Monday, March 26, 2007

"Normal" Dinner

See! Sometimes I make normal, "lazy-day" meals:

I just don't normally take pictures of

I fed me and my SO for less than $10 with this meal - Barbeque baked chicken, mac & cheese, and steamed broccoli

Cheap and tasty...always a good combo! Even you bachelors out there can make this (Nic-Nic - you readin?) ;)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Bead Shopping

I went bead shopping today with one of my friends who also makes jewelry. We spent nearly 2 hours perusing hundreds of thousands of different kinds of beads, and it was so much fun! I wasn't supposed to buy anything b/c I did my accounting for my jewelry biz and I didn't make a profit last year :( but I just couldn't resist. If you've ever read my other blog, then you'd know I'm quite the shopaholic. I probably should have just not gone, but now that I'm back home with my beautiful beads, I'm glad I went.

Here's what I bought:

Coral, amazonite, freshwater pearls, citrine, garnet, chalcedony...oh the beautiful beads! For anyone who hasn't been to a bead store, you may not know that the beads are usually sold on strands, temporarily strung onto fishing line or string...just in case any of you were thinking the beads looked like jewelry already. :)

These are pendants made with actual butterfly wings:

Now to decide what to play with first. Which strand(s) would you like to see made into jewelry first?

Designing Wedding Jewelry

One of my favorite friends from college (and sorority sister - my "little sister" actually) asked me to design her wedding jewelry. How exciting!? I love to design wedding jewelry! I've even designed some for another close sorority sister last year (click to see pictures). Anywho, after receiving pictures of my friend's wedding dress, I was off to the races!

Here's a picture of the wedding dress beadwork:

I got my bead board ready:

Pretty messy, eh? I try to keep it clean, but I like to have my different ideas and future jewelry designs laid out, or at least coordinating beads paired together. Perhaps the chaos adds to the creativity factor? I like to think so. :)

I decided to do a couple designs and let her pick her favorite. Here's one pair of earrings in the works:

I get my sterling wire on a spool, and I have to cut off little pieces and hand-wire-wrap the beads to each other using the wire pieces. The wire on the left is cut and half-looped - the one on the right is fully-wrapped.

Then, I just add earring components, and TA-DAAAAAAAAAAA!

Three beautiful bridal earrings to choose from! Can you guess which one she picked?

Yummy Salmon Lunch Out

My co-worker and I went out with a candidate the other day for lunch. We went to an uptown restaurant that is famous for it's seafood, and now I know why. It was one of the warmer days of spring, so we got to eat outside on the patio, which was, luckily, covered by a roof. It seems that eating outside is so much more pleasant when you're under something that can block the direct sunlight. Too much direct sunlight and I'm just sweating instead of enjoying my meal. My preference is to eat outdoors, under a roof or umbrella, with a light breeze....oh yea!

I had tangerine dusted salmon with potatoes and wilted spinach. Yep, I said "tangerine-dusted salmon." Have you ever heard of such a thing? Let me tell you, if you ever see this on a menu, I highly recommend it. The salmon was perfectly cooked, and with every bite, I enjoyed a hint of sweet, citrus. Delicio-So!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Vintage Pyrex Mixing Bowls

Lookie what I finally got! My Pyrex mixing bowls are here! Aren't they gorge?

I can't decide if I'll actually use them or not, but for now, I am merely satisfied looking at them...

...I'll probably use them though... Janis Joplin says, "If you got it today, you don't wear it tomorrow, man."

That's one of my favorite song lines, quotes, whatever...I interpret it as - Life is too short to save the best things for later, when tomorrow may never come. I guess that's kinda depressing, but perhaps a better way of phrasing it is that you should live each day to the fullest! Yea...that sounds better. Anywho, that may or may not have been what Janis meant with her song (or live rant during a song), but I like my interpreted message, so I'll stick with it.

Wear your favorite outfit today...use your best china for every day meals...break open that bottle of wine you've been saving...whatever. Life is too short to not celebrate the everyday. :)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Weekend at Mom's

Ok, so I didn't spend the weekend with my mom, but I did spend the weekend with my fiance's mom. I love hanging out with his mom b/c she loves a good thrifting trip just as much as I do, so we hit up JoAnn's for some craft goodies and home decor, then headed to a local consignment/antique shop to see what finds we could get our hands on. I got this awesome cake plate:

I don't think it's antique, but it's so cute, who cares? A fair price too, marked down 50% to $9, eh?

We even got some quality time with not only his mom's dogs, but his sister's dog too. He looked so cute curled up in the armchair, I had to snap a quick shot. He opened his eyes to see what was going on, but quickly fell back asleep...awww

We even got home with enough time for me to make a nice dinner to kick off the new week - Beef Stroganoff:

Friday, March 16, 2007

Sweet Strawberry Banana Snack

My parents are pretty healthy eaters, so growing up, we had lots of fruit and "fruit bowls" for snacks & dessert. I haven't been eating nearly the amount of fruit that I should be lately, but after a recent visit home, I was inspired to start keeping more fruit stocked at my home. So far, we've been eating lots of apples & oranges, but on a recent trip to the grocery store, I decided to switch things up a bit by picking up some fresh, slightly green bananas and some strawberries, which were on sale! I decided to re-create one of my mom's fruit bowls and sliced up the bananas and berries, topped with a sprinkle of sugar, and enjoyed! good and good for you!

Do you see that cute little Strawberry Pitcher in the background? I found that a month or so ago and rescued it from Salvation Army. I actually think it may be handmade! Instead of a production stamp on the bottom, I saw what appeared to be a hand-etched stamp:


Can you believe it was only 79 cents? I can't wait until this summer when we go strawberry picking and I can serve all our hand-selected strawberries with some handmade-pitcher-poured whipped cream.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Stop & Smell the Roses, Mister

While walking from building to building in uptown today, I couldn't help but notice all the lovely flowers outside. I simply had to stop and snap a couple quick shots...I hoped no one would think I was crazy, but I figured, if anyone asked what I was doing, I'd simply tell that businessman, "Just stopping to smell the roses, mister."

Afterall, there's more to life than just running from meeting to meeting - from work to home. There are those little times during the day when you can just enjoy the simple things.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Snack

On a spring/fall weekend, when the air is perfect (not too cool, not too hot), I love nothing more than to open all the windows & the door to our back porch and relish in the fresh air. Noshing on some yummy snacks doesn't hurt...

Cheese & crackers and easy iced coffee

Any coffee fans out there? I have the simplest recipe for a delicious iced coffee drink. Someone told me about it a looooong time ago...I can't remember who, so I don't know where to send the credit, but whoever you are...thanks for sharing! Now I'm passing on the recipe:

Easy Iced Coffee:
1 teaspoon instant coffee
sweetener of choice
about a 1/4 cup of water

Heat the water in a microwave-safe container (preferably a Pyrex or something easy to pour from) until the water is boiling. In the meantime, in a tall glass, add the instant coffee and as much sweetener as you want. Add just enough of the boiling water to dissolve the coffee and sweetener (a couple tablespoons or so) & stir. Once the coffee and sweetener are dissolved, fill the glass with ice, then fill with milk and stir to combine. That's it! Enjoy!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Vintage Flower Frame

I went to my first estate sale this weekend...unfortunately, I decided to sleep in, so I think all the good finds were gone by the time I got there, but I did manage to find this pretty little vintage flower frame (says made in Italy on the back) for a mere $2:

I put it up on top of a shelf in my living room along with some other fun opaque white glassware I've found at random garage sales and Salvation Army - mostly Salvation Army - there seems to be a lot of this white pieces there.

Also, I don't think this is a painting...looks more like a decoupage or something, which is why I'm calling it a frame...I don't know what else to call it! lol

Anywho, this little frame is just adorable...I'm glad I was able to find something worth taking home from the "leftovers".

Monday, March 05, 2007

Italian Chicken Soup

I was watching Food TV this weekend and saw the easiest recipe on Paula's Home Cooking with Paula Deen for a delicious and healthy soup - Italian Chicken and Vegetable Soup. It looked so simple and yummy...I simply had to try it for dinner tonight:

This soup couldn't have been simpler. The ingredients to this one-pot wonder were simple and affordable and the soup turned out mighty tasty.

See the pretty green glass bowl? I got that this weekend at Salvation Army while I was on a quick thrifting trip on my way back from tennis.

Oh, and the garlic bread is a 30 Minute Meal recipe by super simple recipe diva Rachel Ray - basically heat olive oil, butter and crushed (not chopped) fresh garlic over low heat for 10ish minutes. Slice some nice crusty bread and broil till toasted. Brush oil mixture on bread and serve. I believe Ray Ray's recipe also features parmesan cheese and parsley, but I don't always have those on hand and it tastes pretty good without. Just be sure to keep an eye on the bread if you try this! That broiler works fast!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Finished! Phew!

Yay! I'm finally done with my duvet cover! Phew...what a relief! Now I get to take back my living room, which was being used as the only place big enough where I could lay out my entire duvet cover pieces while I was working on it:

I was kinda going for a sophisticated tropical look in my bedroom...but now that I'm looking at it, I wish I had gone for more of a cottage-y look. Oh well, at least the duvet came out a lot nicer than I thought it would. It's no Pottery Barn, but not too shabby for my first attempt:

A better look of the "patchwork", though I couldn't quite get a good shot of it as I wanted:

Alrighty then...on to some new projects...maybe some paper art or new jewelry designs...hmmm?

Friday, March 02, 2007

This Is the Project That Doesn't End...

Ever heard that song "This is the song that doesn't end...yes it goes on and on my friend...some people started singing it not knowing what it was...and they'll continue singing it forever just because...(repeat)"? I feel like I'm experiencing the same thing with this project of mine. I decided to make a duvet cover...for fun, of course. It was fun at first, but it's been darn hard to make. I don't have a large cutting area to lay all the fabric I need out for a full/queen size duvet, so it's been tough. Anywho, my latest obstacle was button holes. I had never sewn a button hole on a sewing machine before. I put it off...and put it off, and just let the duvet fabric lay across my living room floor for a few weeks before I worked up the courage to try it out. It was sorta like one of those things you did in school, like when you had an assignment to write a paper, and you'd just wait and wait and wait to do it. Sometimes, they say, you're supposed to just write something...anything down to get you started. Well, either way, I took the plunge and it turned out to be a lot easier than i thought it would be.

Look! I did it! After all that procrastination, I found out that sewing buttonholes is actually kinda fun!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Vintage Fruit Painting

I found this vintage fruit painting at a flea market several weeks ago. While the painting is quite cute, I really only bought it b/c I read that Marha Stewart's people are collecting vintage fruit paintings (I think it was in their January issue). So, eat your heart out, Martha....lookie at what I found for only $1:

Coincidently, I found the jadeite sugar shaker on Ebay. The olive oil bottle is just from our local hardware store. Yep, I said hardware's one of those little mom & pop shops, much like the store Daisy Cottage has.

I do have to admit, the more I look at this little painting in my kitchen, the more I like it. :)