blueberry cheesecake

Easy No-bake Blueberry Cheesecake

We recently went blueberry picking and having picked about two pounds of blueberries I wasn’t too sure what to make with them. I could’ve made blueberry muffins, but I thought I would try something different. I discovered this super easy no bake cheesecake recipe awhile back and it’s been a frequent summer dessert for years. I decided to play around with it, thinking I could create a delightful blueberry cheesecake. The end result was just that, delightful.

fresh picked-blueberries

I started by making a simple blueberry sauce with a bit of sugar and a dash of lemon juice for just a bit of tartness. To make the sauce, place a 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of blueberries in a sauce pan on low to medium heat. I added the juice of 1/2 a lemon and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Stir occasionally until the berries start to burst, then stir constantly until all of the berries have burst and the skins have mostly dissolved. Remove it from the heat and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, mix together 8oz of cream cheese, and 3/4 cup of sugar until creamed. Mix in the cooled blueberry sauce and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Fold in an 8oz tub of Cool Whip and mix well. Pour into a pre-made graham cracker crust, spread evenly and then chill for up to an hour or more. I usually make this in the morning for dessert later in the evening.

If blueberries aren’t your thing, this can be made by omitting the blueberry sauce. I would add a teaspoon of vanilla extract when mixing the cream cheese and sugar.

No-bake blueberry cheesecake

Friday Favorites

Hi there! I’m back with a few of my favorite things on this fine Friday. Can you believe we’ve made it to Friday? Yay! I wish I could say I was doing amazing things this weekend, but alas, I’m working. It’s not all bad, I’m hostessing at an amazing model home this weekend. I do love elements of my job.

Without further adieu, I’m introducing a new feature here on Fridays. I’m calling it Friday Favorites, it’s a twist on my very old Friday Finds that every blogger is doing these days. Don’t get me wrong, but if we are all doing it, how does one post stand out over another?

Friday Favorites

First up, it seems everyone has discovered Chair Whimsy. I’m seeing her colorful amazing chairs popping up all over instagram and Facebook. I gotta say I love her style. She uses an array of color and pattern that takes a regular vintage chair and makes it something more interesting. Her chairs become the focal point in a room. You know the DIY’er in me is scheming to figure out how to create a similar look with chairs of my own. (photo credit)

I’m also crushing on these gorgeous blooms I spotted prior to a wedding being set up. They are so beautiful aren’t they? I want to hit the local florist and load up on bright pink roses for the house.

We stopped in at the art museum last week to check out a few of the exhibits and I stumbled across the event crew setting up this incredible lighting structure with a dance floor to be put in underneath it. I didn’t get to tick around to see the completed display but I imagine it was simply magical. They were hanging edison bulbs from a scaffolding over head and draped random bulbs with bright colorful cloth lanterns. How delightful would that be to dance under for your first dance as husband and wife?

On a recent trip to HomeGoods I found this navy pillow with the ever classic Greek Key motif adorning it. It’s perfect for my guest bedroom and I’m kicking myself for not picking it up. Perhaps, I’m talented enough to make it. Of course I am.

As the temperatures begin to rise it occurs to me that it’s almost time for my favorite spring and summer cocktail, the classic G&T. I discovered Fever Tree’s Elderflower tonic water last year and it’s now the only tonic water I’ll use with my Gin & Tonic. Kevin always kids me that it’s an old persons drink. So what? One can not go wrong with a classic drink when summer arrives.

Is it so bad that I’m loving these rich vibrant colors from Essie this season? I’m sure they are not from this year’s spring collection, but some times you need to buck the trend and enjoy what ever it is you love. Being trendy is so not Wendy.


Close up shop or recommit…

I’ve been MIA the last few months and with good reason. My attention has been focused on other aspects of life, like earning a living or rather trying to. Ultimately, I decided to try to make a go of this again. I’ve been putzing around with a blog in one form or another for the better part of 10 years. Wow! It really has been 10 years since I launched Madras ‘n Pearls on the Blogger platform. Over the years, it’s morphed into several other titles and landed here about 3-4 years ago. Yet, it’s been sorely neglected over the years.

For awhile I’ve been mulling over what I could do with this platform if properly inspired. Inspiration is the key here. Often times, social media and blogging can be a false perspective of reality and there are many out there trying to “live their best lives” How much of it is real? Honestly, my house is modest, my style is mine but not focused on the latest trends and finding content that is original or unique is not always available or the first thing I wake up thinking about. I’ve been told I have exquisite taste, but I don’t share enough of that.

Blogging is hard work. It’s not what it was when I started back in 2008. I used to wake up and quickly write up a post, find a few photos and hit publish. Today, it’s so much more which can be exhausting if you’re just writing as a hobby and you still want eyes on your efforts. Blogging can be a full time job if you want it to be. The trick is to treat it as such and be prepared to work long hours creating content, promoting content, sharing content and connecting with people. If you’re lucky you can make a decent living through affiliate marketing, e-books, or your own services.

It can be overwhelming especially considering that it takes at minimum 5 years to gain traction. That brings me back to the idea of inspiration. How inspired am I to put in the work? It’s a question I need to answer. I’m not quite ready to give up on this platform or more importantly, myself. Over the next few weeks, I’m committed to posting regularly to Instagram, FB and here. It may not be everyday, but will be at least a few times a week.

five simple ways to decorate for the holidays

Five Simple Holiday Decorating Ideas

Ah… I love decorating for the holidays. The lights, the baubles and the bling all become my toys as I bring a little holiday cheer to our home. I try to keep it simple, subtle and a bit sassy.  Let me show you a few of my tricks for simple budget friendly holiday decor.

Baubles or Glass Ball Ornaments…

decorating with glass balls

I can never have too many of these all-purpose fun and inexpensive ornaments. They can be hung on your tree, or used to fill bowls and vases.  I always have an abundance on hand and find myself filling pretty bowls and baskets to the brim. They become centerpieces and able top accents.  Since they come in a wide variety of sizes and colors your options are endless. I use the small ones as vase filler, and the larger ones in a bowls.


Pine Cones 

Ok, so maybe I really like pretty things filling baskets and bowls. Another trick that actually carries me from October thru Christmas is to fill baskets with pine cones. You can collect them on a hike or buy a bag or two at the local craft store. I love the cinnamon  scented ones, they fill the air with the sweetest smell. Who needs candles when you have scented pine cones?

Ribbon Wreaths

ribbon wreath

Our house has wreaths hung almost everywhere. I use a mix of the traditional pine garland wreaths and the more affordable DIY ribbon wreaths. Last year, I spotted a fun project that entailed yarn and a wire wreath form. I took that same concept and swapped the yarn for ribbon.  Simply, pick up a wreath form and some pretty ribbon from your local crafts shop, and then wrap the ribbon around the form, tying it in a bow to finish it off.

Lanterns at the Door

The use of lanterns seems so on trend right now, and well, I opted to jump on board. Now, you can go spend big $$$$ on lanterns from a few on line shops or hunt around the local Home Goods shop to find less expensive lanterns. I spotted a pair of red ones at Walmart for about $25 a piece. They were a tad pricey, but they will last a few years and can be used year round, so not bad over all. I filled them with simple LED candles I found at Target, with a timer. They sit nestled in with a pair of Poinsettias to decorate the front entry way.

Cards or Scrapbook Paper as Art

One of my absolute favorite tricks is to take picture frames and place either holiday cards, festive scrap book paper or beautiful wrapping paper inside. It’s an inexpensive way to brighten a wall, or table top with a touch of holiday bling. It’s also a good use of last year’s left over holiday cards.

Hope you enjoyed my five simple tips to holiday decorating. How do you decorate for the holidays?





My Five Favorite Ways To Display Books

Books are for more than just reading. They can be used as decorative accessories throughout your home and not just displayed on book shelves.  I use books throughout our house to add visual interest and to sometimes spark conversations with friends.  Here are my top five favorite ways to display books.

Five ways to display books

Color Block Books 

Grouping books together by color will lend that burst of color in a room.  You can collect books with similar shades of a singular color and display them on a table top or use them to style a bookcase. Flea markets and thrift shops are ideal places to find unique hardcover books. Slightly worn spines and dogeared pages give the books character.

Another option is to cover books you already have with a simple cotton fabric in a solid color. I love this idea as it gives you a consistent look.  You would only need a yard to a yard and half to cover 3-4 books depending on how thick the books are. To do this fold the fabric over the book and using a little bit of hot glue or double sided tape secure the edges inside the flaps.


Frame Books with Unique Bookends 

Remember those metal bookends that lacked style and substance?  Sure, they held books upright and together but they weren’t pretty or stylish.  Instead of using them, opt for a few unique bookends instead.  I love the idea of using fairly heavy figurines that will provide weight against the books, keeping them from falling over on a shelf. I found a pair of elephants that work well. I use them on separate shelves to provide a bit of balance.  Of course, there are bookends available that are unique and more traditional. I spotted bookends one day that looked like an alligator.  One was the head and the other was the tail, so when used on a shelf it appeared that an alligator was sitting on the shelf with books.  Interesting objects like old metal roller skates or vintage cameras will offer a bit of whimsy and a good dose of personality.


Stack Books to Create a Table

I love the idea of stacking wide table top books on top of each other to create a side table. You could use a collection you already have or pick up a bunch at a flea market to stack. The wider they are the better the base you will have to work with. I would start with the widest book and then work up to a smaller book to give your table the illusion of tapering. For safety reasons I would not leave them within a traffic pattern in the room so they aren’t knocked over by mistake. Use this idea

Float Books on a Wall

I discovered these shelves by Umbra that allow you to stack books on a wall. Once stacked they look like the books are floating on the wall. Hang several in a grouping of three or more to create eye catching artwork while showing off your literary prowess. If you aren’t much of a reader, or you don’t have a large collection of books, you can find uniquely aged books at a thrift store, flea market or Library book sale to place on these shelves. Group them by color, or theme to tie them together. You could use this idea to start a collection of books in a nursery, or child’s room. I love this idea for displaying books.

Hide the Spines of the Books

Another option for displaying books is to slip your books into a book case with the spines facing the back of the case. This let’s all of the pages face forward providing a uniform look. It’s an easy approach to a monochromatic look.

How do you displays your books?