My latest obsession is the air plant. More formally known as Tillansdia, the air plant is quite a funky specimen. It requires no soil, minimal water, and very little thought- a combo that is more than ideal in my book. The only downside of these plants is trying to find them. Lucky for me a nursery in the area had a few on hand for my most recent project.
The first step in my “Spruce up the mantle” project was ordering these hanging glass terrariums from CB2, the cheaper cousin of Crate & Barrel. They are $6.95 a piece with a flat shipping rate of $4.95.
Within a week, these glass lovelies were in my hands and ready to hang. With a little help from things I already had on hand (namely the large gilt frame and wreath), I created my display.
I tucked a little moss into the wreath to add more interest.
But of course my favorite part is the air plants. All they require to maintain is a light water misting once a week. Even the most plant care challenged/brown thumb folks can handle these beauties.
I’m certainly digging the display (at least for now) and quite happy with the cost it took to create- somewhere in the ballpark of $60 total. Easy peasy and super affordable. Now it’s on to the next project!
Our house is outfitted with furniture and accessories that have been amassed over time and acquired from a variety of sources, but mostly from family, the side of the road (yay for dumpster diving!), and/or thrift shops. Looking around, it seems that every piece of furniture, lamp, picture, etc., has some story/memory behind it- an aspect that I find comforting and meaningful. Anyhoo, one accessory that feels like it has been around fo-eva is a mirror Aaron has had since college. It’s a heavy beast and has been repainted by yours truly multiple times in order to fit into whatever decor I have going on at the moment.
I like where we have it hung at the moment, but I just felt like it was still a little plain and simple for my tastes. My first thought was I could age the mirror portion to give it a faux patina using acid. After looking online at some tutorials I nixed this idea, not because it was difficult, but rather because it takes practice to get the technique right and I really didn’t want to ruin the mirror. My next idea was to paint a portion of the mirror with chalkboard paint adding a little function to an otherwise stagnant piece. Perfect!
My first steps were to tape off and then apply two coats of chalkboard paint. After letting it cure for 24 hours, we had a chalkboard for dinner menu announcements, grocery lists, reminders, etc.
I am fond of how I left mirror on both sides of the chalkboard- it makes the mirror unique and not so cookie cutter. Three cheers for an easy project with a great end result!
Since we’ve moved into our home we have learned some interesting tidbits about the home and its previous owners from our neighbors. For one, the home had at one time been turned into a duplex and then converted back to a single family home by different owners. Another interesting item is that two owners before us was a well-known interior decorator in the area. The owner after her hadn’t repainted except for the two front rooms that were that hideous orange color that I quickly painted over. This makes sense since for the first time ever, I actually liked the existing colors in most of the house. The only downside is that over time someone had tried to retouch areas using a similiar paint color that was the completely wrong sheen (i.e., satin instead of flat). You could clearly see the “touch-ups” and it was driving me batty.
The room most afflicted with these spots was the living/dining room. I attempted to first match the color since I thought it looked pretty good, but was unsuccessful. It was then time for Plan B: repaint it a lighter color that would pull in more of the natural light and compliment the existing color that would still be in the adjoining kitchen. Here’s the room before my paint job:
The color Aaron and I chose is a khaki tone with a hint of green/yellow. I wasn’t completely sold on it at first, but I have to admit it’s grown on me.
I used Olympic’s no-VOC paint and was rather impressed. The coverage was actually pretty good and the fumes were almost non-existent (although I did still open up the windows and doors for ventilation just in case). Considering the price was ~$25 for a gallow compared to Sherwin William’s no-VOC brand Harmony at $39, I think I found myself a new brand of paint!
We consider ourselves pretty fortunate to have two bathrooms in our house. Our first home only featured one, our second had three, our rental had one, and now we find ourselves with two. With three people vying to get ready in the mornings, having multiple showers/baths/etc. has become a necessity. That being said, the upstairs bathroom in our home was a tad dated (read: 80′s!) when we moved in. It featured the hollywood lights-style fixture, big vanity mirror, and boheameth of a vanity.
First things first, the mirror and light fixture had to go. I promptly put Aaron on the task and breathed a sigh of relief to have them tossed to the curb. The paint color on the walls was my next issue to remedy. It’s not that I didn’t like the color, but it was chipping in places, I didn’t know the brand or color so I could touch up, and it made the room feel small and dark. Solution? Paint!
I decided to use the same off-white (Valspar Honeymilk) as I used in the front entry. When this was done, there was still a major problem/eyesore that had to be dealt with. The vanity.
I didn’t feel like going to purchase more paint so opted to use random colors I already had on hand for a bohemian feel. After applying two coats and allowing ample time for drying, I scuffed up the finish for a distressed look.
The only thing left to do now is to get Aaron to make my driftwood drawer pulls and I will consider this room much improved. Nothing like a little paint to transform a room!
Being on maternity leave is both a necessity as we adjust to a new baby, particularly their sleeping/eating patterns, and a bit of an indulgence since I actually have time to devote to tasks I would otherwise be too harried to undertake. One such task that I’ve been interested in giving a go is making pita bread. Word on the street is that they are actually rather easy to make and after having giving it a go, I full heartedly agree. They are also much tastier than the store bought version!
My first step was to find a recipe online. I went with Food Network’s version since it was easy and I already had all the necessary ingredients on hand. It does require some time to prepare the dough since it has to rise twice over a several hour period, but other than that it is way too easy to make these. Even when I return to work I can guarantee these pitas will certainly be a frequently made item in our kitchen. Without further ado, here’s the recipe:
- 1 teaspoon dry yeast (I used Fleischman’s)
- 2 1/2 cups warm water
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- About 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a large bread bowl. Stir to dissolve. Add whole wheat flour, one cup at a time, then 1 cup white flour. Stir 100 times (one minute). Let rest for at least 10 minutes, but up to 2 hours.
Sprinkle salt over the mix and stir in the olive oil. Mix well. Add white flour, one cup at a time. When the dough is too stiff to stir, turn it out onto a lightly floured bread board and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. Return the dough to a lightly oiled bread bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until at least double in size, approximately 1 1/2 hours. Gently punch down.
The dough will make approximately 16 pitas if rolled out into circles approximately 8 to 9 inches in diameter and less than 1/4-inch thick. Size and shape all depend on you, but for breads of this dimension the following baking tips apply:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Divide dough in half, then set half aside, covered, while you work with the rest. Divide dough into eight equal pieces and flatten each piece with floured hands. Roll flat with rolling pin to 8-9″ diameter.
Bake 2 at a time (or more if your oven is larger) directly on baking stone or baking sheets. Bake each bread for 3 or 4 minutes, until the bread has gone into a full “balloon” or until it is starting to turn lightly golden, whichever happens first.
When baked, remove, place on a rack for about five minutes to let cool slightly, then wrap breads in a large kitchen towel (this will keep the breads soft).
Aaron loved the pitas as much as I did and agree they are tastier than store bought. I never cease to be amazed how homemade trumps machine made/store bought almost every time!
When we moved into our new place we had a bit of a dilemma. It’s a three bedroom house, but the master and one bedroom are upstairs while the other bedroom is on the first floor. With a young child under 5 and a newborn, I felt uncomfortable with us not being all on the same floor. Call me neurotic, OCD, or helicopter mom, but I want to be steps away from my babies when they need me in the middle of the night. To remedy this predicament, Aaron and I put our heads together and came up with a workable solution: sacrifice our walk in closet by transforming it into a nursery.
Here’s the closet before we removed all the shelves, clothes bars, etc.
The first step in converting this space was of course removing everything so we had a blank canvas. I then painted the room the same charcoal gray I had painted the downstairs den/office/sitting room.
Once the paint dried it was time for the fun part: decorating! My originally planned color scheme was either red/turquoise or turquoise/green, but that morphed over time into green/charcoal. Why the change? Entirely due to an attempt to use up what paint I already had on hand.
After painting, Aaron pin nailed the chip board letters I covered in scrapbook paper (although I have to get the ‘Y’- we didn’t know at the time whether we were having a “Charley” or a “Charles), hung the shelf I painted green, and the mobile I made.
It’s a small space for sure, but plenty of room for a crib and chair. Given that it is tiny we knew we had to make the most of the space. To that end, Aaron built shelves in a the little nook and otherwise used what we had to make the room work for Charley. My favorite item is the mobile I made using a round wood piece salvaged from an old chair, paper medallions Roscoe helped me make, fishing line, and ribbon.
So anyhoo- that’s it! Even though it’s a small space it’s perfect for Charley and allows everyone to be on the same floor. Who knows what we’ll do when she gets old enough to need a real room, but for now we consider this a problem solved.
It would be an understatement to say that our lives have changed dramatically in a week’s time. Seven days ago our little girl Charley Reed Randall made her entrance into this world and brought a feeling of joy to our hearts that is impossible to describe. I realize that not everyone is into reading about a birth story so *warning* you may want to scroll through most of this post. For those of you that do, I will keep it brief.
At midnight on Thursday night/Wednesday morning, I started having latent contractions. This basically means that the contractions have irregular frequency and length, but I knew that these were no Braxton Hicks- the baby was getting ready to make their entrance into this world. By noon the next day the contractions were coming regularly every 15 minutes. I kept myself busy most of the morning by working from home on the computer, doing last minute cleaning and laundry, and concentrating on getting through the contractions. By 2:30 my contractions were five minutes apart and I thought it time to tell Aaron to come home.
Upon the advice of my ob/gyn, we went to the doctor’s office first to check my progress. I was already 4 centimeters and 80% effaced- basically halfway there! By the time I was checked into the hospital and settled in a birthing room it was 5:00 pm, contractions 3 minutes apart and STRONG! Since I had given natural birth to Roscoe, I knew I was going to do it with this child. Let’s just say that contractions hurt like the Dickens, but the benefits of no pain killers is that you feel amazing after birth. Anyhoo, by 6:15 I knew baby was coming and it was time to push! At 6:25 our baby girl made her debut and filled my heart with love as soon as she was placed in my arms. 6 pounds, 14 ounces, 20 inches long.
She is beyond perfect.
And she is so lucky to have such an excited, loving older brother!
I am still in disbelief that we have been blessed with this gorgeous girl to raise and to share our lives. God is indeed good.