Oh Target, How I Love Thee

Good Monday morning! I shared some details of my son’s mini room makeover a couple of weeks ago and I’m happy to say I have reached a stopping point – meaning I’ve done all it makes sense to do in a room of a house we very likely may be listing on the market soon. The final steps of his mini room makeover included painting his bookcase the same Sherwin Williams Organic Green as his nightstand, adding some fun new accessories as well as repainting a few old accessories, and organizing and rearranging until I basically passed out. It’s amazing how good the act of decluttering feels. See below for some peeks at his bookcase.

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I also shared with you a couple of weeks ago my slight obsession with Target’s Pillowfort line. I thought I had cleared their shelves of the items I wanted for this room redesign, but lo and behold, the bear head came back in stock! And after that I discovered a set of sheets I hadn’t seen before and then came to the decision that he needed yet another fleece blanket in his room because three’s just not enough, especially with summer right around the corner. So you probably get the point. Basically I found myself spending way too large a sum of money at my beloved Target yet again. I’m telling you that 5% off with the Red Card that doesn’t sound like much at all can actually pay your utility bills when you frequent Target as much as I do. I realize I probably shouldn’t be proud of that.

The main thing I love about the Pillowfort line is that it’s fun, with a capital F.U.N. Each item gives off a hint of whimsy and what child’s room doesn’t need some of that? There actually are different “collections” within the Pillowfort line, but the great thing about this line is that you can mix and match items from the different collections and the turnout is still amazing. I’ve compiled my favorite nine below.

Fleece Tree Blanket – http://www.target.com/p/forest-plush-blanket-pillowfort/-/A-50293972
Stuffed Bear Head – http://www.target.com/p/bear-head-wall-d-cor-pillowfort/-/A-50075922
Plus Sign Sheets – http://www.target.com/p/plus-sign-sheet-set-pillowfort/-/A-51582242
Fox Lamp – http://www.target.com/p/fox-table-lamp-white-pillowfort/-/A-50193451
Seek Adventure Sign– http://www.target.com/p/seek-adventure-framed-art-pillowfort/-/A-50075700
Teepee – http://www.target.com/p/southwestern-teepee-pillowfort/-/A-51850454
Stitched Quilt – http://www.target.com/p/channel-stitch-quilt-and-sham-set-pillowfort/-/A-50710791
Stuffed Bear – http://www.target.com/p/stuffed-bear-character-throw-pillow-pillowfort/-/A-50089205
Forest Animals Sheets – http://www.target.com/p/forest-friends-sheet-set-pillowfort/-/A-50356578

As for that bear head, it’s cute right? I debated buying it for so long that it became temporarily unavailable – probably a sign I should’ve acknowledged – but it recently reappeared at my local Target and I snagged it up. I’m not one for having animal heads on my walls (hence the debate I had in my head for entirely too long) but when they’re that cute and that fake you gotta give in a little, am I right?

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It may be a while until this project is 100% complete but I promise to share all the details when it is. In the meantime, if you ever find yourself filling your Target cart with Pillowfort goodies, I’d love to hear what you snagged 🙂

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!

From Out-Dated Country to Freshened-Up Modern

I’m in the middle of kind of redesigning my son’s room, who’s now three. THREE?!? I still can’t believe my husband and I have managed to raise a pretty much perfect child. Yes, I’m biased. I say “kind of” redesigning because I’m limiting myself – and if you know me well at all you know that is a HUGE challenge for me. But because we’re hoping to move in the very near future, it just makes sense. So painting and wallpapering are out (bummer right?), as is curtain shopping and rug purchasing. I mean you never know how many windows are going to be in his next room or how large the floor area will be. Good points, hubs, good points. Although I’m gonna go with two windows and the floor area won’t matter because I’m just wanting a small accent rug – BUT no need to argue. I’ll take a little redesigning over no redesigning any day.

Our son has been in a crib up until a couple weeks ago. I know! Go ahead and begin the judging. Talk about not wanting to let go of that baby phase, right? Honestly though, that’s only part of it. Although watching him move from one phase to another makes my heart fill with joy, it does break a little piece off my heart each time as well. He’s already a little boy and it’s just so crazy how fast that’s happened. So yes, although I can sometimes scarily picture myself being one of those crazy moms who refuses to let her child grow up, that’s not the whole story. Procrastination is the other part. It’s been on my To-Do list to refinish his future bed for the l.o.n.g.e.s.t time, but other things kept taking precedence. He wasn’t jumping out of his crib so I didn’t see the rush. But it finally happened a couple weeks ago! And he actually sleeps better, which had I known the difference it would make I would’ve put him in a bed at 3 months old. I’m so thrilled that the bed he’s now sleeping in belonged to his GiGi (my mother-in-law). I just find it so awesome when you can keep good furniture pieces in the family. Anyway, I hated to even touch it but due to a decent amount of wear and tear, my husband and I sanded it down (not that fun of a task in case you’re wondering) and I put one coat of stain and a couple coats of poly on it and that was it.

IMG_20170227_084159_671

So of course along with the new bed came the need for new bedding, and that led to some things not matching which led to the need for some furniture repainting and new accessory purchasing. And did I mention we get to remove the changing table because potty training was finally a success (I’ll hate myself forever if I just jinxed that). And some things still match but they’re just too “babyish” at this point, etc etc. Like my justifying skills? I should teach a class. Anyway, a new night stand was on the “need” list but rather than buying one I scoured our basement and found this –

Really not that bad-looking if you ask me, although I have NO idea why I bought it in the first place. I remember being at an antique & consignment store years back and thinking it was  a good price and somehow it ended up in the back of my car, after paying for it of course. Am I the only one that ever happens to? It made a quick appearance in our game room and then wound up in the basement. But thank God, because it came in handy for this partial redesign. I wasn’t quite digging the overall look though – it was a little too country for the direction I was hoping to head. My ultimate goal is to make my son’s room fresh and fun and a little on the modern side. I’m 100% obsessed with Target’s Pillowfort collection (http://www.target.com/c/pillowfort-brand-shop/-/N-4vp6f). I’m sure you are now too. The pops of color and whimsy are just too much, in a good way. This collection has been my inspiration for this redesign, and while a good bit of my son’s room is going to end up black, white, and grey, you know there has to be some major pops of color if the room is in my house. Enter SW Organic Green paint and a new bright white drawer pull.

All this project required was a light sanding with a sanding sponge, a couple coats of paint, and a coat of polyurethane. I even had a little help from the man of the hour himself.

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Next, the old drawer pull was removed with a screwdriver and the new one was put on. Because the new drawer pull didn’t line up perfectly with the old holes (go figure), I did have to add nail hole filler to the old holes before painting the drawer. New holes had to be drilled for the new pull, but it’s easier than you may think, I promise.

My son was super excited to get a new night stand, which I just find so adorable. He’s already filled the drawer with his miniature rock and shell collection and he keeps telling me he “loves the new handle” … pinch me now. Add a fox lamp and a cute bear from the Pillowfort collection and there you have it. Step 2 in Austin’s room redesign is complete. Step 1 was the bed and Step 3 will be painting his bookcase the same Organic Green – stay tuned!

 

Design Board Deets

Happy Wednesday! I have to say thank you for all the feedback regarding my first e-design! I was thrilled to have so many questions/comments abound from me sharing the 4 room design boards I used in this project, and since I had several people ask where certain items came from, etc., I figured why not share all the deets of each board with you now? I mean I’d hate to keep anyone in utter suspense any longer than necessary … that just seems cruel, no?

So if you’re thinking of redoing a room, or you just want to add some special touches, or maybe you just feel like looking at pretty things (and who doesn’t) … read on! Pick your favorite design elements and click the links below to see where to shop. How’s that for easy?

 

Board 1: Pattern Play

Oh how I love me some prints and patterns. Mix ’em all up and it’s an even better outcome, especially when lots of color is involved.


Alexa Reclaimed Wood Bed – http://www.westelm.com/products/alexa-bed-set-h771/

Aprile Duvet – https://www.anthropologie.com/shop/aprile-duvet

Teal Velvet Pillowhttp://www.worldmarket.com/product/deep+teal+velvet+throw+pillow.do?&from=Search

Pale Green Velvet Pillowhttp://www.worldmarket.com/product/iguana+green+velvet+throw+pillow.do?&from=Search

Pale Blue Velvet Pillowhttp://www.worldmarket.com/product/ocean-blue-velvet-throw-pillow.do?&from=Search

Three Drawer Night stand – https://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/Nightstands/2016/subcat.html?featuredproduct=9278291&featuredoption=13602739&cid=202290&kid=9553000357392&track=pspla&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=16441702-000-000&gclid=CO-0_8fXsswCFQyNaQodt6cACw&gclsrc=aw.ds

Teal Lamp http://www.worldmarket.com/product/blue-potted-accent-lamp-base.do?&from=Search

Twine Wrapped Lamp Shade – http://www.worldmarket.com/product/twine-wrapped+table+lamp+shade.do?&from=Search

Yellow/Off-White Rug – http://www.worldmarket.com/product/yellow+lucine+flat-woven+wool+rug.do?show_directory=true&from=fn

Wooden Bead Chandelier – http://www.target.com/p/metal-chandelier-with-wood-beads/-/A-17361134?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=google_pla_df&CPNG=PLA_Lighting%2BShopping&adgroup=SC_Lighting&LID=700000001170770pgs&network=g&device=c&location=9010755&gclid=Cj0KEQjw6Ya5BRDdyOewyo_Z_64BEiQA-fVKewaEh9fNaYTYIxBOF-sd03716WR3AbIUDeV1LpCYDD8aAvsU8P8HAQ&gclsrc=aw.ds

White Crinkle Curtains – http://www.worldmarket.com/product/white-crinkle-voile-curtain.do?&from=Search

Green/White Chevron Dresserhttps://www.pinterest.com/pin/254031235202501909/ -DIY from Pinterest (take any old dresser, paint it off-white, and add a green chevron design – easier than you may think!)

 

Board 2: Color-Punch Farmhouse

I love the farmhouse feel, but I need a little color in my life too. Enter neutral colors/pieces with punches of blue, red and yellow.

Alexa Reclaimed Wood Bed – http://www.westelm.com/products/alexa-bed-set-h771/

White Pintuck Duvet – http://www.westelm.com/products/organic-cotton-pin-tuck-duvet-cover-and-shams-b340/?pkey=e%7Cpintuck%2Bduvet%7C1%7Cbest%7C0%7Cviewall%7C24%7C%7C1&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH

Red/Blue Watercolor Pillow – https://society6.com/product/watercolor-ovals-red-blue–cream_pillow?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=1027&c_kid=2932079p26251931812647345&gclid=CMS8wr7dsswCFZeEaQodJFUIXw#25=193&18=126

Teal Velvet Pillowhttp://www.worldmarket.com/product/deep+teal+velvet+throw+pillow.do?&from=Search

Gold Arrow Pillowhttps://www.zazzle.com/faux_gold_foil_white_arrows_pattern_accent_pillow-256247581338257953

Blue Two Door Stand – http://www.juniperhillantiques.com/Furniture93.html

White Lamp – http://www.target.com/p/faceted-lamp-base-large-white-threshold/-/A-17319966

Lamp Shade – https://www.google.com/search?q=target+goldish+yellow+lamp+shade&biw=1517&bih=735&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjTgr7sp6TSAhXE3YMKHfNIDfQQ_AUIBygC#tbm=isch&q=target+gold+pattern+lamp+shade&imgrc=Wac3FFGXBlc4cM:

Blue/White Rug – https://www.google.com/search?q=Magical+Thinking+Flourish+Tile+Printed+Rug&biw=1517&bih=735&tbm=isch&source=lnms&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjMgdifqqTSAhUE1CYKHW1QDcEQ_AUIBigB#imgrc=TelyfM2YeFiLVM:

Wooden Bead Chandelier – http://www.target.com/p/metal-chandelier-with-wood-beads/-/A-17361134?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=google_pla_df&CPNG=PLA_Lighting%2BShopping&adgroup=SC_Lighting&LID=700000001170770pgs&network=g&device=c&location=9010755&gclid=Cj0KEQjw6Ya5BRDdyOewyo_Z_64BEiQA-fVKewaEh9fNaYTYIxBOF-sd03716WR3AbIUDeV1LpCYDD8aAvsU8P8HAQ&gclsrc=aw.ds

White Crinkle Curtains – http://www.worldmarket.com/product/white-crinkle-voile-curtain.do?&from=Search

Natural Wood Dresser – broken Pinterest link 😦 … BUT similar pieces could be found by searching for farmhouse / vintage / french style dressers

 

Board 3: Beachy Cool & Calm

This design calms me, even with the pops of color and the different patterns. I think it’s that soft blue linen duvet …


Alexa Reclaimed Wood Bed – http://www.westelm.com/products/alexa-bed-set-h771/

Light Blue Linen Duvethttp://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/productdetail.jsp?id=36559508&category=A_BED_D

Mustard/White Pillow – http://www.target.com/p/room-essentials-patterned-decorative-pillow-yellow/-/A-13877253?sid=373S&ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=google_pla_df&CPNG=PLA_Bedding+Shopping_Local&adgroup=Decorative%20Pillow_SC_Local&LID=700000001170770pgs&network=g&device=c&location=9010755&lsft=gclid:Cj0KEQjw6Ya5BRDdyOewyo_Z_64BEiQA-fVKe1X8vZgLSUXZUj8Fa1jJEI3mwklpfswcpaXaYrKKx1EaAoaR8P8HAQ,gclsrc:aw.ds&gclid=Cj0KEQjw6Ya5BRDdyOewyo_Z_64BEiQA-fVKe1X8vZgLSUXZUj8Fa1jJEI3mwklpfswcpaXaYrKKx1EaAoaR8P8HAQ&gclsrc=aw.dsRed/White Pillow

Coral/White Pillow – http://www.laylagrayce.com/Products/Surya-Rain-Coral-Ornate-IndoorOutdoor-Decorative-Pillow__SURG068.aspx?gclid=Cj0KEQjw6Ya5BRDdyOewyo_Z_64BEiQA-fVKe-C68QuWB43p3chpNT8RTnFoKg0frTInDlJ20zXjZzgaAj748P8HAQ

Light Blue Mandala Pillow – https://society6.com/product/pale-blue-pencil-pattern-hand-drawn-lace-mandala_pillow?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=1027&c_kid=2654563p26251931812647345&gclid=CL7X1bHgsswCFQqsaQodXQMANw#25=193&18=126

Off-White Night Stand – another broken Pinterest link 😦 … BUT this is a simple shabby chic french country style piece of furniture and super easy to DIY. To achieve this finish, find the style dresser you like and chalk paint away!

Blue Lamp – http://www.westelm.com/products/8570202/?catalogId=73&sku=8570202&bnrid=3902401&cm_ven=Google_PLA&cm_cat=Shopping&cm_pla=Table_Lamps&cm_ite=AllProducts&gclid=CJmro_jjsswCFQmqaQodNf4Duw&kwid=productads-adid^47300728793-device^c-plaid^87418767175-sku^8570202-adType^PLA

Lamp Shade – https://www.google.com/search?q=target+goldish+yellow+lamp+shade&biw=1517&bih=735&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjTgr7sp6TSAhXE3YMKHfNIDfQQ_AUIBygC#tbm=isch&q=target+gold+pattern+lamp+shade&imgrc=Wac3FFGXBlc4cM:

Bleached Ivory Jute Rughttp://www.worldmarket.com/product/bleached+ivory+basket+weave+jute+rug.do?&from=Search

Wooden Bead Chandelier – http://www.target.com/p/metal-chandelier-with-wood-beads/-/A-17361134?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=google_pla_df&CPNG=PLA_Lighting%2BShopping&adgroup=SC_Lighting&LID=700000001170770pgs&network=g&device=c&location=9010755&gclid=Cj0KEQjw6Ya5BRDdyOewyo_Z_64BEiQA-fVKewaEh9fNaYTYIxBOF-sd03716WR3AbIUDeV1LpCYDD8aAvsU8P8HAQ&gclsrc=aw.ds

Multi-Colored Crinkle Curtains –http://www.worldmarket.com/product/multicolored+leela+crinkle+voile+cotton+curtains+set+of+2.do?&from=Search

Green/White Chevron Dresserhttps://www.pinterest.com/pin/254031235202501909/ -DIY from Pinterest (take any old dresser, paint it off-white, and add a green chevron design – easier than you may think!)

 

Board 4: Color Waves

I literally see waves of colors when I look at this design and it makes me so happy. From the punch of teal to the pink on the chair, I think every shade of the rainbow is covered here.

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Alexa Reclaimed Wood Bed – http://www.westelm.com/products/alexa-bed-set-h771/

Teal Pinch-Pleat Duvet – http://www.target.com/p/teal-pinched-pleat-duvet-cover-set-full-queen-3-piece-threshold/-/A-15341477?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=google_pla_df&CPNG=PLA_Bedding+Shopping&adgroup=SC_Bedding&LID=700000001170770pgs&network=s&device=c&location=9010755&gclid=CIv44o-zpNICFdgNgQodBr0HXQ&gclsrc=aw.ds

Light Blue Fluffy Pillow – https://www.wayfairsupply.com/House-of-Hampton-Luanna-Throw-Pillow-HOHN1002-L1227-K~HOHN1002.html?refid=GX95999180609-HOHN1002_14633277_14633281_14633286&device=c&ptid=160006651943&PiID%5B%5D=14633277&PiID%5B%5D=14633281&PiID%5B%5D=14633286&gclid=COqh9OyK9swCFUM8gQodKVIOVQ

Multi-Color Pillow – https://www.atgstores.com/decorative-pillows/surya-hsk108-kheta-decorative-pillow_12047392.html?gclid=CMrzppCN9swCFZQjgQodbtsPSQ&af=2615&ef_id=VVpsmQAABbxXWA23:20160525205015:s

Light Blue Mandala Pillow – https://society6.com/product/pale-blue-pencil-pattern-hand-drawn-lace-mandala_pillow?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=1027&c_kid=2654563p26251931812647345&gclid=CL7X1bHgsswCFQqsaQodXQMANw#25=193&18=126

Gold Arrow Pillowhttps://www.zazzle.com/faux_gold_foil_white_arrows_pattern_accent_pillow-256247581338257953

Off-White Night Stand – another broken Pinterest link 😦 … BUT this is a simple shabby chic french country style piece of furniture and super easy to DIY. To achieve this finish, find the style dresser you like and chalk paint away!

Blue Recycled Glass Lamp – https://www.google.com/search?q=6+drawer+wood+dresser+vintage&espv=2&biw=1517&bih=735&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj5mOzXqqTSAhVKQCYKHRpKAXEQ_AUIBygC#tbm=isch&q=target+blue+recycled+glass+lamp&imgrc=UERD8cO10LQBtM:

Multi-Colored Crinkle Curtains –http://www.worldmarket.com/product/multicolored+leela+crinkle+voile+cotton+curtains+set+of+2.do?&from=Search

Chindi Chair – http://www.worldmarket.com/product/metal+woven+chindi+chair.do?&from=Search

Green/White Chevron Dresserhttps://www.pinterest.com/pin/254031235202501909/ -DIY from Pinterest (take any old dresser, paint it off-white, and add a green chevron design – easier than you may think!)

 

I’d love to hear which is your favorite design and/or if you fell in love with any of the items I picked … I know I did! And stay tuned to see the final outcome of the corresponding e-design project – a peaceful master bedroom retreat. It’s my very first one and I’m so excited it’s finally in the final stages! Here’s to being halfway through the week and to a wonderful weekend ahead 🙂

 

Pass the Nutella

I’m well aware that I already claimed last year to have found the perfect cookie but here I go again about to make the exact same claim. In my defense, those perfect cookies I shared with you last February https://myhouseoflove.com/2016/02/29/the-perfect-cookie/ fall under the healthy (but not really) section while these perfect cookies I’m about to share with you fall under the not, nowhere near, not even remotely close, to being healthy section. And that might be pretty much the only difference … oh, plus these have Nutella. And I think we all know you can NOT go wrong there.

The very first time I baked these I swore to high heavens I would never make them again because they’re not exactly what you’d call “easy” and they’re definitely what you’d call a bit messy. Never before did I realize making chocolate chip cookies could be such an all-out affair. It took only one quick bite, however, to make me forget all about the time-consuming mess I had just taken part in and I proceeded to bake them again and again and forty times after that. They’ve become my holiday go-to, with me baking approximately 200 each & every Christmas so that I can win the hearts of family, friends and coworkers. I think it works.

Who knows? With Valentines Day coming up maybe you yourself can win over some hearts, or maybe just your own. I won’t judge.

NUTELLA-STUFFED TRIPLE-CHOCOLATE COOKIES (makes 2 dozen)

(recipe adapted from Ambitious Kitchen)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted & cooled
  • 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • Nutella, chilled

DIRECTIONS

  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda & salt and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the butter and both sugars using an electric mixer.
  • Mix in the eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined.
  • Fold in all of those delicious chocolate chips.
  • Chill dough in fridge for at least 2 hours.
  • After dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Measure out a heaping tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball, then flatten gently.
  • Measure out some Nutella (I usually go for a heaping teaspoon) and place in the middle of the flattened dough.
  • Fold dough up around the Nutella and gently roll back into a ball.
  • Place dough on baking sheet about 2 inches apart and flatten gently.
  • Bake about 10 minutes or until edges turn golden.
  • Let cookies cool a few minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Sprinkle cookies with a little sea salt if you wish (I definitely recommend this step).
  • Try to eat just one. I double-dog dare you.

 

‘Til Next Time!

Time For Turkey

Happy Thanksgiving Week Monday! How is it time for turkey already??? My husband and I hosted his family yesterday for our annual “early Thanksgiving/November birthdays” meal – nothing like killing three birds with one stone. We travel each year for Thanksgiving to see my extended family, so we started this tradition of having his family over the weekend before so as not to miss out on celebrating and giving thanks with them. I’m not sure which year we’re on because me and history do not go together, but I’d say it’s a tradition we’ll hold on to for many more to come.

My husband and I have a tendency to always cook way too much food but this year takes the cake. We have leftovers for days and maybe even weeks. Oh who am I kidding? We both like to eat so it might be gone tomorrow. Regardless, better to have too much than not enough in my opinion (and it never goes to waste). We tried out several new recipes this year and I have to say I was pretty happy with the way things turned out. So … if you’re like me and wait until the last minute to do certain things (like planning your Thanksgiving day menu) – or maybe you just need some last minute ideas – this post is definitely for you. Or if you’re like me and just enjoy cooking, baking, and better yet eating, this post is even more so definitely for you 🙂

2016 Thanksgiving Day Menu

Appetizers
Spicy Black Bean Hummus with Pretzel Crisps
Shrimp Cocktail
Chicken Wings

Main Course
Turkey Tenderloin
Kale Salad
Rolls
Orange Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce

Slow Cooker Stuffing
Green Bean Casserole
Pineapple Casserole
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
Roasted Acorn Squash

Desserts
Pumpkin Pie
Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Cookies
Cast Iron Triple Berry Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream

Anything making your mouth water? Maybe pictures will help. I’m sharing some of the recipes below as well!

Spicy Black Bean Hummus
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Throw everything into a food processor and combine until smooth!

Chicken Wings
Done on the Big Green Egg by my talented husband (marinated in Lupo’s Chicken Barbeque Marinade)

 

Turkey Tenderloin
Also done on the Big Green Egg by my talented husband (injected with Lupo’s Lemon-Garlic Marinade). Lupo’s is pretty phenomenal.

Kale Salad (serves 6-8) – adapted from foodbabe.com
2 large bunches dinosaur kale, stems removed
1 cup pomegranate craisins
juice of 3 lemons
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 cup walnuts, toasted
salt and pepper, to taste
12 tablespoons grated parmesan

Throw kale into food processor and process into tiny chopped pieces. Stir lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper together in large bowl. Add in chopped kale, craisins, pine nuts, walnuts and parmesan and stir together into dressing.

Orange Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce – courtesy of the Pioneer Woman
http://thepioneerwoman.com/food-and-friends/thanksgiving-dinner-how-to-make-cranberry-sauce/

Slow Cooker Stuffing – courtesy of Cooking Classy
http://www.cookingclassy.com/slow-cooker-stuffing/

Green Bean Casserole (serves 8)
2 cans green beans
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups french fried onions
1/2 shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix green beans, cream of mushroom soup, milk and black pepper together in casserole dish. Cover with french fried onions. Bake for 25 minutes. Add cheddar cheese, cover dish with foil and bake for 10 more minutes.

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
Slice potatoes in half and place in baking dish. Top with butter and/or olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and dill and bake at 400 F for 1 hour.

Roasted Acorn Squash
Slice squash in half and place on baking sheet. Top with butter, cinnamon and brown sugar and bake at 420 F for 75 minutes.

 

Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Cookies – I accidentally screwed up my typical go-to cookies by using unrefined coconut oil instead of refined coconut oil, but they were still very well-received. So for a more coconut-y flavor in these cookies, stick to the unrefined!
https://myhouseoflove.com/2016/02/29/the-perfect-cookie/

Cast Iron Triple Berry Cobbler
https://myhouseoflove.com/2015/11/16/cast-iron-cobbler/

The foods from the menu that I don’t have recipes for (shrimp cocktail, rolls, pineapple casserole and pumpkin pie) were all brought by my in-laws and I failed to get pictures because well, you know how hosting goes – forgot until it was too late. But they were of course equally as delicious and definite must-haves to make this early Thanksgiving celebration simply perfect.

Many blessings to all for a safe and happy Thanksgiving. I hope everyone enjoys their week, finds many reasons to give thanks, and eats lots of good eats. ‘Til next time!

Childhood Fading

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My son went trick or treating for the first time Monday night, and somehow within that short hour or so span I was reminded just how quickly his childhood is moving. Watching him in all his excitement, yelling “trick or treat” over and over as soon as his hand left mine at the top of each driveway, running way too fast down each driveway and up each step, I found myself half filled with joy and half filled with sadness. Will it be this delightfully exciting for him next year? Will his costume be as adorably innocent? Will he be as eager and enthusiastic to show me each and every piece of candy he gets at each and every house? Maybe so, but a larger part of me thinks no. I think the excitement will always be there – I mean how can it not be with free candy in the picture? The expectations will be there though and at some point having his mom and dad waiting at the top of each driveway might kind of annoy him. Not to mention this is probably the last year I’ll get to choose his costume – although he wholeheartedly agreed to dressing up as the man with the yellow hat from Curious George, most likely next year it’ll be something a little more “modern”. If I had it my way, he’d be old-school PBS characters forever. It’s amazing the thoughts and feelings one can have just witnessing something as simple as the act of trick or treating.

Along with all these thoughts and feelings came the harsh realization that I have not been living in the present lately. I’ve been trapped in a fog of sadness, worry, impatience and even a little anger, all the while missing out on precious moments of time. About a month ago I went through a miscarriage and during this time my husband and I found out that it may be too risky for us to have any more children. This news blindsided us and in a way turned our worlds upside down. It was devastating to hear and I took it in and let it run my life, focusing on the negative and nothing else. As if the miscarriage wasn’t hard enough, we now had this to contend with. Why us? Why me? I’ve let these questions plague me for the past month and in turn my attitude, my mood and my lifestyle have all been affected. I’ve been okay on the outside but inside has been a bit tumultuous. I just haven’t felt good. It’s been a long, drawn-out process and I unfortunately couldn’t just pop back up from it, like some people seem to do. But when it comes down to it, I needed this time to mourn. I needed this time to be sad and angry. I needed this time to self-indulge and not give a you know what about eating right or making sure I got that treadmill workout in. I needed this time to feel all the feels and process everything. But at some point I know I can’t live in this place forever. I have to accept the hand I’m dealt and move forward.

Watching my sweet son and his friends running, giggling and screaming with excitement this past Halloween reminded me that the time to do that is probably now. This baby of mine has already gone from a toddler to a little boy in a short moment’s worth of time. Soon that little boy will turn into a bigger boy and then a tween and then a teen and then before I know it he’ll be leaving the house and then what? It absolutely breaks my heart to think that far ahead. I want to freeze him right here and right now. I feel like I need at least 6 more kids and then maybe by the time the last one leaves I’d actually be okay with it. But that probably won’t be the case. Age and health issues aside, I don’t think my husband would go for that many. So what else is there to do besides be grateful for the life I do have and trust that there’s a plan for me? What else is there to do besides live in the moment and cherish each second I’m given with the family I do have? Not much. And I feel like I’m finally back to being conscientious of that.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I can handle my situation. If we don’t have another child, it won’t be the end of the world. While the dreams I dreamt may not play out like I envisioned, they’ll play out somehow and we’ll be okay. And who knows? Maybe we will be blessed with another child – there is still hope. At the same time though, I never realized the devastation of miscarriage before going through one myself. Selfishly I never understood how it could be so hard to lose someone you’ve never physically met or held. I kick myself now. It’s hard. My heart goes out to all those suffering from miscarriage and infertility issues. Alone I have a handful of friends dealing with similar issues and I’m in awe of their strength. As October was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, I guess this post may have been a little more fitting to publish then, but I’m close enough and really we should always be aware. Think twice before you wonder why so and so doesn’t have any kids. Second guess yourself before pushing infertility and miscarriage aside as “not so bad”. Post away on Facebook and Instagram and whatever other social media outlets there are these days – I swear I’m not that old but I can NOT keep up – but be mindful that the 15 pictures posted of your kids every. single. day. might be a little much. Just saying. Reach out. Empathize and sympathize. Hug a sister. I haven’t been through much at all, but this glimpse I had into the world of miscarriage and infertility was enough to completely change my view. It also made me realize that I, myself, haven’t been as supportive as I should have been to those I love – to those who have experienced or are experiencing these issues. I might be one of the least PC people you’ll ever meet and I don’t get offended at much, but at the same time I do believe a little sensitivity can go a long way.

Cheers to November, friends, and to a happy and healthy holiday season. If you’re down and out, give yourself time. But then grasp for that string of hope, knowing there’s a plan for you, and live the life you’re given the best way you know how. Love to all.

Organized Chaos

The room in our house that was once used as a feeble attempt by both my husband and myself at (barely) hanging on to our younger, cooler identities has slowly made its way into a colorful wonderland of organized childhood chaos (and I don’t necessarily mean ‘colorful’ in a good way – think along the lines of “Elmo” red and other obnoxiously bright colors). Yep, believe it or not, what is the current playroom was once upon a time – not too very long ago – a pretty legit game room with a pool/ping pong table, a dart board, a large fish tank and pictures upon pictures of musicians, breweries, personal photography and the like plastered all over the walls. A reminder to everyone visiting – or more likely just to the two of us – that we were still somewhat hip.

And now, you ask? Now, my friends, is this …



… but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The toys were once contained in one corner of the den. Once. But the pile gradually became larger and larger and we eventually found the toys spreading into the beloved game room … and so began all the daydreams of how I was going to redo this room. Only natural, right? My original plans involved new paint, new wall decor, new furniture, new lighting and a new rug, among other things; however, with the idea of moving in the near future hot on my husband’s radar, he managed to talk me into a more simple redo (he’s got skills y’all). So there I was – wondering how in the world I was going to organize such chaos without breaking the bank.

First up – accept that the room belonged to our kid now. No 1/2 game room, 1/2 play room – trust me, I tried. We needed all the space we could get though, because oddly enough the bigger our kid gets the bigger his toys get. Who knew? Out went the pool/ping pong table, out went the huge fish tank, and out went the random chairs and bar stools. I promise it was a coincidence that the last fish standing (swimming rather) bailed on us just as I was beginning to redo this room. It was still a sad moment, because yes, I am one of those people who shed a tear or seventy over the death of a fish – but it really couldn’t have come at a better time. This cleared out an enormous amount of space and I felt like I had a blank template (kind of). We didn’t paint, we didn’t add new wall decor, and we actually decided to purge the rug and go rugless. I have to admit the rugless thing feels pretty good – not to mention the room feels SO much bigger. The rug was extremely worn out and never really matched to begin with, so no harm there.

Next up – find toy storage for close to no money. I promise it can be done guys. Get creative and scour the other rooms in your house. You might be surprised at what you can repurpose. Or if you don’t have any luck there, check out your local Goodwill or other thrift stores for some bargains. Luckily we already had this piece of furniture holding our ginormous fish tank, so after clearing it of all the fish supplies, I had 3 cabinets as well as the top and bottom shelves for … you guessed it – toys! And yes, that is a little bitty fish tank you see there. I can’t possibly imagine life without at least one fish in it.

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This basket and toy bin were originally in Austin’s room, but their purpose was more for looks than usefulness. Not anymore. I was able to store a good amount of his books in the basket and most of his blocks in the toy bin.

This adorable locker and metal rack with baskets were Goodwill finds from a while back. I had really good intentions of refinishing the locker for Austin’s room, but when I realized he really didn’t need it at the time I stuffed it in the back of my craft closet like I tend to do with projects I have no intention of finishing anytime soon. Did I mention the closet’s stuffed? I purchased the metal rack to hold my craft supplies, but since organizing the craft room is another project I have yet to finish, it too became toy storage.

Lastly – organize it all. I added a foam alphabet mat to one corner of the playroom as an area for playing with blocks. I also wanted a space for Austin’s younger (baby) friends to play since the rest of the room was now rugless. As you can see, this area also serves as the place where he parks his car and pitches his tent. Talk about multi-functional … or a little crammed maybe? It works though.

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There was no better place for this giant than where the pool table had been. It’s not quite as big, but it’s close. Best hand-me-down ever.

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I organized the rest of the larger pieces along the edges of the room, in the most functional way I could come up with. I also wanted to incorporate some items that could be used as seating for when we add a TV, but I wanted them to ideally have another function as well. I brought up an old bench that had been in my dad’s mountain house to store the ever-growing collection of Elmo dolls. The little table and chairs were mine when I was little, so I thought they would be a sweet addition, not to mention a great place to color. The blue bungee chair was on clearance at Target for $10, so of course I had to. No other function for that one.

As for lighting, I used the same table lamp and floor lamp that we had in our game room. I know, how boring. As much as I wanted to replace them, there really was no need. Plus I found this pendant light stuffed away in my craft closet (notice a pattern here?), which I had bought years back at Target on clearance for $6, and I knew it would add that special lighting touch I craved. I’m telling you guys, check those end caps at Target.

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No new paint, no new wall decor, no new furniture aside from the $10 bungee chair … in fact, nothing else in the room really qualifies as “new”.  Okay I lied. I had been eyeing a sea grass screen for quite some time, so I did finally splurge on one at Wayfair. Hey, it keeps the cats happy and adds some nice dimension to the room – two for one. But that’s really it. This room makeover was more about spending very little money and getting super creative by using what we already had, and I have to say I’m digging the way it turned out. I do think in our next home we’ll replace the wall decor with something  a little more kid-friendly, and I imagine there will probably be a fun rug and maybe even a futon or some floor pillows. But the chaos has been organized so this’ll do for now. Austin sure does love it and I sure do love seeing him happy. I also love not tripping over toys 🙂

Artist Feature

Me again! I know, two posts in one week … what’s up with that? With the IG Maker Sale happening this Friday, I’m all fired up and ready to showcase some of these talented creators so you can get a sneak peek of what’s in store. I know it’s still hot as you know what here in the South, BUT believe it or not – the holidays will be here before you know it. I promise. And the IG Maker Sale might just be the perfect place for you to begin your holiday shopping spree. Hint. Hint. Speaking of the holidays, how about those holiday parties? Planning on hosting one? Or any event for that matter? Then I’ve got just the young lady for you to meet!

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Meet Christina – owner of Brides, Wives, & Babes in South Florida

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Christina & her rescue pup, Frankie … have you seen anything cuter?

Christina makes event decorations for ALL occasions. If you’re celebrating something special, then she’s your gal! She can make banners, cake toppers, cupcake toppers, drink stirrers, party straws and more! And we all know it’s those little details that make all the difference – am I right? Just look at these adorable creations below! I’m finding myself falling in love with mermaids all over again … anyone with me?

Christina has enjoyed crafting since she was a little girl. Her mom was a teacher and had always been very creative so she’s pretty sure she got the crafting bug from her. She even had a small tote she would carry around with her when they’d leave the house just in case she had an opportunity to craft. Talk about committed!

When she’s not working on her super cute creations, Christina enjoys watching movies, playing at the dog park with her rescue pup, Frankie (see adorable picture above) and she absolutely LOVES nature (me too, girl!). She loves being outside and admiring all the animals, trees and even the sky. She grew up on a farm with a bunch of different animals (little jealous here), which probably taught her to love and respect animals and nature so early on in life. By the way, did you know a group of emus is called a mob? I didn’t, until now – you really do learn something new every day. Thanks Christina!

You can find Brides, Wives, and Babes on Etsy, Instagram, Facebook & Pinterest. Make sure to follow along on her creative journey – I know you’ll be glad you did 🙂 More details on the goods listed above can be found here as well ~

https://www.etsy.com/shop/brideswivesandbabes

https://www.instagram.com/brideswivesandbabes/

https://www.facebook.com/brideswivesandbabes

https://www.pinterest.com/BWBEtsy

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And that does it for today’s artist feature – hope you enjoyed getting to know Christina as much as I have! Remember to get your holiday shopping lists ready for the next IG MAKER SALE – THIS FRIDAY!

Follow along for all the details ~

Lindsay (me) @myhouseof.love (https://www.instagram.com/myhouseof.love)

Christina @brideswivesandbabes (https://www.instagram.com/brideswivesandbabes)

– OR – search the #IGMAKERSALE hashtag on Friday to see ALL the handmade goods for sale!

Happy Hump Day!

Artist Feature

Good Monday morning! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend and took some time to reflect and remember those lives lost on 9/11 – fifteen years ago. It’s crazy. In some ways it seems like yesterday as I can vividly remember what I was doing and how I felt at the time, yet in other ways it seems like a lifetime ago. Regardless, there has never been a truer statement than We Will Never Forget – no matter how much time passes. I spent the morning listening to the names of those who lost their lives being read aloud at the 9/11 anniversary ceremony – isn’t it just so amazing that this is done each and every year? It’s beautiful, but it never gets any less heartbreaking. Freddie Jones playing that trumpet before the Cowboys/Giants game moved me to tears as well. God Bless this country.

We had a very busy weekend planned which ended up turning into a weekend of unexpected nothingness due to an unwelcome stomach bug finding itself a home at my son’s daycare last week. Although home today, he seems to be on the mend, and so far my husband and I have been spared. Thank God. Norovirus is a nasty one. Needless to say, there wasn’t a lot of productivity going on in our household this weekend and now it’s Monday again. Already. Confused by the title of this post yet? Don’t be – I went off on a tangent as I sometimes like to do 🙂

I mentioned at the close of my last post that I’d be featuring some creators I’ve had the pleasure of “meeting” through Instagram and I’m really excited to share with you one of them today. If you’re not familiar with the IG Maker Sale, you should be! It takes place once a month via Instagram and you’ll see makers/creators/artists (whatever name you want to give ’em) from all walks of life joining together to sell their handmade goods. You’ll find everything from jewelry to wooden signs to buntings, banners, and garlands, as well as everything in between! I’ve had the pleasure of taking part in this sale the last few months and it always proves to be a good time as it’s a way to not only showcase and try to sell your goods, but to come together as an artistic community. This coming Friday (the 16th) is the next IG Maker Sale so make sure to follow me on Instagram @myhouseof.love (as well as the lovely lady I’ll be featuring) so you can stay on top of all the deets. Did I mention the lovely lady I’m featuring is one of the hosts of this sale? Well she is!

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Meet Vicki – owner of VickiAnnCreations in South Carolina

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Isn’t she adorable?

Vicki loves old things so she sells untouched vintage items, gives love to worn out vintage items and even repurposes some of them for new homes (my favorite). She also makes everything from wreaths to ribbon garlands to wood slices for your home decor needs … sounds to me as if she’s got you covered! Take a peek at some of her lovely goods below, including the newly created, the true vintage, and the repurposed (like that antique garden hoe turned Christmas decoration – pretty creative if you ask me)!

Just a little note on that orange & purple ribbon garland – yes, those are Clemson colors for all you Tiger fans out there … BUT do not fear! She can make you a custom garland in any football team colors! I feel much better now being that I’m a BULLDOG fan 🙂 She doesn’t sell these in the IG Maker Sale, but you can contact her via Instagram or Etsy to create your own!

Vicki used to craft all the time but then over time she just stopped (sounds 100% familiar, friend). She picked it back up as a way to deal with stressful days and in turn she was reminded why she loved creating so much. Now that’s a healthy way to deal with stress, am I right? So now, no surprise at all, creating is once again a favorite hobby of hers.

When she’s not working on her unique creations, you’ll find Vicki helping her husband out with … beekeeping! Bet you didn’t see that one coming. I sure didn’t 🙂 He’s new at the gig and she’s his favorite assistant. How’s that for a well-rounded gal?

You can find VickiAnnCreations on Etsy, Instagram & Facebook. Make sure to follow along so you don’t miss out on any of her creative creations! More details on all the goods listed above can be found here as well ~

https://www.etsy.com/shop/vickianncreations

https://www.instagram.com/vickianncreation/

https://www.facebook.com/vickianncreations

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That’s a wrap for today’s feature – hope you enjoyed “meeting” Vicki as much as I have. This was just a taste of some of the incredible talent you’ll find during the IG Maker Sale on Instagram THIS FRIDAY. Get your wallets ready!

Remember to follow along for all the details ~

Lindsay (me) @myhouseof.love (https://www.instagram.com/myhouseof.love)

Vicki @vickianncreation (https://www.instagram.com/vickianncreation)

– OR – search the #IGMAKERSALE hashtag on Friday to see all the handmade goods for sale!

Happy week ahead 🙂

 

Figgy Love

This time last year I had our entire house and yard decorated for Fall. Never mind that it was way too hot for pumpkins and the like – we had all the Fall goodness and it looked great until our pumpkins rotted out from the 90 degree weather that still graced the Atlanta area at the time. I’ve decided this year to save a few bucks and not buy pumpkins until there’s a nip in the air, or at least until it’s in the 80’s. I’m not exactly sure why, but it seems that as soon as school starts – which is in August here – the pumpkins come out … of everywhere. I used to love it, but now I feel like I need a minute before transforming our house into a Fall wonderland. I need a cool breeze or something to get me going. Why is everyone always jumping onto the next season so quickly anyways? Seize the hot and humid summer days, people.

The truth is I’m more focused on figs than pumpkins at the moment. Our fig tree is bigger than ever this year but the harvests have been getting smaller and smaller, which can only mean the end of summer is near. Hallelujah. I’ve shared a recipe for a fig crostini appetizer before (https://myhouseoflove.com/2015/10/04/for-the-love-of-figs/), which up until this year was pretty much all I ever used our figs for. But alas, I’ve found some amazing new ways to incorporate these little beauties and I plan on using each last one up before moving on to the fruit of the next season – yep, pumpkins.

For all you fig lovers out there – hope you enjoy!

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FIG, PEAR & GOAT CHEESE SALAD W/ MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE (serves 8)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 16 fresh figs, halved
  • 2 pears, cut into small pieces or thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup craisins
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 8 cups mixed salad greens

 DIRECTIONS 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Spread walnut pieces on a baking sheet and bake for about 6 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes (burnt walnuts, or any nuts for that matter, are not tasty – so make sure you watch them!)
  • Transfer walnuts to a bowl to cool
  • Place pears in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
  • In another bowl, whisk together remaining white wine vinegar, mustard, shallot & sugar
  • Season to taste with salt & pepper
  • Drizzle in olive oil while whisking constantly until smoothly blended
  • Place salad greens, figs, pears, goat cheese, craisins & walnuts in a large bowl
  • Toss with dressing just before serving

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HONEY CINNAMON FIG COMPOTE (perfect for a topping over yogurt or better yet … french toast)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup fresh figs, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

 DIRECTIONS 

  • Place sliced figs, honey & cinnamon in small pot and bring to boil
  • Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes
  • During simmer, mash figs with spoon until they’re broken down
  • Refrigerate until ready to use

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DRIED FIGS (last but certainly not least – this is a great way to preserve your figs because we all know they’ve got a pretty short shelf life once picked)

INGREDIENTS

  • Figs (easy enough, right?)

DIRECTIONS

  • Make sure figs are thoroughly dry after washing them
  • Preheat oven to 140°F
  • Slice figs in 1/2 lengthwise
  • Place figs, cut side up, on a rack with grids or holes – a baking pan will result in uneven drying (I learned this the hard way)
  • Bake for 8 hours with oven door slightly open to allow moisture to escape
  • Make sure to turn the figs regularly while drying – every couple of hours should be sufficient

These make a great quick and healthy snack – especially for kids as you can tell by that little stinker who kept sneaking them off the pan. This was my first attempt at drying when I used the baking pan – they were still edible, just not the perfect dried texture. Whatever, right?

Happy End of Summer to all of you! Hope you enjoy those last few figs 🙂

Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll be featuring some of the talented makers and creators I’ve “met” through Instagram. Might want to get your wallets ready – there’s a sale coming up soon!