Sunday, September 26, 2010

Simple Frenchy Dips

We had our new neighbors over for dinner on Sunday and I wanted to do a roast but didn't feel like doing the whole "Sunday dinner" (which growing up for me consisted of pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, homemade rolls, steamed veggies, jello salad and whatever fabulous dessert my mom concocted that week). Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the traditional Sunday dinner but was in the mood for something more laid back. I went with the traditional roast, but in a Frenchy Dip instead (french dip sandwiches in case you haven't figured that out yet).

Pot Roast (I used a 4 lb roast, but had oodles leftover)
1 packet Lipton onion soup mix
1 packet Au Jus sauce
1/4 cup Water

Hoagi Deli rolls
Sliced swiss or provolone cheese

You throw a packet of Lipton Onion Soup mix and 1/4 cup water into your crock pot with a roast (I like to trim the fat off first). Let this slow cook on low all day (anywhere from 6-8 hours, depending on the size of your roast). It is done when the meat shreds easily with a fork.

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and lay your hoagie buns face up. Add a heaping pile of beef to each bun, and top with either swiss or provolone cheese.

Broil on high until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the bread is slightly toasted.

In the meantime, prepare a packet of Au Jus sauce according to the packet directions (you just add water and boil). Strain the pot roast juice into the saucepan and let it simmer with the aus jus sauce.

Fold your sandwiches over, and cut in half....

Serve with a small bowl of the aus jus sauce to dip. Enjoy!

I served the Frenchy Dips with corn on the cob and fresh watermelon. Here is my trick to delicious and sweet corn:

Sugar and lemon!!!

Boiling your corn in salt water will actually toughen it. Add about a tablespoon of sugar, and squeeze a lemon wedge into your pot of boiling water before adding your corn. You will have the most delicious cobs!

I had the food displayed so nicely on the island, but I must have been too excited to eat because I forgot to take a picture. Hopefully you can imagine how yummy it looked! If only I could send smells through a blog...

Fabric for bench... poll time!

Here is a sneak peak at one of the many current projects I'm working on. I fell in love when I saw this little piece, and am so glad that my vision for her proved correct with her new coat of turquoise paint and black glaze. I am still going to upholster the top, and thought a fun girly fabric would be darling to put this at the foot of a bed in a little girl's room. (I have a matching night stand for this so I will be selling it as a set since I don't have a little girl... YET...)

I would love your opinions on which fabric you like the most. Also, to tuft or not to tuft??? I will be piping the edges for sure.
Annie Selke (Joann Fabric)

Annie Selke (Joann Fabric) *** I am leaning most towards this one right now because the fabric isn't super bright like the chair, but there are little flecks of the bright turquoise in the flowers. I don't want the whole chair to be over-exuberant (is that a word???)

P Kaufmann (Joann Fabrics) I LOVE this one also. It has a fabulous weave canvas texture that isn't quite apparent in the pic but it is fabulous.

Please let me know what you think! If you want this little set to reside in your home, let me know and I will gladly upholster it to match your bedding.
Once complete, I will post more details of how this set was finished.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Accent chairs made pretty

So I am always looking for new projects (it's kind of a disorder) and couldn't say no when I saw these two beauties posted for $5 each on craigslist during one of my ritualistic midnight searches.

I had no idea where I would put them in my house since I don't really have the space or need right now but just had to have them. with my sister's help picking them up, I was able to get to work. I quickly discovered that I should have asked more questions about the condition of the chairs before I just told the lady I wanted them (hey, you have to act fast on craigslist deals) because one of the chairs was missing a cross bar. The chair was still very durable and seemed to carry a person's weight just fine, so I moved forward.

First, with my special helper's help, I removed the nasty seat cushions by unscrewing under each of the 4 corners.

Using a small Flathead screwdriver and needle nose pliers, I violently and painfully yanked out the staples.

*** Note: If you have allergies (like I do) or are a germaphobe (like I am), be forewarned that removing and having to touch other people's old gicky fabric is far from pleasant. Keep some Kleenex and Lysol disinfectant spray handy and know that the end result makes it all worth the pain!***

After removing the old fabric, I laid it out as a template on the new fabric and cut away. I chose an outdoor canvas fabric from Joann that was on sale for 50% off at the time. I LOVED the bold floral print and that fact that it would be easy to keep clean with little sticky fingers around (no, I'm not talking about Wingers).

Fortunately the foam was in good condition so I didn't need to replace that. The front corners of the fabric were sewn together so I copied that (sorry, forgot to take a picture) and then began the task of stapling away. For me what worked best was to start my staple in the front/center of the cushion, then pull tightly and staple directly on the opposite side. I worked from the center outward, doing the corners last. I didn't take detailed enough pictures of how I folded the corners on this project but will show better how this was done in a future post on another project I recently took under.

*** Note: I stapled the first cushion with a handheld stapler and was seriously sweating when I was done. I'm not gonna lie, it was MUCH easier doing the second one with my handy dandy pneumatic staple gun that my sweets gave me for an early birthday gift***

For the frames, I cleaned them off really well and gave them a light sanding (if you have antique items or intricate hand carvings, I would suggest lightly sanding them with steel wool rather than actual sandpaper as it is much less abrasive). I primed then with several light coats of Kilz original spray primer (the lighter the better). Once dry, I painted them with several light coats of Krylon gloss paint in almond color.

The last step to really showcase the detail on the chairs was to glaze them. For these chairs, I used my Ralph Lauren Faux Technique glaze. I wish I could tell you the color I used but can't because I spent 2 hours at Home Depot one night trying to mix it to the perfect color after the first batch turned out orange (which I unfortunately didn't learn until the morning after I glazed an entire china hutch). The end color is a nice chocolate brown, not too light and not too dark.

The easiest way to apply the glaze is lightly with a brush to get it into all the little nooks and crannies. I like to let the glaze sit for a few minutes before I wipe it off with a damp rag to let some of the color absorb into the paint. This creates a more "aged" look.

Lastly, I screwed the new cushions back into place, and viola! Gorgeous new (old) chairs. These babies currently reside in my sister's front room. Good thing she was so helpful to pick them up for me, right???

Virgin blogger

I never thought this day would come but alas I have entered the world of blogging! I am actually very excited to be able to document this phase of my life right now which revolves around my role as a wife and momma. I really do love homemaking. I plan to share my projects and ideas on cooking, crafts, and of course furniture revival (with a few tidbits on my baby because he's too cute not to share). I hope to be able to inspire at least one person the way that I have been by so many talented homemakers out there. Please forgive the oh-so-plain page since I am totally new to this and embarrassing to admit, not the most technically savvy girl out there so the "cuteness" of the page will hopefully evolve over time. Enjoy the ride!