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Sunday, November 27, 2011

One of my favorite things

For more inspirational finds, please visit www.quatrefoildesign.com


Occasionally I post about some of my favorite things, and nine times out of ten they are design related. However, today I am going to tell you about one of my favorite cookbooks.  


After spending much of my time in the kitchen over the past few days, with a big Thanksgiving feast to prepare plus many meals for a house full of family members, this book was a constant presence on my kitchen counter.  It is simply the best cookbook I own, bar none.  It is the first cookbook I turn to when I want to try a new recipe, or learn the best technique for preparing just about anything.  Everything I cook from this cookbook simply works - and comes together as described.

Written by the experts at Cooks Illustrated, the New Best Recipe cookbook is the result of thousands of hours of work in the Cooks Illustrated test kitchen.  Not only does this cookbook have wonderful recipes, for many of the fundamental topics it explains what makes a recipe work. 

Case in point: roasting a turkey.  I have only been in charge of the turkey a few times in my life, and this year it was all me.  So, I pulled out my New Best Recipe to read about how to pick a turkey, how to brine a turkey, how to stuff and truss and roast a turkey.   New Best Recipes also had an excellent section on mashed potato recipes, with the best techniques for creating the perfect mashed potatoes.

 Experienced cooks will probably find that their cooking improves, and enjoy reading about what actually makes a recipe work, and how certain techniques and ingredients can make all the difference. Beginner cooks will learn how to make recipes work with the clear step by step directions in each recipe.

Click here to purchase this book on Amazon.  This cookbook rates 5 stars with over 300 ratings - read some of the reviews - they are excellent.  This cookbook would make a fantastic holiday gift for any cook, experienced or novice.  I can't recommend it highly enough!


While gathering information for this post, I noticed that there are several books by Cooks Illustrated that are companions to my favorite cookbook.  I am going to order them and see what I think!



















I have gathered together some of my favorite cookbooks in my Amazon store. These are truly my favorites, the cookbooks I go to again and again for inspiration and ideas.  Click here to see the full list. Many of these were Christmas gifts through the years; new cookbooks are one of my favorite presents.  Please let me know in the comments if you have any cookbooks that you recommend - I am always looking for new cookbooks!




To subscribe to my blog by email, click here.
To follow my blog on Facebook, click here.
Twitter: @TTIBlog
To see design, architecture, art, and decorative books that I recommend, please visit the Things That Inspire Amazon store  (newly updated!).


To subscribe to my blog by email, click here.
To follow my blog on Facebook, click here.
Twitter: @TTIBlog
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ttiblog/
Visit my online store, Quatrefoil Designwww.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com

One last look....

A Melissa Payne Baker painting seen in a recent showhouse, interior design by Allison Womack; photography by Emily Followill (via AH&L)


We will be refreshing things in the Quatrefoil Design store soon, but wanted to give everyone one last chance to purchase a Melissa Payne Baker painting.  These paintings will be cycling out of inventory within the next few days, and would make wonderful holiday gifts!  I find them to be particularly beautiful hung in small groupings, or placed on bookshelves or on table tops.



Original art by Melissa Payne Baker - Robin's Nest II - 10"x10" - $300




8x8_Angel_in_Blue_I[1] 8x8_Angel_in_Blue_II[1]

Original art by Melissa Payne Baker - Angel in Blue I  8"x8" - $285

Original art by Melissa Payne Baker - Angel in Blue II - 8"x8" - $285





10x10_Cross[1]

Original art by Melissa Payne Baker - Quatrefoil I - 10"x10" - $300



6x6_Nest_II[1] 6x6_Nest_III[1] 6x6_Nest_IV[1]

Original art by Melissa Payne Baker - Nest II (6"X6") - $200

Original art by Melissa Payne Baker - Nest III (6"X6") - $200

Original art by Melissa Payne Baker - Nest IV (6"x6") - $200



8x8_Colorful_I[1]

Original art by Melissa Payne Baker - Colorful I - 8"x8" - $285





10x10_The_Cross_I[1] 10x10_The_Cross_III[1]

Original art by Melissa Payne Baker - The Cross I - 10"x10" - $300

Original art by Melissa Payne Baker - The Cross III - 10"x10" - $300


10x10_Faith_I[1] 10x10_Faith_II[1]

Original art by Melissa Payne Baker - Splendid I - 10"x10" - $300

Original art by Melissa Payne Baker - Splendid II - 10"x10" - $300





Petite_Angel_in_Blue[1]

Original art by Melissa Payne Baker - Petite Angel in Blue I - 6"x6" - $200

6x6_Petite_Angel_in_Blue_II[1]

Original art by Melissa Payne Baker - Petite Angel in Blue II - 6"x6" - $200



6x6_Petite_Angel_III[1] 6x6_Petite_Angel_IV[1]

Original art by Melissa Payne Baker - Petite Angel III - 6"x6" - $200

Original art by Melissa Payne Baker - Petite Angel IV - 6"x6" - $200

10x10_Dragonfly_I[1] 10x10_Dragonfly_II[1] 10x10_Dragonfly_III[1]

Original art by Melissa Payne Baker - Dragonfly I, II, III – each one measures 10"x10" - $300 each

18x18nestingii_1_[1]

Original art by Melissa Payne Baker - Nesting II - 18"x18" - $445

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Original art by Melissa Payne Baker - Tides 8"x16" - $325


 5537701664_05a188a8de_b_1_[1] 5537703474_51b1785672_b1_1_[1] 5537125403_15eb0bf4e6_b1_1_[1]
Angel and quatrefoil ‘Itty Bitty’ paintings, measuring  2”x2”- $40 each – perfect for special little places, or for hanging on knobs, windows, bulletin boards – the possibilities are endless! http://quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com/products?search=itty+bitty&search-submit=




Click here to see the full selection of Melissa Payne Baker paintings.  They will be available for a few more days, then they will be gone!
http://quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com/artist/melissa-payne-baker



To subscribe to my blog by email, click here.
To follow my blog on Facebook, click here.
Twitter: @TTIBlog
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ttiblog/
Visit my online store, Quatrefoil Designwww.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com

To see design, architecture, art, and decorative books that I recommend, please visit the Things That Inspire Amazon store  (newly updated!).

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Moravian stars

For more inspirational finds, please visit www.quatrefoildesign.com


In the kids’ playroom/study, there is a built in desk with an arched opening above it.  We put our old desktop computer there (and a kitchen chair from the early 90s), and made the space wide enough so that another chair can be pulled up to the desk.  I have done nothing with this space so far, and it is time to start making it feel more like home.  I have plans for a fabric covered homasote bulletin board so the kids can hang their artwork and creations, and I would also like to hang a light from the top of the arch, as it is wired and we have a switch hidden in the shelves to the right of the arch.

I think that a small hanging light fixture would be charming in this space .  What came to mind immediately is a Moravian star fixture; the arch looks a bit like a window, and Moravian stars are traditionally hung in windows or on porches during the Advent season.  A star pendant would add a lovely element of whimsy and beauty that would be perfect for a space where children spend a lot of time. 

Legend has it that the Moravian star originated in Germany at a Moravian school in the 1850s; they were originally made of paper and tradition holds that they were the basis of a geometry lesson. The stars can have any number of points, as long as they are based on polyhedrons.  According to Moravian lore, the Moravian star became a representation of the Star of Bethlehem, and was displayed on the first Sunday of Advent. The star is an outward symbol of the period of waiting and preparation for the celebration of Christmas. Image source.

Pottery Barn used to sell variations on the Moravian star light, but they don’t seem to have them in their line up right now. This is the Olivia star pendant (left, image source).

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A more recent offering from Pottery Barn was the Reed star pendant, but it does not appear to be available anymore either.

However, with a bit of digging, I was able to find some good sources for Moravian star lights online.  Mermaid Hut in particular had a large selection of Moravian star lights available (click here for their selection). 

This colorful star from Mermaid Hut caught my eye, although if I go with a Moravian star I will either do the clear glass or the opaque glass.

 
Circa Lighting sells an opaque moravian star fixture in either 10” or 18” size.  http://www.circalighting.com/details.aspx?pid=798

This Moravian star light seems particularly detailed, because of the number of points. I love the look of the seedy glass. http://shop.moravianbookshop.com/browse.cfm/moravian-star-26-point/4,447.html

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I came across quite a few inspirational pictures while searching Moravian star lights; this one is my favorite. The Moravian star usually has more points, and stars with fewer points are often called Stars of Bethlehem.  Either way, this is a light fixture that always catches my eye when I see it.  Normally I associate a star fixture with a whimsical or casual décor, but this hall is elegant and somewhat formal, with its groin vault ceiling, stone floor, and symmetrical furniture arrangement at the end. Yet, the star fixtures look beautiful in the area, relaxing the formality yet still providing a special touch.

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The star fixture adds a bit of brightness to the kitchen.  Image source.

A star fixture works beautifully with the curve of the walls in this small nook. Image via Pinterest.

Image via Pinterest.

Image via Pinterest.

Image via Pinterest.

I love the idea of this light fixture in a kids bedroom.  Image via Pinterest.

I am particularly fond of the star shaped canopy where the chain meets the ceiling. Source unknown.

The star provides a dramatic contrast to the dark tones of this room.  Source unknown.

A whimsical light fixture works beautifully in this casual room.

This light fixture works particularly well in pairs. Source unknown.

A seller on etsy makes pretty moravian stars out of recycled cardboard – wouldn’t this make a pretty painting?  http://www.etsy.com/shop/ParkrosePretties

I am heading to Scott’s Antique Market this weekend to see what I can find for the space in the playroom – Moravian star inspired or otherwise! 


To subscribe to my blog by email, click here.
To follow my blog on Facebook, click here.
Twitter: @TTIBlog
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ttiblog/
Visit my online store, Quatrefoil Designwww.quatrefoildesign.bigcartel.com'



To see design, architecture, art, and decorative books that I recommend, please visit the Things That Inspire Amazon store.

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