Friday, April 30, 2010

This is SPARTA!!

Okay, it's not Sparta, but it IS my 300th post!

And in honor of that, I will have my very first GIVEAWAY next Monday!!

I will leave you with some Gerry-goodness...

Still kind of scratching my head about how a man like that watches TV on a couch like this:

Have a great weekend!!

Room photo from this month's Architectural Digest

Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Favorite Kitchen...

I have loved this kitchen ever since I saw in in the October 2007 Better Homes and Gardens. I love the island with that thick slab of aged marble, the built-in refrigerator with the chalk-board front, the little built-ins under the stairs with the baskets, the sliding doors to the garden, and I especially love the vaulted ceilings with the skylight.

One of these days, I will have a kitchen that looks like this.

Photos by Philip Harvey from October 2007 Better Homes and Gardens

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cupcakes, anyone?

I made cupcakes. Carrot-ginger cupcakes with cream cheese icing. With cinnamon sprinkled on top.

They were actually really easy to make, although I would go lighter on the icing next time (it's really rich).

Carrot-Ginger Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: Makes 24 servings, one cupcake each

1 pkg. (16 oz.) pound cake mix
3/4 cup shredded carrots
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
1/2 cup Walnut Pieces, toasted
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
2 cups thawed Whipped Topping (like Cool Whip)

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Prepare cake batter as directed on package; stir in carrots, ginger, 3/4 tsp. of the cinnamon and walnuts.

SPOON batter into 24 paper-lined medium muffin cups. Bake 15 min. or until toothpick comes out clean.

BEAT cream cheese in medium bowl with wire whisk until smooth. Gently stir in whipped topping. Spread over tops of cupcakes. *For sweeter icing, use more whipped topping and less cream cheese. Sprinkle with reserved 1/4 tsp. cinnamon. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutritional Information
Calories: Calories: 160
Total fat: 9 g
Saturated fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 30 mg
Sodium: 125 mg
Carbohydrate: 18 g
Dietary Fiber: 0 g
Sugars: 10 g
Protein: 3 g
Vitamin A: 10% DV
Vitamin C: 0% DV
Calcium: 2% DV
Iron: 4% DV

Kraft Desserts, MARCH 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Weekend Project: Painting Bamboo Shades

I've been a busy girl around the house and at work this week!

One of my projects that I've been wanting to get done for a while is to paint a bamboo shade that I got when Linens N Things was going out of business. It's been sitting in the office waiting patiently on me for probably a year now, after I saw and was inspired by Eddie Ross and his dining room from the New Orleans Home & Garden Show.

This project was super easy. The hardest part is finding a place where you can unfold and lay the blind flat (the freezer in our garage worked well for me).

You'll need a bamboo shade, some paint, a brush, and a rag to wipe off the excess.

I decided I wanted to go for a whitewashed effect, so before applying the paint to the shade, I would wipe off much of the paint from my brush. If you are doing this, you don't want too much paint on your brush at all. If you're going for a more solid look, you can skip this part.

Start at one end and work your way up (or down) the shade.

All finished and drying! This only took me MAYBE 10 minutes, tops. So easy.

And, voila!

I really like how the shade looks in the bathroom, and I like the whitewashed effect. (Plus, if ever I'd like to change it, I can always paint right over it!)

Have a great weekend!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pimpin' Out the Porch

Our back porch is nothing to get excited about. Unfortunately, the only thing it has in common with this space is that it's also long and somewhat narrow.

Now that it's warmer and we're spending more time outdoors, I'm on a mission to spruce it up a bit. The new-to-us used furniture from some family friends is really really nice.... but not the most comfortable. And it's not the prettiest shade of brown, either. So I'm going to start with some cushions and pillows:

These are from World Market - inexpensive and colorful. Fun.

We could also use a new rug or mat by the back door. How fun would something like this be??

Accessories... I love lanterns and candles. And pots full of plants. And twinkle lights. And old signs on the walls. Brightly colored cushions. And stone ornaments and statuary.

Hopefully soon our back patio can look something like this: inviting and comfortable.

Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Oh, Martha!

Martha emailed me today (personally, I'm sure) about some eco-friendly craft ideas she's had, and among the belt-buckle frames and tin-can jack-o-lanterns were these gems:

Painted recycled glass vases/jars/bottles. So pretty! And so easy!

How about a birdbath or birdfeeder out of an old basin? I really like this idea, and may use it for a replacement of our birdfeeder, since ours has seen better days.

And when you go to the beach, why not bring along your very own beach-towel bag?? There are so many cute patterened beach towels out there, and any one of them would make into a really cute and washable beach-tote!

This weekend, I have another project at home planned, and if all goes well, I'll tell you what it is and post pics. If it's a horrendous failure.... well, I'll just keep that to myself then.
Are there any cool projects out there that you're working on?
*All photos from Martha Stewart

Monday, April 12, 2010

How my Garden Grows: Part II

I am back! Work and a wedding kept me busy last week, but I was able to squeeze in some gardening. Last weekend I went to a "plant swap"! How genius is this - you bring some of your extra perennial plants that you don't want or need, and trade them for some that other people have brought. I took some yarrow and strawberries (which are totally invasive, by the way!), and walked away with enough plants to fill in my bed!

I took home some purple coneflowers, which will look like this when they're fully grown:

And an obedient plant, which will look like this (only in pink) when it's mature:

I took some irises to plant around the base of my tree. They're a little floppy right now, but next year they'll look better.

Here is the peach tree - to the left and right are some autumn sages that my parents gifted to me from their yard, and in the back will be the purple coneflowers and some calla lillies. To the left of the autumn sage bush are some small sprouts of shasta daisies and the paprika yarrow that I already had.

Here is what the autumn sage will look like when it's grown and in bloom - really pretty! They attract lots of hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.

Sandwiched between two more autumn sages is a Chinese orchid. I had never heard of these, but they are more like lillies than orchids.

Most of the time it'll look like an ornamental grass, but when it blooms, it'll look like this:

A close-up of the shasta daisies now:

And what they'll look like in a couple months:

So now that it's all filled in, I can't wait for it all to bloom!! As long as I'm lucky, they'll all live and do well. The bed was prepped, and I planted all of the newbies in the right places for light needs, so I'll keep you all updated!
I hope you all have a great Monday!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Hoppy Easter!

Here's hoping that the Easter Bunny brings you lots and lots of chocolate!

Have a great Easter weekend!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bookcases and Shelves

This week I've been really busy at work helping to train a new hire, and I am so glad that tomorrow starts my weekend!

Today I am posting over at Elizabeth Anne Designs about bookcases and shelves. Go check it out here . Do you use your bookcases and shelves more for display, practicality, or a little of both? And are you one of those people who arranges by color or re-covers their books??? I've thought about covering mine old-school with the brown paper bags, but I didn't know if afterwards I'd look like a dork.

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