The Summer Fireplace

The Summer Fireplace

I love my summer fireplace.  It wasn’t always so.

We may be a little crazy.  It’s only been 3 weeks since we had the last fire in it.  In June.  That’s New England for you.

It sits at the end of our looong Great Room. The raised hearth makes it visible everywhere.  If there’s no fire lit - I’m antsy, like there’s a black hole sucking out life.

It’s just not right.

So we keep a fire going practically every single night of the year, except for summer.

We’ve tried a variety of summer options in years gone by.  It’s always been a mix of pillar candles & holders in varying heights & types.  For years I only allowed white candles and then switched to a mish-mosh of whatever color I could get cheap.  I could be driving a Ferrari for all I’ve spent on candles in my lifetime.

Fireplace colored candles close martini glass

I knowww….there’s wayyy too much shtuff in and around the fireplace that year It’s one of those times you look back & ask yourself “Really?? – I did that?”.

I finally came upon a solution that makes me happy.  The inspiration came from one of my very favorite blogs.  This is what I saw:

nester fireplace upright branchesThe author of the fantabulous blog the Nesting Place is Myquillen Smith, a.k.a. The NesterI’m telling you, you MUST stop over & take a gander.  She’s a Blog World Rock Star.  She too wrote a post {here} about  fireplaces where you’ll find lots more inspiration.  I pretty much wanna be a big copycat and show you every one of her pictures.  Don’t miss it.

For me, I need a little candle action.  I don’t care if it’s 90 degrees out.  I came up with this.

Fireplace Summer Day Candles full color corrected

I took her idea of logs standing on end and added smooth beach stones & candles.  Three’s enough for summer.  And yes, I light them pretty much every night, except when we’re out around the firepit.  The “candleholders” are actually drinking glasses I found at Homegoods.  The glasses slip in & out of wicker sleeves.  I only use them for candles.  I like how they add to the organic look.

Fireplace one candle up close

Fireplace three candles lit

 Fireplace Summer Day Candles close color fixedSo how about you?  Do you have a fireplace you could spruce up for summer?  Or year-round if you don’t typically light it?

Here’s more inspiration.

fireplace ballard mirror{via Ballard Design}

If you have some sunshine, you can’t go wrong with the traditional look of plants or a potted flower.  I love this one.

summer-fireplace white flowers

Or this big Boston Fern.

fireplace with boston fern{via}

It’s not my  personality, but I think this one’s genius:

disco-ball-fireplace-10{via}

It’s the perfect little stage for an interesting vignette.

Here’s one with a couple of “random” décor pieces.  I doubt I’d have thought to put them together, but for some reason it just works.coral and bust in fireplace {via}

fireplace with moss balls{via}

fireplace with shells{via BH&G}

So if you’ve got a fireplace, stop looking at a black hole.  Get in there.  Play around with things you find in the yard, on the beach & around the house.  It could be a new happy place for you.

Mine is.

Fireplace one candle up close

I’d love to hear if you’ve been inspired to make a change.  And do share if you have another summery idea for the rest of us.  K?

love you all.  ~donna

Father’s Day Gift Ideas – Mr. Hungry Style

Father’s Day Gift Ideas – Mr. Hungry Style

Father’s Day is just around the corner friends! 

June 15th

Have you thought about how you’ll honor Dad this year?

I no longer have the privilege of having my father or grandfathers here ~ I’m sad to say.

I miss my Dad.

He had a big influence on Mr. Hungry.  That man lived by the premise “If Mamma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” - and well, that’s one fine influence from my perspective.

huffpost parents fathers quote{via}

He LOVED cooking, especially grilling over a wood fire. Those guys grilled together on many a Father’s Day through the years.  It’s what they wanted to do.   Their favorite fare was a marinated boneless leg of lamb.  Here are a couple of old pictures with lots of fine memories.

phil and dad at grill

I love this one.  They look like Gilligan and The Skipper.

Phil and Dad Gilligan and Skipper

So on this Father’s Day, I’m able to thank the Good Lord for the Dad he blessed me with and honor Mr. Hungry as father of our three daughters {a.k.a. my three birds}.

 But back to the main reason I’m here, which is to inspire you with Father’s Day gift ideas…

Mr. Hungry Style

It’s time to think outside the tie box.

 The price range runs the gamut from under $15. on up to a couple of pricey items to chip in on.  Undoubtedly, food & drink ideas show up It’s Mr. Hungry Style after all.  Hang in there if that’s not your Dad’s thing.  I’ve got plenty to share.

Here Goes!

Stemless Wine Glasses: Wine glasses see lots of use around here & are always getting knocked over. I feel bad when company breaks one – for their sake.  Don’t they realize this is a common occurrence?  I’m not sure why we don’t own any of these.  I love these bubble infused ones from Crate and Barrel. They’re super reasonable at $2.36 each.

flock-stemless-wine

 {Crate & Barrel}

(Can I just sit down to that little spread right now?  That cheese plate looks AH-mazing.)

A few stemless glasses, a bottle of wine and a hunk of stinky cheese would be a mighty fine gift in Mr. Hungry’s book.

Wooden Serving Board:  And that reminds me…how about a wooden serving board.  The one above is from Crate & Barrel too {here}.   But check out Etsy.com  for a huge array of others.  They’re handmade pieces of art in every price range, such as this beauty:

cutting board walnut{source}

Corkcicle: Have you seen these?  It seems like every respectable home should own one.  Keep it in the freezer & you can quick chill a bottle of vino to optimal temp when the need arises.  Even reds benefit from a slight chill when things are heating up outside.

corkcicle-069776633{via Amazon}

Chillsner:  For the beer drinkin’ Dads out there.  This (literally) cool gadget goes into your bottle frozen & keeps your brew frosty to the last sip.

Chillsner{via Amazon}

Give that to Dad with a mixed six-pack of micro-brews.

Mason Jar Martini Shaker - As with wine glasses, we’ve broken a few shakers in our day.  With this one, you can easily replace the glass with another 32 oz Mason Jar.  He has one, loves it and would highly recommend it.

mason shaker{via Amazon}

BBQ Roasting Pan: The versatility & nice BIG size make it the most used item on the grill the last couple of years.  If you know my Grill Master— that’s saying a LOT.  It comes with a removable can holder to cook up some beer can chicken.  He LOVES this.bbq pan pc{via The Pampered Chef}

The superior quality of all their grill pans & tools are a pleasure to use, with a big selection to choose from.

His favorite place for quality everyday basics in clothing is Duluth Trading.  If you’ve never gotten their catalog in the mail, you can {here}.  It’s unique, with hand-drawn illustrations & entertaining descriptions that are a hoot.  Of course you can shop on-line too.  Here are a few of his favorites.

The Long Tail Tee: He’s got a drawer full & has worn them for years.  Their heft & quality are the best.  There’s a slew of colors, with & without a pocket and with short or long sleeves.  A nice feature is the extra 3″ in length that keeps the backside under cover.

Ix-nay on the acks-cray.

long tail tee{via Duluth Trading}

They even offer it in a bucket dubbed “crack spackle”,  which would be a cute introduction – for the right guy – to this superior line of tees.

crack spackle {source}

Their jeans ~ Like no other.

Ballroom Jeans: Come on people.  I didn’t name them.  The description says “crouch without the ouch”.  Nice - right?

ballroom jeans{via Duluth Trading}

And their boxers?  I know a few men in the family who think they’re the best they’ve ever worn.

Bucknaked Underwear:  “Like Wearing Nothing At All” and super cool because they’re made from a nylon blend.  The customer rating is 5 Stars – with over 2600 reviews.  For goodness sake people we’re talking UNDERWEAR! They can’t be half bad.

duluth boxers{via Duluth Trading}

Okay – enough about that.  Seriously, their clothes are awesome and Mr. Hungry will rave about them if asked.  The site carries all sorts of other great gifts and gear too.

Cyclops Hat LED Clip Light:  Mr Hungry uses a headlight when he goes out to replenish wood at night for the fireplace, or when the poor guy’s rummaging around in the creepy crawl space under the house.  This would be handy for pretty much any Dad out there.  We have a couple of them.  It’s a bright 5 bulb LED light that clips on to the brim of a cap, allowing for hands-free lighting.  Imagine the possibilities – under a car hood, walking the family pet, during a power outage, etc.  And it’s under 15 bucks.

cylcops light{via Amazon}

A list of gifts Mr. Hungry Style wouldn’t be complete without books and music.

We’ve had this Bose Bluetooth Speaker for nearly a year.  It gets used every day.  It’s simple to link it to your smart phone or tablet and wirelessly stream your music.  It’s portable & easy to pick up and move from room to room or outside.  The sound is true Bose quality.  They’ve since come out with a mini version too.  Either of them would be one mighty fine gift.

bose-soundlink-550pxBose Soundlink {source}

Soundlink miniBose Soundlink Mini {source}

They’re worth every penny.

And speaking of worth every penny, I gave him this leather backpack - ohhh maybe 25 years ago.  If the house was burning this is what he’d run back in to get (after me of course).

This is what it looks like today:

Phil's Backpack

Obviously it gets a ton of use.  It’s the only bag he carried on a recent drive cross-country.  It goes with him to the beach and on every trip he takes.

You can find similar ones ~

Father's Day Gift Ideas

{here} & {here}.

Music plays a Big Part in daily life.  If we’re not listening to it on the speaker, likely we’re watching a Concert DVD.  We have quite the collection.  In this house, it’s a favorite late-night past time.  Here’s one we don’t have that I’m sure he’d like.

CrossRoads DVD{source}

Have you heard of the Italian Zucchero?

I’m letting you in on the music world’s best kept secret in the USA – but that’s starting to change with a big U.S. tour this year.

We’ve watched his 2004 concert DVD umpteen times over and if you’ve been to our house you’ve likely danced to it.  This guy is HUGE throughout the rest of the world.  His music spans multiple genres in the most unusual way.

Here’s the one we have:

Zu & Co  {source}

Take a look at who accompanies him on that one…BB King, Pavarotti (!), Eric Clapton, Brian May from Queen and many more!  But he’s got a newer one we don’t have yet:

zucchero{source}

It was just released this year.

hint hint hint hint hint

Here’s another concert we watch over & over.  We’ve yumped around quite a bit to this one too.  It’s feel-good music.

Jason Mraz DVD{source}

And last but not least, a list – Mr. Hungry Style –  wouldn’t be complete without BOOKS, books and more books.  He’s a voracious daily reader with a quirky need to only read hardcovers (well excuuuuuuse me).  No paperbacks allowed.  And certainly not a tablet – Horrors.  I’m pretty sure his number one favorite gift would be a gift card to Amazon, so he can indulge the passion without the guilt.  He almost always buys used books.  Here’s the stack he’s working on right now.

Phil's Summer Book Stack

His favorite novels include obscure Scandinavian mysteries and anything by John Grisham.  For non-fiction, he reads all the Malcom Gladwell books (like Blink and The Tipping Point) and scads of early presidential history.  And way more than that.

You can order an Amazon gift card in all different styles or print one out at the very last second.

Amazon-Books-Gift-Card

 Well I could go on a lot longer, but that’s my list for Fathers’ Day 2014 – Mr. Hungry Style.

I hope I have your wheels turning.

  How about you – do you have a great Father’s Day Gift idea to share with the rest of us? 

Hurry now.  It’ll be here before you know it.

love ~donna

 

Mashtini Bar & More – Bridal Shower Mini Series – Part 3

Mashtini Bar & More – Bridal Shower Mini Series – Part 3

 Welcome Back!

I’m wrapping up this Bridal Shower mini series.  The first two posts {here} and {here} explained how it was a Display Shower with a tasteful neon & gold color scheme.

Shower Wedding Dress and Fireplace And speaking of tasteful, this last part has all the details on the food and drink.  At MoreThanHungry, obviously we’re all about the food.

We started with something I’ve wanted to try since I first heard of it -

A Mashtini Bar

It’s mashed potatoes in martini glasses with a variety of toppings.  Mashtini Ingredients

Shower Martini Glasses From Above

Shower Mashtini Bacon in the Bottom  It’s a very reasonably priced appetizer spread and easy to prepare.  If you’re making it for a crowd you’d have the added expense of renting martini glasses.

Shower Martini Glasses on buffet  For 50 people, 15 pounds of mashed potatoes were made and it was just the right amount. Toppings included steamed broccoli, grated cheddar, crumbled blue cheese, sour cream & butter, caramelized onions, fresh chives and of course LOTS of BACON.  {Here’s my helpful hint if you ever find yourself in line at a Mashtini Bar…put a little bacon in the bottom of your glass first :) }.   I’m one of those bacon fanatics.  I have an entire {Pinterest board} devoted to my bacon adoration.  Check it out!

Shower Sharon Susan Mashtini Bar

Shower Ashli Molly Mashtini

Mashtini Top DownHeck – this could be the main entree for a party.   If so, I’d make more potatoes and include other toppings such as shrimp, diced ham or chicken.

But the food kept coming.  For the main course we served one of our most well-loved recipes.

Chicken Marbella

 No – not Chicken Marsala.  Have you heard of it? Chicken Marbella is one of those iconic go-to recipes that’s a great choice to make for a crowd.  It ALWAYS receives raves.  It’s from The Silver Palate Cookbook.  Don’t turn your nose up at critical ingredients that include prunes, capers & green olives.  Flavors mellow and meld together making it rich and flavorful.  When I ask people if they can guess the secret ingredient (prunes) – no one can.  Some think it’s balsamic vinegar (it’s not).  The only variation was using  boneless breasts cut into large pieces rather than whole parts.  It needs to marinate overnight, so plan ahead.  It’s excellent warm or room temperature and flavors improve even after a couple of days.  It’s a superb make-ahead dish.  You can easily Google that recipe and find it all over the place.  I’m telling you ~ give.it.a.try.

Along with the chicken, we served a Caprese style pasta salad, grilled vegetables and caesar salad.

Mr. Hungry grilled a variety of vegetables outside over a wood fire.  Yes, he’s fanatical like that. Veggies included asparagus, green & yellow squash, mini tri-color peppers, mushrooms and carrots.  The carrots needed pre-cooking in the microwave before hitting the grill.  All were drizzled with a balsamic glaze.

Shower Veg and ChickenI missed taking a photo of the Caprese Pasta Salad.  Darn.  It’s quite simple and doesn’t really need a recipe.  We used Penne tossed with a combination of halved grape tomatoes and mini fresh mozzarella balls, sun-dried tomatoes, good olive oil, grated Italian cheese and Salt & Pepper. Oh – and plenty of fresh chopped basil added at the last minute.

I find these California sun-dried tomatoes in the Produce Department and get the ones that are julienne cut (rather than whole), so it’s one last thing to prep.  Be sure to add every bit of the oil in the jar to the salad too.  It’s full of flavor.

Sundried tomatoesThe last menu item on the buffet was Caesar Salad.   I like to make my own croutons when I have the time.  Simply cube bread and sprinkle or spray with olive oil.  Season with dried herbs if you want and toast them in the oven.  They’re sooo much better than rock-hard nuggets out of the box.  To add a special touch for the occasion, we used cookie cutters to cut bread into heart shapes.  (If you’re cutting them into shapes, use a dense sliced sandwich bread such as Arnold or Pepperidge Farm).  In the past I’ve cut them into stars too.

Shower Caesar SaladIt’s one of those things that takes just a little more time, but the pay-off is worth it.

Shower Napkin Basket

It’s all in the details.

Shower Menu and FlowersFor beverages, we kept it simple.  No punch bowl, no mixed drinks.  Besides a pretty glass dispenser of water with lemon, we had bottles of Orange Cream soda (found at Homegoods) and Pellegrino sparkling water.

Shower Orange SodaIn keeping with a touch of Cupcakes in the theme, four different varietals of wines from Cupcake Vineyards were served.  Ladies were lovin’ the Red Velvet.

Shower Cupcake Wines 1A couple of years ago I picked up dozens of these vintage stemmed glasses at a Yard Sale for just 15 cents each!  They’ve come in handy with all these weddings and parties.

Shower Wine GlassesWe tied them with little tags so people could add names if they wanted.

Shower Label your glassAs mentioned in my previous post, we had help with the Dessert Table.  If anyone offered to bring something, I asked them to make some type of sweets.

Of course there were cupcakes for my Cupcake Girl.

Shower Cupcakes

Shower Dessert Buffet We also had vanilla ice cream hearts with a raspberry sorbet center dipped in white chocolate.  They’re made a few miles from my house at Royal Ice Cream.

My Mom was in charge of making and bringing all things needed for coffee & tea.

Never could I have pulled this off without the help of others.  It was huge having my daughters and son-in-laws to help for the whole weekend.  My nephew and his young son helped in the kitchen with the rest of the guys too.  Most of all though, it’s Mr. Hungry that makes it all possible.  He’s the glue that holds it all together.

Shower Gary and PhilNow you know why I had to split this into a mini-series.  I’ve been talking your ear off for quite some time.

I’ll have plenty more to share in the future, as we count down to The Big Day in June.

Ohhh My ~ the last of the baby birds will become a Mrs…sigh.

Britt little bride with doll cropped

Shower Three Sisters cropped

cropped-shower-tassle-garland1.jpg

Hmmmm…I’m still dreaming of those Mashtinis…

Shower Mashtini Glass Full Shot Until next time friends!

love, donna

Venue: The Lodge at Crandall Park – Tolland, CT

Bridal Shower – Mini Series Part Two – Neon Decor and More

Hey There ~  I’m glad you’re back!

This is the second post in a mini series about the bridal shower I had for my daughter Britt last weekend.  If you missed the first, you can read it {here}.  It was a casual Display Shower where guests brought gifts unwrapped.  Check it out if you’re not familiar with such a thing.  It turned out to be a great way to go.

She’s been a fan of neon forever, so I wanted to use it in the decor in a tasteful way. bz neon girlI started with creating a “Neon & Neutral Party” board on Pinterest. It helped me develop the direction I wanted to take.  I limited the number of colors, using neon coral & pink, with a little green in the mix.  Leaving out blue & purple (and black) helped make it a bit more sophisticated and less teenager-y.  Adding metallic gold helped raised the bar.

She’s grown up a little.

Britt with umbrella keep

Centerpieces were simple and very reasonable.  I purchased a bunch of neon scarves on ebay.  They were rectangular, but we bunched them up on the middle of each table.

 White enamel buckets came from Save-On-Crafts.com. Are you familiar with that site?  It’s a HUGE resource for way more than craft supplies.  Prices are excellent on home decor items and party & wedding supplies.  The buckets were only $3. each.  They held potted plants that came from one trip to the grocery store. I used white daisy mums, begonias & miniature rose plants.  Gold scrapbook paper was cut with paper punches to make polka dots to scatter all over the place.

Centerpiece Cropped

Shower Bolton Friends Cropped

I wanted to pull Cupcakes into the theme in a few ways.

If there’s anyone in the world who doesn’t know this yet (and I don’t mean to bore the rest of you), Britt just came from 2 years of full-time volunteering with a very unique non-profit organization in Las Vegas called The Cupcake Girls. I blogged about my trip there in January, during their biggest event of the year.  Let me tell you – it was the most unique vacation I’ve ever taken.  You can read about it {here} and {here}.

I made these bookmarks for favors.

bookmarks with back cropped

Blank bookmarks & tassels were bought on Etsy.  I punched a hole in the top to run tassels through and used markers to draw each one individually.  Okay – I know this isn’t for everyone…speaking of fiddly-deeee.  But I made them well ahead of time and it was a project I really enjoyed making.  You could do something similar with rubber stamping instead.  They cost less than $.50 each to make and are a useful little remembrance to take away.

Shower Bookmarks

I happened to have a couple of photos of my little Britty-Bride playing dress-up.  How fun was that?  It’s something you might want to consider doing if you have a little girl now – to save for the future.  And NO – I hadn’t planned that at all.  I  stumbled upon them in a big box of old pictures recently.  She’s wearing my veil in this one.

britt bride in frame 001

The lodge didn’t need much for decor.  It’s such a pretty place with a huge two-sided fireplace.  One of the few decor items was the tassel garland hanging across the mantle.

Shower Tall Fireplace cropped

I’d seen tassel garlands on Etsy, but they were pricey.  We turned to Pinterest for links to {directions} to make our own.  No wonder they’re pricey.  It wasn’t difficult, but took a while to make using gold metallic & neon tissue paper, gold cord & washi tape. {Thanks Shar for making that for your Mamma}.

Shower Tassle Garland

I wanted to incorporate some activities into the afternoon, since she wouldn’t be taking time to open gifts.  Jeez – there’s not much out there for new shower game ideas.  I tried looking all over the place for something different.   Quite often you hear groans at the mere mention of games at showers.

This one turned out cute.  Once again, Etsy saved the day.  All we had to do was send a photo of Britt’s head to the seller who customized an instant download to print out ourselves.  It cost a super reasonable $4.99!

Here’s the “Say Yes To The Dress” game:

Shower Dress Game

Britt numbered her choices ahead of time.  I can’t wait till I can show you pictures of her in her actual dress.  It’s quite unique and Stunning with a capital S.Shower Britt Close-Up

She made up a trivia game with a list of questions.  After everyone completed them, she called them out.  People shouted out answers.  It was fun to hear groups of people know random things about the bride and groom…like when a bunch of voices simultaneously shouted “Cheesy Gordita Crunch”!!  One question was “What’s Britt’s middle name?” – and everybody shouted “Britt!”, but they didn’t know that a “nickname” Zach calls her is Stephanie.  He’s the only one that calls her by her actual first name.

We had prizes for game winners and also a raffle.  For raffle tickets, guests had to fill out a card with a date idea or marriage advice, along with their name.  Winners were chosen throughout the shower.

Shower Raffle

The raffle cards with sentiments will be put into the same album her Vegas friends started when they gave her a shower a few weeks ago.

Shower Favor Table

Shower Photo Poster cropped

One more thing we did was to print out some information from Britt & Zach’s wedding website.  Her sisters took turns reading it, which included a super cute and poignant story about the proposal written by Zach .  You can check it out {here}.

Shower Sisters Reading

Her two sisters will be co-matrons of honor.  They certainly don’t look very matronly!  :)

I brought along my wedding dress on a dress form.  It looked pretty darned good for never having been cleaned and rolled up in a ball in the attic, since my wedding in 1980.  No ironing needed either thanks to the ’80′s double-knit!

Shower Wedding Dress and Fireplace

I still love the style after all these years.

Shower Dress Bodice

I hope you’ll come back next time for one last post in this Bridal Shower mini series.  It’ll be all about the Food and Drink.  Have you ever heard of a Mashtini Bar…as in Mashed Potatoes in Martini Glasses?

Um – YUM.

See you then!

love, donna

Sources:

Say Yes to the Dress Game – Etsy {here}

Blank Bookmarks – Etsy {here}

Tassels – Etsy {here}

White Enamel Pots - SaveOnCrafts {here}

Venue:  The Lodge at Crandall Park, Tolland, CT

 

Bridal Shower – Three Part Mini Series – Display Shower

My daughter Britt moved home to Connecticut last week. She’d been living much too far away in Las Vegas, gone exactly two years to the day.  It does my heart good to have {my little bird} back in the nest.  We showered her with love, gifts and well wishes on Sunday.  Her wedding’s coming up fast in June.

I have so much to share with you from the event ~ way too much to include in a single post.  I decided to turn it into my very first mini-series!  This is the first of three parts.

It was a good size shower with nearly 50 in attendance.  We had it at a town-owned lodge in a picturesque setting on a pond, down a dirt road in the woods.  We prepared all the food ourselves, with the exception of the dessert table.  Mr. Hungry was in charge of the kitchen with help from some family guys he got to boss around.

Have you ever heard of a Display Shower?  It was new to me until I received an invitation to one recently.  As soon as Britt got hers, she called saying “THAT’S what I want for my shower!”.  I was a little iffy at first, but after attending and now hosting one, I’m sold and convinced it’s a practical and enjoyable way to hold a large shower.  It allowed for mixing and mingling, talking and visiting.  Guests were asked to bring gifts unwrapped. Everyone could take their time viewing gifts throughout the afternoon.  It makes sense environmentally as well – not to mention saving the expense spent on wrapping.

 When invitations were ordered, I had a small enclosure card printed describing the style. I attached them by punching a tiny hole in one corner and tying them together.

It was a fiddly little job, but as with many things, a cocktail containing tequila helped.

Shower Invites to put together

The stretchy gold thread came from the jewelry-making department at the craft store.  It was a LOT of tiny bows to tie.

Shower Invites with little bows brighter

Here’s the wording for the Display Shower card:

Display Shower Card 001

We had tags ready to label the gifts.  Before the shower, my special girl came over to help. She placed a jewel sticker over the hole on each of the tags.

Evie crafting for shower 1 040514

And a fine job she did.

tags for display shower 002

Britt & her sisters stood by 4 rectangular tables set up end to end.  She greeted each guest as they arrived.  Her sisters arranged gifts, taking some out of boxes. They placed a tag with the giver’s name on each one for all to see.  They kept a list to help with writing thank you notes too.

Here they are.

Shower Three Sisters cropped

 

Because of my serious illness involving tablecloths, I happened to have 4 black ones that made for a neutral background to highlight the gifts.

Shower Gift Table Afgan

 

Silverware at shower cropped

Shower My Gift

Isn’t it nice to really be able to see what people brought?  So often a gift is shown for mere seconds before it’s back in it’s bag or box.  If you blink, you miss it.

Shower Gifts Flour Sugar

 All afternoon I heard compliments from guests who thought it was a great idea & wished all showers were done this way.

Amy's gift cropped

Shower Blue Vases

I hope you’ll stop back for the other two parts in this mini series. They’ll be filled to the brim with practical ideas you can apply to other gatherings too.  Part Two will be about Décor and Activities.  The color scheme was a bit unconventional. Try making Neon a classy color theme.  Yes, neon with a splash of cupcakes.  Part Three will be about Food and Drink.

Shower Britt with umbrella cropped

Here’s the sweet Bride-To-Be.

Come back again real soon.  K?

love, donna

p.s. Sign up to receive email updates.  Each time I post something here at MoreThanHungry you’ll find it in your in-box & you won’t miss a thing!

Source for Invitations from Etsy {here}.

Venue: The Lodge at Crandall Park – Tolland, CT

 

Sweet Design Inspiration and Shopping From Home

Oh Honey, I’ve got sweet design inspiration for you today. I’m glad you’re here.  honeycomb raw jar{source}

In my last post, I shared a recipe for some sweet comfort food.  Well I’m stepping out of the kitchen.

I’ve given you next to nothing in the realm of home decor & design up to this point.  Hmpf..what’s up with that?  If you know me, you know I’m all over that and I’ve got plenty to talk about.

The most intense design project I ever took on, one that nearly took me down, was a complete – and I mean complete - budget wrecking, insomnia-producing, monstrous renovation of our own home.  From top to bottom we knocked down walls, moved & added staircases, completely re-wired, re-plumbed, added up & out and way more.  I was our designer, “architect” and general contractor. It took about a year.  It took me several years to recover & be able to watch HGTV without gagging a little.

In the 1800′s this place was a barn.  There was hay between the floorboards in the attic when we arrived.  It had been converted into three 3-room apartments.  It wasn’t pretty.  Not even a smidge.  People thought we were crazy.  I’d love to share more of that saga with you in the future.

  Back then, internet design sources and shopping were in their infancy.  At least for me.   In 2000, I distinctly remember discovering I could put the words “Vintage Swedish” into a search box and the giddiness I felt when my world opened up.

Books, magazines and catalogues were my primary source of inspiration.  I’d sit with stacks of them and dog-ear pages, tear out pictures and file them in manilla folders with little sticky notes all over them.  I lugged arm loads of books out of the library every week during the renovation.  Oh, the Olden Days.

Stack of Design Books 040514

These days we’re all Pinning and adding things to virtual Wish Lists.

Back in the reno days I worked part-time and had more hours to meander (or race) around, hunt for ideas & price shop.  Not anymore.  Now there’s no need to traipse all over kingdom-come, touching every kitchen faucet within a day’s drive – five times over.  I don’t need to be on a first name basis with everyone at Home Depot.  The miles of aisles I walked in those days were mind-numbing.  Now I hit five stores in one night, sitting by the fire in my favorite chair.  I compare prices, read reviews & with a few key-strokes have a package on my doorstep in a couple of days.  From Pinterest to Houzz.com, blogs, on-line stores & magazines - unlimited ideas and sources are at our fingertips & even on our cellphones.

Don’t get me wrong – Lord knows I love a leisurely stroll up & down every single solitary aisle at Homegoods. It’s one of life’s little pleasures and something different all together.  Hey – Did you know that Homegoods has an awesome design blog too?  Check it out {HERE}.

So Honey, today I’ve scouted out inspiration for you & included links to their sources.  With all the geometric patterns everywhere, one that hasn’t been over-used at the moment is Honeycomb.  It’s a trend I’m sweet on.

Let’s start with the bold punch of color & design in this bright yellow pillow.  It just makes this corner.

honeycomb pillow etsy{Etsy.com}

And these honeycomb textured vases fit right in to my world.

HONEYCOMB VASES WEST ELM

{west elm}

I’m lovin’ this sweet lamp and it’s a super reasonable $55.

honeycomb lamp pier 1{Pier 1}

The textured metal base and that teal shade make it a stand-out. It’s like a piece of jewelry to perk up a room.

Here’s a bold practical piece I spotted at Target.  It could be tucked in to all kinds of spots.

honeycomb table target - bath {Target}

Doesn’t this look cheerful?

honeycomb rug yellow{shadesoflight.com}

 These drapery panels are part of a line that includes crib bedding for a nursery too.

HONEYCOMB DRAPE

{homedecorators.com}

Here’s an interesting concept ~ Peel and Stick stainless steel back-splash tile, made from 60% recycled product.  stainless honeycomb backsplash{source}

How about a unique towel ring from Urban Outfitters for only $14.?

honeycomb towel ring

{urbanoutfitters.com}

I saw these {IKEA} mirrors on Pinterest.  You can group together as many as you’d like.

honeycomb ikea mirrorsOr this big mirror honeycomb mirror grandinroadfrom {Grandinroad.com}.

Now this is buzz-worthy~

honeycomb-shaker-069366522{zgallerie.com}

I recently spotted a glass terrarium similar to this one from {Etsy}.  It’s what got me thinking about the whole honeycomb trend.

honeycomb terrariums etsy

I love Love LOVE shopping at Etsy.com.  How about you?  It’s a wealth of inspiration and it makes me happy to support the little guy.  I feel like a kid in a candy store shopping for pillows there, with thousands to choose from.  Here are a few more:

honeycomb pillow chartreuse {Etsy.com}

Metallic anyone?honeycomb pillow gold{Etsy.com}

There are even stylish options for your pup.

honeycomb dog bed{Etsy.com}

They have a huge selection of unique wall stencils.

honeycomb stencil

{Etsy.com}

This big bold honeycomb wallpaper is a Beeauty. It’s a great choice for renters or someone not ready to commit – it’s peel & stick and re-positionable.

honeycomb-deep-blue wallpaper{homedecorators.com}

Or maybe you’re on a super tight budget like Moi.  For a mere eight bucks you can download this print & frame it yourself.Honeycomb print download Etsy{Etsy.com}

Don’t worry, Bee Happy.  There’s a little something for everyone.

And here’s one last idea because after all…

honeycomb you are loved print{Etsy.com}

For more design inspiration, I’ve pinned hundreds of other ideas on Pinterest.  If you haven’t done so yet, you can follow me {here} and see what else I’m looking at these days.

So sweet of you to stop by.

love~donna

Easy Sweet Comfort Food & How I Started a Blog

I have easy sweet comfort food for you today.

I love fruit crisps & crumbles.  Tart strawberry-rhubarb crisp is my favorite.  And I love a good apple crisp too, but peeling & slicing apples takes a little more time.  With this recipe, yours can be hitting the oven in five minutes – ten tops.  Breathe in.  Hot cinnamony blueberries can be wafting in your kitchen this weekend.  It’s so easy.

Berry Crisp with Coconut Ice Cream 022314

Before I found this recipe, I would’ve gushed over my love for the usual buttery-brown-sugary-crumb topping.  Lord knows I love my butter.  But this one’s going to surprise you. In all the right ways.

Blueberry Raspberry Crisp 022314

When I tell you it’s gluten-free and dairy-free (like now), don’t go clicking away on me.   It’s well worth making for everybody.  And super healthy.  Rather than lots of butter, there’s a quarter cup of olive oil.  Rather than brown sugar, there’s a meer quarter cup of maple syrup.

Maple Syrup to sweeten fruit crisp 022314 There’s one item you have to plan ahead for and that’s almond flour.  A.K.A. almond meal.  Don’t you worry.  These days it can be found in the health food or baking area of most bigger grocery stores (usually in a clear cellophane bag).

Almond Meal Bag

Bob’s Red Mill brand is the one I use.

You can even make your own by grinding blanched almonds in a blender or food processor.  Careful though – don’t blend too long & turn it into almond butter.

 I can’t claim the recipe as my own.

I found it last summer in the story of how I started writing a blog.

This recipe for Blueberry Crisp was in the newly released book “Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table” by author blogger Shauna Niequist. I bought it for my summer reading pleasure. Obviously this book would call my name.   I mean – take a look at it.

breadandwineshaunaniequist Interestingly, a couple of weeks later I received an email that the book was being featured in an on-line book club.  The author would join others in discussion on a series of videos.  A unique concept and perfect timing.  I decided to sign up & join in.

  Before it began, I read they were looking for guest posts (on the topic of food and community) to include in the study & Facebook page.  Hmm.  Why not?  I had nothing better to do a few weeks before my daughter’s wedding.

This business of food and community is My Love.

Well jeez – wasn’t I surprised and honored when they chose to include my essay?  They asked for my Twitter handle and the URL for my main blog page.  Well, at the time I had no Twitter and no Blog.  I’d been stewing about starting a blog for a few years.

I decided the time was right.  Join a book club, write an essay, learn how to set up a blog, take photos, join Twitter, and crank out some posts.  Again, I had nothing better to do a few weeks before my daughter’s wedding.  I write this just to encourage you to start something you’ve been dreaming about and stop waiting for the perfect time.  There won’t be one.

I wrote my first little blog post back in July.  Looking back I realize the slowwww but (mostly kinda sorta) enjoyable learning process it’s been.  I’ve stumbled, bumbled and fumbled my way into the blogosphere the last nine months.  I’m barely starting to feel the teensiest bit more comfortable.  There’s so much to learn.

 My essay “A Wide Open Door and Why I Am The Way I Am” was featured on the (in)courage Facebook page during the book club.  You can read it in the link {here} if you haven’t seen it yet. It’s the story of how my parents’ gift of over-the-top hospitality profoundly influenced me to be the person I am today.

The Ultimate Examples of True Hospitality

The Ultimate Examples of True Hospitality

 I was able to link it up to my brandy new blog.  Since their Facebook page has over 57,000 Likes – this was a big deal to me. Heck, I’d have been excited if it had a hundred.

Okay Okay….I’ll get on with the recipe for goodness sake. 

Blueberry Crisp

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

4 c. Blueberries (or other combination of fruit)

Crispy Crumbly Topping:

1 cup old fashioned (not quick) oats

1/2 cup pecans, rough chopped

1/2 cup almond meal (also known as almond flour)

1/4 cup pure maple syrup (no fakes allowed whatsoever)

1/4 cup olive oil (I’ve used canola too)

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon (my addition), optional

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (my addition), optional

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place 4 cups of fruit into a greased oven-proof baking dish.

Blueberries and Raspberries Raw in Dish 022314 Combine and stir the remaining ingredients together in a bowl.  This is the part that comes together so quickly compared to a traditional topping.  Fruit Crisp Topping Ingredients in Bowl 022314

Spread it evenly over the fruit.

Fruit Crisp Before Baking

Bake for 35-40 minutes until bubbly, crispy and golden.

That’s it.

If frozen fruit is used, bake it a few minutes longer.

 My variation this time around included some raspberries & cinnamon. And I forgot it this time, but every one of the other 8 or 9 times I’ve made it I’ve included ground cardamom.  I’m a Swede after all – Yah Sure.

I made this recently for a friend with severe allergies to both gluten and dairy.

Berry Crisp with Coconut Ice Cream 022314

I served it along with this ~

coconut milk frozen ice cream 022314

It’s a frozen dessert made from coconut milk.  But of course it’s great with ice cream, whipped cream or no extra topping whatsoever. It makes a delicious and healthy breakfast too.

Blueberry Raspberry Crisp 022314

So my suggestions for you this almost-springy weekend are:

A. bake up an easy comforting fruit crisp

B. pick up a copy of “Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table”  devour it.  love it.

C. think about starting a blog {have you ever?} or jump into that thing you’ve been holding out on for the right time.

love ~donna