Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Knacktastic: A Visit to Barb Blair's Creative Studio

Last week I visited Knack Studios, located in the Pendleton Arts District of Greenville.  Knack, owned by Barb Blair, is a working studio where Barb creates fabulous furniture and other unique home accessories.  I learned about her studio from an article I read in the February 2011 Southern Living Magazine. I was most interested in her cake plates after seeing one of them at Antiques On Augusta, where some of her creations are sold.  I wanted to get a few for my sister April as a wedding gift.  These are the ones that I decided on. 
Aren't they great?  They are all made from vintage plates, and create a perfect set.  I planned on surprising April with these at her bridal shower, and hoped that she'd be able to use them for the reception as well. (See how this went in my next post) Barb's studio is so cool.  You can tell how incredibly creative she is just by stepping foot into her studio.  My favorite was a paper moose head mounted on the wall.
I also loved the words of inspiration all around too, it generates such a perfect environment for creativity and imagination.
 If you're interested in Barb's creations, you can find them at her Etsy Shop and at Antiques on Augusta in Greenville.  Studio visits are by appointment only.  Visit her website here.  Thanks again, Barb!

Monday, May 23, 2011

DIY: Pearl Drop Earrings

It's been forever since I've made a blog post.  I wish I had some fabulous excuse, but I've just been busy doing really unexciting stuff.  I did have a little bit of spare time this afternoon, and just made the cutest pair of earrings. I wanted to share them with you because they are so simple to make, and you don't even have to have jewelry making tools to make them.  They are pearl cluster drop earrings with 14k gold plated chain and posts, and they cost less than $5 to make.

This is what you need:

Two 14k gold plated earring posts- the ones with the balls on the end that look like this
Two 3" long pieces of gold plated chain- when you're buying the chain, make sure the links are going to be large enough to fit over the earring posts
Two freshwater pearl clusters -they come in different colors too, but this time I used the dark brown ones
All of these materials are available at Michaels or most other craft stores, so they're really easy to find. As for the assembly, thread one end of the chain down the earring post until it falls in the loop at the bottom.  Lead the chain through the pearl cluster and then thread the other side of the chain on the post. It should look like this.

Make sure the other side of the chain is also secured in the bottom loop of the earring post. And that's it! No crimping, wire wrapping, or anything complicated involved.  You can use this same technique with any other beads that you like too. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Reedy River Recessionista Goes Riding

Today was the first Sunday that Mr. T and I had at home in about two months. We decided to make it really worthwhile by riding downtown via Greenville's Swamp Rabbit Trail.  We rented bikes for the day through Reedy Rides, a great bike rental company that I would highly recommend.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the Swamp Rabbit Trail, its a 13.5 mile former rail line that has been paved for walking, running, biking, etc. It runs from Traveler's Rest through downtown Greenville. Reedy Rides made it so easy for us to get our bikes. They deliver them to you, and when you're done you just lock them up at the delivery site and they pick them up. It's really affordable too, we paid $15 per bike for a four hour rental.  SO worth it. 

On our way downtown

Mr. T on his bike

Once we got our bikes, we hit the trail towards downtown which was only about a 15 minute bike ride. The trail put us out in the West End district, so we pedaled over to Compadre's on South Main. We sat outside and each had an afternoon beer and some chips and salsa. They've got a great outdoor seating area located right behind the Greenville Drive baseball stadium, so we got to hear the baseball game going on too. 

After our nackies (a.k.a. snacks), we got back on our bikes and rode for a little while longer toward the Travler's Rest area.  All in all I think we covered about 15 miles, and had an absolute blast.  The trail is so interesting. There's always something new to look at as you're riding through, including the five foot black snake we spotted in a creek by the trail. 

 We had such a great experience with Reedy Rides, and would definitely use them again.  After such a great day on the trail, we're probably going to start saving for our own bikes, but in the meantime we'll be using Reedy Rides several more times. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day Brunch

Most of you know that my sister April also has a blog, and those of you who don't should read it because its awesome!  In April's latest post she writes about the Mother's Day Brunch the two of us made for our mom this Sunday.  I made a pancetta, goat cheese, and sun dried tomato frittata that was so good and simple and wanted to share the recipe.  

Mother's Day Frittata

3/4 c. pancetta, cut into small cubes (Trader Joes sells their's pre-diced and that's what I used)
1/4 red onion diced
8 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 c. milk or cream
1/3 c. goat cheese, crumbled
1/3 c. sun dried tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup grape tomatoes or 2 plum tomatoes thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 400. In a medium-large oven safe skillet, sauté the onions and pancetta at a medium heat until pancetta is brown and crispy and onions are beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes.  In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, sun dried tomatoes, goat cheese crumbles, salt, and pepper.  Pour the mixture into the skillet over the pancetta and onions.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until set.  Place the sliced tomatoes on top and broil on high until tomatoes begin to cook and slightly brown, about 3 minutes.

April made these fruit skewers and mimosas to go along with the frittata.

We celebrated the day at our lake house, and I gave my mom this bottle of rosé.  We have both started to really get into drinking rosé, so I'm excited for mom to try this one and hope she'll share! 

Keep an eye out for a review of the wine!  I'm sure we'll be popping that cork as soon as we can.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Vanilla Extract Update

In one of my previous posts, I gave a recipe for making your own vanilla extract.  Here's what my extract looks like about 2 weeks later.  At this point it is ready to be used, but it will still continue to get darker as time goes on.  I've just been keeping it in a cool, dry place and shaking it up every couple of days.  So simple!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Main Street Gets a New Bakery

Downtown Greenville now has a new bakery, The Chocolate Moose.   The Chocolate Moose is owned by Kristen Kuhlke Cobb, the owner of Cupcake, a successful cupcakery with locations in Mt. Pleasant, Charleston, and Columbia.  One of my favorite flavors from Cupcake Columbia was their salted caramel chocolate, so when I found out yesterday that they had them available at The Chocolate Moose, I made an impromptu trip down Main St.  (The impromptu-ness of my trip explains the poor quality of pictures.  I only had the camera on my phone.  Sorry!)

Photo Courtesy chocomoosebakery.com

Cake Pops- dipped in dark and white chocolate

The store is beautifully designed, and has plenty of seating inside and out.  Its brick walls are adorned with bright pictures and funky chandeliers are hanging from the ceiling.  Their product line is slightly expanded from the other Cupcake stores as well.  They still do offer all five everyday flavors and four specialty flavors of cupcakes, but they also have cake pops, Chocolate Moose Pies, Tira Moose-Sue, Salted Caramel Banana Pudding, assorted pie pops, and other baked goodies. To see which cupcakes The Chocolate Moose offers by day of the week, click here.  All items are very reasonably priced, with almost everything under $3.00 including tax.

So now back to my salted caramel chocolate cupcake...

It's a chocolate cake with caramel cream cheese icing, dipped in a sugar and salt mixture, and topped with caramel.  It's okay if you're salivating, I am too. 

The Chocolate Moose is located at 120 N. Main in downtown Greenville.  They're open 8am-8pm Monday-Wednesday, 8am-10pm Thursday-Saturday, and 11-5 on Sunday.  
The Chocolate Moose on Urbanspoon
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