Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wednesday Wish List

I thought it was a bit presumptuous to put together a list of things I wanted after we just finished a holiday so focused on giving and receiving gifts.  But when my good friend Sarah sent me her Crate and Barrel wedding registry today, I thought I'd share a few kitchen related things that I both have and wish I had and maybe there's some Christmas money burning a hole in your pocket...


1. Parker Bowls from Crate and Barrel are a necessity.  They routinely change the colors so if you see a color set you like, snatch them up! Engaged or not...

2.  Even the least experienced cook in the kitchen can benefit from a food processor.  It does everything from chop food to knead bread dough and why not register for a quality piece of kitchen equipment?

3. I love love love my ramekins.  J and I use them for everything from Kosher salt storage, to prep containers, to soup bowls.  These gems know no bounds.

4. Glass food storage containers are wonderful.  We've all heard the good, the bad,  and the ugly when it comes to storing and re-heating food in plastic containers, plus you're always sending leftovers home with friends and losing the damn lids in the cupboards.  Invest in something you're sure to keep a better eye on.

5.   I absolutely adore my Crock Pot.  There are hundreds of recipes you can try and it's always nice to come home to an already cooked meal.

6.  If you're ever looking for a tried and true recipe, how to boil an egg or what you can substitute for buttermilk, this cookbook has it all.  It's an oldie for sure, but definitely a goodie.  The stuffed mushrooms I made the night I met J were from this book and I make them to this day.  The only recipes I use more than this book are from the recipe book my Grandma made me.

These are just a few of my many recommendations on kitchen items.  I love a good stainless steel pan or nice stemware.  Is there anything on your kitchen list that most folks might not think to get?  

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Quick Christmas Summary



First, Merry belated Christmas to you, readers.  In what seems like the blink of an eye, Christmas has come and gone and now we are in that period between it and the New Year.  For most of us that means going back to work for a few days until the weekend, myself included.


I hope you all had a wonderful holiday with your friends and family.  As we did on our first Christmas together last year, J and I spent a ton of time in the car:
634 miles from the time we left our house Friday afternoon until we arrived back home yesterday...and we never even left Ohio! 3 days, 3 cities and one small village and all immediate family members (and some extended ones as well) were visited.


Friday afternoon we began our journey traveling 3.5 hours (traffic included) to visit with J's brother, sister in law, nephew and his sister in law's family where J has spent many holidays past.


Saturday late afternoon we hit the road for 1.5 hours to have dinner with J's dad.  Also a "J," J's father has a tradition of taking his boys out for a wonderful dinner and I am so blessed to be included in gathering.  This year, to make things interesting, he sent the boys latitude and longitude coordinates which then needed to be converted to an address that we could plug into the GPS to get us there (the wreath above is from the restaurant as well)




After dinner Saturday, we made a 3 hour trip across the state to my mom's house so I could wake up at home on Christmas morning.  Last year we got a hotel room after dinner but it just didn't feel right waking up there and then having to travel home that morning.  So a big thanks for J for indulging me and making that drive at night--complete with me singing Christmas songs, playing with some annoying-to-J iPhone apps, and a few serious chats that you can have when you're stuck in the car with someone and it's too dark to utilize the Kindle.


Sunday morning we got around and went to my aunt and uncle's home to see my cousins, the other aunt and uncle and grandparents.  The afternoon went by too fast and before you knew it, the day was over and J and I were preparing to head back home.


Monday was a quick morning, just enough time for coffee and a quick stop for breakfast with my dad and we were back in the car making the 3.5 hour ride to the city.


It was worth it to see both of our families but in the rush of the visits, I didn't get to take nearly as many pictures as I'd like.  So as I'm cleaning up the house and putting things away, I'll share two of the gifts I received that will likely be avid contributors on the blog in their own rights:




Thanks to mom and sister, I'll be using my winter weekends to do all kinds of crafty things! Right after I take that intro to sewing class...


Hard to believe it's over, but I'm looking forward to a slow-ish week before we begin the New Year.  And all the resolutions that come with it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wednesday Wish List

Holy moly it's December 21st.  It has been raining for what feels like days here and no sign of snow.  Quite the contrary, actually, they are predicting a high today of 55 and thank. goodness. the sun has chosen to shine.  


Aside from one trip to Target to get some last minute gift bags and travel sized toiletries for our road trip this weekend, J and I have completed our shopping.  But that's not to say I still can't come up with things for the Wish List that I come across in my online adventures.  Whether Pinteresting (or "Pinkeresting," as J likes to call it for some unbeknownst reason) or hitting Amazon for that last minute gift shipped via Amazon Prime (out for delivery as we speak!) I've got four more goodies to share:


1.  I've been obsessed with finding the perfect case for my iPhone--even though I've had the phone since early March when it became available on the Verizon network.  Love this Otterbox case.  It's the right combination of cute and durable.

2. Tory Burch Flats.  Need I say more?

3.  I love musicals and I love Christmas.  A must own for the holiday season.

4.  Looking forward to 2012: I need to re-establish my paper planner routine.  I felt so much more on top of everything when it was written down.  With an accompanying calendar reminder on the computer, of course.

Are you done with your holiday shopping?  Any last minute Target-goers out there?  True story: my dad (a repeat Christmas Eve shopping offender) once took my sister and I to KMart to buy mom 5 pairs (!!!) of sweatpants with matching sweatpants.  Regardless of what size she actually wore, she was getting the XXL because that's all they had left.  Thankfully my shopping prowess was not inherited from his side. :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wall Project Part 2

One simple project I've been wanting to try is a framed piece of fabric.  Yet every time I make my  way to the fabric section of JoAnn's or even the one in Ikea, I get overwhelmed.  It's such an easy task, really, but I couldn't commit to one color or one pattern.  


As part of the ongoing bathroom decor project (I'm testing my "skills" in a small room lest it not turn out so great), I picked up a fabric square, a mat and a frame and went to work.


Fabric quarters, if you can find a pattern you like, are a much cheaper fix as opposed to buying a yard of fabric--unless you are planning on framing more than an 18" x 21" piece.

An 8" x 10" mat

And an 8" x 10" frame
I ironed out the creases in the fabric and cut a square to fit inside the parameters of the mat.
Pre-ironing

And then I taped the fabric to the mat to keep it from shifting when I put the back of the frame on.
And the finished product:
I love this fabric and the frame...still deciding on whether I like it with the yellow canvas art--I may need to find something a bit bolder in a darker gray with some yellow accents.  What do you think?
Too bad there is zero natural light in this room, doesn't help with the photography!

Overall this project was super cheap to produce:
+Frame: $16.99 @ 50% off: $8.50
+Mat: $3.49 @ 40% off with coupon: $2.10
+Fabric Square: $2.99 @ 40% off with coupon: $1.80
$12.40 total before tax.

I could have opted for a cheaper frame, but I really liked this one and I like solid picture frames that I could keep for a while so it was worth a few extra pennies.

I'm excited to keep adding to this little project, with maybe one or two more pieces.  And I'll keep you all posted on whether I opt to swap out the fabric.  Love the print though, so it will most definitely be used regardless of where.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Peppermint Bark

Can you believe we are just 6 short days away from celebrating Christmas?  This weekend was a busy one full of shopping and wrapping and baking all mixed in with a little demolition, but more on that later.  I am 90% done with my Christmas shopping, but I know what I am getting the remaining 10% so it's just a matter of finding the patience to go to the store and pick up the items.  Yet for some reason, it just does not feel like Christmas to me.


It might be the weather, it might be adapting to a much busier holiday schedule now that I'm co-habitating with J (honestly, does the decorating ever end???) or it might be because I haven't watched nearly the same amount of holiday classics as I'm used to.  But nonetheless, I'm going through the motions and have another easy peasy recipe for y'all to try.


Last week I shared the biscotti recipe with you.  This week we're going down a simpler route: Peppermint Bark.  There are a million variations and adaptations of this recipe but seeing how J is a fan of white chocolate and how I made a whole batch of double chocolate cookies with Hershey kisses on top, we're staying away from that traditional milk/dark chocolate version.  Here we go:


Peppermint Bark adapted from Paula Deen

Ingredients
Crushed candy canes, to yield 1 cup
2 pounds white chocolate (I used Tollhouse morsels)
Peppermint flavorings, optional

Directions
1. Place candy canes in a plastic bag and hammer into 1/4 inch chunks or smaller.  I used my food processor and it worked just fine.

2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.

3. Combine candy cane chunks with chocolate.  You can add the peppermint flavoring if you would like at this point, but mine tasted fine without.

4. Pour mixture onto a cookie sheet layered with parchment or waxed paper and place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes or until firm.

5. Remove from cookie sheet and break into pieces (like peanut brittle)

And there you have it, quite possibly the easiest peppermint bark recipe.  Since it gets dark at 5:00 now, you'll have to bear with me on the shadows showing up in the pictures and the lack of natural light.  But you get the gist.

J is currently working on a little project in the bedroom that he started on a whim today.  It involved cutting a large hole in the wall and running to Lowe's so he's a happy guy to have a reason to bust out the tool belt and the table saw.  There will definitely be more on that in it's own little post.  Hope you all had wonderful weekends and are ready for all the fun the holidays bring!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Design Fun

Folks, I am on a roll this week! 5 productive posts, each with something I've either made or assembled.  I can only hope this streak continues throughout the holidays!  But all self congratulatory remarks aside, let's get down to business.


A few months ago, my friend Sarah (remember her from here?) introduced me to Olioboard.  Olioboard, if you haven't heard of it, is a website that you can visit to create your very own mood boards to try items out before you buy them.  Particularly handy when testing color schemes, furniture ideas, wall decor, and even flooring! 


The last time I attempted something digital design-y (yes that is a technical term I just made up myself) I ended up giving it to J and making him figure it out.  But this I was determined to get and really, it wasn't that hard.


First, you create your account.  Then you click "Create" and you are taken to this screen:

From here you can pick the type of room or decor you are looking for: bath, dining, living, lighting, flooring, etc.


Once that is chosen, you are presented with over 130,000 (and that is a factual number listed on their website) items from some of your favorite designers and stores.  I noticed Restoration Hardware was not on the list of searchable vendors, but rest easy folks!  You can install a toolbar button called "Add to Olioboard" and anytime you are on a site and see something you'd like to add, you simply click the button and then on the picture that you'd like to add to your library.  It asks for a brief description of the picture and voila! That Italian Cypress Paisley bedding is all yours.


As you see that box on the right populate with items, you simply click on the desired product and drag it to the white space on the left.  You are provided a toggle button where you can rotate the item, make it bigger, make it smaller, and readjust its position.


And if all goes well, you end up with something like this:
1. Said items from which you can create your board
2. The round toggle button that lets you pivot and resize everything
3. When you click on the item you are working on, a box pops up letting you know the item name, color, price, and where to buy--GENIUS!

And for the finished product without bright green arrows:

Think of it as the Polyvore of home decor.  Ahhhh yes, you're all getting it now.

Before I depart, it's probably fair that I break down the pros and cons of this tool:
Pros
+130,000 options
+assortment of colors
+wide variety of items: paint, rugs, wall decor, sculptures, furniture, the list goes on and on.
+the ability to track down the products you are looking at
+very simple to use, even for a newbie like me

Cons
+some of the pictures are lacking in fullness--that white circle under the round table? I didn't put that there.  and I deleted a couple of rugs to find one that didn't have a random wood floor under it
+you cannot pivot the furniture fully or square it up to make a 3D room
+the images you select are small so you often bring them to the board to make them larger and then end up deleting them when it's not quite what you had in mind

As you can see, the pros have it.  Ease of use is big for me and I enjoy the real life application of being able to buy what I put together.  And I should probably mention that you can search for items within a certain price range too--fantastic for those of us on tight budgets!

Happy Friday everyone!  I've got the sister in town this weekend to go shopping and J wants me to finish the bathroom decorating project started here, so between that and the baking, girl has got some work to do. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Work of Art

When it comes to being domestic (my nights and weekend job), I've pretty much got this gig on lock.  I can bake, I'm great at cleaning, and I even enjoy laundry.  But straightforward tasks aside, I am lacking in the DIY/creativity department.  


A few weeks ago in this Wednesday Wish List, I focused on things I found on Pinterest.  And to prove to myself that I could actually do something, I attempted the easier of the three projects and opted to do the masking tape canvas art:

So off to JoAnn's I went.  I tend to over do things when I'm excited, but thankfully J was with me so I didn't end up with a 3' x 2' canvas.  Instead, we ended up with this little guy and a small can of yellow spray paint (the masking tape was already on hand):
My goal is to create a small decorative picture wall in the half bath (more on that room here) and with the blue-ish gray paint, I want to use the yellow as an accent color.


Seeing how I am just beginning to explore my creative side, I wanted to keep the design on the canvas simple.  And what's more simple than a chevron pattern?

Once the pattern is mapped out, you simply shake up your spray paint and go to town:
It took a little over an hour for this to dry completely so I wrapped a few presents, did a little cleaning and came back to take the tape off:

And here is the finished product against the gray wall (please excuse the poor light/camera quality):

I'm kind of excited for how this turned out and I can't wait to add a few more, non masking tape art, pieces to the collection! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wednesday Wish List

We are nearly to the "10 days until Christmas" time frame and I for one cannot believe how fast this year has flown.  It feels as if the last two months or so of this blog have flown by and here we are again at another Wednesday Wish List.


J told me Friday that he has ordered my Christmas present.  I don't know what it is, I don't know when it's coming.  He will offer up absolutely NO hints despite my best attempts to bribe it out of him.  Unlike last year where I planted the Kindle idea oh so cleverly and was 99% sure I was getting it, I've got nothin' this year.  I can only hope that he's been paying attention to the Wish List posts for a little inspiration...


Today's list is dedicated to the generous gift givers out there.  Where budget knows almost no bounds and the items are sure to please any recipient (of the female persuasion that is):




1. I can't believe I haven't mentioned this before.  I covet this French Oven.  And I think this color (Cassis) would look darling with the metallic chrome Kitchen Aid.

2. David Yurman is my favorite jewelry designer.  I bought this ring as a gift to myself for my 25th birthday and I hope to own more items in the future.  This buckle bracelet is on the list.

3.  I cheated with this one, since I already own it, but I am loving Twirl by Kate Spade.  With scents including pink watermelon, blackberry, and red currant it's a light fragrance that is so perfectly feminine.

4. I threw in a fourth item this week to round things out: this Canon Rebel Digital SLR camera.  The more I blog, the greater appreciation I have for clear pictures.  This particular model was recommended by a friend and the price tag falls nicely in the middle of several options I've looked at.

I hope your Christmas shopping is coming along swimmingly.  J still won't cave and give me even the slightest idea of what I'm getting, but I hear anticipation is part of the fun and joy of the season.  That and all of that family together time, of course.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Biscotti Anyone?

While the boyfriend was out of town this past weekend, I got a start on my holiday baking.  This probably won't be the last of posts about my baking ventures, as a fair warning to you all, but hopefully you'll find something that sounds good and that you'd like to try yourselves.


I've always enjoyed baking because I find the preciseness of it all very relaxing (is that an oxymoron?)  You know exactly how much of what ingredient to add, I love following instructions, and it's something that I'm better than J at.  


This year was my first attempt at making biscotti.  I've had it plenty of times and while perusing Martha Stewart's website for a few unique recipes, it came up as a suggestion.  



Chocolate - Pistachio Biscotti adapted from Martha Stewart
Ingredients
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup of shelled unsalted pistachios
4 ounces of dark chocolate, chopped
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour,
3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt; stir in pistachios and chocolate.
In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, butter, vanilla, and cocoa.
Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until combined.  (Dough will be
stiff so mix with hands if necessary)

2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar.
Divide dough in half and place on sheet.  Shape into 2 1/2-by-12-inch logs and sprinkle
top of each with 1 tablespoon sugar.  Bake until risen and firm, 15 to 20 minutes.  
Let logs cool completely on sheet, about 30 minutes.

3.  Reduce oven to 300 degrees.  Using a serrated knife, cut logs crosswise into
1/2 inch thick slices.  Arrange slices in a single layer on baking sheets.
Bake until biscotti are dry, 15 to 20 minutes.  
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Overall this recipe is a breeze to follow.  Unless you have a Kitchen Aid or a food processor equipped to mix heavier doughs, it will require you to use your hands and the logs are fairly easy to shape on the parchment paper--I just eyeballed the length and thickness.  So far I've gotten great reviews on the biscotti so I'll definitely be making more of this next weekend to take home for Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Little Organization

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope you all had lovely weekends and are checking off your Christmas to-do lists.  I can't believe how fast the time has flown since last Thursday.  I took full advantage of my "free weekend" and was extremely productive with my free time--not enough Hallmark Christmas movie watching if you ask me, but I did manage to get the house cleaned and a few other things crossed off my list.

One of the battles J and I had upon the commencement of our co-habitation was what I would do with all of my shoes.  I don't have that many shoes.  At least not nearly as many as I'd like and I have significantly scaled back on purchases this year.  But my collection is roughly six times larger than J's and in a house with tiny closets, there isn't much space for storage.  So I looked for solutions everywhere.  


Over the door rack?  No.  "Nothing goes on these doors," he says.


Under the bed containers? No.  "I want to see my shoes and access them easily.  I'm not crawling under the bed every time I want to try a pair on."


And hanging something in the closet was not an option because I'd be losing valuable clothing space.  Even though he threw that suggestion out there.


Tiered racks like this are, well, impractical for me and don't hold enough shoes:

{via}
And I'm not about to spend $250 for this shoe cubbie (as nice as it looks):
{via}
And don't even get me started on this:
{via}
I was starting to think what I was looking for was not going to be found.  I didn't want to spend a ton of money on a shoe rack that would be tucked into my closet and I didn't want to be so cheap it fell apart.  Friday night I planned a trip to Walmart to get baking supplies because I find their ingredients to be much cheaper than the usual grocery stores.  On a whim I checked their website and typed in "shoe storage" in the search and was pleasantly surprised with what I found:


{via}
Their Canopy line of home products features this 16 pair (!!!) canvas shoe rack for the low, low price of $24.88.  Are you kidding me?! Sold!  So I looked up the closest Walmart to me that had them in stock and naturally it was on the other side of town.  So off I went around the Columbus outer belt in what I like to call snowrain (snow flakes are falling - pretty -  but hits everything like rain so you end up with none of the benefits of snow and all of the inconveniences of rain) and picked up my baking items and my shoe rack.


I must say this was hands down the easiest thing I've ever constructed.  I grabbed one of J's screwdrivers (yes honey, I put it back right where I found it) and had it put together in 20 minutes.  Easier than anything I've ever gotten from Ikea - which I maintain is a relationship ruiner, not a fun do it together type project - and cheaper too.


The rack comes with four legs and two end pieces to which the legs attach.  At both ends of the legs are these screws with rubber pieces that pad the metal pieces from rubbing together upon assembly.  

That's the screwdriver securing the pieces together.  Like my photography skills where I use the camera with one hand and attempt to handle tools with the other?


I was able to assemble the whole thing on our coffee table and the finished project was better than I had anticipated:


Upstairs I went and took my shoe collection from this (well they were actually in a big pile in the closet but I had to organize them a bit before putting the rack in the closet:



To this:
There are a couple of leftover shoes (mostly flats) that didn't make the rack, but they stack nicely next to it for now.  If and when the time comes for a bigger closet, I'd be very willing to purchase another one of these and organize the collection even further.  Overall, I give this a rating of two "craps" and one "damn" on the assembly process (Keeping the blog version a little cleaner than what actually came out of my mouth)  Mainly because I got a nasty scrape on my finger and those little rubber pieces popped out of place a couple of times resulting in dropped screws.  


And there you have it, my Friday night.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

While Boyfriend Is Away...

{via Google Images}
J is heading out of town this weekend to visit his brother and sister in law in D.C. and go to the Army/Navy game with them and his dad.  It's been almost six months since we've gone longer than 24 hours without seeing each other and we haven't spent a day apart in the last two months.  I know, I know, I'll shut up now.  While I'm both excited and sad about my free weekend, I'm going to be 100% selfish with how I spend it--kind of.  

This week I've been absolutely worthless on the home decor/cleaning/blog ideas front due to one nasty bout of the allergies.  I sleep sitting up in my most comfy yet most unattractive pajamas and I'm plowing through Kleenex like there's no tomorrow.  And it's definitely not the best time of year to be out of commission for even just a few days.  But I'm rallying for the weekend and prepared to get some shopping, cleaning, and cooking out of the way.  Oh, and a few other things are on the list, but knowing that J is reading this I can't say what those are because they are a surprise.

1.  So with 16 days left until Christmas, thanks to Debbie's post for that lovely little reminder, I'm kicking into gear and getting shit done this weekend.  First and foremost is finishing my Christmas decorating.  I got home late from work last night to find that J had done a little tweaking to the mantel and I love it.  Pictures to come, but we're just two stockings and a painted decoration away from finishing that thing up.

2.  In other news, I recently signed up for Google Offers for my city.  Combine that with Living Social, Groupon, and Faveroo and I'm in discount heaven.  Yesterday I bought a $6 Offer for $20 worth of books from a used book store just blocks from the house so I can make one of these:
{via}
Probably not going to be completed this weekend, but I will have the books in hand since book stores aren't really J's thing.  There are several different ideas for the book wreath--rolling the pages like a scroll and tying them with string, creating the rosettes like above, or doing a cone type shape.  I think the rosettes look the most polished but we'll see how patient I am when it comes time for execution.

3.  Will. Finish. Christmas Cards.  I bought mine over a month ago during a buy one/get one 50% off sale at Hallmark.  I'm obsessed with all things Hallmark and I'm looking forward to some quality Melissa TV time with the Hallmark channel and its Christmas movies this weekend.  Yes, I am as excited as Annie Claus when it comes to the holidays.  Don't judge me.
4.  I'm going to attempt a few baking firsts this weekend.  But rest assured if they turn out as I hope they will, there will be pictures and recipes to share on Monday!

5.  Last but not least, I hope to finish my Christmas shopping this weekend...sort of.  I'll finish the gifts I need to buy and have have a detailed list of gifts to purchase for J's side by the end of the weekend.  

I have a tendency to over exert myself when it comes to list making (hence my planning for the weekend when I still have another day to go).  I love lists so much and the feeling of crossing something off but usually bite off far more than I can chew.  I feel pretty good about these five, however, and will try to resist the lazy bug to get even more accomplished.

Happy Thursday to you all!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wednesday Wish List

I can't believe we're at the mid week point already.  Weather here in Columbus is downright dreary and it's threatening to take the holiday spirit right out of me, but we're supposed to have sun today.  I'm jealous of all of you out there with snow and even more jealous of anyone with sun.  Unfortunately, with the change in weather (50 degrees yesterday, 40 today), the top item on my wish list is some Benadryl.  Or Sudafed.  Or a nice combination of both to put me in such a sleepy happy place until this allergy/sinus thing passes.  But wish list post I must, so here we go.


I very recently signed up for Amazon Prime.  If you haven't heard of it, basically you pay $79/year for:
  • Free two day shipping.
  • Amazon instant video--thousands of titles on demand similar to Netflix but better.
  • Free lending of books from the Kindle library.  Also thousands of titles on demand and who wouldn't love a digital library?
I'm currently in the free promotional month, but I've got my eye on a few things...

I love to bake.  I also love to cook but cooking usually results in J saying "This is good, but you know how we can make it better?"  I should probably just take it as a learning experience but you know what, sometimes I like my pot roast just the way my mom made it.  It's damn tasty as is.  But nonetheless, I wouldn't mind whipping up something so fantastical even he, the trained chef that he is, can't utter any word other than "perfect."  Where better to learn such a dish that by one of the masters:

{via}
Sticking with the theme of experts, this next book comes from the expert of homemaking: Martha.  When I'm looking for project ideas, recipes, and home decor inspiration, I often find myself on her site.  This book covers a wide variety of holiday DIY projects from New Year's decorations to Father's Day gifts and everything leading up to Christmas.  So perfect.
{via}
Following closely in the foot steps of Martha is home design blogger Grace Bonney, founder of Design*Sponge.  Grace has built quite the organization and has numerous contributors, each experts in their own rights.  Her book, Design Sponge at Home, is a must read, if not a must for your coffee table.  

{via}
 I was always the kid that loved getting books for Christmas, birthdays, any special occasion really, and that hasn't changed to this day.  Now I hope this Amazon Prime membership pays for itself but simultaneously doesn't get me into as much online shopping trouble as I'm predicting...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My (not so) Creative Candle Decor

When I first started this blog project I though, "surely I'll have enough to post about to keep me plenty busy."  But as I plowed through the rooms and stretched out the kitchen posts, I found myself looking for more to write about.  More things to create.  Admittedly, I am not the most creative person.  It took me ages to attempt drawing a tree in grade school art class and it was the most pathetic looking tree there ever was.  I'm a big fan of using Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware catalogs as a guide for decorating my house as opposed to just knowing what would look good.


So I was just as surprised as anyone when I felt the urge to make something.  Now the project below is by no means a work of art and barely borderlines on creative, but to go from a single girl with no design sense to the proud owner of a hot glue gun, I felt compelled to give it a shot.
I'll start by re-stating that J has a thing for candles.  I love the guy and for as masculine as he is, this is one of his most feminine qualities.  Therefore, I wasn't overly surprised when we were at Hobby Lobby and he acted like a kid in a candy store when he found out all candles were 50% off.  

"Well, obviously we need a red, green, and white one on the mantel for Christmas.  And I think we need one for the downstairs bathroom but I can't leave this odd colored red one here so we'll take it as well."  So we came home with five candles, which pales in comparison to this summer when he emptied out Target's Easter clearance rack filled with pastel yellow, blue, green, pink, AND purple candles.  Obviously he was unsupervised.

We came home with the candles but didn't have anything to sit all three on and they looked kind of plain just sitting there by themselves.  This weekend I made a trip to Michael's and came home with three frosted glass plates and some garland on sale for 50% off plus another 20% off with a coupon:


I then proceeded to take the garland and measured out sections to fit around each of the candles.  Once the sections were cut, I used the hot glue gun and secured the loose pieces together.  As soon as the glue was dry, I fit the garland around the candle, put them on their bases and set them up on the mantel:

All in all a fairly simple project.  And one of the very first DIY things I have attempted on my own.  J observed from the living room while I cursed the hotness of the glue gun.  Not cool when you pull the trigger and a large glob of it comes out unexpectedly.  I think I'm ready for that sewing machine now...

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