Friday, November 28, 2014

New Curtains for the Family Room

 I love checks and I love the color red. So red checks really make my heart go pitter pat. I wanted red-checked curtains for our family room, the coziest room in the house. But I was (and still am) on a tight decorating budget. So instead of buying curtains, I bought red-checked tablecloths from eBay.

One problem: when they arrived, they weren't exactly the same. One tablecloth's fabric is a bit thicker and a tad nubbier than the other. Thankfully, this is not noticeable since they're not hung right next to one another.

Two inexpensive black rods from Lowe's, a pack of drapery clip rings, and we were in business. Himself installed the rods for me because he's fabulous like that.

I'm really pleased with the way they look. The room seems more finished.

We're considering painting the judges paneling in this room, but we can't quite make up our minds. Once it's painted, that's all she wrote. And I kinda like the coziness aspect. If the room got more direct sunlight, it would be brighter. But the screen porch is right through the French doors, and only oblique sunlight filters in anyway since the front of the house faces southeast.

But on a winter's evening with a fire in the fireplace. . . it's the best. I love to read in this chair. (Notice the red checks!) Or I curl up in a corner of the couch under a throw. You can't get much better than that.

I hope you like my curtains as much as I do!

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Linking up with:
Make It Pretty Monday
Inspire Me Monday
Inspire Me Tuesday
Wow Us Wednesdays

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Confessions of a Mediocre Cook: Easy Crock Pot Brunswick Stew

We celebrate a BIG Thanksgiving Day at my parents' house with a host of my extended family. At least 60-70 people gather together, and it's my favorite day of the year.

That means we spend Wednesday getting ready! (No, we don't cook all the food. It's potluck -- the best kind of buffet!) So we need something easy for Wednesday night supper. This is when Easy Crock Pot Brunswick Stew shines the brightest.

It also makes a nice dish for Christmas Eve or any other holiday evening when you might be busy, a soup buffet, or a weeknight meal. To make it extra breezy on yourself, put all the ingredients in a gallon-size freezer bag, squeeze out the air and freeze flat. It'll be ready to toss in the crock pot any time you want to do without dinnertime drama. (In the morning, put the frozen bag in a sink filled with cold water to loosen the contents enough to dump into your slow cooker.)

I doubled the recipe, hence the two bags.

This is not gourmet fare, but it's simple, hearty, and delicious. It's a perfect time saver, too. That's really a lot for one meal to deliver, but this stew gets the job done.

Easy Crock Pot Brunswick Stew

2 cans creamed corn
2 cans crushed tomatoes
1 small can lima beans
2 large cans white chicken
1 can Castleberry's BBQ pork
1 can Castleberry's BBQ beef
1 T onion powder (or a small chopped onion)

Mix all ingredients together and cook all day on low. Serve with saltines and hot sauce on the side for those who like a little spice in their lives.

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Linking up with:
Make It Pretty Monday
Inspire Me Monday
Inspire Me Tuesday

Monday, November 24, 2014

Quotation Tent Cards for Your Thanksgiving Table

Yesterday, it rained all day (I actually like those days if I don't have to go anywhere), so I spent some time making tent cards with Thanksgiving quotations to adorn the Thanksgiving tables at my parents' house.

I found this wonderful and FREE printable from Finding Home, and I printed out two copies on nice, thick resume paper I had laying around. (I also pinned the link to my Pinterest board Ain't She Crafty? for later reference.) I cut them apart using my little handy cutter from my scrapbooking days.

I dug through my stash and found some Avery note cards. Did I mention my scrapbooking days? I also have a fairly large paper supply. I sorted through that and selected pretty papers that measured 5 1/2 inches by 8 1/2 inches. I cut those in half.

I glued the pretty paper onto the front of the note cards and then I glued on the quotations. Voila!

Now I have pretty tent cards for our tables.

I had only Tacky Glue on hand; if I were to reconstruct this project, I'd use a different adhesive. The Tacky Glue is a little too lumpy. But since these are for my personal use and also since I'm an "eh-that's-good-enough" type of gal when it comes to crafts, I'm okay with it.

How are you planning to set your Thanksgiving table?

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Autumn's Glory

“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” 
L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Green Gables

This fall has been an especially beautiful one. October and the first half of November were simply blazing with color. With the sun shining through the leaves on a bright blue day, the colors were like stained glass windows in direct light.

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” ― Lauren DeStefanoWither

As we move into the second half of November, rain, wind, and chill have moved in also. Many of the trees are bare now. But I have photos to remind me of what they looked like a short time ago.

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."
― Albert Camus

I especially love two or more trees grouped together with colors ablaze. A yard in my neighborhood boasts a dark red tree nestled up to a larger tree with golden yellow leaves. I missed getting a photo; the recent winds stripped them.

"Autumn's the mellow time."
― William Allingham

And the luscious colors of it all: gold, tangerine, sunshine yellow, maroon, tan, crimson, lipstick red, dark orange. The way they looks against the cerulean sky.

"There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been!"
― Percy Bysshe Shelley

I breathe in the spicy scent of the falling leaves that fills the air. It's a dark, rich odor, like the season itself.

Have you enjoyed your autumn this year?

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Perfect Rolls for Your Thanksgiving Feast!

Y'all have got to taste these rolls! They are spectacular. I pinned them several weeks ago and then had a chance to make them last week. The recipe makes 12 rolls, and we had six left over -- Himself is in a bread-eschewing phase (just envision my eye-roll) -- which I popped in the freezer. That evening, my elder daughter, Amelia, availed herself of the stash and ate. Every. Single. The rest of us were shocked and dismayed. She was unrepentant. "They were good." And I suppose that's a good defense where these rolls are concerned.

Aren't they pretty?
 They are THAT good.

I made them again this week and took a few photos to share. The recipe comes from Taste of Home, and it is super quick and easy: no kneading, short rise time, short bake time. With my Red Steel Beauty on the job, they come together really quickly, too. So they are superb for weeknight meals.

Butter makes everything better.
But don't let that fool you. They are equally at home on your Thanksgiving buffet -- or any other special meal. Here's a link to the recipe on my Tasty Eats and Sips board. While you're there, check out my other recipes!

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Linking up with:
A Stroll thru Life
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Make It Pretty Monday
Savvy Southern Style
Green Willow Pond
DIY By Design
From My Front Porch to Yours
The Charm of Home

Monday, November 17, 2014

Autumn Wreaths for the Entry

I am totally craft-challenged, so when something I attempt turns out nicely, I'm really stoked. On Saturday evening, I made these wreaths. I have a double front door, so any decoration has to be doubled.

If I can do it, you can do it. And I say that with utter confidence.

Here's what I did. First, I searched Pinterest to look at some wreaths other (talented, skilled) people have made. Isn't that clever?

Then I searched for a nice template of the letter B. I downloaded it, opened it in Word, and reisized it to a size I thought would look right. Then I printed it off. I traced it onto a closed manila file folder and cut it out. Since the folder was closed (doubled over), this gave me two B's.

I looked through my stash of scrapbooking paper and selected one I liked. I traced the file folder B's onto this paper (stiffer paper makes for easier tracing) and cut them out. Then I glued the pretty B's onto the file-folder B's using Tacky Glue.

I already had the grapevine wreaths, which I used last Christmas. I stripped them of the old silk poinsettias and greenery so I could re-use them. A few weeks ago, I purchased some silk flowers from Michaels to use in autumn arrangements (they were 60% off!), and I decided to use those to make my harvest-themed wreaths. I snipped the stems to manageable lengths and then poked them into the grapevine branches. A few needed a drop of hot glue to stay in place.

After the flowers and leaves were in place, I hot glued the B's, making sure they were level and even with each other.

I bought the ribbon at Michaels, too. All their Christmas ribbon was on sale. This wired ribbon is copper and gold -- more autumn than Christmas -- so it works perfectly. I cut two even lengths, lopped them onto the wreaths, and then hot-glued them to close. I'm no good at bows.

Ta da!

The B looks a tad wonky in this one, but they both look fine in real life.

I have wreaths pinned to both my Holidays board and my Gorgeous Home board. Pop on over for some wreath inspiration of your own!

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Linking up with:
A Stroll thru Life
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Make It Pretty Monday
Savvy Southern Style
Green Willow Pond
DIY By Design
From My Front Porch To Yours
The Charm of Home