Tuesday, May 24, 2011

If my day job ever fails ...

If my day job ever fails, I now know I can go into the catering business. Well, maybe not, but I had good practice this weekend. 

Sunday was a special day for our sixth grade students and as a result, we had a luncheon for friends and family afterward. Landon decided that this year, for consistency, we would make the food ourselves, rather than having several people make one recipe at home and bring it to the church. So, on Saturday morning, he and I headed to the church to make six casseroles for our 60-person luncheon.

We had decided to make chicken spaghetti, a recipe my co-worker and friend Susan had given me. It makes a large batch that serves 12, so it is a good recipe for crowds. 

The recipe calls for a whole chicken, de-boned. So Landon cooked all the chickens on Friday at church so that they were ready to be de-boned on Saturday morning. Since that's a messy job, he gave that task to me.

While I did that, Landon's job was to cook a box of noodle, chop and saute onions and green peppers, and then mix all that together along with a can of cream of chicken, a can of cream of mushroom, 4 ounces of pimentos and a little chicken broth (saved from the cooked chickens). 

We actually had it timed so well that by the time I got done picking off all the chicken, he had one batch done. Then, we topped that with cheese and moved onto the next one. 

We did six all together, which took about two and a half hours. Then, we had to clean up our mess. By the time we got home, we crashed on the couch, but not before I made two Kentucky Derby Pies for a church missions bake sale. Oh, and I tried modifying the recipe I told you about to use one cup flour and one cup each of chocolate chips and pecans. The batter seemed much thicker, which I think helped with the consistency, but since I sold the pies and didn't eat them myself, I don't know for sure! I guess I'll have to try it again to see how they are! 

I had three amazing ladies who helped me cook the casseroles on Sunday morning as well as getting the salad and rolls ready. I don't have any pics of the end product, but I can tell you it was great. And, Landon did great on planning portions, because we didn't have that many leftovers. We had one roll, 15 cupcakes, a bag of salad and half a pan of chicken spaghetti. Not too bad, if I say so myself.

That said, one lesson I did learn, catering is hard work. I don't think I'll be taking it up anytime soon.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Smell of the Beach

I love the smell of the beach ... you know that smell that hits you when you first open the car door near the ocean? Well, I haven't quite figured out how to replicate that, but look what I did find this weekend at Marshall's.

It has a great "tropical" smell to it. I put it in some vases I bought at IKEA a couple of weeks ago. I love how it looks on the yellow tables!
I'm so eager to also put the hanging vases I bought, also at IKEA, on the wall. (Are you sensing a theme? I really like IKEA!) I was going to do this last week, but after looking at the wall, Landon and I decided it really needed another coat of paint. Not only are there some scuffs on it, but you can just see that it's a little thin in areas.

I like the color of the sunroom. It's neutral, which allows for me to use the bright "beachy" colors, so I don't want to change it. I really thought the last homeowners had left the sunroom paint color in the garage, since they left most every other color, but of course, when I went and looked, it wasn't there. So, we hung some paint samples on the wall and picked a color that's pretty close to what is there. Landon had a good thought to use the same color for the office, which if you'll remember, needs a fresh coat of paint, too. :)

So, hopefully we'll be able to pull out the paint brushes this weekend and at least get the sunroom done!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Inexpensive Wall Art

If you haven't noticed, I spent some time on Sunday redesigning my blog. I decided I wouldn't change the name after all, but I did feel it need a little face lift. So, I hope you like the new look!

This weekend, I finally finished a project I've been working on for about four weeks. It involves these frames I showed you a few weeks ago.

I bought four of these frames at IKEA with the intention of putting them in the dining room. I knew I wanted to do something very simple, so I took a trip to the craft store in search of some unique craft paper to use.

I first picked up this embossed paper in white, silver black and yellow, which I thought would work with the colors in my dining room.

But, when I put them together, I wasn't loving them. The silver was too gray for my gray wall. The white was too blah, and the black and gold reminded me too much of my high school colors.

Plus, they were just a tad bit boring, and I decided maybe I needed to add something to it. To help, I decided to take a trip back to the store for something else. I shopped around a lot and just couldn't find anything I wanted, until I took a trip to Joann's this last weekend and found a great black and silver paisley print.

So, now that I had my paper, it was time to pull out my Cricut and decide what graphic I would use. I originally had my heart set on a "robin." I thought I could use one on each and it would be a wonderful monochromatic look. I cut out several on white paper but in the end, I really wasn't feeling like it gave me the look for which I was hoping. 

So, I tried a "butterfly," but quickly decided against that. Next, I thought, "Perhaps we could spell a word?" But, after consulting with Landon, we couldn't decide on a word that made sense for the dining room. "Love" wasn't appropriate and "Cole" seemed a bit narcissistic. 

I decided to go back to the "robin" thinking perhaps the white was what bothered me, since it was a little too bright for the frame. I tried black, but didn't like that. I tried cream paper, which I liked for the coloring, but still didn't like the "robin." In the end, all I had left was a pile of die cuts.

Then, I found it -- a "corner" graphic. I cut four out, on cream paper and here is the final result.

What do you think? I'm excited to get them hung on the wall.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Electric Youth

So perhaps the name of this post is not clever, but it brought delight to my night when I typed it. You may not know (actually, I'd be surprised if anyone knows), "Electric Youth" is a song by my favorite singer as a child -- Debbie Gibson. Of course when this song title popped in my head, I had to go look for the video on YouTube (this then prompted me to go search for other Debbie Gibson YouTube videos). Feel free to interrupt this reading to go watch. It's full of late 80s / early 90's glory!

Okay, I digress ... a couple of week's ago, I mentioned my new obsession with bathroom chandeliers and my desire to put one in my own bathroom to replace my current boring light fixture.

Well, right after that, we took a trip to my favorite store (IKEA, of course) and found this little chic piece.


Thinking it would be perfect, we purchased it. And, since Landon had the following Monday off work, he hung it for me. But, there was a slight problem ...

We literally lived with it this way for two week. Poor Landon had to duck every time he went under it! I debated taking it back and giving this dream up, but then Landon and I started talking about possible solutions. We examined how the top was put together to determine if we could simply shorten the bar that it hangs on, but we realized that wasn't an option. So, I took a trip to Home Depot and found a canopy kit for it.

Landon was hesitant about whether he could do this since we've never taken on a project like this, but I had confidence. Still, I think we both had a fear the $40 spent on the chandelier would go down the drain if this went wrong!

But, Landon got started, and I assisted.

Of course, first thing we did was turn off all the power. Then, Landon worked with all the necessary tools to take everything apart and cut the wires down to an appropriate length. During all of this, I had some very important tools, too.

The iPad was to look up any necessary instructions; the fire extinguisher was in case something went wrong; and the cell phone was used to tell Landon which breaker was for the bathroom lights.

I wish I had pictures of us trying to actually hang the new fixture. Basically, it was Landon on a ladder with me standing underneath holding the chandelier with arms extended. I know it looked funny. The entire process from the first wire cut took us at least 45 minutes, if not more. But, in the end ... believe it or not ... it worked!

And, we haven't even had to use this ...

So, overall, I'm considering it a success!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Table Talk

This post has been a long time coming ... remember about three weeks ago when I mentioned I had been working on a big project? Well, I finally finished this weekend!

As you will remember, I bought a table on Craig's List back in January with the intentions of redoing it. Here are some pictures of the before.

Well, I'm proud to reveal that the table has been completed! It was a long process because I had to prime, paint three coats of Glidden Marshmallow White and then put the finishing glaze on top. That is why it required several weekends of work. It sat in our garage a long time, but this afternoon, Landon and I finally brought it back in the house, which is also a bit of an ordeal because we have to walk around the house and go in the front door. The table is too big to fit through the door leading to the garage. We learned that the hard way when we tried to move it out there.

So, enough gabbing. Here is the final product.

A couple of things to note. I found that after the first coat of white, that I had pretty big streaks on the top. So, I decided to use a paint roller for coats two and three. Not only did it not streak, but it was so much faster. I highly recommend. That said, the final product does still have some streaks because the finishing glaze is fast drying and despite putting it on as quickly as I could, I just couldn't get it to look perfect. But, unless someone will be coming into critique, which I don't expect, then I think it works. 

We have the table with the leaves in pushed up against the window right now so we can walk in the room, but it won't be staying that way. We'll remove the leaves most of the time because it is so large, but we want them to have plenty of time to dry before doing so. I'll be working on the chairs over the next few weeks. I'm really excited about this because we've hesitated on having friends over until we have a proper place to feed them. We're getting closer!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Things I'm Liking - 5.6.11

I'm still considering that name change but a lot of you told me you already liked the name of my blog! So, perhaps I won't change ... I hate decisions :)

While I'm contemplating, here are a few things I'm liking this week ...

Behind Closed Drawers' Painted Branches

Sweet Chaos' Master Bathroom Redo

The Stories of A to Z's Faux Coral Tutorial

Confessions of a Cookbook Queen Twix Brownie Recipe

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Identity Crisis

I'm officially going through an identity crisis ... okay, not me, but my blog is. When I first created my blog, I struggled with the name. I eventually landed on "No Ordinary Cole," but I'll be honest, I'm not in love with it. I think I wanted some clever name that used my last name, but it just isn't doing it for me. Plus, it really says nothing about what my blog is about!

I look at all the creative bloggers I follow and think what great titles they have, so I've decided it's time to re-title my blog, and I need your help! I've come up with a few possibilities and I'd love to hear your thoughts, especially since you've seen what I've posted in the past and the direction my blog is taking. So, here are some of the names I've come up with:

Option #1: Trial by Design

Option #2: One Room at a Time OR One Project at a Time

Option #3: Confessions of a Novice Designer

Option #4: ??? (you decide!)

Some of these are striking my fancy more than others, but I want to hear what you think! Leave me a comment with your honest opinion. If you hate them all, then I'll go back to the drawing board ...

Monday, May 2, 2011


Can you believe it is May already?!? Where did April go? Wow!

This past weekend was not as productive as I had hoped for a few reasons. See, there were many factors that inhibited my abilities. 

Factor #1: The Weather
The weather has not been cooperating with me. Both Friday and Saturday were VERY windy. So windy that it almost blew you over when you walked out the door. Considering that several of my projects require spray paint, I didn't feel like this was an option unless I also wanted to spray paint my garage. Sunday was rainy and FREEZING cold. Okay, I might be exaggerating but considering it has been nearly 90 degrees in the last few weeks, going down to 50 was quite a change.

Factor #2: The Cleanliness of My Home
I don't know why, but I tend to let my house get utterly disgusting before cleaning and this was the state it was in by the time the weekend had approached. I love the smell of a clean house and once I get going, I actually like cleaning, but it's that getting going that is the problem, especially now that I have projects every weekend to tend to; cleaning has been put on the back burner. So, needless to say, much of Saturday was spent scrubbing, dusting, mopping, etc.

Factor #3: Grocery Shopping
This may seem like a silly reason that I didn't get anything done, but let me explain a bit more. A few months ago, Landon and I decided it was time to quit complaining about our clothes not fitting right and get off our butts to exercise. We ordered a program called p90x. You may have heard of it or at least seen its infomercials. Not gonna lie ... it's pretty intense. But, it can be done in the home and we can do it together, so we decided it was the right program for us.  But, we said if we were going to do it, we were going to do it right, which included the rigorous eating plan that went with it. 

If you saw this menu, you would think we were nuts. It's a three-phase, 90-day plan. The first phase is heavy on protein and very low on carbs. By the second phase, you are eating an equal amount of protein and carbs, and by phase three, you are about 75 percent carbs, 25 percent protein. Not only does it mean a whole lot of fruits and veggies, but because of the intense workouts (each one is at least an hour), which helps you burn so many calories, the portions are quite big. So, it means lots of groceries.

We were actually doing very well and have each been able to get into those clothes that you hide in your closet and say, "One day I'll get back into these." Matter of fact, I started pulling out things I wasn't comfy wearing before and Landon couldn't believe how many "new" things I had. But, when we went to Nashville at the beginning of April for Ashley's wedding, we got a little thrown off in our routine and had started to slack off. So, we decided to take last week off from exercising before starting over from the beginning of the plan. 

So, I had to do my massive trips to the store this weekend. I say trips because I usually have to go to at least three stores to get everything I need. I start with Aldi to see how much I can get there. I really do like Aldi, especially when I get to the check-out. I always realize how much cheaper it is than other stores. They have a great selection of frozen fish and frozen fruits and veggies as well as fresh. The only problem is that you never know if what you got last week will be there this week. So, after Aldi, I usually hit up a Kroger or Tom Thumb for the normal items. And then there are usually one or two random "healthy" items, such as turkey jerky and soy nuts, that I have to get from a "healthier" store like Central Market or Market Street. So, with three grocery trips in a weekend, it takes away from my ability to get things done!

So, all that said, it might be a light week on the DIY projects, but I promise to make up for it next weekend. Also, I'm waiting on a few things to go on sale that will help me finish a few things up, including a project with these.

How was your weekend?