Friday, June 5, 2015

A Visit From Design OCD

I'm excited to tell you that this morning I am being featured over at Design OCD by fellow blogger and friend J!  We both share a love for interior design and DIY.  So when she offered to come by and help me with some photos of my home, the answer was a quick yes!  She also has the some of the best ideas for gifts with a personal touch.  Go over and say hi, and take a peek at the current state of affairs here at The French Cottage!

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Family Room Reveal

I shared a photo on Instagram a while back with the Honey We're Home Loves Bloggers tag, and it made me realize I have never really shared my family room on the blog.  I think it's because it's been in a slow but constant state of flux.  But isn't that how most rooms are?  We keep tweaking them to get them just how we want them and to fit whatever stage of life we're in.  So I made a few small changes recently and thought I would share it.  Even though it's never quite finished in my mind, that's ok, right?

 For years I wanted a neutral palette, so probably three years ago I changed from muted green stripes to this custom mixed french grey.  In fact it was this leftover paint that I used on the Dining Room Bookcases to tie the two spaces together.  I have been thinking of changing it over to the creamy white that I have on the dining room walls, but I love this color too.

The most recent change I've made was to add higher side tables flanking the loveseat.  The previous ones weren't bad, but they weren't quite to scale.  



So much better!  The one on the left was a find at Marshall's.  The one on the right is actually an outdoor table I got on clearance last summer.  It was the perfect height to complement the wood table.  I had just enough linen fabric left over from a previous project to whip up a tablecloth. Previously you couldn't set a drink down on the small table, but now you can not only see it, but use it.  And it actually feels cozier to sit over on this couch.  

Everything in this room except for the sofas and the wood side table is either a thrift store/garage sale/clearance find or DIY project.  One of my favorite DIY's of all time is the map over the sofa.  It had been rolled up in a closet at my mom's house for years and I thought, I am going to frame that.  I will have the share a tutorial in the future.  But maybe that's why I love this space so much...because it's been collected and put together over time.   

One of my most favorite thrifted items is this vintage Drexel Heritage dresser that sits behind the sofa.  I scored it for $45 at Goodwill!  Can you believe I originally left it because I felt $65 was too much?  I went home and thought about it and decided it was worth it.  Even better, by the time I got back they had marked it down!  I need to repaint it and the coffee table (the right way- using primer) because the top is showing wear.  But I love that it serves as a secondary landing spot from the entry, and it serves as a buffet/drink station/dessert station for parties since my dining room doesn't have one.  

(I've got to either learn to take better pics or get a better camera, but this is the best I could get with the dark floors and dark furniture.) 

So that is the current state of the family room.  Seeing these pics makes me realize I really want a rug for the room.  I had always intended to get one, but other projects/etc have taken priority with my budget.  I'm leaning toward a jute one, but I'm not sure how it will hold up to kids and spills. I also realize I really need to repaint the coffee table.  I am thinking of going with a darker shade of the wall color.  I've got a few other ideas and tweaks up my sleeve, but I will save them for another day!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Outdoor Dining Table-On the Hunt

Hi everyone!  We're in the final week of school over here!  I kind of feel like we are going on fumes dealing with allergies and asthma, but we're going to make it.  I recently refinished my lower level outdoor table, but discovered that the legs had rotted out.  So I've been browsing Target's outdoor and patio sale to see if I can find a replacement table.  Most of my outdoor furniture has come from the end of season clearance at either Walmart or Target.  I would really like to build one, but I don't know if I have the energy to do it right now.   Here are a few of the ready-to-assemble tables that I like:

This one by Smith and Hawken is 6ft long, and would match the eight folding chairs that I already have.  I would probably let them all weather to a gray tone. 

This next one is an almost identical table, but starts at 7ft and extends to nearly 10ft long.

One final table that caught my eye was this x-base table.

I kind of forget about this secondary dining space in my garden because the table doesn't seat as many as my large table, but it's perfect for when it's just me and my guys.  It's tucked in the upstairs corner of my garden and surrounded by trees and shrubs.  During the day, there's this bumble bee who thinks this is his zone, but at night it's a cozy spot.

I love, love, love my string lights in the garden, and they happen to also be on sale for 40% off today only at Target!  If you have been thinking about getting some today is the day.  I may have to go and get a box to have for backup.  I have about five packs that I've strung around my garden fence.  The fuse kept blowing, so I had to do some math to calculate the amps and volts that the outlet could handle, or something like that.  My husband is the electrical engineer so I was asking him to help me figure it out, but he was like "do the math".  I'm happy to say, I figured it out!  I had to strategically remove a few bulbs, but now they have been up and working for about a year now.   There's something about that gentle glow in the evening that makes a garden feel so romantic and warm.  

If you've got kiddos in school, push thru this final week, and then hopefully you'll get a little break over the weekend!

Some of the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.  But I like Target and would share a good deal either way!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Summer Grill Ready - A DIY Grill Kit

With this coming weekend being the last one before school lets out, I feel almost giddy with joy!  I probably shouldn't feel that way, since I'm not the one in school, but I am pretty excited to spend more time with my little guy.  Now to me, summer time calls for firing up the grill!  I love the smell of a charcoal grill, the sound of planes flying by in the distance, and lawnmowers running.  They all signal summertime.  I just started grilling a year or so ago.  Before then, I just left it up to my husband, because I thought it was too difficult.  I'm definitely not an expert, but now that I've figured out the basics, I really enjoy it!  

One thing I am notorious for is running back and forth inside the house to get the needed utensils, and cooking supplies for the grill.  I tend to keep some in the pantry, some in the kitchen, and some in the garage.  I thought it would be nice to put together a grill kit for keeping everything corralled together.  

So what do you need in a grill kit?

This is my basic supply list for charcoal grilling:
  • Grill Brush
  • Garbage Bags
  • Charcoal
  • Lighter Fluid
  • Lighter
  • Wood Chips
  • Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil
  • Medium Sized Bowl
  • Olive Oil
  • Kitchen Brush
  • Small Bowl for oil
  • Tongs and Spatula
  • Paper Towels/Kitchen Towels

 You would, of course, skip the charcoal, lighter fluid, and lighter for a gas grill!  

The first thing I do when grilling is clean the grill.  Grill grates get covered with bits and pieces of what you're cooking, so a grill brush is necessary for cleaning them off.  I also keep trash bags to dump the cooled ashes.

Next, if you want to add wood chips to the grill, get them soaking so that they are ready when the grill is hot.

Once the chips are soaking, it's time to light it up!  Stack the charcoal into a pyramid, apply lighter fluid, and light the coals.  The bag usually says to give them about 15 minutes to ash over.  Allowing the coals to ash over means they are hot enough for cooking.  After they ash over, spread them out and close the grill for 5-10 minutes to allow the grill to heat up.

While the grill is heating, I usually oil the grates so that the food doesn't stick.

One of the final things you'll need for a grill kit is cooking utensils and towels to wipe up.  This is what I am always running back into the house to find!

With all your supplies together, its time to grill out and enjoy the fruits of your labor!  If you're using wood chips, drain and wrap them in foil.  Poke a few holes in the foil to allow the smoke to rise.  Throw whatever you like on the grill, and sit back and relax!

One of my favorite things right now is grilled vegetables.  I grilled last weekend, and I'm telling you an onion has never tasted so good!  I also made what I am calling a Grilled Guacamole.  I used all of the basic ingredients, but used grilled onion and added grilled corn.  Sooo good too! 

Hopefully having all of my supplies together will make it easier for me to grill out this summer!  I think I'm realizing there's a difference between grilling and barbeque-ing, at least to me.  Barbeque requires sauce and maybe pork?  You gotta have ribs right?  So I won't claim to know how to barbeque just yet, but this is a start!

What would you add to a Grill Kit?  Do you have any tips for BBQ?  I'm still biting my fingernails when I think about ribs!  Let me know if you have any ideas!

Linking up to Home Stories A-Z Tutorials and Tips Link Party, and Savvy Southern Style's Wow Us Wednesdays.