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maple vinaigrette

February 21, 2017

maple vinaigrette with wheatberry salad pleasure in simple things blog

I normally don’t add salad dressing to my salads.  I figure, why add extra calories and chemicals (from commercial salad dressings) when it isn’t needed?  I like the taste of most salads on their own.  If I really think my salad needs a little something, I would probably squirt a little fresh lemon or orange juice onto the greens.

With that said, I did recently make and add this easy maple vinaigrette to a salad after seeing the recipe in a piece about maple syrup in Real Simple magazine!  I love maple syrup and I happened to have all the ingredients on hand when I saw the recipe in the magazine.

maple vinaigrette ingredients pleasure in simple things blog

I think it is worth sharing…easy, tasty, and healthful!  Thank you Real Simple (recipe credited to Julia Levy)!

Maple Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid.  Shake until well combined.  Toss with salad greens.

maple vinaigrette recipe pleasure in simple things blog

I have decided using a homemade salad dressing on my daily salad once in a while is a nice change!

a salad with maple vinaigrette pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things…like a homemade salad dressing!  Jackie xo

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valentine coffee sleeve diy

February 7, 2017

easy DIY Coffee Sleeves pleasure in simple things blog

Today, I am sharing a really easy Valentine DIY that is sure to make someone smile!   For no cost at all, it is easy to upgrade those sleeves you get on your cup of morning Joe!

Why not make one to slip on your loved one’s coffee before delivering it on Valentine’s Day!  Or, add a special message or photo to your child’s hot cocoa!

DIY Coffee Sleeves on pleasure in simple things blog
The supplies needed are easy:  decorative paper, a knife or scissors, a used coffee sleeve (you don’t throw these out, do you?), spray adhesive, and a glue gun.  Just cover a used coffee sleeve with a decorative paper!

steps in making a recycled coffee sleeve pleasure in simple things blog

If you want to get fancy, you can use fabric.  Here I used some scrap felt.  I cut a heart shape in the felt; adding a piece of decorative paper behind the opening before adhering the felt piece to the coffee sleeve.

DIY Coffee Sleeves pleasure in simple things blog
For this one I used a birch bark looking paper.  I drew on the heart and initials with a marker and rubbed it off some so the writing wouldn’t be as sharp.

DIY valentine Coffee Sleeves pleasure in simple things blog

Here I used a paper with some script writing…you may want to use some sheet music of a special song or an old book page with a special poem.

DIY Coffee Sleeves reuse pleasure in simple things blog

Think of the possibilities!  The paper I used in the second photo was actually a recycled Terrain bag!  (Click here for more Terrain bag uses!)

I hope I have inspired you to create a coffee sleeve for a special Valentine!

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

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my ‘punny’ valentine diy

February 3, 2017

candy pun diy pleasure in simple things blog

The valentine season is not complete for me without at least one ‘punny’ candy gift!

I am sharing one from this year on today’s Friday field trip!

Here is my package candy topper for some gummy eggs!  The candy came from Ikea’s candy bins…they have some cute, pun-worthy selections!

Egg Candy valentine pleasure in simple things blog

I created my topper, sizing the image 1200 x 1800 pixels.  Then, I printed it four times on a sheet of 8 ½” x 11” card stock.  Next, I attached the topper to a plastic bag of candy.  For fun, I packaged some up in a mini frying pan…so cute, right?

candy egg pun diy pleasure in simple things blog

I hope I have inspired you to create a ‘punny’ candy topper or tag of your own!

candy valentine diy pleasure in simple things blog

If you’d like my egg topper image, just shoot me an email and I will email it to you.  This candy also works well with ‘don’t yolk with me’ or anything about being ‘egg-static!’

candy pun valentine diy pleasure in simple things blog

For more detailed assembly instructions for toppers or some additional ideas for puns, you may like:

  • To use with candy chalk, click here (printable included).
  • To use with candy lips, click here (printable included).
  • To use with candy olives, click here.
  • To use with candy sharks, click here (printable included).

Have a wonderful weekend!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things…like a good pun!  xo Jackie

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bird feeder diy valentine gift

January 17, 2017

making diy bird feeders pleasure in simple things blog

A bird feeder is a great gift you can make yourself.  Who doesn’t enjoy watching a free nature show from their window?

Hanging bird feeders made from bird seed are really simple and inexpensive to make.  A simple DIY, the bird seed is held together with clear gelatin and hangs from a tree branch with a piece of twine.

diy bird feeders pleasure in simple things blog heart

As a Valentine, a feeder can be packaged up really cute with a corny Valentine saying!  I love  “Valentine, you are so very tweet!”  So appropriate for a bird themed gift!  And, a small bird from a craft store is the perfect addition to the wrapping!

Choose an appropriate shaped cookie cutter to use as a mold.  I chose a heart to go along with a Valentine theme, but also chose a state-shaped mold to make a ‘state pride’ feeder to gift to an out-of-state relative.  Cookie cutters are available in virtually any shape so, have fun with it!

diy state pride bird feeders pleasure in simple things blog

Supplies Needed:

  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 envelopes unflavored Knox gelatin
  • 2 cups bird seed
  • Large baking sheet
  • Parchment or wax paper
  • Cookie cutters
  • Cooking spray
  • Drinking straw
  • Twine

Place a piece of parchment or wax paper on a flat baking sheet.  Set out desired cookie cutters onto the sheet.  Use cooking spray to spray the surface/cutters.  Cut the straw into 2” pieces and set aside.

a collage diy bird feeders valentines gifts
Heat 2/3 cup water in a medium saucepan; removing from the heat just before it starts to boil.  Sprinkle the contents of 2 envelopes (4 come in a package) of Knox unflavored gelatin on top of the water and let dissolve, stirring as necessary.  After the gelatin is fully incorporated, let the mixture stand 5 minutes – enough to cool down, but not enough to completely set.  Stir in 2 cups of bird seed, mixing thoroughly.  I used the seed for small birds – small seed pieces best stick together.

Place the bird seed mixture into the cutter molds; pressing firmly in place.  Insert a piece of straw into each piece to create a hole for hanging.

Place the sheet in fridge to set.  After an hour or two, remove each feeder from its cookie cutter and lay flat to dry overnight.

Remove straw pieces and let dry a couple days before adding twine to each feeder for hanging.

diy CT state bird feeders pleasure in simple things blog

Package as desired.  Makes approximately 2-4 feeders, depending on the size of the cookie cutters.  (For example, one batch could fill one 5” cookie cutter, one 4” cookie cutter and one 3” inch cookie cutter.)

gifting diy bird feeders pleasure in simple things blog
Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you are inspired to make and gift a bird seed feeder for Valentine’s Day!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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bird in a jar holiday decor

December 16, 2016

pleasure in simple things ornament diy

I have a fun and easy holiday décor DIY!

On today’s Friday field trip, I am demonstrating ‘a bird in a jar!’  Remember the year I put everything in jars for my holiday décor?  Gingerbread cookies as well as holiday ornaments were on display in jars of snow a few years back.  This is a little bit different from that display.

I have highlighted a single ornament in a pretty jar of snow.  I happened to choose a bird ornament, but you can easily change it up to your own theme.  I grouped three similar jars to create a display in my downstairs bathroom for the holidays.

diy bird in bottle pleasure in simple things

Only one ornament is needed for each jar; so it is an economical display as well as a pretty one!  The idea started from a beautiful little blue glass bird ornament I purchased new this year.  I wanted to showcase this beauty!  I looked through my ornaments and picked out two other bird ornaments – one was on a clip.

pleasure in simple things bird diy

I used one bird per jar and grouped the three jars on a bathroom shelf.  I am sorry the photos did not come out very well, but it is near impossible to get a good photo of a glass jar!  And even harder to get a good photo of one in a bathroom with no windows!  So I took the jars into another room to photograph.  I hope you get the idea of how you can create a grouping in a similar way.

The pretty blue bird is suspended with a little piece of clear packing tape to the top of the jar.  A second, sliver bird, sits in a pile of snow in another jar.  I clipped the third bird onto a sparkly piece of a branch – cutting the branch to the exact width of the third jar so it would fit snugly inside!   The three ‘bird in a jar’ creations make up an adorable holiday display!

christmas ornament bird pleasure in simple things

I hope I have inspired you to create your own ornament display in jars!

birds in the bathroom pleasure in simple things blog

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a wonderful weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie


target bargain bin diy

December 6, 2016


I love the section at Target with all the low-priced items!  It is so much fun to find a great item for $1. or $3. in those magical bins at the front of the store!  Sometimes, a little DIY is the perfect thing to make something from the bin simply fabulous!

before-felt-clutch-pleasure-in-simple-things-blog-Recently, I ‘felt’ that way about a marvelous felt clutch I found in the $3. bin!  Though great on its own, a little enhancement would make it special!

I had a few ideas for a modification right from the start, but I knew I wanted to do an initial.  I was thinking I would use a plaid fabric that would make a nice contrast against the gray and would scream holiday.   To make it easy, I could use fabric bonding to adhere the initial.  Then, if I had any embroidery thread in an appropriate color, I would use a blanket stitch on the edges to finish it off.


When I got home, I looked at the random buttons I had left in my button box and some of the button colors were perfect against the gray felt of the clutch.  I changed my plaid idea to an initial formed from  buttons!  Based on the colors I was using, I would make a mustard colored tassel to add a finishing touch!

I used a small bead of glue from my glue gun on each button to hold it into place before I sewed each one onto the clutch.


When I went to the craft store to buy some yarn to make a tassel, I found a premade one in the color I wanted for less than the price of the material to make one!  Perfect!

initial bag diy pleasure in simple things

The pouch makes a great gift on its own or it can be used as a pretty item to tuck some presents into!

If you’d rather not use a needle and thread, another way to add an initial to the clutch could be to use a metallic iron-on initial from the fabric or craft store.


A beautiful gift for under $5!  Thank you Target for the bargain bins – they are a wealth of (inexpensive) inspiration!

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

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diy candle advent calendar

November 25, 2016


I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Now that we have officially started the holiday season, today’s Friday field trip is a visit to my holiday workshop to create a super quick and easy Advent calendar!

This year’s Advent calendar was inspired by one for sale at Terrain.


The Advent calendar from Terrain that inspired my DIY – styled by me on my holiday table in a glass container with ‘snow.’

Basically, all that is needed for this DIY is a single candle… isn’t a candle the perfect vehicle for an advent calendar?  Who doesn’t use a candle during the holiday season?


My favorite candle as a DIY Advent calendar!

Utilize a favorite candle you already own (or treat yourself to a new one) and affix (I used rubber cement) an appropriate sized piece of paper printed with a December calendar…so simple and so cute!


I simply typed the word ‘December’ and the numbers 1 to 25 using a simple typestyle and printed it out on regular computer paper.  I made mine 3” x 3” to fit nicely on a favorite woodland scented candle.  Use a favorite typestyle and vary the finished size of the calendar to best fit the candle you choose to use.

If you want to make one up to give as a gift; tie a red, green, or metalllic marker with a piece of twine to the finished candle!


Thanks for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things,  Jackie

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November 22, 2016


Changing up knobs or pulls can instantly update a piece of furniture.   These days, great hardware can be found at discount home stores as well as specialty stores.

My very favorite place to buy furniture hardware is Anthropologie because they have a great variety and some really unique pieces.  Because Anthro hardware is on the pricey side, it is best to choose their hardware when you have a really special piece or you only need one knob!


A small sampling of the large hardware selection available at Anthropologie.

For multiples of hardware – like a dresser that may need 10 pieces, it is better to try online hardware resources, Target, or HomeGoods.   Very often, HomeGoods will have packs of multiples at a very affordable price.


The top photo shows an Ikea dresser with the standard hardware. The bottom photos show switched out pulls purchased online.



Another Ikea piece with updated hardware purchased from Home Depot.

I almost always change up hardware on the furniture pieces I redo, but you don’t need to save hardware changes for when a piece is refinished…it is easy to change the hardware any time!  I recently changed up my dining room knobs from a casual look to a more streamlined, elegant look.


One word of caution – if you are replacing a pull that has more than one screw/hole – be sure to measure the spread before you look for a new piece of hardware.  Some of the older pieces of furniture require a different size spread – if this happens, it  makes your job a little more time intensive because you would need to use wood filler to fill in the old holes and drill new ones to accommodate the new hardware.


I found these nautical inspired rope pulls in a multiple pack at HomeGoods and used them on this Ikea dresser redo.

Replacing the hardware on your furniture can give it a whole new look!  Take a look at some of your older furniture…can you picture it with some new knobs or pulls?  I hope I have inspired you to thinking about updating a piece of your furniture by replacing the hardware!  Maybe check out some black Friday deals on line!


I used Anthropologie compass knobs on this coffee table redo.

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a blessed Thanksgiving!  I am thankful to have you join me on pleasure in simple things.  Stop back on Friday and I will share this year’s Advent calendar that you will want to make – a super easy and fun design!

xo Jackie

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holiday reading

November 18, 2016


It’s been a crazy week – next week will be even more hectic!  I barely had time to turn on the computer today, but you know I could never miss a Friday post!

So, for today, Friday field trip is a throwback from a couple of years ago.  I shared a DIY project that deserves repeating!  I thought I would remind you about the cool ‘book a day” idea so you can prepare to put one together for yourself before December starts!

Click here for the full DIY!

Have fun with it!

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

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holiday theme 2016

November 15, 2016

diy ornament

For someone that normally has a holiday theme chosen well over 6 months before December, this year is very different for me.  I didn’t really have a clear idea of what I wanted for 2016’s holiday theme until recently.  Once the start of November happened, I decided I needed to choose a theme,  quick!  Every year, so much of my holiday planning is tied into my chosen theme and this year I started November with no plans!


Initial mugs always make great gifts on their own or filled with sweets or a succulent. This one from Terrain is a beauty!

What did I decide?  A typography theme!  At first, I thought I might call my theme “to the letter,”, but I really didn’t want to leave out the numbers!  Then I thought maybe I should go with “by the numbers,“ but that would leave out the letters!  Typography might not sound as cute, but it includes both numbers and letters!


The glasses I adore from Mark and Graham…perfect to use on my holiday table!

When I start thinking about all the possibilities using a typography theme, it really puts my creative spirit into overdrive!  Here is some of my initial brainstorming.  We shall see how it plays out!


Williams-Sonoma’s initial doormat makes a great gift and is right on theme!

Wrapping Ideas

  • Initial key chain or luggage tag as package tag
  • Book pages as wrapping
  • Number gift tags using rubber stamps
  • House numbers tied to packages

See what I mean?  So much to work with!  Remember the DIY wire gift tags I made into words a couple years back?  Click here to see them.


4lovecustomgifts on Etsy makes wonderful custom initial or name signs like this one!

Gift Ideas

    • Initial doormat
    • Initial necklace
    • House number or last name sign
    • Sign using coordinates of a place with special meaning
    • Personalized stationary
    • Monogrammed items
    • Initialed items
    • Initial wine bottle stopper with bottle and opener
    • Gifts with personalized zip codes



Initial necklaces may have been around for a while, but there are always some different choices to give as gifts. I love this one made by nest on Etsy!

Gift ideas are super easy to come up with using a typography theme!  And I have made some gifts in the past that would work well…remember the zip code tray, the zip code pillows, or the embellished mason jar.  (Click on the names to see the tutorials.)


  • Number/letter sparklers
  • Number glasses for desserts
  • Initial cheese tray

This William-Sonoma cheese tray is just perfect for a typography themed Christmas!



These beautiful gold numbers and letters I found at Paper Source are sparklers, but I won’t actually be using them as sparklers in my holiday decor…I just love the way they look! Maybe I will spell out Joy and place them in a dessert or use them at individual place settings.

I also have tons of ideas for my holiday tabletop with my new theme!  I really want to serve dessert in these really cool glasses with numbers that I found.  My traditional holiday rosemary shortbreads can be cut with alphabet and/or number cookie cutters!

Home Décor/Tree

  • Initial ornaments
  • Ornaments made from book pages
  • An initial wreath

If you would rather not make your own initial wreath, Ballard Designs has them ready made!

The tree and home décor is fun to think about.  I will definitely make an initial wreath for my  front door this year and ornaments will be fun to create…remember when I made the animals from book pages?   Or, the Ikea heart with script?  (Click on them to see the DIYs.)  I am sure I can come up with some new ones!  If you would rather purchase ornaments, there are always great initial ones at Anthropologie as well as some of the other stores during the holiday season.


A great initial ornament from Pottery Barn if you would rather purchase an initial ornament over making one.

Well, that is the start of holiday theme 2016!  Do you use a theme for your holiday?  I hope I inspired you to start thinking about one…what will you come up with for this year?

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

Note:  The product photos shown here were taken from the respective websites.

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