Monday, July 21, 2014

Make a Shell Mobile

I think I've mentioned in the past that I have a habit of collecting shells everywhere we go. We have jars and bowls filled with them, and while they are lovely reminders of trips past, they tend to add up.  I thought it might be fun to try a new way to display the group I collected this month on my little trip to East Hampton.  Unfortunately I was at a loss for a thin piece of drift wood, so this small branch had to suffice. Here's how simple it was:
You will need:
-A handful of flat shells
-Medium sized stick or piece of driftwood
-Fishing line (mono-filament)
-Scissors
A lot of times, these types of shells will already have small holes it them. For those that don't:  Use a small drill bit or dremel to carefully put holes near the top of each shell.
Lay your wood and your shells out in a basic pattern. I chose to make three unevenly spaced rows.
Beginning with the first row, fasten the fishing line onto the wooden and then work down, tying double knots through each shell hole until you reach the bottom.  Repeat on all rows and trim excess fishing line.  
When done, tie an extra piece of fishing line to either end of your stick for hanging.
 I love that these sun bleached clam shells are hanging on the wall now to remind me of roaming the sandy beach.  What are some of your favorite ways to display trip mementos?

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Black Caps

They say good fences make good neighbors...but sometimes a neighbor's fence makes for good berry picking! Our neighbors had a pretty hardy wild blackberry bush growing along the corner of their fence and when it became clear that they had no intention of picking them, I gently asked if they'd mind if I did.  I think they thought this was a tiny bit funny and gave me the go-ahead.  I came home with this perfect little container of the wild berries that we call "black caps".  After a gentle,thorough washing they were ready for baking into a simple tart.  Just a nice round of simple pie dough, topped with the fresh berries and lightly folded in around the edges-then baked at 350 for about 40mins.
Picking wild berries is a favorite summer activity of mine...my father taught us at a young age which berries are safe to eat (this is very important!!) and along with my mom, my dad, sometimes my brother, or a friend we'd spend an hour or so picking the fruit.  Fingers stained and little baskets full, we'd eat them plain or baked into a pie.  Always perfect.  It has been so exciting to see the bushes popping up here now, in our new home.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Little Getaway

I had a pretty sweet little getaway this week, compliments of my brother and his lovely girlfriend who invited us out to their summer spot in East Hampton.  My Grandma was even able to make it out with us, so it was an extra special beach trip.  Last year we went to our usual town of Montauk and had wonderful time. Montauk and the Hamptons area are my favorite spots ever. Unfortunately this time Nick was not able to join us due to his work schedule which was a disappointment, but I took some photos to share with him at home.

My Grandma...she echos the beauty sea and sand in such a way, don't you think? A perfect couple of days for which I am so grateful.

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Liberty Star

Somehow Fourth of July preparations got away from me this year. Don't get me wrong, the hot dog buns and beverage fixins are ready and waiting for the barbecue we have planned,  I just sort of ran out of time for the holiday "flare".  If you're in need of a quick DIY decoration for this weekend's festivities the way I was, I've got just the thing.  This little liberty star is made with 5 wooden paint stirrers and some scrap ribbon.  Throw in a few dabs of hot glue and we're good to go!
Now I can sleep...there will be some decoration after all and I didn't even have to go out to the store.  My favorite projects are the kind that make use of things we just have laying around.  Wishing you all the happiest of holiday weekends if you're here in the states, or elsewhere celebrating the USA! Cheers-

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Monday, June 30, 2014

Mini Cherry Pies

Sometimes, not all of the cherries I buy get eaten around here. What's the best way to make sure ripe, or just past ripe cherries, don't go to waste? Cherry, cherry pie.  I made these little guys so that we could easily pack them into our lunchboxes for a midday treat.  This is an extremely simple filling recipe that's not too sweet but still tastes like something special.

You will need:
-Muffin tin or individual baking cups
-Basic pie dough ( I make mine from the Joy of Cooking basic pie crust recipe)
-3 cups pitted cherries
-2 Tbs lime juice
-3 tsp sugar
Take your pitted cherries and mix with the lime juice and sugar. Let sit about 15 minutes while you prepare the crusts.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Grease your muffin tin (be sure to hit the top surface with a little grease too so that the crust doesn't brake off upon removal) and roll out half of your prepared dough.  Using a cookie cutter (or the top of a cup/glass) cut enough circles to fill each hole. Reserve the other half of your dough for the tops.

Fill each little pie with approximately 1/4 cup of the cherry mixture. Top each one with either a slit top crust, or with lattice as shown above.  Bake at 400degs for about 20 mins.  Slip a baking sheet under the tin and place back in the oven for anther 20 minutes or until the tops have brown and the juices from the fruit are bubbling.  Allow to fully cool before gently removing the pies from the tin.
These are a perfect summer treat.  Did you guys have as gorgeous of a weekend as we did here? I mean, talk about perfection.  

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer Thrifts

I've found some super thrifty items this week, total (including a pair of silly shorts not shown here...) four bucks.  I scored these two sweet, sweet aprons and that amazing crochet trivet.  One of the aprons, the red and white is for my mom...for her Scandinavian cottage upstate. A "Portugal" embroidered apron for a Scandi cottage. I hope she likes it. The yellow and orange apron, I think I may keep. For a dollar, it had to come home.  The pockets are the cutest shape.
The triangular trivet is incredible, I found it at the bottom of a scrap fabric bin in the back room of the shop for (are your ready?) fifty-cents.  
Whoever made it did a fantastic job. Each little circle is a metal bottle-cap, backed with rounds of cork, with the crochet work done over each one. The final touch must have been linking them all together.  I love the unique shape of it, just incredible.
The cheapest thrifty-finds are the best kind...Happy, happy summer.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Quick and Easy Garden Obelisk

In an effort to "dress up" the side of our garage in the back yard, we've planted some climbing roses and other plants.  I have my vegetable beds along the left side but the right side was lacking in height, visually. Plus, the roses needed something to climb and there is such a thing as lattice-overkill.  Using some scrap wood (cheap pine firring strips) and some left-over stain, I made this quick rough garden obelisk.  This is by no means a fine-craftsman job but it is a quick project and looks rather nice once its in place...because that's what counts when we're talking "quick crafts". Here's how it's done:
You will need:
-2" wide firring strips (usually purchased by the bundle, we will use less than a bundle)
-Small square or rectangular block of scrap wood
-Staple or screw gun
-Measuring tape
-Stain/polyurethane in the color of your choosing
Gather (4) of the firring strips and make sure they are equal lengths. Mine were all 4 feet, perfect. 
 
Attach the very tips of all four strips the top of each side of the wood block ( I used nails here but the staple gun would work too). You want to be able to part the bottoms as you stand it up so that the four legs are spread out.


Measure out (4) pieces for the bottom horizontal rungs (mine were about 1') and screw or staple on.  Next, measure (4) smaller rungs for the top row (mine were 6" here) and attach.
Lastly, attach four vertical, 2.5' pieces as a decorative touch. Bring the tops up about 2"above the wooden block to conceal it and to create somewhat of a point.
 Stain with the color of your choice and place in garden.  It helps to push the feet into the dirt a bit for added stability.
Above all, look how happy the roses are! Big smiley face right there.  I'm looking forward to making a few different shape and sizes for some of our other garden areas.  I may even splurge on a few toppers, like a decorative finial or two, what do you think?  

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