Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mossy Monogram + Book Pages

That equation equals Pretty Lovely in my book just about every time.  Now, get ready for a preetttty long tutorial { I got a little picture happy }

First we have this big frame that used to have a horizontal oil painting in it.  It was fine, but I really needed a vertical painting for a particular space on the family room wall.   So out went the painting and to replace it a cut out a same-size sheet of cardboard.

 Got out my Mod Podge.

 And Mod Podged some more Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Part II.  No lamenting this time - I'm pretty over it.

Then I just pressed it in and switched the wiring on the back so it could hang vertically. 

I actually did the whole book page part last fall, and played around with various adornments, but it became clear to me this Spring that the Book Pages needed some Moss.

 Enter $5 "M" from Hobby Lobby and about $4 (with 40% off coupon) Moss Cloth.

 This was my first encounter with Moss Cloth - look how lovely it is.

Of course every letter would be approached a bit differently, but I started by cutting some strips...

 And hot-glued them on, starting at the top and adding more glue and pressing down all the way along the letter.

I made some cuts here and there to allow the cloth to fit about the rounded parts. 

The moss cloth is very forgiving - I simply couldn't mess it up.

Here's the back, which I didn't need to be completely covered, but would have been easy to fill in with left-over scraps.

Just kept adding in strips - are you completely smitten yet?

 Here she is, all done.  I love her dimension, versus a flattish letter.

The back of these letters have holes to hang them on, so I'd thought I'd put thumbtacks in the cardboard and hang the letter on them.

I tried it, but such a job is not one to be eyeballed and I was too much hurry for all-done-gratification to find my measuring tape.   So I hot glued it on.  Three cheers for hot glue!

And.....yes, it's little crooked, proving that tape measuring should always be chosen in lieu must-have-it-done-now-gratification. 

Here, it is hanging in the Family Room.  It's kind-of an awkward angle, but at least you get an idea of where it lives.  This is the wall opposite of the newly curtained window.

See other Lovely Easy-Peasy Tutorials {HERE}

{Linking to Bowl Full of Lemons 
Blue Cricket Design, Just a Girl,, Funky Junk Interiors, & The Lettered Cottage}

Monday, May 30, 2011

New Baby Happiness

 One month ago this sweet little baby arrived to these very happy new parents.
I took these when she was just a week or so old but am just now getting up the pics as our computer crashed soon thereafter. Stinky computer - still not fixed, but I retrieved my pictures.

Nobody was planning this bitty super-informal photo shoot.  But of course, I brought my camera along for the visit and innocently inquired if Hannah "had any pictures with the baby yet?"


Isn't that hair so precious?


And then like a good Dad who values the importance of documenting the sweet things in life,
Carson came over to get in a on a few.  ;)  

Such a lovely little family.

Friday, May 27, 2011

What To Do When You Want to Quit

As in quit cleaning the kitchen.

Along with the livingroombathroombedroomlaundryclosethallway.

And in fact to you did quit - two days ago.  The evidence is in the left-over macoroni-n-cheese bowls you had the day before yesterday that are still parked around the kitchen sink.  And except for your Summerfide Mantle your home suddenly is not lovely at all.

And it's 9 pm and you just got the kiddos to bed and your husband is out of town for three days, leaving the 24hour childcare job to....you.  And you've been knee deep in office work lately and the last thing you want to do now is something about the Mess.

Well, FIRST you put the lid back on the Breyers ice cream container, because that's just not helping anything.

Then you might call your Sister (or any sympathetic but sensible person) and tell her how much you don't want to do ANYTHING.
She'll sense that your mental health is at risk and helpfully direct you back to your kitchen sink.

And at this point, in the face of the very ugly mess and as I'm still planted in my desk chair,  I find I need to be reminded of something Beautiful, and the best way I've found to do that is with music.  It's no good at this point (and time of night) to spend more time gazing at pretty pictures on the interweb.  I need to get in touch with my own reality and the possibility of beauty in it. 

So at desperate times like this - whenever I need a good reminder of what loveliness is like - I  listen to something like this soundtrack (love this movie).

As I begin at the kitchen sink, it's like my life gets to have my own personal soundtrack and I begin to want my home (my own little movie life) to match the loveliness of the music. Does that make any sense???


Last night I actually happily discovered this CD in a old collection of my husband's.  
The music is so Beautiful.
As the first clear, sweet notes played, I was inspired again to Try.  It made a world of difference.

Now, cleaning a very disastrous kitchen still got old pretty quick, so it helped to take a break to take a little walk around the main house area , straightening the couch or the desk, picking up toys and trash.  And then coming back to sink for another go at it.

By the end of the evening my main living area (kitchenfamilyroomlivingroom) - the part that will greet our little family tomorrow morning  - was clean.  It was lovely again.  And words can't express how beautiful it felt.  
But the music does. :)

This approach is definitely a bit romantic, but I hope perhaps it will help you a little when you face your next I'm-quitting-crisis.  
There is HOPE for quitters!

Now onto the bedroomsbathroomslaundryhallway. :)

{Linking to Life Made Lovely}

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Fresh Mantel for Summertime

 So, Ms Layla is having a Summer Mantel party and truth be told, I haven't gotten into fussing much over my mantel.  
But a Summer Mantel Party is just the motivation I need.

So I challenged myself to use only what I had on hand, squeezed the creative juices out, and this what I got.

It helped immensely to start by removing everything off the mantel that wasn't semi-permanent - leaving just the poppy picture and the clock, the rest was a clean slate. Then I collected all the green and blue old hardcover books (because books are one thing I have plenty of) and piled them up, turning some forwards and some backwards.  

And I made this little bit of bunting to go in this old frame, because bunting is just happy.
(Just like I made this bunting, except this time I just sewed the triangles together straight across the top, without the bias tape)


Then I added some random blue, green and neutral accents.
(all thrift store finds except the b&w print)

And you know what?  I had fun fussing over my mantel.  It was a good exercise to just clear it off and start fresh, using things I already had around the house.

Three cheers for motivating parties!

See the more of the Family Room & my No-Sew Curtain Tutorial {HERE}

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Plate Cluster Loveliness

I've been looking and thinking about doing an arrangement like this for a good while now.

It's kind-of unexpected and pretty, with a good bit of whimsy-ness.

I've admired this cluster for over a year - that stove  sure doesn't hurt the charm factor.

So, I'm encouraged to keep working on my plate collection...
 and be adventurous with the hammer soon.

{Linking to Lollipops}

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Summer Dream Tart Redux

 I've posted this recipe before, but as the rains finally give way to real-live Summer Days, I feel compelled to bring this favorite tart before your eyes once again.  It's so simple, elegant, and just plain wonderful - my absolute favorite summer dessert.

If you haven't made it yet, here's your reminder to do so, quick-quick.

Recipe for Strawberry Dream Tart


1 1/4 cups flour
2 - 3 T. sugar
1/2 cup butter, well chilled or frozen 30 minutes
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 T. very cold water

1.Preheat oven to 375. In food processor combine flour, sugar.  Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Combine egg yolk and water.  Gradually add to flour mixture and process until dough just holds together. 
2.Press dough into flat disk and press into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom.  Line crust with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
3. Bake until edges are slightly browned, 15-18 minutes.  Remove pie weights and foil and continue baking 5-8 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove pie weights and cool on rack.

Lemon Cream Cheese Filling

3 oz. cream cheese, softened (usually use neaufatel-no noticeable difference)
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 pound strawberries, sliced

1. In food processor, process cream cheese until fluffy.  Add lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar.  Process  until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
2. In medium bowl, whip cream to soft peaks.  Fold cream cheese mixture into whipped cream.
3. Place 1/2 of mixture in prepared pastry.  Layer sliced strawberries over cream mixture and cover with remaining half of cream mixture.  
4. Chill 3-5 hours.

If you want to be an Over-Achiever: Arrange 1 pound whole stemmed strawberries, pointed ends up, over entire tart.  In sauce pan, melt 1/4 cup currant jelly over low heat and stir in 1 T. triple sec or Grand Mariner.   Remove from heat and let cool about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent film from forming.  Spoon or brush jelly mixture over strawberries and Chill.  

Note: I rarely do this extra bit, and it's still the best ever.

Then there's this pretty little mini-sized variation on the same recipe.  

Just right for showers, teas and the like.

All my very favorite recipes can be found {HERE}.  Enjoy!

{Linking to Southern Hospitality}

Monday, May 23, 2011

Quiet Time

 When my twins were ready to quit taking morning naps we instituted the most wonderful mid-morning tradition:  Quiet Time.  During Quiet Time the twins each get a basket of books to sit and look through in their beds, and I usually turn on the fan as they're used to it.  I really need to get a little cd player for some music.... 
When I started this they were so excited to get to read books instead of having to take a nap that they readily decided Quiet Time was superb.

Quiet Time is usually from 11:00 to 12:00, which provides a perfect window for me to spend some one-on-one time doing some preschool-type stuff with my four-year-old.  He also usually watches one Blue's Clues for the last 20 minutes and then the twins join him for a second Blue's Clues, keeping the two-year-old's t.v. time to a minimum and giving me a nice 40 minute window to Accomplish Something.

 This little one perhaps loves Quiet Time the most - no book is ever left unread in the basket.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Make Yourself Some Lovely Curtains: A No-Sew Tutorial

You may remember this fabric, I purchased at Hobby Lobby on clearance a while back.  It was destined to be made into curtains, but not curtains that were sewn.  For one, I don't have a machine, and for two, it was time to try something new.

So, I picked up a pack of this Stitch Witchery at Hobby Lobby ($3.29 plus 40% off coupon).  I hadn't used this before but my sister was confident it would do the trick.

 First, I folded over the top edge just eye-balling a straight fold and pressing down with my hand.   I could have folded over more for a more substantial hem, but I didn't have quite enough length for a big hem.

 Then I placed the Stitch Witchery underneath the fold.

Then placed a clean, damp cloth on top and pressed the iron flat down. Picking the iron up and pressing (not sliding the iron) as I went down the line.

Then I did the same thing with the side.

And here they are.  I love having the clip curtain rings as it makes it so easy to switch out curtains and to make some as simple as these.  These rods were here when we moved in - someday I'll get around to moving them up a little higher.

My family room is feeling quite happy. Quite.

See More of the Family Room {HERE}

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Baby Steps to Sanity : A Tie Rack

This post could also be a meek answer to the question: What ever happened to that 40 Bags in 40 Days Project?????

Well, it was going so well and for a good while, each day I really was steadily conquering, organizing and decluttering a specified mess.  HOWEVER.... some of the specified messes on my list were a bit bigger than others.  I ought to have broken them down into smaller tasks.  Also, there was tax season, which is a bit of an issue for me as a work-at-home-bookkeeper.  

And CLOSETS are such undertakings!

The initial tackling of each one would quickly result in a freakish mess like this one.

Above is a picture of our extra bedroom where my obliging husband kindly keeps his clothes.  For our five years of our marriage thus far, he always kept all of his ties slug over a plastic hanger and dropping on the floor.  And I dreamed of a tie rack like this.

Well now, I can move on to some more dreamy dreams, because I headed over to Bed, Bath, Beyond and finally got a tie rack using one of those big blue coupons, of course.   

And installed it myself, using a drill and everything.
I felt like such a good wifey.

 Here it is in all it's orderly niceness.

Look forward to posting full, lovely closet reveals....eventually. ;)

See Today's Post {HERE}

{Linking to Somewhat Simple}