New Life for Tired Flowers

One of the easiest ways to breath a little life into a fresh cut flower arrangement that’s starting to fade is a fresh water and a snip of the stems.
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Look over the flowers and discard any that are truly past their prime (limp or browning petals, etc). Working with the flowers that have potential, remove them from the vase so you can thoroughly rinse out the vase and add fresh water.

Because you’ll probably working with less flowers/greenery, now is the perfect time to get creative and re-arrange the stems to create a totally new arrangement. Many times, I’ll opt for a trio of smaller vases to create a little floral vignette for a new centerpiece or accent to a tray.

Select the vases or vessels you’ll be working with and clip the stems at an angle to the appropriate high for the vase and style of arrangement you wish to create.

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If desired, add fresh greenery (I’ve just mixed in a bit of lilac greenery that I slipped from the yard) and embellish with ribbon if desired.

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Quick and easy updates that will prolong the life of your flowers!

Easy Entertaining… Blackberry Basil Simple Syrup

When creating the menu for a recent gathering at our shoppe, I wanted a refreshing  non-alcoholic beverage option.  Something special and pretty that would appeal to the guests coming to celebrate the opening of à la Maison’s newly expanded showroom.

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One of the prettiest cocktail ingredients I count on is Blackberry Basil Simple Syrup.  Easy to make and quite versatile, you can take it in any direction you’d like… an elegant non-alcoholic spritzer , a pretty kiddie cocktail, or a delicious vodka blackberry basil spitzer.

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Just a few simple ingredients – fresh blackberries, fresh basil and sugar simmered in pure water creates this unique and fruity twist on simple syrup.  It’s a quick and easy option to prep ahead of your next event.

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Blackberry Basil Simple Syrup

  • 4 cups fresh blackberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cup water
  • ¼ cup of fresh basil leaves

Add ingredients to a medium sized pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and boil for 15-20.  Stirring occasionally.  Cool Completely.  Pour through a fine strainer and store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for about a week.

Now your ready to put your new Blackberry Basil Simply Syrup to good use!  With or without alcohol, it’s a fruity and refreshing choice

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Blackberry Basil Vodka Spritzer

  • 2 tbl blackberry simply syrup
  • 1 tbl triple sec
  • 1 shot of vodka
  • 1/2 cup seltzer water
  • Fresh Basil and blackberries to garnish

Blackberry basil simple syrup, triple sec and vodka to a shaker with ice.  Shake then pour into a glass, top with seltzer water and garnish with fresh basil & blackberries.

Blackberry Basil Spritzer Mocktail

  • Seltzer Water
  • Blackberry Basil Simple Syrup
  • Fresh Basil and blackberries to garnish

Fill goblet with ice, top with a fresh blackberry and sprig of basil.  Fill glass with seltzer water, then top with Blackberry Basil Simply Syrup to taste.

Enjoy!

Quick Styling for a Wooden Tray

Wooden Tray are not only useful, but also a great staging tool.  Here are some quick and easy styling tips to dress them up…

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1) Think in odd numbers – Three decorative items are perfect. 2) Pick items that are different heights. 3) Add something green – plants & succulents are very popular right now and will add an organic element to the room.

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Your newly styled tray will look great on a cocktail table, buffet, or dresser!

 

Dining Room Redesign

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The main objective with the redesign/staging of this dining room was to lighten and freshen the space while working with the furniture that was already there.

The first order of business was selecting a new color palette of taupe for the walls, a pale blue for the ceiling and crisp white trim.  Replacing the ceiling medallion and painting it the same color as the ceiling was a quick and inexpensive way to add some overhead detail.

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The furniture needed to stay so the goal here was to minimize the heavy, dark and dated feel it brought to the room.  By simply removing the hutch top and working with just the buffet (which we found was plenty of space once all the clutter and used items were removed), and covering the side chairs with neutral cotton chair covers did the trick.

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Removing the hutch allowed us more wall space which was the perfect location for a great architectural feature – a pair of antique armoire doors.

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Some art and a bit of greenery for an organic touch and this room is complete!

 

 

 

Our Favorite Things… A Great Bench

You just can’t beat the versatility of a great bench.

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Here is one of my favorites… So many options with this new bench. Measuring a generous 76″ long, it makes the perfect window seat or  mudroom bench.  Also perfect for dining table seating… especially in a tight space.  Consider a bench for a beautiful and useful piece to place at the foot of a bed.
 
Crafted from 100% solid oak, featuring a carved trestle base finished in a smooth tobacco finish, this bench easily fits into traditional, farmhouse, cottage or even modern decor.

Easy Entertaining… Bacon Wrapped Pineapple with Kentuckyaki Sauce

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It all started with the pineapple I had on the counter.  It was ripe, ready to eat and I had friends stopping by for a glass of wine.  I needed a quick appetizer, and always have bacon on hand – everyone knows that salty and sweet are match made in heaven so I whipped up batch of Bacon Wrapped Pineapple.

I wanted a bit more flavor so I reached for one of my favorite sauces – Bourbon Barrel Foods Kentuckyaki.  This all-natural sauce is sweetened with sorghum syrup and flavored with garlic and ginger – what’s not too love?  The tough question was – which one?  Traditional Kentuckyaki or Hot & Spicy?  I opted for both… so half the appetizers were drizzled with Traditional Kentuckyaki and other half in Hot & Spicy.  My guests unanimously agreed – both were delicious!

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Bacon Wrapped Pineapple with Kentuckyaki Sauce

1 lb. Applewood Smoked Bacon
1 Fresh Pineapple, cored, sliced and cut into 20 3/4-1″ chunks
Bourbon Barrel Foods Kentuckyaki Sauce*

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut bacon strips in half so you get two pieces per strip. Wrap each half-strip of bacon around a pineapple chunk, and hold in place with toothpick. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes.  Once bacon is cooked through, immediately drizzle with Kentuckyaki Sauce while pineapple is still hot.  Move to a serving platter.  Serve warm.

Enjoy!

*Bourbon Barrel Foods Kentuckyaki Sauces are available at a la Maison.  To order call 315-440-6637.  You can also substitute Tamari Sauce.

Our Favorite Things… Blue and White Pottery

Blue and white pottery has long been a tasteful and timeless home decor and dinnerware choice of both homemakers and interior stylists alike.

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Although I still love the classic blue and white patterns (think Blue Willow, South Hampton, the gorgeous french and Italian patterns), I’m also loving the fun new patterns that are available today.

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The best thing about blue and white style is the more, the merrier!  Whether in my store displays or at home, it’s the perfect “mix and match” choice to create fresh and fun tablescapes and vignettes.

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At the table, blue and white pottery just feels like summer.  I see this place setting for a beautiful summer barbecue.  Add red accents and you’ve got a great nautical look… go for yellow accents to add a touch of southern french style.

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Adding a touch of blue and white pottery filled with greenery or flowers to a shelf or china hutch to an organic touch and pop of color.

Whether you prefer traditional, contemporary, farmhouse or coastal cottage decor, blue and white pottery would be a smart design choice and look right at home!

Interior Style… Easy Office Updates

The standard office and modular office furniture in many office buildings tends to be a bit bland and generic.   When you consider the fact that you spend 8 hours or more of your day in this environment, you want to make it a place you are happy to be in.

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By adding a few personal touches and a little color, you can liven up your work space and still maintain a professional, polished look.

To start, we created a focal point for this young woman’s office.  The art on the wall immediately brightens the space and draws your eye into the room.  A small custom floral arrangement carries the color down to the table – leaving plenty of work space for meetings, etc.

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The desk and window ledge also were in need of a little warmth and greenery.

The lamps add some balance and potted ferns added to the window sills bring a nice organic touch without blocking the view.

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Good quality faux plants are very realistic and an easy care option for busy professionals.

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A simple orchid arrangement to the corner of the desk finishes the look.

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The result is a polished, bright and inviting work space!

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Refreshing Gluten Free Lemon Bars

These gluten-free lemons bars are so refreshing and a delicious addition to your spring dinner or party menu.  I’ve made them gluten-free but you can easily change the flour to regular AP flour if you choose.

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Gluten Free Lemon Bars 

Crust

  • ¾  cup Almond Flour
  • ¾  Blends by Orly Gluten Free Flour Blend* (London Blend) or your favorite Gluten Free AP Flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold salted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 tablespoons water

 Filling

  • 1 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup Brown Rice Flour or Blends by Orly Flour Blend

Heat Oven to 350F. Line a 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper and lightly spray with nonstick spray.

In a medium bowl, combine flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender or two butter knives, blend until a crumbly mixture results. Add water one tablespoon of water.  Press mixture into the bottom of the baking dished ensuring that you go up the sides of the pan slightly (this will help hold the lemon mixture).  Bake for approximately 25 minutes until slightly golden and set.

 In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, blend the sugar lemon juice, lemon zest together.  Beat in the eggs until smooth.  Pour mixture over the hot crust.

Bake 24-26 minutes or until set in the middle. Let cool on the counter and then refrigerate for a couple of hours.

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To serve, cut into squares and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator… Enjoy!

*Find Blends by Orly at a la Maison or call 315-440-6637 to order.

Our Favorite Things… Chasseur Cookware

We don’t carry a lot of cookware in the store, so I wanted to be sure we had a product on our shelves that was versatile and a good option for healthy cooking… cast-iron definitely fits the bill.

I absolutely love this Chasseur enameled cast-iron cookware – it’s not only beautiful but so practical!

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Enameled cast-iron is ideal for grilling, simmering, roasting or simply for re-heating, thanks to its impeccable design and quality:

  • Distributes heat evenly, for slow cooking and saving energy
  • Resistant to high temperatures
  • Absorbs and retains heat to keep food hot
  • Durable and hard-wearing
  • It’s truly a work-horse in the kitchen that you’ll reach for time and again for soups, stews, braised meats… the list goes on and on!

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Double layer of enamel, black on the edges to protect from corrosion – stylist on the outside.  Pretty and practical!

 

For more information about Chasseur cookware or to order, please call Michele at 315-440-6637 or send an email to mgraham.alamaison@yahoo.com.