Sunday, October 29, 2017

Autumn in New York ~ It is So Inviting!

Autumn in New York is always inviting, and especially
so when one is meeting up with a group of friends.

Yes, after more than two years into the series, 
Tales of the Traveling Tote,
the girls behind the totes decided to meet up in the Big Apple 
and finally meet each other in person.

Seven of the nine of us made the trip,
traveling from California, Texas, Alabama, 
Connecticut, Massachusetts, and upstate NY.
It was a weekend to remember!

First up ~ Friday evening @ Fonda in Chelsea.

Each of us arrived in the city at different times through the week,
so a few of us got a head start with Friday Happy Hour.
It's amazing how this group easily connected as if we
had known each other for a life time.

Saturday morning, the girls and totes all converged 
for brunch @ The Russian Tea Room.

Clockwise From Left
Sarah @ Hyacinth for the Soul
Linda @ Life and Linda
Debbie @ Mountain Breaths
Patti @ Pandora's Box

The Birthday Girl

Jenna @ The Painted Apron and Rita @ Panoply
were definitely with us in spirit.

Look for more about this beautiful
venue in the next Traveling Tote series.

After brunch, Katie was off to the theatre,
 but the rest of us headed to our favorite NY store.
~ MacKenzie-Childs @ 20 West 57th Street ~

We were warmly greeted by Greg and Roz.

This duo was expecting us and graciously arranged for champagne 
and sweet treats upstairs in the beautiful mezzanine area,
serving us on our favorite dishes.

The girls of the Traveling Totes have been cyber friends for years,
and it was truly heartwarming to see how easily and 
smoothly we melded into real time.
You would have thought we all had been life long friends.
As Winnie the Pooh said,
"As soon as I met you, I knew an adventure was going to begin!"
An adventure it was! Even some of the
Men Behind the Totes 
joined in on the fun time in NYC.

Needless to say, MacKenzie-Childs is like nirvana,
the idyllic shop that makes us happy!

Shopping with these girls is the best!

"The best things in life are the people you love, the places
you've been, and the memories you've made along the way."

Thank you, Traveling Tote Gals, for a magical 
and fun time in NYC!

Let the adventures continue!


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Autumn Traditions, A Blog Tour


I'm joining a group of Texas bloggers
for our annual Fall Blog Tour.

Last year I shared fall Texas style around my home.
You can view that post here.

Touches of fall added here and there around the house
are a nod to my favorite season of cooler temps
and the earthy colors that I'm drawn to.

Today's post is more about favorite fall traditions
that I thought I'd share with my readers.

If it's fall in Texas, that means it's time for me to head on over
to the beautiful area around Round Top, Texas
for the annual Antiques Festival.
Photo ~ 
Big Red Barn ~ The Show That Started It All
This year was the Golden Anniversary of the antiques show
that started the incredible phenomenon of the biannual 
Round Top Antiques Festival.

Two favorites I left behind.

I admit that I haven't been attending for fifty years, but I can 
certainly say I shopped Emma Lee Tourney's original show at the Riffle Hall in the 1980s when it was the solo venue.

Gorgeous Display of Copper and Staffordshire Pieces

Over the years the original show grew, eventually moved to it's current location at the Big Red Barn, and spawned hundreds of other antique venues which open around the same time.

The Garden Company, Marburger Farm

Marburger Farm is one of those shows, and it's a favorite.
I wouldn't miss this show!  There are over 350 unique dealers  from across the US and Europe, and all offer quality antiques and
vintage finds.  Each space is styled with amazingly original and creative vignettes, tablescapes, and displays, all there to inspire.   

Cottonseed Trading Company Main Display

One of my favorite vendors is Cottonseed Trading Company from Alabama.  Marsha and David Smith are the creative duo behind the incredible visual treats one finds when visiting their space.  
Last year most of their booth was sold out within 
hours after the show opened.  

Cottonseed Trading Company Tablescape

Each show Marsha sets several creative and inspiring tables.
Click here to see a post on one of her spring tables from years past. 

More Gorgeous Copper For My Chef

Yes, shopping Marburger is a unique experience, 
one that reminds me of shopping the wonderful
antique markets in France and the UK.

Another tradition is the annual purchase of bittersweet and pumpkins.  These seem to signal that fall has arrived, and that it's time to add those special fall touches to our home.

This year I added bittersweet to my MacKenzie-Childs three tiered stand, topping off each Courtly Check planter with a baby boo.
The Heirloom Needlepoint Pumpkins are the creative offerings from SM Wollman Designs sold online here.

 This darling pumpkin from my friend Patti @ Pandora's Box
is the perfect touch in my home.  If you click over to Patti's link above, you'll see lots of fall inspiration in her home.

The cooler temps of fall inspire me to spend time in the kitchen. 
 I like to bake mini loaves of quick breads to take
to friends as a "Welcome Autumn" gift.
It's a favorite fall tradition.

 I also like to tie a bow on the stem of a special pumpkin
and deliver that instead of flowers.

A complete post on this banana nut bread is found here.

Last but not least, pumpkins and fall annuals are always added to
our front porch to provide a festive fall welcome at home.
Simple fall traditions!

Fall In Love With Texas Blog Tour

Be sure to stop by my fellow TX bloggers' tours.
Just click the links below.

Day 1

Day 2 

Day 3

Also joining

Monday, September 11, 2017

Fall Is In The Air

As Hurricane Irma continues its path of destruction, my thoughts and prayers are with all who are in harms way.  Thank you to all who have written to ask about our sweet family who sheltered here after Hurricane Harvey.  They have returned to Houston and have begun the process of dealing with the aftermath of the flood that left over 3 feet of water in their home and totaled both of their cars.
After Harvey left Central Texas, Mother Nature kindly sent us a wonderful cool front.  There is a touch of fall in the air with the cooler temps, and I have been motivated to join my chef and do a little baking myself.  
Pecan Oil from Wimberley Valley Gourmet in Wimberley, Texas
A friend recently gave "the chef" a bottle of pecan oil. We visited Wimberley Valley Gourmet to see how they recommended using the pecan oil, and as expected, they share a variety of recipes on their web page.  Since we keep Texas pecans in our freezer and already had some bananas on hand, I decided to try the recipe for their banana nut bread .

The recipe is extremely easy and straight forward 

with just a few ingredients.

Basically all I needed to whip up the 

recipe was a whisk and a spatula. 

I baked it in my favorite loaf pan,

a ceramic piece in the Piccadilly pattern

from MacKenzie-Childs.

A mug of dark, rich coffee with a

slice of this nut bread is the 

perfect combination for a crisp, fall day.

Simplicity at its best!

Wimberley Valley Gourmet Banana Nut Bread
You can find the recipe here.

The Piccadilly loaf pan is retired, 
but other baking pieces in this cute pattern are available at

I'm sure you have noticed we have a new look here at

Hyacinths for the Soul.

A big thank you and shout out to Linda @ Life and Linda

for giving us a new template and blog update.

I am extremely appreciative of Linda's talent and generosity.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Tales of the Traveling Totes # 12 - In the Kitchen With Miss Merri Mac

Welcome to 

Tales of the Traveling Totes #12

 My heartfelt thanks to each of you who sent

emails, texts, FaceBook messages, and phone calls

to check on us here in Texas this past week.

Grateful to report that we are safe and

didn't have any threat from Hurricane Harvey.

Yes, there was plenty of rain, 

but we were prepared for the rains here at

Hyacinths for the Soul.

Radar maps from local sources 

Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast late at night, August 25th.

Then the storm slowly made it's way inland 

bringing rain to central Texas.

Lots and lots of rain!

As the system stalled inland, it continued to swirl around 

dumping unprecedented amounts

of rain over Houston and surrounding areas for days.

Countless homes were flooded and families forced to flea.

As the flood waters continued to spread over

Houston, some of our family were among the evacuees.

On Tuesday, we welcomed my cousin, her daughter and son-in-law,

 their two children, and their cute puppy to shelter in our home.

The privilege of sharing our home with this sweet family

reminds us that good things can come out of a bad situation.

It's difficult to comprehend the destruction of this past week.

Please keep all who have been effected by this

natural disaster in your thoughts and prayers.

With no real summer travels here at HFTS over the past

 months, I decided to share a mini getaway to a cooking school

for our September edition of  Tales of the Traveling Totes.

Onion Creek Kitchens at Juniper Hills Farm 

is located in the beautiful Texas hill country 

just a short drive southwest of Austin.

The hands-on cooking class was a perfect way

for a few of us to help a friend celebrate a milestone birthday.

Perched high on a hill, the 53 acre ranch is home 

to native Texan, Sibby Barrett, 

along with native flora and fauna of the area.  

Photo Curtesy of Juniper Hill Farms

Juniper Hill Farm is the quintessential hill country experience

where one is likely to spot white-tailed deer, 

jackrabbits, armadillos, raccoons,

or as we did that morning, a grey fox.

Photos Curtesy of Juniper Hill Farms

Say "hello" to Heath, Jacques (Pepin) and Darjeeling.

The resident herd of miniature donkeys 

will greet you on arrival,

and the resident bees provide fresh honey 

for sweeting the experience.

Cooking classes conducted in a state of the art

commercial kitchen and dining space offer 

hands-on involvement, which is key to 

creating a spectacular experience.

Fanciful art in the theme of

flatware and cooking utensils add a 

sense of whimsy to the space ~ the perfect

touch for a MacKenzie-Childs tote carrying gal.

We were here to celebrate this darling girlfriend.

Happy, Happy Birthday, Jenefred!

Stations were set up for each of us to work 

on preparing the various dishes on the menu.

We divided up the responsibilities and got to work.

Well, not really work. 

 It was all too much fun to be classified as work!

Turns out the favorite dish of the day

was one of the appetizers.

~ Strudel with Bacon, Figs, and Shallots ~

Each of us were sent home with a copy of all the recipes.

Thought I'd share this favorite here.

Appetizers were followed by a healthy and delicious

spinach, apple, almond salad with a blueberry vinaigrette.

Note all the different plates, napkins, and flatware.  

I admire Sibby's sense of whimsy in her collection of

vintage silverware and variety of different dish patterns.

Love seeing the mix of patterns and textures 

that are used in each place-setting.

Main course was chicken with leeks, 

artichokes, and mushrooms in a white wine sauce

with a side of Israeli couscous with lemon.

All of this served with a glass of wine

or more champagne.

Dessert was a fresh peach tart with salty nut crust.

Surprisingly light and tasty.  

I'll definitely make this one again!

Photo Curtesy of Juniper Hill Farms

Juniper Hils Farm

If you are in the area and want a unique experience,

make a reservation to attend one of

 Onion Creek Kitchen's Cooking Classes or Events.

Juniper Hill Farm has much to offer, including 

comfortable cabins available for overnight guests.

Our Traveling Tote Giveaway is hosted by

Linda @ More Fun Less Laundry.

Be certain to leave a comment on her blog to be entered.

Ready to "mix it up" for more Traveling Tote fun.

Hope you will leave a comment before your click the links below.

~ Don't Miss the Fun ~
More Tales of the Traveling Totes
at the links below.

Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths
Emily with Miss Courtney Childs@ The French Hutch
Jenna with Miss Coquille @The Painted Apron
Katie with Miss Daisy @ Preppy Empty Nester
Linda G with Miss Rosie @ More Fun Less Laundry
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda
Patti with Miss Kenzie and Miss Taylor @ "Pandora's Box"
Rita with Miss Luna C @ Panoply

Also Joining
Pink Saturday @ How Sweet the Sound
StyleInspiration Gallery @ Zevy Joy
Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop @ Peonies and Orange Blossoms Share Your Cup Thursday @ Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olsen Home and Garden Thursday @ Delightsome Life Share Your Style @ Vintage NestVintage Charm @ Blue Willow House Foodie Friday and Everything Else @ Rattlebridge Farm Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage Home Sweet Home @ The Charm of Home