Monday, February 28, 2011

Gourmet Club-Basque

Have any of you ever done this? Have you ever heard of it? If not and you love food, grab some amazing friends (at least 8-10) and start this ASAP! Here is how it all started...

My BF Stacey's parents (who are amazing, might I add) have done a gourmet group with a handful of their closest friends for years and years {like 20+ years with the same people}. What they do is every 6-8 weeks {or so} one person or couple out of the group is the host. So usually you are hosting at your house once a year. The host/hosting couple picks the theme for the dinner and chooses the entire menu and emails the menu to each gourmet'er. Each person picks a dish from that menu and shows up to a fabulous night of trying new food, drinking amazing wine {or whatever is your flavor} and making some amazing memories!

So, Stacey brought her parents tradition to her group of friends here in Washington and this past Saturday was our third Gourmet dinner. It was is a little show and tell of our group and some of the dishes we have made!

Our first Gourmet dinner was in October of last year.

Hosts: Kevin and Stacey

Theme: Basque

Is that table beautiful or what?
{Stacey has mad table setting skills}

Waiting for the next dish to be served...

Three of our gourmet'ers
Jen D, Stacey and Kristin...Lovelies!

Mmm...the main dish, compliments of Stacey and Kevin: {sorry these dishes were not served in the order I have them here}

Ox tail over the most amazing Polenta any of us have ever tasted! I still dream about this dish! Who knew Ox tail was so amazing!?

Our dish that night:

Basque tortilla with garlic aioli sauce that was to die for!

Isn't it pretty?
Let me just tell you that this is NOT how we cook all the time! That is one of the things we love so much about this group. We try new dishes and challenge ourselves with ingredients and culinary skills we never knew existed! Love it!

Kenny and Sarah's dish:

Stuffed squid with Chorizzo, piquillo pepper, black olives and basil oil

melt in your friggin mouth! Sooo good!

The proud mama and papa of that squid!

Kenny finishing the final touches on the presentation before serving

Ryan and Jen: Prosullada {Leek Soup}

So, sooo good! This was the first dish of the evening and what a great start it was!

Soooo amazing!!!

Jen's dish:

I feel sooo bad, but I can't remember the name of her dish, but I know it had shrimp and a very sweet, savory sauce. Help me out here Jen! =) I do remember it being a little piece of basque heaven on my tongue though!

Jen, not sure what to go for or soup...soup or wine? Both at the same time baby!

Last, but absolutely not least was Kristin's desert! Oh good!

Recette: Gateau Basque Aux Cerises Noires
Basically this is a cake from scratch...almond flour, egg yokes, lemon zest...sooo much more goodness including blackberry preserves in the middle served with whipped cream {from scratch I'm sure} and honey. Need I say more???

Kristin you had me at Recette: Gateau Basque Aux Cerises Noires

Don't ask me to translate that...I just eat it...I think...haha

Stay tuned for more from our Gourmet Club. Next up, December's Gourmet.
Theme: Thanksgiving dinner on a gourmet level.

At least the food was on a gourmet level. The rest of the night was white elephant gift exchange and we all wore our tacky Christmas sweaters opened some ridiculous white elephant gifts, laughed until our stomachs hurt. I seriously love this group of people! We are blessed with some amazing friends here!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Chalk and Baskets...great combo

So, I was at Lowes getting paint for the office and as you know that project failed miserably, but I did come across these cute little things on clearance.

Baskets are about 11"x 20" and were marked down from $16/piece to $5 baby! I couldn't pass them up.

They look great in the "new" pantry!

Just for the record, that snack basket is unfortunately not Shelley friendly. I joined Weight Watchers last week and the only thing on that shelf that I can have are the peppers and the almonds...haha. Ok, I might be a little dramatic, but you already know that about me. I can also have the oatmeal! =)

Thanks to my friend Cheri, I scored on this sweet groop dealz deal yesterday!

I have those cute glass containers for storage {and plan to get more} and thought these would be perfect for labeling them. Not that we can't tell what is in them, but it's all about the design, right? I love details like this. Besides, I love how the chalk labels on the glass canisters will tie in so well with the baskets.

I can't wait to get them in the mail!!

The group deal is still going as of today 2/26 if you want to get in on this sweet offer! Free shipping too!

Click here for the deal and then sign up to get daily deals...if you want to that is. I'm not trying to be bossy! =)

chalkboard labels

Happy Saturday! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

signs of spring...with snow on the ground...

Yes, we have snow on the ground in Lake Tapps, WA today. I won't least we are not buried in the midwest snow storms and I don't have to leave the house - BONUS! =)

There is spring in my girl's eyes though! A sweet friend of ours {who was also our mortgage/home loan gal when we bought this house} gave McKenna a housewarming gift. That gift was a bag full of goodies to plant her own garden in our back yard.

{The pink flower pots came in a set of two for $1 at Target. The green ceramic pot was also from the $1 bin at Target. They have tons of colors}

That is all McKenna could talk about when we bought our house; planting her very own garden. Strawberry's were very important to her and were a MUST! However, McKenna is not waiting for spring...yesterday we planted her strawberries, forget me nots {Alaska's state flower, just in case you didn't know} and mini rose seeds.

{Seriously? Look at that face! Mmm, I could eat those cheeks!}

I am excited to watch McKenna learn through this process of nurturing and watching these little seeds sprout up! It was such a fun, little activity to do with her. I also found some $1 seed starter kits just like these in the Target dollar bin. I picked up a parsley one for me =)

I just noticed how much McKenna needs some sun! that wrong of me to say? {P.s. if you look closely you will see signs of my heinous outdated kitchen that is slowly being transformed}

She is so serious

She is so proud. Seeds are planted and the sun came out just long enough to shed some of that light on her little pots. Grow babies, Grow!

Monday, February 21, 2011

My insane happy place? Painting!

Those who know me know that I love to paint! I'm a little sick like that, but I am an instant satisfaction kinda gal and I think that painting a room {or a piece of furniture} is the fastest and most impactful change to a room {or piece of furnitur}. There is no way I could count how many rooms I have painted or helped paint. How many stripes or treatments I have put on walls...I just LOVE PAINT!!

These pants are my fave...they tell a story of most rooms I have painted in the past 7 years. However, today is the day they went in the trash because, well, there is a new hole that I can't show you that turned into an even bigger hole in the wrong place. Let's just say, I have only one set of cheeks I would like to show off...even when I'm painting.

I will miss you paint pants. You've been good to me.

However, this is not about these pants, but I did have to give them a shout out really quick. OK, on to the topic at hand...

Paint and my office/craft room

Usually I'm pretty good at picking a paint in the store. I have chosen a paint color without even looking at it in the room and surprisingly had great luck after getting it home and slapping it on the walls...loving it!! One of those Lucky color choices was the color of the pantry...which is also going to be the color splash in the newly remodeled kitchen {we are working on that right now}.

However, when picking out the color for my office/craft room I failed MISERABLY this time! Ugh...makes me want to poke my eye out with a dull spoon {yes, I'm dramatic!}. I thought I wanted to switch it up and have a cool, earthy, hip color. I need to remember that I'm not that cool, earthy, hip chick so why would I like that color? Here is what I started with...

Gross, right? Trust me, it's gross. It's also a Matte finish...even worse! If you think this grayish purple looks cool and is trendy right now, it's not in this room. Looks like depressed Barney exploded on the walls! I did NOT paint this color. This was the color of the room when we moved in 3 months ago. NOT creative or inspiring =( So, I decided to repaint, finally!
I couldn't stand it anymore and wanted creative serenity in my little space.

So, I chose Martha Stewart's "Lemon Balm". Looked amazing, cool and very different than anything I would usually pick so I went with it. Bought the gallon of paint right then and there without even taking paint chips home first. And here is what I have...

Again, it's a little tough to see how horrible it is, but it has a neon green hue to it. Martha Stewart's "lemon balm" sucks balm! haha...once again, dramatic and maybe a bit too graphic, but let's just say, it's not good in my craft room.

So, back to the drawing board. Remember, my craft room inspiration picture? No? Well, here is a reminder...

Ahhh, now THAT is creative serenity. So, back to Lowe's to pick out more color chips. This time all the colors that caught my eye, came home with me.

I wasn't taking any chances this time...Pretty sure there are like 500 colors here

{once again, a little dramatic}

Seriously, though...don't you love paint chips? I would wall paper a room in them if I had the patience

So, here is my strategy when I am choosing a color...I tape them up next to the trim and start by the process of elimination...too Green, too gray, too blue, too yellow...

"Morning Fog" Just right!
{just in case it's hard to read, it's the top color}

Here are the accent colors that I will have going through the room. Inspiration was this cool giant clothes pin that my sweet friend Melinda covered for me in this FAB scrapbook paper. You LOVE??? I do!!!

So, tomorrow I'm off to Lowes to get this new color and stay tuned for the new room transformation!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Fat Stripes I love you!!

So, this was a random, quick project. Last week I was cruising through the internet and participating in my favorite past time, browsing amazing blogs, and I saw a room with horizontal stripes on a long wall. Well, we have a long wall...I love stripes so Whalla! Here we are...Fatty horizontal stripes! I LOVE THEM!! This room is not quite done yet...I will post pictures of the final detail when it's done.

{Sorry this is a horrible picture. 1 lamp on, 1 off. "Caillou" on the tv, and McKenna's knees at the bottom of the picture, oh well, it's real life, right?}


I love how it turned out, but I was off my game painting the stripes today. This job should have taken about 2-3 hours, but because I was in a hurry I got to clean up after myself...

Please learn from MY mistakes =)

As I was in the garage looking for the living room wall color that the old owner left for us I found a can that said "bathroom color". My brain said, "oh, the bathroom and living room are the same color"... Since we moved into this house 3 months ago, Iswear, I thought they were the same color so of course I listened to my brain and started "sealing" the tape for that crisp, clean stripe. Until I noticed the paint was not drying lighter...OF COURSE IT WASN'T! Paint never dries lighter, Shelley! Turns out the bathroom paint is NOT the same color as the living room wall color. Thanks to my hubs, I did find the LR wall color and finished sealing the tape to keep from having the lighter stripe leak under the tape.

Next, I was off in la-la land when i was cutting in with the lighter stripe and painted the wrong section. Oh well...that's what "touch up" is all about right? =)

Do you all know the trick to having the clean, crisp, no leaking under the tape, paint line? It's the most amazing, easy trick ever!! My stripes are so perfect they make me want to cry a little! =)

Step 1: {for the perfect clean, no-leaking-paint-line for stripes}: Paint the first color all over your wall. let dry.

Step 2: Tape off your stripes with painters tape.

Step 3: Take the first color {the one you just painted} and paint over the seam of the painters tape that the next color stripe will be covering. This allows the wall color paint to seep up the painters tape instead of the lighter/darker stripe color you are about to paint.

Step 4: Let this "saftey stripe" of paint dry then paint your 2nd color stripe...the results...

A perfect, clean paint line for your sweet striped wall!

Look at that strip up close! Sooo happy...

{it's the little things that make me shed a tear of happiness}

{p.s. thap lamp shade is on my project list. Those babies are getting a makeover real soon!!!}

Thursday, February 10, 2011

paint, ink, sand...LOVE

I love taking something I have had for 11 years {yes, that long} and giving it a little distressed face lift. Funny, how that works right? We want to look younger and want our home accesories to look older {at least, I do}. I say bring it on...for my home accessories that is.


Cool carved wood candle holders. These started off as a natural wood color back in 2009. Then I spray painted them a bronze

Too Goth, right? I agree...

So, then I decided to bring them to the lighter side of my taste...distressed pottery barn-ish like.


Love these!!!


Love this too!

The two taller ones have not yet been distressed

I used Valspar flat white spray paint. After letting the first coat dry, I came back again for a 2nd coat, then let that dry. I used a sanding block to sand off the paint on the higher carved points, then took the ink pad over the areas I sanded to darken those spots up a bit. Looked a little more distressed that way. After the sanding and inking I took a steel wool pad over it lightley to blend it all together and Wha La! I love it! Now, off to finish the other two.

Love this fabric? ME TOO!!! IKEA baby!

Wondering what I'm doing to do with it?

Stay tuned...


Monday, February 7, 2011

Hold on to your seats...the pantry is finally done-ish...

Yay, it's finally done!!! I feel like it's a little anticlimactic since it's been so long since I started this project, but thanks for hanging in there with me (hopefully you did).

Holy longest "small" project ever batman!

Just for a reminder of how far I came with this little tiny 5'x5' pantry, here is what it looked like 3 weeks ago...mmm, so pretty, I know. Who would want to change this, right?

First I spent a few hours of sanding then scrubbing layers of grime and old pantry smell off with TSP. Next, two coats of primer inside the pantry and all sides of the doors. Then three coats of Valspar "Bisro White" on both sides of the door.

Pantry wall got two coats of fab Martha Steward "school house slate" gray

And finally, we have food in our pantry!!! Yay!!

I hope you remember what the previous "pantry" was before this was finally utilized. If not, that's fine, just keep this in your's much prettier.

First, the pantry door. I seriously HEART the shelving on this door! And to think I actually thought of tearing it out at one point! Good thing I came to my senses because it's perfect for the small, light pantry items that are good to keep in sight, but you don't want laying around all willy nilly every where. Once the kitchen cabinets are finished, the spices will not be in this door. They have their own little home right next to the stove, but for now they are renting space on the pantry door. McKenna is very excited because now she has her own special shelf on the bottom where she can reach her snacks like a "big girl".

Of course I made a trip to IKEA for a few storage solutions. First I grabbed a couple of those black organizing boxes. Inside I put all the small "baking" stuff like sprinkles, cupcake papers, frosting, vanilla, baking power, baking soda, ect. We rarely bake so those things are better off tucked away out of site.

The smaller glass containers on the top shelf are from IKEA $3.99/pc. I put powdered sugar and brown sugar in those. I guess I could have tucked those away as well, but I wanted sugars and powders in glass containers so they weren't messy bags leaking everywhere. The larger glass canisters are from Wal-Mart {purchased today...haha} $7/pc. Those pretty things hold flour and sugar. Also rarely used in our house but necessary to have around.

Top shelf.

{I need another canister for the WW flour I guess}

Also, I'm getting my hands on some adhesive vinyl for the CRICUT and will be making vinyl labels for all the glass canisters! Thank you Shelley {from the house of Smith's blog} for that great idea!!

{sorry for the crooked picture}

If you are thinking 'holy crap, they don't have any food in their house' you would be correct! We are the shop-one-week-at-a-time-weekly-meal-planner family of 3 and I didn't go grocery shopping today! Score 2 points for a great domestic engineer, but hey, I got the pantry done-ish and the house cleaned!!!

The glass spaghetti canister is from IKEA $5 and the stainless steel container holds coffee which I rarely drink {at home} anymore, but need to keep some on hand in case of emergency. I've kinda got hooked on tea lately so I'm still getting my caffeine, don't you worry. I also picked up that little white stack able shelf rack on the right so I have a place to put bread without it getting squished. I hate having a bunch of stuff on the kitchen counter tops so the more in the pantry, the better. The basket on the lower left shelf holds open bags {pretzels, pirate booty, gold fish} nice and neat so they don't end up spread out and falling over all over the pantry shelves.

Small square glass container {$3} is for almonds {also always on hand} and the taller one {$4} is for Oatmeal. Both from IKEA. Don't you love how food looks in glass containers? Sooo much prettier! Now I just hope I don't forget how to make my oatmeal without the directions on the back of the container! =)

I also love linens on display so for now place mats and napkins have a little home in these baskets on the lower shelf. I'm sure I will rearrange 50 times once the kitchen is complete, but for now, they will live here =)

Recycle bin on the floor with potatoes and the can of wood putty I tried to hide behind that basket! Oh well, I need to work on my staging techniques...don't judge too harshly =)

So part of what is not finished, along with labeling all the pretty glass containers, is the baseboards/trim. We have to hold off on that because as you can see below the floors are old parquet floors and since we know it will be at least 2-3 years before we rip out and re-do the whole kitchen we are keeping these floors, but they will not look like this very long...

They will look similar to this {hopefully} after we are done with the kitchen remodel.

or this...

Ahhh, painted wood floors!

{Check out this gal for some awesome painted wood floor ideas}

I have ALWAYS wanted to paint wood floors, but who wants to do that when you have beautiful hardwoods already! Well, in this kitchen we don't!! So, my remedy for the ugly parquet floors that will be replaced in a couple years is to PAINT THEM!!! You have no idea how excited I am to tackle this project when it's warm enough to open up all the windows and the patio door. We'll also have to move in with my sister and her husband for a couple days {they don't know that part yet} while it dries.

So, there you have it. Almost complete pantry and a vision of what the ugly parquet floors will look like before the summer!

Have a great night!

xo Shelley