Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day! And As Seen on Knock Off Decor!

Let's begin by saying happy Memorial Day!  I hope everyone gets a lot of family and friends time and some outdoor fun today.

"His Boots, Her Heels....Perfect Pair"
Isn't this beautiful!? I think it says so much for every military couple... 
My husband is in the military and today isn't just remembering those that have fought and lost their lives defending our country, but honoring every individual in the military and their support systems back home. I am very proud of my husband, he is strong, he is brave, and he is very important to this country, and to our family. 

What are you doing to celebrate today's Memorial Day?
Grilling? Gardening? Visiting museums? Being with friends and family?

Now to share my exciting news....my painted curtains have been featured AGAIN!

The amazing Knock Off Decor is featuring the tutorial today....
Never heard of this website before?  Well, it's a DIY'ers heaven for ideas and inspiration, and you must check it out now!

A big thank you to Beckie @ Knock Off Decor for picking my curtains to feature today! 





Hope everyone has a WONDERFUL Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mango Avocado Salsa, delicious!

I can be found in almost any room in the house working on projects EXCEPT for the Kitchen. The kitchen is one place I am lacking serious skills... let's just say when you ask J what he wants for dinner he is quick to say Mac & Cheese or pizza, as these are the Stephens staples for dinner.

However, I have a couple recipes for guacamole and salsa that I absolutely LOVE. I have made this salsa quite a few times and each time I make it differently, so it's pretty easy for you to make your own adaption to it.

I'll share with you the "original" recipe I made the first time I created it, but also will notate the changes I've made over the past year, and how it's made now.

2 Mangoes {Diced}
2 Avocados {Diced}
8 Slicing Tomatoes {Diced}
Jalapeno Pepper {Minced}
1 cup Cilantro
6 Garlic Cloves {Minced}
2 tsp Salt {I like to use Kosher Salt}
1/4 cup Lime Juice
1/2 cup Red Onion
1/4 cup + 2Tbl Olive Oil

{My side notes}
*When I can I use fresh Cilantro, but I have it in my spice rack for those times I'm a little too lazy to chop up the fresh stuff
*I only add jalapeno when my husband will be enjoying it too, otherwise I prefer no spice
*I sometimes use white onion if that's what I have on hand, red onion is pretty once in the salsa though
*I cut the recipe in half when making a smaller batch, {as I did for this one}
it still is enough for an afternoon of about 4 people.

Let's Begin
1. Dice the mango, avocado, and tomatoes,
and mince the jalapeno, cilantro, and garlic

Tip for cutting up Mango for salsa: Hold the Mango vertical, and cut off the 4 sides.
Then make vertical cuts through the mango up until the skin, and repeat with horizontal cuts.
Then push the skin forward making the mango pieces separate {like seen in picture}
then just take your knife and cut off the chunks as close to the skin as possible


I like making my tomato pieces pretty large, but it's really up to you the size you'd like!

2 .Combine all these ingredients in a bowl



3. Stir in salt, lime juice, red onion and olive oil.


4. Pair up with your favorite chips... and ENJOY!

{Refrigerate for about a half hour to really let the flavors mix}

Anyone else have easy to make favorite recipes that are great for summer? Please share! I always like new ideas

Friday, May 27, 2011

Jackson's corner {#1} and featured on Stephanie@home !

What a fantastic way to end my week by being mentioned on one of my favorite blogs! 
Stephanie@home is one of the blogs I landed on and within 5 seconds I knew I'd be following, and becoming obsessed with... she's amazing.
Well I'm honored enough to have my latest DIY project, the painted curtains mentioned on her blog for Good Find Friday!
{HAPPY DANCE!}
I just know I'm going to have a great Friday now!


So I wanted to ask...
Have you figured out the title of this blog yet?
PB&Jstories?
PB&J is the combination of my adorable little family {Pamela Billy & Jackson}, and the stories that come with us.
In 2008 my husband and I were blessed with the most amazing gift ever, our son Jackson Jude.  Well time has flown by and he's two and half now and every day gets better with him.  I honestly think every month I've thought to myself {now THIS is my favorite age!}. 
Since he is the heart of our family I want to do a weekly spot on him, posting pictures, telling stories, and perhaps sharing some struggles most mom's have, especially in the {terrible two} stage!  It always helps knowing other mothers and families are going through similar experiences.

For a reason {which you'll find out this weekend probably} I'll be sharing stories and lots of pictures of J to make you feel as you're spending your day with him too.

{Bye Momma, it's play time!}


 {Can you keep up with me?}

 {Mo, aka Monkey, J's very best friend}

{Boys will be boys}

{Swinging away.... apparently he knows how to pump?! The things I learn which he magically already knows how to do}


{HUGS}

{Some contemplation time}

J absolutely LOVES being outdoors, going on walks and being at the playground.  Sadly, during the week we rarely have the opportunity to go since it's rushing home from daycare/work, getting dinner on the table, bath time and off to bed.  But once in a while, I say to hell with routine, let's go get our feet and hands dirty and stay up late so we get some time having fun and playing together.

He makes every day better.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

In the spotlight

I  needed to take a couple a day off from the DIY projects and crafts to put my feet up.  I had numerous attempts at projects last weekend that all now have big red FAILS across them.
So, I'm taking a breather to recoup, reset, and refresh my system...
In the meantime a long time best friend of mine has captured some AMAZING pictures of a BEAUTIFUL family and I want to put both of them in the spotlight for some much deserved attention!

I have been lucky enough to know Ashley from AshleyJtyler Photography since I was in 6th grade.  This girl and I have gone through it all...getting caught passing notes in school, late night sleepovers, making up dances to Spice Girls, vacations, boyfriends, heart aches, some amazing birthday celebrations, and of course the birth of my son, her godson, and being Maid of Honor at my wedding.  We truly have gone through it all.
She started her photography business a few years ago, and has quickly become one of the greatest photographers I've seen!  She does it all; newborns, kiddos, families, engagements, and weddings.  You name it, she'll capture it.
I mean look at this girls talent!







Just beautiful.
She recently had a contest on her Facebook page for one lucky fan to win a free session!
The lucky winner just happened to be my sister in law and her adorable family!
I was so excited to see the pictures because I just knew they'd be fantastic.
And I was right!

{and again because it's so cute not too}

Courtney is my husbands sister, and her handsome and hysterical husband Ryan with their gorgeous daughter Amelia. 
Yaya {as J calls her} and Jackson are two weeks apart! That's right!  Her and I got to enjoy our first pregnancy right along with each other and have our first born kids so close in age has been truly an amazing experience.

The second half of my spotlight is on Courtney and Amelia.
Courtney and I both began blogs when our kids were born to let family and friends follow along with the changes, stories and pictures of our new kids.
I did it because my husband and I sadly had to move away from our family and friends almost immediately after J was born half across the country for our new duty station (life of the military).
Courtney did hers to keep a written memoir of the changes, memories, events, laughs, giggles and tears that she and her family were experiencing when Miss Amelia was too young to remember.  She has written a post almost every day "To Amelia" since she was born.
{Isn't that AMAZING!}
Every post begins with "Dear Amelia" and ends with "Love, Mom"
She's going to eventually hand it over to a company like Blog2Print and have every post she's written to Amelia made into a book to give to her. 
She will have a book with every moment of her childhood that she'll be able to treasure for the rest of her life.
{I tear up just picturing that moment of a mom handing something that special to her daughter}


I am one lucky lady to have some amazing and talented people in my life.
Enjoy the spotlight ladies! You deserve it!


Monday, May 23, 2011

DIY Painted Curtains {Tutorial}

Here is the tutorial for my painted curtains!
 
 I apologize for the lack of light in these pictures: downside of working after the little one goes to bed, no natural light coming indoors.

Materials Needed:
*Acrylic paint
*Fabric Medium paint {helps the paint adhere to fabric}
*Roller brush {I also used a stencil dabber at certain parts}
*Curtains of your choice
*Stencil
*Blue painters tape {or any preference of tape}
*Drop cloth or something to lay under your curtain

Let's Begin!
PREP PREP PREP!

It may take a few minutes extra, but taking the time to prep and be sure you have everything secured down will help eliminate any errors.
I taped down the drop cloth so it wouldn't move and cause problems, and also taped down the curtain to prevent any slipping while I was moving the stencil around.



I bought my stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils and I LOVED the high quality and ease it made stenciling.  I figure the investment for the stencil was worth it since I was saving money doing it myself anyways.

Let's Paint!

 Fabric Medium is the secret to painting on fabric.  You can buy it at Micheal's or almost any craft store.  It helps keep the paint softer and adheres to the fabric better than if you attempted to paint directly to fabric without the medium.  I just mixed the two together, and if you're using paint with color, it doesn't effect the result of the color either which is great.



I used a stencil dabber {see the paint tray for example} in the beginning because the grommets made the stencil elevate off the fabric a little, and I wanted to be extra careful.  Using a dabber takes a VERY long time... so after about two rows when the stencil was more flat I used a soft roller {as pictured in Materials needed}.
After the first section was complete, it was ready to take a peak and see if it had worked... or if my attempt was complete failure.

Moment of truth.....

It worked!

Now it was time to move the stencil to the next section....simply {and very carefully} lift the stencil off the curtain and move to the new section to be painted.  Remember to be sure to pay attention to the design and realign it correctly so there's no gaps, or changes in the stencil design. 


As you can see here, I needed to lay the stencil back over a partly painted area to make the pattern continuous for the 3rd and 4th section.  Just be sure to take your time and pay attention to the details.  


Once your all done... sit back and look at your first completed panel. {HAPPY DANCE}
And trust me... I did my happy dance for a long time!

I just let mine air dry for about three hours, but a tip on the fabric medium is to use a blow dryer on the back side of the fabric that you painted on to speed up drying time.  I envisioned myself attempting to pick up the curtain and blow drying it and all I saw was a disaster so I let it be.. and patiently waited for it to completely dry. 

Overall from prep to clean up one panel took about two hours (plus three more hours of drying) so plan ahead and be patient!  It's a long project, especially depending on how many panels you have but the results are fantastic!

Hope the tutorial works for you and please, please let me know if you paint your own curtains!  Link back to me with your post about your curtains, or even send me an email with pictures!


Happy painting!

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

DIY Painted Curtains

I could not be anymore excited about my new painted curtains!

Inspiration:

I instantly loved these curtains when I saw them in the West Elm catalog.
However what I did not love was the price tag....


I'd need the 84" ones... and need 4 panels, putting a total price tag {even on sale} over $200

So I began searching like crazy for a stencil that I could use to make my own.
However, 99% of the stencils I came across that was this design was the reversed image of what I wanted.  I already had two sets of blue/grey curtains, and I wanted the main color to be that, and then the design to be white.  If you search for Moroccan trellis stencils you'll see a majority of them like this...

Where the part you paint are the large medallions.

I FINALLY came across the stencil I wanted 
{@ Cutting Edge Stencils shop on Etsy}
I was hesitant at first to purchase the stencil because of the cost, and I was initially convinced I could create something using my Cricut. 
I ended up deciding to just purchase the stencil, and glad I did because it's extremely high quality and am loving the results!

Tutorial to come... but for now, just drool over my BEAUTIFUL new curtains!

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Friday Nights

It wasn't too many years ago that my Friday nights were all about going out with the girls, getting dressed up, having cocktails and enjoying the downtown scene. 
Now my nights are about resting, DIY projects, blog reading, catching up on DVR shows, and a glass full of wine.
I realized tonight as I was getting ready to sit in the Princess chair
that these things make me giddy now...
My princess chair, with lap top ready to go
The magazines I get by mail, West Elm being the one I truly do my happy dance over.
{Seriously, I get WAYYY too excited over these magazines}

My Google reader up and ready to go, with some DVR shows.

I'm more than okay with that though. 
I like my Friday nights.
These kind of Friday nights mean  I'm now experiencing happy moments during the day like these...

{Waking up to J at my bedside}
{Laughs and giggles between Daddy and son}
{Walks with J, and moments of cheering up}

{Splishes and Splashes in the bath}

My heart is so full of love from my little family.
We really are the perfect combo, just as the original PB&J
 
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