Happy Hour

{a refreshing cucumber press & oyster shooters}

This past weekend has been a whirlwind of activities and wonderful family time, but before we left my mom and I went out for happy hour drinks at one of my favorite places, Jax Fish House, in order to spend some relaxed time between just the two of us.   I wish we lived close enough we could make happy hour drinks together a weekly ritual, but since we can’t I cherish those times that we do.  Today I am flying home to Colorado and she will be flying back to Washington so I am feeling a bit blue about saying good-bye.  Thank you for a wonderful week mom, I love you.

{Cira dress, thrifted top, Jeffery Campbell Mariel wedges}

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Simply Clean & Colorful

{dress thrifted, coach purse thrifted, Dolce Vita shoes, Cira sunnies}

My mom is in town visiting and I am just so happy to have her here staying with us for the next few days before her and I fly out of Denver Thursday for my cousin’s wedding on the east coast.  Bill and I spent the weekend, and most of Monday, doing some serious spring cleaning, getting our home ready for her stay, but once the place was sparkling and feeling fresh, it was time to move into vacation mode, and enjoy my mom’s company along with a few small Northern Colorado adventures.  Yesterday was her first full day here and the weather was beautiful (in the 80’s!) so we headed a bit south to Boulder, stopping for some quick thrifting along the way.   And after spending the previous three days in grungy cleaning clothes, absolutely covered in dust, grime, and the harsh smells of cleaning product, it was also the perfect day for throwing on a easy sundress paired with very pretty, simple accessories.  Having a relaxed day, to eat wonderful foods, sip fresh cocktails, and  do a little shopping, means that we had lots of time to catch up on mother daughter time.  Today we’ll probably do more of the same.

 

 

Paper Flowers

{materials}

Here are those cute easy tissue paper flowers I made for Alli’s birthday party.  I love this project for three main reasons. First, you can play with so many fun colors, which everyone knows I can never get enough color.   Second, you can find so many versatile ways to decorate with them. And the third reason…no glueing required! (I tend to make a mess with glue)  In the past I have always made larger bouquets of these delicate paper flowers but, I decided to play around with the size and found that the smaller ones were quite cute.  By wiring the smaller paper flowers to wooden skewers I was able to cluster the flowers and create an ideal way of displaying them. I would recommend practicing making larger flowers first, they are just easier to work with as you figure out the steps (the smaller the flower the tighter the folds are to work with) However, once you’ve got it, it’s a piece of cake.  I have explained the steps I took below but here is a video that might show the process more exact.

  • Tissue Paper, in various colors
  • Scissors
  • Wire (I used thin jewelry wire for my smaller flowers and gold pipe cleaners for the bigger ones)
  • Wooden Skewers

1.

Start by cutting the tissue paper in squares.  For each flower you will need 6 squares cut to the same size. I found quickly that it was much easier to cut the squares to size if I kept the paper stacked together from the packaging and did it all at once before any of the sheets got separated.  I cut squares in several different colors in the same sizes, but also played with the sizes of the squares, the bigger the square the bigger the flower.

2.

Fan fold the paper then cinch the paper at the center with the wire.  Twist the wire together on the bottom side and at the middle of you fanned paper.  This creates your flowers two halves and the “stem”.

3.

With the fan folded flat in on itself, cut off each end in a rounded manner, so that when splayed out (as above) the paper has a scalloped look.  If you forget this step, which I did once in my frenzy of folding, the flower will be very boxy.

4.

Starting at the inside (twisted wire “stem” on bottom) peel away the first layer of tissue paper, separating it from the other 5 pieces, and gently pull it towards the center.  Repeat this step with each individual sheet, bringing each one toward the center and around the “petals” in front of it.     I suggest doing this one side at a time, so after finishing on the first half, repeat the same steps on the second half.

5.

Violà!

6.

The last steps, attaching the flowers to the wooden skewers, doesn’t take much explanation. I simply tied the flowers on tightly to the end of each skewer, then taking the long ends of wire, wrapped them around the skewer multiple times above and below the knot.

7.

8.

I repeated this step 2x as I found 3 flowers (2 small, 1 mini) enough to conceal the end of the skewer and their wires, and  this achieved the aesthetic appeal I was going for.  But even one flower on a skewer looks cute too so play around.  Also, if you have trouble wrapping/tying the  wire around the skewer (it can easily slip) I see no reason why a hot glue gun wouldn’t do the trick just as well (but like I said above, I just like to avoid really sticky/burnt fingers).

With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner I might be making some more of these soon, nothing says fiesta faster than bright, vibrant florals, tart margaritas, and dancing.

Have fun with this project and hope everyone is having a fantastic Spring filled Saturday!

Pizza Party

{getting set up}

One of my best friends, Alli, celebrated her 30th birthday this week, a year worth commemorating with close friends, amazing food, and a youthful attitude as you wave good bye to your 20’s and welcome (hopefully) your 30’s.   When we started talking plans a while back, the ideas we threw back and forth were quite extensive and elaborate, thus more $$$.  But as her birthday approached, and plans still had yet to be solidified, the feeling that perhaps we were making too much out of what should be a relaxed and easy evening, arose in both of us.  Uncle’s Pizzeria opened at it’s new location in Old Town Fort Collins a few month ago, but Alli has been raving about their food since before the move. However, the location change placed Uncle’s right behind Alli’s work making it even easier for her to become a huge fan and familiar face with the staff and owner, Garrett.  It was Alli’s idea to simplify most everything by having her birthday dinner here.   Immediately I volunteered to decorate and bring a little pizzaz to the pizza party, and that is exactly the inspiration I used, a pizza party from back in the day, a little through back to all of our youths with an elegant and charming spin, making it oh so appropriate for us adults and our inner child.    I let the color palate be broad, but bright and full a spring hues.   I wanted the decorations not to take themselves to seriously,  just allowing them to provide fun, amusing, and whimsical eye candy for the table and guests.  I have learned, as many bloggers before me have shared, that gold spray paint can make anything look more fabulous and chic.  Who knew that children’s toys and tacky mini vases could turn into little treasures when covered in a healthy dose of metallic gold. I originally got the idea from this Heart-of-Light post (I also was inspired by this nifty little DYI), but quickly realized, as I dug threw the toy bins at the thrift store, how many more things would look awesome gold, like treasure trolls! Never would I have thought that I would revisit these tacky naked dolls again…until they were gold.  Or the mini gum ball machine my friend Alexis helped turn into a terrarium for the table. Magic.

I’ve been obsessed with simple tissue paper flowers for years.  They are so easy to make and create a colorful, festive vibe wherever they are used.  I didn’t have any original plans for the flowers when I started making them, i just started snipping away, making all sizes and colors.    Eventually the smallest flowers got wired to wooden skewers and placed in each gold mini vase, while the larger flowers (decided upon arrival) served as chair decorations. The birthday girl’s chair was extra adorned making her a floral throne.    Guest loved them so much most got snatched up at the end of then evening, I love when paper becomes so precious and appreciated.  (Flower Tutorial Tomorrow)

Everything else was a cinch.  Uncle’s turned out to be the perfect location for our grown-up pizza party, with their clean, natural, and open ambiance, and pizza that is quite spectacular, my favorites of the night being the Margarita and the Braised Pork pizzas.  Yum.  We ended the night with Alli’s homemade Chocolate Butter Cream Frosted Cake and goodie-bags. I filled the bags with retro candy, cheesy trinkets, and I made these  + more gold!   It was also wonderful to have very little clean up (thank you to Kate who took wonderful care of us all night), because there really is nothing like a wrecked kitchen or home to take the fun out of a party.

Everyone had a great time and I’d like to check this party off as a success! Happy Birthday Alli and I hope this year brings you the most exciting adventures and  great happiness! xo

{I love using herbs as center pieces, at the end of the night the host, or guests can take them home. This cluster contained Lemon Balm, Mint, and Rosemerry}

{an easy way to add color + fresh cut Lilacs}

{mini terrarium}

{good company + good laughs}

{homemade birthday cake}

{goodie bags}

{after math}

{end of a wonderful evening}

Very Vibrant

We spent some time in Denver on Monday and Tuesday with friends, mainly getting swept up in the craziness of opening game day for the Rockies. The weather was perfect for spending time outside drinking beer and eating hot dogs, and though the crowds may have been a little thick for any other normal Monday afternoon, it was fun seeing everybody getting ready for summer baseball season to kick off, you’d have thought all of Denver took the day off work to sit at the patios and bars just surrounding the stadium.   But before joining the throngs of purple clad Rockies fans, Bill and I strolled through our friend’s much quieter downtown neighborhood, snapping a few photos and basking in the spring weather.

Vintage Knit Sweater found at Saturday's Yard Sale, F21 Skirt, Old Navy Thrifted Top, Tom's Shoes, Vintage Earrings, Necklace and Bangle + friendship bracelets, Cira Sunglasses, Coach Purse

From Saturday to Sunday

Another weekend has come and gone, and like most it was generally consumed by work.  I still managed to spend what free time I had enjoying simple and slow things, like having early morning tea while reading magazines,  perusing the final indoor farmers market of the season, and stopping to spontaneously rummage through a Saturday morning yard sale (great finds this week!).  Using that time to relish the un rushed moments before the chaos of work ensues, helps me  to find a quite peace and happiness that motivates and carries me through the rest of the day.

{fresh flowers in vintage jelly jars}

{one of my favorite reads and tea}

{blossoms on an early morning walk}

Sunday we were fortunate enough to both get off work early, giving us a few hours to spend outside enjoying each others company, the last of the weekend sun, and some pretty amazing bar food.  It was the perfect way to kick of our “weekend”, walking to one of our local bars, Mo Jeaux’s,  for beer and dinner, followed by a brisk evening walk to the park with the pup to watch Bill play in a softball game.  Hope everyone else had a wonderful and relaxed weekend.

{walking to dinner in my new Toms}

{my Hole in One burger}

{his Queso Chill burger}

{soaking in the sunset over the foothills}

Muffin Mishap = Delicious Dessert

During our chilly spurt this week I got the urge to make homemade muffins.  On brisk mornings with grey, wet skies there is nothing better than filling your home with warmth and sweet aromas from the oven.  I attempted to make a new recipe for whole wheat raspberry muffins, altering a few “small”  ingredients in the process.  The out come was okay, but my muffins were too dry and not very sweet at all (I’ll be working on this soon).  The first muffins, warm from the oven, with butter, cinnamon, and sugar, where delicious, but by day two they were way to dry to take down.   I chalked the muffins full of raspberries, blackberries, and walnuts, and with so many amazing ingredients on the line I could not let these guys go to waste.  Remembering how delicious the muffins where with butter, sugar, and cinnamon (but really what isn’t) and craving fruit the way I do, a cobbler felt like the only direction to take this baking blunder.  And man was the transformation amazing!  The muffins soaked up all the fruity goodness and provided the perfect cakey, crumbly topping for this tart cobbler.  Mmmmmm and it almost tastes healthy while eating dessert.

{walnuts and plenty of fruit made these muffins an ideal cobbler component }

I used the berries that I had left over from making the muffins (frozen raspberries and fresh blackberries), 1 plum, sliced, and two small granny smith apples, sliced, diced, and peeled, to fill the cobbler.  I layered those in an oven dish with butter, cinnamon, and sugar (it’s not an exact science so use butter and sugar to your taste preferences). Also because I love playing with sweet and savory flavors, I sprinkled about 1 Tbsp Thyme in with the mix.  I tossed that all, covered it, and put it in the oven at 375° for about 10 minutes, letting apples get a little soft.  I removed the dish and added the thawed (once frz. raspberries), more sugar and 2/3 c. water. Back in the oven it all went for 30 more minutes (just keep and eye on the consistency, letting the fruit cook, combine, and thicken).  While that cooked I mixed 1/2c. corn starch and 1/2 c. water.  After the 30 is up I removed the dish again and stirred in the corn starch liquid. (You can adjust the amount of corn starch and sugar you use depending on how thick/sticky you want the inside) Back in the oven for another 15 or so and then out for one last step! The muffin topping! I crumbled the 6 muffins remaining in a bowl, then sprinkled them over the entire top.   Can it get better?  Yes!  Try drizzling a small amount melted butter over the top along with brown sugar.  I turned the broiler on, and slid the cobbler in the oven one last time to make the top crispy.  5-7 minutes should do the trick.  Serve as breakfast with coffee and cream, or for desert a la mode (or for breakfast a la mode). I also imagine this would be a tasty with any left over stale muffins, or maybe with some oatmeal mixed in.

{1st layer}

{2nd layer}

{...the crumble}

{the final result...heavenly}

Getting Crafty

{craft time}

I’ve wanted to blog more this week, but I went crazy buying new Martha Stewart paints in bright spring colors and other project materials, so I’m keeping my hands busy with glue, scissors, paint, embroidery thread, glitter, you name it.   Not to mention I’m back at work (at work currently shhhhh…)   My DIY to do list is extensive so I’m putting in some needed creative time.  Till the projects are revealed, and more complete, here are the colors and materials I’m working with.

{a project I've been looking forward to making I'd seen at A Beautiful Mess}

Honey-Tomato Bruschetta with Ricotta

{heirloom tomatoes}

Mondays and Tuesdays are our weekends at this point in time.  Jobs in the restaurant industry usually means working through the weekends and often late nights, so with both of us working long hours at different restaurants, we cherish the time we can spend together at home, or enjoying the beauty and fun that both Fort Collins and Colorado have to offer.  This past weekend Colorado gifted us all with even more amazing weather, reaching the 80’s on Sunday with very little wind (and for those of you who don’t know…Northern Colorado is ALWAYS windy this time of year).  Nice weather gets people out of the house here which means busy, busy, busy, for local businesses.  While the weather kept us crazy busy for most of the weekend, it was hard not to be in a good mood with Summer outside in March and a full patio of happy people enjoy the sunshine (I should note mostly happy, some exasperatingly grumpy) The change in weather has had me craving fresher and lighter foods already, and I have marked a large number of pages in my favorite cookbook of the moment, Food and Wine’s 2009 Annual Cookbook, with recipes that are reminiscent of Summer evenings eating al fresco.   This particular recipe for Honey-Tomato Bruschetta with Ricotta caught my eye immediately, especially since most of the ingredients I keep stocked in the kitchen.   When I left work Sunday evening I could feel and hear the winds blowing in from the foothills, carrying colder weather that was inevitably due.  Grey skies and chilly temperatures kept us in most of yesterday, and though we could not enjoy our dinner outside, I still wanted make one of the recipes I had been eyeing.  I went with the easiest and most accessible.    While I would have liked to make my ricotta from scratch I lacked ingredients and energy (its amazing how much sun seems to give me).   I also did not have the fresh basil for garnishing the top, and my thyme was dried, so I will defiantly revisit this recipe for summer entertaining when all the ingredients can be fresher and more flavorful.   The result was still delicious, and the tomatoes roasted in honey gave the perfect combination of sweet and acidic.

{simple whole wheat baguette}

{ready for the oven}

 

{voilà! deliciousness!}