TGIF: Levitating a Great Highball

Whiskey Highball….classic

Why Is It Called a Highball?

Cocktail origin stories are sometimes difficult to sort out, and the highball falls into that category. The drink emerged in the late 1890s, and several sources indicate that bartenders in England called whiskey drinks “balls,” and tall or “high” glasses were used for such drinks. Another theory says the name comes from a 19th-century railroad signal. When the ball was high or raised on the signal post, the train could pass through without stopping. In “The Joy of Mixology,” Gary Regan writes that the drink mimics the train signal that it was time to go: two short whistles followed by one long one, as the drink consists of 2 ounces of whiskey and a long pour of ginger ale or soda.

Ingredients

2 ounces whiskey

4 to 6 ounces ginger ale (or club soda; enough to fill)

When you want to get a little more complex, go for the Irish gold: Irish whiskey, peach schnapps, and orange juice. 

A classic favorite is the one and only John Collins, a mix of bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, and club soda.

It’s very similar to the whiskey fizz, which opts for sugar over syrup and is generally made with blended whiskey.

One of the easiest highballs is the branded Seven and Seven: Seagram’s 7 Crown Whiskey and 7-Up.

When you want to take your whiskey to the drier side, mix up the leprechaun. With Irish whiskey and tonic water, it’s an excellent dinner companion.

The Japanese love a highball at dinnertime and in social settings. They make it with fine attention to detail, mixing Japanese whiskey with sparkling water.

Looking for Just the right glass? SHOP HERE

SIA -Snowman and the Snowtail Cocktail!

If You Haven’t Tried Making a Cocktail With Fresh Snow, You’re Seriously Missing Out

Main Ingredients:

You only need 2 main ingredients and some ice. The best part is that these ingredients are easy to find and have a great shelf life. You can totally buy the Malibu Rum and Cream of coconut and make drinks all winter long without worrying about anything spoiling!

  • Malibu Rum You could use traditional rum, if you prefer. However the use of Malibu rum adds coconut flavor on top of coconut flavor…the ULTIMATE. And frankly, with only 2 key ingredients in this cocktail, why NOT?
  • Cream of Coconut This ingredient trips people up. Cream of Coconut is a coconut flavored sweetener commonly used in cocktails. You can also use just a can of coconut milk but use only the thick top that you get prior to shaking the can. Even better, chill it prior to use. You may choose to add a bit of sweetener to the drink if you use this substitution.

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Sex on a Snowbank Cocktail

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What on earth is with the name? Humor, that’s what. We don’t take things too seriously around here and this Sex on a Snowbank Cocktail is proof of that. And proof that when you live in MN, you need to have a good winter cocktail to laugh about the crazy weather. This is it and the original recipe and post that started the internet sensation!Sex_on_a_Snowbank_at_home_285072160_1080x1080_F30https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.443.0_en.html#goog_2055161510Volume 0% 

note: this cocktail has taken over the internet and become known as a variety of other names including Sex in the Snow, Snowflake Cocktail, and Frozen Snow Cocktail, along with others. Although those are all great names, there isn’t anything better then the original…

The wintry cocktail Sex on a Snowbank in a martini glass with Cream of Coconut.


Have you heard of sex on a beach? The cocktail? We have. Yes, we like it. But here in MN it seems a cruel, cruel joke that many of the best cocktails are related to warmth and sand and little umbrellas. People never talk about “winter cocktails”.  If you go on Pinterest all the labels for delicious looking cocktails are  “Summer”.  Classic “summer” cocktails, refreshing “summer” drinks,  perfect “summer” beverage.  Not a single winter cocktail.

It’s just plain cruel.

We were sitting around the table whining about it (on one of the -25 degree days) with some friends, joking that here  in Minnesota it would be more like Sex on a Snowbank with snow and cold and the like. Not fun at all. That gave us a fun cocktail idea…

Sex on a Snowbank. Now that is a Minnesotan drink.

This cocktail really isn’t anything like a Sex on a Beach summer cocktail…it’s one of those winter cocktails (like how we slipped in the fact that everyone should just know about winter cocktails?) that messes with all the rules.  It’s like a pina colada, but served in a martini glass (P.S. I’m obsessed with these glasses. They are so gorgeous in real life!).  And it’s really the consistency of a slushie. But a winter slushie.

This delicious winter cocktail is only 3 ingredients. EAsy to make and absolutely delicious! Sex on a Snowbank

To start, you’ll want to ensure that your snow is as clean and pure as possible. This means you want to capture it right after it falls, before humans, pets, and wildlife have a chance to impart any grime into what you’re about to ingest. Freshly fallen snow is also at its lightest and fluffiest texture, which makes it a fun alternative to traditional ice in beverages. 

Main Ingredients:

You only need 2 main ingredients and some ice. The best part is that these ingredients are easy to find and have a great shelf life. You can totally buy the Malibu Rum and Cream of coconut and make drinks all winter long without worrying about anything spoiling!

  • Malibu Rum You could use traditional rum, if you prefer. However the use of Malibu rum adds coconut flavor on top of coconut flavor…the ULTIMATE. And frankly, with only 2 key ingredients in this cocktail, why NOT?
  • Cream of Coconut This ingredient trips people up. Cream of Coconut is a coconut flavored sweetener commonly used in cocktails. You can also use just a can of coconut milk but use only the thick top that you get prior to shaking the can. Even better, chill it prior to use. You may choose to add a bit of sweetener to the drink if you use this substitution.

How to Make a Sex on a Snowbank Cocktail

This cocktail is easy, easy to make.  Just plop a bunch of snow, some alcohol, and some coconutty goodness into a pitcher and you’ve got yourself an amazing, delicious winter cocktail that is perfect for enjoying with friends!

  • Add  chilled Malibu Rum and the Cream of Coconut to the pitcher.
  • Add SNOW
  • Blend until it reaches the consistency you prefer. It will be slushy!
  • Note: if you prefer a creamy consistency try adding a bit more coconut milk and less snow.

And oh gosh it is wonderful!! Cool, sweet, refreshing, and beautiful.

Bunny Williams: Not a House But a Home

 We’re incredibly excited to announce the upcoming release of a new documentary chronicling Bunny’s career in her own words. Bunny Williams: Not A House But a Home is the latest installment in the original documentary series Design in Mind by The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA). The film will air on PBS affiliate stations starting this spring and a special online screening for ICAA members will take place March 18th. 

PINK VELVET CAKE

Valentines Day Perfection

This rich decadent Pink Velvet Cake is going to be a quick favorite. It’s absolutely perfect for Valentine’s Day, baby showers or any other special occasions.

  • Egg Whites: This calls for 4 egg whites, save the yolks to make custards, tarts or carbonara.
  • Granulated Sugar: Adds sweetness
  • Unsalted Butter: Creates richness and a moist crumb.
  • Oil: For extra moisture
  • Pure Vanilla Extract: Flavor enhancer
  • Pure Almond Extract: This is so good in the cake.
  • Red Food Color: Just enough to make it pink.
  • Flour: All purpose flour.
  • Baking Powder: This is the raising agent.
  • Salt: Creates balance in the cake.
  • Milk: Provides the velveteen texture.

Pink Frosting Ingredients

  • Unsalted Butter: Frosting wouldn’t be creamy without the butter.
  • Powdered Sugar: Sift before adding to avoid lumps.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream: Adds richness.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract: Creates the best flavor.
  • Salt: Just a pinch.
  • Red Food Color: optional
  1. Prep:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line the bottom of two 8″ cake pans with parchment paper. Grease the top of the parchment paper and the side of he cake pans. Sprinkle flour on the side of the cake pan and tap out the excess. Set aside.
  2. Meringue: In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the egg white and half of the sugar. Beat on medium speed until the meringue is formed. It should be shiny white with stiff peaks. Transfer the meringue into a different bowl and set aside.
  3. Cream: In the same stand mixer bowl, without washing, cream the softened butter and sugar together. Then add oil, the extracts and red food color. Beat until incorporated.
  4. Sift: In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour and baking powder. Stir in the salt, and mix with a whisk to distribute evenly.
  5. Combine: Add the flour mixture to the butter and oil mixture in 3 increments alternating with the milk, starting and ending with the flour. Scrape the bottom and side of the bowl to ensure thorough mixing. Then with a light hand, fold in the meringue.
  6. Divide: Divide the cake batter among the two prepared cake pans. Bake in the middle oven rack for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean with just a few crumbs attached.
  7. Cool: Remove from the oven and allow to cool to the touch, remove cakes from the pans and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

The Frosting

  1. Mix: Add all ingredients except the food color to a stand mixer bowl. Stir to incorporate all the ingredients, then increase the mixer speed gradually to high and beat until the frosting is white and fluffy.
  2. Optional: Use red food color to dye part of the frosting pink for the decorations if desired. See steps below.

Assemble

  1. Layer: Place the first layer of cake on a cake stand or plate, add 1 cup of frosting on top and level out with an offset spatula. Place the second layer of cake on top and add another cup of frosting on top, level it out. Add another cup of frosting to the side of the cake.
  2. Dye: At the this point dye the remaining frosting with a few drops of red food color to get a light pink color to use for the decoration. Fill a pastry bag fitted with your favorite decorating tip and pipe decoration on top of the cake.  Add swirls to cover the base of the cake.
  3. Serve: Serve right away or refrigerate until ready to serve. Allow the cake to come to room temperature about 30 minutes before serving if refrigerated.

SERVE WITH CHAMPAGNE OR PROSSECO! and remember to call everyone you love- if just for a minute to say, I love you!

TGIF: Jon Batiste and the Sazerac

Sazerac

sazerac cocktail in a crystal-cut glass with a lemon peel garnish

Ingredients

  • Absinthe, to rinse
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 1/2 teaspoon cold water
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 1/4 ounces rye whiskey
  • 1 1/4 ounces cognac
  • Garnish: lemon peel

Steps

  1. Rinse a chilled rocks glass with absinthe, discarding any excess, and set aside.
  2. In a mixing glass, muddle the sugar cube, water and the Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters.
  3. Add the rye and cognac, fill the mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.
  4. Strain into the prepared glass.
  5. Twist the lemon peel over the drink’s surface to extract the peel’s oils, and then garnish with the peel.

The Sazerac, which is a close cousin to the Old Fashioned, has been kicking around in one form or another since as early as 1838 (with other reports pegging its invention closer to the late-1800s) and was trademarked in 1900 by Sazerac Co. The Sazerac was crowned the official cocktail of New Orleans in 2008, a designation more suited to marketers than drink mixers. The truth is the Sazerac has always belonged to the Crescent City.

It is believed that the first Sazeracs were made with French brandy—Sazerac de Forge et Fils, to be exact. And it’s known that those first Sazeracs contained Peychaud’s bitters, a bright-red concoction with flavors of gentian and anise that was invented by New Orleans resident Antoine Peychaud. Add some sugar and a dash of absinthe, and you have a strong, aromatic drink that embodies the city from whence it hails.

Eventually, that French brandy was replaced with American rye whiskey, a spirit that grew in both popularity and availability during the 19th century. Brandy or cognac, which are distilled from grapes, yield a Sazerac that is fruity and floral, different than today’s rye-based versions, which feature the grain spirit’s trademark spice notes. 

A well-made rye Sazerac is indeed a tasty cocktail, full of kick and depth, though perhaps a hair too much muscle. That’s why this recipe combines equal parts cognac and rye, not as a gestural homage to a lost classic but because the two work together so perfectly. The opposing pairing, when accented by the licorice flavors of absinthe, produces a cocktail that’s simultaneously soft and bold, smooth and brash—and unmistakably New Orleans.

Hawthorne by Caskata

We love Caskata. Made in America. Woman Owned. and everything is covet-table. Hawthorne is their venture into the super luxe dinnerware now currently dominated by Versace- and yes it looks great with Versace! There is even glassware that matches beautifully. Tone it don with a simple white plate with gold rim, the Hawthorne simple dinner plate or got to town…Our guess is that this pattern will become iconic. It is offered in all Gold, Silver or Onyx (shown above).

SHOP The Hawthorne Collection at HSD Catalog

Then check out the new Marrakesh Crystal Collection

Collecting Women Silversmiths

This article originally appeared in American Collector magazine, a publication which ran from 1933-1948 and served antique collectors and dealers. This article discusses female goldsmiths that worked in England during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, noting how they learned, their makers’ marks, and their family relationships

By Hester Bateman's Son and Daughter: This teapot and stand bear the mark of Peter and Ann Bateman, London, 1792-93. Located, as was their mother, on Bunhill Row, by 1800 this partnership became Peter, Ann & William Bateman.
By Hester Bateman’s Son and Daughter: This teapot and stand bear the mark of Peter and Ann Bateman, London, 1792-93. Located, as was their mother, on Bunhill Row, by 1800 this partnership became Peter, Ann & William Bateman.

Until fairly recently, England was a man’s country and women as a class enjoyed few rights that their husbands and male relatives could not invade. Only a queen occupying the throne in her own right was free of this domination. Otherwise, law and custom gave men control of all property and rendered them superior beings to be obeyed by their women folk without question.

By Hester Bateman’s Son and Daughter: This teapot and stand bear the mark of Peter and Ann Bateman, London, 1792-93. Located, as was their mother, on Bunhill Row, by 1800 this partnership became Peter, Ann & William Bateman.

Such was the law. In actual practice, even before the time of Queen Elizabeth, there were forceful women who conducted business in their own names and on an equal footing with men. Nowhere was this clearer than in the affairs of The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths. With a royal charter dating back to 1327, this craft guild embraced not only those who worked in gold and silver, but bankers, jewelers, engravers, gold beaters, and even pawnbrokers. Except for that of banking, women’s names are found in the lists of these various callings from a very early date.

In 1513 there was Mrs. Harding, goldsmith, who evidently carried on the business of her husband, Robert. The latter was established on Cheapside in 1504. Although the Goldsmiths’ company has a continuous record of the individual makers’ marks from 1479, identification of them with the names of the makers is lost information before 1697. Between this latter date and the Victorian era there worked in London a total of 63 women silversmiths, each possessed of her own registered touch mark. That alone is evidence that they were workers at their trade in good standing, for the police powers of the Goldsmiths’ company are well known.

During this period of some 150 years most of the collectible English antique plate was produced. Yet, save for Hester Bateman, these 63 women have been the forgotten craftsmen in the various treatises on English silver. This oversight was largely due to the assumption that they were simply widows carrying on their husbands’ businesses and not of themselves workers in silver.

Platter by Magdalen Feline, London, 1754: From 1720 to 1739 the widow of Edward Feline was located on King street, Covent Garden. 1753 to 1762, Magdalen Feline was working in the same vicinity. They were probably mother and daughter.
Platter by Magdalen Feline, London, 1754: From 1720 to 1739 the widow of Edward Feline was located on King street, Covent Garden. 1753 to 1762, Magdalen Feline was working in the same vicinity. They were probably mother and daughter.

In 1935, however, Sir Ambrose Heal published, under the patronage of The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, a large volume known as The London Goldsmiths. It covers the period of 1100 to 1800 and is a record of names, addresses, and definite trade designations within the all-embracing term of goldsmith. It discloses that, in practically all instances, women with recorded touch marks were actual craftsmen in one or another branch of silversmithing. The largest number of them were listed as “plate workers,” the all-embracing term of the day for wrought silver.

Some of these 63 women were members of well-established London silversmithing families; others worked in partnership with a husband or a brother; a few had as partners men for whom no relationship of blood or marriage can be discovered; and occasionally a partnership of two women existed. The famous Hester Bateman trained both her sons and daughter to the trade and they in turn produced examples of silver just as graceful and charming as their mother’s work.

The question naturally arises as to how Hester Bateman and other women silversmiths learned their trade. From the early days of the guild system as it prevailed in England, it was not uncommon for the women in the family of a master workman to help in his shop. They were not considered as regular apprentices but, if so inclined, they could and did learn the particular trade just as thoroughly as though they had been bound out for the purpose. This would probably account for the majority of women silversmiths, but there were 14 for whom there appear to be no male silversmiths of the same surname who worked either before or at the same time.

By Rebecca Eames and Edward Barnard: This piece is dated 1616, but the partnership, located Amen Corner, registered their mark in 1808. The bowl on square foot with gadroon and shell border stands 8 inches high and is 11 1/2 inches in diameter.

Throughout the 17th Century it is known that women were sometimes apprenticed to learn various trades, including such an arduous one as that of carpenter. Since the apprenticeship system continued through the 18th and well into the 19th Centuries, it can be assumed that these 14 women must have learned their trade by being indentured to some silversmith, either a family connection or totally unrelated.

Incidentally, becoming a journeyman silversmith required young women of better than average physique, for the tools whereby silver was formed into such things as tankards, dishes, trays, kettles, teapots, and the like were neither light nor easily handled. There was the heavy sledge hammer weighing eight or more pounds with which the silver was beaten on the specially shaped anvils many times in the course of making a piece.

Five Pieces Bearing Women's Marks: Top to bottom, left to right, with year of the date letter, these are: bedroom candlestick by Ann Robertson, Newcastle, c. 1800; punch ladle by Dorothy Mills, London, 1752; candlestick by Eliza Godfrey, London, 1762; mustard pot by James and Elizabeth Bland, London, 1795; and teapot stand by Duncan Urquhart and Naphtalia Hart, London, 1798.
Five Pieces Bearing Women’s Marks: Top to bottom, left to right, with year of the date letter, these are: bedroom candlestick by Ann Robertson, Newcastle, c. 1800; punch ladle by Dorothy Mills, London, 1752; candlestick by Eliza Godfrey, London, 1762; mustard pot by James and Elizabeth Bland, London, 1795; and teapot stand by Duncan Urquhart and Naphtalia Hart, London, 1798.

We can picture these women silversmiths, then, as hardy, muscular individuals, capable of taking their turn at forge or anvil with the men of the shop. Most of their story, however, must be gained from study of the goldsmith’s marks and examples of their work still extant. Considering the large amount of silver produced by London silversmiths from the close of the 17th Century through the first quarter of the 19th, surprisingly few examples, with the exception of Hester Bateman and her children, have survived.

The tables of makers’ marks in any of the standard books on English silver reveal much regarding the relationship that existed between the men and women who followed this craft. In the majority of instances, the individual touch marks of women craftsmen was a diamond shape which, of course, was the lozenge of heraldry in which a woman’s crest or cipher was framed. Further, if a woman was carrying on the business established by her father or husband, we invariably find that, except for the shape, her mark bears a distinct resemblance in design to that of her male relative. The use of the lozenge tended to disappear during the third quarter of the 18th Century.

By Mary Makemeid 1774: Designated as goldsmith, this woman was located on Shoe Lane, London, when here mark was entered in 1773.

One of the outstanding examples of the distinct effort to have a woman’s mark as near as possible that of the man of her family whom she was succeeding is the touch of Elizabeth Tuite, whose mark was entered in 1741. In 1721 there had been John Tuite. His mark consisted of the initials of his given and surname within an oval with the outline of a footed cream pitcher between the letters. In 1739 he had a second mark of shield shape registered. This also incorporated the distinctive cream pitcher. So it is not surprising that when Elizabeth secured her mark the device of the cream pitcher was retained although she used the initials E T.

Jane Lambe’s lozenge-shaped mark was entered in 1719 and above the initials L A is to be seen a small animal, evidently a lamb. The same device occurs in the mark of George Lambe, 1713, although its outline is totally different. In 1713, also, another mark of lozenge shape with the lamb device was entered for the widow of George. Whether Widow Lambe was the same person as Jane Lambe who worked on Sandos street and had marks entered in 1719 and again in 1729 is not clear.

In addition to touch marks, the location of the shops of both men and women working in silver is frequently helpful in establishing any relationship that may have existed. In the Pantin family there were a number of silversmiths, dating from Simon Pantin in 1701 to Mary Pantin, 1733, who was located on Green street. This was also the address of Simon Pantin, Jr., whose mark was entered in 1731. All of these marks have a small tree between the initials, an obvious effort to retain continuity and indicate that the possessors were all members of the same family.

With the Parr family the names, marks, and addresses are a record of nearly 40 years of silversmithing. The earliest is that of Thomas Parr, Wood street, 1698. His mark bears the initials P A in an irregular shield. In 1717 another mark differing slightly was entered for a man of the same name but located on Cheapside. In 1720 a lozenge mark with the initials S P was entered for Sarah Parr of the same address and in 1733 a final mark of T P in an oval was entered for Thomas Parr, likewise of Cheapside.

Five Pieces Bearing Women’s Marks: Top to bottom, left to right, with year of the date letter, these are: bedroom candlestick by Ann Robertson, Newcastle, c. 1800; punch ladle by Dorothy Mills, London, 1752; candlestick by Eliza Godfrey, London, 1762; mustard pot by James and Elizabeth Bland, London, 1795; and teapot stand by Duncan Urquhart and Naphtalia Hart, London, 1798.

In addition to the marks showing a family relationship are a few in which seemingly unrelated men and women were in partnership. Ann Craig and John Neville entered their mark in 1740 and were located on Norris street, St. James. Louisa Courtauld had her own mark in 1766; was in partnership in 1769 with George Cowles and in 1777 with Samuel Courtauld. About the same time there was the partnership of Jane Dorrell and Richard May, whose mark was established in 1771. In 1808 Rebecca Eames and Edward Barnard entered the mark of their partnership. As late as 1840 Mary Chawner, who had previously had her own mark, entered one for her partnership with George W. Adams.

Probably the best known of the women silversmiths of London was Hester Bateman. There are no indications that she came of a family connected with the craft, but both her sons and daughter followed it. Her first mark was entered in 1774, the script initial HB in an escalloped oval. She was then listed as a goldsmith on Bunhill Row. From 1790 to 1793 it was Hester Bateman & Co., silversmiths, while in 1791 Peter and Jonathan Bateman entered their mark as plate workers; the next year Peter and Ann entered another; and finally in 1800 a fourth was entered as Peter, Ann and William Bateman. With all these the address was always Bunhill Row and the trade designation, plate workers.

Outside of London there were at least seven women silversmiths with registered marks. Newcastle had four, and Chester and Hull one each. In Ireland there was Jane Williams.

Ten Top Tips for Collecting Antique Silver

Antique Silver Fish Cutlery Set Service for 12 - V Mayers Sohne : Premier- Antiques | Ruby Lane

Whether you choose to collect sterling or silver plate, flatware or holloware, the following tips should usually apply …

But first! Remember sterling silver was and is today- a form of currency. It is bought and sold by weight. Its value can be enhanced by history, workmanship and quality. There is ornamental silver like jewelry and ornamental items and there is utilitarian silver- the stuff you use and that enhances your home. This of course is where my interest goes. I like silver on a table that is used. And the pieces I like have a reason to be in existence. So silver plate is fine with me for trays, lazy susans, and water pitchers. But I would shell out for smaller sterling items like a mustard pot. In general the rule is that what the Hostess or guests touch are sterling while what the butler touches can be plated. Crazy but I have seen people pass on a lovely sterling tea set because the tray was plated. It was supposed to be and if you think it through, it makes sense. Silver again is a commodity- so why waste it on a tray that must be sturdy and is usually not enhanced with decoration. The teapots etc are beautifully decorated and therefor enhanced in value but not so with the tray. Everything useful can be beautiful and everything handmade has a use. And in the Continental home or the American homes of the 18th and 19th C- nothing was wasted. Only the over-abundance of the robber baron years is the exception.

silver plate
  • Choose a Style, Era or Maker… Reflect upon your lifestyle and personal taste, then make choices that will be a good fit. Personally, I always am on the hunt for a woman maker and although they are rare I have found pieces from Hester Bateman in the past.
Leopard Antiques Hester Bateman Silver sugar tongs
  • Will you be using your antique silver daily… or will you save it for special occasions and holiday celebrations? There are many speciality areas of silver collecting, and some of them are more fanciful than others. Some collectors devote their whole attention to a specific pattern while others collect antique silver from a particular maker or era. Some only collect a particular type of piece, such as fish forks or bon bon servers, while many expand into all areas. I always recommend using your silver and I have several (uncollectable) plate pieces that are perfect for a tailgate or holiday celebration.
  • Mix-n-Match… Don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns. This collecting technique has great aesthetic appeal on a table. This is a wonderful option particularly with hard-to-find, discontinued silver flatware patterns and is often a must for putting together a set large enough for affordable entertaining.
  • Wear or Damage… Signs of use do not necessarily detract from value, while damage may. Slight damage on a rare silver flatware or hollow ware piece will not significantly reduce its value. The price of a tarnished piece should be signficantly lower than retail. Be wary of buying tarnished antique silver online as it can hide otherwise obvious wear, damage or repair. Picking up tarnished pieces at estate sales and flea markets may be an affordable option, but be sure to check them closely for damage.
  • Monograms… Many collectors view old, elaborate monograms as a lost art form and historically important. It does not detract from the desirability or value of a piece when a monogram is present. Antique silver can, however, be even more valuable without a monogram. As you become familiar with silver, you will be able to detect monogram removal. Monogram removal can damage a piece of antique silver and significantly reduce its value.
  • Authenticity… Some antique silver collectors frown on pieces that have been updated, such as those with replacement knife blades. Silverplated blades are often found with wear. They can easily be replaced on hollow handle knives, so some collectors prefer to have them refitted with stainless steel blades. However, stainless steel was not introduced in silver flatware until the early 1920s. This is one of those aspects of antique silver collecting that can be a matter of personal preference, but you do need to be aware that your flatware may go down in value if you alter the knife blades.
  • Repair — Dents, disposal or other damage can be repaired by a silversmith. Pieces can also be re-plated. The cost is prohibitive for more common items, but is certainly worthwhile for restoring rare antique silver items.
  • Modified Items… Be aware that these exist and learn how to determine if a piece has been modified from its original state. Common silver flatware pieces are sometimes altered to make them appear to be rare and valuable pieces. For example, spoons are sometimes cut to resemble ice cream forks or a silver sugar spoon may have been pierced to resemble a silver sugar sifter. Look for signs that pieces have been modified and avoid adding them to your antique silver collection.
  • Forgeries… New forgeries in popular and rare silver patterns appear for sale regularly on the Internet. In particular, silver salt spoons and rare pieces such as asparagus servers. Many of these pieces have no silver maker’s marks. Forged makers marks in silver have appeared for hundreds of years. The age of a piece does not necessarily indicate it’s authenticity so learn as much as you can about antique silver markings before investing in an expensive piece.
  • Educate Yourself… There are many good books available on collecting antique silver, not necessarily to buy as you will find them in the collecting section of your local library or borrow some from us. We have a lending library and we are happy to share. Or make use of the sites below…
  • Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks & Makers’ Markshttps://www.925-1000.com
  • http://www.silvercollection.it ›

The Basics +: Cream of Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 medium Spanish onion, chopped

2 stalks celery (with leaves), chopped

3 medium carrots, chopped

2 tbsps of Pimento

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour

7 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned

3 sprigs parsley

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

2 3/4 cups cooked, diced chicken

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 1/2 teaspoons dry sherry

1 tablespoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, pimento and carrots and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 12 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes more.
  2. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Tie the parsley sprigs, thyme, and bay leaf together with a piece of kitchen twine and add to the soup. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chicken and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.
  4. Whisk the heavy cream, sherry, and salt into the soup and season with pepper to taste. Remove and discard the herb bundle. Divide among soup bowls, sprinkle the top of each soup with the chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Dont forget the vintage Tureen!

shop tureens!

New England Clam Chowder from Kennebunkport

This clam chowder recipe comes courtesy of chef Bryan Dame, executive chef of the Tides Beach Club Kennebunkport Oceanfront Hotel. The fresh cherry-stone clams are the star of this creamy, warming soup that makes a great appetizer during any season.

Executive Chef Bryan Dame of the Tides Beach Club - Luxe Beat Magazine

Serves 4 as a first course.

  • 10 pounds cherry-stone clams
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 3/4 cups white wine
  • 1/4 pound bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1 1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups cream
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions

Wash clams and steam in water and white wine. Remove, reserving the cooking liquid, and pick and chop clams.

Render bacon. Add butter and onion and sweat.

Add oregano, garlic, celery, and potatoes. Stir well.

Add flour to make a roux. Add reserved clam cooking liquid (clam juice) and cream. Cook until potatoes are tender and add clams, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, salt, and pepper.

New England Clam Chowder from Kennebunkport, Maine

The items we all covet…but what IS a sweetmeat ?

Often found in pairs, they have become a staple on mantelpieces everywhere. They flank mirrors in the best entryways. We ooh and ahh at then in magazines. But what the heck is sweetmeat.

Don’t be fooled by the name, sweetmeat are actually candied delicacies, a piece of candy or a piece of fruit covered with sugar. And the dishes made for them are fabooooolous.

We just found a great pair at an auction and cant wait to display them.

Anglo-Irish Antique Sweetmeat Dishes

These will look great on a dining table, buffet or mantel. The color is terrific.

Some other good examples:

So lets make some sweetmeat to eat and drink!

Sugar Plums

INGREDIENTS

  • 200g luxury dried fruits (a medley of raisins, currants, citrus peel, sultanas, apricots, figs, dates etc.)
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 2 tablespoons candied ginger, chopped
  • 1 orange, zest of, grated medium
  • 2 -3 teaspoons brandy or 2 -3 teaspoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar (superfine sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice (or a mixture of ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves and allspice)
  • 12 pistachio nuts
  • 3 red cherries
  • Put all of the dried fruit, ground almonds and glace ginger into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the grated orange zest and mix well. Then add the brandy or orange juice and pulse briefly until the mixture comes together.
  • Mix the sugar and mixed spice together.
  • Divide the sugar plum fruit mixture into 12 pieces and then roll into small balls, before rolling them in the spiced sugar to coat them all thoroughly.
  • Cut the pistachios into slivers and cut the cherries into quarters, then push the pistachio slivers and cherry pieces into the top of the sugar plums, to imitate leaves and berries.
  • Place them into small paper cases if you wish and store them in an airtight tin for up to 4 weeks if made with brandy, or up to 2 weeks in the fridge if made with orange juice.
Sweetmeat the Drink

This drink takes the richness of roasted pecans and goes full-on Southern, pairing a nutty-flavored liquid with bourbon and a hint of peach.

INGREDIENTS
  • Ice
  • 1 3/4 ounces bourbon, preferably Belle Meade
  • 1 1/2 ounces Pecan Water (see related recipe)
  • 3 dashes peach bitters
DIRECTIONS

Fill a mixing glass with ice. Add the bourbon, Pecan Water and bitters; stir for 30 seconds, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a coupe glass.

You can find our sweetmeat dishes at Rapscallions, our antique store in Maryland! and on Chairish!

Easy Reference- Furniture Guide

Antique Furniture is one of the most fascinating sections of antique collecting. Primarily because so many of us naturally do what’s most important when collecting antique furniture. We buy what we like.

Most antique furniture tends to be purchased by ordinary everyday people, rather than dedicated antique furniture collectors. In other words, more vintage furniture is acquired for its beauty and function rather than the profit potential of a piece.
But whether you are looking for a piece of antique furniture for your home or looking for something to sell on; to become knowledgeable about identifying antique furniture takes research. And that is even if you are focusing on only one aspect of this very diverse subject.

There are several ways you can identify an antique furniture item.

The first aspect is the joinery; machine-cut furniture was not produced until about 1860. If the piece has drawers, remove a drawer and look carefully where the front and back of the drawer are fastened to the sides of the drawer. If a joint was dovetailed by hand, it has only a few dovetails, and they are not exactly even; if it has closely spaced, precisely cut dovetails, it was machine-cut. Handmade dovetails almost always indicate a piece made before 1860.

It’s easy to spot an antique by the drawers because joints were not machine-cut until about 1860. If it has only a few dovetail joints, with pins narrower than the dovetails, then the joint was made by hand.

Look carefully at the bottom, sides, and back of the drawer; if the wood shows nicks or cuts, it was probably cut with a plane, a spokeshave, or a drawknife. Straight saw marks also indicate an old piece. If the wood shows circular or arc-shaped marks, it was cut by a circular saw, not in use until about 1860.

Exact symmetry is another sign that the piece was machine-made. On handmade furniture, rungs, slats, spindles, rockers, and other small-diameter components are not uniform. Examine these parts carefully; slight differences in size or shape are not always easy to spot. A real antique is very rarely perfectly cut; a reproduction with the same components will be because a machine will have cut it.

The finish on the wood can also date the piece. Until Victorian times, shellac was the only clear surface finish; lacquer and varnish were not developed until the mid-1800s. The finish on furniture, made before 1860, is usually shellac; if the piece is very old, it may be oil, wax, or milk paint. Fine old works are often French-polished, a variation of the shellac finish. A lacquer or varnish finish is a sure sign of later manufacture.

Testing a finish isn’t always possible in a dealer’s showroom, but if you can manage it, identify the finish before you buy. Check the piece in an inconspicuous spot with denatured alcohol; if finish dissolves, it’s shellac. If the piece is painted, test it with ammonia; older pieces may be finished with milk paint, which can be removed only with ammonia. If the piece of furniture is dirty or encrusted with wax, clean it first with a mixture of denatured alcohol, white vinegar, and kerosene, in equal parts.

The type of wood is the final clue. Very early furniture, from the Middle Ages until the beginning of the eighteenth century, is mostly oak, but since the end of the seventeenth century, other woods as walnut and mahogany became the preferred choice among the cabinet makers.

Around the 1670s they came to recognise the better properties of the walnut, which dense grain allowed for lighter and finer shapes of the furniture, and quickly turned into a most fashionable material. However, in the early eighteenth century, the walnuts in central Europe were nearly extinguished by a frosty winter and its numbers were significantly reduced.

Meanwhile in 1730s mahogany became increasingly popular after it was introduced to England, imported from the British colonies in Honduras and the West Indies. The walnuts quickly became almost entirely superseded by the exotic newcomer, which remained the favourite choice for the next century, especially in England and America.

English and American furniture styles

Most antique wooden furniture you will encounter, will either be from traditional English periods or American Colonial styles.

Identifying Antique English Furniture Styles

Queen Anne   1701-1714

  • Style: English Baroque (furniture less heavy than one in French or Italian Baroque)
  • Wood: oak; walnut; also cherry and later mahogany; walnut veneers applied to an oak base for less expensive furniture
  • Form: graceful curves; cabriole legs; claw-and-ball foot
  • Decoration: figured veneers, foliage marquetry, curved legs with carved shells on the knees, lacquered furniture (japanning), gilt furniture

Early Georgian    1714-1760  

  • Style: Palladian style (1720s-1740s); Baroque
  • Wood: walnut; walnut veneers applied to oak furniture; gilt gesso
  • Form: architectural forms; strict symmetry; furniture larger in scale (comfort becomes more important); pad foot introduced; cabriole legs and claw-and-ball foot still widely used
  • Decoration: walnut burr used as a decorative effect; marquetry no longer in fashion; Classical motifs incorporated; japanning

King George II    1727-60

  • Style: Rococo; oriental influences; Gothic influences
  • Wood: Mahogany; pine; gesso
  • Form: Asymmetrical ornaments; chairs with broad square seats
  • Decoration: C and S curves; rocaille; carved foliage; gilding and japanning remained in vogue; chinoiserie; upholstery with rich floral needlework, velvets, or silk damasks

King George III    1760-1820

  • Style: Neoclassical style, Empire style
  • Wood: Mahogany, satinwood used as veneer, rosewood, kingwood, exotic wood
  • Form: Symmetrical design introduced; architectonic forms; previously valued  Baroque and Rococo curves gradually superseded by straight and elegant lines; tapered legs, pad feet
  • Decoration: chiefly used Classical motifs, such as palmettes, vases, bay leaves, Greek keys, griffins, sphinxes, etc.; wood inlays instead of carved decoration; marquetry; parquetry; painting

Regency    (early 19th century)

  • Style: Neoclassical; Exotic style with Japanese, Persian, Turkish, Indian influences
  • Wood: Mahogany; rosewood as a veneer
  • Form: smaller scale; simple, bold curves; more functional; more intimate
  • Decoration: colours used; ancient motifs

Victorian    (late 19th century)

  • Style: greek; Gothic and Rococo influences
  • Wood: Mahogany; walnut; rosewood
  • Form: heavy; massive; substantial
  • Decoration: dark finish; ornate carvings; marble tops used

Identifying Antique American Furniture Styles

American furniture styles have seen a significant number of style periods since the early Colonial era, with each period being to some degree influenced by the pieces being built in Europe (generally England and France).

Early Colonial – 17th century

  • Pine, birch, maple and walnut
  • Hybrid of English styles with square lines, solid construction, heavy decoration and carving.

Late Colonial – 18th century

  • Pine and Mahogany
  • Imported wood with interpretations of Queen Anne and Georgian styles. Formal. Windsor chair.

Federal – Early 19th century

  • Mahogany and Cherry
  • Interpretations of Georgian styles and Duncan Phyfe variations of Sheraton style. Some French influences. Heavier versions of English styles. Boston rocker, Hitchcock chair.

Pennsylvania Dutch – Late 17th to mid-19th century

  • Maple, pine, walnut and fruitwoods
  • Solid, plain, Germanic style. Colourful painted Germanic decorations.

Shaker – Late 18th to mid-19th century

  • Pine and maple
  • Severely functional with no decoration. Superior craftsmanship and excellent design.

Chicken Thighs with White Beans and Escarole

Thanks to food guru Kate Merker

YIELDS:4 TOTAL TIME:0 hours 30 mins

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp. olive oil,

8 small chicken thighs (about 2 pounds total)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 skin-on cloves garlic, plus 2 cloves thinly sliced,

2 sprigs oregano, plus 2 teaspoons chopped,

2 strips lemon rind, thinly sliced, plus 2 tablespoons juice,

1 Dijon mustard

1 small head escarole, trimmed and torn into pieces

1 (15-ounce) can small white beans, rinsed

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook, skin sides down, until skin is golden brown and crisp, 7 to 8 minutes.
  2. Turn chicken skin sides up. Add skin-on garlic and oregano sprigs. Cook until garlic is golden brown and chicken is cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer chicken, garlic, and oregano to a platter.
  3. Add sliced garlic, sliced lemon rind, chopped oregano, and remaining tablespoon oil to skillet. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup water and cook, scraping up any brown bits, 1 minute. Stir in mustard.
  4. Add escarole, in 2 batches if necessary. Season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until escarole is beginning to wilt, 2 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add beans and cook until escarole is tender and beans are heated, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in lemon juice. Serve topped with chicken, skin sides up.

Friday Happy Hour: Cinnamon Maple Whiskey Sour and Come Together

Cinnamon Maple Whiskey Sour

Meet the best whiskey sour recipe—it’s full of bourbon and fresh lemon, sweetened with maple syrup and includes a hint of cinnamon (spice is optional). Feel free to multiply the amounts given below by up to four, if you’d like to make a bigger batch in your cocktail shaker all at once.

INGREDIENTS

Per cocktail

  • 1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoons) Bulleit bourbon or your bourbon of choice
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) fresh lemon juice
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons maple syrup, to taste (I like 3 teaspoons, which is the equivalent of ½ ounce or 1 tablespoon)
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mason jar about two-thirds full with ice. Pour in the bourbon, lemon juice, maple syrup and a pinch of ground cinnamon. Securely fasten the lid and shake well.
  2. Pour fresh ice into your cocktail glass and strain the cold whiskey sour mixture into the glass. Enjoy!

Pomegranate Fizz

Pomegranate Fizz
INGREDIENTS
  • Ice (preferably 1 to 2 large cubes)
  • 4 ounces pomegranate juice
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce dry curaçao
  • 3 dashes orange bitters
  • 2 ounces chilled sparkling brut-style white wine
  • Lemon/kumquat wheels, pomegranate seeds, rosemary sprig and/or grating of nutmeg, for garnish (optional)

Place the ice cubes in a serving bowl and set aside.

In a mixing glass, combine the pomegranate and lemon juices, gin, curaçao and bitters, and stir to combine. Pour the mixture over the ice in the bowl, then top with the chilled sparkling wine. Arrange your garnishes on the surface of the drink, if using, and serve.

The Extraordinary Living History of Blue-and-White

Imagine the frenzy: a novel white porcelain arriving from the East, the surface almost jewel-like in its translucency and hand-brushed in a festival of cobalt decoration. It was a stirring debut 200 years in the making. The exotic blue-and-white wares marched through 16th- and 17th-century Europe like a vivid carnival, fresh off a journey of color and craft that began in southern China, where artisans discovered a chemical kinship between their prized porcelain (made with locally sourced and highly coveted kaolin) and cobalt oxide (the only pigment to withstand porcelain’s high-firing temps). Technology evolved, but the regal color map was, as they say, baked in. In the centuries that followed, artisans across four continents joined the crusade, forging a grand—and global—ceramics tradition. Here, a look at the majestic migration of blue-and-white wares and the decorative imprint etched immortal.

a handprinted illustration of a map of the eastern world

Blue-and-White Ceramics in the Eastern World

Chinese Porcelain
Chinese Porcelain
Chinese Porcelain

CHINESE PORCELAIN

Fourteenth-century artisans in Jingdezhen, China, are the first to fire porcelains decorated with the blue and white underglazes recognizable today. Their muse: cobalt ores just in from the Middle East, worked into dazzling dragons and floral scrolls. 

a handprinted illustrated map of the western world

Blue-and-White Ceramics in the Western World

Italian Medici
Spanish Fajalauza
Spanish Fajalauza

ITALIAN MEDICI

Italians set out to unravel China’s porcelain secret. The Florentine court of the Grand Duke Francesco I de’Medici comes the closest with a soft-paste version, though they lack the translucency of Chinese pieces. Only 59 examples still exist.

16th-century Italian soft-paste porcelain ewer, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Decorating with Blue and White

Shop Blue and White at HSD Catalog

Remembering Paige Rense

MAGAZINE | JAN 3, 2021 | Remembering legendary AD editor Paige RenseBy Kaitlin Petersen

In her 40-year tenure at Architectural Digest, Paige Rense transformed a sleepy regional quarterly into an iconic brand—and catapulted interior designers to stardom along the way.

Editor’s note: Rense passed away on January 1, 2021, at her home in West Palm Beach, Florida. This profile of Rense, originally titled “Star Power,” was published in the Fall 2018 issue of BOH.

Like attracts like. It’s a simple enough premise—and for Paige Rense, it was the key to success when she joined the Architectural Digest staff in 1970. Her unwavering objective was straightforward: to be the best. To do that, she reckoned that she needed the best projects; to attract the best work of premier designers, she assured them that their project would be covered by the best photographers and writers. And as she delivered on that promise again and again, the magazine’s influence—and her own—grew.

Today, Rense lives in West Palm Beach, where she continues to write. She rejects attempts to categorize her meteoric rise as legendary. “Most of what I did seemed obvious,” she says when we sat down for an interview in Rizzoli’s New York offices this summer. She had just made the final edits to her forthcoming book, Architectural Digest: Autobiography of a Magazine, a retrospective that traces AD’s oeuvre from its founding in 1920 as a large-format regional magazine until her departure from the title in 2010. “There was no secret formula at all,” she insists, though she single-handedly shepherded the transformation of the Los Angeles quarterly into a glossy international style arbiter. “It seemed to me that, given the subject matter, designers were key. So I started interviewing them—and they loved it. Then I graduated to architects.” Remembering legendary AD editor Paige RenseIn 1970, Paige Rense appears on the masthead of Architectural Digest for the first time. Arthur Elrod’s Palm Springs house appears in the Spring 1970 issue. Leland Lee © AD courtesy of CondeNastPub

Her first big “get” was legendary San Francisco designer Anthony Hail, who agreed to be interviewed and introduced her to other Bay Area talent. The resulting coverage got the attention of designers nationwide, and she traveled to New York on the coattails of that success. While there, she had lunch with Angelo Donghia, then a star on the rise. “He believed that I would do with the magazine what I said [I would do],” says Rense. Donghia was taken with her vision and in a major coup for the magazine, he showed his own New York townhouse in AD—a story all of the major shelter magazines were after.

There was something special about the magazine, even in the early days of Rense’s tenure. “Rich people don’t usually want to have their homes photographed, but they all want to be in AD,” Donghia told her shortly after his home was published. There was a certain celebrity that came with publication—an appeal Rense actively encouraged. “By showing top designers, other top designers wanted to be in the magazine,” recalls Rense. She also brought a new look and feel to the shelter category, creating stories that amplified a designer’s portfolio by running photographs as full pages and across spreads instead of many smaller images, which was common practice at the time. 

Designer and architect Campion Platt, who credits Rense with launching his career, was one of the professionals lucky enough to be published frequently in her pages. His editorial debut in the magazine, a Manhattan high-rise apartment in the Olympic Tower that belonged to a Malaysian princess, garnered him seven new clients—five immediately, and the others years later. “It was a different time—there were no blogs, no social media,” recalls Platt. “You were lucky if you were published once a year, and AD was the most important place to be on the planet.”Remembering legendary AD editor Paige RenseThe Hamptons home of Truman Capote is featured in AD in 1976. By 1985, Capote is one of the many literary contributors to the magazine, alongside the likes of William Styron, Kurt Vonnegut, Gerald Clarke, John Updike, Susan Sheehan and Judith Thurman. His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales even pens a guest column. Richard Champion © AD courtesy of CondeNastPub

Rense will be the first to tell you that her journey to becoming editor of the magazine was filled with surprises. She applied for the job on the recommendation of a friend after a brief career at Peterson Publications, where she worked under her managing-editor husband, Arthur Rense. In her AD interview, the publisher asked what she would do if she were hired. “I said, ‘Well, first I’d make it good,’” recalls Rense. Following the still-unsolved 1971 murder of Bradley Little, the magazine’s editor in chief, she filled in as his replacement—and eventually got the top job. 

“Every once in a while, she’d call and say, ‘Come have lunch, and bring your latest work,’” recalls architect Marc Appleton, whose projects Rense published often. He even designed her home in Santa Barbara, which, as she reveals in the Rizzoli retrospective, she published anonymously in the magazine; the two later became friends. “I’d come to the office with 15 or 20 slides. She had poor eyesight, so she’d pull out a magnifying glass, and in the space of literally one minute, she would look at everything I’d done and decide what she was interested in—‘No, no, maybe, yes, maybe, no, yes.’ And then we’d go have lunch.”

Designer Sandra Nunnerley also remembers meetings with Rense. “She wanted to know what you were doing, see what your interests were and what you were working on,” says Nunnerley. “It was understood that you’d go to her first with new projects, before the other magazines. She was so supportive of my career and my work, so I always did.” Many designers recall the editor’s emphasis on exclusivity. Platt tells the story of a project he had photographed and submitted to Rense: “She was keen to publish it,” he says. “Then, one Sunday morning, she saw a 1-inch-by-1-inch photo of the space in the real estate section of The New York Times—the couple had decided to list it—and that was it.” Rense was no longer interested. “She had to be the first; she was a stickler about that. It’s in my book, which was published in 2010, but I never did get that project published [in a magazine].”Remembering legendary AD editor Paige RenseIn the 1980s, the magazine’s circulation swelled to nearly half a million. The White House appears on the cover of the December 1981 issue when Rense publishes photos of the Reagans’s private quarters. Derry Moore © AD courtesy of CondeNastPub

As the mystique of the publication grew, Rense introduced the AD100—a list of top designers—in a stand-alone bonus issue in August 1990. (The next iteration focused exclusively on architects; subsequent editions merged the two.) It was immediately regarded as the definitive who’s who of top architects and designers—and became a wellspring of exclusive talent for AD.

“She ran things with a severe grip,” says Appleton, who graced the list for the entirety of Rense’s tenure. “But if you were on the AD100, why would you go anywhere else? I was quite content to be published in her magazine.” Like Platt, another longtime AD100 honoree, Appleton says that the frequent exposure in AD’s pages helped propel his career. “What I came to admire as I experienced the magazine over the years was that she put great stock in the writers and photographers, as well as the design and architectural talent she represented. I think that explains a lot of her success—the writing, the pictures, and the work were all consistently good.”

The work of photographer Mary E. Nichols often graced the magazine’s pages. “She was a perfectionist,” says Nichols of shooting for Rense. “There was no tolerance for photographs that weren’t technically perfect.” Unlike at today’s heavily-produced shoots, Nichols and her photography assistant were often the only representatives of the magazine on site. Nichols arrived armed with Rense’s instructions for each project—ghastly window treatments or vulgar artwork to avoid, for example—but her mission was to capture the home the way the architect or designer intended it to be, not a stylist’s interpretation of the space. “She wanted everything [in the pictures] to feel like you were there—like you had just arrived in the room and it was ready for you. She wanted that integrity.” Even with all of her celebrity subjects, Rense rejected spaces that felt artificial. “I wanted reality,” insists Rense. “I didn’t want a stylist—that has always seemed fake to me. I wanted the reality of whatever was there.”Architectural Digest: Autobiography of a Magazine.Rense’s book, published by Rizzoli in 2018, chronicles the magazine’s history.Courtesy of Rizzoli

Rense weathered changing ownership, forging a cordial relationship with the late S.I. “Si” Newhouse, the longtime chairman of Condé Nast, when the esteemed media company purchased the magazine from Knapp Communications in 1993. “Si asked me to lunch [after the acquisition]. I said, ‘Do I report to you now?’ And he said, ‘You don’t report to anyone—but you have lunch with me whenever you come to New York.’ He was so wonderful and supportive.” Rense also adapted to the comings and goings of competitors—and the fickle nature of such a public job. In the forthcoming book, she chronicles her meetings, and sometimes ensuing friendships, with designers, celebrities and socialites, but also the constant pitches, and the finer points of saying no. Rejecting a home, she muses, is akin to rejecting its designer—something she tried never to do in person.

“Paige built a stable of super-talented people that were also longtime, loyal friends,” says Platt. “It worked both ways: She was going to be loyal to you and build your career; in return, you were going to hold the line and come to her first. I know people who stepped the wrong way and were shut out. She had an absolute grip on the top end of the interior design business for decades. To get an audience with her, to have her want to visit your projects, was a very special thing.”

That control, say designers who know Rense, is what cemented the magazine’s place among an ever-widening audience of design enthusiasts. “She is a tough lady, and she ran the magazine for so long,” says Platt. “It was really her; she was making all these decisions by herself all those years. But she never had an ego about it. She was all about the work.”

Homepage photo: One of Rense’s favorite portraits, taken by her late husband | Kenneth NolandThis article originally appeared in Fall 2018 issue of Business of Home, Issue 9. Subscribe or become a BOH Insider for more.

Aunt Adele’s Befana Cookies

The third recipe of our series was shared with us by Andrea Berti, the 4th generation owner of Coltellerie Berti, whose beautiful handmade knives have been available from MATCH for over a decade.

“Each year on Epiphany, my wife’s family, from the great grandparents to the great grandchildren, gather for lunch after the children joyfully open their stockings. At these celebrations everyone enjoys Aunt Adele’s Befana cookies.”

ingredients (Approximately 24 cookies)

  • 1¼ cups flour (300g)
  • ½ cup sugar (100g)
  • ⅔ cup melted butter (150g)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3 egg yolks (plus one separate yolk for brushing)
  • 1 tablespoon Marsala wine or dark rum
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • Sugar sprinkles for decoration

step 1
In a large bowl beat the yolks and sugar until foamy.

step 2
Add the flour and melted, cooled butter. Mix until there are no lumps.

step 3
Add the Marsala (or rum), orange zest, honey, and baking powder. Stir to combine.

step 4
Cover with plastic and refrigerate for two hours.

step 5
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to approx. ⅓ inch (1cm) thickness.

step 6
Cut into shapes with cookie cutters and place them onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

step 7
Brush the tops with egg yolk and decorate with sprinkles. Bake at 350° for 10-15 min until golden brown, but not too dark.

Buon appetito!

Whats in the picture ?

Round Tray with Handles

ROUND TRAY WITH HANDLES

  • 12.6″ DIA
  • ITEM A359.0
  • $340
Convivio Espresso Cup with Saucer

CONVIVIO ESPRESSO CUP WITH SAUCER

  • 2.5″ DIA X 2.6″ H, 2.5 OZ
  • ITEM 1532.0
  • $88
Pedestal Tray, Sm.

PEDESTAL TRAY, SM.

  • 8.3″ DIA X 4.7″ H
  • ITEM 1249.0
  • $320
Britannia Creamer

BRITANNIA CREAMER

  • 3″ H, 6.8 OZ
  • ITEM 1253.0
  • $212
Britannia Tray

BRITANNIA TRAY

  • 19.7″ L X 15.7″ W
  • ITEM 1255.0
  • $795
Britannia Sugar Bowl

BRITANNIA SUGAR BOWL

  • 2.6″ H, 7.4 OZ
  • ITEM 1251.0
  • $254
Convivio Salad/Dessert Plate

CONVIVIO SALAD/DESSERT PLATE

  • 8.5″ DIA
  • ITEM 1503.0
  • $110
Violetta Espresso Spoon

VIOLETTA ESPRESSO SPOON

  • 4.8″ L
  • ITEM 1314.2
  • $27
Espresso Cup with Saucer

ESPRESSO CUP WITH SAUCER

  • 2.2″ DIA X 2.4″ H, 2.7 OZ
  • ITEM 710.0
  • $132

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RAPSCALLIONS, Maryland

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Omnibus signed into law over weekend has major wins on horse racing, slaughter and soring

horses grazing on grass
The new law includes measures to stop the widespread drugging of racehorses and to keep horse slaughter plants in the United States shuttered. It also boosts funding to end horse “soring”. Photo by Alexia Khruscheva/iStock.com

With the signing of the omnibus bill this past weekend, U.S. federal law now includes critical protections for horses we have fought hard for over many years. These include measures to stop the widespread drugging of racehorses and provide increased track safety, keep horse slaughter plants in the United States shuttered, and boost funding to stop the cruel soring of Tennessee walking horses and related breeds.

These are historic achievements, and we’re proud to share the details with you.

Racehorses: The law includes the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (S. 4547/H.R. 1754), to address the doping of racehorses and require that the tracks they run on be safe. The law will establish an independent, national authority that contracts with the United States Anti-Doping Agency to oversee drug enforcement. It will put in place uniform and rigorous rules, testing and penalties to address the abuse of pain-masking and performance-enhancing drugs that are key contributing factors to frequent fatalities on American racetracks.

According to news reports, at least eight horses on average died at racetracks each week during the 2019 racing season. The new law will create a committee tasked with mandating enhanced racetrack safety protocols to protect both racehorses and jockeys. This is an especially important win for us because we have long worked with serious-minded reformers in the horse racing industry to address racehorse deaths on the tracks, including through the creation of the National Horse Racing Advisory Council made up of industry professionals and specialists.

Horse slaughter: We helped secure a rider in the law ensuring that no taxpayer money will be allocated to fund U.S. Department of Agriculture inspections of horse slaughter plants, ensuring that they cannot reopen. This provision is necessary to stop the return of the predatory horse slaughter industry in the United States and it has been in place for all but two years since 2005. An overwhelming majority of Americans—80%—agree that horse slaughter for human consumption is an inherently cruel practice that should be permanently banned. This is also a food safety issue: American horses are not fit for human consumption because they are not raised under the regulatory restrictions required for animals raised for food. Horses in this country routinely receive drugs and medications that are specifically banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in food animals due to their toxicity to humans.

Horse soring: The law doubles the FY 2020 funding level for USDA enforcement of the Horse Protection Act to over $2 million to address the “soring” of Tennessee walking horses and related breeds. Soring is the intentional infliction of pain on the horses’ hooves and legs to get them to perform a pain-based and artificial high-stepping gait for the show ring called the “big lick.” We’ll be working in the coming year to secure passage of the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act (S. 1007/H.R. 693 in the current Congress), a bill that would decisively crack down on soring. The bill passed the House in the 116th Congress by an overwhelming bipartisan vote and is cosponsored by a majority in the Senate. We will also work with the Biden administration to swiftly reinstate a rule that would strengthen enforcement against soring, as the omnibus package urges the USDA to do. The rule, shelved in 2017, would end the failed system of industry self-policing and use of devices integral to soring, accomplishing much of what the PAST Act would do.

We achieved many more victories for animals in the omnibus bill this year, and each one has taken months of tireless, round-the-clock work by our staff and members of Congress sympathetic to our cause. We are grateful to every one of them. We are also grateful to you for your support: for calling and writing to your members of Congress to support these measures and for keeping them front and center.

Let’s take a moment today to celebrate these landmark wins for horses and for all animals. In coming months we will be watching closely to ensure solid implementation of the new measures concerning horse racing, and we will continue to press forward to ensure that the cruelty of horse soring ends once and for all. We will also be pushing for the passage of the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act to permanently ban the brutal slaughter of American horses both here and abroad. The road ahead is long, but we’re in it until these measures to protect American equines cross the finish line.

Thanks to Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund for her dilligent work here and for the info included here.

Why Buying Made in the USA is important

As a shop owner, I spend a lot of time apologizing for delayed shipments, delayed Customs and months-long manufacturing delays. While I am a big believer in importing unique items for our customers- I find it harder every day to recommend items that are also made here. The throw away culture that created the massive imported furnishing market needs to be rethought by buyers. Whether you think Globally or Nationally, there are excellent reasons to shop Made in the USA. In our stores and on our website, we are delighted to give you Made in the USA options…and here is why.

JOBS

It’s about keeping and creating jobs to allow our citizens to provide for themselves and their families. When you purchase domestically, you are helping to sustain and strengthen our economy for generations to come and secure future business within America.

American manufacturing means investment and finance for the American economy.  The more that is pushed into national manufacturing, the more the nation’s economy will reap the benefits…and jobs!

QUALITY

In most cases, we make better quality products and not only that,  products manufactured here are usually built with higher quality components, which increases the longevity of products. … Made in USA is built to last.

JUSTICE

When products are made in the US, federal and local governments can control working conditions and ensure that minimum wages are paid and proper laws are upheld. Importing goods from abroad means that we do not have that level of control and transparency. Sweatshops are rampant in third-world countries where many products are manufactured. While we have un-linked ourselves from Brands where abuses have been reported, we simply cannot tell what happens abroad.

ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE

Current technologies allow manufacturing processes in the US to lean toward cleaner, renewable, and eco-friendly practices. If we invest in American-made products, we can be sure that we are doing our part to contribute to a cleaner environment for our generation, not to mention the generations to come. Can we do better? Yes but many other countries don’t even recognize the problem.

RELIABILITY

Unlike 30 years ago when American plants were not as fast and quality driven and labor costs kept prices high, and forced manufacturing overseas…USA companies that remained or have since opened have concentrated on quality. They are also very consistent.

As a shop owner, I spend a lot of time apologizing for delayed shipments, delayed Customs and months-long manufacturing delays. While I am a big believer in importing unique items for our customers- I find it harder every day to recommend items that can be made here. throw away culture

What about the cost?

Many Americans are in a position to buy the very best and so it is easy to recommend American made goods. Many Americans need to choose by price and must sacrifice longevity to meet their immediate needs. And we spend a good deal of time ensuring that we only represent the best of those imported products. But the last group of buyers is who I would like to reach. With the emergence of Sezzle, Affirm and other Pay over time options- Americans should be looking to upgrade quality. So while, we do pay in this country for good working conditions and quality manufacturing: we are also paying down the deficit, improving the economy, creating jobs and retaining an industry within our shores.

SHOP Made in the USA

Christmas Putz Display – An Old American Custom

Our antique division was lucky this weekend to find two wooden Putz or Christmas Houses at an auction nearby. Because they com from this area, you would think it might be easier to find these little beauties,,,but it has been more difficult than we imagined, So we felt really fortunate to find 2 in one lot.

We cannot wait to add these to our collection!

Weeks before the Christmas holidays, the children in 19th century Bethlehem, Nazareth, and other Moravian communities along the Lehigh River in Pennsylvania, made up little parties to go on expeditions in search of moss, ferns, gravel, and bright-hued stones to be used in Putz building. These excursions constituted one of the most enjoyable features of an old custom.

TURN-OF-THE-CENTURY RARE PUTZ LUFFA TREE; AN IDEAL PUTZ ACCESSORY FOR A WIDE VARIETY OF ITEMS, FROM FARM BUILDINGS AND ANIMALS, TO HOUSES. LUFFA (A NATURAL FIBROUS PRODUCT MADE FROM A GOURD) WAS USED IN THE EARLY PUTZ SCENES OF THE SAME ERA WAY BEFORE BOTTLEBRUSH TREES BECAME AVAILABLE.

A Putz was a Pennsylvania-Dutch miniature landscape, with varied figures, structures and animals. Some of these scenes were made on a grand scale; but smaller ones, equally pretty, and not so difficult to manage, were arranged at the foot of the Christmas tree. The tree was placed on a table, or, better still, was set in a large dry goods box with boards placed across the top of the box, as a foundation for the Putz.

The Moravian Putz probably had the same origin as the Christmas crib that was set up in Roman Catholic churches at Christmastide. The latter is a more or less elaborate embellishment representing the stable at Bethlehem, with figures of the Virgin and Holy Child, St. Joseph, the three kings of the Orient, an ox, a donkey, sheep, and shepherds. The custom of erecting cribs in churches began during the thirteenth century in the Franciscan order; even today Christmas cribs are found in many Catholic houses.

The Putz is the same idea secularized, and probably originated in Germany—the source of many good old Christmas customs—at the time of the Reformation. The Moravians brought the custom of Putz building from the fatherland on their immigration to America, and continued the tradition through passing generations. It is probable that on Christmas Eve, 1741, when Count Zinzendorf, named the Moravian settlement on the Lehigh, Bethlehem, a Putz adorned the little log building in which he and his brethren were first assembled.

Christmas 9.5" Vintage Putz Christmas House Lg Lighted - Decorative  Figurines : Target
Modern day Putz Display houses can be found and enjoyed from many sources!