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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Eggplant Curtains

Our living room is painted a light tan color and our kitchen that opens up into the living room we painted green- a bright happy green. I had always wanted a green kitchen. So I decided for the living room which is pretty tan/neutral with the furniture and walls, to have green and eggplant as accent colors and that would tie in nicely with the kitchen. Little did I know how how hard it would be to find curtains. I search all over for either happy green or eggplant curtains. Green was really tough as there are sooo many different shades of green (most of them sage-like). Eggplant was frustrating as well in that many places just did not have that color or it would be too brownish. I then decided on DIY curtains after living without living room curtains for 8 months.

This naked windows need some curtains!

Eggplant fabric that would be suitable for curtains was kinda difficult too.. I'm like gimme a break! But finally on our shopping trip I talked about here where we found fabric for pillows, my mom and I found wonderful eggplant fabric for curtains! And for around $8/yard not too pricey. It was even wide enough to cut in half lengthwise and get 2 panels since we weren't really going for curtains to shut out light but rather as a decoration. Mom offered to make the curtains for me with her sewing machine :) I probably would have just tried to do something makeshift so this was a relief.

Hubby hanging the curtain rods

 I did a lot of measuring and mom did some sewing and voila! Curtains! Long, beautiful, statement making curtains! (Also notice our new floor lamp, from Homegoods of course)


Ignore those awful looking cords coming from the tv... ugh, hopefully those will be gone soon with some wireless device Eric discovered online. I'll do a post soon about the living room pillows you are getting a sneak peak at in some of these pics. It was another mom & daughter collaboration.

One more shot (I took this pic before we had our rug) because I was just elated to finally have curtains and for under $80 for 6 panels, that's not too shabby :)

Linking up here:

JAG Show and Share Day
Weekend Wrap Up Party
Making the World Cuter Mondays
Frugalicious Friday
Blue Cricket Design
Remodelaholics Anonymous
Sunday Showcase Party
Today's Creative Blog
Hooking up w/HoH

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

3 states in 1 weekend

A couple of weeks ago we took a weekend trip along with Eric's brother and wife (Keith & Megan) to visit the twins best friend Tyler and his wife Whitney in Louisville, Kentucky. Our trip started off a little hectic as we did not allow extra time for Keith & Megan to check their bag. This resulted in a mad dash to the gate... and I'm not kidding. In the airport my legs can turn into super super fast walking legs (even while towing a suitcase) where people have to run to keep up. Who knows how this happens as I am a small person and have short legs but I was moving like I was being chased by rabid scary dogs (with no running allowed although I can and have resorted to running through an airport before... ahem ATL... need I say more). Anyways it was a good thing I hurried to the gate with our boarding passes because when I got there it was only about 4-5 min until the plane departure time. The rude boarding pass gate checker lady let us on and a line of standbys didn't look so pleased at our late arrival. I swear if we were a second later we wouldn't have gotten on that plane.

Anyway then we arrived in Ohio. But wait didn't I say we were going to Kentucky. Yes but actually flying into Louisville was 2 times the price of Cincinatti (1.5 hrs from Louisville), go figure. Once we arrived in Louisville, we went to a nice lunch at a place called Wild Eggs and the boys went to play frisbee golf and the girls relaxed and then went to a pool for a bit. That evening we ventured into downtown Louisville for dinner and such. The weather was really nice out too.

We ate at the Spaghetti Factory. I had never been there before and I thought it was just ok. As far as chain italian places go, Olive Garden is better. They did have cool looking headboard booths.

After spending some time walking around downtown and ample time in a bookstore, we drove to a pie kitchen. I had this fantasic and definitely not fat free piece of Caramel Dutch Apple Pie. Keith also enjoyed that same pie below. Eric had an upsidedown cupcake... yes that means they turn it over and just cover it in icing.


The next day we went to the Louisville Zoo. It seemed like a great zoo, not that I am a big zoo conosouir or anything. My favorite is the giraffes. Oh and they had penguins :) It was really hot out so the penguin room felt refreshing for a moment.


That afternoon we took a little trip to Indiana. Who knew Indiana was 15 minutes away from Louisville! Well I did not. Apparently going to school in FL you don't learn a lot about geography other than the other southern states and the really big ones (NY, California)... everything else is just sorta up over there and out thatta way. In my defense Megan didn't know it was that close either.

That night we ate thai food at this hole in the wall place. I love me some pad thai (especially at this restaurant in Charlotte called Basil which is where I first had thai food- yum!) but this place made the food more spicy than I prefer but the boys sure did enjoy the spiciness.

We played games and went out for icecream at Comfy Cow. Of course I got cookie dough since it IS the best flavor, delish! They had a super cute logo and such... only happy cows supply milk for their icecream.

The last day, Sunday, we headed back to Ohio and flew back to Charlotte with only minor complications involving Megan and the full body scanner security guard. We had a fun weekend with friends and I got to add 3 new states to my list of visited states. That brings my total count to 17! Yeah! I do think someone should open up a pie kitchen here in the Queen City though :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Colorful Veggies Recipe

Colorful Veggies

I love love fresh vegetables, especially summertime ones. A couple weeks ago we picked up some yellow squash and zucchini at the farmer's market and I was very excited to introduce Eric to this recipe I love. I had kinda forgotten about it for awhile but it made an awesome comeback. Okay so I admit that I have no idea what the real name/proper name of this is but that is what I called it when I ate it growing up. I think the fact that it is so pleasing to look at makes it taste even better. Eric actually really enjoyed it and he is not a big vegetable fan but he has been asking for it again :)  It's super easy to make so try it out...

1 can of DelMonte diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic (or make your own version of this)
4 carrots
3 yellow squash
3 zucchini

Serves about 6-8 as a side

 Cut up about 4 carrots in pennies about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.  Put them in a large pot and cover with water.  Cook at a fairly high temp until they start to get tender (probably 5 minutes or so).  Check with a fork. Meanwhile, cut the ends off your squash and zucchini (about 3 each regular size).  I cut them in half across (not lengthwise) and then cut each section into about 8 strips.  When the carrots have cooked a little, drain off the water and dump in the squash, zucchini, and tomatoes. It will look like a lot but it will cook down. If you want to add any other spices to the mix you can do so. Cover and simmer (on medium-medium/low) until the vegetables are tender. These are wonderful as leftovers too.

Here it is during the cooking down step:
Simply gorgeous right?!

This goes great with grilled chicken. If you try it out, let me know how you like it. Enjoy!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Organized Garage

A few weekends ago we organized/reorganized our garage. That sounds like a terribly exciting house project now doesn't it? Well when we moved in a little over a year ago we semi-organized stuff in the garage and it seemed fine. Little by little more things started accumulating in the garage like new tools, paint, furniture for projects and we nicely placed shoved stuff into whereever it would fit just so we could still get 2 cars in. And by get 2 cars in I mean nevermind the fact that you have to squeeze yourself in between some scrap wood, paint cans, and a nightstand to get to the car door. Don't even dream of climbing into the passenger door while its in the garage because the cornhole and pool floats are in the way.

We both knew it was time to organize the garage and do it right so that it would stay organized and we could actually find things. Especially once I bought the goodwill dresser and then we could only get 1 car in the garage... whoops!

Here is the before.. brace yourself:

How did we even find anything??!!

We, well Eric rather (I went out to a girls dinner hehe) went to Lowes to get organizey stuff.... peg board, a set of those hook things that go in peg board, wood, brackets, and one of those metal storage things made to hang from the ceiling. We took everything out of the garage and put it on the driveway to start with a clean slate.

Eric hung pegboard and shelves while I was on the driveway throwing out stuff and organizing things we wanted to keep and determining if any items should not be stored in the garage. At one point it did start to rain and we frantically rushed anything back onto the floor of the garage that we didn't want to get wet and everything else got a nice little shower.

A small problem we encountered was that the ceiling storage thing was not going to work in our garage. The box made it seems like you could hang it at a range of lengths but you really cannot... LIARS. The lengths we had to hang it at did not work out for where the studs were so no ceiling storage for now (until we find another brand) but we don't really need it at this point. I took some things such as a cooler, pool floats, cornhole into the house and put them in a closet under the stairs that we hadn't really been using. I think it's a better place for them. We put everything else back into the garage in organized fashion and put up a few ceiling hooks for the bike etc.

Here is the end result:

We realized we needed one more peg hook type thing for some bigger items like the rake, shovel etc. so we went back to Lowes and just screwed it into the pegboard where there was a wood slat behind. perfect.

It wasn't a glamourous house project like the deck (probably why we kept putting it off haha) but it's definitely more pleasant to drive in and out of a clean and organized garage :)  And it was less than $150 for the project, gotta love that!

Linking up here:

JAG Show and Share Day
Weekend Wrap Up Party
Making the World Cuter Mondays
Frugalicious Friday
Blue Cricket Design
Remodelaholics Anonymous
Sunday Showcase Party
Today's Creative BlogHooking up w/HoH

Monday, August 9, 2010

Guest Project: Burlap Wreath Tutorial

When I started looking at decor blogs I talked to my mom about the ideas I saw and so she started reading them too and it wasn't long until she was hooked too. Now she is making trips to thrift stores and GW every couple days and doing all sorts of decor projects around the house.They have one of thsoe amazing GWs that I talked about here.  I'm sure my dad is just loving that I introduced her to the decor blogland as he gets dragged into projects :)

My mom doesn't have a blog so I am sharing one of her projects on mine. She made a beautiful (and thrifty) burlap wreath. Here is her tutorial...

Burlap Wreath Tutorial

Emily asked me to write about how I made my burlap wreath. It’s a fun, cheap, and easy project. I purchased a 14-inch straw wreath from Jo-Ann Fabrics for $2.49. I also bought a burlap garland for $3.99 from Michael’s. With coupons, these items would cost even less. The garland came in a roll of 10 yards and was found on the same aisle with the wreath forms. The nice thing about the garland is not having to cut strips to wrap the wreath and make the flowers. As you probably already know, burlap is messy. I did have to vacuum afterwards from the trimmings and straw.

I first wrapped my wreath with the burlap carefully overlapping so the straw wouldn’t show through. Then I began to form the flowers by twisting the strip and gluing a center with my glue gun.

Then I turned the center and twisted and glued every half inch or so until I got a flower the size I wanted. Then I cut the garland and started over.

Once I had made enough flowers to fill the wreath, I used the glue gun to attach them. Actually, only small amounts of glue are needed. Too much glue can result in burned fingers! I then tied a strip of jute between two of the flowers and around the wreath. I tied the ends to my door knocker.

I looked at my wreath for a day or so. It was cute, but it needed “something”. I finally decided to make a raffia bow. I tied it to the wreath with another piece of jute threaded through the back of the bow. It was definitely better. A little while later, I happened to pass by my craft closet and saw a basket of shells, from the Dollar Tree, on the floor. Eureka! I sat on the floor and played around with the shells, finally settling on an arrangement of three. I pulled out my trusty glue gun and glued those suckers together. I threaded another piece of jute through the openings between the shells and tied it to the top of the bow. And voila! A wreath was born!

Obviously you could glue the bow and shells to the wreath, but by tying them on, I can easily change the wreath this way. Sunflowers, daisies, or any seasonal item would look great on it. Just use your imagination.

Fabulous right? My mom has always been so crafty so I would expect nothing less. I can't wait to make one of these myself!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Goodwill Score

Are you one of those people that sees everyone else in blogland finding fabulous things at goodwill and just stare in awe? Yep, well that is me. Sure, it's not too hard to find a good plate, or candlestick, or picture frame. But I am just astonished (and jealous of course) at these great things people find at goodwill - cute chairs, dressers, hutches, and tables for them to redo! Why aren't people donating awesome stuff like to my goodwill!

FINALLY my day has come! After weeks and weeks of stalking visiting the goodwill by our house, I scored a saaaaweet dresser! Now I usually try to go once a week if I can and maybe about every other time I find something small like a plate or vase to redo and I always look at the furniture area. Normally its filled with not so great stuff - like computer chair that doesnt even look dorm-worthy. Or some crappy laminated looking entertainment center that holds those giant box-like tvs. Until this one day I saw a dresser there and I knew all my trips to the GW had paid off! It was only $25. And it was most or all wood. And it was French Provencial. SCORE!

I made Eric stand there with it even after I had taken the buy-it tag thingy just in case someone wanted my dresser. I would have been prepared to fight them for it though, or Eric rather. It had only been out on the floor a day or less so I think I was really lucky. Of course it is definitely in need of some love... it has a good bit of marker on  it. And a wood piece one drawer rests on to open/close is missing. And its really dirty and dusty. BUT I knew these are things I can fix and it had good bones.

I am doing research on furniture redo's throughout blogland. The dresser seems to be all wood but with some sort of shiny finish on top. At first I thought the top was laminate but my friend Holly checked it out and thinks it is wood too but just with some top slick finish. So that is great news. I can even reuse the drawer pulls. I am super excited to work on my first furniture redo! If anyone has advice on redoing furniture like this, please please let me know!

Monday, August 2, 2010


One of my go to recipes that everyone always enjoys is Guacamole. I like it so much that it's on my blog design. It's fresh and easy and such a pretty color. We recently had some friends (3 other couples) over for dinner and we did mexican food - my favorite and I mean who doesn't like mexican? Seriously, it's the best. So of course I made guacamole for us to eat while the enchiladas and rice were cooking.

I am sharing my recipe but keep in mind that I do not measure anything when I make it... it's all done to taste :)

Emily's Guacamole
- 2 ripe avocados (they are ripe if they give a little when you squeeze them)
- tomato, chopped (I use a small tomato or roma)
- red onion, 1 slice chopped
- sour cream, reduced fat
- lime juice
- garlic powder
- black pepper
- Cilantro chopped
Slice avocados, take out pits, and scoop out avocado into bowl. Add a couple squirts of lime juice and mash up with a fork or a cool avocado tool (mine is shown below - 4 in 1 avocado tool). 

Image from Williams Sonoma
Image from Williams Sonoma

Add chopped tomato, chopped red onion, and a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream to your liking. Season with as much garlic powder as you like and a little bit of black pepper. Add chopped cilantro- you will need more than you think for it to have that hint of cilantro flavor which I think really makes the guacamole. Stir everything together and chill in fridge.

Serve with torilla chips and enjoy until it is all gone! And it probably all will get eaten. I doubled the recipe for the 8 of us and it was all gone before dinner. Yum! This makes me want some right now.

If you are lazy and want a shortcut, c'mon it happens to the best of us... you can use your favorite salsa instead of the tomatoes and red onion. You will want to put some in a strainer so you don't end up with too much juice. Using salsa will decrease the pretty green color slightly but still tastes good.

Unfortunately any leftover guac turns brownish green on top the next day (from enzymes in avocados exposed to air). If anyone knows how to keep this from happening then I am all ears - I have tried everything!
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