Saturday, March 31, 2012

Why my Easter Cookies took all day...

I bounced out of bed early this morning, eager to bake Easter cookies
that have been dancing around in my head for a few weeks. But then
I stopped to look out of the kitchen window for a minute and this
view sucked me right outside... I mean everything's so green!
And, I swear I heard my tree say Ooooh, that tickles!
So I stopped thinking about cookies and decided to take a walk!
For nearly twenty years he tried to grow azaleas for me in California...
And for nearly twenty years I wondered what his fascination was with
those crispy little brown bushes... Because that's what azaleas look
like in Monterey, California. But here... Here, azaleas look like this!
And, like this!
Each year his azaleas look better and better!
I almost feel sorry for people who've never
seen azaleas the way they're meant to be seen!
I see the arbor rose has begun to bloom now too!
I love this rose. It always reminds me of...
All the Japanese maples are leafing out too!
It's impossible to pick a favorite! 
But these wispy green numbers are at the top of my list!
I love Spring!
It's one of the benefits of living here...
 And my gardens are the benefit of being
married to an outstanding hobby-gardener!
Don't tell him, but I started this walk armed with a pair of scissors!
But when it came right down to it, I couldn't do it!
I had to leave his tulips in the yard!
I'll make it up to myself later with a couple of bunches from Whole Foods!
I love this view of our two front yards!
Looks like our new neighbor is making good progress on his garden!
Oh, look... Our mallard pair just flew into the back yard for breakfast!
Mister always comes up out of the creek first...
Then he wait for his sweetie to join him...
And then they waddle over to the pond together to
munch up all the cracked corn I put out for them!
Such a cute couple!
I wish they would hang out with us all day. But
they usually only drop by for breakfast and dinner!
As much as I would love to spend the day outside, I
simply must get cracking on my cookies! Huh, Leo?
Besides, Army dad is in the den laying new hardwood flooring...
So it's not like we could relax outside together today!
So while he installs flooring, I may as well bake some cookies!
But not just any cookies! Easter cookies using another beautiful
heirloom-quality copper cookie cutter from
Because perfect cut-out cookies begin with perfect
copper cookie cutters! This is Bunny-Bun, item #5198
The Ranger named his first pet rabbit Bun-Bun!
See what I mean about perfect cut-out
cookies? does it again!
I smell... Butter!
While my cookies cool, it's time to get my royal icing whipped up!
As soon as I started up my mixer this sweet creature leaned forward to get a
better look into the kitchen window. The look on her face seems to say, Please
teach me to make icing that way... I'd like to tell her that the look on my
face means, Please leave some black oil sunflower seeds for the birds!
So now you know why my Easter cookies took all day to finish!
Oh, look at that...
I think she heard me! 
In case you're wondering about the baby squirrel I found last weekend...
I'm happy to say that after a few days in my care she was able to be
released back into the yard. Of course, I would have LOVED to have
been there; however, Army dad said he felt sorry for her because she
was chewing on the grate on the locker trying to escape - So he scooped
her up and put her near the face tree where she immediately climbed up
and disappeared. Of course, I let him know that I would have preferred
he waited until I got home. But I was reminded that it wasn't about me!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Kitchen Display Cabinet Update!

I came home from work this evening to find the new
display cabinet standing in the kitchen. And guess what?
Someone decided to load it up with some of my cake stands and other
kitchen goodies to demonstrate to me how great he thinks it looks...
Just the way it is! That's right... My dear husband believes I should
leave it alone. He likes the distressed look and he's especially fond of
the contrast of the natural wood against the white walls. I disagree. I
am still on board with white-wash and adding beadboard to the inside
back. We do agree on one thing though... It needs a lot more shelves!
He also suggested that since most of my cake stands and serving pieces
are white, they'll disappear against an all-white cabinet. I still disagree;
however, I did agree to live with it for a week before I do anything else
Which gives me time to focus on my Easter cookie baking
this weekend and to get my beadboard plan nailed down!
Where do you land on this? Leave the cabinet as she stands now,
natural... Or white washed with a beadboard placed into the back?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Kitchen Display Cabinet... When Spring Cleaning leads to Redecorating!

Following my Spring Cleaning seizure episode and, all the furniture was
back into the kitchen after the walls were painted, I took a long, hard look
at my dining set. The dining set I fell in love with because it was white on
white and so what I envisioned for our new home after we lost our minds
sold our California house and moved to North Carolina. It was the second
piece of furniture I bought after the bean chest for the kitchen. But guess
what? We have never used this dining room set. Never. Not even once!
So while the table is a great spot for my kitchen Christmas tree and
where I displayed my Easter tree each year, the truth is the set is much
too big for this corner and wholly unnecessary. Besides, what I really need
in my kitchen is more storage. So I began thinking about how to better use
this space, and the first thing that popped into my mind was some sort of
display cabinet for my collection of cake stands and other kitchen goodies!
I've been dreaming about what my new storage cabinet might look like for
the past week - Pinning these top four options to my kitchen wish-list!
I like the option above a lot and was pleased to find it offered by the same
great on-line company that sold me my Lane living room cocktail table...
However, it is a bit fussier than I envisioned my new cabinet might be, not
to mention that it costs a little more than I want to spend. Besides, I have
something more rustic in mind, which is a big box this beauty offered at
Pottery Barn ticks right off. But since I own over 40 cake stands I'm afraid
I won't be able to display very many of them in this cabinet. And again, $$!
My original hope was to find something like this at one of our estate auction
adventures and to try my hand at refinishing it like my blog-friend, Amy!
Seriously, visit Amy's blog! I guarantee you'll be inspired to drop whatever
it is you're doing and rush out to your nearest antique store or next tag sale to
find something to re-purpose/refinish. Amy is always up to something great!
Then there was this little number... When I first saw it, I stared at it for an
embarrassingly l-o-n-g time! Again, from Home Gallery, and again with
the price! But look at the beadboard on the back. And the glass and the...
Again, price! Then I asked myself... What would Amy do? Then I re-asked
myself, What would Amy do if it was 6 o'clock at night on a Wednesday and
all the cool thrift and antique shops were closed? Craigslist! Of course! So
I searched Craigslist for Kitchen Hutch/China Cabinet/bookcase, and...
Wa-La! I couldn't believe my eyes! Listed as, Restoration Hardware
(practically my middle name) Style Cabinet, Greensboro, $350.00
I knew this is exactly what Amy would do! So I e-mailed the seller every
thirty minutes until she finally called me to say it was still available! And,
despite the hour and after we agreed neither of us was an ax-murderer, I
took down directions and flew out the door. Turns out that the cabinet was
living at the home of a friend of the seller who seriously couldn't have been
nicer or more fun. After I paid for the cabinet, (only $300) we stood outside
in the dark chatting like old friends! Don't you just love it when the Craig's
List seller isn't an ax-murderer and, ends up being someone you'd like to
immediately adopt as your newest best friend? I sure do! So stay tuned...
Because this will be my first attempt at furniture alteration and I'm going
to think like Amy on this... I think I already see white beadboard, don't you?

PS - In case you're wondering... I listed my kitchen table and chairs on Craigslist and sold them to the nicest, (non ax-murderer) lady on the first day of my listing! She's also taking
the plate rack, which means my corner in the kitchen is ready to go! Oh, and since I didn't
splurge on any of those inspiration cabinets, I have enough left over for the new bike I want!