Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The legs say it all

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend! I know ours was nice and relaxing. We went to San Antonio for a family wedding and had fun hanging out along the River Walk and enjoying the mini vacation!

I have clearly been on a painting streak lately painting the dining room walls, then the trashcan (two times) and right before Memorial Day weekend I painted the legs on two chairs I inherited from my grandparents a while back. I've been wanting to do it for a while and I've finally gotten around to it! Again, using Mandie's technique I sanded primed and painted the legs and it really was pretty easy! I did use polyurethane over the paint instead of polycrylic just for increased protection, even though it may yellow over time I figure if that happens I can always fix it!
So, without further ado- meet my 50's modern green chairs!

A Wide shot

What's funny is I took the cushions off before I turned the chair upside down to paint the legs and found this:
I was really shocked- my grandparents have had these chairs for as long as I can remember but I had no idea they were custom made! I thought it was pretty cool and totally a different era!

After one coat

And finished:

Love that little detail on the back- I had never really noticed it before when the wood was dark!

And for a whole room shot:

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

I hope everyone is relaxing and enjoying the day off and hopefully having some great weather!!
I'll be back tomorrow with another painting project so be sure to stop back by!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Jalepeno Cheddar cornbread

You are going to want to make this like this weekend right now. It is seriously the best cornbread I've ever had and I can say that because I didn't come up with the recipe. Perfect for a Memorial Day weekend picnic or party!
This is my slightly altered version of the Barefoot Contessa's recipe which has a few extra ingredients and more jalapenos- feel free to add as many jalapenos as you like though- however much heat you can handle!
This makes a TON of cornbread- it goes in a 9 x 13 pan and it comes out thick, but it freezes very well in just a few layers of foil. We freeze it in small two serving sections so it's just enough for the two of us, or if we are having company we can get out just as much as we need!

What you'll need

3 C Flour
1 C yellow cornmeal
1/4 C sugar
2 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
2 C milk
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 sticks of butter, melted and cooled
6-8 oz of sharp cheddar, grated ( 8 oz is really a TON of cheese so we usually don't use all of it. Also best with freshly shredded cheese but the other will work as well)
2-3 Tbsp jalapenos, minced (we use pickled not fresh but either will work)

Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl combine the milk, eggs and butter.
Stir wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until most (but not all) lumps are gone. Do not over mix. Mix in the cheddar and jalapenos and give it one more stir. Then let the mixture sit, at room temperature for at 20 minutes or so.

While the batter is resting, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 13 pan. Pour batter into dish and smooth top. Sprinkle a little bit more cheese over the top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

P's trash, My treasure

We inherited this great trashcan from P's parents- well actually he got it a long time ago, I think when he first moved to Dallas but we've always used it because its nice and sturdy and it holds a HUGE trash bag so you don't have to take the trash out as often (major plus when you are in an apartment especially). But, the rooster that was hand painted on the can I think in the 80's was sort of "past it's prime" if you know what I mean!
I never really knew what to do with it or how to fix it but back in February I went to Mandie's house for an Altar'd workshop and learned how to properly refinish wood furniture. I redid the crackle red chest of drawers there and I hadn't really done much else, not because I didn't want to, I just hadn't had the time!

Well the other weekend I decided it was TIME!! I was going to refinish it. I decided I wanted it to be white to blend in with the cabinets and then maybe I would add a darker accent color with a border or something. SO off to work I went following Mandie's guide- sanding, priming and painting!

Two coats of creamy white paint later I took it into the kitchen to see how it looked. . .

womp womp womp

No bueno folks! It was whiter than the cabinets and stuck out like a sore thumb- and it was just too plain- it NEEDED something in the middle- hence the rooster I realized! I decided to think it over and came up with a brilliant plan! I still had some navy paint from when we painted our guest bedroom and I could then monogram it with white paint over that! Monogram a trash can you ask? OH YES! I will truly monogram anything! P didn't even question it! I went to work painting then put a few coats of polyurethane on

and then monogramming which was easier than I expected. I just printed out letters in the fonts/ sizes I wanted ( I used two different fonts just to mix it up) Once the navy paint was dry I laid the paper down onto the trash can and with a mechanical pencil I just traced around the letters on top of the paper.

It's really faint here but you can see the outline of the monogram after I penciled over the paper

up close

When you pull the paper some of the white of the paper transfers onto the can and then you just get a small brush and fill it in!  Then you get this-
TA DA!!!

And back in it's home with the lid on and trash bag in place.

We are loving it! See it looks totally normal to have a monogrammed trashcan!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Happy Anniversary

Today is the Mr and my 2nd wedding anniversary! And last week we mini-celebrated five years together! Time sure does fly when you are having fun! I am so thankful for my sweet husband on this day (and everyday- I just get to talk about it today :) )

I am thankful that we both went to Catherine B's pirate themed birthday party five years ago
I am thankful that I just happened to sit down next to you to eat my dinner there
I am thankful that you didn't just walk away when you heard me screaming at the TV (in support of the Dallas Mavs- who are once again in the playoffs! )
I am thankful that you were sitting down when I met you (at 6'6'' you might have been a little intimidating standing)
I am thankful you took me to Tony's Wine Bar for our official first date
I am thankful you came with my WHOLE family for dinner and fireworks on the 4th of July even though we had only barely began dating
I am thankful you supported me when I decided I wanted to get my teaching certificate to teach elementary school
I am thankful you helped me move into my house with my sister- and even made moving fun!
I am thankful you've always liked my cooking (especially my cookies!)
I am thankful you always come to SMU games and support them with my family even though you are a die hard TCU fan
I am thankful that you didn't come to Todd and Sedona's wedding with me so you could go home and pick up my engagement ring!
I am thankful you proposed at the gas station so I wouldn't suspect anything after my dad let it slip about your lunch together
I am thankful you listened while I complained DAILY while I was student teaching
I am thankful that you travel with me all over the place even though you HATE flying
I am thankful that you dance with me at all the weddings we go to even though I suspect you never danced before you met me
I am thankful you put up with all my craziness
I am thankful you supported me when I decided I didn't think I wanted to teach anymore
I am thankful you brought me to Houston and helped me make a life here
I am thankful you bought me the best house ever and we are fixing it up together
I am thankful you help me paint every room of our house
I am thankful you always support ALL of my design ideas, even when they are probably not the smartest
I am thankful you pushed me to start writing this blog
I am thankful you are so supportive of everything I do
I am thankful you make me laugh EVERY DAY of our marriage

And because I had so much fun looking back through our old pictures:
summer '06- I think this is our first picture together

Nov '06

like I said- ALWAYS



ALWAYS making me laugh!


Friday, May 20, 2011

Parmasean Chicken

Patrick REALLY wanted me to put this recipe up because he likes it SO MUCH, even though it's hardly a recipe! He loves the flavor AND how fast it cooks- when you pound the chicken, the cook time gets so much shorter.

What you'll need
2 chicken breasts halves (or one whole breast cut in half) trimmed
1/4 Cup parmasean
1/4 Cup Italian bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste

First, put the chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound the chicken to about 1/4" thick. Season with salt and pepper.

Mix the parmasean and bread crumbs until combined then spread over the chicken, pushing so that the crumbs adhere to the meat. ( I skip the flour, egg wash, etc mixture because it's a MESS and takes up so many dishes but you can if you want a thicker crust)

Flip meat and put the remainder of the crumbs on the back side of the chicken

Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a sautee pan and turn heat to medium high until oil is hot. Turn heat down to medium, then cook chicken about 2-3 minutes per side until juices run clear!

We have been serving this over or just with a large salad of baby romaine lettuce, shredded carrots, goat cheese, chopped up almonds and a few dried cranberries in a light vinagrette and it's really so good and SO easy!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Houston's Urban Market

The other fun part of my weekend consisted of spending an hour or so wandering around the Urban Market in Midtown Houston on Sunday morning. This is a three times a year outdoor antique market with some of the best Houston designers. I missed the February one so I was bound and determined to go this time around and it was completely worth it.

I didn't really NEED anything, but that's never stopped me from browsing or buying (who am I kidding!) I found a lot of amazing items and really everything was reasonably priced too which is great. I fell in love with three booths in particular. Thayer Design, which had some amazing furniture pieces and art including this coffee table made from reclaimed wood which I was practically drooling over.

SO PRETTY and big. Big enough for our space which is difficult to find- our current coffee table is a little dinky for the size of the room but that's okay. As much as I loved the table I certainly am not in the market for one right now. I also saw an amazing large round upholstered coffee table with tufting and fabric covered buttons. Sadly, I didn't get a picture of it.

Then I found my way to Gracie's Custom Interiors. She had some wonderful bedding, pillows (I probably could have bought ALL of the pillows) and upholstered furniture. Again, fell HARD for the most amazing upholstered occasional chair that would actually fit PERFECTLY in our bedroom and be much more comfortable/ useful that the small chair we have there now.

Isn't she beautiful??

I am still going back and forth- it was more than I was planning on spending for a bedroom chair but the quality was superb and the fabric perfect! I'm afraid it's sold but I may have to call and see about it if I'm still thinking about it in a week!

Lastly, but actually the first (and last) booth I went into was LeSueur Interiors which was in a booth with Sally Wheat. They had so many beautiful pieces including a painting that was so fun and colorful but still really clean lined and this wonderful chest

I love the color and want it for my bedside table but we aren't quite ready to make a major furniture investment right now. I did however buy a few small items from her shop which I'm super excited about. I got a pair of Delft salad plates, a weathered metal "M," an itty bitty mirror, and an antique Japanese gold leaf tray! Super excited- I have been collecting antique blue and white plates (Delft and others) for seven or eight years now and I'm always looking for more!

The "M" and the little mirror are going to become additions to my gallery wall and I'm not sure about the tray but at $10 it was too pretty to pass up!
I had a blast and even though I didn't have any major purchases it was great to see all the wonderful goods and get fun design ideas! If you missed this one, no worries, the next is in October and you should definitely plan on going! Look at all the fun other items looking for homes:
Can't find the card of what booth this was at!

Thayer Design

The Red Chair

Gracie's Custom Interiors

couldn't find the cards but I just loved this little arangement on the X table, oh and the big pillows!

Monday, May 16, 2011

A New Look

Happy Monday!! As you might have noticed, I have a bit of a new look here behind the ivy! I've been wanting to change up my design for a while now and include more patterns and colors but was having trouble doing this on my own. I just do NOT know how to write code and templates, etc. so I was going to need some major help.

I stumbled across Designer Blogs after reading about how Elsa at Casa Greer used them to spruce up her blog. I wasn't looking for a major overhaul or wanting to pay for anything too custom but I found this design in one of their pre-designed templates that are VERY reasonably priced and you just download and they give you all of the instructions for how to install it. So easy and just what I was looking for. I'm just loving it!

In the meantime, I also FINALLY ordered some calling cards! I searched and searched through Etsy and got multiple recommendations from other bloggers and ended up going with Pam at Pixelimpress and I'm so happy! She was so wonderful to work with and amazingly got my cards to me, in my hand in less than FIVE days when I needed them in a rush! AMAZING! And the cards themselves are beautiful- printed on very nice heavy paper with a nice felt weave texture. I couldn't be happier with them. If you are looking for any paper products, PLEASE go check out her Etsy shop! So many pretty goodies.

I also worked on a few projects this weekend AND stopped by The Urban Market on Sunday morning which was WONDERFUL of course! I'll have more on that this week. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Honey mustard marinated chicken

This is a recipe I made up through trial and error of the taste I liked and I've tried to measure to get a more accurate account of how much of each ingredient I use. I actually first started making this as a homemade salad dressing- which I have to say is so much tastier than the pre-bottled stuff from the store (don't get me wrong though- I still have two containers of it in my fridge. . . ) anyhoo- I started marinating chicken in it as well and it is really just delicious.

What you'll need

2 tsp garlic (I am using this garlic paste that is mashed with some seasonings because its what I have AND I  think it's a little less overwhelming)
2 Tbsp creamy Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp honey
1 small sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
1/4 C red wine vinegar
1/2 C olive oil

Add garlic, mustard, honey and rosemary in a small lidded container. Close and shake until well mixed. Add in the vinegar and mix until combined and then pour in the olive oil and shake hard until combined. The marinade will thicken once fully blended.

Using either a container or a zip lock bag, pour the marinade over 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, making sure all of the chicken is well coated. I also like to reserve some to drizzle on the chicken before serving.  Leave in the fridge up to two days, then bake or grill the chicken until the juices run clear.

This has wonderful flavor that we just love, but you can mix it up any way you like, different mustard, different herbs, more or less garlic and honey- just play with it until you find a flavor you like! Its flavorful but not overpowering. Lately we've been grilling the chicken with grilled sweet potato fries a variation of my baked sweet potato fries and a side salad.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The List

Do you ever have moments, or days or months where you just want everything??? I am having one of those moments decades. I am trying so hard to wait to find deals or just wait until things are in the budget and today is one of those days where it’s really hard for me to do that. I’m sure anyone that walked through our house would say its fine and pretty much complete but I just don’t feel that way. In an attempt to calm myself down, I figured I’d do what I do best- make a list- and publish it so that now I can always come back to it and remember what is really most important on my list and what can stay for now. We have done so much on the house in the past 10 months (HOLY COW it’s almost been a year) that it’s kind of hard to slow down and just be okay with things the way they are! Is that crazy?

Anyways- on my to do list
1.      Electrical work- this is something we are not tackling on our own!
We need to fix one of our under the counter lights, add one more recessed light in the hall, add an exhaust fan in the guest bathroom, and purchase/ install a better ceiling fan in our bedroom
2.      New front door
3.      New interior door/ door frames and a new pantry door (our doors are so flimsy and the door frames are a mess after someone threw up a layer of latex paint over oil based without any sanding or anything. Needless to say our door frames are constantly peeling!)
4.      Dining room rug- THIS ONE from Williams Sonoma Home
5.    Patio/ backyard landscaping/ patio furniture . . . $$$$$$$$$$$ I’m just seeing money signs fly away . . .but sometime hopefully!
6.   A large piece of art for over this couch- I love the blue plates but it just seems a little too sparse AND I already have a collection of pics (see my gallery wall) on the opposite wall so at the same time it’s getting a little crowded- we need a statement piece, so I’m on the hunt for that as well. Liking this right now but I think I want something a little more colorful
7.   I’d like a new rug for the kitchen area (I’m pretty stuck on this one for now, but I change my mind a lot so I’m not ready to commit quite yet)

     8.   New throw pillows for the couches in our living room
     9.   LONG TERM- I really really really want to replace the tile in our kitchen, breakfast room and Wii     room. It’s all one connected space and the tiles are just GROSS and they have HUGE grout lines which drives me nuts. I have tried and tried to clean them but it doesn’t do much good! AND I just want something a little different but this want = $$$

The list could go on- seriously- there is more- that’s how anal I am! But I am trying to stick with that because this list could easily take us all the way through 2011! It’s exciting and deflating all at the same time because I know it’s going to be a while before a lot of these things happen, but what a bad attitude is that! I am trying to be more grateful for what we have and what’ve done to the house AND for the ability to do even more. It’s a big struggle for me right now but I’ll get over it and for now- I’m just keeping these in mind:


 and enjoying my house as it is because I love it! It’s not perfect but that’s okay! (That is really hard for a perfectionist to say!) I’m jumping on the Nester’s "It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful" bandwagon, and I feel better already!

This is not to say that I’m not going to make changes or updates but just knowing that it’s okay if it doesn’t get done as fast or perfectly styled as I would have hoped!


Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day Weekend

How was your mother's day weekend? I hope everyone had a great time. Ours was nice and pretty quiet. We knew there was no way we were going to be able to travel to see either one of families this weekend so we just kind of laid low and it was SO relaxing. I seriously can't remember the last time we had no where to go, no work crews at the house and no major projects for us to work on!

We had a fun dinner Friday night with my cousin, and ran a few errands on Saturday.Of course we didn't buy anything just yet, P and I like to have a plan and a budget and a time line and know EXACTLY when and how our project will go down. Crazy I realize but we I am nutty like that. We occasionally splurge and buy something or start something big on a whim but not often. ANYWAYS- I digress- it was so nice this weekend so I wanted to sit outside to read my book. Seeing as we have decided to hold off on buying patio furniture until the fall when everything will be on super sale - we only have two chairs outside, and they aren't the most comfortable. I was sitting in one chair reading with my feet propped up in the second chair while P laid out on the patio, both uncomfortable and wishing we had new patio furniture- and we made a command decision.

The minute P mentioned it, I said YES and we were out the door!! THE LOWE'S CHAIR was coming home!!! I have been eying this chair for months now and seriously every time we go to Lowe's I sit in it- it is THAT wonderful. So we booked it up to our Lowe's and bought two- not the most expensive thing so I don't know why we waited so long- but the best money I've spent in a while. Let me introduce you to our lovely chairs

nice huh?? not too pretty but too comfortable to care!

They aren't the prettiest things- and certainly not our permanent patio furniture- but MAN OH MAN they are AMAZING. We laid out in them ALL WEEKEND and have the sun to show for it! Some of us have a little more than others. . .

see the beautiful cross tan line he has??

They are so much more comfortable than our others. They have a foot rest, a pillow cushion and a sun shade- and you can recline to the perfect angle and sit and read FOREVER! And the best part- they come fully pre-assembled. All you have to do is unfold! AND they are so easy to fold up we've decided they would be perfect to take down to the beach this summer! I can't wait!

So that's my awesome and exciting overly wordy and geekyweekend! I hope yours was just a fun :)