November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving Recap

Since we had to cancel our summer vacation this year, Peter was left with a stock of vacation days. As a result, we were able to take an extended trip to Georgia for Thanksgiving. For six days we enjoyed the company of Peter's family and some dear friends.

Our niece and nephew are growing like weeds. Since they are very young it is easy to see how they are constantly changing. Q. doesn't say still too often anymore but I managed to snap a couple of picture of my doll-faced niece. As he should, A. spends most of his days eating and sleeping so I opted not to trouble him for pictures. Maybe next time.

November 29, 2011

A Man and His Dog

Peter raked a big pile of leaves. Lily exhausted herself running though and destroying it. It was a great afternoon. 

November 28, 2011

Master Bedroom: Bedside Tables


Remember then we got these tables from Maryland? It was a very small world after all  experience. After living with the bedside tables as-is for six months, I found some dreamy hardware that motivated me to get working: 
I liked my new hardware so much I took the old hardware off before getting a true "before" picture. Since we're using cream, yellow, and gray in our room, I figured it'd be best to lighten the bedside tables. While I briefly considered painting the tables gray, I already had off white and decide that it would look fine. Not to mention, we have two different wood finishes elsewhere in our room so using off white created some consistency between the dresser and bedside tables.  
 
These tables were a bit tricky since the wood stain on them ran when I applied the paint. To solve this problem, after the first coat of paint, I sprayed each table with a coat of Shellac, sealing the wood finish. With the next two coats of paint, the wood stain was fully covered. I also had to fill the holes where the old hardware was installed then install the new hardware.  Overall, it was a pretty easy makeover. Slowly but surely our bedroom is coming together.

November 24, 2011

Grateful

This Thanksgiving we are fortunate to be in the company of loved ones. While I aim to share my gratitude year round, Thanksgiving is a perfect reminder to do so. In this year of tremendous change, from full-time graduate student to full-time wife and expectant mother, I have been made exceedingly aware of the many blessings in my life. I am so thankful for our loving God and His unfailing grace, my devoted husband and his constant support, the baby growing in my womb, and, of course, our incredible friends and family!

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
and praise him in the assembly of the elders. 
Psalm 107:31-32

November 23, 2011

Master Bedroom: His Dresser

With Peter's first "real" paycheck he purchased a rather large television. With no place to put the television, he made a quick trip to Goodwill and found a $40 dresser as a temporary solution. 
My dad has often pointed out that many temporary solutions stick around longer than we anticipate. Peter's Goodwill dresser has been with us through three moves, lasting longer than the television it used to hold. Today, rather than storing Xbox games and DVDs, it holds his clothes. A few years ago, right after we adopted Lily, our sweet new pup attacked the entire right side of the dresser doing significant damage to the upper corner.  The damage never bothered either of us since we figured the dresser would be replaced one day.
Of course, we both like the dresser; it is sturdy, solid wood, and provides enough storage for Peter's clothes.  The only real issue I had with the dresser was that the dark wood created a gigantic eye sore in our room. In order to reduce the amount of visual space the dresser consumes, I decided to paint it off white. Using the Annie Sloane chalk paint, once again, I transformed the bulky dresser into something a bit more sleek while camouflaging Lily's damage.  I used wood-fill to plug the holes where the old hardware was attached then primed those spots but otherwise I did no prep work before painting.

After looking at Hobby Lobby, Home Depot, Anthropologie, and Lowe's, Peter picked out new hardware for the dresser at Lowe's for a grand total of $17.63. I decided to install just one handle on each drawer in order to create a more modern look. I'm just guessing, but I think Peter's new and improved dresser may be with us for the long haul.

November 21, 2011

Dog Treats

Yesterday afternoon I found myself in a familiar predicament: we'd been to the grocer twice already and yet I was in need of another item. I hate going to the store without a list! Anyway, we needed dog treats. I figured the dogs could live without their treats for another day so I moved on to bigger and better things like making fruit leather. If you've ever made fruit leather you know its a rather time consuming process, if you haven't just take my word for it. While my fruit purée cooked down, it struck me that I could probably make some dog treats with ingredients I had on hand saving me another trip to the store and at least $10. After a quick internet search I learned I could!

With a combination of seven wholesome ingredients and 90 minutes, we are now stocked up on dog treats. Gunther even assisted me by cleaning up the bits that fell onto the floor. He is such a helpful sous chef.  I'm hoping that the simple ingredients are kind to Gunther and don't upset his stomach. If all goes well, I will certainly be making dog treats again. I may even put the money we save into the pups' daycare fund. 

 
If you're interested in making treats for your own canine friend, the recipe from 17 Apart is simple and easily adaptable to the ingredients you have on hand: 

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 finely chopped apple (or sweet potato or banana or carrots or a mixture of them)
1 beaten egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup cold water 

Directions 
Preheat oven to 350°. Blend flour and cornmeal in large mixing bowl, then incorporate the remaining ingredients until well blended.  Flour a workspace and roll out dough to desired thickness. Cut cookies into desired shape and size (I used biscuit cutters to make 1" discs for Gunther and 1.5" discs for Lily). Place cookies on greased baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes. After baking, turn oven off and leave cookies inside for another 30-45 minutes until crisp.

November 11, 2011

Nursery: Artwork

The final project we tackled in the nursery while my mom was here was artwork. After all, she is the artist extraordinaire! The plan was to use artwork to introduce some color into the room. In my opinion, white, black, and shades of gray only look better when supporting a pop of color.

The first piece is an abstract painting on very large canvas (100% inspired by a nursery I found online). My mom used molding paste to create some texture. She used the colors to create the much needed pop. It's unreal how the colors jump off the canvas in the gray room!
 
The second piece is much smaller and pretty simple. Way back in the day, when my mom was early in her career, she often did skies for clients in their children's rooms. I thought the sky would serve as a lovely and simple background for this quote from Prince Caspian:
The final piece of artwork is actually a print from Hatch Show Print in Nashville.  Last September, I saw a tongue in cheek print that I haven't forgotten. It says: Are you from Tennessee? Cause you're the only ten I see.  When I found out that I was pregnant I thought the print would go oh-so-well in the nursery.  A few weeks ago when we were in Nashville for a wedding, I popped into Hatch Show Print and picked it up. I bought a simple black frame which Peter sprayed gold. Then I found some appropriate fancy-pants wrapping paper to use as matting.
There are still a number of projects that need to be tackled before the baby arrives but we are certainly off to a good start!

November 9, 2011

Nursery: Furniture

While Peter was painting my mom and I were by no means laying around. We were busy working on furniture for the room. We already had a shelf to put in the nursery and a few weeks ago Peter and I found a dresser on Craigslist that will serve as a storage piece and changing table.

If you read any decorating blogs, surely you have heard of Annie Sloan's chalk paint. My mom has been using the paint for a while now (she's even trained to teach others how to use it). She is always raving about how easy the paint is to use. It goes straight on without any need for priming or sanding!

By painting our two pieces of furniture the same color I like to think we created a set. For the dresser, we needed to update the hardware so my mom and I headed to Anthropologie. We found new hardware that was very sweet and very pricey.  Rather than replace all of the hardware on the dresser, we decided to only replace the hardware on the middle three drawers and simply spray paint the hardware on the other six. A fresh coat of navy spray paint freshened the hardware for just $2.50. The Craigslist dresser was completely transformed by the paint and new hardware.
As for the yellow shelf, three coats of paint drastically improved the look. I've always loved our yellow shelf so I had a hard time imagining that it would look better but man, oh man, does it ever!

November 7, 2011

Nursery: Paint

Last weekend my mom came to visit. We worked on the house for hours and now I'm knee deep in plans for the house which I will  be knocking out before the baby comes. Word is, the arrival of a little one has a way of postponing even the best laid plans.

Since Peter and I aren't going to find out the gender of the baby we're doing a gender neutral nursery. Two of my friends already had gray nurseries, one for a boy and one for a girl, so gray seemed like a good gender neutral color. After perusing the internet for further inspiration,  I found few more gray nurseries that I loved so we decided to go gray.  In the hunt to find the perfect shade, I picked up over twenty paint cards from different companies. By last Friday, I'd narrowed that group to five. When my mom arrived she helped us narrow it down to the final two colors: Behr's Sparrow and Anonymous. After throwing some samples on the wall, all three of us were sold on Anonymous. It's a warm gray that still offers the drama of a darker color.
Peter very kindly took Friday off so that he could paint. He is a gifted painter and I like to tell him so.  Come December he will have painted every room in the house save one (of course, that room is the smallest so it hardly counts).
By the time he was rolling the walls it was obvious that Anonymous is the perfect gray for the nursery. Certainly it is more gender neutral than teal.
Thirty-six hours and two gallons of paint later, the painting was complete. Now the walls will serve as the perfect canvas for the rest of our nursery projects.

November 1, 2011