16 Dec

It seems like everyone is talking trees lately, so I should probably join in on the fun.  Earlier this week Kevin and I went to a tree farm and cut down our own tree.  I vaguely remember doing this many years ago with my parents, but Kevin had never done this before.  Hopefully this is going to be a new Christmas tradition for us!  Where do you get your tree?  Do most people get them at random lots on the side of the road or maybe even Home Depot?  That’s where we usually go, and I think most people in Chicago do the same.   Or do you brave the elements and cut one down at a farm?

The farm we went to was about 45 minutes from our house, and there were quite a few trees to choose from…


We walked around a good portion of the lot in search of our first tree for the corner of Main.  We weren’t exactly sure how big was too big.  I figured as long as it wasn’t much taller than me with my arms up we would be good to go….


I know, very precise measuring here.  (Please ignore the fact that it looks like my clothes don’t fit, I don’t usually walk around like this).

Once we found the perfect tree, Kevin got to work with the saw.


Then we Kevin had to carry it to where the tractor could pick it up:


Then came Santa…


Who picked  up our tree, and met us at the check out!


Thanks Santa!

After it was wrapped and tied, we were headed home in no time.


After a few lights and some pretty ornaments here she is:

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Ha!  I guess my measuring technique wasn’t the most accurate.  We didn’t exactly account for the height of the star.

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It needs a little work, but we are feeling a bit lazy right now.  Maybe the this tree will get a little trim tomorrow!

Now, our other tree is good to go….

Kevin’s mom gave us this one at our wedding shower in 2010, and this is the first year we are taking it out.

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We don’t exactly have any type of “theme” on either of the trees.  I may visit some stores the day after Christmas to pick up some discounted items for next year.  I love the look of our personal hodge podge of ornaments, but I also love color coordinated trees.  What do you prefer?  Mix and match or one uniform color?  What about real or artificial?

What do you have planned for the weekend?  Kevin and I are hosting a Christmas party for a few friends on Saturday.  Hopefully we take some good pics to share next week!


Santa Came Early!

14 Dec

Santa came early, and he arrived on a Home Depot truck! Check out what he squished through the chimney:

stove 006Well, maybe it was two delivery dudes on the truck and they came through the front door, but it felt like Christmas!

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One of the first things we needed to replace in our house was the old range…we moved in 10 months ago…nothing like procrastination! The previous stove was pretty dirty, it took an eternity to heat the oven, and I almost singed my hair (and poor Kevin almost lost his eyebrows) on numerous occasions while lighting the burners.

This may be the only pic I have with the old stove in it

We went with a stainless steel LG freestanding range with a double oven. I have been wanting a double oven range since I discovered them last year. What a fabulous idea! The bottom is big enough for a large turkey (so they say) and the top is big enough for a tray of rolls or cookies. It is the perfect invention. Why heat an entire oven if you are making a small tray of stuffed peppers for two people? Yes, stuffed peppers is a totally random example, but I made some last night with our beautiful new oven and I am going to share the recipe in a second….

We purchased the stove and 2 other appliances (that I will share later) at Home Depot on Cyber Monday. I actually went into the store and got the same price as on-line. Score! We paid less than $1,000 for this range (with free delivery), and I see now that it is $1,349.10. That makes me happy. Now we need to update the rest of the kitchen (new floor, cabinets, countertops…ugh).

Until then I will enjoy cooking on our beautiful range! The first creation that came out of this bad boy was Stuffed Red Peppers.

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Because I was making this up as I went along the measurements are not exact…

Turkey and Squash stuffed Red Peppers

  • 6 red peppers (seeded and tops cut off)
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 5 mini portabella mushrooms diced
  • 1/2 large onion (or 1 small onion I suppose) diced
  • 4 servings of cooked brown rice
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 25.5 oz. jar of butternut squash pasta sauce (yes this is the most random ingredient ever, but I think this is what made the dish sooo good. I got a 2 pack of these at cost-co for about $7 just to try it out, and I will definitely be getting more)

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Get cookin’:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 (this serious took no time at all!) and grease the bottom of an oven safe dish/corning ware-set aside.
  2. Cook turkey in a skillet until browned. Add onions, mushrooms, and salt. Cook until onions are soft.
  3. Mix in the brown rice.
  4. Place peppers in the dish and fill with turkey/rice mixture.
  5. Spoon most of the sauce over the peppers, replace the tops of the peppers, then add remaining sauce.
  6. Cover and cook for 40 minutes, remove and enjoy!

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I wasn’t sure how these would turn out but Kevin and I really liked them. I am a huge fan of peppers and onions. Any time I order pizza it always has green pepper and onions, and they are also pretty tasty on an omelet. Do you like stuffed peppers? What do you like on your pizza? Have you been the happy owner of an LG appliance? Or maybe even a double oven range?

Have a lovely Wednesday and enjoy these last 12 days of Christmas!

Golden Girl

11 Dec

I am a covered in gold glitter, hence the title.  This reminded of the other day when the cashier at Hobby Lobby told me it’s not the holidays unless he goes home covered in glitter!  Lol, I love it.  Mission accomplished!

I have been playing with my glue gun and my glittery gold snowflakes (again).  This week’s creation is a wreath for our mantel.  I love how it turned out:

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It’s pretty self explanatory, but here’s the details….

  • Gather your supplies:

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  • Wrap ribbon around the wreath (hot gluing the ends to the back of the wreath):

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  • Glue on snowflakes.  I found some old silver snowflakes with our Christmas ornaments and alternated them with the  gold ones to mix it up a bit:

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  • After I applied all the snowflakes, I added a glittery “Merry Christmas Ornament”  (first I cut off the ring above the “r”):


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  • Next I covered a wreath holder with gold ribbon and hung on our mantel mirror.  Merry Christmas!

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I love how the wreath adds some sparkle to our mantel.  You can also see Kevin’s Department 56 Collection.   These little buildings are so cute.  We have a fire station (because Kevin is a fireman),

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a New Orleans Café (because Kevin loves NOLA),

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a Tiffany Lamp shop (because Kevin loves stained glass lamps),

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an Ice Skating Rink (complete with moving ice skaters…I think this one was just cute, we are not big ice skaters!),

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The Art Institute of Chicago  (we love Chicago),

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and a Church (this reminds me of Holy Name in Chicago)…

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And of course, a real mantel would not be complete without stockings.  Can you guess who’s is who’s?

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No we don’t have any children….Stewie (our Jack Russell terrier mix) and Mr. Crackers (our peach faced love bird) need stockings too!  Anyone else out there have stockings for your pet?  I am sure there are a lot of dog owners who do so, but is there anything more exotic than a love bird getting gifts from Santa?

Have a great week!

Linking up with:

Dare to DIY @ Newly Woodwards

Holiday Link Party @ Centsational Girl

Live Made Lovely Monday @ Life Made Lovely

Look What They Made 3

9 Dec

Hello and happy Friday!  It has been a while since I have written about the amazing creativity of some fellow bloggers.  As usual, there are a ton of wonderful things to see and be inspired by out there….but I managed to narrow it down to six fabulous items.  You may want to check out all of their blogs!  Here goes:

1.  Tree Branch Art @ At Home with K

How simple and cute.

2.  DIY Reindeer head @ It’s Just Me

OMG, this is awesome…how creative!

3.  Beautiful Nursery and a Pink Clothespin Mirror @ The Color Transformed Family

The nursery turned out so cute and the pop of pink is adorable.

4.  Hankie Runner @ Hating Martha


I think I need to make something like this when the dining room is finally done!

5.  Advent Mantel @ Life in the Thrifty Lane

This looks like a lot of work, but I love the finished mantel!

6.  DIY Greek Key Euro Sham @ House Full of Pretty

Beautiful!  Who needs to spend a small fortune on a huge pillow?!  Jenny’s custom look is perfect!

What are your plans for the weekend?  Kevin and I are having a Christmas Party in a week so we probably need to start planning that…and it might be good if we cleaned the house and put up some holiday décor….

Well, whatever your plans are, enjoy!

No Way in Yell…ow: A Dining Room Update

7 Dec

We are really close to having a completely painted/updated dining room! Yahoo. We have done A LOT of painting over the last week (more coats than any normal person should have to apply, it was my fault, but we will get to that later). Let’s start from the beginning.

Here is a look at my favorite room of the house when we moved in (read more here):

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And here is the moodboard I made about 10 months ago (the yellow on the board was not as bright on my ipad when I was creating it…so keep that in mind):

I love anything yellow and gray, so I was excited to get started on this room. First I found some fabulous green chairs at a local thrift shop and made those over with the perfect fabric (read about that here and here):


I purchased 2 Pier 1 parsons chairs for the head of the table, and made 1.5 slip covers in a coordinating fabric (I am soooo close to being done with the second one, but they are pretty time consuming to make! Read more here and here).

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I am still working on creating a plate gallery for the wall to the right in the above pic; just a few more plates and we should be good to go.

The next thing we did in the room was add wainscoting and chair rail. Can you see how the wall is painted two different colors (also in the above pic)? We think the previous owners were in the middle of adding chair rail also. Well, we finished the job and one up-ed them with the wainscoting. Here is a look at that going up:


My dad and I started it, then Kevin finished it up…


Kevin added a secret note to whoever rips the molding down one day (hopefully it will stay up forever!!)…it’s like a mini time capsule:

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After the molding went up, Kevin patched and sanded all the nail holes and we were ready to paint. The lower half of the wall, all the woodwork, and the china cabinets got a fresh coat of white paint:

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The next step is where things went south. I was convinced yellow would look nice and bright and cheery. Our kitchen is yellow (for now), and it looks okay, so I figured the dining room would also look okay. WRONG. I definitely should have gotten a sample before purchasing the most expensive Benjamin Moore paint they make (in Lemon Drop). Wowza, it was bad. I am almost embarrassed to show this, but we are all friends here, right?!

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I don’t think the photo fully represents the sunshiny-headache-ness of the Lemon Drop Yellow. I used to like Lemonhead candies when I was younger, but when you ate too many your tongue hurts…the room was kind of like that…

Before the paint went up Kevin strongly encouraged me to select a color other than yellow, but I was insistent on bringing on the lemon. My bad. Since I made the poor decision, I quickly went out and purchased this:

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Bulls Eye to the rescue! The man at Ace Hardware told me this would cover the best, and I think he may have been correct, because now the room looks something like this:

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Lots of white! To be really safe we put on two coats of the primer. I even found some ceiling paint left over from our bathroom update, so I gave the entire ceiling a fresh coat. I am happy to report that there are no roller marks on the ceiling…that was quite an accomplishment if you ask me. Does anyone else have problems painting ceilings? The first ceiling I painted (our master bedroom) seriously took me about 5-6 coats. I think I finally figured it out.

Now it was back to the drawing board to select the wall color…and as you may have guessed from the title of this post…No way in H-E-double hockey sticks will our dining room be yellow!

We decided on gray, so I picked up every gray Benjamin Moore sample they had at Ace:

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We narrowed it down to a few, and I even bought a couple samples (I was scared to paint the wall, so I painted a piece of paper instead)….

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We didn’t want it too dark, and not too light either, so we decided to go with…wait for it…wait for it…

{Image found here.}

Pigeon Gray by Benjamin Moore. Pigeons are gross, but apparently they inspire pretty paint colors!

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The paint has been purchased, and I already know it is going to be a million times better than the yellow. Here’s what we have left for the room:

  1. Paint gray
  2. Touch up white
  3. Empty china cabinets and paint inside
  4. Hang plate wall
  5. Finish slipcover for parsons chair
  6. Buy new window treatments (I would like custom white shutters)
  7. Find a small buffet and possibly a rug

So in the last week, the room got 2 coats of yellow, then 2 coats of primer, and it now needs 2 coats of gray! Six coats in one week….can anyone beat that?? For your sake, I hope not!

Please check back to see how the gray turns out. Until then, enjoy the rest of your week!

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Handmade Embellished Frame

4 Dec

Hi!  How was your weekend?  Did you get a lot done?  Christmas shopping or DIY-ing perhaps?  I did a little bit of both (actually a lot of painting-more on that later this week, a little bit of shopping and a teenie bit of crafting).

Today is week 4 ouf 6 of Kim’s Dare to DIY party.

Dare to DIY

Today’s Dare is “give homemade gifts!”

I set out to make a hand embellished photo frame, and here is what I came up with….

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Who doesn’t like a little owl every now and then?

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The frame was simple to make, but the embroidery was a little time consuming.  Here is what I started with:

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I used a frame of cardboard that fit just over the picture frame:

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And a square of burlap larger than the frames (perhaps a different material would have been better-and also more contrast between fabric and floss, but this is my first attempt at making one of these).  Here’s a quick tutorial of the embellishment:


One:  Cut out fabric larger than the frame.

Two:  Trace the frame so you know your boundaries while creating image.  I used a light pink highlighter so it would not show on the right side.

Three – Nine:  Creating the image with colored floss.  I basically just free handed a pic and tried to make it look similar to my drawing….


Ten:  cut out a square of batting and cut and “X” in the center.

Eleven:  Begin to hot glue the batting around the frame.

Twelve:  Finish gluing batting.

Thirteen:  Cut an “X” in the center of the burlap/fabric.

Fourteen:  Glue the burlap/fabric in the same way as the batting.

Fifteen:  Completed back; I added a touch of clear nail polish to the inner corners so the burlap would not shred.

Sixteen:  Hot glue the front of the picture frame to the back of the cardboard frame.

Ta-da!  There you have it.

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Of course you can apply this to any fabric and any frame.  You can make a custom one with a name or whatever floats your boat!

Have you made any Christmas gifts this year?  I think I am going to attempt to make something (possibly eatable)  for my co-workers…we’ll see how that goes!

Check out more fabulous handmade gifts at Newly Woodwards!

Also partying at:

A Week Late and a Candle Short

2 Dec

Holy Cow!  It’s December.  Where is the time going?  I didn’t even realize that Advent began last Sunday….oops.  Kevin has asked me to make an Advent wreath a few weeks ago, but I got side tracked by hanging snowflakes from the chandelier and having a pretend dinner party (Crazy? Yes, but you can read about that here).  Both Kevin and myself are Catholic, but I had never had an Advent wreath in our house growing up.  I searched for some images of Advent wreaths to get an idea of what I needed to do.  While they are very meaningful and special, none of them were as “pretty” as I would like…

Advent wreath

Images via, via, and via.

The prefect place for the wreath is on the dining room table, so I took down the snowflakes (sniffle, sniffle) because I didn’t want to catch them on fire.  Here is another look at our dining room table last week:


And our new Advent wreath as a centerpiece:

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Please ignore the half painted walls and the green painters tape (we are slowly but surely coming along with the dining room redo).

I love my new “prettier” version of the Advent wreath, and it was super simple to make.  I started with this”:

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  • 5 Brass candle holders from a thrift store ($1.29 – $1.99 each)
  • 1 Faux evergreen wreath
  • 3 Purple candles, 1 rose candle, and 1 white candle
  • Ribbon
  • 5 Gold branches (I really only needed 3)
  • Wire & Scissors

First I added the branches to the center of the wreath…

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After I added branches all the way around, I put the candle holders thru the bottom of the wreath (between the 2 wires the wreath was made of):

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When flipped around I had this:

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As well as a ton of glitter EVERYWHERE…

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Next came the final holder with a bow and all the candles….

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What do you think?  Does anyone else use an Advent wreath?  I know calendars are very popular, and I read something about an Advent clock…anyone use those?  I like my little wreath, and I think the meaning behind it is probably better than glittery snowflakes.  I am looking forward to lighting two of the candles this weekend.

On that note, have a lovely weekend!

Linking up to:
Lovely Crafty Home

Fingerprints on the Fridge


The Lettered Cottage