August 30, 2011

What We Did This Weekend...(besides hangin' with Irene)

Posted by Kristin


Guess what we did this weekend?




No, we didn't run through fields of sunflowers in our finest duds and then act like ourselves this...

We went to the beautiful country wedding of our two good friends Amanda and Aaron. They're about as sweet as a couple could be and their wedding was the epitome of class, understated style, and lots of handmade moments.

It all started at a beautiful site up in northern Massachusetts in the little town of Charlemont. (A huge thanks to our friend Dave for his scrumptious photos - gotta love having a friend with a camera when your batteries die!).






Then the beautiful couple completely stole the show...





After the ceremony we moved onto the reception, held in an airy pavillion filled with country style. Handmade touches included a clothes line where guests could hang wedding wishes to the couple, centerpieces composed of various bottles of flowers from local farms (the bottles were collected from friends as they ate spaghetti, drank wine, etc.), wooden signs made with "A and A" letters from Brimfield, and handmade napkins and burlap table runners.






















The location was stunning






A touch of perfect detail



Lots of people (including our very own Laura) helped make all these decorations so a detailed post on all these handmade touches will be coming soon!  What did you do this weekend (besides hunkering down from Hurricane Irene)?

PEC just playin' around

pssst...check out A&A's photos from their photographer's blog here. They did a great job!



August 28, 2011

How To: Store Fresh Basil

Posted by Laura

We have been thoroughly enjoying our farm share this summer and benefiting greatly from it. My heart, home and husband has been oh so happy with the abundance of fresh fruits, veggies, herbs and flowers.

While we've been enjoying these crops, we've also been a bit challenged with how to preserve them for prolonged use. Here's one way I've been storing our fresh basil. This was picked 2 weeks ago!

It's as simple as cutting the stems and popping them in a jar of water, putting a plastic bag over the top...



...and storing in a cabinet, away from direct sun.  Don't forget to change the water every few days.

August 25, 2011

Skunked!

Posted by Laura

Picture this scenario...it's a chilly summer morning and the fog has rolled in. The sun is barely up and the air is crisp, clean, fresh. A sweet black lab returns from the park with her owner and finds a black and white "kitty cat" in her yard. Naturally, she decides to greet it with a sniff of the butt...*SHPEESH*. Oh, the black and white "kitty cat" isn't even a cat - it isn't even trying to pose as a cat but instead is an angry skunk!

That was 5:15am. I was asleep and my husband was the unfortunate soul lucky duck who got to deal with the bulk of the situation.

Those eyes....the embarrassment...the pain....
the uncomfortable reality of the situation.
Poor Tillie.

If you have never dealt with skunk spray up close, consider yourself lucky. The primary smell is so much more intense than the secondary smell in the air. It permeates everything! Here are some natural home remedies for skunk odor that did the trick for us.

FOR YOUR DOG
  • Mix this solution: 1 quart hydrogen peroxide + 1/4 cup baking soda + dollop of dish soap = miracle. Work the mixture into the dog's fur (with rubber gloves on) and let sit ten minutes. Be careful around the eyes and nose. Rinse off thoroughly. I don't know the science behind this, but it works and is recommended by veterinarians.


FOR YOUR HANDS
  • Rubber gloves! (trust me on this one)


FOR YOUR CLOTHES
  • Immediately wash your clothes in a normal wash cycle with 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar added to the rinse cycle
  • Line dry outside to let the fresh air blow the rest of the stink off


FOR YOUR HOME
  • FLOORS: Mop your little heart out with a solution of 1 part vinegar, 2 parts water. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil and/or tea tree oil for added fragrance (optional).
  • CARPETS: Baking soda. Sprinkle it on, let it sit for 10 minutes then vacuum it up.


OTHER NOTES:
Fresh air and nature are your best friends. Open your windows and let your house air out. Bring your dog outside and let them roll in the grass (Tillie did this a lot). If you're dog gets sprayed in the face and has irritated eyes/nose/mouth, it should eventually fade away but best to consult your veterinarian.

August 23, 2011

They're Finally Here....PEC Home Tours!

Posted by Kristin

Well folks...we've been talking the talk for a while now and now we're finally walking the walk (or typing the type?).

Check out our home tours here: http://www.planteatcreate.com/p/our-homes.html

Enjoy!

August 21, 2011

Bake That Bacon

Posted by Laura

Imagine cooking bacon without a splatter screen...without grease popping onto your clothes...without a new perfume permeating your skin - eau de bacon. There's an easy way to achieve this. Bake it!

This...


...popped in the oven for 30 minutes at 300 degrees...


 ...ends up looking like this

*drool*

Now of course this method takes much longer than frying it up on the stove, but it is totally and utterly worth it. The juices permeate the meat so much more when it is cooked at a low temperature for a longer period of time. Give it a try, I promise you won't regret it.

August 19, 2011

Stuffed Peppers and a Tiny Apron

Posted by Laura
Prep time: 20 minutes (includes time for rice to cook)
Bake time: 20 minutes

Stuffed Peppers...

Working away on my limited counter space

Ingredients:
4 large bell peppers
1/2 lb ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups cooked rice
1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs




1. Cook rice and set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice peppers in half lengthwise, rib and de-seed - set aside. Brown turkey in a large skillet - set aside.

2. In the same skillet, sauté onions and garlic in a dollop of olive oil on medium heat until onions are slightly transparent. Combine onions, garlic, turkey, rice, Parmesan cheese, chili powder, 1 Tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Stir to combine ingredients.

3. In a separate bowl, combine breadcrumbs and 1 dollop of olive oil. Mix well (tip: use the back of a spoon to smoosh oil into breadcrumbs).

4. Stuff the peppers with rice mixture, top with breadcrumbs and bake on a greased baking sheet for approximately 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Aaaaaand one more picture of the finished product. This blog post would
be oh so complete if you could smell my kitchen right now.

...and a tiny apron

Cooking is always better with an extra pair of little hands to help. My brother and his family were visiting for the day, and my nephew's kitchen expertise is always greatly appreciated (he's very good at mixing, measuring and counting). Naturally, I wrapped him up in one of my waist aprons, which looked like a full body suit of protection for him, and started cooking. Overkill? Yes. Totally cute and worth it? Yes!



Right after the above picture was taken, Sawyer pulled that gigantic apron off, walked over to the oven and tugged on one of the hand towels, pulling it down. He wrapped it around his waist and looked at me, like "this makes more sense".  I grabbed a clothes pin and secured it. Brilliant!

Showing off his invention. We were so obsessed
with the back of it that we forgot to snap a picture of the front.

Next time you're in a pinch, look at the world through the eyes of a three year old and you'll be sure to find a solution. I love you little bug.

A personalized clothes pin with his name, Sawyer

August 17, 2011

Chalkboard Jars

Posted by Laura

Do you love glass, metal and the color charcoal as much as I do? Do you love to organize your kitchen? Well, check out these bad boys made by Erica.




She and her husband recently bought a house and have been hard at work settling in. Read the full tutorial here. Good job Erica!

August 15, 2011

Lavender Dryer Bags

Posted by Laura

Excerpt from my old blog
In an effort to minimize the use of chemicals around the house, I've decided to ditch dryer sheets all together and turn to some natural alternatives. Not only are they bad for your dryer (over time), but they are filled with heavy chemicals that coat your clothes and can absorb into your skin. Yuck.




I came across this fabulous article on tipnut about natural alternatives to laundry boosting. One option to replace dryer sheets is to add vinegar to the rinse cycle of the wash. This will reduce static and boost your laundry naturally. Another one that caught my attention is to use lavender dryer bags. I've made tons of lavender sachets in the past but never thought to throw one in the dryer. It's as simple as sewing a small pouch 3 1/2 sides around, stuffing it will dried lavender and hand stitching up the rest. It provides your clothes with a perfectly subtle scent that is clean and fresh.


I have a small obsession with laundry
baskets full of linens
Interested in using all natural lavender vinegar cleaner for your home? Check out Kristin's post here.

August 13, 2011

Happy Birthday to Us

Posted by Laura

Remember two weeks ago when I made a birthday breakfast for Kristin? Well, this week our husbands threw us a little joint birthday party (my birthday was last week) at Kristin and Mike's place before they pack up and move to their new apartment.  It was a grand ole evening full of Catch Phrase, cake eating and laughter.

Here's the beautiful cake that Caleb got us from Sunrise Bakery in Easthampton. Isn't it great?

A-mazing


Vanilla with chocolate mouse filling and buttercream frosting
Thanks Martha Izer for introducing us to this cake! Yuuuum


Cake batter pancakes made by Jennifer


Kristin with her cake cutting skills


The soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. King
Look for a blog post on their handmade wedding in August
(the shin guards are for softball, not marriage)


Because sepia tone is fun.
Happy birthday to us!

August 11, 2011

Nursery Nesting With The Murphys

Posted by Laura

My friend Sarah and I had the privilege of being flown to Indianapolis this past weekend to visit our dear friend Ashleigh (remember her baby shower?) Ashleigh's husband is wonderful and amazing and wanted to bless her with a girls' weekend since they recently relocated from Charlotte, NC for his job. Moving to a new city is tough. Moving to a new city during a heatwave while 35 weeks pregnant is way tough. Despite that, Ashleigh has been dedicated to making their new home a place of rest and comfort. While we were there, we had the opportunity to help her complete their final room... the nursery.

First, a portrait of the very beautiful Ashleigh, 35 weeks pregnant with their first - a boy.



The Mr. and Mrs.


Here are the befores. Ashleigh had already been working hard putting things in the general vicinity. She just needed help with the final details.





And here are the afters! What I love about Ashleigh's style is that she always keeps things simple, clean and airy. This nursery represents her well.

clean. simple. sweet.

Every nursery needs a big comfy chair 

The frame above the dresser is a linen pin/cork board that will someday soon
be loaded up with pictures and love notes to baby Murphy

Handmade quilt with sweet little
animals, made by Ashleigh's mom

Shelves make everything better

I love baskets full of linens 

Ashleigh made these sweet little hanging mirrors
with a little glue and ribbon

Branches from the neighborhood

Paintings of the pups, Sasha and Nala, to keep
baby Murphy company

Handmade quilt by our friend Ellen

The one thing we did not do in the nursery was "put a bird on it". Now don't get me wrong I love this wave of little birdies on things, but this video is way too funny not to post. Thank you Portlandia!