Thursday, December 30, 2010

Living Room Reveal, Take 2

Well, it's time for living room reveal, Take 2!  You may remember that this past September I showed you how my living room went from this:

To this:

I was really happy with the elements that we got for the new room and we did lots t of work to transform the space.  Some of the obvious things that we did were as follows:
  • Get rid of the terrible yellow paint.  We traded it in for something much calmer (we color matched Behr paint to Benjamin Moore's Cream Fleece.  
  • We got rid of the brown furniture and traded it in for a blue and white ticking sofa from Haverty's and 2 Ektorp white slipcovered chairs from Ikea.  Love these! 
  • Traded out a oriental rug for a jute rug from Ikea.
  • Got rid of the terrible maroon swag of fabric that the previous owners left for us (so nice of them!)  Instead we hung our new drapes high and wide.  The cream drapes are $10 drop clothes from Lowe's and the blue curtains are twin sheets from Walmart, all hung with drapery clips from Ikea. 

Here's the full post that I wrote on Living Room Reveal #1.

In addition to all of the above, I also redid the fireplace.

Here's the full post on the fireplace makeover.

I snagged some awesome shutters at a salvage store that I used to frame out the entry space into the kitchen eating area.  

Here's the details on my shutters.

But after all that, I still wasn't happy with the "coziness factor" just yet.  So I got to work rearranging the room yet again.   It was time to get the furniture away from the walls.  When people push their furniture up against the walls, well known designer, Nate Berkus often describes it as "your furniture is under arrest."  Get it?  The furniture is "up against the wall."

Here are some shots of the newly arranged room:

 As you can see in the above picture, the coffee table is an antique trunk.  And I also stacked two vintage suitcases as a side table.

Details regarding the luggage can be found here.

I picked up the tin that is next to the sofa at a flea market for $5.  We store our winter hats, gloves and scarves in it.  

Then I added this sideboard to the room:

You can see how I brought this sideboard back to life here at Sideboard CPR. It was in serious need of some TLC.  It used to look like this:

You can also see the details if what I used to decorate the top of the sideboard here.

And one last thing. I had two small side tables that I previously used on each side of my sofa.  Once I brought the sofa into the middle of the room, the side table would no longer fit next to the couch.  So, I shoved the two tables together and added a piece of burlap as a runner... and viola!  I had a makeshift sofa table that nestled nicely behind the sofa.  (Ignore the last of the Christmas decor- that's coming down today.)  

Whew!  Sorry for the long post!  And sorry for all of the links back to previous posts. I just didn't see the need in explaining each project in detail when I've already covered it other posts.  

Hope you like my new room.  We adore it!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Meal Planning With Holiday Leftovers

Most of you know-and probably hate- the question, "What's for dinner."  My husband does a fair share of the cooking in our household so I'm not always the one being asked, but many times there will be that 3p.m. phone call while I'm at work.  You know, the phone call where we figure out what we want to be eating in two hours.  My husband and I always hate that question because for the most part neither of have a good answer.  This question always leads to one of us stopping at the grocery store on our way home from work/school, rummaging our way through the aisles in hopes that something will jump out at us .  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know this is not the best way to plan, um, unplan (yes, I know that's not a word but it seems fitting) meal time.  It has been proven that you spend more money on groceries if you choose to shop this way. Who knows why we continue to do things this way.  Time is a poor excuse because the 15 minutes it may take me to plan a week of meals doesn't even begin to compare to the time wasted at the grocery store five nights a week.

So, what am I going to do about it?  Well, I've been reading about meal planning over at I'm An Organizing Junkie, and I've decided now is as good a time as ever to hop on the meal planning bandwagon.  Yes, I know it's the middle of the week, but I don't go back to work until the new year and I don't see a point in saying I'll start next week when I can start now.

So here's the plan for the week (and by making these confessions/statements in the ol' virtual blog world, I'm hoping it will help keep me accountable.  We'll see!)

This week is all about using up those holiday leftovers.  I really don't want the ham and turkey to go to waste so I tried to base the rest of the week's meals on things we already have (for the most part.)

Ham & Spinich Quiche

(Recipe & picture courtesy of Good (Cheap) Eats)

What I need to buy:  Nothing- I have everything I need.
Oh, and this recipe calls for a pre-made Pillsbury crust but why spend $2.50 for the pre-made crust when you can make one at home for less.  Here's my Dad's recipe for a nine inch crust:

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons shortening
3 or 4 tablespoons of water (I usually need more than this)
Mix together with hands and roll out with plenty of flour


(recipe and picture courtesy of Your Home Based Mom)

What I need to buy: 
Mozzarella cheese
Fresh tomatoes
Wheat crust

Friday (before Brandon heads to the hospital for work): 
Crock Pot White Bean Chicken Turkey Chili

(picture courtesy of The Pioneer Woman)

This will be great because there will be enough leftover for Brandon to take to the hospital for a middle of the shift snack.
Recipe is available on the back of the McCormick White Chicken Chili seasoning packet.  I cook mine in the Crock-pot on low for 8 hours even though it's not a Crock-pot seasoning packet.)

What I need to buy: nothing!

Saturday: PF Changs (we have a gift certificate)


What I need to buy: 
Asparagus (I think I’ll use fresh asparagus even though the recipe calls for frozen)
Cottage cheese
Parmesan cheese
Sour cream

Monday: If we have any turkey left, we'll make turkey fajitas

Here are a couple more great ideas for what to do with your Christmas leftovers:
Good (Cheap) Eats
Martha Stewart's 31 Turkey Leftovers

If any of you have any great recipes, please share!
Happy cooking!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Goodwill Hunting

About a month ago I made an impromptu stop at a Goodwill store that had just opened its doors down the street from our house.  I had been keeping my eyes peeled for white plates and serving accessories because I had plans to replace our modern looking brown plates for something bright and white (I have since bought white plates with birthday money that I received in November but I haven't' had the chance to share them with you just yet so stay tuned.)

I picked up a few white things that included a serving pitcher. I got it home and displayed it in the spot I had saved for a white pitcher.  You got a sneak peek at it in my vintage coke wagon post and my Christmas decoration post.   You can see it in the background:

I've used the pitcher a few times since I purchased it but I took a quick glance at the bottom of the pitcher as I poured iced tea.  To my surprise it had the words "Le Creuset" on the bottom.

I really don't know what possessed me to look at the brand but I'm glad I did.  So I did a little google search to find that this pitcher sells for $39.95!  Here's the link. Here's the picture of the pitcher from the Betty Crocker Store:

And here the same pitcher sits in my fridge.

Here's the best part.  I only paid one buck for it! Not a scratch or an imperfection on it.  In fact, I think it's safe to say that mine is a little closer to perfect than those in the store because of its $1 price tag.

And so goes the story of my one dollar Goodwill hunting Le Creuset white pitcher.

Gotta love it!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

No Longer Dreaming of A White Christmas (plus some post-Christmas pics)

Hey There!

I hope everyone had a joyous Christmas.  We all know the lyrics well:  "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas."  Well those that live in the Hampton Roads area in Virginia no longer have to dream because the snow began falling at 7pm on Christmas night and 24 hours later it still hasn't stopped.

So far we've reached approximately 12 inches.  I can't believe it!  We just don't get this kind of weather in this area.  Bridges, tunnels and highways have shut down.  Here's hoping my husband can get home from the hospital tomorrow morning when his shift is over.

This snow has forced a bit of solitude since the roads are less than desirable. It's a nice break from the busy days that the holiday can bring.  I've spent the day playing in the snow with my pup and reading a new book, Producer, on my Nook, which was a Christmas present from the hubby.  Since I have the time, I thought now would be be the perfect time to share all the Christmas decorating details that I never got around to sharing.  Even though I have posted many blog posts this month, I still didn't have enough time to show you all of my Christmas decor, so here goes nothing.

Here's my mantle:

I can't do a lot on the top of the mantle because of the speaker and the TV, so I tend to go simple on the mantle.  Just a bit of garland with the addition of a strand of lights and three burlap stockings. 

The burlap and toile stockings where a new addition this year and I love them!  These are stockings we'll have for years!

I ordered the adorable stocking from etsy.  DAnn of DAnn Accesories was a joy to work with!  

And speaking of joy, check out my joy galvanized tin.

 This tin was a birthday present from my friend Ashley of It Rocks To Be A Knox.  I spotted this tin when Ash and I were shopping.  She knew that I had my eye on this!  I filled it with Christmas tree trimmings and added some faux snow. I love it so much, it may stay in the living room year-round.  We'll see.

Here's my sunroom tree that I never got around to writing about:

I bought this tree last year.  I thought I was buying a tree with white lights.  Wasn't I surprised when I plugged it in and found it had colored lights.  Oh well! I embraced the colored lights as a nod to my husband's likes, since he's a fan of colored lights.  I put the tree in a basket that I scored at a yard sale for $2 bucks. 

I wanted to dress up the kitchen table a bit so I grabbed the birdcage that I use for gift cards when I produce weddings.  I just added some pinecones, greenery from the backyard and some red ornament balls.

Here's a close-up:

 I had these two gold trees in the attic from previous years, so I threw them on the table behind the couch.

Below is the table that is in our front hallway.  Last month, I picked up the mini-sled from a flea market.  I think it was 5 dollars.

And that red and gold topiary you see in the back was a project that I did last Christmas pre-blog days.

It is made out of ribbon and a Styrofoam ball.  It was no small project.  It took hours!  I also made one for Fall.

I hope you enjoyed my little Christmas tour.  
And stay warm out there if you are experiencing a winter wonderland like us!

Friday, December 24, 2010

We Wish You A Merry Christmas!

Our family wants to wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Since I can't mail each one of you a Christmas card, here's to sending you a virtual copy of our 2010 Christmas card.

Enjoy this time with your loved ones.


P.S.  Here's an encouraging poem/prayer from Robert Louis Stevenson that warms my heart each time that I read it.  I had this printed on the back of our Christmas card:

"Loving Father, Help us remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise men. Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.

Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clean hearts. May the Christmas morning make us happy to be Thy children, and the Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake, Amen!"

My Christmas Tablescape 2010

Hi Everyone!

I've finished decorating my Christmas table.  It's a good thing since Christmas is tomorrow!

I won't bore you with a bunch of writing.  Instead I'll let the pictures do the talking with a few details sprinkled in.  So without further adieu, here's my Christmas table for 2010.

Here's the place setting:

You can find the details on the DIY snowflake napkin rings here.  The other night, I whipped them up in five minutes while watching TV.  
The place mats are from The Dollar Store.
The silver chargers are from Target (they were a birthday gift.)
And the napkins are from Walmart.

A few years back I made each place card.  I held on to them so I wouldn't have to make new ones each year.

Two years ago, I bought the little solider holders from Walmart. 
The name cards are small envelopes from The Martha Stewart paper line (bought at Michael's two years ago).
I made the names on the computer and then taped the print-out to each envelope.

Here are two shots of the center of the table:

The floral centerpieces were made with things that I already had.

The center arrangement is in a white pitcher that I've had at my work office for months.  I brought it home with me yesterday and tied a piece of burlap garland around the neck of the pitcher.  
And the two smaller arrangements that are on each side of the larger pitcher arrangement are in glass vases that I bought at a sidewalk sale years ago. 
All the greenery is from my yard.  I cut it all today while my doggie played outside. 
And I used red Christmas ball ornaments as filler both on the table and in the large arrangement (You can barely see the Christmas ornaments that in are in the arrangement in the picture above but they are in there and look pretty in person. Promise!)
The two red candles are on the table year round.

Lastly, yesterday evening I made the runner from the burlap that was leftover from my tree skirts.

I cut the burlap to the size that I needed and then I used a shish-kabob skewer to pull out some of the threading around the edges to give it the fringed look.

There you have it!  My 2010 Christmas table.  How are some of you decorating your table this Christmas?

Merry Christmas!

Garbage In, Garbage Out: Cooking Tip

Merry Christmas Eve, Friends!

I'm sure many of you, like me, will be spending much of your time in the kitchen for the next two days, I thought I'd share a quick cooking tip with you.

Drumroll please.... (Can you hear the little drummer boy in the distance?  No?  Darn!)

A garbage bowl!

(Pictured above is my mess as I prepare a cheesecake from scratch.  Exciting, right?  Get the cheesecake recipe here.)

Yes, that's right. Instead of running back and forth to your trash can over... and over... and over again (or worse, just letting the trash pile up on the counter), grab a large bowl and put it on the counter next to where you are cooking.  Everything goes into the bowl.  When it fills up, you empty it.

I read this tip in a recent Rachel Ray magazine.  One reader described this tip as "revolutionizing the way she cooks."  I wouldn't necessarily go that far; however, it certainly has made things much easier and cleaner.  As my Dad always says "clean as you go."

Happy cooking and baking.  And Merry Christmas!