Monday, November 30, 2009

A productive weekend.

We spent the Thanksgiving break working on the house - Friday was spent painting the den and Saturday was spent unpacking boxes. We unearthed our living room and also managed to get a few Christmas items up. We haven't gotten our tree yet though.

I snapped this shot of Beamer the other night - he seems to really enjoy having the living room back to himself:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Wood Paneling, part two.

We spent most of Friday completing our den painting project - the wood paneling. As seen in Wood Paneling, part one, a few weeks ago, we primed the wood paneling with oil based primer.

We finally had another big chunk of time Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. While others spent their day shopping the Black Friday deals, we were painting our little hearts out.

The paint color, Koi Pond by Sherwin Williams, is perfect for the room - dark enough to have interest but not so dark that it creates the cave feel the paneling had. All we're leaving you with here is a teaser of the final product - a picture of one wall right after we finished (hence our den contents piled in the middle of the room). Once I've done my sewing project, cleaned, and put my fun ideas on the wall, I'll post the final product.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Fudge Pie

My camp, Camp Gailor Maxon, has these "kitchen lovelies" that prepare all our meals and one thing they always used to make fudge pie for our banquet the last night. It has become the stuff of legends. A few years ago, I started making my own fudge pies to take to holiday events and parties. I made two this year for Thanksgiving at my aunt and uncle's house in Union City (shout out to the fam - it was great fun!) and I wanted to share the recipe because they were awesome.

Fudge Pie
*I used several different recipes to come up with my own but mostly it came from the Commercial Appeal's recipe archive, called "Mama's Rescued Fudge Pie"

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate (I use 2 blocks Baker's Chocolate, each block is 1 oz)
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

1) Preheat oven to 375
2) Place chocolate/butter in 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup or microwave safe bowl, heat on high for 1 minute, stir, and heat for 30 ore seconds, let sit for a minute or so until chocolate dissolves completely (We don't have a microwave so I used my double broiler and it worked very well)

The chocolate and butter (my recipe was doubled since I made two) in the double broiler - you put water in the pan and then the stuff in the double broiler above the pan and let the water boil, it heats the contents of the top.

3) Add sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla, and salt to butter/chocolate mixture. Stir until well combined. (We put all ingredients together in a big bowl while the other stuff was melting, then added it)

My dream team of ingredients - note the awesome countertops. Part of the fun of this post is getting to highlight my amazingly retro kitchen.

Speaking of awesome, our refrigerator has this cute feature -egg holders!
The ingredients being stirred - you don't use a mixer, just your own sheer strength

4) Pour the batter into a lightly oiled 9 inch pie pan, bake for 25 minutes. (We wanted pie crust not just a pie in a pan so we poured ours into pie crusts - note: don't get the deep dish ones, it will make your pie look sad).

In addition to showing our pies in the oven, this picture highlights the sweet floor and ancient oven we inherited.

5) Sit back and stare at your beautiful pie. And try not to eat it all yourself - it is rich!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Our bathroom: not before, not after

Our master bathroom now is mid-way through being painted my favorite green, "Shagreen" by Sherwin-Williams

I've been blogging about all my little projects around the house... well this would be a sort of big sort of little project. I forgot to get a before picture but I got a mid-way picture instead.

This is the "master bath", located next to the master bedroom and across from the den. It is actually very big, has lots of storage, and a huge shower so we're very lucky. It also has very nice white tile that is in excellent shape. We lucked out on both bathrooms, actually.

When we moved in, this bathroom was painted white. Like the rest of the house. The tile didn't "pop" since it blended in with the walls. In addition, there was this light fixture that was just BLAH. It was just one of those bars of clear frosted plastic covering 4 bulbs. Nothing fancy.

Like I said, we're mid-way through this project. Midway because, to our credit, we've:
1) painted the bathroom Shagreen by Sherwin Williams
2) changed the light fixture to this nice brushed nickel one from Home Depot (it was 25$!!)

Also, mid-way because we still have to
1) paint the part close to the ceiling
2) put in a new window treatment
3) clean up the place

*In addition, in the future we want to change out the counter/sink action to something a little classier and replace the handles on our vanity.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for so much... I'm thankful for

- a husband who loves me, takes care of me, cooks with me, goes to the zoo with me, and puts up with me

Jake and I on our honeymoon in Florida
- a wonderful family

- an awesome family in my in-laws

- a house to make a home

- a job to pay for that house (and hopefully make a difference in our city)

- two puppies and a kitten who might just be the cutest things ever

Beamer and Sebastian

Elise, Ellen, and a much smaller Tyson
- true friends
Elise, Chan, and I on my wedding day (duh) in the Great Hall of our church

- my health and safety

- my church home, Calvary, and everyone in the community there

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Homemade Easy Potato Soup

I faithfully read the Commercial Appeal's food blog Whining and Dining and when the food writer blogged recently about her favorite convenience recipe, Easy Potato Soup, I knew I had to try it. Jake and I made it Monday night and have been eating on it for a few days since. I love potato soup and really found this easy AND very tasty. Here's the recipe (I added/ changed a bit from her's):

1 bag Ore-Ida Steam and Mash Potatoes - Cut Russet kind
2 cans chicken broth
shredded cheese
bacon (optional)
jalapenos (optional)
sour cream (optional)

1) Boil the potatoes and onion in the chicken broth about 10 minutes

2) Put immersion blender in pot (we used our hand mixer)

3) add milk, stir, wait to thicken

4) add salt/pepper, cheese, bacon to taste and let sit until cheese melts (we added jalapenos and sour cream as well)

5) let cool a little bit before serving (it will be hot!)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Take that, Comcast!

You might notice that our den walls are still not painted - soon, very soon.

Recently, Jake and I made the decision to forgo cable in our new house. We were paying 90$ a month for cable and internet and decided that was a bit ridiculous. I mean, we had all the bells and whistles - DVR, HDTV, but 90$? I can think of a better use of that money.

We decided, instead, to get Bellsouth's DSL for $37 a month. (By the way - Jake says it is crappy internet service but we're doing fine here). In order to watch TV, we got a device that connects the computer to the TV and so now we just watch our shows via the internet.

Last Saturday, Jake watched the UT/Vandy game, tonight I watched last week's Grey's, and we also use it for streaming Netflix. So far, it has been worth it!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Crock Pot Cooking: Pot Roast

Jake and I got a slow cooker for a wedding gift from some relatives. I have been excited to use it for some time and now that we are in the house and unpacking everything it made itself present and reminded me that it was time to use it!! I've seen many recipes I wanted to use (the next on our list: beer cheese fondue) but the one below won out for Thursday's dinner.

I got this recipe from All Recipes and messed with it a bit to suit our tastes. I'll insert in italics what we changed so you know. It was probably the best dinner we've cooked for ourselves and was GREAT because Jake threw everything in Thursday morning before class and it was done as we got home.

Easy Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Cook time: 9 hours
Feeds: Four


2 lbs (boneless) chuck roast
salt/pepper to taste
1/2 packet dry onion soup mix
1/2 cup water (one can beef broth, can sized amount of wine)
1-1/2 carrots, chopped (about 20 baby carrots)
1/2 onion, chopped
1-1/2 potatoes, peeled and cubed (5 small red potatoes, quartered)
1/2 stalk celery (we omitted)
2 cloves garlic, chopped in large pieces

1) Take chuck roast and salt/pepper to taste (we also used minced garlic and Montreal Steak Seasoning here). Brown both sides in a large skillet over high heat (it sears it, locking in flavor)

2) Place in the slow cooker and add soup mix, water (or beef broth/wine mixture), carrots, onion, potatoes, and celery (and garlic, if desired)

3) Cover and cook on the low setting for 8-10 hours

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Project #4: a preview.

I needed something for above my awkward-sort-of-by-the-back-door wall. As you see from the post before, I've got a shelf and mini-bar stand on the wall currently. Now I have plenty of mature, home-ownerly things that could hang there. Pictures of spices from IKEA, photography, wedding pictures, whatever. But while most of me is a grownup with a job and a mortgage, a big part of me is still young. And what do young people love? Cute cheesy canvases!!! I did these in college and just couldn't resist. Jake thinks my newest project is ridiculously cheesy but I told him it is the only place in the whole house I'll be cheesy so he was ok.

Here's the preview of the project - Once the walls are painted in the den, this will go on the walls above my shelves.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Project 3

Continuing in our series on small little side projects around the Jasper household, I bring you the awkward-wall-by-the-back-door where we don't really know what to do with the space. See, you've got about 10 feet of open space before you get to the cabinets in the kitchen from the back door. This space is open to the den as well so it isn't really clearly defined. Until we know what to do, we decided (well... I decided) to make a little back-door station for the time being.

I found a short white foldable shelf at Target for $10 on clearance. With a little yellow spray paint, it became much happier. I knew I needed a place to put our dog food so that went on the bottom shelf.

When we moved in, we found an old bread box in a drawer. I thought it was cool and had character so I kept it, tripping over it daily while pledging to find something to do with it. Finally, one day I figured it out: we have all this recycling that piles up on the counter until it makes its way to the bin outside. This bread box was the perfect size for our assorted cardboard and plastic-ness. It has a sliding top so everything is out of sight, but there are holes so the stuff can breathe and not smell.

For the heck of it, I decided to get turqouise spray paint and went to town on the bread box. I also wrote "recycle." on the bottom right, because I do love good paint pen action.

Pictured below is the end result. The wall behind it won't always be white - that is the primer (see post on den walls). Once I'm completely done with the den, I'll post a picture of this area because hopefully everything will come together swimmingly.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Project #2 - a preview.

Here's Ty, modeling the next of my little projects. We inherited some generic tan panel curtains for the den. We've got some chocolate Pottery Barn ones that we may use as a back up, but just for fun, I wanted to try a little project. I want to insert color and pattern but wanted a cheap way to do so. I went to Broom Corn Fabric's moving sale yesterday and bought a yard of this fabric - 40% off. What I'll do is make a horizontal stripe down the panel, about 1/3rd of the way from the top. That way, most of the panel is khaki while there is a bit of pattern. I saw it on Design Star on HGTV. We'll see if it works!! Stay tuned..

Little Project #1.

While various large scale projects are going on around here (laundry room construction, painting, kitchen plans, etc), I've been also doing a few fun crafty small projects. One that is in progress currently involves two tables I got from Worlds Away here in Memphis. Jake's mom worked there for a while so I would go in and browse their warehouse selection (if you live in Memphis, check it out! It is downtown and they have a scratch/dent section with discounted prices!!).

I got a large table and a small magazine stand there during college. One of their things is that they hand paint furniture. Both of these pieces can be hand-painted. Since I bought from the warehouse, mine were slightly damaged (= discount!) and not painted. At first, I had just spray painted the small table black and painted the top of the big table green (to use as a dining table in my house during college).

My tables after being prepped for a new do.

After a few coats of spray paint, a roll of blue tape, and a gold paint pen, here is the end result for the little table (ignore the piles of unpacked junk in the background!):

I still have to complete the big table - it is going to be an end table for the couch in the living room and has a lamp on it so the spray paint sort of shines too much. I want to get a round gold place mat and put it on top of the table under the lamp and then do the same dots on the scallops. I'll update with pics of it when that happens.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wood Paneling, part one.

First of all, I'd like to announce that the Jasper household is back online! That is right - we've rejoined the new millennium in one sense, internet. We are still holding out on cable, though. I found I didn't really miss either. The internet was a must because of Jake's studies but I actually felt liberated to not be drawn into HGTV or the facebook. For those who know me well, that HAS to be a shocker.

Moving on... my number one project from day one of moving in has been to paint the paneling in our den. It is wood paneling and I don't even mean nice wood paneling. We estimate that our den was an addition from the 70's (confirmed by "insulation" in the form of newspaper stuffed under a window in the den with the date of 1971) and the paneling represents that decade well (as does most of the kitchen).

Check out the sweet paneling - This is a view of the den taken standing at the back door - to your left is the mini-hall to the kitchen. The door you see leads in to the dining room, which can be viewed in the beeswax painting blog entry.

Little did I know how hard of a task this would become. We did a little research (thanks Young House Love for the tips!) and found out that most people say to use an oil based primer (we used Kilz) and latex paint. Now, some people say that you can use latex primer and I wish we had at times but apparently it doesn't allow the paint to adhere as well, so even if the oil based was a pain, it will be worth it...

We decided that last weekend would be the day to tackle this project. Armed with information, enthusiasm, and a desire to rid our house of the 70's feel, we bought one gallon of oil based primer. My mom joined in for the fun and we started painting the grooves and the trim with brushes, planning to roll the walls after doing the details. Naively, I thought it would take an hour, two tops, and we'd have the green on the walls in no time.

Six hours, one gallon of primer, and several brain cells later, this is where we stood:

We ran out of primer, I was covered in white goop, and we still had the top and bottom of several walls to go. Defeated, we threw in the towel, cleaned up as best we could, and headed to dinner.

The next day, we hit up Home Depot with a renewed spirit. With Jake out studying, my mom and I tackled the rest alone. Only about two hours later, we were finished!

The view standing in the den looking at the back door - which I painted "Florentine Clay" last week.

In order to help understand the flow of this room, a picture of the den/kitchen action - when you stand at the backdoor, you see the kitchen ahead and the den to your right. We are painting the paneling in the little kitchen mini-hall to match the den since a lot of the wall shows. Eventually, we hope to have part of the wall taken out to open the kitchen up.

We still have to actually paint but it does feel a lot better to get started. It won't be for a bit that we get to paint - maybe Thanksgiving weekend, since I have Model UN this weekend.

In closing, a few pieces of advice:
1) if you think you want to paint your paneling, REALLY want to paint it or else it isn't worth it
2) open windows and doors while painting with oil based paints as to not make yourself sick (love you, Jake!)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Memphis's most recent star

So, I'm not sure if you've been following this but the Today show had a contest for Today's Next Kid Reporter. One of the finalists was a girl from Memphis that a woman from my church taught in CLUE and so I got on board and followed her story. This girl is a middle-schooler and just the typical Memphis City School kid. She reminds me so much of the kids I teach, which is probably why I was really interested in the story.

Watch the video below - I embedded it from the Today Show's website. It shows Deidre Shores finding out she won the contest and then shows some footage of her reporting. She has such a personality and represented Memphis so well.

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I may just have the coolest brothers.

I've been using my parents' computer at their house while our internet is out (yes, still out - thanks Comcast & Bellsouth). I uploaded my pictures off my camera on to their Iphoto. While I was doing so, I browsed their iphoto library and found some artwork of my brother's from AP Art last year. It definitely made me miss my brothers (I've also been listening to my other brother's playlists on itunes) and I have decided I probably have the coolest brothers around. They are just both very very talented and I pale in comparison to them. I'm not quite sure how I got so lucky to have them as my brothers. One is an artist (these are some of his pieces above) who is in architecture school. The other is a musician who sings, plays guitar and piano, and is studying voice. Besides being so talented, they are funny, smart guys who care about people. I mean who could ask for more? I think my parents did something right when it came to them. Sometimes we don't realize it... but I guess that is what college is for - appreciating what we have. Since they've been gone, I've definitely appreciated them a lot more. They don't read this blog but I just wanted to share some of Ez's artwork with you because I am so impressed!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Housewarming Gift

I decided my birthday present from my parents would be a piece of artwork for our new house after visiting the Cooper Young Festival. We found an artist that we loved, who happened to be the step-mom of one of our close family friends (my brother's best friend Hans). Kristi Bauer met with us and we decided on a specific look for our piece of art. She painted it in a few days and it took 2 weeks to dry. She delivered it a few days ago and even hung it for us. We feel very sophisticated with our very own piece of art above the fireplace! Thanks, Mom:)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Red Door

My most recent painting based project was to paint our front door red. It was previously stark white and outlandishly tacky. The door itself already does not fit my preferences (I'd much rather have a nice craftsman style door) but it does sort of go with the house.

My parents had some left over red paint from when we painted the doors at their duplex so the project was FREE! The paint was exterior acrylic and very hard to work with. It took 3 coats and three different types of brushes, but I got the door done. I'm very pleased with the outcome.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Our next project... Lighting.

the dining room chandelier (classy, but doesn't emit a lot of light)

the tragedy that are our bathroom light fixtures

the retro fixture in between our kitchen, den, and back door.

I've posted about various projects I've got brewing. One that has become immediate is a switch out of some light fixtures. By the way, light fixtures are expensive. Our house has an issue with light (it is very dark in the living and dining room) and I need my natural sun light. While we've got the electrician over installing the plugs for the washer/dryer project, I asked him to switch out some light fixtures. Since I'm all about the bargain, I went in search of something cheaper than your good ole' Home Depot light fixtures.

Jake found this website called and so I browsed. And browsed. Whew, they have a lot of light fixtures. Many pages later, I decided on a new dining room fixture:

Lighting Direct has free shipping specials, you pay no tax, and you save some cash. I got this for 30$ less than Home Depot PLUS no tax. Now, it hasn't arrived yet so I'll let you know how this all turns out. Stay tuned for the results - lighting fixtures can transform a room!

A thought.

One thing I love about our new house is that it is a true Midtown home with all its little charms.

The other day, I turned the corner to find this:

Apparently Tyson enjoys a good phone nook as well.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

We're off to see the Wizard!

The whole crew - the Tin Man, Dorothy, Glinda the good witch, Elphaba, Glinda (as seen in Wicked), the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, and the Wizard

Saturday night, Jake and I attended a fun young adults Halloween party with some cool church kids. We somewhere along the way developed a "Wizard of Oz/Wicked" theme and it spread like wildfire. I jumped on board as Elphaba and Saturday Jake decided he'd be the Wizard. I made my costume from things I had and a small Target run:

jumper: a black sundress from a few seasons ago, repurposed as a school girl jumper
shirt: a green sleep shirt, the perfect hue for a green witch.
hat: taken from my parent's costume drawer
shoes: my favorite American Eagle mary-janes that I wear to work
knee socks: Target special

Jake's costume came together all on Saturday, after a meeting of the minds at Brodeo (the guys weekly breakfast at Bryants):

Jacket: from his dad's closet
Pants: from a thrift store on Summer
Tie: Goodwill on Highland
Hat/Cane: from my dad

and, just for fun, a picture of one of many hilarious parts of the night... this is when Brie (dressed as a doctor) pretending to give Jake mouth to mouth as part of the act of being a doctor.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The saga and resolution of the Bee's Wax

When we bought our house, I knew the first thing I'd need to do was paint. Everything. It was painted all white when they were prepping to sell (which I'm glad they did instead of paint colors I didn't like) but it made the house look very bland, depressing, and even more "granny."

This is a view from the front door looking into the dining room - the living room is to your right.

As my faithful blog readers know, and those of you who lived through it know even better, I went to Sherwin Williams to tackle my first paint project. I was quite excited and enthusiastic. We'd been in the house less than a day. Nothing could get me down. We cleaned, prepped, and painted our little hearts out. I woke up the next morning to this:

Not that there is anything wrong with this shade of yellow. It is a nice buttercream yellow. But it wasn't what I wanted - what matched all my decor. I had asked for Bee's Wax, which is a deep, rich, gold yellow. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and went to the paint store, where my fears were confirmed: I'd been given the wrong paint (Beeswax, not Bee's Wax).

As soon as we got the new paint on the walls (here we are mid- painting), I could tell a difference. The new paint was indeed the right color.

Here's the final product on the walls. Much nicer - it compliments the wood tones, and coordinates nicely with my red accessories. Since this picture was taken we've taken the plastic off our furniture and arranged it in a livable design. Once I get two little projects out of the way, I'll post more on that!


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