Friday, January 27, 2012

"Tuscan" kitchen progress

As you all know I decided to take Donna up on her Picture Perfect Room Challenge.  The kitchen is coming on smashingly!  Have you ever noticed when you start a project it has a tendency to lead to more projects???  That is exactly what happened in the kitchen.  I got the bead board wallpaper on the cabinets only to discover the drawers now look lacking.
So do you think the drawers need pulls? or should they be left as it?

I am thinking something along the lines of these... from Restoration Hardware

or either one of these from Lowe's


a close-up of the bead board wall paper

Yes it still needs to be painted but that will have to wait until it is warm enough to leave the windows open.


I still have a few things to hang such as these.....

They have all been in both our families for as long as we can remember and I always try to hang them in the kitchen or dining room.

Hmm, do you think someone wants some jello?! ha ha!

Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Maple glazed oven roasted carrots

Well the weather has turned again.... Grey, fluctuating between snow, sleet, and ice but NO wind!  Basically a peaceful winter day.  In other words the perfect day for getting caught up on the self perpetuating laundry, oh yeah we have teenagers so maybe its not really self perpetuating, ha ha!  And the perfect day for roasting vegetables.
From this to....
 Maple glazed oven roasted carrots


And yes I am sharing recipes.... Trust me these are so EASY, in fact I didn't even follow a recipe but I did make notes so that I could pass it on to my mom... she LIKES recipes!  I'm a throw it in, fly by the seat of my pants while hoping for the best kinda gal!!  Yes there have been a few flops but not too often.

Maple glazed oven roasted carrots
2 lbs carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 to 2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 to 1 tsp coarse sea salt
3 or 4 sprigs fresh lemon thyme or 1 tsp dried lemon thyme

Preheat oven to 400F.
Place carrots in a large rimmed cookie sheet.  
Drizzle with olive oil.  
Sprinkle on seasonings and toss to coat.
Roast carrots for approximately 20 minutes. Stirring occasionally. (juicy carrots can take a bit longer)

2 TBSP maple syrup... preferably grade B

Transfer carrots from pan into bowl.
Drizzle maple syrup over carrots and toss to coat.
Return to pan.
Return to oven and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice in the process.

Serve hot or allow to cool for later use.

Servings: 4 to 6 (but I'm not really sure because I can't keep out of them!)

"Plain" roasted carrots
2 lbs of carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 to 2 TBSP olive oil
sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

Bake at 400F for approximately 20 minutes depending on moisture content of carrots.  Juicy carrots take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes longer.

I hope you enjoy!!

Now I'm off to fold some more laundry!  Have a wonderful day!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The towel dilemma... hand towels converted to bath towels

Well its a grey, blustery day today here in middle America which seemed like a perfect to get a bit of work done in the house.  Vacuuming, laundry, searching down missing towels.... Does anyone else seem to have the same dilemma? You buy a certain number of towels and over time they disappear, only to have other towels you NEVER even purchased take the place of some of them?  And then to top it off you discover you have more hand towels than you even knew?  I am pretty sure I know WHO the culprits are and have come up with a viable solution but in the mean time we were running short on towels.  Between weight lifting class, wrestling practice, swim practice, and the daily trip to the gym (hubby up at the base, not me...) I have come to realize a certain number of towels is required but simply do NOT want to spend the money to purchase said towels knowing full well that they will be sorely abused!!  So my solution... turn hand towels and wash cloths into bath towels!!  Yes all of those mismatched and long forsaken hand towels now have a new lease on life. (and trust me I have no earthly idea where we got some of these hand towels or wash cloths because they are colors that  I have NEVER used!) (okay the plain brown one is one we bought... but the brown leopard print, umm NO IDEA, it just turned up one day!)

A small portion of our stash of hand towels and wash cloths


(I have no idea what happened but the shadows today make it look like there are stains on the towels... yes our name is on one with permanent ink but that is it.)

A towel fit for wrestling practice, swim practice, the gym, track practice, and any place else teen boys venture! (like camping!)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Picnik closing....

I don't know about you but this came as a shock to me... as of April 19, 2012 Picnik will be closing.  There are so many that will be affected as this is their primary photo editing program.  So I am putting a request out there to all my blogging friends.  What do you use for your photo editing?  If you currently use Picnik what will you be switching over to when the time comes?

Here is a copy of the e-mail I received.... 

Official Announcement: Picnik is closing 

Since joining Google in 2010, we have been creating editing magic in Google products while continuing to keep Picnik awesome. But now we get to focus on even awesomer things. Picnik will be closing on April 19, 2012.
Your photos liberated
Amazing photos are created in Picnik, so we have launched a new feature, Picnik Takeout, that easily downloads your photos to your desktop in convenient zip files. You may also elect to copy your photos toGoogle+ where you can store and share your creations. You may request your photos at any time and use this handy tool as many times as you like until our closing date of April 19, 2012. Learn more.
Premium Refunds
To our primo Picnik Premium members, we'll begin processing a full refund of your current membership fee within a week of this announcement. By "in full" we mean the whole darn thing. Yep, this means even if you are on your very last day of an annual membership, we will refund you the entire $24.95. Just because we want to say thanks.
Now the Good News - Free Premium for ALL!
To express our gratitude for your support over the past 5 years, Picnik Premium is free for everyone! Use Picnik in all of its premium glory, for free, from now until our actual closing day. Touch-up, Textures, Advanced, and more are all free for you to use!
We have been incredibly proud of building a product that is used and beloved by so many of you. We continue to be amazed and humbled by the photos you create and we are immensely grateful for all of your support, creativity, and passion.
We are excited by the photo-editing fun we have already brought to Google products, like Google+, where you can find many of your favorite Picnik effects in Creative Kit. We encourage you to visit Google+ andgive it a whirl.
Please visit the Help Hub for more information on our wind down, and check the Picnik blog for updated information on our April closure.
It's been awesome,
Team Picnik

Friday, January 13, 2012

Chalkboard wall

As many of you know I bit the bullet and made a commitment to get all the rooms in our house finished prior to graduation this spring.  For a while I was so overwhelmed with the size of our new home, then it was the construction of the addition, and finally the camel that broke the straws back straw that broke the camel's back was years of emotional baggage.  Let's just leave it at I have a godly husband who is such a blessing.  Which brings me back to the kitchen and decorating... after some late night discussions I realized that I've been far too concerned about trying to do things the way I thought other's thought I ought to be doing things... Are you still with me?  Good because I'm not to sure I'm with me.. ha ha! :)  That being said inspiration has struck or rather God opened my eyes to the potential.  And do you know what I discovered??? My husband really likes my ideas!!!!  plus he has some great ones of his own!!!

Wow, where was I going with this??? Oh yeah the chalkboard wall... years and years ago we had lunch at the cutest little restaurant in Estes Park... in the middle of winter... and we were the only customers.  Just Chris and me.  And all of their tables had chalkboard tops and they had a chalkboard wall.  Well I've wanted one EVERY since... (by the way, the meal was delicious, the waiter hilarious, and the company incredible! now if only we could remember the name of the cafe!!)

So without any further adieu.... the new chalkboard wall!

The details:
chalkboard paint: Lowe's several years ago for another project

*edited 7/27/2012: this is probably one of my most economical projects to date as the quart can of chalkboard paint has now been used to paint TWO chalkboard walls as well as DOZENS of vinyl labels for containers plus a minimum of 36 tags for baskets & gift cards.

basket: first one I ever wove
bag: fabric leftover from a project... turned inside out
garlic: from this past summer's CSA
clock: brought back many moons ago from Chris' deployment to Riyadh
plant, bucket and rod: Ikea last year w/ a gift card

So as you can see we are using, reusing, and repurposing what we already have.  It is so much fun seeing a room come together and knowing that my family loves it as well!  

Hope you have a great weekend!  Stop back by to see how things are progressing... :)  

'til later!

I'm linking to:

    homework  Photobucket   shabby creek cottage
    The Shabby Nest   I'm Lovin' It at TidyMom a beach cottage  Photobucket

Monday, January 09, 2012

A "Picture Perfect Room" challenge... Room 1: before

Am I the only one who can hardly believe it is almost the middle of January already?  How did that happen?  And where did the weekend go?  Oh yes, I spent it reading!  It was a reserve weekend which I jokingly refer to as Wednesday.  You see my husband is an active duty reservist.  I know, who knew there was such a thing, right?  Well he has been on active duty in the reserves for the past 7 years.  What does this have to do with his reserve weekend being a Wednesday?  Well, you see when he has a reserve weekend he works a 12 day "week".  And when Monday rolls around we know there are only 4 more days before he has a normal 2 day weekend.  So Sat/Sun/Mon is our "Wednesday" aka middle of the "week".  And typically not a lot gets done over the reserve weekend!  Henceforth my weekend of reading. and laundry but that's a given.

Donna over at Funky Junk Interiors is going to be doing a "Picture Perfect Room" challenge.  And knowing that I really want to have ALL the rooms in our house completed prior to graduation I decided now is the time to start.  The first room up.... our KITCHEN! which will lead into the DINING ROOM then the LIVING ROOM and FAMILY ROOM.  As you all have seen we have a fairly open floor plan so each of these rooms can be seen from pretty much each room.  Okay the kitchen can't be seen from the living room but it always spills over into the dining room which CAN be seen from the living room.
Today was supposed to be the first day.... a very productive day!  A day for scrubbing, cleaning, applying wallpaper to the kitchen cabinet door inserts, rearranging cabinets, sorting jars, etc.  Lets just say its not happening quite like that...  Do you see this lovely digit?  
What you can't see is the swelling.  Lets just leave it at it was one of those truly weird freakish accidents and the crazy thing is I was by myself when it happened, no one else to blame.  ha ha! Thankfully my whole hand wasn't injured, it doesn't appear to be broken, and I am starting to gain a bit of movement back.  Who knows maybe I will be able to tackle some of the kitchen work after all.  So today I am at least making my list of projects and am starting to do a bit of the organizing.  

I will leave you with a "before" picture and the plans for what all I am we are doing.  

No cost changes:
-Add bead board wallpaper (bought on clearance plus military discount using a giftcard at Lowe's a year ago) to door inserts
-possibly paint "island"
-clear off countertops
-organize jars and contents.  switch more items into jars.  possibly spray paint all lids to match.
-label everything using label maker, Silhouette, and label paper punch
-paint entire wall next to refrigerator with chalkboard paint.
-reuse chalkboard contact paper on refrigerator and to make tags
The BIG splurge:
-changing out non venting stove hood for a vented stove hood.  ideally either one of these from Ikea
Currently we have a non-venting fan over our stove.  Yeah not the greatest idea or invention known to mankind.

Currently done:
-changed pendant light out over sink for one we fell in love with at Lowe's which was on clearance last January for $5.  I LOVE it!!!  It fits right in with my love for Scandinavian design/decor (which I have absolutely none of until now.)

Do you see my pine cone trees I made?  On top of the kitchen cabinets?  I absolutely love them and plan on making a few move over the year.  The idea is to have groupings of 3 above the cabinets over the holidays.  

I hope you are having a good start to a great week!  Now I am off to get a little work done (or do a little more reading...)  Toodles!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Happy New Year! and thank you...


I know you are thinking, wow is she ever late!!  Well I figure better late than never, right? :)  I have to admit the last few months weeks have been spent in some pretty deep soul searching.  

Okay to be up front and above board this is going to be one of those truly "heavy" posts.... You see something happened back in May that rocked my world but I didn't find out until the end of June.  

In all honesty, its something that ate away at me for months.  It affected all relationships in my husband, children, my Lord and the world in general. all started with a letter... in June... to my Mom... from the US Army saying her portion of my dad's retirement check per the divorce settlement was stopped because.... my Dad had died... in MAY!!  All paperwork listed him as having no next of kin.  Yeah that would be me.... I was the NO NEXT of KIN and it hurt me to the CORE!!!  This was the man who cut all ties with me when we moved to Alaska in 2005.  I was crushed but instead of reaching out, I built walls.  High, thick walls surrounding my heart to keep it from breaking apart completely... walls that ended up closing me off from my husband, my children, the world, and my Lord.  This was the man who lied to me by saying he had sold his house and was moving and would call me with his new phone number the following week after I gave him our new address, phone numbers, etc... it never happened.  The cell number I called was disconnected a few weeks later, his house was foreclosed on, and there was NO forwarding address.  In fact 6 years later the Department of US Army still thought he was at the old address.  His bank still had the address for the old house.  It was as if he had vanished.... until he showed up at a hospital emergency room and died a week later.  It was only then that any records show he had moved into a condo owned by the "kid" who had been "renting" his basement apartment for all those years prior to the foreclosure.  The "kid" who told the hospital there was an estranged daughter but they hadn't heard from her in years. LIAR!!  It was HIS phone my dad had called me from that last time I talked to him back in November of 2005.  The hurt ran deep but, you know what?  I'm healing.  FINALLY... It took a notification in December, yes December you did read that correctly, to my Mom saying they needed more info as there might be back retirement/disability pay owed due to Dad's time in Vietnam.  I finally sat down and cried sobbed my heart out... my dad was gone and was never coming back.  There was no longer any chance of reconciliation, no opportunity to say that I loved him regardless....., bygone hurts were forgiven, and that no matter what he was still my Dad and I LOVE him!  But I was finally able to face things head on with the help of my Lord and the walls came crumbling down. Do I still have moments?  Yes but there are far more reasons for me to move forward... a husband that loves me dearly, children who are truly a blessing from God, and a host of friends who are dear to my heart.  

So I am moving on with life.  Does this mean I will post more regularly?  Not necessarily. ha ha! (insert big cheesy grin)  It does me that the projects are being worked on again, plans are being made, and life is moving forward... with me as a willing participant, not grudgingly.  Our eldest graduates in May and heads off to college in the fall... a new chapter to be EMBRACED.  This house is our HOME, not just a temporary residence.  COOKING is a personal experience to be shared again.  FINANCIAL responsibility is proactive. CREATIVITY allows me to breath.  PRAYER gives strength. READING THE WORD brings  sustenance to a starving soul. LEARNING stretches in more ways than I can even begin to acknowledge.  

So please continue along with me on this journey.  And yes I really do plan to work much harder on this blog.... the first steps will be finding a mentor, stepping out of my comfort zone instead of retreating, and looking for accountability.  Any takers? Ha ha!

And last but definitely, most definitely NOT least I want to say:

for being plugging along with me, through thick or thin, rain, shine, storms and absence!  But mostly through absence!!  I really do appreciate it!