Fiona’s Famous Nursery

5 Feb

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Having a baby means making lots of important decisions – whether to breastfeed her, sleep-train her, sign her up for newborn piano lessons, and the list goes on. Perhaps the most fraught for us was choosing on a design concept for our nursery (only kinda kidding). After multiple trips to Home Depot’s paint department and countless pins to our private “baby” Pinterest board, we settled on beige paint with coral, mint, and navy hot air ballon accents.

While we were not so patiently waiting for Fiona’s arrival, it was useful to channel our energy into preparing for her. If combing Etsy for coral, green and navy accents was an Olympic event, I’d have a gold medal. We love her custom quit from Little Bear Quilt shop, her custom art work from Invited by Audrina, and her coral changing table pad from Whimsical and Witty.IMG_4038

It was also so much fun to make our own contributions to Fiona’s space. I dusted off my cross-stitch skills and found a great pattern online. I like the look of keeping the project in the hoop and jazzed it up a bit by hot gluing pom poms around the edge. Jason found a company (spoon flower) that prints designs onto fabric and made a beautiful banner in Fiona’s color scheme. Note that the house in the bottom of the banner is our hIMG_4040ouse!!

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We are also particularly proud of her hot air balloon mobile. We attached round party poufs (purchased on Amazon) cut in the shape of balloons to little wooden houses (purchased at Michaels). Jason painted the houses in our theme colors and I hot glued the flowers and flags (cut from origami paper) to jazz the balloons up a bit. We used fishing line to attach the hot air balloon to the ceiling so it looks like they’re floating.

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Finally, to encourage our little reader, Jason constructed a book trough to store her reading material! This was constructed with a few pieces for wood from home depot and loaded up with wonderful books that were given to Fiona at our baby shower.

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After all this hard work, we were so excited to be featured on Apartment Therapy! We have used that blog for inspiration in all of our decorating, so it was amazing to be featured on the site ourselves. We saw Fiona’s room up on the blog the day we left for the hospital – and two loooong days later she was born.

 

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Fabric Envelopes

14 Feb

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DIY Industrial-Style Bookshelf

13 Aug

IMG_1534After moving to a larger space, my husband and I found ourselves in the market for a new shelf to house the books that had been boxed up for the past two years. Unfortunately, (as usual) our tastes exceeded our budget. We were drawn to industrial-style shelves made of metal and reclaimed wood. Anthropologie’s version (pictured below, left) retails for $998 amd West Elm’s version (pictured below, right) goes for a whopping $2960. We’ve made a commitment to only buy furniture that we absolutely love and since we couldn’t find anything that compared in our price range, we decided to DIY it!

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New England Summer = Lobster Roll

4 Aug

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Its become a tradition in our house to kick off Summer with a Memorial Day trip to Yankee Lobster for what Yelp reviewers consider the best fresh lobster rolls in Boston. However, what was once a rare treat for me has become a more frequent (read: expensive) craving; I think I am on my third lobster roll of the season, having enjoyed #2 at Sullivan’s on Castle Island and #3 in the Ikea Cafeteria (obviously lowering my standards). I figured it was time to learn how to make them myself… Continue reading

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

26 Jul

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Last week’s heat wave and my unwillingness to wait in line at our current favorite ice cream shop (Christina’s) on a nightly basis inspired this post. You may have noticed that  the strawberries pictured above look extra crisp and detailed. Well, after much deliberation, we took the plunge and bought a digital SLR camera. This post details instructions for making fresh strawberry ice cream at home and also my adventures in not getting food all over the camera. Continue reading

Kentucky Derby Party

25 Jun

The first Saturday in May did not mean much to me prior to my time in Kentucky. Now, I can’t imagine letting the day pass without observing the traditions I picked up in the Bluegrass. We have loved sharing the pomp and circumstance with our new friends in North Carolina and now Boston. We look forward to a yearly tradition.

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The first, and arguably most important, consideration when planning a derby party is the mint julep. I have used this recipe for the “Perfect Mint Julep.” This is a recipe that must be started the night before the party to allow the flavors to marry. In general, I use Maker’s Mark for the Julep’s as its a bit less expensive, but still good quality. The day of the party, all you have to do is pour the pre-made juleps over ice and add a sprig of mint and a straw!

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We also like to have an assortment of bourbons for guests to try. These were arranged on our dining table beside our mint julep garnishes. I was excited to find a use for my grandmother’s crystal sugar bowl and creamer (nuts and mint, pictured below), since we don’t drink coffee.

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The drinks were kept on our dining table (behind the couch, pictured below) and the food was arranged on our coffee table. The Derby is also called “The Run for the Roses,” so red roses in julep cups were used to decorate the table.

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Our food spread was also traditionally Southern. The menu consisted of NPR-sactioned pimento cheese on sandwiches and cucumber slices and Kentucky hot-brown bites. Hot Browns are a traditional Kentucky sandwich (open face turkey with bacon, tomatoes, and mornay sauce) that originated at the Brown Hotel in Louisville. Fun fact: the fictional Daisy and Tom Buchanan (of the Great Gatsby) were married at the Brown Hotel.  The linked recipe used crescent rolls baked in my mini-muffin tin and was (in my opinion) SOOO delicious! For dessert, we my mother-in law’s bourbon balls. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients: 1 cup chopped walnuts, 5 tablespoons Bourbon, 1/2 cup of soft butter, 16oz confectioner’s sugar, and 18oz semi-sweet chocolate (I use Ghiradelli)

Steps: Mix butter, sugar, nuts, and bourbon. Roll into small balls and refrigerate overnight on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. The next day, melt chocolate in a double-boiler and dip the balls. Allow the balls to sit in the fridge until the chocolate hardens.

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The party itself was really fun! We were nervous about inviting too many people into our small apartment, but overall it went smoothly. I recommend betting as a means to get people that don’t particularly care about horse racing to get into the action. Betting can be confusing, so we minimize this by having guests pick their horses our of a hat ($1 per horse). The person with the winning horse takes the pot!

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Irish Soda Bread

14 Mar

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Its almost St. Patrick’s Day and like most other holidays, I like to celebrate through my taste-buds. Good thing this recipe for Irish Soda Bread is low fat!

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Modern Synthesizer Cover

3 Mar

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Our apartment’s bedroom also doubles as my husband’s recording studio. He recently purchased a new synthesizer and within minutes of setting it up, Cher (our cat) decided it was a desirable place to nap. We wanted to protect our investment, but because the “studio” takes up about 50% of our shared living space, we wanted to be mindful of design. I decided to make a custom cover for the synthesizer using leftover fabric from our dining chair reupholstering project. Instructions after the jump…

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Easy Coconut Macaroons

24 Feb

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I am definitely on a coconut kick; I love the flavor in both sweet and savory dishes. A great way to showcase this delicious treat is in a macaroon. Naturally gluten-free, these cookies were a breeze to make. They take only a few minutes throw together (in one bowl) before baking. The greatest challenge was finding sweetened coconut, apparently unavailable at Whole Foods (I guess pressed with powdered sugar is not how coconut naturally occurs). I had to send my husband on a special expedition to Star Market, where it was predictably in the baking aisle.  He was rewarded with cookies. Read on for the recipe, which was taken from the most recent issue of Real Simple Magazine:

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Cross Stitch Valentine!

14 Feb

This year I decided to send my valentine wishes in my most beloved craft medium: cross stitch. Love is in the air. In my February issue of Martha Stewart Living, I noticed a nod to a back issue which provided instruction for cross stitching one’s family. I tracked down the patterns and voila! Cross stitch is a really easy craft (if you can count you can cross stitch), so I recommend giving it a try.

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I just trimmed it and put it in a frame to present to my valentine. He’s one lucky guy!

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