Despite our unseasonably warm weather (we’ve been in the lower 80’s this week – YUCK!) I’ve been getting in the Fall mood this week and thought I’d share a few scenes from our house last weekend.
Have you ever noticed the amazing smell that permeates all of the William Sonoma stores? A little while back, I stumbled upon the recipe for their secret weapon. It couldn’t be easier and makes your house smell heavenly.
The ingredients are basic and simple with lemon, fresh rosemary, vanilla and water. I added additional vanilla to make it smell more sweet than savory but either way smells wonderful. I put the extra ingredients in jars for a quick save for un-expected house guests.
I love any excuse to bake (especially when I can give it away!) A dear friend moved into her new house a few weeks ago and it gave me the perfect excuse to try out a new recipe.
CHAI SPICE BREAD
The recipe calls for a glaze drizzle – but since I was going to be wrapping it up I left the glaze off. I actually liked that it wasn’t overly sweet. It would be perfect with a little afternoon tea!
Prep time: 15 min. Total time: 3 hrs. 55 min (includes cooling time)
Makes 1 loaf or 4 mini loaves (as pictured above)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup prepared tea (I like to use Pumpkin Chai from David’s Tea)
1/3 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
3-5 tsp. milk
additional ground cinnamon
1) Heat oven to 350 F. Grease loaf pan with cooking spray.
2) In large bowl, beat sugar & butter with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in eggs, tea, milk, & vanilla on low speed until ingredients are well combined (will appear curdled) . Stir in remaining bread ingredients just until moistened. Spread in pan.
3) Bake 50-60 minutes for a full loaf (35 minutes for mini loaves) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean & slightly golden (do not under bake). Cool 10 minutes in pan on wire rack. Loosen sides of loaf from pan; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool 30 minutes.
4) In small bowl, stir powdered sugar, vanilla, & 3 tsp. of the milk, adding more milk by the teaspoonfuls, until spreadable. Spread glaze over bread. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon. Cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing. Wrap tightly & store at room temperature up to 4 days, or refrigerate up to 10 days.
My Fall weekend wouldn’t be complete unless I had a Linnea’s Lights Pumpkin candle burning. I feel like Fall has officially arrived the day these arrive at the store. I am extremely picky when it comes to scents – I can’t stand anything that has a fake, sweet smell. My husband even loves the scent, and he’s even pickier than I am!
It’s official. It’s been so long since we’ve blogged that I almost forgot our login and password. It’s no secret that with new social media outlets, blogging seems to have taken a little bit of a backseat for everyone.
**Speaking of social media, if you aren’t already, you can follow us on both Pinterest and Instagram. Both have become serious addictions that I may need an intervention for soon.
Just because we haven’t been around this blog, it doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy! Here’s a little re-cap of what we’ve been up to.
1) In May, we partnered with San Diego Magazine for an article on bookcase styling. We designed 3 different looks for one bookcase. We did a complete re-design of Betsy’s abode last year and her new bookcases were the perfect models.
2) At the end of June we tore apart the store and loaded up our front patio for our second annual Summer Yard Sale. We’re coming into market season where we buy all of our new product and our annual Yard Sale is our way of being able to make room for new product and extend some amazing deals to our fabulous customers! **Of course the day we were prepping for the sale was the day Diane Keaton walked into the store! I stood there in my grubby clothes, red pen in hand, store not at it’s cutest, and my jaw on the floor.
3) We’ve been busy with interior design clients and this month we started shooting projects for our portfolio (finally!) This is a much longer process than it sounds. A shoot usually starts the week before, collecting accessories to stage with. Accessories that look good in person, don’t always look good through a camera lens. For example, a pair of lamps that are the perfect size in person, may shrink and get lost in the photograph.
4) Betsy and I are prepping to leave for NYC tomorrow at midnight (not really but waking up at 4:00am might as well be midnight) to go to the New York Gift Show. Even though it’s a work trip – we have a blast every year (sometimes maybe a little too much fun ; )
We’ve had office design on the brain lately, as we’ve been re-doing our own. As we mentioned earlier, we shut down for a few days this past month to do some minor construction to the store. We opened up a wall and created more retail space. We moved one of the office’s to the back of the store which gave us a push to really design our office spaces. They’re both still in progress and we’ll be sure to post once they’re complete. In the meantime we’ve been scouring for office design inspiration.
This office/workroom of Bunny Williams is one of my absolute favorites. I use a lot of the same organizational methods: baskets, fabrics by color, high work table. I absolutely adore the wall to wall seagrass flooring and that little phone table (completely impractical for me, but so cute!)
Another favorite office space belongs to Windsor Smith. Again, I love love love the wall to wall seagrass flooring. I really wish I had a wall big enough for a large “to do”, white board.
One thing that is essential in any office/workspace is storage. This file system would be heaven!
Last, but not least – the stunning office of Suzanne Kasler.
I think it’s the combination of modern and traditional that makes me love this space so much. Those slipcovered, wicker chairs are the perfect match for the concrete table. And again, with the seagrass flooring (are you sensing a trend??)
That’s all for office inspiration. We’re just waiting on our office chairs and a few minor things before we’re finished with our own offices. We promise to post when everything is complete!
If you are signed up to receive our email e-blasts then you’ve already heard that we’ve been up to something at the shop. If you’ve driven by, then you may have seen our lovely brown paper window treatments. We’ve been up to a little something and can’t wait to share. There’s nothing we love more than our little cottage that houses Bixby & Ball. The in-tact rooms and the quaintness are what makes our little home away from home so unique. However, the “flow” of the store has always been a challenge. For our web-only friends who may not have seen the store, our retail space made an “L” shape that was very difficult to maneuver. Our offices filled the other portions of the building. We have decided to change things up a bit and move our offices to the back of the house. We’re making an opening in the wall between the living room and what used to be Betsy’s office.
Come on in!
This is what the hole currently looks like.
As I mentioned in my last post, Betsy and I have been moving a million miles an hour ever since we opened. Because of this, we never took the chance to really settle in and set up our offices. Because the renovation has forced us to be closed for 2 weeks, we’re taking this opportunity to really set everything up. We’re having some snazzy new desk chairs made, that I can’t wait to see! Here’s a little sneak peek of what will be going into Betsy’s office.
We can’t wait to share the final product and the whole B&B crew will be back up and running by next weekend!
Betsy and I are heading out bright and early in the morning for Betsy’s site visit to San Ysidro Ranch and our road trip to Mill Valley!
Hello Everyone! It’s an exciting day at Bixby & Ball today! We’re spending the entire day rearranging, preparing for Fall AND our 1 year anniversary party this Friday! We will be closed just for today, but will be back up and running in the morning. Be sure to stop by tomorrow and check out the new look.