Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sipping Vinegar

I have just recently learned about sipping vinegar, or shrub, over here.  My interest was piqued because I've been drinking vinegar with honey and hot water for sore throats for awhile.  It looked easy enough and I had some strawberries, so I made a batch.



We tried it this weekend, and I was excited to find out that it was every bit as delicious as I thought it may be.  I've already got my second batch doing it's thing in the fridge.  Here's my brief recipe:

Strawberry Shrub

1 very full cup of chopped strawberries
1 scant cup of sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar

Mix your sugar and strawberries in a mason jar.  Stir and mash with a fork.  Leave them in the fridge for 2-3 days, shaking the mixture up when you open the fridge.  After a couple days, you will notice that most of the sugar has dissolved.  Strain off the liquid into a 2 c measuring cup and stir in your vinegars.

To serve fill a large glass with ice.  Pour in a little bit of your syrup (you really only need a bit, but you can adjust to taste) and top off with tonic water.  Go outside and enjoy.

One of my favorite parts about this drink is that it tastes like an adult drink but has no alcohol (though I can think of a number of things it would be delicious with).

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

NC Getaways: Wilmington

To add a little to what Allison shared last week about getaways in our home state of North Carolina, I wanted to share a few more of my favorite spots; Wilmington and nearby Wrightsville Beach.  Wilmington is located on the Cape Fear River and has an amazing downtown riverfront.  Several beaches are just minutes away from this quaint coastal spot, with Wrightsville being my favorite of the three.  This is where my girlfriends and I congregated this past weekend, in a beautifully renovated historical home from the 1890s.  We were in the tree-lined historical district, just steps from the river and from all of downtown's restaurants, shops, and bars; but my favorite time was a few glorious hours spent lounging on the beach. 

On the way to Wrightsville Beach you will cross over the Intercoastal Waterway, before you head over the bridge there are some great local seafood restaurants you have to stop by.  Even though I don't eat seafood, it is obvious that the favorite among my pals is the Fish House Grill.  There crab cake sandwiches, curly fries, and bloody mary's are all winners.  Once you're on the island there are ice cream shops, walk up bars, and every locals' favorite, Trolly Stop hot dogs.
Once you've headed back inland, cleaned up a bit, and are ready to head out on the town you have so many spots to choose from.  A few of our favorites are Elijah's for a laid back dinner on the deck, Circa 1922 for something a little fancier, and The Eat Spot for some creative appetizers.  After dinner my friends and I have two absolute favorite drinking holes that we have to stop in at.  Grab a beer and head to the red-lantern lit alleyway that connects the two buildings of the Blue Post, you can all pile in to the couches and people watch or play a game of pool.  We also love to stop in and make friends with some hilarious (sometimes questionable...) locals at the Barbary Coast.  PBR tall boys and live music are two of the highlights of this establishment.
There are tons of other spots between Wilmington and Wrightsville that are worth eating and stopping at but these are just a few of our go-to's.  You can read more about the sights and sounds here, but really, you just need to go and experience it for yourself.

Photos from my iphone, which makes capturing moments while traveling so easy; edited with some of my favorite photo apps- Camera Bag and Instagram.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Styled 3 Ways: Liz round 2

This week we are continuing our second round of "Styled 3 Ways" with Liz's styling of this great cap sleeve stripe knit shirt from my vintage collection. It is perfect for all the warm weather we have been having lately. Check out what Liz came up with below!


Liz decided to keep it casual with a simple pair of cutoffs she picked up at a thrift store. She accented her outfit with her favorite fringe shoulder bag and deep brown strappy sandals. Make sure to check back next week for Kat's styling of this great spring top. Happy Styling!

Friday, April 20, 2012

DIY: Geometric Painted Tote Bags


This week we've been talking all about getting out of town and going on an adventure.  Well it just so happens that I will be headed to the beach this afternoon with a group of my girlfriends for a quick getaway.  In honor of our beach adventure I wanted to create a quick and easy diy that we could all use to carry our towels, drinks, sunglasss, and whatever else down to the water.  So I got some simple canvas bags, used blue painters tape to lay out some geometric designs and started painting!  The acrylic craft paint on the canvas dried in no time, just be sure to put some paper or a paper bag inside so your tote doesn't stick to itself from the wet paint. 
Triangles, stripes, chevron, or any geometric pattern is perfect for this project.  These bags will definitely come in handy while we travel, after the beach I'll be able to use mine all summer.  If you're feeling crafty this weekend or have plans to go out of town any time soon, this is a perfect diy to accessorize your travels.




Thursday, April 19, 2012

Favorite Picnic Recipes

Vegetarian Chicken Salad

One package Tempeh
1/4 cup vegetable stock
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 c mayonnaise (you can use vegan dressing here to make your whole picnic vegan)
1 green onion, chopped
Large handful of flat-leafed parsley, chopped


Cut your tempeh into bite sized pieces and simmer in the vegetable stock and soy sauce.  Allow to cool and mix with other ingredients.  Serve with slices of crusty bread.


Pesto Quinoa

2 cups cooked quinoa*, cooled
1/4 cup of your favorite pesto

Around here, pesto isn't made with from a specific recipe, but rather what we have on hand.  For this one I placed a large handful of basil, a large handful of parsley, and a large handful of arugula into my food processor.  I added a handful of salt and pepper cashews that I had around and a few stray pecans.  I topped it off with a squeeze of lemon juice, and some grated parmesan.  Begin running your food processor and drizzle in olive oil until it reaches your desired consistency.

For two cups of cooked quinoa, I toasted 1/2 cup of quinoa in a pan and added 1 cup of vegetable stock.  You can use water as well.  Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer and cover until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Mix together the quinoa and pesto, and place in mason jars for individual portions.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Food on the Road


Traveling (well, most things) makes me hungry.  If you’re going far I suggest you look up a park on the way to your destination and take a picnic break.  This way you’ll get to stretch your legs and you won’t end up with crumpled fast food wrappers and bags in your backseat.  For car travel, I pack most of my picnic in a cooler to ensure you don’t risk food spoilage.  You can still bring the picnic basket for other items like utensils and things that don’t need to be kept cool. 

One of our favorite picnic menus (we’re big on dining al fresco around here) consists of Vegetarian Chicken Salad Sandwiches and Pesto Quinoa.  Add some chopped veggies, a cold beverage, and a little dessert, and you’re ready to hit the road!





I put my quinoa in flat 8 ounce mason jars for individual servings. I don't make the sandwiches before hand, but instead pack slices of bread and assemble once we stop. Celery and carrot sticks also pack nicely into a pint-sized mason jar and throw in a chocolate bar for dessert.






Stay tuned tomorrow for recipes and some drink ideas.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Getaway, right around the corner.

Sometimes you just need to get away. I am really feeling the need for a mini vacation right about now. With the Spring furniture market starting Saturday in High Point, I have been busy setting up showrooms, working non stop. We all like to travel on the cheap around here, so I gathered some ideas on the perfect North Carolina destination for a weekend getaway that wont cost you much at all. Let's head to Asheville! A perfect spot for relaxing and decompressing.


 Asheville, NC is a great weekend destination for us because it is only three hours from Greensboro. It is packed full of culture, arts and wonderful food. Tucked away in the mountains, it is a picturesque setting and laid back community, with the bustle of an active community. There are some great little spots to stay in Asheville on the cheap like the Mount-Vue on Tunnel Road. It's not much to look at, but the rooms are clean and the rates are cheap. It is also walking distance to downtown and you get to walk under an awesome tunnel.


With all the money you save on lodging you can eat at The Laughing Seed a great place for veggies and carnies alike. There are so many great place to eat it is hard to pick. But the good thing about Asheville is you can always ask the locals or just follow your nose around until you find something that smells the best!


As well as being a thriving art community, Asheville is right in the middle of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and you can hop on the Parkway and be at a beautiful waterfall and an abundance of hiking trails in minutes.


For more general information, Festival schedules and more you can visit www.exploreasheville.com.
pictures from here, here, here, here here here here



Monday, April 16, 2012

Weekend Getaway: Packing Made Easy

Happy Monday!  This week we want to talk about getting away for a bit.  Spring has arrived and in North Carolina we are lucky to be close to both the beach and the mountains, so the opportunity to get away on an adventure is always in the back of our minds.  Tomorrow Allison will be sharing some excellent choices for quick trips around our state but today I want to share some trips for what to pack for that spur of the moment out of town getaway. 

About a year ago I read a tip for packing for a vacation that really stuck with me, to choose a simple one or two colors for your travel wardrobe and stick to it.  I am notorious for over packing for the shortest of trips so this tip has really come in handy to streamline my process for choosing outfits that will easily fit in a carry on or small weekender bag.  The idea is to look at your overall wardrobe and choose the one or two colors that you are naturally drawn to and choose pieces that will coordinate to give you multiple options when playing around with outfit decisions.  This season I am especially drawn to rust and peach so I decided to pair those with a few denim neutrals for a wardrobe that could be used for a trip from anywhere from two to five days.  Here's what I included:
  1. A couple of accessories that will coordinate with everything you pack, I chose a simple wooden bangle and a tigers eye stone pendant.
  2. My favorite vintage blazer in a warm rust color to throw on for any cool nights while I'm out.  I added an adorable silk flower from one of our favorite etsy shops, ReBloomed.
  3. A few shoe options, I like to have a sandal, a flat, and a heel; depending on the weather and the environment.
  4. A pair of adorable high-waisted denim shorts that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.
  5. A go-to favorite pair of rust colored jeans that add some fun color to the most laid back outfit
  6. A simple denim dress that is ideal for an outside event or even a dressy date night
  7. One dressier silk top that can also work in multiple situations.
  8. A vintage silk scarf that will coordinate with everything I packed and adds some color and pattern to the most simple of outfits.
  9. A large tote bag from another etsy fave, Un Original Americain, perfect for toting a camera and all my other essentials.
The rest of packing list included a smaller tote for nights out, a simple cotton tank to pair with the jeans or shorts, my best worn in denim shirt that can be worn on its own or layered over a tank, sunglasses and a nice neutral nail polish, and a much-loved 35 mm camera for capturing all of the important moments. 

I hope this rule of packing in a limited color palette will be helpful as you plan for your own upcoming Spring adventures.  Stay tuned all week as we share tips for getting away from the every day, from outfits to recipes, to our favorite camera apps and places to visit!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Best Organic Pancakes. Ever.




Pancakes are on the top of my "all-time favorite breakfast food" list, right next to french toast. A few months ago I searched for "best pancake recipe" and decided to adapt my own recipe based on the top one and used all organic ingredients (cause that's how I roll). I made a huge batch of these this week for our community dinner, and they were gobbled up in no time!


You will need:

a large bowl
a wisk
a few measuring devices
a cute apron
and all of your ingredients (see below)


Ingredients for the best organic pancakes ever:

1 1/2 c unbleached all-purpose flour 
1/8 c ground flax seed meal
1/8 rolled oats
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbl sugar
1 tsp salt 
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg

1 1/4 c milk
3 tbs butter
1 egg




Directions:
In your large bowl dump all the dry ingredients in there and stir them up. Make a well in the center, and pour in the wet ingredients including the egg. Mix all this together until smooth. The batter will remain a little bumpy because of all the rolled oat and flax goodness.

Next, heat your griddle up to medium-high and make sure it is lightly oiled. Scoop batter and pour onto hot griddle. I went with conventional circles on this batch, but have fun with it and make some hearts, a puppy or even donut shape. I like to add fresh blueberries to my pancakes, and I highly recommend you do the same.

If you are cooking for a large group, it is nice to keep things warming in the oven so everyone can eat together. Pancakes can take a bit of time, so it is nice to keep them toasty.

After all the pancakes are made, sit back and enjoy them with a little butter, and some warm honey or even some powdered sugar to make em' fancy. Then, make someone else clean up the mess. You worked hard making the best organic pancakes ever, you deserve a nap. Happy pancake flipping!

recipe adapted from: here

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Breakfast for Dinner

This week as we try to do things with a fresh perspective we decided to also switch things up at our weekly community dinner.  Allison's new house was the perfect setting to try something new in a new environment.  She treated us to her famous pancakes along with some other favorites for our Breakfast for Dinner.                                                                                                       Along with her delicious (and really healthy!) pancakes, our menu also included vegan sausage, scrambled eggs, sausage links, our friend Noah's amazing hashbrowns, and some of our favorites from childhood- sugary cereals.                                                                                                       
The entire night felt exciting and new with a bit of a nostalgic throwback feel.  Allison cooked on her incredible vintage range that is a perfect fit in the mid-century home. Their freshly painted dining room was the setting and was adorned with recently bloomed white hydrangeas from the front yard as we gathered around the table in perfectly suited chairs they salvaged from a local elementary school that shut down.  Here are a few shots from the rest of the night:                        
Whatever you do this week, remember to think about doing it in a new and exciting way.  It's always fun to put a fresh spin on things, keep it fresh, and add a little creativity to your every day.  Let us know what other ways you love to break up the ordinary; whether it's in your home, wardrobe, or diet.  And be sure to check back in tomorrow as Allison will be sharing the recipe for her much-loved breakfast-for-dinner pancakes!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

DIY Salad Bar

Last spring I found this trunk on the side of the road.  I grabbed it not really sure how I would use it.  One side was rotted out, and several spiders had taken up residence.  It was simply a shelf for potted plants for a year, but this spring I decided to give it a new life as a salad bar.

The first thing I did was to remove the lid and wipe down the trunk with white vinegar to get rid of some mildew.  Secondly I used wood cut from the lid in order to stabilize the corner that had suffered from rot.  After that I drilled holes in the bottom for extra drainage and lined the trunk with black landscape fabric.  I used my staple gun to attach it a little below the top of the trunk.

I filled it with soil and mixed in some seed-starting mix.  Potting soil is already a combination, so that would have worked as well.  I just used what I had on hand.  Garden soil itself will compact too quickly in a container.  After that I dug up some volunteer lettuces that had come up in a bed where I let last year's lettuce bolt (produce seed).   I transplanted several into one half of the trunk.  In the other side I sowed Spinach and Black Simpson Lettuce seeds.

In a few weeks I should have plenty of greens right outside of my door.  I will continue to sow seeds as I pick plants so that I will have greens all spring, summer, and fall.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

DIY: Garden Markers from Kitchen Utensils

 
This week we are all about switching things up.  Whether it is styling something in a new way, finding a different use for an ordinary object, or changing up your normal dinner routine; we'll be sharing fresh takes on projects with you all week.

Last week I showed you how to easily make a hostess gift from inexpensive wooden utensils, while working on that project I was inspired to think of other ways to style these every day items.  By taking the utensils out of the kitchen and into the garden I found an easy way to repurpose them and add a little color to my herb garden by turning them into garden markers. 
All you need for this diy is a set of wooden utensils (better if they are untreated wood because the paint will stick better), small alphabet stickers, painters tape and a few spray paint colors.  The first step is to spell out the names of your herbs or vegetables on to the top of the utensils,  I used the back since it was a flatter surface.  Then I added a few inches of painters tape to the bottom of the handles so the painted part wouldn't go into my garden soil.
Next take everything outside and add a coat of paint to the front.  Let that dry, flip over, and paint the back of each utensil.  After that coat dries completely, remove the stickers and tape and place around your garden- so easy!  You can also add a layer of clear coat for added protection against wear from the outside elements.

I love this colorful addition to my little herb garden and plan on making a few more sets of these for friends and family as we get closer to planting season.  Stay tuned this week for the rest of our ideas for taking a new approach to your every day routines!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Styled 3 Ways: Allison Round 2

Last month we started not only our blog, but a fun sharing game we like to call "Styled 3 Ways". We take a piece of vintage clothing from my collection and pass it around to see how differently we all style the same thing. It has been a lot of fun so far, so we are going to do a different piece each month, and maybe add some other friends in the mix for more great outfit ideas to pass on!

The piece I chose this week reminds me of relaxing at the beach. It is a light blue and white stripe soft knit shirt. It has a great solid waistband and cap sleeves. Check out how I styled this shirt below and be sure to stay tuned in the next couple weeks for Kat and Liz's styling.


I paired this shirt with a full peach skirt from the 50's I picked up at a flea market, some woven hemp peep toe wedges I scored at TJ Maxx last summer and my grandmas favorite little handbag from the 60s that she used to carry around all the time. My grandma had some really good taste. I always think of her when I bring out this little bag of sunshine. Happy styling everyone, and don't forget to check back next week for more Styled 3 Ways!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Weekly Collection: Easter Round-Up

Happy Easter!  This week we shared with you how to make a quick and simple hostess gift for your celebrations, introduced the newest addition to our crew, showed you how to naturally dye eggs in an unexpected hue, and how to make an all-purpose spray to clean it all up.  We've been busy eating, celebrating, and crafting this holiday weekend but I wanted share some of the other Easter goodness found around the web this week:



Plus, don't forget our skirt giveaway, which is ending soon.  Enter to win by subscribing to our blog, provide a valid email address and leaving a comment on any of the three "styled 3 ways" posts.

Image via Postcards from the Robins Nest for the eggshell planters.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Something Unexpected

If you don't have chickens to lay your multi-colored eggs, there are tons of recipes for making natural egg dyes around the internet.  Some pretty good guides can be found here and here.  It's a tradition in mine and Kat's family to have onion skin dyed eggs every year.  Last year I hosted my family for an Easter brunch, and at the last minute decided to dye some eggs.  I had dried hibiscus on hand and thought that a pop of bright pink would look great on the table.  To my surprise, that was not at all the color they turned.  They instead turned out a really beautiful speckled grey.


To hard-boil eggs and dye them with hibiscus, here's my method:

Place your eggs in a large pot and cover with cold water.  Add 1/2 c of dried hibiscus flowers (I picked mine up at our international food store, Super G).  Bring to a boil and remove from heat.  Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.  Drain and rinse eggs with cold water.

Backyard Chickens

 Recently, about two weeks ago, we made an adorable addition to our happy little family. We drove down to Southern States in Summerfield, NC and picked out four baby chicks. We got these chicks to provide us with eggs, keep our garden somewhat free of bugs and for general cuteness. They have been growing so fast and are full of personality. 

The types of hens were picked based on their laying ability and their overall heartiness. We purchased a Barred Rock, a Rhode Island Red, an Australorp and an Easter Egger. Each hen will produce about 4-5 eggs a week in the summer and about 2-3 a piece in the winter.

Here are some photos taken last week of the little ladies. The lightest chick in the front  is "Sugar", our Rhode Island Red. She just happens to be the sweetest and is the spunkiest. "Practically" the chicken is the light brown one. She is the Easter Egger and will produce beautiful blue eggs (hence the name). "Jitterbug" is the black chick with yellow on the top of her head. She is a Barred Rock, and much more hesitant to jump in our hands and be shown affection. And last but not least the Australorp. "Peeple" the chicken is the almost solid black chick, she is the smallest in the bunch and also very quiet and standoffish.

The chicks will be under the heat lamp for a couple more weeks and after that they will be moved into their new home outside in a brand new coop! I will post some updates soon as they grow into beautiful hens.
 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Homemade Counter Cleaner

Ready to start making your own house-cleaning products?  Here's the most all-purpose cleaner I use. It's fast to make and I have yet to run into something it won't wipe right off.


You need baking soda, washing powder, all-natural castille or dish soap, and grapefruit essential oil.

Pour 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. washing powder, a couple squirts of soap, and 10-15 drops of grapefruit essential oil into a spray bottle*.  Fill with 12-16 oz. of warm water.  Shake and use everywhere!

*The bottle I use is repurposed from an old bottle of Mrs. Meyer's counter spray.  You can find a bottle at most grocery, drug, and home supply stores.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

DIY Hostess Gift: Painted Serving Utensils

Are you heading to a Easter brunch, dinner, or party this weekend?  If so, arrive in style with a homemade gift for your gracious hostess.  I put together this quick and simple DIY that you can do in no time, but is sure to leave a lasting impression.  Oh, and the best part?  If you're like us and have craft paint and painters tape in your supply closet already, this craft will only cost you about $3.  I picked up these colorful striped napkins that were the inspiration for the project at Target and the bamboo serving utensils at the Dollar Store.  After washing and drying the utensils well, I taped off the top half and applied a coat of white paint. To make the whole project a little easier I used a paper cup to keep the utensils up right as each coat dried.  Next I taped off striped sections to add my colors.  I mixed various pink shades to match the napkins and finished with a cheery orange addition.

How simple is that?  Once everything is dry, tie up your gift with a little bit of twine and take to your next get together as a little thank you to whoever is hosting.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Giveaway! Styled 3 Ways: Kat

Happy Monday everyone! Here is the 3rd and final styled 3 ways for the lovely turquoise high waisted skirt from my vintage collection. If you missed the first two, you can find them here and here. Instead of offering this skirt in my etsy shop NosillaVintage, we decided to do a giveaway! Yay! See below for more details. But first, check out Kat's styling:


Kat styled up this skirt with a simple white Hanes V-neck T, A great floral scarf and her favorite brown boots. Her small purse is from my collection and was a trade for some prints she did for her shop Heart and Crafts. All in all a great casual outfit full of color for spring! 

So you like this skirt? Would you like to own this skirt? For free? Well if you answered yes, we can help you, because we want to give it to you! All you have to do is subscribe to our blog, provide a valid email address and leave a comment on any of the three "styled 3 ways" posts telling us why you love it, or other ideas for styling this little ditty.  We would love to hear from you! Here is some sizing info: the waist is elastic and will fit a size 26" waist up to a size 36". The total length is 29".

The giveaway will be open for one week, so it will end Sunday, April 7th at midnight. And be sure to tune in next week for a brand new round of Styled 3 Ways!