a polka dotted pendant is my fave

October 31, 2012

I had this simple white pendant for bedside lighting in the guest room and it was looking too bland for my liking. So I did what any blogger would do and grabbed a can of metallic spray paint (according to my calculations, copper is the new gold).

I thought it would be fun to have a pattern on the inside so I added polka dots by placing down stickers before I coated it. A simple change to make, but it made a big difference. Now the top drawer of midnight snacks has a good spot light.

an easy halloween costume is my fave

October 30, 2012

I have to admit ever since I passed trick-or-treating age Halloween has been on the bottom of my fave holiday’s list. But it’s been pretty fun this year to have a baby to force into a funny costume. Hello (sad) strong man.

This costume is super easy to pull together. I actually only had to buy one item to make it work. Here’s what you’ll need for the look:

For the costume:
– striped one piece (this one is from Sparkle and Spin)
– white body suit
– socks (or cotton balls)
– piece of leather
– mustache
For the barbell:
– plastic baseballs (found at a party store)
– cardboard party horn (or a paper towel roll)
– black tights
– masking tape/washi tape

The costume is pretty self explanatory, just stuff the sleeves with socks for muscles and attach piece of leather with duct tape or velcro. The mustache can also be attached to the binky or drawn on with eyeliner so it doesn’t just get ripped off.

For the barbell I thought of several ways to create it but knew it would go straight to the mouth so I didn’t want to use paint or balloons (in case they popped!). I have to give Ryan credit for coming up with this method. First, strengthen the cardboard roll by wrapping in masking tape then attach the plastic baseballs to the two ends with the tape. Cover the baseballs with the material from a cut up pair of black tights. For a more finished look, go over the tape wrapped cardboard with decorative tape, tucking in and taping down the ends of the tight material.

There you go a very last minute, non-store-bought Halloween costume.

getting stuff up on the walls is my fave

October 26, 2012

Last Friday night Ryan and I (well mostly Ryan, I was the art director) went on a hanging-stuff-on-the-walls-spree and added about twenty new things all around the house. It makes everything look so much more done. Beck’s room got these happy additions, a balloon print and our hilarious first attempt at a photo booth. The light bounced right off that round, kissable head of his.

photos by Jennifer Little of Sugar Photography

PS Just in case you missed this.

a neighborly gift is my fave

October 25, 2012

Today’s post is from Joy of Frock Files. She’ll be dropping in now and again to share her ideas for simple, just because gifts inspired by the book 29 Gifts by Cami Walker (which now I must read).

My neighborhood has been a flurry of activity recently, with neighbors going through big life changes –you know, the kind that don’t allow for a lot of time in the kitchen. Whipping up a quick, hot meal for your neighbors doesn’t have to take a lot of time or effort, but the unexpected gesture will definitely be appreciated and remembered long into the future. This healthy corn chowder is a crowd pleaser — and so is the cute packaging.

In less time than it takes to watch a cooking show, you’ll have finished this simple soup. It’s literally a matter of mashing a potato, sautéing a few ingredients, then adding a few more. Surprisingly, the complexity of flavor makes it taste like it took hours to make (you can pretend it did).

You’ll need:

1 medium uncooked yukon gold potato(es)
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 1/2 cup thawed frozen corn (or fresh)
1/2 cup sweet red pepper(s), diced
3 strips uncooked bacon, diced
2 cups milk (skim, 1%, or 2%)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp Sriracha or other hot sauce

Pierce the potato with a fork at either end and around the middle. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, turn the potato over, then microwave for another three minutes. Alternately, you can boil the potato. Allow it to cool, then peel and mash well with a fork. In a large saucepan, saute onion, bacon, red pepper, and corn in olive oil over medium heat until vegetables are tender.

Stir the milk and mashed potato into the saucepan. Season with salt, pepper, and Sriracha. Stir to combine, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes being careful not to boil.

Since glass jars make me happy and they’re prettier than plastic containers, I use them to hold everything from paper clips to cookies. These quart sized jars are perfect for the corn chowder. To dress them up, trace the removable part of the lid on a piece of spare wrapping paper and cut it out, then simply place the circle of paper on top of the lid before screwing the rim back on. And who can resist some red satin ribbon?

Giving small gifts can mean the difference between a rough day and a great one — for both the giver and the recipient. What’s the last little gift you gave?

This recipe was adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe. Find the original recipe here, download the adapted recipe here. The recipe for the cornbread pictured above can be found at Joy’s blog.

a chocolate chip cookie taste off is my fave

October 24, 2012

Here’s what my table looked like last weekend –

For the taste off I invited anybody who wanted to participate to submit their recipe beforehand so we didn’t have any that overlapped and so we could have them all printed. The only rule was that you couldn’t be upset if your cookie didn’t win.

Overall there were eight varieties including a few you submitted – The NY Times/Jacques Torres recipe, the Baked recipe and the classic one everybody seems to know.

Then there were score cards (available for you to print your own!) to fill out as you went on your taste journey. You could eat as many or as little as you wanted, just as long as you didn’t score your own.

We tallied those scores and whittled it down to the top two contenders. Then everybody had to try those two and decide which one was superior.

After we all were sick to our stomachs, simple kraft boxes were filled with cookies to take home and recipe cards were laid out so you could grab your favorites. I really should have sent everybody home with a bottle of Pepto-bismol.

So now I’m sure you’re wondering which recipe was the decided favorite. Well, the honors went to the Best Ever Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (milk chocolate chips were used instead of the bittersweet chocolate).

Here’s my take on the outcome – the winning cookie was very classic, the kind that mom would make. I personally like the flavor of the browned butter variety or the NY Times recipe better but the classic type appealed to a wider audience. I guess I can’t argue with that.

Party success.

A Darling Site