Wednesday, February 10, 2016

New Year, New Projects!

Happy New Year!  I have a few new projects on the horizon and I am excited!  First, I am finally getting around to painting a hutch I bought at an estate sale about 5 years ago.  It's very pretty as is, but I'm not a country gal and it needs to shake up my office a bit, so I am painting it white with hot pink shelves.  I have a white, hot pink and gray theme going here.  It's also a super good reason to clean out and organize all my paint, etc.

Originally, the hutch is pine with mint green shelves.  As you can see, I already painted the top shelf. Going one shelf at a time because I have way too much stuff to move! haha.  It's about time I got going on this project.  I will keep you posted as I go.

The next project is one I am FAR more excited about - of course because I just made the decision to do it!  I am going to use textured paintable wallpaper on the risers of my 75 year old staircase.  No amount of paint is making these little lambs look good.  They have a hundred coats of paint and there are gaps, etc.  Aye yi yi!  Really nasty and I'm sick of looking at them. I was going back and forth between using beadboard and wallpaper.  Wallpaper is way easier and I can do it myself without help from my darling Larry.  Here is a pic of the wallpaper:

Thoughts?  It's a little trad, but the others were way too modern.  There was another paper I loved and then I saw the pricetag.....  Are you ready?  $330 a roll!  Champagne taste I tell you.  That will NOT be happening.  So I changed gears and I found this one on Ebay for $20.99 for a double roll which will be plenty.  After the risers are papered, I'm going to put a tiny toe molding on the bottom of each riser which will hide the gaps between the steps and the risers.  Here is the look I am going for:

Neat, clean and stylish.  Now if I lived alone or didn't love being married, I would do this instead:

In a word?  AWESOME!!!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Eggplant and Pasta Incaciata

I love to cook.  But I am a little particular.  I like recipes that really deliver without a crazy amount of ingredients and steps.  I hit pay dirt with this one.  A friend posted a photo on Facebook of this amazing pasta cake she made.  Being the good girl she is (thank you Eileen), she shared the source which was Impatient Foodie.  Now it is nearly impossible for me to follow a recipe to the letter (except for baking - that is a science after all), I had to do some tweeking.  Homemade sauce?  Not for me.  Too much work, not enough reward.  My favorite is Victoria Fradiavolo and it comes in exactly the right size jar.  Perfect!  Secondly, at the time, I just didn't feel like grating fresh mozzarella.  So I used store bought shredded and it was delicious and easy.  In hindsight, fresh mozzarella would have made the flavor that much better, so next time I will use that.  Lastly, I didn't want plain old ground pork (boring!) so I subbed sweet sausage instead.  We loved it (even though we never tasted the original!!).  Here goes!

Two good sized Eggplants, sliced vertically into 1/4 inch strips
Kosher salt & pepper
Olive Oil
1 pound of sweet sausage, cooked/crumbled/drained.
1 pound of mezze penne, cooked and drained
1 pound of fresh mozzarella, grated.
1 jar of Victoria brand pasta sauce (I like Fradiavolo)
1/4 cup of bread crumbs
2 tbsp grated parmegiana reggiano
1 spring form pan that is at least 3 inches high
softened butter for greasing the pan

OKAY!  Let's get started!  Clear the decks and put on some tunes.  You are about to make some art.

Heat some olive oil.  Don't be stingy.  Salt and pepper your eggplant and saute until golden brown.  Let it rest on some paper towels.

Use the softened butter to grease the pan.  Mix the reggiano and bread crumbs and put 3/4 of it in the buttered pan and turn until pan is coated.  Cover that bottom of the pan with eggplant.  Then drape eggplant over the sides while covering the inside walls of the pan:
Isn't that fabulous?  Vegan pie crust.  Next, cook your pasta and drain.  Cook your sausage and drain. Mix the pasta, sauce, sausage and mozzarella all together and place in the pan:
It just keeps getting better and better.  Then fold the eggplant back over the pasta.  Use your last couple of pieces on the top.

Awesome!!  Almost done.  Cover with plastic wrap and put a dinner plate on top.  Put a couple of cans on top to weigh it down.  I put the whole thing on a baking pan as the spring form pan oozed a bit and it was going to get messy.  This was a good thing!  Then, into the fridge it goes.

Now, you can do this early in the day and then bake that night, or leave it until the next day.  I left it and I'm not sure it made any difference, but you should leave it for at least 3 hours so it sets and gets weighed down a bit.  When you're ready to cook, remove the wrap and sprinkle the rest of the breadcrumb cheese mixture on top.  Leave it on the baking sheet.  Cover loosely with foil and bake at 350 for 40 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake an additional 15 minutes.  When you take it out.....let it rest for 15-20 minutes before removing the spring pan.
 Then release your masterpiece!
 It's gorgeous, isn't it?? Impressive shit.
Slice into cake size slices and begin drooling.  My thank you note can come later.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Dresser Makeover

Happy Thanksgiving to all!  I can't tell you how happy we are that we are going to home for Thanksgiving!  It has been three years since we slept in our house on Thanksgiving eve.  Blessings.

So, I am really beginning to get organized in the House of Babs.  Been a long time coming, but I'm on my way.  I finally finished my dresser.  Yippee!  I would have like to do all the bedroom furniture, but I must give my love his due - so I only did my dresser and I am happy with the results.  It actually looks fine with all the other pieces because I left the top the same as the rest of the furniture. 

Here is a before photo:
Nice, but kind of sad and outdated.  I refinished the top and cleaned up some of the old marks (my mother burned the crap out of the top with years of unattended cigarettes....).  Then I painted the rest Paris Gray.  I also spray painted all the hardware with oil rubbed bronze spray paint.  Happy!


Monday, June 30, 2014

Starfish Shutters!!!

I know, wow, three posts in three days.  I'm a scarin' myself!!  But I am very excited. Just got a photo today from the folks making the shutters for HOB!  LOVE THEM!

I'm thinking of painting them Lake Placid (Ben Moore):
To go along with the siding which is Flagstone:

Beachy, right?  Me likey!!!!!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Let them eat cake.

One of the things I like to do is decorate a cake.   Specifically, I always liked to make my daughter's birthday cakes.  Sometimes for a friend too. Here are a few of my past creations:
Above: Gracie's Kindergarten birthday cake.

My first attempt at fondant.  Laurence's birthday cake - for his 3rd or 4t??  It was for family.  Don't worry, I would NEVER has put this out at a kid party!!  Ha ha.  Sad, sad bow, but otherwise an okay result.

This was just about the funnest cake to make EVA!  She had six friends sleepover for one of her birthdays and this was her cake!  Bodies were twinkies, heads were marshmallows with Nilla wafers on top.  OMG.  Loved this one.

A cake I made for Mother's Day.  It was a copy of my wedding shower cake.  A little shaky on the stems!!  BTW - those are candy flowers that I ordered from Sugar Craft.  They are awesome!!

Gracie's 7th birthday cake.  I made the cake and frosted it.  Grace and Kristin decorated it.
"Grace Cute 7" - Oh how we laughed over this.  That was what she wanted on her cake.  Love her.

This was Gracie's 10 birthday cake.  It was so easy and looks SO amazing!!!  The designed areas are edible printouts you can order online!  I did make an amazing bow that I adhered the printous to, so I did do some work on it!!  We didn't want to eat it!!  But we did!
Maybe the prettiest cake I ever made, in addition to being the easiest.  The Rosette Cake.
This was for Sandralee's birthday down at the BYC.  We no sooner finished the cake when someone stole
my tuntable cake plate!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Plastic Bottle Flowers...FUN

I am always needing something new to do.  I always love to paint, but just like anything sometimes you just need to spread your wings a little.  I am a HUGE fan of Dale Chihuly's glass art.  It takes my breath away and I would KILL for an original piece.  Cast your eyes on this:

He does many different forms of glass.  I first discovered his work when I was working in Manhattan.  I went to Liz Claiborne for a dress for a wedding and his glass flowers were installed all over that fabulous store, which alas, along with genious Liz, is gone now.  I was mesmerized.  My favorite works of his are his art in nature installations.  Giant glass balls floating in a Venetian canal.  Blue starburst popping up in the grass.  His works makes me so happy.!  One day when I was looking at some online photos of his work, I came across a photo of a flower that looks like his work.  It wasn't his, someone had made it.  Out of a plastic bottle!!  I began reading up on this on a bunch of the crafty bitches blogs and wow.  So cool!!  I am light years behind these ladies!  You could look at this like it was a bad thing, but it is not so!  Everyone comes up with these fabulous ideas, they do all the leg work and I get to do all the fun stuff!  With instructions!  Ha ha.  Here is my first attempt without color.  I think it's actually kind of cool just being clear.  I want to make some for my garden (when I finally have one!).  I want to mount them on copper tubing.  You could also put them on gifts, make magnets.....

Pretty cool, huh?  There's a gal on Etsy who makes truly stunning ones - like Chihuly glass.
 Peacock Brooch Bouquet jeweled wedding wand, Chihuly inspired, bridal, heart, Tiffany blue,  teal, turquoise flower,
So pretty!  From a plastic bottle!!!  I just bought some paint markers and am going to try my hand....  I'll be back!  Now go get crafty!  It's good for you!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Vanity and Mirror

Howdy.  Here are some pics I just got from my friend Lisa.  I really need to find a before photo of their vanity and mirror.  The pieces are really pretty, but they were this funky yellowish orangy brown and they were just not what Lisa & Ralph had in mind.  I was happy to come to the rescue!  After looking at some of my pieces, they decided to go with Old White.  Great choice.  Here are the after photos.  As soon as I find the before...... I will post.  They are happy, I am happy!