Monday, December 13, 2010

Tree Painting finished!

So back in September I mentioned that I wanted to copy this tree painting from Anthropologie.

So I got a canvas and just sketched it and painted it. The sketching took the longest--maybe like an hour, and then the actual painting went really quick. I already had the brushes, gesso, and paint, so the only expense was the canvas, which was $18 with a 60% off coupon from Michaels.

It doesn't have the subtlety that the original Anthro one does, but I was pretty happy with how it turned out! And I love having a bit of purple in the dining room, cause I am pretty into purple right now and trying to slowly incorporate it into my house.

I'm gonna miss our little apartment!! There are many things I complain about it, like the carpet and the fact that we can't paint the walls, but it was our first home and I really love it!

Brody's First Snow Day

I know for everyone out West, you will think this doesn't count as a snow day. But in Va Beach, this was a BIG DEAL. Plus, I got these first thing in the morning, and then it actually snowed more later, but then I didn't want to go back out. You know me and cold. PLUS, you have no idea how many times I had to put his boots back on in just the 5-10 minutes we were outside. I generally don't ever bother putting shoes or socks on Brody, cause he just kicks them off--the only time I put them on him is when other people are going to see him, so they don't think I'm a bad mom or something. ;)

Check out his scratch. He loves to mutilate both me and himself at every opportunity. I have multiple red marks all over my face right now.

Oh, and I finally finished his new hat. He has mittens too, but he just takes them off.

Brody loves snow!

And...just to kill 2 birds with one stone, we'll call this DPP Day 13. :)

December Photo Project--the weekend

relaxing winter treats

Friday, December 10, 2010

DPP--December 8/9/10

Some days during finals I just don't have my computer, so I can't upload pics, but here are some pics from Brody's and my walk yesterday.

Brody got sick of being out in the cold and so he glared at me pitifully and accusingly until we went inside.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Some finished things

I love using this blog as a sort of notebook to write down great ideas I want to do so I don't forget them, but then what I do forget to do is follow up and actually post the things that get checked off the list. Normally it's like turning in a paper: once I'm done, I'm DONE, and on to try and finish a few of the millions of things I've started and need finishing. But here are a couple of things that got done this fall. (these pics taken back before I got my d40)

First a blanket for Brad and Rache for Christmas. I started this in September and needed to send it off by Thanksgiving, and I think I did 3/4 of it in the last 2 weeks, when panic set in. It was a really fun pattern--I love doing blankets and just pulling them out to work on whenever I watch a movie. Fun as it was, though, I think I prefer crocheting blankets cause it just goes so much faster!

Then also finished Brody's quilt in October! Or I should mom finished it. This summer I got it 95% done....but I just was not motivated to finish the last bit of the binding. But that's what's so great about moms! When Mom came to visit, she sat down and finished the binding in like 10 minutes! Thanks Mom!

The quilt is pretty much a complete copy of Purl Bee's Zig Zag Quilt, colors, fabrics, and everything. I just loved the original so much, and figured for my first quilt I would just go with what I knew I loved! Molly's tutorial on Purl Bee is super great and easy to follow, and I can't wait to make quilts for all my kids! And maybe one day this quilt:

Oh oh! One more pine cone idea!

I just finished playing around with some pine cones as a centerpiece, wasn't really happy, so I walked away and took a break, and JUST NOW happened to find another great idea for pine cones and hopefully a solution for my lackluster table. And it comes from one of my favorite sources ever, Sunset magazine. LOVE Sunset!

Snowy Pinecone Centerpiece

It'll be so great to pretend we actually have snow here! And the best part is I already have white acrylic paint and a paint sponge out because I finally finished my tree painting!

(Check out other fun pine cone ideas here) :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December Photo Project--Dec. 7

You may be picking up on the trend that all my photos so far have been interior photos. My friend Abby says she likes to avoid shooting inside if at all possible, so I know I should get outside. And I've been meaning to every day, but the truth is when I'm outside in the cold I can't concentrate on anything but getting from inside point A to inside point B. That's how much of a wimp I am. I'll work on it... :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dec 6--Baking Bread with Londyn

December Photo Project, 12/6: today Londyn and I made bread!

Shutterfly Christmas

The first year we were married, I didn't get around to thinking about Christmas cards until Christmas Eve or so, so I made about 50 Valentines to make up for it (which I still love to do!). But last year I put on my grown-up shoes and sent out Christmas cards. And this year I think we're gonna do it again, and I'm HOPING to step it up a notch and put in a Christmas letter, but we'll see... :)

Also, I'm super excited to be doing our cards through Shutterfly this year! Of all the companies out there I've seen doing Christmas cards, Shutterfly has by far the cutest and widest selection. I had fun making 15 different Christmas cards options on their website, and I'm sure I could make 15 more that I loved just as much! Another great perk is that they are offering 50 free Christmas cards to bloggers! Check it out here!

So of the 15 I made, here are my top 6. I'd love help deciding which one to send! Let me know which you like best!

Merry Eiferts

Regent Steps

Happy Pants


Holly Peppermint

Most Wonderful Time
(the look of this one makes me think of A Christmas Story, hehe)

Shutterfly's products are a huge hit in my family--one of my mom's favorite pastimes is making photo books for the grandparents. She has made them for both my brother Brad's and my weddings, for hers and Dad's 25th anniversary trip, and just to document the events of the year for the grandparents. I've never made one, but I think it is a terrific tradition and am looking forward to (and putting off) making my first one this year.

Littlejohn Christmas mornings have been full of Shutterfly's photo products for years--in addition to the photo books, my mom has done mugs with wedding photo collages (and seriously, the photos don't ever fade) and calendars for the grandparents. They also make awesome prints--I love creating an album and then just shipping the prints directly to Brody's great-grandparents without having to go to the post office!

Go to their website and have fun playing around with your pics!

Photos in the cards taken by Vintage Button Photography--she does an amazing job! Thanks, Abby!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

December 4 and 5

I totally missed yesterday....I took pics, but Ellis and I share my laptop, and during finals I pretty much don't see my laptop, so I just didn't have the opportunity to upload pics! But here are two, one for yesterday, and one for today!

Hopefully tomorrow I will play around outside with the camera. A friend gave me some good tips tonight too--basically not to try to play with all the settings at once until I know what I'm doing.

Now to watch some of our favorite show, Friday Night Lights!

Friday, December 3, 2010

December 3

Hopefully in 2 weeks I will look back on these pics and be embarrassed.

One of the things I'm super excited to do with my new camera is to actually take pictures of food and projects as I go along. So here is a yummy cupcake (which Ellis is eating right this very second) from a local bakery called La Chocolatier.

Also, as a runner up for today, this may not look very impressive, but you have no idea how hard it was for me to stand still enough to get this view of our cozy courtyard this clear. I was braced against the side of our building holding my breath.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

December Photo Project

My friend Ali is participating in this awesome project called the December Photo Project. Basically, just post a photo a day for the first 25 days of December.

Normally I would think this was an awesome idea, but be scared to participate for fear of starting and doing about 5 days worth and then stopping and forgetting to finish up. BUT....the 1st of December happens to coincide with my first day with my new camera!

Here is me with my amazing new toy.

I pooled my birthday money to get a Nikon d40, which I've been wanting FOREVER. I love that it is only 1.5 pounds, as opposed to most DSLRs, which are like at least 4 pounds. That actually was the selling point for me. I haven't gotten an opportunity to play with the settings too much yet, but I'm reading the manual and then my friend Kara showed me a fun resource called the Digital Photography School which has a lot of great articles and tips!

So anyway, I figured the December Photo Project would be a perfect opportunity to motivate me to explore things with my new camera!

I'm a day late starting, but here is a pic of a screw hook I got for one of my pine cone crafts! Nothing glamorous, but I'm loving the general lack of grain that was ever-present in my Kodak EasyShare shots. :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Last Day of Fall

I figured since today was the last day of fall (well, I guess officially December 19 or something is, but nobody wants to think about fall after November) that I'd better do one last fallish post.

Here are our pumpkins with the thickest rinds EVER--it took me like 2 hours to hack that tree into the pumpkin enough so that light just barely shone through. It was super fun though! We had a big pumpkin carving party with tons of dessert and apple cider. We had this party a week before Halloween, and it was so warm out that 4 days later the pumpkins were completely rotten.

One of our friends left his pumpkin with us, and it lasted a bit better because it was carved all the way through so I guess it could breathe better. So we tried to salvage it for the trick-or-treaters, but Ellis was periodically wiping the seeping goop off the front porch table! :)

And then a first for this fall was a wreath! Nothing fancy, just some simple leaves and berries, but it was fun to actually do something! Plus honestly I like things simple and not over-embellished.

Originally I wanted to do a berry wreath, but all the berry sprigs I found were shaped weird, so I decided to try the leaves. I saw some nice berry stems at A.C. Moore the other day, so I'm hoping to do a berry wreath for Christmas--right now we've got Christmas inside the house and fall outside still. Oh, well, one thing at a time. :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmassy Pine Cones

Our collection of Christmas decorations is pretty small and pitiful. For whatever reason, it didn't seem to matter last year--I was gone at work all day most days, and then we were out of the house by the middle of December until the new year. So it just didn't seem worth the money. This year we still don't have money to invest in Christmas trimmings, but since I'm around the house all the time, I'm feeling the need to make things at least just a little festive.

The courtyard area outside our apartment is teeming with pine cones, so I've been amassing a collection. Every time we go out for a walk, I grab pretty ones and throw them in the stroller. I've got a good number now, so I went searching for some cute ideas of what to do with them!

Here are some of my favorites!

{via Real Simple}

Nice simple centerpiece--man, I wish I knew where my trifle bow was! (Mom, is it at y'all's house, haha?)

{via The Spotted Fox}
Includes tutorial!

{via Twig and Thistle}
Includes tutorial!

Two awesome garlands! I'm thinking of either doing the first one, but with berries instead of pom poms; or the second one with a string of berries above it.

Next up: a slew of inspiration from Country Living!

{via Country Living}

My talented crafty neighbor made one of these--so pretty! I especially love that this one is white (my favorite color!)

{via Country Living}

One of my goals this year is to actually wrap presents with instead of just handing my family members stuff or stuffing gifts into bags. (Don't get me wrong--I have nothing against bags and tissue--I'm just curious to see what it feels like to actually cut and tape and even use ribbon)

{via Country Living}

LOVE this! I'm a huge fan of white, red, and robin's egg blue as Christmas colors.

And if you're wanting to spend a lot of time with a glue gun...

{via Country Living}

Hope you enjoy these ideas as much as I did! Can't wait to try some of them out! And then when my new camera comes in, get some pics of our apartment dressed for Christmas! Happy advent season!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Grown Up Thanksgiving

This is Ellis' and my first Thanksgiving as "grown ups." As in the first time I've had to actually help in the planning and organization of the holiday. I've made part of the meal at home with my family, but now I see that it's not the cooking that is the work--it's the planning of the cooking. And the shopping. And actually, mostly the thing that feels grown up is the paying for the shopping. It's totally different to make macaroni pie when your mom buys all the cheese than when you buy all the cheese. ;)

We did an early Thanksgiving in DC with my aunt Tammi this last weekend (which was AWESOME and I will put up pics), and now we are going to do Thanksgiving Day with some friends from law school tomorrow. We are really missing our families out West, but it's kind of exciting to be doing Thanksgiving as adults for the first time!

Another thing that's different this year is instead of the typical sweet potato casserole, I'm gonna be making my aunt's amazing Squash Souffle recipe!

{image via Taste of Home}

Tammi made it on Sunday and it was delicious, and I thought it would be a fun twist on the usual menu. Maybe everyone else knows all about squash souffle on Thanksgiving already, but to me it was new and exciting! (Also, it circumvents any marshmallow v. brown sugar and pecan debates- which is good because Ellis loves marshmallows--all the time with everything, and I don't like marshmallows with anything at any time.)

So here is her recipe!

Tammi's Thanksgiving Squash Souffle

1 package frozen squash (12 oz, I think)
1 stick butter

Cook, in a saucepan over medium heat for approx. 20 minutes
(make sure the butter coats the pan so the squash doesn't burn and stick)

add 1/2 cup sugar, stir with whisk
add 1/2 cup flour, stir with whisk
add 3 eggs, 1 at a time, stir with whisk
add 2 cups milk, stir with whisk
dash of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Cook at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Let sit for several hours. Reheat at 350 for 20 mins.

Maybe I should've waited till I actually made it to post the recipe, but even if mine turns out awful, my aunt's is amazing, so it's still a great recipe! Enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving!

11/28--Edited to Add: Super easy, and turned out yummy! Give it a try! :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

More Scotland Adventures

This is such an incredible trip, I thought I'd savor it as long as possible by being super slow in posting about it! That's the same excuse I use for sending late birthday cards and late wedding gifts, and may I say late thank-you notes. Cause it's so exciting to get an unexpected gift in June when your birthday is in March and you are no longer getting birthday attention!

Pretty much the absolute highlight of the trip was our trek up through the Highlands to the Isle of Skye. Also pretty much the highlight of our LIVES. It was just one amazing view after another, not to mention that nothing makes the heart grow fonder like 3 days being shut in the car with 2 babies. Just kidding--the babies were great the whole time in the car. We discovered the magic trick to keeping Brody happy was keeping the window open. So it may have been freezing, but the white noise put him right to sleep. And the trick to Soren was digestive biscuits. Lots and lots of yummy digestive biscuits.

Day one of our trip within a trip, we hit Sterling, where we were warmly welcomed by William Wallace. (and omg, I seriously was not even trying to alliterate there)

Here is the gorgeous castle!

There were beautiful flowers all over the place

And fun cannons for Soren to clamber on

And AMAZING views!

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