July 6, 2017

Patriotic Tart


I hope you had a lovely Fourth of July.  Mike had the evening off (yay!) so we invited his parents over to cookout and see the updates we've made to the house so far.

The menu was simple - burgers, corn on the cob, watermelon and a berry dessert.  We will be getting a grill from a family member soon, so I improvised and cooked the burgers on the stove top in my cast iron skillet. This was my second time cooking burgers this way since we've moved in and it has worked out just fine both times.

On the hunt for a light dessert, I came across this recipe.  The airiness of the pastry married with the lemony cheese filling and sweet berries was the perfect end to the day (especially since we were asleep before the fireworks even started! 4:00 AM comes a little too soon...)  My variation is below.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • A dash of egg white
  • 2 packets Sugar in the Raw (or granulated sugar)
  • 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • Cool Whip, to taste (I thought 8 oz. was too much.  I would suggest 2-4 oz.)
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. confectioners sugar
  • 2 c. fresh mixed berries
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Prepare a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  2. On a surface lightly dusted with flour, roll out puff pastry and transfer to the baking sheet.
  3. With a paring knife, gently trace a 1-inch border around the edge of the puff pastry, careful to not cut all the way through. Brush egg white on the outside border and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until golden and puffed.
  4. Remove from oven. With a folded paper towel, gently flatten the center of the pastry. Cool at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
  5. While cooling, make the cream cheese mixture. Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add Cool Whip, lemon zest and 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar, beating again until fluffy and smooth. Spread the mixture evenly within the border of the pastry.
  6. Arrange your fruit on top. Slice into 6 squares and serve. Leftovers can be refrigerated up to 2 days.  Enjoy!

May 31, 2017

Our First House | Home Tour 6 Weeks In

We have been in the house for six weeks now and it feels like home.  The biggest change we've made so far that made it feel more like us was painting the kitchen.  We both are drawn to cool tones and the house was/is very brown and dark.  It really is amazing how paint can transform a room.

KITCHEN
I am still waiting on my electrician (AKA Mike 😉) to hang the lantern.  I ordered these schoolhouse pendants to replace the existing ones over the island but they are on back-order until mid-June.

Neither of us like the accent granite on the island, but it's something we'll live with since 1. it's expensive to replace and 2. this isn't our forever home.  The before photos are from the listing.

We still have no table and chairs but since it is just us, we've been eating at the bar.  I've been looking on Craigslist for a cheap dining set in the meantime to complete the room until Mike's work schedule calms down and allows him time to make our table.

This room was a nightmare to paint.  The walls above the beadboard and chair rail required 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint.  The beadboard also required 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint... I was burnt out, so I stopped at one coat.  If you notice, there is a brown strip above both radiators.  I still have no idea how to remove them to paint behind them.  When they finally do come off so we can clean and I can paint, I'll do my second coat of white then.

Paint
Walls: RH Silver Sage color matched at Sherwin Williams in Emerald (satin)
Beadboard: Behr Ultra White in semi-gloss
Trim: Trim was already white, so I didn't paint it

The walls are a little tricky to photograph, so each one looks a little different, but I'm really happy with how the color turned out!


Three of the recessed lights are burnt out. I wish it was as simple as replacing a bulb,
but the entire can comes out of the ceiling... another thing I'm learning.
Also I have a taller terracotta pot and saucer coming for my olive tree on the island,
which was a birthday gift from my coworkers :)


Notice the new door hardware in front of the radiator! Goodbye 80's gold.


You'll notice I also primed the 6 panels on the front door.
I really want to replace it with a Craftsman style door.

These are the gold door handles and hinges I'll be replacing with oil rubbed bronze.
I'm hoping to replace the doors with a 2 panel door as I think it will complement the Cape Cod style.

Still left to do on our list:
  • Install lantern
  • Install pendant lights upon delivery
  • Replace mini blinds with about 2½ inch blinds
  • Replace bathroom and basement doors + hardware
  • Make farm table
  • Purchase 6 chairs

LIVING ROOM


We haven't done much in here except hang the TV above the fireplace.  The wall color is growing on me, but I still think I will tone it down a few shades.  I found the paint can in the basement -- it's SW Basket Beige in case you're wondering 😉.  The wall that the fireplace is on is an accent wall (not sure what color it is) but my plan is to have all 4 walls the same color.  Stay tuned!

For each angle below, the listing pictures are first, then mine.









Still left to do on our list:
  • Run TV cords behind wall
  • Replace mini blinds with about 2½ inch blinds
  • Drapes - maybe
  • Paint
  • Wall art

SUNROOM

This room is such a blank canvas.  We know we're going to be ripping up the carpet but we're not sure what we're going to replace it with yet.  My immediate go-to is hardwood flooring; however, upstate NY is much colder than anywhere I've lived before and it was still freezing in the sunroom in May.  We've discussed replacing it with new carpet but we both like how easy hardwood is to clean and maintain.  Tile is out of the question!

Should we paint the wood a creamy white or leave it as is?

We don't have any furniture for it yet (besides my new Craigslist bench).  Any design/layout/furniture/flooring ideas are welcome and appreciated!

Listing photos:





Our only furniture in the room:



Our to-do list:
  • Replace carpet
  • Figure out what purpose it will serve for us


FOYER


This is just a pass through for us to get from the kitchen to the living room and vise versa.  We use the backdoor because of the proximity to the driveway/garage.

No big plans here except to paint, replace the light fixture and remove the runner.  No matter how many times I've vacuumed it, it still feels dirty.  As noted above, I'd like to replace the existing front door with a Craftsman style one like this.

I don't have any "before" pictures, but this looks the exact way as when we bought it.







YARD


I have to commend the previous owners on their landscaping.  The yard is beautiful and so peaceful.  


Apple trees and mountains across the street.

LOVE all of the stacked stone and the Japanese Maple in the corner and the Azaleas.

They had a large garden area in the back, so Mike planted tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, broccoli, celery, squash and pumpkins last week.  I'm probably forgetting something.

He also picked up a few annuals for pops of color.



We removed a fish pond.  I realize people pay good money to install one, but it wasn't something we liked.  I'm already a mosquito magnet, so a still body of water didn't sound pleasant! (We couldn't figure out the fountain, hence why it was a still body of water.)



I don't have any "after" pictures since it is still a work in progress (this was just last week).  We did plant a Rhododendron on the end of the sunroom (behind where the statue is in the above pictures [yes, statue was removed too].)  I bought 3 Winter Gem Boxwoods from Home Depot over Memorial Day Weekend, so those will go here along with some hydrangeas and hostas.

Rhododendron pre-planting

Coleus, Boxwoods (to be planted), Adirondack chairs and more of the previous owner's landscaping, including another Rhododendron.

Back of the house.  My camera settings were set to indoor settings - sorry!
This was after Mike removed the fish pond (far left).


This is why I've been MIA on the blog front.  I'll work on doing a better job of regular updates as we tackle the projects I shared above.   Thanks for stopping by!

May 5, 2017

Our First House


Sorry to leave you hanging - we didn't have internet for the first week and my Macbook screen went black shortly thereafter.  But I am back in the groove now. 😃  We closed three weeks ago, cleaned, and moved in a few days later.  We're quickly turning this house into our home and it feels great to finally be settled.  Without further ado, welcome to our little brick cape.  I promise to share more photos soon, as our lawn is starting to bloom and looks beautiful!


April 4, 2017

Baby's First Easter | Gift Basket


This Easter is my nephew's first Easter!  You may remember the baby shower I threw my sister here and his debut here.  He has brought so much joy to our family in his 5 months.  I hate living so far away but really enjoy the pictures/videos my sister sends me and when we FaceTime!

Since I won't be back home for Easter, I mailed Elijah his Easter "basket".  I had so much fun putting this gift together and wanted to share in case you have a little one to shop for too.



Baby Polo - how adorable!




Peter Rabbit is one of my favorites.  I found this adorable card at TJ Maxx.


My sister sent me this picture the other day.  I got Elijah the rattle bunny slippers for Christmas.  He now fits into them and loves to kick his feet to hear the rattles. Since they are bunnies, I figured they would also work in this Easter post 😃

and a few more photos my sister shared with me 😍

Happy Easter!


SHOP THIS POST:
Polo button down (TJ Maxx)

April 3, 2017

Weekend Compilation

Saturday morning, I woke up to snow, which thankfully was melted by early afternoon.  Sunday was sunny and 52℉, so Mike and I spent the afternoon enjoying the outdoors.  Happy Monday, Friends!

Shopping.  I picked up these garden tools and oven mitts at HomeGoods.


Pastries. There is a country store right down the road with the best homemade pastries.
I got an apple turnover and Mike got a raspberry danish.

Cooking. Sunday night, I made this Cranberry Balsamic Roasted Chicken dish I had pinned awhile back.
It was really good... so good, that it will be added to the frequent list!
Photo is from recipe's website.

March 22, 2017

Our First House: Living Room Design Plan

Our new living room is about 21' long and has windows on three sides, providing ample light.  We don't have elaborate living room plans since we already have our big items- couches, coffee table and end table.  But we did need a new rug and I think that will change the feel of the room to a more inviting and calming space than we had previously.

I created these design boards in InDesign and it really helps me visualize all of the ideas going on in my mind 😉
You may remember I had my eye on the Catherine Rug from Ballard Designs for awhile.  It has all of my favorite colors and the description is lovely: The soft, tonal palette of spa, grey and caramel in this plush 100% wool rug is an easy fit with lots of our favorite fabrics and wood tones. Hand tufted in a sophisticated Persian motif of flowing vines and stylized palmettes.

Mike thought it was ok but he didn't love it nearly as much as I did.  Searching for other options, I considered natural fiber rugs since they don't have a design.  A plus to that is it allows me to easily swap out my pillow covers for the seasons without having them clash with a patterned rug.
While I think Persian rugs are classic, we agreed on and ended up choosing this Pottery Barn Chunky Wool and Jute Rug.  Our local store had it in stock and is able to hold it for us until we move in.  Now that that is done, just the accent pieces are left and this room is complete (mentally that is, ha!)

Our lamps look very similar to the one pictured- an oil rubbed bronze base and a beige shade.  I don't plan on changing these out.

The texture from the mantle and the wicker basket provides a natural warmth to the room, almost like the feel of a lodge without being too rustic.

I would love to incorporate ivory drapes with pleats, but that may be later on, as they aren't cheap.

The paint color hasn't been finalized.  I am waiting until we've moved in to see how the paint samples look on the wall during different times of the day.  I've started quite the collection of paint chips since November (which has probably done more harm than good for my decisions) but am thinking a light beige or a warm gray.