Friday, December 9, 2011

Cozy Mantel

Our living room has alway been out of whack...yes whack.  It was not what I visualized.  When we first bought the house I looked on apartment therapy a lot where it showcases small homes and apartments.  They had a mantel stuffed full of old books.  I fell in love...Finally we acted on it this week.  I found an antique mantel for $170, distressed it and Todd did some trimming on it and installed it in the corner.  We rearranged our furniture and it is now a cozy living room.  This is one of our biggest changes in the home.  I got the books from local thrift stores and from a lady that was getting rid of all of her books because she bought a kindle fire...SCORE.  Got the books for .30 cents a piece.  Here are some pictures.  Projects = LOVE.

Friday, December 2, 2011

So Far....So Good

It is hard to believe the work Todd and I have achieved in just a year and a half.
 This was our sexy dining room and kitchen
 Living room
I still have so many visions in our home that will be done but for now the changes have been amazing.  Who would of thought beautiful hardwood was underneath that smell orange carpet.  Everything is coming together and we are enjoying our small quaint home!  All 870 square foot of it!

Scraping To Scaping

Our front yard is in progress.  We trimmed some evergreens, took out some dirt and started giving our yard a lift.  It is not done but looking much better.  Last year we got some stone for a steal.  We used it on our pillars and still had plenty left.  I wanted to break it into pieces and make a edging out of it.  We sunk it in concrete.  We bought all of our plants 50 to 75% off.  We also are so proud of our work when we are done because we have done it ourselves.

This is what is done for now.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Spray Me...Save Me

I used to buy everything new.  New pillows, new furniture, new dishes, new everything...too much of everything was new.  Nothing had that old flare to it.  About a year ago I started blogging and reading/following others in their blogging world.  It inspired me.  You can get a lamp for free or for a next to nothing give it a good primer and spray paint and it is super cute!  So when I purchased my home I decided to not get new cabinets, new furniture and so on, Todd and I decided lets reuse.  So we did.

 This was Todd's Gma's lamp
Two coats of ol yeller
 Frame bought for only $4
Spray painted and framing in progress.  This is a picture I took in our back yard.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Oh Romeo, Romeo, Wherefore Art Thou Romeo

Oh how I love surprises...but how I love to find out what they are before they are given...  Last weekend Todd took me to the winery.

I was thinking we were just enjoying a Saturday early evening at the winery then later some din din.  I was wrong.  Todd was kind of nudging us to go, he said we had reservations...what reservations how have I not heard of this???  So where was he taking me...I must figure this out!  Oh Station 220 we can have wine pairings with their four course no, CJ's because I have been wanting to try there cheesolicious pizza no Destihl because there beer tastings and stuffed poblano is to die for.  Am I close :0)

All I can say is poor Todd.  I try to ruin surprises.  They are so fun but tell me, tell me, tell me.  So we rush home and a cab picks us up.  I was thinking good restaurant, lots of bubbly... Then  we get into the cab and sneaky Julia reads what is one the cabos screen EWING MANOR.  Oh my, Ewing Manor, the castle thing...!!!  My first reaction was OMG Todd is going to propose tonight, he reserved the Ewing Manor, has Station 220 cooking for us and he is going to get down on one knee and pledge his love.  Then I knocked myself back into smart mode and was like...come on, we have not looked "looked" at rings and my imagination runs wild.  So we get there and there is no white horse to take us on a carriage ride around the beautiful city of Bloomington :) No one cooking a lavish dinner and family is awaiting in the back on the castle all geddy.  You know what was going on though!?  The Shakespeare Festival!!!!  I have been waiting to go there forever, it always looks so cool and there is the play!  Oh Romeo, Romeo, Wherefore Art Thou Romeo.  It was awesome.  We were late but there was jazz before, Todd ordered Kelly's Bakery and he got us the best seats in the house for the play.  This was an early birthday gift and one of the most thoughtful gifts ever.  So are truly the best and I love you with my whole heart.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Let Freedom Ring

Our 4th of July this year was pretty much a day we got to not worry about an alarm clock, not meeting with any customers and a day of cooking, eating, eating...well and eating some more.  What was on the menu...deliciousness.  The early wee hours of morning I let my beef brisket relax for about an hour.  Time for the rub down, sea salt, ground black peppercorns, fresh garlic from our back yard was stabbed into this delicious piece of meat.

Sprinkle sea salt, ground pepper and stuff with fresh garlic cloves.  Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Sear the meat and then set it aside

Use same pan, throw in chopped onions and carrots

Add a good red wine, I used White Oaks Vineyards from Carlock, IL.

Toss in some peppercorns

Cover and put in the oven 300F till meat melts in your mouth, about 4-5 hours for this baby

Time to reduce, strain all the peppercorns, carrots and onions

Put on medium heat and start reducing, do not give up this does take a long while but is the best gravy in the world!

Slice the brisket thin, try not to eat all of it while you are cutting

Add your favorite BBQ or make your own.  I cheated and used a Sweet and smoky and Sweet baby rays

Just let it do its thing

For a small side dish I chopped up some cabbage, radishes and tossed it with a dressing

Homemade yukon gold mashed

Reduced for perfection

Whala!!!  BBQ beef brisket, yukon mashed, gravy and slaw.  All homemade and all damn good 

Thanks to White Oaks Vineyards in Carlock, Ropp Cheese in Normal and Crump Farms in Carlock for all the fresh grown goodies.

Friday, July 1, 2011


I have not had much time at all to take updated pictures of our home.  This is our busy season for work, when the snow falls we will be hibernating like bears.  Today it was time to give our home some attention, it kind of looked like a tornado had been through the inside of the was time to pick up what we should always put away...our stuff.  Plus our friend is coming to visit for a week and well I do not want her to think I am a complete s l o b . . . :0)

So here it is...our home...well part of it.  It has already came a long way!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Today or should I say tonight it is all about berries...strawberries that is.  For the first bloody time in my life it was time to make strawberry jam.  Now I'm the type of person to just dig right in and do it myself, I mean how hard can it be right.  Recipe/Shmishipe...Dice up some strawberries, put them on heat and add a few tablespoons of sugar and whollllaaaaaa.  Incredibly tasty.  My first big batch was tonight and I love to look on blogs to see how they made their jam while mine is boiling to perfection.  Now I am not sayin that my jam is better than anyone else's jam...but taste mine and you will see. (that my jam is better than anyone else's dam jam... :)  Most of the blogs I came across they added 3.5 cups of sugar or more!  HOLY JESUS!  I am not trying to make strawberry soda...yes I said soda.

So here it is step by step, throw those Smucker jars away and feed your family some fresh strawberry jam.  Dice em'  Heat em' and only 6 tablespoons of suga'

4 Cups of strawberries hand picked from Braffet Berry Farms in Carlock, IL.

Medium heat and let the juices free
Simma down my friend
And there you have it!  The best damn strawberry jam.  Eat it on toast, crackers, ice cream, french toast, PB&J, and just plain, need I say more...