Countdown to Christmas!

So today is  officially  30 days until Christmas!
I am so excited to decorate our home for the first time.
However, I strongly believe in preserving the integrity of each holiday.
Therefore, we do not decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving.

But that doesn't mean I can't pinterest some holiday ideas in the mean time.

Here's a few ideas and projects that are inspiring me this holiday season.

 I am loving this mantle by The Lily Pad Cottage.
Can you believe the "Peace on Earth" embroidery hoop was made with a thrift store sweater?
This is definitely going on my list of holiday crafts. Now I just need the perfect holiday phrase...
 I have been admiring ornament wreaths like this one from Live Love DIY
for a while now. They are so versatile and easy to make.

 And this vintage inspired ornament wreath by Blue Eyed Yonder really called my name.
This one is right up my alley. Does anyone have a few dozen vintage ornaments lying around that I could borrow ASAP?

 This mantel at Shabby Chicks combines my love of all things chalkboard with my mantle obsession.
This is our first year with a mantle and I will definitely be hanging our stockings!

How gorgeous is this tree from The Tomkat Studio?
I love a silver and white tree. So striking and understated!
I may be making a Merry Christmas garland of my own to go on our tree or mantle.

I have been working on a few holiday projects of my own the last few days.
I'll be sharing soon. But for now I am enjoying the last few weeks of fall.

Please share any projects inspiring you this holiday season.
I would love to see everyone's most recent holiday obsessions!

Thanks for stopping by!


Nautical Coffee Table

We haven't bought a single piece of new furniture since we bought our house. 
And even in our two years living in our apartment, the only furniture we bought was two Ikea bookshelves. We have been fortunate to get most of our furniture from friends and family.
We got a set of mission oak nesting tables, a coffee table and a side table from my parents a few years ago. When we moved, we split the set up between our living room and den. But it was time for our mission oak family to be reunited!

{Enter new coffee table.}
This table was also part of my Craigslist furniture lot.
Best part is it was already stripped and just waiting for a makeover!

 So I broke out my current faves!
Artissimo Milk Paint and Minwax Dark Walnut. 

 I distressed and sealed with hemp oil.

 I think the coffee table goes perfectly with our nautical den.

 The rug it actually a good bit darker than the table but it looks much lighter in the pictures.

I think Layla approves!

 And of course we have to do a before and after!


And on a side note,
my youngest brother is spending the weekend at the Sideways Inn.
I think this picture pretty much sums up the weekend so far.

I promise he locked himself in there.
But Layla probably told him to...

Thanks for stopping by!


Mystery Mantel

So tonight I have a confession to make...
I am a Craig's List Junkie.
There! I said it!
There is nothing like the thrill of a finding a treasure.
Except maybe when you can bargain it down to a price you can't refuse!

Well a few weeks ago I hit the Craig's List motherload!
{Major score for a CL Junkie!}
I bought a lot of antiques for a price I couldn't refuse and in that lot of furniture was a mantel.
 At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to take the mantel. 
I don't really know anything about mantels, and despite several search attempts,
I haven't been able to find anything out about this particular mantel.
There is no maker's mark or stamp on it.
{If anyone knows anything about it please help a girl out!}

 Its really different. I have never seen another mantel like this.
But Brew was actually the one that wanted to take it.
He thought it was pretty interesting too.

It has some pretty intricate details.
There are some small damaged areas and it is veneered but
 overall it is in good shape for coming out of a barn.

 I do have to admit I'm not sure how I feel about the baby/angel faces.
What do you think? Cute or creepy??

So the mantel has been hanging out in our basement for about two months 
and I am trying to figure out what to do with it.

I have seen some amazing mantel headboards.

 I really like the chippy white finish.
 I am leaning towards painting the mantel, especially since its veneer 
and the finish is pretty scratched.
Source 1 2 3

I like the idea of using the mantel as a shelf too. 

Source 4 5

Then I would have two mantels to decorate!
I just don't know where we have wall space to hang it.

So what do you all think?
Headboard, shelf, or something else?

I would love to hear your ideas!

Thanks for stopping by!


Gumbo for a Cold Night

So, Doodle has been asking me to make gumbo for weeks!
Prior to this recipe, I had never made it before.
It's starting to get cold here in Maryland, so Doodle finally convinced me to give it a try.
This is a versatile recipe that can be altered to individual taste.

Here's how I made it:

3 Hot Italian Turkey Sausages
1 Pound Peeled & De-veined Shrimp
1 Red Bell Pepper
2 Jalepenos
3 Stalks of Celery
1 Red Onion
2 Cloves of Garlic
2 Cans of Diced Tomato and Juices
1 Can of Low Sodium Chicken Broth
5T Canola Oil
5T All Purpose Flour
1t Fresh Cracked Pepper
3t Creole Seasoning {I use Emeril's Bayou Blast}
Steamed White Rice

 You can trade out your proteins, such as chicken or andouille sausage, 
instead of using turkey sausage and shrimp.
Also, Gumbo is traditionally made with okra {we didn't have any - hence the celery}

Start by cooking the sausage whole in a large pot or dutch oven with high heat.
Once cooked through and nicely charred, remove and let cool.

Next, add the canola oil and flour. Whisk constantly for 5 minutes until you have a medium blonde roux {No not Doodle - the roux!}
Using canola is a healthy alternative to butter, tastes great, and still acts as a thickener. 
If you want to go all out you can use butter.
Next add your diced veggies and garlic - less the canned tomatoes.
 Mix in with roux and cook about 5 minutes until the veggies start getting a nice color.
Now it's time for the tomatoes and chicken broth
 After adding the tomatoes and broth, add the creole seasoning and black pepper.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer covered for about 10 minutes. {Let those flavors marry}

Meanwhile, slice the sausage diagonally.
Uncover the the pot and add the sausage and shrimp.
Cook the shrimp thoroughly - about 2 minutes.
Remove from heat.

Depending on what kind of rice you are using {quick cook or raw} depends on when you want to start your rice. We used short grain white rice in the rice cook - which takes about 30-45 minutes. So plan accordingly!

Finally, add the cooked rice to your serving bowl.
Serve the gumbo on top of the white rice.
Enjoy your meal and a happy wife!!


Pumpkin Chip Bars

Welcome friends!

The neighborhood is so beautiful right now. The trees are just about peaking. I really need to get outside to take some pictures before all the leaves are on our front lawn!

It will be winter before we know it so I am taking advantage of fall and baking a few more pumpkin recipes! These pumpkin chip bars are so moist and gooey they will make you wish it was fall year round! {well maybe not but at least a few more weeks of fall!} And they are super easy to whip up! {It only uses one bowl! Isn't that the best??}


1 cup butter (melted)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 can pureed pumpkin
2 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup cinnamon chips
1 cup butterscotch chips

First preheat over to 350 degrees.

Cream together butter and sugars. Next add vanilla and egg. Mix in pumpkin and beat on low until combined. Add in salt and pumpkin pie spice, then slowly add flour to mixer and beat on low until fully incorporated. Fold in pecans, cinnamon chips, and butterscotch chips. 

Spread batter into a well greased or parchment lined 9"x13" baking dish. 

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10-15 minutes. Then enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by!


Barn Chair: Take 2

There must be some unsung rule that rustic old barns must be filled with treasures.
{Especially old furniture looking for some love.}

My first barn chair makeover was much more of an over haul than this chair.
But this chair certainly had its fair share of issues...

Before anyone faints at the idea of me painting wood let me explain. 
 Its hard to see in this picture but the finish was worn in places
and the dark tone didn't let the details really pop.
 The original horse hair and cotton fill was mostly intact
but the webbing did need some minor repairs.
 I painted the frame with ASCP Paris Gray
and then did a wash of MMSCP Grain Sack.
And then half the paint peeled off back to the wood...
{After I freaked out and regrouped}
I sanded the flaking paint patches back off and started over.

 I distressed with a sanding block to allow 
some of the remaining Grain Sack and wood to show through.
And sealed with hemp oil.
Then I recovered the chair in this nubby striped fabric.
It reminds me of a old grain sack.
{But much more affordable and accessible}

 Check out those original casters!

I keep moving the chair around to decide if it has a place in our home.
I have a feeling it may be sticking around for a little while...

And I can't forget the before and after shots!

So what do you think about the chair's new look?

Thanks for stopping by!