Monday, August 30, 2010

Fun with Small Kitchen Appliances

I'm a picky eater.  Don't judge me.

When it comes to culinary bravery, I'm not at the top of the list.  I used to exist solely on chicken nuggets and mac and cheese - no, not in elementary school, but through college.  (friends, I don't want to see "you still do" in the comments, thankyouverymuch)



Thank goodness for Tony, or I would either starve or weigh 600 pounds.  [if you don't know by now - Tony always cooks.  I have zero skills in this arena.  This fact alone is why we got married... just kidding... sorta...]


Granted, since becoming a "grown up" - my tastes have changed and I no longer gravitate towards the kid's menu.  I still won't eat green beans, but that's because they are the world's worst vegetable food.  


Tony makes us pretty healthy meals for the most part, since he's quite creative in the kitchen and can think of ways to make yummy food with lighter ingredients.  However, we don't eat our pyramid's worth of veggies. 


So, when I hear about a cookbook to help sneak veggies to your kids - I naturally thought of ... myself.  

I'm sure most people have heard of Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious cookbook by now, since it's been out for quite a while.  But I just recently got it, and I'm glad I did.





Basically, you steam and puree veggies to freeze in small portions and later use in all kinds of dishes.  The veggies become invisible.  That's my kind of veggies.




It's actually pretty fun to use our food processor and steamer to make these [ says the girl who doesn't have to cook every night! ]  Tony's been incorporating some of the purees in regular dishes like red sauce, taco meat, mashed potatoes, etc.  I've made carrots, squash, zucchini, cauliflower, and broccoli so far.  We've yet to make any of the actual recipes from her book (but it's great to use for the steaming/blending instructions), since Tony just throws something in to whatever he's making.




And seriously, done right - you can't taste the addition.  Especially squash.  Broccoli's a little trickier.


And I feel super proud of myself for: 

  1. "Cooking"
  2. Eating veggies - ha! I tricked you Claire!
  3. Making good use of the veggies we always buy, but usually throw out because they go bad so fast.



In conclusion, I have the nutritional habits of a child. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Simple Pleasures

[moving SP to Saturday, as most of the pleasurable things in life happen then anyway!]


My fun summer centerpiece (which will soon be on it's way out for lovely fall decor!)




I got the colored driftwood sticks at a little beach shop (and the sand - for free - shh don't tell the beach police).  The white sticks are on loan from my backyard - dressed with a little white spraypaint, of course...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Backyard Beach Wedding

Hi!  Did your Google search bring you here??  If so, the post below contains only ideas for a small beach wedding.  
My sis's real backyard beach wedding just happened - so you might want to check out my post on all the DIY we really did for this wedding - found here.  

All of the pictures below are just ideas I gathered from other places - please visit those sites using the "source" link and Pin from there. :)


Thanks for stopping by!

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Call me crazy, but I LOVED planning my wedding.  I liked being meticulously organized via spreadsheet, doing extensive Googlin', and DIY'ing a few things.  I was no bridezilla - just a good planner.  I had every detail down - from the playlist to the exact flower choices.  My mom and I would talk daily about ideas, and we were both a tiny bit sad when the whole planning process was over. 

So you can imagine my excitement when my sister Courtney (sweet Lyla's momma) and her fiance Byron made the decision to get married next August in a small, backyard-style beach wedding on Anna Maria.  She didn't have to ask me twice to start scouring the internets for ideas.



This back deck (and the beach beyond) will be the backdrop - so it's already gorgeous to start with.

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Courtney wants to do bright colors - deep teal, coral, green, and yellow.  She wants it casual and fun, but elegant too.

I have visions swirling through my head of vivid tablecloths, lanterns hanging on shepherd hooks, twinkle lights in the palm tree, colorfully painted starfish, Lyla in a tiny adorable dress .... 


 And the great part about it being a small family-affair - lots of DIY'ing! 



While my our wedding totally fit my our style, and I wouldn't really change a thing, there were a lot of great ideas out there that just weren't a fit for mine, but could be really fun for one like hers.

Here are some fun ideas I've found and thought I would share:

Starfish spraypainted silver (or any color, really):


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The natural elegance and beachy charm of this real wedding:

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Hanging starfish (for some reason I keep coming back to starfish as decor - I just think they are classic looks without being too "I'm getting married at the beach" ish... although, that logic makes no sense)

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This simple yet richly-hued table (with help from Ikea, I see!)
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These place settings - love them!  Since it will be a small wedding, it would be really easy to buy/make fancy plates like this for everyone.

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How cute are these invites?

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I also keep coming back to the idea of having glass jars of various shapes and sizes as an (affordable) unified look (I used a lot of glass in mine - and Young House Love did it so well too!) 
Au natural glass, painted, or decorated - the possibilities are endless - and there are always so many glassware items at stores like Ikea or Walmart, even (especially!) thrift stores.

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And the best part - the sweets!  I don't know what she has in mind (cake, cupcakes, etc) but I thought all of these were adorable.
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Thanks to all of these great sites and real weddings for providing lots of inspiration!


Anyone out there have any small beach wedding ideas?  As Courtney said - " your blog friends are so creative - I bet they have ideas too!"  :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

They Like Me! They Really Like Me!

I'm excited to share that Shannon from Shannanigans has a guest post up today, written by yours truly!  What more could you ask for?


Shannon just gave birth to an adorable little boy named Gabriel - (the gender was a surprise - bring on the tiny blue clothes!) and she's resting up and doing some major bonding.


I'm excited to have the chance to have another place to ramble for the day!  (And, to warn you, I'm on my motivational-speaker-soap-box over there, too!)


Shannon's blog is hilarious, she has created gorgeous rooms in her house (seriously, look at these), and of course, there's an adorable baby to hear about.  So go check it out!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Oh, Textiles


I hit the jackpot at Ikea.

I got this awesome blue plastic colander.
FL√ĄCKIG Colander blue Diameter: 9 " Height: 6 "  Diameter: 24 cm Height: 15 cm
Ok, well, I did get that - but I allllso got a pretty amazing deal on some textiles.  Curtains to be exact. 


Let me explain - Claire and textiles don't mesh.  I make poor choices picking them out (included are curtains, rugs, fabrics, etc) and I am usually too cheap to get nice things.   Thus, I end up spending a little - and hating a lot - like these curtains in our bedroom.




In my defense, these were purchased before I entered blogland, and thus, I wasn't really aware of the golden rule to hang them high and wide.  Um, and also apparently I don't understand length dimensions on curtain packages.


So, I had suffered (yes! suffered!) with these curtains for a few years.  They drove me bonkers, yet I just couldn't bring myself to spend $40+ on curtains.  Stupid pieces of fabric that hang.  

{Enter Ikea}  You know I love Ikea.  

I drooled over their curtains in the aptly named "Textiles" section - but the ones I liked were still more than I wanted to spend.

We made our way towards the exit, me crying a little that the experience was over, when I decided to pop into the as-is section.  

To my intense excitement, there was a HUGE bin of curtains in there - all were out of their packages and roaming free - but all in great shape! ...  I might or might not have hovered over the bin like a lion over prey... 



And get this.  $3.  $3 per panel!  They are the basic ones with tabbed tops - but they are super long and just fine for my purposes.  I spent $18 and got 6 panels (including two white ones yet to be hung in the office!).



I was in cheapo heaven!


With the help of a new lamp shade (another Target linen drum via Ross $2.99) and a fresh coat of blue on my bird - our room has a much fresher look!




Now I have respectable curtains that actually go below the window sills.  In fact, they are too long and need to be faux-hemmed, but that's another day.



For now, I will just be happy with my $12 upgrade.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Um, No.

So, if there's such a thing as an "UnSimple Pleasure" - or "Not a Pleasure at ALL"- or "Claire's Worst Nightmare" ....


Then this is it.




Spiders and I don't get along.




Tony found this horrific creature right on the front of our house near our bushes- RIGHT WHERE I HAD JUST BEEN WEEDING THE DAY BEFORE.  Vulnerable!




I felt nauseous just looking at it.  To give you a scope of it's size - it had trapped one of those gigantic carpenter bumble bees in it's web and was wrapping it up.


Only one of us can live in this house, spider. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Simple Pleasures

My parents' mini dachshunds Toby and Quincy - spooning all on their own in the sun (I promise, we didn't pose them!):

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Trunk Transformation

Here's a story about a trunk.  


I've had this baby pink trunk in my house for a while.  ...No, we don't have any rooms that require an accent color in any shade of pastel, let alone, pink.  But this trunk has a history.

This trunk started out black.  It was my Grammy's trunk that she took her belongings in to college - back when a lady packed a trunk instead of a suitcase (or... garbage bags, if you're Angelina...)  This baby has been in the family since 1949 - it was black at the time, and it still has the original leather handles (although.. they are on the verge of disintegrating...). 

At some point, it got a coat of hunter green.


My mom got it from Gram to use in my nursery when I was little - painting it a baby pink - creating a place for me to keep my dress up clothes.


On it came to my new house.  And pink it has stayed.  Despite it being totally mismatched...




However, I finally got the motivation to paint it something a little more modern.  Using some free Glidden paint from last year's promo (um, yes, last year...) - Robin's Egg Blue - I gave it a nice sanding and a few fresh coats.  

Next, copying many ideas I've seen around the www these days - I created a stencil using PowerPoint shapes, printed out, cut, and traced onto the top of the trunk.  A little time consuming, but nothing an hour on the living room floor in front of the TV couldn't help...


This is the best picture I could get of it...
I filled in the stencil outline with more free Glidden paint (Pebble).  I plan to use this same gray color on other pieces of furniture in that room, which will tie it together..


Voila!  Pretty trunk, a fun piece instead of an eyesore.  Still chock full of history.





The dogs like it! 









Oh, the power of paint...








I added this to Remodelaholic's post! :)  Check it out!
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