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a wordless year

May 22, 2015

shell at the beach pleasure in simple things blog

I didn’t choose a ‘word of the year’ for 2015.  I was thinking about that on my walk by the water today.  I wondered why I wasn’t inspired to come up with one this year.

Lunch at the beach pleasure in simple things blog

I thought if I had, it would have been something that expressed a need to keep things fresh…to constantly learn new things…to go on new adventures.

a piece of driftwood at the beach pleasure in simple things blog

I don’t have the ability to travel to foreign lands or visit exotic cultures.  But, I am still able to find new adventures every day.

crab at the beach pleasure in simple things blog

Not a day goes by when I don’t learn something new that creates a special interest or the need to explore.

sea wall at the beach pleasure in simple things blog

But, I certainly wouldn’t want to confine that need to discover to a single year…maybe that is why no word for the year?

walking the beach pleasure in simple things blog
I hope you enjoy joining me on my walk today for Friday field trip…

a shell at the beach pleasure in simple things blog

bird at the beach pleasure in simple things blog

driftwood  at the beach pleasure in simple things blog

Have a wonderful weekend.  Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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3 ingredient lemon mousse shooters

May 19, 2015

easy to make lemon mousse shooters pleasure in simple things blog

Dessert shooters are always fun– a nice little bit of sweetness without the heaviness of a traditional sized dessert.

This three ingredient shooter is super easy to create. Great for a party, these lemon mousse shooters can be made ahead, and if you use little disposable decorative cups, are clean-up free!

lemon mousse shooter pleasure in simple things blog
The lemon flavor for these shooters comes from lemon curd. I love lemon curd and very often use it in tarts – it packs so much flavor. For today’s dessert, I used store bought lemon curd (a 10 oz. jar is approximately 2/3 cup) and lightened it up by folding it into some whipped cream. With this mousse mixture and some gingersnap cookie crumbs, the shooter is complete!

recipe for lemon mousse shooters pleasure in simple things blog

Raspberries, mint, or lemon slice candies make great garnishes, but if you want to stay strict to three ingredients, top the shooter off with a piece of gingersnap cookie instead.

3 ingredient lemon mousse shooters pleasure in simple things blog

The hard store bought gingersnaps work best to make crumbs. If you are not a gingersnap fan, you can easily change the gingersnap crumbs for some shortbread cookie crumbs.

making a lemon mousse shooter pleasure in simple things blog

I hope you enjoy these little lemon mousse shooters!

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

Boat Sailing vintage book pleasure in simple things blog
P.S. The napkins and the mini baking cups I used here are from Home Goods.

Sharing at Craftberry Bush, Thoughts From Alice, House of Hipsters, Nancherrow, and Sand & Sisal.

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a visit to ben wolff pottery

May 15, 2015

Ben Wolff white clay pots pleasure in simple things blog

Because I am so enamored with his handcrafted pots, I have wanted to make a visit to Ben Wolff’s studio for a long time. Even though it is located right here in Connecticut, the studio was one spot on my ‘to visit’ list that never seemed to get crossed off.

Ben Wolff flower pots with Tuscan Rim pleasure in simple things blog

That changed this past weekend when my son asked what I wanted to do for Mother’s Day. I decided I could pass on a meal and, instead, we aimed to get Ben Wolff’s pottery studio crossed off my list of places to visit- yippee! It was a great day for a drive and the ride provided some great alone time with my son – catching up on what was going on with him.

Ben Wolff pot and bleeding hearts pleasure in simple things blog

If purchasing flower pots were my goal, it would have been easy enough to just order them online. I’m not saying I didn’t want any pots, but that was not my main reason for the visit. I wanted to see the studio and meet the artist. As luck would have it, I was able to do both.

Ben Wolff tuscan rim flower pot in white pleasure in simple things blog

Ben and his wife, Corinne, were both in the studio when we arrived. I knew Ben was a third generation artisan and he was happy to share his history and explain how he got started learning his craft at the age of two!

ben wolff white pot pleasure in simple things blog

It was a great visit and it turned out my son’s gift also included a few of Ben’s pieces! As a lover of neutral color schemes, the pots Ben creates in white clay are my favorite! I carefully picked out a few; choosing ones with Tuscan rims.

Tuscan rim white clay pot Ben Wolff pleasure in simple things blog

They are just so gorgeous! It is hard to imagine using a terra-cotta pot after you have seen Ben’s work. (If you read this blog, you probably have already figured out that I don’t use terra-cotta pots because of my aversion to the color and that my passion in the garden is for all white flowers!)

Ben Wolff signed white pots pleasure in simple things blog

With pieces starting as low as $8, they are affordable pieces of art – each signed by Ben.

White clay Ben Wolff flower pots pleasure in simple things blog

I haven’t yet planted in my new pieces, but for Friday field trip today, I hope you enjoyed sharing some of Ben’s works of art – a few from the thousands of flower pots he creates each year on his potter’s wheel in Goshen, Connecticut. I photographed them with some of the early bloomers from my garden.

Ben Wolff tuscan rim white pot pleasure in simple things blog

I hope you are enjoying some of your own garden flowers. If you follow my Instagram, you know I have been enjoying mine!

Ben Wolff Pottery Studio pleasure in simple things blog

The outside of Ben Wolff’s pottery studio in Connecticut.

Thank you so much for stopping by!  Have a fabulous weekend, Jackie

Sharing with Craftberry Bush and French Country Cottage.

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state shaped sugar cookies

May 12, 2015

Florida state sugar cookies pleasure in simple things

Remember when I made the state gift tag for a baby shower I was attending? I was attending a party in Connecticut for a baby being born in Florida. I really wanted to acknowledge both states in my gift and I came up with the idea of using both shapes as a gift tag. (See the gift tag by clicking here.) As the date of the shower got closer, I thought “Wouldn’t it be cool to make cookies in the shape of the two states to add to the dessert table?”

state cookies for a baby shower pleasure in simple things blog

I had visions of spending many hours cutting each state cookie out by hand – since once I have an idea like this; I have no choice but to follow through on it! No question, I have cut out many unusual shaped cookies in my day – particularly for children’s birthday parties. In the past, I have made cookies of each one of the Wizard of Oz characters and all the Ninja turtles – cutting out each shape carefully with a dull knife.

ct state sugar cookies pleasure in simple things blog

With visions of cutting tons of Florida and Connecticut shaped cookies using a knife, I wondered if there might be state cookie cutters available. Sure enough, I searched the Internet and quickly found, not only could I order a cookie cutter for any state, but I could get them pretty darn cheap! What a time saver!

state cookie cutters for sugar cookies pleasure in simple things blog

So, I made my sugar cookie dough, rolled it out, and cut out the shapes of the two states using my new cookie cutters. What an awesome way to acknowledge the two states!

cut out state sugar cookies pleasure in simple things blog

Are the wheels turning? Are you thinking of all the ways you could use state cookie cutters? Showers, rehearsal dinners, reunions, graduations – even Christmas tree ornaments! So fun!

I decorated my state cookies to match the colors of the baby’s nursery – pink, gold, and white. (Did you see the shower gift I made? Click here to see. )

tray of ct and fl sugar cookies pleasure in simple things blog

After the shower, when the baby gifts got packed up to be sent to Florida, the Florida cookie cutter was tucked into the box. :)

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

Sharing with Crafts a la Mode, The Shabby Nest, and  House of Hipsters.

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flip flop messages in the sand

May 8, 2015

making flip flop messages pleasure in simple things blog

For today’s Friday field trip, I am taking you to the beach.

Why? Not that I really need a reason to go to the beach – but, today we are going to test out my message flip flops.

It is a very simple concept. I attach letters to the bottom of some flip flops, so a message will be imprinted in the sand as I walk across the beach.

at the beach with message flip flops pleasure in simple things blog

At least I thought it was a simple concept! I quickly found a major flaw in my execution! I forgot I would need to flip the letters when I attached them to the flip flop! That is the reason ‘love’ is backwards!

Other than that, it worked like a charm! If you want to replicate this, just glue some letters to the bottom of an old or inexpensive pair of flip flops. You will want to create a depth of ¼’ with the letters to make a nice imprint. I used a foam letter, but really any material will work. You may be able to find wooden letters at the craft store. If the letters are thin, just keep adding layers until they reach a ¼” thickness. They can even be crafted out of cardboard if you prefer not to purchase pre-cut letters or symbols.

close up of flip flop message pleasure in simple things blog

There are many applications for this ….I think it would work really great for a prom proposal…a walk at sunset on the beach when ‘prom?’ magically appears written in the sand…cool, right?

message in the sand pleasure in simple things blog

I know. We are not all going to prom – no matter how much we wish we were! Maybe instead, come up with some ‘mom’ messages to use on your beach walk this weekend? Just remember to flip the letters before you glue them!

Have fun with it! Thanks for stopping by!

a shell on beach pleasure in simple things blog
Have a wonderful weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Sand & Sisal, Coastal Charm, and The Shabby Nest.

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fresh fruit topiary diy

May 5, 2015

finished fruit topiary pleasure in simple things blog

Why not pass on the flowers this Mother’s Day and instead, make your mom an edible arrangement as a gift?

Healthier than a box of chocolates, a fruit topiary is a tasty way to show Mom you care. And, when you create it yourself, you can be sure to include all mom’s favorite fruits and treats!

prepared strawberries for a fruit topiary pleasure in simple things blog

I started with a 4” high pot – the perfect single serving size! Choose a container in a color to coordinate with mom’s kitchen so she is sure to reuse it!  To prepare the container for the arrangement, fit some Styrofoam into the container and covered it with some salad greens.

pot preparation for fruit topiary pleasure in simple things blog

I will show you what I used to make mine to give you an idea of what you need to get started on your own creation!

My supplies:
– 4” pot, 4” high
– 4 oz. bag Lancaster soft caramels (I had a few left for tasting)
– 3” (approximately) square Styrofoam, trimmed appropriately
– Salad greens
– Assorted fruit
– Skewers (if you only get one size, purchase long ones – they can always be trimmed)
– Ribbon (optional – a bow can be added by attaching to a skewer)

fruit skewers to make a 4 in topiary pleasure in simple things blog
preparing caramels for a fruit topiary pleasure in simple things blogMy skewers:
3, 8” skewers of cantaloupe slices
2, 8” skewers of grapes (4 grapes)
3, 6” skewers of grapes (4 grapes)
4, 6” skewers of strawberries
9, 6” skewers of chocolate dipped strawberries
15 caramels on toothpicks

Tips for assembly:
– Don’t use really fresh fruit – you want firm fruit so it will hold up.
– For the same reason, only use sturdy fruit. (I learned this lesson pretty quick when I tried to use raspberries – they are too soft.)

creating a fruit topiary pleasure in simple things blog

– Use Styrofoam in your pot, not floral foam.
– Cater to your recipient – use edible items that will appeal to the recipient.  Instead of caramels, you may decide to use baby rounds of cheese, cookies, dried apricots, etc.
– Use decorative cutters – you can use cookie cutters to cut hearts, melon ballers, etc. to ‘fancy up’ the fruit.
– Don’t put it together too far ahead. You can wash and dry the fruit, dip the strawberries, and cut the fruit ahead – but wait to assemble your creation until the last minute.
– Lay salad greens over the Styrofoam before you start assembly and use some after assembly to fill in any holes or skewer parts that may show.

assembling fruits for a edible topiary pleasure in simple things blog

Lastly, have fun with it!

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

Sharing at Craftberry BushThoughts from Alice, Sand & Sisal, and Coastal Charm.

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may book giveaway!

May 1, 2015

May 2015 giveaway book pleasure in simple things blog

Doodles have been getting plenty of attention. In recent years, Google has definitely helped elevate doodles to an art form – don’t you agree? Who hasn’t checked out the cool doodles on the Google search bar? Now, there are a flurry of books published on the topic of doodling.

One of the more popular published works of doodles recently is Secret Garden by Johanna Basford. Designed to be interactive, this book is touted as a coloring book for adults – chock full of black and white doodles just crying out to be colored in!

inside the secret garden book pleasure in simple things blog

Like me, many of you life-long doodlers out there may be thinking “Why the heck didn’t I think of that?” Somehow, the fact that a published book of doodles exists seems to validate the compulsion we all have to create scribbles on paper. I wonder if the author’s grade school teacher complained when the margins of her assignments were full of squiggles!   Ms. Basford has made those squiggles pay off – literally!

For the May book giveaway, I will be sending a copy of Secret Garden to one of my readers. In addition, I am including a box of colored pencils from Target. (Have you seen Target’s newest section of craft supplies?!) To win, be sure to leave a comment on this post. I will pick a winner at random from all comments I receive about the giveaway on my social media during the month and announce the winner at the end of May. Good luck!

secret garden book and colored pencils pleasure in simple things blog

The winner of the April giveaway (that includes two books – click here for more) was chosen at random from the comments I received. These books will be going out to Michelle from New York. Congrats to Michelle!Instagram challenge pleasure in simple things blogIn celebration of all things doodle, the May Instagram Challenge will be to share your doodles!  For Instagram followers, please share your doodles throughout the month of May using the hashtag #pleasuregram. Doodle on!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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

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a twist on may day

April 28, 2015

nest globe pleasure in simple things blog

Hi friends. You know each year as May Day approaches and I post some type of hanging flowers? Well, this year I am posting something hanging….but, flowers?  Not so much!

Have you seen the little hanging glass globe terrariums? I have seen them in some of my favorite garden stores, but, because of the price, could never justify actually purchasing one. Then, I saw some online at World Market. They had two sizes – the larger one was $6.99! For these prices, I could purchase a couple! So, I did! I thought they would be great to use for May Day planters.

supplies for hanging terrariums pleasure in simple things blog

But, as I started experimenting with them, I found my favorite items to showcase in these containers were not necessarily flowers!

hanging terrarium with moss and sheep pleasure in simple things blog

The globes each came with a piece of twine, but it would be easy enough to change out the twine for ribbon. I actually ended up keeping it – I like the natural/rustic feel of the twine.

What to display? Because the containers are small, I found ‘the simpler, the better’ fit my taste.

globe terrarium with shell pleasure in simple things blog

Today I am sharing a couple of my favorites.  May Day this year is less about flowers and more about hanging! So much fun!

I did do one with a few pansy blooms for the more traditionalists out there!

may day pansies pleasure in simple things blog

For some previous May Day ideas – click here for May Day with some coastal flair, and click here for some May Day flower globes.

close up of terrarium with frog moss pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing with Craftberry Bush, The Shabby Nest Sand & Sisal and Coastal Charm.

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manchego & fig crostini

April 24, 2015

recipe for manchego and fig appetizer pleasure in simple things blog

What to do on the first warm day of spring?  Eat outside!

For Friday field trip today, I am taking you out to my backyard to witness the first outdoor hors d’oeuvres of the season!

outdoor crostini pleasure in simple things blog

We all know the best outdoor appetizers are yummy ones that require very little preparation. Manchego and fig crostini fit the bill perfectly! The crostini, serving as the base for this snack, are easy to make and can be made in advance. The rest of the prep is super simple. These little delights can even be assembled right at the table – a wonderful thing, since casual is the buzz word for outdoor entertaining!

crostini appetizers pleasure in simple things blog

You don’t need to go to a fancy gourmet shop for fig spread. I find it right in the deli section of the local grocery store.

Manchego & Fig Crostini

• Fig spread (I used Dalmatia)
• Manchego cheese, shaved or sliced thin with a serrated knife.
• Baguette, cut into ½” slices
• Extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper

Cut a baguette into ½” slices. Brush with oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper on both sides of each piece. Place on baking sheet and toast under the broiler for 1 – 2 minutes until golden, then flip over and broil the other side. Spread a generous amount of fig spread on each piece and top with shavings of Manchego cheese.

fig spread pleasure in simple things blog

I hope you will try this crostini – a great first alfresco hors d’oeuvre of the season! Just be warned that this taste combination can be addicting! I couldn’t stop eating these! What started out as a way to use up some Manchego cheese, ended up as dinner! Thanks to my friend Linda for suggesting the flavor combination!

Manchego and fig crostini pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at House of Hipsters, Nancherrow, Thoughts from AliceThe Shabby Nest, and French Country Cottage.

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diy decorative file folders

April 21, 2015

diy file folders pleasure in simple things blog

Something about my sense of aesthetics makes it really hard for me to use manila file folders in the office. And, keeping them in plain view is irritating!

It would really make my work life more pleasant if I could keep a dozen or so file folders handy on my desk for current projects. So, I set out to find some pretty file folders to replace my manila eyesores!

diy desktop file folders pleasure in simple things blog

After shopping around in stores and online, I was shocked to find out that any cute looking folders would cost me $15 for a package of 6! How could they be $15? A box of 100 plain manila folders cost $7.95!

The solution, of course, was to make some myself. I would simply cover some of the inexpensive plain ones I already owned. And, with Earth Day on my mind, (it is tomorrow – April 22nd) reusing something to decorate the folders seemed an appropriate and earth-friendly solution!

diy file folders desk top pleasure in simple things blog

I would transform the inexpensive, manila folders at no cost by reusing something I found visually appealing. Right away I thought of my favorite item to recycle – Terrain shopping bags! Perfect!

Terrain bags for DIY file folders pleasure in simple things blog

There are plenty of attractive options for reusing that can substitute for Terrain shopping bags if you don’t have a Terrain store near you – here are a few ideas:

• Sheet music
• Old maps/nautical maps
• Newspaper from a significant date or a foreign newspaper (if you use newspapers, you will need to cover them with a clear laminate paper to prevent the newsprint from making a mess!)
• Pages from unwanted books or magazines (library book sales are great for this!)
• Wrapping paper (when you get a gift with great paper, don’t you always save it?)

If all else fails, and you have no paper you can recycle, pick up some decorative paper at a paper or craft store. I love Paper Source for finding great decorative papers.  (The feather motif paper shown here came from Paper Source.)

making decorative file folders pleasure in simple things blog

Attaching a decorative paper to the manila folders is pretty easy. Be sure to have one straight edge. Then, apply spray adhesive to the front of the folder – masking off all surrounding areas from overspray. Use that straight edge to line up your paper on the folded edge of the front of the folder – good side of the decorative paper facing out – smoothing the paper flat. Trim excess paper with a craft knife or scissors.

I adhered the decorative covering to the front of the folder – the part I see – but, I also wanted the visible part of the tab covered. I decided to use chalkboard Contact paper for the covering on the tab. This way, I could easily update the information on the tabs. Since I will be using these folders on my desktop for current projects, the chalkboard tabs will make for easy updating!

diy file folders with contact paper pleasure in simple things

I cut 12” x 2” strips of chalkboard Contact paper for this purpose and adhered them to the inside tab section of the folder, smoothing the paper to eliminate air bubbles. Then, I trimmed the excess with a craft knife.

Cute file folders? Check!  Sigh…so much better! :)

Happy Earth Day!  Other fun Earth Day projects:
Items to make from Terrain bags, click here.
Instructions to make decorative pencils from tissue paper, click here.

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

Sharing with Sand & Sisal and Elizabeth & Co.

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