Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Self Portrait: July

Here I am. In motion. I get home from work, throw on some work clothes, haul out all the tools and get to work. This is how July has been (and June too, for that matter). Rushing through one job, just to move onto another. Some days I feel if I read another DIY blog or make another trip to Home Depot to have one of their employees say "You wanna do what...?" I may just explode. But, I wake up bright and early the next morning to log online and see the best approach for my next project.

I can't really complain at all. Mike and I have learned so much. We have done yard work, bug work, plumbing work, rearrange work and electrical work. He has become the master picture hanger. I have become a refinishing guru (kinda). The current project (above) is our biggest to date we're tackling together. We're refinishing an old buffet and china hutch to exactly match the new table (that looks old) we bought last month. Through a team effort, we're working our way through it. Stay tuned until next week when we reveal the finished product!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

#6: Game Night

Spent last Friday night at home with games and Game of Thrones. I'm not sure, does that make me old?

At least #6 is off the list!

I'm participating in my third annual 92 Days of Summer challenge. Read about the project here.

Momentarily Obsessed With...

1. most amazing bedroom ever. If our guest room could look like this (plus yellow walls), I would be the happiest girl alive. Okay, I probably do not need three rugs on the floor and four blankets on the bed....But there is something about all the textures, the patterns, the colors, and especially the ikat print I can't get out of my head. It's probably a good thing the store is out of Australia and I can't afford shipping prices :)

2. cath kidston upgrade. As I mentioned a few days ago I've been using [fake] Cath Kidston purse since I was in Thailand. However, it's held up amazingly! This one is a little summery, but it would be a nice change of pace from the brown one I have now.

3. measuring tape bangle. I need more jewelry like a hole in my head, but I've never seen anything like this! I can't find where to buy the original piece, but Etsy has some alternative options that are just as unique.

4. simone shubuck. Since you can't see the artwork on my dream room (above), I picked this one to go with it. I was contemplating creating something like this myself with my collection of fabric and vintage papers. Maybe a good winter project?

5. ohio home t. Kudos to this couple who started The Home T out of their one-bedroom apartment in New York City. Just one of those "Why didn't I think of that" moments...

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Musebles: Berry Picking

Last year I liked going berry picking so much, I had to add it to the list again. Virginia Beach has so many farms to go 'pick-your-own' you couldn't cover them all in a day anyway. This year I decided I wanted to go blueberry picking and found a few farms that offered it. Apple Berry Manor was the closest farm in Virginia Beach, so that was my first stop.

The rules are simple: 1. Pick blueberries. 2. Leave what you think is a reasonable payment in the milk box at the front door. Or, leave half of what you pick and take them for free. How sweet is that? The big old house is quite lovely and on a long windy street of horse farms and training facilities. After driving down the long gravel driveway, you'll find the blueberry trees behind the house to the left.

I think I was a little early still. There were definitely enough for me to pick, but give it another week and the fruit will be overflowing from the trees. I picked about a pints worth of berries and left $5. I haven't decided what I'm going to do with them yet...Mike has requested blueberry muffins. Although these look pretty delicious.

After I finished up at the farm, I decided to drive further down the road. I noticed it was a dead end, although had signs for a marina - that certainly sounded tempting! Sure enough, there was the West Landing Marina. Quaint little place with a place to put your boat in the water, kayak and canoe rentals, picnic tables and great views of the Intracoastal Waterway.

I stopped at Cullipher Farms Market and Vaughan's Farm Market and scored some beautiful sunflowers and zinnias, which I am determined to have growing in the garden next summer!

I'm participating in the 92 Days of Summer challenge. Read about the project here.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

#89: Go to a Park

Shakespeare meets Harry Potter? Sign me up! I was really looking forward to this FestEvents-sponsored fantasy at Town Point Park all week. Both Friday and Saturday the weather was absolutely beautiful, but we had other plans, therefore, decided Sunday was our day. We packed up some beverages, a blanket and headed to our little date night in the park.

It started to sprinkle a little, so we did a mead tasting (our first time trying it). Hill Top Winery from Northern Virginia was quite delightful. The Hunter's Moon (pumpkin) and Dragon's Breath (super spicy) were my favorite.

FestEvents did a great job with the "mirth and merriment" festivities before the show. Omar's catered theme-appropriate food, we tried the sea cake (crab cake) and a sausage on a stick - the name wasn't too clever there.

Unfortunately, the rain came in to ruin our little date. The show was postponed and instead of waiting and getting soaked we packed up and headed home. All the reviews and photos from the previous evenings looked fabulous, so I'm hoping there will be a round two of Shakespeare in the Park and many more events just like this!

I'm participating in the 92 Days of Summer challenge. Read about the project here.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

#28: Fish market

The last time I went to this fish market was more than 5 years ago. I had a friend in town visiting and we ventured in to buy some mussels. I remember they were inexpensive and didn't make me sick, so it was a success. Today after my monthly trip to the grocery, I stopped in and bought a pound of shrimp. I was tempted to buy scallops, but decided against it since we are going out for dinner tonight. The shrimp will be a little treat for Mike and his dad after their afternoon of toilet repair.

Fish Market is off the list!

I'm participating in the 92 Days of Summer challenge. Read about it here.

Friday, July 26, 2013

#38: Volunteer

Friday I spent the afternoon volunteering for Equi-Kids, a therapeutic riding program for children with special needs. The horses provide equine-assisted activities that help develop self-awareness and self-confidence, improvement in concentration and fine motor skills and physical benefits. I was able to volunteer at the farm through my CBDX affiliation and am so glad I did!

We had a brief tour of the facilities, which encompass 92 acres of land, including a 24-stall barn and indoor riding arena. We got to meet a few of the horses (adorable) and then spent the rest of the time weeding, cleaning and gardening around the property.

To learn more about the organization, donate or volunteer, click here.

Visiting a farm and volunteering, off the list!

I'm participating in the 92 Days of Summer challenge. Read about it here.

Grilled Shortcakes

This item made it to the 92 Days list because of this recipe. Looks amazing, right? Of course it does, anything Taylor makes, looks like your life wouldn't be complete without a bite.

However, I realized that neither myself or Mike are huge strawberry shortcake fans. Nor do we need loads of sweet treats hanging out the house during bathing suit season. So I actually looked up the definition of a shortcake.


  [shawrt-keyk]  Show IPA
a cake made with a relatively large amount of butter or other shortening.

That got me thinking, cornbread muffins could technically be a shortcake, right? Of course! And who said you couldn't have a savory shortcake? Yesterday morning I got up and made the cornbread muffins before work. When I got home, I sauteed some peppers, onions and garlic, made a little chipotle cream, grilled the cornbread and put it all together. Voila! Grilled Savory Shortcakes. 

What you need
1 package Jiffy cornbread mix (requires 1 egg and 1/3 cup milk)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 green pepper, cut into strips
1/2 onion, cut into slices
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup sour cream
juice from half a lime
cumin, taco seasoning, ground red pepper, garlic salt and pepper
splash of hot sauce
a grill pan (I have had this one for years and it works like a charm)

What you do
1. Prepare the corn muffins according to the package. Let cool completely.
2. On half of the grill pan, saute onions, peppers and garlic in oil until tender. 
3. Cut the muffins in half lengthwise. Place the cut sides down on the other half of the grill pan and let sit while your veggies cook.
4. Mix together the sour cream, lime, seasonings and hot sauce.
5. Assemble the shortcakes: muffins (cut side up), veggies, cream topping and a sprinkle of cheese.
note: this makes enough for one person (muffin mix makes approximately 8 muffins)

 #74: Grill Shortcakes is off the list. And yes, this one may be a stretch, but this list is all about being creative and did my best :)

I'm participating in the 92 Days of Summer challenge. Read about the project here.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Thrifty Thursday

Cookbooks and sewing books - two things I just can't say no to. I recently found this Complete Family Sewing Book at an estate sale for $2. I am absolutely in love with all the illustrations and can't wait to get started on a new crafty project with them. Perhaps some of the pages would make great art, put a colorful matte behind it and an interesting frame. I need to find a contact who would be interested in selling (or consigning) art like that.

It's About Time

Mike was the best boyfriend in the world and bought me a new sewing machine. For Christmas. Seven months ago. Today was the first time I used it. To be honest, I haven't sewn one thing since before Christmas (that must be a record for me). Not to mention the machine actually scared me a little. It's so fancy! More than 50 stitches, a built in thread cutter, an automatic needle threader...I mean there was a giant red Stop Sign on the front of the machine saying I could ruin it by not reading the manual. Who has time to read a manual!?

I actually got out my old machine and started working with that one. But I had it with the noise and the loose stitching so I busted out the new machine, read the book and got to sewing. I have a lot to learn yet, but was able to knock out four felt cheeseburger sets, so I can't complain.

This is definitely worth a Freebie on the 92 Days of Summer list. #61, you're done!

I'm participating in the 92 Days of Summer challenge. Read about it here.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


We tried to go look at the stars (#8), but the moon was being a little stubborn. In any case,
it was a beautiful night.

I am finally catching up from the weekend - just in time for a new one to start! After the Town Fair last Saturday, Mike and I packed up and headed down to the Outer Banks for a mini vacay with his family. Even though we couldn't stay the entire week, we had a chance to soak up some sun, good food and awesome family vibes.

It may not look like a lot of babysitting is going on here...but Mike was a big help in keeping Thomas occupied while Kelly and I made dinner. A little Baby Einstein, a comfy chair and Uncle Mike was a hero.

Just a few pretty flowers from a morning walk with Sonia. We stayed on the Sound side in Nags Head, back in cute community of beach houses, yachts and perfectly manicured lawns. Not too shabby!

I decided it would be a healthy addiction to get Thomas craving banana and peanut butter milkshakes (#37) like his Auntie. Unfortunately, the shop was out of peanut butter topping, so we substituted Reese Cup instead. The ingredients didn't phase the boy and he dove right in. Good to know I will have someone to share this guilty pleasure with :)

One of the best parts (besides all the snuggle time with Thomas) was cooking with Kelly (#44: family dinner). She always has the most delicious recipes but are easy to make. This quiche was so tasty and between the both of us came together in no time at all. Recipe to come on this one later. It was a huge hit with the boys who don't actually care for eggs, just a FYI.

I'm participating in the 92 Days of Summer challenge. Read about it here.

Friday, July 19, 2013

#11: Greenhouse


I have yet to find a greenhouse like the ones I grew up with in Ohio. The biggest difference is that back home, they are actually greenhouses. Here there might have a small greenhouse the size of a shed, but it's more like a park with mulched pathways. I understand that is because the climate is very different here, but there is nothing that says plant shopping like walking into that plastic box with that earthy smell and fans blowing around the hot, damp air. There would be hundreds of plants and flowers, a section for trees, a whole indoor store where you could buy planters and other garden accessories.

I won't say the garden shops I've been to recently are bad, because they aren't! Carter's, which is right in Ghent on 21st Street, is a fabulous place. Growing every year and reasonable prices. Eggleston Garden Center is very nice and they have a decent selection of shade plants. I stopped at Virginia Feed and Seed today during lunch and they have a good selection of unique planters (and randomly a huge collection of sports memorabilia).

I'm still in search of that one giant greenhouse, nursery or garden center, that's in the middle of nowhere with plants and trees abound. Can you tell me where this place exists?

#11 is off the list! I'm participating in the 92 Days of Summer challenge. Read about it here.


A new food truck inspired restaurant is coming to Ghent! I absolutely loved working with the owners to create this fun and vibrant logo. Can't wait to see what the menu has to offer.

#79: Freelance Projects

I'm participating in the 92 Days of Summer challenge. Read about it here.

Cork Stamps

Imagine this... A Martha Stewart project comes out NOTHING like it is supposed to be. That's the case with this adorable cork stamp DIY project she has on her site. Last night I had planned for a night of cork stamping, wine and lots of new cards for Saturday's Town Fair. After messing around with the corks for an hour, experimenting with ink pads, acrylic paint and cutting shapes into the corks I ended up with 5 printed tags and cards. The ink absorbed into the cork so the shapes were barely visible. Paint was definitely the wa to go, but you have to be careful to not use too much, and blot it a few times before stamping on your card. I don't have a variety of paint colors either, so my idea for the little fruits and veggie shapes went out the window.

This might be a project I'll take another stab at in the future. Or maybe not. Regardless, #3 is off the list!

I'm participating in the 92 Days of Summer challenge. Read about it here.