Monday, September 27, 2010

My Collection: Tea Cups and Saucers

I don't know why I haven't shared these before, but I collect and adore tea cups and saucers.  My collection started when I was 16 years-old.  My angelic grandmother passed away and I was given this dainty cup and saucer with purple flowers that had belonged to her.  I didn't drink tea or have a desire to, but I loved my grandmother dearly so this became a very meaningful posession.  It is Bone China called Sweet Violets from the Royal Albert Collection.

I was also given this cup and saucer when my other grandmother passed away.  It is not a family tradition, just coincidence.  This one is larger and more stout than the other.  For years, these were the extent of my collection.

In recent years I started really looking at tea cup and saucer sets at antique shops, estate and garage sales and anywhere else I could find them.  I love the shape, the flowers, the pretty handles...  These two are pretty ones I found a couple of years ago - both Bone China.

Ironically, I never drank tea until about a year ago and now I am hooked!  I drink black tea every morning with breakfast, another tea with caffiene mid-day, and usually a cup of chamomille tea in the evening before bed.  Also ironically, I have yet to have a cup of tea in any of my collected tea cups.

This is my most recent set I received from a friend.  It is Summer from the Duchess Collection.  She knows me!  I love the dainty sets the most and there is something about pink and yellow that I love!

Finally, one of my favorites because it is a 3-piece set which I think is rare (but don't really know) and I found these pieces at two different sales over the same summer.  With all of the gold, it is a bit gaudier than what I usually like, but I love that it has 3 matching pieces to it.  It is Phoenix Bone China, made in England.

Perhaps one day I will actually have a cup of tea in one of my tea cups - imagine!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Upcycled and Repurposed Treasures

I absolutely believe in upcycling and repurposing.  I not only enjoy finding previously loved treasures and getting them at a great price, but also knowing that I am not buying something new.  One of my favorite finds from Summer (my busiest treasure hunting time) is a pair of glass containers that I actually found at two separate sales.

Do you recognize them?  They are globes from mid-century light fixtures.  They make perfect candle holders that go with a variety of decor styles, depending on what they are paired with.  One vignette here uses tealights and a rustic decor style.  The other a lighter, softer cottage style and uses pink votives.

Whatever your style, you can't go wrong at 25 cents for one and 10 cents for the other!  One candle costs more than both of these together!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

A lot of recipes lately and I'm not sure why that is, but I hope you enjoy them!  This one is definitely a comfort food and great one for the cold weather that's coming.  I love it because it's easy, it uses just a few ingredients which you probably already have, and everyone will love it!  It's macaroni and cheese!

Here is the enormous ingredients list of 4 items...
- macaroni pasta
- 2-4 different cheeses (about 1.5-2 cups grated)
- milk (about 1/2 cup)
- water
Who doesn't have all of those?

Step 1: Boil water.  (Hopefully I don't have to explain this step further. If I do, you probably shouldn't be boiling water.)  You can grate the cheese while you wait for the water to boil since you'll just be standing there anyways.

Step 2: Add the pasta to the boiling water.  Stir occasionally and drain the pasta once it feels like the texture you like when eating pasta.  *You can use pasta other than macaroni for this... You will just need to change the name to spaghetti and cheese or penne and cheese or zitti and cheese.  You get the idea.

Step 3: Pour half of the pasta into a large oven-safe casserole dish with a lid.  Cover the pasta with half of the grated cheeses.  Pour the other half of the pasta on top and then cover it with the rest of the grated cheese.  Pour the milk over the pasta and cheese.

 Step 4: Bake at 350 degrees with the lid on for about 30 minutes.  When you take it out the cheese should be melted and the milk should be completely absorbed (not all sitting at the bottom of the dish).

Step 5: This is a difficult one because it is going to smell really good!  Wait a few minutes for the pasta to cool before serving.  This would be a good time to prepare a vegetable side or two if you haven't already.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Upcycle Your Baking Pans

If you're like me, you don't like throwing things away.  I often have items that I know I could use for something else, but sometimes have to think for awhile about what to do with them.  Here are several ideas of how to reuse or upcycle your baking pans.

Cookie sheets can double as serving trays.  It's as simple as putting a pretty napkin over it and setting the goodies on top.

Cookie sheets also make great magnet boards!  If your looks a little less than something you want to hang in your home, just clean it thoroughly and paint with silver spray paint.  That's what I did with this one which was pretty well used beforehand.

Bread pans are very versatile!  They are perfect for storing office supplies in a drawer or on a desk surface.  They would also work great in a junk drawer or to organize drawers in your kitchen or bathroom.

Larger bread pans can also store mail or stationery.  These could also be spray painted and one could get quite creative with the colors!  Think of the savings (economical and ecological) when you reuse pans rather than buying a new container at the store.

Here is a very creative upcycle use for a cake pan by MCDB on Etsy.

Muffin tins can be very useful! They are perfect for holding small items such as:
- jewelry
- beads
- buttons
- hair accesories...

The possibilities are endless!  Feel free to comment with your ideas for more upcycle uses for baking pans.