My Farmhouse Entertainment Center

Let me just start off by saying, I love Annie Sloan chalk paint!  I got hooked on it a few years ago.  When I buy wood furniture, I typically buy it with the intent to paint it “someday.”

Yesterday, my husband reminded me of the fact I’d bought Annie Sloan chalk paint to make our entertainment center all cutsie before my sisters came to visit (1 week and 2 days and I cannot even stand it, I’m SO excited!!!).  He then proceeded to tell me I shouldn’t worry about it because it looks fine as it is and there really isn’t time to paint it before they get here.

Yeah, he’s the king of reverse psychology.  CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

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I started removing the glass panels, knobs and knick knacks like a mad woman.  I pulled out my can of Duck Egg Blue paint and my Annie Sloan pure bristle brush.  I was READY!

Then I remembered I had to wash my furniture first (wah, wah, waaaaaaahhhh).

After a good wash, I dipped my brush into the can and started slopping on the paint.

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I put a nice even coat on the entire piece.  I also decided that a little chicken wire never hurt anybody (sent my hubby to Walmart for it), and tacked some up in place of the glass that was once there.

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I then started distressing the piece by lightly sanding the edges and little random spots on the piece to bring back some of the black underneath.  By the way… I prefer to buy REALLY dark furniture. If it comes painted black already (as this piece did), it’s a winner in my book.

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Next comes the waxing.  I’ve read everywhere to “clear wax first, dark wax second.”  This is to ensure you don’t stain your paint with the dark wax.

While I agree with this approach, my small attention span does not.  I’ve found that my “secret sauce” for waxing is a big scoop of clear wax, with a teensy, weensy dab of dark wax mixed together really well.

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The little bit of dark wax “warms” the paint color a bit.  I should mention that I also don’t “wax lightly” like everyone suggests.  I actually paint the wax on, to get beautifully colored strokes.  Then I use paper towels the rub the wax off in the same direction I painted it on (the wax is worked into the piece as you do so).  In the images below, both the top of the entertainment center and top drawer are waxed.  You’ll notice they’re a bit darker than the rest of the piece and you can see the colorful strokes in the top.

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After distressing and waxing the entire piece, I added some new hardware (these adorable drawer pulls are no longer available, but I keep checking) and loaded it all back up!  I’m kind of in love with the results…

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Before…

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To be fair, our entertainment center was really dusty and I had removed the original hardware (just bronze knobs – you’re not missing much).  The piece was actually a lot cuter than the before picture makes it out to be.  But considering it is a “before” picture, we told it to frown and stick out its gut a bit, to ensure the “after” had all the wow factor we were looking for.

What do you think?  Have you tried Annie Sloan chalk paint?  Do you have a “secret sauce?” for waxing?  I’d love to hear your ideas!

 

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BlackRose Walnut Scones (GF/DF) w/Lemon Glaze

It’s scone-ice to see you again!

Who doesn’t love a good scone?  Better yet, a good scone that is easy to whip up and makes you feel a little “gourmet?”

These BlackRose Walnut Scones (Gluten Free & Dairy Free) are quick, delicious and will really make you question whether or not Kindergarten lead us astray on the topic of sharing…

BlackRose Walnut Scones

What you’ll need:

Wet Ingredients:

*Yes, other flavored olive oil will work, but Mountain Town Olive Oil is to DIE for!  My husband and I frequented their shops often, when we lived in Utah

Dry Ingredients:

  • 3 cups Gluten Free Flour (set one of these cups aside)
  • 2 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 2 Rosemary Sprigs
  • 1 cup (heaping) of Blackberries (I had exactly 26)
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Walnuts

How you’ll do it:

Flip on that oven of yours (you’ll want her hot and ready at 400 degrees) and place a sheet of wax paper on your cookie sheet. Set aside.

Pull the rosemary leaves off their stems and dice the leaves into small pieces (toss the stems).

In a large bowl, add all of your dry ingredients (EXCLUDING the 1 cup of GF flour you set aside) and mix them well.  The blackberries should not stay full berries (mix ’em, squash ’em).

In a smaller bowl, mix together the egg, almondmilk and vanilla (no olive oil just yet).

Begin to pour the contents of the wet mixture into your dry mixture bowl (slowly and folding it in is as you do so).

Once the contents of both bowls are mixed well (no large chunks), drizzle the olive oil and work it evenly into the mixture (eh hem, let’s call it dough now).

Now, using some of the GF flour you set aside, sprinkle on a clean surface.  Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on the sprinkled flour.

Begin to knead the dough… adding a little bit of flour until the mixture is moist enough to roll into a large ball (but not dry enough you could throw it at someone).

Flatten it out like a THICK pizza dough (1 1/2″ – 2″ thick), then cut 8 “pizza” slices.

Add the slices onto the cookie sheet, leaving a bit of room for them to expand.  Pop them in the oven for about 14 – 16 minutes (bottoms should be golden brown).

Lemon Glaze

What you’ll need:

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tsp Lemon Zest

How you’ll do it:

Squeeze 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice into a bowl.  Add in the powdered sugar and some lemon zest.  Mix well and drizzle atop your BlackRose Walnut Scones!

Mmmm…

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Samples? Why, yes… I LOVE samples!

I was recently approached by The Grouchy Garlic , asking me to photograph their latest dessert masterpiece (in exchange for a “sample”; the full batch, which is totally MY kind of sample).  Obviously, I jumped at the opportunity.

If you’re a choco-holic, you have GOT to check out The Grouchy Garlic’s recipe for Dark Chocolate, Chocolate Cream Puffs (GF) (and pin it for later, of course)!  As an added bonus, this is a Gluten-Free recipe.

PS – I’m a huge Mud-Pie fan.  Don’t you just love the little “Got Chocolate” dish and “Ah, Sugar, Sugar” scoop???

Oh and that beautiful barn wood?  You’ve seen it before!  I pulled my new Rustic Shelves off the Gyoffice wall and slid them both together for the perfect “grouchy” feel.

Worked. Like. Magic.

theGrouchyGarlic

Queso Blanco means “YES PLEASE!” in Spanish

Queso:  “Every Other State’s Jello Salad”

Alright, alright… before you jump down my throat, I know “Queso Blanco” doesn’t really mean “Yes, please” in Spanish.

That said, when asked as a question, “Queso blanco?”  The following response is always, “yes, please!”

See, so I only kind of lead you astray.

Here in good ol’ Texas… queso is serious business.  I once heard someone call it, “every other state’s jello salad”, explaining that you can’t go to any family gathering in Texas without someone bringing the queso.  Although I’m not a true Texan (but am most definitely a  huge queso fan), I often volunteer to be that someone.

I’ve been asked for my recipe quite a few times.  Now, I’m not going to tell you it’s the world’s best cup of queso…

But I like it.  And for that simple reason, I’m happy to share the recipe and hoping you’ll like it too.

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El Queso Blanco de TealTheThings

  • 12 oz Fresh Pico de Gallo (yes, you can make your own… but why, when H-E-B’s is fantastic?)
  • 32 oz Easy Melt: Queso Blanco (again, H-E-B, but the white Velveeta Queso Blanco will do the trick as well)
  • 2/3 cup milk
  •  1/2 tbsp Torchy’s Diablo Sauce (they actually ship this stuff… so no excuse for you not to try it)
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 garlic clove
  1. First, cut the block of easy melt into 1-inch cubes, to quicken the cooking process
  2. In a large crockpot, toss the cubes of easy melt and add in the rest of the ingredients (give it all a good stir)
  3.   Set the crockpot to “High” and cover for 45 minutes (stirring occasionally)
  4.  Reduce the cook setting to “Low” for another 15 minutes
  5. Set the crockpot to “Warm” and serve
  6. Garnish with fresh cilantro and a dash of Torchy’s sauce (optional)

Note: If the queso is a bit too runny, give it just a few more minutes in the “Warm” setting.  It will thicken up.  On the flip-side, if it’s too thick… add a bit more milk!

Cheese!  I mean, cheers!

 

 

Elephant Goo and I love HUE(nited Airlines)!

Anyone that knows me is very aware of my “geek factor.”  I looooove technology (but not as much as you, you see; always and forever).

I also love shopping online.  Alright, shopping on Amazon.com.  For everything.  I mean, they’re seriously making it way too easy for me to morph into one of those future humans from Wall-E.

Obviously when the Amazon Echo became available on – wait for it – AMAZON… I just had to have it.  But could I be satisfied for too long with just hearing my favorite songs, getting the news, finding out if the weather was dog-walkable, setting timers, listening to jokes even lamer than my own, getting measurement conversions and such?

Of course not.

The moment I heard that I could become even MORE Wall-E-ish by not having to lift my cheeks off the couch to turn on/off the lights… I had to purchase some Phillips Hue lights.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I have one over my dining table, in all of my lamps and on a light strip beneath my entertainment stand.

Very recently, however, one of the original bulbs in my recessed kitchen lights took its final breath.

Let’s take a moment of silence for the poor thing.

Done?  Me too.  OH HAPPY DAY!  That meant that I could finally convince my hubby to replace all the bulbs with color-changing HUE bulbs (those puppies aren’t cheap)!

Alright, so after that long intro… you’re probably wondering what’s so special about these Hue lightbulbs (other than not having to pause an episode of Gilmore Girls when your hubby walks out of the kitchen and forgets to turn off the da** lights… or you forget… but you blame it on him anyway), right?  Well, check out this little find:

Let’s pretend you have a kitchen with, like, NO windows!  And while we all love natural light… that’s kind of hard to achieve with, again, NO WINDOWS.

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So what do we do?  Flip on the lights, of course!!!

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And welcome to “Orange Hell.”  Now you and everyone and everything can look like a pumpkin… thanks to the lovely color casts those indoor lights give off.

You know that old saying, “get it right in-camera” (so to minimize our hiney-saving efforts in Photoshop)?  HUE lights to the rescue!!!

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I simply used the “Energize” light scene and lowered the brightness a bit for balance (from an app! on my phone! – totally geeking out here, people) .  Just flipping on the lights, and setting a scene allowed me to brighten up the picture and remove that nasty orange cast.

Not too shabby to START with this in Photoshop, eh?

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Imagine the possibilities…

Ooohhh Chevrons…

A chevron is like a ’54 Chevy Bel Air… beautiful, timeless and I must have it

Who doesn’t love a good chevron?  To be honest, I only recently found out they were called “chevrons” (thank you, again, Pinterest).  Before that, they were just “the little sharp mountain-lookin’ thingies.”

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There are tons and tons and tons of Chevron Blankets on Pinterest.  Now, do you think I would have actually pinned the pattern I was using?  Well, if so, thank you… but you’re giving me far too much credit.

Note to Self: When starting a pattern, ALWAYS pin it for reuse!  Otherwise, when you decide to take a month or two break from your blanket… ripping out a few rows to remember the pattern is required. *face palm*

Anyhow, all of that aside, I’m pretty excited about my chevron blanket.

I’m so close to completing it that I can almost taste it!  But I won’t.  Because that’s gross (even if you are keeping it for yourself).

For yarn, I used the Lion Brand Hometown USA brand in Fort Lauderdale Coral, Miami Seafoam, New York White and Dallas Grey.

I used a nice big N (10.00mm) hook, which still resulted in a very thick blanket (a larger hook could be used for looser/airy stitches).

The grey and white are accent chevrons (1 row for grey, 3 rows for white), while coral and seafoam were the main event (6 rows per chevron).

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I rarely make things for myself, but this one ain’t goin’ nowhere.

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Sloppy Chicken Salad

“I made ’em extra sloppy for ya’s…”

If you’re not feelin’ a trip to the grocery store, have a chicken breast in the freezer and aren’t a stickler on exact measurements… here’s one of my favorite quick lunches that can be thrown together with just a few ingredients that you’re likely to have on hand:

  • Chicken Breast (1)
  • Green Onion (1)
  • Avocado Mayo (or whatever, really, as long it’s kind of mayo-ee)
  • Celery Salt
  • Himalayan Salt (or plain salt)
  • White Pepper
  • Cumin
  • Cashews (1/4 cup)
  • Romain Lettuce

Alexa.  Set a timer for 12 minutes.”
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That’s about how long it took before I could pull a half-thawed chicken breast off my George Foreman (I cook just about everything on this beast).
During cook time, chop up the green onion and get to crushing those cashews.
Shred the fully cooked chicken, and add it to a bowl with the green onions and cashews…

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NOTE: Plastic forks do NOT like hot chickens!
Now comes the “sloppy” part (there’s no measuring here, merely a couple of hints)…

In the same bowl, give a good ol’ squeeze of mayo (I’d guess maybe 3-4 tablespoons… but who’s counting?), a light shake of celery salt, a couple twists/shakes of salt, a dash of white pepper and a light sprinkle of cumin.

Give it all a good and sloppy stir.
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Divide the mixture evenly onto your romaine leaves.  Then, most importantly, enjoy!
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Oh, and don’t give in to the puppy dog eyes.  This meal is for you, not them!
Maddie