The Un-Umbrella Stand

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For once, I am ahead of schedule.  Not even out of April and my front flower beds are planted, the back yard is tidied up from the winter season and the outdoor furniture is out and I am ready to coast for the summer.

The one piece of engineering I had to do was to create a cover for my outdoor market umbrella stand.  The umbrella is necessary not just for keeping the hot sun at bay, but also to keep the birds from leaving gifts on the seats of my outdoor furniture. :)

I looked on the internet for tables that also doubled as umbrella stand covers, but the ones I liked were $150 – $300. (of course)

So I had to get creative.  It turned out well and I am happy with the end result.  You can decide if you agree.

I hope you find some inspiration.

Always,

Cindy

Two cedar planters, one smaller and one larger were used. Purchased from Lowe's, a hole was drilled in both of them to allow them to slide down the center pole. The larger was turned upside down, the smaller was filled with some plastic at the bottom, potting soil and flowers. A simple pressure fit (with the help of a rubber mallet) was all that was needed to create one unit.

Two cedar planters, one smaller and one larger were used. Purchased from Lowe’s, a hole was drilled in both of them to allow them to slide down the center pole. The larger was turned upside down, the smaller was filled with some plastic at the bottom, potting soil and flowers. A simple pressure fit (with the help of a rubber mallet) was all that was needed to create one unit.

Baby’s Breath

 

Baby's Breath in antique vessels.

Baby’s Breath in antique vessels.

 

I’m not prone to fill my house with market items, as I prefer to fill my home with antiques and vintage items.  But sometimes when you find a market item with the right vibe, it doesn’t matter that it isn’t old.  These mother of pearl drawer pulls with brass centers is just such an item.

Waiting in line to pay for my merchandise at Home Goods, no less…standing by all the impulse buy displays, I spied these lovely little drawer pulls that amount to mother or pearl flowers with a brass bead for a center.

Bunched together, they look like a lovely bouquet of Baby’s Breath.  The neutral tone of the mother of pearl flowers against the somewhat tarnished brass makes for a perfect foil of the rustic against the refined….my favorite style approach.

Trying to find the best place for them proved rather easy.  I chose a bedside table where some vintage and antique brown transfer ware reside.  There seemed to be a parallel between the cream and brown tones of the antique pitchers and the drawer pulls.  It didn’t take much convincing…I was sold that this was the right place to put my great little market finds.

I hope you find some inspiration.

Always,

Cindy

Delicate little mother of pearl petals refine the old, crackled paint finish.

Delicate little mother of pearl petals refine the old, crackled paint finish.

 

The rustic against the refined; beautiful inexpensive drawer pulls add to the charm of an old, antique table.

The rustic against the refined; beautiful inexpensive drawer pulls add to the charm of an old, antique table.

The drawer pulls reminded me of a bouquet of Baby's Breath.

The drawer pulls reminded me of a bouquet of Baby’s Breath.

The little touches that make this little space pretty and useful

The little touches that make this little space pretty and useful

 

 

Brownies that Mrs. Patmore would approve of

I am a fan of baking.  In fact, I may like baking more than I like eating the sweet treats I make!  It is just so much fun and homey and at the end of the day, if you do it right and make something delicious…you are bringing joy to others.

The weather was a balmy 70 degrees, VERY unlike our normal weather during Winter.  So I threw  open the windows and doors, let the old screen door snap shut and decided to make the most wonderful brownies in the world: Ina Garten’s Outrageous Brownies.  Her trick is using coffee grinds in the batter; it brings a depth of flavor to the chocolate.  Sure…that is common knowledge now, but when she first introduced this recipe, it wasn’t so common.

Fair warning, this recipe makes loads of brownies…so make sure you have a good and hungry crowd to serve them to, neighbors you can give them to or be prepared to scarf them up yourself.  No one can resist these bad boys when they are sitting in the kitchen…any effort to try is futile.

Recipe is after the pictures.

A pound of butter.

Eggs. Chocolate. Flour. Simple.

Brownies ready for the oven.

If only every piece had crusty goodness like the corner piece.

Vintage Ironstone Cake Stand and Brownies. Two of my favorite things.

Brownies. The finished product.

 

Outrageous Brownies

Ingredients

1 poundunsalted butter

1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

6 ouncesunsweetened chocolate

6 extra-large eggs

3 tablespoons instant coffee granules

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups chopped walnuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter and flour a 12 x 18 x 1-inch baking sheet.

Melt together the butter,1 poundof chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour into the baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake! Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into 20 large squares.

Copyright 2012 Television Food Network G.P.
All Rights Reserved

I hope you have found some inspiration!

Always,

Cindy

 

Pleasant Christmas Surprises…

An Old Fashioned Christmas.

What a pleasant surprise for neighborhood kidlets, visitors and maybe even the mail man if he dares!

Using an antique Victorian wire plant stand, we lined it with white burlap and added a festive red ribbon and filled it with peppermint treats.  It was placed right by the door on the old front porch and welcomes one and all.

It is an easy idea that can be accomplished with almost any vintage container and ends up being such a sweet, unexpected gift for everyone.

I hope you find some inspiration.

Always,

Cindy

A Merry Welcome Threshold.

A Sweet Holiday Treat.

These holiday ideas are supported by our sponsors.  Thank them by giving them a visit.  Merry Christmas.

 

GOOD LOOK, Inc.

Antique Find: The Champagne Bucket

Prosecco in ice. How nice.

Country or cottage living is inherently romantic.  It isn’t just a design style, but for many of us it is a way of living.

I was visiting my friend, Judy Jonker, who was having a yard sale.  Now her yard sales aren’t like most yard sales.  She is a creative spirit who also loves all things old.  So she had some really special pieces.  When she isn’t having yard sales, she shows at Fringe, The Event, which is a monthly antique and vintage show here in McKinney.

I spied a vintage blue bowl on a table;  liked it, but moved on.  Then I turned around and about 20 feet away from me was an old, white, chippy plant stand.  The second I saw it, I had this instant thought that the enamel bowl I had just seen would fit perfectly in the plant stand, if I turned the plant stand upside down.

So I grabbed the bowl, turned the plant stand over and voila…it was a perfect fit.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it…but I knew I loved it.

I brought it home and decided on putting it in my newly re-designed dining room as a lovely little wine or champagne bucket.  (As a foot note, the dining room redesign reveal will be featured in this blog very soon)

And so it goes…a romantic touch for a romantic girl.

xoxo,

Cindy

Old plant stand, new life.

Time worn and lovely.

Vintage enamel bowl in an old plant stand.