Friday, May 31, 2013

The Best Coleslaw (Really!)

I don't post recipes very often so when I do, you know it's going to be good! I've been making this coleslaw for years and I've never had another recipe that even comes close to being this good. Try a batch and see for yourself.

My Best Coleslaw
1. Combine a medium chopped onion with 1 cup of sugar. (I use a food processor.) Let sit for 30 minutes.
2. Add 1 cup of oil, 1/2 cup cider vinegar, 1/3 cup mayonnaise and 1/2 teaspoon celery seed.
3. Mix everything together.
4. Toss with shredded cabbage and carrots. (I use a bag of pre-shredded coleslaw.)

This makes a lot of dressing--store the extra dressing in the fridge for up to three weeks.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Organizing Recipes

My recipe clippings were out of control! I could never find what I was looking for so I decided to tame that mess.
Here's what I mean...
Although I have a nice collection of cookbooks, so many of my favorite recipes are clipped from magazines or printed from the internet. (Lately Pinterest is a favorite for great recipes.) I kept them all in a binder until they started to overflow and I just started shoving them into a kitchen drawer. When it was time to cook I couldn't find the recipe I was looking for.

I already had most of the white binders from when we moved into this house. I kept a notebook for each room filled with clippings of inspiration photos and ideas. I only needed a few more notebooks along with plastic shelves and some Martha Stewart labels. I found everything at Staples.

What a difference it made! I can find whatever recipe I'm looking for in a snap. I also have a lot more space to add new recipes to add to my collection. 
I know some of you are so high tech and scan everything into their ipad or laptop but I still like to use real books with paper!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Bleach Pen Napkins

Here's an easy way to take a solid napkin from boring to fun for summertime entertaining.
I started out with hot pink cotton napkins from the dollar store. The color is perfect for bright summer days.
(The tag on the napkin says kitchen towel but the fabric is a thin 100% cotton so who would dry dishes with that?) I also printed out a dot pattern to use as a guide.

I started out with nice even dots using them as my guide under the fabric...
as I got closer to the bottom, I just put the dots closer together for a variation on the design.
Let dry, rinse in cold water and you're done!
Perfect for dinner on the patio!

Linked to:
The Shabby Nest 
creative jewish mom

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What To Do With Built-in Soap Dishes

If you live in an older home or apartment and haven't renovated your bathroom, chances are you're stuck with the old tile soap and toothbrush holders. That's what happened to me. Four times. Yes, this is our fourth house and every bathroom had these terrible tile soap dishes! 

I never use them for their intended use--they are impossible to keep clean and things begin looking pretty grimy after a week or so. So, I came up with lots with ideas to make them look good while keeping them functional--like these...
Treat it as a little shelf and display coral or beautiful sea shells.

It's the perfect place for a clock to keep you on time on busy mornings.

Sometime I stack handmade soaps that look beautiful and smell great.

Sherry, from Young House Love had the same idea.

A small bowl is handy for keeping floss and a nail brush close at hand.

Candles? Jewelry? What do you use your soap dish for?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Planning a One Year Old's Birthday

Zelda (our third grandchild) will be turning one next month! Children's birthday parties are so much fun to put together and this one is no exception!

We've decided on a bird theme and I found some great ideas on Pinterest that I'd love to incorporate into her party.

Tulle Pom Poms   Birdy Greeting Card   Bird Cake   One Cookies
Zelda says she can't wait for her party!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Frames First, Art Second

Most of the time you have artwork that you love and you have it framed. But sometimes it can work the other way around-- it's the frames that come first, and the art is secondary.

That's what happened in our den.

This wall serves as our mudroom. It leads into the garage so we drop shoes and bags on the Ikea Molger bench I picked up a few months ago.
The walls are dark--they're painted Benjamin Moore's Chelsea Gray and the wall above the bench seemed to be crying out for art. (That yellow door will be painted black this summer.)

I love frames hung in a grid and I knew this was a perfect spot for that kind of look. I bought six frames before I even knew what the artwork was going to be.

When the frames form a grid and they almost became the art themselves. I ended up choosing handmade marbled paper in colors I already had going on in the den...teals and gray tones.

The frames are 12 x 12 and the mat opening is only 5 x 5 so only a small section of these papers were used.
The white mats pop against the dark gray walls and show off the color and pattern--which adds the perfect amount of interest.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Happy Shavuot!

The cheesecake and quiches are done and flowers are arranged. I'll be celebrating the holiday with family and friends this week--if you are as well I wish you a wonderful Shavuot!

Monday, May 13, 2013

May Market at the Hillstead Museum

I was busy on Friday preparing dinner for eight guests for Shabbat but managed to slip away and enjoy a few glorious hours at May Market at the Hillstead Museum in Farmington, Connecticut.
The Hillstead is a treasure of beautiful art tucked away in a gorgeous country home. Once a year is their annual May Market which includes 65 exhibitors with a wide variety of home and garden items. This year the guest presenter was Carolyne Roehm. If your not familiar with Carolyne she is the author of 11 books and a leading taste maker, trendsetter and lifestyle expert. I was excited to see her demonstrate how she creates her gorgeous floral arrangements and hear what she had to teach us about flowers.

Here are a few tips Carolyne spoke about: 
*To keep cut flowers fresh, add a splash of bleach and a teaspoon of sugar to the water.
*A copper penny will also help keep flowers fresh longer.
*You can incorporate fake and real flowers in your flower arrangements (but not the plastic ones from the dollar store!) There are many beautiful fakes out there today like these, that were for sale at the May Market...

There was so many spectacular things to see including the gardens...
and the beautiful architecture...
There were plants for sale...
and fabulous crafts made locally in Connecticut and New England. Here are a few of my favorites...
hand carved spoons and treenware from Maine by Raymond Medeiros. He said he's still working on a website but here's his e-mail:

vintage book purses by Kathleen Scranton...
re-purposed vintage hardcover books fashioned into one-of-a-kind purses!

and so many other beautiful handmade and found items for the home...

The rustic wood furniture is made in Guilford, Connecticut by Nancy Lou Riccio and Dave Sayad--east/ The antique chicken print is from in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. I wanted one of everything!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Living Room Progress

Now that the kitchen is done I'm turning my attention to the living room. Up until now it was just a holding space for huge boxes of kitchen cabinets and bundles of oak flooring!

My jumping off point for the wall paint color was this beautiful rug from Dash and Albert--it's their Plain Tin Wool rug in Charcoal,
and this new sofa from Macy's. Our older sofa will be used in the living room too, also from Macy's.

I don't remember having so much trouble choosing a paint color as I did for this room! I must of painted over a dozen paint samples painted all over the walls.
Nothing seemed right. And then it dawned on me...I've used Benjamin Moore's coastal fog for many projects in the past. It's a beautiful taupe that's kind of gray with a lot of warm brown undertones.
It was perfect!

  The coastal fog color looks great with golds like this curtain rod I spray painted.

The living room walls are currently mauve (hello 1980's)  but someone who lived here had the good sense to install beautiful molding on both the walls and the trim.

So the painting has begun...

and three Liatorp bookcases are being assembled.
They'll hold a flat screen TV along with tons of other things still sitting in boxes in the basement. I'll be painting them too. Here is my inspiration...
I love the orange back but am I daring enough to do this? Do I want that much orange?
Or should they go dark like the shelving I spotted on Centsational Girl?
Any thoughts are welcome!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Your Guide to a Beautiful Shavuot

Shavuot is one of the loveliest of all the Jewish holidays. The weather is usually perfect, dairy meals are served (yum-cheesecake) and flowers are in abundance. Here's my guide to a beautiful holiday...

T H E   T A B L E
Herb Centerpiece                    Pressed Flowers Under Glass                     Stacked Lilacs

T H E   D A I R Y   M E A L
Asparagus Quiche                        Wildflower Ice Cubes             Double Pea & Feta Salad
T H E   D E S S E R T
Orange Carrot Cake                  Salted Caramel Cheesecake            Ice Cream Cone Cupcake

Monday, May 6, 2013

Pressed Flowers Under Glass

The holiday of Shavuot begins next Tuesday night.

It commemorates the anniversary of the day the Torah was given to the entire nation of Israel, assembled at Mount Sinai. Since the mountain suddenly blossomed with flowers in anticipation of the giving of the Torah, we decorate our homes and table with greenery and flowers on this holiday.

I love to tuck flowers wherever I can--here they are sandwiched between two glass plates.

I found these plates at Walmart for $1.50 each but you can also use clear plastic plates.

Spring has sprung here in the Northeast and pansies are everywhere--I planted a pot a few weeks ago so it was easy to snip what I needed from a pot on my front steps.
Pressing the flowers is easy:

1. Select blossoms to dry. 
2. Separate the blossoms and leaves from the stems. Work carefully, avoiding tearing the blossoms. Use scissors to clip the blossom where it joins the stem.
3. Spread white paper towels in a book and arrange the blossoms and leaves and stems on the toweling. Don't allow the plants to touch each other. Top with a second white towel. Cover this with a large, heavy book or a stack of books.
4. Remove the book after five days. Carefully pry the flowers and other plant material from the paper toweling. Use a pair of tweezers, and take care not to tear the petals or leaves. If the flowers are not completely dry, repeat Step 3 with fresh paper toweling.
5. Store the dried flowers in an opaque cardboard box with a lid until you're ready to use them.

To make your napkins resemble Torah scrolls, simply roll both ends to meet in the center.

Pansies are probably the easiest flower to press but any type of flat flower would work as well.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mother's Day Wish List

A Woman of Valor, called Eshet Chayil in Hebrew, is a hymn recited on Friday evenings, after returning from synagogue before sitting down to the Shabbat evening meal. The poem describes the woman of valor as energetic, righteous, and capable. 

If that's the case I think we all deserve a Mother's Day gift, don't you? If anyone in my family reads my blog, here is my wish list. Don't worry, I kept everything under $30.
1.These Atom Art Serving Bowls are so charming. 2.My family is expecting gourmet meals from my new kitchen so this should help: Barefoot Contessa Foolproof . 3.Accordion Brag Book to show off pictures of the grand kids, of course! 4.This Square Lacquer Tray in orange. 5.So pretty: Daisy Drop earrings . 6.This Open Weave Taupe Throw is perfect for the new living room.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Welcome Home Brunch

Our son Ben recently returned from a six month stay in Israel followed by a month of traveling in Europe. With the kitchen finally done it seemed like a good time to get together with family and celebrate his return with a welcome home brunch.
A large laminated map of Israel becomes the perfect table runner--spills can easily wipe off. And, the elongated shape of Israel lends itself perfectly to a rectangular table!

Each muffin got a flag representing a country that Ben visited.
The flags were printed out from the internet, cut with scissors and glued onto a toothpick.

For the napkin rings, I made color copies of Ben's passport...
cut them into strips and taped into rings.  
Can't wait for the family to come next week!
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