Gallery Wall Love

I have been envious of YHL’s gallery wall since they first began putting it together over a month ago. Check out the finish product that they just posted here. With the intention of creating a gallery wall down the road, I have been collecting white frames at Ikea, HomeGoods, and Christmas Tree Shops, as well as trying my hand at doctoring old mismatched frames with Rustoleum’s Heirloom White spray paint.

my first attempt was not as successful as i had hoped….when I went to check on the frames after drying, i noticed that spider cracks were everywhere. I believe this was a result of me leaving the frames to dry overnight in too cold temps (it got into the 30s without me really thinking about it), and spraying too thick of a coat instead of several light coats holding the spray bottle as far away as it says. Anyways, I ended up sanding the cracks down and re-trying today with much more success.

I originally wanted to do my gallery wall on our downstairs hallway since it seemed the most logical place, but I was concerned about the width of our hallways. YHL fills their downstairs hallway, but they are lucky enough to have 5′ hallways. I am not. Finally, I settled upon our upstairs hallway. Although the same width, the half wall and staircase on one side makes it feel much more open (in my opinion anyways).

Here is the before:

In their tutorial, YHL recommends cutting newspaper templates of each frame and taping them onto the wall to help visualize how each item will look without nailing them all up and figuring out after that you don’t like it.

Here is the view from our bedroom:

I am very glad that I followed their advice as I actually ended up switching a couple templates and shifting things around from the original placement that I taped onto the wall.

Here is the view from the other side of the hallway:

eventually, I would like to do this on the other side of the bathroom door as well, but frames can be $$$ so i am collecting them little by little as i go!

When I was finally satisfied with the balance of the templates on the wall, I laid out the frames in the order of the templates just to make sure that the various colors and styles of frames meshed well. I ended up making a couple adjustments at this point as well.

I know this seems like a lot of work for a little gallery wall, but it would have been A LOT more work to get everything up on the wall and then realize that i would have liked everything shifted.

Even Jack was exhausted just watching me:

FINALLY, it was time to nail everything up!

i love the way it turned out.

i ended up using a variety of different items from around the house. Everything from the maps we used on our honeymoon in Italy:

to leftover fabric scraps from our DIY curtains, a picture of Epcot at Disney World that was given to me when I left the management team in 2008:

a shadowbox of the leftover invitation suite from our wedding:

to Alton Brown tickets from a show we attended in 2006:

this gallery wall is definitely a work in progress as I know i will be adding to it and expanding to the other side of the doorway eventually. What do you think so far? Have you tried to replicate YHL’s gallery wall anywhere yet?

2 P’s

Today we are going to talk about 2 P’s.

The first: PIZZA…a personal love of mine (and my hubby’s!), but more importantly grilled pizza.

We make pizza at least 1x per week and occasionally even more often than that. Making our own pizza dough and loading the pizza with homemade sauces, veggies, and meats of our choice keeps pizza a healthy (and delicious) meal choice. Honestly, after making SO many pizzas at home, seeing takeout pizza or restaurant pizza makes us sick to our stomach at the pools of grease that are almost ALWAYS there.

One of our favorite pizzas is a simple pizza with carmelized onions, portobella mushrooms, prosciutto, and topped with fresh arugula or other greens that have been tossed in a simple balsamic dressing.

This pizza is elevated to a whole new level when you add a smoky flavor courtesy of our charcoal grill. We throw it right onto the grates for a few minutes on the first side, and then flip it over and assemble the pizza right on the grill.

The smokiness just adds another element that is indescribably delicious!

bon appetito!


P #2: Pinterest. My new-found addiction.

Have you heard of it? If not, go here now. seriously, it’s that awesome.

It’s an internet site that has been developed for you to “pin” anything that peaks your interest on the whole internet. Gone are the days of saving links and emailing them to myself, have 100000x bookmarks in my toolbar, and not being able to find inspiration images that I have come across in my travels.

But beyond the ease of cataloging everything on earth, the Pinterest community is brimming with inspiration because hundreds of thousands of Pinterest users are doing the same thing…pinning home decor inspirations, recipes, products they love, sites they want to visit, craft projects, books to read, christmas presents, vacation ideas, etc. You can literally browse for hours and “re-pin” anything that catches your attention to your own Pinterest so that you can have it at your fingertips. When you find friends/family on Pinterest, or other members around the world that you connect with, you can “follow” them so that when you log on, you are surrounded by anything that they have pinned to browse through.

this is visual eye candy at its finest.

Here is what I see when I log in:

tons of items to browse, from recipes to art projects that other people I am following have pinned.

Here is my Pinterest page:

I can’t wait to try this idea I got from browsing…lord knows we have enough wine corks!!

not to mention this awesome looking egg strada

i already texted Dan to save some wine pallets from work so we can create this

…well, what are you waiting for? go start pinning!!

Sunday, Sunday

I worked yesterday and today, so there wasn’t any time to work on anything for the house this weekend. Although, yesterday after work i did manage to get a good Spring-inspired cleaning/vacuuming spree in.

To give you an update on the house, on Tuesday, the plumber we hired to do the work in our future mudroom came and did the relocation of our heater. They originally told us that it was going to be between $850-$1000 for the project and that it would take about 8-10 hours. It ended up only taking the plumber between 5-6 hours. We are hoping this means the actual bill will be on the lower end of the range. Gotta love that small town charm when they wait a week or two to get you the bill :)

Here is how it looks now:

the heater was removed from the right hand wall

the heater was installed under the window:

which took some re-routing of the pipes through our floor joices like so:

next step will be to get some new subfloor in here, and then start ripping down the drywall on the wall that we will be putting our door into!


Also– do you remember this post from last weekend about how we rented a dumpster and how I was SO sore after our trash hauling fun?

Well, just in case you were thinking I was exaggerating…the dumpster company came on Friday morning to pick up the dumpster and take the weight of it so that they could compute our final charge.

Do you know what that weight was?

1.43 TONS. Yes, that would be 2,860 pounds.

Dan and I physically carried 2,860 pounds of junk and tossed it in the dumpster. No wheelbarrow, just a whole lot of muscle ;)



do you remember last week when I was lusting over this Restoration Hardware light fixture?

ya, the one that was $600+…i almost had a heart palpitation.

i scoured ebay diligently for the last week, hoping someone would post a used version of the same fixture or a similar one. No luck.

Last Sunday, the hubs and I took a quick trip to Home Depot and I happened to take a stroll through the lighting aisle.

Would you believe what i spotted?

while maybe not identical, this guy comes pretty close and i nearly swooned in the aisle. At $149, i wouldn’t call him “cheap” per se, but in all my googling, i found that you really can’t get a good quality fixture (be it a chandelier, ceiling fan, or oversized hanging lamp) in the size i wanted for less than that.

this is what we inherited with the house:


i shouldn’t be so harsh. This may be some people’s style, but definitely not ours. I don’t think I ever want to see another brass item with etched glass cross our threshold again.

ENTER– new light fixture of my dreams

:) it makes me smile every time i walk by the door. Can’t wait to get that door painted white once it’s warm enough to leave it open long enough to dry!


PS– guess what I made on Monday?

buttery, flaky, blueberry-y, lemony scones. my first time attempting scones and they came out amazing! check out the recipe here

Puffy Circles of Deliciousness

it would have never crossed my mind to think about making pita bread from scratch had i not read this recipe at Annie’s Eats. The recipe is for Chicken Gyros…i have been trying to branch out with our menu planning each week and try things a little bit different. Dan and I have always loved Greek food, so why not make Gyros on our own?? Reading the recipe, Annie states:

“Here we go again with another thing that is so much better homemade, I will probably never buy it from the store again. This blows store-bought pita bread out of the water.”

Prior to reading this, I was going to take the easy route and buy pita. Boy am I glad I listened to her. The homemade pitas MAKE the dish. A little time-consuming? yes. Difficult? Not really.

The recipe seems complicated, but if you read it carefully, it’s really not hard. The key is to rest when it says to rest and not overwork the dough.

you start out mixing together basic dough ingredients (yeast, flour, water, olive oil, salt) for 10 minutes. Made all the more easy with this baby as all i did was put it all in and set the kitchen timer. I kept an eye on it as it mixed and added more flour until the texture was more like a floured pizza dough feels and not sticky like cookie dough.

step #2 is the time-consuming part and is why, for us, this is only a weekend dish. You take out the ball of dough, knead it six-eight times, and then put it in an oiled (sprayed with Pam) bowl, cover, and let rest for 90 minutes.

at the end of 90 minutes, the dough will be twice as big as when you last left it. Take it out, punch it a bit (the fun part!) and then divide it into 8 equal (ish) mini balls. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 20 more minutes.

you then roll out each little ball into mini 6 inch pizza-like objects and let rest for ANOTHER 30-45 minutes (i was getting impatient and waited only 30 and they came out great!).

we preheated our oven to 450 with our pizza stone in it. At the end of the resting, i threw the mini pizzas into the oven on the stone and set the timer for 3 minutes. Yes, really only  3 minutes.

When the timer went off– we saw these:

which i have dubbed as puffy circles of deliciousness…aka REAL un-processed pita bread.

We followed Annie’s recipe for the gyros, easy chicken marinade, a simple tzatziki sauce, sliced purple onions, and diced tomatoes.

The meal was AMAZING. I kid you not. If you don’t make any of the recipes I post about, make this one…but you have to make the pita from scratch!


Weekend Sunshine

My whole body is sore right now, but it feels so good…it’s the yardwork kind of sore where your whole body aches in places you didn’t know muscles existed, but you feel like you accomplished so much that it was all worth it. I might be sore, but the sun and yardwork this weekend rejuvenated me. I suddenly felt like I have been reawakened from my winter hibernation and I just can’t wait to work on the yard, start our garden in a month or so, and feel more sun on my skin :).

Cape Cod was sunny and 50 this weekend…which felt like 70 to us since the temps have been steadily in the 30s for the last couple weeks.

I woke up and saw THIS outside our skylight above our bed:

Ollie couldn’t have been more excited that the doors were opened and windows were cracked. He spent the day watching the leaves blow around and around…

our beautiful japanese maple trees actually have buds!

these made my heart smile:

the daffodils will be next…hopefully in time for our Easter guests so i can get a good bouquet for our table! How lucky are we to have all these perennials that pop up throughout the year??

our yard is still looking a little brown, but check out that sky!!

our new ladder got put to good use cleaning the gutters….yes, those are kitchen gloves haha.

I swear I was still holding the ladder during this shot ;)

lots of raking ensued…my sore arms and glutes can attest to that!

…so much raking in the sun that jackets came off!


Happy Spring!!

The Ugly House Guest

this guy showed up on Saturday morning:

At $325 for a week (delivery & pickup included) it was money well spent. We love our low taxes in Falmouth, but higher taxes in other areas, like the town my parent’s live in, include services like bulky pick-up…which we don’t get here. In order to dispose of any junk, we would have to rent a pick-up (since I don’t think our Mazda and Infiniti will do the job!) and then pay a dump fee to bring load after load to the local dump. All in all, not worth it when you can rent one of these babies and fill it with up to 1 ton of materials.

You may wonder how on earth we accumulated so much junk…well, we weren’t lucky enough to have responsible prior homeowner’s in our house. Divorce, restraining orders, and a 21 year old boy living and smoking in the house meant that we got a great deal…however knew not to expect a true “broom clean” or we would have never closed.

We found tires and an oil drum in the woods, old pool stairs behind the shed (there isn’t even a pool here any more), there were all sorts of weird iron cats and bees stuck in various parts of the yard, bird feeders, an old rotting umbrella, rotting shed stairs, rusting iron racks left in the bathroom, and a disgustingly dirty carpet steam cleaner left in the basement.

Compound that with some leftover lumber from our deck project, the cabinets we ripped out of the kitchen, an old microwave before we upgraded our appliances, carpet and sub-floor from when we began our mudroom project, old doors, ugly fans we removed and we had a very large pile of junk accumulating under our deck.

The weather was beautiful yesterday and 4 hours of hard work later, we had this:

a full dumpster! Which, most exciting of all, meant a clean yard:

i totally forgot to take before pictures here, but I am sure you can imagine what all that junk looked like piled up under here!

Getting all that stuff out of there felt SO good. This Spring/Summer is definitely going to be focused on getting our yard and landscaping up to par as we really didn’t have the time last year to do too much since we had just moved in and were working on more important things like cleaning the disgustingly dirty inside and ridding the house of cigarette smoke :)

We also managed to get this stuff back onto the porch:

i think grilling is in order for this week’s menu!


Menu– week of 4.3.11

Chicken Gyros with Homemade Pita (recipe courtesy of Annie’s Eats)

Salmon over Spring Risotto (think fresh peas, leeks, asparagus, and marscapone cheese Mmmm) …also from Annie’s Eats

Tortellini Soup (recipe from me!) the fresh tortellini that i love is on sale this week at S&S :)

Hawaiian Pizza with a twist (recipe from Aarti on Food Network)

Grilled Flank Steak Fajitas with Rice & Beans ( a “dan” recipe)

Cajun Chicken Pasta (recipe from Pioneer Woman)

Grilled Pork Chops, Red Potatoes, Zucchini & Squash (also a “dan” recipe)