Wing Chair Re-reveal

If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen this photo and the promise of a reveal featuring it.

Not one to disappoint, I'm ready to share.

It all started when we went in search of the green trim, which we later applied to the Sherrill chairs. For more about that project, click here.

We also ran across this green nubby fabric in the clearance section, priced at $5.99 a yard. After a quick review of the sample at home, we decided it was too good to pass up and purchased 5 yards. 

Can you guess which chair got the update?

Oh, all right, I'll give you a hint!

That's right, it's my original $16 eBay wing chair.
Yes, it went from blue velveteen to a customized slipcover with nailhead trim, which you can read about here.

But the truth is, it never was quite right - the slipcover stretched and moved every time someone sat in it. It bothered me - to say the least. 

So when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped on board.

And I couldn't be happier with the results!

I hate to admit it to all the diehard DIY-ers, but I didn't do this myself.

I thought about doing it myself, but somethings are better left to the professionals. 

And like the fabric, I got a great deal on it.  Such a great deal, that it was worth driving it all the way to Cincinnati, Ohio over the Thanksgiving holiday to get it done. 

And even better when I found out my parents decided to treat us as a Christmas gift. 
Thanks again guys!

Ever since we put the chair next to the fireplace it's been the most sought after place to sit in the room, I have a feeling that's not going to change anytime soon!

Loving how this room is coming together!
And just in time for winter hibernation.

Until next time,
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Burlap Placemat How To

You may have noticed this cute burlap placemat from my Thanksgiving table post.

Well, I am proud to say that I actually made it and I didn't use fusing tape, for once. 

That's right, I am finally learning to sew. My sweet Mother-in-Law gifted me her old sewing machine and gave me my first lesson as well. 
I know, you're probably thinking - it's about time!!!

Anywho, enough about me - I'll share the details of the burlap placemat - and clearly, if I can make it, so can you!

First, cut out your placemats. 
I used an existing placemat as a template for the size.

I decided to make 4 placemats - I didn't want to over exert myself on my first project! 

It's so simple - sew a seam about an inch from the edge.
All you have to do is keep a straight line. Of course, I didn't have that much luck with that, but it's easily correctable if you run into the same problem. 

Once the seam is in place, start pulling the burlap apart to create the fringe.

If your seams aren't straight and neither is your fringe, you can always trim with sharp scissors.
See, I told you this project really couldn't be any easier.

The perfect start to what I hope will be many more sewing projects in my future.

Linking in with:

Until next time, 

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A Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving is just around the corner - time to get the table set and the menu planned.

Have you started your prep yet?

This year I am going with a rustic, casual elegant theme. 

Casual elegance is a term often used to describe clothing but it's also a feel that I want my home to embrace as well. 

Come on in a take a look around and let me know if I've accomplished my desired casually elegant feel.

I've mixed my everyday with my finer items to achieve this look:
white linen placemats layered with burlap; fine china salad plates paired with everyday dinner plates; crystal stemware alongside rustic green rimmed water glasses.
You get the idea!

If you follow me on Facebook you know that I had my first sewing lesson last week - these burlap placemats are the results (more about them in a later post)!

Remember my DIY sparkly place card holders from last year? They've made a reappearance and this year are coupled with a faux fall leaf.

The centerpiece started off with a neutral colored platter which has been piled high with rustic fall decor and paired with crystal candlesticks.

Rattan pumpkin, sparkly golden pears, wheat, pinecones and fall faux leaves.

I'm loving the look this year and hope you are too!

Happy early Thanksgiving to all!

Linking in with:

Until next time,
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Bread For the Soul Part II: Poolish!

Hi everybody, it's Mr. DD again, back for an update on my foray into bread-baking.  

The last time I wrote about my first try at making crusty European style bread, which ended with some tasty baguettes.  Since then, I have been reading books on bread baking, trying new techniques, and providing my family with tasty boules and baguettes. 

So, what have I been doing differently?

First off, I have been experimenting with different mixes of flour: whole wheat, rye, white.  I have also been trying different fermentation methods; cold vs warm.  Most importantly, I have been cultivating my own sponge starter, or poolish

There are many types of starters but they are all basically the same idea...use fermenting dough for a leavening agent, rather than just chucking in some yeast directly into your dough.  While this method requires more effort, the benefits are worth it as your bread will have better crust, more complex flavor, and a longer shelf life. 

I chose the poolish method because frankly it is easy to get started and maintain.  

So here is how you do it: In a decent sized container (with a lid), mix in 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast with 1 cup of warm water and let sit for 5 minutes for the yeast to get going.  Add in 1 cup of flour (many recipes call for bread flour, but I just used basic all-purpose white flour and it seems to do the trick) and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon.  It should be a bit watery and elastic.  

From here you have two options, if you want to use it as soon as possible, let the starter sit on the countertop for 6 hours or so until it triples in volume and is bubbly.  

The other option, which I recommend, is to let the starter ferment in the fridge overnight. I recommend this because by refrigerating the starter, you only have to feed it once a week or so whereas if you go the countertop route, you will be feeding daily and who wants to go through all that fuss?  Plus a slow, cold-fermented starter that will develop a richer, more complex flavour to layer into your bread.  My poolish is 2 months old now and you really can taste the flavours developing. 

So, how do you know when to feed your starter?  Like our newborn baby girl, it will let you know.  After tripling in height (with gas bubbles), your starter will collapse back down and the bubbles will disappear.  You may also notice a clear liquid, that smells faintly of beer, rising to the top.  Simply drain the liquid, add in 1 cup of flour with 1 cup of warm water and stir just like before.  Consider your poolish fed and put it back to bed in the fridge. 

Given time constraints from work and family, the time involved to make good artisan bread using a starter (8 hours at a minimum!) can be daunting.  However, it's all about getting into a routine and breaking up the task into more manageable steps.  

Here's my routine: I feed my starter the night before I want to make my dough, typically Thursday night (it takes literally 5 minutes).  Friday night I make the dough - yes life is that exciting with young kids.  

Between mixing, autolyse (we'll talk about that a later date), kneading, and re-feeding the starter we're looking at 45 minutes to an hour before both the dough and starter go back into the fridge.  

The next morning, Saturday..."daddy-bread day!" as our 3-yr old will say, the dough comes out to warm up, leaven, and prove before baking.  Most of time involved here is hands off, letting nature take its course.  

Meanwhile the starter just stays in the fridge until I bake next.  So, by using cold-fermentation and a poolish, I find the process to be much easier to manage.  I tend to make one big boule a week, which feeds the family, so this routine works.  Clearly you will need to feed your starter more often if you plan on making more bread, but it really is that simple. 

So that's it.  

The moral of this story:

Don't be afraid to grow a little sumpin' in your fridge, your family will appreciate the extra flavor!  

Until next time, when we'll discuss my experiments in flour mixes and leavening/kneading/proving. 

Mr. DD

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Preserving Herbs

In my last post, I shared how we closed our garden for the season and today, I thought I'd share how I preserve our last harvest of herbs.

See - massive amounts of parsley, mint, rosemary and thyme - more fresh herbs than we could possibly get through in the time they would remain fresh in the fridge.

Separate by variety, clean and chop.

Divide into single 1 tablespoon servings and place in an ice cube tray. Add enough water to cover, and freeze.

Once frozen, remove from trays and store in freezer bags. 

Now you have fresh herbs that can be added to anything all winter long.

Like mushy peas with fresh mint. 

Until next time,
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It's the End

Of the gardening season. 
One last harvest and then it's time to close it up for the winter. 

The garden was great on so many levels this summer.
I'd like to say it encouraged our 3 year old to eat more veggies, but sadly, it did not!
But Mr. DD and I enjoyed it's bounty all summer. 

But all good things must come to an we tore out all the remaining plants and gave the soil a good tilling.

Time to put that summer compost to work by incorporating it into the existing soil.

Feeling pretty smug with all that hard work!

Even our scarecrow was sacrificed with the end of the garden. 
The hay will serve as an insulator throughout the winter season and finally be incorporated into the soil in the Spring.

Good-bye little garden until next year! 

Come back later in the week to see how we're utilizing the last of our herb harvest.

Until next time,

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What a Pair

of chairs!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I picked up this lovely pair of Sherrill chairs off eBay for a bargain $150! Seriously, this brand of chair runs for closer to $900 each - I was thrilled to get them at this price.

Of course, as when buying anything online, there is a bit of a risk involved and the chairs weren't quite what I expected when they arrived here. 

The post specifically said they were down-filled, which they were not. In fact they were really under-stuffed. So we purchased Dacron fiberfill and filled up the back cushions. This went a long way to giving them a 'new' look.

I was also disappointed to see that the chairs had received some tough love from a furry friend of the previous owner. It looked like the cording along the bottom of one of the chairs had served as chew toy.

What's a girl to do? 
Get out the glue gun, of course, and attach some trim to hide those chew marks!

If you follow me on Facebook, you probably saw my trim shopping!

Easy peasy! 

Plus, it gives them a more custom look while also tying them into my living room color scheme.

What can't trim do? Really, I am obsessed!

Add on a throw and some coordinating pillows and they look they were meant to be in this room all along. 

Not bad for $150!

I even added a bit of the trim to the ottoman.

Despite this bit of mis-information, I still believe they are good value for money!

And I love how they have transformed the living room. 

Until next time, 
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