Monday, May 31, 2010

Projects and Wildlife

I have it admit that it feels very strange to be sitting here on a Monday night and not writing a DIY Day post. Instead, I thought I’d show you some ideas I have for summer projects around the roost.

Project 1 – bookshelf change-a-roo

My plan here is to move the shelves around so that the bottom three are even on both sides. Then, I’m going to try to sew a curtain out of a drop cloth or other canvas fabric and attach it with nail head trim to cover those bottom shelves. Then I’ll be able to stash our board games and paperback books out of sight. I’m going to take the dust jackets off of all the hardbacks and arrange them with a few accessories on the rest of the shelves. I’d also like to add crown molding to the top of the shelves for a more finished look.

These two bookcases are going to get a white paint job and some rearranging.

Project 2 - more art

I also want to update the stairwell leading to the living room. I think I’ve moved away from the fluffy and feminine cottage look to a more vintage/beach/modern cottage look I’d like to do a gallery wall here with vintage maps, black and white photos, and maybe some fun details like an industrial monogram.

Project 3 - Bedroom Update

This little nook in our bedroom needs some refreshing. It’s gotten cluttered and the clear plastic set of drawers has got to go! I actually worked on this area today, so you’ll get to see the finished look later this week.

Finally, I’d like you to meet our new neighbors.

A family of groundhogs moved in under the roost, and the four little ones scoped out our deck this afternoon.

Have you ever had any wildlife take up residence around your home?


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

I just finished another book much too good to keep to myself. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is witty, thought-provoking, and oh so southern.

CeeCee is twelve-year-old girl with a voracious appetite for books (especially Nancy Drew mysteries), a kind heart, and a crazy mother who parades around town in her 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen tiara and Goodwill prom dresses. CeeCee tries her best to cope, but a tragedy uproots her family and sends CeeCee to Savannah to live with her Great Aunt Tootie. Life in Savannah is like another world to CeeCee, a world ruled by feisty women in big hats with even bigger personalities. As CeeCee tries to carve out a place for herself in this world, she comes to understand the warmth and love of a family and a home.

With a humor laced with spunk and wit, this book takes on the big issues of mental health, race, and revenge. The colorful characters will draw you right into the story and you will find yourself longing to be invited to Aunt Tootie’s next garden party. This book is a sure win for fans of Mary Kay Andrews, Lee Smith, or the Mitford series.

What’s the last great book you read?


Tuesday, May 25, 2010


On Monday, I celebrated my 27th birthday with my wonderful family. It seems impossible that 10 years have passed since I was 17, but the date on my driver’s license says it’s so! After a lovely dinner of salmon, rice, green beans, and fruit salad, I dug into this pile of presents.

I had so much fun opening all those brown paper packages tied up with string!

I love that this card from my brother and sister sported a daisy-filled mason jar.

Clearly, the blue ceramic egg carton from Anthro that my brother gave me brought on a little squealing and hand clapping.

I also love the sweet bird knobs my sister gave me. I can’t wait to find a place to use these!

My parents gave me this gorgeous vintage dish towel, along with some tea, a chippy green plant hanger, and…

A big ‘ol gift card to Anthropologie. This brought on more screaming. I have no idea how I’ll decide what to spend it on, but I’m going to have a lot of fun in the process!

Over the weekend Brad whisked me away for a fancy dinner and night away from home. He also surprised me by ordering this vintage inspired glass mixing bowl for my Kitchen Aid. I love it! I’ll have to share a picture soon of how awesome it looks in my kitchen.

We ended the party with some super yummy and very classic Richmondy 7-layer chocolate cake. Soooo good! This is the face of a girl not taking her eyes off that rich chocolate for anything!

I had a wonderful birthday – big thank you’s and lots of love to Brad, Mom and Dad, Grandma, Hannah, and Jacob for making it special!

I'm off to eat leftover cake,


Monday, May 24, 2010

A little hang up

I’m so excited to show you my first spray painted DIY Day project of the summer! I know in most of America Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, but for me it’s the sound of ball shaking in a can of Rustoleum. I have issues.

Anyway, I’ve been planning on turning this thrifted mail holder,

into a jewelry organizer,

for months now, and I finally made it happen over the weekend.

First step, sand the box. I didn’t, as the sky threatened rain and I really wanted to get some paint on this sucker, but you should.

Second step, prime!

Third step, spray on some beachy blue, or whatever you fancy.

Fourth step, resist the temptation to mess with the box and let it dry over night.

Fifth step, find some cup hooks, drill pilot holes (thanks, Brad!) and screw in your cup hooks.

Sixth step, fill up with vintage jewelry collection and enjoy.

I used the top for bracelets and pins and let my beaded necklaces dangle from the hooks.

I’m thinking of sanding the edges for some extra shabby beachiness. What do you think?


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Out on the Old Town

As an early birthday treat, Brad and I enjoyed a weekend visiting our lovely friends Tracy and Tim in Chesapeake, VA. We spent Saturday wandering around nearby Old Town Portsmouth.

Our first stop was the Bier Garden for some authentic German cuisine.

As we chowed down, we couldn’t help admiring the beautiful garden atmosphere. I loved everything from the sprawling plants,

to the blue and green glass doors,

to the street view,

Of course, the company wasn’t too bad either!

And the food! Yum! Tracy and I both ordered sandwiches and enjoyed (and are now semi-obsessed with) a cucumber, onion, dill, and vinegar salad. If you have a recipe for aforementioned salad, I need it!

After lunch we took a stroll through some of the shops. I love the quirky signs!

The Anderson-Wright Garden shop was my favorite. I promptly fell in love with half the store.

As soon as we stepped through the door, Tracy and I both rushed to get a closer look at these classy lanterns.

These orbs also caught my eye.

At some point in my life I need some rusty keys like these.

Mmmm, pillows!

I admit to drooling a lot slightly over this bird pitcher.

I’ll take two of these weathered boats, please.

Oh yeah, and can I have the amazing courtyard transplanted to my house?

That’s right, the shop has a courtyard.

I may need to move in.

We ended our outing in VA Beach at the new Town Center area. Where we stumbled upon a gelato shop.

I’m very glad I don’t have one of these nearby because I would find very frequent excuses to eat large quantities of gelato.

I had the Key Lime, Tim enjoyed peanut butter brownie, Tracy had classic vanilla with a shot of espresso on top, and Brad….

Had a massive cookies and crème coffee frappe.

Good times.

Check out Tracy’s beautiful blog for even more pictures from our weekend.

Thanks for having us, Dear Twin!


Monday, May 17, 2010

I've got summer in the bag

Happy DIY Day! With summer on the horizon, I decided it was time to whip up a new bag.

I used a reusable grocery tote as the base for the bag. I wanted it to be pretty big because summer calls for toting around my camera, snacks, sunscreen, a paperback, and a bunch of other necessities that seem to multiply in the bottom of the bag. I kept the basic bag shape, but trimmed down and rounded the top edge.

Next, I just covered the whole bag in strips of duct tape.

I raided my fabric stash for some punchy stripes to add a little extra summer fun to the bag.

I sewed a simple pleat to go down the front and secured it with duct tape.

For the handles, I added rivets (I super heart my $20 rivet setter from JoAnn’s) and straps made from long fabric strips sewn together and doubled for strength.

A little Velcro holds everything closed.

What’s your favorite use for duct tape?


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How to throw an Alice in Wonderland party

For those of you interested in the play-by-play action of throwing a wonderland themed party, I thought I’d round up all the details into one post. Here’s the timeline I followed:

At least a week in advance:

Make yourself a fun and girly Alice dress.

Send out invitations

The week of the party:

Make tissue paper pom-poms

Make “Eat me” and “Drink me” tags. For the drink me tags, glue the drink me circle to the circle with the drink name and punch a hole in the top of the tag. Tie to the drink containers with string. For the cupcake toppers, glue two eat me circles together with a toothpick sandwiched in between.

The morning of the party:

Make iced tea. I made a gallon of regular sweet tea (bring a pan of hot water to a boil, remove from heat, let four tea bags steep in the water for fifteen minutes, add a cup and a half to two cups of sugar, stir until dissolved, pour into pitcher and add water to make a gallon, stir, and chill) a liter of mango passion fruit iced tea (heat water, add two tea bags, let steep for fifteen minutes, add two packets of truvia or other sweetener, and pour into bottle) a liter of ginger peach tea (same method) and a liter of berry lemonade (purchased from Trader Joe’s).

Make cupcakes. I made lemon cupcakes from a mix. I let them cool for twenty minutes then used a Wilton tip and pastry bag to fill them with lemon curd (bought from Trader Joe’s) Once they were filled, I used a 5M Wilton tip to swirl lemon icing on top. They. Were. Awesome. Lemon curd is a magical thing; it belongs in all lemon cupcakes.

Make tea sandwiches. I made cucumber cream cheese (Thinly sliced cucumbers and Philadelphia cream cheese and chive spread) Chicken salad (chunks of cooked chicken, mayo, golden raisins, chopped walnuts, a dash of pepper, a dash of seasoning salt) and ham biscuits (party rolls, butter, and thinly sliced brown sugar ham)

An hour before the party:

Decorate. My sister and I worked together to hang the pom-poms with thread from the canopy, and wrap the legs with crepe paper streamers. We threw two vintage cloths over a folding table, dragged all my chairs outside, and set up the food tables.

Set the table. I rounded up a bunch of vintage jars and sent my sister to scour the yard, armed with kitchen shears. We lined the table with the flower-filled jars and added paper plates and napkins and real tea cups and saucers.

A few minutes before party time:

Bring out all the food and enjoy!

What's the best party you ever hosted?