Happy Thanksgiving!!

Hope you time here is short and productive:

Image from This Old House

S0 you can spend more time here:
Image from Eddie Ross

But hopefully you do not have to spend to much time here at the end of the day:
Image from House Beautiful


Seagrove, NC

Seagrove is a community in the NC Piedmont. Beginning in the 18th century, this small town became one of the first spots creating North Carolina stoneware pottery, mostly for utilitarian reasons. It has since morphed much beyond a few potters creating whiskey and milk jugs. Seagrove is still a small town, but one that hosts tens of thousands of visitors each year looking for the perfectly imperfect vase, pitcher, or bowl from a Seagrove potter.

Many of the potters open their studios and galleries year round to visitors, but each year on the Saturday and Sunday before Thanksgiving the potters join at one location, The Seagrove Pottery Festival. The Festival offers potters a chance to showcase their work and visitors a chance to purchase from the vast and diverse talent that Seagrove has to offer.

I went this past weekend to begin Christmas shopping and provided my fair share of support to the local Seagrove economy.

Here is what I found:
Flower Pots: Pebbles Pottery; Bowl: Enthusiasm Pottery; Brie Baker: Bristow Pottery; Chalice: unknown


I'll Bite

This before and after from Southern Living's November issue are all over the blog world the last few days. But it really is to pretty, chic and comfortable not to share.

Here is the before:
And the After:

The bedding somehow makes the four-posted bed look both modern and vintage and fresh and historical all at the same time.

I would love to get our vintage desk in our bedroom as a side table. And look at that lamp.

As is the wall covering is not enough, the framed wall paper panels add so much to the room. It is also a "do-more-with-less" idea.

The room belongs to Mary and Tony Ankar who were assisted in the room redo by Anne Turner Carroll.


Saturday Style-Sporty Spice

After purchasing these multipurpose yoga pants from Old Navy a few weeks ago, I am hooked. For weeknight evenings in or weekend errands out, I have banished my jeans to the closet and am relying on these to keep me not only comfortable and casual but also stylish enough to not look like I am wearing my PJ's out in public. They are also a great weight for outdoor winter exercise.

And if you have a 30% off Give and Get Coupon, this weekend would be a great time to purchase.


Sunny Spots

We have had nothing but heavy, cold rain for the last several days, but today finally some sun. For those of you still looking out the window to dreary, wet, cold weather here are some sunny spots to start the weekend.

Images from Southern Living

Updated: I came across this one about 5 minutes ago and I had to add it.


Dark Chocolate

It actually looks a little chocolate grey to me. Regardless it makes me want to paint something (like maybe my kitchen).


Thanksgiving Tradition-Pink Salad

It's Thanksgiving recipes and traditions today on Kelly's Korner "Show us your Life." I can't really believe that is actually November, but since the calendar doesn't lie and Turkey Day is only 3 weeks away here is my recipe and tradition.

Having this recipe at Thanksgiving Dinner is the tradition. Pink Salad is a congealed fruit salad recipe, that is just as good for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving as it is for the actual meal. Did I mention the final result is Pepto-Bismol pink:)

And though these types of recipes (congealed salads) usually remind me of my southern roots, this one came from my Italian grandmother.

Pink Salad

8 oz of Whipping Cream
2 20 oz cans of Crushed Pineapple
2 8 oz blocks of Cream Cheese at room temperature
2 jars of Maraschino Cherries chopped
1 cup of Sugar
2 packages of Knox Unflavored Gelatin

Heat pineapple and sugar in a sauce pan until sugar is dissolved. Keep warm. Mix cream cheese and cherries together in mixer and set aside. In a small bowl, dissolve gelatin packages with 2 tablespoons of hot water and 2 tablespoons of the hot pineapple/sugar mixture. Mix well then add gelatin to pineapple/sugar mixture. Remove pineapple/sugar/gelatin from heat then add it to the cherries and cream cheese. Mix with mixer then add whipping cream. Pour into serving dish and congeal in refrigerator.


Go Green with your Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights from our house.

Chrismas lights are pretty, but think how much extra energy is used for the lights around the month of December.

From today until November 15 Home Depot is offering $3 off the purchase of any energy efficient LED holiday lights. They use 80% less energy. Just bring in your old incandescent light strings to trade for the $3 off coupon. Another bonus, the old lights will be recycled.


Open Shelving (or Not)?

I really like the idea of open or glass shelving for some of our kitchen cabinets. So I finally took the plunge, removed one set of doors and started arranging. So my question... does it work like this:

Or does it look like our kitchen cabinet doors just fell off, which means I should go back to this:



Twenty Minutes Times Three

I have started the Couch-to-5k running plan. I have just started week 4, and I can't say enough good things about the program. I run for time and use my ipod to keep track of the intervals. The program is challenging, but not impossible (one of the things that makes it a good fit for me). The plan assumes that you will run 3 days a week and each day's run is only about 20 minutes.

I really like the structure of the weekly intervals, it pushes me just enough that I know I'm improving, but not to much that I just get overwhelmed and quit. Because the intervals change each week there is some variety in the program.

If you are looking for something to help you start an exercise routine or you are a frustrated runner, check this out.


Kitchen Essentials

I have what I consider a well-stocked kitchen. I can also say after a few moves and purging, most of what is left in my drawers and cabinets I used on a regular basis. What works for me may sit in your drawer with only one use, but here are the pros (and cons) of what I consider my kitchen essentials.

-Hand Chopper-I have one from Oxo Good Grips. It's a little loud, but I use my chopper at least once a week to dice onions and veggies in about 1/2 the time it would take with a knife.

-Hand/Submersion blender-It may just seem like one extra appliance, but it really is invaluable for quick soups. Remembers Soups On this fall.

Handheld Cheese Grater-Processed Parmesan cheese is OK, but there is nothing like the real stuff freshly grated. Shredded cheese maybe easy, but simply buying blocks of cheese and grating it when you need it is good for the budget.

Stock pot-I cook all of our pasta and soups in this pot. It's also out at least once per week.

Mini food processor-I got two Cuisinart Minis as wedding presents. I find that they are a great size for making quick dips or salad dressings and having two has actually been really helpful.

Steamer-I have really only used the steamer for rice, but with the timer setting on the model that I have its so nice to add water, set the timer and forget about it until dinner is ready.

And one for the wish list: A Kitchenaid Mixer. I have a stand up mixer, but there is just something about a Kitchenaid that makes me drool. I'll take red please:)


I found it on another blog-October

October was all about the kitchen for me. Maybe it was the change of seasons, but I was motivated to cook and try new recipes.

1-Spicy Pretzels from All Things G & D-I can't wait to try these, they sound like perfect football food.

2-Kitchen Eye-Candy from Pure Style Home-With all of the cooking I am wanting to do between now and holidays, its hard not to think about a dream kitchen. I love the eating/work space and natural light in this one.

3-It's kind of like cooking. I was so excited to see this list recipes for natural homemade cleaners featured on Young House Love. Now I just have to wait for my store-bought chemicals to run out.

4-This recipe for Ravioli with Apples and Walnuts on Big City Cooking. It screams fall to me.

5-I'm not one for breaking out the Christmas tunes before Halloween is even over, but this Snickerdoodle Experiment from The Way the Cookie Crumbles has got me thinking about holiday baking.

Bon appetit!


Word of the Day: Mirepoix

Funny how things work out like this. Yesterday I posted about pre-chopping onions, carrots and celery for soup and today I read about Mirepoix for sale in our Trader Joe's flyer.

Mirepoix is a combination of celery, carrot and onion. The "holy trinity", which is apparently the essential ingredient in dozens traditional French dishes (and all of my soup recipies).

If time is really and issue and you live near a TJ's it sounds like you can buy you mirepoix chopped, mixed and ready to go. I will probably stick to creating mine at home, but at least I know what I am doing.


Soups On

For the last few years I have tried to add a soup or stew to our dinner menu at least once per week. Despite the chopping and blending there is something about soups that to me screams "easy dinner." I guess it's the fewer dishes that a full on meal and often frozen leftovers.

Just in case the "comfort factor" of a homemade soup is not enough, I have started to do a few things to make soups even easier.

1-Chop then freeze. Most of my soup (and some non-soup) recipes call for a veggie base of carrots, celery, onion or garlic (or all of the above). I keep onion and garlic on hand and don't mind a little dicing to start, but because we don't really snack on celery or carrots. I buy a fresh bag of each, roughly chop them up when I have an few extra minutes, the freeze the veggies. When you need one or both for soups the work is done.

2-Have the right tools, a hand held chopper and a hand blender are a must for soups. The chopper helps with cutting veggies (for soup or anything else, I must use mine 3 times per week). For pureed soups, the hand blender eliminates the process of cooling, batch blending and reheating soups. Everything stays in the pot and your soup can stay warm while blending it down, just watch for splatter.

3-Double the recipe and then be ready to freeze it. Once you have eaten dinner parcel leftovers into plastic or glass containers and freeze. I have had good luck with most (even cream based) soups in the freezer. After a few recipes and freezing left overs you will have a freezer stocked for future lunches and dinners for the winter, so canned soup no more.

While we are talking soup I will share a the best tomato bisque recipe I have found (we had it last night).

Tomato Bisque from the Food Network
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced bacon (about 1/2 ounce)
1 Spanish onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes (with liquid), roughly chopped
3 parsley sprigs
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 cup heavy cream
1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until crisp and most of the fat has rendered, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Lower the heat to medium, add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 8 minutes.

Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Pour in the broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Tie the parsley sprigs, thyme, and bay leaf together with a piece of kitchen twine and add to the pot. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool**.

When the soup base is cool, remove and discard the herb bundle. Working in batches, transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Using a sieve over a large bowl, strain the tomato puree. Return the puree to the pot and reheat over medium heat.
Whisk the heavy cream and salt into the soup and season with pepper to taste. Divide among warm soup bowls and serve immediately.

**If you use a hand blender, just remove the herb bundle and blend in the pot. I don't mind a little texture so I don't even strain the soup. Just add the cream, salt and pepper and serve.


Where did you go?

Really where did I go. Busy at work and lazy at home, I guess is the best answer. Back soon I hope with lots of projects for the winter and holidays.

Until then I will use this post to congratulate two of my closest friends on the births of their baby boys this week.


I found it on another blog-September

I can't believe it's the end of the month (and summer) already. We have had a chill in the morning Carolina air all week. Before October officially gets started I want to share my favorite ideas that have been floating around the blog world in the last month.

Click on the links to see the full post or to visit the highlighted blog.
#1-Eco-chic Shopping by Lavendar and Lillies. L and L has been highlighting ways to "go green" all week. I think the lunchskins from 3 Green Moms are genius.

2-A Barnyard Birthday from Simply Creative Insanity. "More Cow Bell" anyone? Have I mentioned how I can't wait to plan children's birthday parties? They are still a few years away.

#3 Operation shower is such a neat idea and the fruit centerpieces that Celebrations at Home put together are so mod, not to mention pretty inexpensive and easy.

#4-Everything LEB put these pillows on her to do list. I'm inspired.

#5-Hostess with the Mostess gives another reason to host a colorful party. Invite friends and family over to learn and celebrate the gender of a new baby with a reveal party. This would be a neat way to thank close friends and family for all of their support (past and future) around a new baby. You must click through to see how they made the reveal.

Hope you enjoy these posts as much as I did.


Holy Baking Soda Batman!

I had this post planned for awhile but decided to finish up when I read that Lavender and Lillies is doing a "going green" week on her blog. Check her out all week for more helpful hints.

I was searching for a good cleaning agent for chrome. Before I could put together the bar cart (check of this post and this one for pics) it needed a good scrubbing. Small rust spots and grime wouldn't come off even with a harsh chemical cleaner. The cart was in my grandmother's house for years, then 2 college apartments, then stored under a bed, so it was quite a bit of work to make the chrome shine again.

Several websites suggested a paste of baking soda and water matched with elbow grease. I was amazed at the shine. It worked so well, I felt a little like I was in an infomercial for the next fad cleaner. It's now on my "clean green" list for shiny things (think bathroom fixtures). It also works wonders on pots and pans.


(Ceramic) Note to Self

I keep the front of our fridge clutter free. No pics, magnets or notes visible on the front.

This is true unless I need a serious reminder about something, then I plaster a note-to-self on scrap paper on the front of the fridge. Most of my notes are non-work related, out of my normal routine and/or on the weekend-the smart phone can only do so much reminding when it has been hidden in my purse since Friday at 5pm.

Enter in Can Stop Making Things' ceramic note tablet project. The basics of the project are pretty simple. A $. 79 ceramic tile from Lowe's plus a dry erase marker equals an small erasable surface for reminders. I took it a step further with glue and magnets and I now have an attractive tablet that can be popped on the front of the fridge when I am in need of a reminder. It looks much more pulled together than a note on a scrap sheet of paper tacked up with a Garfield magnet.

It's an opportunity for creativity and artistic talent. Can't Stop used a permanent marker to make the tile look like a note pad. If you are not artistic (which I am not) or do not have pretty "teacher" handwriting (which I also do not), find the nearest scrapbook aisle and stock up on glue and scrapbook embellishments. I used 2-D flowers for this tablet, but I can also see a monogram or initials on the tablet.

I like it so much I think that I am going to spend the 5 minutes this project takes to create another for my desk at work for quick notes and messages. No more searching for a scrap of paper and no need to use a clean sheet for a reminder that won't matter anymore in a few days.



I have several project going right now and I think Carolina husband is ready to see me get some of them finished before I start anything new. Something about him not being able to get into his closet because of the 1/2 finished headboard in the way.

A lazy weekend at home was just what I needed to make some progress. I still have plenty on the list, but its a start.

Mrs. Limestone's recent progress pics of her secret shame box room got me inspired. I started with my own secret shame that looked like this.
A few hours later...
And all finished up. I still have one more box to sort through, not to mention figuring out what to do with the found square footage.
I also put this together...
which ended in this.
It's the missing bar cart from this post. Do you love it, I do.

I even had a chance to put this together. Wondering what it is? More on this later.

So yes, Progress. Maybe next weekend I'll finish up the headboard:)


Open Up

Despite having many projects around the house yet to be finished and plenty of time to tackle them I have used my time lately to just be lazy (and watch massive amounts of football).

The result, I am fairly uninspired about what to post. I'm sure I'll be back soon. Until then, consider the idea of open/glassed shelves in the kitchen, I am. The glass doors seem more my style, but I am not sure I want to shell out the cash for special order cabinet doors that I can't return if I get cold feet.


Southern Charm

"The South is a very special place, rooted in tradition and strength of character-both of its men and women. As a professional business woman, I have always admired the strong southern women who maintain grace, but hold their ground and the Rhett Butlers of the world who embrace them...Southern women seem to balance strength, femininity and a spitfire perseverance--and thrive in a world even more traditionally thought of as a 'man's world' than the rest of America." -Katherine Stefan, Editorial Director/Publisher

The quote is from an editorial I clipped in the last few years from a local lifestyles magazines. In recent years, I have come to accept how growing up in the South has shaped much of who I am as an adult, including my general attitude and notions of home and hospitality.

Try as I might to escape to the world of Ikea, I continue to be drawn first to the grand yet relaxed and classic southern style which is often times just modern enough for me with a Lucite table or shiny tile in the design. Seeing pics in print of this style is getting a little tougher as it seems like all of the Southern design mags are folding. Recent posts on Garden and Gun's Design Blog, Belle Decor highlight the loss of some of these mags as well as profile Southern Designer, Suzanne Kasler. Her work in the South (Atlanta) for Southern homes of all styles, not to mention her new book set to arrive later this year is truly inspiring, Southern style.

Images from Suzanne Kasler Interiors

In addition to seeing more of Suzanne's work at Belle Decor also check our Garden and Gun's article on the "The Southern Part of Heaven".