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adding a spigot to a watermelon

August 4, 2015

watermelon beverage container pleasure in simple things blog

It wasn’t until recently that I heard people were using watermelons as beverage holders. Since yesterday was National Watermelon Day, it seemed the perfect excuse to try my hand at creating one!

I have made many a watermelon basket in my day! Even as a teenager, I loved carving out a watermelon to fill with a fruit salad for a party or get together. The older I got, the more ornate my baskets would become!

national watermelon day using a spigot pleasure in simple things blog

Using a watermelon to create a vessel for a beverage seemed pretty similar to making a watermelon basket. It is an easy concept: Hollow out a watermelon; cut a hole and add a spigot; fill it with a beverage!

To try your hand at making one, first examine your watermelon and decide which way you want it to stand. When you have the top and bottom picked out, make a very thin slice in the ‘bottom’ so it will stand up nice and straight without rolling over. Be careful not to cut too much off, or you could spring a leak in the bottom!

making awatermelon beverage holder pleasure in simple things blog

The spigot is easy to install. Cut a small hole the diameter of the spigot. Then add the spigot – a washer will hug each side of the watermelon; the nut will cap off the inside.

Then, cut off a slice from the top. Use a large, strong metal spoon to scoop out all the good watermelon and reserve it in a big bowl. (I also saved the juice from the watermelon by pouring it into a pitcher.)

Cut a hole for the spigot and position it near the bottom of the watermelon. (Remember that the section of liquid below the level of the spigot will not flow out.)

watermelon spigot on stand pleasure in simple things blog

Now you are ready to fill your beverage container with whatever beverage hits your fancy! I decided to make something of a jazzed up watermelon water. I had enough melon to make the water and still had leftovers for snacking!

watermelon spigot with pleasure in simple things blog

Watermelon Water
6 cups of watermelon, pulverized in a blender (you can count the liquid from the watermelon as part of the 6 cups.)
Juice of one lime (or to taste)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mix ingredients. Strain. Chill. Garnish with basil or mint leaves from garden. ;)

You may decide to fill your watermelon with a punch or some type of alcoholic drink (for those over 21) for your next party. My only advice is to be sure to strain any fruit drinks prior to putting them into the watermelon container. This ensures no pulp will clog up the spigot.

a watermelon spigot instructions pleasure in simple things blog

I know there are spigots marketed now as “watermelon spigots,” but you really don’t need anything special for a watermelon. My spigot cost $4.99. The only adjustment that may be needed is if the spigot is not long enough for the width of your fruit. I needed to shave mine down a little to be sure the washer fit on the back. I probably could have found a longer spigot, but it was easier just to make the width of the watermelon a little thinner in the spot where the spigot attached.

carving a watermelon beverage container pleasure in simple things blog

Now that I know it works, I can try some variations! Just like my watermelon baskets, I can see my beverage holders will also get ‘fancier’ over time! How about a row of fish carved around the top rim? Such possibilities! And, there are so many cute ways to set up a beverage station! Give it a try!

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

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august book giveaway!

July 31, 2015

August giveaway for pleasure in simple things blog

I remember, as a kid, the first time I had the bright idea to make my own ice pop. I poured some juice into a paper cup and put it in the freezer overnight. The next day, I rushed to the freezer, peeled off some of the paper cup, and attempted to eat my creation.

To my total disappointment, my ‘ice pop’ was rock solid, like an ice cube. Yes, I could lick it, but it didn’t have that great texture of a store bought ice pop. Little did I know then; what was missing to accomplish the texture I craved, was the right balance of sugar.

August giveaway pleasure in simple things blog

This and other important ice pop facts are explained in the book Irresistible Ice Pops by Sunil Vijayakar – the reason the book is a must have for all ice pop lovers! And, the reason it is the giveaway book for August!  Irresistible Ice Pops. includes all the basics to ice pop creation as well as a collection of some wonderful ice pop recipes. Leave me a comment and I will pick one lucky winner at random at the end of the month, from those that comment, to receive this great book. Good luck!

Congratulations to Emily for winning last month’s selection The Heirloom Tomato Cookbook.  Thank you also, Emily, for the heartfelt email.  A big thank you to everyone that entered to win!

August 2015 Instagram Challenge Icy Summer Treats

Instagram lovers, please read on! What’s your pleasure on a scorching hot summer day to help cool off? Is it a frozen drink? An ice pop? A slushie? Use hashtag #pleasuregram during the month of August to share photos of your favorite icy summer ice treat!

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

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easy homemade fudge ice pops

July 28, 2015

homemade fudgesicles pleasure in simple things blog

When I was a kid, I grew up across the street from a farm. I spent a lot of my childhood hanging out at the farm – picking vegetables, playing with the animals, and working at the farm stand. There was a freezer in the porch of the old farm house that housed some ice cream treats and many times after helping on the farm, the reward would be something from that freezer. I always chose the same thing – a fudge pop.

yummy fudgesicles pleasure in simple things blog

Now as an adult, anytime I see a fudge pop, it puts an instant smile on my face as I remember my childhood days on the farm! Of course, it makes sense that I would be all about creating my own fudge pop!

Today, I am sharing a recipe I use that is similar to the old time fudge pops that I enjoyed as a kid. My adult version is updated with the addition of some coffee – don’t you love chocolate and coffee together?

recipe for homemade fudgesicles on pleasure in simple things blog
There are so many great ice pop molds out there. If you don’t already own some, check out Home Goods or Ikea for some great, inexpensive ones. If you would rather not purchase anything, the old time ‘paper cup with a wooden stick’ still works great! Pour any extra mixture into ice cube trays to use in your iced coffee. ;)

fudgesicles pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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poetic chest before and after

July 24, 2015

after Duck Egg drawer pleasure in simple things blog

This piece was part of a larger piece that was left out on the curb at a beachfront home. I instantly fell in love with it, because I knew the details would look awesome as a painted piece. It was a really large piece and I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend the time on it that it needed. It ended up I couldn’t resist it. After having a heck of a time getting it home, I ended up taking the top piece to the dump and started working on the bottom piece.

before photo pleasure in simple things blog

First, I used a sealer on it because I feared some of the stain may bleed through the paint. I decided Old White and Duck Egg would look really great on this piece, even though I was very tempted to use my favorite French Linen.

Duck egg door pleasure in simplet things

This piece would find its home in a commercial retail space that had something of a poetry theme, so I had the idea to paint the inside of the drawers and add some pages of a poetry book; roughing them up some to make them look vintage. And, because of the poetry theme, I departed from my standard coastal town name and named the piece T.S.

inside cabinet drawer pleasure in simple things blog

This redo had to be one of my toughest ever because so much of the work was done on the hottest, muggiest days we have had this summer. And, believe me; I am not exaggerating…the weather was so bad that the drawers had swollen and wouldn’t fit back into the piece when it was completed! It wasn’t until T.S. was in its new home, in air conditioning for 24 hours, that I was able to put the piece back together – and, even then, I didn’t want anyone to touch it for a while because I feared the wax wasn’t set. (The reason there are no great after photos! That and the fact that the retail space hadn’t opened yet!)

cabinet detail pleasure in simple things blog

I ended up really happy with the result and I think the details are just lovely. Here is how T.S. came to be:

• 2 coats of Annie Sloan Old White on the main part of the piece
• 2 coats of Annie Sloan Duck Egg on the doors and drawers
• 1 coat of Annie Sloan Old White and water wash (50/50) on the doors and drawers – applied with a cloth
• 1 coat of Annie Sloan clear wax over everything
• Some distressing
• 1 coat Annie Sloan dark wax

cabinet redo pleasure in simple things blog duck egg and old white

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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

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diy rubber bottomed tote bag

July 21, 2015

tote bag diy with flowers pleasure in simple things

Don’t you love those rubber bottomed tote bags? I do! I have been meaning to make myself one for quite some time. I decided to give it a shot when I saw the Ikea straw totes on sale for $2.99! How could I go wrong?

My original plan for a rubber bottomed tote was to create one on a canvas bag and include a monogram. Once I got the bottom on my new straw tote, I changed my mind about the monogram. I preferred the look without it. I will wait until I find a good deal on a canvas tote, then I will make one with a rubber bottom and include a monogram.

a finished tote bag with flowers pleasure in simple things blog

This is a super easy project. The only supplies you need are; the tote you plan to use, some tape and paper for masking, and a can of Plasti Dip. You have seen me use Plasti Dip quite a bit if you follow this blog. I really love the product. (I will include some links to other DIY projects using Plasti Dip at the end of this post.) This product was once confined to the garage – but not once I got a hold of it! I adore repurposing products that are carried at a building supply store – Plasti Dip is one of these products!

diy rubber bottomed tote pleasure in simple things blog

Rather than the liquid form you have seen me use in the past, I am using the spray version of Plasti Dip for this project. Any spray paint has an overspray, so it is necessary to thoroughly mask any areas that will not be painted. To prepare, I used painter’s tape and newspaper to mask off these areas and I hung the bag upside down on the clothesline. This made it easy to paint. I chose a black paint and sprayed it in two light coats. The natural material of the tote is very porous, so it definitely requires 2 coats.  (The texture of the tote will prevent a perfectly sharp line like you would get on fabric.)

tote bag with flowers diy pleasure in simple things blog

That’s it! Just be sure to position the tote as you would use it – you don’t want it folded when you spray it since the rubber material dries hard.

Isn’t it great? I love it! I hope I have inspired you to try this fun and easy project!

diy tote bag with starfish pleasure in simple things blog

Links to 5 other DIY projects using Plasti Dip:  Color dipped wooden spoons, On pumpkins, Napkin Rings, Nautical necklace, Seafood swag

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

Sharing with The Shabby Nest, French Country CottageSand & Sisal, Coastal Charm.

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a window view

July 17, 2015

a window view 1 pleasure in simple things blog

The last time I went into the city, I had a fascination with windows. Sounds crazy, right? I started looking out some old windows with chippy molding and was mesmerized! It seemed the older and dirtier the windows, the more beautiful they became in my eyes. And, if something interesting was near the window – all the better!

a window view 2 pleasure in simple things blog

You know I am all about a good theme and, apparently, my visit on that particular day was going to be windows!

a window with a view 4 pleasure in simple things blog

For Friday field trip today, I am sharing a few of my favorite photos from my ‘window day’ in New York City. I will post a few additional window photos on my Facebook page.

a window with a view pleasure in simple things 7

In the words of Anne Spollen in The Shape of Water: “I discovered windows one afternoon and after that, nothing was ever the same.”

a window view 5 pleasure in simple things blog

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window quote pleasure in simple things blog
Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a wonderful weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at House of Hipsters,  Craftberry Bush, The Shabby Nest, and French Country Cottage.

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it’s a beach day shopping trip

July 14, 2015

This is the time of year when it is really great to shop all the stores and identify the fun summer items you like, because soon they will all go on sale!  Online shopping at the end of any season is fun, but I especially love it at the end of the summer because I use these sale items to decorate in a coastal style all year long!

This is the time of year when it is really great to shop all the stores and identify the fun summer items you like, because soon they will all go on sale! Online shopping at the end of any season is fun, but I especially love it at the end of the summer, because I use the clearance coastal items I buy in the summer to decorate all year long!  I am sharing a few of the items with a beach vibe that I am loving right now!

sea trays West Elm

West Elm has some really great ‘beachy’ items this summer.  I love the whimsical trays (in the photo above) – so practical!  And, isn’t the crab pillow (opening photo) adorable?

BBA

Arm candy in the summertime is a must!  The photo above shows some of the great creations from bba Bracelets (click here for info).  All the bracelets are handmade and can be made to order!  So fun to design an armful!  They are also great for wedding parties and other special events because you can design your own bracelets with coordinating colored beads, tassels, or charms.  My other love for arm candy is Kiel James Patrick!  What better way to show off a tanned arm than a white rope bracelet with an anchor closure?  Love it!

kjp bracelet

You may remember from my holiday shopping post that Grace in Niantic, CT is a favorite store of mine.  The epitome of coastal cool!  These are some of my favorite beachy pillows in the current collection of yummy summer items at the shop.

pillows at Grace in Niantic

We all know that sometimes disposable paper goods are a must in the summer!  These cuties from West Elm make disposable more than acceptable at any casual gathering!

west elm dinner ware

At $4.99 even the regular price of this Ikea straw bag makes it a crafters delight!  I have decorated it in so many different ways and it makes a great alternative to a gift bag for summer giving!

nipprigbeachbag IKEAFor my furniture projects, Anthropologie is always a go-to for cool hardware…this summer, I am loving the sea life on these knobs!

sealife knobs anthropologie

A cute tote is always in order in the summer, and a great way to help the kids get organized is to have them carrying their own stuff!  This adorable tote from Pottery Barn Kids fits the bill perfectly!  And, by the way, don’t think the items in PB Kids are just for kids!  I bought a great insulated lunch bag with old school stainless storage containers for myself from the catalog!

Pottery barn kids tote

For myself, in place of a tote bag, I prefer this Sailor stripe backpack by Baggu…cool, right?

Baggu sailor stripe backpackI hope I inspired you to do a little summer perusing of your own!  There are plenty of great items out there – like these awesome ice cube trays available at Nordstrom.  Cheers!

anchor ice cube tray nordstrom

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

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dusk in the garden

July 10, 2015

gardens 2015 pleasure in simple things blog 063

At the beach or in the garden, the light at dusk is my favorite light of the day.

gardens 2015 pleasure in simple things blog 121

I am enjoying the opportunity to explore a yard I haven’t seen before at this glorious time of day.

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And, today for Friday field trip, I am sharing my visit with you.

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Many would have found the challenge of creating a pleasing landscape in a sloping yard with plenty of trees and ledge as too much to handle.

gardens 2015 pleasure in simple things blog 094

That is not the case with the owners of this yard!  If the abundance of shade presented a challenge, it is not evident to anyone who visits this beautiful and imaginative space.

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The details are lovely and there are plenty of unique features.

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I think one of my favorite aspects of the garden spaces is that where many may have used white, (on a pair of Adirondack chairs, planters, garden shelves, fence) this couple chose to use black as a ‘go-to’ color.  The use of the darker color brings a sense of richness to the design.

garden details pleasure in simple things blog

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I hope you have enjoyed a few glimpses of this lovely space today on Friday field trip.  Thanks for stopping by.

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

Sharing with NancherrowThe Shabby Nest, French Country Cottage, and Craftberry Bush.

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homemade ice cream on the beach

July 7, 2015

eating homemade ice cream on the sand pleasure in simple things blog

Did you enjoy your weekend? Mine was the best! So many of my family members were together and the fireworks were the best I’ve seen…all in all; a great holiday!

Today, I am trying to catch up with work and with household chores, but I am taking some time to share a recipe for the ice cream I made over the weekend.

Going into the weekend, I was having some trouble deciding what flavor ice cream to make. I thought I would try making s’mores flavor. It seemed like a challenge. Maybe roast some marshmallows first and add marshmallow, graham crackers, and chocolate chips. I still need to give that a try at some point!

cranking homemade ice cream pleasure in simple things blog

What I decided on for the Fourth of July was a ‘Ferris Acres inspired’ coconut chocolate chunk. You may remember Ferris Acres from this post (click here). I am not sure if it was the flavor or the work that went into the cranking that made it so good, but I thought it came out perfect! (I do need to give some credit to my daughter’s boyfriend – I had some helpers, but he did the lion’s share of the cranking!)

homemade coconut chocolate chunk pleasure in simple things blog

Coconut Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream Recipe (makes 5 quarts)
5 cups of milk (*see note below)
1 14 oz. can coconut milk, unsweetened
4 eggs
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 ½ cups sugar
4 cups whipping cream
¼ teaspoon salt
1 14 oz. bag sweetened, flaked coconut, roughly chopped
3 1.5 ounce bars Ghirardelli Intense Dark Evening Dream 60% cacao bars, roughly chopped

*I substituted some of the 5 cups of milk with the coconut milk. I used the can of coconut milk first and then added enough milk to make 5 cups of liquid.

Beat eggs until foamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until thickened. Add cream, vanilla, and salt and mix thoroughly. Pour into ice cream maker canister. Add milk and stir well. (If your maker has a fill line, do not go over it.)

Put covered canister into fridge, as well as the prepared coconut and chocolate, until really cold.

pleasure in simple things ice cream makingPrepare in your ice cream maker. I use a hand crank using ice and pour salt over the ice. I used two bags of ice for this batch.

After the ice cream is done, stir in the cold chocolate and coconut and set the canister in the freezer overnight to set.

finishing a homemade ice cream pleasure in simple things blog

Eat plenty and often. ;)

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

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

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american waters: a marine exhibition

July 3, 2015

pleasure in simple things Lyme Art Association

For today’s Friday field trip, I am very excited to take you to American Waters: A Marine Art Exhibition in Old Lyme, Connecticut.  This summer exhibition of work by the country’s premier maritime artists is on view in the Lyme Art Association’s beautiful sky-lit galleries.  American Waters represents a showing of the very best of fine contemporary American marine paintings. A jury exhibition of marine art by the Association’s member artists are on view alongside art by invited artists from the American Society of Marine Artists.

One of my very favorite pieces from the collection is View from the Top by James Magner.

View from the Top James Magner pleasure in simple things

Here is a detail photo from the piece.  I wish I had the budget to purchase the entire collection of over 120 works (which I don’t), but if I had the budget to purchase just one for myself, this may very well be my choice!

pleasure in simple things marine art 43

Remember that these paintings are far more magnificent in person than a photo could ever convey.  Also, in the gallery the pieces are all displayed in frames.  Here, I chose to show them to you without the frames since I thought the frames were distracting in a photograph.  With that being said, here are some of my other favorite works.

pleasure in simple things marine art 86Discovery by Shauna Shane

pleasure in simple things marine art 32Beached by Joan Poarch

pleasure in simple things marine art 114Meandering by Kim Muller-Thym

pleasure in simple things marine art 24Dog Days by Catherine Puccio

pleasure in simple things marine art 17Solitude by Faripour Forouhar

pleasure in simple things marine art  98Morning Light by Kent Winchell

pleasure in simple things marine art 49Slack Time by Deborah Kotchen

I hope you enjoyed sharing some of the wonderful works on display at The Lyme Art Association.  If you live in Connecticut or are passing through, be sure to stop by the exhibit – it is easily accessible off I95 and well worth a visit.

Lyme Art Association in Lyme CT pleasure in simple things

I am very much looking forward to the Art Association’s upcoming exhibition Summer Days, Starry Nights & Connecticut Pastel Society opening on August 14th. If you want more details about upcoming exhibits, check the website by clicking here for more information.

American Waters Exhibit pleasure in simple things blog
Thanks so much for stopping by!  Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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

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