Perfect Pairings ~ cheese and wine for dummies tray!

Scott and I are going out tonight! 

We've been invited to a New Years Eve's Eve party. 

Cheers to good food, good wine, and an adult night out with my husband and friends!

Here's a tray I designed for the perfect cheese and wine pairings.  It was made using our homemade chalk paint and our trademark thrifted pulls.  If you want more details ~ check out our previous tray posts here and here.  I chose these specific pulls because of their unique design and aged looking patinae.  This tray is meant for someone with an inspiring love of the good things in life;  Expression through art, dance, good food, fine wines and spending time with cherished friends.  I really hope she likes it. 
The base of the tray is a chalkboard.  You can add little notes, comments or arrows ---> This makes it nice to pair wine with complimentary cheeses or other hors d'oeuvres ~ for those of us with absolutely no clue.  Yes, I fit into the somewhat clueless category. 

I created these little chalkboard tags for wine bottle labeling, gift tagging or just fun messages.  I think they add a fun touch to any gift of wine.

"Perfect PAIRS"

Fun, flirty hardware as handles.

Wouldn't this be "Perfect" for a wine tasting party?
Whatever your plans are for ringing in the New Year, I wish you the best. 

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2011 In Retrospect

This year has come and gone, leaving us with many memories to Ponder...

Although 2011 didn't bring everything we were hoping for, it was a very rewarding year for us.

I spent the first half of the year focusing on losing 30 pounds. It was time to make some changes...to start feeling better about things.  It felt like an uphill battle at first. Mostly because I love food, but also because I had let my willpower wane. I truly believe that we can "train" our willpower. And I spent the first half of the year exercising my willpower! I successfully lost thirty pounds in 2011. In the process, I learned to love myself much more than I had been. It hasn't come easy, because I've spent a lot of my life worrying about what other people think of me. That will always be a part of me, but I've gotten better at shushing that voice.

I learned that things I never dreamed myself capable of are possible. For instance, running. I ran five 5k's in one year!   I used to say, "I HATE RUNNING!".  But really, I just hated the way my slow, stubborn, out of shape body felt while running. I learned to get past that feeling. I discovered that I am a runner and no one can tell me different. I may not run fast. I may not run far. I may not run daily. But I am a runner and I find joy in that.

I learned that I can change my habits. I can eat an apple instead of a bunch of crackers. Or a hamburger on lettuce, instead of on a bun. I can eat healthy and light and still feel satisfied.  Or attend exercise bootcamp in the park, where everyone can see me in all of my sweaty, red-faced glory. Yikes.

In 2011, I learned that I can say "NO".  I CAN say no, and many times I SHOULD say no. Sometimes, no matter how much we want to please others, it is just better to politely say "NO".   The awkwardness goes away.   We must find a balance between wanting to do what others want, and doing what we need to do for ourselves. Okay, I really learned this before 2011, but I practiced this skill in 2011. You've got to love yourself. No matter how much you love the people in your life. No matter how much you want to do for everyone else. You've got to say "no" sometimes, and the earth does not stop moving. And your friends and family will not stop loving you. (Unless they are just selfish and petty, of course!).

I learned that even in our forties we don't necessarily have all of the answers. When I was young I always pictured myself growing up and being wise, and confident, and settled.  You know ~ an ADULT!  But now I know that with age, we just get better at dealing with life's uncertainties.  We don't stop having them. We may always be wandering, learning, and seeking. Maybe this is not a bad thing. Life has many destinations and just as many U-turns, detours and wrong way trips down a one way street (why is everyone staring and honking at me???).

 It's the journey, right?

Late in 2011, we started this blog. Pondered Primed Perfected came into existence on November 3, 2011. What's funny about this is that Scott was the one pushing me to be more creative. Hadn't I talked enough about wishing I could open up some invisible door and let my creativity run freely? What on earth was holding me back? So, with a little bit of nudging from Scott, I leaped headfirst into creating a blog to showcase our creative projects. Very quickly people showed an interest in what we were doing.  Some of our projects have been featured on Houzz, Apartment Therapy, and Roadkill Rescue, among many others!  What a great feeling that is!  The blog really has ignited an enormous amount of creativity in both of us. If only we had more time!!!

There is this anticipation inside of me that soon I will be able to bring out a blank canvas, some brushes and paints and really create.  Everywhere we look there is a new project just begging to be realized!  It's kind of like seeing the world in color after many years of black and white.  How did we stray so far from our passion?  Why did we let the everyday, the necessary, the survival mode, dampen our creative souls?  Hopefully we will see some artistic creativity flowing freely in 2012!

2011 is the year that Scott went back to school to finish his degree.  He learned how to be a student again.  He is doing quite well in his classes and that is a great confidence booster for him.  It was a little scary getting started.  For both of us.  He was worried about how he would do in classes and I, well I just worry.  We are both so proud of what he is accomplishing!

We can't wait to see what 2012 has in store for us!

Here are some of our favorite projects from 2011:

Our Craft Room Storage Cabinets started out life looking like this:

But ended up looking like this:
These Cabinets were our very first post and they were also featured on Houzz.com.

Here they are after another coat of fresh white paint and some of our Christmas decorations hanging out:

Next came Scott's curb-side find, the dining table and chairs
 Dining Set Before

In Process


 Then came Scott's unbelievable, upcycle transformation of the old radio cabinet he got free off of Craigslist.

From This:





We designed and created our own mudroom style entryway:

We threw in a few smaller projects to keep things interesting:


Here's to 2012 and much, much more creativity!
 Sherry and Scott

Everything Under the Moon

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RECAP: Curbside Find ~ Dining Set Makeover

If you've been here before you have probably already seen the free dining room table and chairs we were lucky enough to acquire and makeover.  I thought I would compile a photo makeover so you could see the progression from beginning to end. 

Scott was lucky enough to be at the right place, at the right time and score these tables and chairs!

Here is what the chairs and table looked like when Scott brought them home:
You can just barely see the table in this picture.  The top is beautiful wood but the legs were a different wood that had been painted to match the stain on the top.  the chairs were also painted brown to appear to match.

The seat cushions on the chairs had a horrid printed fabric which was covering up a horrid gold fabric...both stinky and gross. 

I recovered the chair cushions with this printed fabric:

While Scott was sanding and refinishing the tabletop, I started spraying the chairs with spray paint.  Here is what they looked like with a couple coats of spray paint:
Then I glazed the chairs and table legs to "age" them and bring out the details.

Here is a shot of the table before glazing:

And here's the table after glazing:

Finally, I decided that I didn't have to settle for only one look and created little slipcovers for the chairs.

While I was sewing slipcovers Scott was applying his multiple coats of Polyurethane to make the tabletop amazingly shiny.  Then he gave it a good buffing to take it over the top...

And here is the finished product!!!

If you are interested in reading all about this makeover, from beginning to end you should click on the following links:





Thanks for stopping by to check out some of our projects!  We hope you found something interesting and that you will come back to visit again.

Sherry and Scott

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Glass Wine Bottles Lamps

Since Christmas fell on Sunday this year, Scott and I both had Monday off to do with as we pleased.  I love those days when you have nowhere to be and nothing pressing to do.  One of the things we absolutely love to do together is thrift store cruising.

There are certain items we consistently search for to finish our DIY projects.

We also search for little extras to spruce up our home. 

Or things we just don't want to pay retail for, especially if we can find them at a thrift store for pennies on the dollar. 

I try not to do much impulse buying

Sometimes I have this mental list of things to watch out for. My wish list.  Things to create my own version of something beautiful I've seen in a catalogue.  Something way out of my price range.  It's not everyday that I stumble upon something on that mental list...sometimes it can be months or even years! 

On this day we were done with our thrifting and just needed to check out.  It had been a successful stop.  We had several little items for our projects, plus a few other needed items like sheets to match our son's new bedroom colors.  Our drive home would be about an hour and a half, so I decided to make a break for the restrooms before checking out and hitting the road.  As I was walking down the hallway to the restrooms, I noticed a big metal cart with miscellaneous items headed out to the retail floor... 

Grabbing my full attention were these beauties:

I wish I knew how to make my own wine! 

But really, I have a whole different life planned for these beauties.

This smaller bottle was 2.99 and the other six were 3.99 each.
We stopped at the local department store and grabbed a couple of Bottle Lamp Kits.  They were $5 and some change each.  I also browsed the lamp shades, but didn't find any white drum shades that I liked within our budget.  That's okay...we'll go out thrifting again soon and see what we can find to tweak and make "perfect" for these.

The bottle lamp kit comes with several rubber "corks" that fit into the bottle opening....ours had to be shaved down with an exacto knife to get it to fit just right.  No biggie.  I added a lampshade just to see how it would look.  Not bad, but not quite what I want either.  This one is tapered and I want a drum shade.  This one is woven and I want white linen...maybe.

It looks pretty darn good for $9 and some change.  Lamps similar to these retail for $129 in the Ballard catalogue, and Pottery Barn has some for $99.  

We chose not to drill a hole into the bottle for the cord.  It can hang down behind the bottle where it shouldn't be too conspicuous.  We didn't want to risk drilling into the bottles AND this way we can remove the lamp fixings and use the bottles for something else later on.  Like wine.  ;)

I can't decide if I want to put our lamps next to the bed in our Master bedroom, or on end tables in the living room.  I guess I can figure all of that out once I find the perfect shades!

Not to mention, I still have four large bottles and one smaller bottle to play with. 

I just love a creative challenge. 

Although, I have to say that these bottles appeal to me just as they are.

Just look at them!!!

Sometimes Thrifting feels more like heading out on a Treasure Hunting Expedition!

Have you found any treasures at thrift stores recently?
Or maybe at yard sales or on Craigslist?

I would love to hear about them!

Thanks for stopping by to check out what we've been up to.  We are so glad you chose to visit.  Thanks so much if you are already a follower.  We are thrilled to have you here!  

Have a beautiful week.

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