September 28, 2012

Furniture Feature Friday on Miss Mustard Seed

This is my first week to link up at Miss Mustard Seed's Furniture Feature Friday!

Furniture Feature Fridays

There are so many wonderful pieces - it's easy to spend hours combing through the entries.

I submitted my French Linen Gilded Side Table - I am entry #58.

If you like it, drop by the Furniture Party Page here and you can choose to "LIKE" my piece!

I hope you have a lovely weekend!

September 27, 2012

Happy Siblings Day!

Happy Siblings Day to my favorite brother!

Photo taken in May of 1987
I love you!

September 26, 2012

If you have something to say, Say it...

Should be easy, right?

Especially for the little girl who always got her name on the board and a "B" for her weekly conduct grade for talking.


I often feel like there are so many thoughts pinging around in my mind that I find it hard to stop, grab one concrete idea and write about it in a coherent way.  It can be frustrating to feel like I have thoughts to share, but they seem so new that I cannot express them well.  I will even start posts and delete them.  Then I think, "Why did I do that?!"  Am I striving for perfection?  Am I too worried about what other people think?  Why can't I just sit down, be inspired and type?  And sometimes...well...I just don't really have anything to say.  I just want to hear from someone else.


When I am in need of inspiration, I usually go to a few "places" - my favorite blogs, the Bible or one of my old journals.  Taking time to read others' thoughts, the Word or reflect on the ways I have grown by reading my own writing often encourages me.

Yesterday, I came upon one of my dear friends' mother's blog, Mediation in the Night Watch.  Mrs. Walton posted on seasons of quiet and how often the world and others can view our times of growth as unproductive.  Here is a beautiful paragraph excerpt:

"We sell ourselves short when we fail to embrace the opportunities that come to us in times of waiting.  The setting of buds for the coming spring happens without any outward sign that work is taking place.  We, too, can prepare for the next season by anticipating what is needed and making time to seek direction."

(Read the whole post here)

So maybe the days where I feel like I have so little (or so much) to say that I cannot write are...good.  Perhaps I should invite those times, be thankful for them and record snippets of thoughts that aren't perfectly well-thought posts then follow up by quiet time, thinking and prayer.  One of my favorite Bible verses is Isaiah 30:15:

"In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength."

September 25, 2012

Recipe: Homemade White Sauce and Shrimp Pasta

One of my favorite weekend activities is taking extra time to prepare a delicious meal.  A slow-paced Saturday is the perfect excuse to make a white sauce from scratch.

Kern took over this meal while I snapped photos, watched and smelled the delightful aroma taking over the kitchen.

He started out by making a roux {pronounced roo} by melting butter and adding flour.  A successful roux is formed when the melted butter and flour dissolve into one another and the raw flavor of the flour is cooked out--leaving a silky smooth and flavorful base for the sauce.


Once the roux was formed, it was time to add more goodies: garlic, onions, celery and mushrooms.  Sauté the ingredients to further draw out their flavors.
Then...drumroll please...add heavy cream.
Continue stirring and monitoring the sauce as it thickens.
Final step: add the shrimp and let it cook, stirring often.

Viola!  The perfect white sauce with shrimp.

Serve over linguini and enjoy!

Ingredients:

3 TBS of butter
1/8 cup of flour
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, cut up
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups shrimp, pealed
salt - to taste
Linguine pasta

September 24, 2012

It's Fall, Y'all!

When the weather turns cool, it's a signal to shift gears from everything to cooking to decorations to outfits.  The anticipation of pumpkins, rich fall jewel tones and riding boots put me in the best mood.

My first fall craft project this year was to change out the flowers in our door basket.  It only took a few minutes, but I really appreciated the way it changed the "Welcome" feel at our entrance.


 I'm not usually a big "orange" person, but I loved these almost coppery flowers paired with a fall boxwood and a few other seasonally appropriate flowers.


I used wired burlap. a gold grosgrain and a multi-colored metallic for my bow!



Happy Fall, Y'all!

September 21, 2012

Girls' Night In

Our PTA Meeting got underway this week after a summer hiatus.

It was one of my favorite evenings in DC: full of delicious food + smart and witty ladies.

Nutella-stuffed sea salt chocolate chip cookies made by Holly - recipe here

Cheers to a very happy and fun filled weekend to you!

September 20, 2012

Finding our inner child at Dave & Buster's

Every once in a while it's a time to venture out of the Capitol Hill Bubble and do an evening activity that is more than dining at a restaurant and going home.

I was very kindly gifted some Dave & Buster's Power Cards recently and Kern and I decided that it would be fun for Carolyn and Jordan to venture to Maryland with us to play arcade games with abandon for several hours.

We had a blast!


 Bar Burgers - always a favorite!

I acquired my Storm Stopper skills as a child at Chuck E. Cheese, The Park in Jackson and Dave & Buster's.  It didn't take me long to get back in the saddle...on my third try I WON THE JACKPOT!

I ran around like a wild six year old.  It was amazing. 






I'm absolutely horrible at the motorcylce simulator. 


Everybody needs some games!  It was the perfect way to wind down after a busy week.

September 19, 2012

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint French Linen/Old White Gilded Dresser

I was so happy with the way my French Linen side table turned out, I decided it was time to jazz up my dresser as well.  It had the same white latex paint that was chipping and showing wear and tear.



I knew Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Wax would be up to the task of making this dresser truly shine as well as have a solid finish that would not flake off.


 Once again, I did this project indoors - partly in my kitchen and partly in my bedroom.
Here is the first coat of French Linen - still looking a bit spotty.

This lovely dresser had some really fun curves and lines so I decided to use a little bit of Old White to highlight some of its features.  My first attempt at free handing turned out horribly so I jumped on my bike, rode to the hardware store and picked up a role of FROG TAPE.

I love Frog Tape because it does not let the paint bleed through which was important for me because Chalk Paint is thick and I was doing multiple coats.


It pealed up easily and did not pull up the dry paint underneath.

Ta-da!  Perfection. 
Two coats of French Linen and two coats of Old White on the borders.

I painted the insides and sides of the drawers Louie Blue for a fun Pop of Color.

While I was shopping on the Eastern Shore during our trip a few weeks ago, I purchased these gorgeous drawer liners - lemon verbena scented.



I lightly distressed the dresser (mainly along the edges) and used a bit of dark wax on the Old White portion and intermittently on the top, sides and drawer fronts - enough to give it an aged look but not make it too dark.

The final touch was a bit of gilding in Empire Gold.


The gilding really made the little details shine.

Thanks to a little elbow grease, some Chalk Paint and dedication I now have a much more sophisticated bedroom that truly reflects my taste without purchasing anything new.

September 18, 2012

Work + Play

Work hard so you can play hard...
I think someone wise and important said that once.

Carolyn, Mary Mitchell and I cleaned out our closets recently and decided to hold a yard sale to see if we could get a small return for our items.  My new cleaning motto is, "If I don't want to move it the next time I change houses, I'm going to try to sell it."


We opened up shop early, planted ourselves in some comfy camping chairs and enjoyed the cool breeze while sipping coffee and talking.

Kern even brought us doughnuts and donuts holes!

We sold almost everything by 2:00pm!

The light at the end of tunnel was the Bon Iver concert that Kern bought tickets for in June.  Since the weather was perfect, Kern, Holly, Will and I drove out to Merriweather Post Pavilion early and tailgated.

I did my best to channel the Grove as so many friends were there enjoying the Ole Miss/Texas game!





The cooler weather inspired me to break out the cowboy boots!

The concert was phenomenal.  There were probably 16 people on stage with Justin Vernon and the result was an amazingly rich and soulful performance.


What is the best concert you have been to recently?

September 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Daddy!

My dad's birthday was this weekend and since I could not be with him, I wanted to honor his special day with some blast-from-the-past photos!

Sailing on Gran B's boat

Birthday balloons circa early 90's

Dad got a puzzle and a tie from us

Matching outfits at the Summer Lane house

Photo from the "awkward years" - My "braces" smile

My mom threw a "fiesta" for Dad's birthday this year.  I wish I could have been there.  Judging from the sombreros and fake mustaches, I missed a great party!

Happy Birthday, Daddy!