April 27, 2012

Why it's good to dig at the Goodwill Outlet

(Ever start a post months and months ago and then life happens...and it never gets posted?? Is that just me??)

Anybody have a Goodwill Outlet near them? I don't have one close, but it's always one of my first stops when I go visit my friend Caitie in Asheville, NC. It's not an experience for the faint of heart, but it's amazing what you can get when they charge by the pound! You can stock up on some serious clothes that way, trust me :)

The last time I was in the Goodwill Outlet digging through the piles of nastiness, I saw something sticking out from under the rubble. It had my name written all over it. Here it is after a quick wipe-down back at Caitie's place:

These ornate frames are all over the internet, and are especially popular lately when painted a bold color. Examples:

I toyed around with the idea of using a bright color, but I decided to stick with something that I could use in various rooms as I got bored with it. I also decided that in order to use it in multiple ways, I would leave the mirror untouched and doctor up the opposite side of the glass with... chalkboard paint! The frame got painted months ago and it sat in our garage until we moved to the new house. And then it sat in one of the spare bedrooms :) If it makes you feel better, the frame did get used once in the meantime at a friend's daughter's tea party-themed birthday shindig. She set up a photo booth for the kids, and the frame got used as a prop. It was very cute. 

I finally got around to applying the chalkboard paint a few days ago, and when I found the perfect little table at my favorite antique store for our enry way, I knew that the chalkboard would have a new home, finally! Please excuse the crummy picture from my phone. I never can find my camera battery charger when I need it. Plus, the space looks very monochromatic, but it's not really. Plus, I'll add some pops of color soon, this was just for photo purposes :)

I think it will be a great place to write reminders, scriptures, lovey dovey notes to my hubby, dinner menu when we have people over, or welcome notes to guests. This was my kind of project: cheap and easy!!

PS- Exciting news! My kitchen makeover is being featured at one of my favorite blogs, Better After! Lindsey always shares the coolest transformations, and I'm honored to be included!

April 18, 2012

I love lamp.

Can I get a collective shout of excitement that yard sale season is finally here??

Is there anything more fun than getting up on a Saturday morning and looking through junk to find treasures at amazing prices? Not in my book. And when you bring along a dear friend for a morning of shopping and laughing, it's just what I need after a long week at work.

This past Saturday was my first morning of yard sales of the spring, and over all it was pretty disappointing. (I had great company, though! Had fun, Brenda!!) There were lots of neighborhood sales which usually means a lot of stuff to look through, but each neighborhood only had a few houses participate. Most of it was junk. But that's how it goes. Some days are awful and some days you just keep finding awesome stuff.  I'll keep my fingers crossed that this weekend will be more fruitful :)

There was only one house that had something we wanted, and it was the first house we stopped at. I spotted this pair of u-g-l-y brass lamps, and for a price of $5.00 I knew I could jazz them up to work in our house. The shape was good, size was good, just needed a bit of updating! So here's what I did to make a great new lamp for our navy/white/gray living room...

Here's one of the lamps in its original brass-nastiness :)

After a quick sanding...

My original plan was to do either stripes in navy and white or some kind of design in the same colors, so I did a quick coat of white paint/primer. After some thought, I realized that the lamp needed to be a solid color so as to not compete with all the other patterns I have going on in the living room.

Yay! It's blue!

Just a little clear top coat, some drying time, and a cheap drum shade from Target and we know have a super cool lamp that I love!!

This was a simple, fun project to occupy my time this weekend and it definitely makes a great impact in our living room (I hope to reveal the room soon!). 

Thrifty Treasures
Tuesday Talent Show
Craft and Tell
What I Whipped Up Wednesday
Wow Us Wednesday
What's It Wednesday
Frugal Friday
Delicately Constructed Friday
The DIY Talent Parade
Making Monday Marvelous
Strut Your Stuff Saturday

April 14, 2012

House Before and After: My favorite room, the kitchen!

This is where I wish I could magically produce pictures of the kitchen in our last house. You just can't even begin to understand how much I appreciate this new space after cooking so many meals in a kitchen the size of some people's closets. Our last kitchen was a galley kitchen, and had very little cabinet and drawer space. I bought a shelving system to use as microwave cart/storage area, and that helped some, but the cabinets were overflowing and I had to store stuff above the cabinets as well. I even had some serving pieces and things I used less often (fondue pot, punch bowl, etc) in containers out in the garage.

It was bad.

But I was thankful for the roof over my head. And for the working appliances :)

And then came this beauty...


A little closer look...

I'm assuming the cabinets were original to the house (built in the late 70's). I'm not sure if you can tell, but the counter tops were TILED! That brown door you see in the left in the first picture is to the pantry, which I talked about here. Also in the first picture, if you can see the partial wall (with chair railing) that broke up the kitchen and the dining room.

Here's the other side of the kitchen, where the fridge was:

I've said it before and I'll say it again. This whole experience was amazing because I literally got to pick every single thing that went into this kitchen. So everything you're about to see was stuff that I fell in love with! The cabinets and hardwood floors came from Southeastern Salvage, the cabinets and hardware came from a local company that I can't for the life of my remember their name, and the backsplash tile is from Mountain City Tile. Appliances, sink, and faucet are from Lowe's.

Now let's get to the reveal!!! We had the partial walls separating the kitchen and dining room taken down, which opened up the space and extended the area so we could have some more cabinets and counter top space. Bonus!

I stinkin love our sink, because it is so deep. You can't tell, but I definitely had a dirty pan in the sink while taking these pictures :)

Tired of the all the pictures yet?

Close up of the backsplash:

On to the other side!

Got a great deal on the fridge because there was a dent on the side. You know, the part you can't see!

I went with pulls on drawers, and knobs on cabinets. I'm not sure if this was what normal people do, but I think it loos good. I guess that's what counts!

Call me old-fashioned, but I just don't care for the smooth surface stove tops, but the generally don't have coil tops in stainless steel. So I had to special order one! Thanks, Lowes!

One last thing, and I'll let you go on your merry way. We have a nifty little "gadget" that we keep on our dishwasher that we change to show if the dishes inside are clean or dirty. Very handy! You can find them on etsy.

So there ya have it! By no means the fanciest or most amazing kitchen, but I love it and appreciate the space so much. It's a dream cooking in here with so much counter top space. We definitely have room for a small island, which we may consider adding in the future, but for now I love being able to move around and not feel cramped.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

April 10, 2012

Oregano Chicken... for when you want to be fancy shmancy!

Winner winner! This is an uh-mazing chicken dinner!

I consider this meal a major accomplishment because

1. I cut up a whole, raw chicken for the very first time (thanks youtube!)
2. I used fresh oregano that I grew myself on our deck
3. I got the "hungry man seal of approval" from my husband and one of his friends. I think the exact words were "this is better than 'not bad'". haha

I'm thinking this is for sure something I will make for guests, because it looks fancy but is so easy! And it's not labor-intensive at all. Once you brown the chicken, you get to throw it in the oven for 45 minutes and get some other things around the house done (or prepare the rest of your meal).

I didn't get an official "finished" picture, but you'll get the gist. I served mine with orzo and some steamed broccoli, but I think next time I'm going to have to make mashed potatoes. It just seems natural...

You can check out the blog where I found the recipe HERE. She is a great writer and all of her food looks delicious.

Oregano Chicken
Recipe from this site

  • Mix of bone-in chicken pieces (I used a whole chicken that I cut up, so I had two wings, two thighs, two legs, and four breast sections)
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • olive oil (enough to brown chicken)
  • 1 cup dry white wine (I used 1.5 cups because I was using up the last of a bottle)
  • 4 springs of oregano, leave removed from stems and stems discarded (I used Greek oregano from my herb "garden". It's different from what she used, but it worked out just fine!)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups of water

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour (covering completely) and shake off excess.

3. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. This needs to be a pan that you can put in your oven. I used my cast iron dutch oven. Gosh I love that thing...

4. Put your chicken in the pan, skin side down, and brown for five minutes or so, until just the outside gets nice and brown. Flip pieces to other side and cook for another five minutes. I did half of the chicken first, and then set that meat aside on my pretty little lemon cutting board while I browned the other half of the meat.

5. Being very careful, slowly pour in the white wine. Add oregano and bay leaves. Allow liquid to reduce for about two minutes, then add water. Put the lid on your pot and put it in the oven for 45 minutes.

6. After 45 minutes, take off the lid and give the pot another 5 minutes or so in the oven.

7. Remove chicken from the pot, place on a plate/platter, and "tent" with foil. Add lemon juice to the yummy liquid in the pot and remove the bay leaves.

Done! Pour the "au jus" into a bowl and let people ladle some of it over their chicken/rice/potatoes/pasta/ hand. Just kidding about the hand part. Sort of. It's delicious!

The chicken is so moist and the sauce is so flavorful. I imagine you could do this with whole bone-in chicken breasts if you wanted, you would probably just need to adjust the time in the oven. I want to make this again very soon!!

Cast Party Wednesday
Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods
Tuesday Talent Show
Craft and Tell
Delicately Constructed Friday

April 6, 2012

House Before and After: Pantry!

It's funny how as you get older the things that make your heart go pitter patter change. I have no shame in admitting that the first time I toured the new house, the sight of the space under the stairs immediately made me super excited. Embarrassingly excited. An actual pantry!

Those of you who saw our last kitchen totally understand why I was thrilled. I had TWO cabinets and TWO shelves on a microwave cart to store canned goods, baking supplies, cereal... really anything that didn't need to be refrigerated. It was rough, but somehow I made it work. Having a pantry allows me to use all of my kitchen cabinets for non-food items, and that is amazing! It allows me to organize my supplies so much better.

Here's the space under the stairs before. You may not be able to tell, but it is quite deep. The two silver boxes are part of the air returns. I can only imagine what grossness was in here when the previous owners occupied this place. Ew.

The guys who were working on the house were going to close up the pantry in front of the air return thingies (boxes? cases? enclosures?), but I asked them not to. Why would I want to miss out on any possible storage space? I imagined that the very back area could be used for surplus storage (paper towels, pet food, etc.).

Here's the after!

So great, right??

Now, I didn't organize this space for this post and make it all pretty. This is real life, people. It is sort of organized anyway, just so I can find things easier. The back shelf is all baking supplies. Top shelf is canned goods and pasta. Second shelf is rice, dried beans, oils, and breakfast stuff. Third shelf is all of Adam's protein powders, "stockpiled" stuff, and kitchen towels. I have my bread machine, plastic shopping bags, and the world's largest box of milk bones on the floor. I haven't really utilized the space in the back on the floor yet, but I have plenty of things to fill it with :)

The baking shelf. Still loving my homemade vanilla (in the vodka bottle).

The other side. I will most likely use hooks to organize cleaning supplies here.

And finally, knowing that admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, I need to show you my stash... it's getting very, very bad...

I love Scentsy!!!

Everyone have a fabulous weekend! The weather here is gorgeous and I'm enjoying getting lots of stuff done around the house with the hubs.

April 4, 2012

Mixing patterns in home decor: Love it or hate it?

Today we're talking risks.


Moving to a foreign country.

Opening up a cupcake store.

Ok, I'm not talking about those kinds of risks. Although, any of those sound pretty scary to me. But scary can be good sometimes, right?

I've been working on actually decorating the new place, and for the most part I've stuck with what I know. Colors, materials, patterns, or whatever that I've used and loved before. Of course whenever you move you take with you stuff that you used in your last place, and now you just have to figure out how to make it work in the new space. So stuff that used to be hanging in the old living room is now in the master bathroom, and the rug we used to love is now... being stored in the garage.

That's a bad example.

In planning the "design" for our living room, I decided on a gray, navy, brown, and white color scheme. It was fairly neutral and classic, masculine enough that my husband wouldn't feel like he lived in single woman's house, and it allowed me to use some pops of color if I ever felt like it. I had some really pretty navy and white chevron curtains custom made from a great seller on etsy, and during the four or five weeks of waiting for them to come in, I had to find a rug. I found one that made my heart go pitter patter on Rugs USA. If you're friends with me on facebook you might have seen a picture. It's called a trellis pattern, and I got it in charcoal and white.

So now I have curtains that I love, and a rug that I love, and they both have very bold, geometric patterns. The issue at hand is this:

Am I cool enough to mix patterns in my house?

Is it too busy...or is it fun and interesting?

Will my husband ever trust me with decorating the house again??

I have searched the interwebs for pictures of mixing patterns in home decor and tips on how to do it the right way. Here's some examples that made me feel braver:

At the end of the day, I sort of love it, even though it makes me nervous and my mother for sure hates it. I think it makes the space so interesting. I plan on keeping pillows and art very simple, so I don't believe it will be too "busy".

We're having our furniture delivered today so as soon as I get the room together I'll share pics and you can give me your verdict! Just please...be nice.

So... What do you think? Mixed patterns: love them or hate them?