Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Just like Olive Garden

Hello, there! Are you enjoying these every "two-day" updates? I feel like I'm going to run out of things to say, but alas, my camera chip always has something to say.  : )

The chevron painting episode of 2011 has been a success! I'm sadly, though, not ready to show her off just yet. David works really long hours and has just not had time to do the touch up needed to really finish her off. He works 6:00 am-4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, and every Saturday, 6:00 am-2:30 pm. He is a really hard, loyal, committed worker. When he comes home, I just really want him to feel that his time here is peaceful, so I try not to "push" too much on him. Tonight, he tackled the office space and tons of paperwork that needed sorted and filing, so I think tomorrow will be a better day for ol' Chevvy.

The process involved some ludicrous measuring. David uses Excel in his sleep, so it is always his go-to when he needs some exact measurements. Once the lines, widths, heights, rows, and angles were all sorted out {you know, the easy part}, he was ready to get started! 

I'm feeling sorry for him at about this point.. he had just come in from mowing our shoebox in the city and was already tired {but not hot! Remember, we stay in the 80's here! Ha!}

So... technically, we are way past this point. The paint has dried, the tape is down, and dining room decor and drapes are hung. It is a bit wild and I know super trendy {which will deter many of you from doing something so wild as this}, but I never regretted doing our harlequin wall and, quite frankly, it single handily sold that house. She said she and her husband would never be able to do something like that on their own and it was worth it to her. And then they made a full price offer. Now, I'm not saying paint will sell your house, but it could make you happier while you cook!

Speaking of which, I made a new recipe that I thought was worth sharing. It is called "Hamburger Soup", but I am renaming it in my cookbook file. We are calling it, "Just Like Olive Garden." No lie. This tasted just like Olive Garden's Minestrone soup. I served mine with french bread and David said more than once how he couldn't believe the similarities. You should try it! It made a big batch with enough for another dinner of leftovers.

And because I just had to share this with my family... I set up the tripod for a few pictures of Harbor and me on Wednesday. Sadly, we just weren't positioned correctly on the couch and I blocked his little body and almost didn't get him in any shots. Poor kid. Ahem.. for example:

Yes, this is the Jessica show. Shameless. and a total accident.

But alas, I found a little gem. I almost skipped right over it. Just look at those eyes and that dimple! I think he loves me in spite of my hogging the camera.  : )

Monday, June 27, 2011

Coffee Filter Grapevine

I hope you had a nice weekend! Today, the high in Detroit was just around 81 degrees. I really, really love this weather. I have never had a summer this breezy, this cool. I know winter is going to make me sing for my supper, but until then, Mr. "I don't get-over-85 degrees" summer and I are going to live like there is no tomorrow.

I just had to give you a good picture to show you what my 2.5 year old son has been maneuvering up and down every day (20 times a day) as he climbs up and down the stairs. These stairs are plentiful and steep. David has to walk down facing the banister in order for his feet to fit. They are short, narrow, and sloped. Thankfully, the previous owners left a fabulous security gate at the top on the landing, so we don't have to worry about Harbor waking up at night and trying to escape downstairs. The landing is pretty spacious {we have room for a small area rug and a bench} and I routinely lock us in to fold laundry or get ready in the mornings and Harbor is content to play in his room. Being a 1920's house, all of the bedrooms are on the 3rd floor, upstairs.

And, here I am, taking a blurry self portrait, looking into the mirrored coat closet, to show you the view from the bottom. As you can tell, my little sized seven feet don't have any problems fitting, but it is close.

I picked up several grapevine wreaths at the thrift store and have had fun "dressing" them for different areas of the house. Using coffee filters on wreath forms has been around for a while, but I thought they would look cute on grapevine, too. I had two wreaths of the same size, so I made two matching wreaths to be used together.

Coffee filters at Meijers only cost me around 90 cents, so this project is super cheap if you are looking for an easy fix for a few old and tired wreaths. And if you already drink coffee, lucky you! I am not a coffee drinker, but if you see any cute crafts that use Coke Zero bottles, let me know! Ha, ha!

I started by opening the filter up flat, and then folding it into quarters. Once folded, I twisted the end into a point. Most tutorials will have you snip the end off, but since I am using grapevine, the point is an excellent way to secure your filter. Give the point a little hot glue, and work it into an opening in the grapevine.

I decided to only do about 1/2 of the wreath and let the grapevine show through on the other side. The beauty, I think, of grapevine, is the natural look of the wood. Once you get about five or six glued down, it starts to really take a pretty shape- soft and full.

I hung the first finished one in our butler's pantry {love that we have that extra storage in this house} while I worked on the second wreath.

To add a bit of texture, I took some raffia I already had...

and pinched it in the middle, added some hot glue, and tucked it behind the last filter on the bottom.

With both wreaths done, I added a strip of basic linen and hung them in the dining room on far plantation shutters to mirror one another.

I like to call these wreaths the calm, cool, and sensible friend. The voice of reason....

to their cousin, Chevron, who walks a bit on the wild side! We all need a voice of reason- light, bright, and white when life is colorful, don't we?  : )

{Sorry this post is such a teaser... just a bit of touch up to do and I'll show you more!}

Thursday, June 23, 2011

No Sew Flower

Things have been busy the last two days here in Detroit for us.

We have:

1. Visited the library
2. Found several amazing deals at a local thrift store, including a huge bolt of linen-esque fabric with at least 20 yards for only $10.00
3. Started painting the dining room
4. Worked 30 minutes a day on our preschool lessons
4. And I've cooked a meal from scratch for the last week... with no eating out.

We are looking forward to the upcoming weekend and chance to slow down a bit and have some fun (and eat out! Ha, ha!)

This picture has so much going on all over the place, but I wanted to show you two things:

1. The leaded glass plantation shutters {original to the house} in the dining room. I think they are so pretty.

2. The curved ceiling in the dining room. If you look at the upper left corner, I think you may be able to see that it is starting to curve and swing upwards. I really love this feature. It takes the architecture of this house to a whole nother level.

I had a blank palette in this house, give or take, with most rooms being stark white. I just really love green. In our old dining room, I chose to do a harlequin paint treatment, floor to ceiling. Click here and here for a refresher. I tried to get away from the green in this dining room... but I'm just not ready to break up yet.  : ) No harlequin, but something just as fun! This weekend, David should begin taping off the design, so I'll keep you posted. It starts with a "C" and ends with an "N". Any guesses?

And since, were talking about design, I thought I'd show you a little project I threw together while my boys took their showers {and I had a total of 15 minutes to myself} Ha! But seriously, I really did this in 15 minutes or less, so it is an easy project if you want to tackle it.

These flowers have been around for a long time, and maybe you have already made a few. If not, they are so easy, and in my case, almost free. I did pay 45 cents for the little grapevine wreath on my thrift store outing.

You need:
1. a grapevine wreath of any size
2. scissors
3. two long strips of fabric- each strip about 24 inches long. You won't really use that much, but extra is better.
3. Hot glue gun

I worked with this white cotton/linen type blend, but any type will work
{avoid heavy upholstery material or wool}

If you have never made one, start by folding your strip in half.

On one end, fold it into a small ball and hot glue it down

I know I skipped a few steps, but hold the knot/ball in one hand and twist the length of the fabric toward you. Twist it around the ball and set it with glue. Keep twisting it toward you and turning it around on itself.

When you are almost at the end of the strip, I like to stop working and use what is left to fold over the backside and glue it to cover the back.

Glue it onto your wreath. After I set it, I turned my wreath upside down to make sure it didn't drip onto the counter. 

Use your last piece of fabric to make a loop so you can hang it somewhere special.  : ) Again, this is "no sew", so just cut it with scissors and tie it up.

In our master bedroom, we painted the wall behind our headboard a "chocolate-meets-gray" {the color is alluding me right now, but it is from Lowes. Let me know if you want the color name.} The other walls in our bedroom and sitting room are a light robin's egg blue. Since this one focal wall is darker, I decided to hang my wreath there to add some contrast. It is not a huge change, but the little things sometimes make all the difference. Having the hardwood floors really allows you to get away with some darker color choices, I think. 

I am really getting close to showing the entire room and sitting area. It has been a fun color palette to work with. We had everything in this room in our house in Arkansas, but we did purchase a new comforter set. I love the crisp white color and the dress maker details {pretty pleats and pin tucks!}

Some items were "shopped" from other areas of the house and I, of course, spray painted a lot. One major change is having a sitting room. I ended up using a living room chair in there, and it is a great compliment to the room {and cozy place to do my devotional.} I was also excited to bring in my small white nightstand that had been in the guest room. It was a piece I saved from the salvage yard in Arkansas and one of the very first pieces of furniture I ever redid {stripped, sanded, painted, glazed, and hardwared. You can see it here and here.}

Enjoy your Friday! I've got a sitting room and a dining room to finish. And I promised Harbor and David we would really try to have some {non house related} fun. : )