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Beverages, Food & Drink, Seasonal, Spring

Rose and Honey Tea Latte

Rose Tea Latte by Kayleigh KosmasHappy weekend, everyone! I have a lot to be grateful for this weekend and I can’t help but share my excitement. First, it’s almost officially spring! Second, tomorrow is my birthday! I’m not that big on celebrating my own birthday – I’d never throw a real party because being the center of attention like that makes me want to slide under the table and hide. But I am excited about sharing a nice meal with my husband and parents. Oh and last but not least…we finally got a house!!! Our offer was accepted on an old craftsman bungalow not far from where we live now. It’s going to take years and a lot of elbow grease to restore it to its former beauty, but we’re looking forward to the adventure and can’t wait to dive in next month. Lots of DIY posts are on the way!

Rose Tea Latte by Kayleigh KosmasBack to springtime being just around the corner. These last few months, steeping and drinking tea has become a daily (okay, five times daily) habit. It started out of necessity – my apartment’s frigid temperatures make hot drinks mandatory – but has become a ritual I savor and want to continue as the seasons warm. So, I’ve been playing around with cold tea drinks, like this rose and honey tea latte that’s currently on repeat over here. I pour it over ice, which brings out subtle flavors that would be lost if it were served hot. I love rose, but only in small doses, and steeping rose buds in milk gives the latte a delicate flavor that’s floral but not overpoweringly so. It’s lightly sweetened with a spoonful of my dad’s raw blackberry honey that satisfies my sweet tooth and makes it a little fruity. I highly recommend picking up some raw, fruit-pollinated honey at a farmer’s market if you can – the extra bit of flavor makes all the difference.

My favorite thing about this drink? You can make a big batch ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for later! I’ve been taking a mason jar full of pre-made latte whenever I leave the house because I’m completely hooked, and I’m willing to bet you will be too. Read on for the recipe. Continue Reading

Dessert, Food & Drink, Spring

Frozen Chocolate Dipped Bananas 3 Ways

Hello again, at long last! How I’ve missed you, dear readers, and how I’ve missed sharing on my little blog. The last month has been a whirlwind of house hunting, cat sitting and various work projects – including becoming a contributor over at A Beautiful Mess! If another few weeks go by without a new recipe or DIY here at Crafts and a Cat, pop over to ABM and there’s a good chance I’ll have a new post up there. You know, if you’re really missing me (hi mom!). And now, the time is ripe (not sorry) to share an old favorite of mine, frozen chocolate dipped bananas.

Frozen Chocolate Bananas by Kayleigh Kosmas | Crafts and a CatI’ve been making these since high school, when the only other things I could make were cheesy pasta and PB&J’s. They’re wonderfully easy – you dip the bananas in melted chocolate, add toppings and freeze. I’ve made them with kids too, and it’s a lot of fun when you (the adult) do the dipping and the kiddos get to go crazy with sprinkles, crushed cookie bits and the like. These toppings are the grown up version: toasted coconut, for my coconut loving husband, simple yet decadent flaky sea salt, and a Greek-inspired one with dried rose petals and chopped pistachios from the Kosmas family orchard in Greece. Yes, I am that spoiled. Next time I’m going to try freeze dried fruit and tiny candied flowers. What would your ideal toppings be? Continue Reading

DIY, Lifestyle, Spring

Mastering the Art of DIY Floral Arrangements with Rue Anafel

Crafts and a Cat | Floral Arrangements with Saria of Rue Anafel by Kayleigh KosmasHappy almost spring, everybody! Yesterday the sun was shining in Portland and little bulb leaves were popping out of the ground in my front yard. Of course, as I write this, freezing rain is coming down in sheets and the wind is whipping. What!? No matter what the weather says, the months are moving along and February is here, which makes me happy because P’s birthday is next week and we’ll be celebrating our wedding anniversary toward the end of the month. Notice I didn’t mention Valentine’s Day? We’ve never celebrated it, but not for any particular reason. Maybe because I eat enough chocolate as it is? Things just might change this year now that I can confidently arrange my own flowers, thanks to a morning spent with the lovely Saria Dy of Rue Anafel.

Crafts and a Cat | Floral Arrangements with Saria of Rue Anafel by Kayleigh KosmasSaria specializes in old world florals that wouldn’t look out of place in a Dutch oil painting and are uniquely beautiful in the modern world. The arrangement she crafted for this post utilizes fresh and dried flowers, as well as foraged bits from around town. I’ve always thought of big, lush florals as something only for special occasions because they tend to be expensive to put together. It turns out they don’t have to be; by using foraged greenery and branches, and inexpensive flowers that are still show stoppers (these carnations!), you can make a gorgeous arrangement on any budget. Before I hand the reins over the Saria for the how-to, I want to mention she’s taken 20% off her shop through Valentine’s Day (the code is BELOVEDCOMMUNITY), and will also be giving 20% of proceeds to a worthy cause. If you’re not local, you can order one of her everlasting bouquets and she’ll send it your way. Go have a look!

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DIY, Home, Lifestyle, Seasonal, Spring, Summer

How to Mount and Care For a Staghorn Fern

Crafts and a Cat | How to Mount and Care For a Staghorn Fern by Kayleigh Kosmas

When it comes to home decorating, I’m a “less is more” kind of person. Maybe it’s due to having moved three times in two years and wondering, as I pack and unpack endless boxes of stuff, “why do we even have this!?” So in an effort to streamline, we’ve pared down on our possessions in the last couple years. Then earlier this month, we moved from a 500-square foot apartment to an 800-square foot one and found we had a shortage of things to fill it with.

Enter plants! I love how houseplants make a room feel instantly brighter and more homey. Unlike most decor items that add clutter but no utility to a room, plants are functional. They purify the air and are even said to improve focus, reduce stress and promote well-being. I’m not sure of the science behind some of those benefits, but having something green in every room makes me feel happy, and that’s reason enough for me to have lots of them around.

Crafts and a Cat | How to Mount and Care For a Staghorn Fern and Bisou the Cat by Kayleigh Kosmas

I picked up this staghorn fern for our bedroom, where it basks all day in bright, filtered light. Like air plants, staghorn ferns are epiphytic, meaning they grow on the surface of other plants rather than in the ground, and absorb moisture and nutrients through their fronds. Because of their shallow, rot-prone root systems, staghorn ferns kept as houseplants don’t do well in potting soil. Instead, a staghorn fern should be mounted on a plaque, which mimics its natural environment and doubles as a truly impressive art piece!

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Cats, Home, Lifestyle, Seasonal, Spring, Summer

Homegrown Cat Grass

Crafts and a Cat | Homegrown Cat Grass and Bisou the Cat by Kayleigh Kosmas
Hello there, world! We’re in the middle of summer (a mostly cool and rainy summer here in Portland, but we’ll take what we can get). It’s a season where we’re lucky to enjoy bountiful fresh produce at farmer’s markets, grocery stores, and even from our own backyards. Most of the year, a lot of the fruits and vegetables we buy at the store are picked when they’re green, shipped hundreds of miles, and end up mealy and bland by the time they end up on our plates. But then summer comes, and that first fresh tomato slice or juicy bite of strawberry is a revelation! In my opinion, summer’s fresh produce taste even better when you’ve grown it yourself, because you know how much hard work went into sprouting each seed, nurturing the baby plants and harvesting your rewards. Why would anyone want a store bought tomato when they could have one plucked ripe from the vine?


Of course, apartment living can really put a damper on one’s dreams of cultivating rows of heirloom veggie. So up until this summer, our gardening has been limited to a couple tomato and pepper plants on a balcony, where they’ve survived, but haven’t exactly thrived. Then a couple weeks ago, we moved into an apartment that has an actual backyard. Anticipating the move, I started dozens of seeds a couple months back – heirloom tomatoes, peppers, a miniature melon! – which are now growing happily in raised beds the previous tenant left behind. Our seedlings went into the ground late, but I’m hoping for a long season that will yield at least a little backyard produce.

Crafts and a Cat | Homegrown Cat Grass and Bisou the Cat by Kayleigh Kosmas

Since I was on a gardening kick, and watching tomato plants grow in 60 degree weather is about as entertaining as watching paint dry, I decided to try my hand at an indoor gardening project with a super fast turnaround time. Added bonus: unlike our outside gardening ventures, this was one our cat, Bisou, would enjoy as much as I would. And so I picked up a packet of cat grass seeds, aka oats, filled a shallow pot with all purpose soil, and got planting! I made sure to use an organic potting soil (since Bisou would be eating the grass), and one without any manure (because…well, I don’t want manure in the apartment). I distributed the seeds, laying them sideways on the surface of the soil, and close enough that they were almost touching each other. Putting them this close together ensures a uniform, dense patch of kitty grass. I sprinkled a shallow layer of soil over the seeds to just cover them, spritzed everything with water, then set on the kitchen counter in bright, indirect light. Continue Reading