30 October 2010

Impromptu Fall Foliage Wreath

In my final days before the little bean arrived, I had a sudden urge to do some fall decorating.  I'm not really a fan of seasonal decorations because you have to eventually take them down and it just seems silly, but I have been anxiously awaiting fall for so long that I thought its arrival deserved a celebratory wreath and maybe a few odd pumpkins.  I wasn't about to go spend money on a brightly colored and mostly tacky faux fall wreath at my local hobby shop, so I decided to search the internet for something I could make at home.  I love me some Martha and I was delighted when I found how-to instructions for a Fall Foliage Wreath on MarthaStewart.com.  Unfortunately, my craft arsenal is pretty pathetic and I didn't have Kraft paper, metallic paper, satin ribbon or a wreath form.  Basically I had none of the required materials, so, instead, I made the wreath out of a hanger and some brown paper bags saved from the grocery store.  I bought some ribbon for a couple dollars at Wal-Mart and voila.  It's not nearly as pretty as Martha's, but it looks just fine from the street! 

I followed the exact instructions from MarthaStewart.com, but instead fashioned a wire hanger into a circle and cut the leaves from brown paper bags.

22 October 2010

Born On A Sunday Morning

"Heaven blew every trumpet
 and played every horn
on the wonderful, marvelous
night you were born."

Born on a Sunday morning, like my favorite verse from my favorite song.  The moment she arrived was truly musical as, far and wide, church bells rang, gospel choirs sang, and my world changed.  Forever. 

Introducing... Lillian Grace.

"On the night you were born,
the moon smiled with such wonder
that the stars peeked in to see you
and the night wind whispered,
'Life will never be the same.'"

-quotes from On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman

12 October 2010

The Nursery Unveiled

Although I don't think I'll ever be satisfied... with anything, I thought now was as good a time as any to reveal the nursery.  Perhaps it is the pregnancy hormones but I've been having this overwhelming feeling of dissatisfaction with my surroundings.  I lay awake at night contemplating whether or not I should get up and just start purging.  I dream about wild house cleaning sprees where I throw away the unused contents of every cupboard and drawer and I donate all of the things in this house that I just don't love anymore.  Unfortunately, I don't have the discipline or the energy to do any of those things at this point and so instead I will meditate on loving what is. 
In the meantime, I took some pictures of the baby's room this weekend and although I am unhappy with how they turned out (shocker), I will display them anyway, but only because I said I would. 

Probably the best "whole room" shot using the mirrored closet door and featuring Jasper, my assistant, looking super sassy on that pink zebra rug. 

The crib is a classic Jenny Lind style wooden number that we got at Babies'R'Us for less than $200.  I made the crib skirt and bumper out of Michael Miller green chevron fabric and Amy Butler's Love Sandalwood in tangerine, respectively, both of which are less than $10/yd.  The crib sheet is from PotteryBarn Baby and was on clearance.  The curtains are also Amy Butler fabric made by my lovely and talented Mama.  The two paintings above the crib are Matisse's Citrons sur Fond Rose and Raoul Dufy's Le Tour Eiffel, some colorful Fauvist favorites for her little eyes.  I'm trying to breed an artist- can you tell?

Close up of the vintage tie-backs I scored at Werther's Antique mall in Wallholler (Walhalla), SC.

Alas, the part of the room where all the magic will happen: dirty diapers and the dairy rack.  The side table, rocking chair, and green mirror are all hand-me-downs from different generous sources and we already had them "laying around."  The lamp was a thrift store find ($3) and I smacked a wicker IKEA lampshade on it.  Above the rocking chair is another framed Matisse, a platter that I collected somewhere along the way, and an original pastel drawing done by yours truly that will probably not stay there.  Having it framed has been on the to-do list for a couple of weeks now, thus adding to my angsty, unsatisfied impulses.  Rats.  As for the dresser, it was a Craigslist steal that we painted white, handles and all, and it doubles as a changing table.

Close up.

Closer up.

Bookshelf, fabric baskets and lamp all from IKEA.  The chair used to be at my grandparents kitchen table-  I painted and recovered it years ago.  Assemblage of found objects atop the bookcase mostly consists of thrift store and antique mall finds.  Original oil painting was a gift and I can't remember the artist's name.

There are about a million things I'd still like to do to make the room feel more complete, but I was reminded that if I waited until I thought it was perfect, then I would never reveal it. 

And so there it is- just like me- as ready as it will ever be for baby to arrive.

07 October 2010

Autumn Soup to Warm the Soul

So I was going to blog about fall fashion today because I can't wait to wear non-maternity clothes again, but I have received so many fabulous foodie emails this morning that I decided to reconsider (including this one:  http://www.tastespotting.com/ ).  Since the weather has finally cooled down here in the dirty dirty (aka the south), a warm and filling stew seemed the perfect recipe for today.  It is a family favorite and so simple.  Enjoy!

Tortellini and White Bean Soup

1 tsp. olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning (or whatever you have on hand)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups coarsely chopped spinach
2/3 cup water
16-oz. can navy beans
14.5-oz. can vegetable broth (plus more for thinner soup)*
14.5-oz. can no-salt added whole tomatoes undrained and chopped
14-oz. can quartered artichoke hearts
9-oz. package cheese tortellini
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Saute onion, red pepper, Italian seasoning and garlic in olive oil until onions are translucent.  Add spinach, water, navy beans, vegetable broth, tomatoes, artichokes and bring to a boil.  Reduce and simmer for 5 minutes.  Next, add cheese tortellini and cook according to time printed on package.  Serve with shaved Parmesan, hearty french bread and a tasty Shiraz.

*I find that a 14.5-oz can of broth is not enough because the tortellini drinks it up quickly.  I like to get a larger carton so I can add it to the soup when I reheat it for leftovers.