Friday, February 26, 2010

Delectable Dinner Dish

"Are you gonna take a picture of it and blog about it?!?"
quipped my thirteen year old.
I actually wasn't planning on it, but sometimes I chose to do things just to spite my sweet, but wise crackin' teenager (please tell me that I'm not the only mother in the world who stoops to this level).
So here is a photo of our dinner dish from the other night.
The dinner that I was so proud of that
I was dancing with delight.
You see, it wasn't just an entree, it was a symbol.
It was symbolic of a conscious choice to be happy.
Just shortly after our family size decreased dramatically, I sat down to write out my grocery list. The thought crossed my mind, "Why should I bother to cook for just two others when they will be just as happy with hot dogs." Then I made a choice to be happy. This was a perfect time to cook! I could try new recipes and not have to double them so as to feed four hungry men. The new thought made me excited to write out my grocery list. Part of the list included the ingredients to this easy and delicious recipe that I found in the March issue of Better Homes Than Yours (as my boys call it).
I've included the recipe so you can dance with delight over your delicious dinner dish too
Beef, Mushroom, and Onion Tart

12 oz. lean ground beef (I substituted with beef strips I had on hand)
1-8 oz. package sliced mushrooms
1/2 medium red (I used sweet) onion, cut n thin wedges
1/4 tsp. each salt and ground black pepper
1-13.8 oz. pkg. refrigerated pizza dough
3 oz. blue cheese crumbled
Fresh oregano (I used fresh basil), &/or pizza seasoning (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a skillet cook beef, mushrooms, and onion over medium heat until beef is browned and onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Drain off fat. Add s&p.
2-Meanwhile, grease a large baking sheet or line with parchment. Unroll pizza dough. Roll or pat dough on baking sheet into a 15x12" rectangle. Top dough with beef mixture, keeping filling 1&1/2" from all edges. Fold edges over the filling, pleating as needed.
3-Bake tart for 15 minutes or until crust is golden. Remove from oven, top with blue cheese, herbs and seasonings. Serves 4. Add a salad and you have a delectable meal!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Paint Them Floors

I am amazed at the amount of requests I have received asking how I painted our sub-floors. I guess that I'm not the only one who would rather live with a freshly painted floor than ugly carpet or tile. I must warn you though, if you choose to pull up your floor treatments and live on sub-floors there is a downside (at least in our house). The creaking of the floors is louder. My hubby and I joke that no one can sneak around in our house, not even the cat, without being heard. Other than that we've been happy with our cheap remedy to an ugly floor. And we've lived with them for longer than we planned---almost five years. So here's how I did it. . .
First take off the existing floor treatment and remove any
protruding staples, nails, or splinters. Fill any large holes with wood filler, then sand. If you have any really rough areas give them a good sanding too. Then clean, clean, clean your floor. Sweep, vacuum, then sweep again to get rid of all dirt and dust bunnies.
Next, use a good primer. Our home was previously a rental and there were odd stains left on the floor. Primer prevents these stains from bleeding up through the new paint and, if they're pet stains, it blocks odors too. Primer helps paint to bond better to the existing surface, not to mention, you use less paint when you use a primer.
Our sub-floors are particle board on top of plywood. They look like this sample:
As I said, they were not in the best of shape. There were some areas that "blistered" because of old spills. You can still see those areas, but you really have to look. The paint helps disguise the imperfections. Speaking of imperfections, I did not do anything with the areas where the boards butt up against each other. I looked into filling the crevasses but came to the conclusion that it would be a lot of work and may later become troublesome because floors are always moving; expanding and contracting with temperature and traffic conditions. Whatever you fill the cracks with will also have to expand or it will crack or peel. There are some caulks made to stretch but I chose not to spend the money.If you are lucky enough to have plywood or pine floors, hooray for you! If you're worried about splinters remember that paint acts as a bonding agent. As long as you sand down any worrisome areas before painting you shouldn't have any problems. Another nice thing about paint is that you can easily go back and touch up any gouges or wear spots.
I used two techniques on my floors.
On our stairs and in our bedroom I simply painted with a latex paint. I did two coats. As you can see, I laid rugs in the high traffic areas.
I'm very pleased with the way both areas look.
In my entry, hall and family room I put in more work. These areas get A LOT of wear! Plus the entry needed to stand up to wet shoes and puddles of melting snow. I primed them and then painted two coats of latex paint. I used a roller with a long handle attachment.
*HINT: Be sure that you plan out a painting strategy---you don't want to literally paint yourself into a corner.*
After the two coats dried, I used a thick tinted glaze, similar to this one: Glaze stays "wet" longer than paint so it gives you more time to work on the look you want to achieve.
I wanted the appearance of a stained concrete.(An actual close-up of our entry floor)
I did this by turning a plastic grocery store bag inside out (to prevent any chance of having the printed logo bleeding onto the paint). Crunch up the bag and dab it into the glaze. Have several bags on hand because you'll need to switch bags once it's too soggy from paint. You will want to wear protective gloves too.Then simply "pounce" the the crunched bag onto the painted surface. Twist your wrist with each pounce to get a different pattern each time. You can even "swipe" in a few areas too, just for variety. Pounce and swipe until you achieve the desired look. For my floors, I used a darker color glaze on top of a lighter color paint. The paint and glaze layers give the floor more depth and character.
After the glaze dries thoroughly, roll on a couple of layers of a good polyurethane to protect the floor from wear and moisture as well as give it a little shine and make it easier to clean and maintain.
It's a time consuming process; taking a few days. But it is a lot less expensive than carpet or any other flooring. It's also a good way to test out what it's like to live with a bare floor before you make the investment into hardwood or laminate.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

An Influential Build

Don't you feel so blessed when someone unexpectedly walks into your life to build you up and let you know that they believe in you.
Someone who plays a key role because they
unlock thoughts about yourself you never thought before.
Someone who immediately becomes your friend because they can see
great qualities in you that you can't see in yourself. And, in my case, someone who has so much faith
in my design abilities that she was the very first to say,
"You've got a talent and I want to pay you for helping me."
And then she recommends you to others because she believes in you so much. Yes, that would be my friend who owns the cabin I showed you in the last post. She has been such
a wonderful influence for good in my life.
I hope to be like her!
So when it came to building our first "commissioned piece"
of door furniture, for her and her husband, I wanted it to be special.

I designed it to be unique, practical and beautiful. And it looks like it belongs right at home in their cabin.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Winner, A Follow-Up and a Tease

We have a winner of a beautiful Sodderbug charm made by Janelle.

It's Ashley Bray.
Congratulations Ashley!!!

Do you remember months ago when I shared a little project that my hubby and I worked on together for our friends cabin?
The original fireplace looked like this.
I designed, hubby and I built, and I painted. Then the fireplace looked like this.Well here is a photo of the decorated mantle.I love the way it looks with the big mirror above and the wreath hanging in front of the mirror. Our friend said that she's replacing the small wreath with a larger one, so just imagine it looking that way now.
Isn't their cabin beautiful!
Do you see the refection in the mirror of the gorgeous quilt? Our friend is literally the Queen of Quilting. This lady is talented! I am so lucky to know her. She is my inspiration, not just because of her creative talents. But because she is incredibly confident and caring. And she and her husband are two of the most generous people I know! Not to mention that they willingly put their trust in us to build them a few items for their beautiful cabin.
The mantle isn't the only thing we did. We built another item for their cabin too. We started with an old solid wood back door. Here's a sneak peek with more photos to follow soon.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Full Platter

It's no secret that I am a collector.
One of the many things that I gather from thrift stores in abundance are ironstone and vintage dishes. I have stacks of them in our china cabinet and kitchen. Many are oozing with character
from their lives of service.
Chips, cracks, crazing, and stains are the very things that draw me to these delightful objects of practicality.
Recently I was redoing the plate rack in our kitchen, a spot that changes several times during the year. It will often display dishes in beautiful colors that I'm wanting to subtly incorporate in the kitchen.
It's a favorite spot to show off holiday plates.
Perhaps my favorite is the numerical dish display made with
dollar store plates and vinyl decals.
Being in a mood for a fresh and new exhibit, I pulled out
a few vintage platters and stacked in as many as possible.
I was thrilled with the display, but it did seem to need
an extra layer, right there in the middle.
Being one without a fancy vinyl cutting machine, I used the resources I have available. I printed off the letter A from my computer in a fancy font. (If this seems familiar, it's because I used the same technique here)

With a little cutting and gluing
the vintage platter exhibit
is complete.
And I am giddy with glee!

***Don't forget to enter for the Sodderbug giveaway.
Entries will be accepted through Sunday at midnight MST***

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Stick A Fork On It

For those of you who requested that I tell you how I painted my sub floors, I'll do a tutorial next week. I need to dig a sample board and paints out of the cold garage and let them warm up first. So I thought I'd share another easy fix in the meantime.
These are my keys. Every time hubby borrows them he tells me that I'll need a new key chain soon. He says this e v e r y time. Which got me to thinking, they're my keys, they should have something unique hanging from them.
My solution came when I spyed this beautiful little olive fork at the thrift store for 10 cents. Isn't the detail on the handle exquisite?
it's real sterling silver.
Since sterling silver is rather soft I just snipped off the tongs with wire cutters. Then I used my brute force to bend the end (then hubby used his brute force to finish the job).
Now I have a key fob that is
sterling silver and uniquely exquisite!

***Don't forget to enter for the
Sodderbug giveaway here***

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Cozied Corner

You've seen the end of my upstairs hallway before with
the large monogram, the "family" sign and the family photos.This is the longer view of said hall,
complete with painted subflooring and dings in the walls.
(and yes, I have brass doorknobs---
haven't you heard, brass is making a comeback)
On the left is a closet door and the doorway into the computer room.
Straight ahead is the door to the bathroom
and just right of that is the door to our master bedroom.

When we first looked at this home I fell in love with the way
the doorways were set back into alcoves,
just a little architectural detail that intrigued me.
The master bedroom door alcove has a small corner
that stayed vacant for years.
One day I haphazardly plopped a this small table there
and I liked the feel of it.
But when I found this gorgeous plant stand
at the thrift store
I knew it would make a better fit.
Of course I had to top it with something,
something that would

reflect a little light
into this darkened corner.
That something was a PB vase I picked the thrift store.
Love it!
And since the theme for this corner seems to be
thrifted elegance with a bit of shine,
why not finish of the vignette with this collection of mirrors
. These were gathered one by one
over a period of time,
just waiting until there is enough to make a statement.
And what a statement
this thrifted elegant hidden corner makes!

Please go here
if you haven't yet entered the Sodderbug giveaway.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Excitment for Me and You

***The giveaway is now closed***

I was so excited when I opened my mailbox
to see a package inside addressed to me! Inside was this
pretty handmade necklace
Janelle at Sew Blessed made it for me.
Her shop is called Sodderbug
and she makes beautiful necklace pendants.

Aren't they awesome!!!

I love mine!I adore the monogram on vintage paper.
On the back is the definition of JOY.
I bet you want a Sodderbug pendant too. You can get one by visiting Janelle's shop and buying one. Or you can leave a comment on this post to enter to win a charming, handmade necklace.
Here's how you enter:
First, visit the Sodderbug site and look at the photo gallery.
Then come back here and leave a comment. Tell us which pendant you would choose---or suggest a new design that Janelle can make especially for you. You can enter a second time if you post about Janelle's Sodderbug site on your blog, Facebook or Twitter. The giveaway will run the entire week. The winner will be announced next Monday.

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