Thursday, February 26, 2015

DIY Project | Painted Hydrangeas


I am partial to fresh flowers. Any room lights up when embellished with a bunch of fresh cut flowers. However, during the winter months, "fleurs sont cheres"! The price are unreasonable. What do I do? I paint them instead!

Hydrangeas are sturdy varieties that can withstand spray paints. Like these bunch I got from a friend's front yard. I cut them in December when the bush were already brown but the flowers were still intact. I simply placed the dry hydrangea in an empty vase in the kitchen to let them dry some more. 

To paint the flowers, I used Krylon spray paint in Pistachio and Citrus Green and an empty box to prevent splattering of paint. I did this project outdoor because of the strong smell of the spray paint.


I first covered all the surface of the flowers {now light brown after drying} with Pistachio green. Let it dry completely in the garage, overnight if possible. Then I prayed Citrus Green randomly to create a colour contrast and mimic the colours of fresh hydrangeas. Let it dry completely.


Here's the before and after photos:


These painted flowers brighten up any room when the days are short and cold without breaking the bank!



Linking with : Treasure Hunt Thursday
                        Better Hens and Gardens



Monday, February 23, 2015

Triple Chocolate Brownies


Cold snowy weekends are meant for staying home under the blanket and enjoying chocolate in any form. That's exactly how we spent our weekend! This decadent triple chocolate brownies paired with a glass of cold milk is a winner.


I found this Alice Medrich's original recipe a couple years ago. I tweaked it and just added a few of this and that overtime until it became "my" go to brownie recipe. I call it triple chocolate brownies simply because I used three kinds of chocolate to make it as decadent as I want it to be : unsweetened cocoa powder, bitter-sweet chocolate bar and chocolate ganache. 


Triple Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients
1 1/4 sticks soften unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecan {roughly chopped}
1 cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 ounces bitter-sweet baker's chocolate {roughly chopped}

Procedure

Place the rack in the lower third of the oven and pre-heat oven to 325 F.

Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

In a bowl. combine butter and sugar. Mix until well blended.

Add eggs and vanilla.Stir until blended.

In a separate bowl, mix cocoa powder, flour and salt.

Add dry ingredients into the egg/sugar mixture. Blend by beating vigorously with rubber spatula or wooden spoon {about 40 strokes}.

Add pecan nuts, dried cranberries and chopped chocolate bars. Stir until blended.

Spread the mixture evenly in the lined pan.

Bake for 15-20 minutes { until a toothpick plunged into the centre emerges slightly moist with batter}.

Transfer the brownies to a cutting board by lifting up the end of the parchment paper.  Cut into squares.

Before serving, pour ganache {recipe below} on top of brownies

Ganache Recipe
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder

Cook the chocolate chips, heavy cream and instant coffee in the top of a double broiler over simmering water until smooth and warm. stirring occasionally.


Finger-lickin'-good!


Linking with : Metamorphosis Monday


Friday, February 20, 2015

Winter Home Decor Vignette @ Birdsong


This post is not about how cold it is in our neck of the woods {although I am freezing right now!}. I am not going to complain {although I am tempted to!} about the amount of snow we have. Suffice it to say that everywhere I look from every window and door inside the house to the outside, everything is white! Look, even the bird house entrance is blocked by snow.


Yes, it's that time of year between the thick of winter and early spring. Decorating the interior of the house can be tricky. Its too early to bring out the bunnies and pastel coloured wreaths but a little depressing for silver and greys that I used during the holidays. Why not let the grey and silver stay for a while and embellish with some colours here and there without breaking the bank,

Welcome to Birdsong in the Winter/pre-Spring time .....


The Birdsong Parlour ..... this room is bright and airy during the day then dramatic as the sun set in the afternoon .... I kept most of the holiday decor to match the white snow covered bushes outside visible from the windows.


I added pillows, throw blanket, ceramic bird and even books and magazines in matching white and teal colour combination for pre-spring feel....


The Birdsong library/lounge area ... this room is rich with dark oak wood where my hubby and Muning (out princess cat} like to hang out by the fire. This is the place where we put out feet up in our jammies, read books and have tea. I am dying to paint the wood white but my hubby begged to leave this one as is .... he didn't say I can change the decor every now and then so I did!


I used white, apple green and dark wood colour combination in this room to give it a warm feel in contrast to the dark oak panels. I covered some books in white toile paper I got from my craft studio.


Fabrics are also part of the winter/pre-spring decor in this room ....


Finally, true to my decorating style of bring the outdoors in, I used firewood and birch tree barks to embellish some corners of the house to remind us how beautiful winter is. I also brought in abandoned nests which I painted in white as a reminder that spring will soon sprung.

 

Seize the season!


Linking with : Show and Tell Friday, Flaunt it Friday

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Through My Lens : Loose Tea Leaves


Focusing on my two favourite things .... loose tea leaves and photography!


After a stressful 2-hour drive home from downtown Toronto, there is nothing more relaxing than working on this Asian inspired set-up for a photography session. The best part is brewing these delicious loose tea leaves from Teavana after the photo shoot!

Remember, the true flavour of teas is achieved when the right water temperature and steeping time are applied. 


Ahhh, truly life is full of simple pleasures!


Shared with : Treasure Hunt Thursday


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Bargain Vintage Plates and Contemporary Mercury Glass Votives {Winter Tablescape}


Naked trees, thin layer of white snow on the grounds and golden harvested corn fields : that's precisely what the view from the picture window in our dinning room for the last couple of weeks. Since I'm seeing it on a daily basis, it became my inspiration for this tablescape .....

The vintage Churchill plate set bearing the naked tree design was a real bargain! My hubby pointed them out to me during a recent trip to Value Village {30 pieces/6 place settings, all in excellent condition for $9.99!!!}. They were covered in thick dust that nobody paid attention to the entire set. As soon as we got home, I soaked my "treasures" in warm water and mild liquid soap and voila!




The mercury vase, votives and candle holders which by the way I also got on sale {buying tip: mercury glasses are almost always 50% to 75%  off the original price after the Christmas holidays, or better yet, make your own : I will post a DIY  mercury glasses soon} are perfect embellishments to the vintage plates.


A bunch of simple and budget-friendly white carnation adds elegance to this winter tablescape.



No need to break the bank on your your next dinner party. Vintage dinnerwares are within reach in thrift shops. And remember inspiration are everywhere. Sometimes, you just have to look outside your window!



Linking with : Treasure Hunt Thursday
                        Tablescape Thursday



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