Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The bedroom re-do is finished! And it's our new favorite spot in the house :-)

To Do List: All checked off :-)

1) paint the walls

2) recover the headboard, and make pillows

3) replace the pictures over the bed side table

4) refinish the gold frame

5) find new candle holders (yay! one dollar on sale at Michael's!)

6) pour clean burning soy wax into the candle holders

7) find a new lamp shade

8) make a pattern to embellish the new lampshade

9) paint the pattern on the lampshade and add ribbon for trim

10) put up cork board (sticky stuff it came with didn't work,
staple gun did)

11) put images up on dream board

12) hang family photos from mini wooden clothes pins

13) write the word believe on the wall below the candles

14) bring in the succulent terrarium we made

Phew! And that doesn't include the desk, which we found on the curb and refinished this summer. I especially love the vintage-looking pulls we put on the desk.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve 2009

We have our big dinner on Christmas Eve. That means Christmas day I don't have to cook anything. It's nice. We just have leftovers.

I made a spinach stuffing casserole, mashed potatoes, and ham with homemade cranberry sauce. It was really simple, and I made a ton so I wont be cooking again for days ;-)
Colored lights in a glass.
Zoe's empty dessert glass. We had traditional Scandinavian rice pudding for dessert. (the dish was traditional, not the recipe, haha!) Zoe found the almond. She was so excited.
An after dinner snack.

Making gluten-free cookies for Santa ;-)

bedroom re-do sneak peak ;-)

click to see them larger
This is how our bedroom has looked since the day we moved in (well, almost). The walls are what Andy's dad calls, builder's white. The picture is the wrong scale to be over that nightstand. The headboard is beige microsuede, which doesn't go with the quilt or nightstand at all. The lampshade is leftover from when this lamp lived in the girls bedroom years ago... I could keep nitpicking, but I wont ;-)

And here is a sneak peak of the re-done bedroom. It isn't finished as you can see—we haven't finished painting the walls, and I want to paint this gold frame, etc. But I'm really happy with how the headboard came out. I found this Amy Butler fabric on eBay—three yards for 30 dollars. I think that's pretty good for Amy Butler fabric, but it's been so long since I purchased any, that I can't remember what it usually costs;-) I had just enough fabric left over to make two little pillows also. They are just the right size for behind your head, when you're laying in bed.

I found this king size white quilt at Marshall's for only 50 dollars, and with that the bed is done. ...I think ;-) We have a bunch of snow and it's like 20 degrees outside, so we aren't going to finish painting in the foreseeable future, but as soon as it's done I will put more photos up.

Happy Christmas Eve!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Designing the bedroom &
Creating a Succulent Terrarium

Click the photos to see them larger.

I decided to finally design my bedroom. We've been living here for a year and a half, and I haven't done a thing to it. There are some bamboo shades, but that's it. I realized that I never want to spend time in the bedroom, even since we found a cute desk on somebody's curb this summer, and I refinished it. At that time I had been fantasizing about having a craft desk in my room, and after imaging this for a few weeks, a desk just the right size appeared. I'm talking exactly the right size—like it fits the space I wanted to put it to the inch.

Still, the room is obviously unfinished, and so, not very welcoming. I went to a few fabric and craft stores, looking for some Amy Butler fabric to use in the room, but couldn't find any. So I went on Ebay, and there it was—on sale no less. I got a few yards to make a slipcover for my upholstered headboard, and another pattern to make some pillows.

After that, my design concept all fell into place... in my mind that is ;-) I know what color I want to paint the room (low VOC of course). I know what I want to hang on the walls. I already have images ready to pin on my dream board over my desk. And last night I took two of our wedding photos that were just sitting in a box, and put them in some frames I found in the basement. Free art. Love it.

There was also one other thing missing from my plan: Plants. I think every room needs two things: some black accents, and plants. However, I didn't want a traditional house plant. Ever since I can remember I have been in love with desert plants, like cactus and succulents. But it's been years since I tried to keep any, and I really wanted some.

First thing this morning I went to Marshall's and there it was: My huge glass terrarium—only 10 dollars! Shopping was never so easy. I just walked in, and like the desk that appeared when I imagined it, there was the terrarium.

Next, my Bubba (Ashley) and I headed to the local garden center, The Flower Bin. They have the most amazing selection of desert plants, and every other kind of plant you could imagine too. Going there is such a treat. We played around with different succulent arrangements, till we found a grouping that complimented each other.

Then a guy who works there gave us some serious knowledge on succulents. He told us that succulents need drainage, very little water, and that the roots grow outwards, not down. Therefore, he suggested a good amount of rocks, bigger rocks, because they're better for drainage. Also, since there wont be a real drain, he directed us to add a layer of charcoal next, to remove toxins from the system. He said to put a couple inches of cactus potting mix after the charcoal, and don't pack it down. Then you can arrange the succulents to your liking, and fill in with more cactus soil.

I thought it was very interesting that he suggested not watering the succulents for a week or two after planting them. Then he said you can check them individually to see if they need water by gently squeezing with your fingers. If there is some give, then they could use a little water. If they feel firm, then they're full. The ones that need water can be squirted with a spray bottle.

Lastly, I was surprised to learn that most of them can be pruned with scissors if you want to keep them short and bushy. Otherwise, some of them will grow quite tall, and may exceed the height of the terrarium, which is 9 inches wide by 10 inches tall.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

who's that doggy in the window...

Cherry, laying in the sun =]

Monday, December 7, 2009

Santa Lucia wreaths & a fort

What a fun day! First we made saffron buns, to test our recipe for Santa Lucia Day. Then we made these Santa Lucia wreaths—aren't they cute? I am so happy with them! And apparently so is Zoe, because she didn't take hers off all day ;-)

Ashley put hers on for long enough to look at herself in the mirror ;-)
And this evening, we made a fort under the table, using a vintage sheet from a thrift store, and some Christmas lights. ...So much fun!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Zoe's Letter to Santa:

To Santa Claus,

This is a Christmas List of things I want for my stuffed dog please
It's a girl dog
A colar and a leash
A dog bowl
Dog shoes
A dog sweater medium size
A small dog bed
A small dog house

that's it

Mommy would like a new spatula

Love, Zoe

Thursday, December 3, 2009

gluten-free, sugar-free, salt dough
gingerbread house, part 2

Painting the "candy" decorations.
Beginning to put the decorations on the house.
Note: The glue wont hold long over painted surfaces—so don't paint where you plan to glue!

We are particularly fond of how the roof came out.
The finished gluten-free, sugar-free, salt dough gingerbread house.
The "frosting" or snow is a mixture of white craft paint and corn starch.

For Part 1 of the gluten-free, sugar-free, salt dough gingerbread house, click here.

For the link to the gluten-free salt dough recipe, click here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Nisser & gluten-free salt dough Gingerbread House

If you look at my posts/photos from this time last year, or if you have been following along since then, you know that I am half Danish, and we like to incorporate Scandinavian traditions. A big part of Scandinavian Christmas traditions are handmade/homemade decorations. So, when we started making gluten-free salt dough a while back, I thought it would be perfect for Christmas ornaments.

These first 2 pictures are of Nisser that we made. We used a template that Andy drew. I cut the dough around the template with a butter knife. After they were baked and cool, Andy and the girls painted them and I hung them with ribbon on our tree.

Then I thought, rather than make gluten-free gingerbread for a gingerbread house, why not use the salt dough? So, last week I made some dough and added a tablespoon of cinnamon to give it a gingerbread color. Using another template that I made, we cut the dough for the house and baked it. Today we hot glued the framework of the house together, on a scrap piece of board.

I didn't want to make the pediment with the dough, so I made a template by folding paper, until it fit. Then Zoe traced and cut the pieces out of cardboard, and we hot glued them in place.

After the structure was complete, we made more dough. We used the lid of a spice jar as a cookie cutter for circles, which we will paint to look like candy for decorating our gingerbread house. We also used a little bear shaped cookie cutter and a little heart cookie cutter. Tomorrow we're going to paint them and attach them to the house like candy.

"Why not use candy?" you may ask. Well, as you know, we don't tolerate refined sugar very well, and I'd rather not have it around anyway, so we are going unconventional here =] I'm also thinking of adding ribbon and fabric —so this is not a typical gingerbread house. But we are having tons of fun with it, and that's the whole point anyway, right? Also, I want to put a light inside and reuse it every year for Christmas.

Part two of our project —still to come =]

Click for the gluten-free salt dough recipe we use.