Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New look with the same old stuff

Since we moved into our apartment in August 2010, the wall over our bed has looked like this:

I love the art (a Target find from summer 2010)--they were the basis for the room's color scheme--but it just wasn't doing it for me. Since we don't have a headboard (we want to wait until we find something we really love), the wall needed a more substantial presence in the room. More weight. I wanted to LOVE that wall just as much as I love our new hallway gallery wall. So I did what any girl in need of inspiration would do...headed to Pinterest, of course!

Now, we all know Pinteresting can be a major time-waster, so I set out constraints for myself. I was on a quest for an idea that only involved materials I already had. Running out to Michael's or Goodwill was not an option (since I can spend HOURS and way too much moolah in both places).

Well, I found it. In about one minute. On my home page. A friend had pinned this photo and I knew it was it:

I loved the grouping of art, the mirror, and the typography--even better was the fact that I already owned the mirror and had struggled to find a spot where it looked good! For the past week, it's been living here, near my new paint chip wall art.

It looked alright, yet I wasn't totally loving it. And then soon after I hung the art & mirror, we purchased what I like to call the Kitty Mansion for our cat, and they both looked silly by it. Not to mention that I couldn't get close enough to the mirror to use it:

So they both needed a new home. I pulled them for the new bed wall project.

Both had black frames, so I headed to our mini black frame gallery wall to steal another frame for the new grouping. I went with the framed maps of Missouri & Montana (our two homes) because they didn't really fit in with their existing grouping--all the other frames housed photographs.

After rearranging the old frames...

...I grabbed a few last items: a framed painting, "Springtime" by Pierre-Auguste Cot, and to echo the typographical portion of the inspiration pic, a few letters from my alphabet collection: B, R, and V (our initials).

I hung up the framed pieces and the mirror first, using the inspiration photo as my basis. I also switched the maps so the frame could be hung horizontally rather than vertically--this way it and the art print were more symmetrical with the paint chip art on the other side of the mirror. (The framed maps were also Pinterest inspired!)

To hang the zinc letters, I made paper templates, marked the nail holes, taped the templates to the wall, and hammered right through them. Easy peasy.

Here's the finished wall:

I love it so much more now. The zinc letters tie in well with the grays in the paint chip art, the Cot painting now has a home on the wall rather than its previous perch on our dresser, and the bed wall carries the appropriate weight.

We moved the two paintings over next to the window. I was worried that having them there might be too busy with the new grouping, but I think it looks good:

And all is right in the apartment.

(Until I find something else on Pinterest and just have to recreate it!)

P.S. Belle says Hi. She decided she was clearly the focus of my photo shoot.

Linking up to Our Humble A{bowe}d, Maillardville Manor, and Russet Street Reno's One Percent Pinspiration (artwork edition) partay!

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Monday, February 27, 2012

On the menu, week three

Another Monday, another weekly menu! We had some successful meals last week that I'll share first:

Tuesday, February 21: Creamy chicken & stuffing casserole. This is an old favorite of ours. Here's the recipe! We always cut the chicken into pieces and we add some sour cream to the cream of chicken soup to make it more creamy!

Sunday, February 26: I had planned to make cheddar beer chicken, but after finding some Velveeta in the pantry that was due to expire soon (yeah, what? Velveeta expires???!?! Apparently) I changed plans and made this delicious cheese soup! MMMM. So creamy, so cheesy. So good.

Here's what's on the menu this week:

Monday, February 27: Cider cream chicken with cous cous. I didn't get the chance to make this last week, and I'm craving it!

Tuesday, February 28: FINALLY I will make cheddar beer chicken. I swear it. I plan to use the leftover cheese soup from Sunday in the recipe!

Wednesday, February 29 (Leap Day!): No cooking, I have class.

Thursday, March 1: Tuscan pasta with tomato basil cream sauce.

Friday, March 2: Turkey meatloaf. Mmmmm.

Saturday, March 3: My night off. We'll go out or order in.

Sunday, March 4: Spinach & artichoke cheesy pasta with Olive Garden breadsticks--I hope they're as good as the real thing!

What are you cooking this week?

Linking up to's Meal Plan Monday!

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Salt and Pepa's here

Just a quick post to share an easy peasy antique jar makeover!

In January, I picked up two fun cork containers from my absolute favorite antique store, the Kansas City River Market Antique Mall. It's four levels of awesome vintage finds. I've picked up many a mason jar from there over the years and I hit it up every few months or so to see the new goodies. You can read about another trip I took there in this post.

I decided to fill the jars with salt and pepper. It's so annoying when I run out of either spice when cooking and have to dig the large containers out of our cabinets, so I wanted a pretty storage option I could leave out on the counter. Plus, their wide mouths make it easy for me to reach in and grab a pinch of both spices to sprinkle over food.

Once filled, they looked pretty good, but of course I wanted to spice (har, har) them up a little more. So I grabbed some chalkboard labels and a chalk pen, and voila!

Now they look right at home by our olive oil jar.

Love :)

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Ombre paint chip wall art

Another pinterest inspired DIY coming your way!

I spied this wall art at Young House Love and fell in love. Add in the fact that it's made of paint chips & I was so there. Free art? Holla.

I grabbed some shades of gray, brown, tan, and beige from WalMart and arranged them in an ombre order I dug.

Then I used tape to stick them onto a sheet of white paper (I just turned around the stock photo that was in the frame, popped it behind the mat, and taped to that). The frame was only $11.99 at Ross--pretty sweet deal for a 16x20!

I hung the art up in our bedroom next to our dresser.There used to be a black quatrefoil mirror there, so I moved it next to the window (which helped balance out a picture that we have hanging on the other side.)

Again, a super cheap and easy project, and I love how it turned out! The colors all go really well with the ones in our bedroom, but I could easily change some out if I wanted to move it to another spot.

Linking up to Our Humble A{bowe}d, Maillardville Manor, and Russet Street Reno's One Percent Pinspiration (artwork edition) partay!

And the CSI project:

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wedding Gallery Wall

My friend Kathryn and her lovely husband Ben joined Ryan & I for Thanksgiving this year. Kathyn & Ben live in a beautiful town in Wyoming, but unfortunately for them, there are very limited retail options. So when they visited, we took them Black Friday shopping (it was their first time!)

On our trip to Target, Kathryn stocked up on a bunch of white frames for a gallery wall she had in mind. When she posted a photo of said gallery wall to Facebook a few weeks ago, I fell in love! She'd dedicated the frames to showcasing her beautiful wedding with Ben! (Seriously gorgeous--hands down the best venue I've ever been too.) and I KNEW had to replicate it. I decided the best spot for my own wedding gallery wall would be our hallway, especially since I love the hallway galleries of Young House Love.

Thus, I set about collecting my own white frames. I hit up Target and Walmart to get a little variety and bought many sizes. When our wedding photos arrived at last in the mail last week, I sorted through them, selected my favorites, ordered prints from Costco (they have the best photo pricing, seriously! $2.99 for an 11x14?!?! Yes please!) and patiently waited a whole DAY (did I mention they're speedy, too?) to pick them up and pop them in their frames before starting the process of arranging our gallery wall.

Now, I love a good gallery wall (I mean, we have three in our apartment now!), but I am not an expert by any means. For the first two, I just kinda randomly arranged the frames on the walls, so there are some extra nail holes and some random spacing (which I don't mind). But I wanted this gallery to be a little less random. So I cleared a space on the floor and laid out the frames. I used Amanda's (Our Humble Abowed) wisdom and started by putting the larger frames in the center, then working upward, downward, and outward and filling in with the smaller frames. I wanted a variety of pictures, some with just Ryan & I, some with our families, some with me & friends, some featuring objects/documents like my bouquet, our Save the Date, and our marriage certificate. So if two "object/document" frames were too close together, I moved them to keep the variety. Same with if two family pictures were neighbors, or two pictures of just Ryan and I. And here's the arrangement I came up with! 

Then I made templates the same size of all my frames and marked the nail holes on them. I taped the templates up in the gallery arrangement I'd laid out, then hammered right through the marks, and hung up each frame. I started at the middle and worked my way out.

After hammer time, I stood back and surveyed my work, and I was HAPPY :) I absolutely LOVE how it turned out! (It's basically impossible to get a head-on shot of the wall because there's not enough space in the hallway to step back and take it all in, so here are some side shots).

Here's what we have going on, working from left to right:

Our lovely Save the Date (designed by the aforementioned Kathryn of Lovebird Paper), a group shot of my whole family in front of the altar, a shot of Ryan & I outside prior to the ceremony, a shot of my bridesmaids and I, and a picture of our first dance.

Our first kiss, me with my best friends from high school (all bridesmaids), and my bouquet.

 Our marriage certificate and one of my favorite shots from the wedding--us and our wedding party holding "Just Married" bunting!

Two shots of my mother and I and a head-on picture of my favorite photo.

A photo strip of Ryan & I, a framed peacock feather, and Ryan with his groomsmen.

Me with my best friends (and sorority sisters!) from college, Ryan and I with his parents, and Ryan & I with my sister/MOH and her husband.

My sister/MOH and I, Ryan's parents with Father Healy, and Ryan & I with Father Healy. Yes, the same Father that married Ryan's parents also married us :)

The mixture of frame styles and sizes makes the wall look eclectic but mostly uniform, and the variety of photos and documents/object pictures gives the wall some visual interest.

I also have some crafting plans--I want to make a shadowbox, a vertical 8x10 white canvas with our initials & wedding date, and an 8x10 canvas full of the mini pinwheels we made for the wedding. Plus I figure we'll intersperse some photos from our honeymoon in the gallery, too. I can't work on some of the projects until we're home for the summer (no good space for spray painting here, all of the pinwheels are back in MO, and we're honeymooning in May), so I made a little mock-up to remind myself of the ideas:

What do you think? Inspired to add a hallway gallery wall of your own?

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Monday, February 20, 2012

On the menu, week two

Last week I decided to challenge myself by posting our menu and promising to share how the new recipes tasted. Well here I am, back to share!

Monday I made Cornish game hens.

The verdict? They turned out pretty good! They were nice and juicy. Not as flavorful as I would have liked, but that could be because I halved the recipe since I was only making 2 hens. We did come to the conclusion that we aren't the biggest fans of hens, because they take a lot of effort to dig out the meat and eat. Haha! I did kinda make up a sauce recipe for the pasta side, and Ryan ended up loving it. I just made the pasta, poured it back in the pot, added a little olive oil, about 1/2 a cup of milk, 1 wedge of Skinny Laughing Cow Swiss cheese, a sprinkle of parmesean cheese, and a sprinkle of mozzarella. I think it'll be a new go-to side for us, since I usually have those things on hand! Mmmm.

Tuesday was our big Valentine's day extravaganza featuring FOUR new recipes. What? I thought that it would be overwhelming to cook it all, but it was actually quite great! I just started prepping hours beforehand so that it wouldn't get too stressful.

The main dish, Filet Oscar, was delicious, even though I did not master the bearnaise sauce--that's on my to-do list :) I didn't cut the butter into slices beforehand, and it was supposed to be added one tablespoon at a time, so I think the yolk and vinegar mixture had some time to separate...thus the sauce was not as creamy as it should have been. But other than that, the steak, crab, and asparagus were perfect! The creamy brussels sprouts were SO GOOD. Like, I would eat them every day good. Like, Ryan never eats his sprouts but he ate these good. Definitely a repeat. Same with the smoked gouda mashed potatoes---MMMM. They look deceptively gross/goopy in the photos, but they were GOOD! I added more gouda than the recipe called for, but in my opinion it was called for, haha. The faux-Red Lobstah biscuits also turned out great!! I used my heart cookie cutters from Gabriella to make them Valentine's appropriate :) I would add a pinch of garlic salt to the dry mixture--the recipe just called for you to add spices to the butter that gets brushed on top, but the inside was just a little bland to me.

Thursday I was supposed to make cheddar beer chicken in the crock pot....but life got in the way and I fell back on a familiar recipe, Chicken Tortilla soup. I plan to make the cheddar beer chicken this next week, though, so I can share the verdict!

Here's what's on our menu this week:

Monday, February 20: Thanksgiving food! Yeah, we're both having major cravings, and we have some frozen turkey and some taters...I won't go all out and make green beans and sweet potatoes or anything (Ryan doesn't eat 'em), but the T-Giving trifecta (turkey, potatoes, stuffing--and gravy, too, but that's a given with the potatoes) is calling our names.

Tuesday, February 21: Creamy chicken & stuffing casserole (using leftover stuffing from Monday). This is a recipe from Ryan's mom that we love! It's delicious. I will share the full recipe in my verdict post.

Wednesday, February 22: I have class all night, so I don't cook!

Thursday, February 23: Bowtie pasta with feta, veggies, and lemon pepper chicken. This one looks very promising!

Friday, February 24: Pizza night! I have to take a night (well, besides Wednesday, haha) off sometime.

Saturday, February 25: Another old favorite, apple cider chicken with cous cous.

Sunday, February 26: Cheddar beer chicken.

I'll let you know how the next batch of recipes turns out!

Linking up to's Meal Plan Monday!

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

(Almost) free DIY bulletin board

We recently purchased a new bookcase for our dining room. Here she is all styled up with our cookbooks, wine rack, and more:

And along with the bookcase, I gained two other things--a large piece of styrofoam and some cardboard.

Okay, I know that sounds like trash to most people, but the gears in my mind started turning, and I decided I could make a bulletin board out of those goodies!

The styrofoam itself wasn't thick enough--the pushpins would stick out the back otherwise--so I traced the styrofoam onto the cardboard, cut it out, and hot glued the styrofoam to the cardboard.

Next it was time to cover the board with fabric. I got three options from JoAnn's and decided on the red one. (This is where the "almost" free part comes in). Belle decided to help out, too.

To cover the board, I just laid out the fabric face-down, put the board on top, stretched the fabric tight, and used thumb tacks to secure the fabric on the back. I folded the corners as if I were wrapping a present.

Then she was ready!

I put her up on the door of my office so that I could tack up pieces of stray bits of paper--things to be mailed, grocery lists, reminders, etc.

I tacked a few binder clips to the board so that I could clip on documents without leaving holes in them, too.

Pretty cute for a practically free project! :) What do you think?

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