Archive for August, 2013

Lately

August 31, 2013

We’ve been pretty busy this summer and individually each event isn’t blog-worthy but all mixed in together they are! Here’s what’s been going on around here lately, in photos, of course.

We finally used our electric ice cream maker again {we’re averaging about 1-2 uses per year, haha}. Using some of the Mexican vanilla that I bought while we were in Cabo, we made Mexican vanilla chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream…with homemade chocolate chip cookie dough…it. was. delish.

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For the first time I had a legitimate excuse to use my Texas-shaped cookie cutter; some friends of ours were about to move to Houston and I baked these for their going away party. After some experimentation I found that baking sugar cookies for 6-8 minutes at 400 degrees versus 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees sets the cookie dough faster and helps the cookies hold their shape.

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The finished product with icing and a heart on Houston.

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Mark’s mom and her friend Cindy came to visit for a few days. They spent some time in the city, we went wine tasting, showed them around the San Ramon area and did some hiking on Mt. Diablo.

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The views from the summit are absolutely incredible…you can see for miles and miles in every direction since it’s the tallest peak around.

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Almost on a whim, Mark and I spent an evening at the California State Fair; we were already in the Sacramento area so we figured, why not?

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It was a surprisingly fun evening which we spent mostly people-watching and dropped-money-searching {Mark is notorious for finding $$ but we left empty handed}.

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There were a million food stands with everything from chocolate covered bacon to turkey legs to churros. Similar to the Texas state fair there was a strange selection of fried items as well.

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My favorite part of the state fair was seeing the livestock. They had a newborn animal area where there were less than week old piglets, goat kids and calves; the kids jumping all over their mothers were my favorite!

Currently in the livestock pens were pigs, sheep, longhorns and…wait for it…llamas and alpacas. I had no idea that people actually raised and showed those funny looking animals. They were very entertaining and we even got to pet one too!

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The longhorns made us feel a little more at home :) They are such beautiful animals up close; they are also very, very large…

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Our local farmers markets have been great this summer, the one held in Danville is our favorite. It almost feels like Austin with the live musicians, caricature artists and pets on leash. Last week we spotted a guy having a caricature drawn of his humongous, fluffy orange cat.

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The Red Sox came to play the Oakland A’s and since the tickets were really cheap we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see them play. Our seats ended up being great, front row in left field, perfect spot to catch home run balls {but we didn’t see any}.

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We did get booed a little since we were wearing our Red Sox gear but we kind of expected it, we’ve got to represent our team!

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Elia’s Nursery

August 25, 2013

My dear friend, Tricia, asked for my help with decorating her daughter’s nursery and I was so honored/excited to help! She didn’t want the nursery to be pink and overly “girly” but more simple, neutral and modern.

I started out by making her this reclaimed wood wall art with the verse Psalm 139:13; it stands out beautifully against their soft cream paint color.

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My next, larger project was inspired by this image that Tricia found on Houzz.com of a large tree wall decal:

The actual decal could have been purchased online but it was pretty expensive and I knew that I could create something similar using wallpaper…my plan was to order one roll for the trunk and branches and also order a bunch of samples online for the many green patterns of the leaves. I tried ordering the roll for the trunk through Lowe’s but it kept getting back-ordered {3 months, what??} so I ended up finding a similar pattern online that worked perfectly. The samples I ordered from three different wallpaper sites, they were on average between $1-5 per 8.5×11″ sample and one site had the option to order over-sized 20×20″ samples too. I made a cardboard template and used it to trace the leaf shape onto the samples; it took me a few hours of tracing/cutting/TV-watching to get them all cut out {there ended up being about 100 total}.

As a dry run before committing to actually cutting my wallpaper I made a template for the tree trunk out of white paper. Here it is on the floor with a few leaves placed around…

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Once I was sure the shape of the limbs would work well with the room I traced the template onto the roll of wallpaper and cut everything out. Then it was time to hang some wallpaper! I have to admit that I was a little afraid because I’d never messed with wallpaper before but it was actually pretty simple since I made sure to buy pre-pasted wallpaper. Most websites recommend completely submersing your pre-pasted wallpaper in a tray of water to activate the paste and then booking the paper before hanging BUT thanks to a small test piece I discovered that I could get away with simply using a spray bottle to wet the back of the wallpaper and after 30 seconds the paste was activated and gooey enough to hang.

With a drop cloth on the ground I laid out each piece of the limbs, one by one, sprayed the back with water, allowed it to sit for a minute, then lined it up on the wall with the trunk and smoothed it out a bit with my fingers. Then with a rubber wallpaper roller I smoothed it out even more, making sure to push out any bubbles and seal the edges. Here’s the trunk and limbs up on the wall…

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After a few days of drying time I came back to apply the leaves. Now with the full roll that I ordered I could ensure that it was pre-pasted but with all the samples I had no idea if they would be or not…turns out the samples were not pre-pasted so I had to actually apply paste to them. I bought the smallest bottle of paste that I could find and it came with a tiny roller attached to it making application super easy {Lowe’s actually has a wallpaper section with all the tools you’d need, HD didn’t have anything in store}.

With all of my leaves laid out on the floor making it easy to grab whichever pattern I wanted, I got into a rhythm of applying paste to 4-5 leaves and then finding a place for them on the tree. I tried my best to keep the layout looking random, making sure to keep like patterns and colors separated.

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And here’s the finished product! I love the many shades and patterns of yellows and greens, they all work together so well! I think the best part is that this is something that can grow with little Elia for many years to come, it’s not just limited to the baby years.

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Reclaimed Projects

August 24, 2013

Remember my first reclaimed wood project using boards from an old pallet? Well since then I’ve made a few more and I’ve managed to streamline one step in the process…weathered board acquisition. Literally prying dry, brittle boards off of pallets didn’t make much sense because not only would at least 50% of the boards split but the patina and color aren’t consistent from pallet to pallet. So I did some searching on Craigslist and found a fencing company nearby that sells the old, weathered fence boards that they remove before building a new fence.

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It’s a nearly endless supply and their prices are great, not to mention I can sift through piles of boards to find the exact ones that I want.

This one was made from two wide fence boards for a friend’s nursery {separate post coming soon!}.

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And this was just a small, quick project for a friend back home. I’ve always loved this quote :)

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The next step in making this process faster will be to buy a Silhouette cutting machine, it’s basically like a printer that cuts designs out of paper. With a $300 price tag I’ll be saving my pennies for a while but I’m definitely considering it because I could use it for a million other things too!

Rohrs Baby Shower

August 19, 2013

This is waaay past due {little Elia is already 2 months old!} but here are a few pictures from a dear friend’s shower back in May that I helped organize.

Tricia’s sister, Audrey, did an amazing job organizing the whole event down to the very last detail; I helped out with the decorations and baked some cookies as well. There was a ton of delicious food, made by their mother and family, not to mention the yummy desserts. The party favors were those little yellow boxes which each held two macarons from La Boulange, a local French bakery.

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The small chalkboard wall was all drawn up for the shower as well! I hope to have a chalkboard or small wall like this in my home someday, it’s so much fun to doodle on and customize for whatever event or season is happening.

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Tricia with her mom, grandmother and sister…now that Elia is here they’ll have to be sure to take another picture with all four generations! This reminds me of the photo I have of two-month-old me, my mother, grandmother and great grandmother :)

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Every guest was asked to bring a book to build up baby’s library. There were book tags at the front door for everyone to fill out and stick on the inside cover of their book.

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And of course there was the opening of the gifts. Elia is definitely the best dressed little girl I’ve ever seen thanks to all the cute dresses she received.

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