Wednesday, April 30, 2014

SPRING REINVENTION OF THE DREADED ENTERTAINMENT CENTER

I have always changed some of my inside decor by season. But I didn't go crazy reinventing every room in the house. Life was always so busy with the family, it just wasn't a priority. I still ;don't change things in every room. I add touches to the rooms we most frequent, kitchen, family room, dining room, and a touch in the powder room. Subtle changes go a long way. 

But this year, since I have started blogging I thought maybe I would "kick it up a notch" and make more of a change in the family room. Everywhere I look I see navy in some form, from plates to pillows and so on. So, I chose to add Navy or deep forms of blue into my Family Room.

Today's blog reflects the changes I have made to the Entertainment Center. It is, after all, that necessary evil that many of us must contend with. This massive unit is 9 ft. long by 7 ft. high so you can't miss it when you enter the room! Hubby says you have to have a 52" screen for Sports!

BEFORE



AFTER

From my husband's travels abroad I have a nice collection of Blue Delf that has sadly been packed away. So I broke open the boxes, dusted them off, and added some of our "boxed up memories" to the shelves. 


I placed my Vietri platter in it's rightful place, centered on top of the unit. Great memories from my trip to North Carolina with my middle daughter. 

 
Buddha also joined our family from one of my hubby's trips to China. Isn't his jolly smile contagious?


The antique crystal candy dish is a gift from my Mom.


The books throughout were from my hubby's Mother.



The Kosta Boda votive sets off a beautiful glow when lit.....kind of like twinkling snow in the moonlight.








I hope you have enjoyed the Entertainment Center transformation. Working with TV's can be quite challenging, but with my approach I hope I have drawn your eye to the "beautiful memories" that we have created........of course not on sports days!

Wishing you a wonderful Wednesday!

                                         Kathleen

***Feel free to leave a comment to let us know how we're doing. See you on Foodie Friday with a very colorful day of fun!






Monday, April 28, 2014

QUICK AND EASY IDEAS TO THROW A LAST MINUTE GET-TOGETHER!

Heaven knows through the years we have had allot of parties at our houses. More times than not, I am so exhausted after taking care of the details and the food prep, that I don't feel like a good hostess. I have been trying different ways to minimize my food prep time in the kitchen, and to create a pretty/easy centerpiece without tiring myself out to a point that I don't enjoy the party.

Here are some short cuts that have helped me.


Friday, April 25, 2014

A LITTLE BIT OF OUR PARADISE!

I hope you have been having a wonderful week. I've been in Florida for the week appreciating all of the great weather, glorious plants in bloom, and visiting with friends. No complaints here!

It never fails when I arrive here and wake up the very first morning, and open the slider door, I am amazed at the beauty around us......such a wonderful world God has created for us to enjoy! This trip the hubby is able to join me for a few days too; an added bonus.

Every morning I walk past 4 lakes full of ducks, and trees with birds chirping like crazy. We've been known to have an alligator or two spotted occasionally also. They've never come up into our yard, thankfully!!

As I walked today I took some photos that I thought you might enjoy. This is only some of the beauty.........






Of course, there's also a "special chair" calling my name in the afternoons. A little ice tea, a good book, of course sun screen, and that's what I call paradise. I just picked up this colorful blanket for the beach at Old World Market.....I am loving the colors!!!



Wishing you a wonderfully relaxing weekend!

See you on Monday.....

Kathleen

****Thanks so much for stopping by The Lavender Bouquet. Don't forget to tell your friends about us!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

BAKING MACARON'S--OH MY!!

I talked my friend Sharon into taking a cookie baking class with me in Naples, FL. When I told her what class I wanted to take I referred to it as a Macaron class. (pronouncing it like Macaroon) Sharon had visions of Coconut Macaroons in her head.....which I didn't realize until we started mixing our ingredients! Poor Sharon....she is always such a good friend, she just went along with this crazy idea I had in my head. I really wanted to learn how to make these beautiful cookies because I had them in Paris! The taste is delicately light with such a little sweet taste---who could resist.

A macaron is a sweet meringue-based confection made with eggs, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder or ground almond, and food coloring.The Macaron is filled with ganache or buttercream filling in between two of the cookies. The name comes from the Italian word macarone, the Italian meringue.

How ironic my friend is Italian!!


This is the banana buttercream before adding food coloring.




This is the pink meringue.



Our chocolate Macaron with raspberry brandy buttercream filling was perfect.........some of our others........well let's just say, they tasted great---but they sure weren't pretty. They say "practice makes perfect!"

I have somehow misplaced my Sur la Table actual recipe, however, this link is great too:
http://www.chow.com/recipes/28339-french-chocolate-macarons-with-chocolate-ganache

My advice would be to allow time when you will not be interrupted for a couple of hours.

  GOOD LUCK AND BE PATIENT!
Kathleen

   ****Thanks for stopping by The Lavender Bouquet. See you on Friday!
                   


Sunday, April 20, 2014

EASTER BASKET CONTEST WINNER!

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. My husband and I attended an awesome party at our neighbor's house. It was a beautiful day...we ate delicious food, met lots of new people and really enjoyed ourselves.

We missed our girls, but were surrounded by so many little munchkins running around Easter egg hunting, getting their faces painted and playing ball......we were kept more than busy.

I previously mentioned our middle daughter was hosting an Easter brunch yesterday for her friends. She decided to have each guest bring a decorated Easter basket containing contents of their choice, with a total price tag of no more than $25.00. Ultimately, this basket was to be judged on their creativity.

She asked me if I would be the judge for this contest. Of course I said, yes...OH THE PRESSURE!




I've never been a judge before! My daughter kept her submission on the QT so that I didn't even know which basket was hers!!! 

After everyone arrived I received a "Facetime" call from North Carolina. Each baskets' contents were described to me as I was shown the photo.  All of the baskets had been so carefully thought out, and everyone had put so much time and effort into making them, I wanted to give everyone a gift card and tell them they were all winners in my mind.......but that's not what a contest is all about. Darn!

After careful decision I chose Kelly as the winner of the contest. Kelly had fully created her own basket by sewing the creation herself. She also made some adorable little bunny pouches filled with candy in coordinating fabric. The basket was filled with all sorts of other goodies as well. There were so many good ideas submitted, it really was a tough decision.

I think this was such a great idea on my daughter's part. A little creativity, some competitive fun with friends, and outstanding food, certainly made her Easter brunch a great time!

                                                    Wishing you all marvelous Monday!

                                                                     Kathleen

****What did you do for Easter? Drop us a line and share with us.



Saturday, April 19, 2014

LAST MINUTE EASTER BUNNY TREATS FOR THE KIDS-----SURE TO MAKE THEM LAUGH!!

I just had to share with all of you a  very "special" Easter Bunny treat that we just delivered to our neighborhood
kids!

I couldn't resist............





Wishing you all a very HAPPY EASTER! 

Smiles--

Kathleen

Friday, April 18, 2014

WISHING YOU A HAPPY EASTER--VINTAGE PINK DEPRESSION GLASS


Just a quick post today to wish you all a Happy Easter! 






I thought this was the perfect time to photograph some of the Vintage Pink Depression glassware that my Mother has gifted me over the years. Pink for Spring! 

                                          Enjoy your Easter weekend! See you Monday.

                                                                         Kathleen

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

PRETTY AND DELICIOUS CHOCOLATE BUNNY BARK!!

Good Morning Friends---- I can't believe it's Wednesday already! Easter will be here in just a few days.
Are you ready? Are you hosting Easter dinner or brunch? I'm not this year. The girls decided to come home over the 4th of July so that we have more time to spend with each other. That's okay with my husband and I because we like the longer visits with them anyway!!

We currently have two invites out for Sunday and am working out the logistics to see if we are able to do both. Either way....we will be with friends and we are very thankful!

Today I'm making a sweet "thank you" for one of our neighbors. As soon as warm weather hit, many of us were in our yards trying to get a head start on erasing Winter and welcoming Springtime. One of our neighbors offered us their wheel barrel to speed up the process of getting the mulch to the beds. And of course we said, "sure, and thanks a bunch!" This meant that we now had two wheel barrels, one for each of us......ending up cutting hours off our mulch spreading project. YAY!

I think it's always nice to "thank" someone when  they go out of their way to help us with a little something. It was the perfect time to make a batch of Chocolate Bunny Bark, being Easter is only a few days away. Our youngest daughter had found the recipe and passed it along to all of us. We all were looking for a good excuse to make it so that we could sample it.

I love to make bark, especially colorful bark! Pastel colors, deep dark chocolate, and a pretty white chocolate swirl....so easy and delish.

The recipe link is below,just copy and paste the link-----I did use a 17 1/2 inch by 13 inch pan for mine. I like the thickness best by using this size pan.


http://greatideas.people.com/2014/04/11/bakerella-chocolate-bark-recipe-easter/




Do you have someone on your Easter list that would love this beautiful sight?  I sure hope our neighbor does!

                                                         Wishing you a sweet Wednesday!

                                                                          Kathleen

       ** Please feel free to leave us a comment. We'd love to hear how we are doing. THANK YOU!

Monday, April 14, 2014

FIRST SPRING PROJECT FOR 2014!

I hope you all had a great weekend. We had a Saturday temp of 70 degrees and Palm Sunday was 82 degrees!! Yes, I said 82! What an awesomely beautiful weekend it was in NJ. I hope you all had great weather too.

My husband and I took advantage of the beautiful days by spreading 10 yards of gorgeous black mulch in our landscaping beds. Usually we have our landscaper take care of this, but in one insane moment, we decided we'd save the labor $$ to have the mulch spread, and use it to buy the final shrubs needed to finish the landscaping project. Well it sounded great at the time!

Somehow when we were younger it seemed much easier to accomplish! And Motrin wasn't even in the picture!!

Here are some of the photos from our 2-day, 7 hour transformation.







After the project was finished, and the black mess was washed off in the shower, we toasted with a crispy cold glass of Prosecco..........and decided next year maybe we would let our landscaper spread the lovely mulch once again.

                            Cheers to our first SPRING project for 2014 being completed!

                                                   Wishing you a wonderful Monday!


                                     Kathleen


****What did you do this weekend? Share your Spring projects with us.Thanks for visiting The Lavender Bouquet.......

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Couple of Easter Sweets for Foodie Friday & an EASY Fun Bunny Peep Centerpiece!

No Easter is complete without some sweet little morsels. I love Easter cookies. They are so colorful and festive........it reminds me when the girls were little. They used to love to help cut out cookies and decorate them. Too bad they weren't here with me today....we would have had allot of fun!  I miss those days and those messy little fingers!

I found a new recipe for Shortbread cookies in the April 2014 issue of Southern Living. I am just going to warn you, they are rather decadent.  Instead of using the frosting recipe that went along with the cookie recipe, I just bought Wilton Cookie Icing from Michaels. It's easy, tastes great,  and there is no mess.

Here is the link to the cookie recipe:
http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/easter-egg-shortbread-cookies-50400000134440/


I dipped Peep Bunnies in chocolate, and then in some sprinkles, then added them to the cookie platter. It just adds a bit of fun to the presentation.

I saw this easy centerpiece a while back in one of my magazines and decided it would be a nice add to the cookie tray vignette. 






You will need:

This is what I used because I had these items on hand.

1-4 inch cube vase
1-small round  jelly jar the same height of cube  Make sure there is enough room for the peeps and jelly beans to fit in around the perimeter if you choose to use this.
Jelly Beans (your color choice)
Bunny Peeps (your color choice)

I have also seen it made this way--the choice is yours.

1-4 inch  cube vase
1-6 inch  cube vase
Jelly Beans (your color choice)
Bunny Peeps (your color choice)

Place the smaller jar/cube inside the larger. Add jelly bean layer between the walls, making sure to leave enough room for the bunnies ears to fit inside the top edge of the cube. Then layer the Peep bunnies around the edges. Fill the vase with your favorite flowers and water. 

So easy and so cute!

I hope you enjoyed my bit of Foodie Friday Easter today. The added bonus of my Easter centerpiece is something easy we can all do. Children and adults alike will love it.

Thanks for visiting The Lavender Bouquet today. Please stop back on MY STYLE Monday to see what I have in store for you.

                                                      Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

                                                                      Kathleen

****Please feel free to leave comments or questions. We would love to hear from you.

                                                                 




DIY----BASKETBALL THEMED CENTERPIECE--a must see!

It's the time of year when schools are hosting their sports banquets or fundraising dinners. My brother is President of the sports boosters club where his son attends school, and I am sure they are knee deep in preparations for their dinner and dance right now.So it got me thinking...

 Although, I know their committee has everything under control, I thought I would take a shot at coming up with a centerpiece that would be versatile and could be adapted for both male and female teams. So below is my attempt at a little something different for all of the parents out there on the committee to decorate for their dinners.Thank you Pinterest for helping me stretch my creativity.

I tailored mine around my nephew's school colors, using basketball as my theme, but soccer would be great too!

 

Items I used to make this:

1-sheet 19 x 25 #18 Violet CANSON paper 184 lb.--I have plenty left-over
1-sheet 18 x 24 CANSON Foundation paper 100 lb. Bristol Smooth White--also have plenty left-over
1- can Spray Adhesive
Q-tips to spread adhesive 
1-glass cylinder vase approx. 24"H x 6"W

Instructions:

Carefully roll the violet paper to fit the cylinder and cut to fit. Remove and secure to size with spray adhesive and place back into cylinder to dry. Put cut edges facing the bottom of the cylinder.You may have to carefully tape just the edges during the drying process.

I found my images on Google Images by searching for Basketball Silhouette and alphabet letters. Just about any sport silhouette is available in both male and female versions and of course all types of alphabets fonts. I copied and pasted my version into a document, and then scanned it to make my pattern. I am not as tech savy as many, so you may find a much easier way to do this.

Cutout the images from the scan and use them as your pattern on the CANSON paper. Apply both the image and the letters using spray adhesive and Q-tips carefully on your base color. Allow the project to dry and place the basketball on top!

ALL DONE! 

I had so much fun doing this project I have decided to do another Sports Themed table in the future.


I hope that you enjoyed today's blog! See you tomorrow for FOODIE FRIDAY and little added Easter bonus!


  Have a great day!

  Kathleen

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

NOTHING SAYS SPRING MORE THAN FORSYTHIA!

It's always so nice when warmer weather arrives. One of the biggest things I always notice is that we finally get to see our neighbors. We have all been tucked into our warm homes after what was such a very long winter. 

 We had a couple of sunny days last week, so I raked up the twigs, more or less, just to get outside and enjoy the day. Sure enough I wasn't alone. The neighborhood was a buzz with landscapers, chainsaws, and neighbors.

I think that these beginning days of Spring are great for getting together with friends. Everyone is tired of being cooped up! We already have two invites to different types of events, one a fundraiser for the ladies, and the other an Easter party for both my hubby and I.....complete with little kids and their Easter baskets. What could be more fun.

After getting the invites in the mail I really got the bug to entertain.  Not sure what I will do yet, but I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, I thought I might share my Spring dining room vignette with you....nothing says Spring more than Forsythia.




Has the Spring bug bitten you yet? What are you planning? Share with us--I'd love to hear your ideas! Until then, remember to stop back on Foodie Friday. I have a creative surprise that is sure to delight all ages!


                                                  Wishing you a wonderful Wednesday!

                                                                      Kathleen


****Thanks for stopping by The Lavender Bouquet. Please feel free to leave us a comment to tell us how we are doing!

Monday, April 7, 2014

IT'S DO IT TOGETHER DAY--JELLO MOLD PLANTER FOR UMBRELLA TABLE!

I am so excited to share today's blog with all of you! You know I am always looking for fun, practical and beautiful ideas to share....check out this DIY/DIT Vintage Jello Mold Planter for an Umbrella Table!

Knowing I was in need of a DIY project for this week, I coaxed my husband into going to the local thrift store with me on Saturday. We browsed the aisles looking for treasures. I think he enjoyed it as much as I did. We came home with several treasures I will be able to use in not only today's blog, but upcoming ones as well.

For today's blog I am using 2 Vintage Jello Molds, at a price of $.95 each that we found at the thrift store.



I decided to spray paint these and use them as planters in the center of my patio table. They fit perfectly around the umbrella pole. My husband painted them for me.....he says this makes this project a DIT---"DO IT TOGETHER" project....and he is right!

After making a quick trip to the nursery I purchased some beautiful pansies for one of the molds. I love the fresh color of Pansies in the Spring. I placed a small layer of potting soil in the bottom of each painted mold, and then arranged the pansies with fresh soil around them. It was as easy as that! Look at how pretty they are.


I decided that the other mold would be great for an herb garden, but then found these beautiful lettuce plants. I couldn't resist............fresh lettuce for dinner...YUM! I can't wait to trim them and watch them regrow into new tender lettuce leaves.



 Items you will need for this project are:

2- vintage jello molds OR aluminum 5 1/2 cup mold ( I paid $.95 each) 
1-can of Krylon indoor/outdoor gloss paint (I used color True Blue) ($5.99)
Small amount of potting soil.
Pansies to fill the ring. (I used  #6--$3.99)
Lettuce plants to fill the ring (I used #7--$3.99)

My total project cost was $15.87

I hope you have enjoyed this fun "DIT" project. Now we can all have beautiful color or delicious herbs or lettuces in the center of our patio tables while entertaining!

                                                       Wishing you a wonderful Monday!

                                                                     Kathleen

***Drop me a comment to let me know what you think of this great project. Thanks for being a friend of The Lavender Bouquet!






Friday, April 4, 2014

THE LAVENDER BOUQUET--Pinterest Pick of the Day!


Pinterest Pick of the Day..........

What's your style?
I agree with Coco---Simple elegance!

Have a wonderful weekend!
Kathleen


http://www.pinterest.com/pin/102949541456365911/





Thursday, April 3, 2014

FOODIE FRIDAY---ASPARAGUS SOUP WITH SCALLOPS

The height of the season is NOW for asparagus, so why not feature a dish made with it. My husband and I love asparagus!

While I was in flight to Florida I had purchased some magazines to read during the flight to pass the time. One of the magazines was House Beautiful April 2014. I typically turn to this magazine for its decorating ideas and great articles, but this time I found a delicious recipe for Asparagus Soup with Perfect Sea Scallops. I couldn't wait to get home to try it.

I made this recipe last evening for my husband and it's being filed as a keeper in our house. We both remarked on how delicious it is, however, we decided that personally, we didn't need the 1 cup of heavy cream, nor the calories that accompany it. The soup was delicious without it. Preparation is not too fussy....but allow time to chop, saute' and puree. This would be a wonderful recipe to serve to guests you would like to impress. It can be made ahead. You don't have to add the scallops if you are not a fan. The soup is delicious alone. The scallops are as well.


You may find the link to the recipe here:
http://www.housebeautiful.com/kitchens/recipes/asparagus-soup-recipe-0414?click=main_sr

This meal fits into a Foodie Friday Meatless category for those of us who celebrate Lent or don't eat meat. Let me know if you give it a try.......I would love to hear your comments.

                                                        Have a wonderful weekend!

                                      Kathleen

*****Thanks so much for visiting THE LAVENDER BOUQUET! Don't forget to stop back on Monday!






A Sunny Good Morning to You My Friends!

Good Morning Friends......it's coffee time on a beautiful sunny day in New Jersey. My thoughts briefly turned to our Paris trip. Our mornings were sunny and warm as we walked to our favorite coffee shop everyday----greeted by the smiling face of our French barista! 




                                                                Wishing you a glorious day!

                                                                           Kathleen

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

CHOOSING THE CORRECT LAMP SIZE FOR YOUR TABLE

A few weeks ago I set out on the daunting search for new Family Room lamps. Because of the size of the room my furniture floats in the center, making it sometimes difficult with selections, especially lamps. I am not able to use end tables, so I chose to use console tables, which makes lighting pretty tricky. At the moment we are using the lamps from our formal living room because we needed better lighting for reading. The current lamps allow a 3-way bulb which is a necessity in  a room this size.




When we renovated our home we removed the carpet and installed a wood floor. Prior to the installation, I was able to mark the floor where I wanted the two outlets to be installed based on the furniture placement. I did this in previous homes when we were starting with new construction, however, this was my first time with a reno. It works out great because there are no visible cords stretching across the room. It not only doesn't look appealing, it's just not safe.

 









My selection of new lamps needs to make sense with illumination, style and texture in the room. As you can see I presently have placed my lamp on one end of the table and a small collection of accessories on the opposite end. This helps add visual balance to an asymmetrical design and helps bring balance to the table. 

Determining what height the lamp should be is something I needed help with. From the information I gathered it appears that  it depends on the height of the table and the height of the sofa, but there are no rules. If your table is larger and/or your sofa is larger, you will need a taller lamp to balance the scale of the pieces.  It appears that 30-35" is the answer.

Now to  the search-------in the past I have used LAMPS PLUS for many of my selections in both new construction and renovations. I found that the prices and quality are within reason for my budget. I also like the fact there are many price points and a very large selection.  

I  have located this great Robert Abbey 31" Taupe Ceramic and Brass Table Lamp that I have fallen in love with. It is a simple gourd body and I love the glossy taupe finish. The lampshade is a pearl dupioni, which is always simple and elegant. And a 3-way socket allows us to control our lighting.

Now it's time to show my husband what I have found to see if he likes it as much as I do!!


If you are having a lighting dilemma like me, REAL SIMPLE has a article that may be of help to you. 
Here is the link:
http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/organizing/more-rooms/choosing-right-table-lamp-every-room-10000001610941/

Good luck in your search for the perfect lamp for your home. I know some of these tasks can be daunting, but always remember the ultimate decision for any decorating project in your home is your own. Have fun with it!

                                                     Wishing you a wonderful Wednesday!

                                                                    Kathleen

***Please let me know how I am doing by leaving a comment. Also, feel free to share THE LAVENDER BOUQUET blog with your friends. See you on Foodie Friday with something you are not going to want to miss!