Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Cupcakes, Projects and Fun Finds

Is it still January? Hmmm, well here are a few things I accomplished so far in this warm/cold/wet/icy month.  The weather has been all over the place so far with ice storms and a flooded yard.  I am praying that the basement doesn't flood from the downpours we have been having.  When the ground is frozen like this there is nowhere for the water to go. So far so good.

When it's cold outside I want to bake.  Chocolate cupcakes with rich chocolate frosting and a sprinkling of stars brighten things up nicely.  Who else thinks winter was made for baking?
 Earl knows that these grey cloudy skies and the barren landscape can only mean one thing, cheer Kathy up with flowers.  He found these beauties at the grocery store.  Cream roses with the barest peachy pink blush in the center of the petals, mixed with white lilies.  This is just one of the reasons I will keep him forever, believe me, there are a million more :)
 To counterbalance the cupcakes and other winter baking, I am looking for new soup recipes.  I found this Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup on The Café Sucre Farine and it is a keeper!  I have already made it twice. My suggestion? Double the lemon ;)  This is a soup you can make in the crock pot, but I had some frozen cooked chicken and home made broth so I made it stove top lickety split.  It has a bit of Turmeric in it which is supposed to be a great anti inflammatory.  From the same website I also made the Beef Bourguignon Soup recipe and it was amazing.  Check out her website, so far everything I have made from her recipes is a keeper.
 And lastly, I think I mentioned we are in the process of buying a newfangled flat screen tv.  Everything around here is a process,  but first I had to move a large book shelf, which meant I had to find a new home for an extra dresser AND the old entertainment center that holds the old tv.  Now you know why everything takes so long, all that shuffling.  At any rate, the things that need to go have been spoken for and will be picked up soon, and when that happens I wanted something to go under the new tv.  I actually stepped into a furniture store and then stepped right back out.  A very poorly constructed console or server for under the tv would have been $1200.  If I had loved it I could have paid it, but after years of buying well made cast offs for a pittance I couldn't see shelling out that kind of cabbage for something that I thought was basically a piece of junk.  So off to the local antique emporium I went, and found the perfect solid mahogany sideboard for a small percentage of the junky new piece.  This server cost $250.  It's solid, I like the lines, the swoopy drawer design, the cabinet doors that came with a skeleton key (love!) and the price. 
It is cooling its heels in the dining room until the other items go to their new home. I told Earl that I reserve the right to paint it, because...

I do love painted furniture and I might be leaning toward a pretty green.  Making my mind up is the hard part. 

We are also still working on the back entry refresh.  My darling husband insisted on doing some of the more heinous scraping and wallpaper removal.  I had peeled off the top layer of the old paper and the paper backing was left. The backing was tight and smooth and my first thought was to paper right over it, because #lazy.  It might have worked but we decided to do it the right way, (sigh).  SO Earl spent a recent Saturday on the ladder scraping.  My knight in shining armor.  I am working on getting the old green trim painted sparkling white and my wallpaper came this week, (yay!!!!) so I am hoping it will be finished in a couple more weekends.

That's my January so far.  Lest you think I am some kind of white tornado around here, I spend a good portion of my days sitting on the sofa with a cup of coffee trying to work up enough energy to get anything done.  Are you working on indoor projects too?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Happy New Year!

A few days late to be sure, but why not wish happiness on more than day one?  I am seeing so many who have chosen a word or resolution, I must be a slacker extraordinaire, because I tend to think a New Year should be a blank slate. A time to let the pressures of last year fall away leaving the white nothingness of a clean sheet of paper to write my life on. Oh I do wax poetic.  Truth is I know I am not one for feeling pressured to chose a word or affirmative life action, so I tend to sit back and give myself the first few weeks off.  No pressure or expectations. It's actually a great way to start the year :)

Just to catch up on what has been happening, which is precious little to tell the truth, we spent New Years Eve with friends and actually left by around 10pm.  Both exhausted for some reason and just not up to hanging on until Midnight. We were well asleep by the time the New Year crept in, but were awakened by the mortars going off next door. No rest for the weary apparently, but I just realized I even freed myself of the expectation of staying awake until New Year.  I rock lowered expectations.

The next day was the big extended family Christmas party and Earl made his yearly Bushe de Noel, this time in the form of a birch log.  The outer "bark" is white chocolate with dark chocolate knots and details. The top is meringue piped in circles, baked and laid on top of the cake to simulate  the inside of the log, and the cute mushrooms are meringue too.  The cake itself is yellow cake layers with chocolate ganache filling. It was as tasty as it is pretty.  I always love seeing what he will come up with :)
You may remember my not so subtle hints for a certain traveler to think of Christmas while they were in England this autumn and pick up an Emma Bridgewater something for their mama.
Well the ever so gentle, almost subliminal suggestion worked beautifully and this little gem was waiting for me under the tree.
The other side of the mug says, "Mum is the best" and the inside rim says, "Mum is kind and strong"
It came with a darling Emma Bridgewater towel too, but the message on the mug just touches this mother's heart :)

I spent yesterday taking down the Christmas decorations. As much as I love the lights and fun of the Christmas décor, something about January calls for calm and quiet. It may be the only time of year that I actually wish I had an all white house.  At the moment it almost feels too blank and empty after the tree and lights have been removed. I have a very hard time with "winter décor" because I hate winter. I am over it completely by January 2.  Anything winter themed is not appealing at the moment. I am working on keeping some of the mercury glass and white decorations out in an attempt to spice things up. So far I have one corner of the living room redecorated.
Yes, I know the cords show, part of my easy going January attitude ;)  This is our library table, because this family librarys a lot.  Books tended to be strewn over every flat surface of the living room until we found this gorgeous table for a steal at a garage sale.  Now the books go here.
Family photos, a few silvery accents and some battery operated candles that are on a timer so I don't even have to light them.  Some of these items will eventually be moved as there are a few large items of furniture that I will be taking out of this room in preparation for a new flat screen tv that is coming soon.  2017 will see some improvements in the house, as most years have.

Now I am off to strip the old wallpaper off the walls in the back entryway! The new wallpaper is on it's way and with a little paint and elbow grease I will have a sparkling bright entry in a week or so.

I hope your New Year is going smoothly, and happily.  Ease up on yourself and enjoy a few weeks of possibilities and low pressure! And thank you to all who have been stopping by for so many years.  It makes me smile to read each comment!