Sunday, May 29, 2011

We have a winner!

Good morning! Hope everyone's having a good Memorial Day weekend so far.

My husband and I finished painting our bedroom yesterday, changing the color from Valspar's Montpelier Olive to Benjamin Moore's Camouflage.  The Montpelier Olive turned out to be too dark for this space, but now it's fresh and lovely thanks to a couple coats of this light, grey-green neutral.

I also hit up an estate sale yesterday morning where I bought *more* furniture.  Ruh-roh!

My husband keeps giving me the side-eye every time he glances in the direction of the porch, which of course is where the new furniture went. 

But let me tell you, the furniture was too cool to pass up and the prices were unbelievable! For less than $55, I brought home two Hollywood Regency-esque bamboo cane-back side chairs, a gorgeous, ornate sofa table (that's already spray primed no less!) and a set of four Depression-era dining room chairs with drool-inducing turned legs.

See why I couldn't resist?

All right, enough already with my babbling. 

I'm really here this morning to announce the winner of Carolina Country Living's First Ever/Cottage Charm Giveaway!

Having never held a giveaway before, this was such a fun event and I've been overwhelmed with the response from all of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

I also want to thank Kim at The Twice Remembered Cottage for hosting this month-long fete of sheer generosity. She's brilliant for coming up with the concept and so kind to hold the event now for five years running. Let's all give Kim a hearty "thank you!"

So, without further ado, the lucky winner of this bundle of goodies is...

Congratulations, Sherry! 

And thank you again, everyone, for participating in this giveaway. I hope that if you didn't win here at my blog, that you were lucky enough to win at one of the other blogs as all the other winners are posted today!

Take care and enjoy the rest of the weekend. I'm off to paint more furniture! :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I feel a crafting spree coming on

Back in December, I was a crafting fool.

I'd just started blogging and it was Christmas and so the situation was ripe for crafting.

But since then, I've mostly felt like painting furniture and attempting to decorate. (And watching all the How I Met Your Mother re-runs on Lifetime.)

I've made plenty of candles and a couple odds and ends, but on the whole, I just haven't felt the urge to really craft.

Oh, but how that's a-changin' soon, my friends!

I've run across tons of neat crafty projects lately that I'm dying to do.  They've completely reignited the crafting flame in me!

Do you have a crafting flame in you? :)

Even though I'm in the midst of repainting my bedroom, and there are multitudes of furniture projects still on my porch of shame (in my defense, I will say about half of its primed at this point, so headway is being made...slowly), I just really want to craft instead.

Anybody with me?  Sara?

First on the list--and something I can do as soon as the bedroom repaint is complete--is making this ladder shelf like Michael from Inspired By Charm did.

Inspired By Charm

There is a vintage 8-foot ladder that's been on my back porch since the fall that will be perfect for this. The beauty of this shelf, besides the ingenious use of the ladder, is the simplicity of it. All I have to do is attach a piece of wood to the top edge, have my husband hang it, and we'll be set. Project completed; one more piece of crap off my porch.

Another instant-gratification project is spray painting picture frames. I've had a pile of various frames on the floor in my bedroom for months now. They're ugly and need paint, but the lack of motivation has been a real stumbling block. Though I saw this photo last year at Vintage Revivals, I ran across it again recently and now I definitely want to prettify those frames and get them off the floor! I love how Mandi grouped the frames, the variety of colors and their yummy patinas.

Vintage Revivals

Mandi actually used mirrors for this project and treated them with acid to expose fabric lining the backs of the mirrora. I'm tempted to do this, but I better just take one step at a time and paint the frames first!

If you haven't visited That's My Letter, and you like to craft, please run, don't walk, to that blog now. I'm a new follower of Jaime's and her craft-making and furniture-building skills are wicked.  A recent project of hers that stole my heart and will promptly be copied is this patchwork wall art.

That's My Letter

See, I haven't hung more than three pictures in my house in the 3-1/2 years we've lived here. But this year will be the year my house finally gets the pictures and art it deserves. I'm already smitten with patchwork so I'm keeping an eye out for a drying rack at the thrift store or yard sales.  My version of this craft will be hanging somewhere in my house before 2011 is over!

Liz Marie Blog is another blog I only recently found and Liz Marie had two projects that sang to me. The first involved painting mason jars. I've painted Dollar Tree glass containers before, but it never occurred to me to paint any of my clear mason jars.  Apparently I don't think outside of the mason jar.

Liz Marie Blog

With the hydrangeas in bloom here now--and the fact I just picked up a wide-mouth Kerr jar for $.20 last Saturday--this will definitely be a nap-time project this week!

The second project is this chicken wire frame.

Liz Marie Blog

I can almost guarantee there is an old window somewhere in my dad's shop and I know we have a roll of chicken wire (probably on the porch...) All this project requires is a staple gun and you get more easy-peasy wall art.

Since I never actually print photos anymore, I may go this route with the chicken wire frame or just clip some of my vintage postcards and other ephemera to it.

Someday Crafts

Either way, the walls will receive further beautification!

I see a trend forming here as we move on to this next project.

Yep, something else that hangs on a wall!

In Color Order
I made an upholstering webbing wreath in December and it's *still* hanging on my back door nearly six months later.  Do you think it's time I pack it away? :) When I saw this wreath from In Color Order, I knew it'd been a perfect overdue summer replacement.  I probably won't go with such bright, primary fabrics, but this is another nap-time craft that's calling to me.

And last but not least, The Speckled Dog is another new-to-me blog that I'm really digging right now for crafting inspiration.  Kristie takes thrift store finds and transforms them with paint. Her good taste in colors compelled me to pick up a few paint samples she recommended at Home Depot yesterday.

The Speckled Dog

The Speckled Dog
And I had the good fortune of finding a cheese dome at Goodwill today! Perhaps by the time the holiday weekend is over, I will have my very own repainted cheese dome.

So, are you a crafter at heart?  What crafts have inspired you lately?


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

B &A: Cane Back Living Room Set

 Carolina Country Living's first-ever giveaway goes through Saturday night. Come check out the assortment of cottage-inspired goodies I'm offering and enter for your chance to win!

This giveaway is now over.


So, before we get to the furniture, I need to do some cooking/baking venting.  I'm in a rambling kind of mood, so bear with me. :)

I love to bake and am usually very competent, even skilled, at it.

However, last week I made strawberry jam that flopped and turned out to be more of a sauce.

I'll admit, I didn't exactly "follow directions," so it was my fault. (It was a no-pectin recipe and I didn't do the plate test since I was being cocky after successfully making marmalade back in the winter. Lesson learned!)

The annoying part of it is that I now have four pints, seven half-pints and four 4-ounce containers of the stuff.  I was planning on making a year's supply of jam, hence why I made so many jars. Now we'll just have to suck it up and eat runny jam on our toast because my practical and frugal sides won't stand to toss perfectly good tasting, if ugly, food.

Today, I made a chocolate cake. I've dubbed it the PMS Cake because it'll completely satisfy those intense monthly cravings for sugar and chocolate. :)

The recipe comes from Staci at Life at Cobble Hill Farm and it is divinity on a plate. I made one Friday afternoon and it was completely devoured by Saturday night! (Not all by me, I promise!)

Since Aunt Flo will be visiting any day now, I had a hankering for some of that cake today and decided to make another.  It seriously satisfies like no other. 

The recipe calls for two sticks of butter in the cake, and one for the icing. I had just one stick left from the last cake, so I decided to sub coconut oil for the two sticks of butter in the cake batter.

At this juncture, let's do some simple home ec math real quick.

Two sticks of butter equals how many tablespoons, class?

Excellent, you are correct: 16.

So, how many cups does 16 tablespoons equal?

Right again, you smart people!  Sixteen tablespoons equals one cup.

Okay, remember this little lesson for later.

So I proceeded to make the batter, but it seemed a little greasier than I remembered. However, once the eggs were beaten in, they bound the batter together and all looked well.

Continuing on my merry, little Betty Crocker way.

Put the cake in the oven. It took longer to bake this go-round, but only by 7 minutes.

No biggie.

While the cake was cooling, I made the frickin' delicious boiled icing, poured it on the cake and let it sit for awhile to soak in.

Fingers tap-tap-tapping on the table.

Then I cut myself a piece and something was terribly amiss.

I sampled a corner piece and it just wasn't as sweet as the first cake. And gawd was it dense and oily.

I tried a bit from the center of the pan and it was moderately better tasting, but only because the icing was thicker there due to the fact the middle had settled noticeably after cooling.

I notice I could have moisturized both of my hands with the grease on my fingertips.

Then my mom popped in.  She cut a small piece and declared it decent tasting (because she's far too kind and doesn't have the ability to be truly critical) but not nearly as good as the first one.

Was it because I used coconut oil this time?  Or because I used dark cocoa powder as opposed to the regular cocoa like I did last time?  WHAT HAVE I DONE TO THIS CAKE?!?

And then I remembered.

When measuring the coconut oil earlier in the afternoon, my addled, pre-menstrual brain converted 16 tablespoons of fat to 16 *ounces.* That means I used 16 *ounces* of melted coconut oil in the recipe instead 16 *tablespoons.* 

Class, how many cups equals 16 ounces?

Yep.  That'd be two cups.

Needless to say, I immediately made an additional note on my recipe card that says to use only one cup of butter or coconut oil for the cake in the future.

Hand to forehead.

Let's hope this is my last kitchen blunder for awhile. My hormones are very unhappy about not having that awesome chocolate cake right now. 


Anyhoo, now onto a project I didn't screw up!  Hurray!

This cane-backed living room set was an auction find from January 2010. It sat in my loft for over a year before receiving multiple coats of primer and paint back in February.


Side chair to the left, rocking chair on the right

I took the painted pieces to my upholsterer, along with several washed and pressed drop cloths, and now here they are! 

Though it's difficult to tell in these photos, the chairs are painted Dove White by Sherwin Williams and the sofa is Gentle Rain, a whisper-soft grey, by Behr (but mixed at SW.)  Like I said, all the seat cushions are upholstered in drop cloths, while the bolster and round pillows on the sofa are linen from the same bolt used on this cane-back sofa I finished in March.

I tossed a blue ticking pillow on the rocking chair so it wouldn't look so naked for the sake of the photos, but that pillow actually belongs with its mate on my sofa downstairs.  Very soon, I will be making envelope-style pillow covers using Cath Kidston fabric I purchased from Etsy in these--as the British say--colourways:

Cath Kidston Provence Rose in Light Blue
Cath Kidston Summer Blossom in Light Blue

My eventual goal is to make this a British reading/lounging loft. This topic could be a post of its own, but ever since running across several wonderful blogs like Posy and HenHouse, I've grown to love the cheery colors and patterns of Cath Kidston's fabrics, and the general coziness of this style of British decorating.  

Future plans for this room including taking an old pine Pier One coffee table and painting a whitewashed Union Jack on top.  And I read somewhere that Briwax makes a pickling lime.  As you can see, there is a ton of natural wood on the walls, ceiling and floor of the loft and I'd like to break this up a bit by liming the horizontal wood siding on the wall with the windows.  And maybe even paint the window trim white. Daring, aren't I? :)

We'll see what happens!


Sharing at:
Piece of Work Wednesdays at Primitive and Proper
Power of Paint Party at Domestically Speaking
Restored It Wednesday at Restore Interiors 
Whatever Wednesday at Momma Hen's Coop
Transformation Thursdays at The Shabby Chic Cottage
All Things Furniture at Perfectly Imperfect
Furniture Feature Friday at Miss Mustard Seed
Air Your Laundry Friday at Freckled Laundry
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Saturday Nite Special at Funky Junk Interiors
Paint, Please Party at Modern Country Style 

The DIY Club's 31 Days of Painting