Today I went shopping for upholstery fabric. I had picked it out a few weeks ago with my mother-in-law and as the sale ended this weekend, I thought I'd better get it purchased. We have a very comfortable well-worn armchair that has seen better days and ...

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"finding beauty @ home" - 5 new articles

  1. Sew Excited
  2. Refinishing the Hardwood Floor
  3. I Knew It
  4. Baffled
  5. Casseroles and Welsh Cakes
  6. More Recent Articles

Sew Excited




Today I went shopping for upholstery fabric. I had picked it out a few weeks ago with my mother-in-law and as the sale ended this weekend, I thought I'd better get it purchased. We have a very comfortable well-worn armchair that has seen better days and she offered to help me recover it. But that's a project for another day. I guess that means a blog post for another day too.

As is often the case, I go into a crafting store for one project and get sidetracked into purchasing supplies for another. My daughter and I have been eying all those cute trendy aprons out there and I thought I'd pick up some fabric so that we could create one together. After finding some very cute fabric, I thought it just might make a cute table runner as well.

Isn't it darling? I love the fresh colors for spring and summer.



So in my usual creative mode, I had to get right to work. Never mind the dishes, I was on a mission. I tore strips of fabric in varying widths and then cut them all 17" wide. I actually have no idea how long it is. Just pieced it together in strips until I reached the right length. I knew I had some leftover white cotton for the backing. I was totally shocked that I had a piece leftover from a white smocked dress I had created ten years ago. The unbelievable part was that it was EXACTLY (no kidding!) the right length and one inch too wide.

Seriously. What are the odds?


So here's my super easy sewing project. It felt so good to sew again. I think I'm going to have to get back to more stitching.


While I was at it, I rearranged some of the stuff on the dresser. This was the old dresser I picked up and painted and am using as a sideboard in my eating area.

This is what it looked like late fall. I had just been thrifty and folded an old tablecloth into a tablerunner type thing. I loved the warm color addition then...




But I'm totally lovin' the fresh look of these prints now for spring and summer. Best of all, the project took me less than an hour. That's something to be excited about.

This post links up with Funky Junk Interiors Saturday Night Special...


Have a great weekend!

Julia
    

Refinishing the Hardwood Floor


The weeks have been flying by and I've actually been getting some queries as to whether I've fallen off the planet. I'm still here! I'm sorry this poor blog has been rather neglected but unfortunately I just can't do it all. I'm still hoping to keep this going but my reality is that I need to keep it down to a few posts a month.

In case you don't know, this is my second blog. My ramblings of home, family and a hobby. My first blog is one that I update almost daily with paper crafting inspiration. It's called Belle Papier and if you're into that kind of thing...check it out.

But back to the renovation. I'm excited to say that it's almost done! Yay! We actually have started using it again while we finish off the last touches and I have to say I love it. It may seem a little silly but I'll go out of my way just to go through that room and smile at it.


But since I've been so neglectful of keeping you up to date.... let's back track a little. Today I'll show you refinishing the floor.

All in all, refinishing a hardwood floor is really not that difficult, just time-consuming. Depending on the condition of your floor it can take quite a while to sand. Basically, the more time you put into it, the better it will look. Our flooring was in mediocre condition when we moved in 11 years ago. Add five kids and lots of use and a major renovation on top of that...you have quite a bit of work to do.


Hubby rented a floor sander from Home Depot and then proceeded to put in 16 long hours sanding the floor. You start with a heavy grit sandpaper on the bottom and then slowly change to a medium grit and a finer grit. You need to remove all the finish, then the original stain and finally any gouges or dints in the floor. While yes, there was some dust from this project, I was surprised at how well the bag on the sander kept it down to a minimum.

To get close to the baseboards for a good edge finish, hubby removed the small trim at the bottom of them and then re-trimmed after the floor was finished.


You may want to open a few windows when staining the floor. Wow! Made my eyes water. We used a mixture of two colors of stain on this floor. We couldn't decide between the two so just stirred them together. I love it.

To finish off the floor, we applied three coats of Varathane to the floor. Just follow the directions on the can and sand with a fine sandpaper before your last coat. I'm thrilled with how soft and smooth it feels.

Now in case you think we forgot about the portion of floor between the two windows, we didn't. I forgot to take photos of that step. Hubby purchased a bit from Lee Valley and made his own oak flooring to fit in that spot. Same finishing process and it all looks like new. Once we'd gotten this far, it was so hard to wait a few days before moving in some of the furniture. It takes a little while to cure and if you take the time, you won't be disappointed after your hard work.

Thanks for stopping by!

Julia
    

I Knew It

I just knew there was a reason I was hoarding all those candles! I seem to have a candle addiction these days.

Votives, tea lights, pillar candles, jar candles...I just can't seem to resist them. Now what I really want still is an oil lamp. And I have very good reason for one more addition.

You can light two dozen candles and still not have much light.

Now I've never done this before but today the weather was cold, wet and the wind howled all day. And then the power went off just before dinner as it was getting dark. Out came all those wonderful candles. They looked beautiful and shed some light and the little kids were so excited to see them all lit. Who am I kidding? I was lovin it too.

Dinner by candlelight...how fun! Of course, it was only hot dogs on the menu as they'd eaten VERY well all week. We were thankful that the gas stove will still work without electricity.

Here's some of our pretty candles...




And then the power came on just as we were sitting down to eat. Oh well. A bit of a relief but a bit of a disappointment too. I blew out most of the candles to save for another day.

I did learn a little lesson today. I was doing housework all day and getting just a little bit grumpy about how much had to be done. Having the power go out, ever for a short time makes me appreciate my modern conveniences. It was a different world without power. I wouldn't want to go back to it. I did however think about the quiet evenings that people used to have. Time to stop and think. That's something I often miss out on and I'm wondering if all our conveniences are such a good thing sometimes. A mixed blessing to be sure. I realized I need to slow down a little, enjoy my candles and enjoy some quiet time.

I learned something today...all those candles were a good and useful addiction and when I light one again, I hope I remember to slow down a little and take time to remember the important things in life.
    

Baffled

I must say, I'm just baffled as to where the past month has gone to! I know it's trite but time flies. My apologies for being a very bad blogger here but between the renovation and some paper crafting commitments and my family life, I just had to take a break. It's important to prioritize and figure out just want is most important in your life and stay true to that.

Jumping back in, I find I left you here with some recipes and the drywall just going back up on the ceiling. Then came the taping and the drywalling "mudding". A big job to be sure. Hubby did an amazing job.


Doesn't it look great? It's looking like a completely different room. Much larger and that ugly popcorn ceiling with its bowed drywall and holes is gone.


And the wall where he replaced the old wiring is fixed now too.


Hubby wasn't happy with the near perfection of the ceiling and we had a California Knock-Down finish applied on it. I wasn't thrilled at first but it's growing on me. I do adore the new ceiling fan though. My daughter and I hunted high and low for one we were happy with. It was difficult to find one as large as we needed and we wanted something that looked classic but 2010 too. It looks awesome in the vaulted ceiling. Notice the rest of the room is not complete but we already have the speakers installed in the ceiling. That's my man for ya.


My other huge excitement was the removal of the fireplace. See? No more nasty faux brick and we can actually arrange the furniture better in the room now. That did leave an extra job though. That floor has to be patched and as the hardwood really needs refinished...that's our next big job.

I'm sure excited as I finally feel as though we're in the home stretch. We're aiming to be done by the end of March and I really think we just may do it!

Take care!

Julia
    

Casseroles and Welsh Cakes

I've been busy doing some baking and cooking. There's nothing like something warm on a cold snowy day. I find I cook a little differently in the winter.

It's been a while since I've shared any recipes so I thought I'd share a couple with you today. My husband thinks it's a little bizarre that I blog about my recipes but as I always love a good recipe and I know of one reader who tries out every recipe I post. Her family loves them. I don't share anything fancy...just recipes that my large family will eat.

Welsh Cakes




Welsh Cakes are sweet little cakes that are about 2.5" across. They are cooked on top of the stove, very much like a pancake but they are sweeter and pretty much the equivalent of a scone. Even my non-raisin-lovers like these. I actually ended up hiding the last three so that I could take a picture of them. Speaking of which...I picked up this gorgeous little oblong plate on sale at Pier 1 the other day. Isn't it purdy?

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup raisins or currants
1 egg
1/2 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in butter until crumbly. Beat egg with fork. Add milk and egg to mixture. Stir in raisins. Roll out 1/4 inch thick onto floured surface. Cut into 2.5" rounds with cookie cutter or glass. Fry in frying pan over medium heat. Brown on both sides. Pan should allow drops of water to sizzle but not bounce around on pan. Remove to cooling rack.

Taco Rice Casserole



Everyone in the house will eat this and it's a great casserole to make ahead and then cook when you need it. This one is just ready to go in the oven. I serve it with tortilla chips and a salad and it's great for a potluck.

Taco Rice Casserole

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup onion chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 package of taco seasoning mix or Taco Seasoning Blend below
1 1/2 cups water
8 ounces of tomato or spaghetti sauce
3 cups rice, cooked
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

taco chips

Brown ground beef, onion and green pepper. Drain excess fat. Add taco seasoning and water and simmer for at least 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and cooked rice and spoon into baking dish. Top with grated cheese. Bake at 350°F until hot and bubbly. Immediately before serving, top with broken taco chips.

And because packaged Taco Mix doesn't agree with me, I found this recipe for some that tastes just the same but will cost much less. It takes only a minute or two to put together.

Taco Seasoning Mix

1 tbsp onion flakes
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp corn starch
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix together. Makes the equivalent of one package of taco seasoning mix.

Happy cooking!
    

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