from a hat.


The Recipe for
We have been asked by our customers so many times for the Derby-Pie recipe, but to their disappointment, we can't give it to them — because we don't have it. Even at Kern's Kitchen where Derby-Pies are made, only two people in the company know what the complete recipe is, and they're not talking (it's a patented trade secret).

Many recipes have been circulated that claim to be the "original" recipe (and we've even tried a few), but none of them duplicate the real thing.

Save yourself the trouble — just buy one

By 1968 Derby-Pie® had become so successful that the name was registered with the U.S. Patent Office and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Since then it has been baked and distributed solely by Kern's Kitchen, a small family operation owned by the Kern's grandson, Alan Rupp.

The Kern grandchildren take the same pride in preparing Derby-Pie® today that their grandparents did over four decades ago. Only the highest quality ingredients are used and each pie is carefully filled by hand.

Try some the way Leaudra always served it — warm from the oven and topped with real whipped cream. If you're feeling adventurous, try it with a teaspoon of good Kentucky Bourbon over the whipped cream. Derby Pie can be found on our website at:

Now, Lets move on to...Hats Hats Hats
And are you wondering who makes some of the beautiful hats that find their way to the Oaks and the Kentucky Derby? Meet Helen Overfield.

Style Blueprint, Hatmaker Helen Overfield
https://styleblueprint.com/louisville/everyday/helen-overfield-faces-louisville/  Hats off, by Helen 



Helen Overfield of Hats by Helen-Helen Overfield has been making Derby hats, unofficially, for more than 25 years. As a corporate wife, Helen helped her husband entertain out-of-town guests and clients for countless Derby weekends. And every year, there were guests who were unprepared for the Derby fashion expectations and arrived sans hats. Helen unfailingly came to the rescue, making these ladies hats or lending them one of her own. Enough of these experiences eventually led her to start a legitimate business, and she opened Hats Off by Helen a year and a half ago. Today, we welcome Helen as our FACES of Louisville feature. Welcome, Helen!  click  HERE for the rest of the interview... If you need a Derby hat next year, you can contact Helen. 
Helen's hats are beautiful...and she is a Kentucky business! 

Most images are via kentuckyderby.com website.

I guess you can tell that I LOVE hats! 
I have collected a few from over the years and I will try to take some pics to share with you.

Thanks for Visiting!

Linking with the following blogs…
Between Naps on the Porch, Tablescape Thursday

April 22, 2015

The Kentucky Derby, Party Preparations

It's Derby time here in Kentucky!

This is a time when Kentucky gets to host many visitors and showcase its hospitality. There are parties, parties, parties! And they can range from elegant affairs with white tablecloths to back yard affairs with grilling and corn hole.

Whether you are hosting a party or taking a dish to a party...here are some ideas for you. When I have Derby parties I usually set up a buffet and beverage center where people can help themselves. 

Set up a pretty beverage table.
For an "at home" Derby party I think that planning and prep are the most important things for you to do so that the day of the race you have everything under control.  After all, you want to enjoy your guests and the party too. 

If you do not own enough silver julep cups to provide to your guests...ask everyone to bring their own. Hats (for ladies & gents) and julep cups add a special touch to any Derby party!

From kentuckyderby.com here is a suggested pre-party checklist

  • Determine the venue and event time                                                   
  • Contact friends or relatives with a "Save the Date" email or call
  • Determine attire and/or other requirements of guests (Dressy or Casual)
  • Purchase official Derby party supplies and favors
  • Create and fund a TwinSpires.com account so everyone can wager on the day's races.
  • Order raceday programs to be delivered to your home.
  • Determine menu and print recipes
  • Obtain liquors and other libations
  • Determine if silver, china and other place settings are in order. We suggest taking a look at the Arthur Court Collection of Kentucky Derby licensed product.
  • Finalize guest list
  • Go shopping for appropriate attire/Derby hat!
  • Print out lyrics to "My Old Kentucky Home"
Here is the party planning guide from kentuckyderby.com

 Be sure to take a look!

Click the link below to see the pdf.
Kentucky Derby Party Planning Guide

Here is a fun way to include kids in Derby Festivities. 
Each one needs a stick pony, and let them race to the finish line.

available on amazon...

Vineyard Vines Official Style of the Kentucky Derby.

Vineyard Vines
Shop VineyardVines.com

Please note: I am not associated with any brands discussed on this post. I am simply providing you with some good sources of information as you plan your Derby festivities. I am required to state any affiliation that I might have with brands.

I have probably overloaded you with info...but there is so much to share about our Kentucky Derby and all of the activities associated with it!

Thanks for visiting!

Subscribe to Posts With Bloglovin