31 May 2011

Golden Girl

I have these faux gold bangles that are looking
a little blah:

Who says you can't accessorize your

Gold beads + gold thread...
...Equals a whole new look.

A fun addition to my summer wardrobe!

And I can wear them together with the bangles
I re-fashioned yesterday!

30 May 2011

The Bangles

Happy Monday!

I've been organizing my bedside table and in one
of the drawers, I keep my everyday jewelry.
Nothing expensive or precious but each one marking an
exciting trip or an instant-smile-on-my-face memory.

These wanna-be gold bangles remind me
of a merry wedding evening in Seville.
Sheesh, I haven't put them on in a long time!
And that's a blah.

I guess this calls for a make-over.

So I pulled out some matching thread
and some beads from my sewing kit.

TADA! A new look for my bangles!
I "sewed on" a blanket stitch using my fingers and
inserted the beads in an alternating pattern.
I started and ended with multiple loops
so the thread won't unravel.

These remind me of what ladies in India might wear.
And while I've never been to India,
I can always pretend.

Have a wonderful week and to everyone
in the U.S., Happy Memorial Day!

27 May 2011

Picnics, Potlucks, Parties

Happy Friday girls & boys!
The warm weather has arrived and that means lots of
time outdoors -- on the deck, in the park, at the beach.

As you and I prepare for all this fun, let me give you a
run down of some of my past blah to TADA! projects.
I'm pretty sure these will come in handy.

blah: a bottle carrier made of cardboard
TADA!: a caddy to organize utensils,
napkins & drinking straws

blah: empty mint dispensers
TADA!: instant salt & pepper shakers

blah: old jam jars
TADA!: dessert in a jar {add a napkin & fork;
secure these to the jar with a rubber band}.

blah: plastic containers to keep the shape of apples or
pears {a common packaging option of warehouse clubs}
TADA!: a cupcake or muffin carrier
{put the cupcakes in the grooves and cover
with a second container; secure with tape}

blah: a plastic egg container
TADA!: a great way to transport deviled eggs!

I wish you all a very awesome weekend!

26 May 2011

Shaken not Stirred

This week, I've been busting out the pans & spatulas.
I know, this isn't a food blog but if you think of it,
a lot of recycling really begins in the kitchen.

I love me some apple juice and I consume
copious amounts, leaving me with
plastic bottles like this one.
Blah indeed.

Well, good thing it's picnic season.
Good thing too that I've been trying
some of Gwyneth's recipes:

Yeah, Gwyneth. We're on a first name basis now
that I've taken a peek into her domestic life as
an avid cook and mom through this cookbook.

I just made her Balsamic & Lime Vinaigrette.

It's simple to assemble:
In a bowl, place 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar,
2 tablespoons light agave nectar or honey and
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice. Whisk together.
Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil.
Season with salt & pepper.

Or just put everything in the plastic bottle
{now cleaned, dried & labels stripped off }
and shake until well-combined.

Take it to your next picnic to brighten up
salad greens or grilled vegetables.

Salad dressing that's homemade, packed
in a spill-proof, unbreakable & light bottle...
that's what I call TADA!

25 May 2011

Slow Roasted

Here's a pretty cool cookbook I borrowed
from the library:
The great Gwyneth Paltrow has reinvented herself yet again.
From Oscar-winning actress, to wife and mother, blogger,
to singer performing on Glee, the Country Music Awards
and the Grammy's no less, she now has AUTHOR
tucked under her belt. Talk about superwoman!

My Father's Daughter is a memoir sharing her relationship
with her father, the late director Bruce Paltrow, from
which she learned everything about food. It's also a
cookbook where she provides healthy recipes
for her family.

Flipping through the pages, I feel like a voyeur,
getting a close-up look on what Gwyneth would
prepare for dinner tonight or for a party.

Most recipes are easy, don't require a lot
of ingredients and based on the stuff I've
tried making, are pretty tasty.

I was happy to see an abundance of
tomatoes {and only $0.99 a pound!} at
the supermarket last Sunday.
This is an indication that summer's here!
I just had to buy some to make
Gwyneth's Slow-Roasted Tomatoes.

Here's what you do:

Cut the tomatoes in half, rub with olive oil
and sprinkle with salt. Lay these on an
oiled baking sheet and place in a
preheated 275 degree oven.
Roast for 3-5 hours.

You know they're done when they look
like sun dried tomatoes {flat & shriveled}.
Make sure to take a whiff of their
caramel-scent -- so yummy!

Store in an air-tight container with
some olive oil. And because it's
all about recycling on my blog,
I used an old, blah jam jar that I
cleaned and sterilized.

If you add a tiny fork {secured to the jar with
a ribbon or kitchen twine}...

...and a label {plus points for name-dropping},
TADA!, you now have a perfect hostess gift!

24 May 2011

Bake Me a Cake

This week on my blog, we're getting crafty in the kitchen.
Whether you're giving a gift to a neighbor who just
moved in or a token to some friends who invited you
over for a barbecue, something homemade isn't
really expected but is always appreciated.

Especially if you're savvy in the cooking or
baking department.

I made this German Apple Cake for a party over the
weekend. Apples are always available in the market
and the recipe was simple to put together.

Similar to yesterday's post, here's how I packaged it:

I left the cake in the baking pan, wrapped it up in an
extra-large cloth napkin and knotted the ends.

Then I added a vintage cake server.
{My friend loved it!}

When the hostess decides to add this cake to the
dessert buffet, she can easily warm it up in the
oven before serving it on a platter.

TADA! She gets to use the cake server, too.
{And I foresee that this will come in handy
in her future parties.}

You'll have to decide beforehand if you want to
give her the baking pan as part of the package
or whisper to her that you'll collect it
before you leave.

No blah foil. No blah plastic.
Just everyday TADA! objects that can be used
over and over again.

Not to mention TADA!-tasting cake, too.

23 May 2011

Warm Weather Parties

Lately we've been invited to several parties, my husband & I.
As soon as we RSVP, we think about what we could bring,
either as a hostess gift or something yummy to add to the table.

When we're up to it and we have time to spare,
we whip something up from our kitchen.

Quick breads, like this banana loaf, are easy to prepare.
It goes well with a hot cup of morning coffee or
warm afternoon tea.
I'm a big fan of banana bread {sometimes I
buy bananas just for this reason} and use
different recipes like the one from this cookbook.

When it's out of the oven and cooled, it's ready to be
wrapped up for the party. Foil or plastic wrap are
the easy solutions. But what if I use something that's
environment-friendly and pretty at the same time?

With the bread still in the cake pan, I swaddle it using a
clean cloth napkin.

Then I tie kitchen twine around it to keep the napkin in place.

And remember the mismatched utensils I featured last week?
I thought they were perfect gift toppers which the hostess
can use later on.

You can give the cake pan to the party host
{e-mail her the recipe so she can make it too}
or if she decides to transfer the banana bread
to a platter and serve it, you can easily
take home your beloved pan.

By the way, Clara over at Bloomize interviewed
me on my travel essentials. Thanks Clara!

20 May 2011

Hang in There

Thanks for coming over today!
All this week, I've been finding inspiration
to turn these forks & spoons:

From blah to TADA!

Here's another one I found on Etsy:

It's the handiwork of JJEvensen,
who turns old spoons/forks into useful
stuff for the home like this coat rack.
I like that each spoon has the name
of a family member stamped on it.
This would fit well in the foyer or
mud room where most of us would
hang our jackets & bags.

This one's made of funky forks.

Indeed, there are many creative things
you can do with old silverware.

Have a superb weekend!

19 May 2011

Carved in Silver

Reusing silverware is the name of the game.
And so far, I've found some winners already.

If you have some of these utensils
that have seen better days,
turn them from blah to TADA!

Here's what Jessica at Etsy did to hers:

She flattened the utensils, hand stamped them
with common vegetable names
and TADA!, instant garden markers.

Here's a version with power words.

And one that's wonderful to give
as a wedding present!

18 May 2011


These are some things I'll always find
at thrift stores or flea markets:

Mismatched silverware.
There have been several occasions
when I rescued them & took them home.
I know I'm not alone in doing this.

I found this shop on Etsy and she creates such
unique pieces of jewelry out of old utensils:

A spoon fashioned into a bangle!
It can be personalized with a monogram.

It can also include a very important date
like a birthday or wedding anniversary.

Spoon heads linked together, each one
with a name & birthday. Perfect for moms,
sisters and best friends.

This one uses spoon ends chosen for the
decorative detail. Also engraved with
names of very special people.

Super cool, right?

17 May 2011

Sweet Surprise

One of the things I like to collect are gadgets
for the kitchen. I usually pick up stuff that are
brand new but my drawers never turn away
pre-owned items like vintage utensils.

Take for example these teaspoons.
Same shape, same size, all silver,
except for the ends.

If you belong to the school of matchy-matchy,
you might consider these blah.
But for every blah is a TADA!

These are personalized hot chocolate
a shop in San Francisco specializing
in hot chocolate.

I particularly like the product pictured
above. They dip a spoon into a block
of chocolate. All one needs to do is add
this to a cup of hot milk. The chocolate
will melt and TADA!, you have yourself a
some delicious hot chocolate!

But here's the surprise.
When the chocolate melts, the spoon
will reveal a message, one that's engraved
right onto the spoon! You can even
personalize it -- "Marry Me", "No.1 Dad",
"Best Friend Forever" or whatever you like.

Isn't that TADA!?