Saturday, February 27, 2010

New Friday Night Favorite

If you're reading this post, the chances are pretty good that you've eaten pizza at our house at some point (probably on Friday). I've been making pizza on Friday nights for as long as I can remember in my married life.
Drew 1 year at our old house making one of his first pizzas

Trader Joe's has it all

Matt considers himself a pizza expert and was always in search of the perfect New York style pizza. He likes it very thin, not a lot of sauce or cheese. He never could find one down here that he thought was any good. Until we discovered all the ingredients we need at Trader Joe's to make our own pizza at home. It takes a little practice, but it's worth the effort.

Making the dough yourself is not worth the effort. I have made pizza dough from scratch, but frankly it takes a long time, makes a mess, and really doesn't taste any better than the $1 dough I get at Trader Joe's.

Greek pizza ingredients
Whole wheat dough offers healthy option (not as tasty)

A few weeks ago I had some feta cheese in the fridge, and I was craving something salty. So I decided to make what we're now calling our Greek pizza. Now I know I didn't invent this, but it's become a house favorite among some of our regular guests and Matt.

I encourage everyone to give making your own pizza a try. It tastes way better. It's not greasy at all (my version actually uses lower fat cheese), it is faster than ordering pizza for delivery, cost a fraction of what you pay for delivery, and is a lot of fun to do with people around. We've had quite a few pizza parties where the kids all get to top their own or take turns putting the toppings on. Kids really get a kick out of making their own pizza.

Here's what you need for the Greek Pizza

  • Room temperature dough (1lb makes two pizzas)
  • Pizza sauce
  • Carmelized red onion
  • Kalamata olives
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Garlic Powder
  • Oregano

Pre-heat oven to 500
Roll out the dough (toss in air to entertain crowd)
Spread sauce
Sprinkle oregano and garlic powder
Add crumbled feta, olives and sun dried tomatoes

Bake for 9 minutes

Note: time and temperature may vary based on your oven.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Complete Style Departure

I can't stop thrifting. I saw these chairs on my trip the other day and have been thinking about them since. I went back and asked the woman to come down on the price, and ended up getting them for $60. I think they are mid-century modern, which is a completely different direction for me to be going with furniture. Even the color of the wood is something new for me. Something about them spoke to me though.
They looked really gross! I didn't even sit on them to make sure they were sturdy. Luckily they are in really good condition once the nasty fabric was removed.
I stopped at the fabric store on the way home, and now I have four chairs at the sunroom table again.
I think the curved back looks nice with the oval table.

You can see the old chair style in the background. They were starting to fall apart. One literally broke when I sat in it last week. Believe me, Matt is having a field day, giving me a hard time about that.
So now I keep flip flopping about what to do with the wood. Originally I was going to paint it and the table to match. But I really like the natural color, especially in this sunny room.

I'm planning on getting a jute rug, so the natural would probably look nice with that. I don't think the chair colors work with the buffet at all. If I keep the chairs natural I think I should get rid of the buffet or paint it white?

What do you think?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Treasure Hunting

Drew and I went treasure hunting (at thrift stores) on Monday. We both found some really great things and just about everything we brought home was half of the original low price.

I've been looking at this crystal light (chandelier?) for at least a year now. I tried to get my mom to buy it a few months ago. But it wasn't right for her space.

I popped in to the shop where this fixture is because I needed some salt spoons. (Does anyone really NEED salt spoons?....) Anyway, after picking out the perfect spoons I told the clerk I just wanted to go look at the chandelier that I've been admiring for over a year. It turned out that the clerk was the owner of that booth, and he made me an offer I couldn't refuse. He said sales were slow and he needed to pay the rent. So, I got this amazing piece for only $100. It has all the crystals. If I wanted to just buy the crystals alone, they would cost more that that. So, I think I'm going to put this baby in my entryway. Since I seem to be trending toward golds and gilts, I think this this will work perfectly and will really glam up the space.

This beauty only cost me $0. I was visiting a friend who is redoing his kitchen and dining room, and when I complimented him on the chandelier that used to hang in his dining room he said I could have it. I think this one will get some black lampshades and go up in my dining room.

I'm not 100% sure about these mirrors. I got two of them for a total of $14. I thought I could paint them and use them in the master bedroom. I figure for the price, if I don't like them after the paint job, it's not a huge loss. Maybe I can consign them and actually make a buck on them.
I have them propped on the bedside tables now, and I like the general feeling they create--we'll just see if I can make them feel a little richer and less 70's era.

This cute little milk glass vase only cost $3. My feeling is that you can never have too many flowers, or vessels with feet. And, you know how much I like black and white. This just had to come home with me.

Here I'm actually showing you the books in the center. I loved them. They are green, black and gold--my colors. I just read an article this week that said every "tablescape" should have books, candles and flowers. Here is my attempt at a tablescape.

I bought this planter basket for a friend of mine that has been searching for a planter basket for about a year now. It's lined with some kind of metal so you don't have to worry about spills or stains. I like they way it looks so, I might not be passing it on to her now.

This carrera marble lazy suzan was only $2. What a steal!!!! I cleaned it up and put it in my kitchen by the stove. It now holds my utensils, olive oil and spices. I love the way it breaks up the black granite and ties in white cabinets.

I'm so excited about all my treasures. I haven't been able to get to any estate sales or the flea market in so long. So this really satiated my need to hunt.

What do you think? Treasures or trash?......


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Crazy About Calling Cards

Social calling cards are making a comeback. This month Traditional Home and another major magazine (can't find it now) mentioned them.
Mommy Card

I couldn't be happier about this trend revival. Since quitting my office job I've been dreaming up reasons to have cards printed with my name.

I remember after graduating from college desperately wanting have a job that warranted business cards. I thought they were the coolest thing. I loved getting them, I loved giving them.

Now, thanks to, I get to design then too. Vista Print offers the cutest designs and usually you can get 250 cards for free, just pay the shipping and handling. I paid $15 for the one above which is two-sided in color. You can get one-sided cards (like the zebra design below) for as little as $6.

I've printed countless versions of cards for my jewelry business. I use them to promote the business, but I also designed them so that I could cut off the top and use it as my earring cards and price/description tags.

Business Card

When Drew started preschool and we moved to a new neighborhood, I decided we needed a family card. Having a family card makes it so easy to give out contact information for play dates. This one has our home phone number, my e-mail address and our home address. (I've smudged those details out to deter stalkers.)

Matt even carries some of these in case someone needs his home address or phone number. After all, in the 1800s it was considered very poor taste to use a business card for a social call.
Family Card

Most recently I decided I needed a card just for me, when I want to give my phone number and e-mail without my home address. I've used this card with store owners that are going to look for something for me, or if I stop by to see someone and they're not home. On this card, I paid a little extra to have the front and back both printed in color so I can use the back side as a gift enclosure.
Gift card side (back)

Calling card side (front)

Now I think I've exhausted all excuses to print cards for myself. I just helped my sister get some-- she doesn't know how she lived without them before.

So, now I'm encouraging you to do it too. Check out and have fun!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rise to the Challenge

This is where I blog and make phone calls, plan home renovations, and write thank you notes. (The mirror is not dirty, it's just very old and cloudy in spots from age.)
Every thing I need for these tasks is in the drawers. It has become a catch all for storing things that are used or needed frequently--Its my office. The junk drawer attitude frustrates my husband to no end--what's he doing in my desk anyway?....

So this week Lauren of Pure Style Home challenged her readers to clean out a junk drawer. This was a challenge I knew I could handle.

The desk has three drawers. None of them was organized

Correspondence drawer--Before

Catch all drawer --Before

Contact information, school handbooks and home project estimates drawer--Before

Correspondence drawer--After
Now I can easily find my pens, stamps, sticky notes, note cards, and my new self-stamping return address stamper (which I love).

Catch all drawer--After
This drawer now neatly holds all the cords and charges I use weekly for cameras, phones, iPods, etc. I have a little bit of an obsession with calling cards too. So, in the back I have my family card and my personal card.

Contacts and contracts drawer --After
It's now organized using very colorful file folders I got in the dollar section at Target. I know there's a lot of color going on in there, but it's nice to get a little jolt when the rest of the house is so neutral. I love pink and green, I just don't want to be surrounded by it all the time. So putting it in a drawer works for me.

I lined them all with some black and white wrapping paper, because it's what I had on hand. I'll probably swap that out with something a little more subtle once I find that something.

I'm thrilled with the new an improved workspace, and boy was it easy to do!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

I'm convinced that orchids are the perfect gift for anyone at anytime of year.
They're elegant, easy to care for and usually last for months.

I treat myself to an orchid every few months. I'd rather have one of these then something like a manicure. And now you can find them pretty much everywhere for the same price you would pay for a bouquet of cut flowers.
Matt and I give orchids as our hostess gift instead of a bottle of wine when we go to friends houses for dinner or a party. I've converted a lot of people into plant lovers as a result.

This Christmas one of Matt's former co-workers was still talking about the orchid we gave her last year at her Christmas party. She said now she always has to have one in the house.

They are such a treat. I brought this one home from Trader Joe's today. It was only $15. I've been wanting one of this type (Cymbidium) for a long time. They are usually A LOT more expensive. I really wanted a Cymbidium because I think the leaves look pretty as a house plant even when it's not in bloom. So, when I saw that price I had to grab it fast.
Happy Valentines Day to me!

The one below is a new bloom on an old plant I had from the summer. There weren't enough flowers on the stem to bring down the whole plant from my office, so I just cut off the two (maybe three) flowers and put them in a vase. Simple and elegant!
I always get white because I think it looks great with everything. Maybe I should have gone for a little color today, since all I see right now when I look out my window is white and we're expecting another 20 inches tonight. I'm going to be seeing nothing but white for a very long time :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

My Dream Kitchen

This is my kitchen window which I think is a very pretty view. I had to start this post out with a pretty picture, because what you are about to see is not very pretty.

Is this my dream kitchen?.......

Thank God I had a vision when I was presented with this.

Because if I never got past this nearly non-functional very dark kitchen...

I never would have ended up with my dream kitchen.
Here's what I love about it.
  • Cool fireplace that I can turn on and off at whim. Creates amazing atmosphere when entertaining and makes me feel like I'm part of the party while I'm cooking.
  • Display shelves that hold my pewter collection and cookbooks. Chair on casters creates a really great place to read the books or kick back while dinner is cooking.
  • A mantel that changes with the seasons and props up great black and white family photos when we're between holidays.
  • Huge island that is used for everything from rolling cookies to arts and crafts to buffets. I never have to worry about staining it. Bring on the red finger paint, red wine and food coloring!
  • Great southern exposure. I've rooted countless plants in that window.
  • Microwave that is easily accessed but out of sight.
  • Lots of cabinets.
  • Mix of old and new feels fresh and not trendy.

I didn't use a designer, and can honestly say I wouldn't change a thing.
I'd love to know what you think. Send me a comment.