Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's begining to look a lot like Christmas...!

Now that thanksgiving has wrapped up and we are all still stuffed (or maybe that's just all the leftovers I have been eating), it's time to start decorating for the holidays.

This afternoon I'm setting up my tree. The past years, I have always done it the same way. Gold sparkly garland; gold, silver and red ornaments; and gold glittery snowflakes. Although I've loved my setup, this year I decided I want something new.

Keeping with my new vision of cottage-shabby-chic, I came across these images online and I'm inspired. This first one is my absolute favorite, I love all the silver, and the simplicity of it, and who could not love the tree skirt! It adds a great unexpected sophistication and wonderful texture.
I have some extra fabric sitting around from my project of recovering the dining room chairs, and I just may have to use it some of it for bows on our tree.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Things we are thankful for: Family and Togetherness

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's All About Potential

There are some really ugly things on Craigslist you can find. But sometimes you need the ability to look past the face of the object, and really see it's bones. Even the ugliest, most run-down piece can be a gem just waiting for a little elbow grease to give it new life.

For starters, this bench on the left:

The lines are a little modern for me, and according to the description there is a small tear and burn mark. But for $10, its nothing that couldn't be repainted and upholstered and look brand new. With a slip cover over it, it would be shabby and chic. It could be used as a bench in an entryway, as a coffee table in a living room, or at the end of a bed. A little TLC and this little gem could be used time and time again. Did $10 ever get you such a versatile piece of furniture before?

Next are these eye-popping dining room chairs. Yikes, talk about floral overload.

However, these chairs have great shape to them, and they look comfy too. The bones appear to be strong, so these would be a long lasting purchase. Of course, the issue of the floral uphostering is a little unnerving. But, it's nothing that a slipcover couldn't disguise. I like the idea of slipcovers on dining room chairs because it makes for clean up a lot easier than scrubbing each chair by hand, just throw the covers in the wash and relax for a while.

See how great slipcovers can look over this style of chair?

Photo courtesy of Life in The Fun Lane

Although I'm partial to the looser-fitting slipcovers. They add more of a casual relaxed feel.


Recently I have discovered a new love of cottage decorating. It's not necessarily the stuffy-frilly-grandma-looking parts that I like, but more of the casual, light and airy, fun and full aspect that I love. Just switching the curtains in our living room have inspired me to focus on more of a cottage feel for our living room. The blog The Old Painted Cottage had been my most recent inspiration. Her house is full of beautiful shabby painted furniture, thrift store finds, and layers and layers of detail. Images on the blog are copyrighted, but here is a link to my two favorite rooms, the living room, and the kitchen/dining room. Beeeeeautiful!

Here are some more rooms to inspire you:

This first one is my favorite, I love the shades of white and cream with brown accents. Very doable with the furniture we have.

A more practical 'cottage' since all white is hard to pull off, especially with children.

Here are some other photos to get you inspired:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Great Finds, Great Deals!

One company that I love, but don't shop from very often anymore is LTD Commodities/ABC Distributing. My Mother In Law turned me on to it, and I had to cut myself off, or else I would be buying close to everything in the catalogs!

I decided to check the website tonight for some wall decor, and I was so excited to find these fab Flameless Candle Sconces. They are battery operated, so they don't require any wiring, and they turn on and off by simply touching the base! How cool is that! I was dissapointed to see that the bronze was sold out, but the black is still available. For only $10.95 each, I think these would make a big impact in our entryway.
Another great deal I stumbled across tonight are these wonderfully shabby pillow cases I have been seeing popping up in so many blogs lately. These are from Etsy seller SaSeaBoutique and I was excited to see that she is now offering them buy 2 get 1 FREE! For the most part each one runs you about $15, but with the offer, thats only $10 per case. The pillow itself isn't included, but who doesn't have some seen-better-days-pillows you could just slip them onto? Here are a few of my faves!

So now that I've come to terms with my dining chair boo-boo, its time to think of solutions. I have three:

1. Keep the upholstery and paint them a dark chocolate brown, cheapest option, $9 at most for a can of paint. But, I know they still won't look great, this would just be a temporary solution.

2. Add slipcovers, and hope that they fit nicely. Since the chairs are rounded, they could either look horrible, or lay decently. Cost-wise these land almost exactly in the middle of option 1 and option 3.

3. Buy new chairs. I really like these from Wal-Mart, and for only $25 each, its by far the cheapest I have found. These would look amazing with my dining room table, but it is an expense I'm not sure I want to have right now.

So, I'm torn. Do I try the paint first, then if I hate that, try the slipcovers? If I hate the slipcovers do I return them and bite the bullet and order the chairs? What would you do?

A Pair of Pears

I love these little pears from Ballard Designs. They make me happy. However, the $35-$49 price tag doesn't.
I was delighted that while browsing a small local gift shop the other day I stumbled upon these little gems on clearance for....$1.75 each!

Pretty darn close if you ask me! Now they are making me happy sitting on our dining room table. :)

Easiest Pot Pie

Now that it's getting colder, nothing sounds better than warm comfort food - hot chocolate, mashed potatoes and gravy, pot pies. And there's nothing I love better than a quick and easy semi-homemade recipe.

I've been making this simple potpie recipe for a while now, and I'm pretty sure its the only thing in my recipe book that's easier than ordering pizza!

You Will Need:
1 Package Refridgerated Pie Crusts (2 to a package)
1 Can Campbells Chunky Fully Loaded Turkey Pot Pie Soup
A Little Flour
Preheat over to 400 degrees f. Mix the soup and a small amount of flour to thicken it up a little, if you prefer a 'soupier middle, omit this step. Spread one pie crust out in the bottom of a glass pie dish. Pour soup in. Place second pie crust on top. Seal edges. Add small slits to top of crust for venting. Bake until crust browns, and second to lowest oven rack. Remove and enjoy!
(sorry for the terrible picture quality below, my camera was on a funky setting and I didn't realize it until after we had gobbled up our dinner!)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls to Die For!

I 100% adore these cinnamon rolls! They take a while to make, and call for a bread maker, but below I've posted an alternate way to make the dough should you not have a bread maker. Try them sometime...they are as close to cinnabon I've ever had!

1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup margarine, melted
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened

1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.
After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.
Roll dough into a 16x21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.

Alternate directions for making without a bread maker:

Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl. Mix in the sugar, margarine, salt, and eggs. Add flour and mix well. Knead the dough into a large ball, using your hands dusted lightly with flour. Put in a bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Then pick up with rolling out the dough.

Let me know if you try the recipe and what you think!
I wanted to share quickly why I wanted two curtian panels on each side of the window. After dark I keep the center blinds closed and the panels on each side cover the side windows. Since this large window opens right up to the street and all our time is spent either in the dining room or living room in the evening, privacy and ability to close out the windows in a must. However, during the day I use the large window as a main source of light, and dark drapes really closed the room in by swalling the light before it even came through the windows.
By having 2 panels on each side, I can open them during the day while still covering most of the unpleasant window frame that desperately needs redoing. Plus, I like the light and airy, billowing effect it adds to the room. It really softens the big window without blocking out any light.
And then again at night, we just draw the two sets of drapes together, lower the shade, and instant privacy!
The entertainment center will soon be moving, which will open up the right side some more, which is a good thing.


Sometimes I get these ideas in my head, and I think they are really going to play out well in real life, and sometimes they do. Like my pillow project from yesterday, I woke up this morning and thought how happy I am with those. However, some days like today my projects don't really turn out the way I had envisioned. Like my dining room chairs.
We have had a bad mix of brown and black furniture and accents for a while now, and just recently I decided to focus on the brown and leave minimal black accents, such as small frames, the curtain rod, etc. That means painting my black bookshelves (which I have wanted to do since painting my black console table) and doing something with the our black dining room chairs.
Our chairs aren't your typical dining room chairs, and not anything like my style, but I got them about 5 years ago for $5 from a family friend who sold their coffee shop. They are a black metal typical cafe/restaurant looking chair with black vinyl seats. They are padded and not too uncomfortable, and until now they have worked for what we needed them for...sitting. And I've been able to live with them since we have a nice dining room table we got from a furniture clearance room for a great deal at $99.00.
So I decided that the chairs needed a facelift, and the black wasn't going to work anymore with my transition to brown. I went to Joanns and bought fabric to recover the vinyl with, lucky for me the seats just unscrewed from the metal base, so they were simple to take apart. Using my handy stapler gun I recovered the seats in the matter of 45 minutes or so.
After I finished recovering the seats, it was time to spray paint the metal base. It wasn't nearly as easy as it seemed and I wasn't very happy with the color, so after retouching them with some regular indoor paint, they looked...just ok. My main problem now is that they paint easily scratches off the metal, so they may not be staying a creamy-white for long.
After I got them back inside, the seats placed back on, and back up to the table, I had a sinking feeling that I hated them. They just weren't nearly as charming as I thought they would be, and the paint covered horribly. Sometimes projects just don't turn out the way you had hoped, and this is one example of just that. Here are the before and afters:
So what do you think, keep them for a while, or brace for impact and ask Darling Hubby for some new chairs?
Of course Little Lincoln loves them, just because he got to play outside while I spray painted!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Before I get too far into my planned projects, I want to post a few inspirations. I love the colors, the brown and cream in so calming, paired with the white and natural accents they lend themselves a casual, yet rustic feel.

New Drapes and an accidental DIY!

Although it was a rainy, drizzly day, Lincoln and I had some errands to run. While I was in Target I decided to purchase 4 panels of textured cream curtains to replace the faux-suede camel-colored curtains we currently have in our living room. They were a nice neutral, but had definately seen better days and didn't match the new natural woven shade I bought a few weeks ago for the large part of our picture window. The Target panels were cheap at $8 a panel but I knew they would serve their purpose. I walked around with some cream colored pillows in my cart for about an hour browsing and trying to decide if I really wanted to spend the money on pillows that were white and 'spot clean only'. I went with my better judgment and put them back on the shelf. I did, however, leave with a good sixed brown 11x14" frame for just $9 and a nice brown woven rug for the entryway, I have the same one in red in the kitchen and have been really happy with it for it's $5 price tag!

After Target we ran next door to Super Wal-Mart (how nice is it that they are next door to each other!). I needed spray paint for my dining room chair redo (which I will hopefully complete tomorrow), after unsuccesfully looking for a small accent piece for the entryway console table I wandered into the curtains and drapes aisle. Imagine my excitment when the first drape display that caught my eye was a entire set that included 2 drapes and a valance for only $9! Granted I didn't need the valance, but I knew I could use the extra fabric for something, if not on another window. I happily grabbed two sets so I could hang two panels on each side of the large window. My Target drapes will be going back asap, they were nearly twice the price and I even preferred the texture of the Wal-Mart drapes over the Target ones.

Next I found some 'stone' colored pillows, very bland but good sized and light colored like I had been searching for, on sale for $5 each. I also got a chocolate brown faux-suede pillow for, well...somewhere. Although I wasn't crazy about the 'stone' colored pillows, I knew for $5 I could work with them, even just as filler pillows for now. I bought 2.

After my Wal-Mart success we ran to Joanns for some fabric for my dining room chair redo. Normally I compare fabrics and prices and both Joanns and Hobby Lobby (which are also basically next door to each other) but being that it was Sunday, Hobby Lobby was closed. Luckily, I found a fabric I liked at Joanns, and for 30% off with a $5 coupon, it was worth not being able to price-check at Hobby Lobby. While I was there I picked up some buttons, after being inspired by a pillow at Target, I thought I could add them to the plain Wal-Mart pillows.
Then it was home again, home again, and nap time for a tired Lincoln. After getting dinner thrown in the oven, I hung the drapes. I was really dissapointed to find that apparently 'one complete window set' really means 'one complete attached window set' Le sigh. I was not expecting the valance to be attached to the panels, and that certainly didn't agree with how I wanted to use them. I decided the best option was to just cut the valance off carefully, cut the panels down the middle of the small strip that attached them, and hope for the best. I be honest, I don't plan on telling anyone this, because if I can't notice it now, most likely no one else can! Although they need a good steaming, I am thrilled with the difference they make!



After dinner I decided to try jazzing up the plain-jane pillows. Using the extra valance fabric I removed, I wrapped the pillows in it, and added the buttons from Joann. Cute and custom! They add a great personality, and I can even slip the covers off and wash them if they get a little dirty.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Hello! I've officially joined the blogosphere!

I'm excited to share our lives, adventures, hopes and dreams, as we get from Here to Zerr!