Sunday, August 30, 2009

Jane Austen Obsession

I have a not so secret obsession with Jane Austen. Pride & Prejudice is my favorite book, I've read it atleast a dozen times finding something new each time I read it. I have read her other works as well, several times but I keep coming back to P&P and currently am reading it again.

Of course I love the movie adaptations...

each one "just as it is"

I even have a VHS tape of this early version of Pride & Prejudice, too bad my VCR died a few weeks ago cause I'd dearly love to watch it again!

Who makes the best Mr Darcy? That's a topic for heated debate in many circles. I have my own favorite *smiles*

Given the opportunity to travel back in time to experience life as it was then, I think I would choose this time above all others. It captures my imagination completely!

A favorite family activity is to trade movie quotes and since I'm so obsessed with all things Jane, my family are good sports and well versed in Jane Austen inspired movie dialogue, perhaps it's the countless hours of having an adaptation playing in the background *smiles* We can exchange quotes in the form of conversation for atleast a half hour or longer before exhausting our reportoire. My darling husband particularly has a knack for quoting Jane, he even sends me text messages of a Jane nature. Oh how I adore him!
My favorite Jane Austen quote "I do not want people to be agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them."
What is your obsession?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Toolbox Makeover

***Edited to join in Kimba's DIY Day over at ASPTL***
I'm sure all you DIY-crafting diva's out there can appreciate the impatience I feel when I just have to start another crafty project, I'm in a hurry and I can't find my tools, you know the ones Husband says are mine to use so I'll keep out of his! Like the ugly blue hammer when I'm just dyin' to have a pretty sweet pink hammer! I spied a green plastic toolbox way up on a shelf in our garage so I grabbed a broom and proceeded to knock it down. I've been wanting to do this project forever and after being inspired by a few blogland ladies I went for it. Now I love green but this just wasn't rockin' my DIY-diva world ya know?

I was in such a hurry after rooting thru hubby's stash of paint that I didn't get a true before shot but you can imagine it easy enough. Hubby has this hobby of making 16th century Japanese Samauri armour out of plastic barrels (yeah I know!) so he has a stash of Krylon Fusion for Plastic spray paint. Since I was going for an improvement over the green the only color he had that I would consider was burgandy. The photo is showing it more red than it really is.

A few coats later and Oh this is so much better now! Then I added little embellies of my own, not much, just a touch, afterall this isn't a for show toolbox but a real honest to goodness working toolbox!

You can even see where I messed up the one on the left side but that's ok 'cause Nester tells us "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful"

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Open House!

This has been a crazy 3 days for me! Every day I'm up at 4 am, preparing for my day, searching for recipes or working on my menus or initial food order. Then I'm grabbing up a mess of papers/notes/binders and I'm out the door. I've had a couple of 7 am morning meetings in McDonald's at the half point of my commuter journey just so I could keep in touch with my HL friends before I drive on to my school. So exciting but tiring hours with my commute even longer than before. But dear friends let me tell you it's worth it! It's so worth it! I've smiled more at work in my first 3 unofficial days than I have smiled in the last month atleast! Wednesday night once I got home I quickly grabbed some decorative items and serving pieces to use at the school for a small open house Thursday evening. Our conference room/breakroom is lovely. My photos don't do it justice. And yes I scrunched up the fabric in that tacky fashion! This is what happens when Chef has ten minutes to set up *smiles* No one cared! They were interested in the food!

I knew that chalkboard tray would come in handy, I grabbed it at the last minute going out the door ~ good thing I remembered the chalk!

What's that in the chaffing dish? Why it's good ole' batter dipped, deep fried green beans with spicy ranch sauce! Yum! These were a huge hit!

Thank you to my dear husband for snatching up that piece of granite display when they were discontinued at his work. He thought I could display food on it, SMART man my husband! And the cracker spread? Roasted Red Pepper, super easy and very yummy. I'll give you the recipe!

Not as beautifully presented as I would have liked but it was well received and most importantly my new boss *Cindy* loved it! Now for that Roasted Red Pepper Spread...
1 jar of roasted red peppers drained
about 16 oz of cream cheese but you could certainly and very easily with great results get by with less then just increase it to taste and consistency that works for you!
a touch of fresh lemon juice
some paprika
granulated garlic
and that's about it as far as I can remember because I literally just cut up the cream cheese and tossed it all into the robocoup and blended. then I tasted it and added a bit more of garlic and wished all the while I had ordered more spices for my kitchen! If I had had it there I would have added a few shakes of Tabasco for the flavor and bite ~ not for heat! But everyone loved it and it had a nice balanced flavor.
I've discovered that sometimes simplier really IS better.
And this is how I do it most times, I just toss it together and wonder afterwards what was it I put in that? So I promise in future to take more care to semi accurately recall proportions and such for y'all.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Wicker Bookcases Makeover

I've joined the party at Kimba's of A Soft Place To Land fame DIY Day, A Picture is Worth a 1,000 Words 2nd Time Around, Southern Hospitality Today's Thrifty Finds & Twice Remembered's Make Your Monday & Between Naps on the Porch Metamorphosis Monday!
I love my wicker bookcases ~ got 'em for free too, now THAT is Thrifty! Friends offered them to me after helping them move to their new home. My husband pretended not to hear their offer ~ shame on him! They were destined for a yard sale & I just couldn't let THAT happen!

They look a bit of a hot mess with junk piled up in front of them.

I adored the fabric when I hot glued it to their backs ~

I thought I was clever.

Now I've fallen out of love with this fabric and was yearning for change...

Of course the only real choice was BURLAP!!!

For less than $5 ~ an updated look

Be still my heart...

I have fallen back in love!

Makes a nice neutral backdrop for my treasures ~ they really pop now!

Just a touch of rustic texture to go with my wicker.

P.S. I put the faux greenery back up! I had to, it helps to keep the kitties off the top!

Friday, August 14, 2009

My Dream Kitchen Reality

For quite a while I've been involved in a project that I couldn't say too much about and it was killing me because it's so exciting. I've been dying to share it! Forgive me as I indulge in a very personal post about me as a real person and not just a craftin' decorating blog surfin' kitty lover but mostly it's a post about the incredible blessings I've received. I promise there's pictures of something I created further down *smiles*

Remember when I went to the Sysco Food Show in Charleston earlier this year? I didn't exactly explain why I was there, what purpose it served other than I was helping out my friend Cindy with her project. Here's Cindy's project.

Now y'all know me as a Hob Lob lovin' gal... but what you don't know is way before that I went to school to fulfill a dream of becoming a Chef. I ran out of money half way thru school and decided to learn the rest on my boss's dollar. And I did... I learned a lot. I also learned that a woman with a teenager son and husband who traveled for his career at the time wasn't an ideal candidate to climb the corporate kitchen pot rack to the top ~ super long hours, late nights, weekends, holidays, basically no real family life.

I worked here and there... Met some incredible people along the way, made friends, kept in touch. But I couldn't find just the right fit for me and my family so I ended up in retail. I never meant to stay there so long but it just sort of happened. What was supposed to be seasonal work to get me thru the holidays till I could find something in my field turned into years. I got lazy, I quit looking, I shopped the sales *smiles*

Then I got an email, I've had the same goofy email address since 1996. It was from one of the friends I've made along the way in my working life ~ Cindy! She was in the planning stages of making her dream come true and God Bless her (!!) she invited me to join her. And by joining her, my dream came true!

Hello... I'm the Chef!

Welcome to my dream kitchen I designed!

My pot rack table, how cool, I can't wait to see if all filled up!

My beautiful hot line where the magic will happen!

The giant monster back in the corner is my HIGH temp heat sanitizing ware washer!

My beautiful floor!

My desk!

My pot filler!!!

Top left is my steamer and on the bottom left is my baker's DEPTH combi oven! Be still my heart!

I went shopping yesterday for my smallwares and once they are delivered then I'll share some photos of those. And I met with my purveyor Jack from Sysco and dazzled him with my menus I've been working on. The whole experience has been exciting and a dream come true. Thank you for coming on my little kitchen tour, I hope you enjoyed seeing it as much I have enjoyed sharing it with you!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Burlap Pet Placemat

***Edited to add: Join the party at A Soft Place to Land's DIY Day***
Oh how I've been itching to do this project ~ I had everything so once again a ZERO CASH project *smiles* Here's what I used:
  • craft paint
  • burlap scrap
  • foam stamps
  • iron on vinyl

I bought the whole bolt of iron on vinyl off the clearance rack for a great price & saved it ever since ~ why?

Just cut your piece to fit your item, peel the paper off, place it sticky side down on top of the right side and hand smooth.

Then take the piece you pulled off & lay it over the top & press

That's it! Easy Peasy!

Indy-bug loves his new placemat...

Shhhhh, we won't tell him he's gotta share with Miz Sissy!

Two seconds later & look who shows up at the food dish?

Miz Sissy!

Friday, August 7, 2009

How to Make A Roman Shade from Mini Blind

**Edited to add: Join the party at A Soft Place to Land DIY Day, A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words 2nd Time Around, Southern Hospitality's Today's Thrifty Treasures , Twice Remembered's Make Your Monday , and Between Naps on the Porch's Metamorphosis Monday***
Are you like me and love the look of roman shades but are too intimidated to attempt making them? When I found this project on Little Green Notebook I knew it would be my salvation to the despised decorating peril of plastic mini blinds.
Mini blinds sacrificed for the greater decorating good instead of evil?
Supplies needed for this makeover:
  • plastic mini blinds
  • tape measure
  • fabric glue
  • scissors
  • fabric
***Edited to add ~ This was a ZERO CA$H project as I had all supplies on hand. The fabric was end of a clearance priced bolt, purchased several months ago for about $5 without a project in mind ~ just for my stash! Mini blind was older than dirt but recently destroyed by one very rambucious Indy-bug kitty. A very thrifty repurposed project ~ the best kind!***

Carefully cut off all the ladder sections of string being careful not to cut the lift cords.
Remove the plugs from the bottom, set aside, and remove all the extra slats.
As my blind was already shortened to my desired length, I just took that measurement and divided by 9 (the desired length of folds) to arrival at my optimal remaining slat number of 5.
Retie lift cords evenly, trim excess, and push back into hole.
Replace plug covers.

I'm showing this next step without fabric because it's just easier to see.
Lay your fabric face down, fold fabric over an inch or two for a nice finish across the top of your shade then place your blind face down making sure to keep fabric folded edge flush with top of blind.
Measure down 9 inches or desired fold length and place a slat, continue measuring and placing slats until you reach the bottom of the blind.
Using fabric glue attach your folded fabric edge to top of blind. Then apply glue to each slat and press to fabric to adhere.
***DO NOT glue the lift cord, stop and start your bead of glue on the slat about an inch or so from the lift cords so they can work freely. This is a vital key to success***

When you reach the bottom trim your fabric leaving enough to cover the bottom slat and wrap over slightly. Glue in place carefully avoiding the lift cords.

Trim your fabric down both sides leaving enough to fold over making a nice hemmed edge. I left about 2 or 3 inches on mine.

Make a neat fold at the top carefully leaving the sides of the blind mounting bar free of fabric because it must be able to slide back into your mounting bracket.

Glue in place.

Continue gluing side hem all the way to the bottom of the blind.

Make a nice neat fold at the bottom, repeating what you did at the top.
You can add trim to the bottom if desired.
Wait for glue to dry then hang in place!

I loved how it turned it. I'm planning to do my living room blinds as well. I think I'll do those in burlap and attempt to line them as well.