What South Carolinians do when it snows

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

We woke up to a winter wonderland in South Carolina this morning - and it was awesome. This only happens once every few years, so we get a little excited.

Today, in celebration, we did a number of clich├ęs that folks who never get snow tend to do. Except we did not make a snowman. I know, that surprises me, too.

This is what people across the South did today (and every time it snows):

1. They play with their dogs like never before. 
Oh look! It's a ball! In the snow! SO much more fun!!

It was Ellie's first snow

Can Penny rock pink camo or what??

2. They make snow cream at 7:45 am.
Because there is a good chance that the snow will melt before lunch. 

3. They write love notes on their cars.
It's like a free billboard. 

4. They drink hot chocolate in lieu of coffee.
It just feels right. 

5. They build a fire immediately in case the power goes out.
A legit concern, I suppose. 

6. If they have to work from home, they open the blinds in the home office to take in the winter wonderland prettiness all day (i.e. stare at the snow). 

7. They take pictures of their house.
And promptly post it on IG and FB. 

Guilty as charged.

Today was a fun one  - even if I did have to work (thank the Lord I didn't have to attempt to drive and could work from the safety of my home! Ha!)

And for the record, at 8:21 PM, we still have snow on the ground. 

I've got bread and milk: I'm all set!

Monday, January 27, 2014

It's supposed to snow here tomorrow. In "Famously Hot" Columbia, South Carolina.

And in the South when there is a chance of snow in the forecast, crazy things happen.

The schools shut down for 2 days. Local government closes. Don't even try to buy starter logs for the fire because, Lord knows, Publix, Walgreens, and everywhere else will be sold out. I know, because I tried.

I made the mistake of thinking "Oh, I'll pick up some bread and wood on my way home..."

Yeah, I should have thought that one over. Because I walked into the middle of a First World crisis. The only time I've seen similar is when I lived in Florida and a Category 3 or stronger Hurricane was headed directly toward my town (for the record: a chance of snow is much more fun than a chance of damaging winds, torrential rain, and the certainty of losing power for 3 days). People weren't just going in for the essentials. They were buying everything they could fit in, on and under their carts. Madness, I tell you.

It was a negative on the starter logs, but I did get my loaf of bread. Barely. The pickins were slim. I ended up with a low-calorie loaf that has an expiration date of Jan. 30.

Whatevs - I have the essentials. I'm ready to brace for Winter Storm Leon!

And just my Northern friends don't think we're completely overreacting: the South goes crazy because we have no means to prepare for snow or ice, or to deal with the aftermath. No plows, limited salting, and people (myself included) have no idea how to drive in it. But we also appreciate the snow a lot more because it is so rare. Bring on those Snow Days!

Downton dreamin'

Saturday, January 25, 2014

I'm late to the party. The one at Downton Abbey that started a few years ago.

I finally just started watching the show from the very beginning and I cannot stop.

[No spoilers, please. This ladyship has not caught all the way up (actually, I'm in the middle of Season Two. At this rate, I'll be caught up in 2 days.)]

Watching makes me wonder what it would have been like to live in this time - as the other half lived, of course.

Let's talk about the dresses, or shall I say the frocks. Love. I want. So elegant. So glamorous. So undoubtedly uncomfortable. But so pretty.

And I'll take one of those lady-servant persons, please. I would love to never blow-dry my own hair ever again. Or choose my outfit every morning. Do you know how much time that would save?

I mean, I've been to the Biltmore. It's basically the same thing...


Me, the hubs, and our homestead

I think this gives me an idea of what it would be like to live in a legitimate mansion of a castle. Gotta have comfy shoes to walk to halls. That, I can do.

I could get into tea time everyday. And the biscuits. I dig it. And maybe we could swap high tea for early cocktail hour every now and again.

I think I would be really good at keeping up my correspondence. Because pretty stationery is my weakness.

I also think I would shine in the area of finding things to fill the day, such as walking in the gardens, riding on the grounds, or reading in the library. Yes. I can do this. I could even get behind the war effort and read to the soldiers.

Don't you ever wish you could go back in time for just a day and see what it was like?

If you need me, I'll be in bed watching Downton.

Cornice board DIY (or how to make fancy looking window treatments for cheap)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I love the tailored look of cornice boards on a window. It looks so clean and classic. But y'all, I can't bring myself to drop hundreds on a window treatment. I just can't.

When we moved into our house in August, I'd already seen a few tutorials floating around Pinterest on making cornice boards. The study (aka a very tiny room in the front of our house that I think may have been the original bedroom when it was built in the 40's, but wouldn't hold a queen size bed now) was the one room we wanted to paint and make improvements too, as the rest of the house had recently been repainted or updated. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do in that room, but I started with selecting fabric to make window treatments. I fell in love with this cobalt geometrical pattern. And cornice boards seemed like the perfect thing to make with it.
And so it was.

But how in the H was I going to do this?

I happened to have a lot of cardboard lying around from the move. And I thought, "it can't be that hard. Let's do this." (in that Home Depot-commercial tone).

This is what I used, how I did it, and what they look like in my study. They're pretty cute!

You'll need:
Cardboard (ideally about 8 inches longer than the width of your window - or you can tape it together, like I did)
Packing tape
Quilt batting
Hot glue gun
Craft or fabric glue
Measuring tape

Measure your windows and cut the cardboard accordingly. The height of the board, as well as how far you want it to stick out from the wall, depends on your personal taste!

I wanted mine to come out about 4 inches from the wall, so I made sure I had at least that amount in the total width of the board. For example, if your window is 40" from moulding to moulding and you want it to come out 4", you'll cut your board to 48". Then, you'll crease back so that is has 4" flaps on each side.

My pieces of cardboard were not quite long enough, so I had to take pieces together. I reinforced it with  a small piece of cardboard on the back of it so that there wouldn't be a visible crease.

Next, cut your quilt batting to the size of the front of your cardboard. Don't worry if it's not perfect. Glue it down with hot glue so that it's instantly stuck on there.

Now, you'll wrap your board like a present. If you will be able to see your board from the outside of your house, you'll want to wrap it completely. Be sure not to wrap it too tightly around the "flaps" on the end - you'll want to be sure they still bend back at 90 degree angles.

Then, you'll get out your craft or fabric glue and glue it down (you can see I also used a little bit of packing tape to hold it in place so that I could pull it taut). You might want to put something heavy on top of the creases while it's drying. 

For the corners, I folded them neatly just like you would a package. It makes the outside look prettier and neater, too. 

After your board has dried, hang 'er up! I used 6 small tack/upholstery nails on each side to hang it (nailed directly into the moulding). The board is so light that 6 tiny nails will easily keep it in place.

And voila! Don't tell anyone you did it yourself. They'll ask you to do one for them. 

Just admire your lovely, expensive-looking window treatments. And make them for every room in your house!

I wanna see pics!

14 in 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy 2014!

We all woke up to a brand new year on Wednesday. A new year is so refreshing; it gives us a chance to start again or to finish what we started. Or to abandon something completely and set our sights on new goals.

In the spirit of the new year, I've made a list of 14 things I want to accomplish in 2014. Things that I can do to make myself better. Make my marriage fuller. Make my home home-ier. Make my faith stronger. Totally doable, right? I have 365 days to get it done - so let's do this!

1. Run a 5k: this time, I will do this. I can do this. I first did the Couch to 5k program last year, and almost completed it but got sidelined due to sickness (Crohn's strikes again!). This year, I'm getting it done, no excuses. 

2. Take a Chicago or NYC trip with Alex: Alex loves New York, and I lived in Chicago for a short while several years back. We've never been to either place together and have been talking about going for too long. This year, it's happening. 

3. Have an Essentials Only Month: we did a modified version last year, but the one we did in 2012 was awesome. It helped us save money while cleaning out the pantry. And also made us get creative on the entertainment front. That's what you call a win-win-win!

4. See the Gators play football at least once, preferably in The Swamp. And ideally, a win. And the cherry on top would be a winning season so we can move on from 2013 and get back to the top-tier program that we should be. 

5. Perfect 10 new recipes: I want (and need) some new recipes, for when we have people over, when I bring dinner to new parents, or we're invited to a potluck. You can never have too many good recipes in your arsenal. 

6. Organize my life: I'm an organized person, but everyone has problem areas (Right? Right?!?). We've gone paperless for as many bills as we can, but we still have so many papers floating around. And don't get me started on all our lawn and outdoor stuff. And my craft supplies. Yeah, I have some work to do. 

7. Spend more time in my Bible: I can't put parameters on this, because there could never be enough time spent in my Bible. But I want to read the Word more and spend time soaking it up, and making it part of my daily habit.

8. Read more: I want to read (and actually finish) at least 12 books this year. I love to read...so why don't I do it more often? I have a few good books to kick off the year, some of which I've already started, so I see no reason that I can't spend more time with my nose in a book (or in front of my iPad) in 2014.

9. Write more: snail mail letters, love notes, and on this blog. I have plenty of outlets. I enjoy it. I just need to make time for it.

10. Pay down - or pay off - our car: one car is paid for, while the other...is not. I want to change that ASAP. I almost titled this one "Pay down our debt," but really, other than our mortgage and our car, we're blessed not to have any. We're obviously not paying off the house this year unless we strike it rich courtesy of Mega Millions, so I want to pay off at least half of what we owe.

11. Find a church home in Columbia: I'm not sure that we will change our membership to another church right now (we're still members of our church in Greenville where we got married), but I want to find a "home" here in Columbia. We have no way of knowing how long we will be here before it's time to move to the next opportunity, but a solid church family can make a big difference no matter how long we live here.

12. Stop letting others hurt my feelings: this is a tough one for me. But I need to stop letting things get to me so much. Whether it's the friend who doesn't follow through, or someone canceling dinner plans at the last minute, or a work contact not remembering my name - I'm going to let it go. Just because I strive to be a dependable friend, and someone who does what she says, and try to remember everyone's name, doesn't mean that I'm perfect. I make mistakes. And I inadvertently hurt feelings, too. I just need to stop taking things personally and let. it. go.

13. Do one thing each day that is good for me: floss, get on the treadmill, take Ellie for a long walk, make a healthy meal. Yeah, in a perfect world, all of this would happen every day, but let's get real. I can make small choices every day that will make me healthier.

14. Simplify my wardrobe: I wear a lot of the same things over and over, while some pieces are never worn but take up just as much space. I think I would be happier paring down my clothing, and keeping only things I truly love. And when I buy new things, they will be totally worth it.

Whatever the goal, it can be done. Happy New Year: here's to a fantastic 2014!

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