Friday, March 30, 2012

Three Pinspired Crafts

The first little craft I tackled was inspired by this idea which uses felt and paperclips to create these sweet little page markers. While they are adorable... they looked a little fragile for small fingers (and I had no felt).
{Little Lovlies Tutorial}
I picked up some "jumbo" clips at Target and I was on my way...
I modified and simplified the design a bit and used some ribbon scraps I had from some stationery projects along the way. 
A simple, looped knot was all it took.
A tiny drop of glue helps keep the simple knots nice and tight.
 I think they turned out really well. I'd be happy to see these poking out the pages of any of my cookbooks or any of those novels written for "young adults" that I find myself enjoying too much lately (The Hunger Games, Twilight, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Divergent). I actually added these to a PiperSimone Papers gift basket I donated to a local school charity.

The next project came about by accident.
I had intended to use all of these beautifully packaged Martha Stewart craft supplies to make some sweet monograms for the girls' new bedroom makeover. 
It all looked so easy...  
Sadly, after several failed attempts and smudgy, smeared results, I was growing more and more frustrated.
Smear-fest
 Glancing to my right, I found the small pile of paint chips I'd been slowly collecting over the past few weeks as I pondered decorating palettes for the girls' room and the bathroom. I'd seen some great ideas on Pinterest using these paint chips and so I picked up at least 2-3 of each color to save for future crafts.
My salvation. 
 A few paint chips and some tape...
And I had this:
So much better than the smear-fest!
 Here's how they look on the wall:

The failed Martha stenciling project left me without any monogramming in their room (and if you know me at all, you know I love a monogram!). So the next "pinspired" project was underfoot.
I picked up some wooden letters from Michaels and set to work trying to make something similar to this:
{Letter Perfect Designs on Etsy}
Supplies needed: white paint, Elmer's glue, buttons
 The girls got to help with this project. It was so easy (and they did something similar last year in Sunriver on vacation with our friends thanks to Heather Stewart and her crafty ideas).
Flashback from 2010


 Then I glued them onto some canvases I had spray painted aqua.
They took 196 buttons.
I know this because I purchased 200 and we had
only 4 left-over! 
 Here's how they turned look on the wall:
There you have it.
Three little crafts we had a ton of fun making and feel really proud about creating.
I hope you're pinning and playing!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Things I Love Thursday

  • Having the girls home from school during Spring Break--but also having them at Art Camp for a few hours a couple days this week. :) Balance.
  • This face: (I cannot believe Addison Grace is 3 months old already!)


  • Geneva's growing love of everything written. 
  • Watching her read to her cousin.


  • Family weekends. The kids are getting bigger and we're able to experience them in different ways lately. Their relationship with one another is developing and it's been great to watch.
  • Carving out the time to update my blog.
  • Visits from Papa Mike and especially watching him and Geneva enjoy a game of chess.


  • Bedtime. I love it lately. The girls are becoming very independent and there is less and less for me to do--but I still get to read to them when it's not "Daddy's turn."
  • These new labels I just got that have inspired some simple, new packaging:


  • When she "helps" me with the laundry. Ok... maybe I don't actually "love" this all the time, but I try to be positive and patient, hoping that it will payoff in the end when she actually becomes effective at folding clothes.


  • Pilates. On the Reformer. Addicted.
  • Doing Pilates with Greg whenever he's home on the weekends.
  • Watching Geneva thrive in her school.


  • The way my kids eat almost anything. They're amazing in that way and I try to acknowledge this in them and compliment them on it often. 
  • Cooking for a family that lets me know how much they appreciate it.
  • Affectionate moments I happen to catch with the camera in-hand.


  • The flowers my mom, Debbie, planted in February in the pots on the porch. They are one of the few signs of spring around this drippy place!
  • Sister Performances

  • Listening to our "Morning Song" each day. It's Rhianna's, We Found Love. The best part is when we all start jumping up and down with our arms in the air. It's a lovely way to get going in the am before the caffeine has kicked in!
  • Piper's braids:


  • The prospect of a sunny vacation on the horizon... :)
  • My new cocktail: The Vermont Vixen

Vermont Vixen
2 ounces whiskey
1 ounce pure maple syrup
1/2 ounce agave nectar
juice from 1 lemon
Shaken vigorously and and served over ice with a lemon twist.
Cheers! 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bathroom Brightening!

We have lived here for four years. The builders chose a beautiful, dark, khaki brown for the paint accents. As a neutral, it really is nice; however, it is in every room. We've happily lived with it for the past four years. Finally, I've been pinspired {wink} to update/change some things. I started with the girls' room (blog post coming) and their bathroom/guest bathroom.
Before
(The shower curtain actually has some green and
pink stripes which are cute--but very subtle.) 
The inspiration for the bathroom makeover started with the shower curtain that I found at Fred Myers while shopping for my St. Patrick's Day corned beef and cabbage ingredients. Yes, you heard that right, corned beef and shower curtains. (If you have not experienced Fred Myers, you are missing out. It's got a little bit of everything.)
After
I really wish I were a better photographer--
it's really so cheerful and lovely! 
The walls are a lovely greige (gray and beige) color and the change brightened this small, windowless space up SO MUCH. (Mission accomplished!) 

As a bonus, I got to express a few of my latest "pinsiration" ideas in the form of some very simple projects for this little makeover. I saw this idea online:
{Courtesy of TWRpainted on Etsy}
Then I scoured the house and collected a handful of unused picture frames I thought would update well with a couple cans of spray paint.
Rainy Oregon Days = Garage Paining Studio
Quite early in the hunt, I found a great "designer" color in the right yellow. However, the darker greige color was a bit of a challenge. Everything was too brown, too gray, too green, too wrong. After searching rows and rows of spray paint (Lowes, Home Depot, Fred Myers) I finally realized that the exact color I needed had been staring at me all along. I'd been subconsciously blinded to it:
Camo, Baby!

Finished Grouping
The next crafty project I got to embrace was pinspired by this:
{Lowes}
So I grabbed the seagrass bathroom accessories we were already using in the space and took up my paint brush:
Before

After
And in the new bathroom:
{Insert "oohs and ahhs"}

Added some of the extra yellow spray paint to this votive holder.
 And that about sums it up!
We went from brown, dark, bland...
Before
... to fresh, bright, bold, simple:
After

{bonus shot of two Jones cuties}
I had a great time making-over this bathroom. I'm totally inspired to tackle the next project.
I'm nearly done with the girls' room and I've been busy with my "40 Bags in 40 Days" challenge so the spaces available for mini-makeovers is growing! Look for more updates to come!  

Monday, March 26, 2012

Recipe Review: Tilapia with Avocado-Pinapple Salsa

We tried a new fish recipe from the current issue of FOOD Day magazine this last week. It was delicious. Everyone ate it (including the girls). 
The actual recipes is for halibut with avocado-pinapple salsa; however, that's not what I had in the refrigerator, so we improvised.
The most time-consuming part of the process was preparing the salsa. There was just a bit of dicing to do.
Here's the recipe (compliments of Martha Stewart):

Ingredients

  • 2 avocados, diced small
  • 2 cups finely diced pineapple
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 6 skin-on halibut fillets (4 to 6 ounces each)
  • Arugula, for serving

Directions

1. Heat broiler, with rack in upper third. In a medium bowl, stir together avocados, pineapple, jalapeno, onion, cilantro, and lime juice. Season with salt.

2. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray and place fish, skin side down, on sheet; season with salt and pepper. Broil until fish is opaque throughout, about 8 minutes. Top fish with salsa and serve with arugula.

I substituted shallots for red onion because sometimes the kids complain that the raw onion is "too spicy." I find that if I use milder shallots, they don't mind at all.
Broiling the fish was completely straightforward. The recipe is specific about serving the dish with arugula. I actually made an arugula salad on the side and served the fish over coconut rice with roasted asparagus.
Everyone was really happy with dinner. I will definitely make this again. I'd love to try it next time with the halibut, but the tilapia was very tasty too. There was plenty of salsa left over that the girls and I snacked on it with our favorite tortilla chips the next day.
I hope you give this one a try!
Bon Appetite! 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

We're Going with the Cold Theme Here...

Cleaning out the pantry a few weeks ago, I came across a wedding gift (Thanks, Bills!) we've used maybe twice in the almost-ten-years since we received it. Geneva, ever curious, wondered what it was. 
 Obviously, after that, it was only a matter of time before we would have to experiment with the ice-cream maker. Needless to say, there were a few faces around here who were delighted with the prospect!
 A few simple ingredients later, we had some chilly goodness churning away.
I had misplaced the directions and "recipe book" long ago. With very little effort, I was able to find them online. We modified the basic Vanilla recipe only slightly because I happened to have some fancy vanilla bean paste from Sur la table (left over from a tipsy, post-cooking class, shopping spree).
Complete User Guide here
Then it was time to wait...
 ... and wait...
 About 20 minutes later, we were ready to dig in!
Sweet and satisfying.
Next time we'll try to modify the recipe even further and really have some fun.
 We even managed to save some for Daddy!