Diane's Vintage Zest!

Praline Patisserie feature and GIVEAWAY!

Check out the adorable Shop Small Saturday Showcase feature from Praline Patisserie and enter to win a fantastic giveaway!

TWIX Bites Coconut Macaroons

Two of my faves in one: coconut and TWIX!

Blogging 101: How to Write a Better "About Me" Page

Check out the tips to writing a better "About Me" page in the latest Blogging 101 post!

Coconut, Raspberry and Blueberry Ice Cream

A delicious frozen treat, that is creamy, super easy and dairy-free!

Do Tell Tuesday #27

Come Link Up at Do Tell Tuesday for some inspiration and the chance to be featured on all 6 blogs!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Pretty Spring Crafts & Do Tell Tuesday #66!


Pretty Spring Crafts & Do Tell Tuesday on Diane's Vintage Zest!


Welcome to Do Tell Tuesday!  Do Tell Tuesday is the time where WE get to see what YOU are up to! Share your projects and recipes, then take time to look around at your fellow creatives.  Not a blogger?  That's ok!  You can still take a look around and discover some new ideas and inspiration!

Each week a featured host will be bringing you a set of features, and this week it's Cassie's turn!  Before we get to this week, let's meet the hosts!

Do Tell Tuesday on Vintage Zest


Keep up with us at:

Mabey She Made It : Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter // Google Plus
Vintage Zest : Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter // Google Plus
Little Red Window : Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter // Google Plus
Lil Mrs. Tori : Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter // Google Plus


Now for the features courtesy of Cassie!

Bridal Shower Invitation planning with Wedding Paper Divas

“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Wedding Paper Divas. I received a stipend to facilitate my purchase for my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

Bridal Shower Invitation planning with #WeddingPaperDivas #IC #ad


As I mentioned just about a year ago, my sister got engaged, so it's almost wedding time soon!  As maid of honor (and the only bridesmaid), I am so excited to help with every detail I can!  Yes, I'm not just there the food and cake tastings, which were amazing, but I am helping out my sister since I'm the DIY blogger!

One of the huge things I am helping with is the bridal shower.  It's almost like a mini wedding!  Since it's up to me, I went to Wedding Paper Divas to put together a beautiful, completely customized invitation at an affordable price.


Bridal Shower Invitation planning with #WeddingPaperDivas #IC #ad


First of all, check out the amazing sample kit that is sent to you for free!  When I ordered the sample kit, I was amazed at all the options inside.  Since we wanted to keep to a similar theme with the wedding, I was in love with the wide range of options available.

By the way, isn't the packaging is just adorable?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Brooklyn Butcher Blocks feature & GIVEAWAY!


For today's Shop Small Saturday Showcase feature, I have an absolutely wonderful shop to share with you today: Brooklyn Butcher Blocks!  It was the end of Unique LA, and I was rounding the corner to exit, when I spotted this booth at the end.  It absolutely stopped me in my tracks!  I was in the midst of my woodworking projects, so I loved absolutely everything that I saw.  Then, while talking to Nils about the pieces he works on, it was apparent that he is extremely thoughtful and invested in his craft.  You will be able to see exactly what I mean in the interview below!

Not only is this one of the best interviews I have shared with you, in terms of insight into a creative small business owner, Nils is offering one of his gorgeous items as a giveaway.  Yes, this gorgeous 12x18x2 End Grain Butcher Block Cutting Board could be showing up on the doorstep of one of you lucky readers!  Stay tuned for that at the end of the post, but first check out some wonderful creations by Nils and how it all gets done!


Brooklyn Butcher Blocks feature & GIVEAWAY! on Shop Small Saturday Showcase at Diane's Vintage Zest!


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Tell me a little bit about yourself!

I haven't ever received any official training--what I've learned has been from family, from studying and from experience.  Not to downplay the importance of the former two, but nothing quite matches experiences.  You just got to do it at some point.


Where did the name of your store come from?

Brooklyn Butcher Blocks: While I call myself a maker of wooden kitchenware now, when I first started I was doing butcher blocks (and rest assured that's the gist of our business, despite also making beer mugs, wine racks, magnetic knife racks and tablet/phone docs, and we're about to finish up our first chair) and I live/work in Brooklyn, NY.  When I started in 2010, Brooklyn seemed to have opportunities around every corner.  I was tentative about calling myself Brooklyn blank, but after some more consideration, I thought that I should name my business after the town that helped me so much creatively and professionally.  I considered it an "ode" or something.


Why did you start making goods for Brooklyn Butcher Blocks?

A knife making friend of mine answered me with, "A certain point, I think it's kind of existential.  You do it just because that's what you do."  I think there's something fundamentally true about that, but I think I'll extrapolate some.  Why I work with my hands is existential in this way (I do because I do), but I think I'm interested in kitchenware because of the odd similarities between kitchens and wood shops.  Once kitchens are put into a home, that's what they are.  You're not going to make it into a bedroom without some serious renovation or an openness to an odd design.  Additionally, kitchens are where you do work; you go in to do a specific job.  It's much like setting up a wood shop in that way.  You want long lasting equipment with a clean, simple, smart design without superfluous gimmicks.


Brooklyn Butcher Blocks feature & GIVEAWAY! on Shop Small Saturday Showcase at Diane's Vintage Zest!


What is your favorite item?

Hm.  I like the 12x18x2 End Grain walnut because it's the classic, it's the building block of my business.

I like the brickwork board because it was a way to keep the same consistent design as everything else but it turned it into something different.  The pattern was still reflective of function and in fact called attention to its function (the brickwork pattern we use is stronger than your run of the mill checkboard pattern)

I like the iBlock because while it added a gimmick to the product, the addition of the tablet slot was extremely useful--like way more than I ever thought it could be, and I think it was a solid idea from the getgo.  Plus it's the first of its kind, I invented it.  So not only are we making really function pieces, not just really beautiful pieces, but innovative pieces.  I'm proud of that.

I also love the beer mugs.  After the iBlock, I thought... "Okay, so how can I make something that's virtually impossible to make?  Like a wooden cup."  Our prototypes tried to stay true to beermugs of the past, but I decided that if I were making a beermug out of wood, then it should stand out and its design should be consistent with the rest of our lineup.  If you wanted a standard beermug, then whynot just buy a standard glass one?  It felt like I stripped down what a beermug should be and rebuilt it.

In short, I love everything I make :P


What is your most popular item?

Anything.  Made.  From.  Walnut.


Brooklyn Butcher Blocks feature & GIVEAWAY! on Shop Small Saturday Showcase at Diane's Vintage Zest!


Where do you get the inspiration for your work?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Essential Woodworking Tools for Beginners: A wishlist!


Essential Woodworking Tools for Beginners:  A wishlist! on Diane's Vintage Zest!


Now that I'm done with sharing my woodworking projects, from the first to the last one, I'm thinking about how my X-leg stools need to be finished and all the future projects I want to make.  Just one problem... I don't have a wood shop!

Most likely I will take another class so I can have access to the tools, but I also want to start putting together a shop of my own.  So, being the overly organized appropriately prepared person that I am, I put together a list of tools as recommended by both experts and friends.

I included links to each item as a reference, with some of the more highly rated or popular brands represented.  However, if any of you have advice or experience with a particular tool that you just have to recommend, please let me know!


Safety Items & Measuring Tools
Essential Woodworking Tools for Beginners:  A wishlist! on Diane's Vintage Zest!

  1. Face shield or safety glasses
  2. Dust mask or respirator
  3. Trusty pencil!


Power Tools
Essential Woodworking Tools for Beginners:  A wishlist! on Diane's Vintage Zest!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Kitchen Basics: How to Pick & Prep Plantains


Remember my last Kitchen Basics post where I showed you how to pick and prep some common (but sometimes tricky) tropical fruit?  Well, it was so popular that I wanted to share another of my favorite tropical fruits for you, the incredible plantain!

Why do I love the plantain?  First of all, it is so versatile!  You can use them for both savory and sweet dishes, which are completely different.  If you're unsure how to use them, well lucky for you that I'll be sharing two different recipes over the next couple weeks: one savory and and one sweet!


Kitchen Basics: How to Pick & Prep Plantains on Diane's Vintage Zest! #cooking #tip


The second reason is that I grew up in a household where these were used quite often, so it reminds me of my childhood.  However, if you have never eaten plantains, they are a very familiar flavor, most closely resembling a banana.  Unlike bananas, they are more starchy and tough, so they are not as good when eaten raw.  But once you cook them, they are about a million times better than a banana!


Kitchen Basics: How to Pick & Prep Plantains on Diane's Vintage Zest! #cooking #tip


Now, let's get to the important info!


Things to look for:

Monday, March 16, 2015

Fresh & New Easter Projects + Do Tell Tuesday #65!


Fresh & New Easter Projects on Diane's Vintage Zest!


Welcome to Do Tell Tuesday!  Do Tell Tuesday is the time where WE get to see what YOU are up to! Share your projects and recipes, then take time to look around at your fellow creatives.  Not a blogger?  That's ok!  You can still take a look around and discover some new ideas and inspiration!

Each week a featured host will be bringing you a set of features.  This week, Lisa picked some pretty amazing new Easter projects!  Before we get to the features, let's meet the hosts!


Do Tell Tuesday on Vintage Zest

Keep up with us at:

Mabey She Made It : Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter // Google Plus
Vintage Zest : Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter // Google Plus
Little Red Window : Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter // Google Plus
Lil Mrs. Tori : Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter // Google Plus


Now for the features courtesy of Lisa!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Marco Paolo Chocolates feature, GIVEAWAY & promo!


On this week's Shop Small Saturday Showcase, I have an absolutely delicious feature for you from Marco Paolo Chocolates!  After meeting Mark at Artisanal LA, I was immediately excited to share these tiny works of edible art with you all.  Not only do the chocolates look gorgeous, the flavors are just as beautiful.

And lucky, lucky you... Mark is giving you the chance to win a Sense-venture nine piece collection of truffles!  Not only that, he is offering a promo to all of my readers, so make sure to stay tuned for that at the end of the post.

First, make sure to check out all the gorgeous chocolates below and find out which chocolate is Mark's peppery favorite!


Marco Paolo Chocolates feature, GIVEAWAY & promo! on Shop Small Saturday Showcase at Diane's Vintage Zest!

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Tell me a little bit about yourself!

My name is Mark Lewis, chocolate artisan and founder of Marco Paolo Chocolates.  I have been a life-long connoisseur of fine chocolates and wanted meld his passion for creating flavor harmony in unique ways with my obsession for chocolate. The result is a line of paired chocolate ganache truffles that extend the experience of one of life’s most universal pleasures; the joy and comfort of chocolate indulgence.

My personal exploration and development of unique flavor profiles has been years in the making, and it is a continuing process full of excitement and discovery.

Making chocolate truffles was inspired by my infatuation with a Scotch Bonnet truffle, discovered at a new French style chocolate confectionary and pastry shop in my neighborhood. The now defunct chocolatier made one particularly luscious, not too sweet, but deceivingly spicy tiny morsel that melted in your mouth and left a lasting tingling impression, which was surprisingly distinctive from the others that lacked prominent flavors. These Scotch Bonnet truffles were very small and expensive, so I decided to try and make my own version in a size that fit my cravings. The results were good on first attempt and improved with each trial. After learning all I could from books with many successes and failures working chocolate and formulating recipes, I took a series of classes at the famed Chocolate Academy in Chicago with well-known French chocolatiers. There, my previous trials and tribulations permitted me to soak up the knowledge instantly. I then returned home to practice and further expand my culinary horizons.


Marco Paolo Chocolates feature, GIVEAWAY & promo! on Shop Small Saturday Showcase at Diane's Vintage Zest!


Where did the name of your store come from?

Marco Paolo came from my name Mark and my partner's name Paul. We thought that the adventurous tasting journey our chocolate truffles take you on, which we call a sense-venture, is a tip of the hat to the famous explorer Marco Polo.


Why did you start making goods for Marco Paolo Chocolates?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Wooden Beer Carrier (for a Six-Pack!)


Alas, this is the last of my woodworking projects to share with you.  I shared my first project ever (wood piece basket), my first scrapbuster (scrap vase), and the unfinished project that hopefully I'll get to soon (custom X-leg stools).

I am so excited about this project because I think it turned out fantastically!  To celebrate, maybe I should crack a beer open?  :)


Wooden Beer Carrier (for a Six-Pack!) on Diane's Vintage Zest!  #diy #woodworking #wood


We were given plans with some instructions for a toolbox, but we could make it with any dimensions we liked.  You can see the example with the flames, which was made pretty huge.  Obviously, I decided to go with a different size to tote around a six-pack of beers.

In the picture to the right, first I cut the sides of the carrier.


Wooden Beer Carrier (for a Six-Pack!) on Diane's Vintage Zest!  #diy #woodworking #wood


Then, I used a band saw to create a rounded shape towards the top and sanded it smooth.

Next, I used a drill press to match the size of the pipe I planned on using as a handle.  By the way, I spent a ton of time sanding the hole bigger because there wasn't a size that quite fit my pipe.  That meant drilling a smaller hole and sanding it larger.

Then, I changed the plans a bit on the advice of the instructor to make a notch in the sides using a router.  That way, the bottom of the carrier would be even more snug and secure!


Wooden Beer Carrier (for a Six-Pack!) on Diane's Vintage Zest!  #diy #woodworking #wood


Next, I cut the sides of the tote down and used the router again to add a bit of detail.

Then it was time to glue it all together and clamp it while it dried.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Homemade Raisins


For the past two weeks, I shared two of my favorite savory snacks with you that I like to make in my dehydrator: Spicy Turnip Chips & Homemade Kale Chips.  Today, I have my favorite sweet snack!  You might be thinking... raisins?  Really?  The little dried out things that come in tiny boxes for my kids?

Yes!

Freshly made raisins are ridiculously delicious and so simple too!  They are juicy and tender, and the dehydrating process really brings out the natural sweetness of the grapes.  Once again, there is very little preparation and hands-on time to make a huge amount of snacks.

I like to buy grapes on sale and make several batches because they keep so well.  Even better, I like to experiment with all kinds of grapes: red, green, black, white, and champagne.  They're all different and amazing, so you can find your favorite version.  Let's get to it!


Homemade Raisins on Diane's Vintage Zest #recipe #food #healthy


Homemade Raisins
Adapted from my dehydrator product manual

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