Friday, June 29, 2012

Adirondack Chair Make-over…


We have a nice little shady spot in our yard…under some beautiful Redwood Trees. I placed a couple of handmade Adirondack chairs on some flagstone pavers to create a cozy spot to relax.

Unfortunately…the chairs get a lot of wear and tear from all of the outdoor elements, and this year they were in desperate need of a little sprucing up! Here is what they looked like before…

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The original white paint was faded and worn, and they were covered in a layer of pollen and spots of mold…yuck! Who would ever want to sit and relax on one of these?!

First step was to give them a good wash. I just used my own solution of water and bleach, with a stiff brush. Making sure to get all the moldy spots, top to bottom…

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Then after letting them dry for a couple of days I gave them a light sanding and a couple of coats of white paint. I used Sherwin Williams paint  Solo - 100% Acrylic Interior/Exterior Latex Paint.




This versatile, self-priming, low VOC paint can be used almost anywhere – on surfaces both inside and out. It is available in several finishes. I used the Gloss finish on my chairs.

Here is what they look like now…

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I added a couple of outdoor pillows in coordinating colors…

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I also re-painted a wrought iron side table in bright orange, see post here,  and added some whimsical yard art for fun…

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Now I enjoy sitting in this shady spot, watching the birds visit to feed and splash in the nearby birdbath…

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Do you have a favorite spot in your yard?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My “topless” table…


Here is a little DIY project that combines two unlikely items. A metal outdoor stepping stone and a “topless” wrought iron side table!

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I have had this little outdoor table for years. It used to have a wooden top, that eventually deteriorated after sitting outside in the elements.

While I was trying to figure out what to use to make a new top for this “naked” table, I literally stumbled upon the metal garden step…and it fit perfectly! Just needed a little orange spray paint to make it fresh and fun.

Here is what it looks like now…

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I like to move this versatile little table around the yard and use it wherever I need it. It works perfectly next to the pool to hold my book and a cool drink…

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Or next to my Adirondack chairs under the Redwood trees…

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Stop by on Friday to see how I freshened up my white Adirondack chairs.




Monday, June 25, 2012

Thanks and Catching Up!


Well…we made it home safe from our wonderful week away!
I want to send out a huge Thank You to all of my blog friends that participated in my Summer Recipe Series while I was gone.
There were so many delicious and fun recipes shared by all of the following very talented bloggers;

Holly from West Pear Avenue
Tiffany from Living Savvy
Vivienne from The V Spot
Elizabeth from The Mustard Ceiling
Jessica from Stay At Home-ista

If you did not get a chance to check it out last week…you can click on their name above and see their fabulous guests posts.

Once again…Thank You ladies for filling in for me while I was enjoying time with family and friends on a wonderful summer vacation.

I spent a lot of time here…

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Majestic Colonial – Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

With a view like this…

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And I read all 3 of these…

Oh my!!

Now back to reality, and my least favorite part of vacation…

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Laundry and unpacking all of the extra clean clothes that I swore I was not going to take!
It is great to get away…but always takes a few days to catch up when you get home.

Do you have a family vacation planned this summer?



Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Recipe Series - Stay at Home-ista

This is the cutest idea I have seen yet for summer cupcakes!
Jessica over at the blog Stay at Home-ista always finds cute and clever ways to decorate her home so its no wonder she has cute and clever desserts as well!

Read on for the perfect 4th of July treat...

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Hi! I'm Jessica from Stay at Home-ista and I'm so happy to be here to share a favorite summer treat with you. Usually I blog about home design (I'm a Harvard-trained architect), parenting (I have 3 kids under 5)  and food.

Right now, I'm so, so excited about what I get to share with you. For me, summer is all about the fruit: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines, watermelon... OK, I'm going to try really hard to not get up and eat something right now! Phew, stil here. Ready?




Yep, it's a 4th of July flag made up of mini-cupcakes with fruit on top.



I had a box of cake mix leftover from making my son a construction machine birthday cake, so I decided to whip up a batch of mini cupcakes.



I frosted laid them out on a platter, 4 rows, 6 columns, which was perfect, since 24 is how many mini cupcakes my pan makes:)



Then I frosted them with some basic buttercream icing in white.



Add fruit and you are done! I used blueberries and raspberries, but you could also either tint the frosting and not use fruit, or use cut up strawberries as well. If I had children who would have gone for it, I probably would have made my Pina Colada Cupcakes, with coconut frosting, then put coconut flakes on the white rows, but one of the best things about summer is having kids at home, and that means baking with them!



Stop by Stay at Home-ista to take a peek inside my dream kitchen (it makes baking and cleaning up so much easier), check out the book that keeps me from yelling at my kids, or our diy patio garden, which is growing like crazy. Have a great summer!

Jessica


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Thanks Jessica!

These cupcakes are sure to please all my guests on our 4th of July celebration!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Recipe Series - The Mustard Ceiling


I have been following Elizabeth's blog The Mustard Ceiling for a long time now. I even hired her for my blog re-design earlier this year. She has a great eye for design and an amazing eye for photography!

I think you will agree when you see her recipe and photos for a delicious looking Quinoa Salad...

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Hi Elegant Nest Reader's! I'm Elizabeth, from The Mustard Ceiling. I usually blog about interior design and DIY projects, but my husband and I are in the process of selling our house and moving this summer so all of our DIY projects are on hold until we find a new home to tackle.

Today, I thought I would step away from Interior Design and DIY projects to share my favorite summer recipe with you.

What I love so much about this recipe is that it is full of veggies, healthy, fast and perfect for a hot summer day. I recently stumbled upon it while trolling for new recipes on pinterest and I am so happy I did.

My favoite new recipe this summer is a Mediterranean Quinoa Salad. I found it on Small Kitchen College. The first time I made this recipe I followed Small Kitchen College's directions to the tee, but the second time I eliminated the artichokes, I prefer it without them.




*Ingredients for the Salad*
  • 1 carton of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 c. red onion, chopped
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 c. italian parsley, chopped (I usually do not use quite 1/2 C.)
  • 1/2 c. fresh basil, chopped (I usually do not use quite 1/2 C. )
  • 1/2 c. Kalamata olives, halved
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 c. of crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 c. of dry quinoa (makes 2 c. cooked)
*Ingredients for the Salad Dressing*
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
To start, add one cup of dry quinoa to 2 cups of water. Bring the water and quinoa to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook 10-15 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Once the quinoa is cooked, set it aside to cool. Next, chop up your cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, parsley, basil, olives and romaine and combine them in a large bowl.







In a small bowl, whisk together the olive juice, minced garlic and lemon juice. Pour the dressing over the vegetables, then mix in the quinoa and feta.



The first time I made it, I paired it with homemade pita and hummus for a light refreshing dinner. Last time, I served it with a simple Turkey, Mozzeralla, tomato, basil panini with pesto mayonnaise. I think it would also pair nicely with a light chicken dish.

Honestly I don't think you can go wrong with any pairing you could come up with...it's that good!



Thank you for having me today Laura! I hope you are enjoying your vacation...and I hope you all enjoy the recipe.

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Thanks Elizabeth!

This salad looks delicious...and that grilled panini makes my mouth water just looking at the photo!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Recipe Series - The "V" Spot



Today, we have a non-edible treat! Vivienne from The V Spot shares a cute and clever way to use a salt dough recipe to make some adorable summer decor!

Take it away Viv...

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Hello Elegant Nest readers! I'm Vivienne from The V Spot.  I love Laura's blog and was so excited when she asked me to fill in for her today.


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Last year I was on a faux coral kick and made several pieces out of a basic salt dough.  You can get the recipe and see those here;.  I also made up a few pieces to make it look like red coral.


faux red coral, apothecary jar 

Red coral is pretty popular these days.

  View Image  Faux Red Coral Branch
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I don’t want to pay too much, well, for anything (ever) but I figured I would give it a go to make some.



clay, coral, doush, DIY, faux


I rolled little “snakes” of dough and just kind of “free-formed” a wiggly little tree.  I let it air dry until it was hardened.

Once completely dry, I took it out and painted it with Rustoleum’s  American Accents spray paint in Colonial Red.


painted, red, coral, faux


I first thought I was going to have to put an orange-ish glaze over this once it was dry, but the paint soaked into the yellow/brown clay and the color is working for me.

I brought them inside and popped them into an apothecary jar with some shells, burlap, and a piece of “driftwood” (aka a long piece of garden mulch)


seas shells, coral, apothecary jar, decor


I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.  Works for me!


red coral, sea shells, apothecary jar, decor

Do you decorate with beachy items during the summer?  Want to give this a try?  

Thanks for having me over, Laura!  You can find me at The V Spot, on Twitter; and on Facebook.



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Thanks Vivienne!

I love using red coral in my decor...especially during the summer months. I recently purchased some outdoor pillows with the coral motif.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Recipe Series - Living Savvy


I recently shared my addiction to spray paint over on Tiffany's blog Living Savvy. She has a fun series called Spray Painters Anonymous...and I know several of you could also be members!

Today, Tiffany shares her recipe for a corn salad I will be sure to try this summer...

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Hello, I am Tiffany from Living Savvy and I am so excited Laura asked me to share my favorite Summer recipe for her series.  I love summer cooking, and think that all food should be kept light and fresh. My recipe for my Summer Corn Salad takes all of the freshest in season ingredients to make a super light and satisfying summer side dish.

Summer Corn Salad
Serves 8-10
- 8-10 ears of corn on the cob 
- 1 pint of grape/cherry tomatoes {halved}
- 1 large red onion {diced}
- bunch of basil {chiffon} 
- apple cider vinegar
-olive oil
- S & P to taste
Shuck corn, trim ends and boil in water for 10 minutes.  You could also place on the grill with brushed with olive oil for a more smoky flavor.

Meanwhile, sliced tomatoes in half, chop onion, and basil.



To easily cut the corn off the cob, place a smaller bowl upside down in a bigger bowl.  Place corn on the bowl and cut off the kernels.


Add corn to cut veggies.  Add apple cider vinegar {I would say about 1/4-1/2 cup, depending on how tangy you like it} olive oil to coat and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Thank you so much for having me!  Please come visit me at Living Savvy where I share some more recipes, Savvy DIY's, and client projects!
Happy Summer!


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Thanks Tiffany!

This salad recipe will be great to keep in mind when I have leftover corn on the cob from our summer BBQ's!







 
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