Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hallway Adventure: Part 1

This hallway makeover has been almost a year in process.  Last summer after Kenny had his second knee surgery, my mom came to stay with him, so that we could attend a party in Boston.  While we were gone she took down the wallpaper in the living room and washed the walls, the following week was fourth of July and I finished the project by doing the same in the hallways.  Then it stayed like that . . . for a long time.  My plan was to finish it over the Christmas holidays but I got sick.  During the long weekend in January I primed everything and just doing that brightened up the space.  I finally got around to the painting in March and I have all the finishing touches completed for half the total space (one side of the front and one side of the back).
This is the view from the back hallway, someday we will replace the front door, we'd like something that lets in more light and doesn't scream 1970! I looked high and low for a super skinny console table to put in the space in an attempt to define it as an entry way but I was unable to find anything.  So we built this little shelf, look for a full post on that later in the week.
This is the view from the living room.  It took me a while to accumulate the decor for the shelf because I have rule about buying things from the Threshold line at Target, ONLY if it's on sale! I only broke that rule twice, for the mirror and the smaller gold votive holder.
Both of the frames and three of the candle holders are from Target's threshold line.  The flower photos are from our wedding and the small blue hobnail votive holder I found in the house when we moved in and I love how it brightens up the space.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cabinet Organization

My spice cabinet needed some serious help.  As I have said before our kitchen cabinets are original to the house and the spacing between the shelves leaves a lot to be desired.  In the cabinet where I store all my spices the main problem is that I can't stack jars.  I ordered three door racks from Amazon in hope to remedy the problem.
I used painter's tape to mark the spots for pre-drilling.  I lined them all up on the left side and made sure they were level.  This is the first time I have really hung/installed anything (Bruce was at work) and I wanted to get it right.
Then I inventoried everything and loaded it back in.  Side-note: This cabinet was so bad I had multiples of many things, who needs three jars of cumin?!
So much better! I love that I don't have to take everything out of the cabinet to find one jar.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Missed Calling

Sunday morning we got up early to watch the Bahrain Grand Prix, then planned on spending most of the day on the couch.  Then I decided we needed to do something Ok he says I'll do a little raking out front.  I went to the garden to plant the lettuce and compost the asparagus row.  Next thing I know Hey come out here I'm going to take that dead tree down.
View from the porch.
Next thing I know it's sure take that one down, go ahead those cedar trees are scraggaly looking. There go seven trees from the front yard.  Hey look there are a bunch of peonies coming up by the front wall.
View from the road.
He's mad I didn't take any action shots and was out there all day not on the couch.  I'm pretty sure he missed his calling to be a lumberjack. I spent an hour last night searching the archives for a before photo, I'm sure there is one somewhere but I can't find it.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Our Wedding Adventure: What Everyone Else Wore

This post was supposed to go live yesterday, but with everything that was going on at home (in Boston) it didn't feel right.  I still can't put all my feelings about this past week into words and I'm not sure that I want to try.  Now that we have breathed a collective sigh of relief here is some weekend reading.

It all started with a seersucker, one shoulder, knee length dress.  I saw it in one of the many magazines and it made its way into the binder.  I knew the seersucker dresses weren't quite right; but I liked the shape and the idea of a pattern was intriguing.  I pinned a bunch of ideas, the more I looked the more I liked the thought of incorporating our colors by using a patterned dress.  Sometime last fall I was introduced to Karen's work, long story short, there were almost custom-made dresses but it wan't ment to be.  I really, really liked that print.  I was getting desperate by February and I think the ladies were getting a little antsy.  Then one day I got an email from J.Crew about the summer wedding line. There was the dress! I mobilized the troops and two weeks later they had them.
My bridesmaid Laura, also my cousin, also Elizabeth the flower girls mom (Elizabeth is my GodDaughter), found the flower-girl dress at David's Bridal.  I'm pretty sure Laura drove around with the bridesmaid's dress in her car for a week between checking the cardigans and the dress.  The cardi's were from Old Navy.  I asked that they wear silver shoes and said it would be nice if they were strappy.
Laura's work proved very helpful when we went to Men's Warehouse to get the Tux's.  I was pretty set on gray with ties.  We tried both navy blue and clover green vests and ties and ultimately went with the navy.   Then about three weeks before the wedding I decided that Bruce's vest should be white.  I'm happy with that choice.
My mom found these Father of the Bride cufflinks, from Micky Chase Jewelry, on Etsy and I got them for my dad.  Then I ordered a custom pair for Bruce.  It is just one of the little things we say to each other.  I also got him a nice watch.
Jess took all these photos, except the cufflinks, that was me, I'm sure Jess would have done a better job.  I think we were a pretty spiffy bunch, I'm actually sad that I didn't get one of the bridesmaids dresses for myself.  I love that dress.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Garden Progress

Here in Connecticut, this spring seems noticeably cooler than last year.  While getting my garden prepped I've used Gardener's Supply Garden Minder app, Burpee's new app and my intuition.  Things have been quietly growing in the basement and Easter weekend I decided that it was time to get things moving outside. 
 As you saw, my garlic came up during the third week of March and my onion seedlings had arrived from Burpee, it was past time to get them in the ground.  I probably should have paid some attention to them because they were a little brown when they went into the ground, but in they went.  I also cleared some of the mulch from around the garlic.  I will go back this week to fertilize (organicly) and re-mulch around the plants, let's face it I am way to lazy to remember to weed and this is the best option.
Top: Onions, Bottom: Garlic
Bruce re-built the pea and bean trellis which was damaged during superstorm Sandy.  This year we added some leftover garden fencing for the plants to climb. I'm not sure why I thought that they were going to just climb around 1x1's last year.  I planted the peas on the corners and in a few week's I'll plant the beans in the middle of each side.
Then I headed inside to get the rest of my seedlings started, I already started pepper seedlings in February.  I usually sketch out where the plants will go in the garden to know how many plants I will need.  Then I plan for one or two of the seedlings to fail, then I plant at least two seeds per well and choose the strongest that comes up.
By this weekend many of the seedlings were out growing their little wells and were ready to be transplanted into something larger.  I picked up some larger peet pots and some seed starting soil and got to work.  
Some of the larger pots are off the heat mat, I may or may not buy another one, I'm going to see how they do.

Even though everything in the larger pots is labeled, I like to re-write my map so that I know where everything is.  
Top is the original, bottom is updated.

A few random notes:
I re-started all the peppers, they were looking pretty sad and I had forgotten where the different varieties were.  If all else fails I'll buy bell and jalepenos and keep the cayenne in a pot so I can pull it into the porch when it starts to freeze at night.
The zuchinni never came up.  Sad but I can pick up a plant when it's time to move everything to the garden.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Our Wedding Adveenture: Something Old. . .

Something new, something borrowed, something blue.

I've decided to do a little Friday series about our wedding, leading up to our first anniversary.  Last week I shared with you how I organized my ideas. This week is all about what I wore, but really, it is the story of how I wore my Nana's wedding gown. But let's start at the beginning of the adventure, in my ideas binder, I loved this one gown by Priscilla of Boston.
I knew that I did not want anything strapless, I like to be a bit more modest in church (plus our wedding was on a holy day!) Onto the real story, about a month after we were engaged my Nana fell and broke her hip, while visiting her in rehab a few weeks later I asked her if I could wear her wedding gown, that my Aunt Betsy also wore.  She cried and said yes but stipulated that I had to try on other dresses. Auntie Betsy wasn't sure that it would be in any condition to wear, after a stop at Betsy's, I left with the dress, the matching Juliet cap and two veils.  I got to my parent's and tried on my mom's dress, not so much, my mom is so petite we would have never been able to make it fit!
Nana is also very petite, she says her waist was eighteen inches when they got married!  Auntie Betsy wore the dress when they were married and she so I have a very similar body type and when I put the dress on it pretty much fit.  I got a little teary, so did mom.  I then went home with the dress, three veils (Nana's, Betsy's and Mom's) and the Juliet cap.  A co-worker recommended "The dress lady" who saved her wedding dress. I looked her up the "dress lady" who was actually Sally of Orange Restoration Labs, I emailed her, then brought her the dress.  Hop over to Sally's website and look at the before and afters, she's a miracle worker.  Restoring vintage dresses is her passion! I'll wait. She was very optimistic about it.  I took it home that night, called my mom and Auntie Betsy and we decided to go for it.  The result was nothing short of a miracle and any remaining thoughts of other gowns dissapeared.  Sally was also recommended a gown maker near my parents that she trusted to do the necessary alterations on the vintage gown.  Michael did a great job with the alterations, making a slip with lace trim that matched the trim on the gown and adding a wrist strap for the train.  He removed the sleeves in a way that they could be reattached later if someone else wanted them.  He also swapped Nana's veil off of the headband it was on onto a comb so that it could be tucked under the Juliet cap.
    Nana                                                                    Auntie Betsy

One of many fittings
Once the gown was set I splurged on the shoes which matched the girls' dresses.  My parents gave me the pearl drop earrings to go with my Gramma's antique pearl necklace.  Kris of Just Hair, did a great job with the Juliette cap and achieved exactly what I was going for!

One of the things that made our wedding day so special was that both Nana and Auntie Betsy got a sneak peak of the dress in action!
I did try on that dress from Priscilla of Boston, on a tip to visit my matron of honor.  It was made for someone seven feet tall.  The dress I like the most that day was the most similar to Nana's dress.  I also got a short party dress (from J.Crew seen above), which was a great call.  I can't imagine dancing the night away, worried about spilling red wine on the gown!

Michael was able to tell me all about the dress.  Made during WWII era, they didn't have actual silk for dresses.  They were making parachutes with all the real silk.  This dress was made of Skinner satin, it feels like satin but it is actually made from woodchips.  The largest manufacturer was in Holyoke, MA; right near UMass Amherst (where we went to college)!  Auntie Betsy had material from the train made into panels to expand the waist, by a "little Italian lady in the North End" and wore a big puffy slip.  Also, apparently giant shoulder pads were cool in the 50's and the 80's.  Michael removed the sleeves and the shoulder pads and tailored the dress, he also added some vintage trim in the bottom front and made a slip with the same trim.  I'm not sure if I wore bigger heels or wore the dress longer but it was longer.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What's For Dinner

This week is kitchen focus week, on my HomeRoutine app.  I try to check one thing off the list in the morning and one thing in the afternoon.  Last night I decided it was time to tackle the freezer.  As I mentioned last week, one of my post-Lent goals is to eat down our what is in our freezer to make room for CSA produce.
This is what I had to work with, we've also had a few incidents recently involving rogue berries and small vegetables.   It was time to take inventory. 
 I took everything out and put it in a cooler.  Then I put it all back in, veggies went in top right, fruit to top left and everything else in the big bottom space. As it went back in I wrote the inventory.
Then I categorized the inventory and re-wrote it.
Then I went back and re-arranged the bottom bin.  Meals on the right, meat on the left, randoms in the middle.  
Tip: Put something flat on the bottom, I used a box of cream cheese brownies and a package of bacon, it prevents things from falling through the bottom!
So now I know exactly what is in the freezer and I can wipe items off as I use them, also I'm hoping it will prevent things like three bags of open blueberries.  Our mudroom alternative is still working great! 
Last tip of the day: Do Not use your broom to sweep corn and blueberries out of the bottom of the freezer, you will get a freezer full of dog hair.  Just get down there and wipe the corn and blueberries out.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Little Things

One of the many projects tackled on Good Friday was our bedroom ceiling.  As I've been painting rooms in the house I've also been doing the ceiling.  The previous owners were smokers and a coat of paint goes a long way to make things fresh and clean.  However, when I did our bedroom I ran out of paint with about an eighth of the ceiling left and I used a different (ceiling) paint to finish the job.
It was a bad idea.  Not only was a whole corner a different shade of white but so were the touch up spots around the room.  So the next time I was at the paint store I bought the original because the spots were making me crazy.  The thing about different shades on the ceiling is that they are hard to see up close and finding them up close requires natural light, in our house that is during the morning when I am usually at work.  Fast forward months to Good Friday, I was about to put the BM ceiling paint away after another job and decided today is the day and got out the step stool and fixed the ceiling.
And now I do not lay down in bed and think ugh the stupid ceiling paint.  I have crossed this little task off the bedroom to-do list.  It was brighter in the room when I finished painting, I can't believe how different the wall color reads, maybe a little to much fun with photoshop on my end.  Before is to dark and the after is to green! You can see the color better in this post . . . I guess, it is Grey Owl by Benjamin Moore.
Really mom? I need to move? 
Kenny was my "helper" and kept refusing to move out of the one corner I needed to get into.  The one rule for him when I'm painting: Don't eat the paint.  (My last dog did that once, she was fine but I was lucky.)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Planning It: Organize Yourself

I cannot bring myself to delete my Wedding Ideas pinterest board. I can scroll through it and see how our wedding planning and designing evolved.  Love. LoveLoveLove. Most of my design ideas didn't start by looking at wedding planning websites, they started in dozen or so bridal magazines people gave me when we were first engaged. True story: my mom mailed them to me the day after Bruce proposed. All these ideas from magazines were completely unorganized and floating around my brain, making me feel completely overwhelmed.  One Sunday afternoon I grabbed a binder I had put together for house ideas and got to work.  I went through every wedding magazine with a sharpie and and exacto knife. Everything I liked I made a note on the page, tore that page out and put it in a page protector.  I used the page protectors to reenforce the flimsy magazine pages and so that I could place pages back to back if I only needed to see one side of that page.  Once I started researching these ideas make them into one coherent event I started to employ Pinterest much more.  But as you can see so many of these original thoughts came through to our big day!
 My most significant wedding planning melt-down was about the car, it hadn't been road worthy since I was 16 my dad did all the work himself and it was ready with time to spare!
 Clockwise from top-left.  Summer camp wedding with fleece blankets for the bon-fire check, country cute direction sign check, actual wedding venue and color palates (I liked all four)
Not too styled flowers in milk glass centerpieces.  Pretty close.

All the wedding day photos by Jessica Doherty Photography , flowers by Dedham Flower Shoppe, Tux from Men's Warehouse  and our wedding was at the Bournedale Function Facility

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Lent Wrap-Up

     I took my camera with me for Easter but I forgot to take any photos. Not with my camera or my phone.  No photos of the cute new baby in a bunny hat, or the amazing spread that my aunt put together, or everyone's Easter outfits. Nada.  Let's be real though, everyone and their sister has posted Easter photos and you're over it.
     I can't even tell you what we ate during the last week of Lent. There was a pizza, some black beans and some pasta. I can tell you what we learned: I learned that I can pull together a satisfying vegetarian meal just as quickly as a "meat and potatoes" meal.  That, we can cope with life, without a beer or a glass of wine to help us along.  It was a challenge and a sacrifice and we have prevailed, stronger for it.

Incidental benefits: We were more productive; it is much easier to get things done on Saturday and Sunday morning when you aren't in a haze from the previous night's cocktails.  We got healthy; I lost 11% of my starting weight and got my metabolism moving again, Bruce lost 5%~ish.  Our pants and belts fit (better) Hooray for not needing a new summer wardrobe.  We saved our pennies, on average the grocery bill was 25% lower.

Moving Forward: Our goal is to not slip back into I don't feel like cooking let's just go out.  Also to save the drinking for the weekend.  I still have many meatless recipes that I want to try, so that element of our life will stay.  I want to eat down our freezer stocks before I run out to buy fresh proteins and before our CSA starts in June, which I feel much better prepared for this year.

We took Easter Monday off for traveling, we came home Sunday night snuggled on the couch drank the growler of BBC that had been in the fridge for a month and watched the season premier of Game of Thrones. It was awesome, all of it.