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art to help hunger

March 24, 2017

sand dollar bowl

A work colleague was recently made aware of a really cool community service project and I – with a group of friends – got involved to help the cause!

a cherry blossom bowl pleasure in simple things blog

painting bowls hunger project

The charity we identified created an ‘empty bowls’ event.  This entailed a modest soup meal donated by a restaurant with the charity offering the meal for sale to the public.  Guests at the event also had the opportunity, while enjoying some soup, to purchase an ‘empty bowl.’  The proceeds from the bowls, in addition to the meal, were then used to feed the hungry.  A great idea, right?

painting bowl with pet

Are you wondering why someone would be motivated to buy an empty bowl?  Well, the bowls were all hand decorated!  “Who decorated the bowls,” you ask?  Why, myself and my group of friends – in addition to many other volunteers – all in all there were over 1,000 decorated bowls for sale at the event!painting bowls in process pleasure in simple things blogFor today’s Friday field trip, I am sharing some photos of the bowls decorated by my inspired group!

wishing you joy bowl

Some simple pottery bowls were painted, and later fired, in preparation for the ‘empty bowls’ event.  Every bowl we decorated (after it was fired) was sold at the event and the proceeds used to help feed the hungry.  I love the whole concept of this event!

painting bowls for hunger

I hope today’s post has inspired you to participate in some community service – or, better yet, to create your own ‘empty bowls’ event in your area!

unfired and fired bowls

The bowls on the left are the ‘before’ and the bowls on the right are ‘after’ the firing process…ready to be sold at the event!

Thanks for stopping by!

painting bowls with love pleasure in simple things blog

Enjoy your weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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diy easter bird nests

March 21, 2017

forsythia and nest pleasure in simple things blog

In the spirit of spring, today I am sharing an easy DIY for one of the many nests I make out of edible materials.  This one is simply shredded wheat and chocolate chips.

candy easter nest by pleasure in simple things blog

The shredded wheat is the original unsweetened variety that comes in the big ‘logs’…I think you must know what I am referring to.  For the chips, I have used butterscotch flavored chips – chosen because of the color.  You can use the chocolate ones if you prefer a dark brown color for your nests.  White chips are also an option and can be used as white or can be tinted with food coloring in any color you choose.

nests for Easter pleasure in simple things blog

To make:  For 4 small nests, you will need 2 shredded wheat ‘logs’ and about 6 ounces of butterscotch pieces.  First, separate the wheat logs as shown below and set aside.

candy nest collage

nests pleasure in simple things blogMelt the butterscotch pieces slowly over a double boiler just until melted.  Remove from heat and gently fold in the prepared shredded wheat until coated.  Form four nests on waxed paper and leave to harden.  Use jellybeans or small candy eggs to decorate.

These nests make great table decor and are perfect on an Easter table.

nest place card pleasure in simple things blog

I hope I have inspired you to create some of your own nests!

rabbits and nest pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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an alligator encounter

March 17, 2017

alligator jaws pleasure in simple things blog

A recent work trip to Florida gave me the opportunity to see an alligator close up! I have been to Florida before, but never really got the chance to check one out.

The first one I saw in the wild looked like this:

alligator in the wild pleasure in simple things blog

Creepy looking, isn’t it?  Then, I got the chance to hear a little about alligators and their habits at a sanctuary from someone that actually handles the alligators…and, this was one of the monsters he handles!

a huge alligator pleasure in simple things blog

I found this guy really fascinating!  He looked so prehistoric!  Look at the surface of his body up close!

reptile skin pleasure in simple things blog

Now, look how ‘up close’ the handler got!

crazy alligator handler pleasure in simple things blog

open wide pleasure in simple things does naples

Yikes!  I would never get close to that one!  But, I did touch one of the smaller ones…of course it wasn’t possible for the one I touched to open his jaw the way the big one did!

I hope you enjoyed sharing my first alligator encounter on today’s Friday field trip!

touching an alligator pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a fabulous weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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hanging plants in eggs diy

March 14, 2017

plant diy hanging eggs pleasure in simple things blog

It does seem a little bit crazy to think that while the snow is piling up outside, I am posting an Easter project!  But, hey – we have already changed the clocks and Target has more flavors of Peeps on display than I have ever seen in my entire life!  There are even Peep Oreos on the shelves!  So, I will not feel guilty about starting Easter DIYs!

diy Easter hanging eggs pleasure in simple things blog

And, if 2 feet of snow is happening while I post this, so be it!  Today’s Easter DIY is a simple one – hanging plants…but, the plants are hanging in eggs!  I guess I could have made the egg hangers myself.  It would probably have been long and tedious work not to break any shells in the process.  And, putting the holes in the eggs would be very delicate work!

hanging eggs pleasure in simple things blog

Instead, I found the eggs at Terrain for $2.50 a piece…a price well worth the convenience!  With hanging eggs at the ready, the project was super simple…I just planted – very carefully – in each of the eggs and hung them from branches.  Don’t they look super festive!

planting hanging eggs pleasure in simple things blog

If you want to do this project completely on your own, you can empty out the eggs, make 2 holes and add twine for hanging, but I recommend purchasing eggs ready to go from Terrain!  Or, if you prefer, plant in eggs that don’t hang.  (I like to plant shamrocks or pansies in eggshells.)  For this project, I chose to plant in natural eggs, but you may decide to plant in eggs that you have dyed.  Have fun with it!

diy hanging egg pleasure in simple things blog

I hope I have inspired you to plant in eggshells!

Thank you for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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tommy bahama’s

March 10, 2017

Tommy Bahamas in Naples Florida

You know I love posting warm weather photos on snowy days!  Well, today we have snow here in Connecticut, so for Friday field trip I am posting photos from a recent business trip to Florida!

Tommy Bahama booth Naples pleasure in simple things blog
These photos are from a lunch at the original Tommy Bahamas!  Where is the original Tommy Bahamas?  In Naples, Florida.

Tommy Bahama table pleasure in simple things blog

Naples photos pleasure in simple things blog
Located on charming, historic Third Street South and a short walk from the Naples Pier,  the original Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar has been a part of the Naples scene of over 20 years.

Naples Tommy pleasure in simple things blog

A meal at Tommy Bahama’s was a nice way to spend some of an afternoon in Naples.

Tommy Bahama pleasure in simple things blog

The best part of lunch?  (No, not the key lime pie!)  Spending time with the people I shared it with. :)

Naples fish pleasure in simple things blog
Thanks so much for stopping by!

Naples store front pleasure in simple things blog

Naples store TB pleasure in simple things blog
Have a marvelous weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things…like sharing a lunch with friends!

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before & after bedside table

March 7, 2017

Bedroom table after photos pleasure in simple things blog

Today, I am sharing the ‘after’ photos of the little mahogany side table I shared last post.  The piece belonged to the owner’s great grandmother and I was determined to redo the table to  fit nicely  into her new home.

before and after side table with Annie Sloan ochreDid you guess what neutral I chose to paint the piece?  I decided on Annie Sloan old ochre.  It is a nice neutral that has a warm tone and will combine well with both white and gold tones.  The piece will be used as a bedside table and, since I’ve seen the bedding in the room, I decided to find accessories to combine with the piece to look great in its new location!

Bedroom side table after photo pleasure in simple things blog

I started with a coat of shellac since the mahogany was sure to show through a light color paint.  Next,  I painted the piece with two coats of Annie Sloan chalk paint in old ochre.  Then, I added a coat of clear wax.  In keeping with the tastes of the owner of the piece, I didn’t do any distressing, but I did add a coat of dark wax in some spots.  This accented some of the details and added a little depth  of color.

Bedroom side table after photos wax pleasure in simple things blog

For the hardware, I used the original pull and just added a little metallic to brighten up the old finish.

Bedroom side table after hardware pleasure in simple things blog

Lastly, I added some fun accessories to coordinate with the bedroom where the little table will be residing.  The tea leaves scented candle, lamp, print, and plant all came from Target.  The cute succulent paper I used for the drawer liner came from Paper Source.

Bedroom side table after photo drawer pleasure in simple things blog

For such a straight forward paint job, it created quite an update, don’t you think?

Can’t wait to see the table with the new accessories in its new home!

Thank you so much for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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its always in the details

March 3, 2017

Bedside Table revamp acessories pleasure in simple things blog

A February day with temps in the high 50’s?  What does that mean?  Furniture painting projects, of course!

Because of space limitations, nearly all my furniture redo projects are limited to the outdoors.  With the record breaking temperature last week, thoughts of tackling one of the projects in queue was inevitable.  I decided to start with a little bedside table that would be a straight-forward project.  The owner wants a simple, single color neutral as a finish.  And, even though I really want to paint the piece charcoal gray and sand and stain the top, I think it is important to create something the owner would truly love in her home.  Especially since the piece belonged to her great grandmother.

bBefore Mahogany Side table pleasure in simple things blog

The table just needs a little love to make it current.

For Friday field trip today, I am giving you a ‘before’ photo and a little hint of the details I have started to put together to make the piece perfect for the owner.  I am putting together some accessories to go with the finished piece to make it really personal to the recipient.

Bedside Table revamp drawer pull pleasure in simple things blog

Can you guess what color I am painting the piece?

Remember, the owner wants a neutral.  I will give you a hint that it is an Annie Sloan color.

Bedside Table drawer liner pleasure in simple things blog

Well, let me get back to work…

I hope you will join me on Tuesday to check out the finished piece!

Thank you so much for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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march book giveaway!

February 28, 2017

mar bookgiveaway jar salads pleasure in simple things

I am kind of obsessed with food in mason jars.  Mainly because I am trying so hard not to use plastic for storing and serving foods!  It is part of my commitment to eating healthier!

When I starting flipping through the recipe book Jar Salads by Alexander Hart recently, while shopping at Terrain, I knew it needed to be the March giveaway selection for the blog!

The book inspires me to create some new jar salad combinations, and I am sure it will do the same for you!  I love putting together healthful combinations of fresh ingredients to take on the go and this book is a great guide to creating fresh and transportable salads to eat throughout the day!

mar 2017 giveaway book pleasure in simple things blog

The recipes in the book are divided into four categories:  vegetarian, seafood, poultry, and meat.  There are fifty-two inventive salads – literally, a new one for every week in the year!  From a Mexican-inspired vegetarian taco salad to Vietnamese pork and vermicelli noodle salad, there are plenty of taste combinations to try!  Just add a bunch of fresh ingredients to a screw-top mason jar and you are good to go!

mar book 2017 pleasure in simple things

Leave a comment on this post to be entered to win the March giveaway!  Best of luck!

Thanks to everyone that entered to win last month’s giveaway drawing!  Congratulations to Cynthia from Connecticut, the winner of the February giveaway, Sweeter off the Vine:  Fruit Desserts for Every Season by Yossy Arefi.  I know you will enjoy creating fruit desserts using this wonderful book Cynthia!

Instagram users, read on!  For March, let’s share photos of ‘all things in jars.’  It can be an inventive salad, some homemade soup, or a layered dessert…whatever you are eating from a jar, use hashtag #pleasuregram to share a photo!

march instagram challenge 2017

Thank you for stopping by!  Wishing you a great start to March…can’t wait to change those clocks!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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open door tea

February 24, 2017

Open door tea desserts pleasure in simple things blog

Just like favorite shopping spots, I have my favorite healthy eating spots. The most frequented are the ones close to Interstate 95 since that is where I travel most  – along the Connecticut coastline.

Salad with warm squash pleasure in simple things blog

If I happen to be in Stratford, that favorite is Open Door Tea.  Relatively new, this gem was opened by a former nutritionist in an area health food store.  A small storefront nestled in a strip mall in Paradise Green (the geographical center of the town), it is easy to drive by this little cafe without noticing it.  Do yourself a favor and don’t drive by!  Stop in and have my favorite – The Open Door Salad – a wonderful salad topped with warm squash!

open door mural pleasure in simple things blog

There are also a few tasty specials on the daily menu in addition to the great selection of food and baked goods on the regular menu.

mural detail from open door tea pleasure in simple things blog

The friendly atmosphere is enhanced by a painted mural – a representation of the restaurant owner’s hometown in Poland.

Poland mural pleasure in simple things blog open door
A wide selection of hot teas is available as well as a selection of iced teas.

decorative cup pleasure in simple things blog

Treat yourself to a delicious and healthful meal at Open Door Tea if you should find yourself in the Stratford area.

teacups at open door pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for stopping by for today’s Friday field trip.

a tea selection open door tea pleasure in simple things blogHave a wonderful weekend!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things…like enjoying a great lunch with a friend!  xo Jackie

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maple vinaigrette

February 21, 2017

maple vinaigrette with wheatberry salad pleasure in simple things blog

I normally don’t add salad dressing to my salads.  I figure, why add extra calories and chemicals (from commercial salad dressings) when it isn’t needed?  I like the taste of most salads on their own.  If I really think my salad needs a little something, I would probably squirt a little fresh lemon or orange juice onto the greens.

With that said, I did recently make and add this easy maple vinaigrette to a salad after seeing the recipe in a piece about maple syrup in Real Simple magazine!  I love maple syrup and I happened to have all the ingredients on hand when I saw the recipe in the magazine.

maple vinaigrette ingredients pleasure in simple things blog

I think it is worth sharing…easy, tasty, and healthful!  Thank you Real Simple (recipe credited to Julia Levy)!

Maple Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid.  Shake until well combined.  Toss with salad greens.

maple vinaigrette recipe pleasure in simple things blog

I have decided using a homemade salad dressing on my daily salad once in a while is a nice change!

a salad with maple vinaigrette pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things…like a homemade salad dressing!  Jackie xo

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