When I started thinking about what kind of decorations I would use for my nephew’s graduation I immediately thought of school supplies. The iconic black and white marble composition notebook is synonymous with school and so I made simple place cards using that idea. I created a “Notes” box in Microsoft word and then placed them onto a composition book. I made copies on card stock and simply cut them out. They were attached with a paperclip to a piece of ribbon that I found at Tinsel Trading Co. on Lexington Avenue a few weeks ago in Fordham colors.
I love to use Engineer Prints from Staples for a graduation. I took these on my iphone the day before the party, uploaded them to the Staples website and picked them up a few hours later. So easy and two prints for less than $5.
A Sharpie water based paint pen with a bold tip for a little decoration right at the front door. The cup cake toppers are from Zazzle. They are stickers and along with red velvet cupcakes in Fordam red creating a simple centerpiece. I chose a photo of Ryan from a golf tournament last fall at Yale vs. Fordham. Everything was easy, inexpensive, but personalized with school colors and photos. Congratulations Ryan!
This is a project I did last year for Mother’s Day and again at Valentine’s Day. This time I used the same simple water colors but was inspired by the clay pots and planters in terracotta and zinc. I wrote notes on the back and will tuck them into my mom’s card and packages. It’s an easy project that you could do with your toddler or any age child. Each heart is cut with a heart punch and no two are alike.
Our night will include a little fresh guacamole, quesadillas made from left over fajitas. (I keep making Smitten Kitchen Sizzling Fajitas). The great thing about these fajitas is that making them once is like making two meals. The leftover savory peppers and onions mixed with a little cheese makes the perfect quesadilla. Setting the table starts with a colorful runner I found with a friend in San Diego. She shared her favorite thrift stores and donut spot. Now that was a perfect day! A few religious candles, a re-purposed enchilada sauce can for a vase and of course some festive drinks. Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone!
When we were little, May Day was a big day. Until my sister and I were seven, we lived in Minnesota, so I’m not sure if it’s a Midwest thing or what, but it was a day to be celebrated. Any by that I mean candy and flowers were at the center of it all, but to me it was all about making and filling the baskets. One year my mom actually got strawberry baskets and ribbon ahead of time, but mostly we used whatever we had on hand. Dixie cups, colorful construction paper rolled into a cone shapes with holes punched for a ribbon to be attached as a handle. We would fill the cups or cones with flowers (spring flowers that were popping all over the yard and garden at this time of year) and candy and then hang them on the recipients door, ring the doorbell and run. That was all part of it….that the May Day Basket (cup or cone) was left anonymously. Such a funny tradition that seems to have faded away. I always make a few May Day baskets for my friends and this year I made short bread cookies with a lemon glaze, lemon candies in a weck jar and a lemon-thyme plant.
I sealed each package of shortbread cookies with a 2.5″ round sticker from Minted.com.
Since my May Day theme was lemon I opted for a lemon-thyme plant rather than flowers.
These adorable note cards are from Minted.com. They are made of heavy card stock and add the perfect touch to my baskets.
I used white lunch bags I found at Walmart and just cut a scalloped edge and then used a hole punch. I lined each bag with the top part that I cut off to make the bottom of the bag a little sturdier.
Happy May Day!
Coming up with a theme for my son’s 15th birthday was easy this year thanks to Minted! I love Minted for Christmas cards of course, but their personalized party decorations make it easy and memorable! For the banner I chose black & white photos, but it would look beautiful in color too! The banner is made of heavy coated card stock and I uploaded three recent photos of my son playing baseball. The banner could be used several times without the photos for other birthday recipients. The photo collage personalized wrapping paper is amazing. You can upload several photos and use all color, all black and white as I did or a combination. It comes with five thick sheets of wrapping paper and instantly becomes part of the birthday decor. One more item from Minted was the table runner. It added an additional layer of something personalized. I added glasses from a thrift store in silver, gold candles and black and white straws. All of the inspiration came from Minted and Patrick’s love of baseball. (and my love of everything in shades of black, white and wood)
I created a new collage wall in our tiny powder room on the main floor. It’s in our entryway right as you walk in and there’s another door that’s a closet. Luckily, Terrain has the perfect little vintage looking metal sign with a WC. For the collage wall I used my favorite piece from Minted.com. (Top right). It’s called Sedona and definitely has that vibe. My husband and I were engaged in Sedona so we love it. The black and white photo of a palm tree was in our backyard in our California house. I say was, because apparently it was blocking someone’s view up the street from us and we had to have it removed. I took a photo right before it was gone. The piece on the left I found last week at Carousel Thrift store in Southport, CT. It was $10 and it’s an original signed drawing. It’s really quite beautiful and I love how they all look on the graphite walls. Minted has tons of great Wall Art Prints and today is the last day of the sale. Minted is celebrating Six years and everything on the site is 15% off, but hurry!
I made simple DIY Easter cards for about the same price as a store bought greeting card. As soon as I saw these simple, but beautiful seed packets at Terrain in Westport I knew I could do something with them for Easter cards this year. I love the packaging, the font…all of it. Baker Creek also has seed packets that are black with gorgeous fruit and flower seeds, but since I’m sending these to people in all different growing zones I needed something that would work everywhere. Also, as beautiful as their watermelon seeds packets are….I kinda had a feeling that not everyone would really plant them. So I bought the white Parsley Seed packets and cut card board squares painted with chalkboard paint. I taped the seed packets and plant markers with a green checked washi tape to the cardboard. I used a white chalk marker to write a simple greeting on the front and included a personalize note on the back. Each card then went into a square envelope I found at Staples in the clearance section. I sealed them with my tinyprints gift tag stickers. They not only look beautiful, but they worked very well in sealing the envelopes.
Naturally I was thrilled that USPS has Vintage Seed packet Forever Stamps available right now! How perfect is that? The cost of each card including three postage stamps was about $4.45. I already had the chalkboard paint and washi tape and I used cardboard from clean cardboard boxes I had on hand.
Last November we went to Paradise Valley, Arizona for my nieces beautiful wedding. Madeline was in the bridal party and once we returned back to the East Coast she kept talking about how much she loved the chicken salad. The wedding was at their club and there was a wonderful spread of sandwiches, fruit, drinks and cookies for the girls to keep up their energy during the day of prepping for the big event.
I could not find the actual recipe, but my sister has been eating their chicken salad for 30 years. She gave me a pretty good description and basically stressed the importance of mincing everything. It’s not so much a recipe as it is a combination. All I know is that Madeline has requested this on every visit home and I make it for her to take back to school.
Paradise Valley Chicken Salad
(according to Lynn)
2 Pounds of the best boneless chicken breasts you can buy, washed and trimmed.
Celery with leaves
carrots, scrubbed and left whole
one red onion, cut in half and peeled
a tablespoon of black peppercorns
Place the chicken in a large heavy pan of water and then add the vegetables and peppercorns. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and let simmer until chicken is fully cooked. Remove the chicken and discard the vegetables.
Cook the chicken to 180 degrees. I never trust myself with chicken so I use a meat thermometer.
Once the chicken is cooked, but while it is still warm, cut it into a small dice. Add one stalk celery and one or two green onions, diced fine. Mix it all together with about 2/3 cup Hellmann’s Mayonnaise and salt and pepper to taste. So easy, but delicious.
Shallot Confit makes everything better. We used to make Onion Confit and used it mainly on pizza. The recipe was from The New Basics Cookbook. It was 1989 and we were making pizzas with onion confit and fennel or rosemary potatoes. We obviously thought we were very cool. Over the years Onion Confit turned into Shallot Confit and I make it almost every week. Last week we added it to pizza with Fontina cheese. On the weekend we had paninis with a little shallot confit sandwiched between very thin slices of Gruyere. Tonight I’ll be adding it to green beans. It’s amazing. Really. Have you tried it?
About a dozen shallots, peeled and sliced
Olive oil, salt and pepper, sherry vinegar
In a heavy pan, add enough olive oil to cover the pan. Add the shallots and stir often over medium heat. It takes about 6 or 7 minutes for the shallots to start to turn a little golden. Once they begin to turn, watch them very closely as it happens to go quickly. Add salt and pepper and continue to stir. Once they are very dark golden in color, add a splash of sherry vinegar and remove from the heat. Continue to stir for a minute and then let cool. Store in an airtight container for up to three days in the refrigerator.