Sunday, July 10, 2011

Guest Bedroom to Nursery Makover (and my debut as a grandmother :)

I’ve been telling you how busy things are around here, but the little one is finally here!!!!! Both he and the nursery are finally ready to make their debut!


You might remember when our daughter got married I helped her redo two guest rooms in their 1940’s bungalow. You can see that full post here. But two years later this room needed another makeover….it needed to become a nursery!!!


Same wall-different bed and art :). She knew she wanted a room that truly said “baby”and nothing but pastels would do! She chose complementary fabrics in blue, green, and yellow. The walls were painted Gold Buttercup by Behr.


The bed is antique white in the Venetian series by Bratt. It actually can be a four-poster, but she elected not to use them this time (maybe for a girl someday :). She was extremely lucky and found it on sale! The bumpers are paisley trimmed in the stripe of the bed skirt. The rug is from the Pottery Barn Outlet.


The next major hurdle was finding just the right chair. This is a swivel rocker in the pale green of the crib fabric. It is truly comfortable---I’ve always wanted a chair with something similar to an odometer. I know I have already put some “miles” on this one! We found the little side table at a thrift shop. I “shabby chicced” it and spray painted the lamp.


We also found an old oak dresser to serve as a changing table and to use for storage. The kind people in the paint department at Lowe’s walked me through the painting and glazing process.


There is room on top for diaper changing necessities in the basket and lots of drawers to hold all those adorable sacks and onsies!


The final necessity was a window treatment. She had box pleat balloon shades made in a complementary polka dot. The knotted trim is in the bed skirt fabric. She left the room darkening shades behind for nap time!


Now the fun begins…accessorizing! Dad made the shelf. The picture on the easel is a thread count piece my mother made over thirty years ago. I rematted it and painted the frame to match the furniture. It makes me happy to have a little reminder of his great grandmother in his room….I know she’d like it too.


I had this little bench done as a surprise! The bench belonged to my daughter when she was a child. I antiqued it and a local artist painted the name and animals to mimic the canvases over the bed. We LOVE the animals. We both spent days online searching for just the right art.

smiling henry

This is our little guy….well, our guy anyway. He weighed eight pounds and thirteen ounces! One of my daughter’s co-workers from school took this on the day he was one week old. The photographer is a kindergarten teacher and had never photographed a baby before. I think she missed her calling!

sock monkey

It’s official….I’m in love with this wonderful blessing from God!

I’m linking to Susan’s Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch. You can click on her button on the sidebar for immediate transportation. Thanks for sharing this joy with me!! You’ve been with me through the whole thing! I’d love to hear from you!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Induction Cupcakes :)

Well, our daughter’s due date has come and gone…..Once again I am reminded that God has every detail planned and His timing is perfect even if it is not our timing. BUT the mom-to-be is having last minute cravings—chocolate and peanut butter to be exact. Sooo


I whipped up a quick version of chocolate peanut butter cupcakes using mix for the cupcakes and the Barefoot Contessa’s frosting recipe. I used Betty Crocker’s Chocolate Fudge mix—there’s no such thing as too much chocolate when you are nine plus months pregnant! A few chopped peanuts garnish and add hint of salt to the icing.


This morning I sent her an email and a picture of the cupcakes:

To the Little One

You Are Cordially Invited


A Birthday Celebration

You supply the birthday; I’ll supply the cupcakes :)

I’m not sure if she was amused, but she’s coming to pick up the cupcakes :)

Ina’s Peanut Butter Frosting

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 cup creamy peanut butter

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup heavy cream

Place confectioners’ sugar, butter, peanut butter and vanilla in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium- low speed until creamy, scraping down scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

note: I love my Kitchen-Aid, but I am sure this could be done with an electric hand mixer as well! These would be great for the 4th of July--what's more American than peanut butter and chocolate?

I am linking to Cupcake Tuesday at Hoosier Homemade. Drop by for some great recipes and Fourth of July inspiration! Be sure to join our friend Michael Lee West at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday! Click on her button on the sidebar! Thanks ladies!

Thanks for stopping by! I’ll keep you posted on when the Little One arrives!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

You’re Gonna Have a Fit!

It’s been two months almost to the day since I posted last…I’ve missed you! We have been busy as bees around here with wedding festivities for our youngest son and preparations for our daughter’s baby soon to be born BUT you just have to see this!


Here in the South one of the nicest compliments you can give is, “I just had a fit over it!”. Recently dear friends of ours gave a seated dinner for ninety for our son and his fiance. I can tell you these ladies did all the work themselves and put endless hours of thought, preparation, and work into this event and I just about had a fit when we saw it….I think you will too!


I felt as if I had entered a photo shoot for Southern Living and Southern Lady combined. The majority of the tables were set in a woodland theme on long sweeping porches on two sides of the house. Napkins were held by mini flower pots and each guest was provided a fan tied with satin ribbon with the bride and groom’s name on it.


The theme was evident from the very beginning when the invitation arrived in what appeared to be a brown paper sack addressed in calligraphy (of course :). The invitation itself was a replica of a vintage seed packet. Each guest received a tiny seedling planted in the mini pots as a favor. As the sun set candles surrounded by parchment paper provided a romantic glow on the tables.

party for l and h

Long stretches of tables with tulips in galvanized bucket- like containers provided seating for every single guest.


Oh, and don’t overlook the moss-covered fauna on each table. This little bunny is sitting on a bed of polished stones. Each “placemat” was made of astro turf.


The brown tablecloths provided the “earthy” background. Our boys have hunted together since junior high school and the hostesses knew the groom would revel in the theme. His favorites were this duck and a huge wild turkey!


A mossy little fox graces this table. The Mason jars were filled with water and garnished with lemon before dinner.


A giant moss butterfly provided the appropriate whimsy for the bar tucked away in a corner! Soft lighting in the surrounding foliage was beautiful after dark. I half-expected woodland fairies to pop out!


Tables of appetizers filled the patio area before dinner. The white Adirondack chair was a gift to the bride and groom. Each guest signed it and it was later covered with a finish to preserve the memories of the night.


My personal favorite was the gazpacho served in shot glasses! And finally a feast was served buffet-style…..


A tuxedoed buck and veiled doe served as the centerpiece for the buffet table!!!!!


It was a magical night none of us will ever forget….well, you know….. I just had a fit over it :)!

I’m linking this to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday and to Laurie at Bargain Hunting and Chatting with Laurie for Saturday’s My Favorite Things. I hope you’ll visit these two ladies and tell ‘em I sent you :) I hope to post the nursery on Sunday and I think you’re gonna have a fit!!! It’s good to be back….:)!! Thanks for stopping by…leave me a note!

EDITED--In my absence, Laurie has decided to discontinue her Saturday meme, so I won't be linking BUT still hop over for a visit. You won't be sorry!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Eggceptional Breakfast for Two


About three weeks ago I went to my front door…….the one with freshly planted Kimberly Queen ferns…..


the one with the spring and Easter wreath that I have neglected to show you :)…….and there was a surprise!


My friend Kathleen of Cuisine Kathleen fame had sent me a gift. I had won one of her very gracious giveaways! Kathleen and I share a love for the same man…..Bill. You may know him by William Sonoma, but trust me on this one. Kathleen knows him well and calls him by his nickname :)


Inside the envelope I found six beautiful napkins!! They were covered in sunny happy barnyard animals and just naturally made me think of pairing them with these happy placemats for a special breakfast for two.


These placemats are so cute that it’s almost a shame to cover them with a plate….almost.


Now red and yellow is not a color scheme that I would normally even think of. But some tablescapes just create themselves. This one was just waiting to be born!


My cute little egg cups with rosy cheeks and yellow egg-shaped bowls with strawberries cinched the red and yellow theme.


These mini mason jars make perfect bud vases for individual place setting arrangements. They are actually salt and pepper shakers from Walmart. An unusual container makes a floral arrangement easy!


And of course, the bunny and carrot salt and pepper shaker had to make its appearance no matter what the color scheme is :)

I’m joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday. Please visit her by clicking on her button on my sidebar. And be sure to visit my benefactor Kathleen at Cuisine Kathleen here! She is a master of food and its presentation!

Thanks so much for stopping by for breakfast :) I wish you and yours a blessed and joyous Easter! I hope you’ll drop me a note!~~Susan

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Layers of Goodness


Last weekend friends of ours invited us to a cookout. It was an informal B.Y.O.M.—bring your own meat affair. Most people showed up with steaks, but there was chicken for some and hotdogs for a couple of little ones. The host and hostess provided the best part—this idyllic little piece of heaven that they call home. The evening was layers upon layers of goodness!


My contribution was to be dessert and I immediately turned to my latest issue of Southern Lady for a recipe to try out. I am in love with this magazine! The pictures are breathtaking and the recipes are inspiring and “do-able”. The tablescapes alone are worth the price of magazine. If you live above the Mason Dixon line, no need to worry—it’s geographically inclusive :)


I often use my friends as guinea pigs to try new recipes. Over the years they have shared both successes and total flops. The fun is in the trying. This recipe is from an entire article on Neopolitan desserts. Doesn’t that bring back memories of the three-layered pastel ice cream from your childhood?


When I saw that the frosting contained strawberry extract, I knew I had to try it! Strawberries just “say” spring to me! I used my cute little gingham cupcake liners from Bridget at Bake at 350---perfect for a picnic. I’ve had them a while and have been saving them for just the right occasion. Thanks Bridget!


The perfect cupcake! —three layers of goodness-- chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry for an evening with three layers of goodness—friends, fellowship, and food! This one goes in the “success” column. If you don’t have or can’t buy a copy of Southern Lady (and I highly recommend it), here’s the recipe! This one earned a spot in the “success” column!

Neopolitan Cupcakes

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups cake flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups milk

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Strawberry frosting (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 35o degrees. Line 2 (12 cup) muffing pans with paper liners; set aside. In a large bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, and sugar. Beat at a high speed until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Divide batter in half, and beat cocoa powder into half the mixture. Spoon chocolate batter into muffin cups, filling about 1/3 full. Spoon vanilla batter evenly over the chocolate batter, filling about 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely. Pipe strawberry frosting on tops of cupcakes.

Strawberry Frosting

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup butter softened

1/4 cup strawberry jam

2 teaspoons strawberry extract

1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and butter. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in strawberry jam and strawberry extract until smooth. Beat in whipped topping and confectioners’ sugar.

I’m joining our favorite author Michael Lee West @ Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday. Click on her button on the sidebar for immediate transportation. I know posts have been sporadic. Thanks for hanging in with me while I work on both weddings, one couple’s new house, and a nursery….whewww :) I hope you’ll leave a note!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

In Love with the Mudbug

Crayfish, crawfish, crawdad….call it what you want, but call me when you serve it! When daffodils start popping up and the pear trees bloom this southern girl starts thinking about delicious little mudbugs!


Don’t turn up your nose! They’re related to the lobster---the kissing country cousin. Crawfish boils are the easiest and most fun way to entertain in the spring. All you need is a big pot, a yard, and a roll of paper towels :) !


THIS is my favorite way to eat crawfish—seasoned and boiled in a huge pot with lots of corn and potatoes. However, it’s still just a bit early for my cravings so I made an easy and delicious alternative until the real thing arrives.


And it’s made completely in the microwave….you read it right! I confess I am something of a snob about microwaves….great for reheating or thawing. But COOKING…..a REAL meal… way. But this works and no one will ever suspect :). I’ve been making it so long that I have no idea where I got the recipe, but I have given out by request lots!

Crayfish Delicacy

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

1/2 small green bell pepper, chopped

1 pound frozen crayfish tails, thawed and chopped

3 tablespoons flour

1 envelope prepared beef stew seasoning mix

4 green onions, chopped

1/4 chopped fresh parsley

3 cups hot water

1/4 teaspoon red pepper

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Microwave first 5 ingredients in a casserole dish on high for 6-8 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in flour and remaining ingredients. Microwave uncovered on high for 15 minutes, stirring twice. Cover and continue to cook at 50 % power for 15 minutes stirring twice. Serve over hot rice.

EASY!!! You can cook and serve in the same dish. Buy a bag of salad and a loaf of French bread and dinner is served!


The food stylist had the day off :) so this picture may not do the taste justice! I am joining our dear Michael Lee West at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday! Michael’s latest book Gone With a Handsomer Man will be out in April. Check out your invitation to a launch party given by Laurie at Chatting and Bargain Hunting with Laurie by clicking on the Foodie Friday button on the sidebar! I can’t wait!!!!

Thanks to all of you who shared their “Grandma” names with me. You are, as always, a creative and gracious bunch! Leave me note :)~~Susan

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pink or Blue?---The Big Reveal!

All week long, I’ve been teasing you…building the suspense. Is “our” little one a boy or is it a girl? You know we gathered family and had a reveal party. We each wore the color indicating our prediction. The tide seemed to be turning towards pink---even Jessie wore her pink sweater. :)


You’ve seen the cake that holds the answer.


But since I had to order two cakes, the bakery made a note to avoid even a hint of confusion. It reminds me of Alice down the rabbit hole.


We had the envelope from the sonogram technician to verify the results… much planning….. so it would all come off without a hitch. Careful planning ensures perfection….right?


WHAT?????? Insert here the sound you hear when the figure skater falls at the Olympics, the sound from the stands when the kicker misses the winning field goal at the Super Bowl, the sound from the crowd when Evel Knieval lands on the cars . :) ARE YOU KIDDING ME??????? Is now a good time to pitch a hissy fit?


Fortunately, we did have the results in the envelope—It’s a BOY!!! And it’s just as well that he learn early on that we are family prone to mistakes, misunderstanding, and generalized fumbling and bumbling…..and laughter at all of it….lots and lots of laughter :) We are thrilled and thankful for this blessing...and both families know how to “do” the boy thing!


So we all sat down to eat anticlimactic lasagna. It’s delicious and could be warming in the oven during the reveal. The recipe is served at a fundraiser each year by the oldest church (1828) in my hometown. It’s been a town highlight and tradition for many years.

Episcopal Anticlimactic Lasagna

(renamed by me :)

Saute’ l clove of minced garlic and 1 cup of minced onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy skillet. Add about a pound and a half of ground chuck and brown. Drain and transfer to a heavy Dutch oven or large saucepan. Add 2 cans tomato sauce, 2 cans tomato paste, 1 1/2 cups of water and two teaspoons of Italian seasoning. I also add a bay leaf. Simmer about 2 hours.


To assemble. Cook one package of lasagna noodles according to directions. Rinse and separate on a towel to dry. Spoon enough sauce to cover the bottom into a 9x13 casserole dish (don’t forget to spray it!). Layer noodles lengthwise, then mozarella cheese, then dollops of ricotta or cottage cheese (I used both). Cut noodles to appropriate size and layer crosswise. Cover with sauce, mozarella, and ricotta or cottage cheese. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. I think the key is to using lots of cheese. This is a great “do-ahead” meal!


Now I need your help! I don’t have a grandmother name picked out! I’d love to hear the names in your family!!! Even if you have never left a comment before, please share your names with me today. I’d hate to end up as Mrs. Rainbow :) I am also linking to Beverly @ How Sweet the Sound for Pink Saturday. Click here for an all pink party!!!!

Thanks so much for visiting and playing along with me this week. I am linking to Foodie Friday with Michael Lee West at Designs by Gollum. Click on her button on the sidebar to join the party. Don’t forget---I want to hear from you!!!~~Susan