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Friday, July 15, 2011

Blackberry Peach Crostata

Loosely based on this Barefoot Contessa recipe and featuring blackberries I found growing behind our garden shed!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

DIY Skim Coat: The Magic Trowel

*Steven rolling on the joint compound in the master bedroom*

As I mentioned previously, Steven did the skim coating of the master bedroom and nursery walls himself. Just like in the downstairs rooms that we renovated last year, these 2 rooms had rough, unfinished horse hair plaster under the wallpaper...but unlike the downstairs, we decided to save money and try to DIY. If it came out less than perfect, so be it.

We did, however, have our plasterer redo the ceilings in the 2 bedrooms--new blue board & plaster--as they were probably going to collapse on our heads within the next couple of years. Signed, Chicken Little

So anyways, Steven did his usual exhaustive research and came across a specialty tool called The Magic Trowel. Despite its rather infomercial-y vibe, the reviews were promising, so we decided to give it a try.

And it works! You basically use a paint roller to apply thinned out joint compound to the wall, then come along with the Magic Trowel and smooth it out. Of course there are some tricks here and there...getting the joint compound to the right consistency and keeping the applied compound & trowel nice and moist, for example...but all in all it's a great tool and Steven did a great job!
*See how smooth the just-troweled section to the right is?*

The 18" trowel costs about 25 bucks, and a 5 gallon bucket of all purpose joint compound is only about $14 at the home improvement stores, so we saved a serious chunk of change (hundreds) by going this route. Not too shabby!
*Freshly skimmed and primed*

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

*My grandmother's flag cake*

I hope everyone is enjoying the long holiday weekend! Hopefully it's filled with good things like BBQs, fireworks, sunshine, swimming, and good company. Here are some other good things on my radar lately...

...a cute accessory for the bathroom
(Steven's commentary when he vetoed it: "What, do we own a McD's in London or something?")

...stumped on what to read next? get suggestions HERE.

...i would love to have a great outdoor living area directly behind the house one day.

...Maine, i miss you.

...no bake cookies are so simple that it's easy to overlook them. until you get a wild & desperate hankering for them as i did last weekend.

Happy 4th!

Friday, July 1, 2011

S'mores Cupcakes

One of many nice things about being on pre-maternity leave is having the opportunity to play housewife and surprise Steven with something special from the kitchen when he gets home. Sometimes the surprise is simply having dinner ready when he walks in the door, and sometimes it's a little more exciting, like these s'mores cupcakes.

It's fair to say that Steven is rather enthusiastic about s'mores--he's been known to recite s'mores related quotes from The Sandlot, and when fireside, is personally offended by any deviation from traditional s'mores making protocol. Since I suspect that our next camping trip will be a long way off, I thought these cupcakes would be a fantastic "Honey, I'm hoooome!" treat.

And I was right. They are sinfully good!
Basically a graham cracker cupcake filled with a dollop of marshmallow fluff and topped with chocolate ganache, then topped off with piped fluff and toasted under the broiler, these cupcakes are a gooey mess of deliciousness. And unlike many s'mores inspired foods (I'm looking at you, PopTarts.) they absolutely capture the essence of that simple fireside wonder.

Absolutely delicious with a cold glass of milk!Recipe HERE. Another s'mores cupcake recipe I want to try HERE.
(Hey, if there's one thing I'm learning from reading Julia Child's memoir, it's that one must be thorough in the kitchen! ;)