Making a dining room interesting...

Monday, October 24, 2011
So this was our beautiful Victoria Falls dining room at our final punch.  My initial plan for this room was to use the Extreme Makeover home in Savannah as inspiration - the walls were going to be Lemon Verbena (Sherwin Williams), the curtains were going to be white with an orange fabric added (that I've already bought), the place mats teal and the napkins green....  I LOVE the dining room from the Savannah house!!

But, then I started thinking about Christmas... and Thanksgiving... and future babies... and I wondered how I would decorate the dining room for these holidays if I always had to worry about the colors clashing.  So, we put in our dining room set, Key Town by Ashley Furniture, and I grabbed a can of Biltmore Buff (Sherwin Williams) that I'd bought for my craft room.
Post Sherwin Williams "Biltmore Buff"

Sherwin Williams Biltmore Buff

Note my gorgeous orange paisley fabric and teal place mats...

  So now I'm not liking the teal and what basically looks yellow at all...  What to do??  My husband loves the buff/yellow and I know it's a traditional, classic color.. but I love pairing this furniture with a more tropical look.  So I decide to get plum/purple curtains.  And I end up getting a gold sheer.  Then there is this corner cabinet a psychotic former member of our family made and I hate looking at it, smelling it, using it - I just all around hate it.  I'm leaving it in there for now, but I plan to relocate it/paint it/update the hardware at some point in time.

  And then I decide I will just eliminate place mats and make a table runner and use chargers.  We picked up gold ones at Sur la Table this weekend, so this is how the room looks now (it's a pretty gloomy day):

I bought some purple flowers but I haven't added them yet to my centerpiece vase with the old wine corks...

Dining Room post curtains/decor

Without the blinding light
  So this is where it's at now.  Honestly, I do like it a lot until I turn the light on - I think installing a dimmer switch and eventually a different chandelier will help things.  I also see now in the picture how much more I dislike the corner cabinet in there.  I also am not liking my amazing basket perched up to the ceiling as much as I liked it in person.  This room is unfortunately not wide enough (with our table, at least) for a buffet, which is what I REALLY want.  I also had planned to add to the curtain length and hang them higher, but my husband was against it and since these windows sit lower in the wall I thought maybe I agreed, but they just don't get me too excited.  I'm going to have to improve them.

  There you have it.  My kind of sort of almost but not really decorated Victoria Falls Dining Room.  With two added windows.  Now to make a table runner!

The Right Tool...

Thursday, October 20, 2011
You can also find it at
  ... Saves you time, makes your work easier, and helps you focus on your dish.  One of my favorite new kitchen gadgets is the Rösle Garlic Press, which I purchased at Sur La Table this year.

  This is a heavy, stainless steel tool that is easy to clean.  All you do is plop a clove of garlic in there and PRESTO, the crushed garlic goes right into your dish!  You open it back up, pull out the peel, and pop in another.

  If you've ever minced cloves of garlic by hand, you know that your hands get sticky, your cutting board gets sticky, you smell like garlic for days, getting that skin off - ugh.   It's time to save yourself the trouble.  It's time to get a garlic press!

  Thank you to the nice lady at Sur La Table who recommended this one to me.  It is well worth the $39.

A Mela a day...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011
  My plan, many moons ago, was to start making BEAUTIFUL things that make people happy that they could put in their house or kitchen.  I've already made some, but then I got uber sidetracked as we BUILT A HOUSE!! 

   Our Ryan Homes "Victoria Falls" is now complete and I'm working on making it a home.  More on that coming later.  But I wanted to share the new addition to our family, Mela!  Mela is Italian for apple and is pronounced "MAY la".  Since we adopted her the day Steve Jobs passed, we thought it was fitting and somehow it just suits the pup.

  She is about two years old and we found her at our county dog warden's.  If you are looking for a dog, I suggest you put on your big girl or boy panties and visit your own local dog warden's or at least a shelter.  There are SO many pups there and a lot of them, like Mela, appear to have just ran away from home and lost their way.  She was already housetrained, is friendly and affectionate, and very, very smart.  The only thing she probably isn't is spayed, which we plan to do.  We are waiting to see if she goes into heat first (dogs go into heat about every six months, so it could be a wait). 

  The adoption fee was only $65 and that included her license.  Then we had to buy food, toys, a brush, a collar, etc...  One of my projects is going to be a fancy food and water dish!  We also had to BUILD STEPS out our back door because we had none!  We'd been waiting to worry about that until it was time to build a deck but I wasn't having this go-outside-in-my-pajamas-in-front-of-all-of-the-neighbors thing, so my husband's BFF came over and helped him build stairs.

  I got to buy all of the materials because he was out of town on business.  Calculating what you need is actually not too hard, you just measure the distance from the ground to the door, then divide it by 7.  That tells you how many steps you need.  You can buy pre-cut stringers at Lowe's or Home Depot and then you can pick up the treds (I even had Home Depot cut them to length) and materials for a handrail.  I needed cement and posts to anchor it in the ground, another board to attach it to the house, some screws, and that was about it!  I might post more on that later.

  Then, since we don't have a fence and don't have a good way to put one in due to a landscape easement, I bought a 50' dog trolley and attached it to the post and a tree (in said landscape easement, the HOA better not say word one!) and after a few tries she figured out what it was there for.  It's worked out wonderfully!

   So, hope y'all will come back and check out some of my projects and progress on our Victoria Falls.   Also, what we would have done differently in our choices with Ryan.
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