Presents, Bows and Mistletoe

I love wrapping presents and making each one special.  There are a few things that I am obsessed with when it comes to wrapping presents…

  • Cellophane
  • Raffia
  • Brown Packing Paper

It is really easy to make a present appear that it was wrapped professionally and expensively.  Taking a little extra time and creativity while wrapping a present adds that extra special touch.  And who doesn’t like a pretty present?

I have found that the dollar store is the best place to pick up “things” to hot-glue to your present and find ribbon.  Christmas ornaments, faux foliage, baby toys…ect!  All these things will dress up your present beautifully!

I have not had the chance to go shopping for this year’s wrapping paper so I pulled out a few leftovers and got a little creative.  Here are my left-over creations!  Enjoy!

Replacing Door Knobs & Hinges…The “Easy” Way!

Our house came with those old, out-dated bronze door hardware that I desperately wanted to change.  A couple of things to note about updating door hardware…

  1. Door knobs are significantly cheaper online, even if you have a Lowe’s or Home Depot coupon!  I saved $5 per knob on this website.  Click HERE to find the website I ordered my knobs from.
  2. Hinges must be the exact/correct size…it’s better not to guess.  Bring an existing hinge to Lowe’s or Home Depot to figure out the size you need…this will save you a lot of time and frustration!
  3. Bed & Bath means that the knobs come with a lock.  Hall & Closet means that the knobs do not come with a lock.

Replacing all hardware on existing doors is so much easier than it seems.  To install knobs, follow the directions that comes with the set.  The directions are super easy and once you get the hang of it, you will be able to replace a knob within 5-10 minutes.

QUICK TIP:  When installing a door knob, always put the door plate on first.  This is the piece that catches the closing and locking mechanism on the door knob.   Next, install the actual door knob…but only enough to test that the door will close properly with the door plate you initially installed.  This trick will save you a lot of headaches and time because sometimes the alignment of the door plate and door knob closing and locking mechanism is not 100% – causing issues with opening and closing the door!

Here is the “door plate” I was talking about…

Here is an example of the old bronze hardware before I replaced with oil rubbed bronze.

Now…let’s talk about Hinges!

Have you ever picked up a door?  They are extremely heavy.  I consider myself pretty strong but I am not sure I can not man-handle a door by myself…nor would I want to.  Have you tried lining up the door and hinges?  This should not be rocket science but it is really not easy and certainly takes two people…one to hold the door and the other to fiddle with the hinges to line them up properly…what a pain in the butt!

I have GREAT news…there is a much simpler way to do this and without a man.  Check it out.  Drum-roll pllllleeeeaaaasssssseeeeeee!!!!!!

Replace the hinges one at a time, starting with the middle hinge…brilliant!  My husband is the brains of the family…I can’t take credit for that one!  I will remain the creative one.

Here are pictures to demonstrate how easy this is…

After you replace the middle hinge, replace the top and bottom hinge…one at a time of course!

TA DAAAAAAA!!

It is that easy!

Homemade Roman Shades & Cornice Boards

Beware: This is an easy project if you know how to operate a sewing machine, however, this is time-consuming.  But OH so worth it!  Be prepared to do a little bit of sewing and a LOT of ironing.  Enjoy!

Even though we live in the sticks and are completely surrounded by woods, we still felt the need to cover all doors and windows to have a little more privacy.  In our old house, we had a break in and we do not take this subject lightly…but this is for another blog post.

We have three back doors, all of which have a full length window.  I like the idea of windows in doors but you can see straight into the house at night and you can tell if no one is home.  I love blinds but not for full windowed doors!

One of my closest girlfriends made no-sew roman shades that turned out really nice!  I really liked this idea so I thought I would copy this concept for my back doors.  So off to Joannes fabric I went.  I found a thicker fabric on super sale which made this project even more fun!

If you are interested in making these for your house, here is the Pinterest tutorial I followed (brought to you by 33 Shades of Green).

Here are the materials you need for this project:

  • Fabric (follow the blog for measurements – obviously for a window door, you will need a lot more fabric)
  • Fabric Lining
  • Wood Dowels
  • Nylon Cord
  • Eye Screws
  • Small Plastic Rings (I had a hard time finding these…I found the at a Fabric store)
  • Angle Brackets for Mounting
  • Staple Gun
  • 1 x 6 Wood
  • Foam
  • A Hook to tie up the shades with

Here are my Roman Shades!

…and when they are up!

I had some left over fabric that I used for a couple other things such as pillows and Cornice Boards!!!  After I hung the Roman Shades, I noticed something was missing at the top to hide the fact that these were indeed homemade.  The answer was simple  – A Cornice Board!  This is the easiest part of this entire project…

All you need is fabric, some wood, a few LONG nails, an electric drill, a stable gun and foam.  For this project, I used 1 x 6 wood and had Lowe’s cut to the width of my windows.  Make sure you cut the width slightly longer than the window itself because you will have two smaller pieces of wood, one on each side to support the board.  I had Lowe’s cut the same 1 x 6 piece of wood into two 2 inch pieces.

Find steps for creating Cornice Boards here (brought to you by diynetwork.com).

Here is a close-up of the Cornice Board on my Roman Shades.

Instead of curtains, I decided to make a Cornice Board for the window in my Mud Room too.  I am so happy with how this turned out!

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

I love the holidays!  I usually start breaking out the Christmas decorations the weekend before Thanksgiving and go to town around the house.  Typically I can get the house decorated in a weekend, however, this year has taken me the majority of the week.  Why?  Because, a lot of my decorations were silver to match the old house fixtures/Door Knobs…ect.  Nothing a little spray paint can’t fix.  Here is what I have been up to the last week or so.

Who Needs Garland?

I’ve mentioned in a recent post that stairs pretty much take over my house.  As I was dragging out the Christmas decorations, I dreaded the thought ($$$) of hanging pre-lit garland on all those stairs.  This would look amazing but WAY out of my budget.  Maybe I will get lucky in an after Christmas sale…if I can stand the thought of gold, red and green at that point.

…but, who need’s overpriced garland when you have Pinterest?  AC Moore was having a 50% off sale on all their Christmas decorations…SCORE!

I found sticks for $1.99 a bundle, bunches of Wintery/Christmasy “stuff” on sale for $2.50 a bundle, ribbon for $3.99 and bundles of gold balls for $2.99.  I decided to do the staircase only.  My total?  $33.93 before tax!  Can’t beat that…

Here is the end result:

An Ax and a Tree

It is tradition for us to take a road trip up to the NC Mountains to get a Christmas tree.  We usually do this the weekend before Thanksgiving for a few reasons.  We have family that travels into town, the tree farms are way less busy and the “good” trees are still available.  Oh, and Ya’ll, we don’t cut down a tree, we ax down a tree.  Why?  Let me respond with a question…Why use a chainsaw when you can simply use an ax…the old fashion way…Duh…

Here is the tree we picked out.  Here is Chad and the ax.  And…here is the fight between the ax and the tree…the ax won!

…here is the tree decorated in the house!  More Christmas decorations to come…stay tuned!

A Perfect Picture!

I love old art work.  I especially love old artwork that is outside scenery.  Something with lots of character that makes you wonder if someone simply sat in the grass on a cool spring day and painted what was in front of them.  Or did they take a class where you paint a recreated scene?  Perhaps they painted the scene purely from memory or a creative thought…It’s fun to guess!

I shopped for hours to find the perfect artwork to place on our new fireplace mantle.  I wanted something with trees, in the woods and with an old barn.  Something vintage and beautiful.  This was impossible to find…until I remembered that my Great Grandpa was a painter.

“Mom and Dad, can I look at those old paintings Big Papa painted?”  These paintings couldn’t be more perfect…

I love that these have meaning!  They are perfect!

In loving Memory of Gabriel Schiada aka “Big Papa” (1905-1997).

O is for Olds

Our house has a lot of interesting stairs.  This is one of the things that drew us to the house.  When you walk in from the front door, you see stairs.  When you are in the upstairs hallway, you see stairs.  STAIRS, STAIRS, STAIRS…  This is a lot of dusting ya’ll…God help us!  But…we love it!

The stairs are in the shape of a big “H.”  Here is a picture of the big “H” from upstairs…

Before:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One wall was red, another was white and the carpet was blue.  God Bless America and our Home!

After:

The stone in the center of the room is the top of the wood burning fireplace we had put in our house.  That is a topic for another blog post…stay tuned!  Since we knocked out the windows that were originally on top of the existing fireplace, we decided to add a chandelier to match the other side of the “H.”  This would provide additional lighting and create balance to the open space.

…and there is a big wall again…I have plans for that wall!

I recently blogged about my obsession with the Pottery Barn.  I had my eye on these ladder bookshelves.  I seriously considered getting them from the Pottery Barn, but, I couldn’t bring myself to hitting the “add to cart” button on their website.  They were to dagum expensive.  So, after a little research and shopping online, I found similar shelves from JC Penny’s that were two for the price of one (in Pottery Barn terms that is).

Can you tell the difference?  They are pretty darn close…

 

 

 

 

 

 

So…decorating bookshelves…  I am not a knickknacks person!  Knickknacks make me think “clutter.”  Books are always a solid choice for bookshelves, but, I am not a reader so my book collection is limited.  I always see people add a large letter, usually the first letter of their last name as a form of decoration.  I love this idea, but, my last name starts with an “O.”  That would look weird and nothing short of an awkward circle if I attempted this idea.  But I still love the concept.  So, I figured, why not spell our last name O-L-D-S in super bold letters as part of the shelf decorations.  It works!  This makes me happy!

View from below…

Best Homemade Chicken Enchiladas

I use homemade loosely ya’ll…

My mom has been making these for years and the recipe has evolved over time.  This is super easy, incredibly tasty and saves/freezes very well.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Note: You can add veggies to this recipe if you like.  When I am not cooking for my husband, I like to add black olives.

  • Small can of El Paso enchilada sauce (10 ounces)
  • Large can of El Paso enchilada sauce (1 lb & 3 ounces)
  • Package of shredded cheese (you can use mexican blend, taco blend, cheddar…whatever you like)
  • Package of large tortillas
  • Package of Spanish Rice
  • Package of chicken breasts

Preheat oven at 350!

Step 1:

Cut up a package of chicken breasts (Perdue chicken usually comes with 3 large breasts).  You can use white or dark meat, I prefer dark meat.  For those nights that you don’t feel like cooking up some chicken, grab a rotisserie that is already cooked.  You will want to shred the meat.  IMO, cooking your own chicken makes the enchiladas heftier and tastier…

Step 2:

Grab a package of Spanish rice (any brand will work) and follow the directions on the packaging.  You can do this alongside the chicken.

Step 3:

Mix the cooked Spanish rice, cooked chicken, a cup of shredded cheddar cheese and the small can of El Paso sauce in a large bowl.

Step 4:

Grab that Pyrex casserole dish and grease it up real good with that Pam Olive Oil.  Go ahead and open that large can of El Paso sauce and pour a little bit on the bottom of your Pyrex casserole dish…just enough to cover the bottom.

Open that package of tortillas.  In each tortilla, add a generous amount of the mixture from step 3 (only handle one tortilla at a time).  Roll the tortilla into a burrito and place in your Pyrex casserole dish.  Repeat for all the tortillas.  You will more than likely only be able to fit 6-7 enchiladas at a time in your Pyrex casserole dish.  Almost finished….

Pour the remaining El Paso sauce on top of all the enchiladas.  Cover the Enchiladas with a generous amount of cheese.  Cover your Pyrex casserole dish with aluminum foil and place in the over.  Bake for 30-40 minutes.

Bon Appetit!