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july book giveaway!

June 30, 2015

july book giveaway pleasure in simple things

Talk about pleasure in simple things – what could be better than a juicy, vine-ripened heirloom tomato?   Colorful, tangy, juicy, and sweet, heirloom tomatoes are the essence of summer! This month’s giveaway book selection pays tribute to this wonderful summer staple!  The title of the selection is The Heirloom Tomato Cookbook by Mimi Luebbermann with luscious photographs by Dan Mills and Robert Holmes.

July giveaway heirloom tomatoes pleasure in simple things blog

From soups and salads to main courses and desserts, heirloom tomatoes are as versatile as they are colorful, with dozens of different flavors, sizes, and colors to explore. This wonderful book includes recipes, gardening tips, wine pairings, and tomato lore.

Cooking and gardening expert Mimi Luebbermann has created a wonderful resource for cooks and gardeners alike! Leave a comment on this month’s giveaway post to be entered to win this marvelous book! Good luck!

July giveaway heirloom tomatoes pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks to everyone for your interest in the June giveaway Vibrant Food by Kimberley Hasselbrink. Click here to see more about this book. The winner of this June giveaway is Kara from Arizona!  Congrats!

Instagram lovers, read on!  In keeping with this month’s giveaway title, our Instagram challenge for July is to tag tomato photos this month!  Use #pleasuregram to share the best captures of this wonderful summer food!   july instagram challenge 2015Thanks so much for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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patriotic driftwood bubble wands

June 26, 2015

patriotic bubble wand pleasure in simple things blog

The Fourth of July at the beach is great! And, just like in the rest of the nation, some serious red, white, and blue action is going down! It starts early in the day with the kick-off red, white, and blue parade. The kiddies dress themselves, their bikes, their dogs – and just about anything else you can think of – in the colors of the day!  Once the evening arrives, a magnificent display of fireworks is the crowning glory of these patriotic hues.

diy patriotic driftwood bubble wands pleasure in simple things blog

The relaxed vibe at the beach makes it easy to create – most times using items found on the beach. A classic example is the crab catcher. This handy item is crafted from an old wooden clothespin and some string. When baited with whatever scrap of meat or meat related product can be salvaged, it works its magic!

making bubbles with homemade wands pleasure in simple things blog

Another handy item for the beach is a bubble maker aka bubble wand.  For the holiday, this can be a fun patriotic craft!  Using some dish detergent (1 patriotic driftwood bubble wands pleasure in simple things blogtablespoon dish liquid per 1 cup water) and some homemade bubble wands, it is super simple to create some fun in the sand. Running along the beach after bubbles can keep the young (or young at heart) occupied for hours!

Bubble wands are easy to make using pipe cleaners and driftwood.  They can be decorated with shells, scraps of ribbon, or any other number of items washed up on shore.  Some crafters take time for elaborate decorations. while others work fast; anxious to get to the bubble part!  (Yes, the star shapes do work to make bubbles, but are much more complicated for young fingers to create.)

For today’s Friday field trip, I wanted to show you some of the wands I made at the beach. You can use wire or stiff ribbon – anything that will hold its shape. I used items I already had. The smaller ones here are made with a sparkly wired ribbon and the others are made with metallic pipe cleaners.

patriotic beach day pleasure in simple things

I like to make the bubbles by dipping the wands into a shallow container of the bubble liquid; especially for the larger bubble wands. This makes it easy to dip the wand and the shallow container helps avoid knocking over the solution.  Remember, the larger the wand, the larger the bubble!

loading bubbles onto a homemade bubble wand pleasure in simple things blog

And, for some extra night time fun, break open a glow stick to add to your bubble solution for some glow-in-the-dark bubbles!

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

4th of July pleasure in simple things blog

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

Sharing with House of Hipsters, Thoughts From AliceCraftberry Bush, Nancherrow, and The Shabby Nest.

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baby robins are born

June 23, 2015

Robins nest for baby birds pleasure in simple things blog

How was your Father’s Day weekend? As I suspect it is for most gals that have lost their dads, Father’s Day is kind of sad for me. When my children were small, I was wonderfully distracted by helping them with festivities to celebrate their dad. As they get older; not so much.

This year, I had a wonderful distraction. Over the past weekend, I was able to watch a new dad take care of his two babies! The dad I am referring to is a father robin and he has been caring for his two little newborn birds in a nearby primrose bush!

robins coming out of egg pleasure in simple things blog

The little newborns are so cute – in an ugly sort of way, of course. I will have another 10 days or so before they leave the nest and I am enjoying the show! Both parents are frantically back and forth to the nest, feeding the little tikes.

When the parents are away from the nest, the babies stay very still and look like they are hiding. Instinctively, I think they must stay still for protection. As soon as the parents come close, the little ones have their mouths wide open and are ready to accept the next morsel!

birds in nest  day 1 pleasure in simple things blog

You may have seen the Instagram video (click here and click follow to see Instagram postings)  I posted a couple of days ago with the actual birth – it took the little babies a good part of the day to peck through the shells. When they were done, the father cleared the broken shell pieces out of the nest. (Dad on clean up? Doesn’t really translate to most human families lol!)

miracle of baby birds pleasure in simple things

Because of the position of the nest, I have had a really easy time viewing the process…the best of any other year. I sneak peeks occasionally, when the parents are off on their food quests. The next milestone for me will be to see the babies open their eyes – this should happen in a day or two!

baby robin head pleasure in simple things blog

I hope you enjoyed seeing this year’s Father’s Day tribute. ;)

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

Sharing with Sand & Sisal, Coastal Charm, and Elizabeth & Co.

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ikea dresser redo with annie sloan

June 19, 2015

Finished Ikea dresser Annie Sloan redo pleasure in simple things blog

This Ikea dresser has really made the rounds! In its first life, it was a dresser in a young boy’s room. It performed that job marvelously, then made its way to a college apartment. Here too, it was a sturdy piece that provided plenty of storage.

But, when it crossed over into ‘adult’ life, it was time for a makeover! Join me in my painting studio (aka: my backyard) for Friday field trip today to check out how some Annie Sloan paint and a few new knobs have updated this Ikea piece.

Before dresser photo pleasure in simple things blog

The first thing it needed was a little cleaning and some wood fill in a few spots. And, because it was crafted of a knotty wood, I knew it needed to be sealed to prevent any knots from showing through the paint. So, I applied a coat of Zinsser primer sealer.

After that, I used two coats of Annie Sloan French Linen – one of my favorite colors for a beachy look!

after photo Ikea dresser Annie Sloan French Linen and Old White pleasure in simple things blog

From here, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to add an anchor…or, maybe some stripes?  I decided finding knobs would be my first order of business since purchasing twelve knobs at a decent price was not going to be easy. The dresser came with wooden knobs and I was hoping not to reuse them. Unfortunately, every knob I liked was $6 or $7 and purchasing twelve at this price was beyond my budget!

Dresser redo with Annie Sloan Old White and new knobs pleasure in simple things blog

I started contemplating making some knobs out of rope; thinking I may try to make some monkey’s fist knots and started researching how to tie them.

Then, I got a call from a friend who said she found some great rope knobs at Home Goods and they came in packages of 6. When I discovered the knobs were actually monkey’s fist knots and each package was $12.99, I knew these were my knobs!

starting grain sack stripes pleasure in simple things blog

After purchasing two packages of the knobs, I knew I wanted to do a grain sack style stripe to coordinate with them, so I masked off and painted the stripes using Annie Sloan Old White paint.   It is easy to mask stripes with blue painter’s tape, but it does take a little patience!  After the stripes were dry, I mixed a wash of Old White paint and water (approximately 70% water). I painted this over the piece, working a section at a time and wiping it off with a cloth after painting it on with a brush. I love the way the wash gives some depth to the piece and helps with the beachy vibe.

applying Old White white wash over French Linen Annie Sloan pleasure in simple things blog

rubbing old white wash over french linen Annie Sloan pleasure in simple things blog

Result of Old White and water over French Linen Annie Sloan pleasure in simple things blog
Next, I added a coat of Annie Sloan clear wax. After that, I did some distressing, concentrating on roughing up the white stripes. After the distressing, I added a second coat of clear wax.

Annie Sloan French Linen and Old White Dresser pleasure in simple things blog

Doesn’t it look great? I am finishing it off by using some old nautical maps for drawer liners. :)

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

Sharing with Finding Silver Pennies, Nancherrow,  Craftberry Bush, The Shabby Nest, and French Country Cottage.

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9 special diy ideas for father’s day

June 16, 2015

seafood forks pleasure in simple things blog

It’s a cold, miserable day today.  After arriving home from work, I should really be outside painting furniture or finishing my current read.  Instead, the weather has kept me inside.  Yes, I could be binge watching the third season of Orange is the New Black, but instead I am looking through some old posts to find some fun things to make for Father’s Day.

I put together nine favorites from my archives to help inspire you to make something special for Dad this year on his day!

beverage gifts for Fathers Day pleasure in simple things blog

Edible gifts are popular with any Dad.  Here are a couple ‘over 21′ beverages that are sure to be a hit.  Click here for a recipe to make homemade Bailey’s Irish Cream and click here to learn how to make some great jelly shots shaped like fish!

zip code tray pleasure in simple things blog

This zip code tray is a stylish and super practical place for Dad to leave his keys.  It also is a great way for Dad to remember where he left his keys!  Click here for instructions.

tie dye pleasure in simple things blog

A tie dye shirt is as much fun to make as it is to give!  The whole family can enjoy making Dad a piece of clothing dyed personally for him!  Click here for easy instructions!

nautical coasters pleasure in simple things blog

Making coasters for Dad is easy and fun. Click here for several great ideas.  Old cardboard, jar tops, and discarded six-pack packaging are a few of the items that make creative coasters!

gift wrap ideas for Fathers Day pleasure in simple things blog

Any gift is more special when it is presented in a special way!  Click here to learn how to make your own gift wrap and click here to see how easily you can create a unique paint can gift package!

entertaining gifts for Fathers Day pleasure in simple things blog

If your Dad is more the entertaining type, here are two great gift ideas.  Click here for ideas for creating your own napkin designs.  Another great idea is to make a set of forks for seafood dinners…the fun part about this gift is that it is created using something from Dad’s garage!  Click here to find out more!

I hope you enjoyed these few DIY ideas from the archives to help make Father’s Day a little more special!

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

Sharing with Coastal Charm and Elizabeth & Co.

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jaws 40th anniversary party with printable

June 12, 2015

treat bag printables 40th anniversary JAWS pleasure in simple things blog

Duh-duh, Duh-Duh, Duh-DUH! (Click here for more!) That’s right…40 years since the movie Jaws hit the theaters for the very first time! No doubt, the movie needs to be watched (for the five hundred and thirty ninth time?) on June 20th to mark this very special day!

bucket of treat bags 40th anniversary of JAWS pleasure in simple things

My family is one of shark fanatics…we anxiously await Shark Week on Discovery Channel each year…we have had the pleasure of eating a dinner of freshly caught shark (by my fisherman dad), AND, we know most of the significant (as well as the not so significant) lines in the movie Jaws by heart!  So, in honor of the Jaws anniversary, Friday field trip will go back 40 years this week to pay tribute to this cinema classic.

aws 40th anniversary pleasure in simple things blog

Granted, many of us in New England have had issues with going in the water since watching this movie – particularly after the very first viewing.

40th anniversary of JAWS treat pleasure in simple things blog

A 40th anniversary viewing party is in order and there will be plenty of themed snacks and fun trivia contests!  Some of my family members are impossible to stump, but I keep trying!  Why not send your party invite on a beach ball?  Blow up a small beach ball and add the party details with a permanent marker.  Then, deflate the ball before mailing…fun!

jaws 40th anniversary invite pleasure in simple things blog

And, who could resist these fun ice cube trays!

fun ice cubes for JAWS 40th anniversary pleasure in simple things blog

So, amidst all the decorating you may do for your viewing party, a little candy treat favor is fun to add to to the mix. For my candy bags, I have packaged up blue gummy sharks and candy beach balls. There are so many candy options you can use if you prefer to substitute what I chose to use. You can even do Swedish fish or goldfish crackers –really, any beachy item will work!

ajaws 40th anniversary pleasure in simple things blog 048I piled mine up in a beach bucket and added it to my Jaws themed décor.  The printable I have included here is sized for 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper – I prefer the weighty paper of a card stock, but you can use regular weight paper if you prefer.  Four treat bag headers print out on each page.  After cutting the paper in four, you can fold each piece to use as a header for a Jaws themed treat bag!  Purchase cellophane bags that are the same width as the headers and trim to the length needed based on your contents.  I use a couple of staples to attach the headers – first using a blue permanent marker on the staples so they coordinate a little better with the blue on my header design.

Click here for a free printable of the treat bag toppers.

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat!” Happy Viewing!

JAWS 40th anniversary pleasure in simple things blog

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

P.S. If you’d like me to send you a copy of my Jaws trivia contest, just shoot me an email and I will email it to you!

Sharing with House of Hipsters, Thoughts from AliceThe Shabby Nest, Craftberry Bush, and Crafts a la Mode.

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country living magazine fair 2015

June 9, 2015

placesetting at the Country Living Fair pleasure in simple things blog

I am so lucky. I get the chance to attend the best fair ever! The Country Living Magazine Fair is held in four spots across the U.S. each year and one of the locations is the Northeast!

Michelle Masters at the Country Living Fair pleasure in simple things blog

card display at The Country Living Fair pleasure in simple things blog

The Dutchess County Fairgrounds are located in Rhinebeck, New York and each year, for three days in the beginning of June, it is host to the Country Living Magazine Fair.

The Rhinebeck countryside pleasure in simple things blog

Driving through the Rhinebeck, NY countryside.

This venue is amazing. Think lush, green grass and beautiful landscaping – with views of rolling hills. Think real, (not portable) nicely maintained restrooms. Think great food. (maybe a delicious chicken lemongrass salad for lunch?) Think free parking. Yes, it is amazing.

signs at the Country Living Fair pleasure in simple things blog

silver pot planting at the Country Living Fair pleasure  in simple things blog

The Fair provides tons of great inspiration and shopping, seminars and demonstrations, and a chance to meet the magazine’s editors as well as some fun celebrities.

pretty trees at the Country Living Fair pleasure in simple things blog

bottles with nos at the Country Living Fair pleasure in simple things blog

So, as I attempt to settle down from my busy weekend exploring the Country Living Fair and the community of Rhinebeck with friends, I am sharing some of my weekend inspiration with you.

birdhouse at the Country Living Fair pleasure in simple things blog

topiaries at the Country Living Fair pleasure in simple things blog

I hope you enjoy these few photos from my weekend. You can also find some additional photos on Facebook by clicking here or on Instagram by clicking here.

vintage bride and groom pleasure in simple things blog

A vintage collection of wedding toppers caught my eye in a little shop in the center of Rhinebeck.

Snickers ice cream at the Country Living Fair pleasure in simple things blog

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

Sharing with Thoughts From Alice, and Finding Silver Pennies.

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shaved brussels sprouts salad recipe

June 5, 2015

a brussels sprout salad recipe pleasure in simple things blog

Do you like Brussels sprouts? It is a strange thing with this particular vegetable – I don’t enjoy eating whole Brussels sprouts, but I can enjoy eating them when they have been shaved or shredded. So, when I see a recipe that includes a shaved or shredded Brussels sprout, I put it in my ‘give it a try’ file since I know veggies are super good for me!

salad recipe ingredients pleasure in simple things blog

Many times I will try a recipe from my file and it doesn’t pass the taste test; granting it acceptance into my permanent recipe file and making it part of my regular repertoire.

Today, for Friday field trip, I am taking you into my kitchen and sharing a recipe that made it into the permanent file – big time! It is a cold salad using Brussels sprouts that is not only quick, easy, and delicious, but requires no cooking! It has a marvelous crunch factor that makes it very satisfying and reminiscent of a slaw. With picnic season in full swing, this salad is the perfect easy- to- prepare side dish to bring to an outdoor party!

brussels sprouts salad pleasure in simple things blog

I like to make a double batch of this recipe each time I make it. For me, this is easy to do on the ingredient end because my grocery store sells a 2 lb. bag of Brussels sprouts and an 8 oz. size of Manchego. I really have no trouble getting through a double batch pretty quickly…it is great to pack up to enjoy at lunchtime!

I have to warn you that Manchego cheese is one of the more pricy cheeses, but it is so worth buying for this recipe – a perfect taste pairing with the Brussels sprouts and almonds!

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced (I shred them in the food processor)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
4 oz. Manchego, shaved (this too, I shred in the food processor)
1/3 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted in a 350 degree oven and coarsely chopped.

Toss the Brussels sprouts, oil, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper in a large bowl. Let sit 8 to 10 minutes to let the Brussels sprouts wilt slightly. Add the Manchego and almonds and toss to combine.

*this recipe is adapted from one in one of my favorite magazines – Real Simple.

how to make a brussels sprout salad pleasure in simple things blog

That is it! Quick and easy! Enjoy!

If you should find yourself with some Manchego left over, be sure to try this Crostini recipe!

brussels sprout salad pleasure in simple things blog

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

Sharing with House of HipstersCoastal Charm and Sand & Sisal.

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annie sloan chair redo (before & after)

June 2, 2015

chair seat Annie Sloan redo pleasure in simple things blog

It’s baaaack…painting season, that is!  Once the weather gets warm, I love being outdoors and transforming some old furniture with a little paint!  This season started with an old chair.  When I saw the detail on the back of this chair, I was hooked!  I needed to paint it!

chair before pleasure in simple things chair redo

I had some great fabric left from a chair project I completed last summer, so that spearheaded the color choice for this chair.  I started by putting a sealing coat, since the type of finish on this chair often bleeds through paint.

After Chair Annie Sloan pleasure in simple things blog

Then, I painted the entire chair with a coat of Annie Sloan Paris Grey.

detail Annie Sloan chair redo pleasure in simple things blog

The next coat I painted was Annie Sloan Old White.  Using those two paint colors and, also, some Duck Egg, I mixed the paint to add a design to the back of the chair.  Because the chair fabric had an abstract kind of a look, I went with the same type of feel for the back of the chair, using soft, loose strokes.

Annie Sloan paints pleasure in simple things blog

Once that was complete, I added a coat of Annie Sloan clear wax to the entire piece.  I then did some distressing of the piece before adding a second coat of wax.

painted detail Annie Sloan chair redo pleasure in simple things blog

What do you think?

Annie Sloan paint chair pleasure in simple things blog

I am calling my first piece of the season Rockport.  :)

Rockport chair pleasure in simple things blog chair redo

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

Sharing with House of Hipsters, Sand & Sisal, Thoughts From Alice, and Finding Silver Pennies.

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june book giveaway!

May 29, 2015

June book giveaway pleasure in simple things blog 063

For June, the giveaway book selection is Vibrant Food by Kimberley Hasselbrink. This book celebrates the ingredients, recipes, and colors of each season. I really love when recipe books are organized by season, because it encourages healthful eating and is so compatible with healthy shopping! What better way is there to shop at this time of year than to visit farmer’s markets for in season ingredients that are fresh and grown local?

june giveaway book pleasure in simple things vibrant food

The author invites you to look at ingredients differently – to let the colors inspire! This book can help you think about produce in terms of color and can reinvigorate your relationship with food. In this collection of recipes, Hasselbrink employs aesthetics, flavor, and texture to build gorgeous yet unfussy dishes for every season.

Leave a comment for a chance to win this wonderful selection! I know the winner of this book will enjoy jumping right into ‘the bold colors of summer’ section to create some wonderful summer dishes!

pleasure in simple things giveaway book vibrant food book

Now, to announce the winner of last month’s giveaway selection. Daria was chosen at random from the comments left during May and will receive a copy of the book Secret Garden by Johanna Basford.  And, I have added a box of brightly colored pencils to the giveaway!  Congratulations Daria and happy doodling!  Thanks to everyone that left a comment. :)

In honor of the June book selection, the Instagram challenge for June is to share photos of your own vibrant food! Use hashtag #pleasuregram to post photos of brightly colored in season ingredients throughout the month of June.

june 2015 instagram challenge pleasure in simple things blog

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

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