Quickie Mirror Update

Here is a quick painting project I did over the weekend. I have had this shuttered mirror for about six months now. I found it at the antique store for about $12. I didn't care much for the pale yellow...

So I painted it white (I know...it is hard to tell. Trust me...it is white).

Then I took some Antiquing Glaze and painted it on. I wiped it off almost immediately with a damp cloth.
Then I painted the mirror with chalkboard paint...And here is the finished product!
I hung it in the dining room to advertise all of my wine specials ;-)


Stair Progress

Today is my Friday. Don't you just love it? My extended weekend will be spent finishing up the stairs. Up until this point, Mr. VB has done a majority of the work. I feel like my time has come.

You may have noticed in the pic I posted last week that the stairs don't go all the way to the wall and that there are gaps. Which would have been nice to know before the carpet was ripped off. Also, this was supposed to be a cheap project. Putting new treads on all the stairs definitely would have blown the budget. And wouldn't have solved the fact that the risers also had gaps at the walls.

The solution: a small piece of thin trim was added to all the risers. Calk was used to fill in the gaps on the treads.

While the solution isn't perfect...I think it will work. Our plan is to paint the risers white (as seen above) and the treads the same color as our study (as seen above). Hopefully I'll have finished pics to show you soon!


I've Made a Huge Mistake

"Are you happy you did this?"-Me

"I'm not sure."-Mr. VB 

"Maybe we shouldn't have done this right now." -Me

"It will be alright...don't worry."
-Mr. VB

"Who is going to pull out all those staples?" -


Dining Room Goes Green

In honor of St. Patty's Day, I thought I would paint our Dining Room green. How's that for holiday spirit? Technically, it is Glidden's Forest Khaki....really just a hint of green. Here is a before:

And the after with the new paint and chair rail:

Pay no attention to the white papers on the table. Just messing around with the white balance on the camera. Also, don't look at the chair covers. Because of my recent pillow addiction, I have been banned from the fabric store. True story.

I'm not quite happy with the rug, but it will do for now. We are also planning on replacing the light fixture. I have my eye on this guy:

It's not in the budget right now...but someday it will be mine. Until the, we will be spray painting the current one black.

Now, also in honor of the holiday, I will drink a glass of wine. Cheers!


Plan B: Chair Rail

Since my flash of inspiration nearly a month ago, I realized that board and batten in our house, at this time, probably wouldn't work. Mainly, because of this:

All of the trim in our house is stained. And, I'm not about to start painting it all white. Also, the top of these boards are so narrow, it would be impossible to have the vertical board and batten transition into them. And look good.

So, on to Plan B. Chair rail.

We picked up enough for the dining room and breakfast room. We found this at Home Depot for about $5.45 for a 7-foot section. Under $60 for the project...not bad! We started in the breakfast room.

The corners and nail holes were filled with wood filler.

And this is the end result!



It was exactly what this wall and room needed! What do you think?


Pasta Paella

We are gearing up for a long weekend and getting ready to tackle the dining room. The to-do list includes painting, recovering the chairs, and putting up a chair rail. (It doesn't look like the board and batten will work...more on that later, though). 

To keep us fueled, there is our Pasta Paella recipe. We first had pasta paella at Modesto, one of our favorite tapas restaurants. I saw this recipe from Rachael Ray soon after and knew we had to try it. We changed RR's original recipe a bit and this is what we came up with.


Pasta Paella
Adapted from Rachael Ray


  • 3 cups chicken broth (to be on the safe side, we make 4-5 cups)
  • 2 pinchs saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2/3 cup 1/2-inch pieces vermicelli pasta or spaghetti (a couple of generous handfuls)
  • 1 pound skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 ripe tomato, halved horizontally and grated on the largest holes of a box grater (discard the skin)
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 pound peeled, deveined medium shrimp
  • 1/2 pound frozen peas
  • cherry tomatoes 
  • 1/4 pound Spanish chorizo sausage, cut into cubes or sliced into half-moons

  1. In a medium saucepan, keep the chicken broth and saffron warm over medium-low heat.
  2. In a paella pan or large nonstick skillit, heat some olive oil and saute the sausage until nicely browned. Removed from the pan and set aside.
  3. In the same pan, heat 1 tablesoon olive oil. Sauté the onion until soft, about 5 min. Toss in the garlic, too. Add the tomato and season well with salt, and sauté until the water from the tomato has cooked out and the mixture has darkened to a burgundy color and is a very thick purée, 10 to 15 min. (This tomato-onion-garlic mixture, called the sofrito, is the flavor base for the paella.)

4. Move the sofrito the the middle, add some EVOO, and add the chicken. Cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

5. Add the vermicelli and toast until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the saffron broth and bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

6.  Stir in the shrimp and peas, cover and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken, sausage and cherry tomatoes. Cook until bubbly and serve!


I See Pillows

Ever since I discovered the wonders of Steam-a-Seam, I haven't stopped making pillows. It's on the brink of getting out of hand. I feel like I am in the Sixth Sense. But, instead of seeing dead people, I see pillows.

I started off with a Pottery Barn rip-off.

Pottery Barn

Vanilla Bean
  Vanilla Bean

Then, I used some burlap to make a pillow inspired by this one from Petit Coterie:

Vanilla Bean

Lastly, I'll leave you with this jumbo blue and white striped seersucker pillow. It feels so nautical and will be perfect in our family room.


There are a couple more I made, but I am still working out the kinks. I hope to have some more pics up soon, though! I'm linking this post on Cottage Instincts...check it out to see all the other DIY projects!


Home Office/Study Reveal

I feel like putting my hands up in the air, twirling around, and saying, "Ta Da!" I am so happy to have a little desk/blogging area. So much more comfy than sitting at the counter every night. Here are the before pics.

As with everything, I'm sure I will have some tweaks as time goes by. We are thinking of adding some more pics above the desk. Also, I really would like to have the printer nearby, but we don't want it out for all to see. I'm working on a clever way to hide it.

All of the photos were taken by us. I'm big on artwork actually having meaning. So, all photos or artwork we have on the walls was either done by us or purchased on a special trip and brings back memories.

Here is a close-up of the edges. After I distressed the table, I went back with a Q-tip and stain to bring out the brown a bit more.


I think the crack adds some character to the table.



My thrift store magazine rack.


I was super lazy with the chair this time around. I didn't sand off any of the paint (there is a coat of black and yellow under this). It took about 4 coats of white to cover. I like how the black and yellow come through, though.




My little striped pillow keeps jumping around...I think he likes it in this room, better.



This table was another thrift store find. Painted and sanded to match the other pieces. Mr. VB says I've reached the shabby quota in this room.


The shelves are constantly changing...here is what they looked like this morning.