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made in earlysville

made in earlysville

our family, our home, our food, our life.. all made in earlysville

Monday, April 2, 2012

Green Front Door & Landscape "Plan"

My inspiration for our (going to be, hopefully today!) new green front door. I snapped this picture last summer while out shopping yard sales with my girls. They colors on their home are almost identical to ours (except for their beautiful brick walk way and porch, I am SO jealous) so I knew this would work for us. And did I mention I LOVE green? I love green. A lot. I mean really, who doesn't love green? Green is awesome.

This is my landscape "plan" or actually just a sad little drawing of most of the things I'd eventually like to accomplish with our front yard and driveway. Right now we pretty much have a gravel parking lot for a front yard, not so pretty. If you're wondering where our house is, it's at the bottom. This is a view from the front porch looking out.

And here is a view of the front of the house from the driveway. I am clearly NOT an artist so ignore my mad drawing skills and focus on the plan. Notice I don't even have any bushes or plantings along the front of the house? That would be because I have NO idea what to pick. I know what I want high and low plantings with room for some annuals but not requiring them in case they aren't in our budget for each season. 

You should know that I am not expecting to get all of this done this year. The work on the driveway requires equipment and money that we don't have right now. So we're going to start with the things that cost less but will make a big improvement and that we have or have access to the tools required to complete the job. First on the list will be painting the front door, filling the baskets on the front porch railings and replacing and painting the bannisters going up the stairs. They have rotted and they look terrible. I'm also going to look for a new knob handle set for the front door. I'm thinking aged bronze to go with the window hardware I'll be installing later this week.

Today I'm going to the paint store and the big blue home improvement store and we'll see what I come up with. That front door will hopefully be getting a coat of green during nap! And hopefully it will be dry by the time all of the 3 year olds come over for play group. 

Happy Monday!

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Big Change and Spring Break To-Do's

I hope you're having a great weekend and are enjoying the last little bit of it like I am!

This next week is spring break for us and that means the hubby works constantly while I'm at home with the kids who don't have school or any activities... This could really go either way but I'm hoping it will go the way of good and happy kids and happy and productive Mama. I'm hoping to take advantage of the time we have at home. Since I didn't win the lottery this weekend, I'll be doing the work myself (bummer!).  I have lots of projects planned and high hopes for getting this house in order. 

Here is my list:
Landscape plan for front yard (yay! one thing done!)
Purchase plants/supplies from Lowes (for our house AND the kennel)
Put down crabgrass preventer
Weed flower beds
Put down Preen (or alternative)
Install plants (for our house AND the kennel)
Purchase mulch
Install mulch
Order/replace filler for window baskets 

Replace top rails on front porch
Paint/seal top rails on front porch

Paint front door green (woohoo!)
Remove ugly storm door
Purchase and replace hardware on front door (no more brass!)

Paint pots with house number for front porch (been meaning to do this for 2 years...)

Purchase hardware for dining room curtains
Purchase document print fabric similar to this
Make dining room curtains
Install hardware and curtains 

Drywall backsplash in kitchen (if we can't find someone willing to do it, so far it's looking like me)
Paint and stencil backsplash in kitchen
Install shelves over sink
Install pendant light over sink

Host play group on Monday afternoon
Take girls to dentist on Tuesday morning (super fun right?)
Do laundry and put away all of their clothes in drawers (not just in baskets thrown in closet to be then thrown on the floor...)
Play date with cousins on Wednesday afternoon (yay!)
Workout Wednesday night
Hosting Easter cookout Sunday afternoon

And somewhere in there I guess I'll need to be cooking/preparing for that cookout? We'll see what actually ends up getting done this week. 

And while I'm busy doing all of that, Blogelina will be busy transferring my blog over to WordPress and setting up my official new fancy site. As far as I know it's all supposed to be seamless and you won't have to make any changes or re-sign up for email delivery or anything. Things may look a little weird in the meantime but hopefully only for a few days. Once it's all set up hopefully I'll have some of these things crossed off of my list and some fun pictures to show you.

Happy Spring break!

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring Rag Wreath "Tutorial"

So I bought all of the supplies to make this rag wreath last year but really I think was a crazy person. Our house was still very much under construction and I had a 3 month old baby on top of my already demanding (then) 2 year old. Crazy person I tell you!

I think I saw my initial inspiration in a magazine and ended up googling directions somewhere. I don't exactly remember where those directions are and I suck at actually following directions so I didn't bother to look any up this time. How hard could it be to tie fabric onto a Styrofoam wreath? Really not that hard. I promise you, anyone can do this.

Here's how it turned out:

Pardon me holding Ellorie and taking this picture in the reflection...

And for your "tutorial" (you really don't need one, this is SO easy): I cut 12" strips of lots of springy fabrics that I bought from JoAnn's last year. I tied them on wrong side out and double knotted them on the front of the wreath. I scrunched them together and in many places my knots had to be one up, one down so you wouldn't see any of the green foam underneath. Super easy and super cute. I'm planning on making a red-white-blue version for this summer. 

I cut WAY too much fabric so here is what I did with the rest. I think it's cuter than Easter grass but I'm not sure I would go out of my way to create this look had I not had all of it left over. But if you're into the labor intensive Easter basket look I say go for it. Or better yet, make yourself a rag wreath and use the leftovers like I did!

Our JoAnn's is moving locations so the entire store is on a crazy discount right now. I bought a bunch of sparkly red felt for like 75% off (yay!!) in hopes of making this wreath for Christmas. SO CUTE!

My glass of wine is calling me...

I hooked up with House of Hepworths for this post! Check out the fun link party here.


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Sunday, March 25, 2012

My Weekend

So I was supposed to be cooking all weekend, remember?  That didn't happen. I got distracted when I saw this tutorial on making your own Ballard inspired trellis wallpaper. I may or may not have spent all of Saturday afternoon/early evening practicing in our kitchen.

We went to Lowes on Saturday with the kids and like usual came home with nothing but fed children who needed to nap. Kind of frustrating but then again we do have a 1 year old and a 3 year old. What were we thinking? The positive that came out of this fruitless trip was that we did decide where to focus our efforts for the next little while. I would be lying if I said we weren't bad about starting little projects all over the house and never really accomplishing much. So we decided that we are going to finish the kitchen to our liking and spend as little money as possible doing so. 

Here's the plan:

This pretty little light fixture is on it's way and will live above our sink where we currently have a plain old can light. I think it will look WAY better and really, who doesn't love Ballard Designs?

Ballard Designs

Currently we have funky tan laminate countertops and they're going to have to stay because replacing them is going to be expensive. We also have a ginormous laminate backsplash (like 6", ugh) and I'm still working on how we're going to remove it without creating massive damage to the wall behind it. It may also have to stay until we can afford to replace the countertops for real and I'm going to have to be ok with that. I think I can be if we have a pretty wall and shelves like these to look at instead. I think we'll only have room for two over the sink but I think I'll love it!

Beneath My Heart

And this is what got me so distracted all Saturday afternoon. I think I may be in love. 

Jones Design Company

I followed this tutorial based on the Ballard Designs drapes that I was already in love with. First I used this stencil and traced it on the wall with a pencil.

A better look at it up close. It's not perfect and it drove Andy CRAZY. I figured it would be fine, I was just practicing anyways. Notice the unfinished drywall patch below (that we've been living with for like ever...)? That has to be fixed before we do anything anyways and then we'll have to paint so really, if I screw it up no big deal. 

I didn't take a picture of my first try or at least I can't find it if I did. I'm not an artist and it really didn't look that great. It wasn't very even. So I went back and re-read the tutorial and realized that she just used a brush that was the size of line she wanted and just pushed down so it was the same width throughout. I'm not even going to try to explain what I did the first time. Looking back I'm wondering what exactly was I thinking? Her method is clearly spelled out (if I had taken the time to read it) and it works nicely and was way faster. So I followed the directions the second time and came up with this. Again, just practice, don't freak out. 

Here it is with the light on. The light that will be beautiful when the new one comes in.

And closer up, light still on. You can see it isn't perfect and you can also see the pencil marks in some places. Hers clearly looks better than mine does and her pencil marks seem far less visible than mine. I tried erasing them and it just smudged into the paint and looked worse. I'm thinking next time I'll just make sure to paint over them really well and then I won't have to worry about it. There are definitely a few spots that look a little funky but all in all I really like the design. What do you think? Feel free to tell me I'm a crappy painter and to stop. I'd rather know it now than after I paint an entire wall of this :-) 

Our kitchen island is going to get 4 new feet to raise it up to the proper height. It came with those ugly black and metal feet that looked as if they should be on a rolling metal shelf. Not really the look we were going for in the kitchen so we never put them on after putting it together. It's also going to get a coat of paint but we're not sure yet if we're going to go blue to match the hutch in the dining room or if we'll go white to go with the kitchen. I'm definitely leaving the butcher block top unpainted. I love the way it looks but I it will probably need to be refinished after a few years of abuse use. Maybe I can get some of the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and paint the island and the kitchen table the same? I'm thinking Pure White and a little distressing? I'm trying to talk myself into spending that much money on a quart of paint...

And you already know my plans for our breakfast nook. I think it will all go together quite nicely if we can just get it all done. 

Jennifer Rizzo

And if that wasn't enough for one weekend, today I started on this project. This is my Grandmother's old dresser and we are repurposing it for Maddie's room. I sanded it today and filled nail holes. The plan is to paint it Pottery Barn White to match her other furniture. I'm also going to get some pretty glass knobs to finish it off. 

Now I'm just waiting for the wood filler to dry so I can either retouch again or start priming. This will be my first experience with painting furniture. I have all of the supplies and I am planning to follow Centsational Girl's instructions. Any tips?

How was your weekend?

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Friday, March 23, 2012

A not-so-typical Friday

Fridays at our house are usually rushed in the morning. Maddie has school at 9:00 am and that means Andy has to be out the door with the kids by 8:20 am to make it in time for drop off. Maddie does not like to miss drop off. If you miss drop off that means that your Mommy or Daddy has to walk you in to your class room and that just isn't cool enough for Maddie. And yes, I said Andy takes the kids on Friday mornings. His days off are Friday and Saturday and he gives me off on Friday mornings. It's glorious and he totally rocks! 

This Friday there was no school so we hung out at home. In our jammies. For most of the morning.

Apparently jammies were too constricting so Ellorie got naked and had snack in Mommy's nice chairs in the living room. Awesome.

Hey Mom, whatcha doing?

She may or may not be wearing yesterday's braids and eating snack in front of Doc McStuffins... I just love that she has a couch full of baby dolls and stuffed animals and is holding several while trying to eat snack and watch tv. She cracks me up!

We watched Daddy mow the lawn and weed eat. How 'bout those pink socks?? She went upstairs and go those to go with her outfit along with a pink sparkly bow and a Christmas bow. Gotta love a 3 year old's sense of fashion!

We shared some sisterly love. This just might be my all time favorite picture. Ever.

Ellorie was not sure about this...

Yea, pretty sure she does not want to be hugged/choked by big sister anymore, ha!

We modeled in the boot tray that Mommy was trying to photograph for the blog. Oh well, at least they're cute! Guess that post will have to wait for later!

Hope you had a good Friday, too!

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Dinner Tonight

There were lots of "mmm's" at the dinner table tonight. I tried a KRAFT FRESH TAKE Cheese & Breadcrumb mix that I got this week at the grocery store.  The kids missed out on this part but Andy and I liked it. I got it for almost free and Kraft First Taste is sending me a free one as well. I'm not sure if I would buy it at full price but for free I definitely had no problem making it for dinner. 

I made this to go along with it. The kids were SO excited when I put it on the table! Ellorie could live off of broccoli (don't ask me why, she'll even eat it frozen out of the bag!) and Maddie feels the same way about mushrooms (minus the frozen part, they don't freeze well...). She ate all of hers and asked for more! Throw in some pasta, spinach and cheese? I've got two happy girls! 

Veggies & Pasta

Box of whole wheat pasta, cooked and drained
1 head of broccoli, chopped
8 oz sliced mushrooms
couple handfuls of fresh spinach
1 tbsp minced garlic
pepper to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Put all of the veggies, garlic and olive oil in your pan. Sauté on medium until veggies are softened, maybe 3-4 minutes? I don't soften mine all of the way, I like them to still have a little crunch. Throw in as much of your pasta as you would like. I used about half and kept the rest for the kids' lunch tomorrow. You could use more if you had more people or less for less. Really, whatever works. Add cheese and stir. 

You can put in any veggies you want and this recipe would still work well. The girls thought bacon would have been good but they've also had that on the brain all day since Daddy made it for them for breakfast. Ellorie could live off of broccoli and bacon, it's a little ridiculous. Chicken would also be good or chicken AND bacon if your kids are little beggars like mine are. I swear they're like little dogs when it comes to bacon, ha!

I hope your family enjoys this as much as mine did!

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Favorite Things

I've been an internet addict this week, big time. So I thought I'd make you a list of my favorite things. Maybe we'll make it a weekly event? We'll see if I can be that organized ;-)

I think this was probably featured in someone else's favorites week but I'm including it because I think it's awesome. You can download FREE fonts, including Pottery Barn (so cool!) here. If only I were cool enough to figure out how to use them in this post. Maybe next week.

This breakfast nook by Jennifer Rizzo (featured on The Lettered Cottage) was amazing inspiration for our breakfast table, especially since we have that same table! I can't wait to refinish it and pair it with a bench. I'm working on finding a mirror that works for our space. LOVE THIS!

And I guess if I'm going to be refinishing my kitchen table I should be reading Centsational Girl's Painting a Kitchen Table. Good tips on how to get it done right.

I have plenty of leftovers in the fridge and I have some round dinner rolls in the freezer that I think would be perfect for this Customizable Bread Bowl Breakfast. I love the idea of having everyone pick whatever they want to put in. I think the girls will love making this! Thanks, Kim @ NewlyWoodwards, for the great idea!

And who doesn't love Chocolate Muffins? I'm thinking these will be a huge hit in our house!

I love Weelicious (can we just note how cute that name is?). She has great recipes for kids (and adults) and she always tries to make them healthier using things like whole wheat flour, agave nectar instead of sugar and all sorts of other alternatives that I probably wouldn't come up with on my own. I haven't loved every recipe or substitution (sometimes you have to just use the real stuff!) but I have found quite a few favorites for our house. Check her out!

We made Pink Milk this week, yum! We added spinach on Caroline's advice and it was great! It turned our pink milk a little less pink and a little more brown but the kids didn't really care as they guzzled it down. We even made it again the next day and Maddie said, "Don't forget we have to add the lettuce Mommy!" She was clearly fine with it. 

I'm also thinking of trying the Carrot Ginger Sauce since Maddie is so into the ginger dressing at Sakura. She loves it on salad so I'm hoping they both love it on pasta? 

What are you up to this week? Apparently I'm going to be doing a lot of cooking....

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