Last week, I spent time poking around my local farmers market. If you’ve never been to one, I encourage you to get to one before the summer is over. It’s such a feast for the eyes; vibrant colors and a variety of textures that are not only visually appealing, but pleasing to the palate, too. As I browsed through the weekly selection of fresh fruits and veggies, I gathered inspiration for farm-to-table fare that my family would enjoy. This trip, I found a dainty eggplant called Fairy Tale. This petite vegetable is sweet with tender skin and very few seeds. For a simple side dish or appetizer, just season with salt, pepper and olive oil and grill whole until lightly charred!
My friend and neighbor, Allison, shared this adorable craft with me. These sweet little flower holders are a pretty way to embellish something that sits in every bathroom — toilet tissue! In many newer bathrooms, homeowners opt to use a free-standing toilet tissue holder on the floor rather than mounting a holder into the wall. This simple and affordable craft is a good way to add visual interest to the boring white toilet tissue rolls that are sitting on the holder. And, it’s fun to color code the holders to coordinate with your bathroom color scheme. Read on for more clever ways to display these pretty holders and for the how-to!
Here are some other great ways to put this cute creation to use:
Bridal shower bathroom basket
New home bathroom basket gift
Selling your home? Add a pretty little touch to the bathrooms for potential home buyers to see.
Company coming? Set a few of these in the guest bathroom!
Flowers of your choice, preferably on a clip (Michaels, AC Moore or any craft store carry these)
Wrap the twine around the toilet tissue roll twice.
Clip the flower in the center of the twine. If the flower does not have a clip, either tie the twine around the flower of very carefully add a drop of hot glue to adhere it to the twine.
It’s summer, and that means lots of time spent outside! My three kids just love to be outdoors; running, swinging, playing, jumping in rain puddles on the driveway, even watching the birds, squirrels and chipmunks frolic in our yard. We get such a vibrant assortment of birds in our garden, it’s like a rainbow of color every morning — Blue jay, Cardinal, Hummingbird, American Goldfinch — the kids watch them fly through the yard and land on the birdfeeder hanging in our maple tree. The birds get to enjoy the warm summer weather and I get to enjoy my morning coffee while watching the kids play and listening to the birds chirp!
When International Delight approached me and other bloggers about forming a social collaboration this year, I immediately knew that one of my projects would be to create a birdhouse. I know, you’re probably thinking “what does coffee creamer have to do with birdhouses”? Well, in a previous post, I wrote about the upcycling trend and shared my DIY succulent garden, which I created using an empty International Delight coffee creamer bottle. Now, I’ve used the empty bottle to create a birdhouse to add to my garden of summer delight. Read on to learn how to create one of your own — and don’t forget to follow International Delight on Pinterest to see more summer ID moments!
Empty International Delight coffee creamer bottle, 32-ounce size
1 8-inch wood dowel, 1/8-inch in diameter
Needle nose pliers
Spray paint in three different colors (I used Rustoleum brand for interior/exterior use on wood, metal, plastic)
Wood letter, 1 1/2-inch size (I used an “A” for our last name; this gives it a personal touch!)
Ruler or tape measure
Handheld razor saw
Hot glue / glue gun
Remove the blue cap from the empty bottle; set aside.
Remove the colored label/packaging around bottle; discard.
On the flat side of the bottle (the side without the indented ribs), use your ruler to make a straight line across the top of the flat, rounded section.
Using a sharp scissor or, cut along the shape of the flat section. This will be the opening of the birdhouse. Cut away or smooth out any rough pieces of the plastic.
In a well-ventilated area like an open garage, or outside, spray the bottle with the body color that you’ve chosen (I used Fire Orange).
Using the trim color that you’ve chosen, spray paint the blue cap (I used Hunt Club Green). Allow to dry completely.
Next, you’ll need to spray paint the wood letter. I suggest a third color, in this case, I thought white would be a nice contrast to the bright orange and dark green. Allow to dry completely.
Using a sharp knife, very carefully make an “X” in the center of the cap. This will be where you insert the jute twine from which to hang the birdhouse.
Spray paint a wood dowel the same color as the wood initial/letter. About 1-inch to 1 1/2-inches from the bottom of the birdhouse opening, make a hole through both the front and back of the bottle for the dowel to sit. The dowel will be the perch for the bird to sit on. Insert the dowel through the front of the birdhouse, into the opening in the back. Push it through so there’s an even amount of dowel on both sides.
Using a hot glue gun, glue the letter onto the front of the bottle, centered in between the top of the cap and the top of the birdhouse opening. Allow to dry.
Open bottle cap and insert both ends of the twine through the larger pour spout, up through the top of the cap. Needle nose pliers will help you grab the ends of the twine and pull it through. The length of the twine will depend on where you’ll be hanging the birdhouse and how long you want it to be. Working with jute is not easy because it tends to fray easily. To ensure that the ends don’t fray, wet them with water and twist them tightly.
Tie a tight knot under the cap so the twine does not come through the top of the cap. Close the cap. Tie another knot with the two ends of the twine. This will be how you’ll hang your birdhouse. Ensure that the knots are secured tightly so the house won’t fall out of the tree!
Finally, using the hot glue gun, secure a strip of the jute twine around the opening of the birdhouse. This is an optional step, but it gives an extra decorative touch to the project and ties in nicely with the twine used to hang the house.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Delight. The opinions and text are all mine.
Take advantage of all that the summer season has to offer by hand-picking the fresh ingredients for this sweet and spicy spin on the classic Italian pickled vegetables, or giardinera. Spend a lazy Saturday morning browsing through your favorite local farmers market for vibrant carrots, cauliflower, celery or peppers, then get your canning tools ready! These colorful jars of veggies are the perfect lunch or snack with a piece of crusty bread and also make a great summer food gift. Now’s the time to pick your veggies and get pickling!
5 cups white vinegar (I like to use a combination of distilled white vinegar and champagne vinegar)
6 Tbsp. sugar
6 Tbsp. salt
7 bay leaves
Black peppercorns or a medley of mixed peppercorns
7 dried red Chile peppers
7 cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
Slender young carrots, leafy tops removed
Cauliflower florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
In a large saucepan, combine water, vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar and salt dissolves. Remove from heat.
Add one bay leaf, one clove of garlic, one Chile pepper and a sprinkling of peppercorns and mustard seeds to the bottom of each sterilized jar.
Arrange the cauliflower florets in the bottom of the jar, packing them in carefully.
Holding the jar at an angle, add the carrots (left whole) vertically, resting them on top of the cauliflower, so they are standing up.
Add more cauliflower to the top of the jar, leaving about ¾-inch of headspace at the top of the jar. If desired, sprinkle some more peppercorns and mustard seeds on top.
Ladle the hot brine into the jars, leaving about ½-inch gap at the top.
Screw the metal lid with band on tightly (I like to use the Ball band tightening tool to ensure that I have a good seal).
For shelf-stability, process the jars in a water bath for 15 minutes. Then allow to cool to room temperature. As long as the lids are all the way down and on tightly (meaning that no air can get into the jar), you can store in a pantry or other cool, dry place for up to one year.
If using right away, there's no need to process in water bath. However, they will only keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
This brine recipe yielded 7 12-ounce jars (with a little brine leftover). Recipe modified from Cambria Style magazine, summer 2013.
When I think of homemade macaroni salad, it always reminds me of my grandmother. She would make it countless times during the summer for our family to enjoy, whether for lunch alongside a “cold cut” sandwich or for a family cookout. My version is reminiscent of hers and that first forkful takes me right back to summertime as a kid. Give this one a try for the upcoming 4th of July weekend; it’s a true crowd pleaser! Make extra, because the longer this sits in the fridge, the better it tastes; it’s great for lunch during the week!
A friend of mine came across this recipe on facebook a couple of months ago. It was absolutely delicious and so easy to make. And since it’s made with ricotta cheese, it really should be kept in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Now that the summer is in full swing and the temperatures are hovering around the 90-degree mark, it’s actually nice and refreshing to have a cool dessert. This recipe is made in a large, 9 x 13 pan, so it’s perfect to feed a crowd. I like to slice it into squares that way everyone can have a taste. The ricotta mixture becomes the bottom layer of this cake, keeping it light and refreshing!
Looking for a stylish, seasonally-appropriate and above all, useful, hostess gift? Staying as an overnight guest and want to bring a little something along to say ‘thank you’? Put together this pretty, seashell-themed gift and impress someone special with a grouping of items that they can use for summertime, outdoor entertaining! I made three of these for my son’s teachers as an end-of-the-year present, but they are also lovely to give to a hostess.
Usually, when I’m putting together a themed gift like this one, something will catch my eye and at that point, I’m able to visualize the gift and all of its elements in my mind. For this beachy, ocean-inspired grouping, I found the melamine seashell platter at my local Christmas Tree Shop and that became the foundation; the spark for the idea. Once you have the basic grouping of items, it’s easy to add elements in that fit with the theme and color palette. I added the paper plates and napkins, nested on top of the platter. The teal citronella candle, I found at my local grocery store in the seasonal aisle. Fun, festive beverage straws were hiding in the dollar bins at my neighborhood CVS Pharmacy, also in the seasonal aisle.
Imagination, willingness to shop and budget are really your only limitations. There are some many things that could be added to this grouping, like a box of good quality salt water taffy, if you’re able to find some. The next time you’re in need of a gift for the host of a summer soiree, backyard BBQ or beach house owner, think beyond a bottle of wine and put your creativity to the test!
If you think a sandwich is just for lunch, think again! This sandwich, made with layers of homemade roasted peppers, thick slices of fresh mozzarella and tender leaves of baby spinach, becomes warm, gooey and toasty in the oven. Yep, it’s the perfect lunch, but… I served this deliciousness as an appetizer for Father’s Day and it was gone in the blink of an eye. Just slice the oven-toasted sandwich into two-bite slices and pile high on a platter. I like to serve my homemade Garlic-Herb Infused olive oil on the side for dipping. So yummy!
Garlic-Herb Infused olive oil (or plain extra virgin olive oil)
Fresh baby spinach leaves
Fresh mozzarella, sliced
Loaf of baguette or ciabatta bread
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Slice the loaf of bread in half lengthwise. (If the bread is very doughy, you might want to remove some of the white part.)
Drizzle a good amount of olive oil onto each half of the bread, ensuring that it soaks into the bread.
Layer the roasted peppers on the bottom half of the bread.
Next, top with a layer of the sliced mozzarella.
Finally, add a layer of baby spinach.
Place the top half of the bread on top and press down firmly. Place the sandwich on an ungreased baking sheet. (If making ahead of time, wrap the sandwich and let sit in refrigerator until ready to bake in the oven; remove foil before baking.)
Bake for about 15-20 minutes or just until the mozzarella begins to melt and the top of the bread is toasty and lightly golden.
Allow to cool slightly before slicing. Slice into two/three-bite pieces on the diagonal. Arrange on a platter and enjoy warm!
The perfect accompaniment to my Cucumber-Dill Yogurt Dip, these tasty little bites, made from ground chick peas, are the ideal summer snack or appetizer. I baked them until lightly golden, making them not only vegetarian-friendly, but healthier, too. Try making into patties and layer in a pita bread pocket, slather with the yogurt dip and a tasty, Greek-style lunch is served!
Summer is the ideal time for no fuss, easy food. This creamy, flavorful dip is a busy mom’s best friend; it comes together in just a couple of minutes and uses very few ingredients. It pairs perfectly with things like raw veggies, pita chips and falafel. Inspired by the Greek tzatziki, it can also be spread on a sandwich or slathered on grilled meats for a cool, refreshing twist on your favorite dishes.
Hello! My name is Danielle, aka The Crafty Hostess. Welome to my blog! I am a food fanatic and stay-at-home mom of three young kids. My plate is always full (in every sense!), but I always find time to cook delicious food for my family and friends. Come, pour a cup of coffee and join me in my kitchen!