Friday, December 31, 2010

These are Days



31 days ago, Vintage is for Lovers was born. I never could have imagined that 31 days would develop and become so incredibly enriching, inspiring, fulfilling, motivating, and Loving for me.

I have visited farmhouses, beach houses, and the most magnificant homes. I have enjoyed little glowing lights, cupcakes and cashmere, and fern and feather. I have found a lovely escape, a bijou and boheme, daily imprints, a sacramento street, and clumsy, creative bliss. I have frolic(ed) in what Katie ate, this free bird, shanners in the city, a darjeeling dream, lovely clusters, greige, and a glitterball. And I am excited for some bliss, Hannah and LandonLady Grey, a little hamster, a habit of art, some bohemian punk, the english muse, going home to roost, gathering spriggs, bugs and fishes, my flights of whimsy, a beautifulness, a morning cloak, a plush palate, and a pure green design.

But most importantly, I can't say goodbye to 2010 without saying Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to all of my Lovers and friends, old and new. Cheers to a happy, healthy, and inspiring 2011 filled with lots and lots of Love and light! These are days . . . to remember . . .

xo Samantha


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Treats



Last night my lovely friends Shannon, of Shanners in the City, Rebecca, and I made the most delicious shrimp pot stickers with a Sriracha-ginger dipping sauce. They were so fun and easy to make; that I thought they would be a perfect treat at your New Year's Eve party!?

Recipe
for the dipping sauce:
1/2 cup soy sauce
5 tablespoons white vinegar
4 teaspoons Sriracha sauce*
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
scallion greens (optional), for garnish
for the pot stickers:
2 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium carrot, diced medium
1 large egg white
1 pound large shimp, peeled and deveined
36 wonton wrappers
nonstick cooking spray

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, Sriracha, sugar, ginger, and sesame oil; set dipping sauce aside. Make pot stickers: In a food processor, process scallions, carrot, egg white, and half the shrimp until a paste forms. Transfer to a medium bowl. Roughly chop remaining shrimp and add to bowl. Stir in 3 tablespoons dipping sauce.

2. Working with one wonton wrapper at a time, place 1 scant tablespoon shrimp mixture in center. With a wet finger, moisten edge of wrapper, then fold over filling and press to seal. Cover filled dumplings with a kitchen towl while you work.

3. Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over high. In batches, cook dumplings until golden brown on both sides. 1 to 2 minutes per side. Carefully add 1/2 cup water to skillet, cover, and cook until water has almost evaporated and dumplings are tender, 3 minutes. Uncover and cook until remaining water evaporates (reduce heat to medium if dumplings are overbrowning). Transfer pot stickers to a plate. Wipe skillet clean between batches. Add scallion greens to dipping sauce if desired and serve alongside pot stickers.

*In case, for some very strange reason, you have yet to be introduced to "The Rooster Sauce," here it is!
 And it is amazing!!
We didn't have time to make dessert last night; so instead I dreamed about these Strawberry Champagne Sparkler Cupcakes . . . You can find the recipe here.
Enjoy My Loves!
xoxo

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Champagne Wishes

The bubbles, tradition, elegance, cheer, sparkles, and wishes in every flute of champagne is in its essence LOVE!




Images via Quintessence, We Heart It, A Beach Cottage, Polyvore
xoxo

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Colorful Dreams

How did it get so late so soon!? It was all worth it! My wonderful husband and I crafted amd created the Inspiration Board that I have always dreamt . . . Ever since I made a spontaneous stop at the hardware store and drove home with a 4x8 sound board and some additional feet of crown molding . . . I knew it was meant to be . . . for you and for me . . . and of course, for my Love! xoxo

The Inspiration Board.
Drawings by, James
     Our 2 year old son.
xoxoxoxo

My Dreams. 2011. Vintage is for Lovers.

Monday, December 27, 2010

You're Invited!

I am amazed how quickly the holidays have come and past. I know many of you are still living in, and hopefully enjoying, your Winter Wonderland; but the Southern California sun is shining brightly in anticipation of the New Year just around the corner. We were able to enjoy a couple hours of snow right before Christmas. We took a short jaunt to the Southern California mountains with my husband and his family. It was so wonderful to see our sons enjoying the snow for the first time.

I finally took some time to "slow dance" this past weekend; and now, as I sit to reflect back on the season, it was the joys, blessings, and happiness my family and I shared around the Farm Table that hold my favorite memories this Christmas. What are your favorite memories?


Our Farm table decorated with an all natural evergreen and holly "table runner," mercury glass tea light holders of silver and red nestled between the branches, hurricane lanterns with tall, red tapers to boot, and the most lovely vintage inspired centerpiece.


I think I should title this picture: Sippy Cup of Wine

My place setting. Yummy in so many ways.

On all of our other tables throughout our home, I always use vintage tablecloths from my collection.

Our Christmas dinner was much more relaxed. I Love dining on shrimp covered in Old Bay. It is a special 'ode to my Virginia roots in the Chesapeake Bay.

Dear Farm Table, Thank you for the good food, good laughs, and amazing company! Love, Your Hostess

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Slow Dance


Merry Christmas to all! I hope you are enjoying a wonderful Christmas with your friends and family. My very wise Grandfather sent the following poem to me yesterday; and I wanted to share it with all. It reminded me that I needed to slow down, not try to accomplish too much, and to simply enjoy the holidays with my Loved one. I hope you get a chance to slow dance this year too! I look forward to sharing with you all of my pictures from our Christmas; and I am really looking forward to seeing yours as well! xoxo

Slow Dance
Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round? Or listened to the rain slapping on the ground? Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight? Or gazed at the sun into the fading night? You better slow down. Don't dance so fast. Time is short. The music won't last. Do you run through each day on the fly? When you ask How are you? Do you hear the reply? When the day is done do you lie in your bed with the next hundred chores running through your head? You'd better slow down. Don't dance so fast. Time is short. The music won't last. Ever told your child, We'll do it tomorrow? And in your haste, not see his sorrow? Ever lost touch, Let a good friendship die, cause you never had time to call and say,'Hi?' You'd better slow down. Don't dance so fast. Time is short. The music won't last.. When you run so fast to get somewhere, you miss half the fun of getting there. When you worry and hurry through your day, it is like an unopened gift....Thrown away. Life is not a race. Do take it slower. Hear the music before the song is over. (Written by a child living with cancer)



Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pillows

Home sweet home! There is nothing quite like jumping into our warm, cozy bed after a long, long day of holiday cheer! Goodnight. Sweet Dreams.
xoxo

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Given in Love

Today I went and picked up all of our flowers for Christmas. I Love to have fresh flowers in the home all year round; but the holidays give me an excuse to "go all out!" I Love to give every room of our home a special floral touch; from a single poinsettia in a small glass bottle next to the sink, to a large gathering of holly, evergreen, leaves, and pinecones on the kitchen table. I also Love grouping a bunch of flowers in the same family together and incorporating a unique canister to hold them all together. The large pop of color and design make such a beautiful statement.

It is hard to choose my absolute favorite flower; since they are all so unique and different. But Poinsettias are on the top of my list! Every year, I look forward to seeing their debut in every supermarket and floral shop. Poinsettias are also known as "The Christmas Flower" and "The Christmas Star." They symbolize good cheer and success and are said to bring wishes of mirth and celebration. I wish they were available all year round! What a wonderful message in a flower given in Love!



I Love putting a group of poinsettia plants together. Our poinsettia plants highlight our folk art piece that displays a beautiful holiday message of Peace, Love, and Joy!




The Beekman Boys know how to do a poinsettia right!
Wonderful idea of using the poinsettia flower as an inspired ornament by holding them in small floral water containers and putting them in the Christmas tree for a gorgeous pop of color!! 

Poinsettias are an inspiration flower with their beautiful color and intricate detail! 

Poinsettia hair clip found on Etsy by California artist Rag Doll Accessories.

"Tree Free" wrapping paper by the very cool Nepalese Paper Company

Give Love this Christmas with the gift of a poinsettia! 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's A Girl!

One of my bestest, closest, most treasured friends in the whole wide world gave birth to a beautiful baby girl today in New York City. They named her Charlotte Wilson.

Welcome to the world Baby Charlotte! 

May your birthday, and every day of your life, be filled with
LOVE
HAPPINESS
GOOD HEALTH

GOOD FRIENDS
GOOD TIMES
AND GOOD FORTUNE!
Images via flickr, avinidadas-electivas, bijouandboheme, weheartit

May you live happily ever after . . . . 

Love, Auntie Sammy

Monday, December 20, 2010

After my own Heart!

I am in Love with Suzy at The Wreath Blog!! Suzy is an artist after my own heart. She Loves all things vintage Christmas. She uses vintage ornaments to create one of a kind heirloom wreaths! They are so fantastic! (Oh! and she also currently lives in the county were I was born and raised.) I think we are meant to be! Don't you?

Think I am going to have to get on the list to own and cherish one of these amazingly beautiful wreaths by Suzy. After looking at these photos, I think you will too!








XOXO

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's a Sign!

How many times do you look for the signs of Love? Throughout my life, people have always told me that "when you know, you know." It wasn't until I met my husband that I found this strange advice to be in fact, true.

Vintage signs hold a special place in my heart. I Love the history, artwork, and nostalgia in every piece. I have incorporated vintage, advertisement signs throughout our home. Here are some pictures of ones in our collection, as well as ones that I have come across in my treasure hunting adventures and regretted not bringing home.


Our Antiques Sign. I Love the classic simplicity of black on white.

I have always dreamt of being an actress, but definitely not this kind. None the less, I Love this sign! 
Showtime! Isn't it always . . . so much fun!?

I purchased this sign in honor of our son James. He is in Love with Milk.

I am pretty certain Cynthia can tell you a lot about Love. 
I was nostalgic when I saw this gorgeous sign at the Long Beach Flea Market. 
Wouldn't this amazing sign be the perfect gift for the vintage loving Dad on your list?
My very first Love. Our Rancho Flower Market sign was the first sign I ever brought home. 
It is an inspiration for my Love of vintage. 

What signs do you look for in Love? 
xoxo

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Royal Cookie

Our home feels like one big, sugar cookie! In the last couple of days, we have received boxes and boxes of  beautifully decorated, delicious sugar cookies as gifts from friends and family. I don't know how it is going to be humanly possible to enjoy all of them; but there is nothing like a candy cane cookie in the morning, a santa cookie for lunch, and a christmas tree cookie for dinner.

I have found a true Love and appreciation for these beautiful pieces of edible art! So as the gallon sized container of sugar cookie dough that I bought from a young lady in support of her school stares at me in our freezer, I am feeling inspired to master the art of sugar cookie decorating!


If you don't have "pre-made" sugar cookie dough and prefer to make your own, sugar cookies are relatively simple to make since they are mostly butter and sugar. I found a Collection of Sugar Cookie Recipes here. Who would have guessed there was a Collection!? It is recommended that you use chilled dough, as it helps keep the shape of the cookie in the oven.

After you cut out the dough with festive cookie cutters and bake, it is important for the cookies to cool before you begin to decorate. I Love vintage, metal cookie cutters; there is so much character, history, and Love in every mold.

Now it is time for the "hard" part - Royal Icing! I have never tried to make and decorate with Royal Icing before; but I am excited to try. I found a recipe for Royal Icing in the December issue of Martha Stewart Living. It says that it "makes about 3 cups of Icing, which is enough for 3.5 dozen cookies."

Recipe for Royal Icing
6 cups confectioner's sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons meringue powder

Beat sugar, water, and meringue power with a mixer on low speed until smooth, about 7 minutes. Continue beating until opaque. Use immediately. 

Divide the icing into several bowls and add your choice of food coloring to each. You can either put the frosting in a pastry bag or simply use squirt bottles. To begin the art of decorating, you first start with outlining the cookie, and then you fill in, (otherwise known as "flooding.") Now it is time for the fun part of adding beautiful colors of sprinkles, edible pearls, ribbon, colored sugar, and what ever else you find festive and fun! 

Image from the kitchen of Cupcakes and Cashmere
Of course, if all of this baking and decorating is making you feel a bit overwhelmed less than a week before Christmas, I have great news! You can still enjoy and share these edible pieces of art this holiday season by visiting the website of the most amazing U.K based bakery, The Biscuiteers!  I found The Biscuiteers through one of my favorite blogs, What Katie Ate! I highly recommend checking out both of these wonderful places. 

Katie's Christmas '10 Edition

The Biscuiteers' sugar cookie selection. Amazing!
Are your taste buds popping yet!? Mine certainly are! I think it may be time for another sugar cookie . . .

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