Sunday, November 27, 2011

100th Post Giveaway

This is my 100th blog post! My very first post was on February 8, 2009, so I'm going on three years of blogging. This year I have blogged twice as much as in 2009 and 2010 put together. Since my blogging has been so sporadic, I haven't done anything for my ”blogiversaries,” but I thought it would be fun to mark the 100 post milestone with a little giveaway. Thank you  for stopping by here to see what I have to say, and thanks especially for taking the time to comment. I have really enjoyed getting to know people via their blogs, and have found blogging to be a great learning experience and creative outlet.

I'm giving away one knitted to order (meaning you can choose the color and texture) wash/dishcloth and a bar of Monastery soap. I have a few kinds on hand, so I'll let you choose your scent (or lack thereof). The monks aren't paying me or bribing me to promote their soap. :) I just like it.

To enter, just  leave a comment here by Monday, December 5 at 8:00 am Eastern Time. I'll randomly generate a winner and announce the results Monday evening. Since the prize is small and lightweight, I'll ship anywhere. Because I tend to write about a variety of topics, I'd welcome comments about the type of content on my blog that most interests you (but that's not required to enter). Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fast Food Friday: Pease Porridge Hot!

It hasn't been all decorating, all the time here lately. We've had all kinds of stuff to keep us busy so far this month. The first weekend of the month we took a quick jaunt to Ohio for my dad's birthday. I made this cake which was very well received. I strongly recommend it for all your festal chocolate cake needs. And that's high praise from me, because despite my abiding love of chocolate, I generally don't really care for chocolate cake. I made it by request of the birthday boy. The second weekend of November was jam-packed. On Saturday, I attended Holy Liturgy for the feast of St. Varnava of Indiana, as well as a very edifying lecture on the book of Revelation by Dr. Jeannie Constantinou, a Presvytera and professor who does an excellent podcast called Search the Scripture on Ancient Faith Radio. Then we went to a wedding on Sunday evening, which was lovely. We're having friends over for dinner tomorrow, and I need to do my shopping for Thanksgiving. Lots going on around here this month, and that's just the weekends!
It seems like the Nativity Fast snuck up on us, but here we are. We now turn our hearts to preparing for the joyous celebration of the Incarnation of our God and Lord, and attempt to humbly remember Him who humbled Himself to be born of a Virgin. During fasting seasons, I like to share recipes on Fridays, so here is one of my very favorites. (Do I always say that? I really do love fasting foods.) When it comes to split pea soup, I like it hot or even cold. I sincerely doubt it's ever lasted 9 days at my house, but I would probably like it nine days old, as well. Sadly, it's one of the least photogenic foods in the world. I felt obliged to include the picture of the view from our bedroom window the last week in October to make up for the image of pease porridge. The riot of red leaves has fallen, and the view is now almost as drab looking as the soup, so I'm thankful I have the picture to remember the brief glory we're treated to each year. 

Split Pea Soup

1 tsp oil (optional)
1 1/2 cups diced onion
1 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups water
1 lb dry split peas (about 2 1/4 cups)
1 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
Salt and pepper

Lightly brown your vegetables over medium high heat in a good sized pot. You can do this in oil or a splash of vegetable broth, as you like. Add in the broth, water, split peas, marjoram and liquid smoke. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover. Simmer for about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes, until the the split peas fall apart.  After 45 minutes check and stir occasionally. Add more water if needed or desired. I like my split pea soup good and thick in true pease porridge style. If you like it thinner, feel free to add more water. Add salt and pepper, to taste. It depends on how salty your broth is, and how salty your taste is.  My soup didn't need any more salt, and I like to give it a few good grinds of pepper.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Paneled Upholstered Headboard

I was really excited last week when Sherry of Young House Love and Katie of Bower Power are hosting another Pinterest Challenge, along with Ana White and Erin of House of Earnest. The idea is that you stop pinning, step away from your computer and actually make something you've pinned. Then you share what you've made, check out all the fun projects everyone else made, and start the pinning cycle all over. Last time, I had a lot of fun making a painting based on a TV quotation for my brother. The timing of this challenge was the perfect incentive to build a headboard for our bedroom. (Big surprise that I made something for the bedroom, right?)

My Pinspiration was this paneled headboard:

I pinned it from Brooke at All Things Thrifty.  I combed the web looking at dozens of upholstered headboards before deciding I wanted to make a paneled one. There are instructions on how the inspiration headboard was made here, but mine was actually constructed pretty differently. For the base of my panels, I used canvases. I bought two packs of seven 11 x 14 canvases at Michaels. They are regularly $20, but I bought them with 50 percent off coupons (of course) so I got the two packs for $20 total. I only used 12 for the headboard, so I have 2 more for another project. I loved the giant headboard that Brooke made, but I wasn't going for something that dramatic, since I didn't want it to compete with my stencil wall. Also, although we have no plans to move, I've never lived anywhere longer than 5 years, so I guess it's in my nature to want my furniture to be portable. Canvases made our headboard much more lightweight than making the panels out of any type of boards. I can easily pick up the headboard and move it myself.

I bought the fabric ages ago at JoAnn Fabric. I don't remember how much it cost or how much I purchased, but I do know I bought it when decorator fabric was half off. It is the same fabric I used for the rocking chair. In addition to the canvases and the fabric, I used a queen sized foam mattress pad for the padding. I cut out 12 rectangles from the mattress pad, 15x18 inches each. Then I wrapped each canvas with the foam (bumpy side in). I used my staple gun to attach the foam to the inside of the canvas frame, and then I stapled down the corners. I found it was easiset to staple the short sides of the rectangle and then the long sides. Perhaps you could make it easier on youself and staple the foam right into the back of the canvas frame, but I thought it made things smoother to wrap it around, and I also l liked that I had fewer staples to avoid when I stapled my fabric.
After I covered all the canvases with foam, I moved on to the fabric. I cut out the 16x20 rectangles for the fabric. Then I ironed them all, and finally I got to round two of stapling. I centered each foam covered canvas on the fabric, stapled the short ends, stapled the long ends, and then I stapled the corners. I tried several ways of stapling the corners before I settled on the method I used. I liked the smooth, rounded corners, but in retrospect, I would have chosen a method that gave me corners closer to right angles, since the rounded corners don't meet up. Apparently I got really focused on the project during the fabric stage and stopped taking picturss. The only one I took was to demonstrate the corner folding method:
Once I finished covering all the canvases with fabric. I went to bed. It was a tiring project! I turned it over to my husband at that point. He bought four 6 foot 1x3s, and cut them to length (around 54 in.)  They are not quite as wide as the headboard, which is 58 in. It is just about exactly as wide as our queen size bed. Then he laid out the panels and used the 1x3s to attach them together. He screwed them into the frames of the canvases. Obviously, you want to make sure your screws won't protrude through your panels, so he used 1 5/8 inch screws.

And here is the final headboard!
How did we mount it, you might wonder? Confession: It's just leaning up against the wall for this picture. We've got some flush mount brackets to use, but it turns out the screws that came with them aren't long enough to go into the studs. So currently the headboard is leaning up against the bookcases in our bedroom, and we'll have to install it later this week. I'll post an update with daytime pictures once we get it hung. I'm so excited to be finished with the construction, though! This is the first headboard we've had in eight years of marriage. Yay for the Pinterest Challenge to inspire us to get the headboard constructed. And I still have quite a bit more up my sleeve as part of the bedroom overhaul, so I should have some more Pinterest inspired projects to share in the next few weeks.

Edited to add: Click here for a headboard update.