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

april book giveaway!

March 31, 2015

TWO giveaway books for April 2015 pleasure in simple things blog

‘Spring has sprung*’ and with it starts the season for entertaining! Beginning with Easter, the events in spring just seem to parade on, one after another – bridal and baby showers, graduations, Mother’s Day…the list seems to go on and on.

The thoughts of celebrating in mild weather is so appealing after the crazy winter we had here in Connecticut – where guests needed to negotiate snow drifts to get into the house and subzero temperatures made warm weather gear a necessity like never before! Don’t get me wrong, cozy fires and warm drinks do have a certain appeal – but, enough already!

With these thoughts in mind, I have come up with a really unique book giveaway idea for April and I am excited to tell you about it!

I found a great vintage book – published in 1966 – about entertaining, titled All About Entertaining: Everything You Need to Know to Have a Fabulous Social Life by Kay Corninth and Mary Sargent. With talk of “gloves are not only correct but called for” and “no matter how generous your husband may be with your clothing allowance…” this book is sure to be an interesting read!

april giveaway book authors pleasure in simple thingsI thought it would be fun to contrast the old with the new – SO. the winner of this month’s giveaway will receive TWO books. One is this vintage find and the other is a more recent book on entertaining called The Butler Speaks: A Guide to Stylish Entertaining, Etiquette and the Art of Good Housekeeping by Charles MacPherson. This is an author signed copy and is a great reference book for contemporary entertaining. The author has over twenty-four years of experience in household management. In 2009, he opened North America’s only registered school for butlers and household managers in Toronto. MacPherson is an expert in the areas of staffing, training and planning, and is recognized as a world authority in the household management and butler fields.

How fun to see the differences – and similarities – in entertaining guidelines between the 60’s and today! Leave a comment to be entered to win. The winner will be chosen at random from the comments. Good luck!

Congratulations to Becca, a blogger over at Becca’s Backyard, winner of the March selection Lazy Days and Beach Blankets. Shoot me an email with your address, Becca, and I will send it right out to you! This book about alfresco dining is a winner!

In the spirit of the giveaway, our Instagram challenge this month will be to post pics of entertaining. Please share the favorite moments of your celebrations by using the hashtag #pleasuregram during the month of April.

April 2015 Instagram Challenge

*P.S. I am ignoring the fact that it is snowing as I write this!

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


state gift tags

March 27, 2015

state shaped gift tags pleasure in simple things blog

Today I am sharing an idea for a gift tag – one that is in the shape of a state.  Come spend Friday field trip in my craft room!

I wanted to come up with a state gift tag design so that I could create two states and use them together on a gift for a baby shower. An upcoming shower is being held in Connecticut by the baby’s future aunt for a soon-to-be mom that lives in Florida. I thought state gift tags would be a great way to acknowledge both states on the gift I am bringing to the shower.

The tags were really easy to create. First, I found a website that had outlines of every state. I saved the photos of the two states I wanted– Connecticut and Florida – to my computer. After printing them out, I cut the shape of each state to use as a template for my tags.

steps in making state gift tags pleasure in simple things blog

The color theme for my gift is white, gold, and pink and I decided kraft paper would go great with the look. So, I glued brown kraft paper onto some cardboard, traced the shape of the two states, and carefully cut each one out.  To go with the theme, I painted the back of each tag pink using acrylic craft paint.painting map gift tags pleasure in simple things blogTo add some gold to the mix (carefully following the instructions), I added some gold leaf to the areas of each state that marked the hometowns of the two families, protecting my table with wax paper. Of course, if you make these, you may rather add a dot, star, or heart to mark a specific city/town within each state. Or, you may want to use a different color – one that coordinates with your own gift wrap color theme. This idea is also easily adapted to a wedding gift.

gold leaf on gift tags pleasure in simple things blog

Lastly, I used a paper hole punch to put a hole in each tag and I tied the two tags together with a gold cord. After the gold leaf adhesive was completely dry – I was done!

state shaped gift tags pleasure in simple things blog

I can’t wait to show you the gift I made!  But, I can’t share that until after the shower!

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

Sharing at Coastal CharmHouse of Hipsters, Nancherrow, Thoughts from Alice, and Craftberry Bush.


easter fortune eggs

March 24, 2015

easter egg fortune takeaways pleasure in simple things blog

Today I am sharing a really quick and fun Easter takeaway idea.

For this project, I used plastic, fillable Easter eggs. It is so very uncharacteristic of me to use these brightly colored eggs! And, I have to admit, it was very hard for me to resist transforming the plastic eggs by painting them in neutral hues and adding speckles!

fun easter fortune eggs pleasure in simple things blog
With that said, I decided to use the eggs I had on hand to create some ‘fortune eggs.’

I filled each egg with a mini version of my favorite Easter treat – the Cadbury crème egg (they are so cute!) – in addition to a favorite quote. These small eggs don’t fit much more. I was able to squeeze in two additional little candies inside each egg.

fun Easter idea pleasure in simple things blog
You may wish to use a bible quote or fortune in place of the quote.  If you are creating this for a family party, you may want to write up some favorite family memories to include in the eggs.

basket full of Easter fortunes pleasure in simple things blog
These ‘fortune eggs’ are great when you are beyond the Easter egg hunt stage. It is the perfect opportunity to provide your friends and/or family with a little treat to celebrate Easter! So fun!

I hope I have inspired you to come up with your own version of ‘fortune eggs!’

small easter egg pleasure in simple things blog
Thanks for stopping by! Remember to find pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing with Craftberry BushSand & Sisal, Coastal Charm, and Crafts a la Mode.

no comments

egg tea infuser diy

March 20, 2015

homemade tea infuser pleasure in simple things blog

I am a sucker for a cute tea infuser.  I have seen so many great ones…sometimes they are just too hard to resist buying!  Have you seen the one that looks like the Titanic?  The problem is – these store bought tea diffusers, though cute, never hold enough tea for my taste.  So, today for Friday field trip, I am taking you into my kitchen to show you a quick and easy homemade tea infuser.

easter egg tea ball pleasure in simple things blog

Not only is it cute and seasonal, but it holds plenty of tea!  First, purchase some small plastic eggs – the kind that are used to fill with treats.  There are plenty of them around at this time of year!  I found a bag of 12 assorted colors at Target for less than $2.  I figure if they are food safe to put candy inside, they must be safe enough for tea!  (And, since I don’t even bring my tea water to a boil, I don’t think the plastic will be in danger of melting lol!)

easter egg tea diffuser pleasure in simple things blog

Now just (carefully) use a power drill to make some holes in the egg.  That’s it!  Determine which size drill bit to use based on the tea you normally use.  You obviously don’t want the holes so big that all the tea slips through.

Now you have a reusable infuser!

And, they also make for a great gift paired with a pretty mug for your favorite tea drinker!

eggs for crafting tea infusers pleasure in simple things blog

We are expecting four inches of snow today…I may need an extra cup of tea or two! ;)

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a wonderful weekend welcoming the new season!  xo Jackie

Sharing at House of Hipsters, Nancherrow, and Love of Home.


growing easter grass

March 17, 2015

hello sunshine Easter grass pleasure in simple things blog

I am a huge proponent of unconventional Easter baskets – I think an Easter basket can be any vessel that appeals to your sense of style. And, at Easter time, I feel the same way about the containers I chose to plant grass seeds. I love to plant grass in any and all containers (including Easter baskets) that currently hit my fancy! Today, I am sharing a couple of this year’s container picks for grass planting!

You don’t need to celebrate Easter to plant grass – think of it as a ‘celebration of spring’ activity!  A grass filled mug makes a cute spring gift that can be reused long after the recipient tires of the grass.

fun Easter grass pleasure in simple things blog

Any type of grass seed will work. Here, I have used wheat grass seeds. It won’t take more than a week to have a nice patch of grass. Just put potting soil in the container you have chosen. I always use packaged soil, not soil from the outdoors. The reason for this is that I don’t need any unwanted insects, etc. from the outdoor soil to find their way into my home!

steps in planting Easter grass pleasure in simple  things blog

Liberally add grass seeds onto the soil, and then cover with a thin layer of additional soil. Water your new planting and keep in a sunny spot. Be careful not to water too much if you have a small container and/or no drainage. You will want to moisten the soil, but too much water (a puddle) will inhibit the seeds from growing.

an easter grass plant pleasure in simple things blog

Now you can just water daily and wait for the seeds to grow! They will sprout very quickly and grow rapidly. They are so much fun!

I always start planting containers in March and just trim the grass with scissors if needed. You may remember last year I shared planting grass in egg shells – click here to see the tutorial for planting grass in real egg shells.

single grass in weck jar for easter pleasure in simple things blog

Small, clear glass containers, like the Weck jars I have used here, provide an opportunity to see the roots of the plant. In this way, using one of these tiny jars at each Easter place setting at the ‘kids table’ is a great way to get the children excited about the growing process! Additional jars can be used to fill with treats.

grass place cards pleasure in simple things blog

cadbury eggs in weck jar favors pleasure in simple things blog

Do you have a special container in mind to try your hand at growing grass? I would love to see what you choose!

spring quote pleasure in simple things blog

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

Sharing with Craftberry Bush, The Shabby NestNancherrow, Thoughts from Alice, Sand & Sisal, and House of Hipsters.


a winter trip to the flower show

March 13, 2015

the shed at Terrain in Glen Mills PA pleasure in simple things blog

For Friday field trip today, I would like to share a few photos from my recent trip to Philadelphia. Every March, Philadelphia is home to the world’s longest-running and largest indoor floor show. Yes, I did go to the flower show, but this year the photos I am sharing are not actually from the show! Instead, these photos are from a couple of my favorite stops along the way!

Terrain in Glen Mills PA the cafe pleasure in simple things blog

window at Terrain Glen Mills pleasure in simple things blog

The first few photos are from Terrain in Glen Mills, PA – for me, always a required stop on a Philly trip. One of my very favorite stores, Terrain is the ultimate in home and garden inspiration!

Next stop is Longwood Gardens!  Listed as the 2nd best public garden in the nation, my other “must visit” spot on a Philly trip is Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA.

Icy Longwood Gardens pleasure in simple things blog

Even on a day when the hemlocks are dripping with ice and the weather prohibits walking the extensive grounds of the gardens, Longwood does not disappoint.  Even the bad weather doesn’t prevent a quick walk past the topiary garden.

Topiary Garden at Longwood Gardens pleasure in simple things blog

At this time of year, the Conservatory sports an amazing display of orchids. But, this trip, these were my favorite flowers.

Longwood Gardens indoor flowers pleasure in simple things blog

Inside Longwood Gardens pleasure in simple things blog
And for me, the winter is a wonderful time to admire favorite indoor spaces that do not get as much attention when the weather makes the outdoor spaces at Longwood more inviting – like the children’s garden. Here are some of the great water features in the children’s garden (Did you see the video of the nest and bird fountain on my Instagram?)

Fountain in childrens garden at Longwood Gardens pleasure in simple things blog

Water feature at Longwood Gardens pleasure in simple things blog

Fountain in Children's Garden at Longwood Gardens pleasure in simple things

As I leave, I see a suggestion of what is coming in the better weather ahead – this will be filled with roses in bloom before you know it!

rose trellis at Longwood Gardens pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for sharing a few photos from my (snowy and icy) trip to Philadelphia on today’s Friday field trip.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing with French Country Cottage and The Shabby Nest.

no comments

top 10 spring obsessions 2015

March 10, 2015

spring obsessions 2015 pleasure in simple things blog

Now that spring is almost here, it is time to share my top 10 obsessions for the new season!  Here they are, in no particular order:


1. First, I must tell you, I am totally in love with gladiator sandals! I have had this obsession before. I know what happens. I get a pair, I wear them once or twice and then, I am over them. Because of my history, I am trying so hard to resist some of my current gladiator favorites. Valentino and Stuart Weitzman (pictured here) both have pairs that make a sandal lover swoon. But, neither pair is within my budget, so I will surely be shopping Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and Target for a similar look this spring.


aparis vignette mug from anthropologie

2. I can’t spend spring in Paris? How sad. But, how about a little hint of this romantic city with my morning coffee? These darling city vignette mugs at Anthropologie really hit my fancy! A new mug for the office is an easy and inexpensive way to celebrate the new season. If you would rather dream about New York or London, mugs celebrating these cities are also available at an Anthropologie store or on their website.

3. Ben & Jerrys has done it again! The new ice-cream flavor The Tonight Dough is inspired by one of my favorite all-around entertainers – the talented Jimmy Fallon. What do you get when you put a Jimmy Fallon inspired flavor together with Ben & Jerry’s? Caramel and chocolate chip ice creams with chocolate cookie swirls and gobs of chocolate chip cookie dough and peanut butter cookie dough! Whoa! If you are a big Fallon fan like I am, you may have seen the new ice cream flavor introduced on the first episode of the Tonight Show’s second season. Jimmy is donating all proceeds from the sales of the flavor to the non-profit organization SeriousFun Children’s Network. So, you can feel good knowing your indulgence is giving back by helping children with serious illnesses. Click here to learn more. Thanks for giving me two more great reasons to love ya Jimmy!

TonightDough-jimmy fallon and ben and jerrys

4. Particularly after the long, hard winter we are experiencing here in Connecticut, I am tired of wearing the heavy sweaters, long underwear, mittens and scarves that have been required in below freezing and subzero temperatures! I am so looking forward to wearing dresses! I am not saying I can’t wear a dress this winter, but with a real threat of frostbite when any scrap of bare skin shows, choosing a dress has not been a fun option! I will definitely be buying a few new fit and flares to mark the occasion of some warmer weather!

Food Network Magazine 50 Quick Breads Recipes 5. Quick breads are always good and, with the help of Food Network Magazine, it is easy to create one of 50 (yes, I said 50!) different varieties in a snap! Using a few basic recipes, they have come up with easy variations to create 50 different and delicious choices of quick and easy-to-make breads. With both sweet and savory recipes, ranging from sun-dried tomato-pesto to cinnamon bun, it is easy to find one to suit the occasion or the ingredients I have on hand! Click here for the link to the recipes. Enjoy!

6. I am obsessed with Michelle Masters’ art! Michelle combines a gardening love with her artistic talent by creating topiary inspired designs. My obsession with her art is not limited to the season, but her fresh garden creations scream spring and are just beyond cute! With a wonderful selection of home products and stationery – and always new items to choose from – I love picking up some new designs for myself and for gifts! You can see all the beautiful items she creates by clicking here for her website.


7. Lately I am experiencing a real fascination with old, weathered brick.  Currently, my dream house (the one that is ever evolving in my head), has a messy mortar backsplash.  I recently discovered Robin Sprong’s amazing wall coverings that speak directly to my obsession for messy mortar and old brick! Sprong has made it possible to put up wallpaper with a very realistic pattern of old bricks or concrete – how cool is this?! A messy mortar backsplash can be installed as easily as putting up some wallpaper! Thank you Robin Sprong!

aRobin Sprong white washed brick wallpaper

anew car smell man can8. Have you heard about ManCans? When my son requested candles as gifts for his new place, I started looking around for some alternative scents to florals and I found ManCans. These candles come in wonderful ‘manly’ scents like Fresh Cut Grass, Bacon, Sawdust, and New Car. These candles are made in soup cans after the contents have been donated to a soup kitchen. So, in addition to finding a great and inexpensive ‘nongirly’ candle, a purchase is also helping feed people! Wouldn’t one or a few of these make a great Father’s Day gift? Maybe the scent of Memphis Style BBQ or New Mitt would appeal to your Pop? So fun! Click here for the website.

9. When visiting other cities, there are always certain stores that are just prerequisites for inspiration. Like Ballard set-of-4-lobster-picksDesigns when visiting Atlanta, Lillian August in Connecticut, ABC Carpet & Home in NYC, or Terrain when visiting Philadelphia. In Boston, one of these spots is Lekker Home. A cool collection of brands and an interesting variety of products make it a fun place to peruse. For the spring, I am ‘jonesing’ for many of the non-breakable sea life themed items that are perfect now that entertaining will soon hit the outdoors. Reusable lobster-motif picks and sea life melamine plates are a couple of my favorites!

weekender with gold dots10. It is so fun to change up accessories in the spring and Timex makes it really easy to add a couple new casual watches to the mix!  I am obsessed with their weekender watch with gold polka dots on the (reversible) band.  You may know I have a polka dot obsession -heck, I even have a Pinterest page full of dots and stripes!  Love this watch!

I hope you enjoyed sharing my top ten obsessions for spring. I would love to hear about some of yours!

*Please note that photos in this post were not taken by me, but were taken from the respective websites.

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

Sharing with House of Hipsters, Thoughts from AliceCraftberry BushSand & Sisal, Elizabeth & Co., and Homework.

no comments

powder room redo

March 6, 2015

sink and towels powder room pleasure in simple things blog

Who doesn’t love to see a good before and after? For Friday field trip today, I am sharing the progress of a pretty little powder room update.

powder room before pleasure in simple things blogMy good friend, Phyllis, decided she needed to update the bathrooms and laundry room in her beautiful, historic home. On a recent visit, I found her downstairs powder room was almost complete. With only a little styling left to finish, I had to admire the beautiful update she created.

bathroom with Pike's Peak Gray Paint by BM pleasure in simple things blog

before floor in powder room pleasure in simple things blogAfter removing floor to ceiling wallpaper, Phyllis started the powder room project by adding some molding detail on the bottom half of the walls. This is where a handy husband is very important! He crafted both the chair rail and the panel molding. This type of detail on the walls is a great way to add some interest to a small room! Next, for the toughest part of the renovation – removing the old tile floor. (I know, I know – the old floor looked great too, right?)

closeup tile mosaic pleasure in simple things blog

Phyllis picked out a pretty geometric mosaic tile pattern that also coordinated well with the tile she chose for the upstairs bath and the gray marble she chose for the nearby laundry room. (I can’t wait to see the finished laundry room – I will try and share that with you on an upcoming field trip!) The mosaic tile pattern was installed with a black tile border.  For the wall color, Phyllis chose a lovely shade of gray called Pike’s Peak by Benjamin Moore.

long shot of sink in powder room pleasure in simple things blog

Phyllis kept her sink, but decided to install a new, more efficient toilet.

long shot of powder room toilet pleasure in simple things blog

We all know good taste is not limited to shopping at expensive stores and Phyllis proved this, big time, with her mirror choice. After visiting many stores, she chose this beauty she found at Marshalls to hang in the new powder room.

mirror detail powder room pleasure in simple things

A little bling in the light fixture choice and shine on the wall switch definitely add an elegant touch to the space.

bathroom bling in powder room redo pleasure in simple things blog

powder room light fixture pleasure in simple things blog

Coordinating with a little bit of shine, Phyllis created a little orchid planting in a silver container specifically for the space.

orchid planting pleasure in simple things blog

Phyllis has plans to add a white plantation shutter to the window and a few more accessories to complete the space, but with the styling almost finished, you can see how pretty the new area came out!

Thanks so much Phyllis for sharing your beautiful new powder room on Friday field trip!

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

Sharing at NancherrowShabby Nest, Coastal Charm, and French Country Cottage.


anthro inspired leather tassel necklace

March 3, 2015

anthro inspired finished green leather tassel necklace pleasure in simple things blog

Tassels are definitely cool. I have made them from paper or yarn, never really thinking about substituting these materials for leather – until now. I happened to notice a leather tassel necklace on display at Anthropologie and that sparked my desire to make my own leather tassel and create a necklace.

I have a whole box of scrap leather in my basement that came from the dumpster of a factory that manufactures some very famous (and expensive) handbags. After seeing the leather tassel necklace, I knew I needed to use some of that scrap leather to make my own tassel!

Anthro leather tassel necklace

My inspiration to create a leather tassel necklace. On the left is a photo from the Anthropologie website. On the right is an Anthropologie in-store display.

A leather tassel is so easy to make and only requires a small piece of leather and some scissors or knife! I was surprised at how easy it is to get really great results. Basically, I just cut a rectangle piece of leather, cut fringe, added a loop for hanging, and glued (I used Gorilla glue) and rolled the piece of leather. Measuring is not even required. I made mine pretty much by eye, although I did measure the width of the pieces of fringe (1/4”) since I wanted to be sure they were consistent.  green leather tassel collage pleasure in simple things blog

To turn my tassel into a necklace, the only supply I would need? A chain. I decided I would purchase the chain and just hoped to find a reasonably priced one. Guess what? I found the perfect chain (40” long – more than I needed) on clearance for $1.97 at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft store! At this price, I decided I would make two necklaces and I picked out and purchased two chains. I could make each leather tassel necklace for under $2.00! The one I saw at Anthropologie was $78! Plus, I would like mine better because I could eliminate the shiny gold metal piece I didn’t really care for on the Anthro necklace.

green leather tassel pleasure in simple things blog

I used a rectangle of green textured leather for my first tassel and I cut a separate small piece of leather to fashion a loop for hanging. I used black leather for the second tassel I made and created the loop by folding up and gluing the end piece of fringe. The black leather was much heavier than the green, and I found this method for creating a loop worked better with the heavier leather.

green leather tassel anthropologie inspired neckace pleasure in simple things blog

I got a little adventurous creating the black tassel – I glued pink felt on one side before I cut the fringe so that hints of pink would show on the completed tassel. Love it!

anthro inspired finished black leather tassel necklace pleasure in simple things blog

starting a leather tassel pleasure in simple things blog

black tassel collage pleasure in simple things blog

Didn’t they come out great?

anthro inspired leather tassel necklaces pleasure in simple things blog

If you want to make some tassels and don’t have a scrap box of leather, think about using leather from handbags you were planning on discarding or from handbags from the thrift store. Give it a try! I am making more tassels – and, I have plans that go beyond necklaces! ;)

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

Sharing with Craftberry BushThoughts from Alice, House of Hipsters, Sand & Sisal, and Elizabeth & Co.