Monday, January 31, 2011


The fabulous Kim of NewlyWoodwards 'grilled' me for her Gatherings Gal blog today.   

Check it out here!  There's cake! :)

Bigger & Better

You might remember seeing our green living room rug  (also seen here in my lovely house tour tab).  Well, it was nice, but it was a little... small.  And very green.  There was little rug to spare after anchoring it to our couch and adding the coffee table.  The dogs were not amused.  They need space for their activities

So we have been on the hunt for a new rug, preferably an 8x10 or somewhere close.  Here's the thing though - rugs are freaking expensive.  I've said it before - Claire and Textiles don't do so well together (that and paint colors).  I'm just no good at finding curtains or rugs or pillows or bedding.  I can never get over the hump of how expensive these woven things are.  Maybe I'm just cheap.... and maybe it's because you aren't as likely to find an amazing rug at the thrift store as you are to find, say, a nice dresser.  Germs.

So we've been looking at rugs, but hadn't found one we liked that was actually affordable, no matter how many times Overstock stocked stalked us with internet ads showing us the rugs we previously looked at (omgoverstockleavemealone!). Enter Costco.

I love Costco.  We have 27 rolls of paper towels at any given time.  We have more pasta than any two people can possibly  should eat.  We have 32 ounces of taco seasoning.  

We went to get groceries, and came home with a rug - who would have thought?  We actually got an indoor/outdoor rug, but I swear it doesn't have that scratchy cheap feel that most outdoor rugs have.  It's semi-plush, and the perfect size for our room.  I love it.  It's neutral enough to not be too busy, and I'm actually hoping the durability of an outside rug will help withstand constant paw traffic.   It was $90 (hint: this is why I love it).  

And the best part - the green rug got moved to the kitchen - where it looks even better than before!!  

I wanted to show a side by side look of 3 1/2 yrs ago vs today, but sadly, that was PBE (pre blogging era) and thus, I didn't manically take pictures of every inch of my home, but here's the best I can do, in all of it's raw before beauty... 
I love progress.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Simple Pleasures

We all love some sunshine! 

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Taste of Summer

Want a fresh taste of summer to get you through these bleak winter months?  Then make this salsa.  ...Unless you don't like salsa, then, well, it's still winter for you.

Mrs. Richardson's Salsa:
- 2 cans of corn, drained
- 2 cans of black beans, drained
- 2 avocados
- 2 bell peppers (one green, one red)
- 1 clump cilantro
- 1 red onion
- 2 tomatoes (the kind on the vine)
- 2 limes, juiced
- 1/3 bottle of Italian dressing

Dice everything and mix!  So easy!  Perfect for a weekend with a huge group at the lake, or just a quiet winter evening at home.

It makes a TON.  We made makeshift nachos with ground beef, cheese, and this salsa.  Instant meal. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011


It's been a busy week  month  year.  My sister has been nagging me about my lack of posting, my Google Reader is in the triple digits, and dish mountain has completely hidden our sink - to name a few.

Not saying this to whine- but to let you know that this is just a temporary lull in the loads of excitement here at aptcl.  :)  I can't wait to find time to catch up on all of your lives via your posts, and leave some nice comments I have been missing writing. 

Brb yall.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Simple Pleasures

Winter flowers

Monday, January 17, 2011

2010 Year In Review Book

The past two years, I've shared with you my "year in review" photobook I make each year.

I really enjoy making these, and I honestly do get the books out a few times during the year to look back and reminisce.  It forces me to condense six billion photos a year's worth of photos into compact glimpses into our lives.  This year was especially hard, given the adorable babies that were photographed this year (seriously, I have SOOOO many that are incredible shots, but just didn't have room for!).  The screenshots below are just a few of the layouts - my book was almost double in size this year! 

One of the most enjoyable parts of the book creation process is using my own photos for the backgrounds.  So all of those beach sunsets, morning fog on the lake, cute Christmas wrapping paper, or even mac and cheese shots get to make appearances in the book.

Here's a look at my 2010 - in pictures.

I chose pink as the background this year - in honor of our nieces :)

 [click any photo to make it larger]

I will be making one of these books each year - and should soon enough have quite a collection of yearly memories!

FYI:  I use Picaboo for the books - they often do Groupons for $100 credit for $35.  And did you know - it doesn't matter where you live, you can buy a Groupon from anywhere?  The Picaboo ones I've purchased were from San Fran and Columbus, OH I think - often companies will do Groupons in smaller markets, knowing that national deal sites will pick up the offer and publicize it anyway, allowing others in more "expensive" Groupon cities to purchase.  I subscribe to email alerts from's Groupon Roundup.

I use Picasa for all my photo storing/editing (although, I'm trying to get into Picnik - but only now getting the hang of it!), and I used Scrapblog for the cover image.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Simple Pleasures

A wintry morning:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snowy Paws

One more snow-related post (I promise this is the last one....for now!)

My dogs are adorable.  It cannot be denied.  

Roxy spent her free time eating large chunks of ice, while Sandy preferred to be pensive and contemplative.

I'm fairly certain Sandy thinks she's a human. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winter White

Snowmageddon 2011 has convinced me to update my mantle with fresh "winter whites."  Sounds fancy, but I assure you, it's really not.

After Christmas, our mantle was quite the blank slate.  I knew I didn't want to keep doing what I've been doing for years now - various glass jars and vases and decorative stuff, rotated in from the decor closet.  It was time for a change.  But one of the biggest challenges with our mantle is the hideous rock surround the inability to anchor anything to the wall.  With two humans and two dogs, our living room can sometimes get crowded, and the idea of putting anything like a mirror or large frame up there terrified me, since it wouldn't be secured at all.

So I decided to take a piece of quarter-round moulding we had leftover and nail it down into our mantle as a makeshift ledge.  Not too hard - and it can be taken down anytime.  Besides, no one cares about a few little holes on the top of the mantle.

Next, I found this HUGE frame from my favorite thrift store for only $10.  I gave it a coat of almond spray, and set about figuring out what in the world to put in it.  My original idea was a grouping of photos in multiple frames, but I couldn't think of what photo to blow up that large.  Our faces would totally be weird, and I can only have but so many pictures of my dogs before seeming like a crazy dog lady.  So until we have adorable cherubic children, no photos on our mantle. 

Roxy doesn't see any problem with us having multiple photos of her face.

So I went to Walmart and stole borrowed a bunch of paint chips (nice large DutchBoy ones).  I cut these up into various sizes using my fancy papercutter.  

[Can I interrupt this mildly informative post to tell you that I received multiple cutting instruments for Christmas -- and that makes me immensely happy?  Exacto set, paper cutter, and a 3 pack of scissors.  Give me cutting tools over jewelry any day!]

I took the stolen squares and Mod Podge'd them onto the old "painting" (which was inkjetted onto cardboard - talk about quality!).  I didn't want it to look too perfect (sure you didn't, Claire), so this was the result.

The frame fit perfectly on the ledge, but I kept the glass out, just in case! The ledge blends in with the frame and you don't even notice it.  The surface is a bit shiny... but such is life.  

Next I scrounged my house for anything white to accompany it.

My lovely bird is now in a newly-white cage.  Is that symbolic???  Perhaps it is.  Come spring, I will set it free! 

So that's my winter mantle - it adds a refreshing dose of white to a dark winter room, annnd kinda looks like a fourth grader made it.  But again, and I can't stress this enough!, this is the year of working with what you got.  So I'm workin' it.

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