HOMEMADE PESTO



This weekend we harvested our first vegetables from that garden! We have been picking lettuce for a while, but this week our peas and tomatoes were finally ripe enough to pick. The whole garden has gotten quite out of control, so we had to cut back a few things, including our basil plants. We couldn't eat the basil fast enough, and it's like Medusa, you cut one stem and 2 grow back in its place. So, I decided we would make pesto.Which would go amazingly with this recipe. Check out our out of control veggies below.

The tomato plants are taller than I am. Isn't it Miley Cyrus who sings "I can't be caged?" I'm pretty sure that's how the squash feels.



Yields 2.5 cups of fresh pesto

Ingredients

1/2 pound of basil leaves, washed and dried thoroughly
4 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
3/4 cups walnut halves
1-1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon chopped garlic (you can add more if you like garlic but I'm not a huge fan)


Heat walnuts and pinenuts in a dry, heavy skillet over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until they’re golden brown and give off a rich, toasty fragrance. Stir or toss frequently for even toasting. Remove from pan to cool.
Chop the garlic cloves finely, sprinkle a teaspoon of salt on top and mash to a fine paste with a fork.
Place garlic and half of the basil leaves in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds.
Add the rest of the basil leaves and with the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed.
Add the Parmesan cheese and toasted nuts and puree for one more minute.
You can use it the right away. If you’re going to store pesto for a short period of time, place in a jar with a thin film of olive oil on top. You can also divide it into 1-cup portions and store in the freezer for a few months. Make sure to defrost in the refrigerator overnight.

*If you don't have a food processor you can use a good quality blender, just make sure to finely chop everything before hand.  If you want this to be vegan friendly just omit the cheese and use a little less oil.

HAPPY HUMP DAY: CATS

Somehow in college I became a "Crazy cat Lady." I don't know how it happened. I like cats, I would choose a cat over a dog, but I still love dogs. I think cat pictures and youtube videos are as funny as the next guy, but I became the person who everyone shared their funny cat videos with. If you have ever been to my personal facebook page you might have considered me a crazy cat lady, you may have even shared with me your crazy cat videos. I do love them, keep them coming, in the mean time I thought I would share with you some lovely cat inspiration from my "Lovelies" board on Pinterest.

 If I had a cat, you better believe he would have a bowtie.

 This cheetah kitten is too much!

Could I be any more fluffy?

 Also, If I had a cat we would jump on the bed all the time.

 
Cat nap. 

Phil is always such a source of wisdom

I don't want to discriminate so here's a cute puppy too!

KALE CHIPS

This weekend we tested out a recipe that I was a little bit leery about. It was homemade kale chips, and it seems like everyone is making them these days. I have a serious aversion to kale, I am not a fan. I only eat it when I put it in vegetable juice and it is hidden behind notes of carrot and apple. But, I was pleasently surprised. In fact, we devoured these within minutes of making the first batch. And it only cost is $2.00. you can't beat that with a stick, well you probably could, but I wouldn't recommend it. You have to taste these for yourself.


Kale Chips
Serves 3-4

1 bunch kale
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground salt or seasoning salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse and dry kale leaves. Remove kale leaves from stems. Place the leaves in a mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Massage the kale until the olive oil is evenly coated onto the kale. Place kale directly onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt or seasoning. Don't cut the Kale or trim it down, the leaves will shrink dramatically in size so they can overlap on the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until crisp, moving the chips around and flipping them half way to ensure that they are evenly baked.

With an oven it is trial and error, you just have to keep checking them to see when they are done. If you have a food dehydrator you could use this recipe and dehydrate at 115° for 8-12 hours.

ART COLLECTIONS

I adore art collections. And while I was at the antique show last week I couldn't help but notice all of the great vintage art collections on display. My favorites came from a local shop called Kearsarge Lodge. One of the shops owners, Martha Andrea, is a fabulous artist and was an art history professor for many years- she really has an incredible eye for good collections and framing. My favorite was this hunting dog collection.

Art collections are coming back in a big way. You can't open a home decor magazine these days without spotting a great collage of frames. And whether your personal taste is traditional or modern, there is something for everyone. The two spaces below showcase a great option for those of you who love a traditional look. They are matted in creme with simple gold frames.To get this look at home you can visit one of my favorite vintage art sites, Vintage Printable. They have everything from botanicals, to kid's prints.



If you love a more modern look, you could have photos printed in black and white. The monochrome look will simplify the collection, giving it a unified feel. Black frames also help streamline these 2 collections.



If you are digging the more modern collections check out this museum-esque collection of butterfly prints. You can go here for free printables. There are only eight in this collection so you will have to do a 2x4 block of prints.



CLEAN GREEN: LAUNDRY TIPS

Wash in Cold Water:
Last year we challenged ourselves to conserve energy and reduce our carbon footprint. One way we came out big was in the laundry room, believe it or not! I looked into many great sites on conserving energy and consuming less and I was surprised at what I discovered. For example, did you know heating water to do laundry is one of the largest users of energy in a typical home. My first response was, well it won't kill germs on things like towels if I wash them in cold water- wrong. It gets clothes just as clean as hot water, while using less energy and money, and preserving fabric color. No Brainer! Energy Star states that almost 90% of the energy consumed by a washing machine goes to heating water. That's a huge percentage! Each household that makes the switch to cold-water washing eliminates about 1,600 pounds (sign me up for that weight loss program!) of carbon dioxide emissions a year, according to the Sierra Club. Now we don't use any warm water to wash clothes, and we wait until we have a completely full load before starting, which in my home means only doing laundry once every two weeks!

I love this eco-friendly hamper from Crate and Barrel's The Land of Nod


Don't Use Traditional Fabric Softener:
Although they may make your clothes feel soft and smell fresh, fabric softener and dryer sheets are some of the most toxic products around. Fabric softeners are made to stay in your clothing for long periods of time. As such, chemicals are slowly released either into the air for you to inhale or onto your skin for you to absorb. Dryer sheets are particularly noxious because they are heated in the dryer and the chemicals are released through dryer vents and out into the environment. Here is a list of just some of the chemicals found in fabric softeners and dryer sheets:

Benzyl acetate: Linked to pancreatic cancer
Benzyl Alcohol: Upper respiratory tract irritant
Ethanol: On the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Hazardous Waste list and can cause central nervous system disorders
Limonene: Known carcinogen
A-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and central nervous system damage
Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list
Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders

Here are some simple recipes you can use to replace traditional fabric softeners:

Fabric Softener:
1/2 cup white vinegar
Add to rinse cycle in place of liquid fabric softener.
This helps remove static, the combination of cotton and polyester is often the culprit behind static cling,  try drying natural-fiber clothes separately from synthetic materials. Better yet, line dry synthetic clothing, as it tends to dry fairly quickly anyway.

Scented Dryer Sheets:
Place a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil on a piece of wet cloth and put it in the dryer with your clothes (lavender smells great) and toss in with wet laundry. 



Skip the Dryer:
According to "Project Laundry List" It typically costs 30 to 40 cents to dry a load of laundry in an electric dryer and approximately 15 to 20 cents in a gas dryer. Over its expected lifetime of 18 years, the average clothes dryer will cost you approximately $1,530 to operate. When you skip using the dryer you are obviously saving money, and energy, and only adding about 6 minutes of your time to hanging clothes on the line. But here are some simple tips to make the most of your time. I always hang any synthetic clothing, like I pointed out above, it dries really quickly and most aren't designed to go in the dryer anyway. I put shirts and pants on a hanger and hang from my shower rod- and lay out delicate clothing on a drying rack in the bath tub. (You could do this anywhere really, but my bathroom is right next to my laundry room.) I hang all towels and rugs outside on our railing in the summer, and on doorknobs inside in the winter. 

What about Ironing?
I don't iron, first of all its 2012, who still irons... Although my grandmother thinks it is a sin that we don't even own an iron, I'll tell you how to get around it. Towels can be really stiff and scratchy if they were hung outside. To combat this I toss all of the dry towels in the dryer with a wet cloth. You can add some essential oils to the cloth if you want them scented. It takes less than 5 min and they come out soft and fresh. The same stiffness can happen to jeans and t-shirts. Once these are dry I just mist them with a spray bottle of water. It loosens all of the wrinkles and they take about 10 min to air-dry. This is also a great tip for traveling. I always pack a mini spray bottle in my luggage, when I get to my destination I hang up any wrinkled items and give them a good spray.

A drying rack like this one is a great option for a small laundry room










DIY HEADBOARD



Once the snow melted, about mid May for us, I decided I needed to finish this crazy DIY project that was hanging over my head, literally. I inherited this great solid wood door when my parents replaced the door to their shed. I knew I wanted to turn it into a headboard, but it was in rough shape. We started by scraping off all the loose paint, if you do this at home be sure to wear a mask in case you are dealing with lead paint.


Step two was cutting off the bottom of the door. It was about 4 inches longer than the rest of the frame, and once it was cut, it would be the perfect size for a king-sized bed. Keep in mind for a headboard you want about 2-4 inches larger than your actual mattress, a lot of it comes down to personal preference- but once your bedding is on you don't want the headboard to look like it shrunk. I ended up making mine 2" wider than the mattress.


Once the door was cut down to the proper size John left me alone to do the rest by myself. Apparently no one thought I could use the circular saw unsupervised... #blondegirlproblems.  I went to town filling the cracks and dents with wood filler. When it was dry I sanded it down with an electric circular sander. (Way too much work for a plain sanding block.) And then I refilled any holes that persisted, and repeated sanding.


Because I was dealing with raw wood I went ahead and used KILZ latex primer. I painted it on with a foam brush. But for efficiency's sake, and because I am the most impatient DIYer ever,  I sprayed on the second coat of primer, which, saved me about an hour of work time and an hour of drying time. I painted it with Benjamin Moore's Misted Green, it took two coats to cover the head board and the legs.

Once everything had cured I screwed on the legs with metal plates. (On the back I put 2 screws in the leg and 2 screws on the headboard) On the front I put one screw into the headboard, and 3 in the leg.



I made mine with 3 legs so the middle was well supported, and I made the legs 3" higher than the top of my mattress. I have 12' ceilings, so I had to make up for that with a tall headboard- but you can only tell that the headboard rises above the mattress when the pillows and bedding are removed. If you don't have any antique doors laying around, I'm sure with some careful mitering you could also make this style of headboard with a sheet of plywood and some 2x4s!


 If you like the fern botanicals above my headboard you can print them here. Have you tried to make your own headboards? I'd love to see.





NATURAL BUG REPELLENT

I never use bug spray, but after being bitten by what I am sure was 1,000 mosquitoes, I was super determined to find a great insect repellent for the summer. I didn't want to buy any sprays that contained DEET (read about DEET here and why it's not good) and after doing some light research I determined there aren't many products you can buy on the market, that are natural repellents. So,in my usual fashion, I decided to make my own. Homemade repellents will repel mosquitoes, but they require more frequent reapplication (at least every 2 hours). Because of the differences between types of mosquitoes, recipes that contain multiple essential oils tend to be more effective than those containing a single ingredient. See a list below of essential oils that can be used as insect repellents.
  • Citronella Oil
  • Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
  • Cinnamon Oil
  • Castor Oil
  • Rosemary Oil
  • Lemongrass Oil
  • Cedar Oil
  • Peppermint Oil
  • Clove Oil
  • Geranium Oil 

The key is you need a base to mix all of your oils with. Like, witch hazel, alcohol, or oil. To make the repellent strong enough to keep away the bugs, but gentle enough for kids and animals, a 10:1 ratio works best. Mix 10 parts base with 1 part essential oils. You can choose a variety of oils to mix, but if you don't want to experiment at home, or you hate math like me, here is a fool proof recipe- just combine the following ingredients and pour into a small spray bottle:

-1 ounce witch hazel
-1 ounce grape seed oil
-35 drops citronella essential oils
-20 drops eucalyptus essential oils
-15 drops lemongrass essential oils
-15 drops lemon essential oils
-15 drops cedar essential oils


4th OF JULY ANTIQUING

Over the holiday and weekend we hit up all the great antique shows going on in our Valley. Here are some of the highlights. It was super hot this year so we kept it short and simple, but I'm still kicking myself for not snatching up some cool treasures... 


These bird feeders were the coolest DIY thing I found this year. They are made from old lamp parts and plates. Would be so fun to make.


This guy had so many antlers that he was basically giving them away. I had to restrain myself because I have been wanting to dip paint some gold for a while now.


I thought these chairs were fun.


This settee was $800.00 it had been reupholstered in a heavy white linen and the wood had been striped and didn't have a new finish. I kept thinking for $800 you could have made this a lot more fun! 


I had my eye on those old wooden crates, this vendor also had some great vintage dresses and aprons.


We get the sun motif around here a lot, but I was sort of in love with these hand painted tiles, I think theywould make great trivets, or a tray in the bathroom (which is what my mom got one for) 


Don't you love that they left some of the original metal unpainted on these bed frames?


I thought these wire trays were cool, but they were so big I couldn't figure out where I would use them in my home.


I am still mad at myself for not buying these great old suitcases.

This was one of my favorite booths, these gals were from Salt Lake and they had so many DIYed pieces, and great salvaged items.


This glass was all a great purple color and the guy at this booth told me it was exposed to UV light and because it had a specific chemical in it, it turns the glass purple. (I don't remember what chemical, all you scientists out there help a girl out)


This booth was full of great ski memorabilia and fun rustic finds. The guy was from Colorado and he made this table himself. I loved how he paired it with these great red metal chairs. It was so hot though, I didn't dare sit in them!


I thought this cart would have made a great coffee table, and it had so much more character than the ones at Restoration Hardware. I don't know what these buckets are used for- my best guess was picking fruit or smashing grapes.


This booth had so many awesome Eastern textiles and art pieces. I was a little obsessed with this massive horse, they had two of them!

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY

I hope you all have a fun and safe holiday!

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