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Curating a Crystal Mineral Collection

Crystals and Minerals have been coveted since ancient times. These mysterious, eons old beauties connect us with nature and center us in a world of sensory overload. Truly, they are nature's most beautiful medium and savvy decorators use them to enhance the decor of homes around the world. They work with every decor style, mid-century, bohemian, traditional, French,or Italian.
        Some women covet jewels but I prefer them in their natural state and I have collected a number of quartz crystal specimens, a few of which you can see below...



These gold leafed amethysts mounted on clear acrylic bases are very versatile...


This enormous quartz point and  a set of 4 quartz point candle holders add ambiance  as they catch the morning light...

A perfectly placed specimen enhances artwork..and can make a conversation starting centerpiece.



 When I first began collecting, pieces were only available at fleamarkets and mineral shows. Both are still great sources. Now however you can…
Recent posts

Birdcage Beauties

Bird keeping is an ancient art. Long before the Spaniards invaded Mexico, Macaws were being bred as pets and the Japanese were cultivating beautiful songbirds. But of course it was the French, during the time of Louis XIV that brought bird keeping into popular culture.
These birds all needed housing and the variety of cages designed for them is as varied as our own homes.
From the Baroque...

..to primitive...

..whether for decor impact, or for keeping live birds..


 beautiful bird cages, with their airy design adds ambiance to every space they grace.

It is no surprise that they are the darlings of decorators around the world.

If you love bird cages as much as we do, we offer this gilded cage currently on Chairish. https://www.chairish.com/product/286472/gilded-birdcage or click our icon in the right hand column. A stunning home for a pair of Java Temple Birds, Finches or Canaries.
Until next time..

Homemade Southern Pecan Pimento Cheese.

The first taste of homemade pimento cheese tells you it is nothing like store bought. Southerner's really love pimento cheese and families often pass down their recipes. Many folks in other areas such as the Carolinas, use cream cheese which gives it a smooth texture and sweet taste but I was taught to make it the Tennessee way, using cottage cheese and mayo. It has a chunkier consistency and tops a burger as easy as it does a saltine.
And oh! How great it is just sitting down with a box of saltines. I top mine with diced green tomatoes and sweet yellow onion that has marinated in apple cider vinegar with a generous splash of balsamic.


Top some sliced toasted french bread with it and serve with a regional southern wine for a great get together with friends.




Here is my recipe:16 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1cup  large curd cottage cheese
½ cup mayonnaise, or to taste
1- 1 ½ teaspoons  hot sauce 1 (7oz) jar diced pimentos, undrained
1 cup chopped pecans 1/4 tsp onion powder


.

Mix …

Tomato Cathead Biscuits and Shrimp Gravy

A Southern staple, tomato drop biscuits make a breakfast delightful, brunch memorable and an afternoon snack satisfying. The term 'cathead biscuit' is southern slang for a really big drop biscuit.
Yesterday we had them for brunch, paired with an egg poached in olive oil and nestled on a bed of spring greens lightly tossed with a basic vinegarette. The piece de resistance was the shrimp gravy ladled over the huge biscuits.

 Both recipes are included here.

Tomato Biscuits
 Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 medium tomato, seeds removed, finely chopped and patted to remove excess moisture.
1/2 cup milk
1 heaping tablespoon sour cream or plain yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil or bacon grease
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1 tablespoon chopped sun dried tomato
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil very finely crushed

Combine flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl mix sour cream or yogurt, milk and oil then add to flour, mixing until moisten…

Why Your Room Needs That Unexpected Element

Decorating is not an exact science. Some of the world's best decorators have never had professional training or an internship. Yet all the great decorators have that special something. A gift for understanding the client and transforming their home into something interesting. One of the tricks to accomplish that is the unexpected element. The unexpected element can be small, quirky and speak quietly, like a special secret between friends.
Or it can be bold and in contrast to the setting of the room, like this very unexpected element in  designer Ryan Korban's apartment.

It could be something over scaled, such as this lovely wallpaper mural from Surface Views...

or as simple as an unexpected table display..

All these things have in common the ability to  take the visitor out of a preconceived notion of what a room should be and bring a whole new perspective of what it can be.

Try adding a normal object in an unexpected way. This room was already gorgeous but the mirror placeme…

A Never Forgotten Secret Southern Sauce

Today we made crawfish n' shrimp cake poorboy sandwiches and topped them with a sauce known only as Never Forgotten Sauce. Found in landlocked areas of the South like Nashville, Memphis and Atlanta it resembles a remoulade in appearance but is different. Remoulades contain, egg, lemon juice and dill. They are more tart than Never Forgotten sauce which is sweet and spicy. It is a great compliment to crawfish, crab cakes, catfish, salmon, veggie burgers, hamburgers, chicken and  ham and cheese sandwiches. Use it as a dipping sauce for fried shrimp(so yummy), fried oysters, even fried potatoes.

People in the South have their own personalized versions of this sauce. Here is mine.

You will need-
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup mayonnaise
2 garlic gloves
5 larger green onions
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 cup  stone ground mustard
1/4 cup hot sweet mustard
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
several dashes hot sauce to taste

Mince the green…

The Timeless Garden Gate

Living in the city I only long for a garden. Our last place had a small courtyard with a little wood fence and a wrought iron gate. Gilby and I would sit outside for hours under draping crepe myrtle and banana trees as I tapped away on my laptop, often the harmonies of musical neighbors drifting in. It was a magical little space and much of that magic was created by the garden gate.


For inspiration, here are some of my favorite gates from Tumblr. Whether a grand gate or a petite one, wrought iron garden gates always add a new dimension to the garden...





And just in time for spring, we have a petite garden gate, rich with time worn patina for sale right now in in our Chairish store.
https://www.chairish.com/shop/ohlalayall/product/list?utm_campaign=seller_badge

Come pay us a visit!