Wednesday, January 28, 2015

RVA To Go Box Giveaway

Today we're excited to be hosting a giveaway for this complete collection of locally made Richmond goodness from RVA To Go:

If you haven't heard of this new company, let me tell you, Richmond's got it going on! The RVA To Go concept is a gift box filled with your choice of Richmond-made edibles.

They bring the best of RVA's food and snacks to people around the country and the world. Everything offered is strictly made in or around Richmond — you can choose between 5, 7 or 10 items to fill the box with for a flat fee, then it's packaged and shipped free to the recipient of your choosing!

RVA To Go offers a range of locally made edibles from coffees and preserves to peanut butters and chocolate bars. Tim's personal favorite is the Texas Beach Bloody Mary mix (big surprise there, right?) and if we're speaking for me — they even have Ukrop's Bakery rainbow cookies, butterstar cookies and White House rolls as shippable options!

Can we just back up for a sec? Rainbow cookies and White House rolls!? As a born and bred Richmond gal, can I just tell you how amazing it would have been to be able to order a tub of Ukrop's rainbow cookies while living in Brooklyn? And I won't even try to tell you how excited my best friend and roommate at the time, Emily, would have been if White House rolls had been included. Let's all just have a moment of silence in both regret and thanks that RVA To Go boxes didn't exist during that time-frame in our lives.

Don't ask me how all of the products fit neatly into the shipping box (it's definitely an art), but think about how fun these boxes could be as a "taste of home" for those off at college or camp, an out of state job or even someone new to Richmond who could use a proper introduction to all the local goods we have to offer. Perhaps a box filled with coffee and chocolates could serve as the perfect birthday or Valentine's surprise for that someone special?

The following RVA products from some of our favorite local purveyors are included in today's featured giveaway box, a $60 value:

Blanchard's Coffee specialty RVA blend coffee
Reginald's original roast peanut butter
Route 11 sweet potato chips
Agriberry's “Agriblend” (50/50 blackberry and red raspberry) preserves
Rostov's Coffee & Tea English breakfast tea blend
Netties Naturally super snack bar
Gearhart's blueberry chocolate bar
RVA stickers, pin-back button and pencil

Find the full collection of offerings on the RVA To Go site. Don't see one of your favorites? Let them know what you'd like to see offered by submitting your favorite Richmond-made edibles here. Learn more about RVA To Go offerings and keep up with new products as they're released by following the RVA To Go Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

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One of our readers will win the RVA To Go sampler box featured in today's giveaway. To enter, simply use the Rafflecopter form below — there are several options for you to choose from for entry. Feel free to use a few or all for more chances to win. For those unfamiliar with Rafflecopter, you fill in the fields using your choice of Facebook or your email, which is only used to contact the randomly selected winner (no spam) — it's that simple.

Our friends at RVA To Go generously provided the RVA box sampler for one lucky reader included in today's giveaway. All the thoughts and opinions are (as always) our own — thank you so much for supporting the partners that make 17 Apart possible.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Weekend Basics

We woke this morning to the first big snow of the season here in Richmond. While we're certainly below the band of blizzard conditions further up North, it's always exciting to see the snowfall and white blanket that covers the city. Are you also enjoying a #snowday?

The majority of the weekend was spent working to build out a pair of custom bookshelves, but outside of that major project we did get a chance to pop out and do a little antiquing and take part in celebrating our very first Burns supper. I've included all the highlights below if you care to see...

First up, the bookcases! In an effort to provide additional storage and help our front office feel that much more like a complete space, we've been wanting to build bookshelves to complement each side of the mantle of this room.

We've wanted to tackle these shelves for some time now, even making the project a 2015 goal — so we're both excited to be able to share the results of how they're turning out later this week.

Saturday night we attended our first Burns supper. Robert Burns is a celebrated Scottish poet and traditional dinners can be thrown in his honor where poetry is read while traditional Scottish food and Scotch whiskey is served. We enjoyed trying Haggis for the first time with many of our friends at the Lockhart's new home:

While there, Mary spotted this giant tree trunk slice resting and drying out in the Lockhart's home — we can't wait to see what they make with it (and it made us feel a little less crazy for keeping projects like these laying about our house, too):

We also got a chance to hit up a few antique shops and an estate sale — one of our favorite weekend activities that we actually haven't gotten around to doing since before the holidays. First up, we stopped into a new-to-us spot, RVA Antiques over on Lakeside:

This shop was filled with all sorts of antiques ranging from industrial to shabby to mid century — there was a smattering of rescued and restored finds in the mix. This collection of insulators was probably our favorite find of the day, reminding us of the wall rack we'd made with the ones we found on our own house:

On the way back home we popped into an Estate sale on Monument Ave — it was the last day of the sale where everything is marked down and when Mary saw this rug, we knew it belonged in our kitchen:

We're juggling a bunch of home-related updates at the moment, so will try to grab a better shot of the rug in its new home to give a better idea of what it looks like in the space. Speaking of home projects, the sewing machine made a special appearance for an upcoming project post we're working on for our series with eHow:

Spoiler alert — it's going to be a laundry bag!

On the food front, I've been working on a series of recipe shoots for a Mexican sauce company in collaboration with their new website launch:

It's been an interesting challenge to focus more on the styling and photography aspects of a project over the full post writing I'm used to doing with regular food blogging and I'll look forward to sharing more of the story behind this project soon.

In TV news, we've been cozied up by the fire most evenings catching up on the new seasons of Fixer Upper and Downton Abbey — and will be rooting for the Seahawks this Sunday during the Superbowl. Here's hoping you had a wonderful weekend and are enjoying the snow if you're checking in from a winter wonderland like ours today!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Over on eHow: Transform Old Light Fixtures Into Modern Geometric Glass Lanterns

Back in early December we'd made a stop into our local Habitat ReStore to seek out the perfect piece of reclaimed wood for this bath caddy we ended up making. While we were scouring around, you may remember how Mary made mention of these large outdated and in-need-of-repair glass light fixtures:

In her mind, these fixtures were just waiting for a second life — and that second life was meant as lanterns. We've seen glass geometric lanterns like the inspiration shots below popping up across high-end home and decorating stores, so the idea clicked when we spotted these glass lights.

It wasn't long after we returned from our visit to Brooklyn that she asked me to go back to the ReStore just to see if the fixtures were still there (we all know what that means, right?). So it was off to ReStore for me — by the way, I think it was 12 degrees that day.

These are the types of loving husband/wife texts we send, ha:

Long story short, I brought home the 2 fixtures and we did end up transforming those suckers into large geometric glass lanterns for our latest project post with eHow:

I have to admit, her vision turned out well in the end. The basic idea is deconstructing and removing the lighting components from inside the fixture to use the glass shell — and that's where my past life as an electrician came in handy:

The glass shell is then cleaned, flipped over and used to house pillar candles.

Can we talk about pillar candles for a minute? My past shopping history hasn't involved pricing candles before. Well, I beelined for one of the biggest pillar candles I could find when we were out looking, and nearly dropped it when I saw the $50 price tag. Mary laughed at me when I carefully placed it back on the shelf in shock, saying, I don't think I've ever seen a $50 candle. Who knew I had such swanky taste in candles?

I guess you learn something new every day. Needless to say, we didn't spend $50 on the candle I picked out, and found the full lot of them for this project for around $30 at Target — and that's where Mary's shopping skills come in handy.

Once the project was complete, it turned out to be a really cold, icy day here in Richmond when we set out to photograph the final shots of the lanterns. We ended up walking over to Monument Avenue to set them up along a picturesque brick walkway and wondered what people driving by us must have thought as I snapped away. Here I am in full on spiderman-photog mode trying to capture the perfect shot of these guys (which ended up being the first photo in this post):

You gotta do what you gotta do to get the pic, am I right? All in a day's work...

Question — Where do you find the best priced candles?

Find the full tutorial with step-by-step instructions for making a set of your own lantern in our latest project post for eHow.

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Fancy That!

Original image by Tori Watson

Today we're back again, sharing all the smaller things we're into (or fancying, hence the series name) that might not fit into a single post for one reason or another. Sometimes there might be a long list of randomness, other times it might be a single gem — whatever the case, here's what we're into right now.

- Instagram to follow: The amazingly intricate and beautiful hand carved work from paper artist, Brave Bird.

- This DIY 3D Geometric desk calendar would make a fun weekend project.

-What's been cooking around here? Well, let me tell you! In keeping with one of my personal 2015 goals, I've been whipping up dinners once per week using mostly ingredients we have around the house. Over the last 2 weeks I've made this meatloaf to go with these these brussels sprouts & roasted potatoes and this recipe for velvet chicken to pair with roasted carrots and these ridiculously amazing caramelized onion tartlets.

- Speaking of cooking, have we been cooking bacon wrong our entire lives?

- Would you let Maroon 5 crash your wedding?

- The undeveloped film project makes us wonder what gems may be hiding in the undeveloped rolls we have hanging around the house.

- The kind of bus mate we'd enjoy transit with.

- Pretty printable thank you cards.

You know the truth by the way it feels.

Hope you're having a great weekend!
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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Over on eHow: How Restore Brass Door Hardware

In our latest project post with eHow, we've detailed out an incredibly simple method for removing layers of paint from metal hardware, then restoring it back to its original glory. We used the handle plates from the pocket doors that surround our front office:

All of the original details like the pocket doors, picture railing and doorway trim were part of the reason we fell in love with this house when looking to move. As you can see from the photo above (hello Opus T. Penguin), while we have the original pocket doors, they'd been somewhat sloppily painted over, including all the the original and detailed metal hardware that went along with them.

Once removing the handle plates, we were able to see the beautiful and original dark pine underneath — it's like a little window into the past:

We're not sure why anyone would have painted over the doors, but were excited to at least try restoring the metal hardware to help highlight some of the original details around the house. This process couldn't be simpler — all it takes is a warm slow cooker and a healthy squeeze of dish soap before the paint begins to just lift off the metal:


Find the full step-by-step instructions for the removal process over on eHow if tackling this project yourself.

We're pretty thrilled with the final results and love that we can now see even more of those original home details we first fell in love with when moving in. Taking on a smaller project like this has also got us thinking about trying to tackle stripping the paint off the doors all together, though that would be a much bigger undertaking. As usual, we'll keep you posted!

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Dapper Dog: The Story Behind Basil's New Collars

Basil wanted to pop in today to show off a couple of his favorite new collars — and ask if you like his latest fashion statement?

You might remember, he made it a 2015 goal and resolution to try and add a few new styles to his growing collar collection. We like to joke that he has a different collar for each of the seasons. We've got one for Halloween, Holidays, and the rest of the year.

Basil's holiday season collar has been a longtime favorite — it's made from a red tartan pattern and gets, by far, the most compliments when he has it on.

Over the holidays, my mother brought us over a handful of ribbons in different tartan patterns she'd picked up on a recent trip to Scotland. She told us they'd reminded her of Basil's holiday collar, which is funny, because the red version of her ribbon was the exact pattern of his collar.

The tartans (which is another name for plaid) she gave us came in names like Menzies, Campbell and Royal Stewart. Call me naive, but I didn't realize there were different meanings to the plaid patterns, so it was fun to look up and learn about. I love the fact that Basil's been sporting the "Royal Stewart" — the best known tartan of the royal House of Stewart, the personal tartan of Queen Elizabeth II, and one of the most recognizable tartans over the past several holiday seasons and we knew nonetheless. How very classy of you, Basil.

We'd originally gotten his red plaid (ahem, Royal Stewart) collar from Bonnie Cecil of Uncle Barkley on Etsy. She makes all sorts of different dog collars and accessories from patterned ribbons, so we reached out to see if she'd be open to making a couple custom collars from the Scottish ribbons mom had given us.

Bonnie was awesome, letting us know she'd be thrilled to make the custom designs for Basil. We mailed her the ribbons and within what seemed like the same week, a parcel arrived with Basil's name on it containing his fancy new collars:

Aren't they just stunning? We were so tickled she was able to make them from our own ribbons and love the story behind it all. It's also opened up the idea that custom dog collars can be made from any ribbon we happen to have, find or like.

Thanks, as always, for popping in today to see what we're up to. Basil is grateful you cared to read about the latest collars in his growing collection and wants to know which seasons you think would work best for each?

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Happy Happy!

Monday we celebrated Tim's 49th birthday. He was blown away by all your well wishes and greetings across Instagram and Facebook, we can't thank you enough.

Image by Tori Watson

It's been a bit of an extended celebration this year, starting on Sunday while Brandon was in town. We ventured out to Tim's parents house for a full "Nana" meal, which is birthday tradition for Tim. It was no joke — she made pork paprikash to eat with pasta or potatoes and finished with a caramel cake (which we sent the leftovers of back with Brandon as he starts his 2nd semester of school this year).

Some of you remembered Tim's dessert request from last year — the Baked Alaska. I had been looking forward to making them again this year, but he ended up blowing out candles Monday night over the crème brûlée we got while dining out at one of our favorite neighborhood spots, Bacchus.

For his birthday, I got him the Ray Davies book, Americana, he's been wanting for some time now and a new wallet from Moss Wood & Leather on Etsy. This coming weekend we're planning to drive to Williamsburg so he can get a crab-legs fix. Yep, this year it was crab-legs over Baked Alaska.

Oh! And we can't forget this bit of cuteness that came our way via text:


My mission this year will be convincing Tim we need to throw the big "half century" birthday party for him this time next year — can I get some words of support?

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