Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wish List Wednesdays: Blue Crab and Shrimp Dog Beds

From Velocity Art and Design

As someone who loves dogs as well as all things crustacean, I was delighted to discover this oval-shaped dog bed adorned with a blue crab image from See Scout Sleep!  Perfect for medium-sized dogs, it also reverses to an attractive striped pattern, and is an eco-friendly product made in Louisiana out of all-natural materials.  The price tag is a bit steep ($190), but 10% of the cost goes to the Gulf Coast Fund to help restore the coastline.  Besides, for those like me who are obsessed with decapods it is well worth the money!  And if your dog is tiny or you are the proud owner of a cat, this heart-shaped bed decorated with kissing shrimp may satisfy your pet's naptime needs:

Whichever bed you choose, your happy pet is sure to give you that adoring looks that says "Thank you!"

Friday, August 26, 2011

Foodie Fridays: Seven Layer Salad


This hearty salad is great for potlucks, or even a light summer meal -- it is quick, easy, and comes with a dressing that does not make the salad soggy.  If there are vegetarians in the crowd, serve the bacon separately as an optional addition.  Other ingredients can be added, but be careful with foods like diced tomatoes, which will make the salad too wet and are best served on the side.  Also be sure to make this salad far enough in advance so that it can sit in the refrigerator for a while to let the flavors meld.  And just for fun, why not make up a batch of Seven Layer Bars for dessert?

Seven Layer Salad

1/2 medium head iceberg or romaine lettuce
1/2 C. sliced celery
1/2 C. sliced bell pepper (any color)
1/2 C. sliced red or other mild onion (Vidalias would work well)
1 package (10 oz.) frozen peas, thawed
1 C. mayonnaise
1 T. sugar
1 1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
4-6 sliced crumbled cooked bacon

Arrange first five ingredients in layers, in the order listed, in a 9x13-inch glass baking dish.  Spread mayonnaise over the top to cover completely and sprinkle with sugar.  Cover evenly with cheese.  Refrigerate at least four hours.  Top with bacon or serve on the side.  Serves 6.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

This 'n That Thursdays: Fish Wall Panel-Inspired Living Room

This lovely three-piece "School of Fish" wall panel from Z Gallerie inspired me to design a living room styleboard around it.  I felt that both Asian and coastal influences would work well with this piece of art, and chose furnishings and a color scheme to reflect that idea:

Clockwise from top left: Hammond arm chair in aqua textured velvet from Home Decorators Collection; Structure Pisces floor lamp from Home Decorators Collection; blue and white Chinese pottery collection from Ruby Lane (not for sale); Structure Pisces table lamp from Home Decorators Collection; "Swimming Fish" garden stool from Interiors & Extras; Avery sofa from Home Decorators Collection; brass coffee table from Mecox Gardens; blue "Schooled Fish" wool area rug from Touch of Class; gold leaf Mandarin nesting table set from Clayton Gray Home; black lacquered console table from Silk Road Collection (no longer available); Background: gold "School of Fish" three-piece wall panel from Z Gallerie.

This is not normally a style that appeals to me, but if I had a more formal room in my home I might actually consider something like this.  Could I be developing more sophisticated tastes?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Holiday Hits: Strange Music Day

Happy Strange Music Day, everyone!  I just love these sorts of offbeat holidays -- what a great way to bring a little fun into a day!  Here is a video of an odd little song I remember from my youth.  It is kind of cute and kind of funny, and Melanie's voice is just unusual enough to make it memorable, so enjoy:

Wish List Wednesdays: Hedgehog Cheese Grater

Hedgehogs are one of those creatures that are so homely they are adorable!  A while ago hedgehogs became quite popular as pets, but I decided that feeding them properly was a bit too time-consuming for me and gave up the idea of owning one.  However, that does not mean I can't own any cute hedgehog-themed item I come across, and I plan to get one of these Koziol Kasimir hedgehog cheese graters for my very own as soon as possible!  They are also available from, come in a range of attractive colors, and can be purchased for less than $15.  And the best part is that, with minimal care, this hedgehog should survive a very long time!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Foodie Fridays: Caprese Pasta

From My Kitchen Addiction

When the weather is hot and you don't feel much like cooking, but still want to eat something with summery flavor, then Caprese Pasta is for you!  Best of all, you can roast the tomatoes early in the morning before the day heats up, then boil the pasta and combine everything for dinner later.  This is such a simple, tasty recipe you will find yourself making it often!

Caprese Pasta

3 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
3 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 lb. farfalle pasta
1 carton (7 oz.) refrigerated pesto
8 oz. fresh mozzarella pearls

Combine tomatoes, oil, and salt in a roasting pan.  Roast at 400 degrees 20 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave the pan in the oven.  Cook pasta and drain.  Stir tomatoes into hot pasta, then pesto.  Add mozzarella pearls and serve.  Serves 6.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

This 'n That Thursdays: "So You Think You Can Dance?" Season Eight

Last week I watched the season finale of one of my favorite television shows called "So You Think You Can Dance?".  I am not normally very interested in these sorts of reality shows -- I am indifferent to singing and talent contests, and could care less about houses or islands full of barely compatible inhabitants -- but this show about dance has captured my attention and held it for several seasons now.  I have always loved to watch those blessed with the skill to dance well and beautifully, and this contest focuses attention on some of the brightest young rising stars out there.  I particularly love the fact that they are all so humble and appreciative, unlike the contestants on so many other shows.  Choreography is created specifically for this program, so the talents of choreographers are showcased as well.  My only complaint is that dancers have to be eliminated every week so that a winner can be selected by the viewing audience, but the clever producers have chosen to show the elimination phase of the competition on the day after each challenge episode, so that softies like me do not have to watch the sad part of the competition!

The season finale always allows the judges to pick their favorite routines for an encore performance, and I invariably find myself hoping that somehow this time none of the final four will have to be eliminated, and the night of superb dance will just go on and on indefinitely.  Obviously this cannot be, and this season's winner was eventually revealed to be an amazingly talented young lady from my home state of Georgia, Miss Melanie Moore (shown above).  Congratulations to Melanie, and to all the young dancers who bring such joyous bodies in motion into our lives, to the choreographers who always give these dancers something marvelous to interpret, and to all who bring this show to us.  I eagerly look forward to Season Nine!  For those who have not seen the show, here is a video of what is probably my favorite routine ever:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wish List Wednesdays: Animal Index

Have you ever removed a book from your shelf, only to forget where it came from when you try to return it?  With the animal index, this will never happen again.  These clever markers slip into the spot the book came from, reminding you where to replace it in a most attractive way.  They can also be used to hold the place of file folders, DVDs, CDs, etc.  The animal index is made of felt, comes in your choice of giraffe, reindeer, or pig shape, and can be displayed either front or back end first.  They are available online for $27 from Greener Grass Design -- not a bad price for something that will save you from frustration and look good doing it!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Foodie Fridays: Baby Bok Choy with Cashews

From Simply Recipes

I did not try baby bok choy until last year, and now I am wondering why it took me so long!  Bok choy is a delightful vegetable in a stir fry like this recipe.  I modified the original slightly to suit my tastes -- canola instead of olive oil and soy sauce instead of salt.  Serve it over rice as a side dish or light lunch and I think you will agree that healthy never tasted so good!

Baby Bok Choy with Cashews

2 T. canola oil
1 C. chopped scallions
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 heads or 1 pound baby bok choy, rinsed and sliced
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 1/2 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 C. chopped roasted cashews (I used unsalted)

Heat oil in large sauté pan over medium high heat.  Add onions, garlic, and bok choy.  Sprinkle with sesame oil and soy sauce, cover, and cook 3 minutes until bok choy is wilted.  Remove cover and turn heat down to low.  Cook and stir for another minute, then mix in cashews.  Serve over rice.  Serves 4 as a side dish, or 2 as a light lunch.

Note:  For a heartier lunch dish, add some diced cooked chicken.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

This 'n That Thursdays: A New Color Favorite for Me -- Butternut!

Vincent retro chair
Vincent slipper chair

These Vincent chairs from Home Decorators Collection in two different styles caught my eye recently thanks to their beautiful color called "butternut".  This yellowish orange shade is a perfect seasonal transition color, falling somewhere between summer's bright tangerine and fall's mellow pumpkin shades.  The versatile hue would pair well with so many colors.  For example, a couple of those retro chairs would add a little spice to this office space done in cool coastal colors of pale green and bright blue:

These Parvati lamps and Fadeaway area rug would look great in a sitting room with the slipper chairs:

To really pull out all the stops, exchange the above rug for this Floating Cubes area rug, and then add a purple Sutton sofa* for a living room that will proclaim you are definitely not afraid of color!

I love that butternut hue, and hope to see it used more in the future!

*Sadly, the Sutton sofa is no longer available, but an eerily similar purple Paolo sofa by Sitcom Furniture can easily substitute for it!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wish List Wednesdays: Zip Front Denim Hoodie

One of these days cool weather will return to the overheated South, and when that day comes I want to be ready!  This zip front denim hoodie from Catalog Favorites is the perfect way to cover up on a chilly morning, whether I'm heading for the barn to do chores or into town to run errands.  And I love those roomy pockets -- big enough to hold keys or gloves, or just as a place to shove my hands should they need a little warming up!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Foodie Fridays: Roasted Eggplant Dip

From Martha Stewart

Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables, although I think I may be in the minority, as many people claim that they do not care for this particular member of the nightshade family.  However, one taste of creamy Roasted Eggplant Dip may just be enough to change a few minds!  Roasting imparts a smoky flavor, the yogurt adds tang, and the dill and walnuts bring their own distinctive flavors to the dish.  Even if you think you don't like eggplant, give this dip a try and you might just become one of its biggest fans!

Roasted Eggplant Dip

1 large eggplant, peeled and diced
1/4 C. olive oil
3 shallots, peeled and cut into chunks
3 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 C. finely chopped walnuts
3/4 C. plain Greek yogurt
1 T. chopped fresh dill

Combine first five ingredients in a baking pan and roast at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  Add chopped walnuts and bake 8 more minutes.  Remove from oven and cool.  Spoon into a bowl and mash with a fork until only slightly chunky.  Stir in yogurt and dill.  Serve at room temperature with pita chips.  Serves 4.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

This 'n That Thursdays: Designing with Turtles in Mind!

When it comes to reptiles, I am usually indifferent, with one exception -- turtles!  I adore the carapaced creatures, whether terrestrial or aquatic, large or small, ocean dweller or desert denizen.  A chance find on the Internet of a turtle-inspired wallpaper had me pondering more ways to bring my favorite reptile into the home:

By Kate Usher Surfaces

A quick search revealed that, while not abundant, there is a decent number of turtle-themed pieces for the home out there.  For example, I was able to put together a dining room styleboard based on the above wallpaper:

Clockwise from top left: green fern sideboard from Lucy Turner; sea turtle wall art from Shop Southern Enterprises; turtle salt and pepper set from; turtle cups and saucers from Novica; turtle teapot from Novica; turtle dinnerware from Jean Smaglik Wells; Hawaii turtle Honu pint glass from Art Fire (no longer available); sea turtle wine glasses from; turtle wine bottle holder from Novica; plaster tortoise shell lamp from Lighting Direct; Center left: Walter Knoll Turtle dining chair from Living Edge; Center right: sea turtle dining table from John Didier Designs

I also found this attractive turtle rug from Virginia Johnson:

This rug, paired with the turtle wallpaper, inspired an idea for an entry foyer/sitting area done in grand turtle style:

Clockwise from top left: sliced bamboo console table from Lobel Modern; Wyland turle mirror from Ocean Treasures; turtle table lamp from Bellacor; Walter Knoll Turtle lounge chair from Aram Home; Thomas Paul turtle pillow from Beach Decor; turtles coffee table from Paradise Drive Inn; Center: large leather turtle ottoman from Furniture Outlet World 

I do have to draw the line somewhere, though, and I'm afraid this poor turtle will not be gracing my home any time soon (although I do give the creator, whoever you are, an "A" for imagination!):

From My[confined]Space

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wish List Wednesdays: Turtle Rug

The minute I saw this turtle rug it was all over -- I was hopelessly in love!  I happen to be a big fan of these dome-topped reptiles, but the vibrant colors and beautiful design of the rug would have won me over regardless.  And it is even more spectacular up close -- yes, I succumbed, despite the mind-boggling price tag.  Every once in a very great while, I do manage to snag an item on my wish list that is an all-out splurge!  I told my husband that this would be a wonderful early Christmas present, and, as he is also a sucker for beautiful rugs, he agreed.  Is it any wonder that I adore the man, even after thirty years?