Monday, July 26, 2010

Cookies & Queen Anne's Lace

Our big oscillating fan is hard at work for me tonight, drying the royal icing on cookies. A teacher from T's school requested that I make simple bell shaped cookies that said SMC on the front, the college where her friend is tying the knot this weekend. I prefer making wedding dress & cake cookies but these were a snap: two colors with minimum embellishment.
No worries about the tweezers in the picture; for applying dragees only, no eyebrows allowed;)

Last night we took a walk around the neighborhood. It was a beautiful night and the boys were restless. As we were rounding the corner home, T spotted a riot of Queen Anne's Lace. Others see it as a weed, but I am glad my Tman finds them as lovely as I do. C tried to swat at some from his stroller, too. We picked a few and stuck them in an old coke bottle. Such a cute "vase"-we keep it in the cupboard for inverting our angel food cakes. Lisa picked up the Petit Prince print for me when she & John were in Paris this spring. She knows me well!

We have an abundance of tomatoes in the garden now and have been picking them every day. Our neighbors are enjoying the bounty as well. I wish I had planted more cucumbers because they have been delicious. We eat them straight off the vine; most never make it inside. I wish I could make the cooked salsa like E's mom-sooo amazing. I need to watch her make it again and practice while my taste memory is still fresh.

God has been so good to me, to my family. Often I lay in bed after my quiet time, just thinking about His provision & grace in my life.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Creative Juices Are Flowing

Like everyone, I go through times of explosive creativity as well as dry times, where I have zero desire to start and/or finish any projects.
Maybe it's due to our ongoing basement rehab, but I have had a crazy yen to be crafty. As always, I am working on building my stockpile of upcycled wool mittens for the craft bazaar in November. A huge pile of wool scraps has been accumulating & I needed to decide whether to trash them or use them.

For what though?

I had an idea to fashion long strips of the wool into tight rosebuds. They looked pretty darling when I was done; something that I would definately wear.

Maybe on a beret, maybe on a barrette over a low chignon? I attached my first trial roses to a long barrette. Hopefully, I can bring this by church and ask some of the moms with daughters what they think. Thankfully, I have a few too many berets, so I used a garish pink one to "test" the idea. If it were an ivory, black or (best yet!) gray hat, I would be thrilled to wear it.

My other project came after months of searching for a chair for C. Now I didn't want a high chair or a booster, but a cute chair that suited our kitchen & made him feel like a big boy. Found my inspiration at Salvation Army in the form of an old, spindled oak high chair. It was solid and heavy, a steal at $8! T & I started our project during C's nap, removing the metal tray bars and sawing off a part of the arms (to fit perfectly at the table). We painted it a semi-gloss black. Love it!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Vintage Love

Some people collect coins, others collect dolls.

As for me, I have a fondness for Pyrex bowls and old tableclothes.

Old school Pyrex is best...the bright bowls, striped bowls, polka-dotted bowls, berry print bowls...This represents a little over half of my treasure:

I think Pyrex bowls are tied into good kitchen memories. I remember my mom making popcorn on the stove, shaking it in a big brown paper bag and serving it in our blue striped Pyrex.

Aside from the charm of the bowl's appearance, they are excellent for stirring big batches of muffins, jam or letting dough rise on the back of the stove.

Care for your bowls by hand washing. The dishwasher will not harm them, but will dull the bright colors. I have a ridiculous number of Pyrex bowls, pans & pie plates and have yet to break one.

The stack of tableclothes represent the choices for summer. I have a seperate stack for fall & winter use: darker toile, orange checks, and a quilted maroon & rose (my favorite, I think?).

I was able to enjoy sorting and organizing today after a voluntary emptying of the contents of the kitchen cabinets. Around 9am, I spied a carpenter ant and discovered a few clustered around the honey jar. More than 12 hours later, I fear I may have overreacted...however, my cabinets are immaculate and my pantry is sparkling and organized. Maybe God sent those carpenter ants my way to help me be productive and organized.

I also found my bun warmer in a cupboard! There are two pans. A small bit of simmering water is place in the bottom pan and the inner pan in filled with hot-from-the-oven rolls. There is even a little vent to let steam escape, thus preventing soggy rolls. Inspires me to make some rosemary whole wheat rolls tomorrow. Or maybe pretzel bread.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Chandelier

After many long months of searching for the perfect chandelier, I stumbled onto a beautiful posting of one on craigslist. At the shocking price of $25, I knew I needed to act quickly. A short drive to Wrigleyville and voila!-I finally had my hands it!

It is very heavy, wrought iron, painted white and has 10 lights. I love the contrast of the deep purple walls with the bright white. In addition, we purchased a medallion to place on the ceiling.

E installed a dimmer switch after a friend of ours hung and wired the chandelier. It looks better than I imagined:

T is back home from his summer vacation and we are so thrilled to have him home. He requested his favorite meal of spaghetti with Italian sausage, salad & lemon drizzle cake. SO grateful for God's provision in my life.

Never felt so rich.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Favorite Cookie

I love cookies.

Not nearly much as cake, of course, but cookies are often found on our cake stand.

My favorite cookie is a macaroon. The simplicity is refreshing and the toasted coconut really shines.

3 egg whites

1/2 cup sugar

pinch of salt

14oz. sweetened flaked coconut.

Beat eggs, sugar & salt with whisk until frothy. Fold in coconut. Drop spoonfuls into mounds on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake in 350 oven for about 25 minutes. Watch so that they do not burn. A toasty brown crust & chewy interior is the desired result.

C, my almost 2 year old gourmand, thought these were wonderful. I caught him sneaking the stepstool over to the island to steal one more.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Cute Cupcake Accoutrements

While stopping at Michaels today to buy plain black frames, I spotted these darling cupcake papers:
They are a new line by Paula Deen & are a terrific (and adorable) bargain at $1 for 50 liners. She had four designs, some with cutesy wording on the bottom. There were also recipe cards, boxes, and coupon books with the vintage designs.
Just finished yummy dinner of tilapia-lightly seasoned and sauteed in a touch of olive oil. We had a side of steamed carrots & broccoli with a garlic-tomato sauce. The mangos that were meant for the salsa became an accidental mango-blackberry chardonnay sorbet. Delicious oops.