Aug 31, 2010

the kitchen

Here's a little tour of my kitchen.  It too is in need of some oomph, and it's been a process of finding the balance of functionality and pretty.  It's a nice area, and since the house is only a few years old, we're in the baby steps still with this room too. When we moved in it was brown, brown and more BROWN. 
Brown walls.
Brown floors.
Brown cabinets.
Brown tile.
Brown.
Did I mention it was brown?

Here's what it looked like when we moved:





Here it is today:

Main view


The Pistachio Tint that we used throughout the downstairs helped to break up the BROWN! :) 
 I like the cabinets better with the pale green against it.  However, in the four homes we've owned, this is the very first house we purchased without white cabinetry.  Which I am partial to. 

I've felt awful for wishing for something else since these are beautiful and brand new.  I am truly grateful for this home and I love it.  But I am hoping that we can paint the cabinetry white in the near future.  The only question is....will we do it ourselves or have someone else come in and do it for us?

Knowing how I operate, it wouldn't surprise me or my immediate family if I just suddenly decided to do it. 
Sometimes you gotta jump in and get it done.
I sometimes am a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda girl!



Our chalkboard with my new favorite quote.  :)


...our "entertaining" corner- not quite a butler's pantry, but we use this area - top to bottom -
for all of our barware, wine, cocktail napkins, cookbooks, matches, special serving pieces, etc.
And of course, Bella's treat jar.



I found this at Target several years ago from Rachel Ashwell's line. 
She has a pug too, by the way!




The view of the island.  I love my Dash & Albert rug. 
It's really hard to see the colors- but it's in the same palette as the rest of my house-
Jamaican Ticking is the design.


the nifty little soap pump that I talked about last week!


...the island lighting.  Not sure if we will hold onto these guys.  They're pretty, but kind of like the cabinets, I'm not sure they're totally "us". 
I've seen some at Lowe's that I'd like to possibly switch them out for.

Also, not that I'm loving the fact that I'm pointing out something that I'd rather not:
see that green post to the right of the first light? 

Yeah, the awkward green post?

I don't know why it never occured to me when I was painting this room, but the NEW plan is to paint it the same color as the white trim, and add some crown to the top so it looks like a real architectural post and not some weird green post in the middle of the room!
Bleh!



A few years ago, I got these stools at a discount unfinished furniture store here locally.  I paid about half the price if I'd ordered them ready made. 

If I do go white on the cabinets,
(I mean really- who am I kidding- it's stuck in my head, I just should start saying when...)
I think I'd like to repaint these in a fun color.  But, they might look great in the black....who knows??




I love things with labels.  :)



The great thing about our kitchen, and what really sold me on it was the fact that you can have people over and see everyone in the family room, dining room, and most of the living room from the kitchen. It's a great space for entertaining- everyone feels connected.

Thanks for touring my space.  It's a work in progress to make it "just right" for us.  I hope you'll join me on the journey of our home's transformation. 
Yes, even new homes can be transformed!

Aug 30, 2010

wish list item that isn't a wish anymore

Don't you just love getting fun packages at your doorstep?  ME TOO! 
And I was so excited to get two this weekend!
One of my long standing wish list items was the Cameron Cotton drapes from Pottery Barn.  I've stared at an empty curtain rod in my family room for about 5 months. 
No joke. 
People would tease me about the empty curtain rod.  I think I was hoping the curtain fairies would magically appear overnight and hang them up for me.  Nope.
So I finally went ahead and ordered them. 
I have some more coming for our nook, but that size was on backorder, so I get another fun package in a couple weeks!

Ta da!!


Here was the before:


and another after from the other side:


Ah!  So much better!
Ok, so the second fun thing I got this weekend were these:

 You've probably seen lots of other bloggers advertising these neat little things, and I had never seen / heard of these until recently.  They're pretty cool!  You clean the item you want to hang (in my case a vintage tray) or plates (which I plan to use with the rest of these guys soon), moisten the back of the disk with some water, press it into place on the back of the item, let it sit overnight, and voila!  you have an invisible hanger!  Very inexpensive- I paid $7 for four of them, and the shipping was free.  The gentleman who sent them is from the U.K. and was very nice.  I plan on getting more!  You can check them out here.

I also worked on our nook table over the weekend, and was very happy with the end result. 
Here's the transformation.
Before:





sanded and primed



finished product!
We also had the privelege of attending a lovely wedding over the weekend.  It was at a historic mansion called Deepwood Estate, and the wedding took place outside in the gardens.  A beautiful evening with a beautiful couple!



We also enjoyed a very early morning breakfast on Sunday with some of our buddies, one of them who was here from L.A. and also participated in the wedding.  A great time of cinnamon chip french toast, and catching up.
Finally, I found a COOL piece for our living room.  For awhile now, I've been thinking that I'd love an architectural element above the living room windows.


I found this piece at - wait for it....
Aunt Bee's parking lot sale!
I sooooo wished I would have remembered my camera!!! I could have taken you along to see all the fun stuff! 
I saw this beautiful shelf on a table, looked at the price, and thought, "Hm.  Gorgeous, but I can't spend that much today." ($49)
I finished up my quick tour, making mental notes of things I might want to go back and pick up later.  But the shelf kept nagging at me. 
You know that feeling when you realize that's what you really want?
I started rehearsing in my head the possibility of asking the vendor if that was her best price.  I quickly but nonchalantly walked back over to the table,
Yep, still there! yahoo!
I casually picked up the shelf....
I just about fainted when the price tag now magically read
$35!!!!!! 
YESSSS!


I love all the patina on it.  It's big and very heavy!  I'm hoping we can anchor it to the wall securely so it doesn't come crashing down.
 It will probably get painted white and distressed a bit.  I think it would look the best with all the living room colors. 
I CAN'T WAIT!  :)

I hope your weekend was peaceful, relaxing and fun! 

Aug 27, 2010

Foodie Friday: my favorite shrimp marinade!

This is hands down, my favorite shrimp recipe.  So many flavors packed into it, I could literally gorge myself on this!
(makes me think of George on Seinfeld, "Hey, George, the ocean called...") 
LOL!
Anyway, this recipe is from All Recipes.com and is simply called, Ron's Grilled Shrimp.
It received a 4 1/2 star rating out of 5, but I would give it a 5!!


Ron's Grilled Shrimp
serves 4

  • 1/4 cup lime juice

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • 2 T red wine vinegar (I've also used white wine vinegar in a pinch, and it was good too)

  • 1 T minced garlic

  • 2 T finely chopped fresh parsley

  • 2 T finely chopped fresh cilantro

  • 2 T finely chopped fresh basil

  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

  • 1/4 tsp pepper

  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

  • 2 pounds jumbo shrimp- peeled and deveined (I use the big frozen bag from Costco- raw, peeled & deveined.)
Mix all ingredients together, except for shrimp, in a large bowl.  Pour marinade in a large zip top bag, and add shrimp to marinade.  Toss to coat.  Refrigerate for 1-2 hours, turning bag occasionally.

Preheat grill to medium high heat.  I typically skewer for easier grilling, or you can also use a grill basket.  If you use wood skewers, remember to soak them in water for at least an hour, so they don't burn on the grill. 
Discard marinade. Cook shrimp for 3-5 minutes, watching carefully.  They cook pretty fast, and they should be pink but not dried out.

Super yummy!  If you want to print out the recipe or if you need a larger quantity, you can use All Recipe's site to calculate the amount you need.  It will adjust all the amounts for you in their recipe calculator!  How handy is that?

Aug 26, 2010

welcome!

I've been doing this blog thing for almost a solid two months now, and I know it's a little late to say 'Welcome!' but this post is more about the front door.  :)

Isn't it interesting how a swinging hunk of slab of wood can say so much to people before they even enter our homes?

Here's our entry:


I wish I had a wide angle lens to show you what it looks like better...


People frequently ask me what my topiary tree is- it's a Wax Leaf Privet.  We bought ours already shaped, but typically at a nursery they look like a plain old green leafy plant.  But I have to say that it is one of my favorite plants!! It is easily shaped, has beautiful green glossy leaves, and it's very hardy. 

I used to see these same topiaires with the Impatiens (the pink flowers at the base) all down Lake Avenue in Pasadena when I was in college.  I thought they were so pretty and welcoming, very elegant without being too pretentious.  And I thought, someday I'd like to have that at my front door. 
:)
I also love geraniums- I have them throughout our yard (and to the left of the front door) in the little flower box. 
The B that we have next to our door is from Anthropologie.  In our last neighborhood,  I used to frequently walk past a house that had the same B next to the door, and I just loved it!  When I discovered where it came from I was excited to have my own!




I also like to have a simple twig wreath on my door.  I just love twiggy things!


Lastly, it's more on the front of our porch, than our front door....
our flag. 
One of the things I love about our neighborhood are all the flags that people have up on the front of their homes.  When I drive through a neighborhood and see flags waving down the street, it just seems to say that it is a friendly place to be.


In about another month and a half, our hillside of trees will be in gorgeous shades of oranges, yellows and reds.  I'm not excited to say goodbye to warm nights on the porch, but I sure love the views in the fall...

Thanks for coming to my front door! :)
Enjoy your Thursday~

Aug 25, 2010

gulp

ok.....

I said I wasn't ready to show you my nook area...

but here goes...

I'm going to be brave.

I can already hear the sounds of a flat and fading trumpet section fizzle into the air.
Yep.
I hate that it is such a blah area, because in my mind I know what I want it to look like!!
Cozy.  Inviting.  Charming.
Hmmm...
Not so much.


There's my big ol blank of a nothing wall.  You have to imagine with me that someday it will look maybe something like:


photo from Country Living, Easy Kitchen Transformations
see what I mean?  You already know I want to have some kind of banquette or bench seating.  I don't have windows like this, but I love the architectural arch, the plates on the wall....
Maybe some open shelving?
So, I am starting with this:



We've had this table for awhile, and a few years ago I thought my white table with the natural wood top would look great in all black.  It did, except you know what black does?  It shows every little piece of white lint and dust the minute you step away from cleaning it.  Ugh.
So guess what I'm painting it?
Yep.
White. 
(I'm hearing Michael Jackson's song, "It's black, it's white, say yeah yeah yeah...."

Here's the progress so far. I'm looking forward to the white again.  I'm going to keep the chairs black- I think the contrast will look nice.
Here's another look at my embarrassingly blank wall.  (it hasn't always been like this- I did have some "stuff" up there- I've just been in rearranging mode)



So imagine with me, if you will,  a white table, some kind of bench seating, maybe open shelving and some art, a new lantern or drum shade light fixture, curtains that hang properly!
 and a smiling girl.

Aug 24, 2010

soap dispenser for my kitchen


I got my September issue of Country Living a couple weeks ago, and just fell in love with this simple project they featured.  Isn't it cute?  Vintage and turquoise!
And look what I purchased over the weekend...

Oh boy!  Can't wait to get the drill out and pop in the pump!
Happy Tuesday!

Aug 23, 2010

Weekend adventures

Wow, such a fun weekend thrifting and creating!!

I worked on a lot of projects, and was on a high from all the treasures I found!  Once again, I made not one, but two trips out to Aunt Bee's.  I was telling a friend that I think I may have a problem.  She said we should start a group called A.B.A.- Aunt Bee's Anonymous.  Seriously!

Besides all the creating, the three of us did some volunteering over the weekend through our church and an organization called Dream Center.  We went to our local high school and did some MAJOR clean up.  The school has only been open for about 7 years, but the overgrowth was making it look pretty shabby already. (and not in a Shabby Chic kinda way)  Several hundred volunteers all pitched in pulling weeds, spreading barkdust and painting.  The transformation was amazing!

Speaking of transformations, here are a few of mine:

A rummage sale find!  Never mind the hideous picture- I saw the potential in the frame!


Remember this little guy for $3.95?  He actually had a brother, and I couldn't separate them, so I went back the next day and rescued him as well. (at 50% off over the weekend)
Before...




Much better now!  I'm not done with the wall art, but it's getting there.  :)  Stay tuned.

This $3.95 thrift store cushion got a facelift....




I found this cute French flower bucket at True Value on their clearance table.  Originally marked $10.99.... down to $4.99.... I ended up only paying $1.99 at the register!!
It looks great in my living room with some of our hydrangeas.  This spot desperately needed some height and was just was I was looking for. 


I got this cute vintage suitcase and picnic basket for our bedroom makeover accessorizing. The suitcase was one of my Aunt Bee finds- the basket was from a thrift shop.  $12.95 for the suitcase, $4 for the basket (half price over the weekend as well)


...and then I got to do some dumpster diving and found another vintage suitcase!!!  Can you believe it was going to be thrown away??! 


eat your heart out Pottery Barn!!  ha ha!  (Pottery Barn, you know I still love you.)

And a few more Aunt Bee's treasures....

an old pair of window shutters.  I hope to tuck some beach and family photos into the slots. 
Maybe even take Nate Berkus's advice and put in a special note from a loved one...


A cute little sign- more accessorizing the beachy bedroom makeover


an adorable vintage metal tray with my favorite flowers- gardenias!
It will become a part of a wall collage over the green tufted bench in our living room.  I gotta go order some of those Dischangers that I am seeing all over blogland!


and a beautiful vintage picture- also a part of the collage wall!


And lastly- another dumpster diving find...
an old crabbing basket? I thought it might work in the beachy bedroom- any suggestions?  Since it is collapsable, I thought maybe hanging it with a plant in it or a big candle?? hmmmm....


Let me know what you think!

I'm linking up to: