a Beautiful Idea . . .

It’s interesting how simple objects grouped together can create a wonderful atmosphere in a room. Take for example these offerings by Beautiful Details.

Beautiful Details is a husband and wife team based in Raleigh, NC. Andrew (husband) and Carol (wife), share a great love for the sea and the beaches that border it. The duo can often be found walking for hours along the shore, discovering seashells, shark’s teeth, sea glass, driftwood, and anything else interesting the sea wishes to leave behind for them. These are then taken to their home studio, where Carol puts her hubby to work on the technical and business side of the designs while she creates the inspirational and thematic aspect for the pieces.

“I'm a designer at heart,” says Carol. “By day, I'm a web designer. At night, I go to my home studio to create seashell and jewelry artwork. My favorite is creating the vintage sea life bottles. I love the look of the vintage aqua glass and the time-weathered clear glass (pearly look).”

“I come up with most of the inspiration for the items in our shop and Andrew is the consultant / assistant designer and the business side of our shop. He is great with color, power tools and the more technical side of design. He is the master of shipping all things difficult to ship! Doesn't matter the size, he can figure out how to get it there in one piece.”

Beautiful Details also has a blog, as well as a website. Their items are available to purchase online through Etsy.com.

So invocative of long walks on the beach in the early morning light. Reminds me of a certain someone and their recent trip to Turks & Caicos, no?

Come Sit for a Bit . . .

mmmm, to curl up with a good book (or even a wonderful cookbook with all sorts of inspiring ideas), a cup of tea and some soft music . . . . inviting, yes? Maybe some nice raspberry jam tarts or one or two lucious lemon bars to nibble on. A plump content cat lazing nearbye would not be unwelcome.

I could spend the better part of a Sunday morning in a setting like this. Actually, it doesn't even have to be a Sunday . . .or a morning. I think 3:45pm on a cloudy Tuesday afternoon sounds just about the perfect time for a cup of tea and a little snooze . . .?

Ah, it's nice to dream . ..

Shed Some Light . . .

candle holder with bubble rim
Dining by candle light is on my list of “favourites”. You know, the list of things that make you a little weak inside, or that cause you to smile a little to yourself and those around you to ponder “hmmm, wonder what she’s thinking about”. That list.

I strongly believe that candlelight is amazing for chasing away the stress and worries of the day. Who can be in a bad mood when there is soft candle light? I mean, you skin looks amazing, your eyes become two deep pools for him to drown in . . . and you just look plain fabulous.

I came across these handmade beauties by Wapa Studio. Wapa Studio is effort of ceramics artist Ady Shapira in Moshav Avichail, Israel. This quite little village is surrounded by citrus orchards near the Mediterranean Sea. Really, who could ask for a more inspiring, idyllic settling to be creative.

Shapira studied ceramic design at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. Nearing the end of her studies in 2003, she opened her own studio where she specializes in designing and making objects that will provide light (such as the candle holders) from porcelain. Each item is hand-made using a hand thrown pottery wheel.

From the artist’s website “The moment I sat in front of a potter's wheel, I knew that ceramics is my way. I am very grateful that my passion became my livelihood and allows me to continue and create.”

Shine on Ady, shine on . . . .

Monday, Monday . .

Some Mondays feel like they intend to drag on and on . . . I find this especially true since Mondays are my first long day of the week; up at 6:20am, on the train at 7:20, day job from 8:00 until 5:00, school from  5:30 til 9:30, back on the train, home for 10:20pm. Somewhere in there I breathe.

So when a blah Monday is paired with blah weather and blah rain . . . then it’s extremely more . . . blah. Whomever first said “Monday Blues” wasn’t kidding.

Here is a photo to get you in brighter spirits and looking forward to the week ahead. Imagine if all those raindrops were little blue and white gemstones sprinkling down...

Happy Monday !

the colours of summer

Though you wouldn't know it by looking outside today . . it's summer. Here are a few bright and cheery frocks to brighten your day:

Shown left is a lemon yellow layered ruffle dress by hollystadler .

Below right is a fetching orange linen belted dress by LanaStepul .

And below is a pretty cherry babydoll dress by sohomode .

Lemons and oranges and cherries . . .oh my ! Sounds like a cold glass of fruit lemonade on a summer patio to me ! Now if only the warm weather would play nice . . .

Summer Sizzle

Nothing says summer’s here quite like the first barbeque of the season. Don’t get me wrong, we are lucky enough to grill pretty much year round, despite the wet weather and sometimes snow. Our grill has also served us well in times of power outage. Having a side burner to boil water for tea certainly comes in handy when the power goes out.

Our family cooks all kinds of stuff on the grill. Some of the family favourites include asparagus, bell peppers, potatoes, whole salmon, pineapple, bananas, peaches . . . you name it, we grill it!

One of the easiest (and fastest) things I like to grill are pesto prawn skewers. Each year, my mom and I make our own pesto using basil grown in the garden. We freeze it in ice cube trays to make ideal portion sizes. Defrost the frozen cubes in the sun, add a bit of olive oil to make it more spreadable, add in the peeled prawns and toss to coat and all the hard work is done.  Set the bowl in the refrigerator to let the prawns marinated and absorb all that basil goodness.
Successful skewers begin with soaking the wooden skewers in water for about an hour. This keeps them moist and prevents them from burning when on the grill (yeh, I know . . . there are metal skewers out there especially designed for grilling…one day I’ll pick some up). Then I thread the marinated prawns onto the skewers, usually six per skewer. In a package of 31 – 40 count prawns, I end up with six skewers. I line them up when I put them on; tail ends all facing the same direction. Then it’s onto the grill they go, at a 90 degree angle from the grill slats so that they don’t fall in as sacrifice to the Grill God (that’s what asparagus is for).

Prawns cook quite quickly on the grill, depending on your temperature. Essentially, the prawns need to turn from translucent to white and firm with pink veining. This usually takes about two or three minutes; flip the skewers, baste with pesto marinade, and two or three minutes more.
You can serve the prawns as they are on the skewers, and use a fork to pull them off. Often I’ll put these out as an appetizer while preparing the main meal. Or, I’ll take them off the skewers and add them to the top of a salad with other grilled seafood such as scallops, salmon and a white fish like halibut or cod.

They also work well on a bed of pasta (remember that side burner I mentioned? Perfect for boiling pasta) with the grilled bell peppers and asparagus.
Grilled prawns lend themselves well to a variety of dishes and are a great way to start your summer grilling season . . . (or throughout the year)