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Posted by on Feb 8, 2016 | 0 comments

The Art of Building a Great Fire in Your Fireplace

The Art of Building a Great Fire in Your Fireplace

My father-in-law Serge takes great pride in his technique for building a fire and rightly so. He taught me a thing or two on how to get a beautiful fire going quickly and evenly, without a lot of excess smoke. I learned too that there are several techniques for making a fire. This post features just one of them – a method that Serge has perfected over the years. Before he came over the other night, I swept out the ashes from the last few fires we made and made sure the flue was open. Serge says you need to remove ashes when they get about 3 inches deep. I also gathered some newspaper and brought in some kindling from our front porch. My contribution to the effort was to make some fire starters using lint from the dryer, toilet paper rolls, and a birthday candle. You stuff the lint inside the toilet paper roll and place a candle in the middle. When you light the roll, the candle...

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Posted by on Feb 3, 2016 | 0 comments

Streets Market on the Avenue

Streets Market on the Avenue

Living within walking distance of the former Giant on Monroe Ave., I was devastated when they closed down last summer. There’s nothing better than being able to walk over to a local grocery for a couple of items. But the good news is that Del Ray now has another shopping option, Streets Market and Cafe, located at 3108 Mt Vernon Ave. Though they opened at the end of last year, I made my first trip to Streets this past week. During the recent snowstorm, my Facebook feed was full of posts from friends praising the shop and how well-stocked it was even during the storm, so I had to see for myself. And those Facebook posts were correct — Streets IS well-stocked! It may not be your weekly/bulk shopping kind of place, but it still has all the essentials. Produce, dairy, meats, cereal, canned/dry goods and household items are all there. There is also a prepared foods section and you can buy fresh-sliced deli items. I haven’t done a...

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Posted by on Feb 1, 2016 | 3 comments

A Mid-Century Nursery for Baby Mera

A Mid-Century Nursery for Baby Mera

After featuring J.P. and Ellen’s mid-century modern design style in a 2014 home tour, we couldn’t wait to come back and see what they did with their newborn baby Mera’s bedroom. Just like the rest of their stylish home, they accented the room with mid-century charm and personal touches, perfect for a baby girl. The collection of prints in uniform white frames shown to the right of the window above are an assortment of prints that Ellen picked out, as well as cards her friends and family gave her at their baby shower. “I hate tossing beautiful cards,” Ellen says, “and I feel that sticking them in a box in a closet is basically the same thing.” So she framed them. What a great idea. One wall was painted a handsome blue-grey hue when they moved in a few years ago. Unfortunately, they don’t have the name to share. (They had Home Depot match the color so they could use it throughout the room.) Ellen found the mid-century dresser...

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Posted by on Jan 27, 2016 | 1 comment

Rainbow Waffles

Rainbow Waffles

My 12-year-old daughter Ana and a few of her friends took over our kitchen on a recent snow day to make rainbow waffles. They agreed wholeheartedly to document the process. Today, we welcome Ana, Bea, Gigi and Lucy as our guest bloggers. The tools you will need are: 8 small bowls 3 large bowls 6 spoons A whisk A spatula 6 zip-loc bags or 6 piping bags 1 waffle iron The ingredients you will need are: (Recipe source: True Belgian Waffles Recipe) 2 cups all purpose flour 3/4 cup sugar 3-1/2 teaspoons baking powder 2 large eggs, separated 1-1/2 cups milk 1 cup butter, melted 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Red, Green, Yellow, and Blue food coloring Cooking spray Note: In our picture it shows sea salt, but we will not be using that. Directions 1. In a bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking powder. 2. In two small bowls, separate the 2 eggs and mix the yolk well. 3. In the other large bowl, add egg yolks, and then...

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Posted by on Jan 21, 2016 | 0 comments

Marvelous Musically Themed Paper Snowflakes

Marvelous Musically Themed Paper Snowflakes

I’ve always made paper snowflakes by randomly cutting shapes into folded paper. But recently, my friend Lisa showed me this book she picked up from the City Museum of St. Louis that walks you through the steps to make fabulous snowflakes with a musical theme. One Sunday afternoon, she invited a few friends and their kids over to make a mess of snowflakes together. Lisa tried out this technique during a hands-on workshop in St. Louis with the author of the book Marion Nichols, fondly known there as the “Snowflakey Lady.” You start out folding the paper in a certain way and then you cut out a complex shape, so that when you open the snowflake, you see a repeating motif, like this trombone… and this trumpet. We quickly got the hang of folding the paper by following the clear illustrations in the book. Lisa displayed all of the unique snowflakes that everyone cut out on her windows, making for a delightful winter exhibit to enjoy inside and out....

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