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!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Pickle Anyone?

A Trouble-Maker

A few days ago I introduced our oldest child Maggie May. You can see how she fulfills our household here. But Maggie isn't the only fuzzy-wuzzy to keep our feet warm at night. Oh, no. Maggie has a younger sister. A younger, but feline sister named Pickles.
Yes, I know. A ridiculous name. Which is why she is mostly referred to as Lil' Pickle. Our gerkin. The "Gray One". Sometimes sweet. Always spicy.

Lil' Pickle chose us as her family on April 5, 2008. She was only 5 1/2 weeks old and caaaute! Her fur stood up on end all the time like she had just stuck her paw in a light socket. An adorable, fit-in-your-pocket, little fuzz-ball. At first she liked to be held, liked to be carried around and enjoyed your company. Now, she just likes your company for you to watch her get in trouble. A devil child I tell you. :)

This was their first meeting. John was terrified Maggie was going to eat her for the first 2 months. Oh, if we only knew then what we know now.

Pickle LOVES her sister. Follows her everywhere. If you noticed in the previous blog that Maggie follows ME everywhere, well, same is true for Pickles and Maggie. So if I need to go to the bathroom, I get an audience. Really. Heaven forbid John and I happen to be in the bathroom at the same time (it's ok, we're married). The ENTIRE family is in this one little space. Anyways, Maggie is Pickles' preferred toy. She will wait behind doors, table legs, furniture etc. for Maggie to walk by and acost her. Scares the mess out of Maggie, poor dear. Pickle thinks this is the best thing EVER and will attach herself to Maggie's fluffy tail and treat it like a separate animal for her enjoyment. Maggie really is a great sport. If it were me, I'd be doing circles to get that fuzzy critter off my behind!

Lil' Pickle prefers to play with John of the two of us. She sees him as a big toy to chew on, scratch, bat at, or provoke. Pickle, will NOT play with me. I've tried. I will pull out her *favorite* toys and she will just look at me blankly. I can just see her saying "mom, please.". Seriously.
She will only come to me if she wants a cuddle. If I am lying on the couch or in bed... and there's nothing better to do, I might get a little visit. She will nestle on my chest and purr. Drives John crazy. He wants for her to love on him so badly. He gets so jealous. This is about as close as its come:


If our human children tend to be ANYTHING like this one, John and I are (and I mean it) SKA-REWED! Lord help us.  
See what I mean?
eats all her food at one time


Believes she can fit IN anything.


Yes, that's our christmas tree stand.



  
But she is our sweetie. And we love her.

Our Lil' Pickle

Monday, January 25, 2010

House Of Wax

Do you remember Christmas? It was about a month ago. I know, it seems like forever ago right? It sure does to us.
Well, after all the presents had ben unwrapped, the food demolished, a movie watched and the kids fed we decided to head off to bed. Oh, but don't think we went to sleep. We are notorious for lounging in bed watching t.v., eating snacks (gasp!) and cuddling before lights out. This year, on this lovely Christmas night we decided to talk about our favorite things about Christmas (read: enjoy being newlyweds on our first Christmas together. wink wink.).


As it was getting late and time to turn in for the night I went to blow out the candle. Said candle was sitting up high on our dresser and since I am short, I picked it up to blow it out. Apparently, I am not the most stable handed person (thank God I'm no surgeon) and instead of blowing out the candle, I spilledl hot wax ALL OVER me, the dresser, the carpet and down John's bare chest (luckily he had pants on!). How I did that I'll never know.  Do you know how hard it is to get wax out of chest hair!?!? We found out. Very hard, with lots of hair pulling.
Crap. Crap. Crap.
How the heck am I going to get my nightshirt clean?


can you see the wax?

Enter google. God love google search.
In order to get melted wax out of clothes (or linens, tablecloths, napkins etc) this method works. Like really works.
Materials:
Iron, Ironing board, paper bag (cut in 2 pieces), items(s) with Wax
First of all, let the wax DRY.


Then lay your garment on the ironing board so the wax is face up. Let your iron come up to med/high heat. Taking your paper bag, lay one piece under the garment and one piece on top, being sure to cover the wax. Iron as usual over the bag and the wax will absorb into the paper.




See? It's working!


I was skeptical about this when I first read it. But I wasn't willing to let go of my favorite nightshirt. So I figured, why not. I'll give it a try. And sure enough, it worked like a charm! I threw it in the wash and viola! You'd never know that sticky, gooey waxy mess was ever there.

So after a laugh at ourselves, we were able to put it all behind us. Needless to say, I've been taken off candle duty at our house. :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

DIY Paint Party!

Welcome! If you are here from Frugal Home Ideas, thanks for joining the fun! And if you are here to see what I've been up to, I'm glad to have you back!





So this is my first time joining in on a "Paint Party" so I'm not 100% sure what to post about other than my favorite colors and types of paint we've been using in our house. So I welcome comments, good, bad or indifferent so I know where I stand. Without further adieu here goes:


All our colors are from Valspar. (I am in no way being paid to make that statement, we simply like the product). We love how well it covers, and is easy to work with. Of course, a lot of credit also goes to using quality tools to get the job done too. Yeah.

When we bought our house last summer, it was very important for me to choose paint colors that would reflect both our personalities throughout our house as well as keeping in tone with the 21st century. This house was stuck in the 80's and in desperate need of a makeover. We were eager to oblige.
Our first project was the kitchen. It needed to be bright, but not overdone. It needed to be fun and a color that would easily match with different decor (holidays, birthday parties etc) and colors. We chose the color Lighthouse Shadows. We think it works nicely.







 

The next room is our master. Located right off the kitchen, we wanted the room colors to look good next to one another and not like Pee-Wee Hermon's Playhouse. So we chose muted Polished Silver to keep nerves calm and a retreat like feeling for our suite. Do you think we did the room well?































Our living room is a work in progress. Back when I chose the color for this room I wanted it to feel warm. Cozy. Inviting. The color is fine, and since we have completed all the trim in the room to turn it from 80's orange polyeurathane into crisp white it really makes the wall color pop. It's color is Hopsack and once we finish the downstairs completely we will carry the color upstairs and into the hallway. The only thing that really bothers me about this space now, it fireplace surround. I want to paint it white to brighten the room, but the hubs wants the wood grain. We are stuck. That's where you all come in...What would you do?



Sorry, we haven't taken anymore pictures of the room since Christmas.
Since I have been posting on the blog, I've NEVER shown y'all our upstairs. I am ashamed of it. It's dark. It's gloomy. It's NOT BEEN TOUCHED since we moved in. Not ONE. SINGLE. IMPROVEMENT. And now, since we are soclosetothefinishline with the downstairs, I have begun thinking about colors for the upstairs rooms. The guest room is "my" room. My room to craft, play, nap, read. My retreat. It will one day be a nursery, when we get there. So I want to paint it a color that can easily step into a nursery. I have my eye on this color:Lavender Moon.

This is not a picture of the room (those are coming soon, so stay tuned). These are a sample color of the room from Valspar's website.





The office is the largest bedroom of the house. It is also the cats playroom, and John's room. I told him he can do anything in there he wants. It's the MAN room of our house. He wants to paint it blue since it is his favorite color. The name of the color is peek-a-boo blue.




I would like to be finished with all the painting through the house by the end of the summer. I'm not saying it will happen, but it's a more realistic timeline that I can live with. And of course, all 5 of you will be on the journey with us. :)

So what do y'all think? Are we doing a good job with our paint selections? What do we do about the mantle? Any tips or tricks you have for us? We'd love to hear from YOU!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Kitchen Cleaning Tips

For all of you here from TDC, Welcome, For all my other readers, Welcome!


Sit down with me as I tell you about some of my favorite tips for keeping the newlywed nest clean(er).
I am going to focus on my kitchen today because it easily gets the gross-est the quickest in our house. Between the dog coming in (and going out) there are always puppy prints to follow up after, a husband who thinks any counterspace is his own to claim for electronic equipment, and a kitty who leaves her toys lying around for me to break my neck on, there's always SOMETHING to clean up.
So here's how I deal:
First of all, I remove all clutter. The toys, the electronics, the bills.. you name it, it has to go. This is how our kitchen looks on a regular basis (I know, I'm not proud). Just keepin' it real guys.





Then I PUT AWAY all the dishes that are clean. Unload the dishwasher, empty the dish drain, put any dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Ahh.. that feels better already doesn't it?

Ok, now we can get started.
Lets gather the supplies that will get our job done best:
  • First things first, Magic Erasers
  • All purpose cleaner (I like Clorox Green Works) because it's organic and I can use it all over the place
  • Clorox -10/1 diluted solution, I use an old spray bottle
  • Brillo pads

Always start with the countertops first. Start at the top and work down towards the floor. This is true for any room (dust before you vacuum etc).  I like to take everything off and really clean with my magic eraser dipped in some all-purpose clorox cleaner. This little guy will take off most any gunk, grime, stain or baked on goo. If in the case you have a stubborn stain, just use a little bit of your colorox 10/1 solution and it will be gone. Presto!

To clean the stove top (we have a glass ceramic stove)
I have NEVER had good luck with the cleaners that prove to clean up the messes left behind. So I came up with my own little way of cleaning it up and it works.
I take a brillo pad wet it a little bit and scrub out all the boiled on mess. Yes, it will leave a film, just let it set on there and dry. I come back in a couple minutes with a dry kitchen towel and buff it all away. Works like a charm every time. I was worried the first time I tried it that I would end up scratching the surface, but after having our stove for 6 months and cleaning it like this every week, it still looks brand new. Awesome. :)
For extra shine, I take a window cleaner to the surface and boy does that make it SHINE!


Lastly, the kitchen sink. The grossest part of the kitchen. I am a germ-a-phobe so I take the sink pretty seriously. First, fill the *empty* sink with HOT water. Like hot, hot water. Then pour in a little (about a 1/4 cup) of clorox. Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes. Don't touch. Just let it sit.  After time's up, just let the water go down the drain (I use tongs to pull the stopper out). The clorox will disinfect your drain and disposer as it drains. Voila. Clean sink.

Now it's time for a cocktail and to sit down and stare at my clean room. At least, for the next 20 minutes. And since we all LOVE a before and after:

Before:



After:




And since I can't get the hubs to move the computer equipment until tomorow when he goes to work:
Here it stays.



So thats the skinny on how I keep my kitchen clean. What about you? Anything you have a tip about that you'd like to share? I'm always looking for great cleaning advice! Leave your comment below.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Divine Ms. M!

Our First Born: Maggie May




Maggie was a Loooong time coming. I always lived in a house with at least 1 dog. Dogs have always been a part of my life and in turn I make them a part of mine. Living in college was the hardest time of my life because living in a dorm, you aren't allowed to have a dog. I made it through 4 looooong dog-less years. I still can't believe it did it.
So for graduation, Mom and Dad decided it was time for me to have a dog of my own. I did all the research and found a rescue that I wanted to adopt, and Mom and Dad would buy her for me.
I have a soft spot in my heart for rescues. I love pure-breds, but I love knowing that I gave a dog a home that wouldn't have had one. I had it set in my mind that I wanted an Australian Shepherd. I had grown up with one and they are such smart animals, I really wanted to own one of my own. One day I was looking on a site that I had crossed before, but hadn't seen anything that really caught my eye.. until that day. A litter of "Australian Shepherd" pups had just arrived. Mom and her litter of 10 had just arrived a few days prior and were ready to be adopted.


This is the picture on the website that made me fall in love with her at first sight!



She came to live with me at 7 1/2 weeks. A little bear cub!



Maggie is now almost 4 years old. Her birthday is May 1 (hence her middle name is May). She has grown into a beautiful young lady. She is still called "little bear" by my parents who LOVE her. They try and steal her. I occasionally let her go stay with her Grandparents every once and a while. The only thing that didn't work out with Maggie is that she is NOT an Australian Shepherd. After she was about 6 months old, I started looking for signs she was a herder. She never tried to nip at my heels, she never tried to "herd" the family into the same room. She never even fetched a ball (her cousin, Kanyun, the Golden Retriever, had to teach her). So I started questioning her heritage. After her 1 year appt. with the vet, it was confirmed that Maggie was not an Aussie. She is a mix breed of a Keeshond and possibly a Schipperke. Both bread in COLD areas of the world (like Antartica) as companions for fishermen. Which explains why she LOVES the beach and water (she even has her own life jacket!).



Maggie's past-times include:
  • Chasing her Kong in the backyard
  • Eating
  • Sleeping
  • Drooling
  • Keeping Pickles from attacking her
  • Playing with her "duck" around the living room
  • Watchdog
  • Swimming, Swimming, Swimming




Maggie Loves:
  • Her Momma, follows me EVERYWHERE (even to the bathroom)
  • Her ears rubbed.. she Moo's (groans)  if you do it right ;)
  • To lay on your lap. She believes she is the size of the cat.
  • Food!
  • Her sister, Pickles, but would NEVER tell you.
  • Swimming
  • Fishing
  • Giving Kisses!


Maggie's Nicknames:
  • Maggers
  • Bear
  • The Moo-Moo (because she moo's)
  • Lover Girl
  • Fuzzy Wuzzy
We adore our little fuzzy family!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hanging on a ledge

Our bedroom has seen some serious changes since we moved in. First it looked like this:



Wowza.

 Then we painted it gray and lived like that for a while. Then we decided to paint the trim. Which brought the entire room together. Like Sonny and Cher or Burt and Ernie or Tom and Jerry. Take your pick. But I'm not here to talk about partners, not when I can talk about paint! So here's what it looked like after the paint job:









Anyways,  Then there was a realization. One wall was COMEPLETELY blank. I would stare at it at night thinking, what the heck can I put there.
So I was in Marshalls not too long ago and came across some awesome display shelves. There was my inspiration. Staring back at me. I knew I. Had. To. Have. Them. There were only 2 left and they didn't match. I dug, searched and made people stare at me like a frantic crazy lady. I think it worked because one lady was beginning to eye my shelves so I lept in front of her, and had a look in my eye that made her do a complete 180, I grabbed my shelves and put them in my cart. Did I feel bad about it? I did. Then I asked for forgiveness and headed on my happy little way down the next isle.

Next I spied this!



Normally I would NEVER spent $11.00 on a single letter, but I felt this space really needed some umph, so I told myself it needed a home.
Who could refrain? Oh my. In the buggy it went too.


So I went up to the counter to check out. Ended up only spending:
Shelf 1: $6.99
Shelf 2: 7.99
Metal Letter: 11.00
Total: $28.73


Not bad considering if I had bought all these items in Pottery Barn or Ballard Designs it would have easily cost me triple that. I call it a success.


So I trotted home with my goodies and ran to the bedroom to get started.


My thoughts for this room were to make it a retreat. I wanted tones of gray, silver, champagne and white. So far I think we're getting there. I still have a few tricks up my sleeve, but that's for another post. Since I was starting with a blank wall I practically had my imagination running outside my head. In an effort to calm myself down I talked John into grabbing the drill and the level to help me hang our new shelves. He wasn't very excited about them not matching, but we worked through it. Ans ended up with this:




I had some picture frames from our wedding that I knew I wanted to use in this space.
Along with some glittery birds from Michaels I found on sale a few weeks ago (waiting on inspiration to use them in our bedroom) I call them our love birds. hehe. After printing out some pictures from our wedding and filling the frames, the ledges started coming together. But it still needed something...



So I started running around our house throwing open drawers and closets and plunging into boxes looking for Anything that could possibly work for this space....











Enter Grandma's silver candlesticks.




Which at the right price of *free* were going to work perfectly. I used candles left over from our wedding witch were also *free*. Score!  
After many different tries at arranging this is the final product. What do you think?



Do you have any suggestions for me? Any changes you would make? Do you have a place in your home that drives you crazy to put your stamp on? I love to hear about it!