Sunday, February 27, 2011

I Write For.............

I have a special announcement!

Kristin from Living Graciously contacted me about a month ago and asked if I'd be interested in contributing in the design department over at her lovely blog!  Of course, I enthusiastically said, "YES!"!

I was honestly flattered she even asked me!  Even more so when I "met" the rest of the team.  This collaborative effort will also include Lauren from Healthy Food For Living, who will contribute to the kitchen/cooking department, and Ashley from The Shine Project, who will contribute in lifestyle/fashion.

So twice a month you'll be able to find me over at Living Graciously where I'll be writing about home decor and diy projects.  Many of which have been covered right here, with some new stuff thrown in there too!

The kick-off for this new collaboration will start on Monday!  There will be a week long giveaway that you won't want to miss.  Head on over and find out just what it means to live graciously!

Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Friday, February 25, 2011

February Features!

Wow!  Color me red because I'm kind of blushing right now!  My dining room received some serious love this month!

CasaSugar shared my dining room stencil makeover!

Then Shelterpop featured this same project under their Dining Room Decorating Ideas!

Denise over at Pink Postcard included my dining room in her weekly features from her Transformations and Treasures party!

To say that I'm honored to be included on these sites is a bit of an understatement.  Thanks so much!  I guess I'm not the only one that's been crushing on an Ikat pattern lately!  Once again, big thanks to Olive Leaf Stencils for your awesome and extremely easy to use Ikat stencil.  

To see all the other places where this little blog of mine has had a chance to shine check on the "Featured" tab above.  Thanks so much for the blog love!  Big bear hugs and wet smooches right back at-cha!  

We Have A STOVE!

Well, we have a Frigidaire 30" Slide-In Gas Range in Stainless Steel (part of the Frigidaire Professional Series) to be exact.  Since we sold our previous slide-in range via Craigslist about 2 weeks ago (click here to get up to speed on the kitchen remodel/situation); we have been without a stove/oven until the skies cleared, the sun shone down, and my contractor installed my new slide-in range yesterday!  I realize I'm being crazy dramatic, but I'm just really excited to have a stove again!  Not to mention we also have a dishwasher after 2 weeks of hand-washing too!  Oh happy day!

I don't have any pretty pics to show yet.  Things are still looking U-G-L-Y!  Our contractor went ahead and installed the stove and dishwasher even though he's going to have to pull them both out when he comes back to rip out my water damaged floor and replace it with the new hardwood.  The new wood has been ordered though so hopefully he'll be able to get started sooner rather than later.

Until this kitchen gets tore up from the floor up, here's a look at the new girl in town!

Isn't she pretty :)  Now imagine a white subway tile backsplash and black range hood.  Can you see it?

We went with Frigidaire Professional because we the hubs did lots of research and decided that this was the best for our price range.  I mentioned that we had a friend with appliance connections in my previous post about the kitchen remodel.  The connection was for Maytag, Kitchenaid, and Whirlpool.  We did get a great deal on a Maytag dishwasher.  However, we actually got a better deal on Frigidaire than what our friend could get for a comparable range from his brands.  The hubs found an online retailer that was offering an appliance sale and was able to get a local appliance store (Pieratts) to match the online dealer's price.  (It always pays to ask if a store will price match.)  We spent about $1900 total (which included tax, delivery, and new hoses for the dishwasher) for both appliances.  Subtracting the $1000 we earned from Craiglist-ing the old appliances, our out-of-pocket expense was just under $900.  Not too bad!  We still need to purchase a microwave, but first we need to decide how we're going to build that into the cabinets.

I broke in the new girl last night!  I'm not the best cook, but I do have a few crowd favorites.  This one is a personal favorite of mine.  I call it spicy garlic edamame, which is basically the three ingredients used to create this dish.  I'm good with the names aren't I?  Blog title - Our Fifth House - because we're living in our fifth house :)  

Anyways, time to dish:

Steam your frozen edamame.  Then drain and remove from heat.  Go once around your pan with EVOO.

Then add as much garlic as you'd like.  I usually do about half a teaspoon.

When the garlic starts to speak, add in your cooked edamame.  Mix it around a little, then add as much ground chili pepper as you'd like.  You could also use red pepper flakes or ground red pepper.  I used a chipotle chili pepper last night.  I like it hot, hot, hot, so I add a LOT!  Then add a pinch of kosher salt and ground pepper.  That's it!

It's soooo good!  A great healthy side or appetizer that takes all of maybe 10-15 minutes from start to pop-it-in-your-mouth goodness!  My daughter likes her edamame plain, so I just set aside a handful for her before adding it to the pan.

Dinner was simple last night.  Spicy garlic edamame with a miso noodle & tofu soup!  So good!  Honestly though, I could have heated up a can of Campbell's soup and it would have been the best thing we'd ever tasted.  It was just so nice to be able to cook again!  With the added bonus of not having to hand wash anything!  Holla!

Do you have any great 3 or 4 ingredient recipes you'd like to share?  I'm in to the simple stuff :)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

They Had Me At Hello

I'm a big fat lover of gallery walls.  I have yet to see one that I haven't loved.  I like them in living rooms, offices, kid's rooms, hallways, and stairways.  Honestly, I don't know of a room where I wouldn't like a gallery wall.  They just add so much character!  These are just a few of the gallery walls that I have saved as inspiration.  Just a few walls that had me at hello!

Emily A. Clark
I love how Emily created a gallery wall around her television.  What a great way of making it just blend in seamlessly with your design!  I love the mix of black and white frames too!  My favorite is the family silhouette!

Isabella & Max Rooms

Ummm.....a gallery on a chalkboard wall!  Uh-mazing!  Janell's entire home office is just gorgeous, and this wall just puts it over the top.  That one small gold frame is like the cherry on top of a vanilla sundae! 

It's Great To Be Home

This wall created by Liz really packs a colorful punch of color!  She even hand painted that striking artwork on the bottom left!  You have to go over and check it out!  This is such a beautiful collection.  The butterfly is perfection!

Centsational Girl
Look how Kate turned this bare wall into something fun and playful!  Framed children's artwork gets me every time.  LOVE!

Amanda Peet: House Tour via Domino
There are no words- just love!  This reminds me a lot of the one from Brothers and Sisters, one of my favorite television shows.  (I actually grew up about 45 minutes from Pasadena, so I especially love the setting of this show.  Pasadena is such a beautiful city! )  

Hooked on Houses

A staircase filled with family photos is just so warm and welcoming.  Julia over at Hooked on Houses did a great post featuring Nora's house (the mom on the show).  

Pottery Barn
I'll bet you recognize this one from Pottery Barn.  I love everything about this display from the mix of frames in different finishes and sizes to the different mattes used to frame the photos.  

I'm drawing on all of these great and inspiring photos to create a new gallery wall in the hubs office.  YES, I'm still working on this room!  So much for a quick weekend makeover.  :)  Such is the life, I guess.  There are about a million images of gallery walls out there to gather inspiration.  Seriously. google gallery walls and see what you find.  These are just a few of the ones that had me at hello.  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Move That Bus!....... Or....Ummmm....Maybe Not

I have secretly been planning a mini office-redo for the hubs.  Being that it was a "secret" I obviously didn't  mention too much about my plans on this here blog.  The office already looked pretty good.

Here's the before.

I just felt like the room wasn't quite finished (as if it ever is!).  It's the first room on the right when you walk through the front door, and it's actual a living room that we converted into an office (for the hubs since he works from home).  I was going for a welcoming, more "lived-in" look.  My plan was to turn it into a reading room/ den that would also function as an office.  I wanted to give him an organized office space that would inspire and encourage him.  A room that the entire family could use; but one that felt like "his" space with a masculine yet totally warm feel.

He was gone on a business trip this past weekend, so I had just the opportunity I had been waiting for to surprise him with a totally reinvented office when he came home!  To test the waters and see if he was game for the changes I had in mind, I non-chalantly mentioned to him that I might play around with the furniture arrangement and paint the ceiling (which was already on the list) while he was gone.  He seemed ok with the idea and even mentioned that he could really use some better organization!  He left Friday afternoon, and I started putting my plan into action (otherwise known as running around like a crazy person).  I went to the fabric store and then to Target.

A couple of things threw me for a loop and plans changed.  Don't you just love when that happens?!  I bought a couple of  these bookcases at Target on Friday evening.

Ummm.....yeah..... I didn't realize how looooonnnngggg it would take me to put them together!  The instructions were easy enough.  I mean it's not rocket science, but it was indeed a process.  So, then after I got one bookcase built I thought that maybe a little grasscloth wallpaper would be just the thing to add to the back of the bookcases for a little texture.  Great idea, but it was already 10 p.m. so I'd have to wait until tomorrow to hit up Lowe's.  No worries though because I had to run out to the other Target anyway because the first Target I stopped at didn't have everything I needed in stock.  Oh, and I needed to pick up a couple of things at the used furniture store that I had stopped at on Friday but had already closed!  All of this with the kids in tow.  Fun times!

I could literally write a book about all the reasons why this room didn't get finished before the hubs came home, but instead let's just skip to the pictures.  So true what they say  - a picture is worth a thousand words.  What I was hoping would be a MOVE THAT BUS moment for the hubs...... was this.

Yep, this is what my dear sweet man came home to on Sunday night.  Not exactly how I saw this happening in my head :)  I wish I had a picture to show you of his face!  Priceless!  He's not mad or anything, but I don't think this was quite what he expected to find upon his homecoming :)

Ok, so your turn now.  Anyone else ever fail miserably when attempting to surprise someone?  Anyone ever under estimate the amount of time something will take?  Anyone?  Ok, so it's just me.  Oh, well.  It was the thought that counts  - right?!

Friday, February 18, 2011

The 5th Wall - Painting A Ceiling

Just when I thought I was done telling you about the changes I made to the dining room, I realized that I failed to mention the 5th wall.  How dare I?!  I mentioned that I painted it, but I didn't give you deets.  Not that it's all that interesting, but I do have a couple of tips that may help you take on your own ceilings (if you choose to paint them).

Painting a ceiling is my least favorite DIY project.  It's right after removing wall paper, for me anyway.  I do always love the results though.  I don't think I've ever met a painted ceiling that I didn't love!  That's saying something!  So, here's how I get the job done while trying to avoid the neck cramp it can usually give you.

First off, you want to use a flat paint.  It's the easiest paint to use on a ceiling (especially for a DIY'er).  Even the painting pros prefer a flat finish on a ceiling.  I chose Macadamia by Martha Stewart matched to Behr after taping the swatch to the ceiling and examining how it looked at different times of the day.  Then I used a short handled angled brush to cut in around the crown moulding.  I prefer not to use tape unless absolutely necessary.  A short handled brush gives you much better control.  Then I use a foam roller.

Now, I usually use a larger foam roller.  Unfortunately, it was after 8 p.m. and snowing when I started this project, and I didn't have a larger roller on hand.  I had planned to wait until the next day to paint the ceiling.  When I realized I had to wait between coats while stenciling, I made a last minute decision and decided to go ahead and knock out both projects at the same time.  So, it took a little longer because of this small roller.  Anyhow, the whole point is that I use a foam roller.  That's the important part.  I found after many painted ceiling projects that when you use a foam roller you get a very smooth application.  In addition the foam roller doesn't weigh as much as a regular paint roller, so your arm doesn't get as tired reaching above your head which also helps to ward off a neck cramp.

I also roll off some of the paint on a few dry paper towels so that the roller is somewhat dry.  This way you don't have to worry about any paint spatter.  I didn't use a drop cloth and didn't have one paint drip!  I applied 2 coats using this somewhat dry roller method.

Here's a closer look at the results.

I love the color!  I love how a painted ceiling adds so much to a room.  It adds a nice glow and highlights the crown moulding.  It just add a nice finishing touch, although this room isn't quite finished yet.  I mean really, is it ever "finished"?!

Did you see my note on the door?  Yep, that door is going to be replaced with a black french style bi-swing door!  I'm so excited!  It's not happening anytime soon, but it's definitely happening!  I hope it looks as great as I've imagined it in my head.  Speaking of black, do you think I should paint it a high-gloss black or satin?  I'm not sure yet?  I'd love your to hear your thoughts!  Oh, and if you have any great ceiling painting tips, please share with the class!

Have a great weekend!  No school on Monday means mommy gets a 3-day weekend!  Woo to the hoo!

Linking up to the Power of Paint Party over at Domestically Speaking!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

All You Need Is........A Glue Gun

You probably thought I was going to say, "All you need is love!"  All you really need in life is love; but when it comes to DIY projects, more often than not all you need is a glue gun.  For realz!

Besides the stencil wall and the new vignette in the dining room, I also tweeked the drapes just a little.  It was so simple, and I've done this many, many times before.  I wanted more of a custom look so I decided to add a little trim along the edge.  I've found that (at least here in Lexington) JoAnn Fabrics has some of the best trim at good prices.  Most of the time you can even use one of their 40% off coupons too, and you know how I feel about my coups!  With my 40% off coup in hand, the trim ended up being about $4/yd!

What does this have to do with a glue gun?  

Oh yeah, that's right!  I glued the trim.  It works like a charm every time!  I recommend using a low temperature glue gun.  

It keeps you from having to worry about burning your fingers, but most importantly it makes it easy to remove the trim if you ever decided to make a change in the future.  It will stay put as long as you want it there; but for all you mind changer-uppers, if you want to take it off it will pull right off without damaging the fabric or the trim.  This is not the case with a regular glue gun.  You have to use a low temp if you want to keep that option open.  Now I need to tell you that while it will pull off without damage (as in rips or tears) it will leave a little glue gun residue.  So, you'll have to add a different trim or a strip of fabric to cover that up.  Also because you're using a low temp glue gun, you need to work in small sections because the glue will dry pretty quickly.  

Anyhow, not bad for a 5-10 minute project that still allows you the opportunity to change it later on down the road!  Don't you think?  I'm not gonna lie - it makes me feel like I have a magic wand - and poof, it looks custom made!  And now you know I'm crazy because I just removed all doubt :) 

I also FINALLY found drapery rings large enough to fit around this big ol' honkin' rod!  Thanks Lowe's for restocking the black rings (after 4 months)!  I used my "pinch-and-clip-from-behind" method to create the illusion of pleats and to once again give them a little more of a custom-made look!  Love!  

Here's the before.

Here's after the magic of a glue gun (otherwise called my wand) and the "pinch-and-clip-from-behind" method (not to be confused with the "bend-and-snap" from Legally Blonde, although it does draw lots of attention)!  

Ok, so that's the last of the dining room changes.......for a while ;)  I know you must be tired of this room already!  

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Romantic Vignette

The stencil wall wasn't the only change I made in the dining room.  I also created a romantic vignette on the buffet (which is actually a dresser that the hubs inherited from his grandmother).

I wanted to balance out the black from the stencil wall by bringing in a little black and white art.  I found the calla lily print at Hob Lob, otherwise known as Hobby Lobby, for $6.  It caught my eye immediately because my wedding bouquet was a bundle of calla lilies.  I liked the sweet sentiment.  I also found the clock at Hob Lob for $15.  It was love at first sight.  For those that are just now tuning in, I'm a little obsessed with clocks (especially wall clocks).  I then headed to one of my favorite fabric stores in Lexington, The Rag Peddler.  I found this beautiful black and cream fabric.

I loved the print!  Since I didn't need much of it for my intended project, I didn't mind paying $20/yd.  A yard was more than enough, and I have lots of fabric left over for other projects.  My last stop was at Michaels to pick up a roll of chalkboard vinyl.  It's in the kids craft section, and it's awesome!  I just recently discovered this stuff while shopping with my daughter for supplies for a school project.  I can't remember the price, but I think it's around $5 a roll.  I feel the need to mention that all of this shopping didn't happen in one day; it happened over a couple days.  Who has time to hit that many different stores in one day?  Certainly not me!

Then I gathered my supplies to create the fabric covered chalkboard that I had envisioned in my head. I used my handy dandy staple gun to cover the canvas that I used for my stencil paint test.

Then I grabbed a black and gold frame that I already had (from Michaels) in the craft closet.  I took the easel off the back of the frame and removed the glass front.

I lined the frame back where a picture would go with a piece of the chalkboard vinyl.  Then I realized that I should have put down something over the back because these little bumps were showing through.

I grabbed a piece of thick cardstock, cut it to size, taped it down, and then added another piece of chalkboard vinyl on top.

Problem solved!  I wasted a little vinyl, but I learned a lesson (that I'm happy to pass on to you)!  You have to start with a smooth surface when applying chalkboard vinyl.  Most of you are probably thinking - duh!  I, obviously, could have used that bit of advice :)  Then I used my favorite glue in the world - Gorilla Glue - to adhere the frame to my fabric covered canvas.

If you've never used Gorilla Glue before it totally rocks because it is really super strong; but just so you know a little goes a long way, as it expands when it dries.  I let it dry overnight with a pile of heavy books on top and it was perfect in the morning!

It came out just as I imagined!  When does that happen?  For me - almost never!  I love the pattern and texture it adds to the room.  I'm so enamored with any and all projects involving chalkboards lately.  It just adds a little fun to the room!

To frame my black and white calla lily print, I grabbed an old black frame that I've had for years.  It was pretty beat up.  I gave it a really good sanding.  Then I painted it with - wait for it - chalkboard paint!  How'd you guess?!

Since I'm the self-professed queen of "changing things up" these kinds of projects are perfect for me!  I can easily erase and write something else.  A dinner menu, a special quote, a sweet message, a bible verse - and you get the idea!

I was going for a layered look.  I used another old black frame that was already glassless because of a "moving accident".  I took the back off the frame and hung it on the wall with a couple of command strips (love them!).  Then I hung the clock right in the middle.  I also used a couple of command strips to display 3 tiny bowls.  I bought a package of black vinyl alphabet letters a long time ago, and I added our monogram to them.

I already had the lamps and the other accessories.  The plate stand is a Willow House item that I just adore!

Here's how it looked before.

And after.

I love simple updates that don't cost much and make use of things you already have!  I also love displays that are personal and meaningful with just the right amount of romance.  It's just sweet enough, but not too syrupy (that's a word -right?!).

So, do you have any romantic vignettes in your home?  Does art that reminds you of a sweet memory jump into your cart while you're shopping?  Or maybe that just happens to me.  Was I the last person on Earth to find out about chalkboard vinyl?  I was, wasn't I?!  

Happy Valentine's Day!


Linking up at Between Naps on the Porch.


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