DIY: Nautical Coasters with Smock Paper

These coasters would make a great hostess gift if you happen to be staying at someone's beach or lake house this summer.  Or make a set for yourself to remind you of beach-y vacations!  We used our favorite paper for decoupage, generously provided to us by SMOCK, a small, independent letterpress and stationer in upstate NY.  For more nautical paper options from Smock, scroll to the end of this post.  We've got the DIY steps, materials list and a printable for you below.

Materials:
Decorative paper (we got ours via Smock), cut into four 5 1/2" x 5 1/2" squares
Felt, cut into four 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" squares
Mod Podge
Paint brush
Exacto knife or scissors
Bone folder or credit card
Four ceramic tiles (found at home improvement stores), 4" x 4"
Craft glue
Shellac

Step 1:  Brush a thin, even layer of Mod Podge onto the top of a ceramic tile, making sure you brush the glue all the way to the edges.  Place your decorative paper wrong side up in front of you.  Center the glue side of the tile onto the paper.  Flip over and use the bone folder or the edge of a credit card to smooth out any air bubbles making sure the paper is completely adhered to the tile.   
 

Step 2:  Trim the corners of the paper.  

Step 3:  Brush glue onto each edge of the paper, one side at a time.  Fold each side onto back edge of the tile, pressing down with your fingers.  Wrap as you would a present.  

Step 4:  Once all four sides are glued down, flip the tile over.  Print out the images we've created of the framed ships (printable is at the end of this post).  Cut them out and apply one to each coaster, using the Mod Podge to glue the image on.  Brush two thin layers of Mod Podge over entire coaster, allowing time to dry between coats.  

Step 5:  Turn the coaster over again and run a line of glue around the perimeter, about a 1/2" in from the edge.  Place the felt on top of the glue.  (We used black felt in our example coaster and a gray felt in the "materials" photo so you could see what it was.  Any color will do).  

Step 6:  Once the two coats of Mod Podge have dried, spray each coaster with a coat of Shellac (or if you have the liquid kind from can, brush the Shellac over each coaster).  Now you've sealed the coasters and can use them for hot or cold beverages!

 

Print This!  Here's a copy of each of the collaged images we put together for our coasters.

On The Waterfront: Ship Coasters

Smock has several nautical designs that would work for your coasters.  We used "Anchor" but you could also try "Chatham," "Breakers," or "Fremont," with or without the image of the ships.  

Happy Sails!

xoxo Zandra

Retreat for Small Businesses and Indie Creatives

As we come upon our blog's 1st year anniversary this September, Karen and I knew we had to make time for some big picture thinking about our business.  Earlier this week, we shared our ideas on how to hold a creative retreat for exploring artistic endeavors.  Today, we're going to show you how we put together our business retreat.  We encourage all of you other small business owners (bloggers, indie creatives, artisans) to take time out to reassess your big picture, drill down into the nitty-gritty of the "to-do" lists and dream about the near and far future.   And leave a little time for some beach combing, too.  

Since our theme this month is "On The Waterfront," we have beaches, lakes and rivers on our minds as the perfect retreat settings.  We were lucky enough to use a beach cottage owned by Karen's parents on the South Shore of Massachusetts.  (Thank you, Barbara and James! ).  

Preparation and Logistics

If you're a solo entrepreneur, ask a few friends who are also running a small business and go in on this together.  You can keep each other on task and afterwards, you'll have the benefit of being accountable to each other for the goals you've written on the retreat.  As the host, you might want to consider preparing a little welcome gift for your guests.  Or, when you invite your friends, you could ask that everyone bring something for someone else.  Sort of a summer time "Secret Santa" kind of thing.  Here are the baskets that Karen and I made up for each other:

Karen put together all of the pieces I'd need to make a bespoke journal, specially designed for our retreat.  She cut up small squares of nautical paper and sewed smaller squares on top creating labels for some of the most important things we'd talk about.  To attach the labels, there's some nifty blue and white striped fabric tape (very beach-y!) as well as a dispenser for blank tape.  She also included a rubber stamp that's laid out like a to-do list so I could keep myself in check.  She then decoupaged a blank journal with some of my favorite whale paper (and added another whale inside the cover).  But probably my favorite thing was the vintage trading card picturing my favorite seaside bird, the Loon.

For Karen's basket, I tried to think of objects that would make her feel a little pampered on the retreat.  I found her a drinking glass to have at her side as we were planning and scheming.  It's painted with two girls rowing a canoe, in keeping with our waterfront theme.  There's a chocolate bar because that's pretty much a necessity.  I also embellished a journal for Karen and added some festive looking sticky note flags and a set of colored pencils.  She loves scented candles so one of those made it in the stash so she could light it before bed.  And speaking of bed, I appliqued a big number 3 (that's her favorite number) on a pillowcase for her to use over the weekend.  

Everyone can get a little punchy when they're spending lots of time hashing out big picture thoughts.  To embrace this, we came up with a bright idea (pun intended...keep reading).  We cut out yellow lightbulb shapes and glued them onto skewers, keeping them within reach.  Whenever one of us had a brilliant brainstorm, we'd grab a lightbulb, jump up and down and scream out our idea.  (Karen and I are known to be quite loud when we're excited).  We also had strips of paper at the ready so we could record the idea and stick it on the lightbulb.  I highly recommend making a batch of your own lightbulbs before your retreat.

And here's where the magic happens, people!  (Oh, yes, retreats do encourage magical thinking!).  

We spent quite a few hours here, writing on a big sheet of butcher paper we rolled out on the table.  And when we needed a change of scenery, we took our laptops and moved a few feet over to the couch.  We had antipasto for dinner (no cooking, no clean-up, no leaving the cottage) and reveled in the knowledge that we didn't have to stop talking at a specific time.  To make the most of the weekend, we put together an agenda and stuck to it.  We've made a template for you to use for your own retreat.  If you work alone and are bringing a few other solo-preneurs with you, you can all use the same template but obviously, you'll each write out your own agendas and then share them with the group.  (The sharing is the important part, bouncing ideas around and challenging each other to push past insecurities while not biting off more than you can chew).  

TEMPLATE FOR YOUR AGENDA

Click on this link to download a printable agenda for you to follow on your own creative business retreat.

If you do decide to create a retreat for yourself and a few colleagues, please, please let us know!  We'd love to share your photos and stories with the rest of our readers!

xoxo Zandra

DIY: Pajama Pants, Nautical Style

We usually take photos of our monthly parties and have planned out appropriate wardrobes.  But we were a little stumped as to what we'd be wearing for a business retreat.  Add to this the fact that we're going away for two nights and we're used to bringing at least 5 pairs of shoes on any vacation.  But for once, shoes and other accessories would be on the back burner for this particular Little Yellow Couch event.  We expected to be working all day and wanted to be comfortable.  But naturally, we still want to look good, right?   Even if we were never to leave the beach cottage!  So we decided to compromise.  We made lounging PJs with fabric that felt "beach-y," channeling some sweet little boutique you'd see on Nantucket or Hilton Head.  We think they are a nice combo of comfort and style.   And we're happy to report we got a lot of work done while lounging around...and we looked pretty snazzy, if we do say so ourselves.   

xoxo Zandra & Karen June

Materials:

Your Favorite Pair of Pajama Bottoms (to use as a pattern)
2 1/2 yds. Cotton Fabric
1 Fat Quarter Contrasting Cotton Fabric (Cuffs & Pockets)
Small Scraps of a Second Contrasting Fabric (Pocket Edging)
1 yd. Cotton Twill Tape
Fabric Scissors
Straight Pins
Sewing Thread
Sewing Machine

Fold your 2 1/2 yds. of fabric in half lengthwise with right sides facing together.  Fold your favorite pajama pants in half with crotch pulled toward the front.  Pin your pants to your folded fabric.  Cut out your fabric leaving a 5/8" seam allowance along outside and inseams.  Leave a 1" allowance at the cuffs and 2" allowance at the waistline.   (I tend to be a bit generous while cutting.)  When cutting out your seam allowance for the inside and outside seams, make sure to stretch out the waistband for a true measurement along the top.  Remove the pins and pajama pants. You now have the front side of your new pants.  Fold your pattern pants in half again with the crotch pulled toward the back to cut out the back side and repeat the above steps.  Now you have the front and back sides of your pants.

Repin your fabric together just along the curve on both paired pieces.  Sew both seams at 5/8".

Open both pieces and match them up with right sides together.  Start by lining up the center of the crotches and then pin outwards down the inseam to the leg bottoms.  Sew together at 5/8".  

Pin your pants together along both outside seams again with right sides together.  Sew at 5/8".  

Fold your cuffs up towards the wrong side twice about 1/2" and edge stitch to finish.

Fold your waistband down towards the wrong side 1/2" then 1 1/2" to create a waistband. Edge stitch to finish and then sew a second seam about 1" from the top to create a channel for your drawstring.  

Fold the end of your twill tape down and feed a safety pin through it.  Cut a tiny slit in the seam between the edge stitching and channel stitching on your waistband.  Feed the twill tape all the way through your channel until you reach the beginning.  You can fold the ends of the twill tape over twice and stitch them to avoid fraying.  

Cut two strips of fabric 2 1/2" wide and just longer than the circumference of your cuffs. Iron both long and short edges in 1/4".  

Pin to the bottom of your cuffs and edge stitch to finish.  

Cut a rectangle of your contrasting fabric 4" w x 5" h.  Cut a strip of your second contrasting fabric 4"w by 2 1/2" h.  Pin right sides together as shown and stitch with a 1/4" seam allowance.  

Iron seam open then iron in half toward the back and edge stitch.  

Iron seams folding in twice at 1/4".  

Pin to the back of your pants and edge stitch on three sides to create a pocket.  We added two pockets to our pajama pants because frankly two pockets are cuter than one! 

Planning a Creative Retreat

As you may know, at Little Yellow Couch we typically host a party to reflect whichever theme we've been exploring for the month.  Since our current theme is "On The Waterfront," we thought hosting a retreat at a beach house would be an unexpected but exciting event to stand in for a party.  We've imaged two different kinds of retreats to share this week.  The first one is a creative retreat.  

We love this book!  Get more info here.  There's a "buy it" button at the end of this post.  

We love this book!  Get more info here.  There's a "buy it" button at the end of this post.  

If you need some time away to get out of a creative rut, (or if being creatively uninhibited amidst colored pencils, journals, glue, paint, scissors and canvases sounds like a great way to spend a weekend) mobilize a few friends and host your own creative retreat.  Sure there are fancy ones already out there that we'd highly recommend, but in the spirit of DIY everything, you could have just as much fun and be equally productive with one custom tailored for you, BY you.  

To put together a creative retreat, we have been terrifically inspired by Danielle Krysa's new book, "Creative Block: Get Unstuck, Discover New Ideas.  Advice and Projects From 50 Successful Artists."   Danielle is an artist in her own right and she also writes the blog "The Jealous Curator," where she shares the art of people she admires.    

Mustache Master, embroidery and collage, by Danielle Krysa

Mustache Master, embroidery and collage, by Danielle Krysa

Along with gorgeous photos of each artist's work, Danielle gets everyone to talk about the balance between their sense of self-worth and making art for public consumption.  She also asks them how they deal with criticism, both from within and from others, and what they do when they've hit a wall.  While the book isn't intended to be a guide for hosting a creative retreat, we couldn't help but want to use the artists' exercises as a template for mini workshops!  Before we get to some of the exercises, we've turned the tables on Danielle and put her in the hot seat by asking her some of her own questions, as well as talking about how she'd go about planning a creative retreat.  

Growth, No. 1, collage by Danielle Krysa

Growth, No. 1, collage by Danielle Krysa

Little Yellow Couch:  Along with writing the blog, "The Jealous Curator," about other artists and their pursuits, you are also an artist yourself.  Do you embrace or battle your inner critic?

Danielle Krysa:  Oh, it's a battle! My inner critic doesn't usually have anything nice to say, so embracing it really isn't an option. I am learning to ignore it though! I have finally started to realize that it doesn't deserve the power I've given it over the last decade or two. Time for him to shut up for awhile.

LYC:  What about outside criticism?  How do you separate constructive criticism from unhelpful critiques?  

DK:  That's hard too. In my book, a lot of the artists say that you have to think about where the criticism is coming from. If it's delivered in a kind way from someone you trust/respect then you should listen, but if it's just mean and coming from someone that you don't know or trust then it should be ignored. Easier said then done, but knowing that every other artist in the world has to face this too makes me realize I'm not alone in this situation. One of my favorite quotes is from Jessica Bell. She says "Unkind judgement is really just a distraction. I can usually eat some potato chips and sleep it off." HA! I love that so much. Maybe because I love potato chips ;)

LYC:  We love this question you pose to other artists: "Do you ever equate your self worth with your success?" because it really gets to the heart of what it means to live with yourself as an artist on a daily basis.  

DK:  Yes, I asked all of the artists in my book this question... I didn't realize until right now how hard that is to answer! I suppose it depends what kind of "success" we're talking about. The answer is YES if we're talking about art, design, curating etc. I work hard and I want to succeed. Being Type A is definitely part of my DNA, and when things don't go the way I want them to, yes, my self worth takes a hit. However, if I get really deep for a minute and think about this a bit more, the answer is probably NO. As soon as I became a mother, outside validation became pretty meaningless to me. What mattered most was being a good mom, and a well-rounded person for my son. Professional success takes a back seat to that every time.

LYC:  So what do you do when you're feeling blocked?

DK:  I used to just quit. And be realllllly grouchy. As the interviews and unblocking exercises started rolling in from the artists though, I tried them immediately (long before the book was actually on shelves). One of my favorite things to do is grab a fancy coffee and pop into a thrift shop. Old books seem to be a great place for me to get started. I also have been using an unblocking project from Kate Pugsley (p.175) and am loving it! You paint blocks of your favorite colors on to sheets of paper, let them dry, cut them up into random shapes, and then assemble the pieces into some kind of composition. It's so fun, and most importantly, freeing! I played a lot, recycled a whole bunch of them, but I actually have two new finished pieces that I really love. Who knew!? ;)

LYC:  The exercises offered by the artists in your book feel to us like they could be the basis for workshops held during a creative retreat.  Have you thought about offering one?  

DK:  I did do a series of workshops called GIRL CRUSH, from San Francisco to Philly.  This was pre-book mind you, so yes, I'd love to do another workshop/retreat that is more closely tied to CREATIVE BLOCK. We'll see!

Blossom Princess, mixed media by Danielle Krysa

Blossom Princess, mixed media by Danielle Krysa

LYC:  What do you think would be the best way to approach a weekend away with nothing to do but work on your art?

DK:  Oh, that sounds so nice! I think the first step would be removing technology. No distractions from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. I'd also head into it with a bit of a plan... maybe a few unblocking projects ready to go, with all of the necessary supplies at your finger tips. I think heading off to a quiet weekend with just a blank notebook, or blank canvas would be way too intimidating. Sometimes when the possibilities are endless, you just never get started.

LYC:  What would be your ideal retreat location...city, woods, farm, seashore?  

DK:  Hmmm. I think it would be a tie between woods and seashore. Maybe seashore. I love looking out over the ocean, and the smell of salt water. I find that very calming.

LYC:  If you were to create a retreat for yourself and a few friends, what do you imagine would be the ideal schedule for the weekend?  

DK:  I think it would be a morning of walks, coffee, talking, and a few creative exercises that we could do together >> Delicious lunch >> Then an afternoon on my own to work on whatever got stirred up that morning >> Dinner would be something small and light that I could eat in my studio, because once I get going, usually around 4:30pm, I can't stop! >> Maybe drinks and dessert around 10pm so that we could all recap our day. Repeat.

LYC:  Do you have a creative un-blocking exercise to offer like the ones you share in your book?  

DK:  I actually always do exactly what UK collage artist Anthony Zinonos suggested for my book. I go to a thrift shop and buy one book. Only one, and it can't cost more than $2. I bring it home and try to make six collages using only that book. It's really fun, and usually has pretty good results.  In fact, both the stacked plants and the stacked Queen E images you're using for this post were created using that technique!  

50 Shades Of Earl Gray, collage by Danielle Krysa

50 Shades Of Earl Gray, collage by Danielle Krysa

As mentioned above, in Danielle's book, she asks each artist she's interviewed to come up with an exercise that will help you get out of your creative block.  Here are a few of our favorites that we think would be perfectly suited to do as part of your creative retreat.  Just make sure you've gathered all the necessary supplies for each participant ahead of time.  

Writing Exercise 

Buy five old photographs at an antiques shop (for the retreat host, you'd want to do this ahead of time).  Put a timer on for 30 minutes and write a one paragraph story for each photo.  (Based on the exercise by Sidney Pink on page 103 of the book "Creative Block," by Danielle Krysa).

Photography Exercises

Walk around the retreat space inside or out and take close ups of parts of objects that you wouldn't notice at first glance.  Share your photos with the group and see if they can guess what they are.  (Based on the exercise by Matthias Heiderich on page 59 of the book "Creative Block," by Danielle Krysa). 

Take a half hour and try to photograph 10 "faces in places," where you look for a "face" inside an object or group of objects such as the windows and doors of a building, a group of dishes, a vase, whatever.  (Based on the exercise by Jennifer Davis on page 235 of the book "Creative Block," by Danielle Krysa).  

Drawing and Painting Exercises

Find a quote that speaks to you (for the retreat host, you could bring along a few "famous quotes" books).  Write it out, using fanciful handwriting, drawing embellishments amongst the letters.  You could do several of these in a notebook that you dedicate for this exercise, continuing to do one per day after you leave the retreat.  (Based on the exercise by Mary Kate McDevitt on page 41 of the book "Creative Block," by Danielle Krysa).

Catalogue the contents of a medicine cabinet, refrigerator, kitchen cupboards, etc.  Draw or paint each item separately.  Make a book out of the images.  (Based on an exercise by Kate Bingaman-Burt from the book "Creative Block," by Danielle Krysa).  

Collage Exercise

Take a stack of papers and start painting broad swaths of different colors across each one.  Once they're dry, cut out shapes from each paper, either random shapes or recognizable silhouettes.  Rearrange the shapes ontop of a new sheet of paper and start gluing or taping them down as you start to see compositions that please you.  (Based on  the exercise by Kate Pugsley on page 175 of the book "Creative Block," by Danielle Krysa). 

Group Exercise

Put a bunch of random objects on a table.  Let each person take a turn arranging the items however they like.  After each new arrangement is made, everyone writes down an art title or news headline that describes the assemblege.  Share with the group.   (Based on an exercise by Camilla Engman on page 219 of the book "Creative Block," by Danielle Krysa).  

Later this week, we'll talk about some other ideas for hosting a retreat, including how to make your guests feel welcome.  Stay tuned!

xoxo Zandra

Cocktail: Waterfront Margarita

Our favorite cocktails of the moment are often inspired by the season.  During the summer months in New England, our family spends a lot of time along the seashore.  With sand between our toes and the salty air blowing through our hair, the perfect cocktail must be refreshing and relaxed.  

Jason has been chomping at the bit to create a drink with fresh watermelon.  As with any cocktail he creates, he is looking to add an unexpected flavor or handcrafted touch and this libation has both!  The jalapeño adds a surprising kick against the refreshing watermelon and the addition of fresh basil leaves marries the two with its nod towards both the peppery and sweet sides.  

Whether you pour this cocktail seaside, lakeside or on your back deck this summer, make sure to check out Wendy Lane Bailey's musical suggestion below and we hope you are at least metaphorically able to sail off into the sunset!

xoxo Karen June & Jason

Waterfront Margarita

3 oz Watermelon Juice
2 oz Tequila
1 oz Agave Nectar
1 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
2 Slices of Jalapeño
6 Basil Leaves
Ice Cubes

Sea Salt
Frozen Watermelon Cubes

Watermelon Juice:

  1. Cube half of a Watermelon.
  2. Add to a blender and blend until liquified.
  3. Strain with coarse strainer to remove seeds and pulp.

Directions:

  1. Muddle Basil Leaves and Jalapeño Slices in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add liquid ingredients and a handful of Ice Cubes.  
  3. Shake and strain into a Sea Salt rimmed glass.
  4. For an extra indulgence, cube the reminder of watermelon and freeze.  Add to your drink to keep it cool.

Close your eyes, take a sip, and sail off into the sunset with Kate Rusby.  Love, Wendy

Follow Wendy Lane Bailey, Little Yellow Couch's Musical Consultant each month as she infuses a bit of music into each of our themes!

 

 

Shopping List: Accessories

We are sharing our love for all things "On The Waterfront" this month.  If you are looking to accessorize this summer, check out our favorites below.  All of these items are designed and made by hand.   They are a great way to not only look stylish while paddling your canoe or sailing on the open seas, but also support independent artists!  

xoxo Karen June & Zandra

  1. Gold Glitter & Turquoise Envelope Clutch via This Loves That
  2. In The Navy Button Charm Bracelet via So Sam
  3. Temporary Tattoo with Anchor via Tattoorary
  4. Anchor Tank Top via Skip N' Whistle
  5. Recycled Sail Cloth Bag via Reiter 8
  6. Waterproof Sail Tote via Ikabags
  7. Coral Infinity Scarf via Gertie & Baxter
  8. Wooden Geometric Necklace via Belle Accessoires
  9. Chevron iPhone Case via Cases by Csera
  10. White Water Ring via Andys House
  11. Luna Rope Necklace in Coral via Goldhearted Jewelry 

Painted Moroccan Rocks

These painted stones started out as simple rocks that I've collected outside my family's cottage on the Massachusetts shoreline.  It's a relaxing activity while we're at the beach and I love bringing them home and placing them around my deck and in my planters throughout the summer.  Here's my process using graphite paper and calligraphy ink.  If you can trace a design, you can make these!  

Materials:

Smooth Beach Stones
Graphite Transfer Paper
Pen or Pencil
Wide Paintbrush
Detail Paintbrush
Calligraphy Ink
Clear Spray Shellac*

*If you plan on having your rocks outside, give them a couple of coats of spray shellac.


Using your wide paintbrush, paint a few coats of white ink on the top surface of your stone.

Search pattern sourcebooks or online for detailed designs.  I found some great photographs of Moroccan tiles. Using your graphite paper, transfer your design onto your painted stone.  

Using your detailed brush and one of your ink colors, begin filling in your design outline.  It is best to work from the inside of the design out or let the ink dry between coats.  Calligraphy ink dries fairly quickly, so I was able to paint my stone in one sitting.  

Continue painting, adding on the next color.  You will notice that I did the blue dots freehand.  You do not need to transfer your entire design to your stone especially for a fairly simple detail.  

I enjoy working with calligraphy ink as it flows nicely.  I generally dip my brush in and work on the outlines from the center to the edges, pushing my ink out to the lines as I paint.  

Each color ads another layer of depth to your design and it is exciting to see it coming together.  

As a final step, using black ink outline your colored design.  Don't worry, it doesn't need to be perfect!  I actually love the look of a bit of color seeping out from underneath the outline!  

Happy rock painting!

xoxo Karen June 

Happy 4th of July from Little Yellow Couch

Here's hoping you have a red-white-and-blue, spirited, marching-band-filled firecracker of a 4th!  

Our nation is 238 years old today.  (That is, if you start counting from the day we declared independence on July 4, 1776. Apparently there's some contention around this date if you're an American historian.  For the rest of us, let's stick with July 4 as the country's birthday and the reason we buy all of those sparklers).   Get out your stars and stripes and start the party!

xoxo Zandra & Karen June  

July & August: On The Waterfront

Welcome to summer!  We're now officially in the season of sandals, swimming and sunshine, which often conjures up images of vacations on the water.  Our theme for July and August is "On The Waterfront," and what better way to open our theme than to start dreaming of that big fish we're going to catch, landing us a coveted spot on the front page of our local paper, and eventually ending up in a frame hung in a diner, scrawled with our autographs.  Can't you just picture it? Standing next to our trophy, holding him by the tail, high above our heads because he's longer than we are?  We thought we'd start fishing for a fresh water variety...

Summer living, for us, means packing up and heading for the beaches where we spent our childhoods: the South Shore of Massachusetts for Karen, and southern Maine for me. Along with the rocky coast of New England, there are many ways to get your water fix.  Warm southern beaches, island beaches, the shores of lakes both Great and small, and river walks that criss-cross the country.  Here we are on the Charles, outside of Boston...

If you're a kid, you're probably just hoping for a water park and getting a bathing suit wedgie on a super long slide.   (Icky, I know, but it makes them sooo happy). We, on the other hand, are looking forward to everything that "On The Waterfront" might mean...from nautical kitsch decor to gourmet seafood recipes to sea-faring inspired fashion.  But first, we'll share the ending to our fishing expedition...

fishing9.jpg

We're really looking forward to this summer, "On The Waterfront!"  

Happy Sails...

xoxo Zandra

Music Under The Stars

It's the end of June and we're wrapping up our month on "Outdoor Living."  One of the best outdoor activities we can think of is listening to music outside on a blanket, lawn chair or even in an amphitheater.   Our guest musical contributor, Wendy Lane Bailey, shares her go-to resources for finding outdoor festivals, her favorite artists from Austin City Limits festival and her recommendations on how to make the most of your experience.

Music Under the Stars by Wendy Lane Bailey

 My favorite thing about summer is the chance to listen to terrific music al fresco. Almost every town in every state has an outdoor concert series. From the oh, so very chic large ones like Tanglewood, Wolf Trap,The Mann Center, or the Hollywood Bowl, to local bands jamming in your community park there is something for everyone. Outdoor concerts and festivals are a great way to discover new performers and connect with friends, family and neighbors in a relaxed setting.  So, here are my thoughts on making your concert experience the best it can possibly be.

Esperanza Spaulding at Austin City Limits Festival

Finding your show

The New York Times published two lists of music festivals across the country: one for classical music fans and one for Pop & Jazz fans.  Music Festival Junkies  is another great resource for pop and jazz aficionados. Don’t want the hassle of a road trip, potentially massive crowds, and larger tickets prices? Check out your local paper’s (or their website’s) arts or weekend sections.

The Civil Wars at Austin City Limits Festival

Some Dos & Don’ts:

Do check the venue’s website to see if there are any restrictions on what you can bring into the arena. Most allow food and drink, but not all so it’s a good idea to check in advance.

Do bring food and drink (if allowed). Water is a must, but this is also a great time to make use of that Pear Mojito recipe we featured earlier this month.

Do dress appropriately. It’s outside, it’s summer, it will be hot. Sunscreen and hats (although not wide enough to obstruct your neighbor’s view) are a must here. Leave your heels at home, instead put on some cute flats or a wedge sandal.

Do use good manners. Yes, you’re outdoors, but you are still in a group of people who came to hear the music. Be considerate of those around you, cell phone convos, talking loudly and excessive drinking should all be avoided.

Don’t leave until the show is over. This is my number one pet peeve. You don’t really save all that much time leaving before the end of the last song, it just shows disrespect for the performers who have worked so hard to entertain you.

Do enjoy yourself and share your summer concert memories with us!

Alabama Shakes at Austin City Limits Festival

Happy listening!

xoxo

Wendy Lane


Follow Wendy Lane Bailey, Little Yellow Couch's Musical Consultant each month as she infuses a bit of music into each of our themes!

Glamping, Little Yellow Couch Style

Pinewood Lodge campgrounds, Plymouth, MA.

Pinewood Lodge campgrounds, Plymouth, MA.

Once you've gone glamping, you'll never go camping.  At least that's what some of us declared.  I happen to have kids who love to sleep in actual tents so I'm not off the hook.  But now that I've experienced the great outdoors in luxurious accommodations, I've got the glamping bug!  Little Yellow Couch had it's first foray into extending our monthly party into a weekend adventure.  Here's how it unfurled:

One of two yurts we rented for the weekend.

One of two yurts we rented for the weekend.

We rented two yurts which is about as close to roughing it as Karen can stand. (I, on the other hand, am much more rugged and can definitely sleep in a tent as long as I have an air mattress).  Here are the "BEFORE" photos: 

If you know us, you won't be surprised that we brought our vintage luggage glamping.

If you know us, you won't be surprised that we brought our vintage luggage glamping.

Plastic chairs and table were the first things out the door.

Plastic chairs and table were the first things out the door.

Lots of creative and fun-loving gals who are pros at glamping go for the retro 1950s - 1960s look.  They own the sweetest airstreams or teardrop trailers and fill them with vibrant kitchy dinnerware, linens and picnic gear.  We do love this look but we had something different in mind.  I have always dreamed of going to Kenya on safari, in the classiest of ways.  Not that I want to support the division of the haves and the have-nots...in fact, I think everyone deserves a turn at living in luxury in out-of-the-way places, just because it's wildly entertaining.  Anyway, my ideal version of glamping is to do it up the old-style British aristocracy version.  Without the servants.  

Glamping, Little Yellow Couch style.

Glamping, Little Yellow Couch style.

Hanging birdcages and artwork seemed important.  Or ridiculous.  Either way, they made us happy.

Hanging birdcages and artwork seemed important.  Or ridiculous.  Either way, they made us happy.

Now, to be clear, we didn't go out of our way to buy anything expensive for this trip.  We already owned the couch (naturally).  We borrowed the rug.  We picked up a few of the smaller items at thrift stores and the rest came from our houses and those of our guests.  We don't want you to think you have to spend loads of money to recreate as a glamper!  For the sleeping area we brought super soft white linens because of their timeless, elegant style.  We hung reproductions of art prints above the bed to add to the feel of a well appointed bedroom.  Next to the bed was a bedside table with a vintage travel clock, a framed photograph and a candle for reading.  

Sweet Dreams.

Sweet Dreams.

In Victorian times, travelers would set up their portable writing desks so that they could send letters home and write about their adventures in their journals.  To give a nod to this very civilized practice, we used a vintage suitcase on top of a folding table.  We set a serving tray inside to use as a flat surface.  While you may not want to bother with this while glamping, you could easily set up a little writing area like this in your home! 

Portable writing desk: folding TV table, vintage suitcase, serving tray.

Portable writing desk: folding TV table, vintage suitcase, serving tray.

In the bathing area, we set up a vintage water basin and pitcher and had a mirror hanging behind it so we could refresh our make-up and tidy up our hair.  We thought the peacock feathers were a nice touch...sort of reminded us of the eccentricity of those wealthy world travelers who collected flora and fauna on their adventures.

As for the living area, no yurt would be complete without a little yellow couch!  We also laid out the oriental rug (this was the BEST idea ever) and had candles on top of our steamer trunk and on the little side table where we could set our drinks and appetizers while socializing. The rug allowed us to comfortably walk around in bare feet and not feel icky.  Icky is not good.  Karen does not do icky.  And I don't think I can ever do icky again.  So from now on, "no rug, no camp."  

The Little Yellow Couch goes glamping.

The Little Yellow Couch goes glamping.

Before getting the little yellow couch fully situated, we decided to take a few photos with our mascot outside.  I mean, why not?  It seemed obvious to us that if you're going to the trouble of lugging your antique velvet couch all the way to a campsite, you might as well set it down in several woodsy locations to fully appreciate it's versatility.  We asked all of our guests to wear something that reminded them of Meryl Streep in "Out of Africa."  I'm sure they thought we were out of our minds.  But these are "All In" kind of gals and they gamely complied with our wishes and are looking quite smashing, don't you think?  

Left to Right, Standing: Laura, Sam.  Sitting: Ellen, Karen June, Zandra

Left to Right, Standing: Laura, Sam.  Sitting: Ellen, Karen June, Zandra

After setting up our yurts and taking photographs were were all a bit weary and hungry.  And in need of a cocktail.  The plan had been to start a fire and get cooking but thankfully it started to rain.  We had no choice but to change into our cocktail dresses and hit the town.  And it made sense to dine out on the first night so we wouldn't have to do any more work.  Work is so tedious after all.    

The perfect Mojito.

The perfect Mojito.

Once we were back "home" we all slipped into our PJs and hunkered down for the night.  Admittedly, even with real beds, none of us slept very soundly.  There were several treks to the toilets with flashlights, tripping over tree roots and trying not to notice the very large bugs gathered around the florescent lights in the bathroom.  The next morning, two of our guests made a coffee run, which was soooo appreciated, especially since I forgot the Keurig.  After showering (25 cents for every 3 mintues of water...I thought Karen was going to die over this particular barbaric notion), we put on our sandals (I don't think any of us even considered bringing "sensible" shoes) and hit the antique stores in Plymouth.  

Antiquing in Plymouth, MA

Antiquing in Plymouth, MA

Left to right: Laura, Karen, Sam, Ellen, Zandra

Left to right: Laura, Karen, Sam, Ellen, Zandra

Afterwards, we decided taking a walk down to the lake wasn't going to be too taxing and so off we wandered.  Happily we found a beautiful scene with docks, beach and calm water so we dipped our toes for a while, enjoying the light breeze and warmth of the sun.  (This is the part when we felt like we were true campers and probably would be earning some kind of merit badge for hiking or something).  

Sam follows the path to the beach.

Sam follows the path to the beach.

The docks where you can cool your toes.

The docks where you can cool your toes.

We then had all night to start our fire, cook our steaks and set up our dining area.  Transforming a sap-laden picnic table simply by covering it in white linen does wonders.  Naturally, we brought our china, stemware and silverware, plus cloth napkins and brass candlesticks.  I couldn't tell if the other campers who passed by, staring at us, were impressed, jealous or thought we were crazy.  One of them simply said "Kinda fancy, don't you think?"  I'm guessing they went with "crazy." 

Setting the table for glamping.

Setting the table for glamping.

Don't leave your china at home!

Don't leave your china at home!

Oh, but camping sure does bring out your appetite!  We had the stamina of kings when it came to food.  Every site had a grill so it was easy to cook the steak.  I had brought along cooked pasta, (sealed in ziploc bags with a little olive oil) to avoid having to boil water at the campground.  We added the pasta to an aluminum foil packet of fresh veggies (also prepped at home), salt, pepper, herbs and Parmesan cheese and stuck the packets, all wrapped up, right on the fire for about ten minutes.  We sliced the steak, poured our pasta onto our plates and dug in for a leisurely meal.  We ended the evening around the campfire eating roasted marshmallows.  No one can resist a good, burnt marshmallow when you're roughing it in the woods!  

The candlelight looked beautiful at night.

The candlelight looked beautiful at night.

Pasta, veggies, steak and wine.  Perfect glamping meal. 

Pasta, veggies, steak and wine.  Perfect glamping meal. 

It was the perfect ending to a perfect weekend.  And I'm pretty sure Karen would be open to the idea of glamping again, as long as I promise there will be no bugs.  I'm going to lie and tell her that we're choosing a bug-free campground.  I think she'll believe me when I say they exist because she doesn't get outside much.  Please share your glamping (or camping) stories and photos with us!  We'll post them in our Glamping Resources Guide!  

xoxo Zandra

P.S.  A big thank you to Sam O'Donoghue of the accessories shop, So Sam for additional photography. 

Three Glamping Essentials

So you want to give this glamping thing a try?  Here are some ideas for outfitting your tent. Or yurt.  Or the space right outside your Airstream, which we affectionately call "the patio." The #1 must-have item to give you the luxury you're looking for in a glamping experience is a rug underfoot.  Having a soft landing to pad around on in bare feet was truly divine while we were "roughing" it.  Second, you'll want a comfy place to sit while you're reading or roasting marshmallows by the fire.  And finally, you'll want real candlesticks in place of those florescent camping lanterns most people seem to think are a good idea.  Everyone has beautiful skin in candlelight.  Everyone looks ghastly in florescents.  Seems obvious to us which one you should choose.  Vote for your favorite combination in the comments below!  Or let us know if you'd mix them up differently.  We'd love to get to know your tastes.  

xoxo Zandra

Leather Butterfly Chair from CB2

Oriental Style Rug from Z Gallerie

Modern Gold Candelabra from Crate & Barrel

Black & White Cafe Chair from Grandin Road

Geometric Rug from West Elm

Emerald Green Candlesticks from Z Gallerie

Folding String Chair from Ikea

Hexagon Rug from Ikea

Paint Dipped Candleholders by Wind and Willow Home

Welcome Glampers: Watercolor Gift Sets

For our party this month, we decided to GO BIG and fully experience our Outdoor Living theme by staying two nights at a campground.  Now, when I say "living outdoors," I mean it in the Little-Yellow-Couch-sense of the word.  Which is to say, we invited three other gals to go glamping...not camping...with us, just outside the historic (and awfully darn cute) town of Plymouth, MA.  You'll see the full range of glamping gear we brought to decorate our little homes away from home later this week.  But today, we just want to show you the welcome gifts we had waiting for our guests when they arrived.  In lieu of invites, we put together watercolor sets to be used during some glamping downtime.  Each set contained 5 watercolor postcards, a brush and a set of paints in a sweet tin box.  

While we wouldn't call ourselves "hikers," we did take a walk down to the beautiful lake and along the path around some of the little cabins.  Perfect spots for unfolding a camp chair and pulling out a postcard and watercolors to paint the scene.*

Supplies

* Full disclosure: we were so busy going to to dinner and antiquing that most of us didn't have time for this activity.  Ha!  So much for sitting with nature!  But I still think it's a great idea and I do hope to relax with a paintbrush the next time I go glamping!

xoxo Zandra

Before & After: A Back Deck Reveal

Our back deck has been in need of a makeover but we have been pushing it off due to the expense.  Outdoor furniture can cost a fortune and in New England our season for outdoor living is fairly short.  However, because it is short we want to make the most of it. 

So I did a ton of research and figured out the best way to get the most bang for our buck.  And of course, that means tackling as many DIY projects as I can get my hands on! 

My first step was to find the core pieces of furniture.  I hit many of the big box stores online and in person to get an idea of what was out there and how cheap I could go without worrying about screws popping out of my chair while I sat on it.  I also wanted furniture that had a fairly neutral feel, so that I could dictate the rest of my design with accent pieces.  I finally settled on the Alexandra Square Collection from Walmart.  For just under $300 and free in-store delivery, I couldn't pass it up.  The online reviews were great and we were pleasantly surprised with the quality when it arrived.  With a little bit of time, we had the set assembled and set up on the deck.  Now this is the part where I get excited... I love transforming something that's seen-it-everywhere matchy matchy into something that feels like me.  Check out the before and after shots below to see how I translate Walmart into "Karen June."  

BEFORE:

AFTER:

Just switching out the pillows that came with the set makes it feel less like it all just came out of a box.  They can easily be recovered with the large selection of outdoor fabrics you can find at your local sewing shop or online. I went with spiced orange Greek key and turquoise Moroccan style lattice designs.  

Hanging plants give height to your space as well as a sense of privacy.  I  picked Boston Ferns and took them out of those ghastly plastic containers they come in!  

Add an outdoor rug to your space.  This rug is made from woven plastic and is a colorful nod to a more traditional design.  

A Moroccan lantern adds a bit of surprise to the space and casts some decorative patterns when lit at night.  

Bring some foliage into your space.  Container herb and vegetable gardens are a great way to add a bit of nature and contribute to your summer meals.  

Colorful vessels holding citronella candles not only bring in more pattern and color, but are a necessity for keeping those pesky bugs at bay. 

Adding an additional side table to the set infuses a bit of color and breaks up that matchy matchy quality.  I picked up this piece at my local thrift store a few years back, but added some paint and shellac this year to brighten it up and keep it water resistant.  

Switching out the glass topped coffee table for one that's made of wood makes the space reflect my own sensibility rather than the aesthetic of a big box store.  I picked this piece up for $10.  A little elbow grease, some time with my palm sander and two coats of paint later, I have a table that makes me feel like I'm in an outdoor "room."  

A plant stand also adds height to your space and is a great place to display smaller plants and other collected objects.  

deck5.jpg

Don't forget a place to keep your drinks cool during the hot summer days.  This vintage copper bin adds a bit of a rustic edge and is much nicer than a plastic tub.  

For the final flourish, my husband chose this hibiscus tree and I love the pops of color provided by the blooms! 

Let us know if you do your own outdoor living space makeover.  Don't forget the "before" photos...we get a kick out of seeing transformations!  

xoxo Karen June

 

Oilcloth Gardening Apron

A while back, I discovered Tanglewood Haberdashery,  a delightful little online shop that features handmade goods, hand-printed fabrics and their own signature waxed oilcloth. And let me tell you, they had me at "Haberdashery!"  I was drawn immediately to the quality and timelessness of their products and was itching to craft something with their handsome oilcloth.  Since I was about to plant my summer herb garden, an apron to hold my tools seemed liked the perfect project.  When Zandra pulled this amazingly rustic and time worn sugar sack from her stash from the Country Living Fair,  I'm pretty sure they rewrote the definition of "a match made in heaven".  I'm really pleased with the combination of the oilcloth, a vintage agriculture sack and the leather cording.  Hope you are, too!  (Pssst...if you don't want to make your own, we're selling this one we made for the photoshoot over in our shop!).  

xoxo Karen June

Gather your materials.  You will need:

  • 1 fat quarter waxed oilcloth (Tanglewood Haberdashery)*
  • 1 Vintage Feed or Sugar Sack (Zandra picked her's up at Country Living Fair)
  • 2  Grommets (1/4" or larger)
  • 4 yds. Leather Lacing
  • Sewing Machine
  • Sewing Thread
  • Scissors
  • Quilting Ruler

* Oilcloth is treated with wax and therefore should not be ironed.  We actually love the rustic bit of wrinkling! 

 

Cut a rectangle of Oilcloth 24" x 14 1/2".  Fold over short ends two times and edge stitch, back tacking on both ends. Cut threads.  

Fold long ends of rectangle over twice and edge stitch, back tacking on both ends.  Clip threads.  (We decided to display the seams on the front of the apron for a more industrial look.)

Snip two small holes in the upper corners of the long side of the oilcloth rectangle.  Insert grommets and set with hammer.  

Cut the length of leather lacing into two 2 yd. pieces.  Fold one of the two pieces in half and loop through the grommet.  Repeat on the other side.  

Cut a band from the sugar or grain sack leaving the front and back attached.  (This double layer of fabric will add to the sturdiness of our pocket.)  We cut ours to 8 3/4" in width based on the graphics.  Turn your band of fabric inside out and press both long edges in 1/4".  

Turn the band back to right side out.  Edge stitch the front and back together along the top.  

Center the band from left to right and about 1 1/2" from the bottom of the oilcloth.  Pin on three sides, leaving the top side open.  Edge stitch along the three sides taking care to back tack a few times at the top edges to prevent tearing when using as a pocket. 

Using a quilting ruler, mark faint vertical lines on the sack where you would like to divide the pockets.  We marked two lines 5" from each end leaving us with three pockets (5" w, 9"w, 5" w).  Sew along these lines taking care again to back tack a few times at the top of the pocket to prevent tearing.  

Tie it on and cultivate that green thumb!

Herb Garden Markers

As I may have mentioned before, I don't have the greenest of thumbs.  However, one of my favorite things to do each summer is unearth my collection of terra cotta pots from our shed and plant a container herb garden on our back deck.  It creates not only a green oasis for summer days spent lazing with friends and family in the sunshine, but also a garden of herbs fresh for the picking while preparing al fresco meals.  My favorite part is the scent of rosemary, oregano and basil floating in the air and of course plenty of fresh mint on hand for our evening mojitos (follow the link to our recipe for yummy Pear Mojitos)!  

I have a huge array of pot sizes and often plant multiple herbs in one pot.  I find it helpful to label my herbs and their varieties.  Those plastic flags that come with them are handy and informative, but rather unattractive.  Instead, I gather up stones on trips to the beach and create my own markers.  They look right at home nestled between the leaves.  

Happy Gardening!

xoxo Karen June

Here are a few tips on making your own stone garden markers.  

  • Smooth stones tumbled by the sea make a great canvas.
  • I use Speedball Super Pigmented Acrylic Ink and a fine brush for lettering my stones. I like the flow of the ink for creating detailed fonts.  You could also easily use a paint pen or other acrylic paints that you might already have on hand.
  • Sketch out your herb name by pencil first as a guideline.  If you prefer, print out some fonts from your computer and transfer using graphite transfer paper.  
  • To keep your markers water safe, spray a couple of coats of shellac on your stones after the ink has dried.  

Thrift Store Remake: Skirts from Tablecloths

Karen and I live in skirts all summer, so there's no such thing as "too many."  I do own a few pairs of capris but if I'm going to be outdoors on a hot day, I don't want something clinging to my legs.  To add to our collection, we wanted to find a way to make a really simple skirt. For this edition of our Thrift Store Remake, these skirts had their first lives as tablecloths.  We had so much fun making them, and I can promise you, I'm no seamstress.  I came away ready to make at least 10 more skirts, which tells you it can't be that hard OR time consuming!  

We both love finding vintage fabrics at thrift stores and antique fairs and putting them to use.  We just got back from this year's Country Living Fair in New York's Hudson Valley and we brought home some well-worn tablecloths with beautiful patterns, perfect for making drawstring skirts.  We're already cutting them up after making the skirts you're seeing from the stash of fabric we collected at last year's fair!  

We invited our friend, Sam to join us (of So Sam accessory shop...you must check out her necklaces which got us tons of compliments at Country Living!)  We spent a few hours sewing, nibbling on chocolate biscuits and sipping pear mojitos.  Here's how we did it:

Supply List
Non-pleated skirt you already own to use as a pattern
Pencil
Ruler
Tablecloth
Scissors
Seam Ripper
Grosgrain ribbon
Safety Pin
Cord Stopper

First, we used a skirt I already owned as a template and you can do the same.  Choose a skirt from your closet that has no pleats. 

Lay your skirt flat on the back of a pretty tablecloth.  You're going to follow the outline of the skirt with a pencil, but add an extra 1 inch border around the sides and bottom for seam allowances and 1 1/2" at the top.  We took a shortcut and used the already-hemmed edge of the tablecloth for the bottoms of our skirts.  One less seam to sew!

Cut out the shape you've just traced and then place it on another section of the tablecloth, trace and cut out again.  Now you have the two sides of your skirt.  

Put them together, right sides facing in. Sew each of the sides together.  

You then want to make a top hem that will hold your ribbon for the drawstring. Simply fold the top edge of the skirt over twice (so that you don't have a raw edge) and iron it so that your creases are sharp.  You then sew along the bottom edge of your hem so that you leave an open channel for the ribbon.  

With a seam ripper, rip open one of the side seams of the channel to create an opening for your ribbon.  Put a safety pin on one end of your ribbon (we used grosgrain) and start to push the ribbon through the channel until the first end comes out the other side.  

Take off the safety pin and slip on a cord stopper over the two ends of the ribbon.  Tie a knot and you've got a drawstring.  

Ta-da!  Don't let all of these instructions intimidate you...it's easier than it sounds if you just read through the directions and take it step-by-step!

xoxo Zandra

Outdoor Pleasures: The Country Living Fair

This past weekend, Karen June and I got to do one of our most favorite things for the blog: we attended the Country Living Fair, compliments of Hometalk, an online forum for home improvement project ideas, DIY help and hiring local pros.  Situated in the beautiful Hudson Valley region of New York, the fair is a great place to meet up with friends and spend a couple of days antiquing, finding new artisans and eating at one of the many terrific restaurants in the area.  Below are some of the photos we captured of the fair, including many outstanding displays of treasures to buy or be used as inspiration.

We had the pleasure of meeting up with Cari Cucksey of RePurpose (and former host of HGTV's "Cash & Cari").  She was debuting her new line of paint and we happily picked up a couple of colors and will share our projects with you soon.  

We also met the new Editor-In-Chief of Country Living magazine, Rachel Hardage Barrett. She's spearheading the move of CL offices from New York to Alabama and we're looking forward to seeing what's up her sleeve in the coming months.  

A big thank you to Miriam Illions and Diana Mackie of Hometalk for hosting us.  We currently have a few projects up on their blog and look forward to working with them regularly!  

If you're kicking yourself because you missed last weekend's fair, don't fret!  There are two more Country Living Fairs this year: Ohio in September and Georgia in October.  And if neither of those are in your neck of the woods, here's a very helpful list of the best antique fairs across the U.S. compiled by Country Living.  

Want to know our strategies for getting the most out of a large fair? How do you keep from getting overwhelmed?  What do you buy and what do you leave behind?  How to increase your stamina?  We'll share our tips in this Friday's newsletter, so sign up now!  Just scroll up and you'll see our subscription box in the left column.  We'd love for you to join us!

xoxo Zandra

An Herb Bouquet

For this month's flower arrangement, I wanted to try to create something that my mother-in-law, Maggie, would have put together on her farm.  Whenever we visited I would fall in love with the bouquets of wildflowers she picked that morning, casually placed inside and out on the porch.  She had created several different gardens on her property, including one for herbs, a shady retreat tucked into the woods and a variety of flower beds.  She let the edges of the property grow high with Joe-Pye, Queen-Anne's Lace and Goldenrod, all wildflowers that some people would consider weeds but that we both loved.  And I was always impressed with how beautifully the mix of cuttings would come together in one of her pitchers or vases.  

junearrange4.jpg

One thing I've learned from Maggie is to use and repurpose what you have on hand.  Putting this mindset into practice simplifies life but at the same time, it expands your creativity as you are forced to find new ways of decorating, cooking and entertaining.  So for this bouquet, I decided to use some basic herbs that many people will have leftover from a recipe along with common plants frequently found in gardens (yours or your neighbors...just ask if you could take a stem or two)!  

junearrange5.jpg

I almost always use opaque containers because I don't like to see stems, but this casual wildflower look seemed to call for an old glass jar which is doing the job perfectly well.  Below, we've shown you which herbs we used for this particular arrangement but you could just as easily use thyme, basil or whatever you see at the grocery store.  

xoxo Zandra

Cocktail of the Month: Pear Mojito

It's June and we are moving outdoors!  We are soaking up the sunshine, planting our gardens and lounging out on our patios with a cocktail in hand.  My favorite summer cocktail is a Mojito, so my husband Jason knew just where to start when I came to him with this month's theme, "Outdoor Living".  He whipped up his own concoction of this classic drink and the pear nectar is the perfect addition to sip on summer evenings.  Keep scrolling and you'll see and hear the song I'll be playing (courtesy of our musical contributor, Wendy Lane Bailey) while enjoying my Pear Mojito.  Now, I'm off to plant some more fresh mint!  

xoxo Karen June & Jason

Pear Mojito

1 Tablespoon Turbinado Sugar
10 Medium to Large Mint Leaves
2 Lime Wedges
2 Oz White or Silver Rum
2 Oz Pear Nectar
Splash of Seltzer or Club Soda

Add sugar, mint and lime wedges to shaker and muddle
Add Rum, Peach Nectar, some ice and shake. 
Strain into a 16 Oz glass filled with ice
Add a splash of Seltzer or Club Soda
Garnish with Mint Sprig
Enjoy!


Put on Celia Cruz’s “Contrapunto Musical”, take a sip, and go for a twirl or two around the patio.

Follow Wendy Lane Bailey, Little Yellow Couch's Musical Consultant each month as she infuses a bit of music into each of our themes!

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