November 22, 2010

old man winter

How was your weekend?

Mine was good.

And cold.

And snowy.

And involved lots and lots of paint.

I'll address the weather first.

We've been in the single digits and there's a vicious rumor going around that we're headed well below zero by midweek.

I don't mind the cold and I love the snow, but it just so happens that our furnace has decided to be a bit temperamental.

Perfect timing.

On the painting front, I'm painting a dresser for the guest room. I'm painting it red. Have you ever painted anything red? I don't recommend it even one little bit. For reasons my paint store friend explained, but I quickly forgot, red doesn't cover well at all. I lost count, but I'm pretty sure it took at least eight coats of paint. I wish I was kidding.

I also painted my front room for the third time in as many weeks. I'm very, very picky about paint color and I'll keep repainting till I get it right. I painted my family room four times before I was happy, and I'm not talking about a few swatches on the wall. Every corner of a room has different lighting, and in my world, you have to find a color that makes all your corners sing a happy color song. In the case of my current project, I thought paint color number two could hold me for a while, but I just couldn't bring myself to leave well enough alone. I have a big bucket, several different gallons of paint and my biggest kitchen whisk and play mixologist till I get it right. I think there's a good chance that the third time is the charm, but I'll have to see what it looks like in the full light of day to know for sure.

Regardless, once the Christmas tree goes up, I'm done for a while. I'll do a lot of things for my walls, but maneuvering a ladder around a decorated Christmas tree while carrying a bucket of paint just seems like a bad idea.

The last item on my weekend list was vacuuming. After a month in the repair shop, I finally picked my vacuum up on Friday. You can only imagine what my floors look like right now.

But, instead of vacuuming, I played with photos and textures and more textures until I'd textured the poor pictures within an inch of their digital lives.

It's common knowledge that when you're actively shirking your vacuuming duties, it's hard to exercise texture restraint.

And just for fun, I'll leave you with this....

Have a great Monday!

November 18, 2010

the guest room

For the first time ever, Meadowbrook Farm will have a wintertime guest.

(Can I just tell you that I giggle a little bit every time I type the words Meadowbrook Farm? It makes me feel a little like Scarlett O'Hara talking about Tara... perhaps a wee bit pretentious, don't you think?)

Moving on.

The guest room is getting a makeover.

I've been in the makeover stage for a little over a year now. Last fall, we upsized from a double bed to a queen and that was pretty much the extent of my progress for about six months. As in, the mattress was leaning against the wall for that six months until I had a houseful of girlfriends visit and then the mattress was placed on the floor along side the old double bed for a charming mattress superstore effect.

I had an idea of what I wanted for bedding, but of course it didn't really exist anywhere but in my mind.

I knew I wanted to go fairly bright and cheery, and I knew I wanted these pillows to be able to do double duty when they weren't holding down the fort on the porch swing.

I finally found some Pottery Barn bedding that was in the right color family, and while I liked it well enough, I didn't love it. In order for it to work for me it needed to be cottaged up a bit.

Enter gingham sheets, vintage pillowcases and the quintessential cottage ingredient, a quilt. Add an old clock and some fit in with the color scheme books and I'm off to a good start.

I still have a long way to go, but having the bed finished gives me a focal point to work from. I have an eye out for architectural items and some form of artwork to bring it all together.

The cute gingham sheets will be swapped out for a set of Costco's fleece sheets so my wintertime guest will stay cozy and warm. Do you have a set of Costco's fleece sheets? If you live in a chilly climate, they will change your life forever.

Oh, and the walls are painted a color called Margarita. While it didn't photograph well at all, the color is perfectly named. In fact, when the sun shines in, you truly feel like you are in a Margarita....all glowy and green and a little bit woozy if I'm perfectly honest. The color may/will need some tweaking down the road, (I'm a chronic re-painter), but for now, Margarita it is.

November 15, 2010

raspberry jello

Are you a jello fan?

I am a jello fan.

Is jello out of style?

I just don't see a lot of jello recipes making the rounds, but maybe I'm not looking in the right place.

Or, maybe I'm not even looking at all, and should do some research before I start a blog post about the lack of jello related conversation on the internet, because I just this very minute spent some quality time with Google, and there are in fact entire blogs devoted to jello.

Will wonders never cease.

Any time I make a full blown, company's coming dinner, it includes some sort of jello. More often than not, it includes this very jello because it's quick, easy and very, very good.

Raspberry Jello
1 - 6 oz package raspberry jello
1 cup boiling water
1 - 20 oz can blueberry pie filling
1 - 20 oz can crushed pineapple
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl, pour boiling water over jello and stir until totally dissolved. Stir in pie filling and crushed pineapple with juice. Place in refrigerator to cool.
Soften cream cheese in the microwave and stir with a whisk until smooth. Stir in sour cream, sugar and vanilla.
(Make sure you get all the lumps smoothed out of your cream cheese. Lumpy cream cheese does not a pretty jello make.)

Back in the day, I used to let the jello set up quite a bit before I swirled the cream cheese mixture through. Nowadays, I usually just blend the two together right away. It's not quite as pretty as having the cream cheese swirled throughout, but it's just as good.

You can also substitute raspberry pie filling. It's every bit as delicious and kind of pretty to have on your table at Christmas as it makes the dish red instead of the purple you get with the blueberry pie filling.

Are there any other Jello Junkies out there? If so, shout out your favorite jiggly recipes.

Unless it's the one with the cottage cheese.

That one makes me a little nervous.

November 8, 2010

once upon a time

Once upon a time, there was a lovely young lady who lived in Montana.

One day, while minding her own business and living the normal life of a high school senior, she got a call on her cell phone.

As luck would have it, it was her fairy-godmother-photographer calling. (Fairy-godphotographer just doesn't sound quite right.)

Fairy-godmother-photographer had just been to an antique show where her buddies, the vintage prom dress fairies, were obviously looking out for her because she scored a gorgeous vintage dress for a gorgeous vintage price.

This fortuitous event set into motion dreams/scenarios/photo shoot visions that the fairy-godmother-photographer could not. get. out. of. her. head.

Something must be done.

Thus, the aforementioned phone call to the aforementioned lovely young lady.

Now, the fairy-godmother-photographer, living in a house full of prince charmings with nary a princess to be found and therefore not much frame of reference for young ladies and dress sizes, nevertheless could not have been more on the money with this one. This girl and this dress were made for each other.

It was a last minute proposition, only one day could work, but girlfriend was game. She actually had some housecleaning to do with her non-evil, non-step mother, but in an act of sheer brilliance, the lovely young lady volunteered her little sister for the job, so all was well. (Except perhaps as far as the little sister was concerned.)

So, off they went.

Now, it just so happens that this particular location is one that FGP (tired of typing out fairy-godmother-photographer) has been dying, and I mean dying, to shoot at. She had even seriously considered ignoring the no-trespassing signs, but so far had been a good girl and was now being rewarded for that good behavior because the non-evil, non-step parents of the lovely young lady just so happened to know who to call to get permission.


After being drug around this awesome location and leaning against pokey, prickly old barns and walking barefoot in places that were a case of tetanus just waiting to happen, the lovely young lady took a little break in the hopes that Prince Charming would come and rescue her.



PC was a no show, so the lovely young lady had no choice but to go with FGP to location number two.

FGP is torn between loving the contrast of the lovely young lady in the dilapidated setting, and the lovely young lady in this more formal, beautiful setting.

FGP is also extremely impressed at the lovely young lady's willingness to toss leaves in the air repeatedly and even twirl whilst tossing leaves even though FGP and her camera were not able to master the art of capturing twirling girl/falling leaves/blah blah blah.

So sad.

The lovely young lady also repeatedly ran up these stairs until FGP was able to finally capture this shot, quite possibly her favorite of the day.

But alas, all good things must come to an end and the lovely young lady's carriage was turning into a pumpkin right before their eyes, so they had to call it a day. If it was up to FGP, they'd still be out there taking pictures.

She has a little problem with knowing when to quit.

But, the story of the lovely young lady in the vintage prom dress will live happily ever after on the internet for ever and ever.

The End.

November 5, 2010

back in the saddle

So, when one takes a three and a half week long, totally unintended blog break, does one need to make the first post after returning from said blog break earth shattering, mountain moving and rivetingly interesting?

If the answer to that question is yes, then we are all in big trouble.

The longer I stayed away, the harder it got to jump back in. I started several different posts, one of which was about cantaloupe and another that in a very round about way told you how I used to have a lavender kitchen. Neither seemed publish worthy, so I just continued to give the blogger dashboard the cold shoulder.

I will say the blog break included a road trip, on which I listened to the audio version of The Help. Fabulous book and the CD's give you the added benefit of having three different actresses read the parts and they did an absolutely amazing job.

Good book.

On my blog break I also went to Costco....hungry. Have you every gone to Costco on an empty stomach? Don't do it. It results in buyers remorse over a cart full of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, Costco cinnamon rolls and quite possibly a few other items I'm not willing to share on the internet. I know better, and I'm pretty sure it cost me at least an additional $100.00. At least. I already have issues the second I walk through the Costco door, such as the panicky feeling that if I don't buy the 48 pack of cream of mushroom soup and the jumbo 487,000 square foot box of plastic wrap, the world as we know it may very well come to an end.

Is it just me, or does everybody get Costco Fever? I have a suspicion I'm not alone.

(And here I was thinking this post was going to lean toward the boring side....who could be bored reading about my trip to Costco? This post is already screaming Pulitzer and I'm not even done yet.)

My blog break included lots and lots and lots of pictures. Brand new Baby Harlee paid me a visit....

She's about as precious as it gets.

I also had a date with this handsome fella.....

....and a batch of puppies. What a great combination! These were the final four of a litter of ten. Cutest things ever.

Do you think he'll be this happy to rake leaves when he's sixteen and it's one of his chores?

Fall is still doing its glorious thing around here. Crisp mornings, beautifully sunny days and shiny liquid gold leaves everywhere you look.

I just need to take the time to stop and smell the roses while I still can.