Thursday, July 28, 2011

Home and Family Friday

Happy Almost-Friday, Friends! The sun has made an appearance in the Pacific Northwest. We're supposed to hit the high 70's today (Thursday)! Do you hear the collective cheer coming from our little corner of the U.S.?

Onto bigger and better things... The most clicked on link last week was Michele's big boy room.   I loved the Dr. Seuss printable she shared.

 I'll be printing one of those for my classroom.  She really needs to make this Dr. Seuss chair too.

We are ready for Home and Family Friday!  Link up your projects. We love to see things you've done around your home or with your family.  I'd love it if you'd become a follower and grab my button.

Barnwood Bliss

I've made a design decision that I've been thinking about since the day I moved into my house, 7 years ago.  Everyone has at least one wall in their house that they don't know what to do with.  My sister calls it The Big Scary Wall.  That's exactly what it is.  It's a huge wall with nothing on it.  It has no architectural features.  It's blah and boring.  To make matters worse, you have no idea how to decorate it or where to begin.

This is my big scary wall.  It's just outside of my dining room.



It is one of the first areas you see when you enter my house. 


It's a dark space with nothing exciting to look at.  My first thought was to put an entry table there.
 Problem:  My kids play in the hall all the time.  They do puzzles, rollerblade (that was before we refinished the hardwoods), practice cartwheels, and drive remote control cars.  A table or buffet would take up too much floor space.  My hubby also loves the openness of our hallways and doesn't really have a desire to fill the floor space with furniture. 


My second thought was to do a built-in piece, recessed into the wall.  I was thinking about a beautiful hutch piece, which would also be a great serving piece for parties.  Problem: $$$$$  It's pretty scary to think about how much built-ins, recessed walls, and beautiful crown moulding would cost.



Oooh, then there was the 3 piece set from Ballard Designs.  They're kind of pricey, but not as much as built-ins.  Problem:  Still too much $$$$$ and it would take up too much floor space.

So, here's my new plan.  I'm so excited about it that I lost sleep planning how it would look and how I would decorate it.

Isn't this the coolest shelf you've ever seen?  It's made from old, rustic, barnwood.  I think I may need to make a bathroom door while I'm at it.
Now, if only I knew a farmer who might be able to track down some barnwood for me...

Happy Decorating!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The New Dining Set

I really did love my old Craigslist Dining Room. It was my Pottery Barn look for about 100 bucks, including furniture purchases.

I was almost sad to see it go.

Ok, I'm done being sad. 'Cause look at this!



We were on vacation in Oregon, when we stopped at Costco for milk and lunch meat (because you can't beat the price of Costco's milk or lunch meat). My hubby spotted a dining table and chairs that he said he really liked. I didn't even look at it.

We came home and he mentioned, again, that I should take a look at the table from Costco. Now, I loved the look of my Pottery Barn/Craigslist dining room, but I didn't love the feel quite as much. The set was a little rickety and I was always afraid my grandma would sit in the broken chair and it would collapse underneath her. (Not because she's a heavy woman - she's only about 95 pounds- but because the chair had been repaired many times.) The next time we went to Costco my hubby showed me the table.... I kind of liked the table. I can't say this set is truly "me", since I would probably pick something with rich, warm fabric from Calico Corners. But, this set DID melt my heart a little.



We had a buffet in the living room that I thought would match perfectly, and it did! After a little patience and persistent calling to our local Costcos, we were finally told of a delivery date of furniture shipment to the stores. We were there bright and early, with a borrowed pickup truck. This set was an unbelievable deal! To top it off, I was able to sell my old set for just under $200. Score!



Now, I just need to convince my hubby that we should eat dinner here at least once. He says it's too nice for us to eat on, so we'll have to wait for the next family party.

Happy dining!
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Guitar Photos

My son decided he needed to redo his bedroom last week.  Baseball is out and guitar is in.  (More on the room transformation later)

He wanted some guitar pictures for his room, but since this makeover was unexpected, it is not in the budget.  So, we started looking online at guitar photos that he'd like to have.  We looked at several photos he liked and then tried to take similar pictures on our own. 
My son took all of these pictures.  He played with lighting and took close ups.

The last picture is his guitar strap.

I think he did a great job.  We printed the pictures in black and white and used the frames we already had in his room.  I have to say I was kind of impressed with his work!  Not bad for a 10 year old boy!

Happy decorating!


Monday, July 25, 2011

Planting My Planter

Trying this post again, since it didn't post with a picture last time...

I've had this little planter hanging next to my back door since I moved into my house. My stepdad made it for me before he passed away. He always loved wood working and I convinced him to start making some cute little projects to sell at craft fairs and farmer's markets.




I've always loved this little picket fence, but couldn't plant the tiny containers with anything. With the slats in the back, the dirt would always just fall out. I don't know why I didn't think about lining it with burlap before. The water drains through the burlap and holds the dirt in place. Most importantly, it looks cute and who doesn't love burlap?

Papa Dave would be proud.

Bookshelf Redo

I started thinking about my storage needs the other day. I really need a good place to put books. I have a small book shelf in the office/craft room, but our books fight for space with photo albums, paper for the printer, cards, fabric, and sewing projects. I've always had the bookshelves in the family room filled with big bins to store kid toys. Now that the kids are getting older, I figured I might be able to put their toys somewhere else.

Then, I was watching Secrets From a Stylist, on HGTV and saw how Emily styled the bookshelves. (I can't make the picture from the show any bigger than this.)


I've always been afraid of using the bookshelves in the family room to house our books. Our books aren't very pretty and decorative, so I've always stored them in a place no one will see them. After seeing that even professional stylists put books out in the open, I decided it was time for a change in our family room.


Having baskets on these shelves looked cleaner and it was very easy to dust. But, I'm kind of liking the way it looks now. In addition, it has freed up SO much space in my craft room and I can use that space better.




While I was making changes, I pulled this Goodwill frame out of the closet. I printed a picture I took on our Seaside trip and backed it with burlap to add a little texture. (Actually, I was just too cheap to pay for the larger print so this was my way of making it work.)

I love the frame.  It looks like old, chippy, barn wood.  I stained it a darker color to add a little more contrast to the wall.  (I'm hoping to paint the walls in the family room soon.) 

So far, I'm liking the changes. Funny thing, my hubby didn't even notice that I totally changed things around. I'm wondering how long it will be before he says, "Hey, where'd those baskets go and where did those books and pictures come from?" I don't think he really cares about decorating and how I arrange our books. What do you think?

Happy decorating!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Home and Family Friday

Happy Friday, Friends!

Ready for a party? The most clicked on link from last week's party was Mindy's princess party.

 I have to say, this was UNBELIEVABLE!  The whole thing was amazing, but it was the little details, like the little Starburst candy crowns that she microwaved and molded in to the perfect shapes, that really blew me away.

I'd love to see the projects you have for us this week! Link 'em up. We are looking for great recipes, gardening goodness, DIY projects around your house, or great things you've done with your family. Anything goes! It would make me really happy if you'd become a Follower and grab my button too.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Biringer Farm and Making Jam


It was sunny for about 5 minutes on Monday, so we piled the kids in the car and headed north, to our favorite berry farm

Every year we pick fresh local berries and bring them home to turn into jam, freeze for winter, and of course eat fresh.

As soon as we get there we pick up our baskets and wait for the tractor to come get us.  At this point my mom usually says, "Oh, look at all of those people out there getting the best berries!  We should have come earlier.  All of the good berries will be gone."


Then, my son says, "Do we HAVE to wait for the tractor?  The berry patch is RIGHT there."  At that point I usually say, "YES, you have to wait for the tractor.  We are here to have fun, darn it, and the tractor ride is fun! And, yes mom, I'm sure there will be plenty of berries for all of us.  Now, everyone smile and look like you're having fun."

Eventually, the tractor arrives and takes us on our short ride to the field.  I love this time of year.


My mom was right, the berries had been a little picked over.  But we still ended up with plenty to take home.

We move onto the raspberries and WOW, were they ever amazing!

I swear, some of them were as big as small apples.

Pretty soon, Farmer Andy came back around with his tractor to take us back to the barn.  With an extra 15 pounds of berries to carry, no one complained about taking the tractor on the short trip back to the barn.

So many berries, so little time!  Fresh picked berries need to be used or processed on the same day.  They don't have all of those chemicals and preservatives that the berries from the grocery store have, so they mold very quickly.  No problem, we're usually up for the challenge.



One for me, one for the bowl, one for me, one for the bowl.


I love to have my kids help with jam making and the canning process.  My mom and grandma taught me how to make homemade jam.  There is nothing better than this fresh, homemade treat.  I love knowing exactly what is going into our food.  I love that my kids have had a hand in making their food.  I love that there are fewer chemicals going into our jam.  I love that I can pass the lost art of home canning onto my kids.  Involving them ensures (with any luck) that this art will make it to the next generation.


Happy berry picking!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's a Warm Cookies and Cocoa Kind of Day

I had high hopes this morning.  The weatherman said, "Afternoon sun."  He even suggested our temperature might get into the... 70's!  I broke out the shorts, tank tops, and flip flops!  Woo hoo!  Let the summer weather begin!

Well, friends, it's 12:30pm and we're still in the 50's.  And there's drizzle.  Clouds.  All clouds.  I realize that much of the country is in the midst of a heat wave and people don't feel sorry for those of us in the Pacific Northwest.  BUT WE ARE FREEZING OUT HERE AND DYING FOR SOME SUMMER WEATHER.

Ok, I'm done complaining.  When it's feeling like fall, you might as well embrace it.  It's a warm cookies and cocoa kind of day.



 


 



 If you are in the market for the BEST chocolate chip cookie recipe EVER, here's the recipe:
1 Cup Crisco shortening (original, not butter flavor)
3/4 Cup brown sugar
3/4 Cup white sugar


Mix until soft and fluffy.

Add:
1 Egg

1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla
Mix just until blended.

Dry ingredients:
2 and 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 and 1/2 tsp salt

Mix it up and add a bag of M&M's or chocolate chips.

Bake for 10 minutes (or less) on 350 degrees. My oven is a standard oven, not convection, and this is what I do.  This recipe is my own little creation.  It started out as the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag.  Over the years, I've added and changed a few things.  It's close to the bag, but not exactly the same.


Happy baking!
Stay warm, Pacific Northwest friends!

Here are a few linky parties I like to participate in.



Monday, July 18, 2011

Seaside Trip, 2011

We just returned from our week at the beach.  Every year my mother in law treats the family to a week in Seaside, Oregon.  Our family of 4, my sister in law's family of 4, and Grandma LOVE this trip.  It's something we look forward to all year.

It's not usually a warm, lounge at the beach, type of vacation.  Washington and Oregon beaches are pretty cool, temperature wise, but there are so many fun things to do. (I'll be sharing a few of our adventures during the week.)

Aside from bundling up and walking at low tide, we love to just stroll on the beach.

We love collecting sand dollars.  It's amazing how many you can find at low tide.


 There are several swing sets on the beach, which makes a good excuse to take a break from walking and just sit and enjoy the view.




My kids absolutely love to spend an afternoon building sand castles.  Then, we wait for the tide to come in, and watch the ocean swallow up our creation.


Walking the Promedade is something we do every day.  The Promenade is a three mile walkway, right along the beach.  The kids ride their bikes, scooters, or skateboards.
  The adults walk and pick out the house we'd buy if we won the lottery.


I love to look at the beautiful yards and flowers.



You've just gotta love the view from the Promendade.

You can see, the skies are a little gray, but no one seems to care.  People play, search for shells, and just enjoy their time at the beach.


 

Doesn't this look relaxing?

Every year we try to rent the same house.  The owners call it Big Blue.  We just call it the Blue House.  It's just a short walk to the beach.  It is the perfect house for us!  It has a nice yard to play games in, a fire pit in the back, and a quiet street for the kids to ride bikes.  Oh, and the kitchen in HUGE!  That's a big plus for us!
This is the house we LOVE to rent.  If you are interested in checking out the prices, here is the link to the rental info. If you click on the link, it will take you on a tour of the house.  You can see all of the rooms and how adorable it is!



Thanks for a great trip, Grandma!

I can't wait to tell you about our crabbing adventure!

 

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