Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Morning Thrifting

Sunday just happens to be our local thrift store's 50% off day (provided you have the right coupons) and man did we score big this week! I couldn't resist a post about all our vintage goodies. I've recently become a passionate thrifter, we got everything pictured below plus some clothes for around $12.

Bowling bags, one for Eric and one for me! They came with balls that actually fit our fingers and mine came with shoes that not only fit me but are super cute!

They also make good dance shoes

My bowling bag, I thought it would make a cute little overnight bag. 

Eric's more manly bowling bag, how cute will we be on little weekend getaways with these things?

Wire basket for kitchen organization, I've wanted one of these for a while but was unwilling to pay 18 bucks for it.

Ikea bread box, we plan to hang it on the wall and using it more like a shelf, I'll post pictures when we figure it out :-)

Fall Floral Design

Late Summer/early Fall is a particularly stunning time of year in my opinion. I've been noticing huge fields of wildflowers popping up around our neighborhood. I thought it would be another opportunity for me to practice my floral design by taking advantage of the natural abundance of beauty we have here in North Georgia. I ended up with mainly golden rod (one of my favorite flowers ever!) and a few white flowers that I have no idea what they were. I also added in a few different kinds of grass to really give it that autumn feel.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Touch of Fall

We are coming up on my very favorite season, Fall! There's something about the crisp weather, the smells of spice and woodsmoke and the golden light makes me feel that there is a bit of magic in the air. I have to say, this time of year puts me in an incredibly good mood. I gather that it's not technically Fall until this Friday but the weather has been so Autumn like that I couldn't resist a little Fall decorating. I have been so looking forward to decorating the house for the Fall and Winter holidays, this place is just crying out for garlands and seasonal decor. Today I made a lovely little leaf garland to hang above the fireplace.

Leaf garland in place

close up leaves
 I've also been collecting pinecones, both big and small, from the yard for quite a while. Right now they are being displayed on a lovely wood platter but I have plans to make  a Christmas garland out of them later this year.

I also walked around our yard today to take some pictures of some signs of early Fall. I love to watch the seasonal changes starting to make themselves apparent.

lots of pinecones showing up on our Eastern Hemlock tree

acorns are starting to fall and the squirrels are having a feat!

the berries on our holly bushes are starting to turn red, can't wait to make decorations out of these for Christmas!

some fall colors are just barely starting to turn up in yard, I can't wait until it is in full swing!

I don't know about you all but I'm ready to take a hay ride and drink some apple cider. Hope you all are enjoying the season as much as I am!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Eric and I stole away to do some camping for the weekend and I have to say it was the perfect trip at the perfect time. The weather was fabulous, the scenery was beautiful and the location was full of sweet memories (it was the State park where we got engaged two years ago). It was great to get away for the weekend, just the two of us, and forget about reality for a while. It took me back to that giddy period right after we first got engaged, ahhh memories :-)

All that being said it is the most incredible feeling to be home again. Am I crazy to think that part of the joy of traveling is the relief of coming back home? I have been thinking a lot about my true nature, trying to know myself really well and there is a big part of me that is just a huge home body. I like to get away for a short while and then retreat back to my nest. Eric and I are both Cancers in the zodiac and I always think about how we are so true to that in so many ways. I know that signs of the zodiac are just for fun but it really is incredible how many Cancer characteristics describe us to a T. One of the biggest things I've noticed is that we love making our home a wonderful retreat, we both really value home and family.

Getting away is probably the best way to make me appreciate my home all over again, along with all it's little homey touches. What is it about your house that really makes you feel at home? Here are some of my top things that make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when I'm home:

Number 1: Our cats. Nothing makes a house a home like having little furry babies around. We miss them when we're gone and they definitely make our home worth coming back to.
Number 2: Candles. If you've ever been to a party at our place you've probably noticed we have a million candles burning. We love having candles around, especially of the scented variety. 
Number 3: Our bed. Especially after camping, nothing beats sleeping in your own bed. Bed by Ikea, quilt by Urban Outfitters.
Number 4: Lighting. As anyone can tell you, lighting has a huge influence on the look and feel of a place. For me nothing says home light the warm afternoon light coming through our giant front windows. 
Number 5: House plants. Something about having these little living things that depend on you for survival gives you sense of purpose and ownership in your home. 
Of course sharing you home with the right person is also a huge factor in loving where you live. I'm fortunate enough to share my home with my wonderful husband. Not only that, but the other people who mean the most to me in the world, my Mom and Dad, live just a few houses over. What more could a girl ask for?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Guest Bathroom Mini Makeover

This week I spent some time working on the refinishing the cabinets in our guest bathroom. The idea was that I would practice on something small scale before tackling the kitchen cabinets later this year. The cabinets were in pretty bad shape in terms of their finish but they are still good, solid maple cabinets. Well it was a lot of working doing all that sanding and staining but it really gave the bathroom a facelift. Here are some pictures.

Before picture, the cabinets were stained a darker color and were pretty scratched up, they also had outdated brass hardware.

here they have been sanded but not yet stained

after, much lighter and it's nice to see the natural wood grain more

also got some shiny new hardware

and to top it off, a new hand towel my mother in law bought for me and a new outlet cover to match the hardware.
It's amazing how small changes can really transform a space! I love the feeling of having accomplished something on the house :-)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Gray Tree Frog

I know it's silly but I get such a thrill out of all the wildlife I see around our house. I know none of these things are terribly exotic but it always makes me feel like I'm living in a jungle to see all the little critters in our yard and on our deck. Today I spotted what I believe is a common gray tree frog in the bottom of a flower pot. I've suspected we had tree frogs for a while because some of the night noises we hear sounded a lot like frogs to me but this is the first time I've actually seen one. I was so excited!

I was careful to put the pot back exactly as I found it after taking photographs so as not to disturb him. I can only hope the cats don't find him!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Low Carb Cooking- Comfort Food

I hope everyone out there had a great holiday weekend! Ours was busy but fun and we certainly have been enjoying the cold spell that has hit Atlanta. We had friends in from out of town all weekend and therefore we did a lot of eating out. Today Eric and I were both craving a home cooked meal and with the weather being a bit cooler I was feeling the urge to bake something. Unfortunately baking doesn't really go too well with having a husband who is on a low carb diet, Luckily I was able to find the perfect solution! Tonight's dinner was a low carb version of stuffed peppers and oh man did they hit the spot! I adapted the recipe from one on a site called low carb luxury but I ended up making more of a stuffed pepper casserole than individual stuffed peppers. The reason for this is that I ended up with way more filling than I needed to stuff my peppers with. I figured more filing can't be a bad thing so I just filled up the empty spaces in my baking pan with the extras and smothered it with cheese. The dish ended up having three types of cheese and two types of meat in it, plus I kicked it up a notch with some crushed red pepper. Yum! It was satisfying and delicious! Here are some pictures of the process.

fresh peppers and onions, I chose to cut the peppers lengthwise to make them easier to eat

meat mixture cooking with tomatos onions and garlic for the stuffing

the "casserole" ready to go in the oven

the finished product. I don't think I've ever mentioned it before but I am so in love with our dishes, we made a great choice registering for white dinnerware because everything looks awesome on them!

I also had some time today to make a little low carb snack for Eric to take to work in the form of some spiced almonds. Here is the recipe I used but you could really experiment with this and use any spices you want. It turned out to be super easy and tasty!

Step one, get your almonds and spices together. I used paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin and salt for mine.

Step two, roast the spices in a bit of olive oil.
Step three, roast the almonds in the spice mixture until they are well coated. It's wise to let them cool a little before you eat them but they taste great while they are still warm.

I love having a day at home that I can spend cooking and getting my life organized and today was one of those days. It's especially nice when the weather is so lovely and cool. I'm looking forward to spending our first fall in our amazing home, we are still so in love with it :-)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Corner Pantry=Done!

Eric finished the corner pantry over the long weekend and I just wanted to share a picture of it. Hooray! This gives us so much more room in the kitchen, I love it!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Kitchen Inspiration

During our Ikea trip yesterday we got majorly inspired and came up with a whole new plan for our Kitchen. There's no telling when all of this will actually happen but it's nice to have a gole in mind. The steps to making our dream kitchen would include:

-Tiling the floor
-Replacing the countertops
-Painting the cabinets
-Replacing the hardware on all the cabinets
-Maybe replacing the dishwasher (someday)

The thing that really got us going on this plan was looking at the countertops that Ikea has for sale. This is a section of the store that was pretty much invisible to me before I owned a house, I honestly forgot that they even sell stuff like that.  Now that we're home owners Ikea is all shiny and new to us, we are looking at things in a whole new way. And yes, I can't believe what a grownup I am getting all excited over countertops, it's sad really *shakes head disparagingly*

But I digress, I was talking about the countertops that sparked the idea for the new kitchen plan. It all started when we saw these solid wood countertops for sale. They are kind of gorgeous (you all know we have a thing for natural wood) and can be stained and treated in any way that you want. We started talking about how cool that would be in our kitchen but how it would be too much wood along with our wood cabinets so we would have to paint the cabinets rather than stain them like we originally planned. This is the general ida we came up with, Black cabinets, wood countertops, white backsplash, metal hardware. Check out my design inspiration pictures:

My favorite, the backsplash here even looks exactly like ours.

The best part about these wood countertops is how cheap they are, I got pretty excited about redoing the kitchen when I realized it would actually cost us all our savings. Anyway, like I said, I don't know when this project will happen or start to happen, I'm just blogging about it so that I keep my thoughts organized on what I want to do to the kitchen. I'll update everyone once we actually get started!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ikea Trip

Today we took our first trip to Ikea since we purchased the house. Wow! I can't believe it has taken us this long! The last time we were there it was to buy stuff for the wedding but we have been planning a trip every since we closed on the house back in February. Ikea is such a strange place, we were there right when it opened to beat the crowds and there were already all these people lined up just to get in, crazy! Still, it's easy to see why it's so popular, it has such nicely designed furniture and accessories and they are so cheap! We had a lot of fun browsing and got tons of inspiration for things we want to do to the house! (more on that later). We also continued the kitchen organization quest by purchasing some more spice containers and additional racks to hang kitchen stuff from. Here's what we came out with,

some of our new spice jars on the new corner pantry. It's starting to egt that eclectic apothecary shop look we are going for. 

more spice jars
new wrack for hanging mugs before we put it on the wall

racks and mugs up on the wall! now we don't have to stack our mugs on top of each other in the cabinets.

the kitchen is starting to look so much more clean and organized. 

It's pretty gratifying to see the kitchen getting so much more usable and organized. It's also a much more pleasant place to work in when it's clutter free. So far so good but I have a lot more plans for this kitchen, I can't wait to get it all together in here!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Corner Pantry

Eric has been hard at work over the past few days building the first unit for our corner pantry. It is looking so good!We were able to mostly make it out of leftover bamboo from our floors so it has ended up being very inexpensive. Here are some pictures so far.

It has already helped tremendously with our kitchen storage. We plan to put two more shelves in this corner, one in between the two pictured and one at the top of these two. We will eventually put another one in the other corner of the dining room as well.