Welcome to Southern Comfort!

Hi, I'm Elizabeth and I invite you to grab a glass of sweet tea and join me as I (along with my husband, John) renovate our love nest. We're both born and raised in the south and love to share with you some of our favorite recipes, stories and our life. We hope you'll come back often!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 In Review

They always say that hind-sight is 20/20. After the year we've had, I can definately say this is a very true statement. Let me show you some examples.

In February, John surprised me with this:

From that VERY moment all the way through October 3, all I did was plan, plan, plan. I ate, drank, slept and dreampt our wedding. All the thoughts, ideas and dreams I have had since I was a little girl could now come true! I can be a princess!

::::::record ripping::::::::

Reality strikes again! Our wedding was beautiful. Lovely. Romantic. But behind the scenes it nearly killed me. Seriously. I've always struggled with high anxiety. Even this very moment as I type and remember this time in my life I am shaking my foot. Uncontrollably. While planning our wedding my Dr. had to not only UP my anxiety meds but had to put me on Valium. No kidding. My hair was falling out at a rapid pace, nausea, dysphasia, the shakes, and a very lovely rash down my legs that left me looking like I was being hit by large objects. It was horrible. Even as I sat down not too long ago to write Christmas cards it brought back memories of writing my thank-you notes from the wedding which triggered another anxiety attack. It happened again when I got our wedding pictures back and as I browsed through them I could feel the shakes coming along. I couldn't really look at them for several weeks. Luckily, I'm over that now. :)

After we became engaged. We decided to buy a house. We were living in an apartment in Raleigh for nearly 2 years and decided that we really wanted a place to call our own. A place for the dog to run, a pretty garden to grow herbs and a large kitchen for me to cook up lots of yummies. Since it is a buyers market, we really couldn't afford to let the opportunity go by, so we took the plunge into debt and bought this:

Along with this, came LOTS of updating. We did get a large yard for the dog to run (but won't use it unless we are out there with her). No garden. Another work in progress. Maybe next year. We did get that large kitchen that you can check out in this post, but we had to get it into the 21st Century first. I've learned that NOTHING comes without a price tag. We've been living there now for 4 months and we LOVE our house. It certainly isn't the way we want it.. yet. But we are continuously working on it. Otherwise what's the point of the blog?

Along with the HUGE things that happened in our life this year, LOTS of other fun things happened too:

  • John's Best friend, Jason, got married in June
  • My best friend, Amanda, got married in July
  • A very old friend of the family, Shirley, also got married in July
  • Ryan, another friend of John's got married in November
  • My baby sister, Annie and her husband, Bryan bought a house in December
  • John and I found out we are to be an Aunt and Uncle come May 2010

We had Tons to celebrate this year and we are so blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives! Here's to 2009 and all the craziness.

***We did learn a very important lesson: NEVER EVER EVER buy a new house and get married in the same year. And If... IF you ever do, NEVER do the two in less than 2 months from one another. EVER!***

We are hoping (keepingourfingerscrossedandpraying) for 2010 to be a much calmer year!
So From our champagne glass to yours, Happy New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Around the House

So I promised that I would share with you our Christmas decorations. Even though it's after the fact, our decorations are still up and we continue to enjoy them. They will stay up until after New Years, maybe Epiphany.

All my life I've always had a real christmas tree. My parents are "real" tree people. Must be because they grew up in the 60's. Or because they are nature enthusiasts, or tree-huggers, or they just like the smell. Anyways, after all these years of having real trees for Christmas- it stuck. But not just for me, all of their children are real tree people too.

Last year our tree was whimpy. It was barely 5 feet tall. Sure it smelled good, made our apartment pretty, but it wasn't a gorgeous tree. I love a BIG, TALL, Handsome tree. That takes up 1/4 of the room. So THIS year was the year. Now that we have our house. With 8 foot ceilings. Perfect for a big tree. I could just picture it. All sparkley and bright at night, with presents and a kitty. Wait. A kitty? Oh, what-the-heck, sure Pickles can enjoy the tree (again) too. She climbs, and sits in the branches. Cute. We have to put all the nice ornaments at the top so she doesn't gnaw on them. Or sit on them. Hehe.

So here is our tree this year:

I just LOVE it. John and I spent one evening together putting the tree up and decorating it. I can't imagine not having him help with it too. Christmas is such a jolly time that I can't be the only one enjoying it! It gives us a project to do together and we have fun remembering which ornaments we got from where. I love the combination of the clear and colored lights (I always thought of myself as a white-light kind of girl, but I am growing to love the combination on the Christmas tree) I love sitting in the dark with just the christmas lights on. Enjoying the splendor of the season. I don't want to take it down. E.V.E.R.

Here are a few other Christmas decorations we have around the house. Enjoy!

The Living Room:

The Foyer:

The Mantle:

The front porch:

The Back Porch:

Do you have any special area of your house you love decorating for Christmas?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holiday Joy

Since next week I am probably going to be pretty busy buying last minute gifts umm, I mean enjoying Christmas time, I thought I would talk about all the things that mean the most to me this time of year.
Remember my thanksgiving post here about what I loved for Thanksgiving? Well, the same is set for Christmas except for one thing: baking.

It must be in our Scottish blood for the ladies to bake at Christmas. All day (unless we're at work) Every day. Up until baby J's b-day. For YEARS we have sucked our friends and neighbors in on the baking action too. The Purser house (and now my own too) smells of cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, spices and Christmas tree all season long. And believe me, you won't hear the Hubbs complain. Especially when the peanut butter is pulled out for a recipe. Oh no-sir-ee. I swear he has a peanut butter detector. He practically wiggles with the thought of warm peanut butter-y goodness in his mouth. Sometimes there's drool. Sometimes. Hehe.

Needless to say, our house is filled to the gills with yummies. And everyone knows yummies = people. It's like the movie Field of Dreams "if you build it, they will come". Well, "if you bake it, they will find a way to your house and eat it all!"

I love the fact that my mom taught her daughters how to bake. I love that I can satisfy my husband  in the kitchen (no, not like that sicko). I want to teach my children all the recipes that have been handed down to me from my Grandma and I want my house to be filled with laughter, children and fun just like mine was growing up. Christmas brings all that back. All the sleepovers, the pillowfights, practical jokes, present wrapping, and Christmas light stringing and of course the magic of Christmas.

This post is dedicated to my sister, Annie. For all the wonderful times at home growing up. And for all the special memories we will make with our own families - just in time to celebrate Jesus' Birthday.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Oh Christmas Wreath!

Remember back in this post. When I skipped my Take Me Thursday because I was too busy on another project. Well, this is the project I've been dying to share with you!
When I spotted this wreath on Eddie Ross' blog I KNEW I HAD to have it. Likegottahaveitnow- had.to.have.it.
So, I put on my big-girl undies and got to work. Since Eddie was nice enough to teach us all how to put this wreath together I knew the guess work wouldn't be too bad. Let me clarify something in his instructions. Do what the man said. Don't skip corners. I did. And it showed. I decided NOT to glue all the heads onto my ornaments and after stringing about 30 or so balls (hehe) they were popping out everywhere like Tiger Woods girlfriends! For the love of golf people, please glue your balls together. :)

So I gathered my materials:

And made a circle.

And after stringing my Christmas balls (teehehe balls) I got this:

After about 10 minutes I had a complete wreath! Just in time for Dinner. I added the bow later when I was ready to hang it. I love how whimsy it is and it adds so much color to our back door. I am in L.O.V.E. It's been hanging on our door (the one we use ALL the time) for over 3 weeks now and no problems! Victory!

Our doors are metal at our house (gack!). So I had to get creative when it came to actually hanging the wreath. Enter 3M. Saved my day. I bought a simple pack of 2 hooks that where white. But white against our blue door would stand out like Lil' Kim at the grammy's. So I colored it with a black Sharpie. You can't even tell it's there! This is how I hung it:


More Views:

I love pulling in the driveway now. It greets me every evening glowing from the porch light. Sigh.
So now...
I want to do one in silver for New Years, one in pastels for Easter, one in greens for St. Patricks day.. you see where I am going. Love I tell ya. What colors would you use?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas DIY Projects

With Christmas looming just around the bend I wanted to share a project or two with you. I am all about some DIY and homemade gifts and this one is one of the best I've seen! Kate, over at Centsational Girl has come up with the most awesome gifts. This is my first time ever having a guest on my blog. So please let me know what you think! Enjoy!

Kate, I leave it to you:

I started working on this idea a few weeks ago, and finally got around to finishing up this little experiment of mine just the other day. I wanted to create some original candles with plain glass containers and soy wax for the holidays and to give as gifts. Here is the first of the four candles I created. This version has a cranberry tinted soy wax inside a plain glass oval container – it is painted and embellished with a glittery seasonal message.

Supplies: plain glass heat safe container, microwavable soy wax, chip board letters (or stickers), pre-waxed wick, frosted glass spray paint, white spray paint, glue stick, painter’s tape, glitter.

Step One: Attach chip board letters with just enough glue from a glue stick to keep them in place. You could also use stickers or Cricut letters here. Anything goes!
Cover the top of glass with painter’s tape (or simply turn it upside down) and spray with two coats of frosted glass spray paint. Allow to dry for 30 minutes in between coats.
Note: Most ordinary colored spray paint’s are not designed for glass, but frosted glass spray paint is, therefore it acts as a good primer for any subsequent colored spray paint you choose.

Step Two: Once your two coats of frosted glass paint are dry, spray paint your color coat of choice (I used what I had from my stockpile: Rustoleum’s Heirloom White). After you’ve sprayed your glass with your colored spray paint, sprinkle glitter into the paint while the paint is still wet.

Step Three: Remove chipboard letters.
Melt your microwavable soy wax in the microwave and add any colored tint you choose.
If you want to have a white wax but colored letters underneath, then use colored paint designed for glass to paint the inside of the glass before you add your white wax.
Remove your letters and scrape away any residue from the glue stick or paint with a small flathead screwdriver or similar tool.
** You’ll notice the wax is already in the candle – I actually chose to paint it white after I filled it with wax, but I recommend doing the wax last, after you paint.
Step Four: Melt your microwavable soy wax in a microwave safe glass container (like a Pyrex measuring cup) about 2 to 3 cups at a time. Add tint, then pour into heat safe glass container with a wick. Use a chopstick or similar tool to support your wick as your candle cools.

Once your wax is cooled and your paint and glitter have dried, your candle will look like this.

You can do your own version with “Joy” or “Noel” or “Merry” or “Bah Humbug” or whatever you like. Imagine making this with someone’s name, wouldn’t that be charming ? It would look so pretty with pale blue or green tinted wax too, especially next to the glittery surround.
This next candle was another experiment creating a painted monogram and filling a plain glass container with golden tinted wax.

Supplies: plain circular glass container, microwavable soy wax, stickers, frosted glass spray paint, bronze spray paint.

To create this candle, attach stickers of choice to a glass candle holder, then spray with two coats of frosted glass spray paint. Again, the frosted glass paint acts as a primer for your color coat because frosted glass spray paint is designed to adhere to glass, whereas most colored spray paints are not.
Although, I must say, I’ve never tried to use regular Rustoleum spray paint on glass, so I’m not sure how well it sticks to glass without the frosted glass paint underneath. Anyone know ?
After the frosted glass paint was dry, I painted the candle with another color I had on hand, Rustoleum’s Antique Bronze. Tip: When removing your stickers peel away very carefully so that your color coat does not peel off the glass with your stickers.

Melt your soy wax in the microwave. Add any color you want to tint it beyond its white color.
There are plenty of dyes available. I used the liquid red for the “wish” candle and the stick version for the monogram candle.
You can also add scent – I used some lavender essential oil I already had to the melted wax before it solidified.

Allow your wax to cool, then tie it with a pretty ribbon and give it to a friend. Or make one as a gift for yourself, as I did in this case!

“Merry Christmas Kate!”

This next candle was made with an antique tea cup and saucer. My sister-in-law adores Victorian style tea cups, and she loves candles too. So I picked up this antique German tea cup (although it is 12 ounces, so it’s more like a coffee cup) at the Antique Fair.

She will love this sweet floral design.

I pulled this idea right out of the Cambria Cove catalog – their tea cup and saucer candles cost $50 dollars. Yikes ! This version only cost $5 dollars for the antique cup and saucer, and a few dollars for the soy wax and wick to fill it.

Here’s the snapshot from Cambria Cove – I just love this novel idea, without the price tag.

Image: Cambria Cove

I wrapped it in cellophane and ribbon for an original Christmas present just for my sister-in-law. Hope she doesn’t read this before Christmas… oops ! Isn’t this a charming idea for tea cups and saucers? What a great gift for bridesmaids or teachers or any other special lady. And so unbelievably easy to make !

I have a girlfriend who loves jewel tones, so I found this amethyst colored glass candle on clearance at a local store – it already had the scented wax in it, so I attached a big letter sticker to the glass, then I spray painted it with frosted glass, and added glitter while the frosted glass paint was still wet.

The frosted glass paint works just as well as a spray adhesive to keep the glitter in place.
So easy!

Then I wrapped it up in cellophane and ribbons, and will be giving it as a hostess gift next week.
Pretty cute and easy peasy. These would make great gifts for teachers too!
That’s the latest of my experiments with frosted glass spray paints and glitter. . . I especially love the tea cup and saucer creations – wouldn’t they be so elegant at a tea party, or as place card gifts at a bridal shower ?

Wow. I just love these! Don't you?!?
Thanks Kate for letting us see your beautiful gifts. Hopefully you got someone out there dying to make some too! I know I plan to :)

Ladies, you MUST stay tuned to SC because coming up soon is everything Christmas! Wahoooo!

Friday, December 11, 2009

All I Want For Christmas...

All I want for Christmas? Let me think.
I don't know about you, but I have the HARDEST time coming up with things I want. I can always find things that I like, but when I get to thinking about things that I really want as a gift. I'm clueless. I have to think. Hard. For days. It's almost like I'm thinking to myself:
I really want that, but I don't have the money to buy something that is of no use other than to be pretty in my house. And if I don't have the money, then why should I ask you to get it for me for Christmas?
Do you ever think that way? Gets me every time. Then, the other thing I think about is:
If I really want something it would be a Lowe's gift card so I can try and get some more projects accomplished around the house. But gift cards are so impersonal.
So, once again. I am left with the question: What do I want for Christmas?
This year I've tried to make it a little easier. Over the past few weeks I've been thinking about items that I want/need. No guess work. Makes for a very happy husband and an even happier wife. :) No arguments or drama this Christmas folks!

A kitchen trashcan. I know, classy right? We put it on our wedding registry and never got it, so I'm putting it on my Christmas list instead. We need a new one. B.A.D. The one we are using now is from when John and I were at WCU. It has lived a long (and beer filled) life in Harrill dorm, the big house on the hill, our apartment, and now our house. It's time. to. go.
So here is our lovely:

Some fiberglass plant urns for our front porch. I need some yard decorations badly. John is not one to get out there and do more than the necessary amount of yard work. So it's up to me to make it pretty. And I think these will do quite nicely flanking our front door. Maybe some beautiful ferns in the spring/summer? I can think of many possibilities. What do you think?

A new watch. John has no clue that I even want a new one. But I've been thinking about if for some time now and its time to get another one that's a little more dressy and substantial. The one I have now was a gift from my parents when I graduated college. So if I don't get it, I'll be ok. Just a thought.

I reallyreallyreallyprettypleasewithacherryontop want one of these:

Aaaah. A way to keep all my music in one place. No more CD's flying around my car as I take turns and they come whipping out of the visor holder! No more digging, stretching into the back seat or fumbling around. No more, no more, no more!

And lastly, anything home improvement related. A nail gun (ooooh the projects!).

A miter saw (for all the bead-board and moulding projects I can handle!)

A jig saw (we are planning a HUGE reno next year, and this guy will come in VERY handy to get something removed from the room.) . Heck, even donating your time to help work on Casa-de-Early. :)

So that's what I've come up with. So far. What do you think? Anything you would add? Of course I will never in a thousand dreams think I will get all this stuff, but hey, a girl can dream right? And don't think that Mr. S.C. doesn't have a pretty long list himself this year! But I am certain we will have a lovely 1st married Christmas together sitting by the fireplace opening our gifts. I am super excited.
Thoughts, opinions, suggestions, comments or complaints can be left below. I read EVERY one of them and love to respond to you!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Living Room Before & After (we moved in)

This particular room has seen a lot of changes since we moved in. Remember when I posted about our kitchen in this post that our entire house was decorated like oatmeal. Well, this room was no exception. In one word: Brown.

This is it when we bought the house:

And this is it the day we moved in: I had originally thought I wanted to change the accessory color to cool blues, but it just wasnt working in there so I stayed with the warm tones I already had.

So in an effort to bring some life to our new little house, I decided to go with another shade (dont laugh) of brown. Its a very nice color. Really. I promise. It looks even better now that we got all the trim painted a bright white to contrast. Here are the newest photos since we put our christmas tree up last night.

 There are still plenty of things I want to do to this room.
For starters:

  • I desperately want to paint the mantle to match the trim. This is an area of eggshell-walking with John because (shocker) guys like brown. On wood. Its a man thing, that I cant describe. No matter how much I try to convince him that its outdated and ugly. One day he will come home to find the mantle a new shade to match. Sorry honey... kinda.
  • The beige carpet is leaving. Gone. As soon as this spring comes its leaving. In its place will be beautiful hardwoods. I can't wait. I am hoping to get them to go up the stairs as well. We'll see what the budget allows.
  • An area rug. Large enough to cover a good portion of the room, but not so large that you can't appreciate the new floors. But I want something so that when I or guests are sitting on the couch we wont get cold feet. I can't have cold feet. Uck. We have a large coffee table, so I'll have to work around that. I haven't found one for the price I like (which tends to be free). So it will wait.
  • I want to re-stain the banister. Like a rich walnut, or espresso. Deep, deep brown. Getting rid of the oak stain.
  • Curtains of some type. I've tried several different types there and I just cant seem to find some that I really like yet. Valance? Panels? I need opinions. Please feel free to leave them!

So Yes, our living room has seen some changes since we moved in. But there will be plenty more coming down the road! Stay Tuned to see what happens!
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