Friday, June 1, 2012

joyous little things ...

finding the joy in little things. my enameled hoosier table, with hoosier chairs, makes a lovely setting for my great grandmother's blue willow china and my grandma's red ruby glassware. add a few berries and some second-hand silver bought for pennies and polished to near perfection and we have a lovely little treat. such are the joys of my life ...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

back to my roots ...

my father's side of the family is from ireland ... with a last name like dougherty you would have to know that. so this past st. patty's day i went to a corned beef and cabbage dinner put on by my pastor. several ppl contributed something, but i decided i needed to contribute traditional irish soda bread.

what most of us think of as soda bread isn't really traditional soda bread -- its more like a cake. true irish soda bread has no sugar or eggs or fruit of any kind. it's basically flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk. and this is exactly what i used.

i rolled out the dough on my enameled table (see story below), and used my flour wand (that metal contraption on the table which is used to lightly flour the surface) and baked the bread on my pampered chef stone cookie sheet...

when it was done it wasn't pretty but it was a heavy dense bread and i just knew it would be awesome for sopping up the juices from the corned beef and cabbage.

when i went to the dinner, the pastor's husband and a few others gathered around as i was cutting the bread and putting it on a serving plate. there was a lot of discussion about what was considered traditional irish soda bread and the differences between what we see in the stores and what would have actually be made in an early irish home -- what supplies would they have had to make their bread.

the best part was when we all sat down to eat together -- many of us had irish roots and being able to break bread together was so much fun. there were lots of stories told, lots of laughs and that made for an incredible st. patty's day experience!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

come to the table ...

i realized the other day that i had sort of forgotten about this blog. a lot has transpired since the last time i wrote -- too much to even begin to tell you. but i'll start with my latest "project". now you have to understand that i love old things. i have a lot of antique furniture pieces in my tiny little apartment. some my parents refinished, some i refinished. my grandmother's red ruby is mostly packed away but is about to make an appearance -- as is my great grandmother's blue willow. and mostly this need to unpack these treasures came from an item i brought back from PA in december.

my daughter and i made a trip after christmas to see my dad and while i was there we visited a couple of antique stores. i fell in love with a cute little enamel hoosier table (which is a marriage and if you're not familiar with what a marriage is ... ask and i'll explain), but since i have no room for a hoosier cabinet and very little counter space to roll out dough, a hoosier table is the perfect happy medium for my little place.

so i bought the table (a steal at less than $65 after a discount and with sales tax added in). we brought it home (it fit perfectly in my tiny little honda fit with all our luggage packed around it).

at this point, i got it into my head that i wanted hoosier chairs (which we had had in my house growing up -- why didn't they hold on to them???) to go with the table. i would refinish and paint them white and my daughter the artist could reproduce the design from the table on the chairs. thus, began the quest to find the chairs.

now what you have to know is that if i weren't looking for these specific chairs -- i would have found them in a heartbeat. but because i was looking for them i either couldn't find them or would stumble upon some antique place that had "just sold a couple of those chairs a few days ago". it was painful. but i finally found four chairs that were similar but not identical enough to just give me that quirky look i wanted.

two of the chairs were easily sanded and painted (i say easily, but really, it was a tedious and back breaking job) because they were in natural finish. i actually hated painting the second one because when i had sanded it i discovered that the spindles were tiger maple. but i charged on because i had already painted one of them white.

unfortunately, the last two chairs (one painted an awful yellow -- and that was probably the 5th or 6th coat of paint) and one that was partially stripped and ugly as sin -- have proved to be my undoing. the yellow one has a structural issue that will render it unusable -- so it's probably going in the trash, unless i can figure out a way to fix it without paying a ton of money ... (and since none of these chairs cost me more than about $10-$15 each it wouldn't be worth it to spend a lot to fix one). and the partially stripped one, well, let's just say that the stripper that was recommended to me (spray) didn't work very well and it's still partially stripped. it may be that it never gets completed.

however, in the meantime, i have two beautiful white chairs awaiting my daughter's return from art college in order to paint the design on them. i'm excited to unpack my grandmother's red ruby and great grandmother's blue willow, set my table and have my children together for dinner at my "new to me" hoosier table and chairs.