Monday, February 12, 2018

A Couple of House Details

Some of you may remember my blog post about our fake fireplace. We had said that if worked on the living room floor, we would tear it out. However over time its charm grew on us and we opted to keep it!

This was the before. Totally dated!
Here it is now.
We decided not to put the accessories back on. This will allow for more decorating options. 

We have kept the kitchy fake wood that lights up and makes fire sounds. This is too funny to get rid of.

Then there was a kitchen cabinet issue. I stained the cabinets before the old counter came off. That counter had a lip so I was not able to get up to the top. So after the granite was installed, there was a section that looked really sad.

Jim's brilliant, super inexpensive idea was a piece of corner moulding.
He made the cuts and I stained it using a foam brush to get in those nooks and crannies. This took a few coats.
Big improvement! It looks rich and custom.
The espresso stain shows every little water drip but I am still in love with it!

I hope you enjoyed our minor improvements. Thank you for stopping by. ~Val

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Getting Creative With Stamping

I have started looking at my metal stamping kit in a different way, particularly with the stamps that I rarely use.

Here is the number 1
The number 5
The letter X
The ampersand symbol (I think this creates my favorite effect)
 The letter Z
The number 0
 My second favorite, the number 8, like little bubbles
Since the banging of metal is a fun activity I will continue to make more pieces with one of a kind patterns.

My latest favorite creation is these earrings with the number 8 stamped. I love the unique hand cut shape of the copper on these which I need to do more of!
Karma Earrings
I hope you have enjoy this glimpse of a new technique I have been playing around with!

Thank you for stopping by. ~ Val

Saturday, January 27, 2018

A Cheesy Mushroom Pie

I love having a husband who doubles as my personal chef! This is his original creation. There are probably like recipes out there but I have not looked. Luckily I wrote it down so it can be recreated. 

It is a savory, cheesy, delicious mushroom pie.
We normally cheat when we make anything needing crust so we used 2 store bought ones. The oven was heated to 375F.

A mushroom and bell pepper saute was started with olive oil, sliced mushrooms and chopped red bell pepper. To taste he added soy sauce, salt and pepper, a little veggie bullion for an added boost and some cornstarch to thicken.

Since this was a spur of the moment thing I do not have quantities. If too much saute is made, the leftovers would be perfect over rice or quinoa.
Then most importantly some red wine was added. A must with mushrooms! Yes I was having fun drinking wine and taking pictures. 🍷
The cheese used was a combination of shredded mozzarella, cheddar, parmesan and asiago.  The mozzarella was put on the bottom of the crust. Then the mushroom and pepper saute was poured in the shells. The remaining cheese topped it. Some mushroom and pepper were used to garnish the top.
This was baked for approximately 30 minutes until the crust was golden brown and the cheese was melted.

It is totally scrumptious (although not photogenic) on its own and would be perfect for a brunch. We also decided to add a little marinara sauce for dipping on the side. Great addition for the red saucer lover! 
With the buttery crust and all that cheese, this was so NOT healthy!

It is always fun to wing it in the kitchen, particularly when it is a success!

Thank you for stopping by! ~Val

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Metal Work Earrings

Finally replenishing my edgy metal earrings inventory since the holidays! Here are a few pairs.
After annealing the copper (which creates those bright colors) I start with hand cutting free form pieces. 
Then hammer to flatten.
Since the tips can be quite sharp I then trim them. The 2 on the left are untrimmed on the 2 on the right have trimmed corners.
Then I file all the edges so there is no discomfort for the wearer.
Time to punch the holes.
Sometimes the pieces are also hammered for texture. This just depends on my mood.
They are given further texture with steel wool. This also helps remove some of the patina that showed up upon heating the metal. This makes the darkening patina work more effectively.
Then there is some soaking in stinky liver of sulfur.
They come out like this.
I seal the patina with some glossy goodness that protects the metal and the finish as well as giving it a shiny and smooth feel. As you can see it also darkens the finish and helps bring out the bits of copper that show through.
At the end is the most fun part of deciding what to do with each pair and assembling them.

I started trying some different metal stamping ideas this past week so I will soon have some more one of a kind pretties coming up!

Thank you for stopping by! ~Val

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Spinach Artichoke Spaghetti Squash Recipe

This was so good to eat that it felt naughty!
I was looking around for something different to try with spaghetti squash and came across this savory recipe.

Below is my take on it. I have found it better to bake a spaghetti squash first then put it in a casserole dish for final baking. This way the filling goodness really gets into the "spaghetti". It is more cleanup than making them in the "boat" halves but is easier to divide up for future meals.

1 spaghetti squash
3 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup of chopped onion
1/2 cup light sour cream or plain yogurt 
3 ounces less fat cream cheese
3/4 cup grated parmesan, divided
3 cups packed baby spinach 
1 1/4 cups of marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

We happened to have the marinated artichoke hearts handy. If using non-marinated, you may want to add 3 cloves of minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste in the saute step.

First bake the spaghetti squash. I pierce the skin all over and bake at 425F for approximately 1 hour depending on the size. Once a fork easily pierces the skin, it is done.

Then let it cool for 10 minutes for so before cutting. 

While that is cooling, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5-8 minutes until tender. If adding garlic, salt and pepper, this is the time to add it. Toss for 1 minute.

Then add sour cream (or yogurt), cream cheese, and half the parmesan. Stir in spinach and artichoke hearts. Cook until spinach wilts. Remove from stove top. 

Yes it is like a savory spinach and artichoke dip!

Then cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. 

Scoop out 1 halve of the spaghetti squash into a 9 inch square baking dish. Then mix in half the cheese/veggie mixture. I like lots of cheese so I sprinkled a little extra parmesan and mozzarella on top of this layer. Then repeat with other squash half. Top with the rest of the cheese.
Place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted with a slight bit of brown coloring.

Enjoy!!! I was able to divide this dish up into 6 servings. Click here for the original recipe if you would like to make this in the boats.

I hope you feel inspired to try something new in the kitchen! Thank you for stopping by. ~Val

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

2017 Year in Review

I'm back from an unplanned blog world absence! 

At the end of October we were affected by the horrible hurricane season and lost power for 4 days. After being shut down for those days I just never got back into my normal routine since the holiday season was in full swing then.

I thought 2017 was pretty uneventful but when looking back in my blog I was wrong! Just the second half of the year was mellow.

Our kitchen went from this:
To this after staining the cabinets, painting the brick, replacing the dishwasher, replacing 2 light fixtures and adding a granite counter. The vintage ceiling fan is still in place but we just can't seem to find the right one to replace it with.
We tore up the downstairs flooring and discovered beautiful hardwood.
We hired a professional who replaced some old pine inlays and refinished the living room, hallway and dining room. What magicians and his crew were!
We removed 2 layers of nasty old linoleum from the kitchen and half bath. This was after most of the top layer was removed. Way worse than all the carpet removal we had to do! The odor we uncovered was quite unpleasant too.
Then we had luxury vinyl tile installed. It is quite a product. Everyone who sees it thinks it is ceramic until we tell them otherwise.

We created a hosta garden that flourished as the season went on. These plants were happy to be upcycled since they were formerly in the front yard having to deal with way too much sunshine!
After the last of contractor help around the house I was able to settle down and get into some fun stuff like the flame painting of copper.
oxidized pieces
and conversation pieces
I did my first craft fair in 8 years this past holiday season. That was fun so I am hoping to sign up for more in 2018!

I hope you had a wonderful 2017 too. Wishing you an amazing, fulfilling 2018! ~Val

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Conversation Pieces

This is a new line I have started with conversation pieces meant to initiate a fun chat for its wearer.
This phrase below is popular in our house after watching The Leftovers which had a great cover of the song!
Another phrase we love since people are not quite sure how to react to it! The line made famous by Herman Melville's Bartleby the Scrivener.
One of my personal favorites is Under Construction. It has multiple meanings. Sometimes we are simply restructuring ourselves through education, a life change, etc. For others it always applies! Most small business owners can totally relate.
 At times we need to remind ourselves that this too shall pass.
So there are a lot more ideas being thrown around.

These necklaces hang as 18 inch on a stainless steel chain but can be adjusted to shorter or longer lengths. They come in kraft box ready for gift giving in my Etsy Shop

I hope you enjoy seeing some of my new items! They certainly are fun to make. ~Val

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Magic Love Crow

Today I am sharing a darling package of stickers I received from the ever so talented Stacy of Magic Love Crow.
She paints crows. 😀
Some are baby crows. If I had a little one I would love to decorate the nursery with a collection of these cuties. I can see children loving them just as much as adults!

How stunning is this one below?
Then there are these magnificent paintings that evoke so much emotion.
There is such strength and inspiration in these piece!
I think this one below is my favorite. Although picking a favorite is next to impossible!
So Stacy is in the process of adding merchandise to her shop with her artwork on it. That is going to be an amazing way for her work to be showcased! The stickers are a great size at approximately 3.5 inch x 2.5 inch.

Stop my Magic Love Crow on Etsy to enjoy her beautiful works!

Thank you for stopping by! ~Val