6.30.2011

Shopping Savannah

With the PCP at camp, Mother and I took full advantage of having only one child to buckle in and out and cart around and so we hit all the Savannah must-shops and more in a whirlwind non-stop nine to three shopping day. Want to do a little window shopping with moi?

DC2 Designs
What I got:
I rarely leave this store with out a little treat.  And they always have a sale going on.  I nearly did a cartwheel when I spied the mercury glass honeycomb vases (that double as a candle holder...multipurpose people!) I've been pining over in the RSH catalog since March.  And they were on sale for for $28 as opposed to the $55 plus shipping on-line!  *squeals with delight*
My pic in store turned out horrid - this is from the catalog
What I didn't get:
A settee that was just stunning in person...
...and a chandelier that I admired from every direction of the store.  It was SO beautiful AND marked half off to six-hundred-something.

Habersham Antique Market
What I got:
One day soon the inevitable is going to happen...I'll have to pack up the nursery and trade it in for a big boy room.  So, I've been collecting things as I run across them and, today, I snapped up this sweet little bedside table for $65.  Super sturdy, perfectly portioned and quite a looker, no?  Well, now that I look at the pic you might not be convinced so I'll just assure you that she IS quite a looker :-)
What I didn't get:
I will likely rue the day I didn't get this sweet antique French bed.  It would be so perfect in my future guest bedroom slash office (that will one day take the place of the playroom.)
I love seeing random things that I already own in an antique store.  Somehow it's so validating.  I "inherited" an almost identical Venetian tissue box from Honey's Mother (or Grandmother...I can't recall just now) that will be making it's debut in the basement bath.

No. Four Eleven
What I didn't get:
Candle sleeves...because I made my own for my foyer update :-)

Savannah Bee Company
I've said it before and I'll say it again - this is a fascinating little store is simply a must-shop.  Today we popped in for a little tasting of their newest honey varieties - the sourwood is my new fave - and for an ice cold, home made Honey Limeade Tea.  


The Paris Market and Brocante
What I got:
I've lost track of how many times I've blogged about this gem!  It is hands-down-without-a-doubt my very favorite shop in Savannah.  Today I picked up a sweet John Derian tray for Cookie's third birthday gift.  Since both littles celebrate their birthdays within a month of Christmas, Honey and I gift them one nice keepsake item for their birthday and save the toys for Christmas.  Cookie adores dogs and just as soon as I laid eye on the plate I knew I had to get it for him.
What I didn't get:
As much as I have been wanting one, I passed up the bamboo ghost chairs.  In fact, I first spied them in that same RSH catalog back in March!
No need to purchase a vintage film reel (to the tune of eighty-five dollars) when your Mother already supplied you with one from her own family collection!
Well, of course I didn't purchase the gorgeous planter out in front of the store. But I DO plan to recreate this look at home.  My annuals are already long and scraggly and I just don't want to dish out the money to re-plant them sooooo I think I'm going to go all margarita vine for the rest of the summer.
And...I was as pleased as punch to run across the very same mercury glass apothecary jar that I already purchased at Scott Antique Market for half the price Paris Market was asking!

One Fish Two Fish
What I didn't get:
I've been eyeing this ikat fabric for somewhere in my house and seeing it on a gorg pillow in one of my fave shoppes made me want it even more.  Now, where to put it???  I really miss my lunches with bestie R and Sister where we'd sit at Taq for hours and discuss burning issues in life such as this...
What's funny about this cocktail table with the nautical map is that I was JUST looking at the Savannah River and Wassaw Sound chart on-line last week trying to figure out where I could put one.  I loved this idea and it would be a great DIY project seeing as this was retailing for a shade under two-thousand.  eek.
I evidently need to paint a piece of furniture this turquoise color since I photograph this chest (or a similar one) each and ever time I'm in this store!  I just adore it!

We also hit up Seaside Sisters (to pick up Mother's signed Mary Kay Andrews book...that was done wrong...ugh), WalMart (I did find some cute one-dollar trays and a nice new fishing rod but I'll spare you the photos) and Home Depot (where they were completely wiped out of margarita vine) before retrieving the PCP from camp.

xoxo

6.29.2011

Sharkbait Hoo Ha Ha

Anyone else channeling Nemo right now?

After being landlocked in steamy Atlanta (formerly known as Hot-lanta for a good reason) for the WHOLE month of May, I sped out of the city like a bat out of hell Sunday morning.  We made it door to door in under four and a half hours including our road-trip requisite stop at McDonald's (where I essentially pay six dollars for two toys and Happy Meals that are seemingly better suited for stuffing in every orifice of my Jeep than for eating.)

After relishing in a divinely delectable and so-Southern meal of Daddy-O's shrimp salad sandwiches and Mother's ice cold super sweet tea, we grabbed our rods, cut up some bait, put some Coke's on ice and hit the dock.
We spent the entire afternoon fishing, feeding the birds, talking, drinking, trying to prevent the littles from catapulting each other off the dock and just having a grand old time.  At the end of the day, we (the PCP more specifically) caught one single solitary baby black fin shark.  I swear, my bad luck catching shark must be rubbing off on the sweet boy.  While everyone else I know is reeling in yummy trout, whiting and croaker fish, the only thing I ever catch are those darned baby sharks.  Black fins, hammerheads, you name it, I catch it.  ew.
In the spirit of making lemonade out of lemons, that shark is now shark bait in the crab traps.  I expect ol' black fin to amass quite a collection of scrumptious blue crabs for my dining pleasure.

Sharkbait!  Hoo ha ha!
xoxo

6.28.2011

Blackberrypalooza

With a fridge full of blackberries after our berry pickin' excursion, we pulled out the cookbooks and scoured the internet for delish ways to put them to use.  It's been a blackberrypalooza around these parts this week!

Blackberry Vinaigrette
1 c blackberries
1 small shallot, chopped
1 t white balsamic vinegar
1 t honey
1/8 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

Process blackberries in blender until smooth.  Strain into a bowl and discard solids.
Process berry puree, shallot and next 4 ingredients in blender for 30 seconds.  With blender running, pour in oil in slow, steady stream and process until smooth.
We paired this with mixed field greens, goat cheese, fresh blackberries and spiced pecans.


Smoked Turkey, Mozzarella and Blackberry Sandwiches

2 c blackberries
1/3 c balsamic vinegar
2 t sugar
1 t lemon juice
2 lbs smoked turkey slices
1/2 lb smoked mozzarella cheese slices
12 sandwich bread slices, toasted
3 T minced fresh sage

Toss berries and next 3 ingredients; let stand 30 minutes.
Layer turkey and cheese evenly on 6 bread slices.
Spoon blackberry mixture evenly over cheese and sprinkle with sage.  Top with remaining bread slices.

Blackberry Sweet Tea
3 c blackberries
1 1/4 c sugar
1 T chopped fresh mint
pinch baking soda
4 c boiling water
2 family size tea bags
2 1/2 c cold water
garnish: blackberries, mint

Combine berries and sugar in large container and crush with wooden spoon; stir in mint and baking soda.
Pour boiling water over tea bags; cover and steep 5 mins.  Discard tea bags.
Pour tea over berry mixture; let stand at room temp 1 hour.  Pour through wire-mesh strainer into large pitcher, discarding solids.  Add cold water, stirring to mix.  Cover and chill. 

Blackberry Mojito
(serves 2)
16 mint leaves
12 fresh blackberries
1 tsp sugar
3 oz white rum
1oz lime juice
club soda
crushed ice

In a pitcher, place mint leaves, berries and sugar and muddle well.  Add rum and lime juice and stir well.  Fill highball glasses with crushed ice and strain drink into glasses.  Top with club soda and garnish with mint and berries.  
Note: I didn't think this was minty enough or sweet enough.  Next time I will add many, many more mint leaves and a little more sugar.

Blackberry Pie
1 package of refrigerator pie crust for double crust pie
5 c blackberries
1 c sugar
1/4 c flour
1 1/2 T lemon juice
1/4 t salt
1 T butter

Place bottom crust in pie plate and set aside.
Combine berries and next 4 ingredients and toss well.  Spoon into pie crust and dot with butter.
Cut top crust into strips and arrange in lattice design over berries.  Fold edges under and crimp.
Bake at 425 for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 350 and bake 45 more minutes or until crust is browned.
Note: I use the Williams-Sonoma fluted pastry wheel to cut my pretty lattice top.  I also cover the crust edges with aluminum foil when i reduce the heat to 350.  I serve a la mode (is there any other way?).

Pork Medallions with Blackberry Sauce
2 1-lb pork tenderloins
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1 t ground allspice
1/4 c butter
1/2 c diced shallots (about 3 large)
2/3 c white wine
1 T sugar
10 large blackberries
1/2 t corn starch

Sprinkle pork with salt, pepper and allspice.  Cover and chill 30 minutes.
Grill pork until meat thermometer registers 160.  Remove and let stand 10 minutes.
Add butter, shallots, wine, sugar and blackberries to small saucepan until shallots and berries are soft.  Crush berries as you cook.  Reduce heat to low and whisk in corn starch.  Simmer and stir until thickened.
Cut pork into slices and drizzle with sauce.  Garnish with fresh blackberries.

Happy cooking y'all.
xoxo

6.27.2011

Foyer Before & After

I've been collecting and crafting items for a foyer re-do since late last year and finally pulled it all out from the bowels of my closet to spend an afternoon dressing it up.  FINALLY!
I must first show you the before before...
...and the before...
...so that you can really appreciate the after!!!
foyer 1

From move in day, A.K.A. the day I placed my awkwardly-sized-for-the-space demilune in the foyer, I have had plans for something more appropriately portioned.  A two year hunt led me to conclude that a four foot by one foot sized console was just not going to be found.  No matter how many boutiques I browsed, big box stores I canvassed and internet shops I searched.  So, being a huge fan of the skirted round table, but with no place to put a skirted round table, I set my sights on a skirted four foot by one foot sized console.

And this diamond in the rough, lovingly built by my three boys for Mother's Day...



...became this gorg addition to my foyer with a few yards of burlap!!  I literally squealed with delight the minute I slipped the tiered, ruffled confection onto the perfectly portioned table.

May 2011 1373

foyer 6

Much like the demilune that landed in the foyer on moving day, the indoor outdoor rug did the same.  Not only did it totally clash with the new skirted table, but I was just itching to give it the boot for something that incorporated the blue gray green scheme in the rest of the house.  Well, I just fell right in love with this graphic Dash and Albert beaut when I set eye on it during a downtown Savannah shopping excursion to One Fish Two Fish.  And I made it mine on the spot.

foyer 4

Armed with a much more spacious area for displaying entryway eye candy, I couldn't resist the new Aiden Gray lamps from my local go-to decor store - G. Scott Interiors (formerly Patina Home Furnishings and prior to that Love Street Antiques.)  I've wanted these ever since Sister purchased them for Bird's nursery nearly two years ago and the new table plus a birthday check was just the push I needed.  And I relish a good reason to break out some glass risers :-)

foyer 3

Sister, Mother and I made oyster shell frames a little while back and this was the perfect spot for it's debut!  More on how to make your own soon...

foyer 7

And lastly, I made patterned chandelier sleeves to match the rug.  Stay tuned for the how to on that as well!  (Update: look here)

foyer 5

Before moving in, we ripped the carpeting (blue with gold bows...yak) out and painted the existing stairs with an oil based black paint and then a clear coat.  We also added the wrought iron spindles.  The numbers are vinyl stickers ordered from this etsy seller.  They are 4" tall and can be done in a variety of font.  Total cost was $17.  (Old picture = no new chandelier sleeves)

foyer 2
So that's how I freshened up my foyer.  It's finally done and I'm over the moon!!!
xoxo

Tickled pink to have been featured on Evolution of Style,  Artful Rising and Not So Homemade!

6.26.2011

Great American Backyard Campout

Last night, along with people across the country, we took to our tent for the National Wildlife Federation's Great American Backyard Campout.  We joined the Chattahoochee Nature Center's group, pitching our tent at their registered campsite along with a slew of other families with young kids.  Here's how our inaugural family camping experience went down...

We arrived promptly at six in the evening in separate cars (should I need to take the baby home) - radio flyer and cooler loaded to the brim - to construct our abode for the night.  By some miracle, we got the tent assembled without a hitch, and in only about ten minutes.  The moment I stood back to marvel over our handy work (I totally expected for us to be the family that couldn't get their tent up without professional assistance) a tremendous clap of thunder boomed over head.  Seriously!?!?  I literally checked the weather as we were walking out the door and rejoiced in the ZERO percent chance of rain.  We had enough time to throw all of our belongings into the tent (suddenly it made sense why everyone else brought their gear in large plastic tubs rather than Vera Bradley totes) before the downpour.
During the brief rain shower (that actually served to cool things off), the naturalists (as CNC employees seem to be called) herded us into the gym for a large raptor presentation.
Afterwards, we dined on a delectable picnic of what I like to call Ham & Swissers (ham, swiss and a poppyseed mustard butter on Hawaiian rolls), fresh fruit, Publix's new bakery granola bark (that I promptly threw in my basket about one second after the sample crossed my lips) and chocolate chip cookies.  Supper time entertainment consisted of the naturalists roaming the campsite with a sundry of impressive snakes.  Appetizing, no?
Next up, the littles decked themselves out with flashlights and Mason jars for a twilight hike around Kingfisher Pond.  We stopped every so often at little benches overlooking the pond for educational presentations consisting of things I couldn't have thought up in my wildest dreams... smelling coyote urine, touching dead possum skin and listening to the flapping wings on a vulture compared to those on an owl.
The sun had set by the end of our hike and the night culminated around a camp fire, lounging on blankets, toasting marshmallows for s'mores and singing silly songs a la Mother Ginny Bird and Go Bananas.  After making quick work of the sweets, the littles darted about the meadow playing flashlight tag and catching fireflies while Honey and I laid under the stars soaking it all in.  Nights like this are what being a carefree kid is all about.
Parents started gathering up their charges to tuck them in around ten thirty.  Our tent was overflowing with air mattresses, sleeping bags and sweaty, stinky, gas-passing, grunting boys.  The whole lot of 'em.  I was so, SO, SOOO tempted to hop in my car and beeline for my bed.  But, I stuck it out doing the kind of quasi-sleep where you are essentially laying still with your eyes closed yet still ready to spring to life at any moment.  It was a loooong night for the girl that generally has thread count requirements and mists her pillow with a lavender spritz before turning in each night.  When the PCP awoke this morning and asked if I loved sleeping in the tent as much as he did, I mustered the biggest smile possible to proclaim that "of course I did" and promised to do it again before Kindergarten (which is how we measure the passage of time these days.)
Had I been privy to the escapades that would fabricate my adult life - smelling wild animal urine, handling dead rodent-like marsupials and sleeping in a damp, hot, smelly sticky tent - I would have been incredulous.  Yet, day in and day out I find raising these boys a harrowingly intoxicating calling!

xoxo

6.25.2011

PandaMania & Pandamonium

PANDAMANIA
Last week, a whole pack of fun-loving pandas invaded our church for Vacation Bible School!  The PCP spent his mornings singing, playing, crafting and praying in a wild celebration of God's unconditional love.
The highlight of the week for John was bringing home a color-changing water bottle craft.  Some concoction of oil, water and red food coloring I suspect.  Here is the conversation that ensued:

John: (as he lovingly holds it out in his arms) "Mommy, this is Color-Changer.  I love him SOOOO much.  He's my second brother." (then hugs the silly bottle within an inch of it's life)
Mama: (snapping myself out of utter dumbfoundedness) "Welcome to the family...um...color changer... brother (clearly by another mother)."
[John proceeds to shake and twirl his "second brother" in a way that makes his first brother salivate at the thought of getting his hands on it. ] 
Mama: (visualizing the top coming off and red colored oil and water flying all over the car) "Keep that thing away from your brother or you know he'll screw that top right off in two seconds flat and try to drink your strange concoction.  I mean...your strange second brother."
John: "Heavenly Father, please help Coocoo to learn to be a good baby that won't drink my color changer brother.  Oh, and please help my baby (Cookie) learn to swim like Cae's baby (who is also 2 years old and is no closer to swimming that Cookie). Aaaaaaaa-men."
[Mama is torn between being proud to hear her son praying and perplexed about the topic of his prayers.]
John: "I have also crossed my fingers on both hands just in case God didn't hear me."
Mama: "Well then I'd venture to say we're covered on all fronts."
And as if color-changer bottle didn't knock our socks off , the VBS week culminated in a concert where the littles showed off their songs, art work and new friendships.  I think that my ears have never heard a sweeter sound than a hundred little raising their voices in proclamation of how much GOD LOVES THEM!

PANDAMONIUM
As if that wasn't wild enough for one week, in our usual fashion, we thought it would be astounding to throw in not just a stomach bug and multiple power outages but a trip to the urgent care to boot.

Luckily the bug was short lived and limited only to the PCP.  He missed Monday at VBS but was fully recovered by that afternoon.

It's been raining cats and dogs here off and on all week!  Our power has been out three times for hours at a time.  So, we made the most of it by building indoor forts, coloring and puzzling by flashlights and playing I Spy In The Dark.
As for our trip to the Urgent Care, John took a little tumble and gashed open his knee this time around.  The PCP took the three stitches in stride and, actually, found them quite unimpressive compared to the fourteen he "earned" in his chin last month.  Just to make sure he was a-ok, we made a little jaunt by Pinkberry (recall how I treat my children with treats that I secretly really want) to sample their new summer flavors.  While John's watermelon cone was perfectly delish, my salted caramel cone with chocolate shavings has got to be just what frozen yogurt tastes like in Heaven.
On that note, we're off to procure some waterproof bandaids, an ace bandage (to assist in keeping the knee straight) and some Pinkberry.  You know, just be absolutely, positively, one hundred percent certain the PCP is O.K.
xoxo

6.24.2011

Ripe For The Picking

Along with sorority big sis H and her three littles, we headed back down to Southern Belle Farm for a fun filled day convening with nature.  Having completely od'd on strawberries, this time we brought home two gallons of gorgeously plump, super sweet thornless blackberries ripe for the picking!

As is standard operating procedure when at the farm, we also picnic'd, gobbled up homemade strawberry ice cream and visited with hoards of animals.

And our day trip was forever memorialized when we just so happened to run into a local news crew filming a segment on the farm.  They were extremely impressed with Cookie's undeniable proficiency at eating blackberries and he made his television debut (after his initial print campaign) that very night.
All was well with the world until they asked me, in all of my sweaty, unshowered glory, to say a few words about the farm.  Fully expecting to have berries and goat hair smattered about my being after this excursion, I had on only the most heinous ensemble in my closet.  And my hair in a bun.  Aye-yae-yae.
We've been baking, drinking, eating and concocting with our loot all week.  Can't wait to share the details!
xoxo

6.23.2011

Flipping for FLIP

I am still flipping out over FLIP, only the best boutique burger bar in Atlanta.  If you haven't been, please make plans to do so now.  Each and every time I go it is just beyond amazing.
Honey and I meet up for a lunch date without the littles a couple of times a month.  And FLIP is a standard part of the rotation.  We always sit at the bar and predictably order "the usual."

One Local, halved to share.  What?  That doesn't sound too fabulous?  Au contraire mon frere.  Not only is the burger itself perfection, but it's loaded with heirloom tomatoes, grilled vidalia onion and local cheese.

One Pimento Cheeseburger, halved to share.  This is one of FLIP's most popular options and you'll know why after one bite.  Pancetta, pimento cheese, bread and butter pickles.  Mmmmm....

One order of hand cut fries with smoked mayo/ketchup.  To share.

And finally, the coup de grace of the meal.  Wait for it.  Wait for it.  One Nutella and Burnt Marshmallow Milkshake.  Wipe the drool from your chin.  Okay.  Yes, there is such a thing as a nutella and burnt marshmallow milkshake and it IS every bit as divine as it sounds.  I think about this thing when I'm not at FLIP.  The milkshake part is totally nutella-fied and masterfully yummy.  Then it's loaded with mini-marshmallows burnt with the kitchen torch.  Just before serving, it's topped with liquid nitrogen to give it a smashing, smoking presentation.  Genius, I say.

It's now approximately nine hours after devouring said meal and I'm still sitting here with my pants unbuttoned.  Totally gorged, but totally worth it.  As they proclaim, FLIP truly is fine dining between two buns.

xoxo

6.22.2011

Brother Club

When the littles begged and pleaded for a playset in the backyard Honey jumped right on that project.  You see, this great neighborhood has one pretty major flaw - no playground!  There are a couple nearby, but nothing in walking distance.  So, we watched the sale flyers in the Sunday paper until we found an affordable option that wouldn't take over the entire back yard.

All was good and fine with the building of the thing (I mean, from the air conditioned comfort of my sofa all seemed good and fine) until Honey went to screw on the green and neon yellow topper to the "fort" (as the PCP likes to call it).
This is just about when I put the pedal to the metal and headed straight to Lewis and Sheron for something a little sassier (and, lets face it, a lot less neon.)  I was happy as a lark to come across a black and white polka dot indoor/outdoor fabric perfect for my project at only eight dollars a yard.  Note: this is not the exact one I purchased.
I used the provided garish yellow/green tarp as my template and simply cut out the new fabric to fit with pinking shears.  I added the triangle cut fringe along the bottom front ad-hoc as I went.  You know, to give it a lil somethin' somethin'.  (Insert profuse apologies here for having no pictures of this process.  I promise it was as easy as pie.)  
As Honey was finishing up the building of the jungle gym, I scrounged up a scrap piece of wood from the basement workroom to make a little sign for the front of the playset.  I then picked up an outdoor sticker alphabet pack at Hobby Lobby and, after spray painting by wood black, went to town spelling out "Brother Club".  I hope that it will weather a bit and probably should have distressed it before Honey screwed it on but, as previously mentioned on this here blog, I have known instant gratification issues (and no plans to work through them) and just wanted it D.O.N.E.
I think it turned out splendidly. And the littles... well, they could care less about my newfangled tarp and custom sign as they are swinging, sliding, climbing and hanging upside down on their very own playground. :-)
And, if you were wondering...
1) Yes, my littles (and Bird) play outside half nekkid while I lounge on our newly decorated deck sipping on wine at the end of a loooong day with Honey.  It's like a backyard hootenanny around here.  I'm sure old Miss J was muttering all sorts of unmentionables under her breath.
2) My grass is admittedly horrendous.  Embarrassingly so.  Which is why I'm just totally tickled that we are getting new grass next week!!!  Oh, and perhaps that will please the aforementioned Miss J for a day or two (until I bathe the kids in the sprinkler or check the mail in my nightgown again.)

Happy second day of Summer, y'all!
xoxo
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