Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday Finds #11: Cleaning out the pole barn

Pat's trying to convert the pole barn into some sort of usable space. It was already full of junk when we moved in, and then we added our own junk to it. We (mostly Pat) have been working over the past month to get rid the items that just can't be used. In the process, I've made all kinds of discoveries.

First, I spotted this old yellow box covered in cobwebs. Something about it being encased in the web kept my curiosity at bay over what's actually in the box. Here's the picture I posted on Snapchat and Instagram.
I'll open it some other time.

I had to stop Pat from just throwing everything in the trash. I can't even imagine the cool bits he threw away when I wasn't out there supervising. Here's what I was able to salvage.
We tried to just get the doorknob, but some of the screws are really stuck in it. So, Pat broke the drawer apart for me. It and the other piece of hardware have some nice patina on them. And, then there was the little book and slip of paper. Had to have those.

Since the dumpster we rented was getting way full, and there was no way to break down a metal desk; we're keeping this rusty one in the yard for now. We think we may use it as a surface for painting in the future.
It's already got some nice splatters on it from who knows where.
And look at that rusty, bubbly-ness. LOVE!

Finally is this large cabinet that did go in the trash. Pat says it's some kind of metalworker's cabinet.
Alas, it was in too bad of shape to be salvageable. I did ask though!

So, that's some of what I've found out here lately. There's still plenty more to discover and uncover. Have you made any fun finds recently?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Staycation

I'm still trying to catch up on the goings on in my neck of the woods. I believe I mentioned that we took some vacation time. It was definitely a staycation as we stayed at home for the majority of it. One of our nieces joined us for just over a week of it. Here's how we enjoyed ourselves.

We spent the majority of the time, almost every day in fact, in the pool. This picture (above) is actually from the 4th of July when we had a big party.

The chickens were often harrassed visited by the niece. She's actually better with them than I am.

Plenty of time was spent in these babies. We really love the hammocks. If I couldn't find Missy May, she was usually found relaxing in one of our eno hammocks. They are so comfortable!

For the 4th of July, Pat got a bunch of fireworks. I couldn't help but giggle at the festival balls.

This was the carnage the next morning after we lit off ours and two other people's fireworks. It was a total blast!

While shopping, we spotted these little 2 inch canvases. Taryn took very little time creating a series of nighttime paintings on them. She asked for more before she even finished all of them.

On her last day with us, we took a drive down to Gulf Shores. Our first stop was at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo. They offer encounters with several types of animals. We chose to check out the sloths and were able to feed the two there. It was very cool.

After the zoo and some lunch, we headed to the beach for the rest of the afternoon. The Gulf felt great and there were plenty of waves to ride our boogie boards. Such a fun day.

The second week of our vacation was less picture-worthy. There was lots of floating the pool and some yard work. We totally took the chance to decompress and just relax.

So, what do you usually do on a staycation?  Are you as literal as we are?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

SAA Feature July

As I'm attempting to get my life back in order after several weeks of working on the magazine, a week of Grand Assembly, and two weeks of vacation; it was time to re-organize and re-stock the booth at Southern Antiques and Accents.

I tried to do a complete clean-out and overhaul.

There was much that stayed where it was, but several items that had been in the etsy shop moved to the booth. Here's a closer look at each shelf (top to bottom).

This first one is so high up (and it isn't even the very top shelf) that I'm hesitant to put much up there for fear that no one can see or reach it. So, these three necklaces sit there.

This shelf is a little more at eye level so I've packed it full of necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.

As this one is a little below eye-level, I've not put much high in it and instead have a sign and a mirror to fill the space.

Close to the bottom are more earrings and necklaces displayed in a variety of manners.

On the very bottom shelf, I have items pushed forward for better viewing. As well, most of the earrings on this shelf are at reduced/lower prices.

Here's one last look at the whole booth.
I think it's inviting and cute, but I'm not sure it garners much attention. What would you add to make it stand out? Do I need to add more color or pack more into it? Should I offer more than just jewelry? I often feel like I'm grasping at straws when it comes to this whole retail thing. I just wanna make stuff, trying to sell it is much harder. What gets your attention at an antique mall?


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sectional Sofa Storytime

All kinds of fun stuff has been happening here on the homefront in the past month or so. Going through the camera roll on my phone has helped me realized that I captured much of it, but haven't shared. Today, let me share the saga of the new couch!

When Pat and I moved into our first place, we had almost no furniture. For several weeks, we actually sat on lawn furniture before finally buying a cheap, unfinished wood futon to serve as our couch. We used the futon for a few years before we inherited a real couch.
My uncle had the couch for quite a few years before we got it. So, by the time we moved into the new house last year it was well-worn. The cushions were sagging, the frame had collapsed (and was held up by 2x4s), the fabric was ripping, and there were stains all over it. We knew it was past time for a new couch. In fact, we went shopping many, many times to look and see if anyone had something like what we wanted.

After the old house finally sold, getting a new couch was at the top of our list. In all of our previous shopping trips, we had only found one couch that met our wants and needs: large sectional (so Pat and I could both stretch out), not leather, dark gray, attached back cushions, etc. Direct Furniture in Foley was our destination. The couch we wanted wasn't displayed anymore, but it was easy enough to order. J Henry Furniture makes the sofa and is based in Mississippi. Unfortunately, because the couches are made to order, it would be 6-8 weeks before our new couch was delivered. We waited on pins and needles, counting down the weeks.

When it was ready, the delivery guys hauled out our well-loved couch before bringing in the three-part sectional sofa. Because our house is laid out oddly, we anticipated some issues but figured it wouldn't be too big a deal. We were mistaken.

The first two sections went in with just a few small issues that re-positioning handled. The final section though. . .
Yup, it landed in the kitchen. Pat and the delivery guys tried everything they could to get it through the kitchen door. But, it just wouldn't go.

Fortunately, there's another entrance to the living room through a storage area. After Pat moved a ton of stuff to get the couch into that area, they realized that the couch was still to large to make it through the doorway.
Off came the door and the door frame. Sigh. However, it worked. The last section was wedged through into the living room after only two hours. The delivery guys received a very generous tip!

For days afterwards the door looked like this.
Pat needed some supplies from the hardware store before he could replace the door and frame completely.

It wasn't pretty, but totally worth it in the end to finally have this beauty of a beast.

Oh, and in addition to picking out the color of the sectional, we were able to select the fabric (from an array of choices) for the six pillows that came with it. I really liked all the colors in this paisley print that we ended up choosing.

It took a few hours for the cats to get used to the couch, but Asia has yet to find a spot on it that she doesn't like.

So that's the tale of the couch that almost wasn't. We've had it over a month now and are still absolutely in love with it. I guess that's a good thing because it looks like it's stuck in here for a while. Have you ever had issues with getting large furniture moved? I'd love to know your stories.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Arugula, Tomato, and Cucumber Pasta Salad Recipe

Last week Pat and I hosted a Fourth of July party. We wanted it to be as casual as possible: bring something for the grill, maybe a side too; come swim and play yard games; we'll do fireworks when it gets dark. Easy peasy. I think it went well.

Since we were hosting, I made three sides: my 'famous' corn casserole, a super basic potato salad (it was really just potatoes, mayo, mustard, relish, and seasonings), and this amazing pasta salad.

I hardly ever make or eat pasta salad because Pat's not a fan of cold pasta. When he goes out of town, I tend to make a batch of this and eat it for DAYS as a meal or a side! Since we were having a summer party, I figured a cold salad would be perfect.

Here's how I made it. Complete instructions are at the bottom. Boil your pasta of choice until al dente. Make sure not to overcook it. You don't want mushy pasta in your salad. Drain and rinse it with cold water when it's done. While that's going, slice grape tomatoes in half and quarter chunky cucumber slices. I would normally peel the cucumbers first, but I knew that there would be some non-cucumber eaters at the party so these needed to stand out from the rest of the salad.

Toss in your feta and Parmesan cheeses, pine nuts, and red onion. You could just use feta, but I have a real love affair with cheese so I can't help but add all the cheese. Also, you're welcome to toast the pine nuts. I wasn't feeling like fussing with the oven myself.

Mix up the dressing

Dump the pasta in with the veggies, and pour the dressing over it all. Stir the whole thing together, cover it, and chill it in the fridge.

Now, I have another confession to make. I have a thing for arugula. When I made this pasta salad for the first time (as a pot luck dish back in the fall), it was the arugula that drove me to do it. Wash and rinse some arugula (in a salad spinner thing). Put it aside until you are ready to serve the salad. If you put it in too early, it could possibly wilt. I just stick it in a zip-top baggie until I'm ready for it.

As I made the salad, I knew there were guests coming that wouldn't eat certain ingredients. One was allergic to pine nuts, some don't like cucumber, onion is an issue for another. I figured if they didn't like the ingredients; they didn't have to eat it. I could have it ALL TO MYSELF! Whahahahaha! (that was my evil laugh). Anyway, the salad did get eaten, some was even taken to other homes. I did have a little left over just for me though. Yay!

Before I give you my recipe for it, I need to tell you that the whole dish was inspired by this Arugula Pasta Salad with Tomatoes recipe from Little Spice Jar.

Arugula, Tomato, and Cucumber Pasta Salad

Ingredients:
1 box of Bowtie Pasta
1 container of grape tomatoes (sliced in half)
1 large cucumber (sliced and quartered)
1/2 red onion (finely diced)
1/4 C pine nuts
6oz feta cheese
1/4 C shaved Parmesan
2 C arugula 

For the dressing:
1/2 C olive oil
4 T red wine vinegar
2 T white balsamic vinegar
3 T agave
1 t granulated garlic powder
1 t Italian seasoning
1/2 t pepper
salt to taste

Directions
1. Boil pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water.
2. Chop and combine in a large bowl the grape tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, pine nuts, feta, and Parmesan. 
3. Mix together dressing ingredients.
4. Add pasta and dressing to bowl. Toss to combine.
5. Chill bowl in fridge. 
6. Wash and rinse arugula. Place in baggie in fridge until ready to serve.
7. Toss arugula into bowl and enjoy!

Feel free to add any ingredients you think this needs and more or less of anything. I'm happy with it as is but did consider adding broccoli (had it not gone bad). I could also see grilled chicken or shrimp in with it. And, while I think it's a perfect dish for summer, I can eat it all year long!

Do you have a favorite 'summer' recipe?

I'm linking up this recipe at the Link Party Palooza 150 on Lil' Luna.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

ZnetShows Creative Spark Summer 2016 Reveal

As I mentioned in my previous goal review post, I'd been busy with the ZnetShows.com e-magazine, Creative Spark. The virtual publication is now live and ready to inspire. I know you've got to come in from the Summer heat at some time, so why not peruse these virtual pages while you're at it? If you're impatient, you can follow this link to go straight to Creative Spark Summer 2016 to see all the designs.
Creative Spark  Summer 2016

While I edit the publication and manage the social media for ZnetShows.com, I'm also a designer for them. So, you'll find some of my designs within the pages. The whole theme for this magazine was to promote some of the new bead shapes and styles. As such, I divided it up by those categories. When I first saw a few of the beads, I immediately saw particular designs.

First up were the cultured sea glass top-drilled teardrop nugget pendants. When I saw the two sizes of the pendants, I knew I wanted to created a layered necklace. It took some finagling, but this beauty finally came together with some tubes and Chinese crystal beads, all from ZnetShows.com.


While I had the jet black sea glass beads out, I decided to play with altering them. Clear nail polish was a quick and easy way to give them some shine. I simply added dots to one side of the teardrop nuggets and a stripe (as best as I could) around the tube beads.


The double-hole flat freeform pendants also struck a chord with me from the first moment I saw them. I just had to make them into bracelets. Initially, I knew that the matte nature of the cultured sea glass leaned perfectly toward casual-wear. Using leather flowed naturally from that idea. It took a little force to get the leather through the holes (because I was too lazy to go find thinner leather), but I totally got these to work. As well, I learned to make adjustable knots so these could fit any number of wrist sizes. Oh, and I couldn't help myself again from altering at least one of them. I simply stamped a text stamp with some permanent ink onto one of the pendants. Because these are flat, it was a perfect base for stamping.


Once the leather ones were made, I decided to attempt to dress up the cultured sea glass a bit. Use of Chinese crystal beads in a rondelle shape made it easy. I used the light aqua 'coke' bottle seafoam-colored glass but wanted to make them match the crystals a bit more. As such, I altered two of the pendants with alcohol inks. The original-colored one is in the center of the picture below. Each of the bracelets work great on their own or stacked together. The construction of them also makes it easy to link all the bracelets together for one long wrap bracelet.


Even after making all that jewelry, I still had plenty of pendants left on my desk. With some E6000 glue, I quickly dressed up a square candle votive from the Dollar Tree. It totally matches the upcycled TV stand in our living room. It's no surprise that that's where the votive now lives.


My designs are just a few of the ones you'll find in Creative Spark Summer 2016. If you want more information on the beads I used, there are direct links to the products inside the magazine. Click over to see more, or use the viewer below to flip through the pages. I know you'll find something that inspires you.


Let me know what you think of the e-magazine and if you have any questions about how I created my designs, please don't hesitate to ask!