Category Archives: Pinterest Inspired

2014 Parke County Covered Bridge Festival

In 2012 and then again in 2014 I was blessed to go to southern Indiana’s Covered Bridge Festival with my mom, aunt/godmother, mother in law and, in 2012, another of my aunts. It’s a tradition we probably wouldn’t have started had I not moved to Indiana, but I hope it’s one we continue for years to come.

The Covered Bridge Festival is actually a collection of festivals in small towns throughout southern Indiana. The common theme of these towns, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, is that they all have these great old covered bridges. If you ever have a chance to go, I highly recommend it. We always go on a Wednesday to Thursday to avoid the rumored crowding on the weekends. As I’ve never gone on a weekend, I can’t say whether it’s terrible, but I’ve heard horror stories. It features great food, arts, crafts, antiques and great food(did I mention that already?).

Both years we have spent our first day at Bridgeton. We like Bridgeton for it’s abundance of crafts and antiques. There are definitely many unique finds here and it’s a relatively large venue. We can spend the entire day walking around and not run out of things to see. All of the sites usually  have a few venues selling what we usually refer to as “junk,” and by “junk” I mean inexpensive things ranging from bras in a bag to goofy T-shirts to toys to scarves to kitchen utensils. Junk really isn’t a fair misnomer, because you can’t beat the deals you can find on great gifts like scarves or blankets or things you may want for yourself. I bought myself a scarf with little blue anchors and this super cute headband. Grand total for both was about $15. Worth it! But Bridgeton seems to have a relatively low number of these and the antiques and arts definitely far outnumber them. We speculated that there may have been more mass produced stuff there this year, but all in all it was worth spending an entire day exploring this site.

When we went in 2012, I looked at these and decided not to buy one since, you know, I knit. Well, two years later I hadn't made one so I decided $4 was worth the investment. I wear the heck out of this and, added bonus, it doesn't squish my curls.

When we went in 2012, I looked at these and decided not to buy one since, you know, I knit. Well, two years later I hadn’t made one so I decided $4 was worth the investment. I wear the heck out of this and, added bonus, it doesn’t squish my curls. Maybe I need it in another color …

My favorite finds are always the unique things you’ll never find anywhere else. I bought this cute little stepladder, perfect for holding plants that I’m rooting. This batch of airplane/spider plants is for a few of my cousins.

Plant Stepladder

I also bumped into this little guy early in the trip and, well, he just had to come home with me.
Metal Goat Statue

He and Tucker became fast friends. Who knew a little metal goat and a cheeky pit bull could be such a perfect match? (The little pincushion was a cute find at one of the flea markets at Rockville.)

In 2012 we went to Mansfield on the second day. This was also a very large venue, but we thought it had more in the way of inexpensive mass produced things and less of the arts, crafts and antiques. Or at least we felt that Bridgeton’s ratio of unique to mass produced was better.

This past year we decided to try Rockville on our second day. Rockville was nice because most everything is set up in one giant tent that goes around the courthouse, and the weather that day wasn’t gorgeous (actually, the weather was pretty terrible both days. Hooray for rain boots and ball caps!), so it was nice not going in and out. The square is super cute and features a lot of antique shops and flea markets, so they’re a natural addition to the festival. There’s also a cute little yarn shop on the square, although I will emphasize that it was little and yarn was definitely not their main focus. They sold a lot of looms and some fabric as well if I remember correctly. Rockville’s square would be a neat day trip even if the festival isn’t going on. An added bonus for me was that I could take Highway 36 all the way back into the city and enjoy the stunning fall foliage. Rockville felt much smaller than either Bridgeton or Mansfield, but for our second day that was nice. A little less walking, a little longer lunch and the day ended a little earlier, considering everyone else had to drive a few hours to get back.

We had lunch at the Thirty Six Saloon which was delicious. Their menu features a variety of things from whole roasted chickens to pulled pork to hamburgers. Aunt Ann and I both got a big sloppy Hot’N’Wild Burger with cheese and jalapenos and both agreed it was delicious. They’ve got an extensive outdoor seating area, so I imagine this is a great place to go in the spring and summer.

I’ve been daydreaming for, well, a long time about upgrading my dining room situation. I love this farmhouse table from World Market and I love the combination of seating in this Crate & Barrel photo.

In one of the antique shops around the square, I stumbled upon this lovely little set of farmhouse chairs.

Farmhouse Chairs

Well loved and well used, they were the perfect combination. They match the blue already featured a few times in my great room, I needed three, they have that well loved character only years of use can provide and, while they are very similar, they are actually three completely different chairs. I fell in love pretty much instantly and, while there was absolutely zero intention of buying furniture when the trip began, I knew I’d regret not taking them. Even better, Aunt Ann overheard the owner say she had to vacate the store in a couple of weeks and was very  negotiable. At the $12.50 apiece they were marked, they were already a steal, but I figured I’d try my hand at bargaining. I offered her $20 for the lot, fully expecting she’d come back with a counter and knowing I would willing pay full price if that was what she wanted. After a moment of thought, she agreed and they were mine! We got some odd looks walking down the street carrying dining room chairs (and a couple of comments about how we were really thinkers, bringing our own seating with us), but I gotta say I’m pretty thrilled with my purchase. My home is very much a reflection of me and my personality. It might seem random and eclectic, and it’s definitely a work in progress, but finds like this really bring that unique flair that I want.

They lived in the garage for a few months, then on a warm day in January I took them outside, brushed them off well and scrubbed them with some hot water and some Murphy’s Oil Soap. They will need a clear coat, as the paint is delicate and I know it will chip if it’s not sealed and who knows how old that paint is. That will have to wait until spring. I don’t have a new dining table yet, anyway, so they live in various places around the house for the time being.

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I came home with a few treasures to be sure, but there was also a wealth of inspiration, from DIY projects I’ll actually do to daydreams that, let’s be honest, are unlikely to ever happen.

This was another find at the antique shop where I purchased my farmhouse chairs. No, this didn’t come home with me (but it did go home with someone else it would seem) but I definitely fell in love with it. For a long time I’ve daydreamed about having a “studio,” a little building in the backyard surrounded by garden where I keep all my knitting and sewing type things and that has space for doing projects, building things, etc. A sink in this space would be incredibly handy for dying, blocking knitting projects, washing hands after staining, cleaning paintbrushes, etc. The entire thing took shape in my mind when I saw this sink. (Hey, a girl can dream, right?)

Craft Room SinkThis table also inspired me. It seemed like the perfect thing for keeping next to a favorite chair. Little drawers to hide away knitting tools, plenty of space to set a cup of coffee and materials, patterns, etc. But I’d probably want to paint it, and it was in gorgeous shape and I’m sure I couldn’t have brought myself to paint it. If I remember right, the price wasn’t perfect, either.

The Perfect Knitting Side Table

This might be a great DIY challenge, though. Can I find a set of drawers and a table that I can somehow marry? Can I build the lot? Maybe not drawers … All thoughts to keep in the back of my mind. Who knows, maybe some day I’ll find just the inspiration for recreating this little guy with my own flair.

I encourage everyone to just go with their gut feeling when choosing things for their home. At the end of the day, your home should reflect you, your interests, your personality. Just as we are all in progress, our homes constantly evolve.

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. William Morris

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What’s on the Needles – December Edition

September, October and November were not without knitting. But they were mostly consumed with one big secret project that is now in it’s recipient’s hands, so I can tell you all about it now.Crocheted Flowers on Baby Blanket

Baby Blanket

Paul’s brother and his wife are expecting their first baby in January. We’re so excited to have our first niece! They are decorating the nursery in gray and pink and chevrons, so naturally I had to hunt down the perfect chevron baby blanket. I liked how crisp the stripes were in this lacy variety. I added some little flowers to the corner for a bit of girly flair. Thank goodness I have crochet mentors at Knit Night! If you want to know the specifics, here’s the Ravelry page.Baby BlanketSo expect lots more baby knitting in the future. 🙂

When I finished the blanket, I decided to finish something up for myself!

Sarah's Fingerless Mitts with Pints OnI knit Paul a pair of these Mittens with Pints On for Christmas last year. I had purchased yarn  to make a fingerless pair for myself and I finished those up when the blanket was finished!
Right now I’m working on this hat and cowl set for myself. I wanted a hat that was a bit large so it doesn’t make my curly hair go flat when I wear it. The hat is done, the cowl is started. I’ll post some pictures once it’s finished.

We’re very much enjoying our first Christmas season in our new home! To celebrate we made custom matching ugly Christmas sweaters!

Happy Holidays!

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The Front Room

I’ve showed you the (mostly) finished built ins. We finally got some pictures hung (cough*a few weeks ago*cough) so here are some pictures of the room as a whole. The built ins still need their lights, but the rest of it is pretty darn close to being done!

Looking in from the great room

Looking in from the great room

We actually didn’t have to buy anything for this room except for the lamp shade and the rug for the front door. That large suitcase was given to us by our friends Marcie and Joe. We had a couple that matched, and Marcie had two that matched those she wasn’t using.

From the hallway

From the hallway

A library card catalog is something I have wanted for a very long time, but they got hip and are often very expensive. We’re talking anywhere from $700 to $1,000 for one this size. I got lucky that a good friend who lives in Champaign found out that the Preservation and Conversation Association in Champaign County, Illinois was getting a shipment from the University of Illinois. A big shipment. So I called and put my name on the list and waited (impatiently) for a few weeks. Eventually I called to see if I would get one and they told me I was close enough on the list to consider that my call and to come get one! So Greer and I road tripped over to Danville, where we picked up my father in law and his truck and headed to Champaign to choose one! For a mere $107. AKA, a steal. Are the drawers full? Absolutely not. But you’d be amazed by how many small things don’t have a given home. Like flashlights and batteries and chip clips and lighters and … you get the idea.

The to do list in this room actually only includes adding the lights to the front of the bookshelves. Which is pretty awesome, if you ask me.

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The Gallery Wall

I decided this wall in the great room needed something awesome. The thermostat and air intake just weren’t doing it for us.

DSCN1603I decided I wanted to put up a gallery wall full of fun photos and even items. But I wanted to do it on the cheap. My first step was digging out every picture frame I owned. These went into four piles:

  • Use as is
  • Paint, then use
  • Save for another room
  • Donate

I decided the easiest way to keep this low cost was to use the frames I already had and find art to fit those frames, rather than coming up with a collection of art and then framing that. The bloggers over at http://www.younghouselove.com are veterans of the free/cheap/unique art, so I’ve taken some tips from them and started scouring ads in magazines and even the good ole Internet.

First steps first. Paint up those icky/outdated/un-color-coordinated frames. Some of these are pretty cheaptastic. But I already own them. So they’re free, and low budget is the name of this here game. Also, we all know how much I love to spray paint things that are less than pleasing to the eye. Or at least you’ll soon find out. 🙂

Before their makeover

Time for a new coat of paint

I roughed them all up with a bit of sandpaper, except for a couple that had a lot of detail work on them. Then I ran all of them over with a nice coat of liquid deglosser. I let those dry for about 10 to 15 minutes, then hit them up with some Rustoleum white primer. About half of the frames were metal, and I didn’t want the metal to have an adverse reaction to my paint. Then I hit them up with a few coats of Valspar Gloss Tropical Oasis (ironically the same color used on the stools I mentioned in the post about the great room … hmm … maybe we do need teal stools.) I love Valspar paint. I used it when I painted these lamps a couple years back. The paint goes on nice and smooth (the Rustoleum spray can was a bit … overly enthusiastic … shall we say.) With the lamps I just roughed them up and sprayed on a few good coats of Valspar in Satin Indigo Streamer (another color I adore.) They have held up quite nicely. Some day I might go back and hit them up with a coat of clear gloss, as they can be a bit difficult to dust.

We're halfway there!

I forgot to take a picture when they were all white and clean-slatey. Just imagine them all primed and ready for endless possibilities.

I also painted some tiny pots for a feature on my gallery wall. More on that later. 🙂

Teal-tasticI decided I was going to go with a black, white and teal theme. There are no rules to what can be in the frame, but the frame and/or mat must be black, white or teal. (I was in the garage and it got windy, thus the shoe.)

I had a lot of black frames already, as that was something I asked/registered for when we got married. I had two white shadowboxes. I decided to add a bit more balance by leaving a couple of the frames white. Rather than buying another can of spray paint, I primed them three or four times and then sprayed them with some clear gloss spray paint leftover from this project. The primer is pretty matte, but the gloss makes it look like it was actually a glossy paint. And I didn’t have to buy anything extra! Score. I primed all the frames before deciding which ones I liked in white and which I wanted to be teal.

I left those suckers in the garage for about 20 hours to destink/destickify. After about three hours of drying they were pretty much done with the smelling, but I had time to leave them in the garage, so I did. I also just know that, had I brought them in the house, Tucker would have licked one or all of them. Earlier today he licked a doorframe and then a shelf that was laying on the ground. Nothing is off limits for this dog’s tongue.

Once everything was painted and dry, I started laying them out on the floor. I had a thermostat and an air intake to deal with, so I also decided to make paper templates of all of them and used painter’s tape to lay it out again on the wall. I had to adjust a few things for the air intake, but overall it stayed pretty much the same.

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The next step was marking Xs on the paper where my nails needed to go. I used finishing nails for most of them, but I used drywall anchors for the large shadowbox and the shelf.

Then up on the wall they went!

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A lot of the frames are still empty. So the next step, of course, is filling them up! Inexpensively …

Want to see my inspiration for this project? Check out my Gallery Wall board on Pinterest!

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Buffalo Chicken French Bread Pizzas

This is something I kept seeing on Pinterest and finally decided it was time to try it out.

I sort of used this recipe, but I knew I wanted something a more vegetabley than this recipe, so I kind of added my own twists. I also used boneless skinless chicken thighs rather than breasts. We just like the dark meat better, as it stays moister. It’s also cheaper, which I’m not complaining about. 🙂

My first step was to lightly saute some green peppers and red onion in a bit of vegetable oil.

Green Peppers firstI then added my cubed chicken and continued to saute until the chicken was pretty much done. Once the chicken was sauteed I added buffalo sauce to coat the chicken. I didn’t want it to be soupy, but I knew we wanted it to be good and buffalo flavored, so I added a bit at a time until it was pretty well coated.

DSCN1564In the meantime, I sliced up some french bread, lightly sprayed it with olive oil and lightly toasted  it in the oven. When the bread was toasted, I piled the chicken/pepper mixture on the side that had been down in the oven (the one that was more toasted), sprinkled some mozzarella on top, and put it back in the oven for a few minutes to get the other side of the bread more toasty and the cheese melty.

DSCN1565Once the cheese was melted, I plated the pizzas, drizzled them with ranch and sprinkled sliced green onions on top.

DSCN1566They were delicious! Next time I make them I will probably put more green pepper in them, as they do tend to cook down quite a  bit.

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Fogo de Chao Parmesan Pork

I love Fogo de Chao’s parmesan pork. The other day I was surfing Pinterest and found a coypcat recipe. Last night we gave the recipe a shot!

We used this recipe.

The flavor of the pork was fantastic. The marinade seems a bit odd, but is so delicious. Some of the pieces turned out a bit dry, specifically the ones on the ends of our skewers and the smaller pieces. It suggests cutting the cubes as evenly as you can, but it’s a bit tough to do that since a pork loin isn’t traditionally square. All in all, definitely a recipe we will be using again. I think maybe next time we will try either cooking the loin whole and injecting some of the marinade or cutting it into medallions rather than small cubes to try to find  a balance between maximum flavor and maximum moisture.

A couple of changes, specifically to the parmesan part. I bought a block and grated it myself. The parmesan was pretty strong, and I didn’t use the full 5.3 oz block. I used about half of it, and it was plenty. I also didn’t leave it on the grill a full minute on both sides after adding the parmesan. I did on side for a minute and then just left it on the grill for a few seconds to get the cheese melty on the other, although the pork is still hot when you put it on, so that’s maybe not even necessary.

Fogo de Chao copycat parmesan porkAddendum: As you can probably tell in the picture, my skewers got a little crispy. That’s because I forgot to soak them (and I just now realized this. A week later.). However, only the ends got crisped, so it didn’t really hurt anything. But next time, I’ll soak them first. 🙂

 

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What’s on the needles?

I have been doing a fair amount of knitting, but most of it was for a gift so I couldn’t tell you yet!

Our dear friends Frances and Jackson are expecting their first baby, well, any day now. Now, I just can’t let anyone I love have their first child without getting at least a stitch or two of knitting. I really enjoyed these projects!

The first gift I made was a baby bunting using this pattern, which I actually found using Pinterest! (For knitters and crocheters, the pattern is also available on Ravelry as Top Down Baby Bunting by Amanda Lilley. Also listed in my projects. For those of you who aren’t hip to Ravelry, it’s sort of like Facebook or Pinterest but specifically for yarn crafters.)

I absolutely loved this pattern. I used Berocco Vintage Chunky yarn, which was also lovely to work with.

The next pattern was something I actually sort of went looking for. I had seen something similar and knew that Frances and Jackson were fans of Hayao Miyazaki’s films, and it turns out Totoro was Frances’ favorite as a kid! This is the main character from Totoro:

Sorry the picture quality is so bad. For reasons no one can know, I took this with my cell phone instead of my camera … and for those of you who haven’t experienced Hayao Miyazaki, I highly recommend any of his films! and I forgot in my original posting to include the pattern!

The last project did involve a needle, though not of the knitting variety. I whipped up this cute little onesie for baby to wear when he feels like getting a little dressed up:

I’ve been saving up a few things to post in a new Etsy shop soon, and you can expect to see a few more baby tie onesies there!

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