Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring Table

Spring is here and we're having our first little dinner party of the season, so out came the bright spring dishes and the new spring napkins.

Since Spring  seems like a simple season to me (Winter seems much more formal, I don't know why, maybe it's because of all the roasts and big heavy meals, and spring is full of salads and BBQ so I guess that's why I think Spring seems less formal), the table has only one knife and fork, a simple white dinner plate and, as always, a little patterned side plate on top.

I LOVE these little plates, I saw them at Homesense (they're made by TAG) and they screamed SPRING to me so I grabbed four at $2.99 they were well worth it :)

The Napkins are made from Fabric found at Jo-Ann fabrics, it also screamed SPRING to me :) (Spring is a loud season for me :) At $7.97 a meter it was a great price because I made 4 napkins out of one meter and there's no way I could find such funky napkins for cheaper then $2.00!
When I sew napkins I do a double fold and a mitered corner, the mitered corner makes all the difference! and it's just as easy to do, I followed this TUTORIAL

The little spring table makes me smile! I'm very glad we went super neutral in the dining room, it makes it really easy for us to do crazy bright table like this, or for more formal occasions go back to my default WHITE flowers with WHITE dishes :)
I hope you like our little Spring Table, and we'll come join us tomorrow for a spring-y flowers on Friday!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring Cleaning: The never ending saga continues

Spring cleaning is still happening around The Manor this week, with the house being twice the size of our old house it's taking me three times as long as the old house (I never was any good at Math).
This is the LAST week of spring cleaning!
Finally finished the Kitchen:
  • The stainless has been polished, the cupboards washed down, the fridge is clean and organized, the counters have been re-sealed (to read more about sealing granite follow the link). The floors have been scrubbed, and the stove taken apart and cleaned inside and out, the last thing to do is polish the pots and pans, Look for that post tomorrow!

  • The Living Room coffee table was in desperate need of some wax, so he got waxed today :) We use Clapham's Beeswax Polish, it works great!!!

  • I tore apart the couch to vacuum under the cushions. We pulled the couch off the wall and vacuumed behind it! 
  • We cleaned the TV screen. Our TV is an LCD model and to clean the screen safely and effectively we make a solution of 50% rubbing alcohol, and 50% distilled water, put it into a spray bottle, spray it on to a lint free cloth (we use an old t-shirt) and clean your screen. Don't spray it directly onto the screen because it will run down!
  • I spent the better part of an afternoon cleaning the leaves of our houseplants. It's important to clean the leaves because a layer of dust on the leaves blocks the sun and makes it hard for the plant to photosynthesize. You should do it as often as needed, it all depends on how much dust you have in your house. 
  • For our rubber tree I use a clean cloth and a spray bottle full of water, I spray each leaf and wipe it down, it's super time consuming but rubber plants seem to get super dirty.
  • For the rest of the houseplants they get put into the tub and given a nice relaxing shower, they Love getting cleaned, they love getting watered and the Love the humidity it creates. I usually leave them in the tub for a couple extra hours with the shower curtain closed.

  • And last we didn't have to do this but, if we were in our old house I would definitely be doing it right now, we would be pulling out our washer and dryer to vacuum the lint out from behind. Here's a picture from behind our old washer and dryer after one year: 

So happy Spring cleaning if you're still tackling it like us, or if you haven't started it yet or I suppose it's a very happy spring cleaning for those of you who have already finished :)

Corn Chower Recipe!

Since this week's Meal Plan Monday, I have been completely overwhelmed with emails . . . from . . . two readers (hehe) for the recipe so here it is:
If you only try one recipe I put on here, let this one be the one :) It's that good!

4slices bacon, diced (* we use 6 hehe)
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced pepper (*we use red)
2tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp butter
2 cups chicken stock (*we use pacific brand organic chicken stock)
2 cups 2% milk (* we've used 1% it works just as well)
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (*we always add more)
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme (*we use 1/4 tsp dried)
1/2 cups peeled and diced Yukon Gold Potatoes

In a medium sauce pot, fry bacon until crispy. Remove bacon (save for the end), leaving fat. Add onion, celery and carrot and saute until onions are translucent, about 5 min. Add bell pepper and saute 3 more minutes. Remove vegetables from the pot and set aside.
Melt butter into pot and add flour. Stir constantly until a nutty aroma is noticeable about 5 in. With a whisk, stir in chicken stock a little at a time. Whisk in milk in a slow stream. Return vegetables to pot, add corn, thyme, and potatoes and bring up to a simmer. Cover and simmer soup until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. To serve, grate some cheddar cheese on top, and add the bacon bits to the top :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Living Room Chair: Ikea Jennylund

We needed chairs in our living room, our guests ended up sitting on the floor, or worse yet, WE ended up sitting on the floor ;)
So we needed chairs here was our criteria:
  • Inexpensive, with all the landscaping that needs to be done this spring we simply didn't have the money to go to a furniture gallery and buy two chairs.
  • They had to fit into the "neutral" scheme of the room. But our couch is beige and we didn't want beige chairs too.
  • They needed to be small because we didn't have enough room to fit two huge club chairs.
  • They couldn't have high backs or they would block too much of the window.
It's a bit of a Goldilock's story, not too big (they'd block the window), not too small (Lee couldn't fit into them), they had to be just right :)
These White Slip covered Jennylund chairs were, just right, better then just right they were darn near perfect for what we needed.

Another important part was that they had to have a matching ottoman. The distance from the chairs to the coffee table is too far to put your feet up (even if you have miles of legs like Lee). So to solve this we bought the Bromma Ottoman also from Ikea.

And the best part is, both chairs were bought off of Craigslist for . . . $140 for the pair. They were in great condition structurally but the slipcovers were in terrible condition. So two Slipcovers later ($60 each) and we have two chairs for less then $300 (each chair would have been $369 new).

After the chairs were in place all that was needed were some pillows. I wanted beige pillows to carry the beige over to that side of the room. I found the Striped fabric at ARDENE'S here in BC. The fabric was Super expensive (at least I found it super expensive at $25 a yard) so I only bought 1/2 a yard and bought a cheaper beige ticking for the back. I added a band of the beige ticking to the front, and covered three buttons to complete the look.

p.s. making fabric covered buttons is super easy, all you need is a little kit, bought from the any sewing store (less then $3.00 for 3 buttons).

There's our latest addition to the Living Room, Looks like we'll be able to do a Living Room Reveal sooner then later, we're missing some accessories and a little organization :) but we're well on our way to a finished living room.

Carolyn's Home

Late last year one of Maillardville Manor's Fabulous readers (you're all fabulous, you know?) Carolyn sent us a couple of photos of her country Home!
I'm in love with this little cottage, so in love in fact that it inspired our new living room chairs, but more on that later today :)
I was told to inform you, that Carolyn and her husband are working on the trim around the windows :) hehe
Here's her fab living room! I'd never been a huge ektorp fan but this Living Room changed my mind, so much so that we went the white slip covered route in our living room, but again more on that later today.

And I LOVED her kitchen so much, I had to include it into the post :) Seriously magazine worthy.

Thank you so much Carolyn for the inspiration and for sharing your pic's with us.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Meal Plan Monday: Rain!

It's Spring and in the Greater Vancouver Area, Spring means RAIN! and this week is proving that point!
The weather man has called for rain all week.
I like to plan dinners to match the weather, I know it sounds crazy but hear me out. There's nothing worse then BBQ-ing in the rain, or eating hot soup on a hot day. And on the flip side, there is nothing as comforting as a nice warm soup on a cold rainy day, or comfort food on a dreary miserable evening and for those reasons on Sunday nights, I'm surrounded by flyer's, recipe books, and the weather report.

Ham and Provolone Cheese Sandwiches, with yogurt, granola and frozen raspberries.
 Stuffed Roasted Chicken: When we truss the chicken we add a couple pieces of Bacon to the top, it keeps the chicken super moist and extra . . . bacon-y. Brussels Sprouts, Carrots and Yams.
Chicken Salad Sandwiches (using the leftover chicken).
Corn and Red Pepper Chowder (hands down my favorite soup!)

Salad, with Tuna and a hard boiled Egg.
We call this dinner "IKEA DINNER" we make meatballs, gravy, mashed potatoes, lingenberry sauce (from Ikea) and Carrots.

We make extra meat balls and Lee has Meatball Sandwiches (made with bottled organic tomato sauce).
Chicken Curry, usually Yellow Curry, Curry warms you up more then Soup on a cold day :)

Friday: (the one day this week we might have a tiny amount of sun)
Leftover Curry for Lunch for Lee (Curry taste way better on the second day)
Hoisin Salmon with Bok Choy and Wild Rice.

This week will be a lot of cooking for me, we also ran out of bread this weekend and I swore to myself that I would bake a couple loaves from scratch . . . wish me luck!

Tomorrow's Post is the inspiration behind our new Living Room Chairs and, of course our new Living Room Chairs :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Flowers on Friday: SPRING!

Just a little Spring-y guy for you!
 Check back later, More Spring Cleaning to come!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring=New Sheets

I love white sheets, sadly they don't love my husband :) After one short year, lets just say they aren't so white anymore. But It's not the end of the world, usually the top sheet is in good condition so I can use it for a future quilting project. And the fitted sheet and pillow cases get cut up to be used as rags in the garage (we try re-use as much as possible around here).
Long Story short, off to Target to buy another set of Organic White Cotton Sheets. If you've been following this blog for a while you would have caught our last spring post about these sheets. I can't stop singing their praises. Organic Sheet Set for . . . .$44.99 for a King Size set WOW! I went to a specialty bedding store last month, I couldn't buy an organic pillowcase for that price! They're soft (Make sure to throw a bit of white vinegar into the machine, to naturally soften 'em up), they're affordable and they're simple, no fancy embroidery or pattern just simple plain white sheets. In case you can't tell I'm a HUGE fan!
Here are some of the benefits organic sheets offer:
-Organic Cotton is farmed without chemicals and pesticides that are harmful to the environment and your health
-Organic cotton fibers provide greater comfort then man made fabrics that do not breathe
-Organic Cotton absorbs moisture better then polyester bedding, therefore preventing Night sweats, athlete's foot and other fungal infections.
-Organic bedding is Hypo-allergetic
-The cotton fibers are stronger then commerically grown cotton fibers
-Organic Cotton is safer for cotton farmers health and the health of their families

Spring Cleaning: Time again to Vacuum the Mattress!
Warning, if you're squeamish you might want to skip this part. haha
I can't believe I'm sharing this AGAIN for the second time, frankly I can't believe I shared it the first time. Vacuuming the mattress is VERY important, you hear a lot about flipping and rotating it but not a lot about vacuuming it.
Preferably you'll be doing this with a spinning brush, but If you don't have one an upholstery attachment will do.

This is the part I can't believe I'm sharing, but hey, all for the greater good . . .  right?
This is what comes out! and we do this every six months!

We use the Dyson Animal Vacuum, It has a rotating brush attachment which gets the maximum amount out, I've done it with the upholstery attachment and got less, but It still worked~!

So there you have it, I'm going to die of embarrassment now :) haha

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

An Occasional Table, that's perfect for any Occasion!

I'm interrupting Spring Cleaning to share our newest Living Room accessory, nesting side tables!!!!
I found them at Homesense (aka. Homegoods). They actually came in a set of 3 but I wanted to see the lattice pattern from the front too, and the only way to do that was to turn the littlest guy sideways and then I could only fit 2, But I saved $29.99 by cutting out the middle table.
I couldn't be any happier with these guys. I LOVE nesting tables, they give you lots of surface space, they can tuck away neatly when you don't need all of them, and you can pull the little guy out when you're having a party, so everyone gets a table to put a drink on :) Not to quote Charlie Sheen but WINNING!
Anyways here they are! The Living Room is slowly coming together, just in time to be deconstructed for Spring Cleaning.
Let us know what you think!!

btw, More on the white chair on Tuesday (I should have a pillow or two sewn up by then), along with some reader inspiration!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cucumber Sunomono???

If you like Ebi Sunomono at Sushi restaurants, you're going to LOVE these.
It's basically the same as Sunomonos but without the noodles. They make a great tangy snack and they sooth an upset tummy (that's right I'm not to old to say tummy :)

  • Take 1 cup vinegar and 1 cup sugar and mix them together in a container with a lid! Stir the vinegar/sugar mixture until the sugar dissolves. 
  • Cut up one English cucumber, thinly, use a mandolin or a food processor if you can't cut them thinly enough with a knife.
  • Put cucumbers in the liquid and store in an air tight container in the fridge. Leave them for 1 day, then, eat them!! 
They last for about a week in the fridge. YUM!

Spring Cleaning: Kitchen

I've always started spring cleaning in the kitchen.
Here's our list:
  • Clear everything off the counters and disinfect.
  • Seal grout again . . . since our counters are brand new we have to seal them again, 6 months after we originally sealed them (read more about that here.)
  • Wipe down cabinet fronts with a damp cloth.
  • Sweep and Mop Kitchen Floor. 
  • Clean Oven and stove top.
  • Wipe down pendant lights.
  • Clean Microwave (microwave a bowl of hot water with slices of lemon for 30 seconds. then wipe down).
  • Throw the Lemon slices, from the microwave, down the garburator (a great way to freshen the garburator). 
  • Take garbage can out side and wash out the bin with dish soap and water.
Since we just moved in 6 months ago, there are a few things we won't have to do this year. For example:
  • Pull the fridge out and vacuum the coils. (if your fridge has covered coils there's still a little open part at the bottom and those will still need vacuuming), you should vacuum the refrigerator coils once a year to keep your fridge running in tip top shape. 
  • Pull the stove out and sweep and mop underneath. 
The one thing we HAD to tackle was the Fridge. Here's the clean fridge and here's how we organized it:
  1.  Eggs- We get our eggs from a local vendor, well actually it's a house a couple dozen blocks away. I bought these little ceramic egg cartons to hold the eggs.
  2. Herb Keeper- This thing is GREAT, I once kept a bunch of cilantro for a month in this! It also stores Green Onions and keeps them fresh, crisp and slime free. I'll definitely be investing in another one!

     3. This Tupperware container is fabulous! It's from Ikea, the plastic is BPA free. It has two chambers the perfect size and shape to keep deli meats in. We slice it then store it in layers, one layer for ham, one layer for turkey, one layer for cheese, it's like a sandwich in a container. It comes with two levels, but you can buy additional levels at Ikea and they all fit together for an air tight seal (no more slimey deli meat).
     4. The Rubbermaid Produce Saver- it really does keep your produce fresh. We bring home heads of lettuce, cut them up into salad sized pieces, and store them in the produce saver. That way making a salad is super quick, or I can just grab a couple pieces and throw them on to a sandwich for Lee's lunch. You can buy the produce savers at any big box store (Target, Walmart etc. . . )
     5. Bottle of Vodka, everyone needs one of these in their freezer :) Just in case!

A couple other things in our fridge:
-The Large plastic Lemon at the top left of the fridge, is a Lemon Keeper, you can slice up a lemon or lime and put it in the container and they stay juicy for up to a week.
-The carrots and celery chopped up on the middle left. Right from the grocery store we chop up the carrots and celery and put them into little bags or containers for quick snacks (if I don't have something quick and easy to grab I end up getting something not very good for me).
-The Cucumbers in the middle container! A delicious concoction my Mom came up with (recipe to follow later today).
-And last at the top is some cut up pineapple, yum!!
and that's our fridge! Why do I feel like I was just on MTV's Cribs? haha

Meet you back here tomorrow for some more Spring Cleaning from around the Manor!

Monday, March 21, 2011

What else can I say . . . . . it's a sickness!

This week we are SPRING CLEANING! Around this Manor we take an entire week to get the house ready for spring.
Yesterday we started in the kitchen. Which is carrying on, into today!
We tackled two cupboards, the two tallest cupboards since Lee would be home helping me and he's much taller then I am (almost an entire Foot Taller to be exact).

This cupboard kind of makes me look like an horder, I can explain!! I LOVE white dishes!  They look fabulous in almost any setting. You can buy many different brands and patterns and from tons of different companies and they all match each other. And . . . well that's all I've got. Don't Judge me!! hehe

And this Cupboard keeps our everyday white dishes. It'is right above the dishwasher so it's easy to put dishes away.

Honestly, yesterday I went into the kitchen with the intention to start our spring cleaning and totally got sidetracked organizing the cupboards! But Today is when the real dirty work happens, unless I open another un-organized cabinet or you know, something shiney flys by. Just kidding!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

First Day of Spring!

It's officially SPRING!!!! I can't wait to get my BUM outdoors to add some much needed curb appeal :)
As well as, possibly, the worlds smallest vegetable garden and some other fun outside projects! More on those later ;)
But before any of that can happen we needs to do somes SPRING CLEANING!!
This week will be dedicated to this much anticipated, and much loved ritual! (loved by me at least).

Here's how Max likes to spend the First Day of Spring . . . . sleeping in the sun :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Flowers on Friday: Happy Bouquet!

You might have seen our little green guy yesterday on our St.Patrick's Day table!
When Lee brought him home he actually looked like this:
 Little happy face sticking out and all!!
He's made his way onto the living room Side Table (more on those next week). 
 He makes me smile when I see him, not the most discreet, elegant bouquet but oh so very cute.
Wishing everyone has a smiley face bouquet kind of weekend :)

We're actually posting this on Thursday Night, as we'll be partaking in a Bloggers Day of Silence.
We'll be sending our well wishes, prayers and a donation in the hopes of better days ahead for the people of Japan.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Shepard's Pie Recipe!

Here's our Shepard's Pie recipe! I'm a little embarrassed of it haha, my secret ingredient is Cream of Mushroom Soup. We use Amy's Brand Organic Cream of mushroom soup. We just pour it straight from the can into the pan. It's super simple.
If you choose to add mushrooms, add them with the onions at the beginning.
If you can't find ground buffalo, just replace with ground beef it's just as good!
Our recipe doesn't include instructions for making mashed potatoes, because everyone makes them different, so just make your favorite mashed potatoes and spread on to before you put it in the oven.
If you have any questions or can't read my handwriting :) just post a comment in the comment section and I'll be quick to answer!
Hope you like it, I put ketchup on mine, it's not terribly gourmet of me, but hey . . . it's good :)

Happy St.Patrick's Day: Table Setting!

Earlier this year we celebrated Chinese New Year, and that took care of half of my heritage. And today we're celebrating another part of my heritage. HAPPY ST.PATRICK'S DAY!
We aren't doing too much to celebrate tonight, just a couple of friends coming over for some Dinner!
On the menu:
-Shepard's Pie (*we make ours with ground buffalo, it has more nutritional value then ground beef, it's easier to digest and it's pretty darn yummy)
-Irish Soda Bread
-Old Fashioned Root Beer (for Me)
-A couple of Guiness Beers (for Lee)
-and Rainbow Cupcakes with green vanilla frosting for dessert!
If your not a big Beer drinker, try a Root Beer or Boylen's Creamy Red Birch Beer, made from Pure Cane Sugar :) Yum!!
If you follow us on Twitter or Facebook you might have read I spent yesterday sewing . . . Here are one set of the napkins I was sewing! I love light green fabric with the teeny tiny polka dots :)

Wishing everyone a super Joyful St.Patrick's Day! Sending The Luck of the IRISH your way!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tour the Main Floor of The Manor @ REMODELAHOLIC

I submitted the dining room to Remodelaholic last week, and was so happy when I saw an email from Cassity in my inbox a day later. I was even happier when I read that instead of a feature on a room in the house she wanted me to do a whole house tour!! Seeing as only the main floor is close to being done I wrote a main floor house tour post! Max even managed to sneak his way in :)
 So that's where we are today!
My name is Ashli and I am definitely a REMODELAHOLIC!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Simple Human Garbage Can of my Dreams . . . . Seriously did I just write that?

I know it sounds dramatic, a little over the top, maybe even a little crazy but I can't help it I'm in Love with a garbage can.

It's made by simple human and it's the most well thought out garbage can I've ever met. It's probably the most well thought our piece of kitchen equipment I've owned in a long time.
I'm not going to sugar coat it . . . it's expensive, capital EX capital PENSIVE. In fact this little guy almost reached a three digit price tag. But to be honest it's worth it!
Here's what I love:
- Finger proof Stainless I can't stand fingerprints on stainless, I'd rather have crumbs in my bed.
 - Slow close lid! You know how you open the lid (using the petal), and you take your foot off the petal and the lid smashes closed? This trash can doesn't do that it has a little hydraulic that slowly closes the lid after you take your foot off.
-the lid is hinged on the inside so you can push the can right against the wall and open it without the lid smacking into the wall.

Check out the video:

-There's a little red stopper button. If you want the lid to stay open, for example during a thanksgiving potato peeling marathon, you just slide the little red stopper over and voila you've freed up your hands and your foot.
 -It hides the garbage bag. I LOVE that you can't see the garbage bag hanging over the top.
-There is a little step inside the unit that holds the can up when your ready to put a new bag in.
-Simple Human makes bags specifically for their bins, they fit perfectly!

-But if you'd like to buy your own there is a little hole at the back of the can that you can tuck the excess garbage bag into.

I realize this sounds like an advertisement for Simple Human, But I can assure you that I am in NO WAY compensated for this post. I just thoroughly LOVE this garbage can!
There are also bigger versions, smaller versions and versions with built in recycling bins! There's a garbage can out there for everyone! I fully understand that it has an outrageous price tag, but I don't mind paying for perfection! haha Perfection in a garbage can . . . you know your a domestic when :)


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