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Lighted Reclaimed Lumber Christmas Sign (Tutorial)


I have a lot of nice comments on my Christmas Mantle this year, and I thought I would give you a quick tutorial on how I made the lighted wood sign.

Just like with my turkey silhouette sign for my Thanksgiving mantle, I took apart an old pallet with a crow bar and then nailed the planks tighthly back together with my nail gun. 

For some reason the boards were different thicknesses this time, so I put them all face down on the ground and nailed the support board to them (instead of nailing them into the support board.) Doing it that way insured that the exposed surface would be level:

I then stained the whole thing with some regular old woodstain:

Chocolate Pina Colada Frozen Bananas

I bought some bananas at Costco this week, and you know that goes.. when you buy bananas at Costco you REALLY BUY BANANAS!  I had about 12 of them, and there was no way we were going to eat them before they went bad.

Normally I freeze overripe bananas for banana bread, but currently I have plenty of  "one day I hope to be banana bread" 'nanners in the freezer so I had to think of something else.

My kids love Banana Babies and I knew I could easily make my own version.

I decided to kick it up a little but adding coconut (and almonds) to mine for more of a Pina Colada/Mounds/Almond Joy flavor.
 
This is a great recipe to do with the kids, since it is really easy, and how can you go wrong with melted chocolate and bananas?

"O Come Let Us Adore Him" Rustic Christmas Mantle


I finally got my mantle up for 2013.  Well, one of my mantles.  I decided I wanted to be super traditional with my formal living room mantle, and the kids' mantle will be more whimsical (just like I did in the fall). 

 My 2013 Christmas mantle features a simple rustic monochromatic color scheme of browns, whites and tans.

I made another large piece of pallet art, like I did with my thanksgiving mantle, only this time I added lights. (I will get the full tutorial up in a couple days.) You can find the tutorial on how I made it here I settled on silhouettes of the three wise men with "O Come Let Us Adore Him"

One side was accented with a few vases full of pine cones:

While the other side is nothing more than some simple taped candles and a paper mache reindeer I found at JoAnn's Fabrics
 

Compared to previous years, where all my mantles featured sparkle and bright colors, this is quite the change.

 It is cute during the day, but at night when the lights glow warmly, it is fantastic:
 

Just another example of how successful you can be with something if you are willing to go out of your comfort zone.
 Sharing at my favorite parties.

My Evening at Pinterest's San Francisco Headquarters!



If you have been browsing on Pinterest in the last 24 hours you may have seen their latest and greatest type of pin.. the PLACE PIN!  Well, last night Pinterest had a big roll out party at their San Francisco headquarters and I was one of 150 local "power pinners" who were invited to help celebrate!  You have NO IDEA how excited I was!

When I asked other people if they had been invited, the answer I always got was "No. But I'm jealous.. I wish I could see what it is like!"  I totally understand that.. and so I thought I would do a quick post to share my experience.   

(If you want to read the more technical side of the roll-out, (what it means for Pinterest's bottom line, the criticisms and the rationale behind the event go here, or here, or here.) There were "real" media on hand to cover this event but I AM NOT ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE! I'm just a Pinterest FanGirl.)


The Pinterest building itself is an old warehouse in the SoMa (South of Market) part of San Francisco.  The style is industrial vintage, and the entire place is filled with charming nosalgic items like old cameras and type writers:

In the waiting area, a very Pinterest-worthy gallery wall, with interchangeable frames holds their latest press releases and media buzz. 
Don't you just love the little "P" pillow and mid-century modern furniture?

Instead of magazines there was this vintage Apple 2e User's guide thrown on the coffee table.  It was delightfully quirky!
 

One of their big feature walls in the main atrium displays some wonderful neon art:

Honey Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Walnuts

I have converted my kids to be Brussels Sprout fans.  I can't believe I am saying that since I HATED sprouts.. Maybe I just never had any with bacon!  This recipe is great because it is sweet and salty, and the sprouts themselves are crispy and flaky, not at all mushy.

For this recipe you need:
Bacon 4 slices fried and crumbled
(I use the Kirkland pre-cooked crumbled bacon.. about 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1⁄4 cup honey
3 tablespoons rice wine (or cider) vinegar


Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Sprouts (about 1 pound.. or one stalk's worth)

One thing that makes sprouts more fun for my kids, is the fact we can buy them on the stalk (you can find them this way at Trader Joe's and most farmer's markets) and they think it is really cool. 
 

The reason I like them directly off the stalk, is that most of the heads tend to be smaller and less dried out.

To prepare the recipe: 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel off the damaged outer layer, and chop them in half:
 

Toss them in enough olive oil to coat, and add salt and pepper

Bake at 400 for 20-30 minutes.  (You can also toast the walnuts in the oven on a separate cookie sheet if you want a more nutty flavor)

While they are in the oven, combine the honey and vinegar.   IMMEDIATELY before serving toss together the honey-vinegar mix, bacon, walnuts and sprouts (If you let the dressing sit on the sprouts they lose their crispy texture):
 

This time I served mine with a grilled steak, and dinner was a huge hit!



And if you like this sprout recipe, you will DEFINITELY like this one:

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts 
with Balsamic and Brown Sugar

Stenciled Curtains: Vertical Accent Stripes (Waves)

In the nursery I knew I wanted to try painting some cheap Ikea curtains for a more custom look. (I decided on one pair of Lenda tab-top curtians which were less than $20!) I also thought, that because there was already so much color and pattern in the room,  I would have to make the curtains more subtle than I had originally planned. 

Using this photo as my new inspiration:
 
And my version:

How did I get that cool shape?

I used the new Wave Shape Tape by FrogTape (this IS NOT a sponsored post.. I just had a free sample of it from my swag bag at Haven.)
 
image courtesy FrogTape
To get the pattern I wanted, I needed two strips (one for each side of the wave.) In order to conserve tape I used a scissors to cut it down the middle:

And then I stuck it down on the curtain with the wavy sides facing each other (cut sides out):
 

I used a relatively dry brush with some leftover red sample paint to color in the stencil:

Here is the finished pattern:

I repeated the stripe approximately 6 inches from each end of the curtain:
  

Here is what they look like hanging in the room:
 
 I do love how they add a tiny pop of color without being large heavy stripes.
 
 

It isn't a huge detail, but it does make a big difference. Check out the before and after:

How to Turn Your Blogger Posts into Rich Pins on Pinterest

Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Pie with Belgium Cookie Crust

My family are not really fans of Pumpkin Pie, although I personally could eat my weight in it.   On the other hand, my kids will eat ice cream cake like it is going out of style..  So my holiday solution?

I made a hybrid version: A pie made from pumpkin ice cream.

It really is simple.  You aren't making the ice cream from scratch so the entire process only takes about 5 minutes (although you do patiently have to wait for the ice cream to harden before serving!)
Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Pie with Belgium Cookie Crust
For the pie (This recipe was adapted from bon appetit magazine):
Pacific Foods Organic Pumpkin Puree
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon*
1/2 tsp ginger*
1/2 tsp nutmeg*
1/4 tsp allspice*
2 quarts ice cream (I was able to find this size at Costco, you could also use the 1.5 quart size which is standard in most grocery stores now.. but your pie is thinner!)
*Or replace these ingredient with 2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice 

For the crust:
1 8.8 oz package of Biscoff Cookies *or* 7 ounces gingersnap cookies/graham crackers (to yield approx 1.5 cups crumbs)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3 oz butter, melted (6 Tbsp)

To prepare crust:
Preheat oven to 350.
Lightly butter spring-form pan (9 inch) or spray with non-stick spray.
Crush cookies to fine crumbs with rolling pin in zip-top bag (or process in food processor)


Mix in cinnamon and butter until damp clumps form.

Press evenly into bottom and sides of pan.

Bake 10-12 minutes until edges are golden, and allow to cool completely.

Alternately you could use a pre-made graham cracker crust.

To prepare filling:
Allow ice cream to soften on the counter (took about 30 minutes in my kitchen.)  You can also microwave at 10 second intervals to soften.
Combine all ingredients except ice cream and mix thoroughly.

 Gradually fold pumpkin mixture into ice cream. If your ice cream begins to get to runny, put back it back into the freezer and allow to re-harden before adding more pumpkin.

Scoop ice cream into cooled crust and cover with plastic wrap.
Allow to freeze at least 6 hours.

To serve: 
Remove from spring form pan and cut with knife which has been dipped in warm water.
I used Pacific Foods Organic Pumpkin Puree in this recipe.


mmmm... Pie!

 
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