Saturday, April 30, 2011

How green was my valley

Remember Annabelle?

She was ::gasp:: STOLEN from my doorstep. It's sort of my fault. I wasn't even moved in when I stuck her out there and then I wasn't able to come back to the house for a few days. So who knows? Maybe someone felt bad for her and liberated the poor abandoned dear from her perch outside my door.

However, my need for growing things will not be denied so allow me to present Annabelle Too.

Don't ask me why the picture is wonky

And while I perusing the gardening section of Home Depot, I came across these lovely companions to the orange spearmint plant I picked up at the farmer's market a few weeks ago.

Basil, Rosemary, and Thyme

Annabelle whispered in my ear from her spot in the shopping cart and told me she didn't want to be alone either. So here are the Cleavers and the Waltons. I have no idea which is which. And I've never had a container garden or any kind of garden in my life so if you will, say a prayer for them. I guarantee you they'll need them.

What's in them, you ask? Uhm petunias, impatiens, carnations and some other stuff I can't remember off the top of my head. But they both have a plant called Dusty Miller. They are those pretty little green things that look like they are covered with silvery fur. When I was young and walked around everywhere, I was drawn to those bad boys like a moth to a flame. If I saw them, I'd always stop and stroke their leaves. And now I have some of my own.

If I don't kill them.

My friend Anna will be sad to hear of Annabelle's demise. However, oftentimes, the second edition is an improvement on the first. May Annabelle Too be so lucky, at least luckier than Isabelle Two and her run in with her husband's bootlegger friends.

Today is the greatest

Maybe you've noticed, maybe you haven't but I rarely talk about my husband. There's a very good reason for that actually. Not because I don't like him or because he tosses me down the stairs on the regular but because he's in the military and was deployed to Afghanistan. I think I'm pretty good about not putting identifying information on my blog  but just in case, the last thing I need is for the entire interwebs to know I'm living by myself with two kids and failed attack dog.

But that all changes today.

Today, I get to pick up mr man!


Wanna see a pic from the last time I picked him up?

Wait until I post the one I'll take today. That short kid's head is not up to my shoulder.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I'm still here

Still moving into the new place.

I promise an update very, very soon.

For now, watch this:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

It's getting hot in here

It's getting warmer, thank God.

So I painted my nails a nice spring color and cracked the first wine cooler of the season.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Oh yes it's ladies night

Do you know how long it's been since I sewed anything?

It's time to break the drought and what a perfect opportunity.

Pinky and I are taking a ride on the church bus to go to a dinner theater. Can you guess what we'll be seeing? I adored this movie as a teenager. My bff had it and every time we went to her house I'd make her watch it with me. I'm excited to share it with pinky. Her girly little behind will adore the ever living biscuits out of it.

This means I have a whole week to sew up two dresses. Totally doable.

Yeah, I'm moving in two weeks. What's your point?

Do you know what that's worth?

You ever make a dinner so good you wanted to run up and down the block and force complete strangers to taste it?

It was supposed to be Sunday dinner but pete's playdate kind of pushed back the plan and I shelved the steak for a later time. His cub scout meeting was cancelled so I found myself with some free time tonight to really lay out a good one.

Thank God for ribeye sales. Add some roasted garlic and herb potatoes and some oven roasted asparagus and it was YUM TIME.

I die.

I'd provide pics but I'm eating off paper plates in the lead up to the move and my dining room table is carefully decorated with moving boxes. Or something like that. What you don't know won't hurt you.

Wanna know how to make it?

It's simple. Buy yourself a couple nice thick with ribeyes or whatever cut of steak you prefer. Sprinkle on some kosher salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder. I'd tell you how much but honestly, I really don't know. Go liberalish with the salt and pepper, lightish with the cumin and chili powder. Drizzle on some extra virgin olive oil. Heat up a grill pan nice and hot. Lay on the steaks. Be patient and let those bad boys cook without moving them. Flip. Finish cooking on the other side. If you like a well done steak, you'll probably need to drop the heat a couple notches once you get a good sear on the first side.

Remove steaks and set them on a plate or cutting board. Then pour in about a quarter cup or so of dry vermouth to the empty pan. Allow it to bubble for a few, swirling the pan to loosen the browned bits. Set aside. Slice up your steak and pour the vermouth and drippings over the whole shebang.

Try not to die.

As for the rest, I diced up red potatoes, yukon golds, and half a vidalia onion. I put it all in a ziplock bag and added minced garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, and a tsp each of basil, oregano, and tarragon. Shake it all up and pour out onto a foil lined cookie sheet. Bake at 425 until the potatoes are tender, about twenty minutes. Easy enough, right?

The asparagus is even simpler. To prep the asparagus, take a stalk and snap off the bottom end. About where it breaks is where you should slice the rest of them and throw out the bottoms. Soak in cold water for about 15 minutes. Remove from the water and spread out on a foil lined cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss the asparagus then throw it in a 425 oven and roast until bright green and tender.


Doesn't get much easier than that.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The dirt under my feet

Be it ever so humble

And here she is!

Cute, right?? I adore all of the trees. Their shade keeps the house nice and cool on the inside, at least this is what my no nothing brain things as I walk around on the hardwood floors inside.

See the second story awning on the left? That's my sewing room. Plenty of sunshine to spill over me as I cut, cut, cut. Yes, I suppose I am meant to sew in the sewing room but I bet money I end up downstairs sewing in front of a Tudors marathon. Oh season four, where art thou? Although, a more pressing, narrowly on topic question comes to mind. When on earth is netflix going to pick up Mad Men for instant????

But I digress.

The all important curb appeal. 'Tis less so for a renter but I couldn't resist the call of tiny little plants lining the edges of the garden center at wallyworld today. It took a few minutes of searching but I finally spotted a flat of flowers perfectly suited for my full sun front corner. Zinnias ftw!! Combine those with my recent, albeit hasty and unnecessary purchase of gladiolus and freesia bulbs and I was reading to get my hands dirty.

The foyer in progress

I went home, donned my trusty owl apron and got to work, Sunday dress and all. Between the cool cotton and the nice full skirt, working in a dress was surprisingly easy. I got to feel the sun on my legs without worrying about all the uncomfortable places the seat of one's pants end up when your rustling around in shorts.

Dirty legs, too!

I needed a bath when I got home but at least my yard looked pretty. There are some bricks in the backyard that I'll probably end up using to section is off but so far, so good. Now cross your fingers that the newly transplanted zinnas take root and my bulbs come up.

Wanna see my front door?

Hi, Annabelle!
The white paint needs some perking up. Nothing a magic eraser won't cure. I also need to trim back that shrub/bush/obnoxious green bidness taking up my bitty porch.

My photographer was off on a playdate after church so I don't have a good OOTD shot for you. I think you get the general idea. Instead of a proper pair of stilettos, I wore a comfortable pair of little black ballet flats. I volunteered in the nursery this morning and didn't want to risk maiming small children or falling on my face. Combine all that with a smart black cardigan and I was looking very June Cleaver sans pearls.

To make up for the lack of an OOTD, may I present my home made accents in their proper place.

I need to clean that mirror

Don't get used to it. I can't guarantee I won't change my mind once the furniture is in there.

You know, I just realized why I love this fireplace so much.

Aww or Eww?

Perhaps not the best picture to illustrate my point but mr man and I said I do in front of a fireplace. If you squint real hard you can almost see it in the background.

Now let's have a moment of silence for my skinny little behind.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Giving it the best that I've got

As always happens with a new house, even a rental, I'm on a fresh decorating tear. I'm seeing everything with new eyes and loving the possibilities. It's hard to sleep I'm so full of ideas. I'd share them with you now but what would I have to write about?

So we'll take it one step at a time.

I thought Annabelle could use a friend. I picked up this oval shaped wreath of twisted branches from wallyworld for only three bucks. The silk flowers were collected from various craft stores/sections. Don't ask me what kind of flowers, except for the roses. I'm floral stupid. They looked pretty and coordinated with my colors. Good enough.

I spent the better part of a half hour snipping off all the little buds and leaves. Pete was nice enough to let me borrow his school scissors.

Using a hot glue gun, I wrapped some pale green grosgrain ribbon around the branches. After that, came the flowers. And then came my two girls, always ready for the camera. If I'm not careful, people will think I love the pinker more than the peteness. Truth is pinky loves to pose while pete's more of a behind the scenes kind of kid.

Pardon the mess. Moving and all that.

After the wreath came a few accent pieces I plan to use on the fireplace mantel. I used two styrofoam floral cones that I bought from Michael's. If you go that route, you'll have to use a low temp glue gun. If you go at it with a regular one, you'll melt the styrofoam into nothing. And trust me, it's not too good on the lungs.

Take your time and apply the glue over about an inch of the surface at a time. I glued the bigger flowers first then filled in the empty spaces with the smaller ones. Add a delicate butterfly or fashion a couple bows out of ribbon and glue them back to back on the top. Finish with a leftover flower and voila! Handmade home decor.

Cause I'm crazy for you

This is Annabelle.

Yes, I named my plant. I've wanted one for a very long time but I had nearly no confidence in my ability to keep one alive. I'm still not sure Annabelle will make it however, I'll never know unless I try, right?

So here she is, Annabelle the gardenia.

Say a pray for her, will ya?

Made by Lena