Sunday, July 21, 2013

House Tour: Kitchen Reveal

I've been working on my mini kitchen update for quite some time.  I really wanted to create an entryway with a place to hang a coat and drop a bag.  I also mentioned that I wanted my kitchen to be a place that I want to be.  I want my kitchen to be a happy kitchen.  Here's what it looked like before.

I'm sure I've mentioned before that my husband and I don't own our house.  He is a pastor and our home is the church parsonage.  That means that any updates we make have to paid for by the church or by us.  The changes I've made to the kitchen didn't involve an major renovations.  They were purely cosmetic.  It's looking much happier these days!

Here's a list of the projects I did to complete my happy kitchen.
1.  Clean the cabinets.  In a previous post I mentioned that I might paint the cabinets.  I decided that was way too much work for the amount of cabinets we have.  I decided to try cleaning the cabinets and covering the scratches with Old English Oil Scratch Cover.  Since I only had the dark oil, I mixed it with a little bit of Murphy Oil Soap.  I couldn't believe how much better the cabinets looked.  I decided that it was good enough for me!
2. I spray painted all of the cabinet hardware black.  I thought about getting new hardware, but it would have come to about $200.  That seemed a little steep and a frivolous thing to ask the church to pay for.  I decided to spray paint a few to see how it went.  Much better!
3. Paint!  I chose a bold, coral color.  It's Sherwin Williams Jovial.
4.  Seagrass rug from Overstock
5.  Entryway

I totally copied this entryway idea from A Beautiful Mess.  It was the perfect solution for this space.  I got the crates for about $5 each from Michaels with a 50% off coupon.  I had the boards cut at Lowe's.  The hooks came from Lowe's.  I spray painted them black, because they didn't have black hooks in stock.  I got the clips from Office Max.

Flowers when you walk in the door?  I don't know about you, but that definitely makes me happy!

6.  I painted the door black.

7.  I made a valance for the window above the sink and a matching roman shade for the other window.  I used this tutorial.

8.  I created a seating area.  The bench came from Overstock.  We used to have a small table there.  I didn't think the area was large enough for a table and we really didn't need it since our dining room is just outside the kitchen.  I wanted a place to sit so that if I'm making dinner my husband can sit and chat and vice versa.  We still need to get a new phone.  It's difficult to find wall telephones these days!

9.  I made a few prints for the wall.  I purchased a set of watercolor tea clip art on Etsy and blew those up.  I created the text prints myself.  It was so easy and so cheap!

10.  I bought a new kitchen clock on Amazon.  See it down there?  I'm thinking I might try to find a cute dry erase board to hang beside the calendar.

11.  I bought a stainless steel trashcan from Target.

12.  I collected plates to hang on the wall.  This is one of my favorite things in the kitchen.  When the kitchen was painted I wasn't sure what to do with that strip of coral at the top of the kitchen.  Adding the plates was another inexpensive option.  I collected the plates from local thrift shops.

What do you think?  Have you made any updates to your kitchen lately to make it happy?  If you'd like to see more decorating with coral head over to Censational Girl.  She recently wrote a post on the topic.

Linking up at Suburbs Mama.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Field Trip: Marietta

All month long I've been posting details of our wedding two years ago.  At the beginning of the week my husband and I took a little trip to a bed and breakfast in Marietta and spent two nights..  We had a great time, and I'm excited to be able to share some of the details with you!

We stayed at the most adorable little bed and breakfast in Marietta, The Ascot House.  We chose this bed and breakfast, because we knew we wanted to go to the The Accomac Inn for dinner and the b & b was nearby.  All of the reviews online were wonderful.  When I read that it was owned by a delightful English lady who served an afternoon tea upon request, I was sold!

When we arrived we were shown to our room up the grand staircase.  We told Wendy, the owner, that we would like to have tea that day. It was no problem for her.  She served us so much food, we really didn't need dinner!

We went to a local pub to sit and relax that evening.  The next morning we were treated to a delicious breakfast.

We went to explore the gardens in the back of the b & b.  Wendy is a very busy lady!  She was hosting a wedding last weekend and was preparing for another wedding this weekend.  She usually has the small weddings in her garden.

We decided to spend the day exploring the area.  First we went to Roots Country Market and Auction.  We walked around, and had a look, but it was so hot.  I bought some fresh local peaches, and then we headed to our next stop.

Next we went to the town of Columbia to check out some antique shops.  We went to The Burning Bridge Antique Shop.  I found quite of few things I liked, but left empty-handed.  Check out some of the treasures I found.

We decided to go see a movie since it was so hot outside.  I won't bore you with that part.  I hated the movie and couldn't wait until it was over!  When we got back to the Ascot House we had just enough time for a little nap before dinner.

Dinner at the Accomac Inn was incredible.  Everyone was so nice, and the view was beautiful, but by far, the best reason to go there is the food.  We started with a cold peach and white wine soup.  Then we went straight to our main course.

I had a white fish on a roasted corn risotto with a mango and raspberry salsa.

For dessert I had strawberry orange and watermelon lime sorbet.  It was the perfect way to end my meal.  Our waitress even brought us a surprise.

When we left the restaurant the sun was setting on the river.  It was a perfect day!

The next day we had another delicious breakfast and we were on our way home.  It really was a wonderful retreat!  I hope you are having some great adventures this summer!

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Syncopated Wedding Part III: Jacob's Resting Place

Tomorrow is the big day!  It's our 2nd anniversary.  We're heading off on a mini vacation to a bed and breakfast.  I'm really looking forward to it.  Before we go I thought I'd share some of pictures of our reception site.  We had our ceremony at our church and our reception at Jacob's Resting Place.  It's a bed and breakfast in Carlisle, PA.  When I saw this place, I knew it was perfect for our reception.  It has a huge patio where he had appetizers, our introductions, cake, and dancing.  More on the cake next week.

Jacob's Resting Place has so many unique places.  Our guests could wander around and have fun exploring the grounds.  We put up a tent in the grass to have dinner.  The tent we rented was being cleaned so the owner of the company asked if we minded have this larger tent with windows at no additional cost.  Sure!

LeTort Creek runs behind the house.

One of the perks of having your wedding at a bed and breakfast is . . . breakfast!  I stayed at Jacob's the night before the wedding and that night of the wedding, along with some of my friends and family.  I was able to get up early and get started on some of the final details and have a delicious breakfast that day.

Breakfast started with fresh fruit and then we had the main course.  This is Jacob's Pillow.  It's like  an egg muffin with a cream sauce.  Delicious!

Thanks again to my sister, my mom, and my sister-in-law for all of the pictures.  Happy Anniversary, Honey!

Finally, I'd like to update a previous post.  Last week I posted a recipe for a lavender margarita.  It started with lavender simple syrup.  I mentioned that I would be using the remaining simple syrup to make lavender lemonade for a picnic we were having (of which I didn't take one picture!).  The lemonade was great!  After doing some research, I found that a 1:1 ratio of fresh lemon juice to sugar (simple syrup in this case) works well.  Then add four cups of water.  The lemonade was a hit.  It was gone before I knew it.  I'm sorry I don't have any pictures to share.  I was just too busy!  Have a great week!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Lavender Margarita

After enjoying a delicious lychee margarita at a local restaurant, I started thinking about what might make an interesting flavored margarita.  I wanted to use something I had on hand and wondered if lavender might work.  I have two bushes in my garden.  I know people use lavender in baking and became intrigued by that idea.  Luckily I found some ideas on Pinterest, of course!

The first step is to make some lavender simple syrup.  Simple syrup is sugar dissolved in water, typically in a 1:1 ratio.  The Perpetually Chic recipe uses a 2:1 ratio.  I used a little less sugar than she did.

Lavender Simple Syrup

Recipe adapted from Perpetually Chic
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 handful of fresh or dried lavender buds

Mix the water and sugar together in a small pan.  Bring it to a boil, and dissolve the sugar.  When the mixture is dissolved and has come to a boil, stir in the lavender buds.  Turn off the heat, and steep for 30 minutes.  When the mixture has cooled, strain it through a sieve.  Store the simple syrup in the refrigerator.  Keep in mind the more lavender you use and the longer you let it steep, the more lavender flavor the simple syrup will have.

Now we're ready to make the margarita.  This a good recipe, because the margarita doesn't have a strong taste of lavender.  It's lightly scented.

Lavender Margarita

1 1/2 ounce Tequila
1/2 ounce triple sec
juice of one lime
1-2 tablespoons lavender simple syrup

Mix ingredients together (I shake mine in a cocktail shaker with some ice), and strain into a glass.  I like to top my margarita off with a little soda water.  It makes the drink a little less strong, light, and refreshing.  You might also try adding a little sparkling wine.  

Head over to Perpetually Chic for some ideas on how you might use the leftover simple syrup.  I have a picnic coming up this weekend, and I'll be trying the simple syrup in some lavender lemonade!

If you like margaritas, try these recipes too:  Peach MargaritaHibiscus Margarita.

Linking up at Tatertots and Jello.