Tuesday, June 29, 2010

'Ello! London Calling!

'Ello, mates!  We're feeling our Anglo roots a bit more again these days...
take a look at our new inventory additions and you'll see it's true!

One of the additions (re-intro's, actually) is our reunion with
Emma Bridgewater and the wonderful range of tableware and other 
fun accessories that only she can come up with.

If you've been a customer of The Beautiful Life for a while,
you'll remember that for years and years we were a major Bridgewater stockist --
we had many, many patterns and just about every available piece within each pattern
(plates and bowls of all sizes, serving pieces, mugs galore, etc.).

But... in my ever-changing womanly mind, I began a pursuit of all things French and 
(boy I hate to admit this) I left my "first love" of all things British.  

Lately, though... I've begun to miss stocking those fabulous pieces of Bridgewater pottery,
so we are once again carrying that truly amazing range of tableware
and I couldn't be more excited.

My own kitchen is chock full of the stuff -- and I will tell you for certain, each piece is as 
perfect and gorgeous as the day I set it in my cupboards about 10 years ago!
{{And trust me, we USE it -- we don't handle it with kid gloves, either.}}

The stuff is just simply amazing -- truly made to be used and withstand the rigors of daily, true 
family-style use.  
This is not "precious" dinnerware that the kids have to be afraid of
and I love that it is COMPLETELY MICRO-WAVE/DISHWASHER safe.

If you are not familiar with Emma Bridgewater and her fabulous pottery in the UK, 
I beg of you, watch these videos -- they are delightful!

She would be a great blogger - she is so down-to-earth and as a young mother of several
children, but also a wildy successful international business owner, she no doubt shares many of the
same day-to-day experiences we do.  She is a real treasure - not at all stuffy or "corporate", 
Emma shares her business with her husband Matthew and together they are an 
unstoppable creative team.

Here are the two videos that take you on a delightful, fun tour of the Bridgewater factory
in Stoke-on-Trent, UK  -- fun to see how these fabulous pieces are created and end up 
ultimately in our kitchens!





Even more fab finds with an English theme....

No, no... we haven't deserted the Nordic-French or the French
looks -- but certainly there is room for another of our Continental friends, right?

In fact, I believe you will find that in particular, the
and the
WHITE TOAST & MARMALADE pattern from Bridgewater
 are seemingly TAILOR-MADE for the fairer, more delicate tones we've come to love
in the Nordic-French look.

In fact, I'm fairly certain that had you seen these same pieces from the Bridgewater collection
shown in either Jeanne d'Arc Living or Vakre Hjem Interiors magazines, you'd
be sure they originated right in Scandinavia.

So welcome aboard Emma Bridgewater and make room for the Brit-themed paper goods.

After all, when it comes to decor and decorating, we're ALL ABOUT MIXING IT UP, 
so dust off your best English accent and head over to 
the shop and have a look!


{{Below are a couple of other products not yet in, but on the
order list -- plus, there are still more things shipping to us
over the next month or so,
Stay tuned!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

If You Own A MacBook, You HAVE To See This Laptop Cover! (WHY didn't I think of this??)

Ever Wish Your MacBook Were More "Bookish"?

You've just got to check out these hardback, all leather padded laptop cases made to look like
classic leather-bound books!!

My sweet sister, Minnie, emailed me a link to these and I knew
I had to share them with you, too!!

I've been in the market for a while now for just the right laptop....

Hmm.... how like me to choose a laptop 
based on a fabulous CASE I found that I love.  
HAHA!  Silly girl... 

They're not only very handsome, they look very well made...

They come in either vintage-y black or red :

They zip up tight for protection...

Then unzip, and VOILA - you are in business...
ready to get down to business.

Or blogging.



By the way, so far, these cases are recommended only for the 
MacBook Pro.  Technically you could put a regular MacBook into it, but they have
found that the white plastic outer case of the regular MacBook
sometimes gets stained over time by whatever material is on the inside
of the cover.
{The MacBook Pro laptops all have a stainless steel shell, so staining
is not an issue.}

A similar cover for the iPad is in the works and they offer a few other
fun laptop accessories as well... though none quite as fabulous as
this leather "book" cover.  

What a great idea -- and as one who has a "thing" for vintage books anyway,
this cover is now on my BEST SELLER list for sure.

You can find them by clicking HERE.

Now... speaking of online shopping (we were, weren't we??)...

Box upon box has been arriving here, chock full of new things the likes of
which you've just GOTTA SEE.

Well.... as soon as they get placed on the site, that is.




Wednesday, June 16, 2010

One Hundred Eighty Bottles Hung On The Ceiling! You've Got To See This!


So... we sell these fabulous reproduction FRENCH BOTTLE DRYING RACKS...

You know the ones...

Well just look at what a local restaurant did with the three they ordered from us!!

These beauties now hang in THE most fabulous place to eat in the
Tampa Bay area --- DATZ DELI & FOODIE'S MARKET

They bought the three racks from us a while back but then had to wait...
and wait...
and wait...
until they had 180 matching bottles to suspend on the 60 prongs-per-rack.

They wired the racks with what looks like tube lighting and...


Some of the most amazing light fixtures.

 They are  PERFECT for their fabulous 
restaurant/deli/gourmet food market 
(there really aren't enough words to describe all that this place really is!).

{{By the way, they even have a whole separate blog
with ALL KINDS of recipes!!

You can also look them up on FACEBOOK

I am so excited to see the pictures now that the chandeliers are done BUT I plan to go see them 
IN PERSON in the next week!

(We went for dinner a week or two ago and JUST MISSED seeing them
hung -- so we will just HAVE to go back, huh?  

It's tough work, but SOMEONE'S gotta do it, right?

To see another sweet customer's crafty way of turning this item
into a light fixture, check out this blog post from last year to see how
Donna turned one into yet another amazing fixture!


Monday, June 14, 2010

JUST ARRIVED! The Next Issue Of Vakre Hjem & Interiør!!

Well look what just got delivered to our doorstep!


They are IN STOCK -- as in READY TO SHIP!

No pre-ordering necessary --
just point,
and we ship!

Here's a taste of what's inside:

Saturday, June 12, 2010

City Street Beautification At It's Best... Art Knows No Bounds!

Artist Aakash Nihalani's approach to sharing his wealth of talent is 
so refreshing!  

Rather than being pent up in a gallery, his art is shared with the masses right on the street.

Form follows function for sure in his art!

Just look what he did for a local city ice cream truck!
Tricked out wheels for sure!
{Photo courtesy of Flickr}


It looks as though his medium of choice is good old cardboard and colored tape.
Oh, and a box cutter.


Just wanted to share this with you and wish you a wonderful weekend.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Jeanne d'Arc Living Magazine PRICE ROLL-BACK Starting With The Next Issue!

{Man! Isn't this a gorgeous cover!}

It isn't often a shop gets to actually
REDUCE the price back down to a previous level for it's customers.

But hooray-hooray, today was one such day!  

Thanks to currency fluctuations between the Euro and the dollar,
our cost-per-issue of the Jeanne d'Arc Living magazine has actually
gone DOWN!


And I don't know if you recall or not, 
but I promised you that if and when we 
ever saw a decrease again in our costs to obtain the magazine, we would
pass the savings back on to you...

Well I remember saying it to you...

And as such, I am keeping my end of the bargain and rolling back the price
to pre-2010 pricing ($25.00/issue)!!!

It's been what, four issues now, at $35.00?  
I'm SO thrilled to be able to give you all a breather and go back down
to the lesser price. 

You've all been just so very faithful to continue to buy the magazine even at it's
higher price point and I am honestly giddy about being able to pass on
a bit of a price DECREASE for a change!

The 5th issue looks as yummy as ever -- a predominant feature one
lovely baths... a section devoted to making old-looking signs (now this has me
completely intrigued!!), recipes perfect for summer, and of course beautiful
features on flowers/gardening.

Here's a wee bit of a sneak peek:

Our order for our supply of the next issue (issue #5) has
officially been placed and we've already created a pre-order page on the site for it...

Enjoy the savings and have a look at our other new things on
our new items page, too!
You'll find that by clicking HERE


Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Few New Bits & Pieces Added Into Inventory... Have A Look!

It's new inventory time again and before things sort of 
get away from me in the all the hub-ub of things,
I wanted to be sure and 


for a moment and let you see a bit of what has been photographed and put
up on the site so far.

You can see details of all these and few other things by simply clicking over to 

There are many, many new things on the way and they all seem to sort of 
have a definite "theme", I think.

Oh.... did you think I was going to 

You're so funny....

Nope.  Sorry.

But it won't be long....and don't you just love a surprise anyway?

Okay, I'll drop a teeny tiny hint... :

Just when you think we've settled into a certain decor "niche" or
we've made a sharp turn and we've off in a different direction.

How was that?  
Sorry, that's all I'm saying.

Hee hee!!

Oh by the way...
I made the Krispy Kreme donut desserts and 



And not as out of this world too-too sweet like I'd imagined!
But then... this is MY standard I'm measuring by....so....  

Have a great weekend!

"Okay Ya'll, This Recipe Is So Good It'll Bring Tears To Ya Eyes." (said in my best Paula Deen accent).

So yesterday was National Donut Day and as much as I trumped it up on my
Facebook page, alas, I did not indulge.

Honey, I'm makin' up for that this weekend....

I have actually found recipes using Krispy Kreme donuts --


Yes -- recipes actually incorporating Krispy Kreme donuts in the mix 
(I will admit, I've dreamed of such a thing, but never knew it 
actually existed!).

Here are just a few of the sites I found dedicated to baking with Krispy Kreme donuts:

(for the FoodNetwork link, you can uncover more recipes for KK donuts by doing a search within their website)

This weekend my first attempt is going to be Krispy Kreme Donut Bread Pudding:

* 24 Krispy Kreme glazed donuts, cut into cubes.
* One can of condensed (not evaporated) milk.
* Two 8.5-ounce cans of peaches in heavy syrup.
(there are versions of this recipe that call for cans of fruit cocktail/juice).
* Dash of salt.
* Three eggs, beaten.
* Two teaspoons of ground cinnamon. 
*Raisins, pecans - optional.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. ...
Put the donut cubes into a large bowl, then cover with the remaining ingredients. Let it sit for a few minutes, then stir until the donuts have soaked up most of the liquids. 
Pour the mixture into a 13x9x2 baking dish and spread evenly. Cook for one hour, or until the center congeals. 
With about 15 minutes left in the baking time,  make the butter rum sauce:

* Melt two sticks of butter in a saucepan.
* Slowly add the entire contents of a 1-pound bag of confectioner's sugar, stirring it into the melted butter.
* Add rum or vanilla flavor to taste, and heat as needed to get a sauce-like consistency

Remove the bread pudding from the oven and let it cool a bit. Cut into squares, and top each with the butter rum sauce.

If I'm successful with the bread pudding, this just may prove to be the "gateway drug" propelling me on to
Krispy Kreme Chocolate Donut Cake and
Krispy Kreme Donut Cheesecake....and others.

Stay tuned.   :)


I will NOT be attempting ANYTHING even closely resembling this nastiness:
(my apologies to anyone who does indeed like this)

Oh sure... looks "okay" in the photo above, but in actual execution, LOOK AT THIS:
DISGUSTING!  (Note how I chose to make these two
pictures significantly smaller -- no need to see more of this than ncessary....)

So, NO DOUNT BURGERS for this girl!
(Queasy just looking at these pics!)

I'm excited to get started on the bread pudding recipe and if turns out good, I may share it with my Bible study class Sunday morning.  

Since these recipes have been described as 
"diabetic KRYPTONITE", if you don't hear from me in a few
days, somebody check on me, okay?  

Let me know if you decide to try the bread pudding recipe or any others
from the links above.

This could get interesting!!

Enjoy your weekend, ya'll!   ;)


Krispy Kreme Chocolate Fudge Cake Unbuckled

Yield: 8 servings

Preparation: 5 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Refrigerate: 30 minutes

8 Krispy Kreme Chocolate Fudge Cake doughnuts featuring Hershey’s® cocoa, quartered
1 (16-ounce) package fresh or frozen strawberries, sliced and divided
4 tablespoons water
⅓ cup sugar
4½ teaspoons lemon juice
1 (8-ounce) package softened cream cheese
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (8-ounce) container frozen nondairy whipped topping, thawed


1. In a 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan, arrange Chocolate Fudge Cake doughnut pieces in a single layer. This should fit snuggly but should not be crowded or smashed together. 

2. Reserve half (8 oz) of the sliced strawberries for garnish. 

3. In a small saucepan, combine 4 oz of the sliced strawberries, water, sugar and 2½ teaspoons lemon juice. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add remaining 4 oz of strawberries and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring frequently. Let cool.

4. Beat cream cheese in a bowl at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add condensed milk and remaining 2 teaspoons lemon juice; mix until combined and smooth. 

5. Then, fold in thawed whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture, and set aside.

6. Pour cooled strawberry mixture over doughnut pieces. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the strawberries and doughnuts. 

7. Garnish with reserved strawberries.

8. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Krispy Kreme Cheesecake

Yield: 1 (9-inch) cheesecake

Preparation: 10 minutes

Bake: 50 minutes

Cool: 2 hours

Refrigerate: 2 hours

6 Krispy Kreme Chocolate Fudge Cake doughnut featuring Hershey’s® cocoa, crumbled and divided
¼ cup butter, melted
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks, divided
1 egg
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 teaspoon cornstarch
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon lemon extract


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. In a work bowl, combine 2/3 of the Chocolate Fudge Cake doughnut crumbs with melted butter and press firmly into the bottom of 9-inch springform pan; set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar and salt and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Then, beat in the egg yolks and egg, one at a time until just combined. 

4. Add the cornstarch, vanilla and lemon extract, and whipping cream and beat until mixture is well combined and smooth.

5. Pour batter into prepared pan with doughnut crumbs crust, and sprinkle with remaining Chocolate Fudge Cake doughnut crumbles. 

6. Bake for 50 minutes. The center may be soft but will firm up when chilled. Do not overbake. 

7. Cool cheesecake on a wire rack for 2 hours, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Giveaway To Tell You About...

{Like how I started with the "loo" sign??}

Always being one to love a chance at a great giveaway,
I thought I'd just pop in real quick to tell you about one that I
found today by way of very talented lady - Kathy, of Creative Home Expressions blog -
 who left a comment on my previous post -- 
I clicked over to her blog and
WOW -- Kathy has a wonderful blog AND she is
in the midst of a very nice giveaway!

She's giving away one of her beautiful wall signs
and I thought you might like to know about it!

Aren't these signs cute???

The deadline to enter is June 9.

Click HERE to go!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Uh Oh! I Think I May Have Started Something Here!

{Photo of Lou Cinda's newly repainted cabinets, courtesy of Lou Cinda's blog}

After my post last week featuring some pics from my kitchen

I got a comment from Lou Cinda, a fellow blogger, who writes Tattered Hydrangeas,  
who had also been toying with the idea of 
painting her cabinets 
and was ready
to take the plunge!

After a few fun emails back and forth, she let me know that the paint had been
bought and she was ready to 

She emailed today to let me know it was done!


HERE is a link to her post showing HER before and after pictures!!
{Lou Cinda's newly painted kitchen cabinets!
Photo courtesy of Lou Cinda's blog.}

Ya'll, if you have thought painting your cabinets was not a task you
are up to tackling, I hope you'll be encouraged by 

you gotta believe me when I tell you,


can do it,



Hope you get inspired to take a look around and see if there is anything
that you'd like to revamp with a coat of paint!