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book giveaway for june!

May 30, 2014

pleasure in simple things The Interestings book giveaway

Friday field trip today will be used for the book giveaway since May is coming to a close.

Congratulations to Carolyn for winning the May book selection!  Carolyn, you are going to love trying all the fabulous recipes in The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook!  It is awesome!

Now, on to the June selection!

Since the first day of summer arrives in June, what would be better than a beach read giveaway?  So, for June I have chosen a book by Meg Wolitzer that makes for a great beach read!  The book is The Interestings.   Published in 2013, the book was a New York Times Bestseller and received much critical acclaim – named as a Best Book of the Year by many.

When I had the great fortune to listen to Ms. Wolitzer speak about the book in person, I had a paperback copy signed (ah, so much easier to slip into a beach bag :) ) for the June giveaway.

The interestings Meg Wolitzer

The book follows the friendship of six artsy teenagers in the 70’s that meet at sleep away camp and vow to never lose touch.  Following the lives of these complex characters from camp through middle age is a fun and wild ride.  Part of the fun is the authenticity in characters and events as New York is presented from the time of Watergate through today.

Ms. Wolitzer speaks from experience.  She lived in Long Island as a teenager (at the same time as the characters in her book) and going away to an arts camp inspired much for this well-crafted read.  Certainly this is part of the reason the events and friendships in the story are so engaging and authentic – Ms. Wolitzer’s ability to so beautifully draw on real life experiences.

I know you will enjoy this read as much as I, and you will relate to the multi-faceted friendships that continue throughout the lives of the book’s characters.  And, if you happened to be a teenager during the ‘70’s, you will find period references throughout the book extremely engaging.

Leave me a comment during the month of June to be entered to win this great selection.  Happy beach reading!

Speaking of the beach, Instagram users please read on for this month’s pleasure in simple things Instagram challenge!  For June, we are sharing our beach inspired photos…my favorite!  Can’t wait to see what everyone will post!  Use hashtag #pleasuregram to share.

June instagram challenge beach pleasure in simple things

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

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annie sloan virgin

May 27, 2014

vanity redo with annie sloan paint pleasure in simple things

I have been intending to try Annie Sloan paint for a long time…honest!

I once even tried to convince a local store to carry it.  I just never found the time to actually use it on a project.

Well, thanks to a talented group of ladies that put together ‘Inspire Me DIY’, I was motivated to get working on a piece of furniture given to me by a friend over a year ago, when I found out about the project on Lucy’s (Craftberry Bush) Instagram feed.

pleasure in simple things vanity redo before photo

Enter Annie Sloan!  So, I refinished my first piece using Annie Sloan chalkboard paint and, of course, I am obsessed with the product!  Maybe in the back of my mind I thought this might happen and that is the reason why I put off my first project for so long!

This was my process:

  • 2 coats of Annie Sloan Paint in Paris Grey
  • 1 coat of clear wax
  • Some sanding/distressing
  • 2nd coat of clear wax
  • Coat of dark wax
  • I lined (all but one) drawer in an Anna Rifle paper design.  One of the top drawers is lined in felt (for jewelry).

After some late night work sessions into the wee hours of the morning, my results:

pleasure in simple things vanity redo after photo

I am thrilled!  It’s great to get my first project under my belt (yes, there will be more!)  since it takes a while to feel comfortable using any product for the first time.  I did have a few panic moments and I thank Danielle at Finding Silver Pennies for the encouragement I needed to keep me going.

pleasure in simple things vanity redo

I am not too sure about the knob choice.  What do you think?  I bought the knobs at Anthropologie before I started the project because I loved them and because the color was almost the same color as the walls (Martha Stewart paint in shortbread) in the room where I plan to park my new creation.

pleasure in simple things vanity redo

pleasure in simple things vanity redo

I thank Mary so much for the vanity…I wanted it because it reminded me of my grandmother – working on this project made me wish it was my grandmother’s vanity I was redoing  – her vanity held so many special memories of my childhood.  But, a great part about this project was it brought to mind some many special moments between me and my grandmother…and, I love that looking at this vanity will always remind me of her.  I can’t wait to see how it looks in my guest room!

pleasure in simple things vanity redo

Anyone have any seating ideas?

Thanks for stopping by and thanks to all the great ladies that organized Inspire Me DIY…because of you, this stalled project got up and running!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

P.S.  I have my eye on a piece for my next project…I wonder if my son will notice if I sneak out a side table from his apartment?  For those in my part of the world (Fairfield County, Connecticut), Annie Sloan paint is available at Junktique Recycling in Norwalk.

Sharing at Craftberry BushFinding Silver Pennies, Sand & Sisal, and Coastal Charm.


recreating the freeze pop

May 23, 2014

pleasure in simple things watermelon ice pops

Today’s Friday field trip is kickin’ it back to my childhood.

I’ve always loved freeze pops.  When I was a kid, that’s what I called the ice pops that came in a long plastic tube…tubes of sweet iciness that brought with them reminders of many hot, fun summers.  So, when I recently discovered that food-safe plastic tubes were available online, I had no choice but to purchase some – pronto!

pleasure in simple things watermelon basil ice pop

As the years have gone by, I have been more and more hesitant to pick up my old favorites at the grocery stores.  Because, I have to admit, the list of ingredients in those pops is pretty scary!  This made the idea of creating my own even more intriguing!

I have been playing around with possible flavor combinations. I am still working on some recipes…and others, like the basil watermelon or the spicy chocolate, I have already perfected!

pleasure in simple things watermelon ice pops

For Memorial Day, I am making ice pops from my watermelon recipe to share with my partner in freeze pop crime (aka, my son) who has been known to help me devour an entire box in a very (too short to admit) amount of time!

pleasure in simple things watermelon basil ice pop recipe
If you want to make some yourself and don’t have the plastic sleeves, use this recipe with ice pop molds or go old school with small paper cups and wooden sticks.   The recipe can also be frozen up in ice cube trays to add to sparkling water or lemonade.

pleasure in simple things ice pops in plastic sleeves

The ice pop plastic sleeves filled, tied, and ready for the freezer.

To make these frozen confections, I first made basil simple syrup to use as a sweetener for the watermelon.  I love basil with watermelon and the flavor profile makes for a more adult flavor than the watermelon by itself.  The leftover syrup is wonderful for sweetening ice tea or lemonade…it is also great drizzled on fresh strawberries or strawberry shortcake.  Or, it can be a wonderful addition to a summer cocktail!  If you want to add a little ‘kick’ to your pop, I bet a little melon liquor would be a nice addition to the recipe.

pleasure in simple things watermelon basil ice pops

I hope I have inspired you to try creating some of your own frozen treats this weekend.

Remember to take some time this Memorial Day to honor those who have paid the ultimate price to ensure our freedom and to thank all those who serve our country both now and in the past.

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

Sharing with Craftberry Bush, Shabby Nest, and Crafts a la Mode.

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nautical father’s day coasters

May 20, 2014

pleasure in simple things craft

Beverage coasters make great gifts, and with Father’s Day coming up soon, I have some quick and easy diy gift coasters that are sure to be a hit with the dads!  And, they are easy enough for the kids to create!

I made all the coasters in this post from repurposed items (and a little bit of chalkboard paint)…here are three different ways to create some great nautical themed drink holders!

JAR LIDS make great coasters.  I like to use  the tops of old canning jars.  There are so many ways to decorate a jar lid!  An old photo of dad is one great way…you can use a copier if you don’t want to compromise a favorite photo.  I like the old black and white photos!  If you would rather draw your own design, it is easy enough to create a design on a circular piece of cardstock to later glue to the lid.  For a new dad, a footprint of a newborn would be a sweet idea.

pleasure in simple things coaster

Here, I coiled a scrap piece of rope and used a glue gun to attach it to the lid.  If you don’t have any rope, it is very inexpensive to buy by the yard at a marine store (or, you can buy a jumprope at a dollar store).

Another way to embellish the lid is to add a piece of cork.  Here, I added cork and decorated it by simply adding a design with a permanent marker.

pleasure in simple things Father's Day coaster

A map of the recipient’s favorite vacation spot is another idea…here, I used a page from an old atlas.

pleasure in simple things nautical coaster

pleasure in simple things recycling a vegetable container


I found an easy way to protect the photo or map you use for your coaster – simply cut a circle of plastic from a fruit or vegetable container and lay it right on top!

For the next two designs, you will need to create a template…decide on the size and shape you want for the coaster and cut one out of cardboard.  I made mine a 3 ½” square with rounded corners.

CHALKBOARD coasters are easy to make and are so fun!  Using your template, cut coasters out of cardboard or chipboard.  For Father’s Day, you will probably want to create a set – decide how many you want, cut them out, and coat one side of each with chalkboard paint – I used chalkboard spray paint.

pleasure in simple things diy nautical coasters

For a nautical look, I tied a set of newly made coasters in twine and added a fish gift tag made from brown kraft paper.  Don’t forget to add a piece of chalk!  I also added a fishing bobber as a final touch!

pleasure in simple things diy coasters

Cardboard SIX PACK CARRIERS, that six packs of beer are sold in, are a great source for a fun coaster material.  Using your template, just trace and cut coasters!  I found some great six pack holders in recycling bins!

pleasure in simple things six pack diy coasters

Any summertime design is really fun to use (wish I found some Landshark!)…or, a design from a favorite beer of the recipient!

pleasure in simple things cardboard coasters

I hope you enjoyed these ideas for easy ways to make coasters as gifts this Father’s Day.  They are a super project to work on with the kids…enjoy!

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

Sharing at Liz Marie BlogCoastal Charm, Silver Pennies, City Farmhouse, and Sand & Sisal.


interest to plantings with diy teepees

May 16, 2014

pleasure in simple things diy garden teepees

Garden ‘teepees’ are a quick and easy way to add some great visual interested to your plantings.

pleasure in simple things garden teepee

For Friday field trip today, I am visiting with my friend Phyllis (thanks Phyllis!) to demonstrate this easy tutorial.

You may remember Phyllis from when I hijacked her magnificent yard for a charity garden tour or, from when I shared a terrarium making session at her home.

pleasure in simple things garden teepees

Today, we are creating garden teepees to add to outdoor pots.

pleasure in simple things garden teepees

To create the teepees, simply arrange branches in a teepee shape, holding them in place, while pushing into the soil.  Attach the top of the branches together using a small piece of green floral wire.  Place a piece of moss over the green wire and attach it using another small length of the wire.

pleasure in simple things garden teepees

*Moss can be purchased at a garden store and is preferred over the moss found in the yard or the forest to avoid undiscovered insect eggs, etc.

pleasure in simple things pussy willow garden teepees

pleasure in simple things making garden teepees

Looks like we have some ‘students’ interested in our tutorial from the other side of the screen door!


A garden teepee is such a great way to add some visual interest to plantings with very little effort and minimal supplies!

Have fun with it!

Thank you so much for stopping by!

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

Sharing at Craftberry Bush, Crafts a la Mode, and Mona’s Picturesque.


summertime diy napkin rings

May 13, 2014

diy summer napkin rings

What flower suggests the summertime to you?  Queen Anne’s lace screams summer to me.  Even though some people may consider it a weed…I see it as a sweet and nostalgic symbol of the summertime!  Combining this flower with a napkin ring creates the perfect summer accessory for outdoor dinners on the sand. :)

diy napkin ring with mason jar

I recently saw a photo in a magazine of a napkin ring with a bloom of Queen Anne’s lace and I fell in love with it!

diy napkin rings on the beach

The napkin ring was listed as available from Crate & Barrel.  Normally, I would have run right out to Crate & Barrel and scooped some up – they were so reasonably priced!  (And I love any excuse to visit the store!)  But, since I already had all the materials needed to create them at home, I was able to make them up at basically no cost!  Besides, I had been eager to upscale the old napkin rings my friend Terry gave me months ago…she knew I would find a great use for them!  (Thank you Terry!)

summer napkin ring diy

I had picked up a solitary stem of artificial Queen Anne’s lace last summer in the bargain bin at the craft store – not really sure what I’d do with it.  Conveniently, it contained four blooms on the one stem – perfect to create a set of napkin rings!

sea glass

Adding in some scrap twine, I made all four napkin rings for the cost of the flower stem ($1. plus tax).  These napkin rings will serve as the perfect accessory for some of my many nautical napkins to use with meals on the beach this summer.

diy twine napkin rings

I wrapped each napkin ring with twine – using my trusty glue gun to hold the twine in place.  After completely covering the old napkin ring, I removed a bloom from the stem of the artificial flower and affixed it to the top of the twine covered ring using the glue gun.

instructions for diy napkin rings

Easy!  This technique can be used for any artificial flower you may have…or, one you have crafted from paper.  This is also a great and inexpensive way to add a theme color or favorite flower to a bridal shower… or any celebration!  Recycle old napkin rings, curtain rings, or shower rings using this technique to create some beautiful new napkin rings!

diy napkin rings with anchor napkins

diy napkin ring on the sand

I love my new napkin rings…and, the Queen Anne’s lace reminds me that summer is ahead!

photo of beach grass

A nostalgic summertime song to set the mood for meals on the beach.  :)

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

P.S.  You can click here for a tutorial on making the anchor napkins shown here…and click here for some great ways to use seaglass Enjoy!

Sharing at Sand & Sisal, Finding Silver Pennies, and Savvy Southern Style.

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vintage handkerchief lavender sachets

May 9, 2014

vintage handkerchief sachet diy

Back in my grandmother’s time, handkerchiefs were an art form.  There were so many beautiful handkerchief designs – many embroidered – and every lady carried one.

I remember my grandmother always having one tucked up her sleeve.  Everything was made to last in my grandmother’s time, and this included handkerchiefs.  They were always fashioned of cloth, not the disposable variety of today.

vintage materials for sachets

Because of this, there are still many lovely old handkerchiefs around today.  I saved many from both my grandmothers because of the sentimental value, but over time I have found some great ways to transform these heirlooms into items that are practical as well as beautiful.

For Friday field trip today, I am sharing my favorite way as we travel back to a time of beautiful cloth handkerchiefs and fashion them into lavender sachets.  With Mother’s Day approaching, a sweet sachet made from a family heirloom can make a special gift for mom.

vintage handkerchief sachet

Inevitably, a gift like this may be too pretty to scent a drawer…and, instead…may end up displayed on top of a dresser or nightstand.

If you are not lucky enough to have a family heirloom to use in creating this sachet, vintage handkerchiefs are easily found for only a couple dollars each at yard sales or antique shops.

vintage lace for sachets

Very little lavender is needed to create a sachet, and because it is such a light material, a cup and a half of lavender weighs less than an ounce…be mindful of this when you are deciding how much to purchase.

vintage handkerchief sachets

To create the sachet, cut a square of cheesecloth (about a 7” square) to hold the lavender.  I use the cheesecloth so the lavender won’t directly touch the hanky, but the scent will still come through.  You will only need one quarter to one half cup of lavender.  You can adjust the size of the cheesecloth and the amount of the lavender depending on the size of the handkerchief you use.

vintage hankies

Tie the cheesecloth with a piece of twine and position the ball of lavender in the center of the handkerchief – enclosing the lavender ball in the handkerchief with a piece of ribbon or lace.  I chose some vintage lace.  That’s it!  Beautiful…and, what a heavenly smell!

vintage handkerchief sachet

Handkerchief sachets also make wonderful bridal shower or wedding favors.  They can even be personalized with an embroidered initial, name, or date.

quote with vintage lace

Have a wonderful weekend and a blessed Mother’s Day!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Crafts a la Mode, Craftberry Bush, and Timewashed.


vintage teacup earl grey crème brûlée

May 6, 2014

earl grey creme brulee

Serving crème brûlée from vintage teacups is sure to make a family bridal shower, tea party, or Mother’s Day a special one!  What could be better than serving dessert from your grandmother’s teacups?  I think individual desserts add a special quality to a meal all on their own, but to add the sentiment of serving it in a special piece of history makes it all the sweeter!

basket of roses

Everyone thinks of  crème brûlée as a special occasion dessert, but it is not a hard one to create.  Traditionally, it is cooked in the oven, but I have found that good results are possible with a no-bake method.  You can use any no-bake recipe or the one I found online and, by using my simple variation, can create Earl Grey crème brûlée!

creme brulee in teacups

Most teacups are not oven safe and I would not advise putting family heirlooms in a hot oven…a vintage piece with sentimental value is not something to experiment with!  This is the reason I went with a no-bake method for my Earl Grey crème brûlée…I think it is the perfect flavor profile to combine with vintage teacups!  If Earl Grey is not your thing, just don’t add it to the recipe.

earl grey creme brulee

If you prefer a more contemporary choice of vessel, I recommend the mini latte bowls from Anthropologie…the perfect size to hold 3 ounces for a small, individual portion.

earl grey creme brulee in Anthropologie bowls

I found the no-bake recipe I used from Completely Delicious during an internet search – it is easy and makes the perfect amount of custard for a special dessert for a mom (and maybe a couple of grandmas)…it will fill 3 or 4 teacups or 4 mini latte bowls.  Following this recipe (click here), make these changes to create Earl Grey crème brûlée:

After completing step 1, place 4 Earl Grey teabags into the hot mixture and let it sit for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, dunk the teabags a couple of times and then gently squeeze the liquid out of the teabags and into the pan (being mindful that the mixture will be hot.)

Continue with the recipe, substituting 1 teaspoon of vanilla for the 1 Tablespoon listed.

Be sure to strain the mixture.  I found while testing no-bake recipes that this is extremely important for a smooth texture – don’t skip this step!  (As a special note – I was very cautious with my kitchen torch – I didn’t venture near the edges of my special cups!)

earl grey creme brulee in teacups

To play up the tea theme, add lemon and mint as garnish. :)

tea quote with roses

If you are an Earl Grey lover as I am, you may enjoy trying these Earl Grey cream puffs.  I also love adding the flavor to shortbreads…I still have Earl Grey ice cream on my list of experiments…maybe this summer. ;)

teacup creme brulee

I hope I have inspired you to think of ways to use your own heirlooms to create some special memories.  We will continue the family heirloom theme on Friday when I show you how to create a special diy gift using an old family treasure.

Thank you for stopping by and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Coastal Charm, Sand & Sisal, and Silver Pennies.

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april showers bring may flowers

May 2, 2014

White's Flower Farm

Who visits a flower nursery on a cold and rainy day?  Apparently, I do!

pansies in the rain

Although I usually plan my visits for the summertime, I recently decided to make a trip to White Flower Farm on an April day.

garden wagons

I expected a different seasonal view, but certainly did not expect a day that turned out so cold that I dreamed of wearing mittens!

White's Flower Farm

You, my friends, are a wee bit luckier than I; since you can visit White Flower Farm from the comfort of your own home on today’s Friday field trip…no mittens required!

flower collage

White Flower Farm, both a working nursery and a private residence, is located in Litchfield, Connecticut and is an awesome place!  If you are an avid gardener, you may be familiar with the nursery, even if you live outside the area, since they do a huge mail order business.  I ordered from them long before I decided to make my first location trip.

White's Flower Farm

The visit turned out to be an inspiring one as I discovered the beauty in the preseason garden.  My typical visit is in July when the trees are filled with leaves and all the perennials are in bloom.  This quiet, somber day gave a special quietness and sense of promise to the gardens.  And, the trees looked so majestic in their bare state!

White's Flower Farm

Unfortunately, I was forced to take ‘rest stops’ in the heated gift shop to thaw out my frigid fingers!  Of course I would not have dropped in; if not for the cold hands! ;)

gift shop at White's Flower Farm

gift shop at White's Flower Farm

Landscape at White's Flower Farm

Garden Bench

Collage of photos from WHite's Flower Farm

White's Flower Farm

I hope you enjoyed sharing some of White Flower Farm in Litchfield, Connecticut for today’s Friday field trip…definitely worth a trip if you are in the area!  By the way, White Flower Farm takes its name from their first perennial border, the all-white garden (and my favorite) called the Moon Garden because the white flowers gleam even by moonlight!  Have a fantastic weekend!

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

Sharing at Craftberry Bush, Mona’s Picturesque, Fridays Unfolded, and Crafts a la Mode.