Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gallery Wall

Over at The Inspired Room, there's a little linky party for gallery walls. This inspired me to create my own wall and link up. Here's what I have so far. I see adding on to this in the future...Lordy the holes!! Chris is going to LOVE me!

 I love that it makes my livingroom feel bigger and believe me this room isn't big! The mirror on the other side of the room helps this too. I almost feel like I have a giant livingroom...oh no wait, all four kids in the room at the same time...the room feels like a tuna can again. Oh well.

Be sure to check out some of the inspiration posted at the The Inspired Room.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Things that would make my grandma roll over in her grave...

Okay that title was harsh, but totally true! My grandma was particular about her stuff. So I know for a fact that if she knew that when I had inherited her furniture and other odds and ends, I her first born granddaughter, would paint and re-purpose half her stuff, she would, no doubt, point her little Pennsylvania Dutch finger at me and swear. It's true. 

The important thing is, I'm happy with what is now my stuff. It gives me great pleasure to re-purpose old things. One of these "old things" I've updated was my grandma's old porcelain egg collection, which is why I said she wouldn't be very happy. I didn't touch the eggs mind you, but I did give the display a paint job. I like the result and it goes so well with spring!

Sorry Grandma. I hope that the clouds in heaven keep covered the things I've done to your treasures!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Garden Time!!

I love this time of year, when the weather though cold, still feels warmer than the same temperature would in the dead of winter. The days are longer and you finally feel yourself shaking off the winter blues.- seasonal depression sucks!! It's the perfect time to start the backyard garden.

Well this week I'm going to start...a little backyard garden. Right now it's all yucky looking with dead plants and compost piles, but in a few weeks those brown piles of crap will be sprouting with green!

Since we're still in danger of frost, I'm going to start some plants indoors. I have a variety of plants, staples that I stick to every year like tomatoes, peppers, beans, onions, lettuce, carrots, spinach, peas and a variety of herbs. I'm getting a little adventurous though and I'm adding to my list of home grown goodies potatoes, shallots and cucumbers. This should be fun. 

Not all of these seeds should be started indoors. I'm going to plant the lettuce, spinach, onions, shallots potatoes and carrots right in the soil when the time is right. The rest gets planted in my handy dandy indoor greenhouse available at Walmart- how'd you like that endorsement?

The little greenhouse is a very easy way to start seeds and it fits so nicely on my window sill. When the seedlings are ready to be transplanted outside, it's shamefully easy to lift them right out of the flat and put them into the ground.

So, while my little man was sleeping like this and my little lady was doing whatever this was to her cereal, I planted my seeds.

Silly girl. 

This weekend I'm going to be turning the soil in the garden and planting my onions...I should have had them in the ground by Saint Patty's day. Oh well better late than never I always say...actually I don't say that...ever.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Meal Planner Monday

Have you ever checked out It's one of my favorite go-to sites for dinner planning. While recipe planning for this week I came across this interesting meal planning strategy-Twenty for twenty.

Apparently if you stock your kitchen with the following ingredients you can make twenty meals. Now that's a nice promise. Maybe this style of planning works well for you. If it does I'd like to know!!

click here for the link 
Twenty for Twenty

Don't like repeated trips to the grocery store? Stock up on these 20 ingredients, and you can make 20 delicious dinners.

The Ingredients

To make the 20 recipes below, stock up on these 20 ingredients (and be sure your pantry includes the essential ingredients listed on the right).
1.  Jarred spaghetti sauce
2.  Milk
3.  Cheddar cheese
4.  White wine
5.  Lemons
6.  Dry bread crumbs
7.  Canned tomatoes
8.  Eggs
9.  Parmesan Cheese
10.  Sour cream
11.  Mozzarella cheese
12.  Boneless chicken breasts
13.  Bacon
14.  Ground beef
15.  Assorted Pasta
16.  Potatoes
17.  Frozen Broccoli
18.  Cream of chicken soup
19.  Cream of mushroom soup
20.  Frozen spinach

    Thursday, March 24, 2011

    Dresser re-do

    This must be re-do week, 'cause I'm re-doing everything. Since I've pretty much finished Abby and Sophie's room, minus some trim here and there, I've shifted my focus to Aden's room. I guess I should call it Aden and Owen's room...yeah, I've decided to more a colicky baby in with a light sleeping six year old. I hope this goes well.

    Abby and Sophie's room was easy to re-do. Girls rooms always are in my opinion! With Aden's room, it's not that easy. When you ask your daughter what she wants her room to look like she says things like her favorite color and princesses and other girly things that really transcend age... I still sleep in a princess room. True Story. When you ask a six year old boy what he wants his room to look he immediately goes to his latest obsession. My son's latest obsession is the Super Mario Brothers. I found some interesting things online as far as murals go, but now that I'm moving Owen into the room too, I just can't see a baby sleeping in a room with Bowser breathing fire over his crib.

    That said, and in an effort to be fair to Aden's dream of sleeping in Mario land, I think I'll stick painting a few canvases with a few Mario scenes and hanging them in his bunk bed space. If I hang a curtain around the bunk I can easily hide the Mario theme when I want to. 

    Since this is going to be a long process, I'm going to knock the simple tasks off the list. I made a lamp shade I don't really like that much the other day- check!  Next, I'll focus on the dresser.

    If you would, please take notice of the cherry colored dresser under the lamp. I don't have a great before picture of this dresser, but from the after picture and the color of the dresser in this picture...well you get the idea.

    I really put off doing anything to this dresser because this was the very first piece of furniture I refinished back in like 1996. It was a dresser, as legend has it, my Grandfather built and it was lacquered a nasty cherry color. I painstakingly stripped it down and intended to stain it a lighter color, but the original stain color was set so deeply into the wood and I had to just match the color. Oh well, I loved it anyway and it served me well through college and in our first few years of marriage as a TV table only to spend it's golden years as Aden's clothes dresser.

    Well, the time has come for change! I'm going to be moving another dresser in the room from the nursery for Owen's clothing. I want the two dressers to coordinate so old Cherry got a paint job! 
    Isn't she Pretty-oops! I mean isn't he pretty- er... handsome?! I have to break out of girl room mode!!

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    Japanese Cherry Blossom Wall Art

    In honor of spring and because I watch the Apprentice, I've been inspired to make some Japanese Cherry Blossom wall art. How do I go from spring to the apprentice you might ask? Well, as a secret fan of Donald Trump's Apprentice, I happened to catch a glimpse of a painting on the wall in the very first episode. Sometimes things that I like stick with me for days and this painting was no exception. It was a Japanese cherry blossom painting on a gold background and in the three seconds it appeared on screen, I found myslef unable to take my eyes off of it. My wheels began turning and I thought "how can I simply reproduce that painting to hang on my wall?" 

    I had two little pieces of laminate shelving left over from a TV cabinet. These two pieces of crappy plastic wood needed to be put to good use. They were perfect for a little Japanese inspired wall art.

    I'm going to walk you through this like a tutorial, because even thought it's a painting project and some people can feel a little intimidated by "painting projects" I really feel that anyone who can grip a paint brush in their hand could do this project if you follow these steps. Even if you attempt it and hide it in a closet or throw it away, I think you'll be surprised at how easily it can be done.

    First I started with blank surfaces; my crappy plastic wood. Paint always works better when it has something to grip to. You know this from painting your walls. Primer Primer Primer! Artists do this with Gesso, a white paint like substance that helps paint stick to the surface your canvas. However, if you buy white canvas, chances are they were treated with gesso already. If you do get canvas check to see if they were treated with gesso. If they were, you can skip this step.

    After the gesso completely dried, I painted the background gold. Any gold will do as there are many different kinds of acrylic golds out there. I used plain old classic gold.
    Once again these panels were allowed to dry, this time overnight.

    The next day, I planned where I was going to place the tree branches. I wanted the two panels to look like they were flowing into each other, so I drew it out with pencil and them traced over the pencil lines with black marker.
    When I had committed to a design I liked, I painted over the lines with black acrylic paint.
    While the paint was still wet I added some tan acrylic paint. I added this very loosely. I tried to keep the lighter color on one side of the branch. In other words, if I painted the right side of one branch I did it on every branch. This gives the impression of a light source.
    In keeping the lines loose and simulating a light source, it adds dimension to the branches. The final touch to the branches was a touch of white over top of the tan just to help it POP a little more.

    Next I took a small round brush and made white flower petals. While the petals were still wet I added a touch of dark pink and blended from the center to the ends of each petal. I created five petaled flowers and some buds too (simply a dab of the brush.)
    I spread them out here and there...where ever I wanted!
    From the free floating flowers I added skinny little stems. I also added some of these skinny stems to the branches without flowers.
    After I was finished  the first panel, I moved on to the second. I did this in case my drawing was altered in the painting process. Completing the panels one at a time will keep the panels flowing.

    Once again here is the finished product.Now I just have to find a place to hang them!