Tuesday, April 29, 2014

diy: wine gift basket

This past weekend, we went to a birthday dinner for one of my husband's friends.  Although my husband does a great job of picking out gifts for me.  He has a hard time choosing gifts for his friends and family.  When I asked him what his friend might like, he just said he liked wine.  I thought it would be kind of boring to just bring a bottle of wine, so I opted to make a wine gift basket instead.

Here is what the gift basket looked like all put together...



The basket and acrylic wine glasses were from Home Goods.


My husband did not know if his friend preferred white or red wines so we bought one of each at BevMo.


The ceramic plates, utensils, and various food items are from Cost Plus World Market.  The store has a section where you can purchase smaller sizes of products for about $1 to $5 a piece.  The small sizes are great for gift baskets or if you want to just try something out yourself.  We picked a few types of crackers, almonds, pretzels, cheese, olives, mushroom pate, smoked salmon, salami, sausage, and a couple of olive spreads.


In the end, it was a tight fit, but I got it all in there!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

ikea hack: tarva dresser

I have family visiting this summer which is just the push I need to finish our second guest room.  Since we do not use our guest rooms on a regular basis, my preference is to be more cost conscious when picking out the furniture.  When I saw this Tarva dresser at Ikea for $99, I thought it would be a fun project to work on at a reasonable price.

{Ikea Tarva Dresser}

At first I was having a hard time deciding if I wanted to paint or stain the dresser.   In the end, I opted to stain it since I thought the stain would hold up better against knicks, etc.  I started out by staining each wood piece with three coats of Minwax Wood Finish in Dark Walnut (allowing the stain to dry completely in between each coat).  To make it easier, I decided to stain the pieces first before assembling the dresser.

{Minwax Wood Finish}

After I assembled the dresser, I added three coats of Polycrylic to protect the wood (again letting each coat dry completely in between coats).

{Minwax Water Based Polycrylic}

Instead of using the wood knobs that came with the dresser, I replaced them with ceramic knobs I found at Cost Plus World Market.



And this is how the dresser turned out…





And a quick comparison…



Sunday, April 20, 2014

easter entertaining

It has been FOREVER since I wrote on here.  As you can probably tell from the content here, I do not craft, decorate, blog, or design on a regular basis.  As much as I would love to do these things every day, my job tends to take over my days, nights, and weekends at certain times of the year leaving me pretty much no time to work on anything interesting to stick on here.  The last three months have been filled with a lot of work, less sleep, and even less time with family and friends.

Now that work slowed down this past week, I am excited to get back in the swing of things.  Today was a great start with the Easter holiday. We had a great time and spent it catching up with some good friends.  Here are a few pictures from our Easter celebrations today…


Our Easter dinner plans came together late Friday afternoon so we did not have much time to think about food or decorations.  Therefore, we decided to keep things pretty simple and easy.

Over the last few years, I have managed to collect a variety of pitchers that I have filled with faux flowers around our house.  Instead of buying new decorations, I decided to just fill the pitchers with fresh flowers from Trader Joe's and Vons.


For each place setting, I found ceramic egg cups for $1 a piece at Cost Plus World Market in which I placed a regular plastic egg filled with a few chocolates.  I found the name tags in the $1 section at Michael's (6 tags for $1).


The wreaths were a purchase from Home Goods a few years ago and I pretty much use them each year for Easter.


The easter eggs ornaments were a find on a recent Goodwill trip.




The candlesticks and candles are from Home Goods and pretty much stay in the window bay year round.  The miniature bird house was a left over from the baby bird baby shower that I hosted last year {see here}.


The Easter basket was also purchased from Home Goods when I bought the two matching wreaths.  The birdhouses were also from the baby shower.


In the kitchen, I filled my thrift store milk glass vase {see here} with some more Trader Joe's flowers.  I learned today that these flowers are Mathiola Incana (or more commonly known as just "stock").


For the food, we chose dishes that would not require a lot of prep or cooking time. 

Antipasto Platter
Mini Wedge Salads
Hawaiian Rolls / Potatoes / Green Beans
Pre-Cooked Ham (from Costco)

These ice cream cakes turned out really yummy and were super easy to make.

Ice Cream Cool Whip Cake with Oreo and Graham Cracker Crust

Ice Cream Cake
  • 2 Pre-made Pie Crusts (I used one Oreo and one Graham Cracker)
  • 1 1/2 Quart of Ice Cream (I used Cookies & Cream but any flavor will work)
  • 8 oz. of Cool Whip
  1. Let the ice cream sit out until it is soft (took about 25 minutes).
  2. Mix the Cool Whip and the ice cream in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Spread the mixture in the pre-made crust.
  4. Top with more Cool Whip
  5. Freeze until hardened.
  6. Take out of freezer and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Serve