Monday, February 27, 2012

Strawberry Festival Party




                              Yesterday I shared some entertaining ideas for a fun Strawberry Festival Party and today I'm sharing a collection of vintage offerings from the best shops on Etsy all $25.00 or under. Whether you'd like to incorporate some spring time strawberry items in your kitchen or looking for the perfect entertaining serve ware for your Strawberry Festival party these quality items are sure to please and perfectly fit the theme.

If you would like to purchase am item just click the listing and it will take you to the shop/listing!  Fabulous and frugal and delivered to your doorstep!  What could be easier!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Florida Strawberry Season

Florida Strawberry Season Festivities


It's been a mild winter here in Florida this year.  Indeed, you could hardly call it winter, with warm days and cool nights, not good for those of us who look forward to fires in the fireplace, but perfect for growing strawberries!  Unlike last years expensive freeze ravaged fruit, this year we have a beautiful bumper crop and the prices are astoundingly low, under $9.00 for a flat of perfect ruby red strawberry jewels.  Even in the grocery stores strawberries are running about $2.00 a quart on sale!  Perfectly priced for a strawberry feast!  Typically, in the south, around Valentines Day dessert delights shift from all things citrus, like lemon and orange pound and bundt cakes, to all things Strawberry.

You'll find every Strawberry dessert under the Florida sun offered.  From fancy chocolate covered strawberries, the men strawberries dressed in formal tuxedo wear and the women strawberries dressed in white chocolate gowns, to strawberry pie, and naturally strawberry shortcake.  The local French Bakeries are offering yummy tartlets with wonderful light and flaky butter crusts filled with silky pastry cream and topped with slices of perfect red strawberries.  At Sunday dinner, no one would be surprised to see the cake ladies beautiful white cake split into four layers, each layer stuffed with sugary strawberries, drizzled with juice and an layer of lightly sweetened whip cream, topped with jewel red slices of perfect strawberries!  Is it dessert time yet?  So many strawberry desserts so little time!

My Mother's favorite way to serve strawberries was to make individual meringues pipped into the shape of shallow bowls.  Just before serving, she'd spread the bottom of each bowl with a heaping tablespoon of lemon curd then dress with sliced sugared strawberries and whipped cream.  Beautiful on the plate and easy to serve because the meringues can be made ahead.  A true seasonal treat as humidity is the enemy of meringue and every southern cook, this can only be served during the dry months here in the swamps of Florida.  Elegant yet simple this desert would look fabulous on these bread and butter plates (below), which will do double duty for dessert, offered by Denise and Lizzie in their Etsy shop ClassicTableware for a family Sunday dinner or an intimate celebration.

Available on Etsy using this link:  http://www.etsy.com/listing/84429718/royalton-china-co-golden-elegance-plates



Now is the time to enjoy Florida strawberries whose season runs from December through March and each year here in Central Florida the season is topped with the annual Florida Strawberry Festival, located in Plant City, just west of Lakeland about an hours drive from Orlando.  This years theme is "Growing Sweet Memories" and the old fashioned festival runs from March 1st through March 11th.  This year promises carnival rides, a selection of music from Blue Grass to Rock, pig racing and naturally a Strawberry Shortcake Eating Contest!

The Downtown Farmers Curb Market offered free Strawberry Shortcake 2/25/2012
The Downtown Farmer Curb Market, Lakeland, FL


If you're not close enough to enjoy the Festival here in Florida, why not make your own sweet memories by creating an old fashioned Strawberry Festival in your home and invite family and friends for a Sunday afternoon filled with fun.  Inexpensive and easy recipes like pulled pork sandwiches, decked out potato skins and a tossed spinach salad with sliced strawberries dressed with a slightly sweet honey lime dressing will mean you get to enjoy all the fun with your guests.  Naturally, you'll want to serve Strawberry Shortcake for desert!  Keep it simple by serving iced tea and coffee.  I estimate serving about 17 to 22 people for about $50.00 with this menu.  Now that's fabulous frugal entertaining and memory making!  If you would like recommendations on recipes for this menu send me an email at theinspiredtrader@gmail.com.

Available on Etsy using this link:  http://www.etsy.com/listing/91656182/vintage-white-ironstone-pfaltzgraff


Organizing an old fashioned Strawberry Festival is the perfect excuse to expand your vintage entertaining housewares which will also come in handy for Easter!  My friend Laura from, OceansideCastle vintage, has a beautiful set of  Pfaltzgraff coffee cups, saucers and dessert plates (above) offered in her shop on Etsy.  It takes just a moment to picture your fabulous strawberry desert on these plates served with freshly brewed coffee.  Yum!

So set the mood with your vintage table cloth and napkins and celebrate strawberry season serving buffet style!  Get the kids involved with dessert by having a strawberry hulling and slicing contest.  It's easy and safe when you use plastic picnic knives!  Prizes can be vintage Little Golden Books or Strawberry Shortcake figures also found on Etsy.  All the planning is done, now it's time to have fun!



Living the vintage lifestyle makes life's moments together special!  Enjoy!  Deb


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Nikki Schumann Calendar Art Lithograph Posters

One of the most fun and rewarding things about owning a vintage shop on Etsy is the incredible feeling you get when you're on the hunt for treasures and find something like these vintage lithograph posters by Nikki Schumann in perfect condition!  For just a moment you travel back though space and time.  These transported me back to the 1970's and 1980's when I had Nikki's happy calendars hanging on my kitchen wall.  Nikki Schumann was one of the most popular calendar artists in the United States and brought whimsy combined with a Maine sensibility to her artwork.  Known for her use of primary colors, each piece she created perfectly captured the emotions of the season.

Another lovely aspect of her calendars wasn't what was included, but rather what wasn't, the year.  Only the month and days were printed, not only honoring the clean design but also allowing her beautiful creations to be used over and over again.  Just in case you didn't know, calendars can be reused, if you are interested you can find which years correspond via a quick online search.  Any 1984, 1956 or 1928 calendar can be reused this year of 2012.  How fun is that!


Naturally, when I found this Portfolio of 20, 11 x 14, Lithograph Calendar Art Posters I couldn't pass it up.  While you can find her Calendar Portfolios available online, finding the Art Posters without the months and days is a rare treat!  Themes centered around architecture, water, family, nature and celebrated the simple things.  Capturing the moment of bliss found in watching a wedding, children at play, seasonal treats, collections and the rituals that make life special.

Although Nikki retired in 2001, she has a wonderful web site where she offers her hand signed prints, a resource which I used to date some of my prints.  Beyond what I found on Nikki's web site, researching wasn't easy, and I still have one print (pictured to the left) which I can not find the title or the month only the year 1984.  Again as a reminder of life's simple pleasures, she always kept her titles simple too, so I have imagined this one would be called Rock Garden.






Already a Nikki Schumann fan and searching for more information?  Perhaps you are just like I was at the beginning my research for this listing.  Loving research and history, I thought it would be nice to begin a reference resource for her work within the 20 Calendar Art Lithograph Posters I researched.  Below you'll find the information I gleaned for the full set of 20 prints, published in the 1986 Portfolio, selected from Nikki's Calendars bridging the years between the years of 1976 and 1986.  Enjoy!

Nikki Schumann "Beach House" July, 1986 Calendar

Nikki Schumann "Porch with Wicker" September, 1980 Calendar

Nikki Schumann "Quilt Store" February, 1981 Calendar

Nikki Schumann "Woman in Hammock" July, 1984 Calendar

Nikki Schumann "Conservatory" May, 1984 Calendar




















Nikki Schumann "Dreaming Lady" March, 1977 Calendar

























Nikki Schumann "Baskets" February, 1982 Calendar




Nikki Schumann "Teapots" April, 1982 Calendar

Nikki Schumann "Summer Wedding" June, 1981 Calendar



Nikki Schumann "Lobster Dinner" July, 1979 Calendar




Nikki Schumann "Matchbox Trucks" November, 1984 Calendar


Nikki Schumann "Unknown Title"  Unknown Month, 1984
(if you have any information on this print please leave a comment)

Nikki Schumann  "College Yard" October, 1984 Calendar

Nikki Schumann "Christmas Lights" December, 1979 Calendar

Nikki Schumann "Leeks" September, 1981 Calendar

Nikki Schumann "Sheep with Pumpkins" October, 1983 Calendar
Nikki Schumann "Fall Wood Pile" November, 1981 Calendar
Nikki Schumann "Seals on Rocks" July, 1982 Calendar



Nikki Schumann "Mussel Shells" August, 1980 Calendar

Nikki Schumann "Blueberry Muffins" July, 1983 Calendar

A Portfolio of Prints by Nikki Schumann Cover Page with Portfolio Envelope

Copyrighted materials.  All rights remain with the artist.  Please do not copy any of the photographs on this page without the express permission of both the artist and myself.