Monday, November 23, 2015

Shop Update + Photo Shoot

Guess what? Winter scarves are available again in the Etsy shop! 

Last week, one of my best friends from college (who coincidentally ended up moving to Washington, D.C. not long before Mark and I moved to Frederick, MD) came up for the weekend. Unfortunately for her but fortunately for me, I shamelessly asked her to model a few of the scarves I knitted for my Etsy shop. 

I couldn't be more thrilled with the way the images turned out. 

This infinity scarf is probably my favorite of the three. Knitted with a chunky tweed yarn, it is perfect for the deep winter months. It's thick enough to serve as a cowl, if you find yourself stuck in a snowstorm without a hood. The earthy tone works for men or women. In my mind, I call it the "Twig and Earth" scarf even though I don't really name my knitted items. But it just has that neutral, earthy look, doesn't it?

This pale dun colored scarf is probably the softest infinity scarf I have ever made. Part of me wishes I had bought a whole cart of that yarn and knitted a blanket rather than a scarf.  Unbelievably snuggly, it puts you in the mood for a good book and a cup of hot tea. Like the one above, this scarf too would work for men or women. I try to keep my colors neutral so that they'll work for anyone. 

Finally, we have this butternut orange scarf. I chose a ribbing pattern for this colorful piece and went for a tighter look. Something that would keep close to your neck and ward off the winter wind. Pair it up with a grey scarf or cream-colored coat and add a bold pop of color. 

Want to see more? Click on the badge below. I have more photos available at my Etsy.... and more winter accessories in the works! Stay tuned for handwarmers, headbands, and a few more scarves. They make great holiday gifts. Support small business this summer by shopping small and buying unique, handmade gifts.  
Oh and psst... My readers get a special discount. Use code BLOG5 at discount for 5% off. No minimum purchase! 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Four Weeks of Gratitude // Week Three

Thanksgiving is only a week away! Can you believe it? I personally can't wait for some time off to visit with family and, of course, stuff my face without remorse or shame. 

This November, I made it a mission to share one thing for which I'm grateful every week. I figured: surely I can manage that right? Well, life got in the way as it always does, and I missed last week's installment. I had written a lovely post about family and sisters... only to accidentally delete the thing. Ugh. So, if you'll bear with me, I'm going to combine week two and three into one post. Rules shmules, right?

This week, I'm thankful for two rather different things: my sister and my pup.

When I was a little girl, I used to love watching my sister apply her makeup. She would occasionally walk into my room with her makeup bag and sit on the floor, and I felt so special that she wanted to "hang out" in my room. I had a little girl room-- all plastic horses and fluffy pillows-- and she was a teenager, way too cool. She would rove through the bag, plastic compact cases clicking against each other as she searched for a specific tool or item. Foundation, concealer, blush. But my favorite was always the eye makeup. One eye closed, lips slightly parted, she would expertly apply layers of silver and blue. Watching her from my perch on the bed, I would think "Is there any way I'll ever be that pretty?" 

While I don't sit and stare at her in wonderment like I used to, there are times when I stop and think "Wow, I'm glad she's my sister." (Don't worry, there are times I want to thump her on the head too. And I'm sure the feeling is mutual. It's a sister thing.) She's simultaneously the toughest and the tenderest person I know. I've seen her pull over to help a wounded animal on the roadside, and I've seen her hackles raise in defense of those she loves. She's brave enough to stand up for what she knows is right and brave enough to admit when she's wrong. One thing I've always been sure about? That my sister loves me and is there for me. And that's something to be very thankful for. 

This week, I've also been thankful for our little pitbull pup Solo. He's stinky and mildly destructive but I'm so thankful that he's part of our little family. No matter how rough the work day has been, when you open the front door to find fifty pounds of wiggly-happy-to-see-you-ness, you can't help but feel better. I've learned so much about the pitbull breeds since welcoming Solo into our home. This little pup has taught me a lot about love and patience, but also another very important lesson: to not judge until you get to know someone. 

The little things I'm thankful for this week:
- husbands who encourage you to meet your personal goals 
- an empty squat rack at the gym
- library cards because free books!
- blueberry muffins in the morning #oopsdiet
- the ginkgo tree across the road, whose bright leaves turn our room to gold
- coffee because it's coffee

If you missed the first installment, you can find it here. What have you been thankful for this month? 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Currently // November

Staring the day with coffee and a good book. I love having just thirty minutes to slowly wake up. I don't want to talk to anyone, I don't want to watch the news or check my phone. I just want to read a book, sip my coffee, and slowly return to life. 

Reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. This. Book. Is. Amazing. Originally intended to be a short story, it grew more into a novella and tells the story of a little boy who finds himself entangled with some powerful, otherworldly forces. I finished it in one day-- seriously, I couldn't put it down. 

Listening to classical music. I'm not entirely sure why but Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No 1 came on my Spotify radio the other day and triggered this classical kick. I think it's my way of seguing into Christmas music. 

Watching House of Cards on Netflix. Is it bad to cheer on Frank Underwood? Because he is quite horrible yet I can't help it. 

Anticipating the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. I absolutely cannot wait for turkey and stuffing and gravy and rolls. Oh, and family too. But mainly the turkey and stuffing. 

Enjoying the fall weather. We've been so lucky this year. Last year, it had already snowed by this time. This year, however, we've had a series of mild days which has made for some excellent puppy walks and nice electric and gas bills. More of that, please. 

Understanding that sometimes it's easier to just do what makes for peace rather than argue. It just makes the whole day go much better. After all,  blessed are the peace-makers right? Or so they say. 

Ending the day reading a verse or two with the hubs. I love reading something wholesome and good just before bed. It helps ease my mind for sleep. Plus, any excuse to spend time with the husband is okay in my book. 

What have you been up to lately? 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Dill House Diary // Workspace Tour

Today, I wanted to share our home office space. It's where I write everyday and also our "home base" as we set up Mark's personal training business. (Wait, what? Mark has a personal training business? More on that later. Stay tuned!) 

Our home office is located at the top of the stairs in a large, open "loft-like" space. The room stays flooded with natural light, which I love. I would love to show you a "before" picture, but sadly... this space did not even exist before we bought the house. Originally, this large open space was bisected by a wall, carving the area into a skinny-minny hallway and the tiniest bedroom you've ever seen. It simply made no sense. Unless your name was Ichabod Crane, you weren't going to be comfortable sleeping in that teensy bedroom. So, we decided to ditch the pint-sized bedroom and create one big open area. 

Originally, we contemplating making the area an upstairs lounge spot. But did we really need two living areas in a 1000 sqft house? A home office just made more sense. 

Can you guess who did the decorating? No, the pink orchid was not Mark's first choice. 

After knocking down the bisecting wall, we laid new flooring, repainted, and added new closet doors. I love the large plank-style flooring. Talk about fast and easy-- we laid the floor in a few hours. The sleek, sliding closet doors are ideal for our small space because they take up such little room. And their dark walnut stain perfectly coordinates with the dark flooring. 

I love this little spot. I spend hours a day, sitting here writing and working on Etsy orders.  So, trust me, the desk is not always quite this neat! Usually its covered in sticky notes, scrawled outlines, receipts, and a jumble of color-coded pens.

Most older homes don't have a designated office space; you end up having to sacrifice a bedroom. So it has been so nice to have our own separate "work" area. If you work from home, I think it's important to have a designated spot that is your working space, something distinct from your relaxing/living space. At least for me, having a distinct office helps me get in the correct mindset. I know that when I'm here, I'm at work. 

For people who do work from home, another option would be to utilize coworking office spaces through a company such as WeWork. With flexible memberships suited to your specific work needs, companies like WeWork allow you to cut down on your commute and have the flexibility you need while simultaneously still having an actual office. Because let's face it, sometimes you need a fax machine or a meeting room-- and not all houses come equipped with those amenities.

Plus, coworking spaces provide interaction with other professionals. The main drag about working from home? No more office banter, no bouncing ideas off your coworkers-- just you and the work. While sometimes this focused environment is beneficial, not everyone prospers in that type of environment. So if you crave interaction and hate the solitude of working at home, something like WeWork could be the solution. 

WeWork has several locations in the Washington, D.C. area. Currently, there doesn't seem to be a location in Frederick, but CoWork Frederick on E. Patrick Street offers a similar opportunity. 

Do you work from home? Do you love the solitude or crave interaction? If you do work in a shared office space, let me know how you like it!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Four Weeks of Gratitude // Week One

Can you believe it's already November? I'm not sure where 2015 went, but went it has. 

November has always been one of my favorite months because it contains my favorite holiday: Thanksgiving. Turkey Day is my all-time favorite holiday for many reasons: amazing recipes, family dinners, chilly weather, holiday time. I'm definitely a home-body, so the holiday that reminds us to stop and celebrate all things home is of course my favorite. In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, I decided to start a mini series centered around gratitude. Each week, I'll share one big thing and several little things for which I'm thankful. I think it's so important to stop and count my blessings, to realize that I have so very much in my life. 

This week, I'll start with the one person for whom I'm thankful every single day of my life: my husband Mark. 

Mark is my rock and adds so much happiness to my life everyday. He has always supported my goals and ambitions. He has taught me to stick up for myself, to realize that I'm strong, and to never be afraid to expect the best. At the same time, he's taught me so much about patience, kindness, and lending a helping hand.  He's a strong, hardworking man but also has a very gentle spirit. I'm so grateful to have found a partner in this life who can simultaneously accept me for who I am and challenge me to be better. 

One of my favorite things about my husband: working out with him every day. We started going to the gym together right after we got married. I have to say, it's my favorite part of the day. We typically do the same workout-- and we don't always even talk while doing it. But it's a great way to be together and blow off steam after the long workday. Hearing him say "good job" or "you did great baby" sometimes feels like the biggest compliment anyone could give. 

The little things I'm thankful for this week:
- meeting my husband for lunch on Tuesday
- my Friday morning Starbucks run #treatyoself
- checking everything off my to-do list 
- finally finishing our kitchen remodel 
- friends (and sisters!) who are willing to listen
-sketching logo ideas for my husband's personal training business
What are you thankful for this week? Feel free to join in on the series.  Share your thoughts or post link in comments. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Quick + Easy Spicy Chili Recipe

Nothing quite completes a crisp, fall Saturday like a bowl of hot chili. Am I right or am I right? My mother has always made the best chili, hands down. It has just the right amount of kick and is perfectly chunky and thick. Today, I decided to share our chili recipe-- just in time for the chillier months ahead. 

2 lbs ground beef
small yellow onion
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 can red kidney beans, drained
2 cans chili beans
1 can Rotel
2 cans crushed tomatoes
1 tsp chili powder (add to taste)
salt and pepper
1 tsp cocoa powder

What to Do: 
1. Brown the ground beef with the chopped yellow onion. Cook until all pink is gone, then drain. 

2. In a large pot, crockpot, or Dutch oven, combine all ingredients. Add chili powder and garlic to taste. I personally like my chili to have a definite kick to it. But not everyone enjoys burning from the inside out. Add the spice to your preference and tolerance. 

3. Allow to simmer on low for several hours.  Serve with thick slices of crumbly slathered in melted pimento cheese. The left overs can be stored in the freezer and saved for a snowy day. 

Yep, it's that easy. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Dill House Diary // Kitchen Reveal

Beyond excited to finally be able to share our kitchen reveal. A few months ago, we started work on our kitchen, and I rather foolishly thought the project would only take a few weeks. Instead, it took several months. My poor husband pulled so many late nights working to finish the tile, the shelves, everything. But the wait was so, so worth it. I'm so excited to finally share photos of the amazing transformation. 

When we bought the house, the kitchen was rather bland. White cabinets, white countertops, white floor, white appliances. Rickety ceiling fan with only one functioning bulb. You get the picture. And if you don't, here's an actual picture: 

Wop, wop, wop. Sad music. Yep. 

Not horrible, but not great either. Thankfully, my husband and I can make a blank slate work. We put off the kitchen renovation until this year because so many other massive projects had to be done first. But this summer, we finally were able to take  sledgehammer to the cabinets and get to work. Drum roll please....

So what's new? Where to start! 

We knocked out the cabinets over the sink and replaced them with open shelving. We also added a subway tile backsplash all the way to the ceiling. Rather than replace the rest of the cabinets, we refinished them using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old Violet, a beautiful grey-blue color. Additionally, we extended them to the ceiling to create a custom look. Finally, we replaced the wobbledy ceiling fan with a new light fixture and the ugly linoleum floors with hardwood. 

The decision to install open shelves was perfect for our space. You would think that a small space wouldn't work well with open shelves, with everything on display, but it so works for our little kitchen. Open shelves do require that you arrange your kitchen goods in an eye-pleasing way. But, it's nice to have everything right at my fingertips. An unexpected perk: no one ever has to ask "where's the glasses?"  or "where's the coffee mugs?" 

Having a small kitchen does require that you come up with some creative storage solutions. Other than open shelving, we added a basket for our cutting boards and some cute cannisters for things like coffee and tea. Just because things are in the open doesn't mean they can't be pretty. 

I don't know about you, but I love our little kitchen. Coming downstairs to this adorable little space just makes each morning so much better! There's something great about DIY projects too. You not only get to put your own spin on the place but you actually to create it, to make it your own. I think I'm extra-proud of our kitchen because we did it, tile by tile, brush stroke by brush stroke. 

Thanks for visiting our little kitchen! Hope you like it as much as we do! 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Birch Tree Statement Wall

Today, I wanted to share the birch tree mural in our dining room. I've been blown away by the amount of praise and sweet compliments we've received on social media regarding this project! Thanks so much to everyone for your kind words. Here's a look at the story behind this endeavor and some tips for painting one yourself. 

For a few weeks, my husband and I had a blank wall in the dining room. I had recently redecorated our house, resulting in a big empty beige wall.  I couldn't decide what I wanted-- an architectural feature? A large painting? A gallery wall? Nothing? I mulled and mulled the issue... and then one day, it hit me:

A birch tree statement wall. It was perfect! It would serve as art without actually taking up any space-- a win, win for a small space like ours. (I may or may not have been watching ABC's Once Upon a Time on Netflix at the time. If you're a fan of the show, you'll understand. There's a profusion of birch tree wallpaper, and I want it all.)  

Oh man, I thought. Mark will never go for this. Shame on me for assuming, because he was all for it, much to my surprise! Of course, he's always said he could live in the woods. So I guess now he does-- minus the cold, the bugs, and the brambles. 

Here's a look at how we created this one-of-a-kind statement wall without using stencils or decals. Yep, we handpainted this beast!

What You'll Need:
assorted paint brushes
white Satin finish paint
black paint
grey paint
paper towels

What You'll Do:
1. Determine your design. I started by drawing the design on the wall using a charcoal pencil. I like using charcoal because it blends with paint. I drew the entire design onto the wall. But you can tape it off with blue painters tape if you would prefer.

2. Paint the white trunks. This was the most time-consuming part of the project. 

3. Create a three-dimensional look by shading with your grey paint. Mix the grey and white paint together and apply to the trunks. This will keep them from looking too stark and give a bit of shape to them.

4. Use the black paint to create the peeling birch bark and branches. Get creative. Look up images of birch trees to guide your design.

5. Allow to dry, and you're all done!

I am absolutely in love with the end result. Mark and I have renovated every bit of this house on our own. Some projects have been frustrating and others rewarding... but this DIY by far was the most fun. I love how it turns the wall into a piece of art. The vertical white tree trunks elevated the ceiling, so our dining room even seems taller, while the black branches make our black iron chandelier really pop. I'm so glad I took the risk and did it!

Love this? Want it in your home?
Contact me for information about how I may be able to create
a unique piece of art for your home too! 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...