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Friday, September 28, 2012

Thrifts And Auctions and Cake. Woo-Hoo!

I haven't had much luck at our local Goodwill Store
lately.  But that's okay.  One of my favorite thrift
shops has reopened after its summer hiatus.  
And on a recent visit,
it was loaded with loot.

I am a pushover for blue and white china.
Especially when a nice big plate costs $3.

True, the farmer looks a bit of a doofus,
but I plan on hanging him 'way up high on this wall,
with some other blue and whites:

 The same fate awaits this smaller plate:
Haha -- just noticed the little screw in the upper right corner of the picture.
Something around here has a screw loose! 
Why are you pointing at me?

I like this plate even better than the farmer one.
Love the pierced edges.
It's from Portugal.  Set me back a whole 4 bucks.

On Saturday I need to enlist Howard and Annie to help me
bring some fresh pieces to my antiques booth;
some furniture sold this week and I need to fill in the gaps.

Luckily, that's not a problem.
I've got stuff waiting in the wings.

Or, in this case, the dining room.
Yes, I'm a little behind in refinishing and painting.

This chair, from an auction
back at the end of August, is ready to go.
I think it's walnut, but I'm not sure.
It's clean and in beautiful shape, including the fabric,
but its seat is unusually low.

I suspect it might have been a rocking chair once upon a time.
Although a reader commented that it might
be a low-to-the-ground nursing chair, common in Victorian times.
With old furniture, much of the fun is figuring out 
why something is the way it is now, and what it might have been.

 As promised . . .
Irene's Cheater's Cake

My mother-in-law, Irene, is a consummate baker,
renowned for her cakes and pastries.
She never, ever takes shortcuts or uses (gasp!) mixes.

Her sour cream coffee cakes are famous, but
recently when my husband Howard was in Florida
visiting his Mom . . . the unthinkable happened:
Bobi made a sour cream coffee cake.  From a mix.

I know, I know.  Shocking!
But here's what she did, and she calls it
Cheater's Cake.

One yellow or butter flavored cake mix (we like Duncan Hines)
One cup (8 oz.) of sour cream (not yogurt, not light sour cream, but the real stuff)
3/4 cup of oil (we used canola)
3 whole, large eggs
(And -- one cup brown sugar mixed with one spoon of cinnamon; your choice of spoon size!)

Bundt pan -- two bucks at the thrift.  In brand new condition.

1. Don't follow the directions on the cake mix box.
2. Instead, mix all of the ingredients (except sugar) in a mixer until it all looks like, well, cake batter.
3. Pour half into a greased bundt or angel food cake pan, and sprinkle it with some of the
brown sugar & cinnamon mix, then add the rest of the batter and top with the rest of the sugar mix.
4. Pop the pan into a preheated 350-degree oven.
5. Bake for 3 days.
No, that's not really true . . . but when Anne made this recipe on Wednesday of this past week, she baked the cake for the 40 minutes or so that was suggested on the cake box.  It was not enough time, so back into the oven it went.  Again.  And again.  I think the total time for baking was about 75 minutes.

This was probably for two reasons. 
1 -- the batter is heavier because of the sour cream and the oil.
2 -- Anne had added chopped apples in the bottom of the bundt pan,
and they add moisture to the mix.

Anyway -- let it cool enough to handle, then turn it out of the pan onto a rack.
Let cool some more, cut, and enjoy!
It's delicious with good coffee, and I'm sure would work with tea as well.
Or milk.
Hmmm . . . I just remembered there's still some left on the kitchen counter . . . . 

Bye!  Have a wonderful weekend.
We've got projects in the pipeline, here at That Old House.
Like, rearranging the Parlor furniture.  It's hopeless.

But we have to get moving; it's T.B.D.B.T time already!  -- Cass

Link Parties!
At My Romantic Home, it's Show And Tell Friday Click here!
Feathered Nest Friday makes its home at French Country Cottage.  Click here!
The Charm of Home features Home Sweet Home on Fridays.  Click here!
It's Vintage Inspiration Friday at Common Ground.  Click here!
Miss Mustard Seed hosts the Furniture Friday Feature.  It's a must visit -- Click here!
At Rattlebridge Farm, it's Foodie Friday.  Go!  Click here.

Foodie Friday

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Falling For Autumn Tablescapes

I'm culling pictures today from my Blogger files:
old favorite Fall table settings from posts past.
I'm a little sleepy and a little groggy from the Percocet the doctor prescribed for me.
I had a suspicious thingy taken off my arm yesterday.
My daughter Annie has taken on the role of making sure I do what the doctor said.
She's a tough boss.

What follows are some favorite pictures of table settings done in September or October, '09 to '11.
No big explanations; if you are interested in seeing more of any particular table,
click where it says "click" under the picture.  Doh.  Bet you could figure that out for yourself, huh?

Now I'll shut up.  Which is hard for me.






And that's all for today.
Tomorrow?   A look at some auction furniture.
And the recipe for my mother-in-law's Cheater's Cake.
Which I just may have a slice of this afternoon;
Annie baked one yesterday.  Comfort food, y'know.  -- Cass

 Thursday Links
At From My Front Porch To Yours, it is Treasure Hunt Thursday.  Click here!
Between Naps On The Porch -- Tablescape Thursday.  Click here!
At Katherine's Corner, it's the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop.  Click here!
At One Creative Mommy, it's the 13th One Creative Weekend.  Click here!
One Creative Weekend Week 12 Features

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Silk of Summer, The Crunch of Fall, Redux

Today, since I am temporarily out of commission,
I am repeating a favorite post of mine,
written originally in early October of 2010.
 Confession:  I repeated it last September, too, so if you are a regular reader, you should skip this one.
I am especially fond of this post because it is short.   Like a good sermon.  :-)

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

It is remarkable, how our little patch of God's green earth
changes its wardrobe from a summertime riot of silky fresh color . . .

. . . to the crisp and crunchy textures and colors of Fall.
All in the blink of an eye.

I learned just a few years ago that the autumn colors of leaves --
those russet reds, those golds and browns and yellows --
are actually the real colors of the leaves.
Those colors have been there, lurking, all along.
The green is a costume.
A chlorophyll phantasy.

Our Forsythia of Many Colors.  Wilder than when it's in bloom!

Knowing this has changed how I look at autumn color.
Now, I look at an Autumn-hued tree and think,
"Ah-ha!  I'm seeing the real you!"

That maple tree in the corner of your yard?
She's been hiding her glorious Titian hair under Plain Jane green all summer.

How kind of Mother Nature to clothe her jewel-colored trees and bushes
in quiet green in Summer, leaving the glory to the flowers.

And how kind of her to give the trees and bushes
a last, riotous chance to shine before Winter.

Enjoy the color in your own backyard-- Cass

P.S. My apologies to the science teachers out there.  Yes, I should have paid attention in class, lo those many years ago, and yes, this is a very simplified "science lesson."  But I'm afraid I'm pretty simple when it comes to science!

Link Party!
Susan at A Southern Daydreamer hosts Outdoor Wednesday.  Go visit here!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tea Pots a-Poppin'

I'm not a real collector.
I don't edit my collections, curate them,
display them artistically, or keep upgrading them.

I purty much collect what I think is purty,
and cheap.   Or, more elegantly, inexpensive.
Parlor cupboard, loaded with stuff, definitely not artistically arranged.
Which brings me to my tea pots.
Shall we take a look inside?
This cupboard, a recent acquisition, houses most of my tea pots.
They are grouped willy-nilly on the shelves,
with some of my Mom's Hummels and various other bits of stuff. 

Now this little orange tea pot, below, has quite a backstory.

This little Majolica-style baby was from a box lot at an auction,
and had a surprise inside.  Like the trinket in a Cracker Jack box.

If you missed this story, which is here, let's just say that I was
pretty surprised to discover $403 in small bills stuffed inside..
I returned the money to the lady who originally owned it.

But then, most of my tea pots have some sort of backstory.
They were gifts, or travel souvenirs, or family hand-me-downs.
Probably the only one that's worth any money at all
is the cobalt and gilt leaf patterned Meissen tea pot.
It was a gift from my in-laws.

 But some things are priceless.  Tucked into this cupboard, next to a grouping of Mom's Hummels,
is my Ginny Doll.  Did you have one?  I got mine when I was 4 years old.

Ginny needs a little surgery on her arms -- the rubber bands have rotted through and her arms are held on
by the sleeves of her dress, which I sewed for her when I was about 12,
using a hand-cranked child's Singer machine, and hand sewing.

Ginny and I have something in common.  I need a little surgery on my arm, too.
I'm having a spot of skin cancer taken off my left arm tomorrow, so I may not be posting for a day or two.

Mother Nature is working by the calendar here this year.
Soon after Labor Day, she shut down the heat machine,
and our warmest days are now in the low to mid 70s.

The four ferns on the front porch are happy.
Now if (ok, when) we forget to water them, they don't collapse.
Happy Tuesday.
 -- Cass

Link Parties!
Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage, and Tea Time Tuesday.  Click here!
At Linda's Coastal Charm blog, it's Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays Click here!