Tuesday, May 24, 2011

B &A: Cane Back Living Room Set

 Carolina Country Living's first-ever giveaway goes through Saturday night. Come check out the assortment of cottage-inspired goodies I'm offering and enter for your chance to win!

This giveaway is now over.


So, before we get to the furniture, I need to do some cooking/baking venting.  I'm in a rambling kind of mood, so bear with me. :)

I love to bake and am usually very competent, even skilled, at it.

However, last week I made strawberry jam that flopped and turned out to be more of a sauce.

I'll admit, I didn't exactly "follow directions," so it was my fault. (It was a no-pectin recipe and I didn't do the plate test since I was being cocky after successfully making marmalade back in the winter. Lesson learned!)

The annoying part of it is that I now have four pints, seven half-pints and four 4-ounce containers of the stuff.  I was planning on making a year's supply of jam, hence why I made so many jars. Now we'll just have to suck it up and eat runny jam on our toast because my practical and frugal sides won't stand to toss perfectly good tasting, if ugly, food.

Today, I made a chocolate cake. I've dubbed it the PMS Cake because it'll completely satisfy those intense monthly cravings for sugar and chocolate. :)

The recipe comes from Staci at Life at Cobble Hill Farm and it is divinity on a plate. I made one Friday afternoon and it was completely devoured by Saturday night! (Not all by me, I promise!)

Since Aunt Flo will be visiting any day now, I had a hankering for some of that cake today and decided to make another.  It seriously satisfies like no other. 

The recipe calls for two sticks of butter in the cake, and one for the icing. I had just one stick left from the last cake, so I decided to sub coconut oil for the two sticks of butter in the cake batter.

At this juncture, let's do some simple home ec math real quick.

Two sticks of butter equals how many tablespoons, class?

Excellent, you are correct: 16.

So, how many cups does 16 tablespoons equal?

Right again, you smart people!  Sixteen tablespoons equals one cup.

Okay, remember this little lesson for later.

So I proceeded to make the batter, but it seemed a little greasier than I remembered. However, once the eggs were beaten in, they bound the batter together and all looked well.

Continuing on my merry, little Betty Crocker way.

Put the cake in the oven. It took longer to bake this go-round, but only by 7 minutes.

No biggie.

While the cake was cooling, I made the frickin' delicious boiled icing, poured it on the cake and let it sit for awhile to soak in.

Fingers tap-tap-tapping on the table.

Then I cut myself a piece and something was terribly amiss.

I sampled a corner piece and it just wasn't as sweet as the first cake. And gawd was it dense and oily.

I tried a bit from the center of the pan and it was moderately better tasting, but only because the icing was thicker there due to the fact the middle had settled noticeably after cooling.

I notice I could have moisturized both of my hands with the grease on my fingertips.

Then my mom popped in.  She cut a small piece and declared it decent tasting (because she's far too kind and doesn't have the ability to be truly critical) but not nearly as good as the first one.

Was it because I used coconut oil this time?  Or because I used dark cocoa powder as opposed to the regular cocoa like I did last time?  WHAT HAVE I DONE TO THIS CAKE?!?

And then I remembered.

When measuring the coconut oil earlier in the afternoon, my addled, pre-menstrual brain converted 16 tablespoons of fat to 16 *ounces.* That means I used 16 *ounces* of melted coconut oil in the recipe instead 16 *tablespoons.* 

Class, how many cups equals 16 ounces?

Yep.  That'd be two cups.

Needless to say, I immediately made an additional note on my recipe card that says to use only one cup of butter or coconut oil for the cake in the future.

Hand to forehead.

Let's hope this is my last kitchen blunder for awhile. My hormones are very unhappy about not having that awesome chocolate cake right now. 


Anyhoo, now onto a project I didn't screw up!  Hurray!

This cane-backed living room set was an auction find from January 2010. It sat in my loft for over a year before receiving multiple coats of primer and paint back in February.


Side chair to the left, rocking chair on the right

I took the painted pieces to my upholsterer, along with several washed and pressed drop cloths, and now here they are! 

Though it's difficult to tell in these photos, the chairs are painted Dove White by Sherwin Williams and the sofa is Gentle Rain, a whisper-soft grey, by Behr (but mixed at SW.)  Like I said, all the seat cushions are upholstered in drop cloths, while the bolster and round pillows on the sofa are linen from the same bolt used on this cane-back sofa I finished in March.

I tossed a blue ticking pillow on the rocking chair so it wouldn't look so naked for the sake of the photos, but that pillow actually belongs with its mate on my sofa downstairs.  Very soon, I will be making envelope-style pillow covers using Cath Kidston fabric I purchased from Etsy in these--as the British say--colourways:

Cath Kidston Provence Rose in Light Blue
Cath Kidston Summer Blossom in Light Blue

My eventual goal is to make this a British reading/lounging loft. This topic could be a post of its own, but ever since running across several wonderful blogs like Posy and HenHouse, I've grown to love the cheery colors and patterns of Cath Kidston's fabrics, and the general coziness of this style of British decorating.  

Future plans for this room including taking an old pine Pier One coffee table and painting a whitewashed Union Jack on top.  And I read somewhere that Briwax makes a pickling lime.  As you can see, there is a ton of natural wood on the walls, ceiling and floor of the loft and I'd like to break this up a bit by liming the horizontal wood siding on the wall with the windows.  And maybe even paint the window trim white. Daring, aren't I? :)

We'll see what happens!


Sharing at:
Piece of Work Wednesdays at Primitive and Proper
Power of Paint Party at Domestically Speaking
Restored It Wednesday at Restore Interiors 
Whatever Wednesday at Momma Hen's Coop
Transformation Thursdays at The Shabby Chic Cottage
All Things Furniture at Perfectly Imperfect
Furniture Feature Friday at Miss Mustard Seed
Air Your Laundry Friday at Freckled Laundry
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Saturday Nite Special at Funky Junk Interiors
Paint, Please Party at Modern Country Style 

The DIY Club's 31 Days of Painting 


  1. Oh my goodness, I'm drooling. What a gorgeous space! Love what you chose to do with the cane-back set. Lovely, lovely!
    Thanks for visiting Red Hen Home.

  2. oh my gosh!!!!!! you and these gorgeous caned pieces- you're killin' me, erin!!!! i want to cane my whole house when i see them!

  3. What a wonderful space you're creating! I can't imagine how you find time to do all the things you do! We in the Philippines are quite spoiled, we have helpers to do the cooking, laundry, cleaning, etc. You are superwoman! I'm in awe! Patsy from

  4. I have made many of the same mistakes reading recipes...usually it is that I forget an ingredient! That makes for a difference. Best of luck the next time.

    Your chairs turned out wonderful. I don't sew, so I am always looking for a good upholsterer. I have a settee...


  5. Oh my goodness! The set all together painted up with crisp new fabric is amazing! They are looking like a million bucks! What a great way to soft all the wood around it.

  6. Erin, these pieces look AMAZING!!! Seriously, I am in love with the whole set (& your whole house). I'm so glad you stopped by my blog, I'm definitely going to be a regular around yours ;)

  7. Hello Erin,
    That cane furniture set looks beautiful. The Cath K cushions shall be the perfect finishing touch. Thank you for visiting my blog. Most of the roses I planted are by David Austin, I think you can get these in the US. My favourite varieties are Jubilee Celebration, Gertrude Jekyll, Sweet Juliet and many more, they're all beautiful!
    Hen xxx

  8. Erin,

    Positively stunning.

    Your Friend,

  9. really nice results - I simply adore cane back chairs. The person who did the upholstery did a fabulous job - your space looks absolutely wonderful and will be totally over the top with your toss pillows! can't wait to see them.

  10. This set is so inspirational (sorry, about your cake--I feel your pain!) as I just purchased a loveseat like this. I was going to keep mine black, your set looks so light an airy--you're tempting me to paint it white ;). I really like your cushions, too, Erin. Nice!

  11. sorry about your jam mess and cake...I have never had an issue with strawberry jam/preserves using the ball blue book recipes. I have been baking all my life, never used coconut oil, but I understand that it is high in transfat.

    I am super envious of that wonderful furniture set and the awesome re-do on the pieces!
    well done :)

  12. So pretty~ I love these darling pieces and the drop cloth fabric is perfect for them! Your floral inspiration pillows will be such a beautiful addition too! Thank you for sharing this lovely set at FNF! Have a great weekend!

  13. Very pretty. Love the contrast of the dainty light furniture & the natural wood on the walls & floors.

  14. Oh so gorgeous! I think I'm drooling on my key board.

  15. This makeover is amazing! I love your new chairs!
    Popping over from Sarah's Modern Country Style blog!

  16. You lucky girl! What a really great set. And you've made them look so super-pretty!


  17. What a beautiful living room set! It looks fabulous in white with the dropcloth cushions. This is my first visit to your blog, and your house looks so cool. I'm going to have to stay and take a look around :)

  18. Wonderful story about the cake!!! I just took a sponge cake out of the oven. Let it cool and it actually, yes, really came right out of the tube pan! wow. Now on to make the chocolate icing. come on over and have some!

  19. Your painted sofa and chairs are lovely and will look perfect in a British reading nook.

    As for the strawberry jam that is far too runny, what about using it as sauce on ice cream. I bet it would taste amazing.

  20. You need to check out this post



  21. Ok...I have a large cane back chair that needs to be finished off with a cushion. It is currently black wood with brown cane. The other day I thought...maybe I should make it white to match the beachy feel of my house. Then I saw this...I think I am in love!!


  22. I just inherited a set of cane furniture almost exactly like this. The wood was stripped and refinished in a medium wood stain....I am so excited to have it recovered so I can put it in my sun room!!! You have given me inspiration!!


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