My House and Home

Adventures in making our house a home….and other stuff.

I am Moving!!! January 30, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tasya Marra Demers @ 8:01 pm

I am taking my blogging adventures on the move over to I hope you please join me on my new venture! Here is a look at my latest posts there:

And my heart felt wreath!

So please check me out at



Photography light box January 24, 2012

Filed under: Photography — Tasya Marra Demers @ 4:54 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Living in Seattle is beautiful, but this time of year it is grey, grey, dark and did I mention dark and grey, which makes taking pictures indoors can be a challenge! I also wanted to be able to take photos at night, so I decided to make a light box or a DIY home photography studio.

This is how I did it. I bought an 18″ moving box from Lowes and sealed up the bottom with White duct tape.

Next, I measured a frame on three sides and cut windows out on both sides and the top.

I used basic wrapping tissue paper for the windows and taped it on with the white duct tape.

Now for the backdrop, I put velcro with the prickly side on three tabs of the back wall at the top and the soft side at the corresponding points on a pretty fabric. I bought a couple different ones so I can change them out periodically. I also put burlap on the bottom/floor.

I bought utility clamp lights from Lowes, around $7.50  for each and 100 watt daylight bulbs and then I used dining room chairs for props on both sides to attach the utility lights to and pointed them inside each window. My first picture I took were of the limes below with natural daylight.

Then I waited til dark and snapped away.

Until I get a fancy camera upgrade this will work for me, now if I could just find a home for it! My husband isn’t happy about me taking over the dining room with my photography studio!


DIY Sunburst Mirror January 19, 2012

Filed under: DYI Crafts — Tasya Marra Demers @ 11:30 am

It seems as though several blogs out there have some version of a sunburst mirror and I just love them, so I decided to give one a try. This version was intended to be outside under our covered front door porch. It looks great, I probably will have to paint it some fresh sunny color, but for now the unfinished look is how it is and I like it!

Here’s how I did it…

The Supplies

I bought two packages of long shims (there are two sizes) from Lowes.

Two wooden floral rings from Diy Bangles. I bought one at 12 inches and the other at 14 inches, had they not been out of stock of the 18 inch one I would have bought that instead of the 14 inch. It still worked fine.

The mirror was fun because it is one of those convex security mirrors, it seemed more interesting then the standard mirror. I got it from Amazon.

And of course lots and lots of glues sticks for your hot glue gun!

To protect it from any outdoor elements I sprayed the finished starburst mirror with Polycrylic, also from Lowes.

I used Gorilla epoxy glue to glue the mirror on, that is some seriously strong stuff!

I hot glued the skinny end of the shims to the wood floral rings like below. I wanted a chunky mirror with a lot of texture.

The next layer goes on top in between your first layer and slightly lower as well.

I put the third layer lower then the second and only on every other gap. Same with the fourth layer.

I used every single  shim and then broke out the Gorilla glue to adhere the mirror. I put a towel on top of the mirror and put two full paint cans on top over night to make sure it adhered well.

I know I will end up painting this a fun color when spring and summer approach. We are getting ready to paint our house, so I will wait to see what we do and coordinate my choice then. I will be sure to update when I get it done. Thanks to Hi Sugarplum for this idea!


Spray paint the bathroom fixtures January 17, 2012

Filed under: Around the house,DYI Crafts — Tasya Marra Demers @ 7:25 pm

We have a house that was built in 1996 and all the fixtures are either brass or two-toned with silver and brass knobs. It is our intention to take one room at a time and update them all to oil-rubbed bronze. In the meantime I decided to spray paint all the fixtures in our powder room with oil-rubbed bronze spray paint, now we will see how long they will stand the test of time especially the faucet. But, for now I am enjoying the look!

Presto chango!

Now onto the faucet, it proved to be a bit more challenging to spray.

Aaahhh, isn’t that better? This bathroom is the least used one in our home, so I hope the wear and tear will be less and the paint will look good until we get around to changing them out for good!

Any quick fixes around your house that you would like to share?


Birthday food fun January 16, 2012

Filed under: Birthday Parties,Food — Tasya Marra Demers @ 10:58 am
Tags: ,

For my Birthday we started with individual 7 layer dip cups, labor intensive, but fun to serve!

The first layer is refried beans seasoned with your favorite taco seasoning.

Second layer is sour cream, you could flavor this with taco seasoning but I wanted the sour cream to be white.

Next layer is Guacamole, either homemade or store bought.

I added a good Pico de gallo for the next layer.

Followed by shredded Mexican cheese.

Sliced olives and scallions complete the 7 layers.

Add a couple tortilla chips with extra on the table, cuz two will not do!

On to dessert! Margarita cupcakes with Tequila spiked cream cheese frosting. But, first let me say, I am no baker!

I used Martha Stewart’s lemon cupcake recipe and substituted the lemon for lime with a bit of Tequila to get these delicious Margarita cupcakes.

A from-scratch cupcake and frosting inspired by the delicious Margarita cocktail.


For the lime cupcakes

3 cups flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

4 eggs at room temperature

3 limes, zested and juiced

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup Tequila (optional)

For the frosting

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 tablespoon lime zest

1 tablespoon lime juice

5 cups confectioners’ sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 325. Prepare muffin tins with paper liners or baking spray.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside. Cream butter and sugar on a high until pale, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add eggs one at at time, mixing thoroughly before adding the next one.
  4. Add lime zest and lime juice.
  5. Turn mixer to the low. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. Mix only until just incorporated.
  6. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer shows only moist crumbs attached, rotating the pans at the halfway point. Allow cupcakes to cool completely in the pans before removing.
  7. (Optional) While the cupcakes are still warm, brush the tops with tequila.
  8. To make frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy.
  9.  Stir in the lime zest and 1 tablespoon of lime juice.
  10. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar, 1 cup at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl thoroughly with a spatula after each addition.
  11. Spread the frosting on your cupcakes, I used a piping bag with a tip.

I have to thank Pinterest for these fun food ideas! Enjoy!



50 Valentine ideas for the kids January 15, 2012

Filed under: Valentine's Day — Tasya Marra Demers @ 8:13 am

I gathered up some creative and cute valentine ideas that I hope inspire you to do something a little different this year!

I like the mustache lollipop idea.

Creative with gum.Cute mustache heart fellows.

Nice alternatives to candy.

I love these cute bookmarks.

Yummy homemade treat!

Another homemade Valentine treat.

Grab a picture of your child and add a muah!

I just love these little brown paper packages, sweet!

I love this pencil one with Hershey kisses for the tips.

Yummy treats, who wouldn’t mind these?

Finger print valentines, adorable!

Cute, popcorn idea…so corny!

I dig you with a plastic shovel, clever.

I just can’t stop thinking about the finger print idea!

Looking glass eye on you, another clever idea!

Little homemade treats

Who doesn’t love the Pop Rock sensation?

Something about owls I just love!

My boys would get a kick out of this one!

Seems like the mustache is back in again!

Its a pirate valentine’s day!

Heart shaped rice Krispie treats would be a hit!

Pretty pretzels.

These airplane’s are darling!

An easy idea for anyone, just roll!

A fishy approach.

A little crayon melting is in order to create this one.

My mind is swarming with creative idea’s, how will I decide?

I love how cute and simple these are!

Cute puzzle idea!

I am in love with these little Hershey kiss things!


Fun, now its time to get creative, what will you do? I would love to see!


Moss, moss, moss January 10, 2012

Filed under: DYI Crafts — Tasya Marra Demers @ 8:45 pm

Moss is messy, but I like moss balls and moss letters, so I took the plunge!

Messy indeed, but I like the end result! Start with styrofoam balls and sheet moss from your local craft store and get the glue gun hot!

Cut strips of moss out and start gluing and filling in as needed. It doesn’t matter in the end how you do it, it looks great even if there is overlapping.

Glue, glue, glue!

The moss ball is starting to take shape!

Voila! There you have it, easy as pie! But, messier than pie!

Now onto the letter D!

I was at my local party supply store and came across cardboard letters, so I scooped two letter D’s up.

Then I went to my local fabric store and bought a strip of foam from their scrap bin for a $1.20 to make my form a little fatter. I then cut it up and glued them to the D and topped with the second D to make my form to wrap with the moss.

And, yes I do know that they make styrofoam letter forms, but I wanted immediate gratification and this was my quick fix to get me there without having to track one down!

Here I go with the strips of moss and my trusty hot glue gun.

Keep going and going and going!

And the final product our family monogram the letter D!

Now to put my moss loving creation on display! I just wish that big ugly fan wasn’t in the way!

Alright, now it is your turn….create your family monogram with moss and link here if you please!


layered creamy cheese spread January 7, 2012

Filed under: Food — Tasya Marra Demers @ 9:43 pm

Layers of cheesy creamy sweet basil sun-dried tomato goodness! This yummy appetizer was hit at the party tonight!

Here are my ingredients:

2 boxes of cream cheese

1 goat cheese log

1 box of garlic and herb spread

A couple tablespoons of butter

1 8oz jar of sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil of course

Pine nuts


Cheese cloth

Lay the cheese cloth on a plate, the size you want to serve on is best, I switched my plate part way through to be a better fit. Then top with 2 or 3 basil leaves.

Then I mixed room temperature cheeses and butter together to form a creamy texture easy for spreading.

Next, is a layer of pine nuts.

On to the finely diced sun-dried tomato layer.

Now spread another layer of the cheese mixture followed by a layer of pine nuts and pesto.

Another layer of the cheese mixture.

Then wrap it up tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Then take it out of the fridge, unwrap and flip. Voila! Like I said, layers of yummy, cheesy, creamy goodness!

We served with crackers, but bread or sliced veggies would be awesome too.


T-shirt flower necklace January 3, 2012

Filed under: DYI Crafts,Style,Tutorials — Tasya Marra Demers @ 4:38 pm

So, my love affair with old t-shirts is still going strong! Today I made a necklace with an old t-shirt and some clearance fabric from JoAnn’s.

I love the fact that all my old t-shirts are coming to life again! I love reusing stuff! Below is the t-shirt I used as well as the brown fabric from JoAnn’s.

I bought a simple chain and clasp set to make the necklace.

Next, I cut lots and lots of circles from the t-shirt and fabric, they don’t have to be perfect.

The fabric was a little sturdier then the t-shirt so I used the brown fabric as a base.  I folded the circles inward and gathered from the bottom to create little cone shaped flowerettes thingys that I then glued on to the base.

Take out the trusty hot glue gun and glue to the middle of the base.Then just keep adding until you get the desired effect.Like so.Cut a piece of fabric to layout the chain in the sahpe you would be wearing it and glue the flowers down where you want them.Glue them close together.Then cut the fabric out around the flowers, this way it has a backing.

Looks like so when cut out.Super easy, just a bit time consuming with all the cutting of circles. I folded the fabric over itself a couple times to cut out more at a time. I might have to make these in every color! Thanks to little miss momma for this idea!


Whole wheat dumplings with chicken stew January 2, 2012

Filed under: Food — Tasya Marra Demers @ 7:48 pm

Let me just say that it is raining cats and dogs outside right now! Seems a perfect fit to my comfort food recipe! I was really craving the warm comforts of my mom’s chicken and dumpling stew, yummy! I decided to do a take on her recipe, but I made my dumplings with whole wheat flour, to feel healthier and better about myself eating doughy fluffy cloud concoctions of course!

There are many ways to cook chicken,but I have found that the easiest way to get juicy chicken is to bake it in the oven coated with olive oil and salt and pepper at 35o degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, let cool then shred.

Now to start the stew….. 3/4 cup each of diced carrots and celery, along with a diced medium sized onion. Saute with a tablespoon of butter and a swirl of olive oil to coat the pan. I also added a teaspoon of poultry seasoning and a teaspoon of salt and pepper.

After the veggies have been sweating it out so to speak, I add a 32 ounce container of Chicken broth (and maybe a bit more) with the shredded chicken.

I also like to throw in some frozen mixed veggies to the pot as well as a couple diced baby red new potatoes.

Simmer away….meanwhile pour a glass of wine and make the dumplings!

I used 1 and 1/2  cups of whole wheat flour, 1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and3/4 teaspoon of salt.

Add 3/4 buttermilk and combine to make golf ball sized dumplings to drop into the pot.

Cook until dumplings are like little fluffy clouds and the vegetables are nice and tender.

Such a nice bowl of yummy goodness on a cold stormy winter’s night!

I hope you give it a try, stay warm!



%d bloggers like this: