Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hearty Autumn Appetites

With autumn on my brain I have started eagerly anticipating the delicious hearty meals that are on the horizon. During the summer we try not to use the oven so once the temperatures cool I start scouting out recipes that I've been craving for the past six months. 

First up on my must make soon list: Pumpkin and Mushroom Pasta with Gorgonzola

via Closet Cooking
Pumpkin, mushrooms, sage...mmmm! Pair this with Oktober Fest beer and I'll be in heaven.

A meal I'm a bit intimidated to try is Pioneer Woman's Perfect Pot Roast.

via The Pioneer Woman
I've never cooked a huge hunk of meat but doesn't this just scream FALL to you? Oh, meat doesn't scream at you? Nevermind.

Perhaps meat doesn't scream at you, but I'm sure Baked Potato Soup does.  When I think of a cold, dark evening, this soup always seems to follow.

via Foodies at Home

One time I accidentally used vanilla soy milk when making baked potato soup. Not the best meal I've ever created, though John managed to find something to compliment (he's a good husband).

Last but not least, this Herb-Roasted Chicken has me putting on my apron.

via Design *Sponge

As much as I love grilling out during the summer, nothing beats the smells of potatoes, onions, and garlic roasting in a pan alongside some juicy chicken.

Once I get home from this road trip, a trip to the grocery store is in order! What should I make first? What meal defines autumn for you?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cuddling Weather

cable knit blanket

With the onset of cuddling weather (i.e. colder weather and longer nights) I have taken to obsessing over knit blankets. They are like sweaters - but better!

cable knit throw pillow

So far, my obsession has included drooling over pinterest photos and smooshing knit blankets at Pottery Barn.I may however have to take my obsession a bit further and re-learn how to knit.

knit throw blanket

Yes, I will be knitting my own throw blanket because spending $100 on one just seems a tad bit extravagant.

knit throw blanket

Although, I completely understand why someone would. I mean, look at how soft and warm and cuddly that blanket looks!

blanket throw knit

I think a knit blanket adds the perfect touch of texture and warmth necessary when preparing for winter.

knit throw blanket

So now I just need to decide on a color. What do you think? A rich brown? A neutral oatmeal? A festive berry red? A deep blue? Olive green?

cable knit throw blanket

Oh yeah...and learn how to make a cable knit blanket.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Over the River and Through the Woods

Today begins leg 2 of my cross country road trip to visit my baby sister. I am heading up and over to Minnesota to spend time bugging my sister who is away at college and I couldn't be more excited.

Road Trip 2009...we visited every single college on the east coast

Leslie is ten years younger than me, which, when I was growing up, was a heck of a big age difference between the two of us. I mean, as I was entering high school and focusing on boys, she was learning her colors and abc's. Then, I went moved away to college, graduate school, and got married all before she graduated from high school. So, we've never really been on the same page when it came to interests, life milestones, living in the same house, etc.

Road trip to NYC
Recently, though, we've gotten to know each other as adults and I must tell you - Leslie is a pretty awesome person. First, she is almost the spitting image of me. Not in the physical sense (she's 5 feet much taller than me) but in the every other sense.  Second, she's hilarious, intelligent, and kind...all my favorite qualities. Third, we communicate without speaking. It drives my husband nuts.

So, I plan on drinking lots of yummy coffee while chilling in a coffee shop for the next week with Leslie. People watching is a must, as is exploring the nooks and crannies on her super duper old and haunted campus.

The Garza Sisters circa 2006

Needless to say I won't be posting much for the next couple weeks...well, except for some sure to be awesome fall pictures of Minnesota and perhaps some new crazy sister pictures.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rainy Fall Days

Fall has been making itself known this week by showering us with unending rain, hiding the sun, and lowering the temperatures.  As much I am not a fan of autumn, I am loving my recent mornings when, with a hot cup of coffee (gone are the days of iced coffee), I stare into the rain while planning my day.  There's something about the sound of rain and the view of fog that lend themselves to introspection and solitude.

I've been closely observing the slight and steady changes in our apartment that prove it is time to cozy up the place and prepare for roaring fires and savory baked foods.  The bright summer sun has disappeared and been replaced by a dark and moody light that barely makes its way past our windows. Our potted garden is beginning to wilt and is looking tuckered out after a productive summer.  Our houseplants are begging to be put back up against the window where they can suck as much sunlight from the world as possible and settle into a slow and lazy winter.

This weekend will be filled with unpacking candles, fluffing up blankets, filling jars with acorns and pinecones, and preparing to hunker down for our winter hibernation.  I know summer has disappeared when I begin craving soft and cuddling blankets and texture over color.

What do you do when the light changes, the temperatures drop, and the world begins to settle down for winter? Do you make subtle changes to your home or do you go for a drastic overhaul? Do you keep the same decor season after season or do you introduce changes with the changing months?

PS I have always collected acorns from the places we go hiking and camping and I have noticed a significant difference in the acorns I find in North Carolina compared to the acorns of Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia. They are long and big and not very acorn-like. In fact, when I throw them into my acorn jars, they look very out of place. Random fact from Turning a House into a Home.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Making Our Wedding Ours!

budget wedding diy rustic

While planning our wedding, we were determined to have an intimate wedding that celebrated our personalities and showcased who we are as a couple.  Every detail of our wedding spoke to who we were and turned a day of celebrating a marriage into a day of celebrating our relationship and personalities as well.

The very first wedding project we focused on were our Save the Dates. Asking an old friend to help us, we designed a fun and meaningful save the date that illustrated our diverse friends and family and highlighted the travel that everyone would be doing to attend our special day.  Thanks again, Lori, for your beautiful work on our STDs!

apple diy wedding rustic

Throughout our relationship, John and I wrote notes to each other in haiku form. Whether it a sweet love note, a teasing jab, or a mindless ditty, haikus plagued our facebook wall, our post-it notes, and our email boxes so much so, that even friends began writing to us through the use of haikus.  We knew that haikus needed to be used throughout the wedding in some shape or form and decided to make our guests work for their drinks.

diy wedding budget rustic apples

Yes, our guests had to write a haiku in order to be served at the bar. Oh how we love the thoughtful, loving haikus our guests wrote us...they serve as a fabulously sentimental (and humorous) guest book we love taking out to read.

haiku wedding diy

I hate cake (the icing is the worst part) and John could live without it so it didn't make sense to get a big elaborate wedding cake that neither of us would eat.  Instead, we asked close friends and family members to bake us a pie and created a buffet of delicious fruit pies that also served as our receiving line. You see, wanting to ensure we spent time with each wedding guest, we decided to personally cut and serve the pies.

pie wedding diy

My mother surprised us with aprons to wear during the serving of the pies - John's had his monogram, mine was a fabulous flirty apron she made out of apple fabric that perfectly matched our blue and green color scheme.

With so many touches of ourselves, we were able to create a one-of-a-kind wedding day that truly celebrated our love for one another.   From cootie catchers my little sister made that shared fun facts about us to luminarias, a New Mexican tradition that lit the way back to the guest parking lot at the end of the night everywhere we turned, we were reminded of our love and the reason for the celebration.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Wedding Bells and Memories

Two years ago today I married the most patient, creative, and loving man I know.  This weekend we looked through photos and reminisced about the past two years together and both agreed it feels as if we've only been married a few months.

diy budget wedding apple

Over the past two years we've experienced many fun adventures, difficult decisions and situations, amazing moments, and a wonderful marriage that continues to grow and thrive. I'm thankful for such a wonderful husband who loves and respects me.

diy wedding apple rustic

This weekend we celebrated our anniversary with some delicious homemade egg rolls and fried calamari while enjoying a fabulous bottle of wine along with sweet conversation on the couch.

diy budget wedding apple green rustic

Planning our wedding was the first major project we worked on together. Our wedding was entirely DIY from the bouquets and the apple centerpieces to our vows and our invitations. Of course, planning a DIY New Mexican wedding while living in Virginia is a little difficult and we're so thankful for family and friends who helped scour yard sales for vases and stalked Michael's for sales.

diy budget wedding new mexico outside

In honor of our anniversary, I plan on focusing on different aspects of our wedding this week and sharing how we made our wedding completely and utterly reflect our personality and relationship.

new mexico outside wedding diy

Friday, September 16, 2011

Leaves are Falling

I glanced out my window yesterday and was shocked by the yellow leaves I saw laying in our parking lot.  This morning as I slowly awoke to the world, I was shocked by the frigid temperature in our bedroom.

Leaves are falling, temperatures are dropping, and fall is coming. This causes three thoughts in my head (yes, I know that's a lot of thinking all at once):

1. It's time to unpack the winter clothes. Boy do I hate this bi-yearly chore.

2. Our anniversary is so very near!! Actually, September 19 will be our two year anniversary so be ready for some pictures from that fabulous day next week!!

3. I need to cozy up our living room. I have many projects floating around in this head of mine and am plotting some fabulous fall decor crafts so be prepared for some awesomeness in the coming weeks.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

On the Mend and Pinning


Once I began feeling well enough to sit up yesterday, I immediately began some passive pinterest surfing.  Without much energy, I simply scrolled and scrolled and scrolled and scrolled until something caught my eye.  Below are the results of my germ-induced pinning.





Add caption

I was definitely being drawn to soft, calm rooms that had pops of energy and fun in the form of pillows, accessories, and textures. Now that I've migrated from the bed to the couch, I find myself looking around my living room and bedroom finding what I can do to recreate the sense of these inspirational pinterest photos. 

Which one is your favorite? I just scrolled through them all again and couldn't choose my favorite...though there are many accessories in each I'd love to get my hands on!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Calling Out Sick

For the second day in a row I do not plan on moving from my couch. I have everything I need right here - Theraflu, boxes of tissues, blankets, and comfy pillows.

Hopefully I'll be back tomorrow!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Using Goodwill Sheets for Awesomeness

sheets upcycle diy pillow

I'm not sure if you remember my very brief exclamations regarding my new found love and obsession with Goodwill sheets...they are what I used to make my rag rug and my pillow yesterday.  I'll let you in on my little secret: $2 Goodwill sheets (once washed in very hot water and dried) provide yards and yards of fabric that you can dye any color you want!!

So, after buying 4 queen and king size sheets for the rag rug, I had quite a lot of leftover fabric. Yesterday I used some that I had dyed blue for the backing of my bird printed pillow. Today I am showing a new pillow that I used a white sheet for piping and the sheet I dyed yellow.  Cheapest fabric ever!

budget pillow diy upcycle

After making my very first piping (much easier than I thought it would be!), I made an envelope case and stuffed my pillow in. That's when I realized that I made the pillow case waaaay too large. So, I plopped myself down in front of the television and spend the night ripping seams out.

goodwill sheets upcycle pillows

Luckily my ruler was behaving better the next morning (of course it was the ruler's fault!) and the second time was the charm.

diy pillow sheets upcycle

To emphasize the crisp white piping, I decided to add some white french knots to the pillow and love the texture they created.

diy pillow sheets upcycle

how to upcycle sheets


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