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october book giveaway!

September 30, 2014

The cheesemonger's seasons - a giveaway book pleasure in simple things

It’s that time! Since it is the last day of September, I am announcing the winner of the September book giveaway and the book selection for the October giveaway.

Congratulations to Lee from Texas, winner of the book Inspire: The Art of Living with Nature. Lee was chosen at random from the selection of people responding in some way through the blog, social media, or email to let me know they wanted the chance to win. I know you will find this book inspiring Lee!

For October, I have chosen the book The Cheesemonger’s Seasons: Recipes for Enjoying Cheeses with Ripe Fruits and Vegetables by Chester Hastings. Organized by season, this book provides ninety of the author’s favorite inspired recipes that combine fine cheeses with the ripest, freshest fruits and vegetables. It is a must-have for a cheese lover’s cookbook shelf.  Win this book and you will be rewarded with new ways to celebrate the deliciousness of cheese!

giveaway book for october pleasure in simple things

We all know once October concludes, the holidays seem to arrive fast and furious! Don’t we all enjoy finding some new selections to serve our guests each year?  Recipes from this book are the perfect way to create some new dishes to serve during your holiday entertaining.

Just leave a comment on this post for a chance to win the October selection. The winner will be chosen at the end of October – chosen at random from all comments left to me on this post, social media, or email asking to be entered. Good luck!

giveaway book for october pleasure in simple things

For those of you following on Instagram, this month’s challenge is to share photos of pumpkins…you know I am partial to white pumpkins, but any pumpkin that hits your fancy will do! It would be great to see some of your design creations using pumpkins or some photos of your visit to a nursery or pumpkin patch…have fun with it!

Can’t wait to see the posts!  And, if you aren’t an Instagram follower – why aren’t you?!  I love Instagram and sharing inspirations – I invite you to follow along @pleasureinsimplethings.  Remember to use the hashtag #pleasuregram to share your pumpkin photos during the month of October. :)

October Instagram challenge pleasure in simple things

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

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a passion for purple

September 26, 2014

a pleasure in simple things friday field trip to Smith's in Niantic

Before we start Friday field trip today, I will give you fair warning…if you have an aversion to the color purple – step away from the computer!

a purple flowers and a bee pleasure in simple things friday field trip

Why? Because the nursery we are visiting has adopted purple as their signature color and it is very obvious!

 purple flowers in a purple truck pleasure in simple things friday field trip

These are photos I took at Smith’s Acres; a small family owned and operated garden shop in Niantic, Connecticut.

 purple coneflowers pleasure in simple things friday field trip

purple garden utensils pleasure in simple things friday field trip

I thought it would be fun to share a few photos of the purple on display on Smith’s before all the fall colors set in and we are seeing everything in yellow, orange, and red.

 purple flower  posts pleasure in simple things friday field trip

purple flowers in a chair pleasure in simple things friday field trip

The purple definitely makes a statement! What do you think? I am not a purple fan, but you gotta love a theme!

 pleasure in simple things friday field trip purple flowers

Thanks for stopping by!

 purple nursery pleasure in simple things friday field trip

Have a wonderful weekend and remember to find pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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antique school desk redo & fall welcome

September 23, 2014

school desk after photo with hydrangeas pleasure in simple things

This year’s start to the school year was very sad for me – no one to send off to the first day of school! Luckily, I found a distraction! I renovated an old school desk. I found the perfect way to welcome the new school year and the new season!

autumn quote pleasure  in simple things

This old wooden one-piece school desk was in my friend’s basement and it was just crying out for some attention. I decided to try Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint since I haven’t yet had the opportunity to do so. I used a color called grain sack – instantly my favorite in the line… it is a wonderful neutral. I was hoping to create a real chippy looking finish, but that wasn’t in the stars!

before and after photo old school desk pleasure in simple things

Mixing the paint myself, I thought if I skipped adding the bonding agent that helps the paint adhere to the surface, I would get tons of chipping… that didn’t happen. I guess the surface of my piece was too porous? Any experienced milk paint people willing to contemplate the lack of chippyness? I guess I need a little more experimentation with the paint to figure it out.

after photos school desk redo pleasure in simple things

 finished school desk with hydrangeas pleasure in simple things

So, without the chippyness, I decided to distress the finish. And, even though the piece didn’t chip, I love the way it came out. Of course, this old desk wouldn’t be complete without adding a chalkboard finish to the writing surface! After I finished waxing the rest of the piece, I used chalkboard spray paint on the desk’s writing surface – carefully masking off the finished sections of the piece.

 a desk redo with chalk board pleasure in simple things after photo

Can’t you just hear the school bell ringing? I can also hear the whisper of the new season in the air. The kiss of autumn has already started turning the hydrangeas a subtle color of pink.

autumn quote with hydrangrea pleasure in simple things

Happy fall, my friends.  Thanks so much for stopping by, Jackie

Sharing with Finding Silver PenniesLiz Marie Blog, Craftberry Bush, Miss Mustard Seed, Inspiring Hearts & Homes, and AKA Design.

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coastal table redo (before & after)

September 19, 2014

 coastal table redo chatham pleasure in simple things

We are not traveling very far for today’s field trip…I want to show you one of my all-time favorite furniture transformations. This revamped piece is called Chatham – the name of a wonderfully enchanting seaside town in Cape Cod, Massachusetts…this town, like the table – is one of my favorites!

before collage Chatham table pleasure in simple things

When a friend showed me this piece in her garage and offered me the opportunity to give it a little loving care, I jumped at the chance! It was just one of those pieces that immediately got me inspired!  I couldn’t wait to give the table a coastal look!

anthropologie compass knobs on revamped coastal table pleasure in simple things

I knew right away I wanted to strip the top so I could give it a driftwood look. And, I had a specific Anthropologie knob in mind right from the start! Actually, four knobs since the single drawer on this piece used four knobs.

using Citristrip on coastal table redo pleasure in simple things

I chose Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Duck Egg for the main part of the piece.

Furniture redo in process pleasure in simplet things

Here are the steps I used for this transformation:

• Strip top using Citristrip stripping gel (a wonderful product recommended to me by Danielle over at Finding Silver Pennies).
• Paint (all but top) with two coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Duck Egg
• Apply a wash to top of piece (using a clean lint-free cloth) with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White (thinned heavily with water)
• Paint detail on drawer front and around legs (using same thinned mixture above, careful not to let it drip)
• Apply a coat of Annie Sloan Clear Wax
• Sand & lightly distress
• Apply a second coat of clear wax

a chatham coastal table redo after photo pleausre in simple things

a chatham coastal table redo pleasure in simple things

chatham table after pleasure in simple things

a chatham coastal table redo pleasure in simple things

As the finishing touch, I added a pretty blue watercolor patterned paper as a drawer liner. I am so happy with the way the piece came out. What do you think?

a coastal table redo chatham after pleasure in simple things

Thanks so much for stopping by! Enjoy the last weekend of summer and pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Sand & Sisal, Coastal Charm,   Finding Silver Pennies and  Miss Mustard Seed.

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pink velvet pumpkins to celebrate health

September 16, 2014

velvet pink pumpkins help celebrate october breast cancer awareness pleasure in simple things

I make velvet pumpkins at this time of year, as you may already know!  One of the fun parts about making the pumpkins is choosing the fabric. I love finding new and different velvets each year to make my velvet pumpkins – adding real pumpkin stems as a finishing detail.

 velvet pink pumpkin for breast cancer awareness pleasure in simple things

One velvet that I continue to use every year is a pink one. Since breast cancer awareness month is in October, what better way to celebrate it than with a pink velvet pumpkin!

pink pumpkins for breast cancer awareness pleasure in simple things

Every year I make some pink pumpkins to give to friends that have survived breast cancer that I may see during the month of October. (One year I had the opportunity to give a pink pumpkin to breast cancer survivor Hoda Kotb when I met her at a book signing!)

breast cancer awareness pink pumpkin diy

A pink pumpkin makes a thoughtful gift for a breast cancer survivor and displaying one is a wonderful reminder of breast cancer awareness month.

pink velvet pumpkins for breast cancer awareness pleasure in simple things

This year, for a friend celebrating 5 years cancer-free, I added a ‘5’ using a wooden tag stamped with the number 5.

pink velvet pumpkin with 5 year cancer free tag pleasure in simple things

A pink velvet pumpkin is a subtle and beautiful reminder of breast cancer awareness month. If you would like to make your own velvet pumpkin for yourself or a friend, click here for my tutorial.

Thanks for stopping by, Jackie

P.S. The ribbon used on the ‘5’ pumpkin was inexpensive white seam binding tape I bought on clearance and dyed with strong coffee…some of my favorite ribbon!

Sharing with Nancherrow, Crafts a la ModeCraftberry Bush, AKA Design, and  Sand & Sisal.

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the best park in nyc

September 12, 2014

 view of the Hudson River from the High Line NYC pleasure in simple things

 view of city streets on the High Line NYC pleasure in simple things

I can’t deny that Central Park is magnificent, but it is not my favorite park in New York City. For Friday field trip today, I am sharing a glimpse of my favorite park in the city. It not only provides an amazing display of shrubs, grasses, trees and perennials that rival any public garden, but also provides a unique view of the city from 30 feet above the ground!

 black eyed susans along the High Line NYC pleasure in simple things

 grafitti on the High Line NYC pleasure in simple things

view of hydrangea on the High Line in NYC pleasure in simple things

Running from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street, the High Line is a one mile New York City linear park built on a section of an old railroad spur. This unique park, 30 feet above street level, contains innovatively designed seating areas and beautiful plantings in addition to expansive views of New York City and the Hudson River.

view from the High Line NYC pleasure in simple things

walking the High Line pleasure in simple things field trip

The park provides a view of life in New York like no other.

office along the High Line NYC pleasure in simple things

A view of an office from the High Line in New York City.

art on the High Line NYC pleasure in simple things

Seasonal blooms (click here for September list), art on display, and scheduled activities are all part of the High Line culture. Dining is also an option during a visit and a fun way to take a rest and admire views of the Hudson River.

one of the many food options on the High Line in NYC pleasure in simple things

It is an exciting time to be a High Line fan, because on September 21st a new High Line section, from 30th Street and 10th Avenue to the curve near 12th Avenue, and up to 34th Street will be opened to the public. I can’t wait to check out the new design features and plantings in the new Rail Yards section!

 flowers amid construction High Line NYC pleasure in simple things

original rail tracks on the High Line in NYC pleasure in simple things

Cleverly designed seating amid the original rails on the High Line in New York City.

If you should visit New York City, be sure to include the High Line in your schedule of activities.

 view of a window on High Line NYC pleasure in simple things

Thanks so much for stopping by for Friday field trip. Have a wonderful weekend!

Remember to find pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Finding Silver Pennies, and Crafts a la Mode.

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roasted chickpeas recipe

September 9, 2014

roasted chickpeas pleasure in simple things

Have you tried roasting chickpeas? For me, roasted chickpeas are a great alternative to eating a pint of sorbet! I can eat a can (or two) of chickpeas in one sitting and not feel nearly as guilty!

Roasted chickpeas as a snack are so simple to prepare and require very few ingredients – chickpeas and spices and you are good to go! I always have canned chickpeas in the house, so the ingredients for roasted chickpeas are always at the ready. And, with chickpeas costing 65 cents a can, they produce a very inexpensive snack!

roasted chickpeas recipe pleasure in simple things

If you want to experiment with the recipe I provided, use any spice you may love to flavor the chickpeas – try some of your favorites. I love to use fresh rosemary, but smoky flavors also work really well. I don’t use much salt since I am not a big salt fan, but a smoky salt would work great if salt is your thing.

roasted chickpeas in a bowl pleasure in simple things

When you rinse and dry the chickpeas, be sure to dry them thoroughly. By doing so, you will ensure you get a crispy snack. The other key to crispiness is not to use too much olive oil – if you use too much, your chickpeas will be soggy. I put 2 tablespoons in the recipe – use a little less if you can, but never more than 2 tablespoons.

chickpeas on a baking sheet plesure in simple things

After I rinse them, I also remove any loose casings – but it is not a big deal if you miss some.

I turn the chickpeas once during cooking, but if I happen to be in the kitchen while they are in the oven, I will shake the pan a couple times also.

This snack is the best when eaten shortly after cooking. I usually do not have any leftovers, but on the one occasion when I do, I find I can ‘recharge’ the crispiness of the chickpeas by putting them back into a 400 degree oven for a short time to remove any moisture.

making roasted chickpeas pleasure in simple things

I hope you will try roasting some chickpeas if you haven’t already…they are a great crunchy snack!

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

Sharing at Crafts a la Mode.

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in the fabric mood

September 5, 2014

Mood home decor fabrics pleasure in simple things field trip

It is very hard for me to admit that summer is coming to an end. It is my favorite season, by far!

We all have our end of season traditions and I’m no exception. One of mine is to start looking for some fabric to make velvet pumpkins. Last year I also started making velvet acorns to go with my woodland themed holiday décor for 2013.

So, for today’s Friday field trip, I am taking you to my favorite fabric store – Mood in New York City. If you watch Project Runway on television you may recognize the name as the store used by the show’s fashion designer contestants. Located in the fashion district of Manhattan, it is a popular place for students of fashion design to shop for supplies.

Although I do often shop for fabric at the local craft store, it does not compare to the selection available at Mood. And, fabric is one of those things I prefer not to purchase online… I need to see and feel the fabrics I am selecting for my projects.

 home decor fabric at Mood in NYC pleasure in simple things

 mood home sign in NYC pleasure in simple things

At Mood, I can be sure to find a huge selection of fabric to admire! Starting downstairs, in the home décor section, I start by looking at upholstery fabric. I have a couple chairs to upholster and I want to find just the right fabric. I have brought my handy paint color swatches – they make it so much easier to compare paint colors to the colors of various fabrics.

choosing fabric at Mood pleasure in simple things

pleasure in simple things visits Mood fabrics

 pleasure in simple things matching colors at Mood fabrics in NYC

So many great choices…it is hard to choose! Can you guess what I decided to purchase? You may recognize some of these fabrics in upcoming projects!

pleasure in simple things visits Mood fabric in NYC

I am always a sucker for a great awning stripe! There are plenty to choose from at Mood in New York City.

My next stop is upstairs to the apparel fabric section. Here I will look for velvets that I use to make velvet pumpkins and velvet acorns. It is so inspiring to find so many different choices and my creative juices are in overdrive! My budget limits me to only a couple choices, but it is so fun to pick up some new fabrics and to imagine the pieces I will create!

entrance to Mood apparel fabrics  NYC pleasure in simple things

velvet fabric selection at Mood NYC pleasure in simple things field trip

Upholstery fabric…check! Velvets…check! Mission accomplished! That’s it for today’s trip! I had fun discussing my projects with the Mood staff and talking about some of the new fabric trends. Mood is always an awesome and inspiring place to visit!

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Have a wonderful weekend and remember to find pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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september book giveaway!

September 2, 2014

september 2014 giveaway book pleasure in simple things blog

Congratulations to Jenna, winner of the August selection Ocean Fishes by James Prosek.

I hate to even admit it is September, but today I am announcing the September giveaway selection.  The book is Inspire: The Art of Living with Nature by Willow Crossley.

When I first saw this book at Terrain, I instantly fell in love.  Many of the projects are close to my heart – some similar to projects I have created in the past.  Ms. Crossley does an amazing job of bringing nature indoors in lovely and inspiring ways.

inside the book Inspire: The Art of Living with Nature giveaway book pleasure in simple things

You will find the photographs are really lovely and the projects are wonderful!  A really beautiful book for a time of year when walks outdoors can be so inspiring!  This book will definitely help you celebrate the season with projects from nature.  Leave a comment here or on my Facebook or Instagram to be entered to win…good luck!

Inspire:  The Art of Living with Nature

I am such an Instagram nut!  I love it!  For those of you that share my passion, please read on!   You know summer is almost over when….Halloween candy is showing up for sale in the discount stores? College kids have moved back to campus?… What is it that signals summer’s end to you? For September we are using hashtag #pleasuregram to share photos that illustrate the end of summer.  For me – my annual trip to the fabric store to buy velvets for pumpkins and acorns is a major signal of summer’s end!!

Instagram challenge september 2014 pleasure in simple things

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

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chocolate excellence at mast brothers

August 29, 2014

Mast Brothers chocolate products pleasure in simple things

Have you tried Mast Brothers Chocolate? It is really something special. And, the excellence of this product extends to the packaging…it is truly a work of art! You know how I feel about package design! My first purchase of a Mast Brothers chocolate bar some years ago was actually motivated by the packaging. I really didn’t expect to be so wowed by the product!

display of chocolate at Mast Brothers in Brooklyn pleasure in simple things field trip

This display of chocolate bars at Mast Brothers Chocolate in Brooklyn reminds me of a museum installation!

For Friday field trip this week, I am taking you to the company’s flagship factory and store in Brooklyn, NY where these sophisticated chocolate products are created.

bags of cocoa at Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory pleasure in simple things

 Mast Brothers Chocolate Products pleasure in simple things

To get to Mast Brothers Chocolate from Connecticut, take Metro North into the city. From Grand Central Station, either walk or take the subway to Union Square. From there, an easy trip on the L to Bedford. The store is located in Williamsburg at 111 North Third Street, near the corner of Bedford and 3rd – the Brew Bar just a few feet away at 105A.

Mast Brothers Brew Bar in Brooklyn pleasure in simple things

This visit, I was particularly interested in the newly opened Brew Bar. Opening only a few weeks ago, the Brew Bar creates and serves chocolate beverages that are quite possibly the first of their kind. High quality cocoa nibs are brewed in water for 24 hours and used to create a drink with an essence of chocolate. On my first trip, I tried an iced variety.

Angela at Mast Brothers Brew Bar pleasure in simple things

Angela at Mast Brothers Chocolate Brew Bar in Brooklyn.

Servers Angela and Derrick were extremely accommodating on my visit and took time to explain the process used to create the drinks and the varieties of chocolate available. The beverage itself is the color of a tea and has a subtle chocolate fragrance and flavor. It is extremely unique…I enjoyed it. I am sure most patrons probably add sweetener – a simple syrup is offered – I drank mine unsweetened. The subtleness of the flavor really appealed to me – so much different than a milk-based chocolate drink like hot cocoa.

Mast Brothers Chocolate store pleasure in simple things

Rick and Michael Mast are extremely passionate about their work and it shows in everything they produce. If you would like to learn a little more about them and their business, click here for a video. (If you would like to visit, sign up in advance online for a 45 minute tour of the factory at the cost of $16. by using Eventbrite.)

outside of Mast Brothers store pleasure in simple things

Thanks so much for joining me on Friday field trip today for a little glimpse of Mast Brothers Chocolate in Brooklyn.

Have a fabulous holiday weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

P.S. I purchase my Mast Brothers Chocolate locally at Whole Foods Market.

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