October 31, 2012

Boo Art

What seems like forever ago, I ordered two darling signs from One King Lane.  The promise and hope was that they would arrive in plenty of time to serve as decor for the Halloween month.  Well, with only 4 days to spare before the big day, they FINALLY arrived.  Good thing I think they are so presh, else OKL would be getting a gripey phone call about this.  Hey ... there is always next year!
The two signs are by Primatives By Kelly of Lancaster, PA.  They are made of wood and I know will stand up to the durability test to last year after year.  These two were plopped right down in two strategic vignettes that were just itching for a pop of Halloween fun. 
The smaller, rectangle subway art style sign rounds out the space in my curiousities room.  And the long "It's all about the treats" sign finishes off the family room side of my harvest sideboard in the kitchen. 
Who knows where they will wind up next year, guess we will just need to wait to find out!  Happy Halloween, y'all!

October 30, 2012

Ramblin Wreck from Georgia Tech

Straight off a 10 hour flight home from Barcelona (pics of this fab trip forthcoming), Dear Hubs and I headed back to our Alma Mater for the homecoming game; Georgia Tech versus the Cougars of BYU.  The game (and our team) left something to be desired, but we had a wonderful time catching up with a few faces from our college years, scooting over to check out the new football practice facility (which Dear Hubs was in awe of since the facilities weren't nearly so amazing when he played) and then headed to the game.  In tow all along the way was Baby B.  I can hardly believe it but this was his VERY FIRST GT game.  Last year he was too tiny and this year, we just have had too much going on to make it back to the games.  He enjoyed every bit of the tailgating scene and actually made it to half time of the game ... which was a shocking event all on its own!

I just love these pics of Dear Hubs with Baby B at the practice field.  One of these may find it's way to black and white for Dear Hubs' office!

The game was a hit, well ... more specifically the small airplane that flew around the stadium with a large banner advertising free entry to the Cheetah (strip club) was a hit.  Men ....

By half time, 2 sippy cups of water, about 85 graham crackers and a soft pretzel had been consumed.  That was our queue that it was time to head home before the impending melt down due to delayed nap ensued.  We stopped at the Varsity for a quick chili dog and rings on our way north.  I love that place!

Given performance (of our crew not the team), we will certainly be making a repeat appearance for future games with the Yellow Jackets newest fan!

October 22, 2012

Duh ... I Choose Treats

As we are rapidly approaching that grand evening of trick or treat, I realize that I haven't bought my treats just yet (out of fear that we will eat all the good candy before the kids ring the doorbell) and that I haven't shared my treats table decor!

Each vignette for the holiday has a different look and feel.  Some are subtle, some are spooky and some are down right fun!  This one is really fun - treats, glitter, cartoony spooks and anything happy Halloween round out this display!

My entry foyer table has been transformed into a treatfest of sorts.  The large oversized chalkboard originally debuted at Baby B's birthday bash, but I held onto it knowing it would be handy for other events.  The festive garland is comprised of dollar store paper lanterns hung on twine.  Between the lanterns, small pieces if green, orange and pattern ribbon were knotted for a fun, colorful splash. 

The trick or treat eye chart printable was left over from last year, and most of the other knick knacks were fun finds from Michael's, Hobby Lobby and Home Goods over the years.  The polka dot runner is actually a gauze like paper (not fabric) but it has lasted me two years thus far ... fingers crossed Baby B doesn't find it!

The spooky black caldron is filled with bright orange raffia shreds.  Accompanying it are two oversized festive lollipops with gauze covers.  I picked these up last year at Hobby Lobby for a dollar a piece!  The trick or treat wand is new this year ... a find that was to cute to pass up. 

Sitting pretty next to the table, my Union Jack stool has been covered in spooky spider webs and topped with a stuffed pumpkin and oversized glitter spider.  Next to it on the floor sits a black pumpkin with funny bat face.  Shadowy spiders climb the walls in the foyer to round out the look.

Here's to treats, y'all!

October 19, 2012

This IS My Happy Place

As I've confessed, my back porch is, well... my happy place.  Shall I say, it's our happy place.  Much like the kitchen being the heart of the home - this space is a necessary center of our lives when the weather is great here in the south (most of the time).  As I type this, I'm sipping a glass of red wine, covered up in a snuggie, catching up on my tivo .... on my back porch! 
The space is a constant decorator's challenge.  Part dining room, part sitting area and always being decorated for whatever holiday is upcoming.  A few weeks back, before church on a Sunday no less, I whipped up this cutie little sign proclaiming my space. 

Here's how I did it. 
You need:
  • Puffy scrapbook sticker letters. 
  • A canvas
  • Two colors of acrylic paint (small bottles do the trick)
  • A small bottle of crackle paint (same aisle as acrylic at the craft store).
All of my materials, plus a few on hand paint brushes, were sourced from Hobby Lobby and can be found at most any craft store.  Note, the puffy sticker is key so you can find it once you start the paint process.  And, all of my materials were sourced for under about $12. 
Here's what you do:
1.  First, decide what saying you want.  Note, you should really do that BEFORE shopping for the letters so you get the right ones!  They come on a sheet and usually provide ample options.  But ... if you are heavy on "S" or "E" or any other letter, you may need a second set!
2.  Using a pencil, draw (very light) straight lines on the canvas.  This is your guide for the letters.
3.  Start in the middle and work your way out placing the letters spaced evenly to spell out the words on each line.  If you start in the middle and space (I used my finger between the letters) you will be happier with the balance of the overall end result.
4.  Once all letters are in place, you begin with the paint process.  Start with a coat of your first coat of paint.  I used a khaki as the base coat.  For the crackle paint to work, according to directions, you should make sure this first coat is pretty thick coverage.


5.    Let this dry (we went to church here). 
6.  Once dry, apply the crackle medium according to directions.  Let it get tacky to the touch - a few minutes.
7.  Cover over the crackle with the second coat of a different color of paint.  For this, I used black.  Only do a reasonably light / medium thick cover coat and try not to go back over sections if you can help it. 
8.  As it dries, the crackle appears.
9.  Paint the sides of the canvas to finish it out - I did these in solid black just so I have a finished edge instead of a sloppy paint look.
10.  To make the crackling more significant here's a trick ... apply a hair dryer heat to the paint as it dries.  This will make deeper looking cracks. 
11.  Once this is dry, begin removing the sticker letters.  The area under should still be solid white. 
12.  There will likely be areas where you need to "clean up" the letter outline.  Your paint may have peeled slightly or coverage wasn't quite right.  That's ok.  I used a black sharpie to "fill in" the spaces and you can't even tell. 

Now, the canvas proudly fills a cute little corner of the sitting area.  The table, plant and concrete bunny are complimented by another little DIY, the twine basket that I explained back over here
Get happy y'all!  See you on the porch!

October 15, 2012

A is for Apple

Each week, Baby B's little school focuses lessons on a specific letter of the alphabet.  I try my best to re-enforce the learning at home with some sensory use of the letter and examples.  Lucky for me, A came easy for our household.  Not only is fall prime time for apple season, but we found a few great ways to re-enforce that indeed A is for Apple.

The big bowl of apples graces the kitchen counter top.  Not only does it remind us to not go straight for the pantry snacks and to consider this as an alternative, but it's an easy grab for a re-enforcement lesson with B.  Occassionally, I'll grab him and we try making our "a" sound together.  Usually, this ends up with a big mouthful of apple and baby B looking like a little piggy on a bbq with a giant apple hanging out of his mouth!

This week's "a" lesson was perfectly timed for a new recipe I wanted to try for Paula's (that's Deen for those new around these parts) delish apple cake.  It was a smashing success and definitely will be made again and again!  I thought I was being clever by snapping a pic of the finished product as it cooled.  Someone beat me to it and you can see it was well enjoyed by the slice out of the back half in the pic below!  Keep scrolling to the bottom for this FAB recipe!

And then there's the prized bring home from school, baby B's very first school art work.  Awww, my heart melts.  He's growing up way too fast for my taste!  And yes, this pic was taken and the apple picture promptly removed from his clutches.  This is a keepsake, y'all!  Five more seconds with him and it would have been trashed.

Paula's Apple Cake (slightly modified from food.com and the Paula magazine fall 2012)

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups chopped apples ( about 3 apples)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F Grease a bunt pan.
  2. Mix flour, soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon; set aside. Beat oil and sugar until blended. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and then stir in apples and vanilla. Add flour mixture until blended; stir in pecans and raisins.
  3. Transfer to pan and then drop and shake the pan to release bubbles.
  4. Bake 1 1/2 hours until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on rack 15 minutes.  Once cool, remove from pan (I always try to run a spoon or dull knife around pan first before flipping) and dust with powder sugar.

October 14, 2012

The Harvest Bounty

Last week, I shared about our big day at Burt's Farm over here.  It was so very fun for the bigs and littles in our family.  I bet you might be wondering what on earth I did with all those giant pumpkin darlings, right?

Well ... a truckload full of the mini pumpkins, dried gords and corn stalks went on a buffet in the kitchen.  You can't tell from this angle, but there are a few in the planter basket itself on the other side.

The big boys found a home out front.  The two mega-pumpkins were accompanied by three medium dolls.  Two on the steps and three nestled in the front flower bed on top of a bail of hay.  This felt like a nice replacement for the flowers I never got around to planting!  You can see my pumpkin topiaries and the "fall y'all" pillows on the porch from this view (the how to on the pillows is over here).  And yes, that's my decorating assistant cutting the grass (always) on the front walk!  He's a pretty tall little, you can see how enormous those pumpkins are with the scale to him. 

And for good measure, one of the mid sized (smaller) pumpkins was added to the bird bath in the side landscaping.  I just love this one because I can see it first thing every morning when I go outside with the diva dogs, when we play in the yard or when I'm racing like a wild woman down the drive!

One last snap ... Baby B sure does love these rockers.  I just can't keep him off of the front porch.  He always does a little Goldilocks survey of the four big rockers and then selects this one "the "y'all pillow seat" for his just right fit.  Too sweet!


October 12, 2012

DIY White Ghost Pumpkins

I've had the fall bug for decorating for weeks now.  A few posts back, I showed a quick snap of one of my dough bowls filled to the brim with neutral pumpkins, acorns and other fall festive goodies. 

And here's some additional beautifully simple, neutral pumpkins in my fall vignette in the dining room.  This time, festively decked out with black crows for a spooky Halloween feel (for the month of October) and topped off with some celebritory adds for our anniversary celebration (more on that later).

To make the pumpkins ... for SUPER cheap .... I took these terribly neon, tacky dollar store pumpkins and added a few coats of Annie Sloan chalk paint and voila ... a much improved ghostly white pumpkin for a dollar a piece! 
I used Old Ochree paint and it did the trick just to paint a few coats on for full coverage. On a few others, I added Coco paint to the mix to give some depth and contrast.
In just a few easy minutes and some drying time in my garage ... there are white pumpkins a plenty now that can be enjoyed year after year!

Crafty cheap fall decor, y'all!
xoxo, b

Ten Years

It's hard to believe it was ten years ago today that Dear Hubs and I said our "I do's" at Primrose Cottage in Roswell.  It feels like only yesterday. but Lordy ... looking at the pics now - we looked like babies!  I guess it really has been 10 years! LOL. 

And today, these two senior citizen looking peeps are in Napa enjoying a GLORIOUS weekend in wine country.  Pics and juicy details are forth coming once I get the phone to synch! 
Happy Anniversary, Dear Hubs.  Thank you for ten wonderful years and for being an incredible husband and father.  Love you.

October 09, 2012

Pumpkin Patch

We spent the beautiful weekend doing many things in the great outdoors; including our annual pumpkin patch trip.  This year, Baby B was a bit older and much more engaged in the entire patch experience.  As a result ... more fun was had by all as we watched on as he tried to pick up giant pumpkins with daddy, eat every ounce of dirt in sight and do all the things little boys do when presented with a giant field of pumpkins!
This year, we took our trip to Burt's Farm in Dawsonville.  Last year, we tried another local pumpkin hot spot and were dissappointed.  So ... back to Burt's we go!  After stopping for BBQ for lunch, we set out on the adventure!
Burt's Farm is a megaplex when it comes to pumpkin farms and all things fall.  They offer everything from hay rides to fresh baked pumpkin breads and EVERYTHING in between.  While it's very crowded on any given October weekend, the space is really so big that it still feels big enough to carve out your little slice of the farm for pics and such with littles.  I'd highly recommend this spot, not only is it fun for an afternoon, but their prices are affordable and the bounty is always plenty!  

After Baby B was done exploring, we took a moment to attempt (key word) some family pics.  Then, next thing you know ... who do we see but bestie M and her crew of hubby J and little B in tow!  So fun to see these sweet faces!

We held off melt downs from Baby B as long as we could - the sweet boy was way overdue on a nap - and then we loaded up our GIANT pumpkin finds and headed back south to put out our many beautiful fall displays!

Great fun for a weekend and pumpkins all season long!

October 07, 2012

Tennis Time

This is dear tennis S.  AKA Hurricane.   Yes, that giant thing in her hand is a beverage mug.  Heavens only knows how much liquid that thing actually holds, but I will tell you that ALTA rules state you aren't to have a potty break until after the 2nd set (if you go to 3 sets).  I have NO eartly idea how she does that with THAT mug!

Hurricane was given the name for her U of Miami gear she sported at practice by our coach G.  She’s sweet and sassy (mostly sassy) but a fierce competitor.  A lefty like me, I’m proud to have been her partner many of times.  Well, that’s when she was holding up the bottom rungs of the line up with me at line 4 or 5.  But, she’s been practicing and now moved on to greener pastures (and better partners) at lines 1 and 2 and winning there with the Mari's (aka the sisters).  
Like most of our team, we aren’t your normal ALTA Betty’s like we see in the other teams we play.  You know … the one’s that play 10 times a week, stress over their attire, the gossip and every little dramatic detail of their match.  We, on the other hand, have done this too long together to be so high maintenance. 

Ok, I know those that know me well don’t believe for a split second that I’m not “high maintenance”.  I keep it in check and am on the low drama spectrum compared to the sport … how’s that?  And yes, I did attempt to make tennis ball turned pumpkin cookies just a few weeks ago (details here).
Anywho, today, Hurricane shared her tasty sandwich roll recipe (that's what's in the other hand); which I need to try soon and one thing led to another and we were all comparing tips and tricks on everything under the sun!  Who knew the cookie trick of putting your rolled cookie dough back in the fridge before cutting into the perfect cookie also works for pinwheel sandwiches!  Good to know!

In honor of sassy Hurricane, I'm going to dig back through the ole' files and see what high maintenance tennis tablescapes I can find to share.  My network is acting a bit funny right now.  I think there are a few hiding somewhere in the elaborate file system I've developed (that does nothing more than confuse me and lose files!).  To not make anyone dizzy from the tennis overload, I'll share in a series of flashbacks coming soon!

We won all 5 matches today, so here's to a possible trip to playoffs again this season!

October 05, 2012

Soup's On

It's fall ... one of my four favorite seasons!  I love to cook, but on busy weeknights, getting creative and daring in the kitchen requires speed too.  Last night, I made a batch of delish creamy tomato soup.  Garnished with a sprig of fresh basil from the garden, we dined on a delightful "pumpkin" soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for a cozy Thursday night.  The soup even received a (shocking) rave review from Dear Hubs. He went back for seconds and I'm sure is dining on round 3 for lunch today! 


Creamy Tomato Soup
Yields 4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (powdered works in a pinch!)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 - 1 cup white wine
  •  24 oz San Marzano tomatoes (these taste better than other can tomato in my opinion)
  •  1/2 - 1 cup mascarpone cheese

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and saute onion and carrot until tender.  Add herbs.  When cooked throughout, add tomato paste and stir until the veggies are covered in the tomato.  It will be very thick.  You need to move fast at this point so it doesn't burn, add the white wine and cook for about a minute or until the liquid is mostly evaporated.  Follow by the can of tomato, salt and pepper.  The can tomato breaks down almost immediately.  You can use a large spoon to "chunk" up the tomato on the saucepan.   

Remove from heat and let cool slightly.  Transfer to a blender or food processor and puree until all lumps are sufficiently removed and soup is smooth.  Return to saucepan and salt and pepper to taste.  At this step, I added a bit more white wine to thin out my mixture (that's why directions say up to 1 cup).  Add the mascapone cheese and stir until smooth.  The mixture will be a thick, rich orangy red. 

When I make this soup, I go heavy on the red pepper because it gives an interesting zip to the soup.  If you are serving to kids ... you might want to go sparingly on this.

For pumpkin presentation, simply add a sprig of basil to the bowl of soup ... voila ... so festive!

Soup's on, y'all!


October 02, 2012

Best Wishes Sweet A

Some of my girls have been besties and sweet friends since way back yonder.  Many of us were sorority sisters and stayed close through the weddings, babies and life events of the past decade errr...few short youthful years.

You may recognize a few of these fresh faced college girls from my pics of besties today!

A few of us gathered together in Roswell, GA just a week ago to wish our sweet A the fairest of wishes for her wedding to M.  It was a lovely outdoor service at Primrose Cottage, where Dear Hubs and I said our "I do's" almost ten years ago, followed by a wonderful dinner reception.  I just love the location for it's ties to my family generations back, my hometown and also my own special wedding day.  It's a beautiful old antebellum home in a gorgeous little downtown area of this adorable city.  Here's a few snaps of our bride A.

After the ceremony, we claimed our seats in the ballroom.  Table 9 was the destination for most of our crew.  Sorry NYC girls C and K ... y'all had a VIP table all your own. 

We ate all sorts of yummy delights and then said our well wishes to the bride herself.  I just love these girls.

And once everyone's dancin shoes were tired (and my babysitter was ready to retire for the night) ... we grabbed our oh so perfect Krispy Kreme donut favors and headed home. 

Twas a night to be remembered.  Congrats and a lifetime of love sweet A and hubby M.  We love y'all!
~ xoxo, b