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!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sick of the Master Bathroom

Well, we did it again. Another remodel. The victim was our master bath. I've never shown you our master bath because of how ugly it was. I was ashamed. It's been on our list since we bought the house, but for whatever reason, it took us 2 1/2 years to get to it. Here is my train of thought:

Venture back in time with me about 3 weeks. John is in Florida for work all week. I have the house to myself. See where I'm going? Well, I spent plenty of time in our bathroom; but not for the reason you're thinking. Of course I would get a stomach bug the week he's gone. You can envision me hurling my toenails for 4 straight days. It was horrible. But what made it worse, was having to do it in an ugly bathroom. After one particular session of beginning to think I was going to die and laying on our floor I thought to myself: life is waaay too short to have to puke in an ugly bathroom.

So moving forward about 6 days, feeling better with the help of some IV fluids and prescription meds, I start to get the renovation twinkle back in my eye.

So over the past week, John and I have worked our buns off to get this finished. I'll share the details later, but for right now, here's some before and afters. I hope you love it as much as we do!!

Before, realtor picture

Before- half ripped off wallpaper

Before-no storage


New Floors

Revamped vanity

We've added some art and shoe molding to the room since I took these pictures. I'll add those in and get to the details about what we did (and didn't do) in the next post :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Shutter Loks and Finished Project

Hey everyone! I'm so sorry for my absence, but I'm here to go through the rest of the front porch project with you and hopefully help some people with their shutter issues.

Let me start at the beginning of the shutter debacle. We knew we wanted to re-paint the shutters on the house from the blue that was before. After a lot of thought, we decided on black. Simple, classic and a people-pleaser. Our shutters are vinyl, so after some research, we went with Rustoleum spray paint to get the job done. The painting process was a breeze, but getting the shutters off the house, and put back on was a bit of a struggle.

Vinyl shutters are attached to the house using Shutter Loks. Basically plastic screws that aren't meant to be removed. They go in, but not out. And since spraypaint, well, sprays, there was no option to keep them on the house to paint. Awesomesauce.
 Shutter Lok image:

So what's the first thing I do? Panic. Errr.. Google. This was one of the only times in my life where Google actually let me down. There were literally no articles about Shutter Loks and how to install them. Plenty of websites selling them, but that didn't help me getting them off. Next idea; call Dad. Since he worked in the construction business for many, many years, if Dad didn't know, we were going to have to wing it. And, being a control freak I am, I don't like winging. Rollercoasters, yes, winging, not so much. I don't like the unknown with projects. Too many possibilities of getting stuck with problems and unexpected expenses.
 So we were still stuck with this

So what did Dad have to say? Something I wasn't expecting. "You have to cut them off". Do whaaaat?! apparently, they go in just fine, stay on just fine, but have to be cut off your house. Shoot. No re-using them, I suppose. Ummkay. So, John ran to the shed, grabbed the hack saw and away he went. They're very soft plastic, so it only took a few passes per screw.

Which left us with nubs. This was becoming a very long, drawn out project of many steps. Someone with no patience, who thought this was going to be a quick, pull off the shutters, paint them, and replace kind-of-deal was not a happy camper. But onward and upward we went. stupid shutters. Ok, so now onto the nubs.

To get them out we tried vice-grips. No dice. These things are a beeotch to get out. At least if you don't know what you're doing. Which we clearly didn't. We ended up having to get creative and put a medium size drill bit on the trusty drill and dig them out. Piece. by. piece. It was a long evening. A long, sweaty, tugging and pulling evening. There may have been curses. I won't tell. But here's what some looked like after we mutilated them. Cute right? Thought so.

Finally, we were on to the painting, which, thankfully went by really quick, and I won't go into detail. Just imagine sawhorses set up in the back yard,  John spraying and me keeping Maggie out of the way. John is a much better spraypainter than I am, so I let him have at it. I'll gladly sit on the sidelines with Mags.

Putting the shutters back up was pretty easy too. Just purchase your Shutter Loks AHEAD of time. They're difficult to find. I spent 1/2 a day on the phone with hardware stores all around town to find some. We thought we were going to have to order them online, but luckily Home Depot had some in stock from a bulk order. They're pretty cheap too, I think I paid $6 bucks a pack/12. Just hammer them in the holes and you're done.

After some satin nickel spray paint to the door harware, changing the doorbell to black and some touch-ups to some places around the porch the project was done. We LOVE it. And because we all love a before and after, here goes:

And here's more for your viewing pleasure :)

We love driving into the driveway and seeing our handywork staring back at us. And the neighbors like the change too. :-) We couldn't be happier.

Now I need to get to the side/back doors and make everything match. Ah, the work around here is never done :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Front porch update

In my last post, I mentioned we were giving our front porch an overhaul. The painting of the front door happened a few weeks ago when the weather was so hot your-skin-melted-off-your-face when you walked outside. Perfect timing for an outdoor project. Go us. Which may explain my aversion to re-living the experience to post about it. But I love the results, so here goes.

Here's a reminder of the house before:

We started off by painting the front door. And before we even start problem #1 arrises. Here's how the conversation went:

Me: "honey, how are we going to paint the front door without letting the cats out (no screen/storm door) or without letting all our precious gold, I mean a/c out?
John: "hmm, I hadn't thought about that. Maybe we need to postpone until cooler weather".

*Don't tease me with a project we can't do until weather decides to cooperate. I WILL find a way. I WILL do it. And you can't STOP me. Hello, my name is Elizabeth, and I have a problem with gotta-have-it-now syndrome. :)

Me: "oooooh, no. We're doing it. I'll find a way."
So I put my thinkin' cap on. Dangerous I know. But I found a solution!

There's this magical  product you can buy at the hardware store (at Lowes it was with the weatherstripping supplies) that saved us. Window/Door film. I know, sounds crazy right. Totally worked! It's made to put over drafty doors/windows to prevent seepage and save you moolah. It's pretty much saran wrap that shrinks (when you heat it with a hairdryer) and creates a barrier between you and the outdoors. Woo-to-the-hoo. Best part, It's yours for only $7. Here's what the box looks like.

And here it is in action. Double-plus: it made us realize we really like the natural light and now we want to install a storm door too. :)

But it got the job done, and three coats of paint later, and the door looks great. Here we are making progress after the first coat. By the way, the color is Valspar's Front Door Red. Original I know.

Now it's on to the dab-blamed shutters. They sure gave us more than 1 reason to curse. But that's a whole other post. Coming up next.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Front Porch Overhaul

Hi everyone! I hope you've all been enjoying your summer and getting the kids back into the old routine. Well around here we really haven't been too productive (hense the lack of posts) but over the past few weeks we've been getting our DIY mojo back and I've got lots of plans to show you!

Back when we bought our house, we fell in love with the cute exterior. Who doesn't love a yellow house? It's the most popular color and sells the quickest according to realtors, and I guess we fell hook-line-and-sinker. We however, weren't so in love with the blue. It was ok, but it wasn't us. It was in good enough shape to stick around until we got around to doing something about it and getting a game plan together. Here's what she used to look like.

And here's the game plan:
  • Repaint the front door red. I love red doors.
  • Repaint the shutters black for some nice (and classic) interest
  • Replace all the fixtures, doorbell and light with satin nickel or ORB (oil rubbed bronze) jury is still out.
  • Touch up any places with paint that need it.

It's time to get the paintbrushes out and the sleeves (in this weather?) pulled up!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Here's quickie little project I whipped up tonight.

Last night John and I ordered Chinese for dinner. We're weird and always order a Sesame Chicken. Gah I love that stuff. Of course we try and get some veggies too, but you know where our forks dive first. :)

So anyways, John's fortune cookie read "A Pleasant Surprise is Waiting for You".

We both kinda fell in love with it. Imagine us oooh-ing and awww-ing over it with sticky rice fingers. I know, pleasant right? Thought so.

I knew immediately I wanted to save it. But I needed a way to preserve it since everything around here is on it's own for safety. I would loose all our socks if we didn't use a laundry bag (those things really work!).

So today while I was at Goodwill, I spotted this guy:

He was perfect. Sitting there on the little dusty window ledge just waiting for me to find him. I knew he was the perfect size for some custom (and cheap) home art.

So once I had a chance I cut a piece of yellow paper to fit the frame and put our little message in the middle. I'm not sure I love the yellow background, but it works for now. I may change it to red, orange? Any thoughts are welcome. And since his little frame was pretty well cared for he didn't need a coat of paint, but I'm not against painting it in the future. But for now it works.

And yes, I know you can't read the print very well. The lighting in the living room is really hard to capture good pictures. My apologies.

Do you have any fun and cheap home art? I'd love to hear about yours!
PS did anyone see True Blood last night? At least I now know what to feed alligators :D

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

June Round Up

Well, I started out keeping up. Then things went downhill. Oh well, there are worse things.
But here's a round up for you.

We headed off to the beach cottage on the NC coast for some family summertime fun. It was the perfect mini-vacay we both needed and enjoyed celebrating all the summer birthdays together. We always take Maggie with us because she LOVES swimming and fishing. Seriously, the dog can't get enough. We cast the net and Maggie will help pull it back in and check out the loot. You could never even catch anything and she'd always be there just to make sure :)

We celebarted my 28th birthday. Woot. Now, I feel old. If there's anything that I hate about my husband it's that he's younger than me. Every birthday it's like a punch in the gut. Not really, but you know. Girls are always hard on ourselves. The good news about this is he always knows how to make his wife feel like the most special girl in the room at all times. And boy, do I love him for that.

Yes, I caught fireflies. Well, it was more like one landed on me one night while getting the mail. But I took a second to talk to him. So it counts. Right? I thought so.

I did not get any awesome naps on the porch or in the backyard. It's still on the to-do list. I still have the rest of the summer.

Aaaand, my to-do list for the house continues to grow. I swear, we really need to get our butts in gear and get some things done around here other than the usual cleaning. Our paintbrushes probably think we've abandonded them to a life of collecting dust and drying out.

Now, I just need a couple of days without temps in the high 90's to get some things done without the top layer of my skin melting off. Ah, the life in the south. At least I have my sweet tea to get me through.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

June Activities

In my last post, I mentioned things that I wanted to do in the month of June. So far I'm off to a good start at keeping up. Let's hope it lasts. I tend to get a little side-tracked at times. Who knew? :D

Anyways. I've always been one to dabble in baking. I get it from my mom. She passed down her love of all things yummy to all her kids. I love family get-togethers. There's always tons of great food. And wine. And beer. I digress.

Last weekend John and I went to celebrate our nephew's first birthday. Caleb, the birthday boy is John's sister's sweet baby. As a part of his birthday present, we made the cupcakes to mark the celebration. His party was sea creature themed and everything turned out so freakin' cute.

I'll stop talking and just show you.

Vanilla cupcakes with a vanilla italian buttercream frosting. Keeping with the ocean theme, I made little whales out of gumpaste to use as toppers.

Caleb did a great job of entertaining us with his smashing abilities. He wasn't so sure about it at first, but he enjoyed it enough to spread icing all through his hair.

Baby Caleb, we love watching you grow. We love watching you learn and explore. Here's to the first of many, many more birthdays to celebrate with you!

We love you!

In other news, I apologize for the lack of home projects around here lately. John's job is very demanding at the moment, and as much as we enjoy doing projects, it can be stressful to have your house in disarray. So in an effort to keep the peace around here, we've taken a hiatus to large projects for the next little bit. Here's hoping next month we can dig back in and get some things done around here! Stay tuned.

Friday, June 3, 2011

June bug

I don't know about y'all but I am so thankful it's June. I've been bitten by the June-bug. June marks the beginning of Summer. The end of school, the beginning of grilling (even though we've already been enjoying it for some time this spring. we just couldn't help ourselves!), lounging by the pool, playing at the lake and I have so many plans for this summer I just can't stand it.

Here's my list of things I MUST do this month.

1. Celebrate my nephew's first birthday this weekend.

2. Spend lots of time at the beach house, soaking up the sun.

3. Take a picnic. I may even get adventurous and make our own family picnic blanket. I love this one.

4. Long afternoon naps

5. Celebrate my 28th birthday.

6. Spend time with friends in the warm summer evenings.

7. Catch fireflies.

I'll make sure to keep up with my list and show you along the way :)
What do you have planned for this month?

Most pictures are courtest of Pinterest. Have you found Pinterest yet?

Friday, May 27, 2011

the clutter, the stuff and the house

We all have it. Clutter, that is. The stuff that fills our life. Fills our house and in some cases, drives us nuts. The show Hoarding is in a world of it's own when to comes down to holding onto things, I am happy to say, our house is not quite that bad. The shed, is another matter. I get hives if I think about it too long. Seriously. :)

I have a couple of rules when it comes to clutter, junk and the like.

1) If it's old, and no longer serves a purpose, or it's broken: it goes (yes, I'm talking about the computer cable that is so out of date and doesn't plug into anything we currently own, the old picture frame that is broken, the pot you don't use, and havent in 3 (or more) years because it's all scratched up. This also includes worn out clothes or anything you just plain don't use anymore (and no, I do NOT rip up old clothes for dust cloths. I buy plain white wash cloths at walmart for cleaning. That way I can see when they're dirty or old and everyone in the house knows what they're used for. and they're cheap).

My philosophy behind this: life it too short to be cramped in your house by things you don't use. If in the case that "you may need it someday" I guarantee you can either borrow it from a friend, a neighbor, or buy it again in a pinch. If you don't use it, you don't like it, or it's not currently serving a purpose, it's O.T.D. (out the door). Typically I give things to Goodwill. I like to recycle and give things another life if I can. Something you're holding on to may be better used by someone who really needs the item.

2) If it's a gift, a knick-knack or a sentimental piece: It deserves thinking about. This is a bit of a stickier situation. But I'm going to take the time to walk you through this step. It's the hardest part of de-cluttering.
sentimental items: Most sentimental items from my childhood are kept away in a tupperware box in the attic. Since my childhood I've gone through the box several times and donated items that were once much more important to me than they are now. I think that as we grow and live, certain things that used to have a lot of meaning, are exchanged for others and for memories. I learned a while back that just because I threw away the love notes from a high school boyfriend doesn't mean I don't remember our fun times together. It just means I needed that box to put something else in it, like the jewelry I wore on my wedding day. Just because the notes are gone, doesn't mean it takes away the memory.

I think a lot of people struggle with this step of cleaning. The candlesticks you got from your grandmother. Yes, you love your grandmother, but your taste in design is different. So for years the candlesticks sit on your buffet in the dining room. You don't really love them, but because of her you want to keep them.
Let's break it down: do you love the candlesticks? not really. Will you love your grandmother any less if you passed them on to another owner? No. Do the candlesticks have any particular significance to you other than they were hers? No. Then you have your answer. You can pass them on. Pass them on and THEN get yourself some new candlesticks that YOU love and buy them in her memory. Win. Win.

If your grandmother was kind enough to give you a set of candlesticks just for the heck of it, I'm sure she gave you some other more meaningful items that you should hold on to. This also goes for Moms, Aunts, Grandfathers, hubands etc. Here's an example of my own:

When my grandmother's house was purged last year (she's in assisted living now) there were so many items that I remembered from my childhood I wanted to keep. I had to really sit myself down and ask if I wanted the item for what it meant, or was I trying to hold on to the memory? In the end, it was the memory I wanted, not the set of blocks. As we continued to go through her home, there were items that John and I both liked and we needed in our home now. The mirror in our guest bathroom came from my Grandmother's home. We had just bought our home a few months prior and we didn't have a mirror for the guest bath. Now it serves 2 purposes.
1. It is useful for everyone who enters the bathroom.
2. It holds a memory of my grandparent's home that I can use all my life.

If an item doesn't serve a purpose for YOUR HOME and YOUR LIFE and you're only keeping ahold of it because of a memory, that's emotionally cluttering your home.

I like to have a goal that everything I have placed in our home has a purpose and meaning. I'm still working towards that goal. I too, struggle with "but what if I need it... " syndrome. I have to get tough on myself and really find out the reason for keeping it.

How do you handle the "extra's" in your life?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Where we slept along the way

I know I promised I had some more pictures to share with you about Ireland. And I know I've been holding them hostage long enough, so I figured now was better than later. You can thank me for pulling out of my lazy posting streak later.

In true blogger fashion, I took pictures of all the rooms/ homes we stayed in. Of coure I'll comment as we go along (would we have it any other way?). I sure hope you enjoy.

Our first 2 nights we stayed in Dublin at the Regency hotel. We were so tired I forgot to get pictures. Maybe my sister got some, but I did not. If I do get ahold of any, I'll add them to the post. Anywho..

After traveling out of the city and heading west, we stayed at Dan O'Hares B&B for night 3. Here it is pictured below.

Here was our room:
It was a great room with lots of room to spread out our stuff. Other than the weird alien light (which we kept off most of the time) it was quite cozy!
View of the bathroom:

For the most part all the bathrooms are pretty much like american ones other than 2 noticable differences.
1. all europeans love their towel warmers (and this american couple quickly became fans too)

2. Most of the sinks have spouts for hot and cold water (not pictured above). Not one for both. Watching my husband wash his hands for the first time had me rolling.

Night 4 was spent in a small town called Doolin. Here we stayed at Sweeney's B&B. It was a beautiful house perched on the top of the cliff overlooking the Atlantic. The Sweeney family has lived in the house for at least 6 generations. Six!

A small room, but it did the job for a couple tired tourists.

sorry for the dark pictures, I couldn't do much about the lighting.

Bathroom. See what I mean about 2 spouts?

On night 5 we stayed here. Forgive me, I can't remember the name of this BnB. I know it was in a little town called Ventry, and I remember how nice the lady who ran the place was. She went over and beyond to make sure we are comfortable. It was such a relief to meet such wonderful, interresting and welcoming people all along our trip.

And our last night. Night 6 if you're counting was spent here:

Sorry I didn't get a picture of the outside. I'm just glad by this point of the trip and I remembered to get one of the room.

The bathroom. Yes, I'm hiding in the shower.

Irish aren't as proud of their bathrooms like Americans. They are teeny tiny. No one spends time in them the way we do. It's pretty much: get in, get out, move on. Luckily for us, since our bathroom at home is pretty much the same size as these it wasn't a big adjustment. :)

I do hope you get a chance to visit this magical country. We enjoyed our trip so much.
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