Home Projects: A Cozy Dining Room

Monday, November 30, 2009

When we moved in, there was this awful wallpaper on one wall of the dining room. The other 3 walls had off white textured wallpaper. I removed it the first weekend we were here.

Wall color before on the left was called Vintage Grapes. This is Warm Caramel.

I was brave and painted an antique mahogany cedar chest shiny black. I lightly sanded it down, primed it, painted two light coats and added a coat of polyurethane. I also did this to a small bookcase (in cherry) built by my great Uncle Ken. I then stacked the bookcase on the cedar chest. The "after" is down at the bottom.

I bought this banner from Etsy's Classicly Amber.

Sorry it is dark. It was taken at 4:30pm in upstate NY...It's quite dark out now.

I love toile. The window treatment in toile, as are my tablecloth (made from 3 yards of Waverly fabric I found at Ontario's LW Emporium for $4.50 total!) and tree skirt.

My little Christmas elves

The boys were having fun looking in their stockings already.

I bought this sign a long time ago...and now have a place where it seems to fit the "vibe" of the room. I am going to paint the shelf black and drill holes on the rack and put small glass knobs in them. I love black painted things...this wood, not so much. It needs a makeover...

Now I can put out the rest of my milkglass and put it against the black for contrast.

When we moved into the house, one room I wanted to get right to work on was the dining room.
With textured off white wallpaper on three walls and patterned wallpaper on an accent wall, I needed to change it. The light fixture also screamed, "This was once in style in the 50s!"

Over the past 5 years we've been here, I have painted the room gold, navy blue, sage, and then lavender. The lavender with crisp white trim lasted the longest at 18 months. I haven't found the right shade for the room's personality.

I loved the lavender, and it was really perfect for the late spring and summer. Since I painted the kitchen and living rooms, as well as the hallway, the lavender didn't seem right anymore.

I firmly believe that each room has a personality. It may sound silly, but it's something I truly believe. For example, the living room is a room full of lighthearted laughter. It's a room we play in, cuddle together in, read books in, write in, use the computer in, etc. It's the room where we all gather when friends come over. I wanted a cheerful, fun vibe to fit the personality of this room.

The kitchen is much the same--very fun and cheerful. I do not want you to come into my house and walk into the kitchen without feeling like you are very welcome to come in and have fun. Serious, formal decorating has a place....and it is just not in this place. I have lots of shabby chic and Paris apartment influences, but the dining room leans more on the traditional meets country side. It's just the room's personality.

The dining room has been denied its true personality for years. It is where we eat together as a family every night. That's the rule in this house--the 4 of us eat dinner together every single night unless we're out together at a resturant. It's a very warm and cozy atmosphere--extremely comforting and full of family traditions and spirit. Therefore, I wanted this to be the one room in the house that is more traditional than the others. When you sit down for a meal in here, you feel comfortable and safe and nurtured.

I painted this room in Glidden Warm Caramel which was color matched to Behr. Behr Premium Plus is what I used in every room, even though the other colors were almost all Valspar, they were colormatched to the Behr. It's low VOC, has virtually no scent at all, and is VERY washable and durable even in flat! I have used Home Depot's greenest paint upstairs in our room and the boys' room, but it is not very durable. The Behr paint also covers and applies like a dream. In fact, only one coat is needed when I use the Behr.

I painted the dining room Friday. It took about 3 hours total. I had already done the ceiling in May 2008. The trim got touched up Saturday with Ralph Lauren Picket Fence White, also colormatched to Behr.

I'll share more pictures this week from other rooms I've finally finished this fall!

Buttoned Up

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Vintage buttons from the 1800s were used to create this bracelet from Alterity.

Vintage button ring from Dana Saylor Designs

The Anna necklace is made of sterline silver and an etched button by Samantha Jean Designs.

Fringe neckwarmer with large button from Luxe.

Banner from Cherry's Jubilee

Button ornaments from GT Cottage Crafts

Vintage sleigh with altered art assemblage is on from Sugar Lump Studio.
On sale now for just $4!

Ornament made from vintage buttons is from The Little Green Bean

Button tree pillow from Natural Accents

Vintage glass jar full of white buttons from Estate Sale Treasures

Just Desserts: Banana Pudding

You must try this recipe! I made this for Thanksgiving as one of my desserts and I make it for the boys because it is really their most favorite dessert.

I had never even thought to try banana pudding until we were living in Savannah and frequented Paula Deen's restaurant, The Lady and Sons. I tried it for dessert one day and it was so good.

Since then, I have tried about 5 or 6 different recipes. None have been perfect, and several contain Cool Whip, which I just don't eat. It contains hydrogenated palm kernel oil and high fructose corn syrup. I also avoid anything with hydrogenated oils as often as possible.

This is the result of several recipes put together and is the one I have been making for about 3 years now. It is just delicious!

You will need:

1 package (8 ounces) of low fat cream cheese
1 pint of heavy whipping cream
1 (3.4 oz.) package of instant vanilla pudding mix
3 cups of 1% milk
2 t. pure vanilla extract
1 (14 ounce) can of low fat or fat free sweetened condensed milk
5 ripe bananas (sliced)
3/4 of a box of Nilla Wafers
2 t. sugar

Slice bananas and crush a small handful of Nilla Wafers.

Soften the cream cheese. When it has softened, beat it until it's soft and a bit fluffy. Now add in the sweetened condensed milk, 1% milk, 1 t. of the vanilla extract, and pudding mix. Beat until it's nice and smooth like pudding.

In a separate mixing bowl, beat the whipping cream. Slowly add in the sugar and remaining vanilla extract. Stop beating when the cream is nice and fluffy.

Fold half of the whipped cream into the pudding mixture and gently combine.

Line a trifle dish with some vanilla wafers. Now add a layer of pudding mixture. Add a layer of bananas. Add a layer of whipped cream. Add a layer of Nilla Wafers. Keep repeating the layers.

Use the rest of your whipped cream that remains in the mixing bowl as your top layer. Add the crumbled Nilla Wafers to the whipped cream.


This tastes best after it has chilled for several hours, although it is delicious right away, too!

Frugal Fridays: Vintage Ornaments for Under $10

Friday, November 27, 2009

Set of two 50s Sputnik Stars from By the Wayside


So pretty in vintage German glass....from The Petite Market


Such great detailing! From The Vintage Attic


I love the golds and pinks in these vintage beauties from Hidden Library


Set of cheerfully charming ball ornaments with patina from Betty and Dot


Silver & green ornament from Dusty Lorraine is from the 50s


I love these little pieces from way back...

From Open Door Studio, $9.50

Vintage glass balls from The Merry Magpie


Disco Pear from The Lovelys is from the 1940s


Set of three golden spheres from Northern Starry Nights


Gifts for Him: Cuff Links


Red lip tint from Flourish, $6

Ravishing red leg or arm warmers from J Diza Clothing Co., $25

This coral and silver ring is pretty, yet bold at the same time. From S & J Design, $9.95
Love this red scarf from Betty & Todd!
These red kimono flats are made to order by Hydra Heart.
I adore Beppies on Etsy! Everything I have ordered from her has been gorgeous. This sterling necklace has gorgeous red crystals and would be lovely for Christmas time!
Red vintage button bracelet from Danica Lichtig, $17
This one is made to measure for the perfect fit! Sandmaiden brings you an organic cotton and soy dolman top
The Mrs. Klaus earring from Preserve Jewelry Studio

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone had a beautiful Thanksgiving! We had a wonderful day and enjoyed our time spent with family and friends.

I planned to get online yesterday to share more recipes, but I didn't have the chance. Later on, I'll post the boys' favorite part of yesterday's dinner: the homemade banana pudding.

It's been busy today. Tom decided he wasn't tired last night and arrived at Toys R Us for their midnight opening. He went there and was in line for several hours, went to Target, and then to Home Depot for a potted pre-lit tree set for the front steps. He didn't get home until 7 o'clock this morning and was still wide awake. He enjoyed the crowds. I am content to shop from the comfort of my own computer chair.

Today I am painting the dining room and will later decorate the Christmas tree. The boys are very excited about that! They're listening to Christmas carols and playing Sequence right now, laughing away.

In other news--I will reopen one week from today and will be offering facial creams, eye cream, and holiday body creams one long weekend only thanks to your requests! Look for last year's popular Nutmeg Creme, House Blend (lemon-vanilla) and Comforting Blend (vanilla-honey-almond). These will be sold in 4 ounce jars. I'm thinking of putting these back up in the shop I had on 1000 Markets until I closed in September.

I have decided to open for a weekend each holiday season to sell the body creams. I am busy making things as gifts anyway, so it makes sense. Facial creams only will continue to be available every couple months to existing customers only.

I will not be reopening in the future for cosmetics and the rest of the product line. This closure has been wonderful for my health, time spent with family, and our life here in general. I am able to enjoy so much more and didn't realize I was missing out on so much! I promised you that I'd keep creams available from time to time and opening every now and then for a couple weeks at a time works very well.

Look for an update about this December 4th-9th ordering opportunity.

I'll be back later on with Frugal Fridays, a recipe, and more!

Have a beautiful Friday!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I sincerely hope you all have a beautiful day. I am thankful for so much. I have a wonderful group of friends and a beautiful family--and I am just so grateful for my husband and boys (and the rest of our family). Family is what it is all about and I am looking forward to later today. I am also thankful for having better health that earlier in the year. I'm thankful for you as well.

I need to head to bed. I've been downloading Christmas songs to my iPod to listen to this weekend when I decorate the house.

As for this beautiful Thanksgiving 2009, I changed my cooking plans last minute. I hope no one here will mind, but I am not making my sweet potatoes with walnuts and bourbon this year (very sweet). I decided to take my Greek roasted potatoes and use the recipe on sweet potatoes and put feta on top. I took them out of the oven about 10 minutes ago and they smell so good!

I think I am going to go a traditional mashed potato. My great Aunt Margie used to make the best mashed potatoes on earth. I can picture her now. She lived here in West Irondequoit and was a teacher at a local elementary school for many years. She was my grandfather's only sibling and I just adored her so much growing up.

Aunt Marg always had her nails painted red, her hair set and curled, and she was just such a loving and warm person. She used to wear a floral apron that I used to think was so "old ladyish." Now you can find them on Etsy and they're just great vintage finds...pieces from that generation. She used to stand in my grandparents' kitchen and she did the potatoes and whipped them to perfection.

I still need to bake the apple pie, but think I'll catch some zzz's and get up around 7 to start the day. I'll try to be back later.

My boys are so excited about watching the Macy's parade and are also anticipating the new Toys R Us and other toy ads so they can add on to their Santa lists. I just love the magic of the season with small children. It's such a wonderful time. I am so thankful for each and every day.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

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