About Me

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I live in the beautiful city of Portland, Oregon. I am a work at home mom and meeting planner, who loves what I do in every way. I think I get the best of both worlds; a little travel and some home time with my little chicklets. In my spare time I enjoy hosting parties, art, cooking, crafting, re-doing furniture, wogging, tennis and shopping. I am going through a journey that I wanted to share. I hope in some small way it helps you.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pops and Podge

Hey Everyone! 
I am so happy to announce to you and the whole world that Portobello Road is transitioning over to Pops and Podge.  As sad as I am to let go of Portobello Road, I am even more excited for my new joint venture with my good friend, Claudia Cash (from Cee Cee's Corner).  We talked about merging for several months.  But both of us with our own followers, ideas and posts invested already into our own blogs were a little reluctant.  But in the end or shall I say beginning, we decided to take the plunge!  Pops and Podge was born and it is even better than I thought it would be!  We have been workin' hard over there, so come and visit us and become a follower!!! 

Thank you all for supporting me here at Portobello Road. 
Now on to bigger and better things!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How to make Scrabble Tile Coasters

I have a friend up in Seattle that is a Scrabble queen!  I mean I don't even try to play her.  I would for fun, but I would end up just feeling humiliated because she would kick my butt win by a lot.  So I save myself the time and we do other stuff together, like shopping (which I excel at) and eating (I also am very good in this area).   We are pretty close friends as we used to share an office when I worked at the Grand Hyatt Seattle.  We also used to travel all over the world together and try to find hot dates for each other, this was of course before I got married and had a kid.  Needless to say, I know her pretty well.  So well that I knew if I could not find her the perfect present for her birthday that it would probably end up re-gifted or in her guest room closet (and eventually purged), because she likes a clutter free home.  On I went searching for the perfect gift.  I knew she would love this present that I saw on Etsy.  I had to figure out how to make them, but in the end it was pretty easy so I thought I would share.

Items you need for 4 coasters:
Masking tape
Cork (I bought a roll of it at Micheal's)
E6000 or I suppose a glue gun would work
16 Scrabble tiles per coaster (so 64 total, any thrift store would have Scrabble games)

First I arranged the tiles how I wanted them.  I was going to arrange the letters into words, but do you remember the part about how I suck a scrabble.  I thought it would drive her crazy if I did not get words across and down.  I opted to go random.  And I asked her after I gave it to her and she agreed, she liked it random.  I used masking tap to secure the positions of the tiles.

I measured the cork to be about 1/4 inch smaller then the edge of the full 16 tile square.  I cut the squares out and then rounded the corners.

I turned the tiles over and put the glue on.  If you use hot glue you will have to work fast.  Then put the cork square on the tile square.  Wait until it dries and then take off the tape.

Aren't they cute!  Do you have anyone that loves Scrabble?  These are the perfect gift!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I love you...Chocolate Salted Caramels!

At this very moment, I am enjoying one of this most sweet and savory caramels.  And they are oh so melt in your mouth, creamy, salty, and honey-vanilla-licious.  These are so awesome that they will make for great gifts for neighbors or for whomever you feel like showering with yummy goodness.  If you find a fancy box and put a little bow around it, they might even think that you went to a fancy store and dropped some serious dough on these tasty treats. They are a little complicated, so get ready to put some LOVE into them.

Not perfect, but scrumptious!
The Honey-Vanilla Caramels are from www.BHG.com, the chocolate-salted part I made up myself :)
Mmmmmmmm, don't you want one!

Honey-Vanilla Caramels

2 cups sugar
3/4 cup light-colored corn syrup
1/4 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups whipping cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Line the bottom and sides of 8x8x2-inch pan with parchment paper.
2. Combine sugar, corn syrup, honey, and salt in a heavy 3-quart saucepan. Cook, stirring, over medium heat, until mixture begins to simmer around the edges. Using a wet pastry brush, lightly brush the sugar from inside sides of saucepan. Cover; continue to cook about 3 minutes. (Meanwhile rinse spatula or spoon before using again.) Uncover; brush sides again. Attach candy thermometer to side of saucepan (do not let it touch bottom). Cook, uncovered, without stirring until mixture reaches 308 degrees F (8 minutes). Meanwhile, in small saucepan bring cream to a simmer; keep hot until needed.
3. As soon as the sugar mixture reaches 308 degrees F, remove from the heat. Immediately stir in butter. using long-handled spatula gradually stir hot cream into caramel. (Be careful; mixture will foam up and steam.) Return to heat. Adjust heat so mixture boils but not too rapidly. Stir to be sure it is well blended and smooth. Continue to cook 22 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until temperature reaches 255 degrees F.
4. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in vanilla. Immediately pour caramel into prepared pan.  Otherwise, let set 2 to 3 hours or until caramel is completely cool and firm.
5. Using an oiled knife or scissors, cut each marshmallow in half across the middle. Arrange the marshmallows very tightly together, cut (sticky) side down, on top of the caramel. There should be no space visible between the marshmallows. Let set for another 2 to 3 hours, until the caramel is completely cool and firm.
6.  Lift pan liner to remove caramel to a cutting board. Using a long oiled knife, cut into pieces.
7. After you cut the caramels. (You can stop here if you choose and wrap caramels in waxed paper. Store up to 1 month in an airtight container at room temperature. Makes 48 to 60 caramels).  Melt some dark or milk chocolate.  My favorite is the dark/semi-sweet melting chips from Winco.  I like to melt chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat until smooth and creamy. 
8. Take the cut caramel, you can do you to 3 at a time.  Use a fork or two, and dip the caramel into the chocolate.  Make sure the chocolate isn't too thick when you take the covered caramel out and place on wax paper.  I have several different types of racks, but I have found I prefer the smooth bottom you get from wax paper.  Sprinkle about 4 or 5 granules of kosher salt or any fancy salt you have, I use the red/pink Alaea Hawaiian salt.  Let cool and wha-la fancy chocolate covered salted caramels!

Enjoy, and save some for your sweetheart!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Quiet Book Group--Page 1

Recently some friends of mine and I came up with the idea to start a Quiet Book Group.  When you look at quiet books online or on Pinterest, they can be so overwhelming.  So we got about 15 friends together and started a group, kind of like book club or like my craft nights.  It is designed that we do one page a month.  The group leaders come up with the page designs, although suggestions from the group are always welcome.  We also bought the supplies and put the page kits together. Then the girls come over with some yummy goodies and we all create one page that night.   Easy peasy!  The plus side is it's not overwhelming to do one page a month. The down side is they are usually so cute that you want to use it right away.  And so in however many months, our group decided on one year, you will have a finished quiet book!
This was a first page, and it was an enormous success!  Anyone up for a little game of Tic-Tac-Toe?

So you can see what was sewed on.  Really just the Velcro in the case.

You can see here that each X and O has a double layer of white felt for the base.

We assembled most of it with fabric glue.  But some was sewed on for better securing.  If you are interested in the pattern, just comment below and if there is enough interest I will post it. 

Items needed for this page:
(1) sheet of turquoise felt
(1) sheet of red felt
(1) sheet of white felt
Pattern or a good eye to just copy what you see here. 
Sewing machine (white or red thread)
Fabric glue

Stay tuned for more cute quiet book pages here!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Welcome Sign by Cameo

My Cameo is making a cameo today!  I am new to the world of owning a Silhouette.  I have always envied those that own one and get to enjoy creative freedom in the world of vinyl and paper-crafting and the million other things you can do with this little itty bitty machine.  I begged and begged and put on the top of my Christmas list...SILHOUETTE CAMEO.  And guess what I got Christmas morning!  Yep, you betcha my dream came true!  I am now the proud owner of a Cameo.  It's probably a little anti-climatic that I am just telling you about her now over a month after I received her.  But it took me a while to find, clean and create a suitable location for this special girl.  After all, she will be busy between monthly craft nights and my blog and just meeting my personal desires for cute crafts requiring her skills.  She needed her own desk....and she got one!

And this was one of my first projects...A simple little "Welcome" sign for my front door.  A have a few friends that have put these on their doors and I just fell in love.  I had to copy some of their brilliance.  Don't you feel so Welcome!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Blog Award!

I am so excited!  The other day I received a comment on my blog from Katie over at www.pincushioncreations.com.  She awarded Portobello Road the Most Versatile Blogger Award.  I am thrilled that my small little growing blog has been given this award! 
The funny thing is, I was actually awarded another one of the awards last October from Stephanie over at www.craftingintherain.blogspot.com.  I just did not realize that I was suppose to pass it on.  So THANK YOU to Stephanie and Katie!

I learned that in winning this award I need to show the love and pass it on to 7 other bloggers.  I also need to tell you 7 things about myself that you may not know. 

Let's spread some love first...because all we need is love!

I would like to pass along the Versatile Blogger Award to the following blogs:

A few of my favorite blogs are first, CeCe's Corner. I love her blog and sometime we post for each other.  She is a fabulous mom, crafter and cook.  Love this girl!  Head on over to her blog and become of follower.

One blog I recently discovered is Randee's Organized Chaos.  I found her blog very informational.  She has some great tips on how to make sense for the chaos in our lives.  Which I am all about!  And I love that she calls her recipe section "Nummys"  Love it!

To satisfy my painting furniture hobby, sometimes I check out fellow north westerner Tonya at Painting in Portland.  She moved to rainy Portland from Utah and been really good about finding something to do with her time indoors.  That is what we have to do here in Portland, find stuff to do inside...she has mastered it!  Love her furniture!

A girl that featured one of my crafts (heart wreath) recently has a fabulous blog called The Latest Finds!  Check out Ashley and her latest trends, which will be sure to keep you up to date in all your fashion, crafting, and other fun finds.

Turquoise!  Love it right, well Sara over at Sweet Little Gals has a super fun Turquoise Lovin' Linky party.  Her blog is just filled with cute crafts and and sweet things!  Check it out and become one of her many followers.

One of my favorite things to do, is making something beautiful out of someone else's junk.  Katie over at Thrifty Finds and Redesign has made a whole blog out of it.  She has lots of cute DIY projects and redesigns on her site.  Check out our east coast friend and become a thrifty finder!

Kacey over at Refreshed Decor just reinvented herself!  Formerly Life of Blue, same creator, same content, same very cool decor/furniture ideas.  I have been following this blog for a while and I think she is very talented and it does not hurt that she has two adorable little boys.  Check out this blog and be inspired! 

About Me
1. I love cake. All kinds, I don't discriminate against any cake except cake that is soaked in things like milk or coffee or rum because I think it strips the cake of its cakey texture, it becomes soggy cake...its not right.

2. I love that I have a job that allows me to travel. I love traveling because it gives me an excuse to buy things, not just for myself but for other people, any excuse to buy things is good. Although there are other reasons that I love traveling too...

3. I think I have a shopping problem, I mean seriously #2 ??? There are much better reasons to love traveling. But of course with the shopping addiction comes a buying and returning skill as well. I don't think there is anything wrong with shopping if you return it :)

4. I have virgin hair...never been dyed. Last year I cut off 10 inches and donated it to Locks of Love.

5. I wear earplugs at night. Sometimes just one, but since I have been married... two. Sometimes I fear this is doing damage to my brain or ears or something I am unaware of. Is this a habit I need to break????

6. I love the smell of Eucalyptus trees, it reminds me of the drive between San Jose and Monterey, California. It brings back many childhood memories.

7. When my husband brings me flowers, I usually cry. I think it is one of the most thoughtful things someone can do for another.

Happy Crafting,

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


One of my ALL TIME favorite sweet treats is Baklava.  It's the only other dessert besides cake, that I craaaave!  I just love the crunch and the sweet taste of honey.  It is simply delicious!  Although to make it yourself takes a lot of love.  The good news is this recipe makes a lot, so you can share with neighbors and friends or stash away for yourself, because this one only gets better with time.  I apologize for the lack of pictures in this post, it is kind of a hard process and I am sure pictures would have helped.  So I will try to be very descriptive :)  I had a buddy to help me make this which saved a little time, but if you are doing it by yourself I would carve out about two hours to complete.  This recipe is from one of my favorite cook books The Best Recipe.  But the International version.  This is a great cookbook because they have already gone through the process of finding the best process and ingredients and therefore recipe.  Everything I have made from here has been amazing!


Before you start make sure your phyllo dough is completely thawed.  If it was in the freezer, let it sit on the counter for 4-5 hours or in the refrigerator overnight.  If using the smaller size 14x9, you can use a 13x9 baking dish, glass or metal.  I used a jelly roll pan, because my phyllo was the large size 14x18, but I would double the sugar syrup part next time. If you get the large size phyllo you can also just cut them in half and still use the 13x9 baking dish.  You can refreeze any unused phyllo.

Sugar Syrup (double if using jelly roll pan)
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup honey
1 4-inch long zest from 1 lemon (run a vegetable peeler from pole to pole to remove long wide strips of zest)
1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
1 cinnamon stick
5 whole cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt

Nut filling
2 1/2 cups of blanched slivered almonds
1 cup of walnuts
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Pastry and Butter
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, clarified (see instructions below)
plus more for buttering the pan
1 pound phyllo, thawed

Clarified Butter
Cut butter into 1 inch chunks.
Melt in small saucepan over medium-low heat, about 10 minutes.
Take off heat and let cool for another 10 minutes.
Take a soup spoon and skim off white part. 
Wha-la clarified butter!

For the Sugar Syrup:
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium high heat, bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Transfer to a measuring cup (2c or 4c if doubled).  A glass or metal bowl would work as well.  Let cool. It will get thicker as it cools.  Then discard the spices and zest.  Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days in refrigerator.

For the Nut Filling:
Pulse the almonds and walnuts in food processor until very finely chopped.  About 25 pulses.  Transfer to med bowl and reserve 1 Tbls. for garnish.  Stir the remaining filling ingredients into the nuts.  Set aside.

To Assemble and Bake (this is the part that takes love and patience):
Heat oven to 300 degrees.  Unwrap and unfold the phyllo and carefully smooth it with your hands to flatten.  Cover with plastic wrap, then a damp kitchen towel.  Butter your pan.
If you have any sheets that are broken try to use in the middle layers, save the whole sheets for the top and bottom.

Place 1 sheet at a time in the bottom of your pan and brush with your clarified butter until completely coated. Repeat 7 times. 
Distribute 1 cup of the nut filling and spread accross sheets.
Place 1 sheet on top of the filling and dab with butter, brushing might make it slip.  Repeat 4-5 times, brushing the butter on each layer.
Distribute 1 cup of the nut filling and spread accross sheets.
Place 1 sheet on top of the filling and dab with butter.  Repeat 4-5 times, brushing the butter on each layer.
Distribute 1 cup of the nut filling and spread accross sheets.
Finish with 8-10 more sheets of buttered phyllo.

Using your hands compress layers removing air bubbles working from center to outer edge.
Cut baklava into diamonds or squares using serrated knife, then bake until golden crisped, about 1 1/2 hours.  Rotating the pan halfway through baking.

Immediately after removing from oven, pour the cooled syrup over the cut lines of the baked baklava.  Drizzle about 2-4 tablespoons over the top.
Garnish with chopped nuts.
Cool about 3 hours.  Then cover with foil and let stand about 8 hours before serving. 
You may serve after cool, but the flavors and texture will improve if left to stand.  It can be wrapped in foil tightly and kept at room temperature for up to 10 days.