Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Carolyn Westbrook: Super Glam Glam

Hey Everyone. Loving the TV show, "Million Dollar Decorators." Have y'all seen it? Always on the lookout for wonderful interiors and last week, while watching, heard Mary McDonald say..."I'm tired of groovy. I want beautiful." I would have to agree. While I grew up with very contemporary furnishings, and I do love the mix, I do not love a room full of any one look. I too am quite tired of geometric prints and cheap, groovy furnishings. When it comes to the bedroom, I want super glam-glam. A bit contemporary, like a chrome and marble Parsons table, the glamour of a silver leaf mirror, a sparkling chandelier, and Flokati rug, are just the thing. Of course you just cannot have a great interior without vintage pieces and of course the French inspiration. An old French loveseat is paired with a chrome and glass table, and a mercury glass lamp. Still loving me some antique toile curtain panels in cobalt blue which overlay blue velvet panels, that would make Scarlett Ohara jealous. It all comes together to make for the ultimate bedroom, that appeals to all of the senses.I am hoping that everyone will learn to appreciate the beauty, style and sophistication that only the vintage pieces have to offer, and go on the hunt for these to beautify your own home. Happy Hunting!
xo Carolyn
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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Live from the Oaks Plantation: Happy Thanksgiving!!

Hey Everyone! I have been so busy this week in preparation for Thanksgiving, have not had a chance to get a blog done, until now. I cannot believe that we are already on to Christmas. We had a huge Thanksgiving with lots of loved ones and lots of pies this year. Nothing like doing some cooking, in the kitchen in your p.j.'s and making pies. We ended up with homeade cheesecake, pecan pie, cherry pie, pumpkin pie and Alex's favorite Coconut pie and Nicholas loves Chocolate Meringue pie. It was crazy. We also ended up with plenty of leftovers, including lots of turkey.

Right about now, we are tired of turkey and leftovers, so I made this for dinner and wanted to share. It is a great way to use your leftover turkey and who isn't hungry for some good 'ol Tex Mex and coming from Texas, we are all about it. How about some delicious Sour Cream Chicken...I mean Turkey Enchiladas? My kids thought it was chicken...they never knew, as they were devouring them for dinner. Here's how to do it...

Homeade Sour Cream Chicken/Turkey Enchiladas

Chop up turkey or chicken meat- We made two pans of enchiladas, so used a little over 1 lb. of turkey meat.
1- Diced Onion
1 small can of chopped green chilies
1 clove of fresh garlic minced
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1tsp. cumin

1 cup of sour cream
1 can of Cream of Mushroom soup
1 cup of Cream of Chicken Soup
1 small can of chopped Green Chilies
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 cups of Colby Jack Cheese shredded
Sliced Jalepenos (optional)
15 corn or flour tortillas

In a skillet, add your olive oil and saute your onion and garlic until soft. Add Turkey or Chicken and green chilies. Heat this until hot and add seasonings to taste. If it seems dry then you can add a bit of chicken broth or water until it is moist.

Set aside.

In a large bowl mix together Sour Cream, Soups, Green Chilies, and salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer to skillet and heat until warm, adding milk if needed to make it more juicy. You want to be able to pour it over enchiladas.

Use room temperature tortillas. You want them pliable, so you may need to heat them as  you go, in a small pan with some butter and oil.
Take a tortilla, and put a small amount of filling in one end, then roll it up and place in a 9x12 baking pan. Roll them tight and continue the process until all of the filling is gone. You may need more than one pan...but remember...these freeze well.
Once you are finished rolling, pour the sauce over the enchiladas and top with cheese. You can top with sliced jalepenos if you like it spicy. Bake in oven at 350 degrees until cheese is gold and bubbly.

On second thought, you may not need to freeze the second pan. Mine are already gone, as Victoria just came up with the last one.

Hope y'all enjoy!!! YUM!
xo Carolyn

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Carolyn Westbrook: Live from the Plantation: Happy Halloween

Who doesn't love decorating for the change in the seasons. Here in Texas, we are all weary
from the 100degree plus temps and humidity and welcome a little cooler weather. When that first
cool breeze blows, and pumpkins and mums are spilling forth everywhere, it makes one want to grab the wheelbarrow and fill it with a load of pumpkins. I happen to love the ghost pumpkins and the more bumps the better, but there is always a place in my yard for the traditional Jack-O-Lantern that is perfect for carving. I am crazy about the stem of any pumpkin and the longer and twistier the better.
Every fall, my company always has to do some wonderful plaid cushions, as they are so hard to find in beautiful fall colors. Victoria's birthday is coming up this weekend and so there has to be candy apples and costumes. We were able to find some great spooky labels that we adhered to apothecary jars and filled with eyeballs and teeth (candy corn) and spider web is strung everywhere. Cannot wait for the first trick or treater. I love to see all of the little ones dressed up in their precious costumes. Happy Fall Everyone! xo Carolyn
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Live from the Plantation: A Fairy Tale Party!

So, it all began with a promise to my four-year-old niece who wanted
a pink fairytale party, as she eyed a piece of pink satin that was laying about my warehouse.
She asked me, "Aunt Carolyn, what is this?" She was holding up a piece of beautiful pink satin.
I told her that it was pink satin and she asked if that could be on the table for her party....and that is how it started. I was leaving for Roundtop at the time, and she made me promise that I would save it for her party. Her exact words were, "Don't sell it Aunt Carolyn...promise." The ideas swirled about as I was on the book tour, and I was ready to be home and decorating the pink paradise that was going to be her party. As soon as the plane landed from Phoenix, I was rounding up the troops and we began putting out mounds of pumpkins, urns filled with ghost pumpkins and lining steps, and jars filled with candies. Victoria made these phoenomenal tiers of luscious, pink, frothy cupcakes and decorated them where they were the highlight of the party. There were pink flowers, sprinkles, balloons, glitter and all that is magical, sparkly and fairytale like for our little Carrington.
It was all things that little girls dream of and we were happy to be a part of a celebration to remember.
xoxo Carolyn
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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Carolyn Westbrook: Live from Sweet Salvage Phoenix AZ.

 Hey Everyone. We have the priviledge of being a part of the once a month market in Phoenix Arizona...and guess what??This month is the French themed market!! Woo Hoo!!
 We got in yesterday and I had never been to Phoenix...what a shocker! It is beautiful. I was not expecting all of the palm trees. Our hotel is gorgeous with the whole place being centered around an outdoor courtyard and you can see the mountains off in the distance.
 Two of the Sweet Salvage girls wheeled up in their pick-up truck to take us to the store. Gotta love a girl with a truck. These are true junkers and gatherers.
Let me just say, that I was not prepared for what was about to happen when I walked through the door. I told them that I had found my mothership.

 These men and women know what they are doing. I have never seen this much great stuff gathered together in one place and displayed to perfection. I told them that I could just spend the night there.
Oh, and I was not kidding. I heard their stomaches growling, as they were ready to head out to dinner, and I was just mesmerized and distressed because I was wondering how I was going to get some of this back to my place...really. They told me that the line snakes around the building and down the street on opening day. I am not surprised. They said that it gets so crowded that one cannot see across the isle. I cannot wait to see it.
You can see all of the fabulousness in the pics. So, today I get to sit in the middle of all of this wonderment and sign my new book. What an honor.
Before they had to drag me out the door for dinner, we were able to get a picture of the Sweet Salvage gang, plus Joe and I. What a great group of creative souls, who definitely have the "good stuff!"Hope to see you here!!
xoxo Carolyn

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Carolyn Westbrook: Live from the plantation.

 Hello everyone. Hope all are well and just dashed in from the yard, as the rain started pouring here. I love fall. As I made my way down the road, back from Roundtop, it was chilly. That nip in the air that makes you know that the season is changing and maybe the 100 degree plus weather is behind us. It makes me want to decorate...inside and out. This shot that you see here, I took in Roundtop somewhere a few years ago. You can imagine how this would make a great Thanksgiving table for all to gather, but first we have to do Fall and Halloween. As the crew was packing the trucks and trailers for Roundtop, my niece Carrington was visiting. You will notice her dedication in my book, and she is my little protege at 4 years old. She asked if she could have her birthday party here again. You all know how I love any excuse for a party and who could say no to that beautiful blonde headed angel. So, of course I agreed.

Her birthday will be next weekend and her mother wanted a tea party, but Carrington wailed that she wanted a weenie roast and hayride like last year. Secretly, I agreed. I love it. So, I will be in charge of the party decorations and Carrington has given her orders. She found a piece of pink satin in the warehouse, and asked if that could be her tablecloth. She gave me specific colors and such. I told her that I would make it very special. In between book signings, I have to get that going.

Speaking of book signings...tomorrow is a signing at the Beaucoup store on Henderson in Dallas, TX. from 11-1pm. and Saturday will be the Beaucoup store in Richardson, TX. on Arapaho from 11-1pm. Then next week we jet off to Phoenix to meet up with the bunch at Sweet Salvage for a book signing on Thursday the 18th from 9am-1:30pm. Hope to see yall at one of these signings for the new book, Carolyn Westbrook: Through the French Door." If not, check out Amazon or Barnes and Noble for a copy!
Y'all wish me luck on the party planning and of course will post the pics for you to see!!

Happy Fall Y'all!
xo Carolyn
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Carolyn Westbrook: Live from the Plantation...Southern Beans and Cornbread...love those southern roots!

 Hey Y'all. We were talking the other day about what we ate growing up, and I was saying that everyday my grandmother would have a pot of beans on the stove. In the summertime, it was all about beans and cornbread and all of the vegetables that come out of the garden. There was always sliced tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers, and fried okra or sometimes fried green tomatoes or sometimes she would fry soft potatoes and okra and onion together. Sometimes there was meat and sometimes it was all about the vegis, but it was always good. She also like to sautee yellow squash and tomatoes and onion together..Yummm! Makes me hungry just thinkin about it. Joe grew up the same way, as I am sure most of you southerners did and so we still like us some beans and cornbread and green onion.

The weather has been amazing here lately, that it is almost confusing. We are used to 110 degrees in August and this morning it was in the 60's. I never remember this in August...ever. So, we are enjoying it and thought I would whip up a pot of beans. We added some bacon, and a few diced tomatoes with some onion, and ooohhhh was it good. We always soak our beans overnight. I remember my grandmother pouring the dry beans out on the counter and going over them for little rocks that might have gotten in the mix, then she would rinse them and soak them overnight.My grandmother always used a cast iron skillet for biscuits or cornbread. You mix up your cornbread mix and get your cast iron skillet hot on the stove with some melted butter sizzling, and then dump in the mix, so it sort of frys it for a minute and then put it in the oven. It comes out kind of crunchy on the bottom and moist everywhere else...cannot beat it. For those that like it spicy, you can add in a can of cream of corn, a handful of cheddar cheese and some chopped jalepenos, and you got yourself some delicious jalepeno corn bread. There is nothing like a good 'ol southern meal of cornbread and beans with whatever vegis that are in the house. Y'all better get you some!
xo Carolyn
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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Carolyn Westbrook: Live from the Plantation.

 Hey y'all! Hope everyone is enduring this long, hot, summer. Here in Texas, it has been a scorcher, but trying to think of all the things that I love about summer. The basil and mint are still flourshing and we always try and keep some in the kitchen for flavoring tea or sauces. We have a big pitcher of iced tea on hand at all times. I love to dress up a glass with a slice of lime or orange with a fresh sprig of mint if so refreshing. I had this Asiatic Pheasant pedestal in the panty, and thought how pretty it would look in the kitchen. Just like anyone else, we have supplies, like the dishwashing soap that can look unsightly sitting on the cabinet, so I came up with this solution. I took a vintage vinegar dispenser and filled it with the dishwashing soap, and put it together on the plateau with a nail brush, which we always use when we come in from working outside. An antique sugar bowl in matching Asiatic Pheasant design is filled with fresh mint and basil. I think it all came together beautifully and really helps us have the things we need at hand.

Always good to bring a little outside in and great to go out into the yard and get little snip-its for beautiful little bouquets around the house. I love to use the vintage bottles with the skinny necks for single blooms. Lavender and Rosemary are great to make your house smell and look pretty.
Little snips of Rosemary with a Zinnia bloom or a Shasta daisy are quick pick-me-ups.
Now-a-days I try and get out early to do the watering and cut my blooms or late in the evening, when it finally starts to cool a bit, I love sitting out on the front porch and listen to the locusts and the frogs across the road in the pond. Hope yall will make some little summer bouquets yourself.

xo Carolyn
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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Carolyn Westbrook: Live from the Plantation!

 Victoria made me this wonderful breakfast and brought it up to the bedroom. Amazing! Looked like a professional breakfast. Had to show yall. Alex is waitressing, so she came home at 1am with a bundle of flowers and a card, and woke me up to tell me Happy Birthday, Nick came in this morning with a card that he made. Really funny for a 16-year-old. A great start to a b-day to remember.

You dont even mind getting older for this...well maybe.

Hope all of yall are enjoying the summer!

xo Carolyn
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Friday, July 20, 2012

Carolyn Westbrook: Live from the Plantation

 Hey Y'all. It is HOT! As my grandmother would say...it is hotter than a guniea in a pepper patch! We had some leftover blackberries, from when Nicholas picked us mounds this spring, and we decide to make some homeade jelly. YUM! You know, I have made jelly before, and it is NOT that hard. In fact, you can make 8-8oz. jars of jelly for less than you can buy two, and you cannot buy any that taste like this. Everyone always makes such a big deal about canning, but I am going to tell you how, so you can see for yourself how easy it is!

Blackberry Jelly:

First, you get a big ol pot of water boiling on the stove. You add 8-8oz. jelly jars with the rings from the lids. Do not put the lid with the rubber seal in yet. Let those come to a boil and sterilize. Meanwhile take 8oz. of blackberries, either fresh or frozen, in a saucepan and add 7 cups of sugar. Bring that to a boil and just keep stirring. The juice of the berries will come out and make it more liquified as you go...about 10-15 minutes on high heat. Once you get the berry mixture good and hot where it is boiling, add in a package of the Certo, Liquid Pectin (You can find that in the sugar isle). Once you get that good and mixed in, drop your lids into the boiling water pot with the jars. Then spread a dish towel out on the counter and take tongs and pull each jar out and set it on the dish towel to dry for a second. We have a metal funnel that is used for canning that we put into the mouth of the jelly jar and then spoon in the jelly. Fill it about 1/8" from the top of the jar. Make sure you wipe off any jelly that is on the rim.Then get you a lid and a ring out of the pot and screw the lid on. Not too tight. After you get all of the jars done go back and tighten them up and they will seal perfectly...and that is it! Your family can enjoy homeade jelly for weeks to come!

Goes perfect on a homeade biscuit. Ya'll Enjoy!
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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Carolyn Westbrook: Summertime at the Plantation

Hey All,

I absolutely love to garden in the summertime. Right now the crepe myrtles are bowing down to the ground, they are so heavy with blooms, and the bees are buzzing about. It is summer in Texas, time for flip flops that can be easily kicked off to cool your feet off with the hose and the sound of screen doors slamming. I drove up the other night and saw the flicker of lightening bugs. It reminded me of when I as a kid. You hardly ever see them anymore, except out here on the dirt roads, where the crickets and the frogs are chirping at night. We have baby frogs everywhere this year.

We have a wonderful mix of blue Salvia, orange Marigolds, pink Impatiens, and yellow Gerber Daisies all mixed up with the Rosemary bushes that give off a great scent as you approach the back door, you can smell it. There are towering topiaries of Basil that is just begging to be sprinkled on some fresh tomatoes. In fact, the other day, we did just that. I made some wonderful bruschetta and it was easy and delicious...here's how:

2-3 vine ripened tomatoes that are chopped into small pieces
4-5 large basil leaves, chopped fine
2 cloves of garlic minced
A couple of squirts of olive oil
A handful of Parmesean cheese sprinkled over the top, along with some sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Mix it all together and sprinkle or dip with toasted bagel chips or garlic bread pieces that are toasted
Also, we have put this over some freshly cooked pasta that has been drained and added some evoo with a pat of butter and the pasta is salted... top with this...YUM!!!

Thanks to Nick, we have some wonderful red, ripe tomatoes, just waiting for the picking. Y'all have to try this!
For all that have a little summer road trip in mind, then I have news for you. This weekend is the Summer Big Red Barn Show in Roundtop Texas, Sat and Sunday, and we will be there! There is some great stuff to be found for your home and don't forget to stop by Royer's cafe for a big'ol piece of their famous homeade pie, in like a zillion flavors. Cherry is my favorite! Maybe you're up for some of their finger-lickin southern fried chicken for dinner on Sunday (that means lunch here in the South). Yes, dinner is lunch and supper is dinner. Anyway, hope to see everyone there, it will be inspiring and a great little summer get-away.

xoxo Carolyn

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Carolyn Westbrook: Live from the Plantation

 It is spring break and could not resist the warm weather outside. Decided to light the chandelier and head out for dinner in the backyard by candlelight. There is something so special about dining outside and candles. Atmosphere is everything, I always say. Joe was busy grilling the perfect steaks and the teens were excited about homeade apple pie...Yum!
The grass is freshly mowed and that sweet smell of spring is in the air, with everything blooming all at once. Makes you want to go barefoot and feel the earth between your toes...right?
Nicholas caught a few fish yesterday and we had a fish fry last night. Thanks to the good ol cast iron skillet, some buttermilk and cornmeal, it was a delicious feast. Even had some left to share with the neighbors.
Hope you are having a great spring break too. Get out there and enjoy the season! xo Carolyn
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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Carolyn Westbrook: Live from NYC

As I go through the revolving door and the doorman greets me, I think, yes it is just like in the movies. You can feel the pulse of New York as you step out on to the streets. My agent and I walk the 3 block trek to the showroom on 5th Avenue to see the new Carolyn Westbrook Fall/Winter 2012 collection. You have to know, that as big of a control freak as I am, it is scary to not know exactly how it will turn out. The entire space in the showroom has been overhauled to be changed from Spring/Summer to Fall/Winter. This is a private showroom that is owned by one of the biggest 'top of bed' manufacturers in the world. I never knew this world existed. One that is only open to big box retail stores that pass through...the JCP, the Macy's, Dillards, Bed Bath and Beyond and other retail icons...no pressure for me. It seems amazing and weird to me, as I walk in and my spot is right in the front. This world of manufacturers are not ones that really merchandise. I now have been in the biggest showrooms in the world and it is beds shoved up against walls. Anyone that knows me, knows that I have to have my 'stuff' and in the showroom is no different. We walk on to the floor and through the door, and there it is...my bedding. This time it really is my bedding from the fabric to the surroundings. I have always dreamed of being able to design my own fabric, and carried my bits and scraps of antique fabrics from the Paris flea markets in my little "hope chest." Finally, they have served as the inspiration for the new bedding. I cannot believe my eyes. My agent, Bob said he would know my reaction in the first few seconds. My heart is in my throat and beating fast...success. It looks magnificent. The showroom is full of energy, as all of the sales people and designers come in from all over the world. Heidi, who is a designer and just came in from Shang Hai, where she lives, tells me that one of my designs was really tough, but they were pleased with the results. It is the "Collage" collection. Sort of a quilt mixing many different fabrics and colors together in a comforter, with an eclectic and sort of bohemian feel. It looks amazing. Even better than I expected.
We are there to walk the showroom and give approval...the answer is approved. Woo Hoo!I turn to Bob and give him a big high five.

So, now we are back in Texas, going through the daily routine. Feeding chickens, dogs, and seeing the pear trees blooming, and the trees bursting forth, and it is such a dramatic change from the city, but this is definitely my fit. Where I know that I am home. The kids come rambling in after I get back, telling me to get ready for the Fish Fry at the community center...everyone is going, they say. I walk in the door over at the Fish Fry and I see all of those familiar faces, and everyone is eating, and laughing and hugs, hugs, hugs...nope you can't beat this. No sir, this is what home is all about, right here in Chatfield Texas.

xo Carolyn
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Monday, February 27, 2012

Carolyn Westbrook: Live from the plantation

Hey yall. It feels like spring here, awaking to all of the chirping and singing, just outside the window with tons of big, fat, red robins pecking about the grass outside. I love this time of year when you know the green leaves are about to burst forth and the green spring grass is mounding up everywhere. Nick just cut the grass and it smells so good. We threw the green grass clippings in with the girls and they get so excited clucking about. Minnie and Pearl the two Polish hens, do not seem to lay any eggs, but Wilemina and Babs and the rest are making up for it. I was out there this morning and got a couple of pale blue eggs, and then one huge white egg. Love it.

Leaving for New York again this week to do a showroom walkthrough. Big Box market starts Sunday. Apparently, all of the large manufacturers have private showrooms, where only big box stores come through. I had no idea until I started this process, about this whole thing. I am excited to see the new Carolyn Westbrook Home bedding line that we created for Fall/Winter, and hoping that it will be in stores soon. It seems the bigger the business, the slower the process. I want yall to see it.

Just finished the book text on Friday...woo to the hoo! I had to be locked in to my office to get it done...200 pages is alot of text. Let me tell you, it is not easy trying to write a book around here, with kids coming in and this whole getting into college thing with ALex, is like a full-time job.

Looking forward to seeing everyone soon at Warrenton/Roundtop Antiques week. I am ready for bluebonnets,field flowers, good junk, good friends in the middle of the beautiful Texas Hill country.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Carolyn Westbrook live from Houston

Hey Everyone

We are in Houston this weekend for a great event...The Urban Market Houston. A great place to remedy the winter blues with some antiquing therapy. I did a little shopping on the way down. I cannot resist an antique mall signbecause you never know where a treasure may be lurking. This is a really good show that is some of the best dealers with fantastic finds.

This time of year, I am always ready to start refreshing. You do not Havering completely overhaul a room to change the look. Sometimes it is one awesome piece that inspires you. Just by changing your couch pillows or a rug or adding a great painting to a room can make for a change. Love to bring in plants and flowers during this dreary time of year. Especially at Valentines Day...there are all kinds of beautiful tulips, hyacinths and such.

Also, wanted to let you know that I just received the book layout for the new branded book Carolyn Westbrook"Through the French Door." It looks amazing and I think looks better than the last...hope that y'all will agree.

Last, just handed off the Spring/Summer 2013 collection. I did a survey on my Facebook for the toile color.. virtually. A tie between blue and brown...blue was the winner....
Very excited about that too. Big Box retail market in two weeks, so back to NY...woo hoo!

Hope to see you in Houston!
Xo Cdarolyn