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Thursday, August 25, 2011

How many projects can I cram into 10 days?

Ed and I (+ Tasi), will soon be heading east to our Montana cabin - but that doesn't mean I'm putting down the staple gun and paintbrush.  There's a laundry list of projects I want to get done in 10 7 days, in order to get the place ready for the house guests we have coming over for Labor Day weekend.

On that list:

(1) chalk board headboard (x2) (my finished project here!)

inspiration via Apartment Therapy

(2) upholstered headboard (finished project here!)

inspiration via Young House Love

(3) curtains (trimmed and/or stenciled)

inspiration via Our Fifth House

inspiration via Pinterest

(4) paint bathroom (and spray painted hardware)

inspiration via Hi Sugarplum

(5) refinish cane chair #2 (finished chairs here!)

caned chair #1 (by yours truly)

...and I will be sewing many, many throw pillow covers.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Zucchini, Cherry Tomato, and Fresh Ricotta Pasta

My version of this dish, Zucchini, Cherry Tomato, and Fresh Ricotta Pasta, did not use fresh ricotta - because I'm a lazy cheater (and because we had some leftover ricotta in the fridge).

It also only took me about 20 minutes to prepare from start to finish, thanks to my mad knife skills (and the fact there wasn't much chopping involved, or ingredients).

Not too shabby for a yummy and healthy weeknight dinner.  See Ed, I can pull my own weight in the kitchen.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Refurbished caned chair

Tada! ("before" pic here)

After stripping off the old fabric, I gave the chair a light sanding, followed by a couple coats of Rust-Oleum's paint + primer in gloss white.  I finished off the paint job with a clear protective coating.  Note: this was the first and last time I'll use a paint+primer - it offered zero stain blocking, and there was a LOT of over-spray.  On a positive note, the paint really had a glossy finish.

Although I purchased upholstery buttons, I ended up re-using the original buttons because they had brads on the back - which meant zero sewing (yay!).  I simply cut out tiny circles of fabric, and then glued the fabric onto each button.

I was a bit leery about making double welt cord (tutorial here), but it wasn't so bad once I got the hang of it, and it sure gave the chair a finished appearance.  Note: you use double welt cord to cover visible staples

Another shot of my lovely refurbished cane chair from a slightly different angle:

The DIY Show Off The Shabby Nest

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My newest project: caned chair makeover

Last night I decided to tackle my newest project, this being refurbishing the caned chair pictured above (I actually bought a matching pair off Craigslist).  Step 1: removing the upholstery.  Tools: a screw driver, needle nose pliers, and brute strength.

I took a lot of pictures so I can remember how to put the chair back together, and saved as much of old upholstery as I could to use as patterns.

Almost finished....

A couple inspirational photos:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Stuffed Peppers with Thai Curry Rice and Mushrooms

This dish, Stuffed Peppers with Thai Curry Rice and Mushrooms, is another one of those meals I loved consuming but never would have the patience to make (too many ingredients and 1+ hrs of cook/prep time - thank goodness I have a husband who knows his way around the kitchen). 

The flavor of the stuffing, most notably a blend of ginger, red-curry, and coconut milk, was savory and complex.  The oyster mushrooms provided a nice crunch, which went well with the soft rice and sweet bell-pepper.

Ed insisted that the leftover pepper wouldn't pack well for lunch - but I managed to smush it into a small container for transport.  It didn't look very pretty, but it sure tasted good.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Creamy Peach Tart with Smoky Almond Crust

Ed has returned from his business trip to Australia, which means I'm no longer eating toast and pizza for dinner (yipee!).

It also means I get to indulge in delicious concoctions such as the Creamy Peach Tart with Smoky Almond Crust pictured above.  The dessert was a perfect combination of salty (crust/cream cheese filling), smoky (almonds), and sweet (peaches).


P.S.  The tart also makes a great breakfast

Friday, August 12, 2011

The joys of fabric

I think the best part of any sewing project is picking out the fabric.

A couple days ago I purchased two vintage caned chairs, with the intention of refurbishing them (inspiration here).  They'll eventually go into the den in our cabin, which has gray walls, off-white carpeting, and a taupe chaise (the ikat fabric pictured above is for an accent pillow for the chaise).  I decided to cover one chair in the cross-section fabric, and the other in the zig-zag.  The turquoise fabric will become a floor pillow or upholstery for a footstool.

Waverly's modern essential fabric in luminary/indigo (above right) may soon be covering lumbar pillows on the two chairs I just slip-covered (fabric on the left) - although I may end up using a simple-solid fabric if the pattern/color mix looks too crazy in person.

And finally, I want to sew a couple euro shams to coordinate with the striped duvet pictured above.  I like Dwell's vintage blossom fabric in jade and citrine, or maybe another gold patterned fabric like Dwell's  fretscene canary - but I really can't decide.  Any ideas?  The wall color in the bedroom is gray.  I'm open to any color combination at this point.

I also have fabric I want to purchase for two twin headboards, trim on curtain panels, and a billion accent pillows.  I really have no idea how I'm going to finish all these projects...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Chilled Avocado Soup with Chipotle Shrimp

I am obsessed with avocados.

Whenever I'm at a restaurant, I peruse the menu to see if there are any items with avocado, and if there are - that's what I'm ordering.

So - it only makes sense that I loved this recipe for Chilled Avocado Soup w/Chipotle Shrimp.  The light creaminess of the avocado soup provided the perfect foil for the spicy shrimp, and the cold soup really hit the spot on a hot summer day.

Monday, August 8, 2011

DIY slipcover

If you have time (approx 6 hrs), a chair, fabric, measuring tape, a TON of straight pins, and a sewing machine - you can make a slip cover.  Trust me - I am by no means a skilled seamstress and I am pretty lax when it comes to technique, and over the weekend I made the slipcover pictured above (woohoo!).  UPDATE:  I started cutting/sewing my second slipcover yesterday, and it'll probably only take me half the time (3hrs) to make it (and it's looking crisper)

Step #1: Find a chair:
(mine were 2 for $50 on Craigslist)

Step #2 and #3: Select and measure/cut fabric:

I divided the chair into sections (e.g. back, front, arm, side), measured, and then converted those measurements into rectangular cuts of fabric (approx 3 yards, I used Waverly fabric in Country Club). 

Step #4: Pin and Trim

This was the longest and most dangerous (b/c of pinpricks, ouch!) step.  Following the lines of your chair, pin the fabric (inside out) where you want your seams.  Trim areas where you have extra fabric, but not too much, since you need a seam allowance and wiggle room in case you make a mistake.

Step #5: Sew

Once your slipcover is perfectly pinned, slip it off the chair (mine came off easily), walk over to your sewing machine, and start sewing (note: I used heavy duty thread and a heavy duty needle).  Follow your straight pins, removing them as you go.

Whenever I became frustrated with a section, I'd temporarily abandon it and start on another.  I figured all the seams would meet up eventually.  After I thought I was done, I slipped the cover on the chair (still wrong-side out) and trimmed/pinned and even hand sewed a couple stitches until it looked right.

The best part of the project was flipping the slipcover right side out and putting it back on the chair.  It may still need a couple tweaks, but I think it looks 10x better than any floppy cover I could have purchased at a Department store.

The DIY Show Off
The Shabby Nest IhookedupwithHoHlamespice

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chiles Rellenos Made Easy

By the time Ed and I were done substituting and adding to this recipe (substituted: full-fat cheese for the low-fat, added: a chipotle pepper to the sauce, sour cream/avocado as garnish) it definitely wasn't as light as it used to be, but I'm sure it was even more delicious.

The title of this recipe, Chiles Rellenos Made Easy, is a little misleading.  In my opinion, there's nothing easy about roasting, peeling, and stuffing poblanos (they're slippery and delicate!) - and it takes a LOT of patience.

That is why Ed had to make this dish.  If I, the queen of impatience and short-cuts, attempted it - we would have ended up with a chiles rellenos scramble.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

HELP: den configuration

I love my husband - but sometimes he makes me nuts.

Case in point: one of his first purchases for our new cabin was a 55" tv (sigh).  Why we needed: (1) such a large tv, (2) a smart tv that will require an internet connection for full functionality, (3) cable in a home we're only going to be in 4 days a month - is a little beyond me.  Oh well, whatever makes him happy (right?).

The tv has caused a furniture configuration dilemma in the den.  My original plans (revolving around our camel leather love-seat) have been scrapped, and the outdoor chaises we used for our first movie night definitely are not a permanent solution.  A couple seating ideas:

(w/an ottoman?)

Do you have any ideas?  I'm really not in love with any that I've come up with.  Keep in mind: the room is pretty narrow, I don't want to spend a jillion dollars, and I'm not a huge recliner fan - but the right one could me sway me.  Feel free to send me links to any cool accent pieces (e.g. rugs, ottomans, etc) you come across as well.