Did I pick the right window fabric?

Friday, April 29, 2011

My living room panels


These Crate & Barrel panels made from Dwell Studio Bella Porte Citrine

Alright, so let me back up a little bit. A few months ago when I was spoiling myself and getting ready to order new window treatments for my living room and dining room, I decided I wanted to go with a yellow and white fabric for the panels. I knew the yellow had to be vibrant and bold since I'm not really a fan of buttery yellow. I had all but decided that I was going to order the Dwell fabric pictured above (exactly like the Crate and Barrel panels) to have custom panels sewed BUT I just wasn't feeling confident in my decision. So, the search began for a yellow and white ikat. Luckily, good ole Duralee had me covered and I fell in love as soon as I saw this print. 

So, now I'm asking you guys, which one do you like best? The one I decided to go with or the one that Crate and Barrel is now selling.  Be honest!!!

Here are a couple more shots of each:

Dwell fabric by the yard available here through Fabrics.com

Crate and Barrel panels available here

Easy Raspberry Lemon Trifle

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I made this gorgeous and incredibly easy raspberry and lemon trifle for the Easter dinner with our family. A good friend passed this recipe along to me a few years ago and it's now my go-to spring and summer dessert when I have to feed a crowd. Over the years, as the girls have entered our lives, I've made some shortcuts. But seeing as everyone cleaned their plates last night, I would have to say the taste is just as good as the from scratch version. And it took me no more than 15 minutes to make this beautiful dessert start to finish, can't beat that!

Recipe (Adapted from Bon Apetit here)
1 store bought frozen pound cake, thawed
2 jars Trader Joe's lemon curd
4 half pink baskets of raspberries
2 cups heavy whipping cream
9 Tbsp. Limoncello, an Italian lemon liqueur
Mint to garnish (I forgot this)

Combine 2 baskets raspberries and 1/4 cup sugar in bowl. Mash berries coarsely with fork. Let stand until juices form, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Cut cake crosswise into 8 pieces. Cut each piece into 3 strips. Line bottom of 3-quart trifle bowl with 8 cake strips, trimming to fit. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons Limoncello; spread with 1/3 cup curd, then half of mashed berries. Repeat layering. Top with remaining cake, Limoncello , and curd. Cover; chill overnight.

Beat cream and 3 tablespoons sugar in bowl until peaks form; spread over trifle. Mound remaining berries in center and garnish with mint if desired. 

Note: If you don't want to use Limencello follow the link to the original recipe for instructions on making a lemon simple syrup.

Our Easter Decorations

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What I love about Easter decorating is that I can use pink throughout our house without one word of complaint from my husband! I'm kidding, he really is a good sport about letting me make the design decisions. But I do love that Easter decor is sweet, innocent and very playful. Take a peak around our house and check out my Easter goodies!

 I designed the this Keep Calm poster for an etsy client. Do you like the bow tie on the bunny? 
This print is inspired by my friend Stephanie who writes the blog "The Hands on Housewife"
and is giving away her Keep Calm and Hunt on poster for FREE here.

The carrot garland is my favorite!

Happy Easter pennant banner I made last year.

Sequin eggs from the Target dollar bin dress up the antlers

 Then we took a break from our decorating to visit the flower fields

 I placed speckled eggs in all of our plants and really love the subtle color of these beauties.

These carrots with feathery tops are to die for!!! And so fun and bright!

The burlap banner is from etsy seller funkyshique (shop here)

Hope everyone has a fabulous Easter full of chocolate bunnies and egg hunts!

For Sale: Keep Calm and Eat Bacon Printable Poster

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

After lots and lots of requests, I have finally listed the printable Keep Calm and Eat Bacon poster for sale in my etsy shoppe. When you purchase the listing, you will receive a jpg file sized at 8x10 AND 11x14 ready to be printed at any photo finisher. I can create this in other colors but a custom color fee will apply.

If you need some cheering up in your life, this is the poster for you. It's pretty ridiculous, I mean really, it's an ode to a stinky pig! But it's really fun and always brings a smile to my face. Now, it's not so bad cleaning 100 baby bottles by hand. Ha, I wish!

You can purchase the listing here for $12. 

Bottom two photos are by Marla of Sprout Photography

Tour My Home: Living Room

Monday, April 18, 2011

I've been super excited to share our living room with y'all. (Sorry, that's my leftover Southern accent from living in Pensacola) Aside from our kitchen, this is the room where we spend most of our time and it's definitely one of my favorites in our home. I'll be sharing the detail shots in another post because there are just too many gorgeous pictures by Marla of Sprout Photography to squeeze into one post. I just about died when I looked at these pictures for the first time, her work is amazing!

It's really amazing what a coat of paint can do! This console used to be stained oak, definitely not my favorite, and now has a cool asian flare with a quick coat of glossy red paint. Would you believe it if I told you my father-in-law picked out that vintage trunk on his own as my Christmas gift a couple years back? I could hardly believe it either, I love it!

The fab yellow and white ikat window treatments are new and I couldn't be happier with them. Plus, the antlers were a fun DIY project that I'll share soon. 

I love those red Ikea lanterns and how about that modern art on the mantel that I grabbed at a yard sale.

A couple of my favorite things in the room are the coffee table with stools that pull out and this rug from Ikea. It's not terribly kid friendly but I'm willing to put up with a little scrubbing for the look.

A couple more corner shots

 This red bookcase might be my most successful DIY but unfortunately I don't have a before pic. It was also stained oak and it smelled like cigarettes. I grabbed it from a pretty nasty thrift store that had posted an ad on Craigslist so you never know where you might find that perfect piece of furniture.

Thanks for stopping by!

Water for Elephants

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

We're on vacation right now in Sedona and I needed a good book to fill my free time. My mom lent me Water for Elephants awhile back and it's been sitting on my bedside table waiting for me. It did not disappoint. In fact, it was incredible!

I won't even try to tell you about it because my words won't do it justice. All I can say is, read it and be prepared to want to ignore your family for a few days. It was that good! Plus, the movie is coming out soon and I'm crossing my fingers it lives up to the book.

Do you have any recommendations for any other good books?

Tour My Home: Our Kitchen

Friday, April 08, 2011

Right off the bat, I have to admit that this room is my least favorite in our home. We are renters of an incredible craftsman home that is almost 100 years old and the biggest downfall of this 100 year old home is the kitchen. Back in the day, kitchens weren't the central hub of the home like they are today so it's a little short on space. Did you happen to notice we are missing a very major appliance? Sadly, we don't have a dishwasher or a garbage disposal which makes doing dishes a lot more of a chore.

In spite of it's shortcomings, I tried to give our kitchen a little character by adding in some fun artwork and my go to pattern, the stripe. The roman shade was a fun DIY project but you can't tell my landlord that it's hot glued to the wall in a couple spots :)

These two posters are my new favorite additions to the kitchen. I detailed how I made them in this post. And I'll be adding the Keep Calm and Eat Bacon one to my shoppe soon. After my hubby got home from being out of town for work, he casually mentioned that he thought the saying on this poster was supposed to be "Envision Whirled Peas." Oops, I knew something wasn't quite right. Either way, I still think it's fun.

Doesn't a label make everything cuter?

Mmmm, red velvet cake!

This chalkboard is actually my favorite part of the room. My favorite saying "Smile more, pray more, complain less" is permanently written at the top and it serves as such a great daily reminder to be a better wife, mother, friend, daughter, sister etc. Plus, the chalkboard entertains Charley while I cook and do the dishes.

Overall, when dealing with imperfect rooms like this kitchen, have fun with the details! No matter how I decorate this room, it will never be my dream kitchen. So instead I added some fun details like the gorgeous Anthropologie hooks for hanging towels (on the left side of the first picture), I transferred my dish soap to an olive oil bottle and set it on a silver tray, and I proudly display my pink Kitchenaid mixer. Someday I'll have my Carrera marble countertops and a fancy Viking range, let's just hope it's sooner rather than later!

I'll revisit the kitchen in a couple weeks to share some fun tips for organizing your pantry and maybe even some free labels to get your pantry looking pretty.


Mini Pies in a Mason Jar (The Cheater Method)

Monday, April 04, 2011

Photo by Carly Taylor

I've been wanting to make mini pies in a mason jar for quite a while. And once my Mom informed me that she read pies were the new cupcake, well I just had to jump on the bandwagon. Thanks Mom!

I started making these little guys at 10 o'clock the night before I hosted a recent baby shower. I had grand plans of making my Nana's pie crust recipe from scratch, with a top and a bottom crust but time was not in my favor and plan B was formed. So, I pulled out the frozen Trader Joe's ready made pie crusts (that I had bought in case of emergency) and mixed berries, set them to thawing and made 8 pies in about 15 minutes.

Here's my disclaimer: I am generally a "from scratch" type of baker so don't judge me on using store bought ingredients this time. These were insanely good and I'm a tough critic when it comes to pie crust. I've actually never used a store bought crust before and Trader Joe's did not disappoint, as usual.

4 1/2 cups mixed berries (fresh or frozen, I used cherries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
Zest from 2 lemons
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter plus more for brushing the tops of the pies
Sanding sugar (optional)
2 ready made pie crust, thawed according to package directions
8 wide mouth half pint mason jars (found here)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Place mixed berries, sugar, cornstarch and lemon zest in a bowl and stir gently until combined. Let sit for 15 minutes if you are using frozen berries.

3. Fill each of the mason jars about 3/4 of the way full with the mixed berries. Note: Skipping the bottom crust was a serious time saver. It might be even tastier with the crust but this was so easy and tasted great. 

4. Dot the tops of the berries with the butter. 

5. Place your thawed dough on a clean work surface and use the ring of the lid to create the perfect size top crust. 

6. Place the crust onto the mason jar and carefully push the center down a tiny bit and press the crust against the walls of the jar. This is kinda tricky to explain so see the picture below.

7. Use a fork to crimp the edges of the pie crust against the wall of the mason jar and use a knife to cut two slits in the center of the crust. 


8. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with sanding sugar. 

9. Place pies on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, rotating halfway through. If the tops start to brown too quickly, cover with foil for the remainder of the baking time.

 Photo by Carly Taylor

Here is the last sneak peak of the desert table from the baby shower. Can't wait to share the whole party with you later this week!!!

 Photo by Carly Taylor

Fresh Summer Orzo Salad

Friday, April 01, 2011

I'm absolutely crazy about any recipe that is easy to prepare and feeds a crowd. And it has to taste great, that's sort of important too! A few years back, I was lucky enough to catch an episode of Everyday Italian and Giada happened to be making this Tri-Colore Orzo Salad.  Since that day, it has become my go-to recipe for baby and bridal showers, summer dinners and picnics. I love that you can make this fresh and healthy salad without breaking out the cutting board and knife, literally you don't have to do any chopping. Here's the recipe:

Tri-Colore Orzo Salad (recipe by Giada De Laurentiis)
  • 1 pound orzo pasta
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
  • 2 cups fresh arugula (about 3 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (Giada uses cherries but I always use cranberries)
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta and put the pasta on a large cookie sheet. Drizzle the pasta with 3 tablespoons olive oil, toss, spread out, and set aside to cool.
Once the orzo is cool, transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss gently to combine. Serves 4 to 6.

1. If you would like to make this a more substantial dish, add roasted chicken or shrimp to the recipe. 
2. I usually make this the night before my event. Don't add the basil and arugula until the day of your party. Also, I generally have to add more lemon juice the morning of the party to add brightness.

PS: Do you love my bowl from Anthropologie, it's no longer available online but I just bought this in the store a couple weeks ago. Also, here is the link to the original recipe.