August 30, 2012

DIY Bedroom Furniture Rehab Reveal!


Posted by Ethne~

Well, Friends, it’s time for the big reveal – of my bedroom furniture!! 

It wasn’t without a few freakouts and delays owing to the weather, but I’m really pleased, not only with the outcome, but that it’s finally friggin’ done.  Shaun and Whit and Thrifty Nana were more than helpful.

Whit loves that I keep flashing this picture around, especially that mystery bruise on her knee

Remember the start?  It’s really great quality furniture, but it’s from a different era, was super dark, and way outdated.  It made my bedroom feel dreary.  That’s not what you want for your bedroom, even sweet Edward thinks so!

Remember how light & open the Cullen home is?  It's important when you don't sleep at all.  I sleep a lot, but that's practically the same thing.

My dresser - aren't you a sexy beast.
Headboard
Shaun's dresser - those slappy knobs made noise every morning when he got his clothes out and I was afraid he'd wake the girls before absolutely necessary.

First, up, Shaun and the girls (with my minor contribution) sanded the pieces and Shaun primed them with Kilz oil-based primer.  I read up on my fave DIY blog, younghouselove, and they recommended that for painting furniture, you prime with an oil-based paint and paint with a latex paint on top of it.  Roger that.

You can imagine how stoked I was when Shaun got the girls involved, which meant less work for me.
Like her mother, KD prefers to do housework in stilettos

The painting was left to Whit and me.  It went pretty well at first.  Then we got to some really hot days.  I tried painting my dresser on one such day and the paint dried too fast and got splotchy.  That’s where Thrifty Nana came into play cuz I freaked out.  She spritzed it with a little bit of water, brushed it gently a few times, and it smoothed out a bit.

My Purple People Eater Legs and I are afraid of painting
Whit and I investigated at Home Depot how to fill the old handle-holes ourselves.  I think Shaun was afraid more than proud because clearly he didn't understand my innate talent for home improvement.

We waited for some cooler days and finished painting, including my messed-up dresser top.  All came right with the world again.

Ok, so up super close the painting isn't 100% perfect in all spots, but since I don't have OCD, I call that *character*.

Shaun picked out some brushed nickel knobs and drilled new holes for them.  I was originally thinking I wanted oil-rubbed bronze (dark brown-black) but with a few comparisons, I decided I wanted the brighter look of silver.  These knobs are a lot smaller than the old clunkers that were on there – another refreshing difference.

The detail is amazing now, huh?  And the knobs don't dwarf the wood detail like the old slappy knobs did.

I painted my mirror, but after installing it back on there, and looking at it for half an hour, I decided I wanted it gone.

Dear John Mirror, it's not you, it's me.

Shaun purchased new hinges for the doors, but thankfully he kept the original ones for just-in-case because the new ones didn’t work.  We put the old ones back on and they’ll work just fine; you can’t tell from where they are that they’re not silver.  We left the inside drawers dark; I didn’t think they’d care if they were painted since they have their friendly neighborhood door to keep them company.  And I don’t mind the contrast one bit.

One realization I haven't figured out: the drawers do not fit in right anymore, and it's not the paint sticking.  I. Do. Not. Know.
This is the open door to my dresser with the hidden darker drawers; I totally love the contrast.  Past meets present.  Don't mind the painty smudge.  Doesn't bother me 4 a second.
Detail on my headboard.  Do you like my face mask that says "Beautification in Progress"?  Shaun does.  I told him I want to make a face mask that says "Sons of Anarchy" on it with the SOA emblem and then Shaun would wake up in the night to the skull and death scythe staring him down.  He chocked this up as one of my 'antics'.

I love how you can see the detail of the design now.  My bedroom is so light and airy and relaxing.  It’s amazing the difference that a little paint can make!

I haven't filled my jewelry tree, but I think Shaun should work on that.
Nice and glossy and fresh.  Those aren't the terms Shaun uses, and I don't use those terms around him.  Those are just between us, k?
Ok, so you can't actually see my headboard behind my decorative pillows, so shut up.
Just to give you reference, from where I am standing, my short dresser is to my left, Shaun's tall dresser is to my right, and our closets are behind us.
 Amen!  Haleluia!

BEE-LICIOUS!

Posted by Lori~

That's right...bees LOVE ME.  My first bee sting actually happened with Ethne.  The cheer team was actually shooting a grocery store commercial in our small town, ND town.  I was doing a cheerleader move when a bee landed in my armpit and stung.

That was the first of many bee stings.

Recently (just yesterday) I got hit again and this one is crazy swollen.  My hand is huge, itchy, and uncomfortable.





What can I say...I guess I smell like a flower!

August 27, 2012

ROCKIN' RedCard SAVINGS!

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Posted by Ethne~

Remember Lori’s post about her Target RedCard?  I know she doesn’t have as many opportunities to use hers as I do because her little city, ND town doesn’t have a Target – but here in big city, MN – world corporate headquarters of Target mind you, there are Targets galore.  And I love them.

Scouring Pinterest on my new Kindle Fire the other day, I found a quote that gave me a good chuckle:  “‘I went to Target, but really couldn’t find anything I wanted’... said no one ever.”  Hahahaha.  Yes, too right bit$$es.  (What has gotten into me today?!) 

United Colors of Ethne

{I also found a quote that said “'I wish Kristen Stewart was in this movie'…said no one ever” which made me laugh good & plenty because I have snatch attitude about her now cuz she just broke sweet Edward’s Rob’s heart and I have to say – W-T-F was she thinking?!?!?!?}

I'll never break your heart, my love.

Why did I get a new Kindle Fire you might wonder?  Well, I’ll tell you.  It’s because MY BIRTHDAY is Labor Day.  That’s right.  THE BEST DAY OF THE WHOLE YEAR is almost here and it is properly signified with its own holiday. 

CHEERS to my own holiday!

I have my ‘old’ Kindle 2, which I have no plans to get rid of.  It has 3G for one, which is way better than having to hunt around for a Caribou where I can get Wi-Fi, and I have to say I like the grayscale screen for reading still.  HOWEVER, there is something to be said for playing with Pinterest and Facebook and Sonos (Pandora) and the Blog from my little teensy tablet.  My Kindle 2, bless him (I like my toys to be boys, is that weird?), had gotten a crack in the frame, not the screen thank goodness, and when I called Amazon to see if I could get the frame replaced, they said no, they couldn’t do that anymore.  Shaun suggested I get an upgrade with the slight discount Amazon offered since they couldn’t fix mine.  Love that boy of mine!

Where the H-E-double-hockey-sticks was I going with this?  (What has gotten into me today?)

Oh yeah, my Target RedCard.  I went grocery shopping yesterday and saved $39.53.  Of that savings, $8.89 was from my Target RedCard alone!

I couldn't get my phone camera off of 'aqua' setting.  Weird.

What’s better, I started using RedCard in January and to date, I’ve saved $118.12.

And what’s even better, when I got my RedCard, I designated my friend Kari’s daughters’ school as the recipient of the additional 5% donation from my purchases that Target will give to schools from all my RedCard purchases (but you have to go online and make the designation and connect it to your card), which means that $118.12 has gone to their school too!  Isn’t that awesome?

So maybe that’s what’s gotten into me today.  Owing to me being addicted to Target and fulfilling the prophecy I found on Pinterest, above, Target has given me back $118.12, for no effort at all on my part since it’s hooked up to my regular checking account, and it has also donated $118.12 to the school of my choice, right in my local community.  That makes me feel GOOD.  REALLY GOOD.


August 26, 2012

DQ Cake Surprise!


Posted by Ethne~

August 13th is Whit’s birthday.  I won’t tell you how old she turned since she and I have stopped recognizing our age.  Growing older STINKS!  However, our birthdays are still perfectly AWESOME.  So we have no intention of not celebrating our birthdays, just not how long ago they were.  Fair compromise?  We think so.

Pretty sure I'll claim to be this young in 20 years.

Whit was in Michigan visiting fam there on the 13th, though, so we had her and Bryan over last Sunday.  I decorated with a colorful fabric pennant banner (also called a bunting but I think that is a dumb name) and flowers.  I picked my pink geraniums and put them in bud vases on my table.  AWESOME.  That’s the best part of growing flowers – free for decorating!

Birthday girl and Sweet Baby T-Rex (my kitty)

Whit wanted a pasta salad, so I made one with as many garden tomatoes and basil as I could pick.  She asked for BBQ chicken, so Shaun was happy to oblige – the grillmaster.  And then I decided to try my hand at creating zucchini cakes (picture crab cakes made with zucchini instead).  I schredded and pureed a ton of zucchini from last year’s garden bounty and still have some left in the freezer to be used up.  The flavor was decent, but we decided to bake them so we could hang out more (rather than chill out over the frying pan) and they got dried out.  I think fried would’ve been better.  Meh.

Whit and I both have Pandora bracelets and so that’s my go-to favorite gift to give her – a charm.  This time, I picked the jack-o-lantern.  She and I planted jack-o-lantern pumpkin seeds in her garden so we could carve pumpkins with the girls at Halloween and it looks like we’re going to have enough pumpkins – so the charm is representative of our gardening adventures (and upcoming carving plans).

She was a little sore at Bryan cuz he hadn’t given her a gift yet.  And when he arrived (he came a little after she did because we first had to play Beauty Parlor and apply glam makeup and do celebrity waves in our hair), he carried no gift with him; just the DQ cake we already knew he was bringing.


We had a nice time and dessert time came, with Whit having opened her pumpkin charm.  She exclaimed with glee, and then couldn’t help but comment that her hubby had somehow forgotten even a card for her birthday.  Ah yes.  That was when Bryan told her to go get the cake out of the freezer and gave me a wink.  (I’d told her all week not to worry because he’s always been a really good gift-giver.)

As she carried the cake over to the table, she realized that he had eaten a slice out of the cake and, in its place, was a wrapped jewelry box.  What was in that jewelry box, you ask?  Diamond earrings.  He did well.





Easy Mac gave it her best huff - check her red lips!


I think KD wanted to snatch those diamond earrings

It was a very nice birthday, and even Theodore was happy to pose for a picture.  He was not happy to pose for the next 3 pictures, however.

That's my handsome boy!


If you inspect closely, you can see he has no teeth.  That's me being on top of his oral healthcare.

Happy Birthday Whit!  Love ya!

August 23, 2012

Amazing Wedding Shower Cupcakes

Posted by Ethne~

*Sorry about the delaying in posting this week - I was having problems loading pictures!*

Friends, I have total amazingness to share with you today!  My pal E is a complete MASTER when it comes to baking.  When she makes her daughter’s birthday cakes, I swear my eyes are deceiving me and I’m really watching ‘Ace of Cakes’ on TLC.

So naturally when E threw a bridal shower recently, she put her genius into action again.  She purchased cool black and white cupcake papers at JoAnn – prices are reasonable there, and you can use your 40% off coupons!!  She purchased the other bridal items at Party City and I think you’ll agree with me, those diamond rings are awesomesauce (my new fave term a la Lor's and my fave blog younghouselove).

It's a shame to eat this!

The nice thing about making cupcakes is, well, they’re easy.  You don’t have to be a genius to make them, if you want to try to follow in E’s footsteps.  If you don’t have a gourmet recipe, or you are a beginner at baking and frosting, you can use store-bought cake mix and frosting.  In this case, E used Wilton’s White Chocolate Buttercream recipe here and she said it was DELICIOUS.

These cupcakes were white cake; she also did chocolate

Of course E piped the frosting on and made it look really fancy – I’d expect nothing less – and she used heart-shaped cookie cutters to make those hearts out of black fondant.  You can be extremely creative in decorating – and now that you’ve seen E’s example, you can follow along.  She was very enthused to be featured as a guest on the blog, and I know she’d love to hear back if any of you tried some of her techniques!


Happy Friday, Friends!

August 17, 2012

Tomato Tart


Posted by Ethne~

We have a beautiful bounty of tomatoes coming on right now.  For lunch last Sunday Shaun and I made homemade bruschetta – including French baguette bread I made from scratch Saturday night!!  It was amazing, but naturally I didn’t take any pictures because 1) it was too delicious to remember the camera sitting in front of me and 2) I burned my finger.

Yesterday’s breakfast was a divine use of our tomatoes, too.  I’ve grown grape tomatoes (little teeny ones), cherry tomatoes (small ones) and grape roma tomatoes (small-size romas).  I basically was going after just the right type that the girls could go out to the garden and each the tomatoes right off the vine.  They ADORE tomatoes above all food.

Not sure why my camera flips these pics sometimes!

I’m not sure where my dad found this tomato tart recipe, so it’s pretty much just a Hedren Family Recipe now.  I memorized it the minute I had it, the very first time, because it was that good – and that was when I was home visiting him in college.  Too many years ago to admit.

I’m a fan of homemade pie crust, and it’s super easy, but being lazy, I snatched up a pre-made crust in the refrigerated section of the grocery store on Friday.  Store-bought tastes good, but homemade tastes GREAT.  Trust me on this.  Here’s a good link to an easy recipe until I get around to sharing our family recipe on this blog.  I SWEAR I will get to it one of these days.  I just don’t make pie that often.  Hello calories.

Here’s what you need to buy:

Pie crust (or make!)
Swiss cheese (it needs to be shredded, either buy or do it)
Garlic salt (you don’t need this – salt and pepper will do)
Rosemary (if you have fresh from the garden, use that)
Tomatoes (I used my garden grape romas – any will do)
Parmesan cheese
Olive oil

Here’s what you do:

Lay your pie crust out on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Pie crust has butter/lard/Crisco in it, so it doesn’t need extra grease on the sheet.

With salt and pepper and rosemary added.  It's ok that it hangs over the edge right now.

Add a shake of salt (or garlic salt), several grinds of black pepper and the equivalent of 1 tsp. dried rosemary or 1 T. fresh rosemary.  Dried herbs are always more potent than fresh.

Lay on a nice, thick layer of your shredded Swiss cheese.  Leave about 1.5 inches of the crust cheese-free because we will fold this in to contain the tart before baking.

Swiss-tastic!

Slice and circle the tomatoes on top of the cheese.  I ended up using about 10 of my tomatoes because they were tiny, but if you’re using large tomatoes, I’d say you could use 2-3 or if medium tomatoes, maybe 3-4.

Baby romas.  So cute.  And yummers.

Sprinkle a little more salt and pepper onto the tomatoes; drizzle a TEENY bit of extra virgin olive oil onto the tomatoes (this is for flavor), and add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Now fold in the edges of the crust onto the tomatoes as you see in the picture, making puckers every few inches to keep the circle going – and it also makes it pretty.  If you want it to look super fancy, brush the tart crust with a little cream.  I usually don’t bother with that.

All the deliciousness is contained!

Bake for 40-60 minutes at 350ยบ.  The baking time is the only thing I couldn’t remember (from ancient times), so I basically checked every 5 minutes for the entire hour-long period.  That’s why it’s such a big gap in baking time.  Sorry about that.  It’s much more likely it will be at the hour-long baking time.  What you want is the crust to be golden along the top.

Golden perfection

Slice and eat.  All that were left were crumbs.  KD and Easy Mac told me that they wanted me to make this for breakfast every day.  Nice compliment, but not likely my loves.

We're still working on the 'shovel' technique
Words can't express
I can tell they got my Wolcott and Hedren genes - they love pie crust!

This is seriously DIVINE.  I made it one time with think slices of zucchini and yellow squash instead of tomatoes and it was also super yummy.  If you want to impress your next date, or your significant other on date night, make this and sparks will fly!