Friday, April 18, 2014

Fancy That!

Original image by Tori Watson, Marvelous Things Photography

We're back again this week, 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.

-Pinterest to follow: Man Made DIY

-Hilarious Instagram to follow: Will It Beard (worth it).

-Could you live on a self sustaining school bus?

-Possibly the most endearing little thief we've come across. Every time I am cooking in the kitchen I see a similar weimaraner nose on the edge of the counters that I have to shoo away!

-Similar to the way we made our own kitchen console by flipping a locker on its side, we're loving the look of this repurposed locker as a coffee table!

-Whiskey Hot Sauce — now this is a recipe I can get down with. Going on the must-try list.

-Clever and such a  simple trick for a DIY upcycled watering can.

-Last-minute Easter craft: brown sack Easter masks
We'll be hanging out with family over the weekend and have a couple cookouts planned — what are you up to this weekend?

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Over on eHow: Spring Home Scents

Ever since experimenting with natural wintry home scents over the holidays, we've been hooked on the idea of instantly freshening up our space with little more than natural ingredients from our kitchen, pantry and garden.

With spring at the top of our minds and fresh herbs beginning to flourish in our garden, we came up with 2 new natural recipes especially for this time of year. We love how they turned out and you can find the full DIY tutorial featured in our eHow series right here.

For our spring scents we used different combinations of grapefruit, lavender & juniper berries — and cucumber, lime & peppermint leaves.

Check out the full project featured over on eHow to learn how to make some of your own — we'd love to know if you give them a try and what you come up with as a Spring Scent for your home.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

An Easter Feast with Relay Foods

Last week we welcomed the fine folks behind Relay Foods back into our kitchen and dining room for quite the Easter feast and photoshoot.

Tim planned and prepared recipes for a full Easter spread. Each of the ingredients for the meal are available through Relay Foods and were sourced locally and organically where possible. Did you know when ordering through Relay Foods, you can have your groceries delivered to your doorstep?

The meal consisted of 8 dishes — asparagus leek soup, deviled eggs, carrots with butter and thyme, early spring peas with ricotta, roasted potatoes with a garlic aioli, and a spiral sliced ham. For something sweet, he whipped together individual strawberry graham cakes and a virgin grapefruit mint spritzer. Each of the recipes can be found newly published on Relay Foods.

This baked spring peas with ricotta dish will seriously take you to another level — it's unexpected and so, so good. Find more photos of each of the side dishes with complete recipes here.

The grapefruit mint spritzers and strawberry graham cakes added so much bright color to the spread, and since they packed a little sweetness, were obviously among my favorites. Find the recipes for each featured here.

As part of the preparation, I always enjoy putting together a little seasonal tablescape:

This spring centerpiece included a smattering of gold dipped mason jars and other repurposed vessels filled with different kinds of white flowers. I finished everything off with a dusting of green spanish moss from the craft store:

We hope you enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look into another day prepping and shooting a meal with Relay Foods. A huge thanks goes out again to the RF team and John M. Robinson for capturing the day so beautifully in all of the photos.

For some last minute Easter dinner ideas or just plain good spring recipe inspiration, find the full meal with all recipes and more photos from the day over on the Relay Foods Easter menu page.

What's on your menu for Sunday?

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Replacing Bad Stair Boards: A Front Porch Makeover

So I made a little trip to Lowe's last week to pick up a few boards for a project I've been meaning to get to since we first moved into our house. For a refresher, here I am walking up our front stairs on moving day back in 2012:

Well, over the past 2 years we've worn down the paint on those front stairs pretty significantly, but the real gem that's been lurking under our front matt can be seen below:

Yep, that's rotted wood (and what appears to be lots of dried Christmas tree needles). The boards were so bad in fact, that the entire area was beginning to bend under our feet every time we walked in or out of the house. Basically, we had a terrible hazard that needed updating for basic safety outside of any curb appeal.

This was actually one of those smaller item fixes that came up in our home inspection during the buying process that I knew I could tackle, but hadn't gotten around to replacing the boards since we hadn't fixed the root of the problem — repairing the leaking front gutter that was causing the buildup of water damage and rot. Remember all those roof repairs we had done earlier this year? Well, that set of repairs took care of this front gutter. Once I was sure the ongoing moisture wasn't building up any longer on the steps, I was ready to replace some boards!

To get started, I measured the length, width and depth of the boards to match up at the hardware store. Once I found the correct replacements with matching width/depth measurements, they cut the correct length for me right there in the store — it was great.

From there, it was just a matter of pulling up the damaged boards, sliding the new ones in place and screwing them securely to the wood supports beneath the stairs. Once I began pulling up the rotted boards, we realized the damage was actually much worse than we thought — they basically just crumbled up and apart in my hands:

I'm actually surprised (and seriously relieved) they lasted as long as they did without falling in. Once I removed all of the bad boards, I took the time to go underneath the front porch (proud of how limber I am at 48) to screw some of the lower stairs tightly into the supporting frame. A couple of them have been a little wobbly, so this was the perfect chance to check out the situation and how to fix it: 

From there, I just slid the 3 new replacement boards evenly in place:

Then screwed them firmly into the supporting porch frame:

The whole replacement process probably took an hour and we were both excited at how strong the boards feel — no more slight give or wobbles when walking on the porch!

To complete the project we decided to give the stairs a new coat of paint to help the new boards blend in and just generally give the front porch a little update — you could really see the wear and tear from the past few years:

Since it's such a small space, we picked up a small can of Valspar's latex porch and floor paint since it's made for exterior jobs like these:

Now some of you might recall how Mary has teased me about my "paint visor," one of my favorite hats that I've happened to be caught wearing while painting indoors. Well, it looks like I'm not the only one that wears a painting uniform — it appears Mary wore the same outfit while painting her Aunt's stairs during her Syracuse trip. Payback always comes to those who wait. #shesallmine

After two coats across the stairs, we were feeling pretty pleased:

 And someone else was feeling pretty good too:

It's spring and you can see the footprints from pollen in the shot above, but such is life and I'm keeping it real.

This ended up being one of those weekend projects that was pretty quick, painless, under 50 bucks — and big enough of an update that we're feeling pretty accomplished. Down the road we dream of completely replacing this front stoop area with a true full covered porch where we can relax on rocking chairs looking out over the street. Between now and then, we'll probably need to get the banister rails replaced since they've got some water damage as well.

And that's where we find ourselves out front — one more thing crossed off the list!

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Weekend Basics: AKA, Eating — Things on Sticks

It was one of those weekends for us where we felt like we got so much accomplished. Everything from spring cleaning, to house projects and still time to run around left us feeling great. Friday we got to hang out with friends, chatting the night away and eating alfresco for the first time this season. We were completely enamored with our friends' new puppy, Rufus:

As any dog owners out there might have guessed, upon arriving home, we got the full sniff down from Basil, investigating every last smell of where we picked up another pup, ha. No fooling him!

The majority of Saturday and Sunday we spent working on a deep spring clean of our older, other house. It was in need of that first big yard overhaul and indoor seasonal deep clean.

After our second weekend morning of spring cleaning around the house, we headed down to Harvest Grocery + Supply to check out the First Spring event we mentioned wanting to stop by in Friday's post. The place was packed, which was a lot of fun and we ended up picking up some fresh local veggies to toss on the grill for dinner and couldn't resist a couple fresh popsicles from The King of Pops:

They were such a cold treat on this first hot weekend of spring. I opted for the tangerine basil and Tim went with ginger lemonade — both were winners.

After stopping by the Harvest event we dropped by Hardywood Park Craft Brewery for a cold one and a couple of handcrafted corn dogs from The Dog Wagon — how's that for a Sunday afternoon snack?

We also had time to drop in on a few estate sales as they popped up along our route:

We left with a new-to-us muffin tin with some of the more substantial muffin wells we've seen. I can't wait to see what Tim makes first — muffins, maybe even individual pot pies? The woman we purchased it from told us her favorite thing to make was giant muffins for her family.

We picked up a few other goodies filled with charm and character for the vintage shop while looking around:

I also rolled up my sleeves to tackle a quick and dirty little painting job — all the details coming to a blog near you tomorrow!

We finished out the weekend with a glass of wine, burgers and fresh veggies over the charcoal grill before settling in to tune into the season premiere of Mad Men and soak up the final rays of weekend sun.

So! Did you watch the season finale premiere of Mad Men with us last night? We're so excited for it's return, but a little bittersweet we're in the final run. What did you think?

How was your weekend? Did you eat anything on a stick? Did you get out and about in this beautiful weather or knock out a project/overhaul you've had on your mind?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fancy That!

Original image by Tori Watson, Marvelous Things Photography

We're back again this week, 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.

-We're beyond excited not to be amidst the throws of wedding planning (like we were this time last year), but are so excited to learn about the Paisley & Jade showroom doors newly opened in Scott's Addition. How fun would it be to tour a wedding rental warehouse like this?
-Tour the stunning Stockholm apartment of set & prop stylist Joanna LavĂ©n.
-Such a creative way to recycle a birdcage into a beautiful hanging planter.
-Looking for local weekend plans? Drop by Harvest's First Spring event on Sunday to get a taste of local eats and welcome in the season.
What are you up to this weekend?

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Over on eHow: Natural Easter Egg Dyes & Decorating

This past Saturday we rolled up our sleeves, raided the fridge and pantry, and got busy dyeing eggs for Easter with completely natural ingredients. We love how they turned out and you can find the full DIY tutorial featured over on eHow today right here.

You might recall we've delved into the world of natural egg dye recipes before, but this time I came up with a modified method for achieving the same results with drastically less kitchen tools and overall mess.

After the dyeing process, Mary put together some of these adorable "nested" place settings for an Easter themed tablescape:

With a dozen eggs and completely natural ingredients we foraged from our kitchen, we couldn't be more pleased with the beautiful and rustic shades that resulted on our eggs and overall decor. Check out the full project featured over on eHow right here.

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