Monday, May 28, 2012

Our little Getaway

No - no trips for us.  We've been working on our little getaway inside the house.
When we first viewed this house (well before we made an offer) we fell in love with the first room we stepped into - the front porch.
These are the photos from January just after we moved in:
Our plans for this room include:
  • painting the ceiling (how can you resist updating the white bead board)
  • new furniture
  • new light fixtures (possible move this one to the back hall)
  • braided wool rug
  • decor to make this out little cabin getaway!
Matt and I love to hike and camp out and it just made sense to turn this space into that little getaway for when we can't really get away because of crazy summers like this one.

Step One: we painted the ceiling!  We almost did this for free too.  If we were paying closer attention to our ACE hardware coupons it would have been free.  They recently offered a quart of Valspar Flat Enamel Paint and Primer for free as a promotion.  We grabbed one, but in the end it took two to cover the ceiling.
We chose ACE paint color: topiary.

I also thought it was fun that when we took down the light fixture we saw that the ceiling used to be painted a fun color!

 We've also kind of finished task number two.  We found some beautiful plastic wicker furniture at a lawn and garden store we bought a groupon for.  We used the groupon on trees for the front of the house - but the wicker furniture was priced right and we couldn't pass it up.  Patio sets at other stores seem to run in the $800-$1000 range, crazy! We were about $300 for the couch, two chairs, and cushions.

We eat breakfast out here on the weekends! And it reminds us of camping.  I love being up early enough when there are hardly any cars diving by, and all our neighbors are still inside, enjoying my coffee on the porch.

And we've started adding out cabin decor.  My parents sold their lake house a while back and most of these items are from them.

The star on the top left used to be red - I gave it a quick coat of paint to match the ceiling tying it all in.  The canoe will be painted blue eventually as well.

This bookcase in ancient - from my baby room! the wear and tear work perfectly in our rustic retreat.  I need a bit more bookshelf decor (or maybe some books1)

An antique lantern from Matt's Grandfather's house.

Wait for it.....

Only my Mom would buy this!!
Do you have a vacation retreat in your home you can enjoy when you don't have a chance to actually go anywhere?  We're really not sure we'll get to go camping this year.  After next weekend we're pretty much booked solid until after labor day.  I'm glad we could get a start in here and enjoy the room this summer.
  • painting the ceiling
  • new furniture
    • still need - dining table
    • maybe a different coffee table
  • new light fixtures (possible move this one to the back hall) 
  • braided wool rug (hopefully from LL Bean!)
  • decor to make this our little cabin getaway! - started!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pinterest Project: Kitchen Curtains

I grew up in a super rural town and we never necessarily needed curtains.  Now that we're in a real neighborhood, and we're on a corner lot it's become a necessity.  But curtains are expensive! We bought them for the Living Room from Target - because the fabric would have cost more if I were to make them.  And the Dining Room ones were a $15 find at Marshall's.

For the Kitchen, I saw a very simple tutorial for curtains and decided to try it.

I made a few changes - I lined them because of the white fabric I bought, and I used a sewing machine.

I found this organic cotton fabric on Etsy!

Source: via Miss on Pinterest

Kitchen without curtains:

And now we have Curtains!

They really were super simple!  I'll probably use the same method for the bedrooms upstairs.
Have you tacked your own curtains before? I have a more intricate type that I want for my craft room, but the fabirc I got is so pretty (and a bit of a splurge) that I'm afraid I'll mess up - so the fabrics been sitting in the closet since January.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Pinterest Project: Pillow Cover

I'm learning to use the sewing machine now that I have some space to have one in my craft room.

I'll be practicing by making pillow covers.  Of course I started with a not so easy one, that I probably need to fix soon, but we like how it came out.  I used the reverse applique technique explained here:

To come up with this:

What I didn't do right:
zig zag stitch.  I used a straight stitch and since the blue fabric is burlap like, it's fraying to the point where we went past the numbers.  I fixed the "1" already, but will probably need to revisit the sewing machine to tighten up the rest.  I tried the zig zag stitch - but being new to the sewing machine I didn't realized you need to change the foot.  I almost killed it! And thinking about it now, I probably could have lost an eye if the needle broke.  I'll pay closer attention going forward.

What I did right:
I'm really happy with how I did the back.  I over lapped it so I can take the cover off.  Which will help when I correct the problem above.  And now that I've practice one one - I have a pretty good idea going forward how to size the cover based on the pillow size I bought.

Does everyone have a good first time sewing mistake? Please share, I hope I'm not the only one!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Finding that Green Thumb

I've always wanted a vegetable garden.  When I was little I remember having a big one; it's a hobby my Dad really enjoys.

I didn't think we'd have time this year because of all the projects that come with a new home.  But we're going for it.  We've picked out the sunniest spot in the yard.

And Matt built us a raised planter!  His parents bought us the supplies (lumber and rebar $90, dirt $40) as a house warming gift which was very helpful.  The planter is huge! 10' x 4' However I'm told it will fill up very fast.

I picked out seeds for all of the vegetables we use most often.

And they're doing just great!  I've actually transplanted them since I took this photo.  It's raining this week so I'm crossing my fingers they will make it to the sunny weekend they're forecasting.  I really hope I didn't put them out too early (I am in New England) but I just couldn't wait any longer.

Like all other garden's we've had growing up, or my friends have - we will have enough zucchini to feed the entire neighborhood.  Have you started a garden this year?  Do you have a favorite vegetable? I personally can't wait to grow kale and rainbow chard - I've found lots of ways to sneak it into meals.  It's full of good vitamins.   And of course tomatoes, I could eat them all day.

Monday, May 7, 2012

What We've Been Cooking

Hello Hello!

I am slowly bringing over some of the things I would blog about over at Miss Meghan Elizabeth here.  This is a home blog so I want to share all of our home activities including decorating, DIY, and what we cook over on 18 Preston.

I cook ALOT.  It's one of my absolute favorite things to do.  If you've followed me at MME you know that I'm usually cooking something I found in Food Network Magazine.  In the past I've shared reviews of each issue - giving you the heads up before you buy it off the new stand.  I hope to continue that, but my timing hasn't been so great.

I've set up a Food Network Mag Pinterest board to share my favorite - so please follow that to get the inside scoop.

And if you want the day by day of what goes on in my kitchen, follow the "I Tried and Approve - Food" board.  This includes both FN Mag recipes and all of the pinned items I've tried and approve!

Here are a few new things I've tried and love from the April and May issues:

And these are some things I found that I can't wait to try!

And just for fun, I found this cake! I've probably never attempt it, but I love just knowing that someone did!

What have you been cooking? Do you keep recipes organized with Pinterest? I love it as a tool for sharing with you what I've found and what we ended up liking after trying it.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Closet Make-Over

Project "The Kitchen Table Dumping Ground" is almost complete.

Our Command Center took care of many items on our "I need a home" list.  The rest involves a closet make-over.  Who doesn't love a good closet make-over?

Remaining Lost Boys:
  • Keys
  • Cell phones
  • Jackets
  • Purse
  • Gym Bag
  • Matt's hat and sunglasses
  • Mail
  • Things to remember (ex. invites, events)
  • Holiday cards
  • Pens
  • Coupons
  • Phone Charges
  • Grocery List
The starting point:

The Solution:

We're not quite done on the bottom, but we couldn't wait to show you!  When we moved in this closet had a door on it and was being used as a pantry.  And as much as I'd like more pantry space in the kitchen, the closet turned mini mud room needed to happen.

The hardware in this project was the most expensive.  If I did it again, we found them cheaper at Target.  The stripes on the wall was a lucky find in the oops paint section at Home Depot ($7 for a gallon.)

The cushions and baskets are also from Target.  All the wood work we painted with basic semi-gloss trim paint.  Have you converted any closets? I've seen mini mud rooms and closet offices and craft rooms all over the internet.  Would you have used this as a pantry instead?  We're just happy to get rid of The Dumping Ground!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Command Center

We introduced our conundrum of the Kitchen Table Dumping Ground here:

The solution became what I like to refer to as:

 The 18 Preston Command Center

The problem: finding a home for these guys:
  • Keys
  • Cell phones
  • Jackets
  • Purse
  • Gym Bag
  • Matt's hat and sunglasses
  • Mail
  • Things to remember (ex. invites, events)
  • Holiday cards
  • Pens
  • Coupons
  • Phone Charges
  • Grocery List
Luckily, we had a huge open wall in the kitchen to locate our project.  I forgot to show you the true before photo of the kitchen - this is the green on the walls when we moved in January 1st:

I didn't waste any time getting it painted. Wall color - Gray Owl - BM

And the final product:

Matt really had a chance to show off is carpentry skills in this project.  He created the magnet board holding our grocery list (approx cost: $20) the cork board with bamboo frame (approx cost $15) the letter boxes (approx cost $20) and the cell phone, key, and pen holder (approx cost $20.)

I took on the paint job and used Milk Paint with their recommended sealer.  We're very happy with the end result.

They aren't installed yet, but eventually this phone holder will have built in chargers powered inside the wall.

Do you have a command center in your house? Should Matt put together any design plans so you can DIY his projects?