Monday, January 31, 2011

Meal Plan Monday: February

Every Sunday while making my plan I flip over to the weather channel and see what the weather is going to look like this week. I like to plan our meals around the weather, there's nothing worse then BBQing in the rain or sipping on hot soup during a heat wave, I thought this up one night while watching Lee BBQ in the snow.

So this week here in the Greater Vancouver Area (BC) we have SUN until Wednesday (although sun means no clouds and no clouds means COLD temps), cloudy on Thursday and possibly snowing on Friday.
So here's how our week looks:

Lunch: Ham and Swiss sandwich, granola and yogurt.
Dinner: Ginger Lime Chicken with Rice and Bok Choy

Lunch: Tuna Fish Sandwich
Dinner: Short ribs with Cabbage

WED:  Max has a vet appt today! He gets his teeth cleaned so he'll be sleepy from the anesthesia, a super simple dinner will be in the works for tonight.
Lunch: Leftover Short ribs and Cabbage
Pick up Roasted Chicken from the Italian Market on the way home from the Vet
Dinner: Roasted Chicken Paninis with Tomatos and Motzerella. Homemade Tomato Soup on the Side. I use this RECIPE.

Lunch: Salad with Tuna and a Boiled Egg with homemade dressing
Dressing Recipe (if the Manor had a signature Dressing this would be it :)
2 cloves of garlic
a teaspoon or so Dijon Mustard
a couple squirts of Worcestershire Sauce
the juice of half a lemon
just under a 1/4 cup of red wine vinager
Wisk together,  then whisk in the olive oil, about a quarter cup.
Season with Salt and Pepper YUM!
Dinner: Chicken a la King  Using the Leftover Chicken  from Wed.

FRIDAY: (Possibly Snowing)
Lunch: Leftover Chicken a la King
Dinner: Roasted Corn and Red Pepper Chowder.

So there's how our First week in February looks!
I finally finished sewing the Library Curtains, I LOVE the way they turned out and I can't wait to share them with you tomorrow :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

How To: Sew an Envelope Pillow Cover

I told you I had a very easy way to sew pillows it's called an ENVELOPE pillow cover.
Here's how it looks:

or this:  (excuse the sleeping Max :)

Here's how easy it is:

1) Here's how much fabric you'll need:
  • 12" Pillow - Fabric 12" by 28"
  • 14" Pillow - Fabric 14" by 32"
  • 16" Pillow - Fabric 16" by 36"
  • 18" Pillow - Fabric 18" by 40"
2) Marking:
  • For a 12" pillow mark your fabric 8" in on the longest edges.
  • For a 14" pillow mark your fabric 9" in on the longest edges.
  • For a 16" pillow mark your fabric 10" in on your longest edge
  • For an 18 " pillow mark your fabric 11" in on your longest edge 
*Note: Don't add any fabric for seam allowances, it's better to sew a 1/2" seam allowance and STUFF the pillow inside the cover. I like an overstuffed looking pillow.

3) Fold each end under 1/4 inch, IRON and sew a nice neat hem (see above diagram).

 4) Fold your fabric, right sides together. There should be a 3 1/2" overlap for the back side of your pillow.
 5) Sew the sides with the raw edges, using 1/2" seams.

 6) Turn the pillow case inside out, IRON and stuff your pillow inside! No need for Zippers, buttons or anything of the sort. 
And that's how I make . . . . . All the pillows I've ever made! :) A pillow with only 4 lines to sew (and you could even get away with 3 lines of sewing if you only hem the side that shows, although one more line of sewing isn't going to kill you :)
I hope that helps all you other simple sewers like me!

Please excuse my crude drawings I tried to make it super simple, as my direction giving is sub-par (at best).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Reader Request: How we make a room come together!

After the Almost Finished Library Reveal I got a very sweet comment from Jennifer, who asked "What are your favorite, basic must-haves that make a room feel and look so put together?" BLUSHING!!! I thought about what my answer would be.
  • I always add something neutral (or a lot neutral as the case may be).

  • Then Every Room needs some WHITE (or a lot as the case may be).

  • I always add a little black

  • I add something textural. 

  •  Add a little pattern
  • Add a little color
  •  Something unexpected 
  • Something Rustic, or Old.
  • Some Greenery is a must have, not only does it clean the air but it looks nice too. 
  • Almost all of my rooms have books in them! Even if it's just a small stack or a simple coffee table book.
  •  and I always have to add some whimsy. Something kind of silly.
  • I try to add history in each room, something that has meaning for you. An old photograph, a painting, a quilt what ever it might be.
  • For picking colors I use a the Designers trick and pick a fabric that I love and pull all of the colors out of it. Like in the Living room I based everything off of the paisley, it had the wall color, the sofa color, and a whole lot of extra colors for throw pillows and dog beds.
  • I try to create little vignettes, some small grouping for your eye to rest.

  • Of course Fresh cut flowers really class up the joint
  • and last, nothing makes a room look cozier then a doggy (or kitty) curled up on a cushion. 
So that's my philosophy on pulling things together! I hope someone finds this useful. I'm definitely not an expert but this is the way I've found that works for me.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Desk: Key Organization

Out of Curtain Frustration, I decided it was time to get the Spare Keys in Order. If you missed where we keep our everyday keys, follow the LINK.
Last week as part of our Library Reveal I showed you our Secretary's desk.

This little desk is the organizational HUB of The Manor. It's where we pay bills, make plans, it's where our calendar is kept, it's where I'm writing this post from, it's like the nucleus of our home. So when I needed to start organizing our spare keys I knew exactly where they should go.

We had a drawer full of keys just clanging around, I was starting to forget what keys were for what.
So after going door to door around the house I figured out what keys went with what locks and started out labeling them.
In the Townhouse I used these little round tags:

But Lee would take the keys to his "project" car, aka. the bain of my existence hehe just kidding (kind of :S) and then they would come back looking like this:

So a quick trip to Staples and I found these key tags for much cheaper then the little paper round ones and they are plastic so the grease and oil will rub right off.

I bought the key hooks from The Home Depot, but I've recently seen them at Target for much cheaper (insert angry face!!).
I organized each key holder into categories, the Top One is Locks (things like keys to the pad lock, keys to the bike lock, keys to the suitcase lock. The Middle One is house keys, spare front door key, spare back door key, spare basement key, etc. . . . And the Bottom Row is Car Keys, spare Ashli's car key, spare Lee's car key, spare project car key (which is missing, I'm sure I'll find that in the laundry later this week) and spare Motorcycle key (yes Lee has a motorcycle and yes I'm not terribly happy about it (insert angrier face HERE!) hahah just kidding (kind of).
And Last on the same door under the keys I put up some Cork! I find those Cork Tiles super handy. I LOVE having somewhere to pin up a slip of paper that would otherwise get lost in the shuffle!

So that's the first part of the Desk organized. I'll be working on the rest this week, along with the library curtains (which are proving to be more difficult then anticipated (insert yet another angry face). Wish me luck, I don't think I'll have a curtains post ready for this week, but I do have some special request posts coming up later this week. Also I've received the Stylish Blogger Award (Yahoo!!) so I'll have a post about that coming up later today!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Meal Plan Monday!

I'm trying something new today . . . . . well, new to the blog, old to me :)
On Sunday nights I plan our meals for the week, only to Friday, we like to be more spur of the moment on the weekends. (we're crazy like that :S)

So because I like to share the things that go into making our Manor work, here's my first installment of Meal Plan Monday. It's also a great way to share some of our Favorite Meals, and share some of our cheaper meal ideas.

Here's our philosophy around dinners and meal planning in general.
  • We make at least one vegetarian meal a week.
  • We make one very cheap meal (under $5) a week.
  • We make one "special" meal a week (something that takes a little more time, and effort)
  • Something ethnic
  • Something super easy.
We try to fit all of this into each week's plan, not every week lives up to the plan but we try.
And the LUNCH portion of the meal plan is for Lee, and all of his Lunches are made to travel to the office with him. Me, I just eat what ever is around the house, soup, leftovers, a fried egg on toast (organic and Free-run of course :)

Here's this week plan:

Lunch: Leftover Pulled Pork Sandwiches (Leftover from last nights dinner)
Dinner: Pasta Shells with Bacon and Pea's (it's from Jamie Oliver, Follow the LINK to get the recipe). This is  one of our favorite quick meals. (Note: we cut out the Mint, I don't like Mint)

Lunch: Tuna Fish Sandwiches, with yogurt and granola. And trail mix for a snack.
Dinner: Bruschetta and a garden salad (super simple dressing of lemon juice and olive oil, and don't forget the salt and pepper :)

Lunch: Pita with hummus (it's really easy to make yourself, try it once and you'll never buy it again, it's also super cheap). And a ham and swiss Pita (to use up the leftover Pita bread).
Dinner: Roast Chicken with roasted red potatos, carrots, parsnips and beets.

Lunch: Leftover Vegetables, and another Ham and Swiss sandwich on Dark Rye Bread.
Dinner: Shepard's Pie (I make mine with cream of mushroom soup, not very posh but it taste delicious).

Lunch: Leftover Shepard's Pie, yogurt, granola and a banana.
Dinner: Chicken a la King (or Queen as I'm the one who makes it). I use the leftover chicken on the carcass, and the dark meat from Wednesday nights Roasted Chicken.

And there's The Maillardville Manor's 1st Meal Plan Monday!

Friday, January 21, 2011

We're on Re-Nest today! 15 organized offices!

I found out we're featured on RE-NEST today as part of their 15 Fantastic Organized Spaces. Our little Powder Room turned Craft Room made it's way in there. There are some amazing rooms! So if you are looking for some inspiration for some small organized spaces stop by. You can join in the debate. Turns out that my little room is a bit of a hot topic. Some one said
Picture 13 (that's our picture):" 9 pairs of scissors? Really? I don't think this is a well organized room, but rather a well dressed set."
To which someone replyed:
"It does look like everything is exactly in it's spot in the room, and it's not my favourite of the bunch–but it looks like there's a bunch of scrapbooking supplies in there, so those might be different pattern scissors, which is probably a common thing for die-hard scrapbookers :)"

and for the record they are scrapbooking scissors and they do have different edges, geez hahaha. If only she had left out "it's not my favorite of the bunch" but some of those rooms are pretty darn fantastic!

If you've got a minute check it out!


Flowers on Friday: Anniversary Edition

Last Friday was our 5 Year Wedding Anniversary, so naturally that meant flowers . . . . . naturally :)
Even on our anniversaries we stick to our $10 flower rule, by we, clearly I mean Lee.
Here's my mixed flower bouquet. It had some Gerbers (a favorite of mine, but they don't last very long so they aren't a common flower seen around The Manor). It had some monstrous Lilies, some babies breath, some greenery . . . . it was lovely! I put them all into a white ceramic pitcher and have now had them for a week! The lilies are just starting to die! The Gerbers are long gone!

I've been thinking of an entire bouquet of babies breath . . . .what do you think? Charlotte from Sex and the City had a bouquet of babies breath as her bridal bouquet, it looked kinda neat! I'm thinking I might have found next Friday's Flowers :)

The Homies 2011

A couple of our fabulous followers told me about Apartment Therapy's "HOMIE's". I was told that I had a couple of votes for Favorite Design Blog! Not knowing what the HOMIE's were I took a look, and when I saw all of the fantastic Blog Names I was up against I was so happy, you know the old adage it's an honor just to be nominated, well in this case it is. I've been smiling ear to ear ever since!
So at this point they are still taking nominations for the blogs that will be voted on. Sooooo . . . . if you have a spare second, pop over to Apartment Therapy and nominate some of your favorite blogs (unless Maillardville Manor isn't one of them, then you never read this . . . there is no such thing as The Homie's. . . . . you are getting very sleepy . . . .)hehe.
There's no limit, you can nominate as many as you'd like.
Super Thanks in advance!

And in totally unrelated news, I should probably have some curtains for the library made up by MONDAY! I found some great fabric on our most recent trip to the States and hopefully, barring any major sewing machine malfunctions, Curtains by next week :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Books on our shelves! Winter Reads

I LOVE to read! Mostly non-fiction, but a little chick-lit every now and then is a welcomed change.
If you missed my Fall book recommendations you can catch them HERE.

Here are some of my NEW fav's: Winter Book Recommendations.

I would highly recommend this book. It was an impulse buy while browsing the isles but so glad I picked it up. Jenna has such a great writing style, it chock full of information but in a very amusing way. It's mostly about modern homesteading, she keeps chickens and bee's, dogs and most recently sheep. Even if you're not planning on homesteading it's still a GREAT read. It made me want CHICKENS sooooo bad I even entertained the idea of a small coup in the back yard (you haven't seen the back yard yet, but it's around 100 sq feet, very tiny!! Lee's new rule is, if you can't fit a pool you can't have chickens, I have no idea where that came from, I guess Lee figures chickens take up as much room as a pool? anyways
This book just makes you want to hunker down, bake some bread and knit a scarf!
This is my #1 pick! It was a great read, I couldn't put it down, and am now a follower of her blog:

I really enjoyed this book, and YES Canadians can read it too :) hehe
It had a lot of great tips, a few new ones I hadn't heard of! and the best part about it was that they were all tips that the average person would find useful (assuming the average person is just like me :) What I mean is: I love the idea of couponing $600 of groceries for $12 is amazing, but I don't have 40 hours a week to dedicate to collecting coupons (also there are rarely coupons for fresh produce or unfrozen, un-processed meat, but I digress). This family saves money by cutting out un-necessary things, by shopping sales, and by practicing really good, common sense principals. I found them very inspiring!

Less is more, is a collection of short essays by the leading thinkers on simplicity, sustainability and doing more with less. A couple of essays were boring, a couple were AMAZING, but most of them were very interesting. I enjoyed reading this book, I found this book thought provoking and inspiring.
It's not an addictive read as each essay has an ending so it's the perfect book for me to read before bed, I can just read one essay then turn out the light. As soon as I pick up a novel it's a 4 am bedtime.

A GOOD read. I haven't been able to find an organization book I've really liked for a long time. They mostly just regurgitate the same tips, make three piles, keep, donate, sell etc.... ) but this book had a slightly new take. It did have some of the generic tips (keep nothing in your house that you don't find beautiful or useful), been there, done that. But it also had some nice moments, with some good tips, charts and sheets to fill out. It has a 10 day plan to organize your house, if you try it and it works let me know because I'm a housewife with no kids and one very small dog to look after, I could take entire 8 hour chunks of time to organize and there is Still no way I could organize the whole house in 10 days. But the Photography is beautiful! and there are some good useful hints and tips, cleaning recipes and a lot more to offer. In general a good reference book to keep around. 

 I liked this one a lot. It's got a good collection of homekeeping tips, tricks and ideas, but it took a totally different take on housekeeping. It was a very philosophical, spiritual look at housekeeping, I personally liked the change of pace. It gives you a whole new perspective to house work. I believe a house can take on energy, good energy or bad energy, this book helps you fill your house with good, positive energy! I really enjoyed reading it, it made me want to clean!

I could just stare at the pictures all day, enough said.

If you are looking for some SUPER delicious, quick meals, Sandi delivers. I cannot say enough good things about this cookbook. It's focus is easy weeknight dinners. We've tried at least half of the recipes in this book and have LOVED each one. I use this book at least once a week! I couldn't recommend this book enough!
In the words of Tony the Tiger "It's Grrrrrrr-eat!"

Pretty good. Most of the recipes are very easy, so far we've made about 10 or so of Jamie's recipes. A couple were fantastic, and a couple were just fine, nothing special. But not one single one was yucky. I think Jamie's recipes are great Base recipes, you can fool around with them adding things and taking away other things so that it suits your taste. I especially LOVED the sections where he takes one particular dish and shows you how to change it up using the same base recipe. For example, Meat Pie, you can top it with puff pastry, mashed potato's etc . . . . I'm excited to try some more of his recipes.

The new Decor for the bedside table will be:

 Can't wait to get my paws on this, since Made From Scratch (pick #1) I've become really fascinated by Homesteading!

Another Homesteading Book, Scott and Helen Nearing are like the grandma and grandpa of Homesteading and I've been told that if your researching homesteading this one is a MUST read.

So there's my picks, as well as my future picks. If anyone has any suggestions for future reads I would LOVE to hear them. You all are like friends and know me well by now, so if you think I'd like it, I probably would :)
I hope you found something you'd like to read! Wishing you a great Thursday!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bookcase Tutorial

I LOVE built ins. I Can't afford Built-ins. But, I do have a husband and he's willing to work for food :)
Here's how we turned our Billy Bookcases into Billy Built-ins, kind of.
I wanted the sides to be recessed and the front to pop out a bit, I thought it would give it more interest, much better then just a line of bookcases against a wall.

Here's what we did:
  • We used two Full width billy bookcases, and three half width ones. Then we just pulled out the center three and Lee screwed them together.

  • Then we used MDF for the top. Lee decided to use three smaller sheets of MDF instead of one large sheet because it was much cheaper and much easier to cut nice straight lines. We attached it in three sections:

  • Once the top was glued and nailed into place, we attached the trim. We used a chair rail instead of crown molding (like in our townhouse bookcases) because it was much easier to work with, and gives the same look for approx. the same price. 
Here's the up close final product:

  • And our last step was to fill in all of the seams, sand and paint the top. We chose Martha Stewart's TALC color, it's not an exact match but it's pretty darn close. 
I hope that was at least somewhat helpful. I didn't take any progress pictures, or any useful, non-blurry pictures anyway. So Lee drew up a couple of drawings for me :) I hope you liked them and everything made sense.


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