Monday, October 24, 2011

The Paint Job: Before & After

Have you all just about had enough of my house painting posts???  
Well, this is the last one.

I couldn't be happier with how it turned out, but the process was UGLY.
Not the painting process, the decision making process.
Thankfully, I had some VERY patient friends (Holly, Keri, neighbors, mailman, et al.) and 
parents and husband b/c it's kind of the only thing I talked about for a good 4 weeks.
So, enough talking.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves...

Here she is.


and AFTER...

Whoa, Nellie, kind of amazing what a little (er, a lot) of paint can do?!
I did learn a thing or two in the process and 
will gladly pass on my new found wisdom to those of you embarking on the same endeavor...

{no. 1} Every single color appeared much lighter on our house than it did on the paint cards.  Even when I painted a large 6x6 foot test section it was still lighter once the whole house was covered.
{no. 2} I changed my mind on the body color after the primer was up.  See point number 1.
{no. 3} You need to love it.  Not your neighbor, not your best friend, but YOU. Trust. Your. Instincts. 
{no. 4} Don't ask for too many opinions.  See point number 3.  Everyone will have a different, albeit well intended, point of view.  You will drive yourself CRAZY trying to please everyone.
{no. 5} You can ask neighbors for their house colors, but they will look different on your own. Shoot.
{no. 6} You need to love it.  Oh wait, did I already say that?!  But it's true.  The old adage, "it's only paint" takes on a new meaning when it is costing thousands of dollars. It is not an easy fix if you mess it up.  I was sooooo afraid I would mess it up. I actually liked the old color and brick, hard to believe now when I look back at the before pictures. There were often times I "liked" a color and tried to convince myself that I would "love" it once the trim and shutter colors were up too.  Nope. Doesn't work that way.  You need to love it all on its own.
And you know what, after all those weeks of craziness, I do.

So much so, we are now posing for pictures in front of it.  ha ha!!
Ok, back to the more important things in life...

The final paint colors are:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I Can't Decide, Please Help...

I'm sitting here enjoying left over black bean, feta, and cilantro slaw tacos 
(thank you Tiffany, thank you pinterest), reading teenager vampire lit. 
(3rd book of the Twilight series, please don't judge), 
preparing to make some pumpkin bread, 
and watching buckets of rain pour outside.

All the rain is reminding me that I desperately need a new pair of wellies.  
My orange ones, may they rest in peace, bit the dust after many years of rainy day trudging.  
I loved my orange boots.  
I think part of the reason I've put off buying another pair for so long 
is that I've been torn over finding a color I like just as much. 
But I live in a town where you walk A LOT and 
a girl's gotsta have her some proper rainy day gear.

Alas, I've settled on red. Yes, very Ramona Quimbyish, I know.  
Now the question is, would I rather stomp in puddles wearing:

Original Red....


Original Gloss....

Who knew buying rain boots could be so confusing...

What do you think?  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Party Details + New Recipe

As promised, here are the answers to your questions...

1. Cupcake toppers from gifts define
2. What did we eat? For the adults: baked ziti (this recipe) made by my mum, a field green salad with candied walnuts + dried cranberries (with this vinaigrette), and to drink we had Strawberry Lemonade and Pomegranate Limeade from Trader Joe's
3. Felt animal masks from etsy
4. Berry crates + wood utensils + container + kraft sticker + sandwich paper + twine all from Garnish
5. What was in the picnics? cheese & butter sandwich + lemon orzo with roasted veggies & basil + pretzel sticks
6. And apples
7. Tent tutorial link here
8. Play veggies from ikea
9. Felt bunting made by me - I was clearly diggin the felt for this party.
10. Chairs around the table - I bought a set of 4 mismatched vintage windsor chairs at an auction last year.  The price for all 4 was less than the price for 1 from PB.  Yes, really.  The others are from ikea.
11. Party hats? I made them.  Loosely following this tutorial.
12. My boots are from DSW, the brand is Audrey Brooke.  Sorry, I couldn't find them online. and my dress was from a small local store, the brand name is Theme.

Did I forget anything??

There are a lot of woodland themed ideas available. One can easily be tempted to go over board.
I will say I stared at this set from the ACME Part Box Company for awhile, contemplating.  It is pretty darn cute.

Switching gears...

I must, MUST, must share this heavenly recipe with all of you.  I came across it on pinterest and will be forever grateful.  It combines two of my favorite fall comfort foods: butternut squash and pasta.
Ok, not really true, pasta is a YEAR ROUND favorite comfort food. But I've never made it quite like this ah-mazing creation.  Can you see the bits of crunchy fried pasta mixed with buttery squash and toasted nuts, with just enough Parmesan to give it a little tang.  Seriously, this recipe is so good it will become one of my go to chilly weather dishes...

Pasta Pan-Fried with Butternut Squash, Fried Sage, and Pine Nuts
feeds 4 
1 medium butternut squash (i used a large)
1 small sweet onion, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup fresh sage leaves
1 pound farfalle pasta (I only used 1/2 pound)
3/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (I would cut this in half next time)
4 ounces high quality Parmesan, shredded or shaved (about a cup total)
Heat the oven to 375°. Peel butternut squash and cut into 1-inch cubes. Toss with the onion, garlic, a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper. Mince about half of the fresh sage leaves and also toss with the squash.
Spread the squash mixture in a thin layer on a large baking sheet and roast for about 40 minutes or until the squash is soft.
Heat salted pasta water to boiling and cook the farfalle until al dente. Drain drizzle with a little olive oil and set aside. As the squash finishes roasting, heat about two tablespoons of olive oil in a large high-sided sauté pan. The oil is ready when it pops and sputters. (Don't let it start smoking.) Drop in the rest of the sage leaves and fry for about a minute, or until they begin to just shrivel up.
Remove with a slotted spoon and salt lightly. Crush with the back of a spoon.
Add the pasta to the pan, along with the roasted squash mixture. Crumble in the sage. Cook, stirring frequently, for five minutes or until the pasta is heated through and getting crispy on some of the edges. Add the pine nuts and cook for another minute. Stir in half the cheese and serve. 
(recipe adapted from the kitchn)

Monday, October 17, 2011

A New October Tradition

Today was fun. fun. fun!!!
For starters the painters finished our house!!!!
Here is a sneak peak.  The fence still needs to be painted. 
I promise a better post is coming soon.
It's the perfect warm brownish gray with off white trim. PERFECT!
So much for modesty, right? :)

Anyway, on to new traditions....
Andrew and I got to spend the morning together 
while Charlie was in school, thanks to an in-service day.
And we had big plans.


You see, last winter we discovered Andrew was sensitive to artificial ingredients.
Both colors and flavors.
This is our first Halloween since we changed the way we eat.
I told him he'd get $1/ pound of candy so Trick-or-Treating will still be fun.
The only problem is his favorite October sweet is candy corn.
I searched Whole Foods and online looking for a natural version of the candy.
No luck. But I found recipes to make your own.
They sounded a little intimidating, especially because I don't make candy.
But I had to give it a shot.
We made it together and turned it into a sort of science experiment.
And guess what? So, so fun!!!  So much so, it will become an annual October tradition.
And guess what else?  Sooooo delish.  Like a buttery caramel/candy corn concoction.
BETTER than the store bought kind.  I know, couldn't believe it myself.
Totally worth it, even if you don't have food allergies.

Here is a link to the recipe we used.

And a few pics of the candy making in action...

PS. Thanks for all the sweet comments on Charlie's party.
They made my day! I will do a follow up post with the sources soon. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Charlie's 3rd Birthday Party!

My baby turned 3 this weekend!
We had a small party on Saturday to celebrate.
It was quite possibly the most gorgeous day of the year.
The sky couldn't have been a bluer blue.
Charlie started the day saying he didn't want to go to his party, because his friends are scary.
Have I ever mentioned how hard I think age 3 can be with boys??
I think he was confusing his party and Halloween since lately he's been a bit afraid of some of Andrew's more ghoulish Halloween decor.
But as soon as I started decorating, he came out in his jammies, navy Toms, and his birthday hat from preschool saying he wanted to play.

It was a good day!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Standing Still...

"Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life."

Brian Andreas

an indian summer afternoon
a picnic, in a meadow, under the yellow canopy of early fall
skipping rocks
finding the perfect walking stick
building forts
discovering enchanted places
tucking wildflowers picked by my loves in my hair.
i. love. october.

xo, tessa