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Martha Stewart Metallic Paint and My Spring Spruce Up

Update as of August 2015 :  After getting questions about where to purchase this paint I did some investigation.  I had purchased my original containers of paint, as pictured below, from Home Depot.  Unfortunately, this product is now discontinued.  You may be able to find it online.  I found a site on Etsy that seems to have an inventory on hand. ********************** I've been busy with projects around the house.  The warm weather in the Northeast this year brought spring fever to me early on and I've been motivated to take on some inside projects.  First, I refinished the oak stairs going to the second floor of the house,  Then I decided the master bedroom needed a redo.   Along the way, I have been touching up woodwork here and there. All this sprucing up means I've made several trips to local paint and hardware stores.  On one of my trips to my local Home Depot, I saw a display of Martha Stewart Metallic paints.  They caught my eye and my imagination.   I left

Seafood Gumbo

Seafood Gumbo The other day I had the urge to make a seafood soup.  My son had been asking for a seafood soup for several weeks and at last I felt like making one.  I didn't want to make a traditional New England seafood chowder because I was in the mood for a soup with some kicked up flavor.   I did some Internet surfing and settled on a seafood gumbo as my target soup. I bet you are a lot like me.  You get an idea in your head about something you want to eat and then look for recipes that you think will deliver.  In this case, I just wanted a flavorful seafood soup.  To me, that meant I wanted lots of herbs and spices.  A gumbo delivers on this combination; the amounts and mix of spices are those that I thought my family would like.  If you decide to make this soup, I encourage you to adjust the seasonings based on what you know your family likes, as well.  That means you should feel free to add a little more of this, while perhaps holding back on a little more of that.  Do

Spring Bedroom Spruce Up

I've been thinking about a face lift for my bedroom for a while.  It all began, at least, a year ago, maybe more, when I saw a picture of a bed in an Ethan Allen catalog.  I ripped the picture out of the catalog and have been carrying the picture around with me ever since.  Here is that picture, folds and all. My Bedroom Inspiration Picture The things that spoke to me from this picture were the contrast of light and dark between the fabrics and the furniture and the texture variation that defines the fabric contrast.  It was just what I was looking for.  I wanted a change from the heavy fabrics that have been a part of the bedroom's decor for about 10 years, both on the bed and on the windows. Well, with the first day of spring knocking at the door I decided to begin pulling my bedroom update together.  I began my search at my local department stores and purveyors of home goods, hoping I would find an assortment of white, ivory, cream and beige quilts, blankets, pil

Cooking the Pantry-Shrimp and Pasta with Sugar Snap Peas

The other day was busy as all get out for me.  I found myself running late and unprepared for dinner.  Do you ever find yourself in a similar situation?  I know you do.  That question was really rhetorical.  Life often gets ahead of us and we find ourselves scrambling to catch up, right?  What does one do when facing a day like that?  Well, I turn to my pantry to see what I can pull together. Pantry Shrimp Pasta and Sugar Snap Peas A quick check of my pantry and freezer revealed the following ingredients: The Pantry Ingredients 1 pound linguine extra virgin olive oil 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes 2 pounds jumbo shrimp, frozen fresh garlic fresh sugar snap peas fresh spinach white wine, Sauvignon Blanc shredded Romano cheese salt and pepper to taste fresh parsley, chopped, about 1/4 cup fresh baby spinach (an afterthought) I was relieved.  No need to worry.  I was confident I could turn those ingredients into a tasty dinner and avoid the expense of a take ou

March

It was one of those March days When the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade. (from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens) Don't you just love it when you wake up to one of those very special March days that make you certain spring is right around the corner.  We had one of those days this week.  It sent me out in search of signs of spring.  First there was the 60 degree reading on the outdoor thermometer... Then there were the daffodil buds standing tall in the garden... Close by there were the first crocus blossoms... And buds on one of my early blooming bushes... In the vegetable garden you can see garlic popping through the soil.... Yes, it is March...and signs of spring are showing up all around.  What signs do you see in your neck of the woods? Enjoy!

Five March Gardening Activities

March has rolled in.  Yes, in some parts of our country March has greeted us like a ferocious lion bringing blizzards and tornadoes.  Here in the Northeast our March days have been gray, cool and gloomy, but you won't hear anyone complaining.  Are you contemplating your garden plans for 2012?  One of the online resources you might want to check out is the USDA's 2012 Hardiness Map .  This map should be your guide in choosing the plants that will thrive where you live, especially as you choose expensive ornamental trees and bushes. The map is easy to use.  Just click your state and a close up view will pop up, like the example you see above, allowing you to key in on the appropriate zone for where you live.  This will help you as you shop for your plants, choosing those that are best suited for your zone.  Remember, though, that this map is a guide.  Talk with your neighbors and your local garden center professionals as you make decisions. Have you started working in your

Making Pita Bread

Every once in a while I like to branch out in my cooking and try something I've never made before.  I think of it as an experiment, not knowing what the result might be.  Are you adventurous like that?  I only do it when I have a little extra time on my hands and I am in the mood.  It's my hobby time. Homemade Pita Bread My most recent experiment in the kitchen was making pita bread.  Have you ever made pita bread?  I've eaten quite a lot of pita bread in my life, always thinking that pita bread was exotic and probably very hard to make.  Little did I know that pita bread is made from simple ingredients and that it is the cooking technique that makes the pocket in the bread. Last year I attended a dinner where local celebrity chefs demonstrated recipes for each course.  In one course we were served a Greek salad in pita pockets and Chef Andrew Nathan said it was quite easy to make pita bread at home.  Well, ever since that dinner, making pita bread has been on my l