“All You Need Is Love…”

And, maybe some paper, glue, scissors… This Valentine’s Day post is obviously a bit late, but it’s better than never. David and I agreed (well, I told him my idea and he was on board) to do something handmade for Valentine’s. Although I appreciate the sentiment, I feel it somewhat silly that David should spend twice as much (maybe more) on roses or any other flower because it’s Valentine’s. I prefer spontaneous flowers, anyway. I also don’t think it’s a one-way street where only a man should get a woman a gift. While we did go out for dinner last year, we usually make a nice dinner at home for this particular holiday. Basically, David wanted to be responsible for dinner, and I had plenty of ideas for what I would make for him.

Using an idea I saw here, I decided to make David a “love” message board.

I modified it slightly (mostly because Harrison took a couple of the rosettes off twice, and I was getting tired of re-gluing) by putting some velcro on the frame and back of the rosettes. I also put some velcro on the back of the frame and the wet-erase marker. It has been a nice way to leave “love” notes to each other. I have kept track of our messages in a little notebook so we can look back at what we wrote. We use to always leave each other notes, and we may have gotten a little off track with that since having Harrison and everything else.

Like I said, David made dinner for us, and he went all out – appetizer and everything. He looked around on my Pinterest boards, and made some delicious dishes, starting with eggplant fries drizzled with honey and sea salt. Harrison almost couldn’t stop eating them to have the rest of his meal. Next, we had an avocado salad, followed by grilled balsamic-garlic encrusted pork tenderloin and roasted seasonal vegetables. I can’t gush enough over my husband and how much it meant that he slaved away in the kitchen like that. Harrison and I made dessert earlier in the day (he wanted in on the handmade process, too) – vanilla cupcakes that we cut into thirds so we could put our homemade whip cream between the layers. We dusted them with powdered sugar and topped them off with raspberries and a bit of chocolate sauce. High impact with little effort. Gotta love it.

Harrison also made a great card for his daddy. I got that idea from here.

We cheated a little on Harrison’s gift because we’d already gotten it for him before we decided on the handmade idea. David’s parents gave Harrison a zoo membership for Christmas, and we received a letter in the mail about their adoption program. This year it was for the red panda. Harrison loves all things animal, and he was talking about pandas a lot, recently. We decided to adopt a red panda in Harrison’s name, and he received a stuffed red panda, along with a cool adoption certificate. His name is on a member list at the zoo, as well. To make it even sweeter, the package came with a penguin t-shirt transfer. Harrison loves him some penguins!

It was a wonderful Valentine’s day, and although there’s plenty of love to go around here everyday, it was nice to set aside a special day to talk about how much we love each other and the different ways we can demonstrate that.

The recipes David used for our delicious Valentine’s meal can be found here, here, and here. He just “winged” the roasted vegetables based on other times we’ve made them.

The cupcake “recipe” was an idea from Real Simple magazine that I found in the August 2005 issue. I can’t remember the name of them to search the website, but I’m sure you could find it there. 

Nursery Progress

At 30 weeks, I’m more than a little nervous that we aren’t further along with the nursery. Maybe we weren’t further along with Harrison’s room at this stage, but I thought we were. With Harrison’s room we didn’t paint the walls because we already decided we could make the color work, and my co-worker’s husband painted a tree mural on the wall. Other than that, we repurposed some furniture and put in the crib and a rocking chair. This time around, we are pretty much starting from scratch. We started with an empty room with a wall color that we didn’t like. Enter “Project Nursery”.

The first step was to pick a color or colors for the room. We found a great blanket (more on that later) at an estate sale a few months back, and I decided I liked it for the nursery. Using that for color-inspiration, I headed to Lowe’s and got some paint samples in Olympic’s No VOC paint. We decided on our two colors: Sea Sprite and Heirloom Lace.

These two colors were not just for wall color and trim. No, I had bigger plans in mind. Enter Pinterest. Clearly, I was jumping on the chevron bandwagon. There are plenty of examples out there, as I found while perusing the Internet and pinning ideas. Here are a few I particularly liked:

This one from sabbe interior design that used contact paper and a mix of wide and narrow chevron.

And this grey and white chevron from House 36. This one seemed closest to the size of the wall we were hoping to cover and the size of chevron.

After finding some great inspiration, we needed to find some good tutorials. A lot of people referred to this tutorial from Casa Cullen. We had all the materials for this on hand, but I was concerned about getting the chalk line off the wall. Then, I saw these tutorials from Caitlin Wilson Design and Make Them Wonder. We did a combination of the two.

After David finished marking the wall for the chevron, and I started taping, I realized I wanted to go a different direction. I got very excited about what I was thinking, and quickly began looking up inspiration for my latest plan. That’s when I saw these:

A herringbone ceiling from Vintage Revivals:

Herringbone plates by forest clearing.

I’ll post later on why those plates were so inspiring, but for now, here are some pictures of the progress we’ve made with the painting so far.

Taping out the stripes

A lot of tape and a little bit of paint later...

Slowly, butt (oops, I mean "but") surely

We still have to put the other colors (say what?!) on the wall and put a second coat on the other walls, and paint the trim, but hey who’s keeping track of all that anyway. Man, and that’s just painting. We also have to assemble furniture like, oh, the crib. I can’t even think about that right now (but I am anyway). We still need a mattress for that crib and bedding for that mattress, and … too many other things.

Thankful for Pinterest

I finally made a craft (actually 2) from Pinterest! That may not sound terribly exciting to some of any of you, but it was a huge deal for me. See, I have pinned away for months now, and I have made some dishes and found some great gift ideas for people. I haven’t made anything on my inspiration boards, though. I kept seeing other art and diy projects people had done and realized I needed to stop pinning and start actually doing. With the holiday season upon us, it was the perfect time. I scanned my boards and chose some projects to do with Harrison and some decorations for me to make for Thanksgiving.

Other than purchasing some extra paint colors, I didn’t have to buy any other supplies for these two projects. The first project was a finger paint turkey Harrison completed. Here’s the pin:

Here’s what Harrison and I did together:

I happened to have appropriately colored cards, and I thought they would be perfect as place-setting cards for Thanksgiving. Harrison lasted through most of them, but I did have to finish 1 or 2. He loved telling me which colors to use. Here are a few shots of the place cards on our Thanksgiving table:


The second craft  I completed was for decoration. Here was my inspiration:

The process was pretty simple and quick once I got the hang of it. The flowers don’t look like much, initially, but once they are up on the wall in a cluster, they look really great. Here’s one of my flowers:

And here’s my arrangement above the fireplace:

I tried using small adhesive squares that were wall-safe that we already owned, but they stuck to the wall and not the paper even though I cleaned the wall and pressed for the 30 seconds on the directions. I ultimately went with picture-hanging nails because we agreed it would have minimal impact on the wall, and we knew eventually something more permanent would go up on the wall. The nail head actually looks cool up close and you don’t notice it from afar. 

Here’s a breakdown of my supplies:

Fingerpaint Turkeys:

  • Cardstock: already owned
  • finger paints: $4 (we will use these a lot, so pretty cheap)
  • construction paper or marker (for beak, feet, and eyes): already owned
  • Total cost: $4

Paper bag flowers:

  • Lunch-bag sized paper bags: already owned
  • Scissors
  • Glue-stick: already owned
  • Nails or other hanging method: already owned
  • Total cost: Free!!!

Images for projects can be found here and here. The finger paint turkey is linked to my Pinterest image because the site the original image came from has been suspended for some reason. 

Something Tasty: Lemon Orzo Salad

Cooking in the summer has always been difficult for me. Not because I don’t enjoy cooking. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I really love cooking, and I struggle with making meals in the summer that don’t have me and the kitchen really warm by the time it’s all said and done. Plus, I don’t really like heavy foods in warm weather. This means I need something quick and yummy. Enter, lemon orzo salad with asparagus and tomatoes. I found this on Pinterest (seriously, you need to join if you haven’t yet. I probably sent you an invite). Doesn’t it just look yummy?!

It was delicious and super easy. Harrison kept asking for “More, please” (like 3 times) and saying, “Juicy” (for the tomatoes). The great thing was that I had everything on hand. I knew what I wanted to use, and it happened that I had pinned this recipe just yesterday. High-five to myself. Here’s a link to the recipe. I’m not sure what fresh asparagus runs these days at the store since I’m not sure it’s in season anymore, but I always have a bag of frozen asparagus spears from Trader Joe’s in my freezer. I also used lemon juice since I didn’t have a fresh lemon. Now, make it and enjoy!

Happy 5 years (and almost 2 months)

Since this post is a tad bit late (like about, oh, 2 months), I thought the title fitting. Yes, on June 3, David and I celebrated 5 years of marriage. Here we are on that happy day:

Mr. & Mrs. David Bunge

Things sure have changed in five years (for the better). We moved from an apartment into our first home, got Truman, and welcomed our first (human) child.

I can’t say there haven’t been trials along the way (at least not with a straight face), but it has been a wonderful journey these past five years.

We celebrated by giving each other the traditional gift for year 5, wood. This required some creativity. I didn’t really want to give him something too literal, and that’s where Pinterest came in (Oh, Pinterest, I love thee so. Let me count the ways…..). I found a “pin” for a paper doll family. Paper comes from trees, and that’s wood. It got even better when I discovered the artist, Jordan Grace Owens, lives in Greensboro, NC. I got to support a local. Woo-hoo! I sent in my pictures – including Truman, told her what I wanted everyone to wear, and was absolutely enamored with the result. Picture me grinning from ear to ear when I received the email with the finished results. (Go ahead, I’ll give you time to picture that.) I was pretty proud of myself on this one. This isn’t the framed result, but it’s still great. Speaking of the frame, I went to a local outdoor flea market/antique mall to find a wooden frame to fit the paper dolls that I mounted.

David also went the Etsy route. Can you tell we love to use Etsy for custom, handmade gifts? He gifted me this beautiful artwork, entitled, A Force of Nature -“Two Love Birds”:

We went out that evening for a great dinner at Iris, which is housed in the North Carolina Museum of Art. I had made reservations there last year as part of my gift to David for our 4th wedding anniversary (fruits and flowers was the traditional gift), and we decided to return this year. Afterward, we headed to Hayes Barton Cafe for dessert, and then home to Harrison. He was already sound asleep; however, that night became the first night of many that Harrison would talk for 30 minutes or longer before drifting off. More on that later.

It was a great day to celebrate 5 years together, and I find myself even more in love with David than the day we married. I’ll end with another shot from that blissful day.