Yard work and outdoor home improvement projects are great opportunities to spend quality time with your pets. My little dog, Piggy, is a my gardening buddy and constant friend. He will happily spend hours in the yard while I plant flowers and work around the house. That’s my boy!
Monthly Archives: May 2013
More Fun with Spray Paint–A Little Rust-oleum Changes Everything
I came across a new shade of aqua spray paint–called Seaside–by Rust-oleumat Home Depot when I was shopping for paint for my colorful spring porch makeover and couldn’t resist it. So I bought six cans for a future project. Since I was in a spray painting mood last weekend, and I was dying to paint something aqua, I painted this iron nautilus bench and side table for my back yard.
This color practically glows in the early evening light. Throw on a coordinating pillow or two and you have a colorful and comfy spot to sit down and enjoy your garden.
The aqua and white pillow is from Pottery Barn’s outdoor pillow collection. I’ve used this pillow inside and outside. I just throw it in the washer when it gets dirty and it’s good to go for another season. I used three cans of paint for this project. I can use the remaining three cans to repaint this furniture when it gets battered by the elements, or I can find something else to paint. Hmm, what else needs a coat of aqua? Let me think…
Making an Entrance Part III–Colorful Porch Makeover
Hi everyone. I hope you enjoyed the long Memorial Day weekend. My brother and I spent all three days power washing and painting my front porch. It was a ton of work. Everything got a fresh coat of paint. Painting the rafters, porch pillars, railings, and all those spindles took forever but it was well worth the effort. Just look at this sparkly clean porch.
Does this say welcome to my house, or what?
I really love my freshly painted purple front door (deep amethyst by Glidden) and chairs (grape by Rust-oleum).
And this colorful custom-made tulip bouquet by TwoInspireYou at Etsy.com is perfection.
The porch is coming together very nicely but I’m STILL waiting for the pink and white chevron rugs from Dash and Albert to arrive. Come on slow pokes, at this rate summer will be over before you know it. When companies advertise new outdoor rugs they should be ready for delivery by spring, not the fall and winter season.
In addition to the rugs, I still need to add some live plants and flowers, but that’s a job for next weekend. This solitary plant was all I had available for my photo shoot.
These gorgeous ruffled and micro-fiber pillows are indoor pillows, but I couldn’t resist the scrumptious colors and textures, and my covered porch should shield them from the elements for the most part. Sometimes you have to be creative and flexible to get the look you want. The colorful flower pots were a gift from my mom several years ago. She bought them at the local dollar store. What a find!
And the best part of all my hard work? Enjoying a home-made iced mocha (get the recipe here), a snack, and a good read on my comfy and colorful new porch–and meeting all the neighbors who stopped by to introduce themselves and take a peek while I worked. I hope I’ve inspired them to make the most of their outdoor spaces and banish beige wherever it’s lurking. Be gone, you drab non-color!
Baby Mushroom Fairy
I haven’t posted a painting in a while because I’ve been so busy with home maintenance and repair projects. I had an hour to spare this evening so I kept this painting sweet and simple. This painting is based on tutorials in Linda Ravenscroft’s books, “How to Draw and Paint Fairyland” and “How to Draw and Paint Fairies.”
Colorful Spring Tulip Bouquet for My Front Door
Rainbow Zebra in Watercolor
How awesome is this watercolor painting? My daughter painted this rainbow zebra last night. She used a variety of different types of salt–table salt, sea salt, and kosher salt–to achieve the texture. Traditional table salt results in more subtle texture and coarse salt results in a larger, bolder texture. To create these textures, she sprinkled the wet paint with salt, which displaced the water and resulted in the texture you see above. I love how she encouraged the rainbow stripes to pool into the zebra’s mane and merge together randomly. She used a fan brush to create the texture in the mane and to spatter paint on top of the painting. Well done, my girl, well done!
Pretty Flowers for My Front Door
I just ordered this custom-made flower arrangement by TwoInspireYou at Etsy.com to hang on my front door. But instead of pink tulips, I chose the colors in the second photo. I can picture this colorful arrangement hanging on my freshly painted purple door. I can’t wait for it to arrive. I still have to power wash and paint the front porch and I’m STILL waiting for the rugs to arrive. I need to find some fun/colorful accessories, plant more flowers, set out the pillows, and sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labor with a magazine and cold glass of iced tea.
Making an Entrance Part II–Front Door Makeover
I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day. I spent the day with my mother, daughter, brothers, sister, and their families. The entire family went out to dinner to celebrate. It was quite a challenge to seat all 20 of us together, but we managed to pull it off.
Afterwards, my daughter bought me flowers at a local nursery and helped me plant them in the garden. I finished off the day by painting my front door Deep Amethyst by Glidden. It was a bold color choice and I was a bit nervous to make the change but I’m thrilled with the end result. If you could throw caution to the wind and paint your door any color you want, what color would you choose?
Braised Short Ribs
It’s been cold and rainy this week, so cold that I’ve been craving a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs type of meal. So I turned to this recipe for braised short ribs that my mom made frequently when I was growing up. It’s simple to make, smells amazing while it’s baking, and tastes even better. This recipe is comfort food at its best. I like to serve braised short ribs with mashed potatoes and spoon the vegetables and sauce on top of the potatoes. Look for boneless short ribs at your supermarket if you can find them because it makes eating this dish a bit easier. I grab boneless short ribs as I find them and freeze them for later use. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make braised short ribs:
Braised Short Ribs Ingredients
- 3 lbs. beef short ribs (preferably boneless)
- 3-4 tablespoons flour (enough to coat the ribs)
- 3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil (enough to brown the ribs on all sides)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 can (28-oz.) diced tomatoes with juice
- 1/2 cup carrots, thinly sliced
- 1 cup onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup celery tops, chopped (the celery leaves really make this dish)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons additional flour (to thicken the broth)
- Dredge the short ribs in flour and brown them on all sides in a frying pan coated with hot oil.
- Place ribs in a 9 x 13″ baking pan.
- Drain off excess oil from the frying pan, keeping the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Return the pan to the heat. Add water and bring to a boil, scraping the browned parts off the bottom of the pan.
- Add the remaining ingredients (except flour). Bring to a boil. Combine flour with enough water to make a thin paste. Add slowly to the boiling mixture, stirring constantly until thickened.
- Pour the vegetable mixture over the short ribs in the baking pan. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the meat is fork tender. Serve with hot mashed potatoes or hot cooked rice.
Ladle into a bowl, spoon the vegetables and sauce over the mashed potatoes, and enjoy!