Monday, August 30, 2010

Street Merch Monday: Not Just a Shipping Palette

West Elm is one of my favorite stores. They have a rustic and refined, traditional yet modern aesthetic like no other. I spun through the other day with my parents and noticed a common motif: Their use of shipping palettes.

It's no secret that I love to repurpose furniture, home goods, fabric, etc., so you know I'm loving the clever use of these normally junk pieces of wooden street merch.

My take away? 3 ways to use shipping palettes, as previously done by West Elm:

1. Use a palette to hang planters and other outdoor accessories from.

2. Use palettes as urban/country chandeliers by hanging lanterns, lights and glass ornaments from them.

3. Use palettes as an entire textured wall covering. Then hang your normal wall stuff on top of it. Love this idea!

A while back, I had the opportunity to try using palettes in an interior setting! I found these 2 palettes on the side of the street. They are all over Manhattan, just left on the curb. I try to look for palettes with wood in good shape and blemish free. But then again, some of the ink and marks on the wood often add character.

Our plan: To hang the palettes on a wall, to construct simple 'flower boxes' to hang on the palettes and to paint them.

Here they are before:

Here they are after! A handyman friend of mine, Andrew, crafted the 'flower box' pieces that hung off the side of the palettes with the help of simple brackets. We then painted the pieces gray and white to help clean up their look.

And here they are in the space. We filled the 'flower boxes' with mason jars of flowers and left over wood branches.

Who knew shipping palettes could be so versatile. I'm excited to try them out in other ways!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Burton Wedding :: Huntsville Style

A couple of weekends ago, I spent a weekend in Huntsville, Alabama to celebrate the Burton wedding! I could go on and on about things I loved from the weekend. In hopes of you making it through this entire post, I thought I'd limit it to 3 things: Bridesmaid Luncheon, Shari's (Laura's moms) House & The Wedding.

First. The bridesmaid luncheon.

Where: A historical home in Huntsville. Circa 1824. If there was a way to put number in all caps, I would. Is it registering to you that this house was built in 1824??

Observations of this house: It was beautiful. Classic and charming and substantial. The basement housed a giant wood burning fire place that used to be part of the original kitchen. It was actually the first indoor kitchen in the state of Alabama, we learned. The entire downstairs was covered in original cool (in temperature) brick from when the house was built. It kept the whole basement mildly chilly.

The table was perfect and lovely.

Delicious. Darkly stained wood chair and pink and cream ikat upholstery.
Is that ikat? I think it is. Should have asked.


Where: Shari's House.

Observations of this house: Their bungalow gets cuter every time we stop by. Here's a picture of their darling and newly finished kitchen. I have kitchen envy real bad. And if you look to the left of the hydrangeas, you can see Laura, the bride to be!

And a picture of the master bedroom. Right out of House Beautiful.


Where: The Wedding

Observations: Laura's style revolves around natural woods and greenery and her staple dusty teal color. I love this about Laura. And her wedding.

Amazing what wreaths can do.

Oh you know, just some Kate Spade-esque flowers by the guest book.

And some friends.

What a great weekend!

Street Merch Before & After- 89th & Broadway


This accidentally posted last night and was blaring on my reader this morning. Incomplete.
I was saving it for Monday, but oh well. Here it goes.

Found this piece outside of my apartment a while back. Not even sure what it is. A bench? A mini coffee table? And ottoman?


I, unfortunately, had no space for this piece in my room. However, roommate Lindsay Ann did!
So we decided to paint to glossy white.

The Setup: A plastic trash can upside down balancing the ottoman/stool/bench thing.

Weapon of Choice: Rustoleum Primer, Rusteoleum Lacquer white paint and one of those spray paint handle things. Aaaaamazing.

Work in Progress: 1 coat of primer. 1 coat of paint. 1 coat to go.

Lindsay Ann's mom can whip up anything when it comes to fabric. She made this darling cushion to go on the ottoman/bench/stool thing.

And now, the finished product.


Her mom also made those shams, euros and bolster on her bed.

This is what I love about Street Merch, it's about giving furniture with a past a new & bright future. Glad we could find a home for this piece!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Street Merch Monday - West 89th Street

So if you were wondering, Street Merch is going to live on Mondays. Street Merch Monday's. I just said it out loud. At my desk. At work. Ahem haaha. Focus Hannah.

I saw this door just the other day and thought it would make clever full sized head board. Might need a small trim off the left side though...

Like this.

Paint would do a lot for this 'headboard'. I envision something monochromatic and sparky. Maybe you paint the whole thing a muted lime green, and then cover the 4 raised rectangles in the green & white hydrangea wrapping paper from Kate's.Or use a gray paint and the middle pattern. Or OR, paint the 'headboard' poppy orange (probably my favorite color) and use this darling Ode to Marimekko pattern. Also from Kate's Paperie.

Could be cute! And cheap!
And very resourceful.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Street Merch: 47th & 8th - Before & After

I've decided that "Street Merch" is going to be making a weekly appearance here on the blog. I'll decide on a day next week - stay tuned!

Anyways, months ago, I found this Street Merch while I was on my way to look at a Craigslist couch. Roommate Lindsay Ann was going to meet me there. I've had only great experiences with Craigslist furniture finds in New York, but I've always had a buddy. You never know when you'll run into a creeper, and plus, Lindsay Ann is a great furniture buddy, as you may remember from our Street Lamp adventure.

Anyways, I was on my way to meet her and saw this funny retro side table all sad and tumpled over on the side of the street. I instantly loved the wood detail and decided that I needed it. It was deceivingly heavy, but I finally made it to rando-craigslist man's apartment with my new side table in tack.

Here it is before.

And here it is after. I'm sure I could have gone more bloggy & elaborate with the paint, but sometimes you just have to be done thinking about it. And at this point, I was working on a few other projects and needed to be DONE thinking about it. After a light sand, we used leftover Oop's paint from another project to cover my dinged up little wood piece.

And here it is in the space.
Exactly what we needed for this little area.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Tribute to New York City Part 2

It’s during this time of year that I start to miss New York the most. The idea of cooler weather with a slightly salty breeze coming off the Hudson River sounds much more appealing than the extreme temperatures we’ve been experiencing here in Texas. Seriously, I’m melting as we speak. When I used to complain about the cold winters (which I do not miss, not one bit.) in New York, people would tell me, “Just wait. Our summers are brutally hot.” I’d laugh inside.Because, really, you’re going to tell me New York summers are more blistering than the ones we have in Texas? Ha. Ha. HA. However, there are things about New York that I miss besides the milder temperatures, though most of them are associated with summer time. I loved the fact that during warmer weather, the city would just come alive- to a completely different level.On almost any day of the week you could find some kind of outdoor event to while away the hours, whether it be at a regularly scheduled flea market or an outdoor celebration like the Mermaid Parade (celebrating the beginning of summer out on Coney Island).

It was around mid-summer during my year spent living in New York that I had made the decision to move back to Texas. I also made the decision right then and there to do as many “New Yorky” things as possible. I had a blast checking things off my list. I made a trip to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, Jones Beach out on Long Island, Coney Island, several museums, and the New York Aquarium.

The funny thing is, that with the exception of the beaches, I could do all those other things right here in Dallas. For whatever reason, I never bother to here. Two things I can’t do in Dallas, however, and desperately wish I could, is attend Broadway shows and spend the day at Central Park.

I had a deep love affair with Central Park. I was in awe of the beauty of that place during all seasons. Whether it was watching the leaves fall while strolling down The Mall, gazing out upon the blanket of snow from Bow Bridge, welcoming the first spring rain while relaxing in Strawberry Fields, or enjoying a picnic among the sea of people in the Great Lawn. (I actually took my mom along for one of those picnics when she came to visit. I made a pretty spectacular spread, if I don’t say so myself, of grilled vegetable panzanella, spicy apricot and molasses glazed shrimp, watermelon, feta and arugula salad, and chocolate caramel espresso bars- now my most requested item.)

While there is an endless amount of activities and places to visit in New York, there are probably twice as many restaurants. Of course, there are the classics and the critically acclaimed that stand out from the bunch, too many of which I didn’t have the time or money to enjoy, but there is one restaurant in New York that I could probably call my favorite, or at least mark it as a tie with my other favorite restaurant located here in Dallas: The Spotted Pig. I only had the opportunity to eat a meal here once, but that was enough to solidify its place in my heart. The wait for a table is always extreme, but there is a reason for that. The food is unreal. It’s a gastro-pub offering a fusion of traditional British fare and Italian cuisine. The pork belly was succulent. The shoestring fries, crisped to perfection. But nothing, nothing, could ever be as decadently delicious as the plump, pillowy, perfection that is their gnudi. Gnudi, which is literally translated to “naked”, are pasta-like ricotta dumplings that have been shed of their pasta “clothing.” The ricotta bursts through its thin exterior and immediately changes your world. They are a revelation. Trust me, once you eat gnudi, you will never want run-of-the-mill ravioli ever again.

By comparison, my favorite Dallas restaurant, which is much easier to get a table at, is rise nº 1. It’s an adorable French restaurant specializing in soufflés. They of course offer other French fare beyond soufflés, but why bother going if you’re not going to indulge in one of their many, many flavors like sun-dried tomato & pesto chèvre, truffle infused mushroom, or the Cajun crab & boursin cheese. You must save room for a chocolate, strawberry, or praline soufflé to finish your meal, however. All three are to die for. On second thought, it’s probably better to go ahead on order all three.

Besides my beloved Central Park and The Spotted Pig, there is perhaps one last thing that I miss more than anything: my bridge (otherwise known as the Williamsburg Bridge). I ran across it almost daily. There was something so peaceful and serene about pounding my feet on the pavement as I looked out upon the East River and the Manhattan skyline, breathing in the crisp, salty air. I loved being able to race toward the Lower East Side with Brooklyn behind me, only to turn around and experience it all over again. It’s not quite the same running around my flat Plano, TX neighborhood anymore. I’m always hoping to suddenly approach a vast metal structure that will carry me over a body of water of some kind. Which, on a side note, up until I lived in New York I never knew how much I loved being around water. Watching the sun glisten on the water’s surface never failed to make me smile, especially if I was lucky enough to catch a sunset while standing at the water’s edge.

It’s funny how memories tend to become more dear and precious as time goes on. As my time spent in New York grows more and more distant, I grow even fonder of my experiences there. My affection for sunsets, Central Park, and the Spotted Pig may be but mere, fading memories, but they’ll always hold a place in my heart. And at least I can still have my gnudi, and eat it too.

Karlie Kiser

Culinary Crumbs

(Gnudi recipe follows)

Ricotta Gnudi with Crispy Sage and Brown Butter Sauce

Inspired by The Spotted Pig, adapted from The Paupered Chef

1 cup fresh ricotta cheese (if possible, use sheep’s milk ricotta or, if you’re up to it, make your own ricotta)
1 cup grated grated Parmesan
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ cup all-purpose flour
4-5 cups semolina flour
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
about 24 sage leaves
¼ cup shredded Parmesan, preferably Parmigiano Reggiano
fresh black pepper to taste

1. Combine the ricotta, grated Parmesan, eggs, egg yolk and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl and whisk vigorously until the mixture is light and airy.

2. Gently fold in the ½ cup flour until it is combined with the ricotta mixture. If the mixture seems too sticky at this point, add in 1 tablespoon more flour at a time.

3. In a large, shallow dish (but at least 2-inches deep), sprinkle ¼-inch semolina flour on the bottom. Using a small cookie dough scoop, about an inch in diameter, scoop the ricotta mixture into small, round balls, using floured hands to shape if necessary, and arrange on top of the semolina, making sure not to touch each other or the sides of the dish. After all the ricotta mixture is scooped, rolled, and arranged, cover the balls completely with the remaining semolina flour. The balls should be buried. Transfer to the fridge and let sit for at least 12 hours, and up to 24. *I found that resting the ricotta balls for 24 hours made a thicker “crust” than I would have liked. I would suggest a shorter resting period.

4. Carefully unearth the gnudi and set aside on a baking sheet. The remaining semolina flour can be sifted and reserved for another future use. Allow the gnudi to come to room temperature.

5. In the meantime, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Watch it carefully, and when the butter solids begin to brown and turn foamy, add the sage leaves. Continue to cook until the butter turns a nutty brown color. Be careful not to burn the butter, as it will turn bitter.

6. Once the water is boiling, carefully transfer the gnudi to the pot and cook until they float, about 2 minutes. Avoid overcooking or the exterior will toughen.

7. Removing the gnudi with a slotted spoon to drain, transfer to the brown butter sauce and serve immediately. Top with the shredded Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh black pepper.

Serves 4

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Street Merch: 47th and 10th Avenue

This is a fun game. What would you do with this secretary's desk?

I would paint it Glossy Kelly Green and get new vintage stainless steel pulls.

Laura & Ryan Sitting in a tree...

This is my friend Laura.
We lived in the same house in Auburn, Alabama for 2 years in college.
When I think of Laura, I'm reminded of endless amounts of coffee, brownie confections, robins egg blue, textures like burlap and linen, poofs in the back of our pony tails, Anthropologie, New York and felt tip pens.

Laura and Ryan are getting married this weekend, actually in like TWO DAYS!

Oh did I mention she makes cakes? They're beautiful. This girl has a knack for styling - Whether its a cake, or a room, or an outfit, it's always lovely. I was in Birmingham a few weeks ago for some wedding festivities and got to see her adorable bungalow home that she'll share with Ryan once they're married.

This is what I'm talking about. Here's a run of the mill organizational area done in earthy linen's and creams and its adorable.

Early on in college, Ivy and I went home with Laura and got to see her mom's absurdly cute historical (well maybe not technically) home. The first thing we saw, walking up to the house, was a cush little seating area, complete with outdoor lamps and fabrics. Laura's porch area reminds me so much of her mom!

I want a porch.

Check it. This is a chair Laura had in college. She had it re-stuffed, re-covered and shaped to be a touch more modern. How cute is that.

And here they are. Laura & Ryan. Kissing outside of House Number 410.
Can't wait for Saturday!

Look who came to visit...

Little brother.

Only not so little.