Friday, August 31, 2012

Tea Party, Daddy's Way

The girls love to have tea parties, especially with their Daddy.  They dress up like Princesses {thanks, Nana, for the handmade clothes}, Daddy wears a blazer, and they eat whatever Daddy decides.  Maybe not what you would see at a traditional tea party, but this is Daddy's way.  

My friend, Callie, let me borrow her extra camera for a few weeks while she was on maternity leave.  I had so much fun working with a professional camera!  She encouraged me to keep it on the manual setting, which I did, and these are some of the ones I took.  Thanks, Callie!!

The 'tea' you see here is actually strawberry milk.  At a wedding we attended, there was a milk and cookie bar instead of cake.  They had plain milk, chocolate and strawberry, and it reminded Bradley how much he loves strawberry milk!  You can read about the wedding here and here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bringing Annuals Inside

Summer is coming to a close which means colder times are on the way.  I've enjoyed my annual plants this year, but most of them are getting ready to be done for the season.  In the latest Martha Stewart Living magazine, they had a great idea: bring in your annuals and pot them inside! They may not last all winter, but this will at least give them a bit more life.  AND, you can enjoy looking at them from inside your home.

We tried it with a dahlia.  This little one is struggling to survive, but after a good pruning the other day {and removal of a very hungry caterpillar}, it just might make it.   I like its home on top of the entertainment center, inside a piece of cookware I scored at a yard sale this summer for $1.

Bradley built a trellis for me the other night {he made it out of furring strips--genius, he is}, took a Mandevilla that was in our side yard, and potted it.  It was blooming so nicely, but wouldn't survive even the Georgia winter.  The corner of our family room now holds a gorgeous plant.  We'll see how it does this winter.

Of course, any time you bring plants indoors you run the risk of something like this happening:

While I was making dinner the other night, I turned around because there was some devious laughter going on, and discovered that our 2 1/2 year old had thrown dirt all over the family room!  Let's just say I was thankful Bradley was home to handle that situation.

My awesome husband also found a great resource for plant care.  Clemson University has an online resource that you can use for your gardening questions.  He was able to look up the necessary environment needed for a Mandevilla to grow indoors.

Do you have any summer annuals you could bring inside?  

Monday, August 27, 2012

Beach Countdown is ON!!

In just one week, I will be waking up to this:

But, until then, I have some things to get done.There are a few projects I'm wrapping up, some planning to work on, reading and studying for our upcoming Ladies' Bible study, and food shopping for our week at the beach.  I've been looking forward to this trip all summer and now it's just one week away!  

Friday, August 24, 2012

Pinterest Inspired Project: DIY Ruffled Tote Bag

Ever since I joined Pinterest last year, I've enjoyed finding great ideas, being inspired, and collecting lots of pins for my boards.  Recently, my goal has been to actually do something with all of that inspiration that's gathered.

My plan was to put together tote bags for the girls for when our baby was born.  Inside would be little handmade matching outfits to wear to the hospital for their first visit, some little gifts to occupy their time while I was in the hospital, and some candy.  So, I cut out the fabric for these little bags, and my son was born the next day, 2 weeks early.  Needless to say, the outfits were not made and the bags were incomplete.  For our road trip a few weeks ago, I finally finished these bags and filled them with special things for the girls to do in the car.

My inspiration was from something I saw on Pinterest, but I wanted to change it a little bit; I wasn't too thrilled about using so much glue for mine, so I decided to sew it onto my bag.

Here's the original picture that inspired me from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom:

This was a really quick project and very easy, even for beginners.  I had the girls choose their fabric from my stash, and then I added the colored ribbon, just using what I had on hand.  The girls loved their bags for the road and now we use them as library bags!  These would make a great gift for a little girl!  What little girl doesn't like having a bag to fill up?  Here's my tutorial, not too different from my inspiration, but I thought I'd share mine with you too.

-plain canvas tote bag {I purchased mine at Wal-Mart, in a pack of 3 for about $5}
-fabric strips
-coordinating thread
-ribbon, or other trims as desired

1. Measure the bag and mark where to put the ruffles.  I only wanted three ruffles on mine, so I made them a bit thicker than my inspiration photo.

2. Cut out the fabric strips to the desired width {mine were 4-inch wide strips} and length {cut a strip twice as long as the width of the bag, plus 1/2 inch}.  My bag was 13.5 inches wide, so I cut my strip 28 inches long.

3. Using a long stitch on your sewing machine, stitch 1/4-inch from the top of the fabric.  Pull on the bottom thread to gather the stitches and create a ruffle.

4. Place fabric strip on lowest marking of the bag, pin in place, gathering more or less as needed to fit the length of the bag, and sew in place with a straight stitch. {make sure you change the stitch between the ruffling and this step!}

5. Repeat with remaining strips, working your way up the bag.

6. Place ribbon over the top ruffled seam, covering the raw edges.  Pin in place and sew.  Then, sew another stitch along the top of the ribbon directly onto the bag.   You can add flowers or other accessories to the bag as well.

Have you done anything with your pins lately?  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Baked Pimento Cheese Dip

Seeing that I live in the South, only miles from the home of the Masters, it's only fair that I have something on my blog about Pimento Cheese.  I've always somewhat mocked this spread, finding it a horrid looking addition to potlucks, ladies' teas, and afternoon weddings.  Boy was wrong!  I love this stuff.   My friend brought over a tub of Palmetto Cheese for our  4th of July feast and I couldn't get enough of it.  I ate it for lunch for days afterward, and finally had to throw the remaining bits out when I read the fat content.

Pimento cheese is normally served cold, so when I searched for recipes online I was delighted to find one that required baking--a perfect addition to a party.  This truly is delicious, and oh, so easy!  And, if you're wanting a cold recipe, stay tuned; I'm going to try one out very soon!

Baked Pimento Cheese Dip

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 (12-ounce) jar of roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz. pepper jack cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350F.  Mix together first four ingredients.  Stir in cheeses.  Spoon into a 2-qt. baking dish.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and bubbly.  Serve with tortilla chips or French bread cubes.

source: Southern Living

Monday, August 20, 2012

Family Room Preview & Small Plans

Happy Monday!  Today I wanted to share with you some pictures of our Family Room, a spot that hasn't received much attention on this little blog.  I haven't done any major projects in here, and don't have any on the horizon, but thought it was time to show you how it's been shaping up and let you know some of the things I have planned.

Our sofa was purchased with a monetary gift when we got married and I love it; it's the most comfortable couch ever.  The color is not what I would choose at this stage of life, but I've tried to lighten it up a bit with some pillows and paint.  I'm not planning to get rid of this until it's absolutely unusable.  The pillows I made {with help from my MIL} in my pre-blog days, but I just copied some I had seen in a Pottery Barn magazine.  The blue ones and flowered one are all made out of Target tablecloths.

This chair was a gift from a friend who was moving across the country and needed to get rid of a piece of junk.  Again, it was pre-blog, but let's just say this little chair was gross.  After some new cushions, stain, fabric, and some work it was a new piece.

Our leather chair was a purchase when we moved into this home 18 months ago and it's my husband's relaxing spot.  We don't typically buy new furniture, yard sales and craigslist are our go to stores, but we had a coupon and this piece is a classic that will hopefully last a long time.

You can read about this end table here.  My gallery wall finally got put together a few months ago and the kids' pictures are soon to be replaced, already!  They grow up too fast!

The entertainment center was another purchase when we moved in; we wanted the TV to be surrounded.  I love this piece, but the shelves need to be organized better and some character added.

So, what is planned for this space?

This is my list:
1) Cover remaining 2 lampshades with linen or burlap.
2) Decorate the entertainment center.
3) Make a clock for above the entertainment center.
4) Paint the tall round end table.
5) Paint coffee table.
6) Make a tray for top of coffee table out of an old frame and some fabric.
7) Get some baskets for bottom shelves of the entertainment center to hold baby toys.
8) Paint the table in front of the fireplace {I purchased a sample of ASCP in Paris Grey}

These projects are yet to be done, but they shouldn't take long, and I have most of the supplies to do them.  Some things just take time, and that's okay!  Decorating a home is a process, especially on a small budget, and there's nothing wrong with that.  Our homes don't need to be magazine worthy.  I love what The Nester says, "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful."

Other posts about Family Room projects:

Linking to:
Thrifty Decor Chick

Friday, August 17, 2012

Cooking with Eggplant

We returned from a 2 week trip to discover that our garden had been ravaged by deer.  Almost everything was nibbled or devoured, and only eggplant, watermelon {yay!!}, cucumbers, some squash and a few tomatoes remain.  Thankfully, we've had a good crop this year, so I'm not complaining, just a bit sad.

The eggplant production is completely out. of. control.   My fridge looks something like this:

Seriously, there are over a dozen eggplant in my fridge right now, and more ready to pick.  This is the time of year for eggplant to come in, so when you see it in the Farmer's Market this weekend, or on sale in the grocery store, don't steer away from it!  See if one of these recipes that I've rounded up could serve you well and spend a little extra time in the kitchen creating something with an end of summer crop item.

Eggplant Parmesan

Stuffed Eggplant


Grilled Eggplant Panini


Roasted Eggplant Salad with Smoked Almonds and Goat Cheese

And, in honor of Julia Child, who would have celebrated her 100th birthday this past Tuesday, 

Do you like eggplant?  What's your favorite way to eat it?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Night Away at Spring Grove Farm

Sorry for the absence the past two weeks.  We have been out of town, visiting both sides of our family.  We drove to my parents' house first and spent about 4 days there just hanging out.  Then, we continued North to visit my grandparents, then on to Bradley's parents' in central PA.  The girls loved reuniting time with their cousins and grandparents, and we enjoyed time together spent laughing, talking, crying, and just being together.

The highlight for me of our two week vacation was a surprise from my sweet husband.  He reserved a night for us at the Bed & Breakfast where we spent our wedding night!  He had arranged for my parents to watch all 3 children for the night, and whisked me away for some wonderful hours of quiet, decompressing, relaxing, enjoyment, and celebrating our anniversary {which is not for a few more weeks}.

This is the front of the house.  The original portion was built in 1842 and has been added onto over the years.

I don't even remember the last time I had coffee in the morning, or breakfast for that matter, without having to think of my kids waking up.  Homemade waffles with blueberry sauce, and fresh whipped cream in my coffee.  Mmmm.

The grounds are beautiful, complete with an English garden.

I'm a Virginia girl, and there is nothing like the VA countryside in the summer.

The Appomatox Courthouse is nearby  so we took a quick tour of the building and grounds.  This structure is not the courthouse, but it's right nearby.

Can't you just picture soldiers lining this road ready to put down their guns and swords as the Civil War came to an end?  I have always loved Civil War history, so it was fun to try and imagine it as we stood on this famous ground.

It was so special to go back to this plantation and remember the first time we were there, as newlyweds, and to think back on all that has transpired these 6 years.  We've experienced joys, sorrows and many changes over the years, but God has remained faithful!  We left those hours of time together feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever the Lord has in store for the rest of our journey!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Modern Safari Nursery Reveal

It's been 3 1/2 months since our little guy was born, and today is the day that I can finally reveal to you the nursery!  Some of this space has evolved over time as I've finished putting together the last projects.  You may remember my nursery inspiration and then my mood board that I shared with you.  Then, I shared some fabric choices.  We weren't sure the gender of the baby, so I went with a color scheme that I believe is gender neutral, and had decided that once the baby was born I would make it more gender appropriate with accessories, etc.  Well, we had a boy, {you can read his birth story here}, so I was able to make the nursery into what I would like to call 'Modern Safari'.

Come on in and have a peek!

This is what you see when you open the door.  I painted a little  30 cent plaque from Marshall's with chalkboard paint and wrote Mason's initials in orange chalk.

 The dresser was painted in ASCP Pure White, and you can read about that project, my first ASCP experience, here.  The pictures above the dresser are some that my husband had previous to our marriage--'The Big 5', a lion, elephant, cheetah, wildebeest, and rhinoceros.

My mother-in-law recovered this glider.  It was previously a blue denim, but there was enough fabric leftover from the crib bedding to piece together this beauty.  I. love. it.  I've never had a glider before, so it's been nice to rock Mason every now and then.

As I was working on hanging up pictures in here one day, I happened to look in the garage and saw this canvas resting in a pile of cobwebs.  Before we had children, my husband stated that he would one day like a Tintin themed nursery.  Tintin is a character from a Belgian comic series that Bradley read growing up.  You may be familiar with the movie that came out last December, based upon this series.  I couldn't believe how perfectly this canvas fit in with the colors and theme of our nursery.  Up on the wall it went!  The shelf {from Target} holds books, puzzles and toys.  You can read about my fabric covered boxes here.

The shelf below contains little toy animals from Tanzania, where my sister and brother-in-law recently went on a mission trip.  They had no idea I was decorating Mason's nursery this way, but they are a perfect addition!  The 'M' hanging on the wall was used as decor at a baby shower hosted by my friends, and the shelf was made by my brother.  I contemplated painting the shelf white, but decided it would be more significant to leave it as he had designed and created.  I love that Mason has a little piece of my brother in his room.

A stack of Tintin books rests on top of the toy shelf, tying in the picture with the rest of the room.

The bedding turned out exactly how I had envisioned!  The fabric is a Premier Print collection, and I added some white fabric I already had to make the bedskirt and drapery panels.  I used a Butterick pattern for the bumpers and crib skirt and they were super easy to do!  I saved a ton of money by making my own bedding, and I was able to have just what I wanted.

The one project left to finish is a wall hanging above the crib.  Bradley made this for me out of pieces of wood, just put together and painted.  Eventually, it will have 'fearfully and wonderfully made', from Psalm 139:14 on it.  And, yes, that is a rocking hippo in the corner.

Taking a picture of a window treatment is terribly difficult, but you can see a glimpse of it in this photo.  I just added some of the zebra print fabric to plain white fabric and had some custom-made panels.  Orange ribbon is used as a tie.  I love the simplicity and classic look.

Putting this nursery together was so much fun!  And, if we have any more children, I'm definitely just going to reuse everything.

I don't have a specific breakdown of the cost, but this is pretty close.

Fabric and Bumper Pads for Bedding:  $60
Lamp: $15 from Target
ASCP and wax for Dresser:  $65  {I covered another dresser as well, and have lots of wax leftover}
Orange Ribbon for Window: $2
Paint: $55

Total:  $197.

Not bad for an entire nursery makeover!

Linking to:

Not JUST a Housewife

Home Stories A2Z

Beneath My Heart Best DIY Projects of August