Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cuz' Olive you!

Consider this an important public service post! 

 I will start by asking a question...Do you know GOOD olive oil?  You know how most recipes say "1/2 cup of good olive oil", I finally asked myself if I was using "good olive oil" and the answer was...I had no idea!  I was never loyal to one brand, I played the field hoping something "good" would jump out at me.  Guess what, it never did!  So, about two years ago I set out to get to the bottom of the "good olive oil" situation.  I started by tasting my trusty giant jug o' olive oil from Costco.  I was not impressed, it was not bad, just meh!
 In a fit of suddenly being disgusted by my poor choice in olive oil, I took to the internet!  I quickly found this place!  I called my Mom immediately and we made plans to go the next day, as it was quickly turning into an olive oil emergency in my mind!

It is called Old Town Oil and it is on Wells Street in Chicago.  It is one big oil and vinegar party in this place.  And let me just tell you this, it is impossible to leave without trying and finding "GOOD Olive Oil".  Not good, but GOOD!!!

First of all, you will get to try the oils, you will be educated by the very kind and knowledgeable staff and you will leave wondering why you spent so much time with olive oil that is just "meh".

After they set you straight on the oil, you can get into the vinegar.  I personally think vinegar should be its own food group, so I actually left with way more vinegar than oil, but that's just me.  

They will also open your eyes to all of the awesome possibilities of oil and vinegar.  I am currently hooked on this amazing combo of Tuscan Herb Olive Oil along with the Pomegranate Balsamic.  On their own, they are both delicious, but mixed together on grilled veggies or a simple salad, it is out of this world. 

They also have these awesome spouts for your bottles, to make pouring easier.  And you can take your old bottles back and get a small discount on your next bottles.  

If you are near Wells and North, do yourself a favor and check this place out.  While you are at it, you should check out The Spice House since it is just a couple of doors down.  Then reward yourself at one of our favorite French Bakeries/Cafes, La Fournette.  It is just across the street and a couple of doors north.

You're Welcome!!!

Friday, August 23, 2013

It's the Weekend!

What are you up to this weekend?  I plan on finishing up some old projects and starting some new ones.   And on Sunday we are going out for Italian food where my son will get to make his own pizza!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

Contain Your Stuff/Some of my Favorites!

Let's talk about reusing stuff, some of my favorite products and their pretty containers and how reusing stuff allows you to be a hoarder!!!  Perfect for a Monday, right?
I LOVE to reuse stuff and I REALLY LOVE pretty containers.   I am a total sucker for pretty packaging, if it is cute, I really try to find another use for it so that I can keep enjoying it, which might also be called hoarding in some circles!

My absolute favorite candles are Diptyque Candles.  The scents are fabulous, they burn really well and for a long time and I love the packaging.  I don't think I have ever thrown out a Diptyque candle jar of any size.  If I have them, I will find a use for them, and I usually don't have to hunt for a use for very long!

 Now it is a make up brush holder!

Another one contains the lotions and potions in the medicine cabinet!

Diptyque also makes the most fabulous eau de toilette!  Olene is one of my all time favorites!

Now it is a cute little flower vase!  I bought this bottle about 12 years ago in France!!!  It has been holding blooms ever since.

And the good news is that we FINALLY have a Diptyque store in Chicago.  It's about time, no more having to order on-line and pay for shipping!  If you are in the Bucktown area, I highly recommend that you check this store out, but be prepared to become addicted!!!

Look at this lovely Rose wine that we have been drinking a lot of out on the patio this summer!  It is called Sofia, it is named after Sofia Coppola and is made by the Coppola Vineyards.

This may not be the worlds best Rose, but it is very nice and I just love the shape of the bottle.  To be honest, I first bought it for the shape of the bottle.  The fact that the wine tasted good was a total bonus.  After drinking the wine and saving the cork, I knew I could not throw the bottle away, but the last thing I needed was another vase (see Diptyque bottles above)!  

Now it is the bottle that holds our water at the table at dinner.  I keep it corked with a cork, duh!  And refill it and chill it in the fridge.  Perfect for dinner on the patio whether it holds wine or water!

Have you seen the Honey in the bear shaped bottle at the grocery store or farm stands?  I don't know why, but I just love those cute little bear bottles!!!

Now this guys holds my dish washing soap at the kitchen sink!
And speaking of the kitchen sink, look at the pretty oyster shell that holds my rings while I am washing the dishes.

Are you familiar with Laduree?  OMG, the best macaroons in the world!!!  We ate our weight in them last summer on vacation.  Not only do they taste awesome, but they come in the most beautiful containers!  
(This box might cost as much as a car) 

A dear friend just brought some back from Europe for me in the coolest tube shaped container.  The three of us ate the macaroons in about a day, but the container lives on in my purse.  It is currently holding lip gloss and is a place for my hair tie to rest when not in use!

Seriously, can you even get over that shiny gold lining?  It makes me happy every time I open it!

Do you ever save your pretty or fancy containers?  I would love to know what you do with yours!!!  Please don't tell me you toss them in the recycling container!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


It is no secret, I LOVE pop art!  I love almost all art really.  Some things don't speak to me as much as others, but I can appreciate something in almost every type of art, whether it is the art itself, the process, the emotion, etc...  But Pop Art really speaks to me, on so many levels!

I got two e-mails recently that just made my day when I got them.  The first was from my friend Linda, who knows all about my love of all things Andy Warhol.

Check out this link that she sent me.  I can't stop looking at it!  I am fascinated, and amused, and a little wierded out, but I LOVE it!

I am also a big fan of Jean-Michel Basquiat.  His work, his short life, his story, and his hair.  So I was thrilled when Mark sent me this link yesterday.  I can't wait to see this film!  If you check the link out, I found the comments section very interesting too.  Art definately gets people talking!

And don't even get me started on Keith Haring...

Or Fab Five Freddie

I will have to save those guys for another day!

And speaking of graffiti, this is the artist who ran the spray painting class that I took a couple of weeks ago.

And a  flickr stream with some of his "unauthorized" works.

What do you think of pop art?   Did you enter to win that Warhol? 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Summer... almost over!!!

I am trying to finish up lots of "stuff" and get organized before school starts.  Where did this summer go?  It went by so fast!!!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Cement Candle Holder

I seriously can NOT stop myself!  I am totally hooked on making things out of cement.  Look at the new candle holder I made.  It is just a larger container with three little openings for the candles.  I love it and it puts off a great amount of light!

Then I made a bunch more of these candle holders to give as teachers gifts this year.  So once I started thinking about the holidays...this happened!

I might need a cement intervention...

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Happy Weekend!

It's the weekend!  

I hope you find inner peace, serenity and maybe even an acorn hat!!!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Rustic Candle Holder

Look at how cute my tree slice looks all styled up as a candle holder!

Do you remember when this happened?  This is a result of a storm like that one.  I asked the nice man with the chain saw to "slice" off a few pieces of a fallen tree for me before he tossed it all in the chipper.  I dried them out in the kiln and then sanded the "h-e-double hockey sticks out of them.  After they were thoroughly sanded, I used mineral oil on the tops, to seal them and prepare them for use.

 These slices are from a Linden Tree.  I just love how pronounced the growth rings are on them.  I have some maple slices from another storm waiting to be sanded and you can barely see the growth rings.  I am curious how they will look after they are sanded.  Don't worry, I will report back on that project!

The candles look really cute on the wood slice, but it seemed a little blah to me.  There is not enough contrast between the color of the candles and the color of the wood.

So I picked some herbs from the garden to add some interest and some color.  This is oregano in the front and I have parsley on the left and lemon balm on the right.  So pretty and so fragrant!

I also use these slices weekly to serve cheese and dried meat and salami!

Would you ever use a piece of a tree in your home?  If you are thinking about bugs, drying them in the kiln puts and end to any creatures.  RIP creatures!

Recycling Tags!

Look at the cute, but sharp, little tags that I made out of my empty Coke cans!

I wanted some little tags to put on some jars (more recycling) that I have been using as candle holders out on the patio.  But, I needed something that would stand up to the rain and elements, so I decided that the Coke can was the way to go.   

I even tied a few of them onto branches in the trees by the patio.  Cute right?

So here is how it all went down, if you are interested.
Drink all of your coke up and rinse the can, then cut the top and bottom off with tin snips.

All of these parts are sharp, like really sharp!  So do what I did and wear gloves, your hands will thank you!  After you get the tops and bottoms off, you will be able to cut the cans with a scissor.  Don't use your fancy sewing scissors, because I don't know what this will do to them.  I used my garden variety scissor that I have already messed up by cutting wire, Coke cans and all sorts of other things that they have no business cutting!

After all of the cutting you will end up with these nice rectangles of aluminum.

Now you just draw or trace your shapes and cut them out with the scissor!

They were cute enough like they were, but then I got my little metal stamps out and stamped some words and dates on them.

 I used a nail to punch a little hole on the top so that I could hang them up!

They are super cute, but again, they are very sharp, so don't put them where someone could get hurt.  

Have you ever made anything out of your recycled cans?