Friday, November 30, 2012

DIY Winter Botanical Prints

While browsing Ballard Design's website, I found these babies and completely fell in love with them. Here is a picture

However, they are a little out of my price range at the moment. I couldn't get them out of my head though so I thought I'd attempt to DIY some of my own. First I went to Hobby Lobby and got 4 silver frames size 16 x 20 and cardboard-ish looking matting. Then I searched online for winter botanical prints and found these 

I printed them out and taped the them (fancy I know ) to the matting and framed them. Then John hung them for me. I think they turned out great and they only cost $40!The lighting isn't great, but they look amazing in person.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thanksgiving Place Cards

This year my In-laws are coming up to my parents house for a big Thanksgiving. Since we will have about 13 for dinner I thought it would be fun to have place cards for each dinner guest. I wanted the place cards to look cute but not cost too much, so I went straight to Pinterest and found lots of great ideas

I really like the cork ones but they could be used for any dinner (not just Thanksgiving) so I decided to try those another time (maybe spring?). I really liked the leaf ones, so while on one of my breaks at work I collected some leaves. Originally I was going to just use the leaves and write each person's name on each leaf in gold. This is how they turned out:

They were alright, but they were hard to read in certain lights. Then I thought about making little name tags and punching a hole in them and placing them on the stem. This worked a lot better and the best part is the whole project was free!

I can't wait to set the table with these fall place cards!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

Since it's fall, I wanted to make some with pumpkin. After searching some blogs I found this Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars from Two Peas and their Pod's blog. As tasty as these looked just on their own I decided that they needed a frosting of some sort. That's when I decided to add an easy chocolate ganache to them. They were such a huge hit! I will be making these every fall now. Below is the recipe. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

Yield: 24 bars
Cook Time: 35-40 minutes



2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Chocolate Ganache: 
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk or heavy cream


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
2. With a stand or electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Add pumpkin puree and mix well. The mixture will look somewhat curdled. Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

3. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake bars for 35-40 minutes or until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.
4. Cool bars completely in pan.
5. For the Ganache: Pour 1/2 cup milk or cream into a sauce pan and cook on medium heat until hot. (Milk will begin to bubble on the sides).

Add the whole bag of remaining chocolate chips and remove from the heat. Stir constantly with a whisk until all the chocolate is melted.

After waiting a minute or two for the ganache to thicken, pour the chocolate ganache over the bars. Let the ganche harden for about 2-30 mins. Cut into squares and serve.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Liebster Award

So I know it has been a while since I've posted anything, but that's because John and I went to Europe for most of September. I can't wait to post pictures and details about our whole trip. Hopefully I will get to it soon.

In the mean time I've been  nominated for a Liebster Award for newish/up and coming Bloggers who have less than 200 followers! I am so honored and surprised! Jen from Unscripted has nominated me. Thank you so much.

The idea is that people win the award and pass it on to other Bloggers who are in the same boat. The rules are:

  • Each person tagged must post 11 things about themselves.
  • They must also answer the 11 questions the tagger has set for them.
  • They must create 11 more questions to ask bloggers they have decided to tag.
  • They must then choose 11 bloggers to tag with less than 200 followers.
  • These lucky bloggers must be told.
  • There are no tag backs.
So First here are 11 things about me

1. I am originally from NJ

2. I lived in Mexico for 6 months when I was 7

3. I love to travel

4. I love trying new recipes

5. I have 3 sisters

6. I have a phobia of needles

7. I have a weakness for vampire books

8. I have a home garden

9. I love my neigborhood

10. I don't have any pets

11. My bachelors is in Math

Here are the answers to the 11 questions Jen @ Unscripted asked me

1. If you could be anyone for a day (living or dead) who would you be and why?
Coco Chanel - I would love to be a fashion designer for a day.

2. If you could change your first name, what would change it to?
Rachel (people never pronounce my name correctly)

3. If you won a million dollars, what's the first thing you would purchase?
plane ticket

4. If today were the last day of your life, what would you do with it?
spend time with all my loved ones

5. If your life was a novel, what would be the title and how would your story end?
"My Father's Name is Frank" and it would end happily ever after with John

6. What are 3 things you can't live without?
cereal, chap stick, my iphone

7. If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?
This is tough because I always want to stay the age I'm currently at, but life seems to get better and better every year. If I had to choose I would choose 28. This has been a great year ;)

8. Name 3 Songs that would be included on the soundtrack to your life...'
Feels like home by Chantal Kreviazuk, Cosmic Love by Florence and the Machine, and Shake it Out by Florence and the Machine.

9. What is your favorite book?
The Harry Potter Series

10. What chore do you absolutely hate doing?
taking out the trash

11. What is your favorite quotes/bible verse?
   This too shall pass...

Here are my questions for my 11 Blogger choices

1. If you could live anywhere where would you live?

2. What is your dream job?

3. What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday?

4. What is your favorite singer?

5. What is your pet peeve?

6. Who would star as you in a movie about your life?

7. What would you have as your last meal?

8. Name one thing on your bucket list.

9. What is your favorite vacation spot?

10. What is your favorite day of the week?

11. Name 3 things you want for Christmas.

Here are my nominees:

Jennifer @ Once Upon a Daydream

Jen @ the blonde blogger

Mrs. Mulford @ Mrs Mulford's cakes

Gabrielle @ WithloveGabrielle

Megan @ The Freckled Italian

Eva @ the Fashionistas Diary

Gabriele @ St. Germain Girl

Sally @ The Muv

Chic and the City

Fashion Railways

Shannon @ The-creation of beauty


Monday, August 13, 2012

Blueberry Peach Quinoa Salad

During the dead of winter I pinned a recipe for Mango Blueberry Quinoa Salad. It sounded great but I decided I would wait until summer to make it. I had mostly forgotten about the recipe until one night after the farmers market we had tons of peaches and blueberries and I wanted to make some side dish with them. I decided to use the recipe I pinned and substitute the mangoes with peaches. It turned out amazing and was a perfect summer side dish. The recipe is below:


For the quinoa
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water

For the fruits and veggies
½ cup fresh blueberries
½ cup cubed ripe mangoes
½ cup cubed cucumbers
1/2 tablespoon dried cranberries

For the lemon basil dressing
1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
10 Basil leaves, chopped finely
Salt and pepper


Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions.Remove the lid, and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Let it cool to room temperature.
While the quinoa is cooking, cut the fruit.

Whisk together all the dressing ingredients, except the chopped basil. Refrigerate till you are ready to serve. Chop and add the basil to the dressing just before serving. If you add it earlier, it will go black.
Add half the dressing to the quinoa and mix gently.
Assemble the salad just before serving – toss the quinoa, fruits and cucumbers together. (I omitted the cucumbers because I didn't have any)

Serve other half of the dressing on the side. Serve  immediately.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Stairwell and Hallway Progress part 2

Earlier today I posted a long overdue post on our stairwell and hallway makeover. As I mentioned in that post, I decided to go ahead and start painting the stairwell and hallway while John waited for it to rain to check and see if his roof patching job worked. I knew I wanted the stairwell and upstairs hallway to be the same color and that I wanted that color to be a neutral grey or beige or griege (grey-beige). We have wood colored trim in the stairwell and white trim upstairs so I thought a neutral would go with both and lighten up the space since it was so dark before. So I went to Sherwin Williams to get some samples.

I painted the samples on a spot near the wood colored trim and on a spot near the white trim to compare. I started with 3 colors City Loft Grey, Modern Grey, and (I'll have to look up this color later) in order from top to bottom. They are all by Sherwin Williams.

Even though these are all neutrals they are full of color and they looked pretty different against the white and wood tones. They were all reading a little darker than I had pictured and more red. So when I stopped at Home Depot I grabbed Cappuccino White by Glidden. I thought this would be a warm neutral and pair well with the wood. Here is my sample spot below. It's the 6th one down in the first picture and the second one down in the second picture.

So after I made my decision I bought 2 gallons of the Cappuccino White and went to work. I started cutting in the whole stairwell and hallway and really enjoyed the color. Then I started rolling the paint on and when I finished painting a whole section, the strangest thing happened. The whole section just read white and it looked like I hadn't even painted. In fact John could not tell I had painted at all until I showed him the section I hadn't painted. I was super bummed. All that hard work for nothing. So I went back to the drawing board. As an experiment I painted entire sections of the base of the stairwell with my other sample colors: Modern Grey, etc. When I painted those darker colors the same thing happened. I realized that with the wood trim I was going to need a lot darker color for it to read anything beside white. The whole phenomenon was really messing with my head.I started asking everyone (including my hair stylist and this poor girl at Banana Republic) what color their greige walls were. Then I found a great post by  Emily Henderson about her favorite grey paint colors. She even compares them to the many sides of Ryan Gosling, which makes it even better. After reading her post I decided to get a sample of Amazing Grey by Sherwin Williams.

I began painting it on the walls and it looked a little green compared to the other samples, but I think a good grey has more green tones otherwise it can go too blue. Anyway it was a lot darker than I had originally imagined but decided it would work. I painted whole stairwell (except for the messed up drywall) and the whole upstairs hallway. I am really happy with how the color turned out!

Here it is below. But first lets remember what it looked like before

Here's the after

 Much better, right?

Even in these pictures you can see how much lighter it reads next to all wood trim.  Now we have to fix the drywall section and paint that and hang some art work!

Stairwell and Hallway Progress part 1

Ok so when I last posted about the hallway and stairwell makeover it was mid April! To jog your memory, the stairwell and the upstairs hallway had some dark green and gold wallpaper all over it. This is a before picture

I detailed the removal of the hallway wall paper here. After successfully accomplishing removing the wall paper in the hallway, I decided to tackle the stairwell. I was planning on using the same method that I used in the hallway. However, the stairwell is about 20 plus feet tall so it was slightly more intimidating. I figured I'd start at the bottom and go as far as I could reach on a ladder and have John scrape the remaining off for me.

To my complete surprise and joy, when I began to pull the wall paper up from the bottom THE WHOLE SHEET came gently off the wall from the floor to the 20 foot high ceiling! I was so excited that I began pulling off all the wallpaper from the ground up. It took a total of 30 minutes to rip it all off. Both the top layer of the wallpaper and the bottom layer came of in smooth large sheets. However, there were some small patches of the under layer that stuck to the wall shown below.

Since these spots were up close to the ceiling, John built a scaffolding system out of old pallets. He used the Chomper spray to scrap off the remaining pieces.

But finally all the wallpaper is finally off! The pictures of the hallway and stairwell scraped are below. It already looks better.

Big improvement considering it looked like this before

My happiness about finishing a job in 30 minutes that I thought was going to take hours was quickly diminished when I pull down a section of wall paper and it revealed a large piece of moldy messed up drywall. You can see it just above the light fixture in the picture below. I wish I got more pictures because the picture below is actually after some cleaning. The mold (gross!) was on the drywall all the way down to the window trim. Luckily I was able to use some bleach spray and it came off easily.

However the messed up drywall pointed to a bigger problem- we had a leak in our roof and it had been leaking behind the wallpaper for who knows how long. So John got on the roof and investigated. He discovered that 1 shingle had a hole in it. Thankfully, he was able to use some roofing tar to patch the one shingle. After he patched it we waited for it to rain to see if the patch was sufficient before we went ahead and repaired the drywall. This was in early May this year and of course since we needed it to rain, Arkansas has had one of the longest droughts in the last several years. It is the end of July and we have still yet to have a really good rain storm when we are home to check to see if it patched well enough. More on that later.

So while we were waiting for it to rain during the past couple of months I decided to pick a paint color and paint everything except for the damaged drywall. Easy right? Not at all. This turned out to be a long drawn out super hard process. Some much so that it needs it own post. I'll post on that part later.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


As the hallway saga continues (I hope to post on that soon), I have been also fixing up our much ignored foyer since that part of the house ties in with the stairwell and hallway makeover. As I mentioned in this post we added a vignette to our foyer table. It looked like this

While it was a great start, it just didn't feel finished. So we added this lamp base and lamp shade from Target.

This definitely brightened up the whole table and made it feel much more finished. However, there was too much wood going on. I thought a runner or table cloth would help break up all the wood. I found this burlap runner at Target ( I love Target as you can see) and thought it would be perfect.

Here it is with the new runner.

I love it. It keeps getting better with each addition. Now I just need a jute rug to put in the foyer to tie it all together. Maybe Target will have a cute cheap one ;)