Monday, July 18, 2011

Living Room Updates

Sorry it's been so long since I posted... I've been busy with work and it seems that we're finally feeling settled in at home. We're really enjoying our house but as I've had more time to relax, I realized I really needed to do a little more work in the living room to make it feel more home-y.

I've been looking for an area rug for the living room for a while. But, rug shopping is hard!  Especially when few places carry a large selection of styles and colors in their stores and with online rug shopping, you never know what you're going to actually get when it arrives.  Throw into that mix that I am so indecisive, I couldn't even narrow down a rug style that I liked best, lol.  Well, on Saturday, I got lucky at HomeGoods!!  I was browsing and came across this really pretty traditional rug that had chocolate browns, greens and even a little bit of light blue. For the first time, I said, oh wow, that could work!  So, I sent Kevin a picture and though he couldn't tell much about it, he approved of the design at least, lol.  I loaded it up and brought it home to unroll in the living room.

When we got it in the room, Kevin was pleasantly surprised, as he had thought it was really dark, like navy blue or black from the picture, haha!  When we got it laid out in the living room, I was really excited with how well it went with the couches. It looks like it was made for our green couch, lol. One thing I wasn't expecting, was that the blue in the rug is very subtle and is kind of hard to pick up when it's in the room. But, I think it's still a nice coordinating rug for the room.  I don't think I was ever going to find a rug that matched the walls and all of our furniture retrospectively, this one does a pretty good job.  So here are some pictures:

With the rug decided, I also started to think about making a decision on the curtains for the room.  I've been really loving the look of dark ORB or black curtain rods with light pinch pleat colored curtains and I thought that would look great in this room.  I went to Lowes and got a great deal on three curtain rods and sets of clip rings. Then, I began a long search online to figure out where to buy the curtains that I wanted. I was originally thinking white or off-white curtains, but then I realized a slightly darker color might be better, so it doesn't compete with the white trim and windows. Few places carry pinch pleat curtains in stores but I didn't want to have to pay for custom curtains, so I decided to go in search for the best I could find. I ended up finding some  nice faux silk ones at Bed Bath and Beyond. I was surprised that they had them in stock but the lightest color they had was oyster/eggshell. I decided to buy them and return them if they didn't work.

When I got home, I realized that the color of the curtains works pretty well with the rug. The light beige/champagne color is pretty with the detail in the outside

Here's a picture of the room where you can see the curtains in the corner.  

So, what do you think about these choices?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Red, White and Blue Cake

Okay, to wrap up the 4th of July celebration, I thought I'd share with you this Red, White and Blue Cake that I made for a party. I think it's the right mix of wow and delicious. Plus, it went over really well with everyone and Kevin loved it, the almond flavor is his favorite!

Red, White and Blue Cake
Nonstick cooking spray
3 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/4 cups all-vegetable shortening
5 large egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 tbs red food coloring
1 tbs blue food coloring
Fresh strawberries and blueberries, optional

Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting
2 cups butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp almond extract
1 (13-oz.) jar marshmallow cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and coat three 8-inch round pans with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in large bowl. Add buttermilk and shortening, beat with electric mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes. Add egg whites, vanilla and almond extracts. Beat an additional 2 minutes, scraping sides of bowl as needed.

Pour one-third of batter into one of the prepared pans. Divide remaining batter into 2 medium bowls and stir in food coloring to make one red and one blue batter. Pour batter into remaining pans. Tap pans on counter several times to remove air bubbles.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes before removing from pan. Remove cake and cool completely on wire rack.

While cakes are cooling, beat butter in a large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until fluffy. Beat in almond extract then stir in marshmallow cream, until well blended.

Place blue cake layer on cake plate and generously frost top. Stack white layer and generously frost top. Add red layer, frosting top and sides of entire cake. Garnish with fresh blueberries and strawberries, if desired. Enjoy!

source: Unusual 2 Tasty, originally from White Lily Flour and The J.M. Smucker Co.

Happy 4th of July!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July

I hope everyone had a great weekend! We had a fun but very busy weekend. And, the 4th of July celebrations aren't even over yet... we have another party and fireworks to go to tonight. 

We hosted a 4th of July & Housewarming party at our house on Saturday for our friends and family. It was a lot of fun and the weather was really great. Everyone really enjoyed getting together and checking out all of the work we've done in our house.  I had worked on a lot of projects for this party and I'm excited to get to share them with you.  I didn't get to take many pictures of everything because I finished working on stuff right as everyone started arriving, but I have a couple to show you.

4th of July decorations on the deck
Homemade bunting from scrapbook paper and ribbon
Flowers in red, white and blue pots
Appetizers and snacks before the party
Red and white carnations with blue hydrangea from my garden
One of two galvanized buckets that held beer on ice with bottle openers attached!
One shot from the party.... sparklers! 

So, I also made a big batch of lemon drop jello shots and orange jello shots but I didn't get a picture of those. :( We had lemonade and sangria in large mason jar drink dispensers. You can see the mini red velvet cupcakes that I made in one of those pictures above. I put them on a really cute cupcake stand from Angela! For dessert, we also had fruit pizza in the shape of a flag with strawberries and blueberries, fruit trifle, and s'mores using the fun extending marshmallow roasting skewers like these that I got from Target.

And because no holiday is complete without me dressing up Darcy and taking pictures of him, here are a few of my favorites ;)

Last night I made a really fun Red, White and Blue Cake for the party we're going to tonight!  Check back here tomorrow for the recipe and pictures. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Party Prep!

Happy 4th of July weekend to everyone! We've spent the last few days working on a lot of things at home (I'll post about those updates later) because we're having a 4th of July/Housewarming party this weekend!! I'm really excited about it, we can't wait to show all of our friends and family the progress we've made in the house and just have a wonderful time celebrating the 4th of July (on the 2nd, lol)!

So, I thought I'd share some inspiration pictures that I've seen on Pinterest and then show you what I've been working on.
Shop Sweet Lulu — Patriotic Cupcake Liner MegaMixEasy DIY Decorations for the Fourth of July

Google Image Result for Garden Themed Dinner Party with Homemade Details | Be Inspired Elegant
Avoid a Bottleneck at the Bar - 60 Outdoor Party Ideas - 60 Days of Summer - Ma
Aren't those some cute ideas!? Here's what I've got... Our dining room has been converted into a storage space for all things 4th of July.  I can't wait to set up all of the stuff I've got planned. But, here's what it looks like now. 

More flowers outside
Stocked fridge :) After an epic 3 hour grocery store trip to 3 stores
For the menu, we're having all of the typical cookout/barbecue items, but I'm also making a couple special things, of course!  In addition to the regular beer, soda, lemonade, etc, we're going to have sangria and lemon drop jello shots(!!!), which has now become my signature summer item. I've got a lot of fun appetizers and festive desserts planned too. 

I can't wait to show you pictures from all of the little projects I'm going to finish up today/tomorrow. We have lots of prep and cooking to do, but it's going to be fun party. Hope you have a great weekend!! 
Blogging tips