You Say Tomato, I Say... Mater!

What's one of the best parts of living in the South? Well, besides rocking chair front porches, SEC football, and the word y'all. Summer vegetables! It's late summer and our tomatoes are in full bloom!

What to do with a kitchen full of fresh veggies? Fry em up! Here's a peak at last night's supper.

Fresh off the vine tomates, for slicing:



Chopping some fresh okra (not from our garden, but a neighbors!) to fry in a corn meal mix:



Frying up some green maters in the same corn meal mixture. I use a little extra virgin olive oil, some salt and pepper and that's it!! Yes, they tasted as good as they look!



Have any of you cooked up some garden fresh vegetables lately? Extra points if the veggies came from your own garden!

I'm sharing with Rhoda's summer recipe party.


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Before & After- Living Room Part Two

Hi folks! For those of you stopping by for the first time, glad to have you! This is one of my very first posts on the blog last July, when I was still learning and developing my blogging style. Needless to say, it's a little rough around the edges, but filled with lots of heart and soul. : )


Anyways, glad to have you and please stop by and check out my recent posts!

Well, we've painted. Next up? We had to furnish the room. And if you know us, then you know that the first step here was to contemplate our budget. We're definitely not the kind to up and spend full price on any item, whether big or small. Of course, we wanted to spend some time shopping around for the best deal. We wanted to start the room by focusing on a couch, so off to shop for couches we went. Havertys? Not for us. Bassett? Just not right. Adcock? Yuck.

And then, as fate had it, my dear husband fell in love with the gigantic proportions of the PB Comfort couch. Big enough for a giant with it's extra-wide proportions, yet cute enough for me! While you (along with every other visitor we've ever had over to the house) may ask- "um, a white couch with two dogs... are you crazy?" let me point out that... this brilliant couch is a slip cover! That's right folks, I can throw my couch in the washing machine. Well, kind of- the slipcover at least! Easy as pie. So we splurged on the PB Comfort couch (well of course I used a 10% off coupon I had AND waited until it was on sale!) and then I tossed on a couple of TJ Maxx leaf print pillows (which, I'd like to assure you were about half the price of these very similar Pottery Barn pillows which is reason number one million why I love TJ Maxx!) and we've got our main sitting area.


Then we grabbed a couple of side chairs from Target (we got them on sale for less than $100!).

Dolce Lounge Chair


Next, it was time to get some storage-type furniture into the room. While I shopped and shopped, I couldn't bring myself to spend $200+ on any retail furniture to hold the TV. And yes, after four years of an old school 20" tube TV and saving our pennies in anticipation, the hubster got a new (slightly too large for my taste, but what are you going to do) flat screen with the big move. But where to put it?

Enter: Craigs List, where we found a used dresser being sold for only $60. Unfortunately, I didn't do a great job at getting any before photos of the dresser (this was pre-blogging!), but let me tell you, it was a beauty! And by beauty, I mean... a pastel painted nightmare. We purchased the dresser from a very sweet lady (after driving to her home in Middle of Nowhere, Georgia) who just didn't have the best taste in the world. Apparently she had "refinished" the dresser on her own by painting it pink, green, yellow, white, and blue. This is where we Southerners say "bless her heart!" instead of anything negative, so I'll leave it at that!

The worst part? David and I didn't have the heart to tell her we were planning to refinish her "refinished" dresser, so... when she asked where we were putting the dresser, we may have led her to believe that we were using the dresser in a pink, green, yellow, white, and blue pastel bedroom. True? Not so much. But I could't let her down! We laughed the entire way home about that one! There were some great details on the front and the size was perfect (and we haggled her down to $50), so we loaded it up and it came home with us!

The side of the dresser as we painted the living room.


The front of the dresser drawers (yellow and green) to give you an idea of how it was orginally refinished:



So did we change our living room to reflect the pink, green, yellow, white and blue pastel color scheme? Ha! Not so much.... We pulled out all of the dresser drawers and then stripped all of the paint off. (Shhh! Don't tell Ms. Middle of Nowhere!) Next, we stained the dresser with the same Minwax stain as the front door and, once dried, sprayed it with a polyurethane lacquer. FYI, I stained both the outside and the inside of the dresser. Why? When I pulled out the dresser drawers to stain, I intended to keep them out permanently and use the space where the drawers were as shelves for our some of our electronics.

I then covered these makeshift shelves with some good ol' scrapbook paper. To make the paper stick, I covered the shelf with Mod Podge glue. Ever used it? It's the bomb. It could make anything stick!

 Mod Podge CS11202 Original 16-Ounce Glue, Gloss Finish

We also added some new hardware- bronze finished knobs bought for less than $10 at Home Depot.


Amerock TPK1586-ORB Inspirations 3-Ring Knob, 1-3/8-Inch Diameter, Oil Rubbed Bronze, 10-Pack


And the finished product?


Here are some close ups of the Modge Podge shelf lining.




And here it is in the living room.


Here's the price breakdown:

Craigslist dresser: $50
Minwax stain: FREE (had for front door)
Lacquer: FREE (had for other projects)
Sandpaper: $5
Scrapbook Paper: $1.50
Mod Podge: FREE (had for other projects)
Knobs: $10
GRAND TOTAL: $66.50

I think that's pretty good if I do say so myself!

We also pulled double duty (well, at this point, triple duty!) with the Minwax stain and lacquer by refinishing two peices of hand-me-down furniture that we had, including a side table + lamp combo (thanks Kelly!) and a coffee table (thanks Mom and Dad!).

The last furnishing we had to do was to pick a rug. This was actually very difficult for us, as we really didn't have any clue what we were doing. All of the flooring at our old house was carpet and, aside from an occasional bath mat, we had never purchased a rug before! So we went on a rug hunt... we tried a synthetic tan rug, a rust colored hook rug, a faux jute rug, a large 8x10 size, several smaller runner sizes... and, after lugging a bunch of gigantic rugs to and from stores, I thought the search turned hopeless!

Then, I came across some inspiration on one of my all-time favorite home blogs: Young House Love. Ok, ok, let me be honest. It was less inspiration, more like I stole their rug idea! I noticed that they had a similar neutral vibe going on in their living room and, even though they don't really have any dark wood accents, they have a very similar color scheme as well (not to mention the same Target chairs!). Their rug was funky but simple and brought a little splash of color into the room. It was perfect! So, I bit the bullet and found the Young House Love rug on Ebay. You can search for the Pottery Barn Moorish Tile rug in yellow, orange or brown. And now it's in my living room! Call me a copycat, but I love my rug.    :)
As for decor, we'll get to that on another day, another time. But we've hit the main higlights, as these were the main essentials- the paint and the furniture. Put it all together and you've got... our living room!

Lets not forget the before.


And here we all are in the after, living it up in our living room!



Another before.


After.


Check out our house tour for pictures of the whole house in before/after mode!






Visit thecsiproject.com


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Before & After- Living Room Part I

Hooray! We made it to post number two!

Alright, so since I just posted about three months of work under the "House Tour" page, I thought I'd spend some time breaking down all of that work, room by room. We thought we'd start with the room we spend the most time in- the living room! Our living room is the first room you walk into from the front door, so of course we want the room to be welcoming and inviting. You know, a "stop and stay awhile" kind of vibe!

First step- we painted the walls a darker netural with Olympic's Dusty Trail. We searched high and low for the perfect neutral color and luckily found one we love... and have since used it in about three other rooms in our house! Hey, when you find someting you like, stick with it! Our beloved Dusty Trail going on the walls:


As you can see from the "before" picture below, the walls were a completely blank slate. The mantel was painted an out-of-place bright white while the rest of the fireplace and walls were painted a blah neutral. These walls looked jailhouse stark!


I knew that we just HAD to bring some contrast to these blank walls. Soooo, we painted the trim, crown molding, and fireplace an off-white creamy gloss (for ease, we used the color that is currently the color of the trim and crown molding all over our house- a custom Porter paint color). Voila, high contrast.



Much easier on the eyes, right?

Alright, so, walls? Check. Trim and fireplace? Check. What other surface needed some attention in this room? The front door. While we chose a cherry red for the front (more to come later on the outside of the house), we wanted to keep the natural wood look of our antique, solid oak door for the inside of the house. So we simply stained it with a dark Walnut Minwax. (Sorry for the poor quality, this was an iPhone pic!)



You can see the natural wood color for comparisons sake in the above picture. And here's a final look at the stained door, from afar:



Again, staining the front door brought more high contrast with the very neutral walls. In my opinion, contrast is the best way to keep a room looking clean and crisp.

Well lucky for you, the living room was just chock full of projects and that's all I can get on here today. But of course, that means there will be more to come in subsequent posts! Feel free to comment on any of these posts by clicking on the box below! I would love the feedback! Until tomorrow....

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The Beginning

Well here we are! The very first post of the blog. We are really excited (and, admittedly, a little nervous!) to get this thing up and going! David and I are so proud of our little house and all of the work we've done on it so far. And we've got a to-do list with about a million projects on it, so the upcoming work (and blog posts!) will be endless. We constantly get questions from friends, family, and co-workers about where we get our ideas from, how we actually did the projects, and how much everything cost. Oh, and let's not forget everyone's main question- where have you guys been and what have you been up to?! We've been known to (inadvertently!) pull a little disappearing act as we get wrapped up in whatever project we're undertaking. So, with that said, this blog will help to keep everyone updated and in the loop with our trials and tribulations.

The "House Tour" section has been updated with some recent before/after pictures (well, in most cases, before/in between pictures). This week, I'll go through some of the major changes and detail some of the projects that are revealed in those pictures. As you flip through the House Tour, let me know if you have any questions or would like to know more about anything specific that you see! I'll certainly take those comments and run with them.

Also, if you look over to your right, you'll see that I'm updating the sidebar with the most recent book I'm reading ("On the Nightstand") and one of my favorite recipes that I'm cooking or trying that week ("On the Burner"). This week, I'm cooking up Spinach Pesto Pasta (an absolute staple around our house!) and I'm reading:

Have any of you read this? I'm about 100 pages in and loving it so far!














So here's to blogging... and for those of you reading, have a great week!






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