A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: November 2011
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23 November 2011

8 Design Tips to Create a Moodboard

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Last week I told you about my mood board that I created for the contest on Apartment Therapy. What I did NOT tell you was that it was my first official mood board. Really. I've never made one before. I have made countless drawings of spaces and designed countless garden layouts, but craft a real mood board - not so much. My friend Darlene is the queen of mood boards...hers are beautiful and amazing and people pay her to make them for them.

Lucky for me, there is a site that helps you build your own board quickly and easily called Olioboard. I'm not going to give you any tips on how to grab items from various places online and craft a moodboard (that is Darlene's forte - ask her!!!) However, I wanted to give you a few simple design tips when you are crafting a mood board or any design brainstorm for a new space.  Whether you use a program like Olioboard or start from scratch in photoshop, these 8 tips will give you an outline of where to start!

1. Start with one bold color, 2 neutrals, a pattern and a pop. In my board I chose orange (bold color), grey and white (neutrals), the Cottonelle Cover (pattern) and yellow (pop). The percentages should be about 25% bold, 65% neutrals and 10% pop and pattern give or take a little bit. Each color needs to be repeating some way in at least 3 ways, even if they are small.

2. Start with an inspiration piece. For me, it was the toilet roll cover that Cottonelle was promoting. For you, it could be a patterned fabric, a gorgeous mid-century modern couch or a large scale piece of artwork. Whatever it is, you should take inspiration from not only the colors of the piece, but also the shapes, lines and tones of the inspiration item.

3. Start with 3 large pieces that make a statement and map the course for the room. In my design, the first thing I chose was the awesome circular lounging chair. The second item I chose was the elephant curtain and the third item was the curtain rings. All three items reference the shapes in the pattern of the roll cover. The first two piece are also two of the larger pieces in the room, so I have a good base to start from.

4. After decided on a major color and shape theme, I then searched for items that reinforced the ideas of the room. For example, the elephant design is repeated literally and figuratively in the shapes of various items in the room as well as literally in one printed accessory. The colors are brought in based on their percentages (see#1).

5. When bringing in additional pieces, you want to makes sure that you don't put two items that are pulling from the same inspiration right next to each other. For example, notice how the two literal elephant references are placed on opposite sides of the board. Also notice

6. If you want an item to have strength on your board, you repeat the item just as you would in a space. In my board, I repeated the river rock artwork 3 times and the lights are also repeated to give them visual weight on the board. This gives the board a complete feeling without being overwhelmed by too many diverse items.

7. There are different styles of moodboards. The first is a white space board where items are arranged in straight grids and there is a lot of space surrounding each item. You can also make a mood board that reflects the actual design of the completed room (like Darlene's!). If you are making a mood board like mine where all of the items weave and touch each other without literally creating a room space, you need to make sure that the space is full, but not cluttered.

8.  Once you have completed your mood board, make sure you KNOW YOUR SOURCES.  Olio makes this easy because all of the sources are listed when you click on the photo while editing, but if you are pulling images from elsewhere on the web, make sure to get the manufacturer and link to them!

If you complete a moodboard, I'd love to see it!  Go ahead and upload it to the Nest for All Seasons facebook page or shoot me an email!   ...and hey - would you guys like to get Darlene over here to teach you how to make a completed room mood board??  {hint, hint Dar!}

Baked Pears with Ginger Nutmeg Rice Pudding

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Do you want a simple way to use up leftover rice and ripe fruit?
Make a very simple savory rice pudding stuffing!

Usually fruit is eaten up very quickly in our house and does not have the chance to get overripe, but once in awhile, a few pears or apples will start to get slightly overripe.  That is when they are PERFECT for baking.  Simply core the fruit and set aside until your rice is ready.

Take your leftover (cooked)rice, mix with any extra veggies on hand, one egg and a little cheese if you have any.  If not, no biggie.  Stuff the rice into the fruit and top with a dab of flavored butter.  I used ginger nutmeg butter for this dish.

Bake at 350 degrees until your kitchen smalls heavenly and the fruit is easily pierced with a toothpick. 
Your kiddos will gobble up this savory meal in a heartbeat!  Mine did!

Let's Make Biscuit Pops!

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So you want to make a couple biscuit pops? Join me today for a super simple method! 
These little pops are a MILLION times easier than cake pops and they disappear just as quickly!

First things first, mix up a traditional biscuit dough.  I admit it - I just used Bisquick!

Then comes the fun part where you get to feel like a "Cold Stone Creation Designer Ice Cream Person".
Choose your mix ins and go to town!
My first combination was paprika (1T), ginger(1T) and a tiny bit of cayenne.
Second, fresh lavender(1T) and allspice(1T) ground up almost to powder.
The third combo is a spicy white pepper(1/2 T) and ginger(2 T) mix.

I used 2-3 Tablespoons spice mix per 2 cups of biscuit dough, but you can go spicier or tone it down a bit
depending on your taste levels.  I would start with less and work your way up!

You might see in the back that I threw in a traditional cheddar cheese biscuit as well...ode to the Red Lobster...

Roll the dough into little balls, cook on a pizza stone or cookie sheet dusted with cornmeal and let them bake @ 350 degrees until lightly browned (about 4 minutes).  Let them cool completely!

After they are totally cool, take a pop stick (I found mine @ Michaels for $1.99) and gently push it halfway through the biscuit - easy does it!

Have you been baking anything lately?  Have you ever made cake pops or biscuit pops??  Share your secrets!

22 November 2011

Create Flavored Butters | Ginger, Cayenne and Lavender

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So you wanna turn your ordinary sticks of butter into delicious, custom butters?
It is so super easy - as easy as picking your mix ins at Cold Stone.

If your babies are helping you out, watch out that your spice piles don't get eaten into too soon...(see the fingerprints above?!)

So, the only real trick is making sure the butter is the right consistency.  If you have time, the easiest way to get it just right is to leave it out on the counter at room temperature.  If you don't, you can easily thaw the butter in the microwave - just don't overdo it!  If your sticks are frozen, start with 10 seconds.  Then nuke for 5 seconds each time until you can make small indents in the butter by lightly pressing your fingers into the bar.

Then, chop up the butter into little pieces and nuke for 5 seconds at a time.

Once it reaches this consistency, STOP!  If you overheat the butter, it will start to separate and the taste will suffer.  
Once you have soft lumps (in your butter, not your hips...though the two are often connected...), you are ready to mix in your mix ins! 

You can mix in just about whatever you want to taste, but I tend to go heavy on the spice and then use the butter sparingly. 
Here are the general breakdowns:

Paprika and Cayenne --  Paprika - 2 Tablespoons, pinch of cayenne (it is HOT!), 1 stick of butter
Ginger Nutmeg -- Ginger (ground) - 2-3 Tablespoons, Nutmeg - 1 tsp (ground), 1 stick of butter
Lavender Allspice -- Lavender (fresh powdered) - 1 Tablespoon,  Allspice - 1 tsp (ground), 1 stick of butter

Let's Eat!

21 November 2011

Cottonelle "Respect the Roll" Design Contest

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If you have been following along on my facebook page, you might have noticed my super uber excitement over the last couple of days.  Excitement over what?  Well, it is kind of a HUGE deal for me.  I created a mood board as part of the design contest for Cottonelle's "Respect the Roll" campaign and actually won the whole shebang.  $5,000, a pat on the back and a wee bit of validation, especially after last week's beating over on Apartment Therapy from the commenters.  Now, the task is to not get greedy, right?

Here is my board and the description follows!

I created this mood board to celebrate not only the color revival of the greys, oranges and golden tones of mid-century design, but also to celebrate the shapes of the Cottonelle designed roll cover.  The shape remind me of the fluidity of curved and polished rock, and with the extended skinny, pointed end, also reminded me of the shape of an elephant's head and trunk.  I used that shape inspiration to pick out the classic curtain hooks, the rounded pebbles in the flooring and artwork, the custom flower drying rack crafted from a firewood holder and the indoor/outdoor seating.  You will see literal references to the elephant shape and color choices such as the shower curtain and pops of orange, but also subtle  choices to reinforce the theme such as the knitted vases referencing the bumpy elephant skin texture and the graphic rug and fabric choices.

You can see my creativity in the items I added to the room from my own collection of work, including the creative towel rack crafted from the back of a chair, the towel rack and/or flower drying rack repurposed from a firewood holder, the slightly muted colors of the daffodils, and the cardboard wall crafted from fabric tubes that reference the purchased rock artwork.

Notice that the Cottonelle roll covers mix seamlessly with each and every item in the room, and can be used not only for toilet paper, but for tissues, to cover lotions with pump tops, as light covers for small pendants (pictured) , for towel storage (when mounted on their sides with the bottom facing out) and as side table legs (when stacked, pictured at top left).  The ideas are endless when the design is right!   {Moodboard crafted with Olioboard and Original Designs from Amy Renea}

The Sins of Blogging | Greed

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When you first start blogging, you kind of have this dream of people actually reading what you are writing.  Then, all of the sudden one day when you aren't paying attention, you suddenly have a follower.  A FOLLOWER.  One little box pops up in that pesky little gadget in your sidebar.  That pesky little gadget that has been announcing to the world that you have NO followers...nobody wants to read what you are writing...nobody cares about the weird "artistic" pictures you're taking of your kids....nobody cares about your recipe for macaroni salad...why is no one paying attention??!  ...but that one follower...that first follower...they finally validate you.  A follower.  A real, true follower that actually wants to read what you write and look at your pictures and test out your recipes.  You have arrived!

Of course, now that pesky gadget is announcing the world that you only have ONE follower.   Your arrival on the blogging scene is quickly overwhelmed by the need to gain a few more followers so you don't look like you are such a newbie.  So you join a few hops, you comment on other people's posts, you retweet a few of your favorite bloggers and soon the count starts to rise a little bit.

Feeling good now aren't you?  Of course the 46 followers are great, but that blogger - THAT blogger - has 52...why does she have so many more followers than me?  I need to work a little harder...join a few more hops...get my work out there...work,work, work.

Ahhhhh...53 - YOU DID IT!  Of course, THAT blogger now has 62 and her friend has 79, so you are still behind.  Get with it girl!

...and so it goes...the numbers keep growing and the greed keeps growing.  more followers, more recognition, more contests, more, more, more.  The definition of greed, yes?

This new series is a hard one to write.  I've been tossing ideas around in my head for months now about what and how I wanted to write this series, and now it is time.  I'm forcing myself to sit down and write because it is important.  It might be important for you to read, but more than anything, it is important for me to write.  It is important for me to take stock of where I am, how I got there and where I want to go.

I am inclined towards greed.  When I get one follower, I want two.  When I get 100, I want 2.  There is no stopping the greed for more followers, more validation, more recognition...unless I stop it.  Unless I forcefully adjust my thinking, I'm too focused on the next thing to enter, the next thing to WIN, the next thing that will gain 1,000 bonus hits for me, etc. etc.  The problem is that the original intent of blogging disappears.

Now,  I need to set a few things straight with you.  I am not going to encourage you to stop working so hard on your blog.  Especially when you are a new blogger, it takes a lotta, lotta work to get your blog off the ground and who am I to tell you to slow down when you are doing so well?  So that is not what I am doing.  I'm not telling you to slow down.  I'm not telling you to stop gaining followers.  I'm not telling you to stop seeking new opportunities and publishing platforms.  I simply want to share with you my stopping point.  My line in the sand.  Once you "make it" to a certain point, there has to be a limit to how hard to work to get further.  At the end of the day, there are always new roads to take, new pitches to write, new angles to take.  The question is whether or not you want to take them.  The question is whether or not you should take them.  You will know when the time arrives when your stomach sinks when you think about the "work" you are doing to gain new followers.  When you visit 100 blogs to comment and your eyes start blurring because you are not really reading what they are saying, but just wanting to do your "duty" and gain a few new followers - that is greed.  When you actually dream about stats and numbers...you are treading on greedy territory.  When the number of comments is more important than the quality of comments, you might be dealing with blogger greed.  I know I do.

There are so many grey areas of blogging that it is hard to know when it is time to stop.  Are you allowed to vote for yourself to win a contest?  Are you allowed to self promote yourself on facebook?  pinterest?  Houzz?  Are you allowed to join 257 hops each week?  Is there a limit on how many blogs you should be reading and commenting on?  Is there a number of followers that will make you happy?  Will you ever be content?

For me...it is now.  I am happy and content with where I am.  Now, before you think I am getting all high and mighty and telling you I have it all together...that is not the case.  I am simply making my statement aloud.  I am happy and content with where I am.  It is true...I've had an incredible week.  Next week that feeling will dissipate though and I want to remember.  I want to remember that right here - right where I am is enough.  If I make more money, if I get more exposure, that will be wonderful, but it is not necessary.  For me to seek and seek and seek more and more and more, that is greed.  My greed.  My blogger greed.  So keep me accountable ok?  No more blogger greed.  It is enough to have an audience to talk to that listens.  It is enough to make a small bit of income off of this work.  It is enough to be part of a community of like-minded, intelligent, inspiring people.  It is enough.

 Your turn - have you reached "enough" yet?  Are you satisfied?  Are you striving?  Are you greedy?

Is there another blogger sin that you find yourself struggling with?  I will be having guest bloggers talk about their struggles in this upcoming series and would love for you to be a part of it!  Just email me at anestforallseasons {at} yahoo with your "Sins of Blogging" idea.

18 November 2011

Biscuit Pops, Stands and Holly Pomanders | Annnnnd I'm out......

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You've heard of cake pops, right?
Have you heard of biscuit pops?
Perhaps not!
Here is my take on the "everything on a stick trend" ...the biscuit pop!

Now, y'all know that once you have anything on a stick, you have no way to display your creations unless you utilize some styrofoam, right?  Right.  So I created stands using circular styrofoam pieces to display my biscuit pops on.   I used a strong scrapbook paper to cover the styrofoam and then trimmed out the edges with ribbon.   The display needed a little green, so I also made accents by utilizing some more styrofoam and creating holly pomanders.

Alas, I am not a styrofoam girl and the other girls of One Month to Win It totally killed it, so I am out like a light in round 3....no worries...I have a super fun announcement this afternoon that makes up for it ;)

In the meantime, you can start drooling over these tiny little biscuits - aren't they cute?

Lavender, Allspice and Sea Salt Biscuit Pops with Lavender Butter
Cheddar Biscuit Pops with Paprika and Cayenne Butter
Ginger and Pepper Biscuit Pops with White Pepper and Ginger and Nutmeg Butter

17 November 2011

Redbud: Megan of Nest of a Magpie

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It is not often that I come across a really great blog, with a bunch of great content, great photos, cute girl, cute writing...no followers. How does that even happen? That only happens when you are brand new, and I never stumble upon the next big thing, so I was shocked and happy to stumble onto Megan's blog; Nest of a Magpie, and become a follower!!! I think I am the very first official follower - yippee! How cool would it have been to be Martha Stewart's very first follower ever?!? (you know...if Martha had lived among us and blogged in the trenches for a few years (ahem....days)

told you - total cuteness!
 Anyway...go give this girl some LOVE please! Say Hello! Follow her! Pin a few projects! 
yeah....WISH I could make something this beautiful!

Want to meet the rest of the redbuds?  Check them out below!

16 November 2011

What to do when a virus infects your computer...

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SO.  If you've been following the nest facebook page, you might have noticed a couple of {mini}rants last week towards the darn creators of computer viruses.  Yes?  Anybody with me?  what kind of person sits around all day thinking up ways to infect other people's computers?!?!?  ARGGGGH!   $150 later, the virus is gone, but in the meantime, I learned a few things.

The most important thing I learned was how to {attempt} to remove the virus myself while in safe mode.  Of course our computer was too far gone for it to do any good, but if you have a small, early infection, you might be able to remove it yourself.  The first thing to do is shut down the computer, start it up again and when the black and white screen pops up that asks if you want to start in SAFE MODE, do it!  In safe mode, your computer will run the basic programs, and you can attempt to remove the virus.

What REALLY helped me though was SAFE MODE with networking.  This mode allows you to use your Internet connection, so you can look up info on how to get rid of the dang virus, and will let you publish a blog post or send a few emails.  VERY helpful when attempting to fix your computer (that some BULLHEAD infected with a BLASTED VIRUS!)

The biggest problem in these modes for me is that the screen resolution is very bad and the icons are all big and huge and you cannot see everything on your screen.  This is purposeful as you are working in a safe mode where all the "extras" like screen resolution are not a priority.  However, you can get around this with a little trick.   If you are desperate and need to change the resolution in safe mode, WEB TALK tells you how.  Takes 10 seconds - totally makes everything normal sized and decent resolution - fabulous!

Next step?  Call your computer repair guy to help...or buy a new computer....those darn hackers!?!

[This is not a sponsored post]

15 November 2011


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Have you heard of Mad Hungry?  It is one of (maybe THE) favorite cookbook(s) of all time and it totally rocks my socks off.  Every recipe is fabulous and the photography is drop dead gorgeous.  Most of my {limited} kitchen masteries are thanks to this cookbook (and my husband's honest opinions about my food), so I wanted to share this archived post with you new readers (hello!) and inspire myself to dive back into Mad Hungry for some fabulous winter recipes.  Make sure you link up YOUR recipes at the bottom of the post (they can be old, new, yours, someone elses....anything that will help others from Tripping UP in the kitchen!)


(recipe previously published in 2009)  I think I was reading blogs too much because when I opened this book it was a totally tactile experience.  The cover doesn't give you a true idea of what is inside.   It is a beautifully constructed book with silky pages, bound with string and simple, tasteful, artful photography.  ...all that before you even start reading.

The author is a Martha Stewart icon and the recipes are of that caliber...but they are for guys.  Hearty, wholesome, yummy food...it is amazing...

This morning, I made the everything bagels:
How amazing does that look?
 Don't those pages look good enough to eat?  Now, look at the outside...totally different feel, yes?  My guess is that they wanted men to buy this book too, so they couldn't make the cover too pretty...but who knows?
  Anyway, click on that cover over there on the left and you can buy your own copy of Mad Hungry on sale from around 30 bucks to $16.  It is worth every penny - I promise!

So this is the "everything" bagel.  I had never heard of them before this book, but basically it is a bagel with the works...poppy seeds, sesame seeds, garlic, onion, etc, etc.  It is yummy.
Next you will need to fry some bacon.  
(Click on the link above to see how!)
Then you need two eggs - room temp.
...and some butter...
...and a slice or two of cheese...
Assembling the bagel is fairly easy.  You just warm a skillet on Medium, drop a Tablespoon (or hunk as I do) of butter into the pan.  As soon as it has melted, crack the eggs gently to fry them.  The whites will slowly go from clear to white.  At that point, puncture the yolks and place the cheese on top.  Allow it to melt a bit, add the bacon and fold the eggs over like an omelet.  Lay it all on a sliced, toasted bagel and you get...
YUM.  ...but a bit much for one person...so split it with a DH...

If you missed the link...here it is again.  I can't say it enough - BUY THIS BOOK!
[This post is NOT sponsored]

Now it is your turn!  What cookbooks have helped you with your trip ups?
Do you have a favorite recipe you would like to share??  Share share share!

14 November 2011

Blog Guidebook Nomination

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UPDATED:  Please vote HERE for A Nest for All Seasons! 

Thank you thank you to Heather of Inspire Me Heather (remember this post about Heather? She's awesome!)! 

Thanks for what? 

A nomination over at Blog Guidebook to name 'A Nest for All Seasons' best blog of 2011!

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