On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me three French tins…
On the first Day of Christmas my true love gave to me a board from my favorite pear tree….
Finally catching up with posting these special pieces! The : sourced posts are categorized , so it will be easy to preview the latest prop availability when you are looking for that extra photo inspiration. As before, the links take you to more details of each item. Thank you to all my great customers for the wonderful feedback!
A recent hunt for vintage kitchenalia has left me with some amazing prop finds! Will be posting previews here before I start filling the Etsy shop. Follow the item links for more details and purchase options, lots more great finds to come very soon.
Special thanks to Naomi Robinson of Bakers Royale for siting the still*life~style Etsy shop as one of her faves for food photography props!
this one SOLD but you may like Vintage Shallow Textured Baking Tray
There is something that appeals to me about printy kitchen tablecloths from the mid century. Every household must have had them, so many still to be found: fruits & florals, kitchen tools & stylized designs, special tablecloths to celebrate every season and holiday. The happy colorful patterns evoke simpler times when the kitchen table was also the dining table, and family meals were shared on an everyday basis.
I’m not an avid collector. I have a small group of printed tablecloths in my prop linens, but rarely use them as they can be really strong and upstage the food subject in the photo. During a recent shoot for Ina Pinkey’s cookbook, however, the tablecloths worked into the shots perfectly.
Photographer Stephen Hamilton asked me to breakfast at Ina’s to discuss the shoot in advance. The restaurant and menu is a great source of personal pride for Ina, she is there daily and has a devoted clientele that she knows by name. The dining room in Ina’s is warm and unpretentious, white tablecloths covered with paper ( a great canvas for the little artists as they wait for breakfast), and kitschy salt and pepper shakers on each table. There are more shakers filling shelves behind the counter, Ina’s collection keeps growing as customers bring her new additions. No cellphones allowed here, it’s all about enjoying food and company.
For years Ina has willingly shared her delicious recipes with customers, and decided it was time to combine the recipes with her personal memories. We really wanted the book to be a reflection of both Ina’s restaurant and her personality. Which brings me back to the tablecloths! For this project, they just seemed to fit. Softening the patterns with the paper still lets the food be hero and the copy to overprint nicely, and they were right at home with her cherished shaker collection. Best of all, I think the tablecloths carry through the warm nostalgia that Ina’s book, Taste Memories, is all about.
Taste Memories will be available very soon at Ina’s, and online. These amazing recipes are tried and true, straight from her menu and just the way they have been served in the restaurant for 22 years. Soon after the photography was completed, Ina announced that she will be closing Ina’s and retiring. I join all her fans and friends in wishing her the very best! You can read more about the cookbook, and preview some of the recipes. in the latest edition of Who’s Hungry?
During my recent prop excursions, I’ve noticed an increasing amount of tabletop and kitchenware based on vintage designs and materials. By now you all know how I gravitate towards all the naturally created character imperfections in used vintage pieces, but I realize not everyone shares the same passion. Certainly not every commercial client I work with, who can get a bit uncomfortable showing their food product on a stained cutting board or chippy plate!
|European Bread Peels|
|Reclaimed Wood Serving Board|
|White Enamel Baking Pans|
|Enamel Milk Pan|
Enamelware, too is showing up in all forms and finishes. Here is a nice set of baking pans in the traditional white with dark rim style. Crow Canyon manufactures an amazing array of enamelware in solid and splatterware designs, everything from utensils to bakeware to cake pedestals.
|Vintage Striped Chambray Linens|
I recently purchased these vintage inspired chambray linens, and they are wonderful to work with on set. The linen fabric is a great quality that will only improve with washing, drapes beautifully and I love the soft faded colors.
|Vintage Style Wire Trivet|
|French Wire Inspired Cooling Rack|
|Vintage Inspired Wireware|
Vintage wire cooling racks are also being reproduced in retail markets. There are many new ones available based on european wireware designs. So if the aging is not something you are looking for, there are some good choices out there that still function as great baking props for a much lower price than older wire pieces. I have offered many authentic antique wire baking racks through my Etsy shop, and have seen similar pieces being sold as vintage so be cautious when a piece is too pristine. In fact, that is good advice when looking for any vintage kitchenalia with reproductions becoming more trendy!
Happy shopping, enjoy the links!
I bought this old cabinet a few years back, an absolute steal that I couldn’t pass up. It was a good 7 feet tall, and quite spacious inside, and I thought it would make fine storage for my props. The problem was the shelves were spaced very far apart, it was too deep, and a little on the wobbly side. I ended up having to pile props in large stacks, and unpile everytime I needed something from the bottom.
The cabinet seemed to be constructed of assorted woods, and I imagined it to be a make-do linen closet fashioned out of necessity for storage. Far from a piece of fine antique furniture, or professional cabinetry, yet it held a certain charm. But after a few years I decided it needed to be replaced with more functional shelving, but would harvest all the old wood to create surfaces for my photo projects.
The doors were nicely paneled, so I just removed the hinges. Then I carefully tore the entire cabinet apart, removing every nail as I went along. It took a few hours, but I ended up with a HUGE stack of aged wood. I don’t consider much of it to be “camera ready”, so I have enough projects to last me through the winter, for sure! But I did get a few tackled that I can share with you.
The back of the cabinet was created of old tongue in groove, which I cut in half and then re-assembled into a long “wall”. The wood already had great patina, but I wanted to deepen it slightly. So I sanded the panel by hand (you can see how it takes the gloss down and opens the wood surface) and rubbed in a rich red stain.
The side panels of the cabinet were the longest pieces, lots of great character as seen above. I debated cutting them but decided against it as there are times a really long table surface is needed. So I used an orbital sander to clean the boards a bit, and applied a few coats of Danish dark walnut oil. It really brought out the varied tones in the old wood.
In the end, it’s all about the look on camera, and the results were exactly what I was I hoping for. Old wood has a depth to it, with all the scars and discoloration from years of use and abuse. The subtleties come alive in the beautiful light, adding dimension without distraction. Here’s the end result from the tongue and groove wall
And the side panels which became the table surface:
Who knows where the rest of the cabinet will turn up?!
The garden is finally giving back. After months of watering and waiting, there are new and delicious fruits and veggies to be picked daily. The colors and textures of the backyard harvest can’t help but inspire a shot or two.
The fresh flavors are so true, so intensely good that they need little enhancement, just something snipped from the herb garden. Slice, chop, mix, done. Simple, cool eating in the hot summer: Cantaloupe and watermelon tossed with mint, vibrant tomatoes with basil, cilantro for a crisp cucumber salad.
Having a garden is also great incentive to experiment with new dishes. We have so many pumpkin blossoms that I think I’ll try this recipe for Mexican Pumpkin Flower Soup.
When the pumpkins fully ripen in weeks to come, I have plans to make pumpkin butter. I was generously gifted with a copy of The Preservation Kitchen from Chicago photographer Jeff Kauck, the amazing talent behind the images in the book. Chef Paul Virant’s recipes for preserving are wonderful to start, then he guides you through using them as a basis for other recipes and seasonal menus. I am a less than accomplished cook myself, but there are many recipes within the book I know I can handle. The Pumpkin Butter (using roasted pumpkin) is definitely on my make list, along with the Fried Green Tomatoes with Basil Mayonnaise and the Tomato Jam to make use of the bumper crop I see coming. But today, a few of these gorgeous cantaloupes are destined for the Vanilla Melon Jam recipe
Can there be a better way to make the summer last?