26 February 2010

thrift store find and an accidental great idea

i have garage sale fever bad. with all of the cold weather we've been having it feels like spring and garage sales signs popping up everywhere will never get here. thank goodness for the thrift stores.
i hit one yesterday and found this lazy susan for 2 bucks. i love that it is a beautiful wood.

i tried it on my dining room table and other places throughout the house. but it finally landed here in my kitchen. it holds items that i use daily.

mind you this is not a very big piece, but by bringing it into the kitchen it caused me to switch everything else on the counters around. does that happen to you? i was kind of excited about it, because i was getting tired of what i had out and around in the kitchen anyway. specifically what i had above my cook top. i love that i have the ledge, mantel, shelf what ever you call it. i usually have it filled with all different home decor items based on the seasons. but with my new lazy susan loaded up i wanted to keep the ledge simple.

i ended up finding these wood bowls in a stash i have. i have always loved them, just never could really find a place for them . . . until now! i love them on the ledge. so simple. almost primitive looking. they are exactly the look i was going for.

also in the switcharoo this lamp got moved. i leave this lamp on day and night. i know, it's not very 'green' of me to do that. but i like how it lights up a dark little corner during the day and at night, if someone gets up, it provides a soft light without having to turn on all the others. and now . . . it actually has a new purpose.

you see, this little light actually puts off some heat. i have to watch which cabinet i place it under for that reason. i never like it under my spice cabinet because i just think that the heat probably isn't good for the spices. but it is perfect for under the cabinet that holds my coffee cups! i have moved the cups to the bottom, directly on the heated shelf, and they are actually warm!

how about that?! already warmed up cups for my morning latte.

i just love accidental great ideas! do you have any accidental great ideas that you would like to share? i bet you do! i would love to hear them! just add them to my comments . . . lurkers welcome!


24 February 2010

in the kitchen

most of my time during the day is spent in the kitchen. and just the other day i realized how many wooden spoons i use.

all different shapes, sizes and colors. they are the first thing i grab when i need to mix or stir something.

i do have a few of the plastic ones, but they seems to fall to the back of the bin because they rarely get used.
what do you prefer? wooden spoons or plastic ones?
short post today. i have work to do . . . in the kitchen.

21 February 2010

recipes finally added

the brownie pops recipe was found on line. you can find it here.

i am not going to include the chocolate peanut butter square recipe. although the photo of them looked really yummy, they came out a bit dry and not that great.

the chocolate cake recipe.....i hope that this will be your new go to recipe for chocolate cake! it is so moist and yummy. once it is frosted i like to chill it over night if i have time.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup hot hazelnut coffee (or plain coffee if that's all you have)
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

preheat oven to 325 degrees.
in a large mixing bowl, sift together dry ingredients.
add oil, coffee and milk and mix at medium speed for 2 minutes.
add eggs and vanilla and beat 2 more minutes.
expect batter to be thin.
pour into 9"x13" greased and floured pan or 2 - 9" round pans.
bake 9x13 for about 45 minutes or 9" pans for about 30 minutes.
cool in pans for about 15 minutes and then cool completely on racks.

frost with your favorite chocolate frosting.
swedish sugar cookies ~ grandmas recipe and our standard birthday party favors!
1 cup butter
1 cup crisco
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cream of tarter
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 1/2 cups flour
cream butter, crisco, and eggs.
add vanilla.
add dry ingredients and mix well.
chill a minimum of one hour.
roll out on floured pastry cloth and cut into shapes.
bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

i make up a batch of royal icing to frost them.
dipped pretzel rods and dipped caramels ~ so easy, so pretty.
in the baking isle, next to the chocolate chips you will find a product called almond bark. it comes in chocolate and vanilla. carefully melt in the microwave (this can burn easily...keep an eye on it) and then simply dip the pretzel rods into the melted chocolate. let excess drip off and then sprinkle with nuts or sprinkles. lay on waxed paper to set up. i do the same with the caramels. use a pair of tongs to help lift them out, shake off excess and lay on waxed paper.
almond roca ~ so easy, so addicting and great for gift giving! make sure you have a candy thermometer for this one.
1 Tablespoon corn syrup
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
3/4 cup chocolate chips
in a large heavy saucepan, gently boil syrup, sugar, butter and water until "hard crack" appears on a candy thermometer. do not stir. this step will take at least 20 minutes. remove from heat, add almonds and stir well. spread on an ungreased cookie sheet and, before candy is allowed to cool, sprinkle with the chocolate chips. as they melt, spread the chocolate chips evenly over the candy. cool in the refrigerator. break into bite sized pieces.
i hope you enjoy all of these great recipes!! they are some of my favorites.

17 February 2010

valentine soiree

good afternoon!
thanks for being patient while i worked through my loading photo glitch.
saturday night. . . oh what a night! can i just tell you right up front what a great group of friends we have. i felt so blessed all night as i mingled amongst my friends. and as with every party, i never seem to get to chat with each one long enough.

my front entry table was simply decorated. a paris plate carried out my french theme to the party, white roses that had just opened up completely that afternoon, and party favors awaited to be given as each couple left for the night. (party favors were boxes of hot chocolate....easy, not too expensive and carried out the chocolate theme).

i had a friend tell me "you can never have too much chocolate". but let me tell you that by the end of the night i didn't want to see chocolate again. ahem, until the next morning when i had a piece of cake with my morning coffee.

i used the vintage looking postcards to identify some of the desserts. 'sexy sugar cookies', 'seductive chocolate cake', etc.

an easy way to dress up your desserts is to place them in white cupcake papers.

make your cakes look fancy by topping them with purchased cylindrical cookies. it is easy and adds lots of wow factor.

when i set up a buffet i like to have varying heights. so i used a vintage suitcase and little shelf that i found out thrifting.

and because it was valentines i wanted the buffet to look a bit more romantic. so i used a sheer panel hung from the ceiling. i used a tension rod at the front, let it swag down a bit and then just a ribbon with thumb tacks to pin it to the wall.

fill in with other bits and pieces from around the house.
these are the only two areas that i had decorated for the party. i think it makes it easy to pull off when you just focus on one or two areas, instead of trying to decorate your entire house in {for this party} valentine decorations. keep it simple.
i love to entertain and i realized saturday night that my house feels happiest when it's filled with the sound of laughter, clinking glasses and the smell of chocolate and roses.

now go on . . . find a date on your calendar to throw a bash for your friends!
~ thanks for stopping by today! ~

15 February 2010

stay tuned. . .

just jumped on to add photos from the valentine soiree. but for some reason i am unable to load photos. i will check again later and get some out here.
for those that asked what the menu was, this was it:
brownie pops
chocolate peanut butter squares
chocolate cake
iced sugar cookie hearts
dipped pretzel rods
almond roca
chocolate covered caramels
recipes to follow later this week!

12 February 2010

bit and pieces : three

showing you a few more bits and pieces to the valentine soiree. i have a busy day in the kitchen today as well as getting the house cleaned and things set up.

if you are planning a soiree, do yourself a huge favor and plan, plan, plan. it makes the event so much more manageable. create a list, a week in advance, of the menu items you will be serving. do your shopping a few days before too.

start gathering pieces that you will use for displaying food or for decorations.

make what food you can the day before.

i even go as far as setting out the dishes i will use and marking, with sticky notes, what goes where. this will save you lots of time digging around on the day of your event.
i will post more photos on sunday or monday of the event. some of you have asked for the menu and recipes as well. i will get these out here next week too.
cheers! to a great weekend!

10 February 2010

bits and pieces : two

.no party is complete with out . . . party favors!
i wrapped these up today and will have them, in a big wire basket, to give to my guests when they leave the soiree.
it is so fun to thank your guests for coming, it makes them feel really special. keep in mind when choosing party favors that you do not have to spend a lot. if you have the time, something homemade is always really nice.
i won't share with you today what my favors are, but i will show you after the soiree. stay tuned!

08 February 2010

bits and pieces : one

getting ready this week for the valentine soiree i am hosting. a dessert and wine party . . . i have done this type of party before and it is hands down one of the easiest and most fun parties i have done. lots to do but will show bits and pieces all week and then more photos on the night of. keep watching!

07 February 2010

symphony designer show house: part 1

Burlap JunKtion has a small space set up this weekend at the symphony designer show house. check out more photos HERE.
if you are in the kansas city area the show house, in its 'before' phase, is open today (sunday) until 5pm. 59th & ward parkway.

03 February 2010

another great book . . . another giveaway!

* * * CONGRATS to MARCI for being the WINNER! * * *

good afternoon!

grab a cuppa something, this one might be a long one... but there is good stuff at the end... a giveaway!
last night i had the privilege of meeting Mary Lucas. she is the (accidental as she calls herself) author of Lunchmeat & Life Lessons. she was speaking at our local high school and i tagged along with a friend.
the book was originally published in 2006, so you may have heard of this lovely book, read about it in the local paper or maybe have a copy on your own bookshelf.
when Mary was done speaking, i wanted more. i could have listened to her speak all night! a couple of things that made a connection for me right off the bat were that 1) she is a local right here in kansas city, and 2) that i too am a daughter, and have learned some life lessons from my dad, which i will share with you....keep reading.

Mary is from a large family. For those of you that live in kansas city you may know of that family when you hear Bichelmeyer Meats. started by her father and still a family owned and ran business today. Lunchmeat & Life Lessons is a memoir and tribute to her father.
i stayed up late last night reading the book. i could not put it down. there are so many good lessons to take from this book...personally & professionally. i think this book should be read by everyone that is in a slump, think they are in a dead end job, raising children, or are in need of a large dose of inspiration.
her father had great wisdom. saying things like: be a person who makes something happen, if you don't like someone they don't like you, it's not the pursuit of happiness but the happiness of pursuit that inspires, celebrate every chance you get, inspire yourself.
as i finished the book this afternoon, i cried. i cried for her loss of such a fantastically wise man. and for her ability to become this 'accidental author' to teach us all, to make our lives a little bit better by teaching us what her father taught her.
so i started thinking about my own dad. i would say that my dad is a man of few words. but when he says something, you better listen. i would like to share here with you a few of the life lessons my dad has taught me. we all have our own list and i think we can all learn so much from each other.
lesson one: we spent many summer weekends at the lake water skiing. although i don't remember what age i was, i remember my dad telling me once "when it gets bumpy, hold on tight". i know he was referring to me crashing over bumpy waves, but still today i use this wisdom when i find myself in a 'bumpy' situation.

lesson two: "mess with the bull you're going to get the horns". dads way of saying 'be cautious'. i always remember this when i am in a situation treading on thin ice.

lesson 3: be on time. my dad is never on time...he's always early! an if you are meeting him at his house say at 8am.... he will be waiting in the driveway when you arrive promptly at 7:45 and make you question 'what time is it really? are we late?!". he is just always ready. a good lesson for everyone at every point in life.

lesson 4: "i am not the keeper". this was more of a wake up call but still a life lesson. i was probably 22 years old. i was out drinking with a roommate, ahem, on a weekday night. i locked the keys to my car in the trunk. at 1:30am i phoned my dad....hi dad, you're the only one with the extra set of car keys...can you help me out? always willing to help, he said sure! wow, just like that? sure?! just like that at 1:30am on a work night?! i was sure he'd be getting the coolest dad ever award. so i waited...and when i heard a horn honking, i looked up and it was him...driving at a pretty good clip.... he yelled 'kathi...i'm not the keeper anymore', threw my keys to me...and kept on driving. i got what i needed, the extra set of keys. i also got a wake up call. he didn't even yell at me up one side and down the other. he just made an impact...a life lesson. as i said above...he's a man of few words...but you better listen. ;)

still with me? need a refill? last life lesson then we'll get to something fun!
lesson 5: 'don't burn your bridges'. my dad has worked in the kansas city area, and in the same business (electrical) for his entire career. he knows a ton of people. growing up i always thought i had my butt covered (CYA), but it never failed my dad knew what i had done, or where i had been. he has 'eyes' all over the city because he knows so many people. as i entered corporate america the best advice he ever gave was 'don't burn your bridges'. you just never know when you might need to reference your past. good advice i still use today.

last night after her speech, when i was having Mary sign my books, she asked what part of the speech i liked best. i lost it. started crying because her speech touched me so much and reminded me of the lessons my own father, luckily still living, has taught me. she reminded me that i can still learn from my dad and every time i hear someone speak about this type of motivational stuff, it reminds me to not take things for granted.
i told Mary about my wee blog that i have and if i could have her permission to talk about her book and link to her sites.
not only did she agree...she gave me a signed copy of her book to giveaway!!
RULES for the giveaway:
* leave a comment here and i will enter you once, (non-reply comments cannot win, i need to have your email address to contact you)
* visit http://www.heartsweleavebehind.com/ and add a loved ones name and i will enter you twice! (just be sure to come back here and tell me that you did so).
the afterword in Mary's book, page 103
"Did this story bring back memories of someone special that you have loved and lost?
Someone who lives on in your heart?
Please take the opportunity to share your story by visiting: http://www.heartsweleavebehing.com/
this is such an amazing book...it's an easy read, only 119 pages. you can also find out more about the book by visiting http://www.lunchmeatandlifelessons.com/
Mary, thank you for the book for my giveaway, your speech and for the lessons you are passing on to all of us.
i'll take comments, for the giveaway, until saturday February 6th at 8:00pm. good luck!
photo credits:
photo 1 taken by me, photos 2-5 from google

01 February 2010

a busy week

i am going for the full caf latte this afternoon, i think i might need it. i have a busy week this week. i am participating in the boutique at the symphony designer show house here in kansas city. the preview is this weekend, which will include a small version of the boutique.

i have finished up a few new trays and will pull some from my existing inventory. along with Burlap JunKtion home decor items my friend and i will have a space set up in the corner of the sun room at the show house.

i need to get back into my studio and start tagging all the merchandise for this event. this will just be a small sampling of what is to come in late april. once the show house has been completely remodeled, they will open again for three weeks. the boutique will be larger and will include more vendors.

i also have M starting guitar lessons this week along with trying to get final ideas prepared for the valentine soiree that i will be hosting. bring on the caffeine!

thanks for visiting

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