Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I feel like I can do anything. Seriously.

I did it. I stenciled a wall. A whole wall. Now I feel like I can do anything. Seriously. This was the first project I did in our house and I love it!

Let me explain the layout of the room a bit. When you walk in our front door you're immediately in our living room and to your right is our dining room; it's all one open space. When we bought the house the living room and dining room were painted dark red:
(Ignore the mess, this was the night before moving day)
See how dark, depressing, and small it looks? I definitely wanted to lighten the whole room up. So we decided to paint the whole room Olympics' color Secret Passage in eggshell, it's a light gray color. And we decided to do it the night before moving day, we just couldn't wait to get rid of the red. After painting the whole room I definitely knew I wanted to do an accent wall to kind of separate the two rooms. I originally thought to do wallpaper, but after shopping for it we realized it's just too expensive and decided on a stencil wall. First, I will say, I have NEVER stenciled a wall before.  So maybe I was a bit over ambitious…. that seems to be how we roll (literally, haha) here as you will notice the more projects I post. I fell in love with this stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils, I just switched up the colors:
Before I got started I wanted to create more dimension to the wall, so I decided to paint the background a different color and finish. I painted the whole wall with Olympics' Evening Mist in semi-gloss; remember the gray color's finish is eggshell. The background color kind of shimmers and stands out. Once the wall was dry I started the stencil. 

The stencil came with great instructions that I just followed. I first started off by using painters tape to tape off all the edges of walls to keep the lines nice and clean. I started in the bottom center part of my wall because it's kind of hidden in case I screwed up. I then placed pieces of tape around the edges of the stencil to hold it in place. I also used this leveler that just slides on the top of the stencil and keeps everything nice and even, it's a lifesaver!
We used a paint tray with the roller. Roll the roller in the paint a couple times, then roll it on a piece of paper towel to remove the excess paint, very important! Then just start rolling very lightly, don't push hard or the paint will bleed though. Once finished, carefully remove the stencil then place it under or above what you just painted and line up the edges, paint, and just keep repeating the process. The corners and edges were definitely the hardest part. But since the stencil is flexible it's easy to bend, like this:
(pic found here)
Use a small angled brush to paint the edges and corners. Once finished painting, you can remove the tape. There will be some areas that didn't come out perfect and need some fixing, but it's just paint to it's super easy. Just use your small angled brush to do touch ups. Then step back and enjoy your masterpiece! The whole process takes time and lot of patience! Note: your hand may be a little sore by the end of it but it's well worth it). Here are some pictures of the process:

See the difference in the paint finishes?

What do y'all think? Has anyone else done a stencil wall? I'd love to see them!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Healthy, Yummy!- Rosemary Pork Chops

When you think of healthy food normally you think bland blah food, but my goal is to find healthy yet yummy dishes. We eat relatively healthy so I have lots of recipes I'll be sharing overtime. The first recipe is...drumroll... Rosemary Pork Chops! (I had to do that)

This recipe is yummy, has lots of flavor, and only takes 20 mins to make! I don't use measurements for this recipe, I just eyeball it.

Rosemary Pork Chops:
  • 4 Boneless Pork Chops (about an inch thick, and the size of the palm of your hand)
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Fresh Black Pepper
Preheat oven to 375°
First step is to thaw your pork chops. The best way to do this is place them in the baking pan you want to use, cover them, and place them in the refrigerator overnight. I use a pyrex glass dish.

Second, drizzle olive oil over each pork chop, just enough to coat them and rub the pork chop in the oil so the bottom gets coated too (helps them from sticking to the pan).

Third, smash and cut up the fresh garlic. I added one clove; garlic has a strong flavor so add to your liking. Sprinkle the garlic evenly on top of the pork chops. How to chop garlic:
Smash the garlic clove with the palm of your hand...
This will make the skin come off nice and easy
Chop the garlic into small pieces
Fourth, add the rosemary. We are lucky enough to have a rosemary bush in our backyard, so we're able to just pick it from there.
(pic found here)
You can just pick up some fresh rosemary from any grocery store. You can used dried rosemary but it doesn't taste as good to me. Rosemary has a very strong flavor, like garlic, so sprinkle the rosemary to your liking.
Sprinkle black pepper to taste and bake for 20-25 mins, depending on your oven. Bake until no longer pink. Let the meat rest for a couple minutes and enjoy! I served mine with butternut squash and green beans.
(Sorry it's not the best picture)
  • If you have enough time, or remember too (unlike me), you can mix the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and pepper together to make somewhat of a paste. Spread the paste evenly over the pork chops and place the in a freezer bag, and then place in the fridge over night. By the time you're ready to cook them they will have even more amazing flavor.
  • A tip on healthy eating that I do is my portion control. I choose to eat on a smaller salad sized plate to be sure I don't over do it.
I am not a professional chef, as you can tell by my amazing instructions (j/k), but I promise my dishes are yummy! Leave a comment with any questions you have.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Wiener Dogs

Hot dog, doxies, weenie dog, dachshund, or whatever you want to call them, they are the best dogs ever! Matt and I have two mini dachshunds. We call them our fur babies, and our parents even call them their grandkids haha. They are so spoiled but I don't know what I'd do without them. Our two pups have an interesting relationship, Toby who is 7yrs old now is actually Penny's uncle, haha, Penny just turned six.
It is true what they say about dachshunds, they are the most stubborn dogs I know. They're going to do what THEY want to do. One of the biggest things I love about them is they are so dedicated to you, and just want to make you happy. They are very very cuddly, love treats, they have such cool personalities, and love sleeping and when they are asleep they burrow under blankets, ever single time.
Penny thinks she's the boss of Toby, or a matter of fact any animal. She's even tried to take on our neighbors rottweilers; yeah they could eat her! She's a mess. Penny also likes to chase squirrels, I just hope that one day she doesn't actually catch one, that would be the end of that squirrel. Matt calls her my shadow, she has to go wherever I am and always know where I am at all times. People always joke that Penny doesn't know she's a dog.
Now Toby, who actually acts like a dog haha, is the biggest baby. He's my baby. But unlike Penny, Toby loves to play. He could chase balls 24/7. He loves anything that squeaks, and loves those mini tennis balls. When we lived in our last apartment we had a courtyard where everyone took their dogs off the leash and just let them run around. Well one time we were out there Toby found another dog's mini tennis, and what did he do? He grab the ball, ran to the door (we weren't ready to go in yet but we did) and he carried the ball up a flight of stairs and straight to our apartment. It's like he knew he was stealing and had to hurry so he didn't get caught. (There were no other dogs in the courtyard at the time, so finding out who the ball belonged to would have been impossible). He still has the ball and it's still his favorite.
I just love my pups! I'll leave you some pictures of the most adorable pups ever!
Yes they like to climb trees
He did this himself and was sound asleep
 Penny watching our rare snow coming down
I would love to hear about your pups, leave a comment below!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas 2011

Can you believe it's already 2012?!?! I can't. 2011 flew by, but I can't wait to see what joys 2012 brings for Matt and I.

But for now we'll rewind back to Christmas 2011. I love Christmas time. We hosted my family at our house Christmas Eve, went to Matt's parents house for Christmas Day with his family, and then went to my Grandma Eileen's (dad's mom) on the 26th for dinner with her. We were really busy, plus I was pretty sick (still am, in fact I spent New Years Eve evening in the ER!), but overall it was a great Christmas. We had so much fun decorating our house for our first Christmas in it. I'll post more about it later on, but for now I'll leave you with some photos from Christmas: I forgot to take pictures of our Christmas Eve.
Us with the tree in downtown Ft. Worth
Our first Christmas tree in our house :)
Matt's Family
Matt and his grandpa Christmas Day
Our little Family
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