Author Archives: charlesprogers
Bedroom Design: Classic Mission Style
Post by Tracy Kaler.
Mission might not be the most popular design style, but Arts and Crafts aficionados adore the vertical and horizontal straight lines, simple aesthetic, rich wood tones, and Frank Lloyd Wright influence.Furnishings are most often seen in quartersawn oak, and said to be derived from the Spanish missions in California, but there’s no formal proof of this. Stickley was an original pioneer in the movement and was highly influenced by William Morris and John Ruskin. Mission style became increasingly popular during the turn of the 20th century, and was a welcome change from its ornate Victorian predecessor.
With little to no decoration on Mission pieces, many are characterized by exposed joinery, which could be stained a different color from the rest of the piece, simple yet sturdy fabrics and leathers on upholstered items, and a heavier feel than other transitional styles. Stained glass was a popular detail both in architecture and home furnishings.
Take a look at these five lovely Mission-inspired bedrooms, which might encourage you to consider using Mission elements in your room.
This Mission headboard is almost hidden with the chartreuse shams. This bedroom has taken on more of a feminine feel, unlike most Mission-style rooms.The patterned pillows and various textures add interest and flair to what would otherwise be a dull space.
This bedroom is straightforward and the stained glass adds a touch of elegance. I’d love to see some pattern on the floor. The lamps are perfectly proportioned.
The architecture of this space is undoubtedly Mission. The pair of lounge chairs is ideal for reading or sipping coffee. The fireplace warms the space, as does the large area rug.
This Ontario bedroom boasts Mission-themed woodwork and a classic Arts and Crafts light fixture. The fireplace and view can’t be beat. What a comfy space!
The exposed brick completes this Mission-styled room with a chunky wooden bed and crisp white linens. Keep in mind that a large bedroom is needed to accommodate this oversized bed.
Breakfast in Bed: Coffee Pancakes
Post by Alison Hein.
Many of us cannot imagine facing the day without a tall cup of thick, strong coffee. It’s a ritual, a kick-start, and a requirement. But perhaps you can imagine infusing fluffy breakfast pancakes with the same deep, dark and mysterious flavors as your favorite cup of Joe.
Fiddling with this recipe is as easy as brewing up some hazelnut coffee, or vanilla, or mint… A dash of cocoa powder in the batter, or a sprinkle on top after griddling, and you’ve got café mocha. Instead of maple syrup, make a coffee-flavored simple syrup –simply swap out ½ cup of water for ½ cup of brewed coffee.
No need to beat the egg whites if you’re in a desperate hurry for your morning coffee pancakes – they will be slightly more dense but just as delicious. Don’t forget to freeze some for when you just can’t wait another minute to dive into what will soon become your favorite required ritual, a dark and mysterious breakfast in bed.
2½ cups flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup strong coffee, cooled
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, separated
4 ounces (one half stick) butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus additional for cooking
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Gradually whisk in the cooled coffee, milk, vinegar and vanilla. Add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Slowly add melted butter to batter. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form and gently fold them into the batter. The batter should be thick, smooth and creamy.
Place a pan or griddle on the stove over medium to medium low heat. Melt a small amount of butter in the pan for the first pancake. Ladle batter into pan and cook until small bubbles appear throughout pancake, about 1 minute. Flip once with spatula and continue cooking until golden brown, another minute or so. Adjust heat as necessary while cooking. Serve hot with real maple syrup.
Makes 10 to 12 4-inch pancakes.
Bedtime Stories: Celebrating National Poetry Month
Post by Mark T. Locker.
April is here! Spring is in the air and it’s time once again to celebrate National Poetry Month! It’s the one time each year that bookstores dust off their poetry collection and put their Tennyson and Dylan Thomas books out for display. I have a love/hate relationship with poetry. Bad poetry, in my opinion, is the most painful thing to read. But good poetry! O! Tis the sweetest nectar ever drunk! I read a lot of poetry to my son, from Shel Silverstein to Kenn Nesbitt & Jack Prelutsky. Jack Prelutsky is a bit tricky at times; he uses some pretty sophisticated language, which I think takes from my son’s appreciation of the poems.
I love poetry that rhymes. Children’s poems, grown-up poems, you name it. If it rhymes I am way more likely to enjoy it. From Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s eerily weird “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” to Dylan Thomas’s beautiful “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” I love the cheerful lilt of the poems, especially when juxtaposed with a solemn subject (Poe, for example).
Here are a few of my favorite collections of poems, some for grown-ups, some for kids, some for everybody.
Bedroom Design: Using Floral Patterns in a Bedroom
Post by Tracy Kaler.
Who doesn’t love flowers? In decorating, floral patterns might seem too juvenile or girlie for the average person, but just as flowers run the gamut, so too, can the textiles they adorn. Use flowers on duvet covers, pillow shams, walls, and upholstery, or just about any surface you can think of.
Brighten your day with these five pretty bedrooms decorated in one way or another with florals.
This darling room with bunk beds keeps it neutral yet manages to introduce a small amount of pattern with a subtle floral. Clever space planning creates a cozy sleep space for two. The sconces add enough light to snuggle up with a good book or your favorite magazine in bed.
This attic doesn’t represent the typical florals in a bedroom. A wallpapered accent wall in a bold print adds a focal point in the otherwise pattern-less space. Try and imagine the room without the flowered wall.
Furnished with a daybed covered in flowered pillows, this pleasant room should feel like flower overkill, but rather, the pattern is just the right amount in all the right places. The floating footstool and bright artwork above the daybed help tie the different elements together.
Tranquil and sophisticated, this space is obviously an adult’s bedroom. Floral wall covering adds color and pattern, and ties into the accent pillows.
I adore the floral quilt with splashes of fuschia. This bright accent livens up an almost white bedroom. Perhaps a coordinating bolster would complete the look? I think so.
Breakfast in Bed – Creamy Spinach Crêpes
Post by Alison Hein.
Sometimes I’m in the mood for a sweet breakfast, but more often than not, I like to start the day with a savory meal. Crêpes are so wonderfully versatile that they adapt either way. You can make flavorful creamed spinach as a dinner side, then heat in the morning for an elegant meal. And get in the habit of freezing crêpes, which thaw in an instant and heat up nicely with a quick finish under the broiler – impressive and tasty for overnight or brunch guests; flavorful and elegant for a savory breakfast in bed.
1¼ cups buckwheat flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus additional for frying
¾ cup milk
1¼ cups water
Add buckwheat flour and salt to a large bowl. Add eggs, vegetable oil, milk and water and whisk until smooth batter forms. Add additional water for a thinner batter, if you like.
Heat a 10-inch-diameter nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Brush pan with oil. Add ¼ cup of batter to pan, tilting to coat bottom. Cook crêpe until golden on bottom, 30 to 45 seconds, adjusting heat as necessary to prevent burning.
Using a spatula or butter knife, flip crêpe and continue to cook until dark gold, about 1 minute longer. Keep warm, while continuing the process with the remainder of batter.
Makes 12 – 16 crêpes.
Creamy Spinach and Crêpe Assembly
16 ounces frozen chopped spinach
4 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
Dash of nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon grated Swiss cheese per crêpe
Mint sprigs, for garnish
Cook spinach in boiling water until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
To make white sauce, melt butter in small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped shallot and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Whisk in flour until smooth, thick paste forms. Whisk in milk and cook until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir cooked spinach into white sauce. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Place about ¼ cup on each crêpe, then delicately roll into a long cylinder and place on oven proof dish. Continue process for as many crêpes as you plan to assemble, then top each one with about 1 tablespoon of grated cheese. Place under broiler about 4 inches from heat, and cook until cheese starts to brown, about 30 seconds. Garnish with mint and serve immediately.
Makes about 4 cups of creamed spinach.