May 31, 2012

New Color for my Front Door

Dean and Shannon at {aka} Design started a new series last week called 

The Curb Appeal Series

A "summer series chock full of tips, tricks & ideas for improving your home’s curb appeal.

I'm all for improving my home's curb appeal, so I pinned The Curb Appeal Series on my Pinterest and decided to pep-up my front door with some new paint over the weekend. 

This is the before color with the screen door on (can you guess when this photo was taken?) 

 And here is the after color.

I had a color-match sample mixed of Martha Stewart's Cosmos Brown so I could try it out before painting the whole door. When I liked it, and since the front door is protected beneath the porch (and because I'm cheap frugal), I ended up just using the indoor satin latex sample to paint two coats on the door. 

Cost: $2.50!

And I still have some paint left over for touch-ups! 

I painted the little mailbox embellishment and the wood house numbers (which were still drying on my counter when I took photos) the same color as the door. 

I like that sometimes it looks red and sometimes brown.

 I planted the front step planters with plants I thought would complement the door. 

The house is light yellowy/beige, the main trim is white, the window trim and steps are medium brown, and the porch floor is a natural brown stain. 

I like the way the front door stands out now from the rest of the house and adds a little pop of color. 

Painting my front door was an easy and inexpensive way to update my home's curb appeal, and I'll be keeping my eye on The Curb Appeal Series for more great ideas. 

Thanks for checking-out the new color for my front door. 

Have a great day! 

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Friday Finds
Craft Room Color

May 30, 2012

French Flower Pots

Bit by bit, I'm getting my front porch ready for summer. Yesterday, I made French Flower pots from large galvanized tubs my husband had squirreled away in the shed. 

1. Drill drain holes in the bottoms of the tubs. 

2. Sand the sides of the tubs to give them a soft patina.


3. Edit and print some free graphics from The Graphics Fairy onto transparencies. 

4. Transfer the ink onto some linen fabric by rubbing over the back of the print with a bone folder or spoon.

 5. Spray the fabric with sealer and let it dry. 

6. Glue the fabric to the side of the tub using spray adhesive.

Et Voila!

May 29, 2012

French Label Coasters


Earlier this month on my Friday Finds, I shared Heather's cute idea for
 terracotta pot saucer coasters over at

Sunshine and Some Tea

My version for my front porch has French labels of course. (You know how I am about French Labels!)

I started with terracotta plant saucers and painted them white. 

Then I decoupaged them with these free French label graphics from The Graphics Fairy
(I added the location of each label below its photo for you.)


find here

find here

Find here
Find here

And here are my completed French label coasters.

Tres chic, n'est-ce pas? I love that they stack and fit here perfectly on my front porch tray. Super easy and inexpensive, and no more rings on the table top and porch railing from cups, glasses, cans, and bottles! 

I hope you'll leave a comment with a link to your coasters if you make some. I'd love to see what you've done, too. 

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!  

You may also like
Little French Can-Can
French Label Pillows

(Note: Later this summer I used removable double-sided tape 
and festive card stock to temporarily change my French Label Coasters
into 4th of July Coasters.)

4th of July Coasters

Joining in with terrific parties at:

The Graphics Fairy
Between Naps on the Porch 
Nifty Thrifty Things  
DIY Showoff
Coastal Charm 
Elizabeth & Co.  
Mission Possible Great Outdoors Party
(It All Started With Paint)
(Eclectically Vintage)
(The Cottage Market
(The Space Between
(Thistlewood Farm)

Savvy Southern Style
From My Front Porch to Yours
aka Design
The Shabby Creek Cottage
Common Ground
Rooted in Thyme
French Country Cottage
My Repurposed Life 
At the Picket Fence
The Shabby Nest 
My Romantic Home

May 26, 2012

New Buttons

I finally made link buttons for my blog today!

If you're not familiar with blog buttons, they're those little square graphics with boxes of html code beneath them, often found on a blog's sidebar. Bloggers can cut and paste that code into their own blog editor, and it will show up on their blog as a linked graphic back to the original blog.  

Bloggers who feature projects from other blogs "hand" their button code out, so to speak, so the blogger whose work was featured can show it off and offer their readers a link back to where it was featured.  

It was a huge milestone for me the first time someone featured one of my projects, and I couldn't wait to proudly display the blog's button on my sidebar. All of those buttons over there are really special to me!

I also feature many other bloggers on my Friday Finds, and now I finally have my own buttons for the lovely people who let me share their projects.

So, to the many gracious and generous bloggers whose work I have shared, if you'd like one, please...

Grab my Button!!

(I always wanted to say that!!)

The North End Loft

The North End Loft

The North End Loft

A huge thank you to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for writing the absolutely easiest to understand tutorial for making a blog button with a grab box.

You can find her tutorial here

May 24, 2012

Friday Finds

I have RED in my head today!

So did Shelly of Shizzle Design when she remade a chest into this pretty red sideboard buffet by giving it a gorgeous set of legs.

Shizzle Design

Erika of Be Book Bound was thinking red, too, when she made some fun farmhouse silhouette pillows to spruce up her front and back porches. 

Be Book Bound

Halle at Whole Lifestyle Nutrition has tips for how to get a "ton" of sweet red organic strawberries from your garden this year. 

Whole Lifestyle Nutrition

I totally thought these red tomatoes on this cute wreath were real until Coastal Charm's Linda explained she bought them at a neighborhood sale for $1. I would love a wreath like this on my garden gate.

Coastal Charm

Father's Day is next month. How cute is this idea for a six pack gift of red soda? Amy has made these Father's Day Soda Bottle Covers available as a free download at The Idea Room. (I'll be hanging some on a six pack of assorted imported brewskies for my husband.) 

The Idea Room

I love Martie's red bucketful of marshmallow skewers. Find lots more ideas for fun ingredients and how to create a S'mores bar at Martie Knows Parties.

Martie Knows Parties

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend and a

Happy Friday!

Featured? Please help yourself
to a button!

The North End Loft

The North End Loft

Pasta and Shrimp in Tomato Cream Sauce

My family celebrated my daughter's birthday last week with a favorite pasta dish.  

It's an informal, tweak it while you go and add the amounts that you like, kind-of recipe that I  made up one night and have never written down. 

Served with a fresh salad and bread, it  makes a great meal when you want something special but have been running your tush off all day and don't have hours to spend in the kitchen. 

Pasta and Shrimp 
in Tomato Cream Sauce

Prepare all ingredients before you start cooking:

One pound of either rigatoni, ziti, or penne pasta. (Bring your water to a boil while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.) 

Clean and drain a pound of large shrimp. (I use Costco large precooked tail-on frozen shrimp and spend about 15 minutes defrosting it under cool running water, removing the tails, and then squeezing it dry in a clean tea towel. You can also use fresh or frozen uncooked shrimp.)

Butter (the real thing, since this is a special occasion/couple times a year recipe, not an eat- it everyday recipe.)

Fresh minced garlic (2-5 large cloves, depending on your taste.)

Two cans of Italian Recipe Ready Cut Tomatoes, drained a bit (or the same amount of fresh tomatoes, oregano, and basil, depending on what you have on hand. Sometimes I use both.)

1 small container of heavy cream (remember, special occasion recipe.)

1 cup of grated fresh Parmesan cheese. 

There, the hard part's over! 

Now, begin cooking your noodles in the pot of water that should be boiling by now.  Follow the package directions. 

Heat a very large fry pan with deep sides to medium temperature and add a couple tablespoons of butter. When the sizzling has stopped, add your garlic and stir it around for about a minute (don't let it burn!) 

Add your shrimp to the garlic and stir for 1-2 minutes more until just heated through. If the shrimp was raw, cook it until it's barely opaque. (Don't overcook!)

Add the drained canned Italian tomatoes and/or fresh tomatoes and basil. Raise the heat to medium high, if necessary, bringing everything to a boil and cook another 1-2 minutes until heated through. 

Add a splash of heavy cream. (I've learned to do this by color, but it's around 1/4 cup of cream.) Cook for another minute or two until heated through again. 

Lower the heat to low and add another tablespoon of butter to make your sauce rich and glossy. 

Drain the cooked pasta and return it to the pot. Add the shrimp tomato cream sauce and 1/2 cup of the grated Parmesan cheese to the drained pasta in the pot and stir well. Return the pot to the stove and let it sit on low for five to ten minutes, stirring once or twice. The pasta will absorb some of the sauce and it will thicken a little. If it's too thick, add a couple tablespoons of cream or pasta water.

Pour all into a large serving bowl and sprinkle with more cheese (and fresh basil, if you have it.) Put the rest of the Parmesan cheese on the table and let everyone serve themselves. As the pasta sits, it absorbs more sauce and keeps getting better and better.  

I prepared all my ingredients in the morning, and refrigerated them. That evening it took me fifteen minutes to make the entire dinner and get it to the table. I served my pasta out on the deck under the trees with a salad kit (arugula pear with Gorgonzola dressing) and sliced sourdough Italian bread. It doesn't get much easier than that.

For dessert, birthday cake of course, with a banner made by tweaking this tutorial from I (heart) Nap Time.  

 I hope you try this Pasta and Shrimp in Tomato Cream Sauce. Play with the ingredients and amounts, and make it your own. It's so easy, but delicious and special enough for company and special occasions. 

I'm sharing today at