Monday, August 18, 2014

Summertime Decluttering Day

QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

  • Make menu plans for the week ahead; create your grocery list.
  • Have you made Labor Day weekend plans? Are you inviting people over, or going somewhere yourself?
  • Is it time to change or scoop cat litter?
  • Take inventory your of paper supplies. How well are you stocked up on toilet paper, paper towels, Wet Wipes, paper napkins, Kleenex and Puffs?
  • Wipe down microwave inside and out if needed. This just took me less than 1 minute, so I should do it more than once a week!
  • Is your pile of grocery bags (whether paper or plastic) getting out of hand? Take half your stash to the car so you can recycle it on your way to another errand. Most grocery stores and Targets have a place you can leave bags.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Decluttering Day

The lined baskets I keep our shoes in, tucked into a dresser by the front door

As I'm getting ready for my upcoming "1001 Nights" party which is on Saturday, I can't just focus on the food and decorations. I need to make sure my house looks (and smells!) nice for the guests. The party will be held outside, but people will of course need to come in to go to the bathroom, and I'm sure there will be people hanging out in the kitchen too. With over 50 people coming to the party, more than one guest bathroom will be in use at the same time, so I need to make sure all three of my bathrooms are in good shape.

Today I am making a sweep through every room of the house, decluttering as needed. I've already removed magazines from the backs of my toilet tanks, removed mail and most of the magazines off my coffee table, and removed some extra vases that were cluttering up both of my fireplace mantels. Next I'll empty wastebaskets, carry any stray dishes and water glasses to the dishwasher, put shoes in the baskets by the front door where they belong, and put items back into their proper homes in closets, cabinets, and on shelves.

In my laundry room, I have clean sheets that need to be put back on a bed, and a pile of clean dark clothing that needs to be hung up.

Lastly, the worst area right now is the living room where I sit with a laptop to do my work. There is a huge stack of library books, lots of paperwork, an out of place USB stick, a camera lens, and a pile of CDs I was sorting. All of that needs to go away so I can finish tidying the living room for the party!

What things might you need to declutter tonight after work? If any?

LOVELY BLOGS: Letters of Note

This blog is "an attempt to gather and sort fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos." Though it hasn't been updated since June, I've been enjoying visiting the past archives of letters. There's of course a letter from Maya Angelou (to her future self), a letter from Silent Spring biologist Rachel Carson, and a wonderful letter from Helen Keller to the New York Symphony Orchestra. See if you shed a small tear while reading it!

http://www.lettersofnote.com/

LOVELY BOOKS: A Curious Invitation

I just checked out "A Curious Invitation: The Forty Greatest Parties in Fiction" from the library and eagerly dove right in. So far it's a really fun read! The book of course includes Alice in Wonderland's tea party; parties with The Great Gatsby; and the ball from Mansfield Park. Lesser known literary parties include The Duchess of Richmond's Ball from Vanity Fair, a party described in The Brothers Karamazov and several other intriguing fetes.

LOVELY LINKS FOR TODAY:

Almond Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies (Bakerella)

Almond Crusted Sea Bass (A Sweet Pea Chef)

Coconut Ice Cream with Pineapple Curd Swirl (Pineapple and Coconut)

Four Words are the Key to Seeming Polite (The Atlantic)

Fun With Food Trends (The Atlantic)

Hawaiian Cream Popsicles (Cherished Bliss)

The Inspiring Desks of Art World Stars (Slate)

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies (What Megan Made)

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Hand Pies (Annie's Eats)

Revisiting Green Goddess Dressing (Gastronaut Jones)

Sweet Savoury and Salty Fresh Kale Egg Salad (Peachy Palate)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Party Preparation: Jeweled Cookies

I had been content with the idea of serving just baklava for dessert at the party, plus sorbet/sherbet earlier in the day, and cotton candy and shaved ice for the kids. But then I saw this pin on Pinterest (cookies shown above), inspiring me to make bejeweled cookies. I won't have the skill or patience to put on teeny tiny little candy dots like this. But that's ok.

I ran to Cost Plus to find shortbread cookies like the one pictured. No such luck - but I picked up a couple assortments, plus some thin waffle cookies. They're Italian, but I don't care if they don't quite match the theme here. Pardon my terrible food photography here, by the way.

I got out my food paintbrush, my edible glitters, lusters, powders, food colorings, etc. and got to work. I had so much fun last night! I need to work on not "spilling" over when I paint cookies though.

I experimented with non-pareils, gel frostings (too runny) and glittery sugar.

This is a pizzelle cookie. They're very fragile, so I had to handle them carefully. I am not trying for any food blogging photography awards here by the way. I need to work on not smearing my edible ink, too.

I had a lot of fun in my practice session. These cookies will be quite stale (even if I covered them and put them away) by the party, so I'll have to make a huge new batch. I plan to have a cookie painting evening on Thursday before the night of the Saturday party. I hope my cousin can come over and help me, but I might be on my own! Let's hope my hand gets steadier.