Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Looking back on 2010, one of the highlights for the hubs and I was our four-legged new addition, Emmit. So what better way to ring in the new year in the 'burbs, than with a cozy fire, good food and plenty of drinks. Emmit is ready to ring in his first New Year! 
Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year. Cheers to tackling more projects and sharing our adventures with everyone in 2011!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Craziness

I admire all you bloggers out there that not only continuously come up with content but are able to frequently publish posts! It's so hard, especially around the busy Holiday Season. This post is long overdue, sorry. Here is our final decorated Christmas tree!

The hubs and I rushed to get the decorations up this year partly because of my work travel schedule and wow am I glad we pushed ourselves to do it. The Christmas craziness has been in full effect since I got back from my trip last weekend. 

Here is the before and after:

 Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Move Over Rudolph

Move over Rudolph, there's a new kid in town. The adventures in Emmit continue, yet I managed to snap this picture of him while looking out our window over the couch. His favorite spot. Hope your Holiday Season is merry and bright!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Blonde Baking Adventures...

Finally back from Japan and have been thrown into the Christmas craziness...literally. I decided today was going to be baking day. 

Attempt #1 at making sugar cookies (from scratch)...
Outcome: one giant sugar cookie. What? It got worse when I took it out of the oven too. They flattened out and were the thickness of.....a sheet of paper. ONE sheet of THIN paper. 

So what does this blonde do? Calls her mom! Per my mom, "Maybe you didn't use fresh ingredients? Sometimes old ingredients can screw up the recipe."

Off to the store for more ingredients.

Attempt #2 at making sugar cookies (from scratch)...
Outcome: success!

Lesson learned: always use fresh ingredients when baking (a.k.a mom's always know best!)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Work, Schmerk
Work is interfering with life AGAIN. And right before the holiday's no less.
This blonde is headed across the world to Kyoto, Japan. Wish me luck...adios!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Personalized Dog Treat Jar

When I saw this post over at Young House Love for a DIY'd etched glass jar, I just had to give it a try. I wanted to try to make a personalized dog treat jar for Emmit. When I found this jar at Target, I thought it was just perfect and it was only $4.99!
I followed the instructions on Young House Love but had some trouble cutting out the stencil onto a piece of painters tape. I think the size of my stencil was too big for the piece of tape.
After several attempts at cutting out my stencil for the jar I gave up on the painters tape an used a piece of shelf liner. It was the only thing I could think of that was sticky and could adhear to the jar.
Next, all I had to do was paint on the Armour Etch(you can get it at Michael's)and wait 60 seconds.....umm that's it???
I'm not going to lie, I waited longer than 60 seconds just to be sure it worked. Next, you just rinse it off...peel off the stencil (shelf liner) and voila!
Here is Emmit's new treat jar. Shhhh...don't tell him about it. It's a Christmas gift!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas In The 'Burbs

Christmas has officially arrived in the 'burbs. When a few of our neighbors had their houses fully decorated the weekend after Thanksgiving, the pressure was on! The hubs and I deemed this past weekend "Christmas Extravaganza Weekend".

A la "Christmas Vacation", we kicked off our fun old-fashion family Christmas by heading out into the country in the old four wheel drive Jeep to embrace the frosty majesty of the winter landscape and select that most important of Christmas symbols. Our tree!
Actually, I lied. We drove to the church parking lot at the end of our street to pick up this spectacular tree. Although the tree is up, we haven't decorated it yet. I will post photos of the final decorated tree soon!

This is one of my favorite decorating projects...our mantle. I love adding fresh cut magnolia leaves from our tree in our yard. Here is the finished product...with roaring fire and all!
We decorated the outside of the house - put lights on the bushes, wreath on the door, candles in the windows, and wreaths on the dormer windows. Yes, don't let your eyes deceive you...there are 2 tiny wreaths on our dormer windows that took several attempts to hang. A wreath may or may not have slipped while we were trying to hang it, falling down the roof and onto the ground (the wreath, not me). We for sure provided an afternoon of entertainment for our neighbors. And I swear the wreaths were bigger when I bought them at the store. They have shrunk since hanging them.
And last but certainly not least...Emmit is dressed and ready to tackle this Holiday Season! Check out his new collar!
He's been such a snuggle-bug lately, this was the best photo I could get of him in his new collar. He's fast asleep on my it.

More to come, so stay tuned!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

DIY Frame Project

I came across this post for a 'Christmas Present Frame' over at Craftily Ever After and had to give it a try. Although I wasn't looking to make a Christmas themed frame, I thought I could try and make a few frames for our guest bedroom. Here is my version of this DIY frame project.

Wood Frame ($1.00 at Michaels!)
Mod Podge

Fun Printed Paper (or wrapping paper)
Paint brush
Razor blade or exacto knife
First, I painted the wood frame black since my paper color scheme was black and white. Technically I didn't have to paint the entire frame since the paper was going to cover all of the front, but I was toying with the fact of distressing the paint, but ultimately decided against it.
Once the paint dried I cut the paper roughly one inch larger than the frame itself. Applied a layer of Mod Podge to the front of the painted frame and pressed the paper on and smoothed it out. This adheres the paper to the frame. Once this dried, I cut the excess paper by flipping the frame over and using a razor blade and cut the around the inner and outer edges of the frame. 

Next, I applied a layer of Mod Podge over the paper and around the side edges and let dry. I liked the frames as is, but they seemed to be missing something. 
So I decided to add some ribbon to spruce them up a bit. 
I just adore the finished product! What do you think?!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Homemade Pop Tarts

I love anything with cinnamon and sugar. So when I found this recipe from Pam over at For The Love of Cooking for homemade cinnamon and brown sugar pop tarts, I had to give it a try. Here is my interpretation of her recipe. I think my pop tarts turned out a bit smaller and I decided to add a drizzle of icing on top. I would definitely make these again. It was very easy and they were yummo!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hello Skinnygirl

Hello Skinnygirl Margarita. Looks like my Saturday night just got a whole lot better! I thoroughly enjoy a good margarita. Believe it or not, the best margarita I had was at a bar in NYC, on the rocks with salt of course. I have yet to meet it's match. I don't expect Skinngirl to be a match, but hope it comes damn close. Will let you know what I think...stay tuned. 

UPDATE: I wasn't swept of my tipsy feet by Skinnygirl Margarita but did think it was good, but nothing more. I had it on over ice with salt and a twist of lime. It was better than most mixes I have tried - those tend to be too sweet. If I had to rate it on a scale of 1-5, I would give it a 3. It may taste better on a hot summer day while listening to some Jimmy Buffet and eating a cheeseburger. I'll have to give that a whirl in about 6 months.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ribbon = L.O.V.E.

My bargains!
For those of you who know me, you know that I love bows. Anything with bows will get my attention. Simply love them. So naturally I love ribbon. I love wrapping gifts and always said that when I retire, I am going to work at a department store gift wrap counter or even open my own gift wrapping business.

I had the chance to go to a ribbon outlet recently, and I was super pumped. My mom, my sister, my mother-in-law and I piled into the car and were as giddy as schoolgirls. We kept joking that we were going to be throwing our elbows at each other in order to grab the best bargains. 
My bargains!
When we arrived at the small sized, "no-frills" outlet, I was surprised that the shopping customers weren't running around the place, gasping at all the gorgeous deals that appear before them and singing. I had to contain my excitement and thought to myself that I must have died and gone to heaven because no one in their right mind would sell an X-large roll of grosgrain ribbon for $1.25. I was throwing spools of ribbon in my basket like the crazy contestants on Supermarket Sweep. Check out my sister's bargains here!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Blonde Joke of the Day

Q: What do you get when you put seven blondes in a freezer? 

A: Frosted Flakes


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dining Room Table Re-do Part 1

In our pre-'burbs life, we lived in a small condo which had a very small dining room. The hubs and I had bought a small dining set that fit perfectly in that space. This dining set moved with us to the 'burbs and somehow seems oddly small and almost cartoon-like in our new dining room. But we have "made-do" with what we have for the last year and a half. 

Confession: I often drool over the Sumner dining room set from Pottery Barn. I love everything about it except I think it may be a bit too large for our modest dining room.

Soooo....recently my wonderful in-laws purchased a new dining room table (so jealous!) and offered us their old table, which by the way, they have had for 30+ years! It's a smaller scale dining room table, but definitely larger than our current dining set. Of course the hubs and I jumped all over the offer. This table has hosted many family gatherings, holiday's, birthdays, and Sunday dinners - and now we get to continue these traditions! Priceless.

In it's current state, the table has several pot marks, scratches and general wear-and-tear. It is, after all, older than me! We were given "permission" to refinish the table. I had to ask for permission since it is an antique and has a lot of sentimental value to my in-laws. And I had to also ask myself - were we up for such a task of refinishing this table??? Of course! In fact, we got started on this re-do a few weekends ago....

Here it is in its original condition. It's stained pine. (No, it doesn't have metal legs, that's just the saw-horse we put it on)

After several yucky coats of stripper, it was lighter but not down to it's natural wood just yet. The hubs helped me sand it down. 
Oh - and here is the best part....

The hubs got to wear his LL Bean boots. Let me explain...the hubs is OBSESSED with his LL Bean boots and will wear them on any occasion possible. In fact, he would probably wear them to work (with his suit) if he could. I love it!
Here is the hubs hard at work! 
In his LL Bean boots!

And here it is after being stripped and sanded. There is definitely more sanding to be done to make the color as even as we can. But I never though it would be this light! I love it! What do you think?

More to come, so stay tuned!.....

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sausage Anyone?

I'm finally back! After a long 11 days away for work and a small vacation I am  s l o w l y  getting back into the swing of things.

I was lucky enough to have yet ANOTHER visit from Ms. Ivy just in time for my trip. GRRRRR. She came and engulfed my entire left arm. The WORST case of poison ivy I have EVER had. My arm swelled up so much that I was referring to it as my "sausage arm". I know the words 'sausage' and 'arm' should never go together - but this was the only way I could describe my swollen arm. In fact, put my arm in a bun and you would have yourself a sausage sandwich. Ewww, gross mental picture. I don't wish a bad case of poison ivy on my worst enemy. Ever. My arm is just now starting to get better, 2 weeks later and counting. Her extreme comeback calls for extreme measures. Next up? Paying someone ELSE to remove the unruly weeds in our yard that Ms. Ivy seems to be hiding in.

Coming soon: dining room table re-do, stay tuned!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Duty Calls....

I hate it when work interferes with life...blah. I have to travel for work but will be back soon. I have some exciting projects coming up, including a dining room table re-do, so stay tuned. Be back soon!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fabulous Five Dollar Find

As I was driving home from work on Friday, I noticed a bunch of yard sale sale signs for this weekend...hmmmmm. 

I managed to convince the hubs to spare 1 hour on Saturday morning to be my navigator around our surrounding neighborhoods while I try and scope out any fabulous finds.

I am not a regular yard sale junkie. But the thrill of the hunt is absolutely euphoric. After several blah yard sale drive-by's we were ready to head home when we saw yet another sign. The hubs decided to follow the signs one last time. Good thing he did, because I found this chair....
For only $5!!!!
I did a double-take at the price tag. Maybe it was missing a 1 in front of the 5? I looked closer....nope. This thing was only $5. I couldn't resist this purchase. It's in great shape. It seems to even have the original springs and horse-hair cushioning. The woman I bought it from said she had plans to refinish it herself but never got around to it. Can't wait to tackle this project! Stay tuned....

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Battle in the 'Burbs Has Begun!

Dear Ms. Ivy,

It appears that you did not get my last letterOnce again I am outraged at your need to give me yet ANOTHER gross rash on my arm. Like I said before, your unruly behavior simply will not be tolerated by me or the hubs. In fact, this battle has now escalated to a full-fledged war that I plan on WINNING. Laugh you may, but I WILL NOT stand for your rash-giving ways and stealthy tactics. It is in your best interest make a prompt exit from our yard.

Ms. I-Have-A-Gross-Rash-On-My-Arm-AGAIN

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Snugglebug

I would give anything to be in the 'burbs snuggling with this little bugger on this rainy afternoon. Instead I am stuck in the city, in my cube workin' away. Blah.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Featured Favorite - Part 2

It's time for another featured favorite (click here to view Part 1). Today I am featuring my very first antique purchase, this vintage fireplace mantle. I saw the idea to use an old fireplace mantle as a headboard in a magazine and from that moment on I was in search of MY mantle.

Sorry for the not-so-great photos, but I took them at night..eek! -  with unnatural light...double eek! - a photographers worst nightmare and a major photo faux pas. But that's what you get when there is not enough time in the day.

I spotted my mantle in an antique shop several years ago in Somewhereville, Pennsylvania, and knew I just had to have it. Not only was this my first antique purchase, but it was also my first attempt EVER at price negotiating - and I think the shop owner knew it and had fun watching me sweat while I haggled the price down by $50. Score!

The mantle came with an authentic distressed's not a DIY job done by me. It was just perfect to be used as a headboard. And since our 2nd floor bedroom ceilings are angled, which can pose major challenges with decorating, I was limited with what I could put on the mantle/headboard. I spotted the DREAM sign in TJ Maxx which was just perfect.

This mantle made the move from our condo to the 'burbs. As much as I would like "real" headboard for our bed, part of me doesn't want to give up my mantle version.

Oh-and check out the beautiful blue pillow shams made by my mom. She is an incredibly talented sewer but would never admit to it. I really REALLY need to learn how to sew. I am adding it to my endless "to-do" list.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Crab Feast

The hubs and I hosted our closest family, friends and neighbors for our annual crab feast/BBQ in the 'burbs last weekend. What's this Jersey girl doing eating crabs?!

I will never forget the first time I saw someone eating crabs - I was utterly grossed out. Credit goes to the hubs (and my in-laws) for formally introducing me to the art of "picking" crabs. I will admit that I was not fan of picking crabs at first - it was so messy! Yuckeroonies! But after about a dozen attempts at picking crabs, I began to see the appeal and enjoy it.

We couldn't have pulled off this party without the help of family and friends (you know who you are - THANK YOU - and hopefully you are reading my blog!?). I wasn't able to take any pictures at the party, but thanks to my sis for snapping a few pics in between running after her energetic 2 year old. Oh, and don't forget to check out her blog post about the crabby t-shirt she made her little one for the event. So cute!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Adventures of Emmit Continue...

 (Laptop power cord)

This is what happens on a lazy Sunday night when you have a puppy and you turn your head for 30 seconds while writing a blog entry. How did I spend my Monday morning? At the Apple store of course. $80 later...