Saturday, November 27, 2010

Treat Yourself!

So I stopped at Trader Joe's for baby spinach, fresh spring mix, and spiced apple cider (which is AMAZING by the way).  So, of course they had their holiday treats on display and temptation reared its ugly head and I could not resist.  Well thank you for my lack of will-power - they are scrumptious!

Why is it that every single time I am on my way home from Trader Joe's, I have to open up something and start snacking even though I only live seven minutes away?!?  Sure enough, I tried and fell in love with both of these items before I even hit my driveway!

Firstly, we have the Dark Chocolate Minty Mallows!  OMG - they are Heaven!  Plus, they are made with dark chocolate so they are a little bit more healthier than if they were made with milk chocolate.  Imagine dropping a few of these in your hot cocoa?  I think these are much better than the Williams Sonoma gourmet marshmallows.  And even the box is cute so you can display them too!

Secondly, we have the Peppermint Pretzel Slims!  They are creamy coated pretzel with peppermint bits on them.  They are delecdtable!  The perfect combination of sweet, minty, and salty!  Give em a try and let me know what you think?  Enjoy! 

Great News! Panera has a loyalty card!!!

So I took a friend to Panera for his birthday this past week and Lo and Behold (drumroll please) Panera has a rewards card program!  I already have a free smoothie just for signing up!  I love Panera at the holidays!  And in summer, and spring and the fall.  LOL  Their new holiday treats look amazing and is there anywhere better to sit by the fire and enjoy a hot bowl of soup and fresh bread?  I think not!    Yummmm. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Holiday Splendour begins... First up: Bathroom!

I love decorating with village trees - they help create that holiday feeling!
Since the Chicago area is under a winter weather advisory, my plans for finishing up the outdoor holiday lights have been squished.  Plan B - decorate inside!  I figured I would start with a room which I could finish in a short time - the bathroom.  I decided to stay within the color scheme of iced aqua, silver and white.  This was pretty easy considering Christmas is all about snow and silvery white winters.  Thought I would share some pics - I like the way it feels so icy - like walking into a winter wonderland.  (Except it is just a bathroom).  :-) 
Decals from Hobby Lobby!

These little trees were at the dollar store - so cute!

I love that I can remove the ribbon and keep this up through January.  

SNOW!  I love snow!  

I know this is last year's bathroom but hopefully it will look the same this year.  :-)  I have been busy doing my outdoor lights and displays since it has been so balmy for November.  But now we need SNOW!  (Fingers crossed).

Linked to:
(Click on the words - not the picture - haven't quite figured that one out yet!)  :-) 


Feathered Nest Friday

Friday, November 19, 2010

WELCOME! My front porch facelift!

Once my garage door was done, it was now time to tackle the porch and front door.  My conundrum was whether or not to remove the railing.  Some people see wrought iron railings as a timeless classic and yet I felt it dated the house and constricted the space.  So I removed the railing and actually added a 4 ' x 4' cement addition to go under the stone wall.  I was thrilled with the difference it made.  After I stripped and stained the door the new darker color, I knew I made all the right decisions.  I was so very satisfied with the end result.  The railing?  It is in the backyard as a trellis for my clemaitis.  Recycle whenever possible.  :-)     Here is the BEFORE with the railing and tired, ugly landscaping: 

Here is the AFTER with a much cleaner and polished look!  I cannot wait to decorate it for Christmas!


I was featured on one of my favorite blogs:  BETTER AFTER!

Thank you Lindsey! 

My $65 Carriage Garage Doors!

I have always loved argyle!  Back in the 1980s when my favorite read was "The Official Preppy Handbook", my Dad and I designed and made this garage door design out of trim and paint.  It was SO cool.  Fast forward a few decades and it was time to go!  I always wanted the fancy carriage doors but could never afford them.  So, on a whim, I decided to try to re-create them.  Daunting?  A little but after several days of sanding, priming, mitre sawing, painting, etc..... here is my result!  I love them!  Total cost (other than my blood, sweat and tears) $65! 

It took a long time because I also was repainting the house and went through 12 sample colors to finally get it right!  From the street, you can hardly tell the "windows" are actually Rustoleum gloss black paint. 

It was bittersweet removing the trim and design from the old door.  Underneath, I found a few pencil markings of measurements from when my Dad and I designed it.  It was a little emotional to sand and prime over those.   Once that was done, this was all that was left of the original door!

Because I wanted a raised appearance to look a little more authentic, I used 4' x 8' sheets of birch underlayment and cut them for the design.  I sanded them and painted them all white.  I adhered them with liquid nails and a brad nailer.  The difficult part was doing each of the four panel individually so when the door opens and closes, the continuity is maintained.  Here is the door before the addition of the hinges and handles.  The hinges were on sale for $3.88 a pair and the handles were from Hobby Lobby for under $1 each.  They were a rust color so I simply spray painted them.     

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

If I had a million dollars...

I am full aware "less is more" and "live simply" are the current catch phrases of the day.  But let us be frank - it is basically because most Americans are BROKE!  We don't have the disposable income we once had but, in hindsight, this is fine.  It has allowed us all to purge our lives of flagrant expense and clutter.  BUT, if I did have a million dollars, here are some things I would most likely purchase for my outdoor holiday display!   All from FRONTGATE (of course!) 

The great thing about these decorations is that they look great during the day and at night!  So many of our house lights and such are only beautiful when lit up. Maybe I can find a coupon code for 95% off!  LOL

Frontgate Christmas! Oh I can dream...

So as the holiday season is now fully upon us, I love to peruse Christmas catalogs and magazines with a big cup of hot cocoa and marshmallows.  I will post my favorite pics and ideas.  Today's pic comes from Frontgate - being Scottish - I always obsessed with all things tartan!  Lovely.

Monday, November 15, 2010

FRONT DOOR makover FINALLY finished!

So happy to finally be done with refinishing my front door.  It is solid wood so I had to strip and sand and sand and sand and .... well you get the idea.  Then I had to stain over two days and then add a coat of spar urethane over the course of another two days.  Here is the result..... I love it!

Here are the dreadful BEORE pictures!  Several harsh Chicago winters totally took its toll on the door.  I was going to paint it black because I was not sure I would be able to get it from a honey oak to a dark mahogany.  The project was a little daunting but I figured I would give it a shot and if I ruined the door, I could THEN paint it.  So glad I took a chance.  

The first step was to use a chemical stripper and then re-strip and then sand, sand, sand and sand some more.  The stripper is nasty - had to wear chemical resistant gloves, a mask, eye protection and I still got a few chemical burns.  OUCH!  What a totally tedious job but I finally got it down to bare wood.  Behold the totally naked wood door - a glorious sight!

The next step was Wood Conditioner.  It is the equivalent of using foundation under your make-up.  It helps to even out the wood and allow for a more uniform stain color.  Here is the door after the conditioner was applied. 

After that was allowed to dry, I applied the first coat of stain.  Varathane Gel Stain - CABERNET.  It worked very well.  After the first coat, I was a little nervous that I would never get the dark color I had my heart set on.

After the application of a few more coats, I definitely had arrived at the color I had pictured in my mind.  I then added four coats of Spar arathane so it will hopefully be a long time until I have to do this project again.  I also removed the railing which made a HUGE difference!  I am thrilled!  This project cost me about $50 total for stains and supplies. 

Linked up to the Roomspiration Linky party!

Heeeeee's back!

Just in time for the holidays - Hallmark has done it again!  Christmas 2009, they had the talking snowman that you placed in your refrigerator and would talk to you when you opened the door.  This year, we have the bathroom snowman and he is adorable.  Not tacky at all.  His voice and appearance is so cute that you cannot help but LOVE him!  The refrigerator snowman sold out last year and I am sure this snowman will follow suite.    My favorite - "Whatcha doin?  Oh, nevermind.   LMAO!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Oooh! Haute Holiday!

So I stopped at Tuesday Morning and saw these gorgeous salad plates on the clearance table!  Googled them to find out they are from 2009 called Haute Holiday and retail for $39.50.  I got them for $3.99!  I just love them.  I think I am going to try to spray paint a thrift store wreath black with red and white damask ribbon.  I'll keep you posted!