Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Our 2011 Photo Book

I used to be an avid scrapbooker. But, scrapbooking takes a lot of time, and it's also kind of pricey if you want to do it well. I've pretty much stopped scrapbooking entirely, so I've been trying to find a good way to document our photos. Obviously, the blog is a great way to do that, but I think I've found another great solution: MyPublisher books!

I took advantage of a MyPublisher free extra pages coupon code in January to get a great deal on a book of all our 2011 photos. 100 pages of lovely memories!

I went with the linen cover (because it's the cheapest, and because I couldn't pick just one photo to use on a photo cover), and I actually really like it! I'm hoping to continue doing matching books with the linen cover for each year from now on. 

I used one of the marbled inside-cover options for the first time, and I love it!

Of course, MyPublisher didn't disappoint with the crisp pages and vellum overlay! Perfect, as always. 

I filled the pages with a bunch of photos and brief text descriptions labeling the month and event.

January: we finished decorating our apartment!

March: the Houston rodeo

Spring Break trip!


Jeff's Confirmation

The house!

More new house photos!

Family Reunion at the Lake

Of course, I included photos from all the wonderful weddings we've been to this year:

Dan & Kristen

Kevin & Brianne

Colin & Laura

Alan & Katie

Our first trip to the antique auction!

Our 1st Anniversary

South Padre Island Vacation

Trip to South Carolina

Even with 100 pages to use, I was starting to run out of space as I got to the end of the year. Some of the Christmas photos ended up in pages like this:

I ended the book with the photos from our New Year's Eve party:

Our 2011 book lives on a shelf in the living room with our Honeymoon book and Engagement book.

For now, I have them standing up facing forward, but once we get another couple of years worth of books, I'll probably flip them and store them regular bookshelf-style. 

Does anyone else do yearly photobooks? I'm pretty much in love with the idea. It's SO much easier to make a year-long book of photos on MyPublisher than to scrapbook a year's worth of photos!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cinnamon Apple Chips

I love apple chips, but I never get to eat them because the little bags at the grocery store are so expensive! So, when I found this recipe to make them myself, I didn't waste any time in trying it. I think they were even more delicious than the ones at the grocery store.

Recipe adapted from here.

1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 large apples (I use gala apples, but any kind would probably work)

1. Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.
2. Using a sharp knife or mandoline, thinly slice the apples crosswise. Discard the seeds and both ends. Arrange the slices in a single layer on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or foil (I think parchment paper would be better, but I ran out of it and keep forgetting to buy more, and the foil works just fine!).
3. Sprinkle apples with the cinnamon sugar.
4. Bake the apples at 250 degrees until dry, turning every half hour, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Cool on wire racks.

(apple slices!)

(more apple slices!)

(cinnamon and sugar)

(cinnamon sugar mixture)

(sprinkled with cinnamon sugar)

(mmm, cinnamon sugar!)

The parts that look burnt aren't actually burnt... that's just the parts with more cinnamon! 



Monday, February 27, 2012

Little House Updates

We've been doing the change-and-rearrange thing in the house a bit lately. I mentioned some of these little updates in my house tour video, but I figured some pictures would be good as well!

First up, the half bathroom:

These prints used to be in my bedroom in my College Station apartment, then in our bedroom in our old apartment, and now they're in the half bathroom! I'm so glad to finally have something on that wall (and I didn't even have to buy anything!).

I also just love how they look reflected in the mirror...

I finally got around to getting a trash can and toilet paper solution for the half bathroom as well. Oil-rubbed bronze for the win!

Next up, we bought another table at the antique auction! It's happily living in the entryway:

Honestly, we weren't even actively looking for a table for that spot, but I absolutely fell in love with this one and had to bid on it. We were bidding against a couple other people, so I was pretty excited when we won it! It's from somewhere in England and was made sometime in the 1910s or 1920s. I just love buying things at the antique auction because everything is solid wood, and we get things for much less money than we would spend at Ballard Designs or Pier 1 or something!

So pretty!

I love the carving on the whole table (this is the bottom shelf).

This is the tabletop...


Obviously I still need to figure out what to put on that wall and what to put on the table. 

The biggest recent change happened in the living room. We started to realize that we needed some more seating, so we embarked upon a search for two chairs. After a dozen furniture stores and no luck, we were a little discouraged. But, then Jeff stumbled upon these chairs at HomeGoods (and sent me a text message photo), and I told him to hurry up and buy those babies before someone else did! It's SO rare to find two matching chairs at HomeGoods, and they're just what I wanted!

We bought a table (at the antique auction, of course) to go between the chairs.

It's perfect for holding my favorite lamp and some coasters.

I love how the chairs look with the square mirror wall, and it's been SO GREAT to have two more spots for people to sit.

Oh, and that suzani pillow? I bought two of them at Bed Bath & Beyond for $4.99 each! I have no idea why they were so marked down, but I was a happy camper! I put the second one on the couch.

Anyway, remember how that wall used to look?

I think it's much better now.

But don't worry... we didn't get rid of the pretty console table. It has a new home in the dining room!

I bought a little candleholder and a gold Tahari Home platter (both on clearance at HomeGoods!), so for now that's what's sitting on the table (along with our wine cork jar). I'm still not sure how I'll end up decorating that wall, but for now this is what it looks like. Have you noticed that our whole house is one large work in progress? Haha.

Oh, and speaking of the dining room, we did decide to rotate the dining table and put in the leaf (thanks for your opinions about that in this post!). As for the chandelier, it's not moving. Yes, it still bothers me that it's off-center, but it would be really difficult to move (because we have a 2nd-story room above the dining room) and it would probably leave a noticeable spot on the ceiling. If this was our "forever home," I'd do it, but it's not, so it's staying put.

From this angle, you can't even tell that it's off-center. :)

I found this Calvin Klein runner at HomeGoods and put it on the table...

I still need to press out the creases...

The bowl was a Christmas gift from my aunt and uncle (love the capiz details!), and the spheres came from an awesome huge bag of assorted decorative balls that I found at HomeGoods. 

Last but not least, my grandparents gave us three barstools for Christmas, and we love them! They're 1000% better than the two too-tall bar-height stools we had before. These ones are counter-height and perfect

I think the wood goes so nicely with the granite counters and the wood cabinets. Thanks, Gran & Grandpa!

Whew. I totally didn't realize how many things I've tweaked in the last couple months! What do y'all think? Which little update is your favorite?