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Friday, April 29, 2011

We are safe.

Sorry for my absence friends! I had great plans on Wednesday to share our new dining room wainscoting project. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had a few plans of her own.

{from my front porch, before I even knew ...}

I'm sure most of you know by now that a torrent of tornadoes racked the southeast on Wednesday, ravaging the state of Alabama especially.

One of the first tornadoes that came through did hit our neighborhood, destroying a lot of homes and damaging almost all of them. Yes, I was home with the puppies {more on my story later}.

But we're safe. And we were very very lucky. The damage sustained to our house is all cosmetic and completely manageable. Many of neighbors were not so lucky. Fortunately, I don't know of any fatalities in our neighborhood.
We're out of power and probably will be here for several days. Supplies are few and gas is hard to come by, but we're all getting by just fine. Ironically after the storm, the weather has been gorgeous! The sounds of chainsaws and generators fills the air nonstop. Due to the severity of the damage to the houses, many families are camping out in tents in their front yard. We've got our propane grills going to cook up all the food in everyone's freezer. Mmm, steak!
Cell service and phone service has been practically non-existent so trying to get a hold of friends and family is tough. In this day and age, its tough to be completely cut off from the outside world in the midst of a disaster! From what I've heard, most of my family and friends are safe and without damage. I did get news this morning that several of my former classmates were killed in the tornado in Tuscaloosa. My heart hurts for those families and the families of anyone that lost a loved one. This is such a tough time for so many communities in Alabama.

At the moment, J.B. and I are making a run to Corinth, MS to meet his dad. He's got a large generator and a carload of supplies for us and our neighbors - water, bread, gas, baby food, chainsaws, axes, extension cords for generators. I'm loving that man right now!

Getting out of the area has allowed us cell coverage and {yay!} internet connections through a broadband card. I'll hopefully be able to update you more on the recovery happenings later {sorry, you're going to have to wait a bit on the wainscoting post, folks}.

But thank you. Thank you so much for your prayers and well wishes. We're so blessed to be safe and have been overwhelmed with your kind thoughts. God is so good to us. Keep praying for our neighbors. We hope to be able to distribute a lot of these supplies from Mississippi to our friends here. We'll be out today helping cut down trees and recover items from destroyed homes down the street. 

 Keep praying for us - love you all!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday Recovery.

I suppose I've taken an accidental blog sabbatical the last couple of days. 

It's been nuts around here. In the past week we've hosted great visits with my father in law from Mississippi and then my mother in law from Florida. And yesterday, a group of my own family all came over for a big Easter/birthday lunch.
Before, during, and after all these visits, I was scrambling to finish the dining room wainscoting, the upholstering of the vintage armchair, the redecorating of the guest bedroom. Add in the construction guys trying to finish the repairs to our ceiling and all the general cleaning and cooking around the house to prepare for company and yes, I was off-my-rocker crazy.
I did have a lot of help from my superhero husband. He worked hard to finish all that we could and then worked hard to assure me that it was okay that everything wasn't perfectly finished. 
{in case you can't tell, I have a hard time with that concept. what do you mean everything isn't perfect?!}

But I so so enjoyed this Easter. It has to be the happiest of all holidays for me. To celebrate God sacrificing the most precious and perfect gift ever given. To celebrate life and love in our Savior. How is that not the happiest of all days?! I just can't stop smiling thinking about it.
See, there aren't any kids around right now. Not in my local family anyway. So for now, there's no Easter egg hunts or baskets. No Easter bunny or over abundance of Peeps. And while those things are super fun, sometimes its nice to enjoy the day for its true meaning without letting all the pastel colors and commercialism get in the way.

So, yes, I'm technically a day late. But let me be the final person to wish you all a

The spirit of Easter and Christ's unending love for us is definitely something that can be celebrated more than one day a year anyway, right? {Can I "amen, sister" myself?}

And while I'm at it ...

to my sweet mom and grandfather!
I love having a two-for-one on April 24th each year with two of my very favorite family members. Their birthdays fell on Easter this year and I know they both had a really special day.

But I have to be honest, its kind of nice to have my house back and nothing to plan for.

Plus, I've got lots of great things coming up for the blog! 

: :  Wainscoting is almost done.
: :  My first upholstry project looks like it might have been a success. 
: :  My sweet niece Olivia is California is getting a pretty darling package this week.
: :  My guest bedroom got a calm new look.
: :  And how about another giveaway? Free stuff? Yes please!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bathroom #3 makeover

Another one bites the dust!


I've always loved this saying ...

Paint color is Ashwood by Behr.
The tiles on the wall are tin ceiling tiles from Hobby Lobby - spray painted white. 
The pitcher is from Target. Branches are from my backyard.
Bathroom fixtures are from Bed, Bath & Beyond. The frame is from T.J. Maxx - spray painted white.

In case you missed them, here's bathroom #1 { h e r e } and bathroom #2 { h e r e }. I'm seriously taking no prisoners. Only the master glamour bath left to conquer.

I wonder what I'll do with all my free time once I finish redecorating all the bathrooms in my house. Hmm, coin collecting? Archery? Maybe I'll start extreme couponing! Ha, I can't even remember to buy a Sunday paper. This doesn't look promising. I guess I'll just have to convince J.B. that we need to move again ...

Look at this sweet face. Don't you think he'll go for it?

Yeah ... I didn't think so either...
But I love him anyway.

Monday, April 18, 2011

2011 Poppies at Play Parade of Homes

Do yourself a favor.

Head on over to Poppies at Play and check out the 2011 Parade of Homes. 

I promise you will "ohh" and "ahh" through all twenty house tours. I got so much inspiration for little tid-bits {and big tid-bits ...} to try around my house.

If you don't have time for every tour, here's a couple of my favorite houses:

{one of my favorite blogs}

Starview Sonnet

Jennifer Rizzo

All 20 of these homes are fantastic! 
I love all the special little touches they made to make each room feel cozy.

Speaking of cozy rooms, my mother in law is officially coming up for Easter weekend!
{I love a good excuse to do some redecorating!} Updates coming soon!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The one where I talk about all my projects ...

Things going on with us ....

My house has been a disaster lately {this time it has nothing to do with my cleaning skills, folks}. 
We've had some construction guys out here all week.

Did I tell you guys about my ceiling? Ugh.

Literally two days after we closed on our house back in December, the satellite guy came out to install our tv system. The poor guy thought it would take him 2 hours ... 8 hours later, he was finished. And it was about 20 minutes after he left that we found the damage. We have a landing/hallway at the top of the stairs going to the upstairs, and its about an 8x12 space. He must have accidentally stepped in the wrong spot in the attic above that and directly onto a smoke detector. The sheet rock cracked through, the smoke detector hanging detached from the ceiling. It was a sad hole. : (

We contacted the satellite company and started the process to get it fixed. At the time, it really wasn't that big of deal - we still felt bad for the installation guy that spent so long at our house. 

But the next four months were a nightmare. The satellite company (Dish Network) directed us to their insurance company to handle the claim. Every single person we dealt with was completely useless. It was like the damage to our new house was a serious inconvenience to them
Four. months. later. we'd dealt with all the useless insurance people we could. And their contractor had promised to come out three different times to repair it and blown us off each time. We finally demanded a check for the damages to hire our own guy and be done with them. After we brought up the possibility of contacting an attorney, they obliged. : )

And now, my ceiling is finally being fixed! They finished putting up the new piece today. Still several more steps until its completed, but I'm excited!

 {picture taken from the top of the stairs}

I've never lived in this house without that hole in the ceiling. And I've held off on doing much decorating in this area until it was repaired.
I've got great plans for this space once its done!

That left hand wall is host to my gallery wall, which you can see I started in this post  h e r e .
But this space need to lose the beige pant and boring light fixture. Still browsing for just the right ones.

I also can't wait to put a set of french doors on the opposite wall from the stairs. Straight ahead leads into our master suite. This space could really use some natural light and some gorgeous glass doors would be just the thing!

Can't wait to get going on these projects!


As if I need more to do! We're hosting the family Easter lunch at our house this year. Plus Easter Sunday is both my Mom and Grandfather's birthday! Lots of planning and partying to be done. Just have to get the house fixed up for my guests.

It includes a looooong list:

 - Finish upstairs guest bathroom. {almost done! can't wait to show it to you}

 - Finish dining room wainscoting. The husband and I are finally get going on this. Hoping to finish up this weekend, so there should be an awesome DIY post to follow!

 - Re-style the guest bedroom. {dadgum, am I fickle or what?? Hmm, absolutely nothing accomplished here yet. You can be that this will be my Last Minute Lucy project.}

I'd really love to add another project to that list too ... {or do I??}
 - Reupholster the new {to us} wing back chair. 

We picked this chair up from the curb on the street next to ours. It obviously needs some new upholstery, but the bones of the chair are in great shape. 

Delilah just loves it.
I think she seriously believes that this chair in on the back deck just for her to sit on. 
What a diva.
{I think this is the part where my husband mumbles something about her being just like her mother}

But this is my first ever reupholster project. I'm super nervous and have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. So far I still have all my fingers and toes attached, but no promises.
I keep telling myself that its ok if this doesn't work out. Its not like I have any real money in it {just loads of blood, sweat and tears this far - mostly sweat ...} If any of you have any tips, comment below! I'll take all the help I can get!

While today has been nasty and stormy here in North Alabama, this weekend promises to be glorious. I'm really hoping to knock a lot of these project out. 

What about you, big pre-Easter plans??

Zucchini Fries - recipe

I'm well aware that my other recipes that I've listed here aren't exactly the healthiest of snacks. 
But I guess that's just me. While I think being healthy and fit is super important, I'm also a girl who loves  food. I think God gave us food not only to keep our bodies going, but also to enjoy.
And confession: I love desserts and junk food.

But I also don't want you to think that I'm about to bust out of my jeans here. My husband and I make an honest effort to for healthy choices as well. Here's one of our favorite veggies!

Technically speaking ... I guess they aren't really "fries" since they are baked and not fried. But who's counting?
This ingredient list is for a 2 person serving size.
I'm making a double batch in the pictures, don't let me fool ya!


 - two zucchinis
 - one egg
 - 1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese
 - 1 Shake'N'Bake coating package*

*You see here that we used the Garlic and Herb flavor. I don't know that I'd recommend using this one unless you like a very bold flavor. But Shake'N'Bake makes all kinds of coatings, so pick your poison.

First up, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. 

Trim the ends off your zucchinis.

 Then cut them in half.

Grab each half and start slicing fry-like slivers.

Break your egg into a bowl and beat the egg.
Put your coating into the shaking bag along with the grated parmesan cheese. Shake a little to combine.

Grab a small handful of the slices and drop them into your egg bowl. Make sure each fry gets coated, but don't leave a ton of excess egg on them either.

Move the slices over to your Shake'N'Bake bag. Just let the excess liquid drip off them and back into the bowl before transfer. Shake the bag gently until all the slices have been adequately covered with the coating.

Lay the slices out onto a greased cookie sheet. Repeat this process until all your slices have been covered.

Place the pan in the oven for 15 minutes, turning them over halfway through.

Mmm, they go great with chicken dishes!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Queen of Giftcards

It's true. I really am the queen of gift cards. 

I think this is because I love getting gift cards myself. I realized several years ago that I'm one of those impossible people to shop for. So instead of just getting stuff that other people thought I would like {which I almost never do} I just ask for gift cards. Then I get the thrill of shopping PLUS the free stuff of my choice. Win/Win. My friends and family still hate it when my birthday/Christmas rolls around. I always have my little stack of gift cards while everyone else has a mountain of presents to open and "ohh" and "ahh" over. But I'm just happy as a clam with my cards so that's that.

By the same token, I also love to give gift cards. I mean, why not? You're guaranteeing the perfect gift for that person!

We went out for a birthday celebration for a friend of ours the other day. I don't think I have to tell you what we got her ...

But just because you give someone a giftcard doesn't mean it has to be impersonal and boring. Before we left the house, I put together a sweet little card and envelope.

And I spent more personal time on this than I would have wrapping some dumb present that Leah probably would have hated anyway.
I love the wire words. And she can always peel this off the envelope {its just held on with a little hot glue} and keep it. I love the little one I have hanging in my office on my woven bulletin board

With a little creativity, you can turn even the boring things in life into something special. 
How much better does it get?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Woven Bulletin Board - tutorial

The other day several of you asked me what the fabric calendar was hanging from. Well, here's your answer...

It's a woven bulletin board I made a little while back. Here's a tutorial!

I got the idea from one I saw online:

I believe this is burlap here, and I had linen {surprise, surprise}. I also wanted my bulletin board to be framed. So I grabbed a cheapo frame from a local thrift store. {$3}

{sweet cowboy print, eh?}

{yeah, Delilah was disgusted with it too...}

But nothing a little black spray paint couldn't spice up. 
{and obviously the cowboy print didn't make the cut. sorry, pioneer woman}


 - Frame with either a thick cardboard back or a corkboard back.
 - fabric
 - staple gun
 - scissors

First,  cut your fabric. There will be two pieces of fabric to cover this bad boy. Piece #1 {aka the vertical piece} needs to be the same size as the back board plus 3-4 extra inches of fabric on the top of or bottom.
I added the extra inches on the bottom side here.
I'm not sure how I ended up taking a picture from the side? Spaz ...

Piece #2 {aka the horizontal piece} needs to be the same size as the back board plus 3-4 extra inches of fabric on the left or right side.

Again with the sideways picture! I'm awful. But the extra fabric there is on the right side of my back board.
{just til  your head a little to the left, there, now you see it!}

Next cut these two pieces of fabric into strips {mine are 2 inches wide}. The extra long vertical piece should be cut into vertical strips and the extra long horizontal piece should be cut into {you guessed it!} horizontal strips.

I just measured these with a ruler and used a pen to mark them before I cut.

Now attach them!

Start with your vertical strips. Lay these out along the board in a straight, even row. Tuck one end over the edge of the board and staple down to the back {only one end, the other end has to remain unattached for the weaving process}

I ran into a little hiccup here because I realized that my board was too thin to handle the staples in my staple gun. The sharp edges came through on the front side. No worries, I just changed to a regular office stapler instead of this big manly one.

Once you are done with the vertical pieces, move on to the horizontal pieces. Remember, only staple one end of each strip!

Here's the back of my board afterwards.

Now you get to start the weaving process. It's just like making a basket - over, under, over, under.

I found the best way to go about it is to fold my horizontal strips back onto the table and weave them through the vertical strips one by one.
As you get a piece woven all the way across, pull it taunt and then tuck it around and staple to the backside.

When you're done weaving across it should look something like the picture above. Then just tuck your final edge under and staple down. Make sure everything has been pulled tight.

And you're done! Load the back board into you frame and decorate!

This piece is in my black and cream office. I've got some favorite photos, crafty flowers, fabric swatches, and other fun nick knacks attached to it.

I love my wire word too.

Its nice to have a bulletin board with a little texture to it. This project took me less than an hour to complete and under $6 to put together.