Sunday, March 31, 2013

Creating a Runner with Flor Carpet Tiles

I've always loved Flor carpet tiles and I finally had an opportunity to use them in our new home!
The front hall has been left uncovered since we moved into the house four months ago. Now that most of the work in the kitchen is done it was time to put down some kind of floor covering on the hardwood floors.

My first thought was to put down a runner. I order two of these Chevron runner from Ballard Design.
The size of the runner is 2'7" x 8'2".  My hall is 7'x18".  It didn't even begin to cover most of the floor. I needed something that was custom to cover such a long and narrow space.

I decided to check out the Flor store in Soho during a recent visit to New York and see the carpet tiles up close.
So many beautiful carpet tiles to choose from! Because our hallway is next to the living room and we have a patterned rug in there, I chose "Heaven Sent," a soft loop that's recycled nylon.

I ordered 20 tiles in three different shades for a striped effect and 3 days later the boxes arrived.

After laying out the design, these sticky dots are used to keep the tiles in place.

The hallway is far from done but at least the hardwood floors are protected from foot traffic and the size fits perfectly.

If a tile becomes soiled you can actually lift it up and rinse it with soap and water...
Or, replace the tile with a new one!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Potato-Crusted Quiche for Passover

After two Seders I've had my fill of Matzo balls and brisket. I am ready for a dairy meal but it's still Passover for another five days and that means no bread products. I came across this Quiche recipe on the Food Network website and it's perfect for a light Passover meal!

The traditional pie crust is left off and instead, thinly sliced potatoes are used. How clever is that? I haven't tried it yet but it's on the menu for dinner tonight--I'm adding fresh veggies.

Potato-Crusted Quiche
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 large eggs plus 3 egg yolks
2 cups half-and-half (or whole milk)
3/4 cup chopped fresh chives
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups grated cheese (about 6 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Slice the potatoes lengthwise into thin ovals (use a mandoline if you have one). Toss with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then arrange in a single layer on 2 baking sheets. Bake until tender and pliable but not brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Line the side of a 9-inch pie plate with overlapping potato slices so they stick out above the rim; line the bottom with the remaining slices.

Whisk the eggs and egg yolks, half-and-half, chives, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a bowl; stir in 1 cup cheese. Pour into the potato-lined pie plate and scatter the remaining 1/2 cup cheese on top. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake the quiche until just set in the center, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes before slicing.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

"New" Dining Room Buffet

I've been searching Craig's List for a few months looking for a large dresser that could be used as a buffet in our dining room.  The thing about buying furniture on Craig's list is everything has to be just right...the timing (you snooze you lose), location (I won't drive more than 40 minutes) and of course the price. 

When I found this dresser and saw the price I thought maybe it was a mistake. The owner was asking $35 for this beauty!
The size was perfect and the drawers all glided nicely. The veneer was in excellent shape with some minor dents and scratches but nothing that a little sanding wouldn't take care of. Since I wanted it done before Passover I had to get going with the rehab weeks before.

I usually replace old knobs and pulls but I loved the original hardware--it just needed some sprucing up...
First I tried soaking them in some Tarn-X. Bad move. The brass became discolored and looked awful!

So it was plan B: spray paint...
I used a primer first, then enamel since I wanted to be sure the paint would adhere with daily use.

For the dresser, the first step was's not necessary to sand down to the bare wood, but just enough to get the glossy finish off so the paint will adhere.

After the sanding it's time to paint. The guy at the paint store told me that orange is one of the hardest colors to cover and he suggested a tinted primer.

Even using a tinted primer it took about four coats of paint to cover!

The top coat is Benjamin Moore's Festive Orange in a high gloss oil paint. When my husband came home and saw the color he thought I was crazy! But with all the gray tones in the dining room and kitchen I wanted a pop of color and I've been obsessed with orange lately.

The drawers are great for storing napkins, tablecloths, shabbos candles and more...

The orange looks great against the gray walls.
Was I hesitant painting this orange? Oh yeah. But sometimes you have to go outside your comfort zone and do something a bit daring to get that wow factor!
Linked to:
The Shabby Nest 
Suburbs Mama 
Miss Mustard Seed

Friday, March 22, 2013

Flour-less Chocolate Torte for Passover

There are so many dessert recipes for Passover floating around the web this year. I've been making this flour-less chocolate torte for Passover for years and it always gets rave reviews, so I'm sticking with what I know will be great! It's delicious on it's own or you can add a dollop of whipped topping, fresh berries or a raspberry sauce made with frozen berries.

Since it's gluten free I also make it on special occasions during the year.

Flour-less Chocolate Torte
7 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 stick margarine
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Grease and sugar an 8-inch diameter spring form pan. Wrap foil around outside of pan. Melt chocolate and margarine in a heavy medium saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Whisk eggs, sugar and coffee powder in a large bowl until well-blended. Whisk in chocolate mixture. 

Pour batter in prepared pan. Place cake in a large baking pan. Add enough water to paking pan to come halfway up sides of pan. Bake until knife inserted comes out clean, about 1 1/2 hours. 

Remove cake from water bath. Cool. Remove foil. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (Can be prepared one week ahead; keep refrigerated.) Cut cake into wedges. Serves 10.

Raspberry Sauce
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. orange zest

Place all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse-process until smooth. Strain sauce through a fine mesh strainer to remove seeds. Refrigerate and serve.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Individual Seder Plates

We're hosting the second night of Passover in our new home. The paint and tile back splash are still being done this week so it's down to the wire!

Traditionally there is one Seder plate on most Passover tables, but I decided to give each of my guests their own--it just seems easier than passing a large plate around. Since I don't own ten Seder plates I put mine together using small plastic bowls I found at the party store.
These tiny bowls are designed for appetizers, desserts or a cocktail party but they are perfect for a Seder plate!

Clockwise from top left: The Seder plate place cards are from my new Etsy shop, I like the Rashi Red Concord wine for the Seder since we are required to drink four cups--it goes down easy, Tulips make it seem like spring even though the temperature is still in the 30's in Connecticut, the tiny "cocktail" bowls.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Den: Finished!

I can cross another room off my list--the den is basically done! I haven't gotten around to hanging pictures or finding all my accessories still packed in boxes down in the basement but the important things are finished and we are enjoying the room daily.

Here is a peak of the room back in December...
The reason for the mess? The horrible textured walls! 
The solution? They were covered with two coats of  joint compound to get them smooth. After they were dry, the walls were sanded (really messy job) and primed.

The inspiration for the entire room was the Monty rug from Dash and Albert. It's hand hooked, 100% wool and it set the tone for the entire design.
We went with the Ikea Karlstad sectional for seating. I loved the sleek lines and it was half the price of most sectionals! Ikea has a choice of seven slipcovers to choose from, so if in a few years we want to change colors we can pop on new slipcovers.  The chairs and coffee table were brought from our old house.

Another one of my favorite things is this Cantilever brass floor lamp from Urban Outfitters...
I love how the brass looks against the dark gray walls which are Benjamin Moore's Chelsea Gray.

My twig ball found a home in custom shelving, a Target pouf sits on the Monty wool rug...
Pillows are from Target, and the spool table I made last summer found a new home as an end table.

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Felt Seder Plate for Kids

If you ask Moussia and Yosef what their favorite game is they would probably say "Shabbos table." Really! They love to cover their small play table with a white tablecloth and set it with their play candlesticks, challah and kiddush cup.

Since Passover is around the corner, I thought it might be fun for them to add "Seder table" to their playtime. I made them this felt Seder plate to get started.

It's really nothing more than colored felt and a cake base from Michael's.
Clockwise from top left: I picked up a pack of these 10-inch cardboard cake bases--they are half an inch thick so the kids can't bend them. After tracing and cutting the gray felt I glued that onto the base. Next, I did the same using blue felt making smaller circles for the little plates. Although I traced the egg on white felt, I drew the other Seder plate ingredients free-hand. Each one was glued onto the blue little plates.

It kept them busy most of the afternoon!
Linked to:
creative jewish mom

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ikea Visit (Part 2)

Yay! The kitchen floors are getting stained and polyurethaned this week.

I still needed a hood for over the stove--I bought a plain one at Home Depot hoping my carpenter could build me a wood cover to slip over it and match the cabinets but I made a mistake--the space was too tight and the upper cabinet doors wouldn't close if we did that.

Plan B: buy a hood at Ikea. You can't beat the price--it looks very high end and doesn't cost that much more than the plain one from Home Depot. Of course I can't go to Ikea and only come home with one thing! Here's a few of the other goodies I bought...
1. Luftig Exhaust hood: I love how this hood looks so high end and very architectural, 2. Blanda Matt Salad bowl: a great all purpose wood bowl, 3. Dinera Side plate: my dinner plates are white but I wanted a contrasting color for the salad plates, 4. Girig Serving bowl: the colors are perfect for my new home--blue/green and gray, 5. Ikea 365+ Sugar bowl and creamer: you can't go wrong with white and stainless, 6. Fiddle Leaf Fig plant (not on the website but these stylish trees are only $12.99!) 7. Aina Curtains: very plain but maybe I'll add some trim.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Grass Cloth to the Rescue

Our den/office is practically done. Last week I tackled the walls behind the shelves above the desk. The problem was the textured walls. The entire room was paneled with some sort of weird textured wood and painted a really bad yellow. 

The solution? Grass cloth! Because it's already heavily textured I hoped it would hide the bad texture on the walls.

Here is what I mean...
Can you see that texture?  I just wanted it gone!

Here is what the space looked like from the previous owners...
They used this room for watching TV--we didn't want a TV in here and since TV's today are flat it wouldn't fit into this built-in. But, the nook seemed like the perfect spot for a desk.

To cover the textured walls I used a heavy clear wallpaper paste and a roll of grass cloth.

I cut the grass cloth a few inches larger than the wall...
and trimmed the edges with an e-xacto knife.

For the desk, I had a piece of Formica cut for the top which fits perfectly into the nook. It's sitting on top of two Ikea Micke drawer units.

The brick wall was transformed with "barnwood" which you can read about here. That wall is one of my favorite things we've done to transform the house.

The rest of the den is almost done...stay tuned for the reveal!

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Sparkly Birthday Party

Moussia just turned five and since there's probably not a five-year-old girl that doesn't love all things glittery she had a sparkly birthday party.

Plain vanilla cupcakes and frosting become something special when sprinkled with silver and white glitter sprinkles and topped with a paper Star of David covered in glitter.

Even the forks got a dip in some glitter glue...
Tiffany blue seemed like the appropriate second color. The "fives" were printed from my computer and glued on to paper cups, and the fancy napkin rings are trim from the fabric department at Walmart.

Moussia and her doll, Miriam wore matching dresses to the party!

Supermarket party hats were made special when covered with silver wrapping paper.
Simply open the hat flat, trace onto wrapping paper, cut out shape and glue onto hat.
Silver pom poms top each hat.

How do you do a "sparkle" craft without giving pre-schoolers glitter? Use sparkle items they can't spill, like these $1.00 blank books covered with scrapbook paper and glittery stickers to decorate the covers.

Everyone loved the crafts and cupcakes...even Miriam the doll who had a special spot next to the birthday girl!

Each guest went home with a candy favor box...

I know they're not sparkly, but I found these cute favor boxes at Marshall's and couldn't resist!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Passover Madness!

Although I'm still painting and tiling the kitchen we're having a Passover Seder here in less than 3 weeks so things are a bit crazy to say the least.

Sunday we drove two hours to Monsey, New York to do some Passover shopping at the largest kosher supermarket in the world--Rockland Kosher. The variety of kosher food there is overwhelming...aisle after aisle of kosher and kosher-for-Passover products. Here's a peak of just some the matzah choices...
Because I have Celiac Disease, I need to eat the Oat Gluten Free matzah. Can you see the price for one box of these? (Trust me, there is not much in that box.) Ahhhh!!!

If you live in the tri-state area and will be shopping at Rockland Kosher for Passover, I recommend the store's take-out sushi. A sushi chef was making it right on the premises and it was delicious!
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