Sunday, January 30, 2011

Martha Stewart Paper Bag Flowers

These paper bag flowers are so easy, fast and darling. I have made these a bunch. They are the fastest decorations to take up space. And it seems like everyone is always freaking out that they look so fabulous. A few friends and I had to decorate a room at church with blue and purple. It was tough to come up with something, until I remembered making these for a going away party for a precious friend. They were so easy. Usually I don't put a heart center, but we couldn't find purple bags, or white, so we just improvised- and it turned out cute! Also hanging from the ceiling were the words "Divine Nature" and "Integrity" There was a talk given on those values. It was lovely. And so fun, fast and easy. They can be made in different sizes and shapes..

Sunday, January 23, 2011

la Isla, the lsland

We purchased a short-sale home and closed August 31, 2010. WE then spent the month of September remodeling... well more like painting and redoing flooring. We hired some of the help, and did a lot ourselves. So here you can see the monster island. It measures about 8ftx4ft, Its huge, and deserves more of a focus than just a glance. So I started brainstorming with our carpenter friend..... I wanted it to look like a "unique piece" not just part of the existing scheme.
I just didn't like the way the island was just 1/2 cabinetry and 1/2 drywall... so I had him beadboard, and batten board-frame it all out. I love how it turned out. We cut a lot of costs by going with MDF, especially since I knew I was going to paint it. I think the perfect color is red. Red is totally neutral in my book. If you ever want a splash of color- RED, it goes with everything.... well, if you get the right red. I tried about 4 different shades. It had to be a cooler red, not too orange. And Red is a tough color to paint. I recommend using a blue primer if possible. And lots of coats, and patience in between drying times. You can't really go off of they labels. I don't think it was dry until about week 2.
IT WORKED!! I finished it with Black glaze. I will soon post my window to match.... and maybe another view of the other side. Sorry! I also found cute knobs to make it stand out even more. You totally need more views of this beauty. So I'll post more later darling!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Pottery Barn Remake

Loved this card holder, but I had some other ideas. Not just for the holidays, all days.
Just wanted you to see the price, $199, and they don't have the image on their site any longer.
Purchased a frame, $3 at DI, Some picture hanging wire $3 for 15ft, and busted out my staple gun to secure. I just measured and stapled. (all while talking to my dear friend Emily... see Em, this is what I made)
And here it is up and running in my hallway of the mudroom. Love! It actually took longer to hang than it did to make it!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Great new cookie recipe

step 1. set out my butter to sit till it is room temp.
step 2. wait and wait for that darn butter to come to room temp.
step 3. finally butter at room temp. now get out toll house chocolate chip package and follow recipe on back for chocolate chip cookies.
step 4. pull freshly baked cookies out of the oven and wonder what I did wrong. Again. Because those darn cookies are FLAT!!!

Is is just me, but I can't make a chocolate chip cookie to save my life! Until now. I've been on a search for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe. A recipe that produces a warm chewy chocolate chip cookie that does not look like a pancake when I'm done. I know there's a lot out there but I found the one I'm gonna use the rest of my days.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Source: Baking Illustrated, page 434)

Makes about 18 large cookies.

These oversized cookies are chewy and thick, like many of the chocolate chip cookies sold in gourmet shops and cookie stores. They rely on melted butter and an extra egg yolk to keep their texture soft. These cookies are best served warm from the oven but will retain their texture even when cooled. To ensure the proper texture, cool the cookies on the baking sheet. Oversized baking sheets allow you to get all the dough into the oven at one time. If you’re using smaller baking sheets, put fewer cookies on each sheet and bake them in batches.

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 5/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the chips to taste.

4. Roll a scant 1/4 cup of the dough into a ball. Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough’s uneven surface. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart.

5. Bake until the cookies are light golden grown and the outer edges start to harden yet the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheets. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets with a side metal spatula.

One thing, I didn't follow step 4 and 5 exactly. I did scoop my dough out with a 1/4 cup and make a ball, then pull it apart so I got that jagged edge effect. But then I plopped the two balls, jagged edge up, on the baking sheet. so I came out with 2 dozen and slightly smaller cookies. (still bigger cookies than my usually toll house). And I baked my sheets one at a time, instead of two at a time suggested in step 5. I just cooked them at 325 for 15 minutes--exactly! No rotating for me. And I did cool them on the sheet. They turned out PERFECT!!! Yummy.

The lady to thank for my newly found chocolate chip cookie confidence:

The brown eyed baker. Here's the link to her site:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Alrighty Then

OK, I just love the New Year.
And this year, I'm back to blogging. I don't want to intimidate myself again. So I am shooting for one post a week. Easy enough? I think so. Lets stay connected Lou!

So... we closed on a home in August, did some some serious stuff, including paint. And then we decided to move. It was rough. There was a lot of stuff. These were my color choices. ...and the fitting color of my dreams, for the accent wall, is the dark center green-blue. Its Behr's Agave Nectar. I have been up to my neck in projects. Its so fun. But, like Laura, I do need to document. So, I'll toast with my Martinelli's and... hope for the best!