Friday, November 9, 2012

What's In Season, Virginia - NOVEMBER

Photo Source: maangchi.com
 
Here's a list of produce in season for the month of November:
Apples
Basil
Broccoli
Broccoli Raab
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Celeriac/Celery Root
Celery
Chard
Chicories
Collard Greens
Cucumbers
Escarole
Fennel
Green Onions
Kale
Kohlrabi
Mushrooms (wild)
Parsnips
Radicchio
Radishes
Scallions
Shallots
Squash (winter)
Turnips
 

And here's a list of the produce available year-round in Virginia:

Arugula
Beets
Carrots
Cilantro
Leeks
Lettuce
Mint
Mushrooms (cultivated)
Onions
Oregano
Parsley
Sage
Sorrel
Spinach
Sweet Potatoes
Thyme

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Tudor Revival Style House Makeover, Part 2

Vladimir and his helpers have been busy busy busy the past two days! I posted before about how we are doing a tudor style makeover for the front of our house, and the work has now begun! Yesterday was the demolition, today they've been attaching the new siding to the front, and tomorrow will be adding beams and painting primer. So excited to share with you the finished product, but until then, here are some pics from the past two days.

This is a shot of the front of the house before.

First they stripped the house of the previous shutters and siding



Our nephew Nik enjoy sitting on the roof
I wouldn't recommend trying this at home... A ladder stacked on top of another ladder isn't exactly safe...
Next step was adding the new siding, beams will be attached to cover the seams

Finished for today!
Now that the siding is up, they just have to patch, sand, prime and paint; and then attach the beams. :) I can't wait!

<3 Lauren

Monday, October 29, 2012

How to Carve a Pumpkin From Your Own Picture

I don't know about you, but I love carving pumpkins... I always get really excited this time of year to make new creations. In year's past, I've only ever tried carving from stencils I've found online. 
One of my all time favorites being Jack from the Nightmare Before Christmas.

This year I wanted to try something unique and personal. I thought it would be fun to try to put one of my own pictures on a pumpkin. Since I was carving pumpkins with my niece and nephew, I decided to try out carving a picture of their dog, the sweet Catahoula/Australian Shepard mix Dasha. I snapped pictures of the process to share with you! (Pardon my outdated version of Photoshop, haven't had the time/money to upgrade!)

1. To start out, choose a picture of your subject where you can really see their whole face. Some faces might work better as a profile, or slightly to the side. I chose this shot of Dasha... She always looks like she's deep in thought...

2. Next, crop around your subject's face. Be sure not to crop in too close, but don't leave in part of the photo you don't need. I made sure to crop just high enough to include the full outline of the top of her head, just low enough to get a little extra room below her nose, and just enough on the sides to include her ears.

3. Next, use the levels to bump up the contrast. This step is important to really outline the  details in the face. I made the shadows darker and brightened up the midtones.

4. Change the picture to black and white.

5. Next, I used the cutout tool under the filters tab. This step will make your picture look like a cartoon, and will make it much easier for you to look at the picture as a bunch of shapes to cut out instead just seeing your subject.

6. Print out a full page copy of your picture. Attach it to your pumpkin with either tooth pics, or tape. Make sure to smooth the picture over the pumpkin as much as possible. If part of the picture need to be folded over to fit, try as much as possible to make it parts of the picture that don't include the face.

7. Next, use a toothpick, or a pen, or if you want to buy one of those pumpkin carving kits, they include a tool for this step. Carefully poke holes through the paper onto the pumpkin. I decided to cut out the large white parts of this picture, to take the skin off of the parts that are gray, and leave the darker areas alone. When you're planning where to cut, make sure you are thinking about the big picture. If you carve too much, the whole picture will fall out. Check out this website for extra tips.

8. I wanted to cut an outline around Dasha's face, but made sure to leave enough attached to the rest of the pumpkin so the face wouldn't fall out. I made myself basic outlines around where I wanted to take the skin off. When I took the paper stencil off, I kept the picture next to me as a reference. To cut off the skin, simply make a cut, and stick your knife underneath the skin and peel. Be careful not to cut too deep into the skin!

Here's the final product!

Dasha was happy with her pumpkin. :)

Try to carve one of your own pictures this halloween! Be creative!

<3 Lauren

Linking up with the Inspired Room's Favorite Fall Projects

Friday, October 26, 2012

Coming Back Soon

Hello everyone! Sorry for the hiatus, I've been busy getting my application for graduate school together. The past month has been dedicated to studying for the GRE. The test is over and my application will be turned in shortly! Hopefully I'll be starting my graduate studies in the Spring; keep your fingers crossed!
My best girl Hannah & her bridesmaids - October 7, 2012
October has been a great month for me.
I got to be a part of my best friend's wedding,
Hannah & me
Vladimir and I celebrated our one year anniversary,
Vlad and me on our wedding day
our good friends who moved to London last winter surprised us with a visit,

Lucy enjoyed their visit as much as we did :)
spending time with our pooch,
 
and we've been able to spend more time with family. I'm really excited to share with you the projects that are in the works! Remember my tudor style post? Vlad has invested in supplies and will shortly begin construction :) Hope all is well out there in cyberspace! See you soon!

<3 Lauren

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What's in Season, Virginia - OCTOBER

Photo Source: Joelle Morris, National Geographic


Here's a list of produce in season for the month of October:
Apples
Basil
Broccoli
Broccoli Raab
Brussels SproutsCabbage
Cauliflower
Celeriac/Celery Root
Celery
Chard
Chicories
Collard Greens
Cucumbers
Escarole
Fennel
Grapes
Green Onions
Kale
KohlrabiMushrooms (wild)
Parsnips
Pumpkins
Radicchio
Radishes
Scallions
Shallots
Tomatoes
Turnips
Winter Squash

And here's a list of the produce available year-round in Virginia:
Arugula
Beets
Carrots
Cilantro
Leeks
Lettuce
Mint
Mushrooms (cultivated)
Onions
Oregano
Parsley
Sage
Sorrel
Spinach
Sweet Potatoes
Thyme


Have you bought local produce this week?

<3 Lauren

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Hall Bathroom is Finished!!

Our hall bathroom is finally finished!!! I am so excited, can you tell? It's been quite a long process, but the end result is definitely worth all of the blood, sweat and tears! Here are the before and afters of the space... it's really hard to believe how this bathroom used to look compared to now... Judge for yourself.

Before
After
Before
After
Before
After
Before
After
Before, we were embarrassed to let guests use our hall bathroom. Now, we can't wait to show it off :) Next step, decorating! 

<3 Lauren

(Check out the home renovation label to see all of the work on our house)

Friday, September 21, 2012

DIY Quick and Easy Touch Up for Outdated Frames

Today I want to share with you a quick and easy makeover for your outdated frames. I have a couple beautiful prints of Ukrainian street paintings. However, they were previously professionally framed. I didn't want to spend the money to buy new custom frames, but couldn't live with the look the frames had. 
The outside of the frames were good; very simple, a pretty light wood. The matting is what I had a problem with. They were cream colored with brass lining... Brass is one of those fads I will never understand. 
To fix these frames, I simply painted over the mats with white paint. It's a quick and easy update, but it makes a world of difference.

For this project, you will need: 
White Acrylic Paint
Paintbrush
Exacto/Utility Knife
Painter's tape


Outdated brass lining
To start, line the part of the frame you wish to keep the same with your painter's tape. Make sure to get right on the edges and firmly push the paint down. Line the inside of the mat around the painting. Be careful not to press too hard on your painting/print if it's delicate.


Paint in the open area. Make sure to use nice even strokes. Let dry. Add two more coats, drying in between. 



When your paint is dry after the third coat, get out your exacto/utility knife. CAREFULLY, and not too hard, line straight down the frame where your tape was. Try as hard as you can to get right on the line; so as to remove the tape from the paint rather than cutting into the tape. 


Remove all of the tape, and voila! The paintings look great, I love the fresh, new look of the frames! I can't wait to hang them up!


I love the bright white mats :)

How do you update outdated artwork and furniture? 


<3 Lauren

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Busy Busy Busy

Sorry for my absence as of late... I have been busy busy busy. I am applying for Grad School to start Spring 2013 and am currently knee deep in study material for the GRE. Studying is starting to hurt my brain a little bit, but it feels good to relearn so much material that I've forgotten over the years... 

Welcoming my brother home :)
Another time consumer is planning a big family dinner in the next two weeks. I started to plan a big dinner while my brother was on deployment in Afghanistan. Now that he is safe and sound back home (thank the Lord!), it's getting time for the big day. I am very nervous and excited; not only will I have my parents and siblings, but I will also have my in-laws over. Lots of people to impress! I'm planning a big meal to incorporate the Ukrainian traditions I've picked up from my new family as well as the traditions I was raised with. Not only will this be a great time for everyone to enjoy each other's company, it will also be a time to reveal our finished house! 

We've been kicking the renovation into high gear. Now that we have a set date for everything to be done (which is less than two weeks away) Vladimir and I have been working endlessly. The bathroom is finished (mind the lighting fixture that needs to be hung); our corridor has fresh paint, new doors and new hardware; both of our guestrooms have beds made up with fresh linens.... It's all coming together! Hopefully I'll have time to sneak away from studying to get some good house update posts on here soon!

Are you working on any home renovation projects? Have you hosted a dinner for your parents and/or in-laws before?

<3 Lauren

Monday, September 17, 2012

RVA Color Run 2012


Valentina and Vladimir after the race
This past Saturday, my husband and niece ran in the Richmond Color Run. Running is something I've always wanted to love, but never could. I have bad knees for one, but mainly could never run enough on a regular basis to actually start enjoying it. After watching this 5k though, it made me want to start trying. My husband and niece did a wonderful job.
Valentina and Vladimir met up with our friends Sarah and Andrew, great running team!
The color run is unlike any other race I've seen before. It's not timed, which takes off the pressure. They really encourage you to go out there and have fun. There are several checkpoints along their run where runners get splashed with color. I still haven't figured out exactly what the color is, but the best way I can describe it is like paint in powder form. 
Valentina covered in colors :)
When you register, you're given a packet that includes a white color run t-shirt (which many use as their racing shirt), a headband, race number, a packet of color, and some other goodies. They tell you to save your packet of color for after the race. 

The most unique running outfit at the race, a wedding gown :)
Partying while throwing color
Dance Party
After the runners make it through the 5k finish line, they gather in front of a stage where they blast dance music and encourage the runners to party and throw around their color packets. It was such a wild thing to see from a distance. They did a countdown for everyone to throw up their color packets at the same time. The colors being thrown into the air looked so neat, but then the colors mixed, turning it into a cloud of brown, like a bomb just went off... All the while, loud dance music blasted and everyone dances. It was a giant, colorful moshpit, hah!


It really looked like a lot of fun, I think I'll definitely try it out next year. Hopefully they'll come back to Richmond!!

Do you participate in running events and races? If so, which is your favorite?

<3 Lauren