Son of a Pinterest (Challenge)

Update: Here’s an update to this I did on January 26, 2012.

This post was not paid for by Pinterest. I’m 99.9% positive pretty sure they have no idea this blog wading among millions exists. Let’s face it, it’s pretty much just me writing and a few friends reading, and maybe my Mom, maybe, haha.

Consider me on the bandwagon. I’m officially on Pinterest. I was going to write an entire post about Pinterest and my participation in the Pinterest Challenge, but I figured it would be easier to make a video to explain why I joined Pinterest, and what I’m working on for the Challenge…sort of.

To sum up the video, I fell for Pinterest. Hard. Like, fall for Richard Gere hard. Shut up, I have a thing for Richard Gere (mainly ala Pretty Woman. There’s just something about the love story between a rich guy and a hooker). I own it (liking Richard Gere, not owning Pretty Woman, but now that I think about it I really should). So in lieu of joining Pinterest, and of the Pinterest Challenge – I’m going to crochet a rug.

Particularly, one similar to this. Originally from Viva Terra for over $700 dollars. YIKES.

Theirs = wool. Mine = cheap yarn. Theirs = meticulously adorable little flowers. Mine = whatever shape I feel like making on that particular night. Theirs = adorable.

Mine might end up a ton of coasters and potholders.

The best part of this? It keeps me busy because I clearly do not have anything else to do, and I can roll it up and throw it in the wash. One of the things I didn’t mention was the size I’m planning on. I’m looking to make a 5×7 rug.

It’s going to be a lot of work.

Bring it on.

Happy Pinspiration (not to be confused with perspiration),


Pss …A few side things: Note that I mention I have no makeup on in this video, it’s apparent I forgot I had a little blusher on from earlier. Also, I thought it would be nice to share the video with a mosquito. He was more interested in trying to get blood from me and buzz around the camera. I will not be inviting him back. Also also, I said “like” too much. *cringe*. Sorry.

Decorating Dilemma

I have this innate ability to go absolutely boy decor crazy. I see a nicely put together room and my palms sweat, my heart palpitates and I get light headed. If I was in fourth grade, I would doodle on my trapper keeper with big hearts around it. Though I appreciate any well done decor, if it’s farmhouse chic or farmhouse contemporary I’m done for. I like mine a little more farmhouse than contemporary. Does that even make sense? What I’m trying to say is I like the clean rustic farmhouse look, not primitive.

I’m making no sense. It’s hot out. I’m actually sitting in AC, but I still hold my reasoning. So since I’m making no sense I’ll just show you photos instead. All photos are from A Life’s Design and Country Living.

Let me point one thing out about that last bathroom photo. I am an artisan soap maker, and the faucet which no one else would likely notice drives me nuts. I swoon over it. I’ve googled it (and ogled it), and I even had it on our wedding registry until Mr. A reminded me we don’t even have a sink yet for it. I didn’t care then, and I don’t care now.  I will build my entire bathroom around it. I’m a sucker for good plumbing fixtures. I am also on the hunt for a sink like that. It’s gorgeous.

Enough about that and back to what this post is about.

Despite knowing the exact style I love. I have no idea how to make it happen in my own home. If you need a refresher, I’ve been working on our livingroom to help get the equity in the house up, even though we plan on renovating the entire house eventually. To see how it’s come along so far, check out the posts here and here. To get you up to date even further, I have indeed picked out wall colors. I’ve been sitting on a post about it for weeks because I just had no idea where to go once I got the colors up.

So without photos, I will tell you that I realized my dream of crisp white livingroom was simply not a reality. I like color, a lot.I also live with two boys, two dogs and lots of dirt that gets tracked in. Nor am I someone who keeps my house spotless. I love the look in magazines, but it’s just not for our lifestyle. So I painted the wood paneling Copen Blue from Sherwin Williams, and the wall part a nice beautiful light gray tone, similar to this French Gray color, but a couple shades lighter and less blue. Oh hell, I need to find the name of it. I’ll get back to you. You get the gist though. We’re still deciding on a floor color.

What it comes down to is that I have no idea how to decorate with gray, and have it flow into the rest of the house which I don’t want gray. We have 30 yards of burlap from our wedding so Mr. A came up with the great idea to use it for curtains. Consider it done (it’s not done). I’ve been stalling hemming and hawing for weeks though when it comes to decor. I was in a rut.

I realized the other day the reason I absolutely couldn’t decorate was due to me trying to force the room to be something it’s not. This whole white/gray/blue thing just does not go with the rest of our house or our style. I need to work with what we have. What we have is a brown slipcover, two yellow dogs, lots of natural materials like burlap, baskets, etc in brown.  How could I tie it in though? Obviously gray and brown do not go together.


Yesterday as I was sitting outside getting inspired by nature I realized that brown and gray are everywhere together. It gave me the motivation to get my but back in gear. So that’s where we stand now.


Butt in gear.

Craft brain going nuts.

I have yet to finish a whole bunch of things off the livingroom list, but I’m happy to finally be out of my rut and to get going. I’m going to decorate the rest of the room. To tie in the light brown of the burlap with the gray, which seemingly do not match, I’ve decided to make some tan pillows with hand stitching in gray. More on those to come. The best part is in the end, if I still don’t like the gray I can simply paint over it. Oh the joy of paint.

To Do:

  • Prime the livingroom
  • Choose wall color(s)
  • Choose floor color
  • Paint walls (this is semi-done – I have one tiny little part under the stairs, to complete, which no one looks at anyway)
  • Paint floors
  • Buy an area rug, preferably a neutral color to help hide the dogs fur on those days I don’t want to vacuum (we all have them). Or, one with a big contemporary pattern on it
  • Make burlap curtains
  • Sew pillows to tie the brown of the burlap with the gray of the walls
  • Buy pillow forms from Marden’s
  • Cover couch
  • Find art for the walls, or take photos to make cheap art

Some of these things have been started, and I’ll get back to you as more happens. Sometimes all you need is to sit in nature to get over your “but they don’t match” rut and get going.

Happy Decorating,



Toasted Cashew Kale Pesto Penne with Blackened Chicken

I’m feeling so sleepy tonight.

I have no good reason, really. I’m going with summer lethargy. I did manage however to get my fridge cleaned out tonight. Not just cleaned out, but clean. It felt really good. It also made me realize why I felt we had no food in the house. Turns out, we’re pretty low.

Last night I had not realized this fact. I scratched my head swearing I had just gone food shopping. Looking back I’m pretty sure that was more like three weeks ago. Son of a bee sting. Thankfully we had some chicken, a garden with blooming veggies and dry pasta on hand.

It turns out Kale Pesto is my favorite. All is right with the universe.

Toasted Cashew Kale Pesto Penne with Blackened Chicken

  • 1 Bunch Kale
  • Feta Cheese (Plain or Tomato Basil) to taste
  • Cashews
  • Few cloves garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Penne
  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts



  1. Wrap chicken breasts in saran wrap, one at a time, and pound for even thickness. No mallet? Use a rolling pin. Hit it gently, don’t roll it.
  2. Turn on your grill and heat it up. Put the chicken on sans spices and salt, the pesto will have enough. Grill on low so you slowly cook the chicken, no black outside and raw inside. Raw chicken = very very bad times. I don’t trust myself with the touch test, so I cook chicken to about 180. Most charts say 170, I always go 180 when I grill it or bake it.
  3. Once blackened take the chicken off the grill and cut up into bite size pieces.


  1. Wash kale and set aside to dry.
  2. Peel a couple cloves of garlic.
  3. Put a tiny bit of olive oil in a pan, about a dime size, and coat with a paper towel or cloth. Add handful of cashews and toast. Keep an eye while this is toasting – they go fast.
  4. Put the kale, garlic, feta and cashews in a food processor. Slowly drizzle in olive oil.A note about our Pesto. We don’t have a recipe to exact proportions. We mix and slowly add until it looks and tastes good to us. You should add enough olive oil for it to be smooth, without being oily. It will start processing really easy and will scoop out without either being super thick or dripping. Add olive oil super super slowly.
  5. Eat a whole bunch while you wait to put everything together. This is good.


  1. Cook according to directions. So simple.

Add chicken, pasta and pesto together in a bowl.

Om. Nom. Nom.

I hope you end up loving Kale Pesto as much as I do. Have fun experimenting with hard cheeses like goat, parm, etc. They really make quite a delicious mix.

On that note, I am heading to bed to a finally cool breeze blowing through!

Happy Lazy Delicious Dinners,


Haying Doesn’t Wait

I have a love hate relationship with the month of June and July. I love that the grass is green, the hay is tall, the flowers are beautiful and the birds are singing. My body hates that the grass is green, the hay is tall and that the flowers are blooming. Thankfully there are no problem with the birds because I really like them.

It turns out I have allergies and we’re not quite sure what it is. Could it be the hay? Sure. Could it be a weed or flower blooming in the hay field? Absolutely. Or it could be the trees, grass, pollen of something or other. Who knows. The fact is, it’s kind of miserable. The best part is that it’s hard to actually be miserable when it’s so beautiful out there.

Another fact is hay doesn’t wait for your allergies, neither does the farmer. Head pain and congestion aside, I somehow ended up driving a tractor with trailer attached for part of it. When the headache and general malaise got the best of me I went on kid duty. I.E. watching four kids under eight years old and making sure they stayed safe.

There is an inherent difference between girls and boys. The 3 boys were trying to hay, but generally roughhousing since they are a few years out of being strong enough. The little girl just followed me around being a perfectly beautiful free four-year-old soul, and taunting me with hay.

At the end of the day the barn was almost filled to the brim. With so many helpers (of the adult variety) the work went fast.

Later on in the weekend Mr. A and I went back to help get the final bales in. This is where things got fun; we hooked up the kicker to the baler and went to town. I of course grabbed my camera and crawled right up to get photos of Mr. A catching the hay as it flew overhead and into the trailer.  As old equipment goes, there were a few flukes where the twine didn’t work quite right.

Damn he’s cute.

There’s just something about country living that will get you every time.

Even if it’s allergies. I wouldn’t trade living here for anything, but I wouldn’t mind some benadryl.

We’ll be doing this again next Friday. Two more fields to go!

Happy Haying & Sneezing,


It’s All In The (Wedding) Details

This is going to be a long, but fun one folks. I’m taking a posting-about-the-livingroom break. I figured in this interlude we could jump back a month. It’s time to share some details of our wedding day shenanigans with you guys. Especially some of the “at home” things we did, in action. You’ve seen a post on the vintage suitcase card holder, the cake topping blue birds, the colored mason jars, and even our wedding invitations here and here.  I’ve saved some other things for you until now.

We went as homemade as possible to save on money. For one, we couldn’t afford an expensive wedding and for two, we’re too cheap, even when our parents helped us out. We need to give a big hearty and loving thanks to my parents and Mr. A’s parents. They really stepped up to the plate and helped us out without asking. Our wedding was easily under $10,000, including my designer dress which was a gift from my father.

I really wanted to incorporate white, burlap and color into the wedding. Keeping it clean but still whimsical and charming. A while back I mentioned spray-painting wine bottles white to hold single stems of flowers. First I used a primer, since it gave a thicker coverage right away. Then I used a cheap semi-gloss to give it a little luster. For the burlap I scored some old coffee bags for free at our local shop Coffee By Design (for a minimal donation to a charity, which of course I did). We simply cut them to fit, sewed them and slid them on.

My mom made us a gorgeous bunting banner using fabric I picked up at Mardens, and then my best friend Marcia and I sewed more wine bottle slip covers out of the same fabric. A friend cleaned a whole bunch of wine bottles for us, so we had a mix of white with burlap, and plain with fabric.

Photos (c) Alexandra Roberts Photography

Speaking of tables, we had two different kinds, 8 foot rectangle tables, 5 foot round tables and four foot round tables. There were 3 eight foot tables on either side and the center had round tables. The round tables had white table cloths with a burlap runner, as seen above.

The rectangle tables were pushed together making one super long table covered in a 10 yard piece of burlap. I was pretty proud of my bulk burlap buying. 30 yards from with a 50% coupon and I ended up paying about $60.00 not including shipping. I was able to get 6 runners, two 10 yard table cloths and I still have some left! I hemmed each end and washed and dried them before I put them on the table.

As for the flowers, we originally looked into a florist, only to find out bridal bouquets started at $200. Not a chance I was ever going to pay that much for flowers. We decided to go with Trader Joe’s and ended up with all the flowers we needed for the reception, the ceremony and our bouquets for $60.00, with extra to go. Mr. A’s father also brought down two five gallon buckets of lilacs. We were going to transfer them, but there was just something about lilacs in buckets I couldn’t resist, probably because I’m a classy lady.

Top Right Photo (c) Alexandra Roberts Photography

For about $70 from Rons Home and Hardware I picked up strands of outdoor lights. Paired with lights donated from family and friends we were able to string lights throughout the inside of the tent, and from the tent to the garage.

Photo (c) Alexandra Roberts Photography

Over the course of about 6 months I picked up lighting at Mardens, which in itself is amazing because you can never find the same things within 6 months there. I went with blue/green/natural tone chinese lanterns, sans lights. I simply wanted them hanging for effect. It turns out my sister-in-law had the same exact mini-lights from her wedding which we used too.

For the ceremony we also made a Cord of Three Strands instead of a unity candle. You braid it to represent intertwining God thoughout your marriage. They cost about $40.00 but I made ours for about $10.00 with materials from Joannes Fabric and our garage.

As gifts for my guests, I gave everyone a sample sized bar of my handmade soap. My best friend cut tissue paper from my bridal shower gifts into strips and wrapped every one of those suckers by hand. She is hands down the best ever. You bet our gift table was our back workbench in the garage.

All in all, we had an absolute blast. I loved being able to hand make so much of my wedding and am so thankful for all of the wonderful people who pitched in and helped out like my amazing mother, sister, best friend, husband and tons of friends and family. You’re all the greatest. So on that note – I leave you with a few more details. Pst – note the delicious looking cake. My sister in law and her husband made that for us. Chocolate with bourbon ganache layered and carrot with caramel pecan glaze. Delicious!

Photo (c) Alexandra Roberts Photography

Much Love & DIY,