Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pomp and Circumstance - The Royal Wedding.


Tomorrow morning I am embracing my heritage and plan to watch the Royal Wedding, getting up at dawn to watch it live.  The Brit in me loves the Monarchy and the pomp and circumstance and hundreds of years of traditions.  Watching Kate Middleton become a Princess is the stuff dreams are made of.

And I plan to be in there it like a dirty shirt.........................(What does that really mean)?...........................

I've made scones with currants from a recipe I got from PINE CONE CAMP blog by Janis Nicolay.  Easy and delicious.  The recipe is below.

And in preparation, I have brought out my Emma Bridgewater teacups, my one and only Royal Plate (coronation of Queen Elizabeth) and my Organic Iced Tea bottle that I paid the earth to buy the drink, just so I could have the bottle.

The plan is to boot the Raz Man out of bed at 3 am (although he is welcome to stay) and watch the coverage in bed with a pot of tea, scones with Bonne Maman, and my cozy Union Jack Pillow. 

Does anyone else have plans for watching the Wedding?


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 oz/90g cold butter
1/4 cup berry sugar (or caster sugar)
½ cup raisins (i use currants)
1 lightly beaten egg
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350f/180c. Mix the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon together in a bowl. Rub the butter in with your fingers, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, raisins and combine. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, then add the egg and milk mixture and stir until well combined. Place tablespoons of the mixture on a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until golden. Try them warm with a little butter!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

By Your Request - The White/Blue Version of the Inexpensive Faux Grain Sack Table Runner.

I am crazy about White.  But once in a while White needs a companion.  And there is nothing more classic and fresh than Blue and White together.

After my previous post on my Faux Grain Sack Table Runner, I had a number of people ask me where I bought it and what the other colours looked like.  So....I bought it at Fabric Land, a large fabric/sewing chain here in Canada.  It is actually Tea Towelling.  They hide it under the big cutting table/bench along with the fabric linings etc.  It comes in Red, Blue, Green and Yellow.  I paid $9.00 meter for this blue one, but the red one I purchased I got 40% off.  They had 2 types.  One was thick and rough and was more like a needle pointing stiff gauze fabric.  This one is thinner and soft and 45% cotton, 55% linen.  It washed beautifully.  A little bit of shrinkage....nothing to fret about.  It comes hemmed on the two sides, making it a ready made runner.  You can stitch the other 2 shorter ends, but I frayed it and liked the laziness casual look of this method.

Before I go any further, I Will come clean and tell you that I completely staged this little grouping.  There is nothing that bugs me more than a photo is so staged that it is obvious that this is not the way the homeowner lives.  99% of the time on my blog, IT IS HOW IT IS.  But today I wanted to show you the lovely blue linen and so I pulled out the 2 pieces of china I own in blue.   Plus a few white plates that were left on the table after Easter to be put away.

You get the look of vintage grain sack linen without the cost or the worrying about ruining it.

These numbered bowls are by Burleigh and come from the UK.  I bought them new, not vintage.  Burleigh makes it easy to know what size pudding bowl you want to order by numbering them.  I have 1 -4 which gives me a good range.  I use them as serving bowls on the dining table.  Because I am so not FANCY. 

I was thinking (while I should have been working) that this (already hemmed) tea towelling would be marvellous for making Pillows for the Hammock, and would look great outside to dress up a simple picnic table.........

I am linking to White Wednesday over at Faded Charm Cottage.  Pop on over HERE to visit the rest.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Flowers In The House

At the Small But Charming blog today, there is a monthly flower show....a place to see every ones lovely flowers. Especially nice today since many people had flowers in the house for Easter.......My lovely roses didn't last long for some reason, but were fabulous while they Easter gift to myself since I have to forget about chocolate for a while......................Click HERE to visit the others.....

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Inexpensive (Faux) Grain Sack Table Runner

Happy Easter to everyone.  By now you are likely relaxing and fed well on turkey, ham, lamb or whatever ever else you enjoy for your Easter lunch/dinner.  

A little while ago, I got this new dining table that extends to a whopping 12 feet. Which makes it hard to find a cloth or runner that actually fits it. While pondering in the fabric shop last week, I came across this material intended for tea towels. Sold by the meter, it has two edges already hemmed, which makes it ideal to use as a table runner. I bought a 4 meter piece and frayed the edges because I am really lazy about sewing.

I think it looks a lot like the vintage grain sack fabric that is so popular at the moment.  It also comes in blue and green.  I got 4 meters for $17.00 as it was 40% off. 

I had a small crowd for dinner today.  Each person got a chocolate dipped marshmallow (see my previous post) and a clay tag with an Easter chick on it.  If you want to see how to make these tags the Beach Cottage blog has a tutorial.  You can see it HERE but you have to pay for it, or HERE on McCarthy Designs Blog.  Or you can buy them from Ness Lockyer who makes the best ones I have seen.  Check out Ness's Etsy shop Marley and Lockyer.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Gifted - Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows

I missed my friend Disey's birthday as I was in Montreal.  So now I am 4 days late.  And it's Good Friday, so nothing is open to go buy ingredients to bake for her or to shop for a gift.  I decided to use what was on hand in the pantry.  I had a bag of marshmallows and a block of Valrhona Milk Chocolate.  I decided to make her hand dipped Marshmallow Lollipops.  If you are absolutely  mad really ambitious you can make your own marshmallows, but I decided to use the Jet Puffs I had on hand.  Here is the recipe for handmade marshmallows.

Melt chocolate in double boiler if you have one. If not place a small bowl in a small pot filled with 2 inches of water, or melt gently in the microwave in a small deep bowl.  Once melted let it cool until still runny but not too drippy.  Take a lollipop stick or wooden skewer and dip the end in the chocolate. (this gives it a bit of grip on the marshmallow).  Pierce the mallow with the skewer.  Dip into melted chocolate, twirl it and let the excess drip off and place it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.  Toss some sprinkles on the wet chocolate. (you could add smarties or other candy.  Let cool.  Wrap in cello bags. 

I bundled them like a bouquet of roses and placed them in a cupcake box that I bought at Home Sense.  I don't usually buy gift boxes, but I make an exception for food gifts where things need to be new and clean.

If you are serving these at a party, they look pretty placed in a vase as a centerpiece or even an old silver teapot.  I made some extras for Easter table decorating and I will show you on Sunday what I am doing with those.  I added one of my clay gift tags to pretty it up.

This is a really easy and inexpensive gift.  The marshmallows were $2.99 and the chocolate $6.00.  For less than $10.00 you have a handmade and delicious gift.  These would be fun for kids parties and wedding favours with various coloured candy sprinkles.

Photo Challenge - Easter

This Friday's Photo Challenge was to photograph anything related to Easter.  Easter is my favourite of the Festive Celebrations, and although Good Friday can be sombre, Easter Sunday is always special to me.  My family are having dinner here.  I was going to shock them and do a ham, but I think they may be outraged if the tradition of the turkey was turkey it is. 

I chose to photograph this little bunny because he was made from paper mache in an old chocolate mold.  He was also bought for me by my mum many years ago.  My mum can't choose gifts for me herself anymore, so the ones she bought in the past have special meaning to me.

He never gets put away.  He's in my office during the year and make an appearance at Easter on the living room mantle. 

Easter always makes me pause and think of my loved ones.....grateful for their health and happiness, wishing them in courage their struggles and hoping they can feel the love we send their way.

Next week the challenge is to photograph a bird............add your photo to the linky below....

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The "Cupcake Cafe" Vanilla Cake Recipe - The Absolute Best Vanilla Cake

Since Easter is just around the corner, I thought I would re-post my all time favourite Vanilla Cake recipe which is from the Cupcake Cafe in New York.  I have their cookbook, but the recipes are huge, bigger than what I would make for my family.  A number of years ago, I found the Cupcake Cafe recipe in a newspaper and it was scaled down for home baking.

By far, this is the most requested cake by my friends and family.  The icing is butter cream, made with egg whites and boiled sugar and a full pound of butter (large cake though), and so is less sweet than powdered sugar icing......For those of you who do not have a candy thermometer, use your meat thermometer.  I use one of those digital ones.  THIS IS NOT HARD TO DO.  REALLY, please don't be intimidated by the Butter cream.

For Easter, I like my table to be full of Spring bulbs. And Vanilla Cake.  I hope you enjoy this gorgeous cake. 

Recipe from The Cupcake Cafe as reproduced in the Toronto Star.

Make up a batch of your favourite Vanilla Butter Cream or icing and you are go.

Linking up to

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Wedding Planner

Thank you all for your input on being a good Mother of the Groom (MOG) and for all the advice on helping my future daughter in law with her wedding plans today.  Trying my best to behave and not quickly become the Outlaw, I enjoyed a day checking out venues and pouring over the Internet looking for dresses that will fit a 4'11" bridesmaid as well as tall girls and a variety of body types. 

At one Hotel venue, I was told that I shouldn't take photos because they hosted a lot of celebrities and politicians.  So I can't show you those photos as I sold them to The Enquirer.

This is my favourite venue...Hotel St. James in the Old Port.  Old and quaint but with a modern refurbish.

So, I was asked what colour I planned to wear and I said Black.  I always wear black dresses.  No one told me that black worn by the MOG could signify a state of mourning over your son's choice of bride!!! We checked with the hip/cool Grandmother who has approved me wearing a black dress.  A few things slipped out of my mouth today............I may have said the following....

  • It reminds me of a funeral home...
  • It reminds me of an Old Folks Home
  • Blah...
  • Yuck
  • It looks like -----
And you guys told me to wear beige and keep my mouth shut................................

I have so enjoyed looking at dresses at BLHDN, the new Cousin to Anthropologie........Love this dress! And also this simple brides dress.................

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Cats Pyjamas

I am packing today as I am heading to Montreal this weekend for a 3 day Wedding Blitz.  Engaged in November, my son and finance had to put wedding plans on hold due to the illness of a key player.  The good news is they have the green light and planning is now underway. And in a hurry.  Plans are for September this year.  Mother of the Bride (MOB) and Mother of Groom (MOG) are going to run around the City with the Bride and case out venues, food, decor and whatever else Wedding Planners do.   It is amazing how the wedding list can be difficult....cousins, aunts...friends of ours....who do we invite.....

Whenever I go away, the minute I get my bag out, the cat comes running to observe the ritual.  I think she knows by now that it means she's going to be left for a bit.  She makes me feel guilty..............................

I think she is wondering if I packed her pyjamas this time.

Have your kids been married yet.....any advice for the MOG?...................................................

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Photo Challenge - Dresser

Thanks to everyone who has been joining in the photo challenge on Friday's.  As previously mentioned, some weeks will focus on technique and others just on fun stuff. 

This week's challenge was to photograph the top of your dresser.  I wanted everyone to get a peek at the Real Stuff.  How we really live.  And for most of us that isn't magazine worthy dressers with lovely trays of perfumes and a pretty lamp.  I think the top of a dresser can tell a bit about it's owner.  Does it hold books and reading glasses, coins scattered, perfumes and potions......exactly what do you keep on it?

The problem I had with my own challenge was that I don't even have a dresser in my bedroom.  Although newly renovated, I have still to find the right furniture pieces, and so I have a crappy old bedside table with painted plywood top, and a long table where ideally I need a double dresser.  An old pine one would be great, but I am holding out for the right one.  So I keep my bits in the spare room/office on the dresser in there.

Too shy to show you the real mess, I staged it with flowers from the dining room and actually ran a duster over it.   But.............
But before I "staged" it, I actually took a couple of pictures to show you it in it's natural state. So here is the un-retouched photo of my dumping ground complete with a bra hanging on the hook beside (which I just noticed was in the photo).  I am a scatterer People, I let my petals fall where they may.. A pile of books and magazines to be read, a trinket from Mexico waiting to be hung, a book on knitting hats, the hand print in plaster (sons kindergarten gift to me on Mother's Day) that holds coins, earrings and general BITS.  My bunny planted filled with things to put away such as recycled ribbons, and a piece of Bark Cloth waiting to be made into pillows.

So that's my dresser.....what's on yours?????  Click on the Linky Tool Below to join us.

Next week...A photograph related to Easter....lets make this an artisitc shot.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Shabby Chic Slip Covers

I recently changed my dining room table from a very dark espresso coloured table that looked pretty good with my dark velvet chairs.  When I lightened up the table, I found that the chairs didn't fit so well. 

To tall, too dark, too skinny.  Not the country cottage look I was going for with my new white walls and pine table.

So I fattened them up a bit with a slipcover, made for me by my wonderful slipcover fellow who sews the best slips ever for really good prices. (my business Razmataz desgins and sells these wonderful slips, plus upholstery).  I used a medium weight white denim to add bulk to the chairs.  I also added piping all around the back and skirt to add further heft to the chair.

These will actually look better after washing as the denim will soften and hang a little looser.  We washed the piping before the slips were sewn though, to prevent those awful shrunken, twisted piping problems you can get with slips.

I was actually inspired by the ruffled skirts that Rachel Ashwell put on the chairs in Jennifer Lopez's restaurant. See below.

So you're still invited for dinner but please, don't wear those new dark jeans, bring red wine or wipe your fingers on the skirts........Thank You.

I am joining in at White Wednesday today over at Faded Charm
I am joining Show and Tell Friday at Romantic Home Blog

Linking up to Feathered Nest Friday atFrench Country Cottage