Author Archives: brynnetc

We may actually be done with the nursery

It’s been a long time coming, but I think the nursery is just about FINISHED!  Of course I will continuously add little things here and there (like his name tiles and a birth stats painting) but I’m not going to count that.

First up is the dresser.  I scoured Craigslist and Goodwill until I found the dresser of my nursery dreams.  It needed to be long enough be hold the changing pad and diapering paraphernalia and tall enough so Jonathan and I wouldn’t have to hunch over when changing the boy.   The dresser that finally fit the bill was from a kind Craigslister up in Michigan, for $75.  It was kind of an oak finish, but I

It was originally kind of an oak finish, but I knew I wanted it white to match the crib.  So it sat and sat and sat in the garage until Aunt Terry and Mom could come out and paint it for me.

It turned out pretty awesome, don’t you think?  I painted the existing knobs.  I gave Jonathan a choice of many different designs including dinosaurs and monsters,  but who would have thunk it…he picked numbers.  They turned out pretty cute.  Mom sprayed a few coats of high gloss clear coat and they looked like they came from a store.

Now on to a cozy place for bedtime stories and late night feedings.

The rocker was another thrifty find…$15 at Goodwill.  It was a lovely shade of greenish yellow, but still super comfy.  I wanted to reupholster it, but I’ve never tackled that before and needed some reinforcements.  So again, it sat and sat until Aunt Terry and Mom came to visit.  Since Aunt Terry has done chairs before Mom and I were just helpers.  I chose a canvas drop cloth from Home Depot as my fabric and it turned out great!

Of course the lamp was another Goodwill find, at $3 for the base and $2 for the shade.  Mom spray painted the base and I recovered the shade with a pretty fabric we picked up from Hobby Lobby.  The little dinosaur  next to the lamp was the first little toy I made for the baby.

Now, the artwork in this corner. I repurposed an old canvas by having Jonathan spray paint the same orange from the lamp over top of the original painting.  The original painting had some dark lines in it and ridges from my brushstrokes and I wanted to camouflage as much of that as possible, so using watered down white glue and white tissue paper I decoupaged over the whole orange surface.  I found silhouette of a triceratops on clip art and used that to make the outline for the dinos.  I’m really proud of the finished product as it came out even better than I anticipated.

I don’t know where I originally saw the idea for rain gutter bookshelves, but it stayed in my brain until I had a place to put them.  I used the tutorial here for installing them.  

The whole project was less than $20 and I installed them in under an hour.  

The crib nook is the final stop on our nursery tour.  This first picture is a little older, and since I took it, the mobile has been lowered significantly, a mattress added to the crib, and artwork hung next to the window.  I’d go take a new picture now, but frankly I’m tired and don’t want to.

I constructed the mobile for FREE with paint chips from Home Depot, some card stock I had on hand left over from our wedding, thread, and an old embroidery hoop.  I punched out a bunch of circles from the paint chips and card stock and put them back to back.  I stitched the line of circles together on my sewing machine and attached each string to the hoop.  Easy peasy.  I can’t take credit for the idea though…I found it here.

The artwork in this part of the room was created by everyone who attended the baby shower my sister had for me.  She had the great idea to have everyone paint a small square tile with the colors of the nursery.  To make them more uniform and fun, we had everyone use tape to mask off areas for solid colors.  I put them all together, mounted them on foam board and trimmed the edges with orange ribbon.  It looks great in his room and it will be a nice reminder of all the people who loved the baby before he was even born!

I hope you’ve enjoyed your tour of the nursery!  All it really needs now is a baby…three more weeks!


Posted by on June 15, 2012 in Home Decorating, Life


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Simpson Garden Park

Two weekends ago Jonathan and I went to explore a little botanical garden we pass on an almost daily basis, Simpson Garden Park.  It is about a three minute drive from our house.  They had nice paths through acres of garden and open space.  The weather was gorgeous, and while I have to admit I waddled for most of the time, it was nice walk.  Here are some photo highlights:I can’t really even pretend to tell you what types of plants these are.  Gardens and flowers aren’t really my strong suit…but they sure are pretty!

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Posted by on May 19, 2012 in Life, Photography


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A comfy place to sit

Last fall I started my mission to make the sunroom a cozy place to relax. Here is what is sort of looked like before.  Two wicker chairs from IKEA and a hammock courtesy of my parents.  I wanted to put the hammock on the deck, but they don’t call this place “Blowing” Green for nothing…that hammock would be gone in an instant!

 So, I started by painting the walls.  They were a yucky beige color and I wanted a nice cool blue.  I used some of the paint from the reading room and lightened it up with some white.  You can see my color tests and the lovely pattern on the vinyl walls here.

You can see Olie tried to help too…

After about two days of priming and painting the walls as well as adding a few pieces of trim the color was done.  

The light fixture out there was hideous. I happened upon an abandoned wall sconce-like fixture at Goodwill, painted it up with some Stainless Steel finish spray paint, added a $0.50 glass shade (Goodwill, of course) and ended up with a pretty nifty little light fixture for under $2.00.  The square piece that juts out happens to be part of the siding that was originally on this side of the house before the sunroom was added.  It couldn’t be removed, so I painted it white and added some quarter-round trim.  Let me tell you, without a mitre box, making the corners of the trim was a feat.

From this:(I had already started to dismantle it before the picture…trust me, it was awful.)

To this:

We picked up a little bistro table set on sale at Menards at the end of last summer season.  It’s actually a bar, but who cares!

Last but not least, we needed a comfy place to sit.  We bought the wooden couch frame at Habitat for Humanity Restore for $10 or $15 bucks and it sat in the sun room for ever. As the weather got warmer and warmer I got  increasingly frustrated that I hadn’t yet made it comfy with some cushions.  I knew it would be crazy expensive to by foam, batting, and fabric to make the cushions, so I scoured Craigslist until I found a new futon mattress for sale for $20.  So what if it was in Gainesville, Virginia?  Let’s face it, the DC Metro/Northern Virginia area has the best stuff on Craigslist.  My wonderful friend Sarah picked it up for me and I got it from her at my baby shower last week.

On Wednesday I set out to dissect it and turn it into cushions for my couch.  I used a 9′ x 11′ canvas drop cloth from Home Depot as my fabric and a few hours later I had a couch!  I make it sound easy, but really I agonized over measurements and mitered corners.  I thought the cover(s) would be perfect because I painstakingly planned.  Nope…I started with one big cushion and cover for the bottom and it was AWFUL!  The cover was too big for the cushion, the cushion too big for the couch.  So, ended up winging the rest of it…I cut the single cushion into two, cut the single cover into two and it worked so much better!  The rest followed suit and I had a finished product I am happy with.  Jonathan came home after three or four hours at the office and I got a “Wow…wow!”

It only took eight months, but we now have a functional sun room. There are a few more little
additions to come. Maybe something to prop one’s feet on perhaps?  I’ll keep you posted!


Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Home Decorating


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I was spoiled…

Lately I’ve been realizing that I was spoiled for the four years we lived in Florida.  I look around now at Facebook and in blog-land and see pictures of something we’re missing here in Ohio.  The beach.  While we didn’t go to the beach that often when we lived in the Sunshine State, the option was there…about 1.5-2 hours away. We could take a day trip to St. Augustine, one of my favorite places, and just soak in the beauty.  It is strange…there were many times when Jonathan wanted to go to the beach and my response was, “It’s too hot”…”You’re going to be fishing, what will I do?”…”It’s kinda boring.”  Can you believe that?!?  Now I see a photo of a friend at the beach and I long for it.  You always want what you can’t have!  So, in honor of my beach craving, I present some of my favorite beach photos…

Cape Cod, Massachusetts 2004

Waikiki Beach, Hawaii 2008

Vilano Beach, Florida 2010

Somewhere on Oahu, Hawaii 2008

Vilano Beach, Florida 2009

Cozumel, Mexico 2011

Vilano Beach, Florida 2009
(one of my first and favorite pictures of my niece Lily)


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Posted by on May 3, 2012 in Life, Photography


Ten months in Ohio and a lot has changed!

It appears as thought I haven’t written anything since November 1st.  That is a long time and a lot has happened.  Back in the fall and early winter I just didn’t feel like writing.  I didn’t feel like moving from the couch…I blame it on the baby.  We found out we were pregnant at the very beginning of November.  A few short weeks later, I started not feeling so hot…which continued until about last month.  Aside from being pukey, I have really enjoyed being pregnant.  I love watching my belly get bigger.  I love looking pregnant.  It is the one time in my life when I’ve been happy to have my belly stick out! I am almost 31 weeks now, and our little guy is due July 7.

 (at 20 weeks)

In the last few weeks (or months) I’ve been working on lots of baby projects.  Pinterest has been a dangerous place for me.  As soon as I see something for the nursery or for the baby I feel compelled to make it.  Right then and there.  Some of the things I’ve done (or I’m still working on) are:

  • Mobile
  • Rug
  • Dino Loopy
  • Loopy Block
  • “Moby” style wrap
  • Two Ring Slings
  • Curtains
  • Cloth wipes

Projects I haven’t started yet:

  • Changing table/dresser
  • Lamp
  • Rocking chair
  • Rain gutter bookshelves

I’ll get some pictures of everything I’ve done and begin to share my experiences of making a nursery soon.  For now, all you get is my hand drawn floor plan:

I promise not to neglect the blog for six months again.  You have my word.


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Posted by on May 3, 2012 in Life


Green Tomato Muffins…Yes, I’m serious.

My husband keeps casually reminding me that I haven’t blogged in a while.  Just about a month, to be a little more specific.  The typical excuse of “things have been crazy around here” doesn’t really hold much water, so I won’t use it.  It has been a good month though.  I’ve been substitute teaching a decent amount and have found some schools I DEFINITELY don’t want to work at, even though they offered me positions on the spot.  I am not tooting my own horn (though I think I’m a pretty good teacher), but saying this more to point out that these schools are so desperate because their teachers are just up and quitting.  These are ROUGH schools to say the least!

I did take a few days off to make the 8ish hour drive to Northern Virginia to visit my super awesome best friend Sarah and her equally super awesome family!  Something like seven dozen cake pops were made and decorated to look like little jack-o-lanterns and ghosties for their annual Octoberfest.  Having lived in Florida for the last four years this is the first fest I’ve made it to!   Much fun was had!

Now on to the subject of this post.  I have adapted/created a yummy muffin recipe that uses up some veggies.

Mmmm…Donuts Muffins (A little Homer Simpson for Jonathan)

Jonathan’s wonderful garden yielded a bountiful harvest of tomatoes that just couldn’t ripen before the warm weather ran out.  We’re not really fried green tomato folks, and we try to eat pretty healthy (save for Halloween candy) so I was bound and determined to find a way to use them up.  A few clicks later I realized that I am apparently not the only crazy one who wanted to bake something with green tomatoes.  Once I verified it could be done I threw them in a muffin recipe for zucchini-apple muffins that I concocted for my drive to Virginia.

oodles of green tomatoes bobbing in some water

Here goes…first you need to prepare the green tomatoes, which means removing the stems, cutting them into chunks and popping them into the blender.  Blend them up and let the green smoothie drain in a colander for about 30 minutes.  There will be a quite a bit of water.

Yum…blended green tomatoes

While it’s draining mix together the two flours, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a largish bowl.  Then whisk up the wet: eggs, oil, yogurt, sugar, molasses, and vanilla extract.  You could just use brown sugar instead of the white sugar and molasses…it’s the same thing. We just don’t buy brown sugar any more and just mix in some molasses with the white sugar when brown sugar is called for.

Mix the wet and the dry together, stirring as little as possible. Then “walk away, just walk away.”  I’m sorry, I watch way to much Good Eats with Alton Brown.  Anyway…now is the time to add your veggies (or veggies and fruit).  Mix in your green tomato pulp or zucchini and apples and don’t stir too much.

This recipe will fill a dozen regular size muffin cups to the top.  I am sure you could do a loaf or two, or muffins of different sizes.  I haven’t tested it out though.  Bake ’em up and enjoy!!

Green Tomato (or Zucchini Apple) Muffins
Mix together in a large bowl:
1 c flour
1 c wheat flour
½ T baking soda
1 t cinnamon
¼ t salt

In a small bowl mix together:
3 eggs
¼ c oil
½ c yogurt
⅔ c sugar
1 T molasses
1 t vanilla extract

Mix wet into dry.  Add in:

2 cups of green tomato pulp
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 apple, shredded

Mix until combined.  Divide into 12 greased muffin cups.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until done.

That’s it…pretty awesome muffins.  And fairly healthy to boot!  Don’t worry…the green tomato version tastes very similar to zucchini muffins.
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Posted by on November 1, 2011 in Cooking and Restaurants


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The Fall-ification of a House

So, I have hinted around that I was attempting to decorate for the season.  Over the last month or so I’ve slowly added fall touches to the house.  I thought I would share them with you.  As always, I tried my best to spend as little money as possible, even if it meant “recycle bin diving” at the local recycle center.  Of course, being me, I asked permission first!

We’ll start with the front door.  The front porch isn’t looking fallish yet due to the lack of pumpkins.  Hopefully we will get some soon and I can complete the front of the house.  Anyhow…the front door.  I wanted to make a wreath.  I have been checking out fall wreaths online and found one I liked over at HomeStoriesAtoZ so I thought I’d give it a whirl but keep it simple.

I found the wreath at Goodwill covered in awful fake flowers. I ripped them off and was left with a simple grapevine wreath.

I made the flowers from felt and fleece.  My Hobby Lobby didn’t have a great selection of felt colors, so I checked out the fleece and picked up the orange and gold.

Aren’t they cute?

Right inside the front door is my little refinished pedestal table.   I think this is now my Goodwill spot…the table is Goodwill, along with the little crate and wreath ($0.50 each).  I added a little jute frame I already had and filled it with the first colorful leaf from our yard.

Who knows how long the leaf will stay colorful.  First I tried ironing it between wax paper.  While that was ok in elementary school, I wasn’t cool with the look.  So, I removed the leaf from the wax paper and simply ironed it between fabric to completely dry it out.  It’s been about two weeks, so I think I may have found a good method!  Finally, I added a delicious smelling Apple Cider votive to complete the vignette.  ( I am silently chastising myself for the use of the word vignette but I guess if the word fits, use it).

Next up, the mantel…

This was a conglomeration of things.  I am finding this is how many people decorate for fall.  They look around their house for anything fall-like and go with it.  So…

I made the ceramic canister back in college and though the ochre glaze and red clay worked well.  I loved the idea of glass bottles (thanks recycling center) wrapped with twine, so I went with it.  First I tried the glass cutting technique of wrapping a nail-polish-remover-soaked string around it and lighting it on fire.  It sounds way more dramatic that it actually was.  I couldn’t get it to work, so I stuck with the whole bottle and opted to wrap them in different ways.

The little white “barrels” are doctored up cardboard canisters from the pantry.  I really wanted some twigs or wheat to put in them, but I couldn’t get the nerve to walk up to someone’s brush pile and snag some.  I think I’ll have to plan a nature walk and take some from the woods.  We shall see…

Next up, squishy pumpkins.  I am still not sure how I feel about them, but they are kind of cute.  I saw the idea over at Bungalow.  I tea stained some flour sack cloths that I pilfered from a closet in my old school building that was being torn down.  Of course I had permission to pilfer…

Finally, the last fall project was a little raised dish of pumpkins for a centerpiece.  I am not satisfied with it as a centerpiece, so I may switch it out for a wooden pumpkin I got for zip zilch nada at Kohls with my $10 off coupon.  Anyway, it’s on the table now, so I ought to show you…

The dish is a little glass bowl I glued to a candlestick…courtesy of Goodwill for $0.75.  The pumpkins were an ugly fake orange, so I spray painted them cream and aged them a bit with watered down brown paint.  The original stem was lovely green plastic, so I ripped it out and hot glued some mulch in its place.

I L-O-V-E the pumpkins, I am just not crazy about the whole thing as a centerpiece.  I threw in some extra felt flowers from the wreath project, but that’s not cutting it.  Hopefully when I go out on my stick finding mission, I can collect some acorns to fill the bowl.

The grand total for all of my projects was less than $10, with the most expensive thing being the wreath at Goodwill for $3…still cheaper than one from the craft store.  While I know I am not finished with my fall decor, I’m good for now.  I don’t have anything else around the house to utilize, and there is no fund for crafts in our We-Just-Moved-And-Bought-A-House-Budget.  So, until nature hands me some more inspiration I’m on pause.


Posted by on October 4, 2011 in Home Decorating, Life


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