Archives for June 2012

Salad with Sweet and Spicy Almonds

I love a good salad.  Especially in the summer.

I recently discovered some delicious almonds on pinterest.  And after making them a few times, I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit.  They are dangerously good.  I’ve been known to eat them by the handful when no one is looking!

Sweet and Spicy Almonds

3 1/2 to 4 cups sliced almonds (I used two 6 oz bags)

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon vanilla

{1} Place sugar in a non-stick sauce pan and heat over medium heat.  Stir frequently to keep the sugar from burning.  Keep stirring until the sugar has caramelized into a golden syrup.  This does take time and patience.

{2} Turn heat to low and add butter, cinnamon, vanilla and spices.  Stir until all of the ingredients are mixed together.

{3} Add the almonds and stir until they are all coated.  The caramelized sugar will likely clump together. This is ok.  It will melt as you saute the almonds.  Continue to stir the almonds until they turn a nice golden brown.  But keep an eye on them so they don’t burn!

{4} Cool almonds on a piece of foil or wax paper.  Store in a ziploc bag in your freezer and use on a salad as needed.

And now for the salad….

I add some fresh strawberries.  This time of year in the northwest, we are fortunate to have fresh strawberries from Spooner Farms. Yum!

Add some crumbled blue cheese {which I didn’t have today…}.  Toss the ingredients with some of my favorite salad dressing…

And enjoy a nice summer salad!


linking up to:

the sweet talk shop, funky junk interiors, i heart naptime, nifty thrifty things, the southern institute, my uncommon slice of suburbia, centsational girl

Home From Haven…

I think I am finally settled from my trip to Atlanta.  I got home Saturday afternoon and then spent the day on Sunday at the beach with my family. So now that my suitcase is unpacked and the laundry is done, I can sit down to share a few pictures from my trip!!

I was so excited to be part of the Haven conference.   But as it inched closer and closer, I realized how few people I knew attending.   So I started asking myself “Why in the world did you sign up for this?!”  Thankfully I didn’t listen to any of my doubts because it turned out to be such a great few days!

Some of blog-lands most famous and talented people were there speaking…

Erika Ward, Darlene at Fieldstone Hill and Sherry Hart each shared a wealth of information on interior design.  These ladies are each so talented…I took pages of notes!

And of course, this couple needs no introduction.  Kevin and Layla Palmer of The Lettered Cottage led a class on photography and photo styling.

 Kevin and Josh from Shoot Fly Shoot gave a mini session of their online classes.  I am just about finished taking this online class and let me tell you, it’s worth every penny of the $69 fee.  If you only know how to take pictures on auto and are overwhelmed with the possibility of using manual mode, TAKE THIS CLASS!!  Seriously, after a few of the short video’s, you’ll be shooting pictures in manual. And the pictures will actually look good!!

And there were plenty of others there too…..Centsational Girl, Mr. Goodwill Hunting, Home Stories A to Z, Just a Girl….and more!

But my favorite part may have been being with these two lovely ladies below…

look how color coordinated we are! sherry hart could decorate a room around us. lori's dress would be the lead fabric...

 Lori May from Lori May Interiors and Amanda from Amanda Carol and Home were my sidekicks during the conference.  We ate together, attended conference sessions together and talked each others ears off.  I could have spent the entire two days just taking notes from both of them.  Lori and Amanda are talented decorators and were so kind to share helpful hints and information with me that would have taken me weeks or months to figure out.  Not only were they helpful, but they are kind and wonderful people!  Without them, the conference wouldn’t have been the same!

And of course, there was the swag bag…

Surprisingly, I was able to fit it all in my suitcase too!!

It was a fantastic few days full of so much information.  I sat down in the airport to start re-typing all my notes (and conveniently left my mac charging cord at my gate.  Just FYI, those are NOT cheap to replace!!) and after 45 minutes, I wasn’t even close to being done typing them all out!

Thank you to all of the Haven coordinators for putting together a truly fantastic conference.  And a big thank you to Lori and Amanda for being the icing on the cake!!



Yesterday I returned from the Haven Conference.  It was a great few days away. I had a lot of fun and learned so much. But as with any trip, it’s always good to get home.

Today we drove north to visit a beach house that Dan and his family used to visit when growing up. We had a variety of weather….

…and we did see a bit of rain.  But for the most part, the day was sunny!

We found a rope swing and had entirely too much fun on it…

And we got to spend time with Dan’s family…

It was a great start to summer here in the northwest.

 It’s good to be home.


Planting Succulents in Old Silver

Yesterday I finished up some teacher gifts where I planted succulents inside old books.  There ended up being a few plants left over, so I went searching through my cabinets for something fun to plant them in.  I came across some of my grandma’s silver tea service and my baby cup. Perfect!

I know succulents like to be in dry soil. And since there is no drainage in this silver, I added a few rocks to the bottom so the soil didn’t remain too wet.

I then added the succulents and some soil. Quick. And easy.

I put them in my kitchen, so now I have something fun to look at when I’m doing dishes!!


linking up to:

nifty thrifty things, between naps on the porch, skip to my lou, my uncommon slice of suburbia, home stories a to z, todays creative blog, savvy southern style, trendy treehouse, the sweet talk shop, funky junk interiors, i heart naptime, the southern institute

Planting Succulents Inside a Book

Remember when my sister-in-law made me a ‘book plant‘ for my birthday?  I’ve enjoyed mine so much that I thought they would make great teacher gifts {yes, those of us that live in the northwest are still in school!}! This weekend I made two of them, and I love how they turned out!

Keep reading to learn how to make one.


Gather supplies.

Visit the Good Will or Value Village to purchase some old hardback books.  Don’t worry much about what the paper cover looks like.  Just remove it!  It’s most likely that there is a pretty and simple looking book under that decorative cover!

Purchase succulents at your local gardening or grocery store.


Cut an opening in the book.

Open the front cover and measure the opening.  Then begin cutting.

You will be able to cut through a section of book pages at a time. But the process can seem a bit daunting, depending on how thick your book is.


Line the opening with parchment paper or wax paper.

For the first book, I pre-cut the wax paper and lined the opening in the book.   But planting the succulents proved to be a messy job.  So for the next book, I laid a big piece of wax paper down and cut it after I planted them. I liked this way much better.


Plant succulents in the book opening.

You can see that I was a bit messy.   This was the book with the pre-cut wax paper.


Place moss on top of the dirt. 

The moss will give the book plant a finished look and it will also cover any wax paper that is showing.

I put a bit of water on the moss to help it squish together and fit on top of the dirt.


Place book on your shelf or give as a gift.

How to care for your book plant:

Succulents like DRY dirt. So for you non-green thumbs out there, this might be right up your alley!  For a typical succulent in a pot, it is recommended that you water it once a month.  But you can’t really water this  since it’s in a book.  I recommend getting a water bottle and spraying the moss and dirt once a week or every two weeks.  That’s what I’ve been doing with my book plant and it’s seemed to do the job!


linking up to:

the southern institute, nifty thrifty things, between naps on the porch, skip to my lou, my uncommon slice of suburbia, home stories a to z, todays creative blog, savvy southern style, trendy treehouse, the sweet talk shop, funky junk interiors, i heart naptime, the southern institute

Father’s Day Card

Do you need a last minute father’s day card idea? I confess, this is NOT my original.  Thanks to Pinterest, I found a great card idea from Crafty Texas Girls.  But it was really easy to implement.  For all of you procrastinators out there,  this is an easy one!

You will need:

sidewalk chalk . . camera . . ladder . . children


Draw your picture with sidewalk chalk.

Involve the kids.  Mine decorated the flowers and drew the sun {ok, maybe I had a hard time letting complete control of the drawing go to my kids.  I wanted it to look a certain way. So I may have tried to control the creative process a little.}  Look what happens when you turn your back though….that sweet little heart with “we love you” in it shows up!!


Take your picture.

Have the kids lay down. Then climb a ladder and shoot your picture!


Wash away any evidence before daddy gets home from work!

Print the picture at your favorite photo lab or on your home computer.  Attach it to some card stock and your father’s day card is complete!!

Happy Father’s Day weekend!


Necklace Organization

My necklaces are a jumbled mess.  I keep them in a drawer in my bathroom.  And it’s chaos.

I’ve searched Pinterest for ideas on how to organize them.  And I’ve searched other blogs, looking for a solution.  I think my favorite was a creation by Ashli at Mini Manor Blog

She used cutlery trays, painted white.  Then added hooks to hang her jewelry from!  So fun, so cute and so simple.  But I don’t have enough vacant wall space for something like this.

I bought a rod and hooks at Ikea {in their kitchen section}.  My thought was to cut the bar to the proper length with a hack saw and hang my necklaces from the hooks…

But it just seemed a bit bulky and not quite what I was looking for.

Then I stumbled across these hooks at Lowes…

And thought they might be a simple solution for my messy necklace drawer.  So after some measuring and drilling…

…I got them hung up!

{Yes, that is striped wallpaper in our master bathroom. No, we did not hang it up. Yes, it will get changed someday. I would love it to be sooner than later, but unfortunately, I think it’ll most likely be later….}

And only a few minutes later, my messy drawer…

…was no more!

Now deciding which necklace to wear in the morning is so much easier!

I can actually see my necklaces and make a wise fashion decision!


linking up to:

aka design, shabby nest, at the picket fence, stuff and nonsense, chic on a shoestring decorating, the southern institute, nifty thrifty things, between naps on the porch, skip to my lou, my uncommon slice of suburbia, home stories a to z, todays creative blog, savvy southern style, trendy treehouse

Adding a Zipper to a Target Pillow

I recently purchased a pillow for our couch from Target.  I liked the pattern, but I didn’t like how full of ‘fluff’ it was.  I like to lay on my couch {and I’ve been known to snooze on my couch too} so a comfortable pillow is a must.   I decided to add a zipper and down insert, thus eliminating the hard pillow issue! And it also makes the pillow cover removable for easy washing!

Using my seam ripper, I tore out the seam on the bottom {and removed the large tag as well}.  Then I removed all of the fluff {and believe me when I say there was a ton! It nearly filled a plastic trash bag!}

I thought this was interesting….when I turned the pillow inside-out, the corners had poly fill sewn into them.  I thought this was ingenious!  Whenever I use poly fill, it is always a challenge to get it to stay in the corners of the pillow. Using Target’s method, my issue would be solved!  But for this project, it doesn’t matter because I am using a Pottery Barn down insert.

I purchased an invisible zipper and sewed it into the bottom opening.  I did not take pictures during the process. Nor am I writing a tutorial on how to sew in a zipper. It was not a pretty process and did not go smoothly. But I got it done.  And while it is not perfect, it will do the job!

The pillow is so much more cozy and soft with the down insert!  It was a small time investment but worth the effort!


linking up to:

savvy southern style, michele raven designsthe shabby creek cottage, the 36th avenue, somewhat simple, house of hepworths, aka design, the shabby nest, at the picket fence, stuff and nonsense, chic on a shoestring decorating, the southern institute, nifty thrifty things, between naps on the porch, skip to my lou, my uncommon slice of suburbia, home stories a to z, todays creative blog,  it all started with paint

My First 10K

This weekend I reached a goal I’ve long been striving for.  I completed a 10k.  A year ago, I injured myself  on a run and have had a frustrating 12 months of waiting to heal, resting, trying physical therapy, resting some more, waiting some more. And finally, a last shot at physical therapy  Fortunately, I found an amazing physical therapist who was able to re-train me to run. And helped me to heal.

So on Sunday, I drove to Seattle and participated in a 10k.

The weather was perfect. And the scenery wasn’t too shabby either.

{I do so love living in the northwest.}

It was a long year, but I did it!!


Second Use Salvage

This week, I went to Seattle to have lunch with my dad before he had his radiation treatment. Since I was traveling kid-free and had a bit extra time, I decided to stop in a salvage store that I have dreamed of visiting.  The store is called Second Use, and it is seriously a junkers dream! (is “junkers” even a word?)

Here are a few of the really fun things that were selling….

There were a few glass cabinets that had tons of these sparkly doorknobs.

And look at all these fun hinges! I love how they organized them.

And these old chairs for kiddos.  They would be darling tucked in the corner of a room…Maybe with a big fern on it. Or in a front yard with a flower pot.

There was even an entire section dedicated to old mantels!

I’ve mentioned before that I’d like to a new door for our shed.  I was overwhelmed with their door selection.  {This picture only shows one row of their doors.  I think they had maybe 4 or 5 rows,}  But I had a headache (got a bit lost on the way there) and had to pee (I drank a diet coke on my drive to Seattle. Bad move when there is a possibility of getting lost!) All that to say, I wasn’t in the door shopping mood by the time I got there.

Look at this fun wood!? I’m sure there are tons of projects that this would be perfect for (but they were rather pricey…I think maybe $200 per slab?)

They even had an outside.  But you can see it was raining…and I had a headache…and had to pee.  So I skipped the outside this time around. But I’m sure there were plenty of other gems out there.

I may have to plan another trip someday when I have more time to browse.


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