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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fireplace Makeover

We've begun a family room makeover at our house. We moved into our Arizona stucco house 14 years ago and the family room has gone through several changes over the years. However, I have never been happy with the fireplace. It's a gas fireplace set in  stucco with a stucco bump out mantle and  another big hole for the television. Yuk!
This picture was taken shortly after we moved in. Look at our tiny TV in the niche!

Later I faux finished the "mantle" to look like wood. 
Better, but not great. And then we got a new television to fit the space. It weighed a ton!

It was finally time for an upgrade! 
Here's the work in progress...

We did stacked stone around the fireplace capped by an oak mantle. 

We had someone rebuild the wall flat to accomodate the new HD TV.
 Next week the floors are getting refinished and the club chairs are currently at the upholsterers getting redone.
More photos to come!
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Show and Tell Friday
Time Travel Thursday
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Friday, August 17, 2012

Honey Bee Napkins

I found some lovely linen napkins at the thrift store last week. There was set of six ecru hemstitched napkins that appeared to be brand new. They were so inexpensive ($2.39 for all!) so I decided to have a little fun with them. I added a little Honey Bee graphic courtesy of the The Graphics Fairy.
I think they turned out very sweet!

This transfer method is the easiest of all. I just used the iron on transfers by Avery, ran it through my printer, cut them out and ironed on. Easy peasy!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pink Candy Buffet

It continues to be wedding season here in Arizona. I have three friends with children getting married within the next two weeks. My friend Andie's daughter got married today. Andie loved the candy buffet I did for Megan's wedding and she asked me to do one for Taylor and Seth. The color scheme was ivory and pink, so soft and pretty! I used heart mints, Good and Plenty, strawberry taffy, yogurt raisins and yogurt pretzels, grapefruit sour balls, champagne flavored gumdrops, and pink sixlets (basically an m&m but cheaper!) 
I made personalized candy bags and had pink and tan baker's twine to tie the bags with. I wanted a little glow to the table so I used the little electric tea lights in tall glass candleholders. I also labeled each candy jar with an identifying tag. 
To see how I put together a similar candy buffet for my daughter's reception but with a different color scheme click HERE. These are really fun to do and are a big hit with the wedding guests!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Bushel of Cherries

I hadn't planned on making jam today. But I heard that someone had brought a truckload of cherries from Utah and was selling them at a great price. I couldn't resist. I got up at 7 this morning and met Morrie about a half a mile from my house selling 20 pound crates of cherries from the back of his refrigerated semi-truck.  He was down to the last of his crates and let me have 2 for the price of one. Great! Only what was I going to do with  40 pounds of cherries?

I was busy by 8 a.m.washing and pitting.

I use the basic recipe on the box of pectin. I like using pectin because it ensures that the jam will set.  It took 4 cups of cherries finely chopped, 7 cups of sugar ( which I divided using half sugar and half Splenda) and a couple of teaspoons of fresh lemon juice. 

Bring to a full rolling boil and add 1 pouch of liquid pectin. Boil for 1 minute stirring constantly. Fill hot sterilized canning jars, screw on sterilized lids and immediately invert onto a dishtowel. After 5 minutes turn rightside up and listen for the POP of the jar sealing.

This made 6 cups of cherry jam. Yum!

I also made some fruit leather. Yes, in my car. Put trays in the dashboard  and the car acts like a giant oven!

I put more pitted cherries on cookie sheets to freeze. Then I bagged them  in 4 cup batches to use for future pies and cobblers.  
I had enough of my cherry bounty to share as well, so a few neighbors got bags of cherries. Cherry season is short, you have to enjoy it while you can!
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Show and Tell Friday
Simple and Sweet Fridays
Open House Party

Friday, August 3, 2012

Seashell Tablescape

Have you been to the beach this summer? Unfortunately we haven't, but to remind me of past summers at Cape Cod I put together a simple table setting using shells we've gathered through the years.Instead of using the traditional blues and greens of the ocean I wanted to focus on the warm beiges and browns of the sand and shells. I placed my shell collection into three apothecary jars and then made "vintage" tags to hang from the lids. I featured my brown and black dishes made by Arabia of Finland. I love the concentric circles when the bread and butter plates are layered on the dinners. It's all placed on a shawl I found while out thrifting.

Maybe we'll make it to the beach next year!

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