We’re getting tons of snow over here and not the light and fluffy kind, so needless to say I am hunkering down indoors and trying my best to stay warm and cheery. If you’re wondering what that entails, for me that would be wearing a big cozy scarf at my desk, drinking lots of hot beverages, and throwing together this bright desktop wallpaper! :)
If you know me, you already know my obsession with geometric patterns, white and gold, so this is just another little free download in my typical style but with some pink in honor of Valentine’s Day, of course! (feel free to check out my other freebies)
It’s February now, guys, so you know what that means – Valentine’s Day is coming! I’m admittedly not one of those people who is anti-commercial holiday, because although I do absolutely agree with the argument that you don’t need to designate one day of the year to be romantic and show your love to your loved one(s), no one’s telling you that you can’t be romantic all year AND celebrate Valentine’s Day. It might not have as deep a historical significance as Christmas and Thanksgiving, but hey, why not have a little fun with it, right? :) The main thing for me though, is to do it your own way. Flowers, hallmark cards, chocolates and grand gestures are nice, but the best Valentines are the ones where you convey your love in a sincere way that’s true to your relationship.
For Dave and I, we’ve almost always celebrated Valentine’s Day with an intimate meal at home to avoid the madness and to keep it laid back. In general, I’m the main (ahem, only) cook in the house, so in previous years Dave has transformed our living room into a little “bistro” and treated me to a fancy dinner that he makes from scratch, which have been so amazing especially considering he rarely ever cooks (he’s just not a huge fan of it!). Since this coming Valentine’s Day is the first time in a long time that me and Dave are actually going to celebrate with a dinner out at a nice restaurant, I wanted to re-make one of my favorite Valentine’s Day dishes he’s made for me for in the past – Shrimp Scampi Linguine.
The actual meal he made that inspired this dish was a traditional Shrimp Scampi Linguine with Baked Zucchini Chips as an appetizer, which were both SO GOOD. In remaking the linguine dish, I decided to mix it up by combining those two dishes to make this Shrimp Scampi Linguine with Zucchini and Parmesan. The big bonus about this dish is that it’s decadent and sophisticated enough for a special dinner, but yet comes together so fast – 15 minutes to be exact! Scampi typically has white wine in it, but since I don’t usually have white wine on hand (that I’m willing to spare for cooking… ;) ), this recipe does not need it. This would be a perfect dish to serve for Valentine’s Day, or any at-home dinner date with friends or your sweetie!
-1 zucchini, cut into thin half-moons
-1 pound fresh shrimp (about 16 shrimp), peeled and deveined
-3/4 pound of linguine pasta
-3 tablespoons of olive oil
-4 tablespoons of butter
-2 tablespoons minced garlic
-1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
-1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
-1/4 cup shredded parmesan
-salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot of salted water, cook linguine according to package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, melt butter and olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and zucchini, season with salt and pepper and sauté for 2 minutes or until garlic is lightly browned and zucchini starts to become translucent.
Add shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 3-5 minutes or just until the shrimp starts to turn pink. Turn off the heat and add lemon juice, chopped parsley, shredded parmesan and red pepper flakes, mixing it all together.
Once the pasta is done, drain and toss it into the pot with the rest of the ingredients. Serve and enjoy!
What are your plans for this Valentine’s Day? Are you going out or celebrating at home?
Do you have a type of project or medium that you’ve never tried before but have been wanting to try for a long time? For me, that medium has always been air dry clay. Sure, I’ve done some sculpting when I was younger in school art classes and just last year I took a Japanese pottery class which was so much fun (and surprisingly difficult!), but I haven’t revisited clay for any projects ever since. I’ve had a package of air dry clay sitting on my shelf for months and I am determined to change this!
So yeah, while I have never tried air dry clay before, from what I’ve heard it’s incredibly easy to work with and so convenient since, duh, no baking required! I told myself I would try at least one small project with it so I thought what better time to dive into it than right before Valentine’s Day? Whether you have a significant other or not, if you’re ever going to make something small, cute and handmade, I say now is the time to do it! :)
I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, real or costume, and I really only have a few key pieces that I wear on a regular basis which were all gifts to me from my husband. However, every so often I’ll get the urge to wear a colorful bracelet or a cute pendant necklace to change things up and I’ve noticed that I only ever gravitate towards very subtle designs and/or unique details. So for this project, I thought to myself – if I were to give myself a piece of jewelry for Valentine’s day, what would I want it to be? This pink and gold XOXO Pendant Necklace was what I came up with and I have to say, I really love how it turned out! You don’t need any sculpting skills to make it and you can make it any color you like.
Learn how to make this necklace for yourself or your Valentine!:
1. Roll out your clay until it’s an even thickness, about 1/8 of an inch.
2. Press out 2 X’s and 2 O’s using your X and O letter cutters.
3. Gently remove the excess clay and clean up any rough edges of your letters. You can use your embroidery needle (or similar object, like a toothpick) to help remove the middle of the O’s and to smooth out your letters.
4. With your needle, poke a hole at the top left corner of one of the X’s and at the top right corner of one of your O’s. This is where you will place jump rings to connect your letters to your necklace chain.
This is what you should have so far! Let these letters dry completely. I left mine to dry for 2+ hours, which is much less time than most clay projects simply because these letters are quite small!
5. Once your letters are dry, paint them in the colors that you like.
Set them aside again so the paint can dry.
6. Glue each of your letters together and then let them dry one last time.
7. Using your jewelry pliers (I actually used two, one to hold the jump ring and one to bend it), put jump rings through each of the holes you placed on the X and the O.
8. Add your necklace chain to each end, and then you’re done!
Oh and since this project uses the tiniest bit of clay in your typical package, here’s a quick clay storage tip: Wrap any unused clay that you want to save with saran wrap or plastic wrap and then place that into a ziplock bag. Make sure you press all of the air out of the ziplock before you seal it. I also then roll the bag onto itself and place a rubber band over it. As an extra step, you can also place the ziplock bag into a mason jar (or multiple jars) and close the top.
Now you can use as little or as much of your block of clay that you want and still have a way to keep the rest useable!
After this project I am slightly obsessed with air dry clay and can’t believe I waited so long to use it! Does this inspire you to make your own DIY necklace? What other types of pendants can you think of?
This year and for the first time, PANTONE picked two instead of one color for their 2016 Colors of the Year, Rose Quartz and Serenity, which were chosen to convey rosy warmth and tranquility. I love what these pastel-y colors represent and the fact that they’re softer – a departure from the bolder, more saturated colors that PANTONE has chosen in the past (see past PANTONE Color of The Year picks below). I am also extra partial to these calming shades because they are pretty close to the colors in my banner up above, don’t you think? I must be doing something right! :)
A decade of Pantone’s colors of the year. PANTONE
Anyways, it was probably a big step for PANTONE to go from one color choice to two since they’ve been choosing just one since the 60s(!), but picking two complimentary shades rather than one color just makes so much more sense. It’s way more inclusive and provides a ton more opportunities with design, and I guess that’s exactly what the folks at PANTONE thought too! I can’t wait to see what the home decor, fashion, and design worlds are going to do with these two colors in the coming year.
There’s one homeware company though, that I know is already working the two new colors of the year into their designs in a big way and that’s Big Chill. Big Chill is known for making ultra cool retro-style refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, wall ovens, hoods, etc, (see their cookware here) in tons of awesome colors, but the one I’m especially drawn to is their pink lemonade option that is strikingly close to PANTONE’s Rose Quartz. If you follow my K I T C H E N pinterest board, you already know that I’m obsessed with all kinds of different kitchen styles, and so this style board was a fun little design challenge to come up with a kitchen style that went with a pink stove (but wasn’t overly feminine)! This is absolutely what my dream pink-accented kitchen would look like.
Would you get a brightly colored stove or refrigerator? Which color would fit into your kitchen design?