Monday, February 28, 2011

Finally some color!

(offwhite walls and frilly curtains that came with the house)

(we didn't even pick one of these!)

After:So refreshing! The wall color is Haystack by Martha Stewart. We color-matched it at our local Sherwin Williams (walking was so much easier than another car ride to Home Depot). We raised the curtain height and put up new curtains. The neutral curtains help balance out the springy green and yellow of the rest of the room. What room will we do next?

Winter of snow (and more snow)


Gift for my nephew. Pattern from Amigurumi by Tomoko Takamori. Yarn is various colors of Vanna's Choice by Lionbrand.

Baby Shower Decorations

Building off the colors and theme I used on the invitations I created a few decorations for my sister's baby shower. It was fun to decorate my mom's house!

Some flags attached to toothpicks in the cupcakes:

A few pom-poms and paper medallions in with the roses and a doily under the vase:

A banner with more pom-poms to make the living room a bit more festive:

As a favor I decorated sugar cookies.

Don't look too closely as these were much harder than I anticipated and did not come out as professional looking as I hoped. Sweet Dani B always makes decorating look so easy on Martha! I think the trick is to get the icing the exact right consistency. It didn't help that we had to go on an unexpectedly long hunt for meringue powder and ended up decorating well past midnight! (note: you can find meringue power at Sur la Table or Michaels/AC Moore)

Besides the cookies, the other decorations were fun to make. The shower was timed perfectly. A short week later the little guy made an early appearance!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Baby Onesies

Little onesies for a future scientist.

Baby Shower Invitations

My mom and I threw my sister a baby shower and I volunteered to do the invitations. I designed the main part of the invitation using MS Word. No fancy programs necessary although I did download a few new free fonts -- There are some great handwritten fonts at Fonts for Peas. The band was created out of wrapping paper from Paper Source and the little bird was an embossed stamp. The address labels were printed on plain white paper and punched with a Martha Stewart punch to let the yellow peek through.

Next up are more photos and crafts from the shower.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Challah Bread

Yum! Challah bread is a family tradition at Thanksgiving and Christmas. My aunt who always makes the bread was traveling this year so I decided to take on the task. As shown in the photo above, it came out great! Here's the recipe:

1 1/2 cups warm water
1/4 cup butter (ideally room temperature)
1 cake yeast (1 pkg. dry yeast - I got mine from Trader Joes)
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs (4th egg to paint the top of bread)
6 cups flour
2 tsp salt

Mix warm water and yeast. Gradually add other ingredients. Put the butter in small slices so it melts (ok if it does not melt fully). Put in sugar, salt, some of the flour, the eggs and then the rest of the flour. Mix with hands once the last bit goes in. Form into a nice ball and cover with dish cloth to let rise until double. Find a nice warm spot. Several hours are needed. Then punch down and let rise 15 minutes. Divide dough into three sections and braid. Paint with 4th egg. Can also paint again half way through cooking. Put in 350 degree oven (do not preheat) for 15 minutes, then lower to 325 and cook until golden 45 min - 1 hour. Delicious served with Jarlesberg or Swiss cheese.

I'm now in the process of making my 3rd loaf and am ready to impress my coworkers at our post-holiday pot luck lunch tomorrow. When making this during the work week I let the bread rise overnight, punch it down in the morning and then put in the refrigerator until I'm ready to bake it the following night.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

All Dressed Up

In our old 600 sq ft apartment, we had room for me, Sean, plus Morgan, Max and Bentley. We had a Christmas tree, but little space for many other holiday decorations. This year we have a bit more space to display the Christmasy items we've collected over the years. Here's a little house tour:

This trio greeted visitors on the front (enclosed) porch.
The snowshoeing Santa was a gift from Sean's mom, the snowman a gift from my mom and the reindeer I picked up last year at a post Christmas sale at Pier 1.

This mirror came from Sean's grandmother's house in Salem. This year it got a festive look displaying many of our Christmas cards.
I also used a few of our wedding table number holders to hold a few more cards.
Here's our tree and a peek at the new curtains (and rods) in the living room. Amazingly this year most of the ornaments stayed on the tree despite curious kitty paws and a large Labrador tail! We still took the necessary precaution of putting the breakable ornaments on the top 1/3 of the tree.
We don't have a fireplace or mantel, but this shelf did the trick. The snowman elf is one of the collection I received from my mom.
The dining room table all set and ready for Christmas Eve dinner with the Bridgeo Family. Great to use so many wonderful wedding gifts.
The new hutch was the home for additional snowmen and a few other festive decorations.
The end. It'll be sad to put everything away until next year, but will also help us (me!) focus on getting more of our artwork on the walls!

Ornament Round Up

In a previous post I showed a picture of the snowflake ornaments I made for the Freshly Blended Ornament Swap. My ornaments went to Oregon, Florida, Ohio, California and even as close as Newburyport, MA.

Here are some of the my favorite ornaments I received:

A mini snow globe made from a glittered baby food bottle (tough to get a good photo, but that is a little snow man in there - might as well add the general disclaimer that none of these photos are great - had to use a flash).

A wonderfully colorful stuffed stocking by Mandy of Fabric Paper Glue (check out the cute purses she sells on etsy).

A white felt Christmas tree with sequins and mini pom-poms.

Thin wood painted with Rudolph on one side and a snowman on the other!

Finally, a banner made from wire, hemp twine and paper.
It was lots of fun finding packages in the mail in the days leading up to Christmas. A few people from the list did not send ornaments, but the optimist in me thinks they may still arrive.

I also want to share the ornament Sean gave to me. So perfect!

(from Chrissy Anne Ceramics based in New Bedford, MA and sold on etsy)


The first real storm of the season left about a foot of snow. We were very fortunate to have no where to go and a fridge full of leftovers.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It pays to be patient

Here's our dining room (the only room in the house with color!) on the day we moved in. Isn't that corner just asking for a corner cabinet?

We have a wonderful dining table and buffet from my grandmother (see earlier post with refinished chairs) and I have always wanted a corner hutch. Plus, a bit more storage in our dining room would help empty all those boxes.

We looked at a few furniture stores, but didn't see anything we loved. I set up a google search to alert me when any new corner hutches were added to Craigslist. Within a few weeks I had an appointment to see a hutch in Framingham. It was little cobwebby and needed a bit of love, but the price was right -- $20! We took it.

In the fall we took advantage of our new outside space and sanded down the rough patches and replaced the plywood back of the cabinet.

After a few coats of paint which matched our trim we ended up with this:

A perfect storage/displace spot in our corner (with a few Christmas decorations added). We still need to get a knob for the cabinet but overall I'm very happy with our Craigslist find that otherwise was headed to the trash!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Morgan's Backyard

More curtain upgrades

Here's our little first floor half bathroom on the day we moved into the new house. It is off the kitchen and had a former life as a pantry (updated by the previous owner).
Only problem is that window overlooks our driveway and our neighbors' homes are not too far away. For a bit more privacy (without having to pull down the curtain) we decided to do 1/2 curtain. Here's the end result:
A 27" curtain rod was surprisingtly hard to find and we ended up ordering it from The fabric "French Country Farmhouse" came from Sewfiscated Fabrics in Cambridge.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Small Kitchen Improvements

This is a picture of our kitchen on move in day. Ah...the warmth of August! (that door to the small mud room now stays firmly shut to keep the cold out). Not a great picture, but it shows one of the curtains that came with the house.

Our inherited curtains were a blessing and a curse. They definitely made our home feel more welcoming and less bare those first few weeks as we were settling in. However, the curtains were straight out of Country Curtains and not quite our style. After a few months and a trip to Ikea we got the motivation to finally start replacing the curtains.

Here's how the windows over the sink look now.

We used the Dignitet curtain wire and Ritkig curtain rings which were pretty easy to install (after taking down the old hardware and patching/painting). The fabric is also from Ikea and we had enough to recover the dining room chairs too!

Our kitchen is not very large so we need to maximize our storage space. Sean installed our pot rack above the window in our little nook between the cabinets and bathroom. The area also serves as our coffee/tea station and recycling center! The recycling baskets were a good Ikea find (Dokument wastepaper basket). They are off white so they blend in somewhat with the cabinets and are a bit prettier than the paper bags we were using before. Next thing to go are those brass knobs and hardware!

Sean also installed a small shelf over the stove. It is the Ekby Bjarnum - also Ikea. The light birch & silver matches our kitchen cart/island (I'll have to get a wider shot). Installing a vent hood isn't on the top of our priority list and it is fun to have a place to display some items that have been hiding in boxes for too long.

I hope our house doesn't scream IKEA too much despite using many of their products. We had a successful Saturday night shopping trip that helped motivate us to do some decorating and improve our storage.

Recent Projects

Here are some of the projects I completed recently:

A crochet baby blanket for Kelley.

A yarn wreath as a hostess gift for Lindsay (with interchangeable decorations for Halloween and fall).

A pair of owls for a combo 1st birthday party for Celia and Juniper.

Embroidered snowflake ornaments for the Freshly Blended Ornament Swap.

Reupholstered dining room chairs (from my Grandmother).

Up next a few more projects we've done around our new house.