Here's Mu Shu, giving you an idea of the table's size. (Do you think he recognized it as a fellow Chinese import?)
Its top is slightly worn and it sports some pretty crude mother-of-pearl inlay--some of which is missing. But it has wonderfully curvy legs and a great little shape. It would be nice tucked in a room's corner or set next to a chair or sofa. I'd use it to elevate a large plant or a too-short floor lamp.
If I were to keep this piece, I'd sand it and paint it shiny black, inlay and all. Or Chinese lacquer red. Or persimmon. But I don't need it, so off to Goodwill it goes.
Now, here's an end table I love. This lime-colored cutie caught my eye at my weekly farmers' market. It is enameled metal, with fold-able legs for easy storage. I use it on the back patio under the pergola. It fits in nicely with my other little end tables and the Adirondack chairs:
I think it looks like the love child of my white patio table (left) and ceramic garden stool (right):
Next, Lovely Daughter #2 sent me a recipe for shortbread cookies that is so simple and so delicious, I had to make them as soon as I could. (Recipe at bottom of this post.) They are amazingly scrumptious:
And they're made with just four ingredients--salted butter, brown sugar, flour, and vanilla extract.
Next time I might try making a batch with chopped-up crystallized ginger. Or lavender blossoms. Or maybe dip them in a cardamom-infused sugar glaze.
I'm getting a sugar rush thinking about the possibilities!
Lastly, I'm prancing around in my favorite new shoes--mid-heel gingham wedges from Land's End. (They were even on sale.) The Boy saw the shoes and, with no nudging from me, pronounced, "Cute shoes, Mom!"
He then said they couldn't look more like me if I tried.
Umm, I think that was a compliment?
Ridiculously Easy Shortbread Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (I used light brown, but dark would work, too)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract (you can do this by hand if you don't have an electric mixer). Add all but 1/4 cup or so of the flour; mix well (again, you can do this by hand; it just takes a bit of muscle power). Chill dough in the bowl for 20 minutes or so.
Sprinkle board with the remaining 1/4 cup or so of flour. Knead until almost all the flour is incorporated. (The dough will still be soft.) If you have a rolling pin, roll out to 1/2-inch thickness into the shape of a rectangle (use the back of a large chef's knife or a spatula to "square up" the corners and edges). If you don't have a rolling pin, you can either a)Use the side of a straight drinking glass to roll out the dough, or b)Pat the dough out with your hands, or c)Form balls a little smaller than a golf ball, then flatten them gently with the bottom of a glass (this is what Lovely Daughter #2 did).
Cut the dough into 1"x3" strips (unless you're doing the ball method). Prick tops with fork and, using a spatula, slide onto an ungreased baking sheet about an inch apart.
Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 25 minutes, or until just golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack. Makes about 12 to 16 cookies, depending on the size you create. Store in an airtight container.