Thursday, May 29, 2014

pottery barn inspired quilted tree skirt

This time I attempted to imitate a Pottery Barn-esque quilted tree skirt, like this one: 

This tree skirt is actually no longer sold by them, so even if I wanted to buy it instead of make it, it wouldn't have been an option. I had a friend help me with the embroidered initial for their last name.

I made it double sided, just in case with the hope that at least one of the sides would be enjoyable for them. See instructions from previous tree skirts here, but I will briefly review too. First step is always to cut out the circles. I use a pin to secure the tape measure at the corner of the fabric folded into quarters to measure. Then pin right sides together and straight stitch around with at least a half inch edge. Trim.

Fold into quarters again, then measure a smaller circle to wrap around the tree base.

Cut a straight line from outside of large circle to small circle.

. I went ahead and pinned the ribbon closures inside. Then straight stitched all but a small hole (in the middle) to turn right side out. Turn right side out, iron, embellish, and finish stitching closed.

Finished product!

Present wrapped, dolled up, and ready to go!

Monday, May 26, 2014

diy electrical conduit curtain rods and curtains cont.

So I am not generally one to jump on a band wagon, but this concept and price was too good to refuse. It started months and months ago... between needing to paint the trim, then needing to clean up the hardware (more on that later) it seemed as if this project would never end.

We went the electrical conduit route for our curtain rods (3/4" $4/10ft), spray painting them oil rubbed bronze (like everything else $6). Then from the curtain rod aisle picked up some generic rod holders (called 3/4" cafe bracket for 4.50/pack) that were already oil rubbed bronze, though we ended up spraying the bottom part as they didn't quite match. The rods didn't fit perfectly in the holders, but after just a bit of banging with a rubber mallet we were good to go. We got most of our stuff at the local Home Depot.

For the shorter windows, we used a shark bite to cut the conduit down to size. Very easy and inexpensive product that basically clamps and rotates around the pipe until it is cut cleanly.

I am trying to hang the curtains higher than I have in the past to give the appearance of height to our 9 foot walls, though leaving space for crown molding eventually.

For the finials I ended up picking up these 70% off shatter proof ornaments from Target for a couple dollars to spray paint. I put some nails in a spare board then stood them up on them to spray paint.

Some of them actually still show through their original color faintly, but I decided that I liked it rather than giving them another coat.

More drop cloth curtains as seen here before and after I stitched them up. In these pictures I had under shot the number if rings I would need.

The curtain rods were left like this for a while as I pondered how to attach the finials. Finally I came up with an idea. I made molds out of toilet paper rolls, fitted them inside one of the spare pieces of electrical conduit. Then filled them with air dry clay that I had leftover from this project. I attached the ornament to the end, then allowed them to dry. After they were dry, I removed the paper. I made sure each finial fit (learning that those I made 2 inches were better than the shorter ones) last coating them with Modge Podge to insure that the air dry clay wouldn't crumble over time.

Finally complete! ... about 6 months to a year later oh progress why are you such a fickle mistress

living room with drop cloth curtains

dining room
So Granny (as we colloquially call the elderly woman we purchased our home from) left these yellow curtains from Pottery Barn and I decided to put them to use. They are a little bright for my taste, but why turn down free right?

guest bedroom with diy roman shades (here) and curtains (here)

bonus room with more diy roman shades and back tab thermal curtains from jcp that we have had for ages

unused bedroom with diy roman shades in white and diy curtains in a navy linen leaf print from Joann's

master bedroom with more diy roman shades and diy drop cloth curtains (these curtain rods we already owned)

Hope you enjoyed my ramblings! I am obsessed with layered curtains... though not sure yet if I feel satisfied with the pattern on the roman shades in the master bedroom... the curtains in the bonus room... or even that yellow. Honestly my favorites are probably the drop cloth curtains in the front living room and the layered look in the purple/gray guest bedroom. Any suggestions?

Friday, May 23, 2014

i'm sorry!

Dear blog.... I am sorry that I have neglected you. It is not for want of projects but rather for the inundation of too many. So coming soon:
-wedding presents
-gardening projects
-limewash update
-some demolition (and tantrumming)
-and of course many other odds and ends

Friday, March 28, 2014

stuffed acorn squash with barley

With the reappearance of cold weather comes the reappearance of warm and hearty foods yum!

Along with my many attempts to clean out my fabric I got a wild hair to clean out my cupboards too and therefore looked up recipes to use up specific ingredients that I had, including pearled barley. I first fell in love with this ingredient when I made Roasted Butternut Squash and Barley Risotto (seen here) and it remains one of my favorite fall/winter dishes.

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Barley 

2 small acorn squash
2 tsp olive oil
3/4 C pearl barley, rinsed and drained
1 onion-minced
1 fennel bulb-tops discarded, halved, cored, and chopped fine
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground coriander
1 C grated parmesan cheese (reserve 1/4 for the end)
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
2 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 tsp balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Halve and seed the acorn squash. Brush cut sides with a tsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 

Place on a lined, rimmed baking sheet sprayed lightly with cooking spray cut side down. Roast on the lower-middle rack until tender 45-55 minutes.

While those are roasting, start to boil 3 quarts of water in large saucepan. Stir in the barley and 1/4 tsp salt. Return to a boil, then reduce to as simmer and cook until the barley is tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain and set aside. (sorry mine got a bit too steamy for good pictures!)

I also simultaneously toasted my pine nuts in a dry pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until golden brown.

My next step of 3/4 C parmesan cheese, minced parsely, pine nuts, barley, and Tbsp butter set aside.

In the empty, dry saucepan cook onion and fennel in the remaining tsp of olive oil. Cover and cook over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and other seasonings until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Off the heat, add in the barley mixture set aside. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

After I removed the squash from roasting I increased the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Scoop out most of the squash flesh to stir into the barley mixture, leaving the skin and about 1/8th of inch thickness left.

Restuff them, sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese. Bake until cheese is melted 5-10 minutes. Drizzle with balsalmic vinegar and enjoy!