Monday, November 28, 2011

Hazelnut Cream

I like monochromatic rooms done in creams and whites. I suppose some people find that boring, but I think it can create a calm and inviting space.

Don't you feel calmer now?

The guest bedroom before. Not much to see here besides yellow walls and brown carpet. Good night moon.

The walls went from sunshine yellow to Hazelnut Cream, by Behr, and the trim and doors got a fresh coat of white semigloss.

Hazelnut Cream

I added a little color and a bit of pattern with the drapes and throw pillows, all of which we already owned. I borrowed the bench from the foot of our bed to add some seating. Zach and I both agree we like it better in here, so it will probably stay. (We've purchased a pair of armchairs for our room so we won't be losing any seating.)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I was sitting in a meeting last week, staring at the wrapper from my recently eaten granola bar. The crimped plastic reminded me of stitching, and I had the idea to make a felt granola bar.

All four "flavors" are for sale in my etsy shop. I was amused to see my granola bars featured in this hippie inspired treasury list.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gallery Wall

Last week I unpacked all our wall decor.  I was a little worried about finding a space for everything, since we don't have as much wall space as before. We have a fairly large wall space by the front door, which can be seen from the dining room and office, so I decided to create a gallery wall. Here's a few I pinned for inspiration.

There are a lot of ways to create a gallery wall. Some people like to lay everything out on the floor and arrange it, then mark off spots on the wall. I just started hanging. I randomly hung up three of the larger pieces first then started filling in around them with smaller pieces. I think this is the least complicated way to do it if you're ok with a little randomness in spacing. I ended up only having to adjust two nails.

Most of the pieces on this wall were handmade by Zach, myself, or a family member. There are photos, drawings, and paintings done by Zach and me, a piece of embroidery from my grandmother, and photographs taken by my uncle. I didn't change out anything in the frames, everything just seemed to go together. Despite my love of white decor, we sure have a lot of dark framed pictures.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Birthday Dresses

When going through my grandmother's things a few months ago I set aside a few of her blouses, thinking I would make something out of them, but not sure what. Then I saw a tutorial for re-purposing a t-shirt into a toddler dress and decided to turn my grandmother's shirts into gifts for two of my nieces, who both have birthdays in October.  All the blouses I had were made of knit material; I was a little worried about my sewing skills when it came to knits, since I had never sewn anything knit before. In the end I was pleased with how they turned out, and my sister reports that the girls love them!

A note about the braided collar: the tutorial says to pull on the fabric to curl the edges before braiding. No matter how much I pulled, neither of my knits would curl. I scrolled through the tutorial comments and saw that other people were having the same problem. It turns out that not all knits will roll up at the edges; thinner knits work better for this. You can still braid with a knit that doesn't curl, you will just have more exposed edges.

You girls are too cute. Aunt Sarah loves you!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mustard-Glazed Red Cabbage


I bought a head of cabbage to make Creamy Avocado and White Bean Wraps, and four recipes later I still had half a head left. Some veggies I just chop up and freeze until I'm ready to use them later in a soup or other dish. Unfortunately raw cabbage doesn't freeze well, so I was left looking for a way to prepare the rest of the cabbage before it went bad. I searched online and found a recipe for Mustard-Glazed Red Cabbage with Apple. This seemed like a really strange combination of foods, but I had all the ingredients so I decided to try it out.


  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 1 head of red cabbage (2½  pounds), cut into 1½-inch chunks
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Six 6-inch sprigs fresh thyme, or 1½ to 2 teaspoons dried
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 medium apple (not peeled), cored and cut into  
¼-inch dice
  • 6 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup dry red wine
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 to 4 heaping tablespoons grainy dark mustard


Coat a straight-sided 12-inch sauté pan with a thin film of oil. Heat over medium-high heat; add the onion and cabbage and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring with a wooden spatula, to brown the onions and get the cabbage to pick up golden edges. Adjust the heat so the pan glaze doesn’t burn.

Stir in the thyme, bay leaves, apple, and half of the vinegar, scraping up any glaze on the pan’s bottom. Boil the vinegar down to nothing.

Pour in the wine and broth, bring to a slow bubble, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the cabbage is nearly tender. Uncover and boil away the liquid, stirring in the remaining vinegar toward the end of the boil so it moistens the cabbage.

Just before serving, taste the cabbage for seasoning. Fold in the butter and mustard and serve hot.

It took a really long time to boil off all the liquid, and I was afraid it would turn out mushy. Surprisingly, it still had a nice crunch to it (even after reheating the next day), and the flavor was great! I modified the recipe a bit since I (thankfully) only had half a head of cabbage. I used white wine instead of red and Dijon mustard. I recommend adding less liquid since it came out a little runny, even after the extra cook time.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Two Night Stands

I like the look of open nightstands but wanted something with drawers to maximize the storage space in our bedroom (ie I wanted more room to store my clothes). I was looking for something with at least two drawers, and found the perfect chest-of-drawers set at a local antique shop. They were already painted in a distressed white finish, which matches our headboard.

They look a little boxy in the photos but actually have a serpentine front.

I love the shape, but am not so in love with the hardware. Some well-intentioned individual thought the hardware would look better spray painted gold, but really it just looks cheap. I'm thinking about soaking the hardware in paint stripper to see if it will remove the paint. If not I may resort to spray painting them oil rubbed bronze or replacing them.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mattress Modification

We're having our first overnight guests this weekend, which motivated us to get the guest bedroom set up. Up until now it's been a dumping ground for boxes and furniture.

We have an antique iron bed, inherited from my grandmother. Someone had pieced together a plywood platform that sat on top of the metal frame, and on top of which the box spring sat. We figured it was just there for extra support, and craigslisted the wood before moving, rather than packing all of it into the moving truck. When we went to set up the bed at our new house we realized why the wood was there. Our modern-day box spring no longer fit on the antique bed frame; it was too long. I didn't get a before picture, but where the rails met the headboard and foot board there were metal pieces that kept the box spring from sitting down inside the rails. We considered a few different solutions:

Build another plywood platform? Purchasing all that wood would be expensive, and the mattress was already pretty high off the floor. It would be nice if the box spring could sit down inside the rails.

Lengthen the rails? This would require welding, and with no welding experience or tools this would be difficult and costly.

The only option left was to modify the box spring and the ends of the rails. Zach used a reciprocating saw and a blade made for cutting metal to remove the pieces of metal at the ends of the rails, so the box spring could fit down inside them.

However, there was also a rail at the bottom of the foot board that was in the way. Zach removed the fabric covering the box spring to reveal the wood frame (and other high quality materials used to build it, like cardboard).

After a little carpentry, Zach reshaped the box spring so it angled in at the bottom and fit inside the foot board.

He then stapled the fabric back on using a nail gun and brads. The entire project took about three hours to complete and was completely free! We realize if we ever need to replace the box spring we will be in the same situation, but decided that we could always lengthen the rails later on.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

10 Little Indians

For October book club we read And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, a creepy murder mystery just in time for Halloween. In the book (don't worry, no plot spoilers here!) 10 people are lured to a house on Indian Island and are killed one by one. There are ten ceramic Indians in the dining room and one disappears every time someone is murdered.

I thought it would be fun to put out ten little Indians for book club (not that I planned on killing anyone) so I went to the dollar store and bought a bag of Cowboys and Indians.

 There were a few casualties before the battle even started...

To make them look a little more like ceramic, and less like plastic, I spray painted them glossy white.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I was looking through our blog archives today and noticed something funny...

This will make post number 79 for 2011. I probably should have stopped blogging for the rest of 2011 to keep the trend going.