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Archive for the ‘hearth cooking’ Category

img_0888-1In yesterday’s post I showed my chocolate bread as I mixed it, let it rise and baked it. This morning we reaped the rewards of my baking day and feasted on chocolate bread, strawberry cream cheese and Harney & Sons Valentine Blend tea, a black tea with chocolate and pink rosebuds. It was  perfect!

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Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays, perhaps because I am quite fond of hearts ❤ ❤ ❤

Here are some of my favorites…

Vintage Valentine’s scattered about in my 1840’s kitchen…

and in the 1790’s kitchen.

hand and heart shall never part…

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I wish I could post the aromas swirling through my house today as I baked my annual batch of chocolate bread!  This year I added dried cherries soaked in Kahlua. Dark chocolate, tart cherries, coffee and bread. What could be better??? If you’d like to bake a batch too, just click here to look back at this previous Valentine’s post.

mmm… so good!

Wishing you a very special St. Valentine’s Day

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I recently had the opportunity to cook dinner in the kitchen of the small Yellow Tavern at Eastfield. It was a day to remember, filled with friends, historic buildings, wonderful food and lively conversation. Simply perfect in every way…

On Sunday, in the brief lull between Thanksgiving and the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, Brian and I were invited to spend a magical day at Historic Eastfield.  The entire day was the (almost) impromptu plan of Sandy Connors, a fellow doll lover & amazing artist who creates and prints wonderful wood engravings.  In just a few days time Sandy somehow managed to arrange for a private tour of Eastfield and the use of the Yellow Tavern.

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Thank you Sandy and Scott for an amazing day!

What fun!  Planning the menu with co-hostess ( friend & exquisite doll maker) Peggy Flavin was just the beginning of a lovely adventure…

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Our day started early, as we prepared to head 2 hours north in a van full of hearth equipment, kindling, food and dishes.

The kitchen in the Yellow Tavern was a welcoming space to cook in, from the same era as our house, but with a slightly more spacious hearth.  Peggy and I spent the morning getting the kitchen arranged to our satisfaction and cooking. Brian hauled our hearth equipment, food and utensils out of the cars, carried in wood and kept track of time for us. We took advantage of the additional fires burning in the other rooms of the tavern and set one of the tin kitchens in front of the parlor fireplace, where the chickens roasted and filled the air with delicious aromas…

Mid-way through the day Sandy arrived, bringing the guests of honor, Christine and Bob Crocker.  Christine makes charming 18th century style dolls that I love ❤ and writes for  A Simple Life magazine.  It was so nice to finally meet Christie in person!  Much like pen pals of long ago, who eventually had the chance to see one another face to face.

Scott Penpraze was very patient with us, as he guided Christie, Bob, Brian and me through all of the buildings in Eastfield and answered our many questions.  Peggy popped in and out of the tour, joining us for a bit here and there, then returning to the kitchen to see if Sandy needed help.  Eventually we returned to the tavern, where we all toasted bread over the hearth to enjoy with cheese and wine. Afterwards came a lively, boisterous dinner. If you love old buildings, Eastfield is as much a treat as Disney World.  It is a bit along the lines of Strawbery Banke Museum, but much more intimate and hands on.  In the morning when we first arrived at the little Yellow Tavern, it felt more like entering a house in a living history museum; but as the day went on, the fires warmed the rooms and the simple act of cooking and using the tavern for it’s intended purpose made it come alive!  As the candles burned down, we lingered over desert, wishing that such a perfect day would last just a bit longer…  ❤

Dinner at Eastfield

Sunday November 27th, 2016

Menu

Pounded Cheese w/Toast

Blue Cheese w/Balsamic Vinegar & Toast

Manchego Cheese w/Quince Marmalade on Toast

Roasted Chicken

Garlic & Rosemary Roast Pork Loin with an Accompaniment of Quince Marmalade

Roasted Potatoes

Dressed Salad, receipt from The Virginia Housewife or, Methodical Cook

Stewed Mushrooms

Cranberry Sauce with Roxbury Russet Apples, Vanilla & Cinnamon

Dried Apple Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Joe Frogger Cookies, Embossed Sugar Cookies, and Ginger Cakes

Wine

Cider

Sage Tea

Tea

* click on any image to enlarge

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reflector oven www.paulawalton.comThis morning I saw a wonderful reflector oven, which is also sometimes called a tin kitchen.  This reflector oven combined all possible variations into one!  It had a spit for roasting large roasts and big birds, hooks for cooking smaller game birds and was designed to have a shelf for baking.  I was sorely tempted to buy it, but managed to resist, since I own many more reflector ovens than any one kitchen needs!  I have multiple ovens for roasting and baking and while I only have one bird oven, I’m sure that is sufficient for as frequently as I cook tiny game birds!

reflector oven www.paulawalton.com

reflector oven www.paulawalton.com

After virtuously passing up such a wonderful tin kitchen, I did give into temptation and buy an amazing early pictorial sampler in a birds eye maple frame.  For even though I could do without more 18th century cooking implements, I could not pass by fine stitchery done in pinks, purples and mauves!!!  The new sampler is now hanging in my kitchen where it is right at home amongst my claret colored woodwork and purple transferwear!

9/8/14 Addition

I’ve had a request for photos of the sampler too 🙂  These aren’t the best photos, since I get a lot of reflected light in my kitchen, which is why I didn’t post any yesterday…  The light was still a problem this morning, but I took  photos anyway and here they are!

This is the sampler that I bought yesterday at the Elephant's Trunk flea market.

This is the sampler that I bought yesterday at the Elephant’s Trunk flea market.

I love all of the different motifs in this sampler.  I immediately identified with it's maker!  Who wants to stich boring old letters and mottos when you can use off those pretty colors of thread to stitch pictures instead!!!

I love all of the different motifs in this sampler. I immediately identified with it’s maker! Who wants to stitch boring old letters and mottoes when you can use off those pretty colors of thread to stitch pictures instead!!!

www.paulawalton.com

www.paulawalton.com

This is one of my other "kitchen" samplers that was stitched with similar colors.

This is one of my other “kitchen” samplers that was stitched with similar colors.

I feel very fortunate to have found a handful of antique samplers stitched in purples, lavenders, rose, pink and mauves.  This is the third one that resides in my kitchen.  The fourth hangs above a very early R.I. blanket chest in my bedroom.

I feel very fortunate to have found a handful of antique samplers stitched in purples, lavenders, rose, pink and mauves. This is the third one that resides in my kitchen. The fourth hangs above a very early R.I. blanket chest in my bedroom.

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Tess Rosch and Win Ross setting up to take photos in our 1790's kitchen as Brian looks on.

Tess Rosch and Win Ross setting up to take photos in our 1790 kitchen as Brian looks on.

On Saturday December 8, 2013 publisher Tess Rosch and photographer Winfield Ross of Early American Life arrived at our house slightly before 8 a.m.  They had originally planned to spend most of the day photographing, but due to a  snowstorm forecast for Pennsylvania and Ohio the following day, they revised their schedule and cut their visit to us in half so that they could drive back home ahead of the snow.  Win and Tess asked for a quick 10 minute tour of the house, then Tess chatted with us as Win moved from room to room with his lights and camera.  Tess had previously told me not to bother overly with arranging  vignettes throughout the house, since there would be plenty of time on Saturday to arrange items before photographing.  Imagine my surprise when she told me everything looked perfect as it was.  The only last minute additions necessary were  putting out the fresh beeswax candles that I hadn’t gotten to before they arrived, then lighting the candles and a fire in the hearth.  Tess cut one of the steamed puddings I had made and arranged a piece on a transferware plate and then we were set to go!

Here are some of my photos taken the day of the photo shoot.  They don’t compare to the gorgeous ones Win took, but they will give you an idea of what things looked like outside the frame of his lens.  You can read much more detailed captions about the items shown in the photos in the December 2013 issue of Early American Life.

Hearth www.paulawalton.com

just right www.paulawalton.com

looks good enough to eat www.paulawalton.com

finishing touches www.paulawalton.com

just perfect www.paulawalton.com

picture perfect www.paulawalton.com

Our front door and entry hallway.

Our front door and entry hallway.

Tiny shoes wait by the door for Saint Nicholas, along with carrots for his horse.

Tiny shoes wait by the door for Saint Nicholas, along with carrots for his horse.

Our parlor festooned with ever greens for the holidays.

Our parlor festooned with evergreens for the holidays.

One corner of the parlor houses a walnut cupboard filled with transferwear, early 19th century papier-mache millinar model dolls, and a few of my handmade bears.  It is topped by a tin flag box made by David Clagget, that holds Brian's father's memorial flag.

One corner of the parlor houses a walnut cupboard filled with transferwear, early 19th century papier-mache milliner model dolls, and a few of my handmade bears. It is topped by a tin flag box made by David Claggett, that holds Brian’s father’s memorial flag.

Waiting under the Christmas tree are some of my hand made reproduction Izannah Walker dolls and a pair of antique bears.

Waiting under the Christmas tree are some of my hand made reproduction Izannah Walker dolls and a pair of antique bears.

www.paulawalton.com

www.paulawalton.com

Three of my antique Izannah Walker dolls on top of a large corner cupboard that conceals a TV.

Three of my antique Izannah Walker dolls on top of a large corner cupboard that conceals a TV.

www.paulawalton.com

The fireplace in the parlor was added by previous owners.  I grain painted the mantle and surround.  Brian gave me the antique Shaker box stove as a present one Christmas.  A tiny child size metal carousel horse patiently waits along side the stove...

The fireplace in the parlor was added by previous owners. I grain painted the mantle and surround. Brian gave me the antique Shaker box stove as a present one Christmas. A tiny child size metal carousel horse patiently waits along side the stove…

A French papier-mache doll stands beside a small feather tree filled with some of the spun cotton ornaments that I make.

A French papier-mache doll stands beside a small feather tree filled with some of the spun cotton ornaments that I make.

My youngest son, Colin, painted portraits of himself and his two brothers as a Christmas present to me when he was majoring in Illustration at Pratt.

My youngest son, Colin, painted portraits of himself and his two brothers as a Christmas present to me when he was majoring in Illustration at Pratt.

The cooking hearth in our 1790's kitchen.

The cooking hearth in our 1790 kitchen.

Aview from the 1790's kitchen into the main floor bedchamber.

A view from the 1790 kitchen into the main floor bedchamber.

Looking from the 1790's kitchen into the dining room.

Looking from the 1790 kitchen into the dining room.

The Christmas tree in the 1790's kitchen.

The Christmas tree in the 1790 kitchen.

A folding 18th century campaign bed in the main floor bedchamber.

A folding 18th century campaign bed in the main floor bedchamber.

We assembled this rope bed from various bits and pieces of early 19th century beds, which I grain painted.

We assembled this rope bed from various bits and pieces of early 19th century beds, which I unified with grain painting.

A small Christmas tree graces the bay window in our 1840's kitchen.

A small Christmas tree graces the bay window in our 1840’s kitchen.

My favorite pie safe!

My favorite pie safe!

www.paulawalton.com

www.paulawalton.com

A child size C.W. Parker carousel horse that we restored gallops across the Rufus Porter style mural that I painted in the kitchen.

A child size C.W. Parker carousel horse that we restored gallops across the Rufus Porter style mural that I painted in the kitchen.

A rare child size M.C. Illions carousel horse stands a top a salmon painted pie safe from Brimfield, MA.  The crib quilt behind the horse is French, purchased from an antique shop in Paris.

A rare child size M.C. Illions carousel horse stands a top a salmon painted pie safe from Brimfield, MA. The crib quilt behind the horse is French, purchased from an antique shop in Paris.

www.paulawalton.com

www.paulawalton.com

The dining room is also home to a French carousel pig.

The dining room is also home to a French carousel pig.

My maternal great great grandfather made the one drawer black table.

My maternal great great grandfather made the one drawer black table.

One of my reproduction Izannah Walker dolls sits on a 19th century drop leaf table, with early salmon paint, along side 19th and early 20th century cloth dolls.  C. 1830-1840 milliners models fill the hanging box at the left.

One of my reproduction Izannah Walker dolls sits on a 19th century drop leaf table, with early salmon paint, along side 19th and early 20th century cloth dolls. C. 1830-1840 milliners models fill the hanging box at the left.

www.paulawalton.com

Remember Tess’s comment about the “dust not showing” ???  As you can see, even on a somewhat dreary December day our house is filled with light, so I did have to dust before they arrived!

To be continued…  Part 3 The Second Floor

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Not quite finished painting...

Not quite finished painting…

Last year in early September my phone rang with a call from Early American Life’s publisher, Tess Rosch.  “Why haven’t we ever shown your house in the magazine?” she asked.  My answer was simple, “Because it is always covered with thread and bits of fabric!”  She assured me this wouldn’t be a problem since they like to shoot with low lights so that the photos have the dark, cozy feel of an early interior, so “the dust won’t show”.  Then she asked me what I was doing in two weeks!  In a pure panic I explained that I was in the midst of getting ready to host an Izannah Walker doll making retreat in my studio at the end of the month, and the studio was still under construction, so I had 14 sewing machines sitting in my dining room at that very moment.  Plus I was having the exterior of the house painted and the windows repaired and re-glazed, a process that had been ongoing for four months with no end in sight.  Undaunted her next question was “Tell me what you do for Christmas?”.  The rest is history…

We spent all of October, November and the first part of December, right up until the wee morning  hours on the day of the photo shoot, getting the house ready to be photographed.  Here is a look back at some of the projects we took on.

For a closer look you can click on any photograph to enlarge it.

Duane Duncan and Linda Anderson had to finish priming and painting the exterior of our house.  They finally finished just a day or two before Tess and Win came to take photos.

Duane Duncan and Linda Anderson had to finish priming and painting the exterior of our house. The exterior of house had been scraped, sanded and repaired throughout the summer. They finally finished just a day or two before Tess and Win came to take photos.

Porch pillars had to be replaced for the second time since we bought the house.

Porch pillars had to be replaced for the second time since we bought the house.

My very dear friend Joy came over and together we repaired an antique quilt top from my stash to hang in my front 2nd floor hallway.

My very dear friend Joy came over and together we repaired an antique quilt top from my stash to hang in the  2nd floor hallway at the front of the house.

This quilt top was damaged when I bought it, so Joy and I removed one row of blocks and used the undamaged ones to repair the rest of the quilt top.  Without the extra row of blocks the quilt fits just perfectly on my 7 foot high upstairs wall.

This quilt top was damaged when I bought it, so Joy and I removed one row of blocks and used the undamaged ones to repair the rest of the quilt top. Without the extra row of blocks the quilt fits just perfectly on my 7 foot high upstairs wall.

I machine stitched binding around the edges of the quilt, then Joy took the top home and turned the binding under and hand stitched it by candle light during a power outage.  I faced the top border with muslin, then sewed velcro to the muslin.  Brian cut a piece of white pvc board to fit and we attached the other side of the velcro to the front of the board.  After that all that was left was to nail the board to the wall and attach the quilt top to it with the velcro.

I machine stitched binding around the edges of the quilt, then Joy took the top home and turned the binding under and hand stitched it by candle light during a power outage. I faced the top border with muslin, then sewed velcro to the muslin. Brian cut a piece of white pvc board to fit and we attached the other side of the velcro to the front of the board. After that all that was left was to nail the board to the wall and attach the quilt top to it with the velcro.

We had to re-do all the paint in the first floor bedroom, after a painter we hired botched the job.  The first set was sanding all of the walls so that when we repainted the paint would stay on the walls without peeling.

We had to re-do all the paint in the first floor bedroom, after a painter we hired botched the job. The first step was sanding all of the walls so that when we repainted the paint would stay on the walls without peeling.

Step two was to repaint all of the walls and the woodwork, plus touch up the ceiling edges.

Step two was to repaint all of the walls and the woodwork, plus touch up the ceiling edges.

Step 3 - Reglazing the walls to get a more even look.  My friend Joy helped me repaint two walls and rub the first coat of glaze on all of the walls.  I added a second coat to even out the color.

Step 3 – Reglazing the walls to get a more even look. My friend Joy helped me repaint two walls and rub the first coat of glaze on all of the walls. I added a second coat to even out the color.

Step 4 - Stenciling  I ordered pre-cut stencils from MB Historic Decor.  I had originally planned to cut my own, but nixed that because of time.  MB Historic Decor was wonderful, they had to overnight me a replacement order when my first set of stencils was lost in transit.  After I stenciled the first wall Brian pitched in and measured and marked most of the stencil placement for the remaining walls.

Step 4 – Stenciling I ordered pre-cut stencils from MB Historic Decor. I had originally planned to cut my own, but nixed that because of time. MB Historic Decor was wonderful, they had to overnight me a replacement order when my first set of stencils was lost in transit. After I stenciled the first wall Brian pitched in and measured and marked most of the stencil placement for the remaining walls.

Finished walls!

Finished walls!

Stenciling around the pipes for the hot water baseboard heat was tricky.

Stenciling around the pipes for the hot water baseboard heat was tricky.

After getting the bed back in  place we had to tighten the rope on the bed. Definitely a two person job!

After getting the bed back in place we had to tighten the rope on the bed. Definitely a two person job!

A couple of years ago we had ice dams, which caused a lot of water damage though out the house.  The first floor bedroom was one of the rooms that needed extensive plaster repair and repainting.  Because so many rooms had to be worked on we hired a painting and plaster contractor.  During a very traumatic two week period nine rooms, plus both stairwells and the surrounding hallways had plaster repair and were repainted.  As a treat to myself for living through the work, we had the contractor, who was supposedly an expert in decorative and faux painting, glaze the bedroom walls.  The glazing was the last thing he did and he rushed thorough it, slopped paint on the floor and ceiling and wound up with a very uneven, poor quality glazing job, quite different from the sample boards he had done for me.  It turned out that this bedroom wasn’t the only work we had to re-do.  Much of the repaired plaster failed and had to be done again.  Long story short, it’s sometimes much easier in the long run to do the work yourself!

Our scrub top kitchen table needed a little tlc.  We bought this table in Brimfield 15 years ago because it was the perfect size for our kitchen.  When we purchased it it had extra boards nailed on to it to brace the legs and it was covered in spilled paint and oil from years of being a wood working table.

Our scrub top kitchen table needed a little tlc. We bought this table in Brimfield, MA 15 years ago because it was the perfect size for our kitchen. When we purchased it it had extra boards nailed on to it to brace the legs and it was covered in spilled paint and oil from years of being a  work shop table.

My friend Joy bravely came back to help me stencil the dining room floor.

Joy bravely came back to help me stencil the dining room floor.

The floor stenciling actually went fairly quickly and was only a two day job.

The floor stenciling actually went fairly quickly and was only a two day job. The only really difficult part was determining the layout and spacing, which Brian helped with.

Working around the furniture.

Working around the furniture.

We took a break in our projects to celebrate Thanksgiving.

We took a break in our projects to celebrate Thanksgiving.

The day after Thanksgiving it was back to work, with my son Colin and his new bride, both professional artists lending a hand.  Eventually I ran out of time and quit working on the mural to concentrate on cleaning.

The day after Thanksgiving it was back to work, with my son Colin and his new bride, both professional artists, lending a hand. Eventually I ran out of time and quit working on the mural to concentrate on cleaning.

Other projects that I didn’t remember to photograph were:

– painting the kitchen cabnets

– repainting the kitchen woodwork

– painting all of the woodwork in the front stairwell and the adjoining upper and lower hallways, a huge project due to all of the doors and windows

– repairing the plaster on one wall and the ceiling of the dining room

-repainting the dining room wall, ceiling and woodwork

– repairing the plaster on the master bedroom walls and repainting

– making a mantle shelf for the master bedroom fireplace to match the shelf in the adjoining room

– repairing the plaster in the upper hallway and repainting

– grain painting the parlor fireplace surround

– cleaning and touching up the kitchen mural

– framing samplers

– hanging samplers and prints on the walls

– restoring a crib quilt to hang over the TV in the 1790’s kitchen and adding muslin facing and hanging loops

– an all out cleaning of all the gardens and flower beds ( our yard has never been so clean and ready for winter!)

– painting our bedframe

– repainting the main floor bathroom woodwork

Then came the decorating…

Brian and I went to a tree farm in near by Kent, CT the weekend before the photo shoot.

Brian and I went to a tree farm in near by Kent, CT the weekend before the photo shoot.

One tree down, three more to go.

One tree down, three more to go.

Four perfect Christmas trees!

Four perfect Christmas trees!

All the trees loaded for the trip back home.

All the trees loaded for the trip back home.

We cut fresh trees at a near by tree farm and got them put into stands, then three friends came to help me decorate the trees, garland the windows and ring the chandeliers with evergreens.   After that it was cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning, followed by a stint of baking and even more cleaning.  Which brings us to 3 a.m. on Photo Day, when I declared a halt and Brian, our middle son Blair, and I put down our dust rags and went to bed!  To be continued…

This is the bit where I say thank you to:

– Brian for cleaning, all of the yard work, filling in the carvings on our bedframe and helping me paint it, and being tolerant.

– Blair for helping me paint endless quantities of woodwork, countless doors and the occasional ceiling and wall.

– Colin for drawing on my hallway wall (can you even believe a mom would ever say that to her son?).

– JungHwa for mixing paint and working on the hallway mural.

– Joy for sewing, stenciling, painting, glazing, finding me the best evergreen roping, untangling a million Christmas lights, decorating trees and being a true friend.

– Susan and Kathy for dropping everything in their busy lives to come help me put up Christmas decorations.

– Linda Anderson and Duane Duncan for all of their hard work and expertise with exterior painting, repairing, glazing, plastering, and undertaking dozens of other tasks large and small.

– and yes I did edit the thank yous, everyone really did much more  but the list was getting very, very long…  I could not have done it without you!!!

* Curious about the ice dams I mentioned?  Click here to read more.

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You can see our home on the cover and in the article on pages 20-29 in the latest issue of Early American Life magazine.

You can see our home on the cover and in the article on pages 20-29 in the latest issue of Early American Life magazine.

The magazine is currently in the mail to subscribers and will be for sale on newsstands on Tuesday 10/22/13.

EAL-ad-1213- www.paulawalton.com

If you are still curious about our house after reading the great article written by Jeanmarie Andrews and seeing the wonderful photographs taken by Winfield Ross in the current issue of Early American Life, you may want to come back here to read upcoming posts-

Behind the Scenes – What You Didn’t See in the Magazine

A Search Through Time, The History of Our House

Looking Back at Our 2013 Vegetable Gardens

In the meantime I invite you to enjoy browsing through past posts and receipts (recipes).

Paula

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