The Plan for Nursery Updates

It's official, this baby is coming in just a couple of weeks and I have got to get on with the updates in the nursery! 

Have I mentioned that I am being induced on the 24th October - yes, one of the many joys of Gestational Diabetes! I think I mentioned that this pregnancy has not been a glamorous one. But enough about me, let's get back to the project at hand.

The nursery started out like this when we moved into the house a short two years ago.

After a bit of TLC it went on to become this. 

And this.

But something just didn't sit right with me; I was never really sold on that small tree decal. 

So I switched it out for this much larger and more substantial tree decal.

But then our little girl graduated to her very own Big Girl Room next door and the nursery has sat vacant for almost a year. Mocking me with all it's wicker and decal over load. 

So I started planning, knowing that I wasn't going to change the overall scheme of the room, but still wanted to make some updates.

I'm also planning to work on a minor furniture rearrangement, a wall collage,

as well as an update to this existing shabby chic armoire.

Stay tuned as these projects will be happening rather quickly.
At least that is the plan!

Speaking of our newest planned arrival, I'd love to have some guest posters lined up to keep the content fresh while I'll be taking a little RandR. If you'd be interested, please contact me via email.

Until next time, 
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Quick Curried Roast Salmon

Looking for something a little different for your weekly seafood meal?

BBC Good Food Magazine comes through for you once again. 
You know I love this resource; it's great for weeknight cooking as well as informal entertaining. 

If you've never checked out their website, click here to have a look - you won't be sorry!

If you have these basic Asian ingredients, why not give this recipe a try?

I made a couple of changes along the way, so I'll be sharing the recipe as I made it. If you'd like to see the original recipe, click here

First make your marinade by mixing the following ingredients:

1 Tbs Thai red curry paste
4 oz light coconut milk
2 tsp soft brown sugar
2 Tbs fish sauce
2 Tbs cilantro, chopped
2 Tbs olive oil

Pour marinade over 1.5 lbs of salmon, allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes; meanwhile preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Roast in the oven for 15 minutes or until done. 

I served mine with stir fried baby bok choy and brown rice. 

If you are worried that this might be a bit spicy for you, fear not - the coconut milk and brown sugar really tone it down. 

Go on, give it a try! 
And if you do, please don't forget to report back and let me know what you thought.

Speaking of BBC Good Food, I made this entire meal straight from the September issue for a family gathering the other weekend:

It was easy, tasty, and I can definitely recommend it.

Until next time,

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Restyled Fall Wreath

It's a fall themed week - next up, my restyled wreath!

You know I try to create a warm welcome any time of year, but especially in the fall. To me, fall is all about warmth, coziness, and welcoming all. 

And where better to start this theme than at the front door?

This is last year's wreath, which I still like, but thought maybe this year it needed a bit more umph!
By umph I mean: color, texture, and balance (obviously).

Let's see what we come up with...

First, I added a couple of sprigs of dried wheat. Using the 'place and tuck' method, I fit it in and amongst the other pieces. I worked in groups of 3 pieces of wheat, and added 5 clumps in total. The contrasting color of the wheat really pops against the faux lavender and purple eucalyptus bring the whole arrangement to life.

Now that I have more color, it's time to work on the balance issue. 
I picked up another faux sprig of lavender and added it to the other side. I didn't use glue or floral wire this time, I just tucked it in the amongst the grapevines. 

Much easier to add and remove items at whim this way! Perfect for a girl like me.

Next up, more eucalyptus. Fortunately, I had a bunch left over from last year's front porch pots. Again, just place and tuck trying to keep it as uniform to the other side as possible.

More wheat and it's really starting to come together!
I'm already liking it so much more than last year's.

In case you are curious, the wheat came from a bunch I picked up at our local grocery. I just removed a couple pieces at a time, and I still have the original bunch that I am currently using in the kitchen. Two for one - gotta love that!

The center needed a little something, so I pulled out my burlap garland and tied a big bow. 

I went a little crazy with the burlap last year, so I am trying to use it sparingly this year - I guess I am a bit of an addict. 

Who knew there was such a thing as a burlap addict, but unfortunately there is, and I am a full fledged member!

I added back the same seed pods from last year - one is looking a bit worse for the wear, but I did say I wanted texture, right? 
Waste not want not!

And now, finally, hanging on the front door. 
Color, texture, balance - I'd say I achieved all my goals! 

And at minimal cost too: $4.99 for the lavender and $12.99 for the wheat ( remember, it went double duty - so the full cost shouldn't even really be counted!)

My front door is certainly feeling more fall-ish now, next up - the front porch decor. I feel a trip to Home Depot (by far the best and most affordable source for plants in our area) coming my way in the very near future.

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Falling up the Mantel

Fall is here - in case you didn't already know!

In the Chicagoland area, the change was pretty abrupt - 80's one day and 60's the next, but it's all good with me because this is my favorite time of year.

Of course, I couldn't wait until October to start bringing the fall decor out. 

Best place to start - the entryway.
Second best place to start - the mantel!

This year I decided to add my wood shaving wreath to the mix. It's hung by a ribbon, which is tied to the picture wire on the back of the mirror. I'm loving the added texture and interest to the mirror!

My birch candles have made a reappearance from last fall/winter. 

As well as my pineapple planter filled with ivy.
You know I love a little pop of green!

My white ceramic pumpkins, which appeared in the dining room last year, have moved to the living room mantel. Adding a bit of fall without being too over the top or predictably orange.

All I need now is a roaring fire!
If you follow me on Facebook, you know we've already had our first fire of the season - I can't wait for the second!

What about you, have you started bringing fall into your home?

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Ah, Memories - let's showcase them!

As many of you know, I am due to welcome our second daughter in a short 4 weeks!!

Things have shifted into high gear around here - I've got loads of projects on the go:
hoping to finish the living room, start transitioning to fall decor, and of course, update the nursery.

In terms of preparing for the new baby, I've managed to sort through all the old baby clothes - wash them, no, but sort through them - yes! Small steps. 

While sorting through the old clothes, I ran across my oldest's onesie with all her birth details - and I thought, I definitely need to showcase this.

I picked up a shadowbox frame from Michael's, borrowed a bit of fabric from an upcoming nursery project, found a bit of left over ribbon from the cork board project in the BGR, and grabbed my fabric glue.

Cut fabric to size and glue in place.

I used a bit of ribbon just to finish off the edges - again, just glued in place.

Then pin your item in place!

I decided to hang it in her Big Girl Room.

Mr. DD laughed and said she is going to love that hanging there when she is 12!

I am sure a lot of things will change in this room by the time she turns 12!
I'll take what I can get.

Until next time, 
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How to Refinish a Pine Armoire

Thanks everyone for all the love when it came to my refinished pine armoire.

 The method I followed seemed a bit unorthodox (at least to me!), so thought I'd share some of the details here with you today!

First things first, Mr. DD (who graciously volunteered - ha!) gave the armoire a good sanding. He used an electric sander to ensure all the original varnish was removed. I wasn't planning on priming the armoire (because I didn't want an opaque finish), so sanding first was essential. 

After sanding, I cleaned the armoire and taped off the lattice on the front. Then I mixed the Old Fashioned Milk Paint,  in Barn Red, according to the package directions. The shelf life on this paint is pretty short ( 2 days or so) so I waited until I had enough time to tackle the whole project. 

I opted for only one coat of Milk Paint, again because I didn't want a fully saturated color in the end. This paint dries super fast, and was ready for sanding/distressing within 2 hours!

After another cleaning, I applied one coat of Miniwax Dark Walnut stain and let it dry overnight. Here you can see that the left side of the armoire has been stained, whereas the right side has only been distressed. Quite the difference.

At this point, we decided that it needed a bit more distressing to allow all three tones to shine through.  
People say that Milk Paint is a bit unpredictable and I have to agree. The same sandpaper, pressure, and number of strokes were used on each side and you can really see the difference!

Finally, she received two coats on gloss poly. Here you can see that the right side has been poly-ed and the left hasn't. I'm really digging the gloss finish, which is a bit of a relief, seeing as I really struggled with that decision!

The next step was updating the hardware. The existing hinges were literally nailed in place. I didn't want to risk removing them, so I decided to hit them with a little Rub n' Buff in Antique Gold. 
I love the results! 

I purchased new hardware for the door and drawer pulls. I decided on a black pull with a brass accent, thinking they would tie in well with the hinges. But once they were on, I realized they also needed a coat of Rub n' Buff in antique gold. 
Much better!

Here she is again before - in all her rustic pine glory!

And now, with her tobacco leathered finish.

Which one do you prefer?

I think you know how I feel!

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Living Room Armoire - It's Done!

And I am loving it!
Tell me again why it took me SO long to do this project?

The suspense is killing you, isn't it?

Here she is before - in full rustic, pine beauty!

And you remember my inspiration post?


Here she is!

We purchased this bar the year we got married - almost 9 years ago now - and I have hated it for the last 8! It was in storage the entire time we lived in London and I used to fantasize about getting rid of it when we returned. But alas, it ended up in our living room. 

It's taken me the last 2 years to convince Mr. DD that we needed to refinish it!

I am so much happier with it now!

We think the finish looks a bit like tobacco colored leather.

I am sure you want to see inside.
 But I am telling you now, we didn't refinish the interior. 
Maybe at some point, but the outside was a big enough accomplishment!

It's a bar. 
Anyone that knows us should not be surprised by this! 

Check back later in the week for the tutorial, which includes working with Old Fashioned Milk Paint, updating rustic hardware, and much more! 

Update: Click here for the tutorial!

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