May 22, 2010

Chocolate Pudding...

It has been a while since I have shared a recipe. It will be a very warm weekend here and I don't feel like baking. This is such an easy chocolate pudding recipe, nothing fancy, but it is very good! I make it often, it is a family favorite. Enjoy!

Chocolate Pudding

1 cup sugar 
1/2 c. cocoa (regular or dutch)
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/2 t. salt

2 1/2 c. milk (I use 1%)

2 T. butter
2 t. vanilla extract

In medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Slowly add, while whisking the milk.
Place over medium high heat and whisk constantly until mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat and immediately add the butter and vanilla extract. Stir until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Pour into a large bowl and cover with clear plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming while it cools. Refrigerate until set at least two hours.

May 20, 2010

Puppy In Training, and...

I have been diligently dedicated to training Mr. Darcy. You can see, we have our ups and downs. He still hates his crate, but he is making progress on "outside" duty training. Fortunately, he doesn't mind going out in the rain like I do. We may have this licked (no pun intended) in a week or two.
The visit to the Vet went well. He created quite a stir and everyone just fawned all over him, he sure didn't like that much, right! A few techs thought he looked like a stuffed animal, "Where'd you buy that nose, Hobby Lobby"?  Maybe I will add a "Henry Darcy Doglet"(what he is called at home) to my stuffed repertoire!  He was a complete show off, rolling his eyes and licking everything and everybody in sight. Darcy did not even notice the shot, once they put the meat baby food in front of him.

I was able to get the second slipcover finished, now I need to do some painting. The weather today and through the weekend looks promising, so maybe I can complete a few more projects. Lauren's lamps have been painted with "oil rubbed bronze" paint and I am very pleased with the outcome. I ran out of paint, so I still have to finish one lamp harp. One of the candle covers broke so I will replace it. Lampshades and cord covers(in bronze silk), will be next. So far, so good. I will be looking for the right size drum shades as I feel this will update the feel of these lamps. The pumpkin colored lamp is not as bright as it appears in this picture. In front of the lamps is a brass candelabra, I picked up for $5 at ReHouse, a salvage shop in town. The picture isn't great just a pile of things accumulating in the living room, ready to bring to Lauren's next week. I will post the lamps again when they are finished.

May 17, 2010

This chair? Really? Okay...

My daughter Lauren found this chair in the "barn" of her current home. She has wanted to refinish and reupholster it for a long time. Now that she is moving soon, the time was right. Her family will be needing some extra chairs for sure. I know it looks rough, but my blog friends, I know you can envision it as it will be (insert lots of imagination, here). I really like the mix of mid-century modern with a hint of traditional in the slightly turned out legs. The barn is more like a large dry garage space and it was kept dry if not clean.

Yesterday, was a beautiful day and when the phone rang, I knew it was Lauren. We live two hours apart and she was SO wanting Mom there to work on a project, together. I was in intensive puppy training and Papa is going to Pittsburgh, so an impromptu visit, wasn't going to happen. Instead we came up with preparing the chair for refinishing. "That will keep you busy", I said. Oh yes, "a thousand tacks later", as she put it, and a little joint tightening, courtesy of her handy father-in-law, the chair was in pretty good shape. The springs were tight and did not have to be replaced. We will replace the tattered burlap with modern webbing and of course, new foam and batting. She will make a pattern from the removed fabric and when the new fabric is chosen we will refinish the legs appropriately. I will be going to visit on the 27th, so we will work on it together then.

The boys are looking forward to seeing Darcy as much as Nana, I suspect.  Layton, age 2, did say "I love you Nana", and that he would see me in "two times". Okay(melted here). I miss them all so much. Two hours isn't very far away, and I am grateful that it isn't further. Sometimes I wish they were around the corner, though. I am lucky to have my younger daughter Kate ( BTW, Can you make another Key Lime Pie? She is a fabulous baker) here with her family, so I guess I am just greedy. Their older brother Seth and his wife (no babies, yet) live in South Carolina, a much bigger trip! Charleston is a great place to visit and Kiawah Island is a favorite vacation place for us. We have often dreamed of having a "Kennedy" type compound there for family reunions, uh huh, sure! Have a great Monday!!

May 10, 2010

Mother's Day gift...Meet Darcy

I hope everyone had a nice Mother's Day. The weather was scary around here with fifty mile an hour winds, downed trees and power lines.
And snowed again. Inside was cheery and warm, especially with the newest member of the family, Darcy (I am a huge Jane Austen fan). Darcy  is a Malta-poo and he is nine weeks old. I am completely in love with this dog! He has the sweetest personality. We are hoping that the cats, Prance and Lilybelle will be accepting. They are staying separate for now until they are used to the smell of the dog in the house.
These dogs make terrific pets, not only because of their mellow personalities, but,  because they do not shed and are hypo-allergenic. They have hair, not fur.  Periodic haircuts are needed at the groomers. Oh, that face.

If you are an expert in training dogs you will not want to hear this next part. We are failures at crate training. The cries were heartbreaking, and Mr. B. is a big softie. Darcy prefers to sleep in our bed. Very bad, I know.  He sleeps soundly through the night and only wakes up when we do. He has had his first bath and is doing quite well with paper training. Darcy will be trained to go outside after he receives his next shots this week. Right now, he is sitting next to me in a chair, asleep again. We have a soft crate for him to retreat to in the family room and he feels comfortable there.  Thank you, Mr. B for indulging me this gift. Now if we can only find a home for the teenagers we would be all set. Just kidding boys ;)  (sorry  about that IMac cord in the pictures)

May 7, 2010

Thrifty Lamps for the Library...

Today, my mother and I attended an event at Isabella's primary school. We were her "special guests" as her grandmother and great grandmother. She performed her speaking part beautifully and it was so much fun to hear them sing songs with the same melodies my mother and I remembered so well. Only the lyrics have changed. The teacher reminded us that educators have known for a long time that singing and learning go hand in hand. Remember how you learned your abc's, you sang the song, of course!

We decided after the school visit to do a little thrift shopping at the Good Will in my Mom's little town. She has been telling me about the great bargains she has found there, but this was my first visit. Well, what a good idea that turned out to be. My daughter Lauren is moving into a new "old" home, an early Arts and Crafts (1890), over 4000 square feet. Needless to say, she will need a lot more furniture and lamps. We have designed the function of each room on paper and have determined what she will need in them. It was helpful to draw it out to scale, so that we could place room features and furniture pieces in it. Believe or not, we used Google Docs and worked together on our computers to draw out the entire downstairs rooms. She lives a little over two hours away and we working on the same document! Ain't technology grand.

Okay, so here are the lamps we found for the "library".  A room with built ins and beautiful large, stained glass windows. She will put a large old library table, preferably with drawers in the center of the room and add benches on either side for homework and projects. There will be more bookcases and the corners will have comfy chairs, small tables and "lamps". This room has lots of mahogany trim and will need ample light. Check out these babies in their "before" state. The cost $6.99, $7.99 and $7.99. They are very heavy solid brass and the large multiple socket one has two switches in case less light is needed.

I will be spraying the brass parts with "oil rubbed bronze" in keeping with the Arts and Crafts era. The candlesticks will be freshened up and the wooden base lamp will be done in a fun color. The best part will be finding the perfect lampshades. I will share the "afters" when I am finished. Lauren still needs many more lamps, but this is such a great start. What do you think of this bargain? My mom purchased them for her and she totally could envision them...gotta love Mom! I am linking here:
Beyond The Picket Fence

May 6, 2010

Learning to make slip covers...

I wanted to try my hand at slip covers, so the children chairs seemed like a good place to start. I used the method of pinning in place, marking and trimming. First, I used newspaper to make a pattern of the main pieces I needed. This was my first slip so I used muslin to make a fabric pattern for my toile (isn't it pretty?). Do not pay any attention to the green legs on the chair, both chairs and table will be painted in a light taupe. Remember, I am the "horse before the cart" kind of girl. What do you think? I am satisfied with this one, now I will sew the other. I can't wait for the girls (Bella and Ava) to see it.

Here is a lampshade embellishment I really like, there will be a pair of these. Love the ruffled bias tape, easy and fast on the machine...need to work on getting it perfectly centered, but, I think I have it worked it out. It is attached with SOBO fabric glue, tacky and I did not have to hold it on, it grabs right that. Roses attached this way also.

This is a fish fossil that I bought from MW Nature's Antiquities, an Etsy shop you must visit! Mr B. wants to hang it here, above the stove. I think he is right, it looks amazing against the tile and adds a nice touch. We are still figuring out how to hang it, maybe epoxy a hanger on the back of the fossil and use a 3M removable hanger on the tile? 

I am linking here today. 

Beyond The Picket Fence

May 1, 2010

New Treasures Found...And Finished Plate Rack

Shhh! I am supposed to be cleaning out the back porch then working in the yard. Here I am sharing with you the treasures I found on Thursday with K. Our stops included: Salvation Army Thrift Store, Artiques ( a great little shop), and the Ontario Antique Mall. Oh, there was another antique store as well, just can't remember the name of it. Another great day of finds.

This is what I purchased at the SA:

A large bisque planter with beautiful bas relief castles (will be painted) $3.99
Beautiful bottle with raised design in harlequin check pattern $.99
Two children's chairs, solid wood, sturdy (need refinishing) $ 7.99 each

At Artiques and the other little shop I found : a vintage children's apron, a brown majolica pitcher, an amethyst glass flower frog, a bird flower frog, a handmade covered hanging basket (I will use for cat treats), vintage rhinestone buckle (no pic, sorry), a globe with wonderful raised relief 1960, (the antique tailors press board was from an earlier excursion with Mr. B.) and a coal miners little wooden canary cage (no pic, sorry) I will be using some of these things in future projects.

At the Ontario Antiques Mall I found: a vintage peanut butter jar with zinc top (an adorable jumble peanut elephant decoration), an flower embroidered pillow case, and a little pressed glass top, I will use in a making a cloche (see above SA pic).

Here is the plate rack after painting...I still need to style it a bit but I put some things in it so you can get the idea. You will notice some of my new treasures have made the cut (child apron, majolica pitcher, peanut butter jar, bird "frog") Thank you, Mr. B. it is beautiful! 

Now, I want to commission Julie Whitmore (gorgeous french faience pottery, go check it out) to design a special platter for me.