Jul 25, 2011

A Different Kind of Pickin'

Typically to me, the word “picking” means finding something fabulous in not so fabulous places (i.e. my Henredon coffee table from a junky farm sale). However, this weekend I did a completely different type of pickin’…. and boy did it produce some sweet results. At a farm nearby, we found bush after bush with the prettiest blackberries I’ve ever seen. The deer who frequent this bush with the afternoon munchies are definitely going to be pissed when they see how many we picked. Speaking of deer, if anyone knows how they can get the berries off the bush without bleeding and dropping the “f bomb” several times, please let me know… it’s boggling my mind! :)

Although it’s not the most attractive bush in the world, it definitely produces one of the sweetest fruits. I think if I could get over the seeds, it would by far be my most favorite!

Although the red berries are pretty, they are definitely not as good as the black berries… plus they’re called Blackberries not Redberries so give them a little time.

The thorns surrounding this bush are very painful so we had to grab the top of the berry and pull. Thank you to my beautiful hand model.

Jackpot. Good find Mama!

So what to do with all of these Blackberries? Since I had about 2 quarts I narrowed it down to either jam or cobbler and of course I chose both! Since I also ambitiously decided to make a fabric covered headboard (post coming later this week, so excited to share!) and paint the guestroom on Sunday, I only had time to make the cobbler. Here’s my favorite cobbler recipe from an old cookbook JD’s grandma gave me. Thanks Effie! This recipe is as sweet as you :)

Blackberry Cobbler


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 qt. blackberries cooked with 1 cup sugar and ½ cup water


Wash the blackberries thoroughly.

Combine the first six ingredients and pour into a greased 9 inch square baking pan.

Cook the blackberries with 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water. (Important Tip: After the Blackberries are cooked, I typically use a strainer to separate the juice from the berries. If you don’t feel your cobbler has enough juice from just the berries, then add a little from the juice you strained.)

Pour the cooked berries on top of your batter.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool before digging in! Pair with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a cold glass of milk. Yummmmm…..


Jul 18, 2011

Decked out!

Happy Monday! Boy was I tired today…I forgot how tired (and sore!) painting a room can make you feel. I always assume it will only take me an hour or 2 to finish but then after taping, trimming and priming I’m ready for a break. You’re going to totally pick on me when I tell you it was only half a room, as the entire other half is wainscoting. OK, OK, I’ll stop complaining but in my defense I also finished painting the “new” deck furniture and completely revamped this space. You know the saying “If you build it, they will come?” (I honestly just asked JD if this quote came from the movie Wayne’s World. After he laughed at me for five straight minutes, I learned it was actually from Field of Dreams! Makes much more sense now.) Well this saying totally applies to my deck furniture, as one of my best friends spontaneously stopped by for some much needed girl time on Saturday. Two bottles of wine and 4 brownies later, I was no longer in pain from a day full of painting and totally digging my new-to-me furniture and deck!
I started both chairs and the table by cleaning and sanding. The original paint was chipping badly, so sanding was a critical part of this revamp. After sanding, I dusted each piece thoroughly and then primed with my favorite Rust-Oleum spray primer. I had trouble picking the color scheme for the furniture, until I found this outdoor fabric on sale for $4 a yard at Hancock. I loved this shade of green but wanted the deck to feel like an extension of the interior, so I decided on cream for the chairs and green for the table. I chose to make extra large pillows so they could double as seat cushions if needed. Although you can’t see it in the picture above, I’m also planning to paint the larger table black with a chalkboard top for fun. Tic-Tac-Toe here we come!  
I couldn’t find a spray paint in the exact shade of green in the fabric, so I chose an exterior latex paint from True Value. The only downside is that it takes forever to dry, so plan on some down time. Yes, that’s a banana popsical in the picture – they’ve become a must-have in my summer outdoor projects!
Project Total = $28

  • Adirondack chairs and table: $0 (rescued from the dump!)
  • Chair paint: 1 Quart / ~$10 from True Value
  • Table paint: 1 Quart / ~$10 from True Value
  • Fabric for pillows: $8 from Hancock (used old throw pillows for filling)

Until I have a bigger front porch, back porch sittin’ will work just fine :)
My next project of the weekend was painting the dining room. This room has such fabulous wainscoting and crown molding that I needed a richer color to really make them pop. Since the bathroom downstairs is painted an intense blue grey, I wanted to stay close to this color range. I chose “Stonington Grey” by Benjamin Moore (although I bought the True Value version) and love, love, love it! The color sample had a little more blue in it, but I’m really digging this subtle but warm shade of grey.

Since there was a $20 price difference between BM and Easy Care, I obviously chose the latter but am really happy with the results! Painting a room grey definitely provides some instant gratification. I’m thinking the guest bedroom might just go grey too!

I also spent sometime this weekend organizing my hot mess of a garage. Since someone must have broken into our house and only taken my two paint rollers and edging brush (a.k.a JD threw them away on accident!), I really needed to organize my supplies. So I installed a 6 foot shelf and organized by the following: Spray paint, tools, towels/rags, and paint gallons.
While I was writing this post, one of my super sweet neighbors stopped by to bring us fresh tomatoes from her garden. I may dislike a lot about The Bumpass, but I do love my sweet neighbors and their yummy tomatoes.

They were the perfect addition to Taco Night. Thanks neighbors that don’t read my blog and may not know my name! We’re still the new kids on the block… xoxo, Jamie

Jul 14, 2011

What Makes Me Appy

My name is Jamie and I’m a iPadoholic. I’m 100% addicted and have no plans to quit. Ok Ok, I’m being a little dramatic, it’s not like it’s crack but I honestly can’t imagine life without it. It’s my go-to tool for almost everything, especially when I need a little inspiration for cooking, sewing, designing and of course blogging. I can also get my angry bird on like it’s nobody’s business.

As my memory (on the iPad and the one in my head) is quickly filling up, I wanted to take a few minutes to share why I’m so in love with this genius invention and a couple apps that as of recently are striking my fancy.

1. Popbooth. Do you remember those photobooths at the mall that produce the most amazing candid pictures ever? You pile in the booth with your bf or bff’s and have a blast making silly, completely ridiculous faces. I’ve also seen some really cute versions recently, like these from Young House Love. Personally, I always seem to act like a complete fool as soon as I step into the booth.

I love this iPad app because it’s honestly like having a photobooth in your pocket. Ok… only in your pocket if you’re wearing those horrible jnco shorts from the early 90′s, but good news – this bad boy is also available for the iPhone!

The app is also super simple to use. Simply download the app and snap 4 funny pictures. (Funny is my requirement, not Popbooth’s!) Next, share your photos via Facebook or email. Popbooth also gives you the option to order high-quality prints by mail. Photos are printed on glossy card stock and only cost $2.99. That may be slightly higher than those machines at the mall but check out the neato filters you can apply. I’m loving “Colorz” and “Vintage”.

I’m thinking the vintage strip below might just find a home above our sofa…

Popbooth picture


2. Epicurious
What’s cookin’ good lookin’? This app is almost always in the kitchen with me, especially if I’m cooking something new. I love the fact that you can search by food item. Say you have a lonely eggplant hanging around, about to spoil in your fridge. Simply search “Eggplant” and multiple yummy recipes will suddenly appear. I know, it’s kind of magic! There are also ratings & reviews, which every girl knows after buying your first pair of pumps online, how valuable these are. I love how little forks represent ratings!


3. BHG Magazine
A comfy chair, a cup of coffee and Better Homes & Garden on my iPad, is how I like to spend most Saturday mornings. I see more and more mags going digital and I totally dig it. Making PDF’s of print pages doesn’t allow for a friendly UX and I love that BHG knows that. I also love how visual the digital edition is. They often have rooms that you can paint by simply tapping a paint color or products you can learn more about by just touching the screen. It allows you to interact with content in a whole new way and (as of now) is almost ad free.

Every month features beautiful designs, great DIY tips and the most delicious recipes! BHG often makes itself into the Kitchen with me as well. Thanks BHG, I heart you :)

Meredith Corp knows what’s up, as the Fitness Magazine app is also fabulous.

Digital Edition of BHG.com



4. Houzz
If you need room design inspiration then this app is a must-have. The app features hundreds of designs, categorized by room and even allows you to store the images in your own Ideabook. Say you need a local professional (Architect, Interior Desinger, General Contractor, etc.) for an upcoming job, simply tap on the Professionals tab, click on your city, and several recommendations appear!

The app also features dozens of great DIY ideas and amazing before and afters (And who doesn’t love those?)

Since I’m planning to revamp the laundry room soon, I’m on the hunt for inspiration and am totally loving Houzz.

What apps are you loving?

Jul 11, 2011

Pretty Panels & Paint

Hey y’all. Hope everyone had a nice weekend. Mine was busy, busy, busy but very productive. Last weekend I was complaining that I had too many projects in prep phase, but this weekend I was able to finish two! The Adirondack chairs and shutter are still in progress and thanks to my multiple Black Widow encounters this weekend, they might just stay that way. I thought these spiders were timid and shy, not the type that crawl around in your garage. WTF? Just reason #963 why I am ready to get out of the Bumpass. While we’re on the topic (sorry that’s almost every post) JD and I bought a book of house plans from Lowes this weekend. We’re years away from building our dream house but just the thought of living closer to Richmond in a house that we get to completely design makes me giddy! :)

So this weekend I attended my very first estate auction. I’ve only seen auctions on TV, where nice furniture and china is displayed on stage and a very fast talking old dude sells the items in 2 seconds. Boy, was this different and totally full of junk. We walked around this farm for about 2 hours and I only found 2 things: Large cabinets (lost the bid) and a Henredon coffee table (which I scored for $10!). As soon as I got home, I pulled out the iPad and started researching Henredon antique furniture. Although I couldn’t find the exact table for sale online, I did find comparables and hesitated for a minute on whether I should refinish and sell it or paint it and love it. Obviously, I chose the latter. I love how it adds a formal touch to my casual living room and how dainty it is. The scalloped apron is my favorite part.

As I do with all of my wood furniture revamps, I sanded and primed before painting. Priming makes such a difference that I barely ever skip it now. Although it’s super easy, I’m actually getting a little tired of a spray painting and Saturday I just wasn’t feeling the fumes and frequent can changing. So I decided to roll this piece with the same ivory paint that I recently bought from True Value for the Adirondacks. It’s an exterior paint but applied very easily and looks amazing (if I may say so myself!)

I rolled almost the entire piece and really like how smooth and even the top is. Not one brush stroke!

My second project was making new panels for the breakfast nook. I saw this fabric in Hancock a few weeks ago and literally had a dream about it. I couldn’t decide exactly where I wanted it but I knew I just had to make drapes out of it. The fabric was originally $15 a yard but I scored it on sale for $8!

The brown/light blue/white color scheme matches our Den fabulously, so I’m planning to make 4 more sets to replace the current ones. However, since 2 ladies stopped me in Hancock and asked if they could also get some of the fabric, I doubt there is much left. Luckily, I found 4 online retailers selling it for $7 a yard. Since each window requires about 5 yards, I’ll need a total of 20 yards. Burn…

Since these were the first panels I’ve ever made, I was a little nervous getting started. However, I honestly can’t believe how flippin’ easy this was. Granted, it’s a little time consuming (~45 minutes per panel) but so worth it to get custom drapery!

Here’s how I did it:

Step 1: Wash, dry and iron your fabric. If it’s cotton, it will definitely shrink, so it’s better to do this before cutting and sewing the fabric. Also makes it smell lovely!

Step 2: Measure, measure and measure again. After measuring my window, I decided that I wanted my panels to be 85” tall. I didn’t worry about the width as the panels are much more for decoration than full coverage but if you’re buying drapery fabric on the long bolts, you’re fine. I also didn’t line the panels as I still want as much light as possible in this room.

Step 3: Use an iron to make the seams. I started with the side seams by folding the printer marks and then folding another 1″ to completely cover them. Although I also used pins (to ensure my seam held) the iron was the easiest way to make the seam hold until you’re ready to sew. After the side seams, I then did the top and finished with the bottom.

Step 4: Using a sewing machine, sew as close to the inside edge as possible. I’m sure you could iron all of the seams and then sew, but I ironed and sewed one side at a time.

Close up of the fabric and my baby! He likes to be a part of everything (especially after it’s perfectly ironed). How can you get mad at something that sweet?

Step 5: After the first panel was completely finished and the second panel’s side seams and top seam were sewed, I laid the two pieces on top of each other. As you can see the second panel was much longer, so I simply folded the fabric to the correct length and finished the bottom seam. Probably could of cut it to make it perfectly match the other bottom seam, but I’m not about making everything “perfect” in this nest.

Step 6: Hang the panels. I chose clip rings and am really happy with how they look! I couldn’t find a rod long enough (can I use my “she said” joke again? Or is it getting old?) so I used an old one that I found living behind my coach. It needs some silver spray paint but I honestly need a week away from the stuff.

While running into Walmart to grab clip rings this weekend, I noticed this lamp base on one of the end caps in the college dorm section. The thought process: “Ohhh that’s cute!” …“I usually don’t like Walmart’s décor”… “$4 bucks… I LOVE IT!” I’ll buy furniture from the back of someone’s truck, so I’m in no place to turn my nose up at Walmart. Keep it coming!

I also recently got these brown and teal dish towels from Target for $8 and I love how they coordinate with the lamp shade from Lowes. Just realized that I’m totally loving me some big box stores. Have you had any great finds from yard sales, auctions or big box stores? Please share!

Hey there!

I'm Jamie, just one new mama organizing her way to a sweeter and happier home

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