Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sick Day

I've been battling a really bad cold this week so I apologize for the lack of posts. I hope to be back in a few days!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Happy Friday everyone! See you Monday!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Butter Makes Everything Better

Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats. As soon as I saw the title, I knew I had to make these. My friend, Erin, emailed me the link to the recipe on Smitten Kitchen and I promptly went out to buy the ingredients. Anything with the words brown butter, salt and treat will totally get me. They're such a great twist on a classic and I feel like a kid eating them. Why I decided to make them right after a trip to the dentist is beyond me.

I especially liked Smitten Kitchen's tip on using parchment paper sprayed with oil to press down the treats in the pan. It's light years faster.

Tower of goodness.

Look, you can actually see specks of the brown butter in the marshmallow. The brown butter gives them a mild nutty taste. Yum!

Clean up, not so fun. But oh-so delicious.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Katie's Bridal Shower Invitations

When my good friend, Michaela, (my biggest client!) approached me about creating her sister's bridal shower invitation, she had several ideas: utilizing an adorable picture of Katie as a child and incorporating vellum in the design. I love it when Michaela has a vision and I get to execute it. I think we make a pretty good team!

We used the always relevant "Life is a Garden and Love is the Bloom" saying and printed it on vellum. It just worked perfectly with the flower bloom in the background of the picture. In case you're wondering, vellum is a wonderfully semi-translucent paper that can be tricky to print on. It's very slippery so it wouldn't print in my printer's laser printer. Luckily I was able to feed it through my home deskjet printer and it worked perfectly.

So as you can see from this picture, there are two layers: the vellum and the actual invitation underneath mounted on cardstock.

The two layers were bound together using pink ribbon. I cut the cardstock an extra half inch wide so I was able to fold it over the vellum to give it a clean, finished look.

Finally, I made matching address labels.

Let's take another look at this picture... isn't it just the sweetest childhood photograph ever?! Congratulations Katie, I hope you have a wonderful shower!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer Salad

The other night I was working on a project and didn't get finished until 10pm. I hadn't eaten dinner and was famished. Luckily, I had some roasted chicken that I made earlier that day so I threw together this salad. It was absolutely delicious and totally hit the spot.

Summer Salad

Roasted chicken, shredded (see below for recipe)
Sliced strawberries
Gorgonzola crumbles
Vinaigrette (see recipe)

Toss all ingredients together, enjoy!

How to Make Perfect Roasted Chicken:
I discovered this method when making Ina Garten's Chicken Pot Pie, however this is a no fail recipe for roasted chicken and you can use it any time you need chicken for a recipe.

2 split whole chicken breasts (ribs and skin attached)
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Apply aluminum foil to a baking sheet (for easy clean up). Drizzle olive oil all over the chicken breasts and add plenty of salt and pepper to both sides. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the juices run clear when poked with a knife. Once it is cool to the touch, shred or dice for the salad. Don't forget to add some of the crispy bits of browned skin... it's the best part!


4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
salt & pepper

Pour all ingredients into a small container, shake vigorously and drizzle over salad.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Chair Project... Done!

I know I've been taunting you with the finished chair project for forever now so without further adieu... here it is! It was a longer process than I expected, and not to mention I've been distracted with other life going-ons, but I'm very happy with the end result (it was worth the sweat and tears) and it looks great in the new apartment.

To refresh your memory, here is where we started. Orange cherry wood and mauve velvet.

I started off by unscrewing the seat bottom from the frame. Then as you can see, there were hundreds of staples (I might be slightly exaggerating, but there were a lot) in the chair frame and seat bottom. I removed every single one of them... by hand... with pliers. Ugh, it wasn't fun.

Then I tackled the seat back. I took tons of pictures as I was disassembling everything so that I would have a visual of how to put it back together.

The tricky part was the slight groove around the perimeter of the seat back. (You can slightly see how the staples are indented in the groove in the picture below.) I needed to buy a special upholstery stapler so that the tip of the stapler would be able to fit in that groove. Otherwise, I wouldn't have a tight, taut fit.

That's where this guy comes in. I purchased it off eBay for $25. Don't you just love eBay? I wouldn't even know where to begin to search for a used pneumatic stapler if it wasn't for eBay!

Once all the upholstery was off, I sanded, primed and spray painted the chair with Rustoleum's Heirloom White.

Finally I added a coat of Minwax's Wipe-On Poly to protect the paint.

And as you know from this post, I ordered my fabric from the fabulous Jenny at Little Green Notebook. (Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the reupholstering process. I think I was too wrapped up in making it perfect to take pictures.) I rented an air compressor (similar to this one) from Home Depot for the day and was happily stapling away when...dun, dun, dun... I ran out of staples. The staple gun came with a line of staples and stupidly I bought more staples at Home Depot thinking they would fit. Of course they didn't. And please note that you cannot buy the special upholstery staples at any of the home repair stores. I know, I frantically checked out every single one of them in town. You can only get them online or I suppose if you have a re- upholsterer in town they might lend you a few. So I bought them here and returned the air compressor. $30 down the tubes. The second time around fared much better. I was able to finish the project and now I have enough upholstery staples to last me a lifetime.

So here it is, the finished chair. I really love the way it turned out and how the fabric unexpectedly matches our sofa!

Navy loves the chair too!

But wait... there's more! (Yes, I know I'm beginning to sound like an infomercial, sorry, it's a long post) I was shopping with my mother-in-law at some of her favorite thrift stores in Massachusetts when I stumbled upon this vanity bench. Loved the shape and the size, just didn't love the dark wood or the fabric. For $65, I thought it was a worthwhile investment and it would match the chair.

Luckily I had enough paint and fabric left over to re-do this for practically free. And since the upholstered seat came right off, I was able to use my hand held stapler instead of the pneumatic stapler for a quick and easy job. One day I will have an air compressor, just not while I'm living in a tiny NYC apartment.

It's the perfect bench slash ottoman for our tiny living room. Extra seating that takes up minimal space is always a plus.

I just love when rooms easily come together.

So here's the spending breakdown:

Original chair: $50 off craigslist
Sandpaper, Paint, Primer and Wipe-on Poly: approx. $30
Fabric: $162 for 3.8 yards (I probably only used 2 yards for both projects, so I have a lot left over)
Pneumatic Stapler: $25
Upholstery Staples: $19 (They only cost $5.80 but the UPS ground shipping cost twice as much!)
Air Compressor rental: $60 for two rentals

Total: $346

The cheapest reupholstery quote that I got was for $175 so honestly, if I had gotten it reupholstered professionally it would have only been slightly more expensive. However, the experience was invaluable and now I actually own the tools to do this again. The investment was definitely worth it.

Finally, here are some resources that were indispensable during my completion of this project:

Centsational Girl- Kate really is the It Girl for all things involving spray paint and refinishing. Without her I wouldn't have discovered Rustoleum Heirloom White!

DIY Upholstery's You Tube videos- The instructive videos from DIY Upholstery really helped me understand the ins and outs of basic upholstery. Chris also said that pneumatic staplers were the way to go when reupholstering big projects... and I completely agree. Pneumatic staplers are amazing! (Just can't wait until I the day I own my own air compressor. Upholstery projects, here I come.)

Little Green Notebook- Jenny supplied me with the fabric and as always remains a unique source for creative inspiration.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Navy Friday

Have a great weekend everyone! See you Monday!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Jewelry Board

I converted the bulletin board that I made a while ago into a jewelry board. My jewelry was getting too unwieldy to keep in a box so this was the perfect solution. And it's pretty to boot! I found gold nails to hang the necklaces and my earrings hook nicely into the burlap. My old cork bulletin board from college is getting a lot more mileage than I expected!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Calligraphy Project

I'm busy working on another calligraphy project this week. Do you know any one that is in need of a calligrapher? If so, please feel free to email me with inquiries!

Monday, July 12, 2010


I wanted to share some of my favorite photos from our Bali trip before it becomes a far too distant memory. We were blown away by the hospitality of the Balinese people and the beauty of their land. We spent the first leg of our trip in Nusa Dua beach, on the southeastern tip of the island and the second half of our trip in Ubud, known for it's jungle, rice paddies and artist's villages. Also famous from Eat, Pray, Love, but more on that later.

We spent every day in Nusa Dua in one of these bales (pronounced ballet) overlooking the beach. It was a great way to quickly recover from the jet lag!

We trekked out to Uluwatu to see the temple and watch a traditional Balinese Kecak dance at sunset.

The gates looking into the temple.

The entry way into our hotel villa in Ubud.

This was our view from our villa terrace. Everyday we watched the monkeys play in the ravine. It was spectacular!

Ancient temples abound in Ubud.

I couldn't get over the gorgeous mossy patina that was everywhere on the island.

A traditional Balinese dance.

The dances were more like plays in that they came complete with wonderfully elaborate costumes!

Rice paddies at dusk.

The monkeys at the Ubud Monkey Forest were fascinating to watch. This guy reminded me of Navy.

I have to say, the highlight of my trip was a chance meeting with Ketut Liyer, the Balinese healer, famous from the book Eat, Pray, Love. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures, but I do have his business card. He still says "Happy to meet you" and "See you later, alligator" to this day.

My photos and descriptions hardly do Bali any justice. It was breathtakingly beautiful, intimately hospitable and astonishingly magical all rolled into one. Definitely the trip of a lifetime.

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