Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Biltmore Mansion

We had a lovely trip to North Carolina for our daughter's "second reception" hosted by the groom's family. Charlotte is beautifully covered in a wide variety of trees, rolling hills and apparently is the queen's city?...that is a google research subject next time I am waiting around in a doctor's office:)

Once I knew that the Vanderbilt mansion was in drivable distance I couldn't find anything else I wanted to see more!
George Vanderbilt inherited a 20 billion in family fortune and as a 33 year old bachelor decided to build a french chateau inspired palace in the hills of North Carolina. I was awestruck by the brick ceilings, velvet wall coverings, and multiple pantries:) I was impressed to learn that George was kind to his servants. One maid recorded that she came to the mansion as an orphan. On her first night serving in the main dining room she dropped a plate of china on the floor breaking several pieces. George got up from the table and helped her pick up the mess, never scolding. It is always nice to hear about wealthy people who are kind:)

We weren't allowed to take pictures inside, however the exterior of the mansion and gardens are spectacular! I was in picture taking heaven!

I came away with a list of ideas for my house and landscaping:)
My daughter said "Mom this is way you can never relax!"
Guilty! I just love beauty in all forms which requires work!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Antique white, a table makeover

A college kid budget usually only includes furniture from Goodwill, garage sales, Craig's list and... best of all free family hand-me downs:) 
Brittany & Travis found a steal on this table & chair set and did their first furniture makeover.
I always do love a good before and after:)

 Visit their blog for a "how to" and more makeover pictures.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The happy lampshade:)

This old lampshade was boring and tired, 
not at all suitable for my creative space!

*I spray painted 2 coats of happy spring green, inside and out. 
*Then I rummaged around in my trim junk drawer and found this old striped tie belt from a long forgotten dress. 
*It was perfect!
*The trim was hot glued around the lampshade pushing it down into the crevices to 
highlight the fun shape.
*I then added 2 rows of lime green rope trim leftover from another decorating project of long ago.

A design tip...NEVER get rid of any trim or ribbon no matter how old or seemingly out of style!

A design tip...NEVER get rid of any trim or ribbon no matter how old or seemingly out of style!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Welcome baby! A door hanger idea

It is always fun to stroll down the hall on the maternity ward looking at the door hangers congratulating Mom's on their new baby. Sadly, they usually end up in the attic after a short time. I created a scrapbook page "door hanger" that could be used in a scrapbook later, or just as framed wall art without the streamers.

How to:
My thrifty self cut frames so this adorable paper would not be wasted "behind the scenes."

Printed paper is from Glitz design, silver cardstock is from the Metallic stack. 
Letters were cut from the Ashlyn's Alphabet cartridge. 
The whole page was mounted on a cardboard backing. 
The rosette was made from Melissa Frances trim topped with bow & pearls in the center. 
Pearls were added to the edges of the monogram letter. 
I added regular floral and curly ribbon for the streamers. 
A 12x12 frame became the anchor, with vintage pink eyelet hot glued around the edges. 
Twine was hot glued on the back on the back for hanging.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Babies are helpless for OUR sake

I had been whining in my heart and mind. I was weary of living with a two year old grandchild.
I wanted my peace and quiet back. I wanted to work, read or craft uninterrupted for hours without Annabelle finding me.
I even heard my naughty side say to myself... "I just want my life back"
 and "I have already DONE this!"
Brittany and Travis and Annabelle moved in last May to save money for a house.
It has been a joy, an adventure, and some days a challenge for me and...them.

Families are not convenient, and babies NOT at all and another baby was on the way.
I had mixed feelings.
I was thrilled with another sweet baby joining our family.
I also had a bit of trepidation about LIVING with another sweet baby:)

THEN Scarlett Claire made her appearance last Wednesday.
She was soft and pink and perfect, a miracle.
I determined to repent of my selfishness.

On the way home from the hospital after witnessing Scarlett's birth I had one of those flashes of pure and true thought...
Babies are helpless so that we may learn what God is trying teaching us.
Nothing is more important than our families.
Nothing is more important than people.
Nothing will bring us more joy or cause us to learn more valuable lessons than learning to care for people.
God, himself is in the people business.
I have been in the people business for a long time now and I am not done. I have obviously not had all the selfish thoughts purged from my head. My heart is still a little closer to Grinch size than I want to admit. I need my children more than they need me. I need my grandchildren more than they need me. I need my friends and neighbors more than they need me.
I am not finished yet.

I wish I could declare that I will never have a selfish thought again.
I do know that I have been made painfully aware of how far I need to go.
I will always remember that these babies are helpless for MY sake.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Peacock Blue and Fern Green...spray paint magic:)

Almost every time I head into Walmart or Home Depot I end up on the spray paint isle. I am always eager to see what yummy colors they have put in those magic cans:) Hammered copper metal, gloss barn red, matte mustard yellow, metallic hot pink, satin spring green.....oooohhhhhhhhh... Love it!
Spring is spruce up time and these old resin trees needed a make over. I found the perfect colors at Lowes in peacock blue and fern green in a gloss. I hot glued glass beads where moss usually goes because my daughter said it was a more updated look:) Listen to your daughters ladies!

Doesn't the fern green and peacock blue just sing... of spring?!:)

Beef Broccoli Wellington

When all of the kids love dinner you know you are on to something!
I found this recipe years ago in a crescent roll recipe pamphlet.
I never look at the recipe anymore, just simply eyeball my measurements, adding a bit of this and that seasonings...drives my mom crazy:) Hi Mom!

A tried and true taste bud pleasing dinner, this is a Nellie's Cottage catering staple.

Beef Broccoli Wellington

*Pre-heat oven to 375 F

Brown & drain
1 lb ground beef 
1 large onion chopped 
(I like to add a mesquite flavored seasoning and a tiny shake of garlic salt)

Add to meat mixture
1 to 1 1/2 cups of chopped broccoli (I like to steam 2 bunches of fresh broccoli for 3 minutes)
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4-1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Simmer 10 minutes.

2 Rolls of refrigerated crescents
*original recipe instructions
Separate the dough from one refrigerated crecent roll package into 2 rectangles.
Slightly overlap the edges of the long sides of the 2 triangles, press to seal edge.
Spoon the mixture down the center of the dough then bringing dough together in the middle covering the mixture(resembles a log)
Pinch edges of dough tight and brush with 1 beaten egg.
Repeat with 2nd roll of crescents for a second "Log"

I prefer to lay one whole roll of dough into the bottom of a casserole dish, carefully stretching & spreading the dough up the sides then I bake the dough for 5 minutes.The mixture is spooned evenly on top of the partially baked crust. The second roll of crescent rolls is cut into strips for a criss- cross look. 

I think this is prettier:)

Bake for 18-22 min.

Baked baby carrots and fresh salad compliment this dish nicely.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Brick by Brick

While we were renovating Nellie's Cottage I was determined to use every single thing I could find on the property in a creative way. When I was a little girl my grandparents had a brick patio on the side of their house. Mama Nellie had dozens of plants in pots that she carefully tended and gave away to any visitor who expressed a love of plants!
Time had buried the bricks under about 4 inches of dirt and grass but I knew they were still there, so with the help of my trusty yard muscle Matt, & Remington, We dug up every brick, and washed, yes washed each one!
These bricks would have been acquired by trade by my Papa Albert. He was a carpenter, home builder and they did not waste a thing back then...hummm what can we learn?

I found two round cement lids on the property from some long ago abandoned ground tanks which became the center for my idea. I wanted to create a center pieces to anchor the landscape design.

These bricks would have been acquired by trade by my Papa Albert. He was a carpenter, home builder and they did not waste a thing back then...hummm what can we learn? Bricks were cemented around the circle in two rows. We carefully laid the brick to alternate colors and add in the rare ones evenly. 

After the circles were complete I had enough brick to create a path around the side and also create a border for the landscaping in the front.

I chose the best brick to be part of the porch! 
Some say Acme, Houston, & Beaumont.

I still have vintage patio furniture on my wish list however,
I must admit I am pleased with the way this project turned out:)

And the best part?
I still have some brick to create with in the future!