April 23, 2012 at 5:10 pm , by Beth Roehrig
Last week I met with the hilarious and down-to-earth designers Tanya McQueen and Tracy Hutson, otherwise known as The Picker Sisters. (The first season of their show, all about upcycling people’s roadside castoffs into cool designs, aired on Lifetime; they’re currently between seasons.)
Since Tanya and Tracy specialize in turning trash into treasure, they were the perfect ambassadors for Glad’s Mess to Masterpiece Art Auction, benefiting Keep America Beautiful. In honor of Earth Day, Glad asked mosaic artist Jason Mecier to create a few works of art using celebs’ trash, with the resulting animal portraits being auctioned off on eBay. Sounds weird? Well, the results are surprisingly striking. I’m a fan of this slightly angry (but hopefully not rabid) raccoon. Read more
April 11, 2012 at 7:00 am , by Beth Roehrig
Making cheese from scratch is not something I ever pictured myself doing. (I blame my anti-dairy-making stance on those grumpy-looking pioneer women churning butter at the living history museum. Guess that grade-school field trip really stayed with me.) But I totally made some this weekend. And it was super easy. And I didn’t even have to dress up in period garb.
The reason I was inspired to give it a shot? Agrarian—a Williams-Sonoma spinoff that focuses on products that help you grow and make your own food—launched just last week and gave me this nifty DIY Cheese Kit. It contains everything you need to whip up 10 batches of ricotta or mozzarella. This time I opted for ricotta, because I wanted to make crostini topped with ricotta, honey, and black pepper for an Easter brunch party. I have to admit, this “recipe” is my take on the crostini at Anfora, one of my favorite wine bars here in the city. It’s delicious.
So, what exactly is involved, you ask? It’s basically a 3-step process.
1. Dissolve a bit of citric acid in water.
2. Heat whole milk in a pot with the citric acid solution and cheese salt. (Don’t walk away from the stove during this part—you need to make sure the mixture doesn’t boil over.)
3. Once curds form, strain through cheesecloth.
And, you’re done! The whole thing took less than an hour, the cheese turned out yummy, and my friends think I’m more domestically skilled than I really am. Score!
February 8, 2012 at 7:00 am , by Beth Roehrig
If you saw Holly Burns’ kitchen transformation in our March issue, you’ll know that she and her husband pulled off an amazing feat of DIY derring-do. So we asked her to share what she learned about saving money on the process. Holly blogs at Nothing But Bonfires. And is still working up the courage to renovate her bathroom.
How to Remodel a Kitchen on a Budget (Without Losing Your Mind)
Three months after we bought our fixer-upper house in an uncool part of San Francisco, my husband Sean and I decided to remodel the kitchen. Actually, that’s not quite true; we decided to remodel the kitchen before we’d even signed the papers in the realtor’s office—if you’d seen that hideous flowered wallpaper, you would have too—but we needed a little time to save up. I like to joke that we also needed a little time to get our wills in order. You know, in case we murdered each other in the process.
Renovating your kitchen yourself isn’t easy. It isn’t even particularly fun. And it certainly isn’t always cheap. But when you approach the project with a little humor and a lot of knowledge, it’s definitely a whole lot more manageable. If you’re thinking of tackling a DIY remodel, here are a few ways to keep your budget bearable and your sanity intact. Mostly, anyway. (You may also need wine.)
December 28, 2011 at 8:00 am , by Beth Roehrig
I love New Year’s Eve! When I plan a party, I always make sure to create a welcoming setting where guests will feel comfortable. I also repurpose items I already have on hand to make the most of my budget, which totally makes it possible to throw a glamorous New Year’s party on a dime. Here’s how:
1. Accessorize affordably. New Year’s Eve supplies are easy to find at affordable stores. Look for small touches and metallic accessories that will bring the chic quotient up a few notches and complement your everyday décor.
2. Don’t forget the essentials. Every New Year’s party should have:
• A punch bowl to serve up a signature cocktail
• A beverage tub to keep the bubbly chilled all the night
• A mirrored tray to help present treats like finger foods
• A mirrored ball that sets the mood
3. Put out a buffet. A mix of hot-and-cold finger foods on tiered trays and cake stands will give your table some dimension. Bonus: When you’re not tied up in the kitchen, you’ll have time to work the room and welcome guests as they arrive. Read more
November 16, 2011 at 3:16 pm , by Beth Roehrig
Have you become a fan of ABC’s The Chew? I got to attend a trial run of the show before it started airing in September, and loved seeing co-host Evette Rios, the resident design expert, in action. She also has a channel over on eHow Food, where she posts videos with lots of great (and simple) entertaining ideas.
Thanksgiving is in just over a week—and if you’re hosting you have probably finalized the menu and are now looking for creative and easy ways to decorate the table. Place cards really make the holiday table. They are fun and festive, but also completely functional. Let’s face it, when we go to a dinner party, we have a tendency to stick to the folks we know, love and feel comfortable around. But sometimes as host or hostess, you want to arrange your guests so that they get maximum schmoozing, or maybe so that you can play matchmaker, or protect your shy, introverted friends from your chatty Uncle Louie. Place cards are your secret weapon! Here are bunch of ways that you can make them beautiful, fun and hassle-free. And you can also watch me make each one on my eHow video.
Put a Cork in It
August 31, 2011 at 11:43 am , by Beth Roehrig
It sounds like sacrilege: taking an Oriental carpet or kilim rug, bleaching it, then dying the whole thing a bright, saturated hue. But surprisingly, it works, and totally transforms a traditional design into something new, fresh and modern. Of course, you wouldn’t do this with a pricey antique rug. But for old carpets that aren’t valuable or just plain worn-looking, this technique recycles them into something useful. Another technique takes pieces of multiple old rugs and sews them together before dyeing the resulting patchwork a single color, like the Patchwork Kilim from World Market at left. I first noticed this trend months back at ABC Carpet & Home, a high-end rug and home furnishings store, and am excited to see it finally showing up at more affordable prices. Check out a few more colorful options after the jump.
August 3, 2011 at 6:27 pm , by Beth Roehrig
When it comes to weddings, I’m always torn: Do I go with something off the registry or cold, hard cash? Well, when a good friend of mine recently tied the knot, I was stuck. Literally everything on their registry had already been snapped up. So…what to do? Sure, most newlyweds probably can use the cash more than that mixing bowl set on their registry. But handing over a card with a check inside just felt so impersonal. So I decided to make them a personal gift to give along with the check. I had seen an idea I liked over on one of my favorite blogs, Young House Love, that I was excited to try. Sherry and her husband John covered an entire hallway in their home with framed, art, pictures, and other various items. They have a ton of great ideas on their walls—you should go read all about it here. Anyway, as you can see above, they framed a calendar page and circled the date of their wedding with a heart. So adorable!
See my version after the jump. Read more