Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mossy Monogram Tutorial + Fall Festivities

Hi everyone!

Hope you enjoyed your weekend! I had a good one - Mr. G and I went to a corn maze with his sister and her fiance and we all carved pumpkins afterward. :) Unfortunately, much like the glue gun incident, pumpkin carving proved to be more dangerous than expected... I ended up carving my finger more than the pumpkin, so I needed help finishing. Whoops. At least the pumpkin turned out well! Here are our masterpieces (guess who made the monogram):

Mine is the G (of course), and Mr. G's is MN Gopher hockey themed. :)

In other news, as an update on our bedroom furniture, we've pretty much decided on a set, but it's actually none of the ones I previously posted haha. As it turns out, Ashley furniture got REALLY bad reviews on quality and customer service, so we eliminated those two options. I wanted to look around some more, so we went to the furniture capitol of the world (Edina, MN) and ended up finding our perfect bedroom set at Crate & Barrel. I fell in love with the canopy bed and the modern design of the pieces. Plus, I like that there are no handles... It means I can add some later if I want without having to take anything off. :) Here's the collection (click the link below to see the rest):

Pavillion Canopy Bed

We also decided to wait a little longer to start buying the furniture since they're more expensive and we have other purchases that take precedence (such as an iPad...). Speaking of which, I upgraded my iPhone to the 4S! We decided to go for it because Mr. G was due an upgrade anyway and we were able to sell my iPhone 4 on Craig's List for more than we paid for it lol. So, we made money and I got a new phone! Not a bad deal... And yes, Siri is awesome. And yes, I got it the day after it came out and I felt pretty cool.

Another purchase we made this weekend was an IKEA picture I've had my eye on since we moved here 6 months ago. It's a HUGE canvas picture that fills a lot of our expansive wall space (thank you, vaulted ceilings), and it was well worth the wait. :) I had a bit of a scare, though, because IKEA took it down from their website this week! I literally saw it on there last weekend, so naturally I freaked out, but thankfully our store still had plenty in stock. Otherwise, I probably would have thrown a fit... Seriously. Here it is (sorry no link):

Please ignore the ugly, off-center light fixture. 

And last but not least, here is my (finally!) finished mossy monogram:

Here's how I did it (get ready for all these steps):
  1. Supplies needed: cardboard letter (I got my big one from Michael's), hot glue gun + LOTS of extra glue sticks, moss sheets (mine took 2-3), craft scissors, and ribbon for hanging (I used burlap ribbon from JoAnn and LOVE it)
  2. Cut out strips of moss and hot glue them to the letter. I recommend cutting strips for the top and then each of the sides. Don't bother with the back unless it will show. Use spare moss chunks to fill in bald spots.
  3. Hang with the ribbon (if using nails, go just below the bow). That's it. You're done! It's not hard, but if you're not skilled with a glue gun (like me) you'll probably burn yourself a lot since moss isn't very thick. So be careful! But all the burns were worth it, because it's definitely my favorite part of my living room now. :) Well, that and my IKEA picture.
Coming soon: lots of recipes! Banana cake, apple pie, apple crisp... Good stuff. :)

I also have more upcoming craft projects... Namely, another pumpkin project (no knives) and a homemade cake stand. So stay tuned!

<3 Mrs. G

Monday, October 10, 2011

Seeking Furniture Help!

Hi everyone,

Mr. G and I have decided to (finally) purchase some new bedroom furniture! Right now we're mainly looking at dressers and chests, but we're also looking at full sets (to complete over time) if we like all the pieces. I'm not dying to have a matchy-matchy bedroom suite, but it would certainly be a lot easier to buy everything from one place, and Lord knows I don't have the time to shop everywhere under the sun. As of today, we have narrowed our options down to four. One is from IKEA (of course), two are from Ashley Furniture, and one is from HOM Furniture. Here are their links:

IKEA - HEMNES Collection (this is just the dresser; the rest of the collection is at the bottom)
Ashley - Diana Collection
Ashley - Shay Collection
HOM - French Quarters Collection 

The IKEA and Ashley suites are matched pretty close in price thanks to good discounts at Ashley, but the HOM suite is quite a bit more expensive, so we would probably only buy one piece at a time. I've seen all the sets in person with the exception of the Diana set by Ashley, and they all seem to be pretty durable (even the IKEA set) plus all the drawers open/close easily. They all seem like great options, but they're fairly different from one another, which is why I'm having a hard time deciding. Mr. G already has his favorite (the HOM set), but I'm not so sure. Here's my pro/con list for each:

French Quarter Collection (HOM):
  • PRO- beautiful and dramatic
  • PRO- best materials
  • PRO- silver knobs
  • PRO- gentleman's cabinet (Mr. G is obsessed, and it comes with a full-length mirror)
  • PRO- 4 poster bed :)
  • CON- no fabric headboard :( (still don't know which I'd rather have)
  • CON- most expensive; will take longest to get everything
  • CON- cherry-brown color (I prefer black or black-brown)
  • CON- slightly old-fashioned
Diana Collection (Ashley):
  • PRO- perfect color - dark espresso finish
  • PRO- unique details on the mirror and the knobs
  • PRO- modern and a little flashy
  • PRO- taller with more drawers
  • CON- shallower than others (16" deep)
  • CON- smaller drawers
  • CON- not a fan of the bed (no leather)
  • CON- maybe too flashy? haven't seen in person
Shay Collection (Ashley):
  • PRO- pure black color
  • PRO- silver knobs
  • PRO- cool detailing on the mirror
  • PRO- sleek and simple; fairly modern
  • CON- funky swirl design on the knobs
  • CON- lacquer paint (chips easily)
  • CON- not crazy about the bed
HEMNES Collection (IKEA):
  • PRO- original favorite
  • PRO- simple, sleek, modern
  • PRO- perfect black-brown color; matches our current IKEA bed
  • PRO- smaller, unattached mirror (especially if you buy the lamps on either side of it in the showroom :) )
  • PRO- best use of space (20" deep)
  • PRO- cheapest option
  • CON- very plain
  • CON- matching black-brown knobs (I prefer silver or something that stands out)
  • CON- lightest weight; not the best materials (it is wood, though)
  • CON- don't care for the bed at all
  • CON- assembly required :/
As you can see, I'm pretty torn. I would LOVE to hear your opinions and advice, so please share!! I'm looking for a set that will last us quite a while (but not necessarily something I'll pass on to my grandchildren) as well as a look that's modern, sleek and comes in a pretty color. I can live with so-so knobs since they can be replaced, mirror size is not of utmost importance to me, and beds/nightstands are neither a deal-sealer nor a deal-breaker at this point.

Now pass along your wisdom! Thanks in advance for the input. :)

<3 Mrs. G

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mexican Shrimp Bisque

Hi everyone,

Hope you've all had a lovely weekend. I had a simple but relaxing one that ended tonight with one of my favorite soups: Mexican shrimp bisque. I made it for the first time last fall but tweaked it a little this time, and I have to say it was better! If you followed my previous blog, you'll recognize this recipe, but note the changes. Also, I've doubled (and occasionally tripled) everything from the original recipe to make enough for 3-4 (which is usually enough for Mr. G and me). This is another great fall soup, but like the southwestern corn chowder, it is a bit spicy.

P.S. This was my third soup this weekend and the second I've made in a couple weeks. I think fall is officially here?

Mexican Shrimp Bisque

  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 5 sodium-free chicken bouillon packets/cubes
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander (I recommend buying it ground as opposed to grinding it yourself)
  • 1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (I bought them cooked this time, but either way is fine)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • In a large saucepan, saute onions and garlic in olive oil until tender.
  • Pour in stock pot and stir in flour until blended.
  • Stir in the water, cream, chili powdeer, bouillon, cumin and coriander - bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Cut shrimp into bite-size pieces and add to soup.
  • Simmer 5 minutes longer or until shrimp turn pink.
  • Gradually pour 1/2 cup hot soup into sour cream; stir and return to pan, stirring constantly.
  • Heat through (do not boil).
  • Enjoy!
I also have to catch you up on a couple other recipes - Mr. G's favorite banana birthday cake (also with a couple tweaks from last year) and my mom's amazing sauteed mushrooms. So stay tuned for those! I also have a nearly complete bucket list ready to share soon.

Unfortunately, I still haven't finished my mossy monogram... I'm finding lately that I just don't have the energy for crafting AND cooking, so I tend to pick the one that keeps us alive. Go figure. I bought the extra glue at least, so my hope is to have the G done by next weekend. In the meantime, I'll continue gathering inspiration on Pinterest. :)

<3 Mrs. G


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