Sunday, April 24, 2011

Because I need one more thing to do...

I went to Charlotte this weekend for my Goddaughter's baptism.  It was a beautiful service and so fun to see my dear friends.  And while I was there, my friend Reeves taught me how to applique.  I'm sort of obsessed.  Great.  Because I was just swimming in free time as it was...

Look what she taught me to make (I know they aren't perfect but I'm still excited!):

She had a plain waffle-weave Ikea handtowel that we appliqued scrap fabric petals onto.  I love!

And then she taught me some plain old sewing.  (I've improved a little, huh, M?)

Don't worry...I haven't forgotten about my knitting.  I finished a little pear for my knitted kitchen project.

And a hat for my friend Michaela.  This one's kinda funky but I like how it turned out.

Happy Easter!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Decorating outside of the box: Amanda Nisbet

Obsessed with all of her work.  I would live in any of her rooms.  I love that there are so many traditional design aspects but everytime there is the use of something really unexpected and original.  Design should not take itself too seriously in my opinion.  However, it can't be so out there that you can't live with it or it is too trendy that you tire of it too quickly.  I mean, who can afford to redecorate all the time?

Here are some examples why I love Amanda Nisbet Design (AND).  Check out the fabulous logo:

1.  Dark moulding and art placed super high to the ceiling.  And not just centered over the bed.

2. Non-traditional sinks.  Mirrors that are not rectanular and not builder grade.  How about that stone work?

3. A funky chandelier in the bathroom.  And great art.  Bathrooms should be decorated too.

4. An unexpected shelf and great sconces that look like they belong in a bedroom more than a bathroom.  But it works.

5. Bold with color on the wall and ceiling.  Great mirrors. A multitude of light fixtures.  Not just one or two.

6.  A little girl's room with a great modern monogram and an unexpected mix of colors and patterns.

7. A family dining nook that is simplistic yet so full of personality.  I adore the chandelier and kid's silohoutes and mix-matched seating.

8.  Really bold colors that don't necessarily go together but work.  A mirror mounted on the bulletin board.  An awesome mirrored sawhorse table turned desk.  Yes.

9.  More art and another cool mirror in a bathroom.  Orange accent tile is something I never would have thought of but it totally warms the white subway tile up.

10.  I want to go have a glass of iced tea on this porch NOW.  It really is an outdoor room.  Shadow boxes, painted ceiling and curtains.

11.  This is my favorite.  I've seen this before but didn't realize it was Amanda Nisbet.  She replaced the traditional mirror in the guest bath wtih a chalkboard and an art gallery.  Sure, this wouldn't be so practical in a master bath but how much fun is this in a guest bath?!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Raoul Textiles

More fuel to furnish my fabric obsession of late.  Have you heard of this company?  Probably.  Raoul Textiles are everywhere...I've seen it in tons of my favorite rooms and magazines but just didn't know what company it was. 

More on their website here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Weeknight Inspiration: Tomato and Basil Soup

I love soup.  And I love making big pots of soup because it makes the whole house smell yummy and to me there is nothing more comforting than a nice hot bowl of fresh soup.

We're entering into summertime when soup is not as fun to eat or make so I wanted to do a batch before it gets too hot.  Also, nothing says "weeknight inspiration" when it is something you can make ahead.  To me, soup only gets better the more times it is reheated!

Tomato and Basil Soup
1 28 ounce can of whole, peeled tomatoes
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks with leaves (chop it all up in there!)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cups chicken stock or veggie stock
salt and pepper to taste
4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
1/2 cup low fat cream

Drain whole tomatoes and spread them on a baking dish with 2 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper.  Roast at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes until they are tender and caramelized.

Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a large pot and add garlic, onions, carrots and celery.  Season with salt and pepper and let cook for about 20 minutes over medium heat until veggies are tender and translucent.  Then add the roasted tomatoes from the oven.  Let flavors simmer together for about five minutes and add crushed tomatoes, chicken stock and basil.  Put lid on pot and reduce heat to a simmer.  Let cook for about 30 minutes (or the longer the better!).

Blend soup with an immersion blender in the pot.  Be careful not to spray it everywhere!  Stir in cream and let flavors cook together for at least ten more minutes.

We had ours with yummy grilled cheese!  Perfect weeknight supper!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fairley Perfect

I've known about Tobi Fairley designs for a while now but I recently re-fell in love with her after seeing a kitchen she did in a recent issue of Southern Living.  I love the added seating and the bright pops of fabric against the muted colors of the kitchen.

And when I was searching through her portfolio, I found lots of lovely examples of sunburst mirrors that I was just talking about the other day.

But I think it is her fun, vibrant pops of color in all her spaces mixed with very traditional elements that really resonates with me.  She perfectly modernizes traditional spaces but in a way that feels timeless.

I've never, ever thought of putting mirrors on bathroom cabinets but I love them!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rosemary and Garlic Crusted Leg of Lamb with Scalloped Sweet Potato Stacks

It's almost Easter.  My husband loves lamb and I've never tried to make it.  But I figured now was as good of a time as any.  Plus, I've been a little lazy with my cooking lately ever since my friend introduced me to Let's Dish.

Rosemary and Garlic Crusted Leg of Lamb

We visited our trusty butcher to get a nice cut of lamb.  Since there are only two of us, we had him size it down considerably.

What You'll Need
Leg of Lamb (you'll have to adjust what I did based on the size of your own lamb)
4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary, roughly chop one of the sprigs and save the other to spear the lamb
4 tbsp freshly grated lemon zest
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

What You'll Do
In a small bowl, combine olive oil, garlic, chopped rosemary, and lemon zest and combine with a spoon.  Place the lamb on a cooking sheet and pat dry with a paper towel or two.  Season the lamb generously with salt and pepper.  Score the lamb with a knife and then rub olive oil mixture all over the meat.  Spear the remaining rosemary sprig into the lamb so the flavor can infuse through the meat.

You can easily roast this but we decided to grill it (less clean up!).  Use a meat thermometer to ensure it is cooked properly.  We went for medium rare - 145 degrees.

Scalloped Sweet Potato Stacks

This is a fun concept for any kind of scalloped potatoes.  You can play with different combinations of types of potatoes, herbs, cheeses, etc. 

What You'll Need
2 large sweet potatoes
1/2 cup cream (I used light but I'm sure this would taste even better with heavy cream  :) )
1 cup freshly grated gouda cheese
4 sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
salt and pepper
3 tbsp olive oil

What You'll Do
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Roughly peel the sweet potatoes.  I'm a fan of the skin but I peeled them enough to get any major blemishes off.

Thinly slice the potatoes and place them in a large bowl. 

Add olive oil, chopped thyme, salt and pepper and use your hands to coat all of the potatoes evenly.  Let sit for about 20 minutes so that the thyme and olive oil sink into the potatoes.

Spray a large muffin tin with cooking spray.  Fill each of the tins halfway full with the sweet potatoes.  You'll want to use the ends of the sweet potatoes that are smaller in the bottom of the tins so that they will fit easier.
Top with half of the grated cheese.

Fill the tins up the rest of the way with the remaining sweet potatoes.  It is okay if they are slightly higher than the muffin tin top. 

In a small bowl, combine cream and garlic and heat in the microwave for about a minute and a half.  Spoon a tablespoon or so of the cream mixture over each of the potato stacks in the muffin tin. 

Cover the muffin tin with tinfoil and cook for 30 minutes.

Remove the tinfoil and top each potato stack with the remaining cheese.  Cook for about 5 to 7 additional minutes, uncovered, until the cheese is browned and bubbly.  Remove from oven and let rest for about 3-5 minutes.  Use a knife to go around the outside of each potato stack to loosen it from the muffin tin.

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