Sunday, March 31, 2013

a porch and its yard

It's Easter! How many of you opted for a home cooked meal this holiday? The Fox and I did! We felt a little adventurous and decided to make an Easter meal for two.

The end result?

Oven roasted rack of lamb, roasted green beans, Barefoot Contessa's potato salad, Husk inspired cornbread, and my mama's deviled eggs. And if that weren't enough, we added ambrosia salad! It was delish and just what we needed after a productive weekend.

Our four-day weekend began with a lazy day. Good Friday was used to do a lot of lounging around. The weather was gorgeous so we ran, walked to lunch and enjoyed it with our windows open. On Saturday, we were a little less lazy and took advantage of Mother Nature's gift by diving into a curb appeal makeover.

It all started a few weekends back when we decided we wanted to paint the front porch of the Fox's house. The Fox had his color palette in mind, so off we went to Sherwin Williams. It was light blue for the ceiling and Charleston Green for the porch. We did it just in time as the pollen reared its ugly head the next day... Painting was a painless process and being a girl of instant gratification, was a project right up my alley.

Before, the Fox's front porch was tired and worn out.

The garnet was peeling off and the white ceiling had seen better days. A couple cans of liquid design magic later, we had a freshly painted porch!

It looks soooo much better! We had already replaced the light (see that here) and painted the front door (see that here), so the porch makeover just set it all off.

Of course we enjoyed some mid-afternoon snacks as well...

Anywho, after the painting was all said and done, the front yard was lacking just a wee bit. Not that it was really bad before, but in my opinion, it was just a blank canvas waiting for some design. Now, I'm no landscaper, but we talked it through and came up with a simple design that we hoped help to draw the eye to the showstopper, the front porch.

The before:

And after:

The top picture looks much more colorful due to the blooming azaleas and lighting, but you can tell that the new pine straw beds add so much more definition and character. Also, the red door pops so much more now that the porch is not the same color. And did we luck out! The neighbor down the road had just raked up her yard and she had a pile of pine straw on the side of the road! JACKPOT! We wheeled a few barrows full down to our yard and instantly had beds.

That was it! Our productive weekend complete. Unfortunately, it's back to work for me (not the Fox) tomorrow; then it's busy weekend April! I guess the next home project will have to wait until maybe the summer... stay tuned!

Happy Easter, everyone!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

kickin' kitchen

I admit, I can't bake worth a hoot, but cooking? I can do that. It may not always taste out of this world, but give me some garlic, onions and butter, and I can make most anything. But if it's one thing I've learned living alone and choosing to cook to save $, it's that kitchens need to be functional.

Now I can live without a dishwasher, but everything else needs to be at arms length. Even more importantly, organized. I've lived in my share of small kitchens and over the years I've determined ways to create an organized, but stylish kitchen dejour.

These days it's easy to find inspiration. Can you say Pinterest??

With the help of our friendly inspiration site, it's not too hard to find unique items for keeping your space super tidy and stylish. I've taken my inspiration from here, Country Living, Real Simple, etc. The easier, cheaper and cuter the better!

Behold, my cooking room storage (and a little decor):

I like to use lots of clear storage items in my kitchen. It not only helps with the functional part, but it keeps things in sight without being too cluttered.

I'm a tea drinker so all of my tea is right where I can grab it:

I put on my hot water and grab a bag. Sometimes I use loose leaf when I have it, but it usually doesn't stay out on the counter. I also have my silverware in a pitcher. I HATE having to open an hard to open drawer to grab something that I need "right now," so having my forks, knives and spoons right at my finger tips helps when I have a hot something ready to eat! (you could call this lazy of course, but I call it smart :))

With very little counter space, you have no choice but to be creative. For several years, I've always loved having a pedestal of some sort to hold sweetener, butter, etc. Now, I don't use sweeteners (or matches) often, but when I do, they are easy to reach as well.

Again, clear containers help to see what's in side and keeps things stylish. And, I'm not against using original packaging for items so long as it's cute, of course...

Finally, this wasn't in the original picture because it kinda threw off my color scheme, but I also keep a grouping of often needed cooking items right next to my stove.

I can easily reach over and get what I need when I need it. Above that are my spices, but I'm not really 100% sold on my storage idea, so no picture this time...sorry.

What are your kitchen storage solutions? I'd love to hear about them. I'm always looking for new and exciting ways to spruce up and organize my kitchen!

Happy longer lighted days!! Hope you have fun things planned for spring! Until next time!

Friday, March 8, 2013

"o" is for oysters (& oh! so much fun)

Each year the Fox has an oyster roast for friends and family. Usually held in January on MLK weekend, this year it was postponed until President's Day weekend. No biggie, except it was one of the WORST weather days of the 2013! The day was crazy! There were threatening reports of snow and then the sun would come out looking like a gorgeous day, then in came the clouds and cold rain. Back out with the sun, then the downpour came again, but this time with sleet! It wasn't until late into the evening that Mother Nature finally cut us a break and settled on just chilly. By the end of the night we were icicles, but we still had fun.

Oysters were steamed, beers were consumed and s'mores were created! Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of the overall adventure, as I was mostly busy trying to stay warm and dry, but the morning of, the Fox and I decided to take on a project (go figure). Now I may not have gotten pictures of the evening's activities, but I rarely miss and opportunity to take before/after photos of one of our projects. My addiction of instant gratification might have something to do with that...

Nonetheless, we set off to buy some chalkboard paint (at Walmart, which we finally found by the price scanner - I guess someone didn't want to pay the $9.95/can price tag). With paint and tape in hand, we trekked back home to begin our transformation.

finders keepers:
Let's take it back a few weeks...while I was out on a run one afternoon, I came across this handmade easel on the side of the road. It was sitting there, all lonely and screaming for a home. Sooooo unlike the Fox who would have jogged right past this little gem, I immediately zoned in. It's just hard for me not to look for goodies when I'm on a run. In fact, I once carried two vintage, metal boat trailer fenders just because I like the way they looked! Nothing stops me dead in my running tracks faster than a pile of junk!

Anyway, I wasn't going to be able to carry this darn easel home, so I ran home as quickly as I could and prayed that she would still be there when I grabbed my car. Sure enough! There she stood, waiting for me to grab her up! She had been sitting in the Fox's office for quite some time, so it was time for a makeover.

We threw a quick coat of chalkboard paint on either side, painted the legs red (like the Fox's front door) and voila! A fancy new sign for our oyster roast (or any other party we plan to throw).

I taped the sides because I wanted to create a clear section of it that was only for the chalkboard. I felt like painting it all may be too much. And I was right! It turned out so cute! What fun will this be going forward? It can be used for all kinds of things. Not to mention it's just fun drawing on chalkboards :).

"o's" in the house!
In keeping with the nature of all things "o" related, why not talk about our stump gone table project? This one is super easy and anyone can do it. Again, while driving on the side of the road (it's starting to becoming a problem...), we found some stumps that someone cut down. Of course, anyone who gets sucked into Pinterest, has probably seen tons of inspiration where they use stumps as coffee tables, side tables, etc. Because I was one of those said people, I immediately called for back up (the Fox's SUV) and we had a trunk 'o stumps in no time!

We took them home and created this rustic side table for the porch:

It took absolutely no time at all because thankfully the tree cutter person made it just perfect! We grab a few heavy duty, rust resistant screws from Lowe's to use as legs (to eliminate moisture from getting underneath) 

and we made ourselves a cute little stand! Not bad, huh? We were pretty excited about it. 

I'm not sure how I feel about bringing it inside the house, but I guess as long as it's bug free, it could make a cute bedside table...just a thought. 

That's about it for now! But with spring around the corner, who knows what kind of mischief we'll get into. It's always fun to think of a new project! Happy trash hunting, everyone :)!