Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween (part 2)

Normally I don't get super excited about Halloween, but this year-- with a house and front stoop on which to display a jack o' lantern-- I found myself getting a bit more in to the spirit than usual!

You got a sneak peek of our jack o' lantern this it is before, during and after Jason carved it up yesterday afternoon:

While Jason was doing that, I roasted up the pumpkin seeds. Now we have a tasty treat for the whole week!

Easy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Fresh pumpkin seeds, washed and patted dry (about 2 cups)
2 1/2 TBL olive oil
Salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 275. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Toss seeds, olive oil, and salt together in a medium sized bowl. Spread prepared seeds in a single layer onto the baking sheet.
3. Roast for 25 minutes or until starting to brown.
4. Enjoy!

Happy Halloween!

That's our pumpkin!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Catching Up

New/additional work responsibilities + work travel + cold season + a new house that needs tendin' to = not much time to blog these days. Sorry about that. I'm going to *try* and be better about keeping up with things over the next couple of months.

In the meantime, here is a snippet of what I/we have been up to lately....

-Making no-sew faux Roman shades for the kitchen. I picked a cool geographic patterned fabric (in my favorite apple green) from and followed the tutorial I found on this blog. Apparently it is so easy even a non-crafty person like me can do it!

- Enjoying all things pumpkin! Pumpkins of various shapes and sizes for our front stoop, main level, and loft level; making pumpkin bread (got some in the oven right now!) and drinking pumpkin beer at a local Oktoberfest.

-Generally trying to make the house feel more like home. Everything is 99% unpacked and put away now so we're focused now on plotting out what other projects and purchases we want/need to make over the next several months. Jason's been focusing on the garage and has already put up a number of shelves to help make the most of our storage space. I've been looking for kitchen counter stools, living room chairs, rugs and some potential new art for the walls. We've made some progress but are trying to prioritize so we don't go too crazy all at once (which I am finding somewhat difficult).

At some point soon I hope to get back into the swing of things, cooking wise. Lately its been all about quick and easy and/or the grill....with some frozen food from Trader Joe's thrown in for good measure.

In other news....Food & Wine's annual Thanksgiving issue arrived last week. You know what that means...let the obsession begin!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Move: Painting, Painting and More Painting

One of the great things about a brand new house is that you are starting from a clean slate-- no old or ugly paint jobs to have to cover up. But that clean slate can also be a blank slate-- plain, boring, or even blah. After living for years in white-walled apartments, Jason and I knew we wanted to add some (still neutral) color to our new place. And we knew that if we didn't do it before we moved our furniture in, it would never happen. So the week between closing and moving was spent taping, painting and more painting.

Here's what we decided to tackle pre-move: master bedroom, master bathroom, loft/family room, and the main level (dining room/living room combo). In retrospect, it might have been a lot for two novice painters to tackle at once. But we did get it all done...with a few hiccups along the way.

The hiccups were primarily around color choice. When trying to decide about what colors to choose, we constantly encountered the same piece of advice--paint generally dries darker than it appears on the swatch or in the can. So we took that into account when making our color choices-- however, this did not turn out to be the case with most of the paints we chose. So in both the master bedroom and our loft/family room, we ended up with great looking neutrals...that are not that far off from the off-white that the builder painted everything to begin with :( That means a lot of work that will likely go unnoticed by the majority of people.

The other hiccup had to do with our idea to add a horizontal stripe accent wall in the master bedroom. We painted the walls a greige (again, that turned out to be not all that far off from the what it was originally) with the idea that we'd paint a pale blue-green stripe that complimented the rest of our decor to add some interest. Well, that pale blue-green (which looked great in the paint can) ended up looking powder blue on the wall-- perfect for baby's room but not so much for an adult. After one coat we decided we couldn't live with it and repainted in the same greige as the rest of the wall-- this time in a semigloss-- so we ended up with a tone-on-tone stripe instead. A great and sophisticated look-- that would have looked even better if we had gone with a slightly different neutral. Fortunately, our master bathroom and main level came out just as we intended!

 Master bedroom accent wall--all taped up and ready to go.

And here it is with the tonal stripe-- very subtle. But at least it's not baby blue.
Overall, I am happy with our painting experience but would probably consider actually painting samples on the walls the next time around.

 Main level all taped up and ready to go-- by the end of the week I was a pro at taping.

Main level-- painted!

Here are some other tips we picked up a long the way: frog tape is amazing and you can never have too much and edging tools making cutting in a snap.

Master bath: before....

...and after. We also replaced the single large mirror with two smaller, framed mirrors.
Color list:
-Master Bedroom: Benjamin Moore Tapestry Beige (in flat and semi-gloss)
-Master Bathroom: Benjamin Moore Nantucket Fog (in semi-gloss)
-Main Level: Benjamin Moore Stonington Grey (in flat)
-Loft/Family Room (not pictured): Benjamin Moore Manchester Tan (in flat)