Subscribe to Pleasure in Simple Things via RSS ReaderFollow Pleasure in Simple Things on InstagramFollow @InSimpleThings on TwitterLike Pleasure In Simple Things on FacebookFollow Pleasure In Simple Things on PinterestEmail Jackie

diy paint sample deck

July 29, 2014

making a paint sample deck

Have you ever carried a used paint stirrer around with you while shopping to match a color? I have!

The color swatches for the paint I used in each room of my house are always neatly organized as a permanent part of my handbag…you just never know when you need to coordinate or match a color! But, for a long time, I did not have an organized system for carrying around the colors of any current projects. Often, I would grab a dirty paint stirrer that had a drip of the color still clinging to it…or, I would wear the shirt I painted in while shopping so I would have a sample! Not anymore!

a diy paint sample deck to make for free

I have a very organized system and I thought some of you may benefit from my experience! I have a simple way to carry around my paint samples and it can be created very easily at no cost…a modified version of my paint stirrer scenario!

Every time I work on a painting project, I make sure to take a few minutes to paint a pre-cut paint stirrer. I paint both sides. One side I leave the original color and on the opposite side, I add a stain or wax effect (or two). In the case of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, I may paint one side and add a coat of clear wax, while the other side may have a dark wax or special effect I am happen to be using.

making a diy paint sample deck

I have a pile of wooden paint stirrers (available free at any home improvement center) that I have cut to 5“ lengths. I cut a whole pile at a time with one quick cut of a chop saw. If you don’t have tools, your local home improvement or hardware store will surely make one quick cut for you – especially if you are a regular customer. I find a 5” length a convenient size to carry around while it still provides enough painting room…you may decide you like a different size. By drilling a hole in each stirrer, I am able to use twine to attach as may color samples as I am currently transporting!

making a paint sample deck from wooden paint stirrers

I may have two samples that I am bringing to the fabric store to coordinate a fabric, or I may have many samples to show someone that is choosing a color or finish. This system makes it super easy to add or remove samples from the length of twine or to create several different ‘decks.’

making a sample paint deck from paint stirrers

It is easiest to cut up a bunch of stirrers and drill all the holes at one time – then, just keep a stack ready to use – store a pile with all your painting supplies.

Easy, right? I love this system and I think you will like it as well…give it a try!

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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


mystic chair (before & after)

July 26, 2014

ASCP Mystic Chair pleasure in simple things

I love summer nights. The long hours of sunlight make for perfect project weather! The best is furniture painting…enjoying the beautiful outdoors while revamping a piece of furniture is just so satisfying!

For Friday field trip today, I am sharing one of my recent projects.

This piece took a lot of TLC, but the result was definitely worth all the efforts…don’t you agree?

Mystic Chair pleasure in simple things ASCP

Continuing my practice of naming furniture pieces after New England coastal towns, I am calling this chair Mystic. Isn’t she beautiful?

Mystic Chair pleasure  in simple things

I did more distressing on this piece than I normally would, but I had a vision…I really wanted alot of gray to peek through the top layer of white. I think it worked out beautifully.

After photo Mystic chair redo pleasure in simple things
Mystic chair ASCP redo after photo pleasure in simple things

This chair had been in a garage for a long time and was covered with dust and cobwebs. The cutout detail on the chair back really intrigued me and I couldn’t wait to get going on a transformation! I started by giving her a good cleaning, removing all the seating, and replacing some wood plugs. I purchased all new seat materials, including a great fabric, and created a pretty new and comfy seat.

After photo ASCP Mystic chair pleasure in simple things

I first painted the chair frame (in very random brush strokes) using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Paris Grey, and then with a thin coat of Old White. I used a clear coat of wax before distressing and finished with a coat of clear wax and a 50/50 mix of clear and dark wax.

Pleasure in simple things Mystic chair redo fabric

Mystic is complete!

Mystic chair redo after photo ASCP

I hope, you too, are enjoying the beautiful summer nights. Have a wonderful weekend.

Pleasure in simple things Mystic chair redo
And, remember to take pleasure in simple things…like watching fireflies on a warm summer night!

Thanks for stopping by, Jackie

Sharing with Finding Silver Pennies.


s’mores ice cream cake

July 22, 2014

s'mores ice cream cake pleasure in simple things

It was National Ice Cream Day this past weekend and I was ‘jonesing’ for an ice cream cake!  I couldn’t let the day go by without celebrating!  Looking around the house, I had some s’more leftovers and decided to utilize them in an ice cream creation!

s'mores ice cream cake pleasure in simple things

In my house, ice cream desserts are always a big hit in the summer. This one is based on a favorite summer dessert and was inspired by the leftovers from our Fourth of July beach party.

s'mores ice cream cake pleasure in simple things

Unlike baking, the procedure for making ice cream cakes is totally forgiving and precision is not required – so feel free to alter the recipe based on the size of your pan or the ingredients you have on hand. I made a no-bake crust for this one, since I didn’t want to heat up the house with the oven on a hot summer day.

S’more Ice Cream Cake Recipe

  • 4 Hershey chocolate bars (1.55 oz. each), chopped into pieces
  • 1 qt. softened vanilla ice cream (made or purchased)
  • 2 packages (20 long) graham crackers, divided
  • 5 Tab unsalted butter
  • 2 Tab sugar, divided
  • Bag of miniature marshmallows

I know, this one is not for the faint of heart – although, in my defense, I did use low fat graham crackers and low fat ice cream! :)  (Come on, I nixed my original idea of putting a layer of melted Hershey bars over the graham cracker crust!)

Start by making graham cracker crumbs. (I put the graham crackers in a plastic zip-lock bag and used a rolling pin to crush the crackers and make the crumbs.) One package of the crackers will be used for a crust, and the other package for a ‘filling.’

Combine one package of the graham cracker crumbs (half your total) and a tablespoon of sugar with 5 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter. Pat this into the bottom of an 81/2” springform pan and pop this into the freezer while you prepare the ice cream.

Add the chopped chocolate bar pieces into the softened ice cream, mixing to combine. Take out the prepared crust and spread ½ of the ice cream mixture over the crust.

making s'mores ice cream cake pleausre in simple things

Mix the other half of the graham cracker crumbs with 1 tablespoon of sugar and reserve ½ cup of the mixture. Sprinkle all but the half cup over the ice cream mixture. Carefully spread the rest of the ice cream mixture over the graham cracker middle. Use the remaining ½ cup of graham cracker crumbs to sprinkle on top.

Cover the entire top of the cake with miniature marshmallows and freeze until very firm.

Adjust the oven rack on your broiler so that the cake can be as close to the element as possible and preheat the broiler. Put the cake under the broiler to brown the marshmallows as quickly as possible and then put back into the freezer. Even after being frozen, the marshmallows are gooey when you eat the cake!

melted s'mores ice cream cake pleasure in simple things
Let the cake sit awhile out of the freezer before eating – I think it tastes best just like s’mores – a little on the melty side!

Enjoy!  Hope you will experiment with your own ice cream creations!  Thank you for stopping by!

s'mores ice cream cake pleasure in simple things
Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

P.S.  If you are a s’more lover, you may also enjoy gourmet s’mores and s’more shooters!

Sharing with Crafts a la Mode and  Craftberry Bush.

no comments

lucky enough

July 18, 2014

flower at the beach

The beach is a special place. I always say, even on a bad weather day, it is beautiful at the beach…and, I pretty much feel the same way about summer in general.

umbrella at the beach pleasure in simple things

For Friday field trip today, I am sharing a few photos from a random day at the beach. On this particular day, a day when everyone at work was complaining about the weather, this is what it looked like at the beach throughout that day…

every day is good at the beach pleasure in simple things

rocks at the beach pleasure in simple things

My appreciation for the beach starting young…some of my best childhood memories revolve around the beach and water activities. When I reflect on these memories, it is no wonder the beach holds such a special place in my heart. Just the thought of an old-school orange life preserver puts a smile on my face! Some of these memories include:

  • Learning to swim (in the salt water)
  • Eating fresh caught shark brought home from my Dad’s fishing trip
  • Going clamming with my grandfather
  • A lifetime of collecting sea glass & other ocean treasures
  • Fishing on the boat with my siblings
  • Steering the boat for the very first time
  • Bringing home sea creatures in a plastic bucket
  • Buying a cardboard box of scary sand worms for bait
  • And, yes, even cleaning barnacles off the bottom of the boat with my dad!

Do you have some favorite beach memories from your childhood?

beach pleasure in simple things

After all, if you are lucky enough to be at the beach, you are lucky enough. :)

aaOcean House 010


Visiting the beach pleasure in simple things

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

P.S. I am so thrilled one of my summer photos was included in Martha Stewart’s My American Summer gallery posted on her website! Check out all the wonderful summer photos in the gallery by clicking here. If you are an Instagram user, please follow me and be sure to share your summer photos with the hashtag #pleasuregram.

Sharing at Craftberry Bush, Shabby Nest, and Coastal Charm.

1 comment

wicker table update

July 15, 2014

wicker redo Madison pleasure in simple things

How do you take an old, dark, and boring wicker table from blah to ‘beachy’ in one simple step?

wicker redo before photo pleasure in simple things

A little bit of white paint!  (But then, doesn’t a little white paint make everything better?)

Before and after wicker redo pleasure in simple things

This table was in wonderful shape, but it was coated in brown paint and stored in an attic for many years. After giving it a good cleaning, I used some Annie Sloan chalk paint in country white to add a little depth and a whole lot ‘beachyness’!

wicker table redo pleasure in simple things madison

I brushed the paint over the entire piece, using just the tip of the bristles, keeping a consistent pressure throughout the painting. By using a dry brush and keeping a small amount of paint on the brush, the results were great!

wicker redo pleasure in simple things

This piece is a wonderful example of how a little paint can give new life to a piece!  Now, for a name.

wicker table redo pleasure in simple things

I love that Danielle over at the blog Finding Silver Pennies names each piece of furniture she refinishes and I decided to start coming up with names for my refinished pieces. So, where to start? I haven’t named a creation since I named my very finest – my two kids!

I decided to go with something along the tradition of author Wally Lamb. The first time I met Mr. Lamb, I was intrigued to find out that he names every one of his novels after song titles. Not that I necessarily wanted to name all my furniture pieces after song titles, but I love the idea of tying all the names together with an underlying theme.

So, in the tradition of Wally Lamb, I came up with a theme.  From now on, I will name every furniture piece after a New England beach town… what is the name of the wicker table?  Madison.

furniture redo tag pleasure in simple things

I hope you are having a wonderful summer!   Thank you so much for stopping by, Jackie

Sharing at Liz Marie BlogSand & Sisal and Crafts a la Mode.


beauty by the sea

July 11, 2014

Ocean House RI front view pleasure in simple things

Come visit an iconic New England seaside resort located on the bluffs of Watch Hill, Rhode Island…today on Friday field trip!

Ocen House, RI pleasure in simple things

If you are a beach lover, Ocean House is the definitive beachside luxury that inspires at every turn…the kind of place dreams of made of…I am excited to share some photos of this ‘must see’ location with you for today’s field trip – especially for my friends that have never been to this area of the country.

Ocean House croquet pleasure in simple things

Ocean House pleasure in simple things

It really is impossible to include enough photos to give an accurate sense of the beauty of this destination and the incredible attention to detail displayed throughout the property. (I will post additional photos on my Facebook page to help!).

Ocean House, RI pleasure in simple things

Ocean House, RI pleasure in simple things

The resort originally opened in 1868 and was a widely recognized summer destination back in the 1800s. After welcoming guests for more than 136 years (and surviving the Great Hurricane of 1938), Ocean House was rebuilt replicating the original exterior design.   Isn’t it amazing?

Ocean House, RI pleasure in simple things

Ocean House, RI pleasure in simple things

One of only seventy-six hotels in the world to hold a Forbes Five Star rating, the Ocean House offers 49 spacious guest rooms, 15 extraordinary suites, and 6 gourmet and casual al fresco dining options.

Ocean House, RI pleasure in simple things

Ocean House, RI pleasure in simple things

Boasting a 650-foot private white sand beach and world-class amenities, Ocean House is the ultimate New England resort destination.

Ocean House, RI pleasure in simple things

Ocean House, RI pleasure in simple things

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed visiting this iconic New England spot with me today for Friday field trip. Have a fabulous weekend!

Ocean House, RI pleasure in simple thingsRemember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Finding Silver Pennies and  Coastal Charm.


coconut lime rice pudding

July 8, 2014

coconut lime rice pudding recipe pleasure in simple things

Isn’t rice pudding a winter dessert?

I love to eat it warm and I find it very satisfying as a cold weather treat, but I was given a sample of Carolina Jasmine rice at the Country Living Magazine Fair this year and it motivated me to try a recipe for coconut lime rice pudding.

coconut lime rice pudding pleasure in simple things

Two big surprises here!  1. It is not winter… and,  2. I am making rice pudding and not using my grandmother’s recipe!

I love the subtle jasmine flavor of the rice combined with the coconut and lime flavors.  As always, when I find a great recipe…and a super easy one at that…I need to share!

coconut lime rice pudding pleasure in simple things

Coconut Lime Rice Pudding Recipe

  • 1 cup Carolina Jasmine Rice
  • 2 cans (13 to 14 oz. each) light unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 ½ cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 ½ tsp fresh lime zest (buy 2 limes – I also added a squeeze of fresh lime juice)
  • Toasted flaked coconut and lime peel, for garnish
  • 6 gingersnaps crushed with a rolling pin, for garnish

In a bowl, soak rice in water for 20 minutes.  Drain.

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan, bring coconut milk, milk, sugar and rice to a gentle boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and add lime zest (and a squeeze of fresh lime juice if desired).  Serve chilled.  Sprinkle with toasted coconut, crushed gingersnaps, and lime peel, if desired.  Serves 8.

Based on a recipe from Carolina Rice.

Carolina jasmine rice and coconut lime rice pudding

Because I love making small plated portions of desserts, I used my mini latte bowls from Anthropologie to serve up the recipe and got 14 individual servings.  In these small portions, served chilled right from the fridge, coconut lime rice pudding is a refreshing summer dessert.

coconut lime rice pudding pleasure in simple things

I hope you enjoy coconut lime rice pudding as much as I do!

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

no comments

patriotic tie-dye on the beach

July 4, 2014

patriotic tees pleasure in simple things diy

Happy Fourth my friends!  For Friday field trip today, I am taking you to the beach to show you my summer shirt creations made to wear to today’s neighborhood parade and party on the beach!

Tie-dye is the perfect beach craft – not only because it is fun, but because as a beach activity, there is very little mess or clean up.

Both experienced and first-time tie-dyers enjoy making their own patriotic creations!

If you want to hold your own patriotic tie-dye session, not much is needed to have a really fun time that produces some great results!

patriotic tie=dye pleasure in simple things

Patriotic Tie-Dye Supplies

  • 1 bottle Rit Liquid Dye (8 oz.) in navy blue
  • 1 bottle Rit Liquid Dye (8 oz.) in cherry red
  • Rubber bands
  • 2 cups salt
  • All cotton tee shirts
  • 2 plastic dish pails (each large enough to accommodate 3 gallons of water)
  • Rubber gloves to protect hands from dye (optional, but recommended)

The most economical way to purchase shirts is to choose (all cotton) shirts in multiple packs at a discount store.  But, you don’t necessarily need to purchase shirts – you can use some shirts or other articles you already own!  (It is fine to use a white shirt with writing…maybe a tie-dyed version of a shirt from your alma mater!)  Another option, if purchasing shirts is not in your budget, is to simply ask your guests to bring their own!

tie-dye on the beach pleasure in simple things

As everyone gets wrapped up in the excitement of the activity, it is inevitable at our house that one of the kids raids their sock or underwear drawer to add some extra articles of clothing to the mix…old pillowcases and sheets are also fair game!

beach tie-dye pleasure in simple things

First, be sure to wet the articles of clothing you intend to dye and wring out excess water in preparation for dyeing…this produces the best results.

The next step is to add tie-dyeing at the beach pleasure in simple thingsthe elastics.   The elastics prevent the dye from getting to the part of the shirt they are attached to, so be sure to make them tight!  There are so many variations of designs that can be created.  Even experienced tie-dyers come up with new designs… If you are at a loss for ideas, you can use an online resource to find suggestions for applying elastics for specific designs.  We like to just wing it and see what results!

After the shirts are prepared with the elastics, prepare the dye baths.  I prefer liquid dye and I use it double strength.  For each color, first dissolve 1 cup of salt (it helps better set the dye) in 3 gallons of hot water before mixing in an 8 oz. bottle of liquid dye.

tie-dye on the beach pleasure in simple things

As far as the actual dyeing, like Easter eggs, everyone comes up with their own favorite technique.  That may be leaving the entire piece in one color…it may be dipping various parts of the shirt in each color, etc.  Dip or submerge your shirt into the desired color(s) and have fun!  The longer the piece remains in the dye, the stronger the color.

patriotic tie-dye on the sand pleasure in simple things

When you are done, squeeze the excess dye from the finished product and rinse with cold water from the hose until the runoff runs clear.  Cold saltwater helps set the color, so we end the process by throwing the item into the ocean!

tie-dye at the beach pleasure in simple things

Now to remove the elastics…this is the best part!  Everyone loves pulling off the elastics after the dyeing process to proudly admire the final results!  And, every shirt looks so good…it is impossible to mess up a shirt – every one looks super!

You now have a tee in patriotic colors!  Enjoy!

After the shirt is dry, you can further embellish it with fabric paint – In the past, I have used silver metallic puffy fabric paint to add stars to a 4th of July tee.

tie-dye at the beach pleasure in simple things

Thanks for stopping by and I hope today’s field trip will inspire you to hold a tie-dying session of your own!

Have a wonderful weekend!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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

no comments

july book giveaway!

July 1, 2014

july book giveaway pleasure in simple things

Congratulations to Candice in Chicago, the winner of the June giveaway book, The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer!  Be sure to tuck this author-signed paperback into your beach bag for some great summer reading!

When I came across the book Summertime edited by Joanne Dugan, I knew it had to be the July giveaway book!  It is a marvelous collection of summer photos joined with some wonderful quotes.  Because I love so many of the images contained in this book and because so many of the quotes in this book are favorites of mine; it almost seems like I could have been the editor of Summertime!  The book is a wonderful tribute to this special (and my favorite) time of year!

summertime edited by joanne dugan

“Summertime,” edited by Joanne Dugan, is a wonderful tribute to my favorite time of year!

Summertime is the perfect hostess gift for when you spend the day at a friend’s beach house or a great book to flip through during the long winter months when summer seems so far away!  The images in Summertime will instantly transport you to a more relaxing time when the weather is warm and the living is easy!  :)

Simply leave a comment here on the blog (or Instagram, or Facebook) and let me know you would like to own this book and you will be entered to win.

Instagram users, please read on!  For the pleasure in simple things July Instagram challenge, please share your own summertime photos…what does summer mean to you?  Salt water breezes?  Eating a freeze pop?  Watching fireworks?  Share your photos during the month of July with hashtag #pleasuregram.

instagram challenge 2014 pleasure in simple things

Happy summer!  Thanks for stopping by, Jackie  

1 comment