Birds of a Feather…

…flock together. Well – maybe not of a feather. These little buddies are more of the cast iron variety. I spotted them a while back and thought they were so cool and would be a nice little addition for the new kitchen.

Kitchen iron birds 1

But when I couldn’t find the sourcing information after searching for everything ‘iron’, ‘bird’, ‘oil rubbed bronze’ — you name it on Google, I eventually let them go and forgot about them.

Then a couple of weeks ago I came across the pair on for $19 and nabbed ’em quicker than you can say ‘new-birds-for-the-kitchen’. I think I spotted something similar a while back at Pottery Barn for $70+ and recently a different version at West Elm for $20 each.

There’s just something quirky and special about this little pair, and while I won’t use them as votive candle holders (as they’re shown above), I love how they peer over the kitchen from their corner perch.

Sort of a Where’s Waldo but for iron birds – can you spot them?

Here’s a close up:

A picture from a taller vantage point would be nice, I should have stood on a stool. These short legs only offer so much.

Kitchen decor - new iron birds 2

Here we go, here’s a higher angle. I didn’t think Kevin would notice but he walked in just as I was opening the delivery box. When he said ‘Sweet birds’, I knew that they had found their home. Yay for rediscovering a favorite find!

Office Makeover: Back in Action!

Now that the nursery is finished and Liv has a comfy room to sleep in and plenty of play space to explore, it’s time to get back to the office/guest room makeover (man oh man are kitchen barstools not a comfortable place to work on your computer all day!).

Last time we left this space, just before Christmas, we were working on projects like this:

Demo time! We were hoping that we might be able to squeak out a new office/guest room before Liv joined us (not a completely furnished space – just a bare room would do) and before you knew it the entire room had been torn to shreds.

Here’s a quick recap on the tiny bedroom and old kitchen space before demo (actually, before we moved in). You can see in the top sledgehammer photo that we painted the little bedroom a neutral tan and used the paneled walls to create a chair rail look, and that’s how it lived for the first two and a half years. But for a more dramatic before and after, these are the two rooms that are now the office at the time we purchased the home:

Kevin worked for about two weeks over Christmas and New Years to bring down the wall between the two rooms and to clear out the entire space.

You can see from above that we had made a few changes to the old kitchen after we moved in as well, such as painting the walls a soft green and staining the older cabinets a dark espresso. We also changed out the hardware and added a jute window shade where a valence had once hung.

When family came to town for Christmas, this is what they were met with. They’re used to construction around here but boy was the inside of this room dirty! We attempted to tape it off to the outside world but there wasn’t much to be down to hide the elephant in the room.

The smashed drywall and extra dust didn’t have much time to settle in, and just before Liv’s arrival on January 9 we were able to clear the extra debris out of the room so that it looked a bit more like this:

And then Liv was here! And the office makeover rested as-is for several long months… Kevin went back to school, we all got to know beautiful baby and we started working on the new guest bathroom after the-best-email-ever arrived.

But the office is back! We’re diving into it as we speak (doing double duty on the office/guest room and the new bathroom) and today the office looks a bit cleaner from the outside:

Her framed walls are now covered in hardibacker and plaster, they have the slight ‘Spanish texture’ applied and they’re painted the same Buzz Brown as the kitchen (which is just behind me in this picture.) Even the ceiling with its previously open attic access (left over from installing the new AC/heater) is all closed up with a new attic door and a coat of white paint.

Now you’re all caught up to where we’ve left off. I’m so excited for this new space! and doubly excited to move my home office from the kitchen island into an organized room.

For more Office Makeover posts, check out: desking hunting for under $300, bookcases under $300, inspirational rooms, room layout options, demo part 1 & demo part 2.

Grandma’s Lemon Bars

My mom and I recently had an opportunity to delve into the family recipe box and make the most deeeelicious lemon bars for Liv’s baptism reception.

My grandma has been famous for these lemon bars for as long as I can remember and they are frequently requested at family gatherings year round. In fact, she even made an extra large batch for our dessert table at our wedding four years ago – they were gone in an instant.

I took the lemon bars a different direction and packaged them in small yellow cupcake wrappers before topping with whipped cream and poppy seeds – the perfect dessert for an afternoon party!

I’m tempted to seal up this recipe in the family vault, but what fun would that be. Just don’t tell Grandma I told you ;).


Grandma’s Lemon Bars

2 c. flour
1/2c. powdered sugar
2 sticks butter

Mix all ingredients in an electric mixer until crumbled. Line a 9×13 pan with aluminum foil (be sure to extend up over the edges of the pan) and pat mixture into bottom of pan. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown at 350.

4 eggs
2 c. sugar
1/3c. lemon juice
1/4c. flour
1t. baking powder
rind of one lemon

Mix eggs, sugar, lemon juice and rind together. Mix baking powder and flour together in a separate bowl. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, pour on top of baked crust. Bake 20 minutes or until firm.

Wait until cool, then pull foil out of pan and transfer to a cutting board. Dust with powdered sugar and cut into small squares.

Optional: add a dollop of whipped cream and poppy seeds before serving!

Yum. Yellow cupcake wrappers from Michaels.


More from the big day:

Of course I didn’t take a shot of the entire backyard, but one of my favorite little details included garland made from a variety of different sized paper doilies.

Kevin made a delicious lunch and everyone mingled in the new kitchen and on the remodeled outdoor patio.

Here we are back at the Church, Liv’s getting dressed into a Spenla family gown that is over 100 years old and was handmade in Czechoslovakia.

Don’t worry, we were gentle.

The ceremony was beautiful; a quite, sweet, clebretory event with our local priest in our local parish.

A favorite photo of mine! You may have spotted it in Liv’s nursery.

It was a beautiful day!

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