The Master and Commander of Pastry

Hi there,

Mother’s Day is approaching!  What will you be doing for your mothers? This is the first year that I will be spending Mother’s Day apart from my mom; and I’ll admit that I’m sad.  It’s hard to spend holidays apart from your family.  My wonderful Aunt Cindy knows what it is to be far away from family, having re-located to the east coast about  sixteen years ago,so when she invited us to spend Mother’s Day with her, I was relieved. Spending time with her, my Uncle Bob, and their boys, makes me feel a lot less homesick.

In honor of the day and my sweet aunt, we will be going to Longwood Gardens.

Doesn’t it look beautiful? We are really looking forward to spending the day with my aunt and uncle and their boys.  We will be having a picnic lunch in the gardens while we are there, and I want to make something special for everyone.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

Flower cupcakes! Appropriate, non?  This icing tutorial from Loralee Lewis will be a tremendous help. So I would make a nice vanilla cupcake, with a butter cream frosting…

Or, I could riff on this wonderful Mascarpone-Filled Cake with Sherried Berries recipe, only have mascarpone frosting, with a few dainty berries on the top of the cake…

This is actually my favorite cake to make. It impresses everyone, and it isn’t hard to make at all. You should try this! Seriously, what are you waiting for? You will be crowned Cake Queen or King..No, the Mayor of Cake Town… The Ambassador of Delicious Flavor.. I’m finished now, sorry… I tend to get over-excited about pastry.

I hope you are having a glorious Monday.

xoxo,

Katie

Friday! Hurray! Hurray! Errr.. I mean Saturday.

via historiful.tumblr.com

Yes, apparently while I was in a flu-induces haze, I forgot to post this, even though I had it READY to go for Friday. Blergh.

Happy Friday!

I’m finally feeling a little better! How are you doing? Do you have any big weekend plans?

Yesterday Brendan and I went to Princeton New Jersey (which is such an amazing place).  We got this really amazing olive oil and strawberry balsamic at Carter & Cavero: Old World Oil Company, and visited a kitchen gadget  store called Kitchen Kapers.  It was so much fun being there, in this beyond charming college town, just the two of us focusing on each other.  It is wonderful being out together, and to feeling like we did those first few months of being together.

Here we are at Carter & Cavero:

Here I am tasting all of the delicious balsamic vinaigrettes.

There was such a huge selection of oils and vinaigrettes, we had a hard time picking our favorites.  In the end we got Truffle Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (so wonderful), Strawberry balsamic, Garlic Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Tuscan herb Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, and Frantoio Extra-Virgin Olive Oil… Needless to say, we won’t be needing EVOO any time soon!

Also, here are somethings that I’ve been eyeing all week:

A la Patricia Blanchet

These shoes are awesome.  I’ve been wanting to find a pair similar to this for a few years, but nothing really spoke to me like these do.

via House of Turquoise

I love the look of driftwood. Whenever I see a cool drift wood piece it makes me want to learn carpentry so that I could have the ability to make furniture with pieces of awesome wood like the piece above.

via flickr

Brendan would never let me do this, and I’m not sure I would, but it’s pretty cool, right?

Smitten Kitchen’s Porch Swing sounds truly sumptuous.  Now that the weather is getting warming, I see myself having many a gin based cocktail on balmy New Jersey nights. Yum.

Once again, I pay homage to that glorious hue Kelly Green.  This room, designed by Christina Murphy is to die for.  Brendan and I both thought this was such a great look.  Maybe we will replicate it someday.. : )

And I’ll leave you with the sage advice of Ronald Swanson:

Have a stellar weekend! May all your dreams come true.

xoxo,

Katie

Anchors away my dear, anchors away.

Hello there,

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I love all things nautical.  I love nautical clothing, but I also love nautical decor.  I think that this room might become my perfect maritime space.

I’m not big on having a lot stuff covering every surface, but I do like the looks of the rope.

I love the old map.  I’ve always thought that maps were cool, so there would definitely be one in my nautical room.

And of course, TONS of stripes! EVERYWHERE!

Seriously, I love stripes and nautical-wear so much, our future children will be wearing stuff like this, all the time.

That’s all for now… Surprisingly enough, I didn’t find a ton of stuff on Pinterest. Ah well. I’ll have to keep looking.

xoxo

Katie

The Room no one Talks About

Our house is a four bedroom two bathroom house.  So far I have only shown you two of the four… One is Brendan’s (cough messy cough cough) man cave office space, the other, well.. It looks like this.

This room, which we have been calling the book room, is currently book-free because I’m planning to paint it.  I have a nice grey that might be good, but I’m still thinking about it, and anyway, I still need to choose a color for the inside.   Anyway, this is the only furniture we have in there… This is a big house, and we have very little furniture.  I like that we have just enough furniture in our guest bedroom, our living room , and our kitchen.  There’s no clutter… But I have to say, the lone bookshelf is just a tad too minimalistic pour moi.

Brendan and I envision having a really calm space with a seriously comfy chair for reading in there, but  I think it’s going to take a while to really make that happen.  I’ll be posting a concept board soon!

That’s all for now!

xoxo,

Katie

 

Friday! Hurray! Hurray!

By Grace Robertson

Happy Friday everyone!

I hope you all have had a good week.  What are you doing this weekend? Anything exciting?

I got my ukulele in the mail yesterday, so i’ve been practicing, and having fun with her. Sadie (the Ukulele) and I are going to be good friends. This Saturday I’m having a ukulele lesson with my best friend Stephanie over skype, so that will be fun.

via Deviantart.net

Brendan is gone for the weekend,being brilliant for a bunch of economist types at a conference in Boone North Carolina, so Dexter and I are all by our onesies… er, twosies. To stave off the sadness I plan on taking advantage of the beautiful South Jersey weather and paint something outside.

via crush cul de sac

Now I know I said that my roman shades post was coming this week, but in our rush to put them up, I forgot to take a few key pictures, so I need to take one  down to get them.

Instead of sharing my shades, I thought I would share some things that are inspiring me as of late.

Bar Carts: I love how old school it is with the crystal and the blue glass. The flowers are such a nice touch. I would love to have this in my house.  The only problem is, Brendan doesn’t really drink, and I really like mostly gin based  drinks, sooo… It would be a sort of empty bar cart lol.

via Elements of Style

Campaign Chest are the best. I have plans to make a few for our Asian styled bedroom.

via Apartment Therapy

via Fashion Loves by Me

Mint and gold… What a great color combination. I’ve basically run out of rooms to decorate. but if I had another, it would be done in these colors.

That’s all for now. I hope you have the best weekend ever.

xoxo,

Katie

Kelly Green

Hi there,

I’ve been thinking a lot about Kelly Green colored  accent furniture.  I have a bright Kelly Green purse, and when I see it sitting on my couch, I can’t help but be interested in  throwing in some bright green accents.

A quick note on campaign dressers: I am in love with them.  Some day I plan to accessorize a plan dresser with campaign style hardware for our bedroom… At the rate we’re going, it’s going to be awhile, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

Isn’t it *such* a great color? I am seriously (more maybe just cerealy) considering getting some nice Kelly Green accents up in here.  Do you have a color that you’re wanting to introduce into your home? What is it?

Happy Thursday everyone, the week is almost over.

xoxo,

Katie

The Problem With Renting: The Stove

Howdy,

Sometimes it can be hard to make a nice home in a space that is not yours.  In my experience, little touches can greatly improve a lack-luster space, because let’s face it, sometimes no amount of scrubbing and cleaning can fix something like this:

Here’s a close up: brace yourselves, folks.

I’m pretty sure that these drip pans have been there for years.  I have spent a lot of time scrubbing these with little improvement.  So we decided to do something about it.  Last weekend we went to Lowes and picked up some drip pans.  It is important to note that there are a lot of places that sell drip pans, like Target and Ace hardware, but they were all too expensive.  We got four drip pans at Lowes for twelve dollars, whereas at Target, they were selling two drip bowls four nine or so dollars.

I should also mention that there are different drip bowls for different over types.  Our oven is a  Frigidaire, so we picked out our drip pans accordingly.  The packages of drip bowls will be labeled clearly, so you will be able to easily chose the correct kind for you oven.

When I removed the burner and the drip bowl I cleaned the stove top thoroughly, then put in the drip bowls and burners.

Doesn’t it look so much better!?

So, there’s one way to improve your rented space!

That’s all for now.

xoxo,

Katie

Easter Weekend

Hello again friends,

Sorry about the long absence.  Let’s just say taking on a massive project (roman shades) while preparing your large home for weekend visitors is  more than one person should take on.  Things got dicey at Casa de L the morning before Brendan’s parents got here.  Poor Brendan is a champion among men for putting up with my crazed desire to finish my blinds and mop the floor… Simultaneously.

But all of my insanity paid off. Drum roll please.

Yep. I am so glad they are finished. I will be posting a DIY this week, along with price comparisons, so you can see how much it costs to make it yourself, and how much it costs to buy them.

Easter weekend was a lot of fun.  Having Brendan’s family here was a lot of fun.  It is always nice to have family come and visit.  We had lots of delicious food and fun together.  We even dyed eggs!

My Mother-in-law Scottie and I made a board for drying dyed eggs that we found on Here is a pictures of our eggs… And our lamb and potatoes that we had for our Easter dinner. YUM!

Okay… So that’s not a  great picture, but it’s the only one I have (sorry!).

We had a great weekend. Hopefully everyone will come back soon.

What did you do for Easter?

xoxo,

Katie

Sunday Night Recap

Howdy!

How were your weekends? What did you do? As promised, I made my Game of Thrones meal, and it was spectacular. The meat pies, which I made with ground veal, lamb and pork (this is usually what’s referred to as a meatloaf mix, I guess- I use it for meatballs), were the best thing we ate last night.  They were such a pain to make, but it was completely worth it.

Making the filling was a cinch, but making the pie dough thin enough (but not too thin!), while still reaching the edge of the each hole (what should I call that? I don’t even know), was very difficult.  In the directions they say to use a glass to cut out the pie dough, but I have larger muffin tins, so I used to a coffee cup, which was the right choice for the bottom part.

I might as well admit that I forgot to take pictures throughout this process because I was literally doing five things at once… Timing was everything.  I get into a zone where I can cook a bunch of things simultaneously sometimes, so there was no time for pictures.

Anywho, I rolled out the dough further after  cutting it out, and then delicately put the dough in each hole.  The top part (which I do not have pictures of was *such* a pain.  If you decide to do this dish (which I recommend you do!) cut out very large pieces of dough so that there is tons overlap, then when you are ready to place the top part on,  you will be able to cut the over lap down, just enough so you neatly pinch the edges  of the top and bottom together.  Also, next time I make these, I will definitely be adding more meat to each pie. I was afraid that if I put too much in, it would somehow  end up tearing the  top and all the juices would run off the side… It didn’t happen, and I think that the pies will look more attractive if they are mounded on the top.

The Fall Bread Salad I made was delicious.  Unlike the recipe, I used pine nuts instead of hazelnuts (what I had on hand), my salad dressing was made out of red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, and I  used ciabatta bread. Super super tasty, and easy to do in a hurry.

And because no Game of Thrones meal would be complete without some sort of bone to gnaw on, I made Honey Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Tarragon,  I did not roast a whole chicken, I got some drumsticks and made only enough for the two of us.  I have to say, we didn’t really like this chicken.  It was kind of sweet (and I halved the amount of honey used!) and the tarragon came off as kind of sweet as well… I probably won’t make this again… At least everything else was a success! Especially my cake!

For dessert I made Lemon Tea Cake with Blueberry-Red Wine Sauce, and it was delicious!

There is something very soothing about baking. The aromatics of the cake were excellent (tart and lemony, yum!), and it was so simple to make.

The only thing that I’ll say about this recipe, is that the blueberry red wine sauce needed tweaking.  I added sugar (maybe three tablespoons) to the recipe, because it was bitter.  The red wine when it began to boil was not very pleasing to smell, but I have to say that the end result was very good. It tasted kind of like a blueberry mulled wine.

Here’s the sauce before it boiled down a little.

And there’s the finished product.

I just love trying new recipes out on Brendan… No disasters so far. : )

That’s all for now.

xoxo,

Katie

p.s. I am working on my shades… DIY post TBA.

The Problem With Renting

Last Thursday our curtains fell down.  Before you ask, no, we didn’t use a tension rod, we had drilled holes in the wall and screwed in our curtain rod.

The wall had completely  shredded around the screw holes.  I was thinking that this wasn’t such a big deal, we’d screw in some anchors, and hang the curtains back up… No such luck.  We tried to screw the anchors in, and the wall cracked around the holes even more, there was plaster everywhere.  What a bummer.  We assume that this happened because too many of the previous tenants have hung up curtains, and then patched up the holes too many times.

Brendan and I are hating the lack of privacy.  After I spent a few days brainstorming, I came up with an idea that will be cost-effective and chic all at the same time!

ROMAN SHADES!

Those of you who follow me on Pinterest will have noticed that I have become pretty interested in roman shades.  I was originally planning on making them for our kitchen and had been reading up on how to make them, so I’m kind of prepared anyway.  So, here we are again guys, guests are coming, and I am undertaking yet another large-scale project that I will most likely be doing  up until the very last-minute.

I already have the fabric from our curtains.. It really is very nice fabric.  It’s going to look super good in roman shade form.

I’m currently working on a DIY post about the shades. Let the madness begin.

xoxo,

Katie