Blood Orange Sunset

Blood Orange Sunset

I took this photo last summer while visiting the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Our home had a wrap-around viewing porch, perfect for sunsets and cocktails.

Image

How to make strawberry jam

On Saturday my friend Liz and I set out to accomplish something most North Carolina women do in the Spring. I call it the country/suburban woman right of passage. Making homemade strawberry jam. Since strawberry picking  season is in full swing in North Carolina April-May are the perfect months to get your jam on.

I don’t have a clue how to jam so I search online for a few recipes and really liked The Pioneer Woman’s recipe and canning 101 post from a few years ago. It was easy to follow and had plenty of illustrations to know if we were on the right track.

After a few dozen giggles and “are you sure it’s that much sugar,” questions we were on a roll. It was a fabulous way to spend a Saturday afternoon with a good friend. Below are some of my illustrations and mistakes/learned experience moments.

 

 

We used 6 quarts of strawberry’s and it made about 16 8 oz jars of Jelly.
Image

 

You’ll want to purchase clean jars. You can pick them up at any hardware store or at your local grocery store. Also, making jam’s and jellies requires a ton of sugar. And every blog that I read said to not try and reduce the sugar or you’ll end up with a strawberry syrup.

Image

Our beautiful jams! We were some proud mama’s that day. First of that we accomplished our goal and that it turned out. Note to self: Read instructions over and over again!

Image

Cookie Dough Truffles

The Chocolate Cookie Dough Truffles didn’t disappoint and neither did the recipe. The recipe was very easy to follow and the Truffels were a hit at our appetizer throw down Christmas party.

Cookie Dough Truffles

While this is something that I pinned onto Pinterest I did follow the recipe via RecipeGirl.com. Be sure and read through the comment section of  her blog for the comments regarding the Cookie Dough Truffles. You may find some helpful advice from other readers.

Feel free to follow my boards on Pinterest and I’ll follow you back!

I will make these again for sure, they are absolutley decadant. Thanks Recipe girl for a fabulous desert idea.

Pine cone Christmas tree craft

Pine Cone

Pine Cone Christmas Tree

My first Pinterest crafting project was a pine cone Christmas tree. I obsessed over this craft that I first discovered while browsing for Holiday ideas on Pinterest. I repined and liked instantly. Of course I thought to myself, “I can do this, it will be so easy.”

And so I began my crafty project of the season. Since I live in North Carolina getting pine cones wasn’t a problem. I went for hikes and had a couple of neighbors round some up for me. Pine cones are plentiful and diverse in size and color here in NC.

Since there wasn’t a tutorial on the link I did some research of my own and based on a couple of sites I visited I came up with my own game plan.

 Materials used

Plenty of Pine cones. preferably small ones

2 Styrofoam: Cone shapes or any shape you want

1 package of glue sticks

1 Hot glue gun

1 can of brown or brownish spray paint

Pine Cone Christmas Tree Craft

Directions

1)   First I went through the pine cones and picked out the smallest ones. I thought they would be easiest for gluing together.

2)   I sprayed the cones with the brown spray paint. (this doesn’t work so well)

3)   I simply started from the bottom up.  I glued the pinecones on length wise and completed the circle.

4)   I continued the same pattern being careful to overlap the lines. I thought this would provide more coverage.

5)   Toward the top of the cone I got the idea to break apart a few pine cones and simply layer the little pieces to the foam. This provided a really cool layered look and could be an option for coverage instead of spray paint.

As you can see my artwork doesn’t look quite like the ones in the magazine pictures but there is a learning curve right? I ended up using the decoration for a center piece on my screened in porch. I did get some compliments from my supportive neighborhood gal pals but I did learn a few things along the way.

Pine Cone Christmas Tree Craft

Lessons learned

- Do break apart the pine cone. I really liked the layered effect created by the little pieces.

-Do give the glue a few seconds to cool before putting the pine cone on. This gave it a stronger bond.

- Next time get smaller pine cones.

- Hot glue cones from the bottoms out.  This will provide ample coverage. (like the picture on my For The Home Board on Pinterest.

-Don’t use

spray paint on foam. It doesn’t work.

Asheville North Carolina: My Love Story

Our Asheville weekend

Since 1999 I wanted to visit Asheville, North Carolina. I had never been there and I’m not sure why I wanted to go.  In fact when I graduated from Western State College in Gunnision, Colorado I had full intentions of packing up my 87 Tercel and driving east with my dog Summit. Destination: Asheville, North Carolina. I can’t tell you what was pulling me there but I can tell you that I never made it. I got a job as a reporter for a small paper in Denver and never looked back.

My husband and I moved to the Raleigh area about 2 years ago and visited Asheville for our 5 year wedding anniversary. It  was a whirlwind weekend of hiking, eating and well….more eating. This started my love affair with the city.

Everything that you read or hear about this lovely gem is true. The food is great, the vibe is brilliant and people are fantastic. In fact I would move there tomorrow. I have lots of little stories to tell about our weekend getaway but will write up some personal reviews about our weekend in another post. In a nutshell, Asheville is a great place to go for a romantic weekend without the kids. But it’s also a fantastic family spot.

This is kind of my push to get that going. *insert* smile.

Day trip to Oriental

Oriental

One advantage to living near the coast of North Carolina is visiting the quaint coastal towns near us. They are charming, picturesque and best of all they make great day trips. And with a family that includes to dogs that hate to be alone, it’s a big bonus.

Our first day trip was in the Spring when we took a 2 hour drive east to  Oriental, North Carolina, the sailing capitol of the state.

Oriental is nestled in Pamlico County and is an easy drive from Raleigh. We took Hwy 70 to Hwy 55 east right into the sailing community. We didn’t go with a plan except to hangout and be by the water. There are some access to parks but not much in terms of sandy beaches. We loved that our leashed dogs were welcomed as well. Being from Colorado where everyone loves dogs we found the same love and acceptance in Oriental.

A sea side gem

For lunch there are some cafe’s and small restaurants. We ate at M & M’s Cafe and had a great meal. Our dogs were leashed outside by a large tree and were welcomed. After lunch we walked around the water front and looked around at some of the sail boats. We then headed out of town and took our first fairy in North Carolina from the Pamlico sound over back to 70. We were home by 6 p.m.

I highly recommend a day visit to the sailing capitol of North Carolina. We hope to make another visit there during the Summer months.

Easy update to your Adirondack chairs

I bought this pair of plastic Adirondack chairs a few years ago and they really needed some TLC this past spring. With about 4 bottles of spray paint they were good as new. I chose the purple color to add a hint of color to my suburban backyard that needed some spice.

Before & AfterAfterAfter

Previous Older Entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.