July 25, 2011

A Midsommer's Dinner

Happy Monday! {says the chipper blogger as she downs her Dunkin at an alarming rate...}

So, are you enjoying your summer??  July is just about the only non-mercurial month where I live, although it has some fickle days here-and-there.  We've just finished a heat wave, and it seems to be the topic of conversation wherever you go (ahem, especially Facebook)

Well, if you are living somewhere *hot*, then you'll appreciate today's recipe - hardly any cooking, served with very few dishes/utensils, and perfect for the hot summer day appetite.  Any other time of year, you can use it as an appetizer.

What you will need:
  1. Texas Toast
  2. Bruschetta (pronounced broo-SKET-uh) {<-- that one's for you, my lovely Italian friend; you know who you are}
  3. Fresh basil
  4. Parmesan cheese (optional)
Start by making your Texas Toast as directed on the box.  It takes about 5 minutes to cook, so make sure it's just about dinner time when you start. 

Fresh basil can be purchased at the store, but I love pulling it right off the plant.  I find that basil plants in the kitchen are better than any air freshener.  So nice.

Unfortunately, my grocery store had only one selection of Bruchetta - Bellino, but it turned out to be quite excellent.

Place several basil leaves on each piece of toast...

... and spread the Bruschetta over top.  My husband also added Parmesan cheese (making it 6-cheese toast, I suppose).

It's a wonderful summer meal -- meant to be eaten somewhat cool, and absolutely delicious.  We enjoyed ours on the deck with a nice breeze. 

What summer recipes do you enjoy?

~ Sarah

July 20, 2011

Dad's Potato Salad

Wow, the week is already half-over.  Is it just me, or are the days/weeks/months flying by much faster than they ever did before?

Well, anyways.

Today I'll be sharing another recipe with you.  This is the first time I've made it in a while, and making it actually showed me where I get my measurement issue from.  This is my Dad's recipe, and it was recorded by me when I was in high school (the lack of measurement comes from the source of the recipe.) 

I love this particular version.  I mean, any instructions that include things like, "Boil the heck out of" and "add one slice or whatever" are just awesome.  It seems I've always been this way.  I love it.

What you will need (in case you can't read my highschool handwriting):
  1. Potatoes
  2. Eggs
  3. Mayonaise
  4. Mustard
  5. Sugar
  6. Celery Seed
  7. Onion (one slice, or whatever - lol)
  8. Salt/Pepper
  9. Dill Relish
First, like the recipe card says, 'boil the heck out of the potatoes and eggs'.  The ratio says 2-3 potatoes per 1 egg, but I always do more egg because it's my favorite part.

As much as I like potato salad, I don't think I'll ever aquire
a fondness for the smell of boiling potatoes.  *shudders*

Cool the potatoes and eggs overnight (or at least all day).  Then cut into bite-sized pieces.  (Keep 1-2 eggs aside to decorate the top.)

Add the ingredients together.  Alas, I cannot possibly tell you the quantities... like my Dad, I literally add until it tastes right.  Most of the items can be counter-measured except for the sugar.  For this quantity, I used only 1/4 cup of sugar.  Just exercise caution.

Now, the best part.  Mixing with a spoon is alright, but after all, this blog isn't called 'look with a spoon'.  So get your hands dirty - I dare you.  :)

When it looks thorougly and properly mixed, transer to your serving bowl. 

Slice the remaining eggs and decorate the top. 

Serve.  Even sans measurements, it's the best potato salad in the world.  Enjoy!!  (And thanks, Dad!!)

~ Sarah

July 18, 2011

Deck Cushions

Wasn't it a beautiful weekend??

Fabulous for outdoor parties, especially if they were pool parties.  You'll be happy to know that my potato salad was a hit (although I still haven't found a place for the pirate yet.  Come on, Readers, no ideas??)

We have a (flexible) rule in our house that we spend Sunday afternoons together doing nothing, or next to nothing.  Yesterday, however, I felt an unsuppresable urge to accomplish one of my to-do list tasks - recovering my wicker cushions.  It was much easier than I thought, and because I moved my entire operation out to the deck, it counted as recreation anyways.

View from the deck to the back yard.

I love Jayson's boots on the railing. 

This is what they looked like 'before':

I know, they're so very...
blech.  I didn't pick them, fyi.
I was tempted to make a trip to my local fabric store, but I've been avoiding it the past week (the last two times I went there, I came home with unexpected sewing projects that I just didn't have time to do!)  So I avoided the danger and picked some fabric from my (not small) collection.  Fortunately, I happened to have just the thing:

Now, from previous posts, you probably know that I have an issue with measurements (by issue, I mean that I don't use them).  So it won't surprise you that I didn't use a pattern.  I literally placed the cushion on the fabric, then traced it and cut with scissors.  I also took the lazy way out - I didn't remove the old covers.  I sewed three edges, like a pillowcase, then hand-stitched the final seam (making sure that this final seam would be the one facing the back.)  {Since you might be wondering this, I had planned to use zippers, but didn't have any that were long enough.}

Then I picked matching buttons...

I would love for buttons to become
currency... I'd be disgustingly wealthy.
Using a long, sturdy needle and embroidery thread, I tied the buttons onto both sides of the cushion.

And voila!  A finished cushion.  I was quite pleased with the result.  Naturally, it would be much more impressive if they had zippers, were uniform, etc, but that's alright.  Unless you read my blog, you'll never know the difference.  ;)

Enjoy the beginning of your week!!

~ Sarah

July 16, 2011

There's a Pirate in my Mixing Bowl

Hey, everyone!

Do you know what time it is? It is 12:50 a.m., and I am sitting in my kitchen, boiling eggs and potatoes, because I am supposed to bring potato salad to a reunion tomorrow. And I remembered 20 minutes ago. *sigh*

Well, it seems I'm not entirely alone. The puppy is snoring in the next room, and little kitty is periodically rubbing against my leg. But we have another companion, too.

A little history. You know how it is when you first move in with someone. Your new living arrangements inherit... things. You know - things that make you, for the briefest moment, think again about sharing your living space with this other person. Things like a collection of tee-shirts that appear to have been used as target practice (and, in my husband's case, that's not an absurd guess), or the bright yellow fish with fluorescent purple glitter lips and sunglasses that, apparently, is expected to share the Christmas tree with your grandmother's antique glass balls.

Or the pirate head. The pirate head that someone made (on purpose) from a coconut, and someone else with disposable income actually paid for. Then gave to my husband to let him know they were thinking about him all the way in Aruba. How sweet.

Isn't it cute? NOT!

Confession: I started trying to throw this thing away the day we moved into our house. Jayson found it in the garbage. "How did this get in here?" he asked. "It must've fallen."

"No, I threw it there."

And that was how our first married fight started. Long story short, he agreed to keep it out of sight, and I agreed to only throw it away if I saw it again. To be honest, I'm not really sure what happened immediately after that, but I can tell you what has been happening ever since.

Mr. Aruba (a/k/a Coco, the Fearsome Buccaneer) has become the family joke. We hide him on each other. He has been all over the place! He's been hanging in the shower, wrapped around toothpaste bottles, hidden in lunchboxes, stuffed under pillows, mingled with granola bars, pinned to a sewing machine, hung on the wall of the living room (ps - I didn't notice that one until after we'd had a house full of people!), fallen out of laundry baskets, dangled in the fridge, zippered into pockets... And tonight, I found him in my mixing bowl.

Hey, if you have to stay up insanely late boiling potatoes, you might as well enjoy it with a pirate.

Now where to hide him next... Any suggestions??

~ Sarah

July 14, 2011

The Piano

So... yeah.

I've been busy sewing, crafting, organizing, and baking, but you'd never know it from my posts this week.  "Pics or it didn't happen," and all.  I promise to take some over the weekend and share what I've been working on. 

You'll enjoy this, Readers.  After yesterday's scavenger hunt, I had a scare.  It went something like this:
"So, hunny, did you happen to see today's post?"
"Umm... no.  Sorry.  Haven't been on your blog in a while, actually.  Why?"
"No particular reason."
{his eyes narrow}  "Why?"  (He knows me so well.)
"Well, uhh, I kindof had a contest."
"What kind of contest?"
"A scavenger hunt, of sorts."
"For what?"
"Well.... see, the thing of it is... so, remember how you said... you thought you may possible be ok with me... sortof... putting your name on my blog?"
{pause}.... "No...  I thought I told you I'd prefer to be anonymous."
{another pause}... "Wait... you specifically told me you were ok with me putting your name!"
"No... No, I didn't..."
"You didn't?"  {picture Sarah with very wide eyes and a racing pulse}
"No."  {he studies me}  "You put my name on your blog, didn't you?"
"It was already there... I just suggested that my readers find it." 
{awkward silence, where he didn't speak and I felt a knot in my stomach the size of a bowling ball, realizing that I had over 100 page views yesterday and any number of them found (or at least saw) his name}
"I'm just kidding.  I guess it's ok my name is on there.  Will I be getting fan mail now?"
*Sarah smacks Jayson*

Anyways.  Moving on now...

I don't have any crafts or projects to share, but I thought I'd share a funny story with you.  It's about my piano.  (I realize that the average piano doesn't invoke much humor.  Aside from Gary Larson, not many people have used pianos in jokes or cartoons.  They're kindof... well... I mean, they're ordinary.  Beautiful, elegant and classic, of course, but ordinary.  Half the homes in America have them.)

My piano isn't much different - ordinary.  In fact, the poor thing was kindof an outcast.  It's been passed around (for free!) from person to person for about 15-20 years.  My mother-in-law got it from someone who got it from someone else who only took it to salvage it from the scrap yard, etc, etc.  She decided she didn't have the space for it, and me, newly married and trying to (naively) fill a large house, was only too happy to suggest that Jayson and three of his strong friends cart the monstrous thing to my living room (which was completely gutted at the time, by the way.)   At least I gave them all iced tea.

Do I play?  No.  I think I played for about four weeks when I was ten or eleven.  Does Jayson?  Nope.  So... why do we need a piano?  Precisely.  It took me almost a year to finally come to terms with the rhetorical question, "A piano??  What was I thinking??" 

And how exactly does one get rid of an old, beaten up, outcast piano?  One offers it to friends and families, of course (perhaps, if you're lucky, a naive young bride will take it!)  The poor thing is in rough cosmetic shape.  Although it has ivory keys, a couple of them are broken, and one of the pedals is stuck.  The top of the piano was replaced at some point with a warped board.  It sounds very sickly, as it's been 20+ years since it was tuned.  So, the point is, one look at my miserable little thing, and friends and family politely declined.  I don't really blame them; it's not like I found it desirable at the time.

So one turns to Craigslist.  I advertised it as a beaten-up, antique piano for $100.  I had a couple of people ask for pictures, but they didn't even bother writing a 'no, thank you' after they had a look.  *sigh*

One evening, we were sitting in the partially-finished living room, talking about something (paint, furniture, whatever) and suddenly I blurted out, "I hate that thing!  I want it GONE!"  I didn't really hate it, I just decided I needed the space, and it was a useless piece of furniture since we never used it.  That, and I was impatient because I couldn't find a sucker to take it off my hands.

Jayson asked the most obvious question, "Well, what if our kids play the piano?"  I explained that it was in such rough shape that I'd rather get them a nicer piano, anyways, if we did happen to have a musical child.  Ever the level-headed, practical person, he asked me if I'd looked inside to see who the manufacturer was.  Ever his opposite, I had not.

So, we opened it up.  Wouldn't you know - 'The Regent Piano - Philadelphia', Built 1909.   Whoa.

So I did a little google research.  I found the Antique Piano Shop and scrolled down to the section about my piano.  Here is what they had to say about it: 

Upright Piano, Circa 1920
"By this time makers had streamlined operations and the piano had evolved into a perfect machine. The upright piano had evolved into a very simple basic design, becoming more utilitarian in appearance than ever before. With the exception of period furniture styles like Louis XV and French Provincial, Upright Piano, Circa 1920 most upright pianos were without ornamentation or frills. Instead, plain square pillars and streamlined moldings resulted in a very "modern" looking upright piano which was considered "uncluttered" and "beautifully simplistic". These simple looking upright pianos were generally of excellent quality, and were some of the finest pianos built in history."

Uhh, SHOCKER!!  This poor little piano that I was willing to GIVE away was one of 'the finest pianos built in history'!!  I went to the showroom on the website, out of curiosity.  At that time, they had a piano that looked identical to mine, fully restored, on sale for...

.... are you sitting?...

... $20,000!  Yes, that's a two-zero-zero-zero-zero.  Twenty thousand dollars.

I immediately messaged everyone I knew that the piano was no longer available. 

So, it's still sitting in our (now-finished) living room, waiting for us to get around to selling it to a restoration company.  But every time I look at it, I mentally apologize for my previously thinking that it was a useless waste of space.  As a penance, I regularly polish the wood so that it looks rich and lovely, even if it does still sound horrific. 

We also tell this story to everyone who sits in our living room.  :) 

~ Sarah

PS - Anyone want to buy an antique sewing maching??  ; )

July 13, 2011


Well, we have a winner!  Congratulations to Stephanie K, who found my husband's name on the Stone House Inn & Spa post from May 18th. 

So, from now on, Superman will be referred to as Jayson, which he's far more used to.  :)

Photograph courtesy of Lasting Images by Lennae Warren

Thanks for playing, contestants!  Perhaps we'll have another game sometime soon.

<3 Sarah

Scavenger Hunt...

Hey, everyone!  Let's play a game, shall we?? 

If you have read my blog before, you know that I never refer to that man (you know, the adorable and wonderful one I'm married to) by his actual name.  There's a reason.  When I started blogging, he was a little paranoid, and asked that I keep him anonymous.  Well, after several months, he's finally come around to saying that he's ok with me calling him by his first name.  (I imagine that seeing himself continually referred to as "Superman" probably got to him after a while.) 

But, unbeknownst to him, his name actually DOES appear on this blog already!!  {In all fairness, I just noticed it recently, myself.}  SO.... We're going to have a SCAVENGER HUNT! 

I realize that some of you, Readers, already know his name (since you know me personally,) but in order to qualify, you must list the following in the comment section:
  1. His first name (spelled correctly);
  2. The title of the post where his name appears;
  3. The date it was posted; and
  4. Specifically where it appears in the post.
And I'm not above giving small prizes!  $5 gift card?  Candy bags?  A party banner?   Zig-zag or spiral streamers?  Be the first to find his name, and we'll chat.  ;) 

So, ready... set... GO!!!!!

~ Sarah

PS - Yes-or-no questions are allowed... as long as the hints aren't too big, I'm happy to give them.  ;)

PPS - Everyone seems to be going first to the post called "Confessions of a Newlywed"... hint: it's not there. 

July 12, 2011

Pink and Green Birthday Party

Bonjour!  (I was reading a favorite blog today... she lives in Paris and it made me want to move there, too... I guess I'm feeling French now.)

Anyways.  As you may know from last week's posts {Sneak Peak and Homemade Confetti}, I helped at a birthday party this past weekend.  Not just any birthday party - Hot Pink and Lime Green!  The party was an enormous success.  The girls came in their lovely party dresses, and I enjoyed watching eyes widen and jaws drop when they saw it... The Holy Grail (a/k/a the Candy Bar.)  Here are some photos:

The birthday girls' names started with "S" and "B".  I was very fortunate to stumble on the adorable glasses at The Christmas Tree Shoppes for something like $2.99 each, so I gave them to the girls when the party was over. 

Overall, the candy bar was popular, but it paled compared to the other events at the party.  For a craft, the girls got to pick flipflops, and flowers/stones/decorations.  Then (with the help of an adult) they hot-glued the embellishments to the tops of the flipflops. 

We also set up a photo area for the girls.  I brought fuzzy hats, crazy sunglasses, boas and leis, and they got to dress up and pose with their friends.  I've never been to a party before where the candy was ignored in favor of the fun activities.  :)

Also, here's a picture of the centerpieces: 

I tied lime green tulle around glass vases, filled them with pink gel beads and l.e.d. tea lights to make them glow.  {The girls there told me that these gel beads are called "Orbies".  Can anyone confirm that?  They were given to me by a client, so I'm not familiar with their title or where to find them.  To be quite honest, sticking your hand in the bucket of these beads feels exactly the way I imagine a bucket of eyeballs would feel.}

And finally, the "Happy Birthday" party banners (you may recall the photo of letter "B" on the Sneak Peak post... here's the whole thing)

So, all in all, a successful, colorful party.  On to the next!!

~ Sarah

**  Thanks to Photography by Amber for allowing me to use some of her snapshots.

July 11, 2011

Strawberry Lemonade

It's a new week!

Well, I had a good weekend.  I did some experimenting, some birthday partying, some sewing, a little sleeping, and zero laundry/cleaning.  But despite doing zero chores, I still considered it a successful weekend!  I helped at one event, booked another, and came out of my studio with two new dresses and a skirt!  :)

But that's not all I made!  I also came up with this lemonade on Friday night, and perfected it on Saturday... I had to share.  It's phenomenal, and very, very easy.

What you will need:
  1. Pink Lemonade mix (like Country Time)
  2. Sugar
  3. Fresh strawberries
  4. Fresh lemons
To start, mix your lemonade as directed, and be sure to leave a lot of room at the top.  Set aside.

Next, wash and slice your strawberries.  I used my deluxe egg slicer from Pampered Chef - it saved time. 

Put your strawberries into a microwave-safe bowl.  Add sugar to the strawberries and microwave for about 30 seconds.  (Best guess - I cut about half a pint of strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar for 2 quarts of lemonade.)  Once the strawberries and sugar have 'glazed' a little, mix them together.  (The first time I made this, I pureed the strawberries, but the second time, I only mixed them a little.  I liked the second way better, but my husband liked the strawberry pulp.  So you do what you prefer.)

Wash and slice the lemons.  (I cut 2-3 for 2 quarts).

Add your strawberries and lemons to your lemonade.


It's delish!!  I made it for a birthday party, and we went through 8 quarts in 20 minutes.  : ) 

Certainly, fresh-squeezed lemonade is better, and I know of several better recipes, but if you're mixing for a party and want something quick but 'dressed up', it's a perfect solution.  It was my go-go juice while I was on the move all weekend.

~ Sarah  

Additional suggestion, if you will be serving a small group by the glass:
*  Before filling, rub a lemon slice along the top of each glass, then dip in sugar.  After filling, you can place a half-slice of lemon along the edge of each glass.  (So it isn't mistaken for a margarita.)

July 9, 2011

The Container Store

Happy Saturday!

I'm going to be busy running about and prepping for a birthday party (see earlier posts from this week), but I thought I'd share something with you on a weekend, for once.  And what better to share than one of my favorite places in the whole, wide world??

There is a place... a wonderful place... full of magic and possibilities.  A crescendo plays as the sliding doors open, and beams of spotlights illuminate the glorious aisles.  When you are in this place, crime does not exist, worries evaporate, and you just know that the solution to all of your organizing battles has finally appeared.  During the hours that you spend here, you begin to imagine your mountains of projects to be merely foothills.

The Container Store.

In my neck of the woods, we had never even heard of such a place.  I didn't hear of it until I visited my aunt in Columbus, and she recognized that it was a place I might like to see.  We ventured there with our wonderful friend, Anne.  They were ready with the camera, and this is what a first glance at The Container Store looks like:

Containers everywhere!!!!!!  Office organization, studio organization, kids spaces, closets, TV rooms, attics, garages... they have it ALL.  I wanted to move there.

Some of their Christmas storage,
and a slightly obsessed shopper
If you have a Container Store near you, then A - can we switch houses?  and, B - VISIT it!!  The prices are reasonable, and there's no way you will leave there saddened that they did not have the storage you were looking for.  If it exists, they have it.

If you don't have a Container Store near you, then I am very sorry -- believe me, I feel your pain!!!!!  You can shop online, here, but alas - no crescendos on a webpage.  So if you take a roadtrip, put a Container Store location on your itinerary.  No excuses - it's better than a theme park (well, almost).

Contain yourself!!

~ Sarah

July 8, 2011

Homemade Confetti

It's party time - almost!!

I'm helping with a double birthday party this weekend, and thought I'd share one of my ideas for the decorations: confetti!  I mean, aside from the cleaning crew, who doesn't like confetti??  It's cute, fun, and just adds something visual to a party that can't be explained in words. 

The daisies are approximately 1/2" in diameter
I purchased a tiny little daisy punch last year for another event I was doing, and it's been used so many times that the poor thing is starting to give out on me.  (I'm pretty sure I found it at either Michael's or A.C. Moore.) 

In an effort to save a little wear and tear on it, I chose to use computer paper in theme colors, rather than cardstock.  I put on my favorite movie, filled up my favorite coffee mug, and settled in for a night of daisy cutting.

Look how wonderfully they turned out!

I'm excited to throw this daisy confetti everywhere on the tables... I hope the girls like them.  :)

~ Sarah

July 7, 2011

Pink and Green Birthday Party (Sneak Peak)

Hey!  It's Thursday - can you believe it??

I'm helping at a birthday party this weekend, and thought I'd share a sneak peak at what it will look like.  It's for two sisters, so rather than have them disagree over a theme, I asked their favorite colors and focused on them.  Here are some of the things I made for the party:

Candy Bags.  (These have appeared on my blog before - here, and here.)  It was a little more difficult than I expected to find bright green candy, so I snatched up large quantities of the candies I did find.  The result?  Possibly my favorite candy bags yet:

Marshmallows, Jordan Almonds, M & M's,
Runts, candy seeds, and Sour Patch rings.

I also made a lovely banner for them (see banner post here), and I took a photograph of one of the letters:

And finally, I made labels for the food table using cardstock and paper flowers:

It should be a wonderful, colorful party!  I hope to have pictures afterwards.  :)

~ Sarah

Pretty Little Tote

Good morning!

Before I even begin this blog, you need to know that this is not an original idea.  I saw it on one of my favorite blogs, Such Pretty Things, and it inspired me.  You can find the original idea link here.  However, in case you don't want to navigate away from this page, I will tell you a little bit about the original post.  Jessica, the amazing and talented SPT blogger, journeys to her local Target fairly frequently, almost always finding a delightful treasure, which she often makes even delightful-er.  That is where this idea came from.  She found a cute little tote at the bargain corner in Target, and hot glued some flowers to it.

I copied the inspiration.  I found the same tote, in the same store, for $2.50.  I wasn't planning to copy her idea, but I was there, the tote was right at eye-level, and for that price, I couldn't leave it behind.

So, without further ado, here is Jessica's idea on LwYH:


Aren't they just splendid?  I can't get over how well they turned out.  I had planned to give them as gifts, but it's going to take me a while to work myself up to parting with them.

What you will need:
  1. Tote
  2. Hot glue gun
  3. Silk Flowers, gems, buttons, beads, etc. (use your imagination!)


I used dainty little flowers and gems I had purchased as 'table decor' in the bridal section at Michael's.  I hot glued the flowers, then added the gems to the center.  Always a fan of ribbon, I added a little one to the bottom.

 TOTE 2:

I used leftover silk petals from a wedding I did recently.  I wasn't really sure what I had intended it to look like, but I was blown away by how lovely it turned out to be.  I think I had originally planned to put several of these unique flowers, but after one, I thought it looked finished (and it's probably my favorite of the two.)  :)

So, I hope you can become inspired by this, too, and make your own creative little bag.  And thanks, Jessica!  :)

~ Sarah

July 6, 2011

Orange Creamsicle Fruit Dip

Hey, everyone!  Happy 4th, no,  5th, wait, 6th of July!  It was a fast weekend, although it seems I'm still stuck in it.

I really ought to coordinate these posts better... for instance, had I posted this last week, you could've made it for last weekend, like I did.  We'll get there.  But perhaps you have a family reunion coming up, or are just planning an evening on the porch with some fresh fruit, and this will become your best friend. 

What you will need:
  1. Cool whip
  2. Orange cream yogurt (Yoplait is my favorite, but to each their own.)
  3. Food coloring (optional)
  4. Fruit for dipping (also optional... there are those who prefer to eat this with a spoon)
Mix the cool whip and the yogurt together.  I always add food coloring to make it more... peachy.

Remember, if you're adding food coloring,
use three or more parts yellow to one part red




It's one of my favorite recipes.  I do love something complicated, but I'm not above enjoying something simple, if delicious, and this totally is.  :)

Additional Suggestions:
  • If you're not into creamsicle (I've heard there are people like that out there) then try one of the other flavored yogurts: blueberry, strawberry, etc.  {Thanks to Amy and Elizabeth for this suggestion.}
  • If you're looking for something with more ingredients, try adding cream cheese, powdered sugar, concentrated orange juice, and vanilla (these are the ingredients in another fruit dip recipe I have, but I rarely use it and don't know the measurements.)
  • As for the fruit, I always put the normal stuff: cantaloupe, strawberry, grapes (red and green) and pineapple.  I also add blackberries because they're visually appealing, and no one ever thinks of them, poor things.
~ Sarah