Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Send Her Love

If you have a free moment, please go visit my Bestest and give her a little love today. She's been in the infertility train for a very long time and is having a particularly rough day. Her grace and ability to put her trust in God is so inspiring. Read the top two posts and give her a little sugar.

Five Minutes To Strawberry Peach Pie

OK so I didn't really make this pie start to finish in five little minutes. But I did only spend five minutes attending to it last night. Here's how.





First it requires preparation. I made these pies last week and went ahead and made an extra batch of pie pastry then. I do that a lot. Make once, eat twice. I might make cook two pork loins but freeze one to eat as a quick meal later. Do the same with pie dough. And take it a step further, divide the dough (one recipe makes two crusts- top and bottom) into individual crusts. Double wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze for up to two months. Defrost in fridge for a few hours before using. Put the effort in one time and reap the rewards for much longer.


I also use frozen fruit a lot. Really with one exception, apples, I am totally peachy with using frozen fruit. I will only ever use fresh apples. But everything else is nearly as good frozen, either from a store or that I freeze myself. You just need to defrost the fruit first. It's as simple as dumping the fruit into a bowl and letting it defrost in the freezer while you are at work.



OK, so now that we know some of my prep ahead secrets, here is how I made this fabulous pie in five minutes.


In medium bowl, mix about 4-5 cups of defrosted or fresh fruit (this is a guess- you can make it as large or small as you want), a few tablespoons of sugar (depending on fruit sweetness- mine was sweet so I only used about two), a dash of salt and about one tablespoon corn starch.


Roll out a single pie crust that you defrosted that morning. (See my step by step tips here.)
Transfer crust to foil, parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet. Spoon fruit in center of crust, omitting any excess liquid in the bowl. Fold up the sides. If the sides are bigger than you need, just trim them with scissors or a butter knife. You want to see the fruit. This is a rustic galette so it does not need to look perfect.


Mix up an egg in a small dish. If you don't have an egg, you can easily substitute milk, cream or even water. Brush the folds where the pastry overlaps with the egg. This acts as a glue. Brush the top crust with egg too. Sprinkle damp crust with sugar to give it a shine.
Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. Allow to cool before eating. Eat plain (my preferred way), with fresh whipped cream or with ice cream (makes me gag but I know that is a popular choice).


I used a half bag of peaches and a small bag of organic strawberries. A fabulous flavor combination. And while the baking takes a while. It took five minutes or less to roll out one crust, mix the fruit and dump it in the middle. A great summer treat. Especially if you are like me and trying to hold on to every last skinny minute of summer.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Coming Soon




It's coming soon! To your local book shelf. And right here with a giveaway! So stay tuned. And pop on True Prep's Facebook page to get the most up-to-date details. I am so excited to finally get this gem in my hot little hands as it promises to be a fabulously fun read!!


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Why Did You Start A Blog?

I've told this story before a few times but I know I am always curious to learn how and why people started their blogs. Since I have a lot of newer blog pals, I thought it might be fun to again share how I found my way into Blogville. I'd love to read your stories too!




Years ago I was googling something about monograms. I don't remember what exactly but I know I used the word monogram in a google search. And found Monogram Momma. I had no earthly idea what this website was but I was hooked on her great tutorials. I don't think I had any clue what a blog was at that point. I thought it was a craft website of sorts. But then over a week or two, I popped on rather frequently and realized she talked about her life a lot too. What was this mysterious website thingy?! Then I noticed that she had links to other places (or she did back then). Stores perhaps, I thought. I am always on the hunt for fabulous grosgrain ribbon so I clicked on Grosgrain Garage. Assuming it was some sort of magical grosgrain ribbon shop. It wasn't. Still isn't, though she does sell some very fabulous things. It was another website thingy. Honestly I didn't understand what I was looking at. I found Mel and Cloggsy and others, several of whom no longer blog. Eventually I realized these were blogs. It took me a loooog time to figure that out though.


So after reading for a few months, I decided I wanted to play with the cool kids too. Like everyone else, it was slow going at first. I never knew what to talk about and was nervous as all get out. I didn't know anyone who blogged so I figured no one would ever find this thing. I gave it a terrible name if I hoped to stay anonymous though. Ha. So a few months into blogging, I finally confessed of my sins...I tease...but I did finally tell someone. My Bestie. She thought I was nuts at first. But of course read. And got hooked. And started her own blog shortly thereafter. That's how we roll. It was the same way for Myspace- which we have both since abandoned for Facebook of course. Though while that subject is on the table, there were some things I liked a lot better about Myspace than Facebook. Moving on...


The thing about me remaining anonymous was of course a bust after I told Bestie but we both did a fairly good job at keep our blogs between us for a bit. Until eventually some of our friends mentioned that they read our blogs. Which freaked me out. Not that I said anything terrible. But I still felt very nekkid. It took me a long time to come around to people I know in real life reading this little blog. It's so dumb sometimes. And I whine. And I sew. A lot. All of my dorkiest things are displayed on the blog. Geeze, come to think of it, why do y'all even read?! But a year or so ago I came around to the idea and now I don't really care. For the most part. Sort of. No, with one exception (the kids I advise), I don't care. And if they found out, I would probably be fine. I hope. I don't know why they would read anyway. Oh but I also started telling people about the blog. I think all of my friends at least know about it. Most don't read it, even though they know. Which is fine. Except when I have to repeat a story four times. And then I just want to say, please just go read my blog.


I've thought of quitting 100 times. I've thought of going private, starting a new (and truly anonymous) blog, turning off comments and deleting old posts. But in the end, I am still here and still plugging away. I used to worry about writing a fabulous blog post so much that they all turned out flat and boring. Now I just type. Usually add some photos. And still read many of the first set of blogs that got me started. Except now we are all on FB too. And I've met a few fabulous bloggers in person. One has even become a dear friend- like in person friend who I see regularly. That blog post is coming soon. But this blog shows the truth about me. Maybe not the whole truth. A girl has to keep a few things private and personal. And really really wants to avoid the nasty comments that have come her way in the past. But this is me. Win, loose or draw. And I honestly cannot imagine my life without this blog. It's part creative inspiration, part recipe box, part secret shopper, part drug (Lilly Pulitzer) dealer, part circle of best friends, part diary, part mass email to keep my IRL friends up to date in my life and part therapy session. It's a little online sorority where we pop our collars and serve cocktails and make pie in monogrammed aprons that we bought on a budget. I love it here!


So tell me, what brought you to Blogville?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Some Great News

I finally got my computer and printer to get along. And print. On command (or you know, when I click print).

Oh you thought I found a man a got married? No, no silly gooses! But figuring out technology all on my very own is a mighty big accomplishment for this technology idiot. So, all hope is not lost. It turns out I can do some things in life. And seeing as how I need to print some stuff out, I'm all smiles!

Oh and I also had a great dinner. The salad from Target that has the chicken and dried cherries and walnuts and goat cheese. Have y'all had that? OMG so good. I'm serious. The next time you are running errands, it makes a great lunch or dinner.

This is me focusing on the positive. The happy little things in life. Like Target salad and printing meeting agendas.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Exactly Two And A Half Years



This week was a milestone week for me. Not in a good way though. Or not in my opinion anyway. Tick tock tick tock is all I flippin' hear. Loudly. Constantly.





There is not a day that passes lately when I am unaware of the clock. The clock I didn't even know I had until I was 29 years old. But I went from not knowing it existed to being keenly aware of it every waking moment of my day (and some sleeping moments too).





I want so badly to be a momma. Without a shadow of a doubt, I know it is what I am supposed to be. Or what I most want to be. I sort of think it's all like Jimmy Buffet says, "there's a fine line between Saturday night and Sunday morning." Or in this case, really really really wanting something and knowing it is my destiny.





I soft of feel like I am being punished for not wanting to be a mother earlier in life. But come on, y'all know what my childhood was like. It's not like I really knew that kind of love. Plus, coming to this conclusion at this point in my life, seemingly out of nowhere, has to be a sign that it really is from my heart of hearts. Not something I would agree to do to fulfil any sort of role. Though I am totally not the role filling kind of girl anyway. And not that everyone who grew up know they wanted to be a parent is filling any sort of role. I'm just saying that for me, it came out of the blue sky. Ask Bestie. I never wanted kids. And now it consumes me.





Nearly all of my friends have kids. And all but one of my 10 closest friends are married. I have no... not even one... unmarried friends up here. They are all married. And while I can live with the never getting married part (don't want to but I've gone this long so what's the rest of my life?), I feel so left out of the becoming a mother part. I don't know how exactly to make it all fall into place. And plus, who doesn't really want to have "it all?!" I was raised to believe I could have it all and dammit...I want it ALL!



This week was my half birthday. Which means nothing except for the fact that it marked the passing of the two and a half year mark. Two and a half years to what, you ask? Two and half years until I am officially and medically old. Two and a half years until I turn 35. Two and half years until doctors everywhere put me in an entirely new box. (It has taken me days to type this out by the way because I have to stop and cry. Truly that upsetting to me!) It's not the growing older that I fear so much. It's growing older and being alone and never reaching my goals. I was always a great student. But I imagine this is what it must have felt like for the kid who got left back a grade in school and then still had to take the special help classes. I somehow went from promising academic scholar to wearing the dunce cap.






For the record, I write this blog for myself. Not to get pity and certainly not to get rude comments. I needed to unload this from my head. It was heavy and now I can just store it here for a bit and focus on happier topics. But if anyone else has walked in my shoes, I could use some advice this week. Or a good story. Turning 30 was very hard for me but turning 32.5 this week was nearly as difficult.


Damn clock. Stupid age. Why are women old at 35 but men are spry into their 60's? Being a girl is hard sometimes!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Easy Appetizers

So I volunteered to help make a bunch of appetizers for a cocktail party that my dad was co-hosting. Something to do with several local historians and another being in town and blah blah blah. I'm a good daughter though so I said I would cook. My plan was simple. And like everything else in my head, the reality was so much bigger than the plan. Haha.


Dad requested two favorites, meatballs and brie. Those are both super easy. For the meatballs, buy a few bags of turkey meatballs at the grocery store, add a jar of your favorite tomato sauce and cook in the crockpot. This is great for meatballs subs or with toothpicks as an appy. Brie is simple too. Unroll a tube of crescent rolls, place wheel of brie in center, add some preserves on top (I used some of my homemade peach seen below that I made a few weeks ago), fold up sides so they pinch together, bake until golden brown and serve with crackers and apples.





Thank goodness for my trusty helper! She sits underneath my feet, always willing to offer up her taste-testing services.


Next up was this recipe.

Mine turned out a bit different. But it was super delish all the same. Because I was making five pizzas though, I did much of the work ahead of time. I par-cooked the dough. Rolled them out as usual and baked them as usual. But only for five minutes. Then I let them cool and kept them in the fridge for a day. But I love the idea of doing a few like this and keeping them in the freezer. Then you just add your toppings and bake as usual for another five minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Onions and pears. The smell was amazing!




Add the arugula and spinach (I couldn't find just plain arugula in the two stores I went to).



Wilt down. At this point I let it cool and stored it in the fridge for a day. I am all about the prep work so I have as little as possible to do the day of any event. But if you are eating it that day, go ahead and top your pizza and bake.





This was a baby pizza I made for myself after I handed over my handiwork to dad.




I also made stuffed jalapenos (I will find the blogger who inspired them and link). I reserved one for myself and cooked it up tonight. And. I. Hated. It. I am mortified that I sent along 40 of these bloody evil things! I seeded them as directed and they are still hotter than hades on a bad day! I didn't even taste the cream cheese or bacon. My mouth was ON FIRE! So that was clearly an epic fail and I feel terrible that innocent people probably ate them.

The stuffed mushrooms were fabulous though. And easy. Core mushrooms, fill with desired filling, bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.

Filling I used:
Cream cheese block, small can (drained) baby shrimp, a few scallions chopped up, one minced garlic clove, salt and pepper to taste. This would make a delightful dip with bread or veggies too.

Make ahead tip. I actually made both the peppers and mushrooms a week ago. Then I set them on a cookie sheet in a single layer and stuck them in the freezer. Once frozen (a few hours later), I tossed them in a baggie and back into the freezer. A great idea to keep emergency appetizers on hand or to make ahead. You don't need to defrost to bake them. Straight from freezer to cookie sheet to oven.



I also made my squash bruschetta. And three strawberry galettes (a rustic pie). Here's a chance to use your pie skills, friends! No pie dish necessary. I altered the recipe a bit but the inspiration came from this blogger.
As they were cooling I noticed they were not as "pretty" as I had hoped. The berry shine baked right out. So I again used my homemade preserves, this time strawberry. Heated a few tablespoons in the microwave to warm up and brushed them on the berry part. You can see the difference in these photos.

Before- this is one just out of the oven.




This one is half glazed- can you see the difference between the left (glazed) and right?




And here we go, fully glazed. It only takes a few seconds and a tiny bit of jam but it really makes a big difference.


I made my whipped cream different from her recipe too. I dumped a big thing of heavy cream in a large container a few days ago and stuck in a bunch of basil. Then today I poured the cream through a strainer. Whipped the cream and added some sugar. The hint of basil give it a really wonderful flavor. It's not overpowering but enough of a difference to make you notice (though my dad just called to give me the report and he said he didn't actually notice but liked it all the same). Try it. I promise you'll love it!





Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Really Want This


I really really really want to win this. I have already thought of 998 things I will absolutely do with it the first week it comes to live with me. But I suppose you can enter too. Just know, that I will win. OK?

Chippy

I nearly forgot to show you a photo of my first fabulously fun find at my beloved new grocery store. Okra chips! I don't know if they are fried or dehydrated and then fried or what but they are hilarious. And delicious. Don't they just make you think "must have those now!"? No? Well I think they are fun nonetheless. I think I am going to love love love my fancy pants new market!









Monday, August 23, 2010

Made In America

Girls, I have a project and I need your help. Do you know of baby onesies (bodysuits) that are actually made in America? I know that American Apparel is but their prices are so much higher (from what I see online anyway) than others sold in Target, etc. The woman at Carters said they are not made in the USA but she didn't know where they were made. Doesn't matter to me as I need only American made for this particular situation. Gerber makes theirs in one of three Asian locations. Do y'all know that Lilly Pulitzer is all manufactured in Asia too? It's so much more difficult than I expected to find reasonably priced baby onesies that are from our 50 nifty! So if you know of a brand or a place to buy American Apparel without the crazy high prices, please please please let me know!! I'm in a time crunch and just assumed one of the two named above was actually made in America.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Up And Gone

This is a random thought but does anyone know if the following bloggers are still around but using new blog names? Several of my favorite bloggers from way back when have been missing for years in some cases. I miss them!

* Connecticut Charm
* Europa Fox
* Cori (I forget her blog name- it was a long name- she and her hub were adopting the 3 daughters of her late cousin and she had the most fabulous sense of style)
* Magnolia Belle

Saturday, August 21, 2010

It's Here, It's Here, It's Finally Here!

On of my biggest complaints about living up here is the lack of shopping. Let me be a big baby and list just a few of the stores we do not have even remotely close to me. We don't have Nordstrom, Saks, Neimans, Whole Foods, Sutton Place, Trader Joes, Tory Burch, Lilly Pulitzer, Kate Spade, Papyrus, and many many more. I live in the Captial Region but we are completely snubbed due to the small populations around these parts. The local paper figured that we won't get an Ikea for at least another 20 years at least. Which is fine by me as I don't get turned on by Ikea or stores that big. But just for a frame of reference.

Now I don't live in the boonies but it is a relatively small area. We make do though. And really truly appreciate when new establishments make their way this far north. People are still thrilled about the LL Bean that arrived years ago. We are a grateful people. Tehe.

So a year ago when it was announced that The Fresh Market would be coming to my area- actually down the street from my regular grocery spot- it was beyond thrilling! I don't think I have ever actually been to this particular brand of store but I knew it was along the lines of Whole Foods/Sutton Place/Trader Joes. And I was counting down the days. The sign has read September for months. Imagine my delight when I drove by today and saw the parking lot full of cars and people. I made a quick turn into the lot and had to park forever away - it was packed. A great sign if we want more stores like this to come to our area!





Only a blogger would take photos of a visit to the grocery store! I mean, I'm ridiculous!

The place was packed. People everywhere. Which is not my thing. Normally I would turn and leave immediately. I don't do crowds. Especially when grocery shopping, something I dislike to begin with. But seeing as how I had been waiting with baited breath for this store to open, I grabbed a baby cart (love them!) and made my way for a viewing. I need to take a photo to show you one of my purchases. Okra chips! So fun! I can't wait for schools to start so I can go back. I figure shopping on a Tuesday evening will be better once the kiddos are back to early baths and bedtimes.

Some of the bulk items! My favorite thing about these stores! Plus I love how pretty everything looks. Things are efficient but not at all pretty in Price Chopper (equal to a Publix or Kroger for those down south). I will still do the bulk of my shopping at the PC of course. Better prices and more options. But I am thrilled to bits to have The Fresh Market's produce and prepared foods and bulk grains sections just down the road.

This was my favorite part in the whole store. Or what I saw of the store with a zillion people and children mucking about (read: in my way and bugging me on such a special day in my store!). This fabulously organized unit is full of spices. Totally fun and gorgeous. I love how organized it looks with the colors and labels and whatnot. You know you're a goober when a spice rack is the best part of your day!

Friday, August 20, 2010

How I Made Over A Sorority House On A Tight Budget

So here's the scoop. The sorority does not own this house. We lease it from a fraternity (they are not currently on campus). It is not our ideal chapter house by any means. But it's what we have right now and we have to make it work. I did not pick the paint color. It was chosen by someone else. Years ago. I loathe the paint color. It's fleshy. It might not look that bad in the photos given that most were taken at night. But trust me when I tell you it is the color of flesh. It's creepy and gross. But I had a very limited budget. And it was either paint the many colors of furniture to match or paint the walls. So the flesh is still there. And still gross. But I am hoping that everything else in the room takes away a bit of the creep factor. And I hope to be allowed to paint soon. Even the molding is that dreadful color. Ugh. This whole re-do really was a work with what you have project. Including paying for labor to move furniture for a few hours, this was done for about $800. It would have been less if I didn't need help moving stuff. But damn, furniture is heavy!!








AFTER



This is the shelf in the front foyer. I had actually removed about 1/3 from the before photo too. But this is the after. Again, not my chosen shelf. It was there already. But I think I did a good job editing down. I bought out two Wallmarts worth of those plate/frame stands. They really make a big difference in display areas. The middle shelf (with the flag) is dedicated to a sister who passed away several years ago as an undergrad. Very sad but nice they still do a good job remembering her. The red compote dish is inexpensive glass from a thrift shop. I just needed something with a punch of color on there. It can be seen from the living room just to give you a reference.




BEFORE

This is the mantle in the dining room before. Could they fit more fake flowers up there? I had actually removed about five candles before I remembered to take this shot. This mantle is not original to the house, though it is in the old part of the house. I think it was likely added in the early 1900's though. The white doorway to the left leads to the living room so this actually cannot be seen from the foyer or the living room. The three wood letter tiles originally had plaster tiles with the fraternity letters in them. They removed them and made those wood tiles. They are quite clever in person but challenging because there is tiny writing on each of them.


AFTER



Mantle after. Because of the tiles, I could only justify a few bolder pieces. The green leaf plate was a Big Lots purchase. I like the shape and color it adds.



BEFORE

Star before. Baby blue. Bought on sale at Big Lots. I just liked the size of the thing.



AFTER



Silver thanks to spray paint.




BEFORE

I took two of these fabulously 80's pink lamps and gave them a little spray paint make-over.




BEFORE

Close up of the miserable pink lamp. The color reminds me of the Golden Girls home. In the worst possible way.




AFTER

Lamp all shiny and new.




BEFORE

Everything in the house is hung about six inches from the ceiling. And these are 12 foot ceilings, mind you. There were two others on this wall but the 3 x 5" frame up at the ceiling line is my personal favorite. It's not even of an actual photo- just some cheapy poster art from Walmart. Not that it mattered as it couldn't be seen from the ground level anyway. Ha.



BEFORE

Another fabulous example of a cheap cardboard poster hung inches from the ceiling. Oh college kids!



BEFORE

There was a giant pool table (left over from the frat) in this space. That was never once used by my girls. So after a year of pleading with our (fraternity) landlords, I had it removed. But they then just used the space to store bikes (don't get me started!) and crap. Notice the floodwater black curtain!




BEFORE

This love seat just appeared in our basement with all the other random furniture down there. It's actually very nice- looks brand new. But the green color, while nice, didn't match my room. So it gained a nice tan slipcover.




BEFORE

Small coffee table before. I also fixed the legs that were about falling off.




BEFORE

I bought this awesome frame with nice mat and glass for $5 at a local thrift shop. The art was ugly but the frame was totally worth a little elbow grease.




AFTER

No more ridiculously high wall art. This is the small coffee table I painted. I actually painted LOTS of tables but this is the after shot of the one shown above. And the formerly green love seat. I wanted a matching slipcover for the grey sofa but I accidentally bought two love seat covers. I tried to exchange the extra love seat cover but they were suddenly sold out of the sofa size in all area stores. I don't think the grey looks terrible though so I am OK with it staying that way until I find the matching slip cover.




AFTER

There is a coffee table back in the corner to fill that awkward space. One of the new silver lamps sits on top of a giant art book on top of the table. The framed art work is actually quite nice and from a thrift shop. Decent frame, mat, glass and nice signed watercolor. And I made the framed letters above. Glass and frame are from a thrift shop. The red fabric behind the letters is leftover curtain fabric.





AFTER


See the framed print over the grey sofa? That's the $5 thrift frame with the southwest print. I replaced the print with some fabric. Well actually, that's not the full truth. At first I thought I could replace it with my own painting. Painted at 1AM in between sewing curtains. But when I awoke the next morning, I thought a toddler came into my home and left me a painting. Bad! So then I remembered this fabric. The colors are perfect. It has sort of an Asian monkey theme. I love how large the frame is. Really helps to bring some red over to that side of the room to balance out the giant red furniture.




AFTER


This is the only thing I am not thrilled with. The chair is not staying. But I ran out of time and budget to find something else. So it's really just a fill in until I find something better. I wanted a bench but didn't find one in my price range. Yet. Oh I am on a roll now and am getting so great at bargain hunting. I will find something great to go there before the semester is over! This is the same window that I indicated the floodwater black curtains above. Big change! Notice how much higher the drapery rods are too. I actually now wish I hung them higher but I hemmed them to length already so for now they are staying put. They are half way in between the ceiling line and the old rods. And I overlapped the drapes by a few inches to help conceal just how low the windows are. Not sure if you can really see all that from this photo.





BEFORE

Once again I forgot to really take a before photo. I had already cleared stuff off here. But you can see all the books and some candles (which they cannot burn so they are decor or as I call them, dust collectors) and collage photo frames (my pet peeve). Ha- and my pink and green Bean bag of course!



BEFORE


The red love seat was in front of a window. The black TV unit blocked the other window. Not to mention the black curtains on the crappy rods that didn't allow for easy open/close. It was a bat cave in there. Oh and let's just go ahead and discuss the red furniture. That was purchased before my time. My dad said it reminded him of (and excuse me if this offends you) whorehouse red. I am not as bothered by the color as I am the style, as it reminds me of sort of a Gothic theme. Either way, not great. But the furniture is in very good condition and is steam cleaned regularly. So they stayed. Remember, I was in a work with what I had mode.




AFTER

I flipped the red love seat and the red chaise. I painted that table. The chest holding the TV was scavenged from the basement. They never used it. The shelf with the DVD and cable box were there from the fraternity. Ugly. But if I removed them, I would have had huge spots without paint. They became useful in the end anyway. There is a small red step stool that I found in the dollar section of Target so that shorter sisters can actually reach the DVD player. This window with the chaise used to have the love seat directly in front of it, blocking most of the natural light. The other window on the right had the giant black TV center next to it, blocking most of that natural light.





AFTER

Found this art piece at Big Lots too. It's cheap- the frame is some sort of plastic I think. But unless you touch it, I swear you can't tell. And it does have glass in front so that helps to give it more presence. I just liked the colors and size. That table with the attached lamp was in the house already but it was falling apart and oak. Took it apart, painted it (biggest pain out of all the furniture to paint!) and had my dad put it back together. Again, not a great piece of furniture. But it was a big improvement over it's before. And it fits nicely in that space. There are no ceiling lights in this room so all lighting has to come from the windows and lamps.





BEFORE

This is the stone wall corner before. Actually not really before. I suck at remembering to take before photos. See how the black shelf and the top of the TV entertainment stand are all cleared off? Now try to visualize them packed with tchotckes and papers and who knows what. And take note of the black curtains and how well (laugh) they are hung. Also notice that they are completely different from the black curtains in the other photos. We had three different sets of curtains on these oddly small windows. Two of the sets were highwaters. Bonus!




AFTER

The red section from behind. I'm not sure if it really comes across as different in these photos but I promise it is!




AFTER

I could live without these shelves but I know they girls like the idea of having personal photos and whatnot. But I moved them to this corner and edited big time. They include some of the most recent awards, a very few photos, some old trophies that I thought were fun, and other decorative touches. That large red platter is from either Walmart or Target. Less than $20 and adds a nice punch of color against all that dark. I did leave three small things of fake yellow roses. I abhore fake flowers and dead (dried) flowers. But I tried to recognize that I don't actually live in this house. And they like them. So those three bits are my compromise. The silver vase/urn thing is another thrift find. I liked it so much I wanted to keep it for myself.





AFTER

The star has no special meaning. I just liked the size and price and whimsy. That wall is so dark that it just needed a little light and shine. Though looking at this photo I am not sure I like the color. It might change at some point if I feel so motivated.



The girls won't see it until they move back in tomorrow and I am beyond nervous that they will be up set and hate it. I made this work on a very tight budget that included hiring a guy to help move furniture. I think my dad also spent close to 10 hours helping me. And I spent about 60 hours on everything from sewing to painting (oh my word, I spent about half that time painting!). If they hate it tomorrow, I won't be able to let that roll off my back. I am actually very sensitive (not the best character trait) and will be heartbroken if I spent this much time on something people hate. Cross your fingers!

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