Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My FAVORITE finger food and a new cocktail

My absolute favorite hors d'œuvre comes from a cookbook my dear friend Joy Wujek penned. Joy is very creative and wonderfully talented! She is the owner and tea extrodinaire behind Petali Teas & Mootz Run, Ltd., a fabulous tea shop 4 miles west of Granville on the north side of 37/161.

Picadillo Wellington

1 pkg frozen puff pastry dough sheets
1 lb ground beef
2 oz walnuts, finely chopped
1 T balsamic vinaigrette
1/3 c dried cherries, chopped
6 oz tomato sauce
1/2 c red onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Spray cookie sheet with pan release. Open package of pastry and let dough rest outside of the box until beef is cooked. Brown beef and onion in pan and drain off fat. Stir in cherries, balsamic vinaigrette, and walnuts. Add tomato sauce just to pull the meat together, similar to a sloppy joe consistency. Season with salt and pepper, let cool. Using a glass or biscuit cutter cut 2" circles from the dough. Place one teaspoon of beef mixture in center of circle, stretch and fld dough over to make a mushroom shape. Place on cookie sheet seam side down. Bake until golden, about 15 - 20 minutes. Serve hot.

For the cocktail, the Besame (translates to 'Kiss Me', perfect for the New Year)
2 lime wedges
5-6 raspberries
1 1/2 oz Agavero (made from 100% blue agave)
passion fruit juice
dash of Chambord
Muddle limes and raspberries in a highball glass. Add Agavero. Top off with passion fruit juice. Add a splash of Chambord. Pour this mix into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain back into the highball glass.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~HAPPY NEW YEAR & BE SAFE~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 auction!!!!

About mid-November through the end of the year most auctioneers are on "holiday". I guess it's too hard to compete with the retail flurry that is going on. I think during normal seasons I am at auction at least 3-4 times per month. So I have been itching to go to one! But finally, today, I found a good. After 4 hours my truck was packed to the top AND I have to go back for three pieces that would not fit (one requires a pick truck)! Yeah! I scored some fabulous vintage baskets (one European market basket on wheels), ironstone, vintage luggage, an industrial style basket with a stiff canvas lid (would be a very cool side table), a long, old green, primitive table, 3 vintage, metal picnic baskets, vintage beadwork flowers, plus some wonderful small items like a vintage strawberry pin cushion, and lots more! Wish I had a staff of 6 to help me unload, clean, price, and display!

Now, for the 3rd installment of New Year's Eve hors d'œuvre ideas...Cranberry Salsa. I know I know, sounds strange but trust me, you're going to fix this every year during the holidays. It's full of amazing, bright flavors that burst in your mouth. During Christmas cut tree shapes out of spinach tortillas using cookie cutters. Bake or fry in hot oil for tree shaped chips to serve with the salsa. For New Year's? A champagne bottle shape?

1 bag (12 oz) fresh cranberries
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut in eighths
1/2 large red pepper, cut in large chunks
1/2 medium red onion, cut in large chunks
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup apple juice
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp chopped pickled jalapeno pepper
1 tsp grated lime zest

Put cranberries, apple, red pepper and onion in food processor; pulse till chopped. Transfer to a large glass bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients till blended. Cover and refrigerate, or spoon into crocks or jars and refrigerate.

Monday, December 29, 2008

It's so cheesy!

Found some great treasures on today's "hunting and gathering" trip. A fantastic cottage style mirror with original paint, an old ladder with faded, peeling paint, an old fruit box converted into great storage or stylish "in/out-box", a Victorian art nouveau lidded dresser box, a trio of wire forms including baby shoes, a saucy bust, and a miniature dress form and a fabulous(!) architectural fragment from a porch, I already have an idea for incorporating this gem into a garden display...and there is more!
Now for another New Year's Eve tidbit. I have been making this savory cheesecake ever since I first read/saw it in an issue of Country Living some 7 or 8 years ago. The photo alone (by Beatriz Da Costa) is intoxicating for me. It is elegant and rustic and so undeniably inviting.

4 oz Triscuits, crumbled
2/3 cup chopped tart dried cherries
1/3 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
2 T brown sugar
2 t chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 t paprika
1/4 t cayenne pepper
3 T unsalted butter, melted
8 oz cream cheese
5 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
2 t Dijon mustard
1/2 t salt
2 large eggs

Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 7-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Lightly butter the paper and set aside. Place the crackers, dried cherries, pecans, brown sugar, thyme, paprika, and 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Stir in the melted butter and press the mixture into the bottom of the lined pan. Blind bake the crust until set -- about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and set aside.
Make the cheesecake batter: Place the cheeses, sour cream, mustard, salt, and remaining cayenne in a large bowl and mix with an electric mixer set on low speed until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until mixture is smooth. Pour the batter into the prebaked crust and bake until set and golden brown -- 40 to 50 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack to room temperature. Remove from pan and serve at room temperature. Cake may be stored, tightly wrapped in plastic and refrigerated, for up to 3 days. When serving garnish with fresh thyme sprigs and dried cherries.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A little black dress for cheese...

Christmas goods are flying out the door (there are still lots of great finds at 50% off!) and we are working hard to fill in with new finds. Monday and Tuesday I will be trekking around the state to gather up some "new vintage" finds. I am also anxiously awaiting some orders from some new vendors I have recently discovered. In the interim I will be sharing some delicious and decadent hors d'oeuvres that are perfect for your New Year's Eve gathering. Stop back in each day this week for another addition to add to your menu.

First up is this stunning piece of art from Sweet Paul's blog where the photos are drool-worthy.
Photo by Colin Cooke
Presentation is everything is it not? Setting this hunk of gorgeousness on any color other than matte black would be an insult to the brie! It's own little black dress if you will.

Allow a whole brie or camembert to come to room temperature (about 4 hours). Place the cheese on a serving piece and heavily drizzle with artisan honey, garnish with fried sage leaves or fresh thyme, carmelized walnuts, fresh or dried figs. Serve with crackers or toasted flat bread. Excellent with a Chilean red wine. Try Casillero del Diablo's Carmenere 2007. I have found the affordably priced (10.99) Carmenere at Kroger and Giant Eagle. But I must give credit where credit is due, my NON-wine drinking husband picks out my wines, every time,no exception. No he is not a sommelier and has had no formal training or even personal experience in the area. But let me tell you, the man has a knack for finding excellent wines. Lucky me!


Just some great stills of inspiring things...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas one and all...

On Christmas Eve, the story says, an enchantment falls upon the earth. It is a time when the Spirit of a newborn Child whose name is Love, possesses the world. The way to Christmas lies through an ancient gate, patterned after a sheepfold and guarded by angels with stardust in their hair. It is a little gate, child-high, child-wide, and there is a password: Peace on earth to men of good will. May you, this Christmas, become as a little child again and enter into His kingdom. -Angelo Patri

Merry Christmas my friends,

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Your prayers please...

In the last week my community has tragically lost three of it's young members. A two and a half month old baby girl, a 12 year old young man, and a 38-year-old husband, brother, son, friend and father of three. All were beautiful people and will leave huge holes in their three seperate families and their circle of friends. I ask that you please include these families in your prayers. Don't let a moment get by where you can lift someone with a word, a smile or deed. Love everyone, sincerely mean it, and tell them so.


Don't miss this storewide savings event! 50% off all remaining Christmas items and special pricing on selected furniture pieces! Beautiful faux garland for $12, huge, matching wreaths for $28, glittered vintage image postcard ornaments for 1.25, darling faux saplings in burlap starting at $6, green satin Noel pillows for $7. Don't be late...
(((Christmas and feather trees not included in sale)))

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Baubles, gems and jewels...for ME! But rest can get yours too!!

Well, we made the once a month trip to the post office box today. You would think I would get over there more since it is right next door to the shop. I have most everything sent to my house so I am just not in the habit of checking the PO Box very often. Well, there in the pile of envelopes was a package (dated Dec 6th!!) with a return address from Lauri at Chippy's!! After opening this darling little box I find that this kind, sweet southern gal sent me one of her junk necklaces!! It is so darling and I just had to share it with you. I took photos of it on our bag lady dress form. Thank you Lauri!! What is that darling creation next to it you ask? Another gift for me, this one from Janet. She is off work from the daily grind I put her through at the shop until after the holiday and so she surprised me with a wonderful early Christmas present today. She recycled a vintage belt into a cuff bracelet with lace and some bling embellishments! How creative. Thank you Janet!! (I am hoping she will make some of these to sell..oh the possibilities are endless!)I plan on wearing both of these to a Christmas/Graduation party for my cousin this Saturday night. Can't wait.
What a blessing to be surrounded by talented artisans. They never cease to amaze me.

The darling box and note card from Lauri

You too can wear or give an artisan created piece. Below are a few one-of-a-kind/available only at Urban Farmhouse necklaces. These marvelous creations are adorned with loads of vintage charms and embellishments, and they can be yours. Just click on the link of the one that makes you scream MINE MINE MINE! Don't delay...I truly have just one of each.

Souvenir necklace and Birth record bracelet

A Night of Sinners necklace


"The Investigation" necklace

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wrapping "Outside the Box"

Instead of wrapping up all your special treasures for friends and family in standard wrapping paper, try dressing them up in some of these beautiful ideas from Heather Bullard.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Perfect Gifts

Just when I thought we would be hitting a slow time in the season, the crowds keep coming. I have placed reorders for items we sold out of quickly and we are fluffing with brand new products and vintage finds not yet seen. It's been a very busy season so far. Janet did her show at Cherry Valley Lodge on Sunday while I filled sacks and minded the store for the Sunday shoppers…neither of us has rested physically or mentally for a few weeks now, but we're enjoying every minute!! Having my products featured in Romantic Homes, Cottages & Bungalows, and most recently Country Living has been a good thing. The press has brought in lots of new customers. One of my favorite things is to listen and watch a new customer come in the door while they take it all in for the first time. They're like kids in a candy shop, not knowing which way to turn first. It's wonderful to know my labor of love brings joy to others.

As the big day closes in we thought we would help your friends and family out by dropping some hints on their behalf:

For the teacher who is on her feet all day nurturing our children's minds, one of our Farm Fresh products to rejuvenate her. Charming vintage-style foot scrubs for huggably soft hands, feet, elbows and knees. Fine grain sea salt scrubs are uniquely formulated around rice bran oil for its exceptionally high amount of vitamin E. Lightweight, non-greasy and so addictively yummy. Available in Sugared Maple, Sweet Cream and Whipped Honey, $23.95.

For your Aunt who is addicted to flea markets, Robin Brown's book about her signature Magnolia Pearl style. Robin feels decorating your home is a form of self expression (I couldn't agree more!) that "can feed the soul". She shows how to layer eclectic vintage finds and a multitude of color combinations to bring a sumptuous look to any room. You know any book that begins with the sentence "Have you ever seen Jerry Garcia naked?" has to be a good read! And the photos? Eye candy!! $24.95

For the golfer - These stoppers are crafted from vintage golf balls and have actually spent some time on the course! Style, brand and "wear" will vary. Handmade in Tennessee, unique yet practical! Due to the recycled nature of this item, each ball will vary, $24.95 each.

There's also jewelry for any gal on your list. Vintage shoe clips, rhinestone brooches and sterling rings, new multi-strand pearl bracelets, snowflake pins, tortoise shell disc earrings, or a one of a kind creation, literally a story on a chain. Jewelry in all price ranges, from 8.95 to 78.95. (((Just in today...sterling silver sled pins!!)))

Maybe you need to light up your own Christmas? This Czechoslovakian crystal lamp, circa 1919, is a rhapsody of dangling, light bouncing crystals.

Keep a few of these on hand for unexpected holiday guests, perfectly packaged and ready to give. One of our custom blended loose teas, 6.95.

Let's not forget the man in your house who occasionally reminds you that the office/bedroom/living room/(insert room name here) that you have been decorating is looking a little too feminine, these stag pillows will increase the testosterone in the décor without overpowering your beguiling style. Sueded and embroidered, 36.95 each.

Don't forget your furry friend. Check out this retro metal dog bed! Can't you envision a Scottie or Westie sitting quite regally on a red velvet pillow in the middle of this little plaid sweetie?

Of course you could always make this someone's "DREAM" Christmas and become a Forever Home for a furry soul in need. Odie, the stray who wandered in the back door of Urban Farmhouse earlier this year (her name originated at family friend Tyler G.'s suggestion - O.D. for "other dog" so no one would get attached while we all looked for a home for her) looks pretty well at home at the foot of my bed. This will be the first of many Christmases she will share with us.

If you need one of these too check out the adoptable dogs with Stop the Suffering

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The sprout has landed

Normally, I reserve blog posts to shop information only, however, this post is in response to all the inquiries about how my dad's Thanksgiving brussel sprouts turned out this year. In case you are not on my email mailing list and did not receive November's Urban Farmhouse newsletter…here is the beginning of this story:

Thanksgiving is probably my most favorite holiday. What other meal do we plan with so much nostalgia? How many meals does the whole family join in on during the planning and preparation? My family starts prepping the menu weeks in advance. We watch every Thanksgiving cooking special on the Food Network, research and print off recipes, try a few before the week arrives, etc. A few have reached the status of permanence on our menu: cream of wild mushroom soup, King's Arms Tavern cream of peanut soup, Cajun fried turkey, classic sage dressing, my mom's Sally Lund bread, cranberry-orange relish, and my Grandma Ada's gravy & pies.

There is one elusive recipe that my dad has been seeking for about 7 years now...a coveted brussel sprout dish. Every year he tries a new method. He has roasted them, boiled them, blanched them and sautéed them with fresh parmesan and garlic (a particularly pungent year). Thus far he has not found a "keeper". I'm sure he's burned a few midnight candles this week looking for another recipe worthy of a try. The rest of my family, most of whom do not appreciate the mighty sprout with the same exuberance as my dad, would appreciate any previously tested (and I mean tasted) recipes (with written references and photos, but no samples, samples).

Well, this year, the search is over. No, he didn't give up…he won us over, not with perseverance, but with wonderful flavor. I can't describe it better than the description that prefaces the recipe so here it is from

"Not too often do you hear 'fantastic' and 'Brussels sprouts' in the same sentence but this recipe is deserving of that. When I mentioned I was bringing Brussels sprouts to a holiday get together, my mom told me not to bother. After eating this dish, my family now requests I bring it to every get together!"

  • 1/2 pound sliced bacon
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, cored and shredded
  • 3 green onions, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • pepper to taste

    Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until crisp. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons grease, crumble and set aside. In the same skillet, melt butter in with reserved bacon grease over medium heat. Add pine nuts, and cook, stirring until browned. Add Brussels sprouts and green onions to the pan, and season with seasoning salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until sprouts are wilted and tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in crumbled bacon just before serving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


We know how hectic this season will be and would like to make it easier to shop. To that end we will be open every Sunday starting this weekend through the end of December from noon until 4 pm. Urban Farmhouse is holiday shopping the way it should be, unrushed, unique, and magical. We hope to see you soon.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Windows

The holiday windows are always big fun for me. I start thinking about them in January and run through all kinds of ideas. A lot gets changed, altered or flat out scrapped before the final plan comes together. Usually I have too much planned for the space and my original plan is scaled back to be more simplistic. I have to keep in mind 2 things:
1) it has to be big - teeny tiny is pointless for people driving by at 25mph (wish the semi drivers would read this and realize it's 25mph in the village!!)
2) this time of year it's more of an invitation to come in rather than sellable space (although by the time I took this picture several items sold off the icy table).

(((A favorite from last year returns, these glittered star wreath holders.)))

The icicles took FOREVER! First we unrolled the "paper". I then handcut lengths of icicles leaving enough at the top to adhere to the window. I should have done that part weeks ago. Then, trying to seperate the skin back from the frosted front zapped mine and my mom's patience. Thankfully, on the second window Lisa Marton stepped in with her usually level headed calmness and started each piece for us. She had the touch. It was so frustrating at one point I almost said just forget it. We still had the entire shop to flip!! But I'm glad we pressed (pun intended) on, they are the icing on the cake so to speak!

"Deep within the winter forest among the snowdrift wide, you can find a magic place where all the fairies hide." I think this is where they gather for their feast. I used 4 glass cylinder vases for the table legs, luckily finding the third the day before set up. I had planned on glass block stacked for the legs until I priced them...scary. The cylinders actually worked out better because U was able to partially fill them with snow. The glass top is from my parent's patio table. The "food" is cupcakes stacked on the frosty tiered stand are made from expanding foam insulation in cupcake liners, there is a siler tray laden with icy glass "croquette's" dripping with white primer "icing", the carved ice martini glasses are filled with chunky ice and an icy ribbon tied bucket holds frosty white pears (I know I know...not things you see at 25mph, broke rule #1).

My skater, she actually turns which was my plan, I was even going to conceal a fan up in the corner to keep her moving but she has Julia Roberts' legs and she gets hung up in the trees. Her original "ice" (vintage mirror) sold the night of the Gathering and was replaced the following week with another.

I do hope they add joy to your holiday season!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Urban Farmhouse Unwrapped

The 3 or 4 weeks leading up to our Christmas weekend are extremely fun but also chock full of anxiety, fear, & dread just to name a few. Only because I so want everything to be perfect for everyone. Most of my plans materialize but others have to be altered or sometimes scrapped altogether (like having carriage rides through town for customers..."no can do" on the state routes, something silly like safety was mentioned.) At 5 o'clock Thursday, when I am totally wiped out mentally and physically, I am trying to get those deadbolts to slide on the front door...the anxiety, fear & dread melt away when I see a line of glorious customers waiting outside...a wonderful thing to see let me tell you. Groups of women arrived one after another all three days. Some quiet and focused, others filling the shop with contagious laughter & giggling, and the Urban Farmhouse virgins completely speechless except for phrases like "OH! Look at that!" or "Wait until you see this!" or "You need at least 2 of these!".

With Janet, Lisa Marton, Denise & my dear friend Kimberly assisting everyone with their purchases my mom and I covered the floor, filling in the newly made holes with new product freshly pulled from my stash of goods in the "dungeon". All weekend we rearranged while customers snatched up everything in sight. We are still unpacking new products that we couldn't get out for the weekend because we simply ran out of room and time and more are scheduled to arrive each week. We have reordered some of the best sellers that are gone already and continue searching out new and wonderful items for you. This year we are carrying just as many gift items as Christmas goods. Okay, enough of my ramblings, here are the photos I took an hour before opening.

Just a smattering of Lisa Marton's fantastic vintage items.