Friday, July 29, 2011

Project Post 4 - Chalkboard

DIY Bistro Chalkboard

I've wanted to make a chalkboard for my kitchen since we moved in to the house, and I finally got around to it this past week. What a fun way to display birthday and holiday messages and menus! The reason I've been putting it off is that every time I've thought about it, I've had a hangup on what to make it out of. I know you can slap chalkboard paint on just about anything, but I've never used it and therefore didn't have a lot of faith or knowledge about it, but you can bet I am a believer now!

I knew I wanted my chalkboard's frame to be oversized and gaudy (embellished, you could say) - because I have always had a thing for gold gaudy oversized frames.

I originally started with this picture, via Pinterest (originally from here), and it became my chalkboard "pinspiration."

After seeing this chalkboard, it donned on me that I could use the mirror that was hanging above our bed to make my board. It was an old gaudy mirror with many imperfections and stains on the glass that I purchased for about $5 at a sketchy flea market in a sketchy part of town while estate sale shopping with my grandma, aunt and uncle (shoutout to Anna and Aunt Pam, who both are avid readers of my blog!! Remember that day??)

These pictures I found on Pinterest were inspiration for my project as well:

Seen here, originally here

Seen here, originally here

So here's my project!

A while back, I painted the frame of the mirror weathered bronze because I thought it looked better on our bedroom wall that color (I was wrong by the and learn). I didn't take a "before" picture of the mirror because I thought I had a picture of it hanging on our wall. I was wrong. But as for the first step we just took the mirror outside and sprayed the chalkboard paint on the glass. We didn't worry about taping anything off since we were painting the frame next. Then, I taped off and covered the chalkboard part, and then sprayed the frame with gold spraypaint. After that dried, unwrapping the covered part was like Christmas morning. I was excited to see how it looked. We then hung the picture on the kitchen wall where I wanted it, and then I made a satin sash to hang up, to make it appear as if the chalkboard was hanging by the ribbon (but don't worry - it's not). I absolutely love it. This was one of my most favorite projects to do, and definitely one of my most favorite results.

Here are some shots of the final product:

***Note: I had already planned (and had started) this project when I read about The Pinterest Challenge over on Young House Love (awesome blog you should check out!). They invited all their bagillion readers to participate in a Pinterest Challenge along with them as they made a clothespin chandelier for their laundry room. Check it out!

Monday, July 25, 2011

And after weeks of extreme dry heat...

I listened to the sound of heavy rain on my roof at 1am this morning.

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress,
or persecution, or f a m i n e, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?...For I am persuaded, that neither death, or life, not angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, not depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Romans 8: 36, 38-39

I am thankful for a small break from our rain famine.

In other news, say goodbye to our maple tree, whose little "gifts" can be found scattered across my driveway, flowerbeds, car, roof, etc. at any given time of year. The leaves are suffocating my new plants. We are cutting down the very large tree. Don't worry environment, we will be planting a few trees in the fall to make up for it. I must admit, I will be happy to see my friend go.

Have a wonderful, humid M O N D A Y!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Project Post 3 - Painted "N"

Painted Wooden "N"

I'm showing you yet another fun Canton find. I bought a big (24" x 24") letter "N" made out of unfinished wood. This was a little awkward to carry around all day with a stroller and diaper bag and such, but it was well worth it:)

Here's the letter before I brought out the paint:

I didn't buy any supplies for this project. I wanted to use up some things I already had in the garage from previous projects - plus, picking a paint color is just overwhelming for something like this, so using some paint I already had made the choice easy for me. I just walked out to the garage, grabbed my supplies, and got to work. We make the most of naptime/bedtime around here!

First step: white paint (2 or 3 coats to cover well)

Second step: crackle paint (it's clear) - one even coat. Let it dry for 1 to 4 hours before applying the top color. Letting it dry more than that can cause the crackle to not occur.

Third step: second color - apply one even coat with the brushstrokes preferably running the same way. Crackle finish will start appearing almost instantly.

Fourth step: antique glaze - apply it with a damp rag and then wipe off as much as you want with another damp rag (there are many techniques for doing this; this is just the one I chose)


Stay tuned for some pictures of where I display this in our house. I can't put it up until our next project is completed, which I hope to get going on this week! It's going to be a GREAT one!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Nanny's Fried Okra

I hate calling it "fried" because it's really just saut├ęd without flour or any type of breading. In my opinion, this makes the flavor better, and it's definitely a lot more healthy.

Let's start at the beginning. I developed a deep love for fresh, home-grown vegetables when I was very young. My Papa had a 2-acre garden and a mighty green thumb and we had an endless supply of all kinds of veggies and fruits. When I was young, I loved the food of course, but as a small girl who just had it prepared for me every night for dinner, I didn't realize what an awesome commodity we had. Now, I definitely realize how good we had it, every time I drive out to our local fruit stand to purchase my okra, tomatoes, squash, watermelons, and the list goes on.  

Nanny and Papa

I LOVE late summer when the okra is plentiful. Here's my favorite way to fix it - courtesy of Nanny.

Wash and cut your okra. Heat olive oil in a skillet (about 1 tbsp. per lb. of okra) on med-high heat. Add your okra (if it's really wet or you are preparing it from the freezer, you can dust it with a tiny bit of flour or cornmeal). Add ground black pepper and season salt to taste. Cook until heated through and pieces are soft and tender. Note* if I have a small onion on hand, I'll chop it up and throw it in with the okra for a little added flavor. Totally optional.

Some people in my family like it cooked JUST until it is soft and no longer, and others like it more done and a little black and crunchy. I think the flavor is great either way, so I do it both ways. 

Perfection! This is definitely my favorite vegetable. I cook squash and zucchini the same way often. They are both delicious cooked this simple way too.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Levi's New Bag

...Another neat thing we bought on our Canton trip was a new bag for Levi.

It functions as a diaper bag right now, but it can be used as an overnight bag when he's a little older. We got it at a booth that sold oilcloth products. I've always liked the way the oilcloth products look and so I was excited to find it! They offered monogramming which whatever color of thread or type of font you wanted.

When they showed me the matching changing pad I was sold! If anyone is interested, there is a place in Tulsa that sells oilcloth products, and they also do personalizing/monogramming. Here is their website.

And here are Levi's neat new things :) (Don't worry - I do realize that he couldn't care less about this)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Nail Spotlight - Taupe

I paint my nails a lot. I would say that I keep them freshly manicured and polished about 90% of the time. I always polish them right before I go to bed (during my "power hour" ..or hours.. after we put Levi to sleep - this is when I get everything done). I inherited this trait from my great Granny Iva. She always wanted her nails polished - 100% of the time - and felt naked without them done. I enjoyed painting her nails whenever we got to spend time with her.
I prefer to do my own nails instead of getting a professional manicure, because I am pretty meticulous about it and frankly I just do a better job. I feel the complete opposite about my toes though, I try to get regular pedicures to keep my feet in tip-top shape. There are only so many sides of your own feet you can reach! :)
I love neutral nail polish - nude colors with a hint of pink. This became popular several years ago, and I'm glad it has stayed around as a nail "staple." I usually stick with neutrals, or variations of red, but every once in a while I like to try something out of the ordinary.
A year or so ago, taupe nail polish became popular. I didn't like it at first, but I have to say it's grown on me a little. This past week was my first try at taupe nails (I've done toenails and loved it on them), and I have to say I like it as an alternative neutral from my normal light pink. The polish is by OPI and called Barefoot in Barcelona.

Here are a few essentials that I use to keep my nails manicured.

Orly Top 2 Bottom for a base coat / Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat (I also love Orly In a Snap for a top coat) / Solar Oil for cuticles (a must for in between manicures/polishes to keep paint looking fresh and skin moist - especially on toes)

H A P P Y   T H U R S D A Y !
I am coincidentally heading over to do
my sister's toenails for her now (I am the family pedicurist)...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Put a Flower On It

As a result of a) being born a female and b) developing a love/obsession/passion for clothes, shopping, etc., I've always been big on accessories. I've gone through phases in the past -- I had an earring phase where I LOVED big, gaudy earrings -- I had a headband phase where I wore headbands almost every day, and still have baskets full of them -- and the past 3 or 4 years I've been on a flower kick.

I love clipping a flower on whatever dress, top, or jacket I'm wearing. I think it's a great way to add a little femininity or glamor to even the most drab ensemble (like yoga pants and a jean jacket, or jeans and a simple top -- "outfits" I rock often, embarrassingly enough -- please don't tell Stacey and Clinton).

A few years ago, I was Christmas shopping in Dallas (yes, the same trip I mentioned in THIS post), and I picked up a flower pin/clip in Urban Outfitters. The flower looked old and was neutral in color, and I just liked it a lot. Little did I know that thing would be the most popular thing in my closet for years to come. It's still my absolute favorite flower and I wear it with everything and every kind of ensemble. Here she is, in all her glory:

I have a small collection of flower clips, and I have a lot of fun wearing them year-round for different occasions. My mom and sister have quite a collection of their own, and we swap from time to time (I guess it runs in the family).

I call the big red flower my "patriotic" flower because I always wear it for Memorial Day Weekend or Independence Day - sometimes I'll just throw it on a denim and white outfit to make it "red, white, and blue" (yes, I am 26 and I'm a big fan of themed "holiday" outfits).

If I'm feeling extra quirky, sometimes I'll clip a flower in my hair or on a handbag to switch it up:)

Happy Wednesday!

Disclaimer: Several of these photos were taken when I was very pregnant which in turn, explains the huge belly. :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

One step a completed living room!

The biggest thing we bought on our vacation was a coffee table. It was one of the things on my "list" (I made a list of things I hoped to find last weekend), so I feel really good that we got it.

When we first moved into the house, we were using an old cedar chest that used to be my grandma's as our coffee table. It was actually too tall, and overall just not a good size for a coffee table. Here is the only picture I could find of that makeshift coffee table:

There is a table runner on it and an outdoor rug leaning up against it but you get the picture! Then my grandma loaned us a different coffee table she had in her guest bedroom and we've been using it ever since. It's been great for us to use, but it was just too small for the room, not the right shape, not sturdy enough to put your feet on, and overall just not our style. Here is the only picture I could find of that table. Feel free to say "aaawwwww" at the witty bitty 1-week-old Levi in the picture.

So here is the new coffee table! I am sitting on it to show you how HUGE it is (I'm not a small girl)! I knew it was going to be big when we got it, but when Tyler unloaded it and put it in the living room, I was in the other room and all I heard was "'s really big." But, extremely large or not, this is EXACTLY what I wanted. I love it! I will put a few better pictures of it after it has "settled" in a while:)

You can bet this one is plenty sturdy to prop your feet up on!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Canton Trip: Family S N A P S H O T S

This is not the post about our neat Canton finds, but just a few snapshots from our trip. Enjoy!

I love this one. They were waiting in the shade while I ran to the bathroom. One of the vendors gave Levi a balloon and he loved it. It entertained him the whole day.

He really loved that balloon - so much that he wouldn't let go of it even after he fell asleep. Overall Levi had a great time people-watching. For those of you worrying that the 100+ temps were too much for him, we took LOTS of air-conditioner/fan/truck breaks, gave him LOTS of water, and in general he was pretty comfortable. Here are some more snapshots:

Levi learned to "clap" and say "Dada" on this trip. For those of you who aren't his parent, I realize that is trivial but for us it was pretty neat! In one of those pictures above he was clapping.

He got pretty tuckered out!

Taking a shade/water/snack break.

Don't worry - we were parked here! At Starbucks for some after-dinner coffee and a diaper change.

And of all the great "Tyler" photo ops we had while roaming around Tyler, TX, - THIS is the one he wanted. A construction dumpster.

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