Thursday, December 29, 2011

fluffy felt, burlap and button wreath

I'm already a little sad about how blah the house will look once all the Christmas stuff is down.  I'll walk around the house and think everything looks empty and sad.  This is a yearly thing for me and I'm prepared so I figured if I have a new wreath to hang up at least I can combat the post holiday decoration slump a little.

My love affair with burlap is going strong and I also have a bit of a thing for felt.  I can't sew.  At least not proper sewing.  A little repair for a tear here and there and some loose button attachment is about as far as it goes.  Wonderful felt has allowed me to make two Halloween costumes with hot glue and I have to say they weren't too shabby.

I wanted a fluffy wreath and I wasn't sure how it was going to work but I got a foam wreath form, white felt, oatmeal felt, burlap and some pom pom trim just because I love it.

I just started cutting circles and squares out of the burlap and felt.

No real method.  Some I cut with pinking shears, some with regular scissors.  They were all different sizes and definitely not uniform.

I took a bunch of natural colored loose buttons my Mom offered up.

I layered felt, burlap and buttons and just randomly started hot gluing them on the wreath form.
I cut some pom pom trim loose
and attached some of those to the felt as well.

And so I cut...

and glued
until this

looked like this.

Then I cut and glued some more until finally it looked like this

Here is a detail

It didn't take as long as I thought it would but there were several hours of cutting and gluing.  I like my fluffy wreath.  Looks cozy and winterish right?  I thought a bit of burlap "ribbon" to hang it from would be nice so I just cut a long strip. 

I'm linking up to Delightful OrderIt's Overflowing
Somewhat Simple 
The Shabby Creek Cottage
Funky Junk Interiors

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fancy schmancy

A few months ago we got my Dad some oysters from here.   The recipient gets a pretty little certificate letting them know that they have received an oyster bed lease and a card to send in when you'd like to receive them.  My Dad figured that Christmas would be an excellent time to have a bunch of oysters to enjoy so my brother, Dad and I enjoyed some raw oysters (my Mom and Hubby declined) and then we decided to get a little fancy and make some Oysters Rockefeller.  My Dad unknowingly picked out a lighter recipe for them but in the end we were all pleased to enjoy slightly lighter version without the heavy cream sauce they sometimes feature.  Here is the recipe via epicurious

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh spinach
  • 1 bunch watercress, stems trimmed
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 3/4 cup (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons Pernod or other anise-flavored liqueur
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

  • 1 pound (about) rock salt
  • 24 fresh oysters, shucked, shells reserved
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 450°F. Finely chop garlic in processor. Add spinach, watercress and green onions to garlic. Process, using on/off turns, until mixture is finely chopped. Transfer mixture to medium bowl.
Combine butter, breadcrumbs, Pernod, fennel and hot sauce in processor. Process until well blended. Return spinach mixture to processor. Process, using on/off turns, just until mixtures are blended. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover; chill.)
Sprinkle rock salt over large baking sheet to depth of 1/2 inch. Arrange oysters in half shells atop rock salt. Top each oyster with 1 tablespoon spinach mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake until spinach mixture browns on top, about 8 minutes.

Here they are going in the oven.

Here is my father and I staring at the oven trying to figure out what they are supposed to look like when they are done.

Here they are out of the oven.
Yummy and perfect with a glass of bubbly!  Ok, so it isn't a recipe that I'll be making weekly, or even monthly but it was a super fun special treat for the holidays. 

Try it, you'll like it : )

Monday, December 26, 2011

What was old is... still old! We like it that way.

How was your Christmas?  Ours was lovely.

We are enjoying some quiet family time and we went through some great old photos.  I was glad to find the one below of my older brother in his room when he was about four.  Isn't he cute?

Look at that green wall and that animal wallpaper.  I'd gladly decorate a child's room just the same now, minus the shag carpet perhaps : )  See that little dresser to the right there?  That dresser was purchased for my brother's room when he was a baby with a little help from my Dad's parents.  When my brother got his "big boy" furniture I had that dresser in my room for years.  When I picked out my first real bedroom set at six with a white canopy bed of course, that dresser went on to live in the guest rooms of my parents homes.  It got a knob change once or twice but that was it.  This summer I talked about wanting a dresser for our little one's room and my Mom offered it to me.  I gladly took it and here it is now.    

I thought at first I'd change the knobs but those old jenny lind style handles are sweet.  I never even considered painting it, I'm not sure why.  The pieces that I talked about here really scream out for paint to me.

The dresser doesn't.   Maybe because it's always been around in my home, even before I was.  Sometimes its nice to freshen up an old piece and sometimes its nice to just keep it as it is.  Especially when it holds a bit of your history. 

Hope your holiday was wonderful.  I'm going to get back to my family and have a cookie I think!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

projects! projects!

Will you be enjoying the holiday at home or traveling to a loved one's house? When you traveled for Christmas as a child did you worry Santa wouldn't know where you were?  I did.  My parents had to explain numerous times that he just knows these things, he is magic after all!  Nonetheless I worried until Christmas morning.

We are planning to really relax and have some quality family time for the next week so my posts may be a little lean but I'm already excited for projects I have planned in the new year.  Like mixing this
with paint to make homemade chalk paint!  No sanding or priming you say?  I'm there!  Since the Annie Sloan variety is a little expensive I figured I'd try this approach.  I'll be painting this
which found a new home in our rearranged bedroom yesterday.  Oh and also this

which was ousted from the bedroom and will find a new home in the living room.  If those go well then who knows what I'll do.  It might be like my spray painting kick all over again!

I'll be replacing the knobs on the desk with these little guys

Isn't that dainty little glass knob better than the busted white one that is currently hanging loose? 

Perhaps most exciting we are getting some of this

Via cococozy
where there is currently this

Yes that is a picture of the nothing that currently exists on the wall between the granite and the upper cabinets.  We are ready for a subway tile backsplash with some light grey grout!

Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

the shuffle

Do you ever start the day with your room like this
and end the day with it like this?
This is what I've been up to today.  It's all still shaking out and getting settled.  I have been thinking about doing this for a while but for whatever reason mid-morning today I decided it was time and proceeded to drag all the furniture around.   I should mention this is learned behavior from my Mom who once dragged two Queen Anne chairs up the stairs by herself while we were at school because she wanted to see what they'd look like up there. 

I used the jam a towel under the dressers then drag them across the floor while moaning and groaning and hoping you don't scratch the wood floors method.  Mostly successful.  I'll be back with more photos of our newly improved and rearranged master bedroom. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

House Tour, Guest Room

Our guest room is a funny room.  It has two doors, one to the hallway where the rest of the bedrooms and bathroom are located and the other leads to the kitchen.  We leave both doors open when we don't have a guest and use it as a walk through space.  It also serves as the place where random things that have no place to live go to hang out and the closet in there holds my husbands clothes since the closet in our master in rather small.  So,  its a funky little room with few options for furniture arrangement.  Here it as when we were moving in.
Here it is now.

There isn't much natural light because the windows lead to our screened porch.  That was one of the reasons we chose the bright green.  I love green and I was determined to paint one room this color and since the kitchen didn't work out the guest room got the green treatment.  You'll notice the old wood flat door is replaced with a 6 panel door.  We replaced all the doors in the house a few months ago.  They were all in rough shape and we had spent the last 6 months unable to close our bedroom door unless one of us literally shut the other one in from the outside.  It was too warped to shut from inside the room.  Anyway, a much needed improvement that we are thrilled with.   I found the happy floral bedspread at Home Goods and of course you met the chandelier already here
We didn't have an end table to use in this room so I took a beat up tv tray and spray painted it black.  You can tell its still a tv tray but the look is much improved and it does its job.  We were given this lovely desk and chair.

They sit on the wall opposite the bed.  I drew the two silhouettes to the right in the letter holder to compliment the silhouette tray.  I found the canvases with the black velvet accents in Michaels and I painted in the silhouettes with black craft paint.

I hung plain white drapes from Ikea from floor to ceiling.  As you can see there is still trim to be painted and accents to complete but its a happy little room.  It is terribly difficult to photograph because it is dark so I apologize for less than stellar photographs. 

If somehow you have not seen this yet please watch.  My husband confirmed that I have in fact said every single thing in this video.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Feeling all Christmassy

This morning I opened the front door and saw this.
The sun was pouring in and my front door with its swag looked so pretty.  I have always loved the holiday season and this has been a wonderful one.  We went to chop down our own Christmas tree for the first time.
 I've really enjoyed decorating for the holidays this year.  As our house has come together more and more I've had a better sense of what I wanted to add for our Christmas decor and the house feels so cozy.  I'm afraid I'll be talking myself into leaving them up as long as possible.  I've already been thinking about how I could maybe leave some of them up as "winter" decor for a while. 

We have been able to get together with friends and family to celebrate.   Look at these cookies my amazing friend made this weekend.
Now look closer at those snowflakes.  No two are the same, she is just incredible!
Now we've got less than a week until Christmas.  I've got just a few things left to do and we are really looking forward to having time with family.  Our little guy is just old enough to happily point out Santa and although he knows what a present is and is happy to receive them he is more than happy to hand them out as well.  I'm imagining some serious shock and delight on Christmas morning when he sees what Santa has brought him.  Watching him will be the best gift we could get. 

Hope everyone has been enjoying this season and you are done with your to do list or nearly there!

You are due some house tour this week so I'll get to work and give you another room or two.  Happy Monday before Christmas!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Pop Pop!

The title of this post will no doubt amuse my husband who is a fan of the show Community.  The three other people that were watching that show might get a chuckle as well, Community RIP.  Anywho, I'm certainly not the first gal to try her hand at cake pops nor will I be the last.  I wanted to have something fun to bring to a party and give as some gifts so I figured cake pops would do the trick.  Also if I made cake pops I could eat them and that is really the motivation behind anything I make.  I started with two box cake mixes, red velvet because it is my very favorite and white because it is a general crowd pleaser.  Any brand will do I don't have a particular brand loyalty when it comes to box cake.  Many people use canned frosting but I thought I'd fancy it up a bit with homemade cream cheese frosting because cream cheese frosting is the very best frosting there is and that is all there is to it!  Here is the recipe I used:

    •    4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
    •    4 ounces cream cheese, softened
    •    2 cups powdered sugar
    •    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract

I baked up the cakes as directed on the box.
Once they were baked I crumbled them up in a bowl and added half the frosting mixture to each cake and mixed them all up until it was gooey.  Then it was time to roll little balls.
Once the balls were rolled I stuck them in the fridge for about two hours to chill.  Then I melted some candy melts and dunked the end of lollipop sticks into the melted candy.
The candy helps act like glue so the sticks will stay in the balls.  Then I stuck the stick in a little less than half way.
Back in the fridge they went for another hour or two and then it was dunking time.  I got a variety of candy melts and sprinkles and just went to town.  It takes a little to get a technique going and tapping the stick on the edge of the bowl helps to shake off some excess candy melt and get a smoother finish.  Sprinkle on your decorations when the candy is still wet and then I found the handiest idea to use to let your cake pops dry.  I didn't have much foam to use to prop them upright so I flipped a colander upside down and it make a perfect drying rack.
I made a few different presentations.  I used a glass container that displayed flowers at my baby shower a few years ago.  I stuck a piece of foam in the container and wrapped some Christmas garland around the top.  Then I took some silver curling ribbon, curled up some long strands and twisted them around the top and ended up with this.

Then I individually wrapped a bunch so people could take them home if they'd like.  I used little candy bags from the craft store and more curling ribbon and twist ties to secure them.  I had a smaller glass container that matched the larger one.  I stuck some silver gift filler and foam in and just stuck the pops in and got this.

I took more individually wrapped pops and placed them in this cute little container from the Target dollar bin after I lined it in tissue paper and now I've got this nice little gift to bring my Aunt tomorrow.
My first cake pop adventure was a success.  They are super delicious and while not difficult they are time consuming and its best to spread the baking and decorating over two days if you can.  Pop Pop!  Happy weekend before Christmas!