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green tea holiday bark

December 8, 2017

close up candy bark

I mentioned in a previous post that I found a great recipe book for trying some new food gifts this year.  Today, on Friday field trip, I am taking you into my kitchen to check out the first one I chose to make.  The recipe I tried is candy bark from the new recipe book Holiday Cookies:  Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season by Elisabet der Nederlanden.  (For more on this book, click here.)

I couldn’t wait to make this!  I have friends that love green tea and I was sure the bark would look festive with green from the tea and red from freeze dried berries.

piece of candy bark

As it turned out, the recipe did not disappoint!  It looks super festive and tastes great.  I do have a few tips if you decide to make this for giving.

First, green tea powder can be super expensive – shop wisely!  I found some at HomeGoods in the food section for a great price!  You can also probably find it as a teabag.  Just be sure to check the label on whatever you purchase and be sure green tea is the only ingredient.  I found the freeze dried berries at a great price at Target in the section where trail mix and nuts are sold.

collage making candy bark

As far as preparation – do not let the dark chocolate layer get too cold before layering the green tea mixture on top!  What I found out is that the green tea layer does not adhere to the chocolate if it is too cold – as soon as the chocolate is firm, spread the green tea layer on top.  Also, work quickly to add the ingredients to the green tea layer because it sets up quickly!

christmas candy bark

This candy was so easy to put together and so quick to make!  Now, it just needs a cute package for gifting!

gift package of candy bark

Thanks for stopping by today!  I hope you are inspired to make a food gift of your own.  I have a couple more new recipes I want to try before Christmas!

last of candy bark

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

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advent calendar diy 2017

December 5, 2017

tablescape calendar diy for advent

For those of you that follow this blog regularly, you know I don’t create hanging Advent calendars.  I prefer a tablescape or mantlescape when coming up with my annual creation!

Advent Calendar diy tablescape

This year, I am using small pillow boxes to put together a very simple calendar.  If you want to make one, this is what you will need:

24, 3 1/2” brown paper pillow boxes; 26 feet of 3/4” ribbon of your choice, cut into 13” pieces; 1” adhesive numbers (be sure to have enough numbers for 1 through 24); small candies of your choice.

candies for Advent calendar

I often use champagne bubble candies when styling since I not only love the color white, but I love the way the candies look.  Champagne flavored candies also seem right for a special occasion like Christmas.  You may choose to substitute one of your favorite candies, something homemade, or a candy in a color that coordinates with your own holiday colors.

diy advent calendar supplies

The calendar is easy to assemble.  Fill each box with some of the candy you chose and close.  Tie a piece of ribbon, lengthwise, onto each box.  Use the adhesive letters to add the numbers 1 through 24 to the front of the boxes.

I found my adhesive numbers at a craft store– I thought the dot pattern played well with the candies I chose to use in the boxes.

Lastly, arrange the boxes in a grouping.

creating a diy Advent Calendar

For a mantel, an arrangement using some loose white birch logs would work nice.  For a tablescape, any favorite tray or bowl would work well.  For my Advent calendar tablescape, I am using plants, moss, and tiny lights in a long tray down the middle of my wooden dining room table.

Easy and fun!  I hope I have inspired you to create an Advent calendar for your home!

Advent calendar diy with lights

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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december giveaway

December 1, 2017

december giveaway 2017

It is time to announce the December giveaway!  This month, as a homage to getting organized for the new year, the giveaway is a planner and a notebook!

Start 2018 off in style with this adorable planner and Lilly Pulitzer notebook!  What better way to get organized as a new year begins!

december 2017giveaway

Just leave a comment and you are entered to win the giveaway.  The winner will be chosen at random at the end of December.

Thank you to everyone who entered to win the November giveaway – the cute succulent calendar (click here to see more).  The winner of the calendar is Cheryl.  Congratulations to you Cheryl!  Enjoy this adorable calendar!

giveaway planner and notebook

Instagram users, please read on!

The challenge for December is to post your favorite holiday ornaments!  Ornaments are the best, aren’t they?  There are so many great ones and we would love for you to share your favorites!  Use the hashtag #pleasuregram to share.

december 2017 instagram challenge

Happy December, my friends!  Stop by on Tuesday to see my DIY Advent calendar for this year!

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

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rainbow turkeys at gozzi’s farm

November 28, 2017

pink turkey in Connecticut

You don’t need to purchase a turkey during the holidays to make a tradition of visiting Gozzi’s Turkey Farm in Guilford, Connecticut.  If not purchasing a turkey, why visit a turkey farm?  To get a glimpse of the rainbow colored turkeys, of course!

Orange turkey at Gozzis

Rumor has it that the 15 or so white turkeys housed in a turkey pen each year outside the store were first dyed with 100% natural vegetable based dyes back in the 1940’s and the practice has been maintained as a tradition ever since.

pastel turkeys in CT

To me, the turkeys give more of an Easter vibe than a Thanksgiving vibe, but they certainly are interesting to look at!

Gozzi’s Turkey Farm has been in business over 75 years, developing one of the first strains of white turkeys on the East Coast.

close up of green turkey

With the rise of large turkey producers, Gozzi’s does not sell the large quantities of fresh birds that it once did at its peak back in the 1970’s, but many families still make an annual tradition of purchasing a fresh Gozzi bird!  Many area families also make an annual tradition of viewing the colorful turkeys in the front pen!

ruffled feathers of colored turkeys

This small local turkey farm is located on Route 1 not far off I-95 and the turkeys are in the pen and free to view from Thanksgiving through Christmas during good weather.

gozzis turkey farm sign

Thanks for stopping by!

boots on the farm

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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taken for granite 2017 holiday

November 24, 2017

colorful bottle brush trees

The games have begun…the shoppers are off!

beachy holiday

I promised a week of shopping inspiration and today I share some photos from one of my favorite ‘beachy’ vibe shops.

turquoise ornaments

holiday fairy

Today, for Friday field trip, a holiday visit to Taken for Granite in Stony Creek, Connecticut.

trees in miniature

holiday jewels

copper bracelet

Choose this brick and mortar store over internet shopping and delight in the personal service, gorgeous gift wrap, and carefully selected merchandise offered!

shells and holiday decor

teapot holiday vignette

Enjoy!

bottle brush trees in colors

Thanks for visiting!  Have a wonderful weekend.

pink bottle brush trees

Remember to take pleasure in simple things…like visiting a beautiful gift shop! xo Jackie

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terrain holiday 2017

November 21, 2017

lighted wreath wall

Typically, this is the week everyone starts thinking about holiday shopping.

lighted balls Terrain

fir trees at Terrain

I have definitely started thinking about it myself and I have visited a few of my favorite stores.  Because I am such a visual person, I don’t really enjoy internet shopping.  I like to see the merchandise and enjoy how it is styled and displayed.  And, I certainly appreciate a beautifully and creatively wrapped purchase over a box left at my doorstep!

lighted tree Terrain

building a zinc village

As a homage to brick and mortar stores, this week I am sharing a few photos from my favorites this holiday season.

greens for the holidays at Terrain

Holiday Magic at Terrain

Today, some photos from my favorite home and garden store – Terrain.  For overall holiday décor, Terrain is hard to beat!  A visit to the Westport store is a sure way to put your holiday spirit into overdrive as well as inspire your holiday décor!

Terrain Holiday

holiday plant at Terrain Westport

Thanks for stopping by!

Holiday tree with red bulbs

Remember to take pleasure in simple things and have a blessed Thanksgiving!   xo Jackie

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holiday cookies

November 17, 2017

Holiday cookies cookbook

2017 has been a good year for cookbooks.  There have been a wide variety of new books published.  This selection includes cookbooks by celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Zac Posen – as well as cookbooks by famous chefs like Bobby Flay, Wylie Dufresne, Jacques Pepin and Richard Blais.

But, for recipes to use for holiday gifting, I have a favorite cookbook release this year and I would like to share the title with you today on Friday field trip.

holiday baking

The book?  Holiday Cookies:  Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season by Elisabet der Nederlanden.  With some intriguing new dessert recipes accompanied by fabulous photos, I am really enamored with this book!  Can you tell why based on the few photos here?!

holiday cookie trees

The holidays are a time when most people succumb to food temptations and I am no different!  For me, it is definitely a new sweet that will do me in! On Thanksgiving it is all about Eileen’s lemon meringue pie…as far as Christmas is concerned?  You never know!

new holiday cookbook

Because baking is my favorite, I add some new recipes to my holiday repertoire each year – adding some new treats to include with my old standbys!  Making something new to gift to others is a special part of my holiday routine.  This year, the new recipes I try are definitely coming out of Nederlanden’s book!

holiday pinwheel cookies

I can’t wait to share my creations with you on future Friday field trips!

Browse through some of this year’s new cookbooks at your local library!   I hope you are inspired to try at least one new dessert recipe this holiday season! ;)

antique cookie cutters

Thanks for stopping by!

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

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diy basil infused salt gift

November 14, 2017

packaging diy basil infused salt gift

Before the first frost, what do you do with the last of the basil from your garden?  Do you make batches of pesto to freeze?  Have you ever thought about making some basil infused salt?

I recently had the good fortune to stay at the Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island, Florida.  The Ritz on Amelia Island has a fabulous selection of infused salts for sale.  Trying some of the salts from their collection, and watching the kitchen staff demonstrate how it is made, inspired me to use my ‘last of the season’ basil to make some of my own infused salt!

basil infused salt holiday gift diy

Basil salt makes the perfect seasoning for a tomato and fresh mozzarella salad when the basil from the garden has long gone…and, when packaged, it makes a great holiday gift as well!

It is super simple to create a basil infused salt!

making infused herbal salt

First, I pulsed ½ cup kosher salt and ½ cup packed basil leaves together in the food processor.  I dried this mixture by spreading it on a baking sheet in a 225-degree oven (tossing it every 15 minutes) for about 40 minutes – until dry.

After letting it cool, I pulsed the mixture one last time to make the salt extra fine.  Of course, you can control the coarseness by the number of pulses used.

salt tube trio diy

For packaging, I used some glass tubes I had purchased for another DIY.  I think three tubes tied together are a great way to package the salt as a gift.  If you try making some other herbed salt flavors, you can even package three different flavors of salt to gift as a trio!  If you would rather use a more conventional container, small Weck jars or glass spice jars would also look super cute!

I hope I have inspired you to use some herbs from your garden to create some infused salt!

homemade gift salt

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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amelia island beach memories

November 10, 2017

Ritz Carlton Amelia Island Beach

Here in Connecticut, the weather has turned cold.  Thoughts of fall are being replaced by winter and holiday preparations…Christmas decorations are on display everywhere!

The beach at The Ritz Amelia Island

I think it is the perfect day to take a glimpse of some warmer days that are not that far behind us!  Don’t you miss that feeling of sand between your toes?

tables amelia island

For today’s Friday field trip, a few photos of the beach taken during my recent stay at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Florida.

umbrella on the beach amelia island

Enjoy!

walkway Amelia Island

Thanks for stopping by!

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

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amsterdam green dresser redo

November 7, 2017

ferns on dresser drawer

Annie Sloan Amsterdam Green.  I have been so eager to paint a piece of furniture with this color Chalk Paint!

I got my chance on a recent dresser renovation.  My color choice was inspired by the Ikea Strandkrypa floral patterned duvet cover.

The dresser is part of a guest room décor project of mine.  The bed in the room is covered with the Strandkrypa comforter  – giving me a botanical/gardeny vibe inspiration for the room.

Ikea comforter inspiration

When I came up with my plan for the room, I wrote down my ‘dream’ dresser dimensions for future reference and hoped to find a cast-off dresser in the future.  It was only about 3 weeks later that a sturdy wooden dresser out on a curb, ready for the trash pickup, would catch my eye and end up matching my measurements almost exactly!  Unreal!  And, when I asked the homeowner if it was okay to take the item from his front yard, he proceeded to load it into my car!  When does that ever happen?  Perfect dimensions AND no heavy lifting?!

before and after dresser Annie Sloan Amersterdam Green

I wanted the room where the dresser would reside to have a gardeny vibe, inspired by the bedding.  I  had already refinished an heirloom bedside table for the same room – now my mission was to redo my new- found, no cost discovery!  (To see the side table before and after, click here.)

Amerstdam green Annie Sloan dresser

I thought bin pulls would be perfect to replace the old drawer handles.  The only reasonably priced ones I was able to find were in a silver tone.  Since the ones I found were perfect, except for the finish, I just sprayed them with Rustoleum spray paint (in hammered bronze).

dresser drawers Amsterdam Green Annie Sloan

Though I was tempted to sand and stain the top of the piece, I knew the owner would rather a solid color piece, so I resisted the temptation!  If I was redoing it for myself, I would have stained the top in a darker color stain – like a Minwax dark walnut – but, for this client, a light distressing and simple whitewash was all the piece needed…A pretty straight forward painting project.

fern stencils on dresser drawers

I sealed the piece first, since experience has taught me old stains can bleed through and I wanted a true Amsterdam Green.  Then, I painted the piece with two coats of the Amersterdam Green.  For the white wash, I used Annie Sloan Old White thinned with water – about 60% water.  I painted on the wash and quickly rubbed it down with some cheesecloth to give it an old, weathered look.  I let the paint set a few days, before giving it a coat of clear wax.  I later added an extra coat of clear wax.  Lastly, I added the new pulls.

white birch drawer liner

Since I always try to add some interesting details, I came up with a couple for this dresser.  I stenciled some ferns, using the same Amsterdam Green, on the sides of two of the drawers for an unexpected surprise and also added some birch bark looking paper as drawer liner.

Complete!

Thanks for stopping by and sharing my latest painting project!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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