Monday, January 16, 2012

A Hearty Winter Meal and New Stuff At The Mercantile

Ala Martha

Martha comes directly to my inbox. Yes, that Martha. The woman just 'knows' how to do stuff, whether it's cooking, crafting, organizing, designing, entertaining, gardening or even re-creating herself.  In this instance, it was food related. Her Everyday Food newsletter came with a bunch of slow cooker recipes. I am all over that..........stick it in the crock pot and let it do its thing and viola, a tasty meal. Works for me and sure made my Sunday easier.

I only had to do minor tweaking. That is a girl's prerogative after all.  The recipe calls for you to throw the beef, onion, mushrooms into the crock pot, with no mention of adding any liquid. I found that although all three things sweat, it wasn't quite enough liquid to braise in the crock pot for hours, so I added 1-2 cups of water and that worked out perfectly when I added the remaining ingredients (sour cream - I used fat free- and Dijon mustard).

As you can see, I served over egg noodles which is typical for beef stronganoff.

How do the pictures look? Better than the fondue pictures from yesterday's post? Please say yes.  I'm going to make an effort to get better shots of food. It's not easy because, like most of us, the majority of my cooking takes place at night.  This time, I saved some and reheated and plated it for it's big photo op this morning.

I've also found a new spot (right in my little office/studio corner no less- how did I miss that?) to take pictures.  The light makes all the difference.

I'll also be working on improving our shop pictures as well. 

At The Mercantile

I have a long way to go, but I should be able to take some more photos today in the new spot. I also really need to make a light box of sorts (which doesn't have to be difficult- click that link for really easy tutorial). It will give me so many more options for taking photos when the sunlight is not cooperating and will allow me to take decent photos at night. It will also help me with the 'take better shop photos' in my 2012 Manifesto. Ditto on improving my blog pictures, which I'm adding to the manifesto.

I tested the new photo location with some items that will be going into the shop today.  I've had them for awhile and they're not doing me any good if I don't get them listed. Does this happen to you?

I'm a little tempted to keep this awesome blue enamel tray.

It could be used for so many different inbox for my office, a container to wrangle things in my pantry, a dresser tray, a good tray- wouldn't it be great for breakfast in bed? Hey, a girl can dream.

So far, I'm liking the lighting in this new spot.

How sweet is this little cottage tea pot?

If you see the tape, please ignore it. I didn't see it until I looked at these photos on the computer.

I think the hollyhocks growing up the back of the cottage make up for the minor chip/defect in the handle. It's hardly noticeable with all the other wonderful details.

Call me crazy, but I have a thing for old tools. I have an antique wrench that sits on my coffee table and I use it for everything. Nearly every guy that comes into the house tries to nab it. So, of course I was drawn to this old thing when I saw it. I love an industrial edge mixed with shabby chic cottage style to bring a little balance.

It seems like it has a specific purpose, but I'm not sure what kind of wrench this is. I just like its lines and rusty perfection.  (Dad? Any ideas?)

I bet you could think of a ton of projects to use these vintage printers stamps on whether it's stationery, scrap booking, pretty labels, or wall art. The possibilities are endless.

They used to design things with such beautiful detail. I think the stamps themselves are a work of art.  

Aside from the vintage, I also listed a new illustration this morning- 'Shower Your Love'. I'm on the Valentine's Day love theme. Of course, it would be so nice if we carried that theme through the whole year.

Wall Art Typography Love Print, Inspirational Love Print, 'Shower Your Love' Art Print, Valentine's Day Gift
via batesmercantileco.

What are you working on today?

Sunset Meadows

A soft coral sunset last night.  You wouldn't think it was about 0 degrees out when I took this.

I hope that you have a great start to your week. I plan checking a lot off my list this week. Wish me luck!

One more thing.......have I told you how HAPPY I am that blogger has added the ability to reply directly to each comment? This makes me super excited.  I appreciate all your comments very much, and it's much nicer to be able to respond to each of you in this way.

Have a good one.

ta ta for now


  1. I hear you on the picture taking's so tricky to get just the right light and then to edit them so perfectly...always a practice in patience.
    LOVE your new illustration for valentine's day...your work is amazing!

    1. well alicia............the picture taking for products and food is so much harder than taking pictures just because you want to. really requires attention to detail. I have a long, long way to go. but it's a start to have found another spot where i can stage. thanks for the kind words!!!

  2. Your photos look great. I need to add that to my list of to do (photo station) - especially in the winter when the days are shorter and grayer. Love the tea pot.

    1. laura, finding a spot with natural light seems to be step in the right direction. my other spot i use is ok, but it takes awhile for the sun to come around. new spot gets sun most of the day. and i'd also be able to set a light box up there. and yes, the lightbox will make my life easier!!

  3. Oh yum! I can't get past the beef stroganoff! Dinner time over here. I'll have to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing. The teapot is darling. And your illustration is outstanding. What a talent you have!

    1. Tammy, it really was an EASY recipe. and pretty darn tasty. i was pretty happy i didn't have to do any fussing over a sunday dinner yesterday. you just need those kinds of days.

      Wow, you gals are going to make my head swell. Glad you like it!

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  5. I love love love your illustration! A clever take on the Valentine's theme. It should be illegal for me to look at pictures of delicious looking food this late, it's making me hungry!

    1. Thanks Jess! Now, I definitely don't want any stroganoff this late (10:41 here) but, I could ice cream anytime, anyplace :)

  6. Hubs would LOVE that meal! Totally going to try it. Tonight??

    1. honestly kristen,if you're looking for easy and tasty it!

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  8. Food photography is so hard! I struggle with it. I keep trying, but my photos never look as good as the real foodie blogs.


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