{Gone Pinning} Happy birthday to ME!

GonePinning

We’re officially in my birthday month — my birthday is October 12 — and I’ve been busy planning the party.

As you know, I love party planning and when it’s a special party for myself, I’m even more into it.

Last year, I celebrated the big 3-0 in Woodinville, visiting wineries with a group of my close friends. The day was perfect. We met after lunch, tasted for  hours and then got home to a perfectly cooked corned beef, just finishing up in the crock pot.

{Side note: I love corned beef so much and when I was in college my parents used to bring me some for my birthday, to keep in the fridge at the sorority and nibble on. They even double wrapped it, to make it too much work for the late-night, drunk snackers. Brandon enjoys corned beef too, and it’s good to have him around to share with, so I don’t eat the entire 4 lbs myself. But, yum. There could be worse things…}

Back to planning for the party at hand. Brandon and I are huge University of Washington Husky fans and this year my birthday falls on a Saturday, a game day. Specifically the the day the Oregon Ducks are in town. We’re hosting a tailgate for my birthday party this year and it’s time to really figure out what this shin dig will consist of. Time to visit Pinterest, the place where dreams are kept. (Thanks, Holly.)

Since it’s a football tailgate, I’ll start with my University of Washington board that is pretty much dedicated to all things tailgating for decorations.

A rubber duck pinata-- maybe we'll fill it with little bottles of liquor? That would be a nice surprise!

A rubber duck pinata– maybe we’ll fill it with little bottles of liquor? That would be a nice surprise!

...And we can hang the pinata with a purple noose! And beat it with a purple and gold bat...

…And we can hang the pinata with a purple noose! And beat it with a purple and gold bat…

I'll get a bunch of these printed too. Maybe I can make these into a dart board? Or incorporate them into a drinking game?

I’ll get a bunch of these printed too. Maybe I can make these into a dart board? Or incorporate them into a drinking game?

I’ve also been brainstorming menu ideas. Since they’re the Oregon Ducks, I’m thinking a couple of duck dishes are in order. Maybe some of these?

White chicken chili with duck instead of chicken? I think yes.

White chicken chili with duck instead of chicken? I think yes.

They don't have duck, but I love pizza and it is my birthday

They don’t have duck, but I love pizza and it is my birthday

And to really get in the spirit?

A party hat from my friend Libby's Paper Party Hats. (She makes all sorts of custom hats! Order yours today!)

A party hat from my friend Libby’s Paper Party Hats. (She makes all sorts of custom hats! Order yours today!)

A party isn't complete without cupcakes! I like these and making grass frosting would be a first for me!

A party isn’t complete without cupcakes! I like these and making grass frosting would be a first for me!

Obviously this is just a start. I’ll be devoting some pretty intense brainpower to this project/party in the upcoming weeks and I hope the Huskies play give me a wonderful gift of beating the Ducks! GO DAWGS!

{Wine Wednesday} Anniversary drinks

WineWednesday

Happy Wine Wednesday! To finish up my mini series on our second anniversary (here and here), I’d like to share our special anniversary drinks!

We went to Salty’s for dinner and enjoyed a 2011 Erath Pinot Noir. It paired most nicely with the Smoked Salmon Pappardelle Pasta (pesto cream sauce, heirloom tomatoes, pine nuts, asiago cheese) that we had. We also had the Northwest Seafood Paella (wild salmon, prawns, clams, alaskan cod, smoked chicken and house-made sausage “dirty” rice) and the light pinor noir complimented it, although it wasn’t as good of a pairing as the pasta. Here it is, with my handsome husband:

2013-9-24-2

Once we got home, we lit some candles, popped in a really boring documentary about the Northern Lights (and fully realized how utterly cold it’s going to be on our trip) and uncorked a bottle of the Lambency red blend, from Chelan Estate Cellars. We picked it up on our recent trip to Chelan.

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We didn’t quite finish the bottle last night, so we’re continuing to enjoy it tonight. I wish you a very happy Wine Wednesday and will leave you with this glorious photo of our cotton-ball covered #2 and the Seattle skyline from the spot where we got married two years ago.

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Celebrating our second anniversary

Ready for our "cotton anniversary" photo

Ready for our “cotton anniversary” photo

A very happy second anniversary to my one and only: Brandon!

We’re celebrating with dinner tonight and a big, cold trip to Alaska to see the northern Lights in January.

We also like to give little traditionally-themed gifts for one another. For the paper (first) anniversary, I made Brandon a book of “coupons” and he gave me a scrap book that we’re putting photos of highlights of the year in. We also take photos each year, to celebrate. (And remember how young we once looked…HA!) Last year, I newspaper-mached the letters “O” “N” “E” and we took the photos at my sister’s wedding. We’ll take our anniversary photo tonight, with this cotton-ball covered “two.”

Until then, here are our photos from years passed.

2011 (More wedding photos on our photographer’s blog: Mike Fiechtner Photography.)

Seattle wedding photography on Alki

What a gorgeous couple, if I don’t say so myself… circa 2011

2012

We’re still trying to locate the official photo with the “ONE” in it, but for now, this Instagram-ed shot of our photo booth photo will have to do. Sorry it’s so grainy:

Celebrating our paper anniversary

Celebrating our paper anniversary

Celebrating our first anniversary a week early, at my sister's wedding

Celebrating our first anniversary a week early, at my sister’s wedding

And on our actual anniversary, a trip to Bainbridge

And on our actual anniversary, a trip to Bainbridge

Last year, we went back to the “scene of the crime” and enjoyed the all-you-can-eat award-winning brunch at Salty’s followed by a nap and exploring on Bainbridge Island.

Cheers to many, many more anniversaries!

Hello, fall.

Fall Flowers It’s officially here: fall, my favorite season. How did I celebrate? I set my DVR for this week’s new shows, watched football, napped with the cats, bought some very fall-colored flowers, shopped for Halloween and Christmas (yes, I’m crazy) crafts and gifts, busted out my slippers, oh, and I did some spring fall cleaning.

In due time I’ll share my holiday crafts (they’re really good!) and in the meantime, here’s another necessary life tip that I found on Pinterest: getting that stank out of your towels. Our first necessary life tip was a solution for fruit flies. If you have a fruit fly issue, do this. You’ll thank me. I promise.

Our second anniversary is coming up on Tuesday and I was worried we were going to have to our fancy, still soft and cozy towels, because of their “funk.”

Towel recharge via PinterestWe’ve tried bleaching the white towels and that sort of works, but we were at a loss for how to un-funk the green ones.  So, I searched “towel smell” on Pinterest and about one million results came up, all pointing to one solution: vinegar and baking soda.

I gathered my supplies and threw our towels into the washer this afternoon I just pulled them out of the dryer and… drum roll please… IT WORKED!

Add this to your to do list, if your towels need some rejuvenation. I couldn’t be happier and I’m totally going to wrap these up for an anniversary gift for Brandon. Cotton is cotton, right!?

Have a great week!  (I’m off to shower and use our better-than-new towels!)

{Gone Pinning} Cotton anniversary gift ideas

GonePinning

Guess what? Brandon and I are celebrating our second anniversary next week– two years already!? Which means I’ve been on the hunt for “cotton” anniversary gifts, the traditional second year gift. Check out all of my gift ideas — to give or to receive — on my Pinterest board.

I already got him a few little gifts (still a secret until Tuesday) and we decided to have a custom cotton canvas photo made of us, from Costco. I love Costco.

We have plenty of towels and sheets and we don’t wear robes, so I had to get a bit creative. Here were some of the runner up gift ideas:

Of course Brandon deserves this “Best husband ever” t-shirt

BestHusbandEver

A custom-made pillow with a photo or collage of momentos

Pillow1

Pillow2

Maybe a Denver Bronco-themed apron to inspire him to keep cooking? Too late. He’s already got one!

Apron

And I would love something like this preppy table runner — or anything monogrammed from Mark & Graham:

TableRunner

Now to start thinking about the third year gift: leather. Any ideas?

Thanks to Hallmark for this wonderful chart of modern and traditional anniversary gift themes:

Anniversary Traditional Modern
1st Paper Clocks
2nd Cotton China
3rd Leather Crystal/Glass
4th Fruit/Flowers Appliances
5th Wood Silverware
6th Candy/Iron Wood
7th Wool/Copper Desk Sets
8th Bronze/Pottery Linens/Lace
9th Pottery/Willow Leather
10th Tin/Aluminum Diamond Jewelry
11th Steel Fashion Jewelry
12th Silk/Linen Pearls
13th Lace Textile Furs
14th Ivory Gold Jewelry
15th Crystal Watches
20th China Platinum
25th Silver Silver
30th Pearl Diamond
35th Coral Jade
40th Ruby Ruby
45th Sapphire Sapphire
50th Gold Gold
60th Diamond Diamond

{Wine Wednesday} Pear, prosciutto and asiago pasta

WineWednesday

2013-9-18 WineWithout further ado, here is tonight’s dinner: pear, prosciutto and asiago pasta, paired with this bottle of ‘the ghost in the machine’ riesling.

This combination is one of our favorites and when this time of year rolls around we’ll pick up a few pears, make some pasta and go to town. In the past we’ve blended up all of the ingredients and made raviolis (recipe here).

Instead of raviolis this time, we opted for a deconstructed version with a browned butter, shallot and pear sauce with prosciutto and homemade fettuccine, topped with some grated rosemary asiago cheese.

I browned the shallots and butter first (separately) and then added the diced Bartlett pears and diced prosciutto and let them cook down just a tad. I used to add prosciutto at the beginning of all dishes, with the garlic and onions, but then Brandon showed me his preferred way and I started instead adding it just before serving, sometimes waiting until the heat is turned off and using the heat from the dish to warm it up just a bit.

Man was this good! All of the flavors complimented one another so well and I love almost anything with homemade pasta. Try this for yourself and enjoy!

Yummmy!!

Yummmy!!

Finishing the foyer

FINALLY: a DIY craft project to share with you! We’ve been so busy with finishing the backyard (which will never be fully ‘done’) and the pizza oven (which is oh-so-close to being done) that I’ve been totally slacking on the ‘everyday’ crafts and fun projects for inside the house. I guess that happens with summer, right? We’ve got to take advantage of the nice weather when we’ve got it.

Before our big backyard debut/patio-warming party, I had a few projects that I wanted to finish on the inside of the house. Some of them were finished, and for the others, I printed out over-sized band aids with “Work in progress” written on them. (More than a month later we still have some up and … I kind of like them!)

One of the more important projects on my list was the foyer. It’s remained mostly un-touched since I moved in, more than five years ago. It was time for a re-fresh. In my mind, the re-fresh was easy: throw some paint on the walls, build a new table for the landing and think about other decorations. Turns out, that was a bit pie in the sky.

I had wanted to try and make a table similar to this one from Room & Board. The more I thought about the table, the more I realized that it wouldn’t be right for that space. (Especially since Jack likes to use the table in that spot as a shortcut up the stairs.) If I made a table as tall as the Room & Board one, it would topple over on a regular basis. So, I had to re-think my idea.

It just so happened that right around that time, my Grandma was downsizing and getting rid of some furniture. It was just my luck that one of the pieces she was getting rid of was perfect for our foyer!

Tada! Our new entryway

Tada! Our new entryway

Once we had the base in place, I needed something to go on top of it. I spent some quality time with a girlfriend searching at the Goodwill (my favorite is in Bellevue, WA) for a tray or some sort of inspiration. I ended up finding a little ceramic dish, but it doesn’t look right. It’ll be used for another project. Instead, I discovered some inspiration at Marshall’s in the form of a mail tray lined with decorative nail heads. The tray wasn’t right for our space, but, it gave me a general idea and I was off to JoAnn’s, to get the tools so I could make the perfect tray myself!

Assuming you have all of the necessary tools, making a tray like this is super easy. (I don’t have the proper tools, but my parents do, so I headed over for a quick visit…)

Nail-head trim tray

Tools needed*

  • The shortest, cheapest 8″ wide piece of shelving you can find (I used an MDF board)
  • One long piece (about 6 feet long) of 1.5″ MDF trim (slightly rounded on one side)
  • Gorilla Wood Glue
  • Nail gun and small nails (courtesy of my Dad)
  • Miter saw (Thanks again, Dad)
  • Spray paint in the color you’d like to paint the tray (I used Rust-oleum Black Metallic, one of my favorites)
  • Packages of nail heads for the trim (I used 4 packages of the 3/8″ size)
  • Rubber mallet for setting the nail heads (it’s gotta be a rubber mallet, not a hammer)

Instructions

  1. Decide how long you want your try to be and cut the bottom of the tray that length.
  2. Measure and cut the trim the length of the tray. Match up the edges and make a 45 degree angled cut, so that the edges of the trim are flush with one another and jointly form a 90 degree corner. If your trim is rounded, make sure that your cuts are consistent and the rounded edges are all on the outside or inside, but not split up.Megan's Island Foyer 2
  3. Place Gorilla Glue (or some other wood glue) in a zig zag/dotted pattern where the trim meets the base. Only do one piece at a time.2013-9-16 Foyer8
  4. The glue should hold the trim on, but I used four small nails on each side, to make sure that the trim was secure. Plus I hadn’t used the nail gun yet and I wanted to try it out. I’m a natural.Megan's Island Foyer 3
  5. Let the glue dry and spray paint your tray. I used some red keg cups to hold the tray up, making sure that I got the base. I used three thin coats.Megan's Island Foyer 5
  6. Once the spray paint is dry, it’s nail head time! The MDF was pretty soft, so I used my thumb to line up and push them in. It worked pretty well. I also kept a large paperclip on-hand, in case I needed to pull one out. Once each row was in place, I hammered them in with the rubber mallet. My lines aren’t the straightest, but I think it adds personality.2013-9-16 Foyer4


*Please note: This tray is mostly for show and is pretty heavy. I don’t think it would be good for moving or carrying items on.

2013-9-16 Foyer1What did I put in the tray? It’s pretty clear in the photo, but I painted a cheap ceramic votive holder that I found on clearance at Michael’s  and some grey IKEA 4″ x 6″ ribba frames that I bought thinking they were black. Oops. But they’re prefect for this spot. And now they’re all GOLD. (I have a problem.) I found some fun images online and printed them on cardstock. The images I’ve got now are great, but I plan on switching them out with the seasons and holidays. The tray is just the right width and the three frames and candle holder fit perfectly.

I also made a cool terrarium with a hurricane we used for our wedding, a pre-historic looking plant that we had growing very tall in the kitchen and a small pot of mixed succulents. It turned out great an cost less than $3!

I need to get back onto Pinterest for un-focused, general browsing and find myself some more crafts! What are you crafting these days? Anything that you think I should try my hand at? Tell me in the comments!