Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Painting Progress

I am back - at least for a little while - to share our newly painted entry and dining room. The furniture has yet to be put back in place or styled (we still have to paint the ceiling), so please bear with the blue tape and mud splatters on the floor. Hopefully I will have final reveal pictures for you all early next week.

Here's the entry:

And below is the dining room, which gets a lot more light than the entry, hence the lighter shade of gray.

Here's the opposite wall in the dining room:

Just to recap, we went with Sherwin Williams' Modern Gray which we color matched to Glidden flat interior paint.

The ceilings are next on the to do list. I had initially hoped to cut Modern Gray by 50% (that means half   the paint color, half white), but when I put a test swatch up on the ceiling, it looked too dark and purplish. No bueno.

So back to Home Depot I went looking for whites, and we landed upon Behr's Silver Leaf (a barely-grayish white). We already color matched it to Glidden, so we are all ready to go when we the mood to paint strikes.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Let the Painting Begin!

The walls in the entry and dining room are FINALLY done. They are beautifully smooth and ready to be adorned with a fresh coat - or two - of paint. So paint I did. I got a bit of a late start on Sunday afternoon, so I only was able to do one coat of paint in the entry, but man, is it looking sweet!

I went with Sherwin Williams Modern Gray, which I color matched to Glidden Flat Interior Paint. (I went with Glidden because it is low VOC and inexpensive; I had wanted to go with Olympic, which is no VOC, but it is twice the cost of Glidden and I would have had to drive 45 minutes each way to the nearest Lowe's, which would have meant waiting till next weekend to bust out the brushes and rollers. I know you are wondering, "What's another week at this point?" But I was just too eager to get going after waiting so long.)

The coverage is definitely blotchy, so it will need at least a second coat. I took a gamble by deciding not to prime the walls first or get a built in primer, and I am glad it worked out. The coverage after the first coat may not be perfect, but it's pretty typical of what one coat of paint looks like. Whew!

The color is really soothing. It's not too light and not too dark; it's gray, but it has brownish undertones, so it is not an icy gray at all. (All the bluish gray swatches that I put up on the wall looked so frigid and this is really close to Berkshire Beige, the color I stumbled upon in Healdsburg that I fell for.) I dare say it's a warm grey, which is what I was shooting for.

I can't wait to see a second coat and get a feel for the space once we paint the dining room too this weekend. I am hoping I can finish up both coats this weekend, and do the ceiling the following weekend so I can put my house back together... and move forward with the skim coating in the living room.

Speaking of the ceiling, I am still not sure what I want to do up there. Should I cut Modern Gray by 50%? Or will that be too dark? Should I go with a white? Another color? Any suggestions? As usual, I want an answer now, but I think I will have to wait and see until that second coat dries.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Speedy Meals: Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplings

I hope you will forgive me for being a bad blogger; I have been battling a migraine since the weekend. If you're still mad, I have a peace offering for you: delicious and super easy Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplings. Please don't hold the horrible pics against me though. It is hard to get good Crock Pot pics with all that steam and this recipe isn't Giselle.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 leeks, trimmed and chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas (I used frozen)
handful of chopped mushrooms (optional)
2 cups heavy cream (I know, I know...)
1 cup chicken broth
can of refrigerator biscuits (Grands of TJ's version will work just fine)


Wash and trim the chicken breasts to your preference. (I am picky so I basically dissect mine.) Place at the bottom of the crock pot.

Chop veggies and add on top of chicken.

Add cream and chicken broth, and stir to combine.

I did all this the night before while I was making that night's dinner. It took less that 10 minutes!)

Cook on low in a Crock Pot for 6 hours (I did 8, as one of the recipes I was using suggested, and the "gravy" tasted just the slightest bit burnt.) Break up the chicken with a fork.

Quarter or cut your biscuits into bite sized cubes.

Add on top of chicken mixture.

 Cook on high for an additional 30-60 mins, or until puffed up and solid looking. (If you want to speed up this part of the meal, throw the biscuits in the oven and cook according to package directions. Slice and add chicken mixture between the two halves.)

Enjoy with a green salad to balance out all that cream!

(To avoid foodie plagiarism, I will say that this Crock Pot creation is a Nicole original, but I was heavily inspired by this slow cooker recipe [found via Courtney Schutz on Pinterest] and Fresh Every Day's Creamy Chicken with Biscuits.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Santa Barbara Getaway

Sorry to be MIA yesterday. We took another 3 day weekend to head down to Santa Barbara for my cousin's wedding on Sunday. It was a gorgeous day and an equally beautiful ceremony with lots of fun touches that were perfectly the bride and groom. Here's to a lifetime of happiness, Cat and Justin!

Their wedding venue was so spectacular that I just had to share. The bride and groom got married and held the reception at the same place, Elling's Park. It is the largest privately funded park in the U.S. (according to the website), and the huge site encompasses two baseball diamonds, a dog park, and a BMX race track. Their wedding was held on a peak at the top of the park overlooking all of Santa Barbara. The panoramic, 360 degree views were simply breathtaking; you could see the ocean on two sides, downtown Santa Barbara right below the ceremony site, and the mountains that cradle Santa Barbara were at eye level.

Of course, I forgot my camera. (We were running late.) But thankfully the website has some beautiful pics I can share with you all.

The weather cooperated (even though it was raining as we left town and foggy when we rolled into SB), so thankfully no tents were needed. Instead, we played bocce ball on this grassy knoll, where the food and libations were also set up.

Cool wedding idea: My cousin and her groom had their favorite wineries and brewery on hand to offer tastings throughout the night. Since the cocktail hour is always their favorite part of weddings, they also decided to food set up immediately after the ceremony so that people could mingle and graze throughout the evening.

We ate under these stately oaks overlooking the sea and the hills.

Once the sun set, this area was turned into a dance floor. My family dominated the dance floor; we sure know how to get our groove on!

It was a sweet way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and if you are ever in Santa Barbara, go check out Elling's Park. It would be the perfect spot for a hike and a picnic lunch.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men...

Often go awry. Truly. I had this post all ready to go and cued up for yesterday, and I forgot to click publish. Whoops. So here we go, just one day late...

I attempted to make Moroccan Chicken in the crockpot night before last, and I had hoped to share the recipe with you all today, but it did not turn out. Alright, if I am being honest, it was inedible. So inedible, in fact, that we ended up trashing it and going out for burritos. Picture us looking like this (only way less hot) as we took that first bite. (Is anyone else ready for Modern Family to return?)

This is really something in these parts, since my husband will eat just about anything and we don't throw out food. (Please tell me I am not the only one who has leftover night about once a week. You know, the night where you eat all the random leftover food in your fridge, regardless of whether any of it actually tastes good together, just so you don't have to cook it doesn't go it waste.)

The frustrating part was I followed the recipe to the T, and it was a crockpot recipe, so I really can't explain why it tasted like poo. Literally. Here's hoping I have better luck with crockpot chicken and dumplings next week. Hopefully that one will turn out since it's from a different cook book.

Have you ever had a recipe backfire on you? Either way, have a happy weekend!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wednesday Eye Candy: Lovely Living Room

I found this beautiful living room while trolling on Pinterest (via Stephanie Torres).

Those lamps kill me. I would love to have them on the (nonexistent) night stands in my bedroom. If I could steal the rug, I would. I'm a sucker for a bold, graphic rug.

All the little details also wowed me immediately too: the vignette on the sofa console, the gallery wall anchored by a mirror, and  how that blonde brick plays nice with the driftwood side table. And there's not even a grey wall to be seen. Shocking!

(All photos via ee photography. Design by Farrow and Cobb.)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Smooth Moves

The walls and ceilings in the entry and the dining are sporting a sanded second coat, and man, are they looking fiiine. It took us the whole weekend to get here, but after a little touching up (mostly to corners), we can paint. (Fingers crossed weekend after next.)

We wrapped up the sanding after dark last night, so please excuse the poorly lit and grainy shots. I just couldn't wait to share!

I think this final picture shows the contrast the best. Notice the smooth wall on the left and the textured one on the right. (Don't mind the dust on the beam. It really is smooth, it just needs to be dusted off.)

I'll try to get some better lit shots to share with you guys tomorrow. Homer, with his affinity for smooth caves, would be proud.

And in sad news, I definitely did not take enough pics of the Boeuf Bourguignon to walk you through all the steps of that recipe. There are many! I tried to write it up, but I felt that I wasn't doing it justice. Since Julia's are big shoes to fill (literally and figuratively), I guess this means I will have to make it again. Oh darn! So I hope to highlight a quick weeknight dinner (instead of an elaborate Sunday night supper) on Thursday instead.

Here's to a painless beginning to a short week!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day

Wishing everyone a happy Labor Day! What better way to say goodbye to summer and hello to fall than a day of rest... or DIY?

This picture (via Veronica Casson via Pinterest) seems to capture the transitional time we are in. Time to put away the summer whites, but sailor stripes can stick around through the fall. The days are getting shorter, the light is taking on a more golden quality, and you can almost just smell fall in the air. I am loving it all!

Be back tomorrow - I swear! (I got my a** handed to me by last week: back to school night, football concessions, and grades due all in the same week. Yikes!)