Friday, January 21, 2011

I've got skills!

If you know me or have read any of my previous posts, it is no secret that I like to cook.  And I'd like to think I am pretty good at it.  Except I know my "technique" is not always correct.  

Did you ever watch how the professionals on The Food Network wield their knives with such finesse?  I am such a klutz with a knife.  We even have very nice, very expensive knives, which I always seem to be cutting myself with:

Blurry picture of my bandaged thumb - war wound from last Sunday's cooking adventures
 Last night B and I attended a "Knife Skills" class at The Kitchen Studio 

The class was taught by the personable Chef Christine, assisted by her friendly staff.  We spend two and a half hours learning the correct chopping techniques for carrots, celery, onion, green peppers and herbs, which her staff gathered during the class and used to put together a delicious chicken noodle soup for our post-class enjoyment.  Each student was also provided with a whole chicken (EEK!) and we were taught how to use a boning knife to cut the chicken apart.  It is not hard at all, and is a WAY more economical way to purchase chicken.  We currently do not own a boning knife, but B wants to run right out and purchase one this weekend!

Knife skills are not something that are perfected in one evening.  The only way to get better is to practice, practice, practice.  As Cal Ripken, Sr. used to tell my boys when they attended his baseball camp, "Perfect practice makes perfect."

I intend to do that this weekend.

Hopefully no bloody fingers will be involved.

~ Karen

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Umm Umm Good!

Is there anything better than a pot of homemade meat sauce simmering on the stove on a cold, snowy, icy day?

                                      Can't you smell it?

Happy Wednesday!

~ Karen

Monday, January 17, 2011

January Thrifting

I swore I was NOT going to buy any more Christmas ornaments!

Last year I loaded up with shiny brites right after the holidays.

Score from January 2010!

But I could not pass these beauties up!

50 cents a piece at the local antique mall.  I love the patina on the silver.  And I love the fact that they are not round.  They are a perfect addition to my collection.

I am linking up to Apron Thrift Girl Thrift Share Monday.

Come over and see what all the other nifty thrifty peeps are up to!

Happy Monday,

~ Karen

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Colorful vintage pyrex collection

I love vintage pyrex!

My collection started about 8 years, quite by accident.  I spotted a set of primary color mixing bowls at an antique store, and they stole my heart.

And now I have cabinets full!

All of these items were purchased at antique stores or thrift stores, some for only a dollar or two.  I love the colors peeking out from behind the glass front white cabinets. (I did, however, open the doors for these pictures so you could get a better view.)

I am linking up to Apron Thrift Girl Collect Share.

Pop on over and see what everyone is collecting!

~ Karen

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snowy centerpiece for January

Last week when I was putting away my Christmas decorations, I threw together this new centerpiece for my dining room table.  I used my favorite zinc drawer, filled with "snow" (epsom salt).  Nestled in the snow are three aqua ball jars, which are each filled with a bit of "snow" and a battery operated candle.  I am afraid to put real candles inside these jars, as I don't know if they can handle the heat.  On the large jar in the middle, I tied a snowflake ornament that had been on my Christmas tree, using a scrap piece of burlap.  I also glued a small magnet on the back of more of my snowflake ornaments and attached them to the zinc box.  The whole box is sitting on two large styrofoam-like snowflakes that are from the Dollar Tree from last Christmas.

Very appropriate for January!

How do you have your table decorated this month? I'd love to hear/see your ideas!

~ Karen

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The lonely Santa

Don't you just hate it when you discover a week after you packed all your holiday decorations away that you somehow overlooked one?

Happy Sunday!


Saturday, January 8, 2011

My guest bathroom

When we moved into our new home last July, I was so excited to have a dedicated guest bathroom for the first time in my life.  Well, I guess that is not too hard, since it is just me and B at home now :)

I had been wanting to decorate a room in black and white, but when I found this shower curtain from The Pink Monogram, I was inspired to punch up the color with a lil bit of lime green!

close up of shower curtain fabric

the cute rug is from Dash & Albert

monogrammed soap
These silhouettes are old.  The girl on the left is me and the boy on the right is my brother.  I made the picture below with a $1 frame from the Goodwill which I painted black, a scrap of black and white fabric and a vinyl W, and hung it with black and white checked ribbon.
The green paint is Benjamin Moore Citrus Green.  Their Aura Bath & Spa paint is incredible (but a bit pricey).  The coverage is great and it is extremely washable.

I am very happy with how it turned out!

~ Karen

Friday, January 7, 2011

Green is my new best friend (and I'll never be blue again)

Back in November I was lucky enough to attend the Swanky Junque Swap organized by Marian aka Miss Mustard Seed, Karen aka The Graphics Fairy and Lynette from Wild Rose & Company.  It was a really fun event and I got to meet a  great bunch of gals (in addition to our gracious hosts), including Holly from Roller Coaster Life, Stephanie from Dial M for Minky,  and Sarah from The Thriftress.  Brittanie from Snickety Snacks was there with her gorgeous and delectable cake bites, which I admit to eating more than my fair share of!!

As part of the festivities, Miss Mustard Seed gave everyone in attendance a roll of Frog Tape.  (I love free stuff!)

Now I guess I must have been living a sheltered life, because I had never used Frog Tape before.  I had always been a blue tape kind of a girl!

Well let me tell you, I have seen the light and been converted!

This little baby has been in my home for a LONG time.

Bad cell phone pictures :(


Notice the cool crown on the back!

Like since the 80's.  Wow.  Remember all that cutesy-wootsy country stuff :)  The crock itself is awesome, but the cutesy had to go, go, go.

Frog tape and chalkboard paint to the rescue!  Unfortunately, I was working at night and totally neglected to take a picture of the actual process.  I just taped a rectangle around the cutesy with the Frog Tape and painted inside the rectangle with a couple coats of chalkboard paint.  Bye, bye cutesey.  Hello, good lookin'.

The lines created by the Frog Tape were sooo crisp and clean!  I have several big painting projects coming up and will totally be using Frog Tape.  Just don't tell my husband.  There are at least three rolls of that old blue stuff in the house. :(

Hope your 2011 is off to a great start!  Off to stock up on the green!

~ Karen

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Are you in a cooking rut?

I don't know about you, but I can really get into a rut with my cooking.  Seems like we eat the same stuff all the time. Last week I was perusing this:

And came across a delicious sounding, light version of mac 'n cheese made with smoked gouda and ham.  Well I tried it out tonight and it was awesome.   And it made plenty!!  We will be having it again later in the week for sure :)  If you have this particular magazine at home, check it out and give it a try - you will not be disappointed.  I paired it with cornbread and grilled asparagus.  And a fine pinot noir :)

Happy New Year!

~ Karen