Chillin' at CRT on Xpu Ha Beach

Chillin' at CRT on Xpu Ha Beach
How I'd spend every day if I weren't redecorating, cooking, sewing and blogging!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Favorite Things - Carved China Cabinet

We all have favorite things, special things we have acquired through the years.  Lately I've been trying to get rid of things that are NOT my favorite things and it feels really good.  It lets me concentrate on the things I do love and I'm going to start sharing some with my friends in the land of blog.

Today I want to share with you a favorite piece of furniture, my carved china cabinet - it's not your usual china cabinet.  I picked it up at an antique store, but I'm not sure it's antique. 

I had grand fantasies about its life before it came to live with us (in Germany I was sure).  I tried to research and the one person who gave me feedback said it's a reproduction - not really antique at all and quite probably not from Germany. 

I prefer to keep my fantasies of it's magical history - it's way more fun.

I hope you like

the carvings




the cool adjustable shelving



the keys - one for each door


the glass display in the center

and the carvings, which are worth a second look


My blue ceiling

which has nothing to do with the china cabinet,

except that they are in the same room,
but I hope you like the blue ceiling

and if you do
you can read about the dining room Tuscan paint job here
and the drapes I made from tablecloths here


I hope you have a wonderful long holiday weekend surrounded by people you love!  Because the most important things in life are not things.


Much Love & Laughter,

Laura

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pictures That Make Me Smile - Rock On!

As I was looking through some old photos I found this shot and thought it was appropriate as we go into the fall months because it will be Halloween soon. (two months will fly by)

It's time to start planning and sewing costumes. So get busy people!

This is (believe it or not) SuperDave and moi rocking out 80s style for a costume party two years ago.  I have always loved to dress up, but he's only been doing this for a few years.  Now he thinks he has to TOP the previous  costume.  I'm not sure that it will be possible to top this one EVER!

My Classic Photo for today is called Rock On!


ROCK ON!

Much Love & MUCH MUCH Laughter,

Laura

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fruit and Nut Bread Pudding

I love food that is versatile.  A great dish that you can eat for breakfast OR for dessert for example.

I have previously shared some of my favorite recipes that are good for breakfast or dessert, like Cream Cheese Pound Cake, Pineapple Upside Down Cake and Fruit and Oatmeal Cookies.  Now I would like to share another one - Fruit and Nut Bread Pudding.

Like my Mother-in-law's famous Lemon Meringue Pie, this recipe's roots come from The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, but of course I've modified it to my taste.




Here's is my recipe for a 9 x 13 pan

4 slightly beaten eggs
4-1/2 cups of milk
3 teaspoons of vanilla
1-1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large loaf of french bread, sliced, then torn into bite size pieces
1-1/4 cups of brown sugar
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
1/2 cup of dried cherries
1/2 cup of chopped pecans

Combine eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.
Stir in the bread
Stir in the brown sugar, fruit and nuts
Pour into a greased (I just spray with olive oil) 9x13 glass baking dish. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.





When it's comes out of the oven it will be all golden brown.  I love to eat it warm.  It's great topped with a little whipped cream or even ice cream.
And it reheats well for breakfast the next morning.  Trust me I've done this many many times.




This is a great fall breakfast/dessert and it smells heavenly while it is baking in your oven.



Much Love & Laughter,


Laura







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Monday, August 27, 2012

French Duet - Sewing Desk & Dresser - Chalk Paint Project

Remember when I tried something totally different and painted this dresser blue and put French fabric on top?


The dresser was only half the story.  There is a matching desk. 
I considered for a while if I should paint the desk to match or try a new color. I decided to set the dresser beside the desk so I figured it would be nice if they formed one continuous work space along the wall of the upstairs guest room for my sewing machine.  My sewing machine would die of loneliness if it were a pet, because I honestly don't do much sewing anymore.  But something always needs mending so it still comes in handy.  But then there's Halloween, prom time and patio cushions.  Still, I don't sew as much as I did twenty something years ago.

Here's a picture of the much mistreated desk - before it's makeover.  With all those colors, it would almost match the funky chair that got a French makeover.


The first time I tried the fabric on top I had some problems with shrinkage.  This time I coated the top with modpodge and then smoothed out the fabric being extremely careful not to stretch the fabric.  After it was partially dry and stuck in place I trimmed the edges.  When the undercoat was dry I applied two coats of modpodge over the top, allowing drying time in between each coat. My fabric is a heavier woven fabric and you can still feel the texture if you rub your hand across the top.


I painted the desk blue to match the dresser, then added a little highlighting on the details.




The desk was missing two knobs, so I bought a couple that I thought would coordinate well and added a little paint since the drawer pulls were painted.





This seemed like the easiest solution, rather than trying to match pulls or replace them all.





So here's how they look sitting side by side.  What an awesome work space! 

And did I mention STORAGE?  And there's that not so funky chair joining in on the sewing party.  I think I can manage even a pretty big project here without turning the dining room into a sewing room again, plus I will get exercise going up and down the stairs.





Oh, I forgot to mention that I bought the desk, the dresser and another chair for $45 on craigslist.  This chair was a toss out brought home by my husband 20 years ago.  It just received its third makeover at our house.
Much Love & Laughter,

Laura



Primitive and Proper









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Friday, August 24, 2012

Pictures That Makes Me Smile - Top Golfer

I'm a little late this week posting a picture that makes me smile.  This is because yesterday was my hero, SuperDave's birthday.  We both worked all most of the day, plus I was busy running a cake to his work during my lunch break and then taking him out for the evening to celebrate after work.

He loves to play golf but doesn't play that often and he has on occasion taken me or the baby girl along, but we're pretty bad inexperienced.

I don't know why it's taken us so long to check out TopGolf, but we finally went and we had a great time.  There are only FIVE locations in the USA and we have TWO right here in North Texas.  If you live near a TopGolf location, check it out with your family or friends - I'm sure you'll have a fun time too.  They have locations in Illinois, Virginia and the UK.

Top Golfer
Since it was his birthday we were nice and let him win! wink

Have a super weekend,

Laura

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Simplify - Easier Said Than Done

I want life to be more simple, truly I do, but sometimes even blogging inspires me to DO more instead of less.  Some people are just wired to see what things COULD be with a little work and creativity - call it our gift!  But all the creativity and decorating makes keeping our homes neat and clean a lot more work.

I have been making progress, but sometimes I slip backwards.  A few months ago I told my husband I had decided to give up on the beautiful comforter set I purchased when we moved into our current old new house.  The comforter had taken up semi-permanent residence on a quilt rack. 

The reasons for this were primarily
#1 because we didn't sleep under the comforter (too warm),
#2 I didn't have time to drag it off the quilt rack every morning to make up the bed before work and
#3 I didn't have the desire to fold it up every evening to put it back on the quilt rack.

Joining the comforter against the wall were two king size pillows in the coordinating shams.

In my attempt to simplify my first step was to buy a quilt that matched the dust ruffle. Then I just made up the quilt and that worked for me for a while.  But after months years of looking at that beautiful comforter hanging on the quilt rack I decided it was time for it to go. Now you have to understand that I really LOVED the comforter set, it was beautiful and rich looking and was gorgeous on my bed - 5 or 6 times per month. 

The comforter and dust ruffle

I decided to replace it with a quilted cotton bedspread (which we would sleep under AND make up the bed with) and a variety of pillowcases that coordinated (which would be on pillows we actually use at night).  There are SEVEN of those - 4 king size - 3 standard - don't ask! 

This was working very well until we bought our new beautiful poster bed from craigslist.  Then I thought about how beautiful the comforter would look on the new bed and almost went back.  But I stuck with my intention to simplify and listed the comforter set on craigslist.  I sold it within a few days to a retired lady who was so thrilled with it she gave me a hug!  So at least I know it has gone to a good home. (even though I had a difficult time letting it go)

And now THE BIG REVEAL!  My BEAUTIFUL craigslist second hand plantation poster bed.  It's sporting with the quilt I make up (almost) every day and the pillow cases we use every night on the pillows.  Plus a few throw pillows tossed on which I made a while back from some fabric left over from covering chair seats.

How have you simplified your daily routine?


And the master bedroom makeover continues.....
See the upclose detailed photos here

Laura


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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Crock Pot Pork Roast Sandwich - Inspired by Pinterest

I found a recipe on Pinterest. (but this time I actually made it instead of just wishing someone would make it and bring it over to my house)   Three ingredients in the Crock Pot - pork chops, ranch dip mix and cream of chicken soup.  My kind of summer recipe. (I'm more of a winter cook)   Do you cook more when the weather is cold?  I just love cooking during cool weather.  This recipe has been repinned so often I'm not sure to to give credit to for the original idea but I got it from my friend Delilah http://pinterest.com/semidomesticmom/.  Thanks, D!

Except of course, I never make the recipe just like I find it.  I had on hand a pork roast, so I used that and I added one teaspoon of pepper ('cause I like life spicy!)  The pepper is not in the photo, of course, because it was an afterthought.

A word about cream soups. 
So many recipes (is this a southern thing?) call for cream soup.  I was watching an episode of Pioneer Woman where she made Chicken Spaghetti - I haven't tried her recipe but I'm sure it is as good or better than the recipe I use.  When she said she was making this dish, I thought no way is she using canned soup, she'll make up some fancy sauce of her own!  But nope, she used the soup, she apologized, but said it was the only way to get the flavor right!  Go PW!

Anyhoo, I sprayed the crock with some olive oil, put in the soup, ranch dip mix and pepper, stirred that vigorously with a whisk and then (carefully so as not to splash) tossed in the pork roast (frozen because I didn't think far enough ahead to to get it out Saturday night).  I set it on HIGH as it was mid-morning and I wanted to eat late afternoon.  I also stopped by a couple times during the day and flipped it over since it started out frozen and I wanted both sides to soak in the ranchy goodness.  After about 4 or 5 hours, I turned the heat down to LOW.


Add some black peppa, please!
 I broke up the roast with a fork into several large chunks.  Then I took out a large piece and shredded it with two forks.  The yellow spots are just ranch seasoning, it's all good.


I decided to make a sandwich on Sunday, but you could just as easily serve the roast with side dishes of your choice.

I grilled a cibatta bun in my favorite pan, my old cast iron skillet.

I sprinkled some grated cheese on the warm bun - both sides (your choice I used a mexican blend)

Added some spring mix salad greens

And a generous helping of my easy guacamole



My husband declared this SANDWICH DELICIOUS and I have to admit I ate the WHOLE THING!


I have some roast left over, I might make this again tonight.



Continuing with summer and barely cooking,

Laura


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Monday, August 20, 2012

Bedside Chest #2 - Making (Slow) Progress - Chalk Paint Project

I have been busy and I have been working (sometimes).  I'm slowly getting closer to finishing the master bedroom project.

And I FINALLY finished the bedside chest for MY side of the bed.  applause, hurray, yippee!

The funny thing about the FINALLY is that I only picked up this piece a month ago.  Not so long, really.  It's not like I've been lying around the house eating bonbons in a bubble bath - I do work 40 hours a week outside the home.  In addition to occassionally doing a little housecleaning, laundry, cooking, shopping, etc....

It just feels like it took a long time because my days would go something like this.

10 am - When I get home I'm FOR SURE going to start working on that chest of drawers

1  pm - When I get home I'm probably going to start working on that chest of drawers

4  pm - I think I'll start on the chest of drawers tomorrow evening, it's been a LONG day

It went like this day after day for about 4 weeks.  But this weekend I was DETERMINED to get 'er done!  And I did.

I SO wish I had taken a picture of the chest after my Mom and I wedged it carefully into the back seat of my CAR!  Or when I removed it from the car and one of the drawers was given to my dear sweet SuperDave in 4 or 5 pieces.

So step number one on this piece was that my husband rebuilt and reinforced the drawers and got them all working again.  Then he said that they looked really bad inside and asked if I could paint the inside of the drawers to disguise his handiwork.  I have seen several furniture pieces on the internet that were painted on the inside (and loved them) so I grabbed the leftover blue paint from the sewing room furniture project and painted the inside of the drawers blue.

I approached this piece a little differently than the other pieces because every piece you pick up second (or third) hand is made from different materials.  This one has plastic feet.  So I bought this Valspar spray paint for plastic.  And since the sides seemed almost like laminate I decided to prime the entire base with this paint.  Then I used a brush to paint with my Sherwin Williams black.

My Mom suggested I leave the laminate (white woodgrain) top on this chest 'as is' for durability so I decided to try that knowing I could always change it later.  And not needing to worry about scratching or sitting a cold drink or cup of coffee on the top sounded like a great idea.

I taped off all the parts I didn't want to paint black and primed it with the Valspar spray paint.



Then I removed the paper and tape and painted on some Toasted Marshmallow left over from my french desk. I painted the white around the top edge and on the wood between the drawers.  I also accented the trim on the top drawer with the white and removed a little deco piece at the bottom and touched it up a little.


After distressing it just a tad, I put the whole thing back together.  You know how much a tad is, right?




We placed it beside the bed and I added my lamp and this awesome tray (which I filled up with all the stuff you don't need to see like chapstick, eyedrops, my phone charger, etc.)

The blue drawers got some blue drawer liner.



The handles were already partially painted white so I just cleaned them and used them that way, to coordinate with the top and the other white accents.


These plastic feet turned out better than I expected.



I'm digging the entire look and here's the best part.  I spent $3 or $4 on this one.  My Mom had this sitting in a storage building.  Most of the paint and the drawer liner was left over from previous projects.  I only bought the spray paint.



So now we have bedside chest for both sides of the bed.  You can check out the first one here.

This turned out pretty sweet, especially for an old hand me down chest that was falling apart in my Mom's storage shed.


Much Love & Laughter,

Laura




Primitive and Proper

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