I love collections in my home. Things displayed in multiples seems to speak to my decorating soul in a powerful way. I have made some mistakes along the way….think 1990 Longenberger basket obsession…when I realized I was collecting what I thought I should be collecting rather than what I really wanted to collect. Expensive lesson for me. I am a wiser collector now. Let me share some life lessons I have learned on my collection journey…and show off a few of my most favorites at the same time
1. Display collected items together…they lose their impact if they are separated . Think of Grandma’s home with her ceramic cats scattered throughout the house on every surface….don’t do that! I like how my vintage rolling pins look in this giant egg basket…suddenly simple objects are seen as an elevated art display!
2. Collect what you love and what resounds with your soul…Be honest when you no longer feel the love and gift or donate. Also, don’t serve as a storage facility for family member’s “treasures” out of guilt or obligation . If you don’t love Aunt Lulu’s souvenir thimble collection , find someone who will delight in them…Aunt Lulu would approve! Many of the chickens on display on my dining room hutch come from a friend who inherited them from a relative. After 20 years of storage I was excited to give them an honored spot in my home.
3. Don’t collect with your child’s college fund in mind…unless you collect early Picasso abstracts. We all know someone with tubs of Beanie Babies in their basement just waiting for the magical buyer to show up and pave the way to Harvard. The price of my beloved Lusticru omelet pans (French flea market finds) on eBay tempts me to enlist my friends to send me every piece they can find…but then the memory of finding these beauties would be forgotten in the crush of enamelware.
4.Master the art of rotation. Seasonal collections are a great way to freshen decor with little effort. For example, I display seasonal vintage postcards on a 24 pane window in my kitchen. They make me smile. In May and June I display vintage French seed labels.
5. The best collections are aquired over time and experience. It is so tempting to see a beautiful collection on a blog and jump on the EBay express to immediately duplicate it. Most likely that blogger has been collecting for years and that collection represents her/his life and experiences. Let your collections represent you! This collection of antique kokeshi dolls is unique to me and my life experiences in Japan. I have never seen a collection like it and love the unique and unexpected element it adds to my home.
Someday I hope the Princess will share my love of collecting…beyond collecting compliments on her performance of Frozen Jr.
Have you ever considered the simplicity of a brownie? With very few ingredients you can have a beautiful pan of yummy in under 30 minutes. It does ignite a debate occasionally with some people “team cake” and others “team fudge”. I stand in the middle. This recipe could go either way depending on oven time. A happy medium you could say. My people, however, were “team fudge” today and that is what I gave them…Instant happiness!
The Usual Cast of Characters
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs,at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup good quality, unsweetened cocoa powder
7 oz roughly chopped chocolate or large chocolate chips
The Steps to Glory
Preheat oven to 175°C | 350°F.
Lightly grease an 8×12-inch baking pan with cooking oil spray. Line with parchment paper (or baking paper); set aside.
Combine melted butter, oil and sugars together in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk well to combine. Add the eggs and vanilla; beat until lighter in color (another minute).
Sift in flour, cocoa powder and salt. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until JUST combined (do NOT over beat as doing so well affect the texture of your brownies).
Fold in 3/4 of the chocolate pieces.
Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing the top out evenly, and top with remaining chocolate pieces.
Bake for 25-30 minutes for just under-done brownies (fudgier texture) or until the center of the brownies no longer jiggles and is JUST set to the touch.
After 15-20 minutes, carefully remove them out of the pan and allow to cool to room temperature before slicing into 16 brownies. They set while they cool.
*Do not over beat your batter once the flour and cocoa powder are added if you desire fudgy brownies, that creates air pockets in the batter which will give you cake-like textured brownies.
*Store at room temperature for 3 days, or refrigerate for up to 5 days. These brownies can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving OR reheat in the microwave.
We had a visitor this week from school. Tina Tiger, the Mayer of second grade, enjoyed the brownies and journaled all about the experience.
It’s a bit chilly here in Annapolis today and I’m thinking of the beautiful weather we had in San Antonio. Now I have had many people tell me spring is beautiful there but the summers can be crazy hot. I guess there is always a trade off.
We had the best experiences today. Our morning was dedicated to Disney. We had tickets for the Disney Animation Immersive Experience and it was worth every penny. We enjoyed the lobby exhibitions as much as the rest of the show. It was not overcrowded and there was not a bad seat to be had. I wish we had more time because I would like to see it again.
We ended our afternoon at the Historic Market Square in San Antonio. It was a lovely day to shop both inside and outside. The margaritas were very tasty!
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I love this quote from Lady Bird Johnson…”Where flowers bloom, so does hope…”. It seems even more appropriate this spring as we are slowly regaining our footing after such a topsy-turvy year. The flowers seem brighter, the air smells sweeter and the laughter of my Princess so precious. There is hope. I like that. I also like bringing a bit of that springtime hope into my house. Some blooms are nature made, some are man made, all are beautiful.
There are probably a hundred or so boxes between me and my spring stash. Let’s go back in time…pre-renovations !
The weather was gorgeous yesterday. Blue skies, warm temperatures, slight wind…feels like Spring to me! Time to lighten up the house, put away the winter cozy and enjoy this breathtaking season. Anyone else finally feel Spring this weekend? May I present Spring as interpreted by…well, me!
A spring fireplace with some simple but lovely touches. It seems fresh to me after the heavier elements of winter.
Some silk peonies in an antique French oyster basket, framed cross-stitch and rabbits and eggs (of course) reflect the colors of Spring.
I love my vintage German candy molds paired with some brightly colored eggs and adorable putz lambs. Sweet but not cutesy.
One of my few Pottery Barn purchases. I fell in love with these bunnies at first sight…and they were on clearance! The darling chicks on old doorknobs was an eBay purchase. I think the purple and clear milk bottles add an interesting color element.
Oh the Princess and her kite! Can you think of a more beautiful representation of Spring?
We did a few things outside the city limits on our visit. The first day of our trip saw us wearing shorts and leaving jackets behind. This day, however, we zipped those jackets back up over our jeans and headed out to explore a cave and see some wildlife!
Forget what you think you know about caves. Yes, it was rocky and very wet but the temperature was quite balmy inside. Thank goodness for installed lights because it was quite dark. It was also completely stunning. The beauty of the stalagmites and stalactites was really beyond words. I wonder the thoughts of the original explorers who discovered them. Mind boggling that all that beauty was tucked away beneath a pretty forgettable pile of rocks.
We did the basic exploration tour and found it just right. The more adventurous can take a more challenging and lengthy course. I was content…I think my climbing and crawling days are over. Maybe someday The Princess might want to give it a try.
Right next door, we drove through the nature reserve. The animals seemed plentiful and we enjoyed seeing a variety of creatures, including the elegant giraffes. We did have an up close and personal visit from an ostrich. He was quite bold and stuck his head right into our car window.
We topped off our day with dinner at the Rainforest Cafe. The Princess loved it.