Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Backyard Was A Hot Mess

My backyard was a hot mess.  No grass, just Georgia red clay and lots of leaves!

Over the winter we neglected our yard duties.

Looking at my awful yard made me wonder, how do I make it look good again?

Rather than being bogged down by its current state, I decided to focus on what I liked best about our yard and plan from there: 

-I love the ivy climbing up the back of the house.  We're fully aware of how rapidly ivy grows and all the damage it can do, so we've kept it controlled to this small area.
-We love the look of our retaining wall, but after a heavy rainfall the lower level fills up with water and everything becomes a muddy mess.  There's nothing much worse than watching your dogs track muddy paw prints across your floor!  So we decided to start our planning there.  We created a small patio area to keep the mud away.  We wanted to have concrete poured, but it was way too expensive.  Our next option was concrete pavers; they are easier to work with and inexpensive.  We began by purchasing the pavers and mulch to fill in the cracks.  

Once we had the area raked and leveled, we placed the pavers down in a simple pattern.  They're not absolutely level, but we're okay with that!
We added a few azaleas.  They should be an awesome border in a few years as they fill in. 

We built the patio for about $250; supplies purchased from Home Depot.

A small price to pay in comparison to all of the rugs I've washed or tossed to keep the muddy paws out!

There's still so much more to do though.  I plan to add few more plants and give the area a good cleaning with the pressure washer.  I purchased paint for the back door and the areas that need to be touched up, but for now we're just enjoying our small patio area.

Of course, I'll post more pictures once we're finished!

I am linking this post to:
Inspire Me Please

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Moulding Success

Although we're a long way from calling our entry, stairway and hallway finished, I'm happy to share with you a few progress pictures.
The moulding has been installed.  Giving the walls a fresh coat of paint has made a huge difference.

The outlet has been wired and the new light fixture is up!

 I spend most of my free time painting.  Oh how I dislike cutting in.  I have so much to do it's daunting.

It'll be worth it in the end.  I must keep reminding myself of this.

I am linking this post to: 
Sew Many Ways
Someday Crafts
Inspire Me Please

Friday, March 28, 2014

Moulding Makes Me Happy

I absolutely love moulding!  It just changes the look and feel of the rooms in my house.  Over the years we've added it to most of the rooms and lately I'd been thinking a lot about beefing up the walls in our entry and staircase.  So we decided to have chair rail and picture frame moulding installed.
We still have a long way to go, but so far I'm loving the results.  I plan to paint the walls above the chair rail Revere Pewter(same as the L.R. and D.R.), by Benjamin Moore(matched to Glidden Paint) and the area below will be painted a creamy white.

As you know, one change leads to another!  So we'll be saying goodbye to our old light fixture and replacing it with something simple.

We're also adding an electrical outlet, so I can finally add a lamp to the entry table.  Lamps create such nice ambiance don't you think?!

I have plans to create a photo gallery along the stair wall; something I have wanted to do for a long time!

Our contractor friend is doing most of the work(I'm in charge of caulking-n-painting), but his schedule is quite full already, so it's been a bit of a challenge to find time to finish things up and that makes patience even harder to practice.

So a few boring-before pictures to share with you today.  Hopefully I'll have some progress pictures in a few!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Recipe Box Makeover

This weekend I decided to give my recipes a new home.

My recipe box contains a few great family recipes with the handwriting faded, some cut from old magazines and newspapers. It's fun to go through them! It's like sorting through old memories.

Although a little outdated and beat up, my recipe box is very special to me.  I've had it for years, it just needed a little makeover.

I began with a couple of wallpaper samples from Serena & Lily, cut to size. (Thanks again, Caitlin!) I used Mod Podge to adhere the paper to the box after painting the lid and trim with paint.

Then I added an adhesive metal bookplate from Staples, on one side.

I used my printer to create the recipe label.

There are a lot of ways to manage your recipes online, but I love the traditional way of storing my recipes in a box tucked in the cabinet. Why do I feel like I was born in the wrong era?!

How do you store your recipes?  Do you keep them fresh in your head or pinned to your Pinterest boards?

*Recipe cards are available to print from here

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Oatmeal-Biscoff Cookies

You had me at Biscoff!

Are you familiar with Biscoff Spread?  Biscoff spread is a sweet, creamy, spreadable treat made from Biscoff Cookies.  I love Biscoff spread!  It's a tasty-indulgent treat that definitely won't make you skinny!

My kids love to eat Biscoff spread with apple slices.  Like the old saying goes, If you eat it with fruit it's practically health food! I kid!

And while eating the spread with apples is a favorite treat, I decided to mix things up and surprise my kids with homemade cookies.  My kids will happily scarf down a plate of cookies.  So I knew this recipe would be a hit and I loved the challenge of trying something different.  Enjoy! I know you will too. 

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats 
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/8 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature 
1/2 cup Biscoff Spread 
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
1/2 cup light brown sugar 
1 large egg 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.  Using your mixer, beat cookie butter, granulated and brown sugar in a large bowl at medium speed until creamy.  Add egg and vanilla; beat until combined.  Reduce speed to low and gradually add dry ingredients one at a time and beat until incorporated.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.  Remove dough from refrigerator and form 2 tablespoons of dough into balls.  Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.  Bake for about 9 minutes or until cookies are golden.  Allow cookies cool completely before devouring. good luck with that!

*Recipe adapted from: Two Peas and Their Pod

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                       Savvy Southern Style

Friday, February 21, 2014

Super-Simple Project: Recovering a Flea Market Stool

A few months ago while browsing the flea market I came across a small, simple stool that was reasonably priced.

I looked past the scratched wood and dingy vinyl and saw true potential.  Updating it with new fabric would be an easy option.

I removed the seat cover and cleaned every inch of the stool with a disinfectant.

Since the vinyl was in good shape I didn't bother to remove it.  To recover, I simply placed the new fabric underneath the seat and went around it with my staple gun to secure the fabric in place.
After recovering the seat I decided not to paint the wood.  I love the look of the dark wood against the light walls.

As you can see I haven't jumped off the chevron train.  I love this upholstery-weight fabric.  It was a great find at Joann's for $20 a yard.  For this project I used half.

I "erased" the scratches in the wood by using a walnut.  Yes, that's right, a walnut!

My advice; don't overlook furniture at thrift stores or flea markets because of their current state.  Fabric and paint are an inexpensive way to update your find into something special!

I am linking this post to: 
Savvy Southern Style
Work it Wednesday