Thursday, October 27, 2011

Paris: Day 5 Part I - Versailles

Here we are. Our last day in Paris. I had to split it in to two parts because Versailles is freaking huge. We'll do the inside this time and the outside/gardens next time. Deal?

We got up and went to catch the train to Versailles (about a half hour outside the city). But, the train was down at our stop, so they told us to walk down a block to catch a bus to another station and then get on the train there. Oh, European public transportation.

We got to Versailles about 10am and the line was already super long, but it moved pretty fast (see how it wraps around below?). The gates were covered in gold and the palace looked huge from the outside.

Yep. There we are. In our sweatshirts. Not looking like tourists at all.

Once inside, they had free English audio guides (thank goodness). We got to learn all about Louis XIV, XV, and XVI and of course, Marie Antoinette. Did you know that Louis XIV was King for over 70 years; so long that his grandson succeeded him as King, Louis XV?

This is the main chapel. So pretty but we weren't allowed inside.

Louis the XIV and his daughter? maid? who knows...

The view of the gardens from inside.

A cool painting of the whole layout of Versailles. When I say Versailles was huge, that is an understatement!

Here's the view walking through all the different state apartments in the palace. The bad part was that you kind of felt like a herd of animals walking through. There were so many people! So. Many. People. And I don't do well with crowds. It was wall to wall people and very slow moving, but we made it through.

I loved all the different colored wallpapers. It was more like fabric on the walls. I really liked this room with the green velvet-y wallpaper and the fancy desk and chair.

Next up was the King's chambers (none of our pictures really turned out in there) and then the War Room. The War Room was at the end of the row of state apartments at the corner of the palace. It was one of Zach's favorite spots and had this crazy statue.

My favorite part of the palace was the Hall of Mirrors. It was breathtaking. The ceiling was completely painted and everything was lined with gold. Hanging from the ceiling were probably a dozen beautiful chandeliers. The room was at the back of the palace and had an amazing view out on to the gardens lined with huge floor to ceiling windows. On the opposite wall were huge mirrors that mirrored the windows. Whoa. Pun intended. I can only imagine what it would be like to attend a fancy ball in this room! SO AMAZING. The pictures don't do it justice.

On the other side of the Hall of Mirrors (the other corner of the palace) was the Peace Room. Louis or Napoleon or someone must have wanted to soften up the palace after making the War Room. Next was my second favorite room, the Queen's bed chamber. It was fabulous. Lots of gold and floral. And of course you have to have feathers on your ginormous canopy bed.

The famous painting of The Coronation of Napoleon as Emperor. It must have taken up an entire wall of one of the rooms.

Here's the view from the outside... more on that (and the never-ending gardens) next time!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pillow Talk

My mom finally gave me her old sewing machine so I got right to work. I've had about 3-4 pillow forms laying around for years just waiting to be covered in some fun bright fabric. Plus, I decided to change out a few existing pillow cases. 

Check out this old beauty.

I love the old case it came in. However, me and my new machine (I call her Regina) were not instant friends. We should have been, but things didn't really work out that way. I spent a good hour trying to figure out why the tension wasn't working. The top stitch was too tight, the bottom too loose. I tried adjusting everything and it just wasn't working out. Finally, I called in the husband and we he ended up basically taking the thing apart to clean out the 20+ years of dust in there. After that, she worked like a charm.

I'm glad I started with some old ugly scrap fabric my mama gave me (thank, mom!) because it definitely took me a while to figure out. But once I did, we were moving. 

Cut the fabric (I made sure to line up the stripes).

Sew the fabric (sewing was just like riding a bike... it was a little hard to "ride" in a straight line at first though).

Leave an opening to stuff in the pillow.

Iron the edges and trim if needed so they will lay flat. Cut the corners off so they don't get bulky.

And then you have yourself some purty pillows...

...that you now must hand stitch shut. I'm digging the bold green stripes and the navy floral pattern (I even have another project coming up with the same navy pattern too!). 

I love that pillows are so easy to change (especially if you make true slip covers instead of actually sewn in covers like I did) and can really brighten up and bring color to a room. 

Have you sewn any pillow covers lately? How about any other sewing projects that are an easy fix to add a little character to a room?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Power Drills, Polka Dots, and Pumpkins

In a nutshell, that just about sums up our pumpkin carving adventures from last night. We went over to my sister-in-law, Katelyn's, apartment for some delicious dinner and picked up some pumpkins on the way.

After taking out all the guts, I couldn't decide on a design for my pumpkin (I wanted to do something different than usual) until I came across this inspiration on Pinterest.

Martha, you get me every time. I couldn't resist the fun polka dots (they are my favorite) and decided to wait until I got home to break out my power drill. The hubby and sister-in-law got right to it though. Check out their sweet pumpkins.

I especially liked the mister's pumpkin (the one on the left) straight out of Nightmare Before Christmas.

After getting home and making some Pumpkin Bars (recipe to follow soon!) I whipped out my drill and started drilling. It was actually pretty fun! A little messy, but very exhilarating.

I'm definitely happy with the result! Look how it shines and sparkles. So much fun.

I was so excited to put them out on our front porch. We might even get some trick-or-treat-ers this year since we are in a house in a neighborhood!

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies (w/White Chocolate Chips)

The weather is definitely changing and lately I've been having a craving for all things pumpkin. I found this recipe on Pinterest and these cookies are quickly becoming one of my new favorites. So chewy and delicious and pumpkin-y. Yum. I took some to work and two different people said they were the best cookies they've ever had! Here's the recipe (from My Baking Addiction):

//350 degrees // 12-14 minutes // makes 48 //

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven and line cookie sheet with parchment paper (I had never used parchment paper before, but it worked great!)
2. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a separate bowl.
3. Beat butter, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract. Combine with flour mixture.
4. Stir in white chocolate chips.
5. Drop on to cookie sheet in rounded balls.
6. Bake 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned.

And here's some more pictures just because I like to take pictures of cookies.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Buster the Puppy

I found this pic while photo dumping pics from my old iPhone. Look how tiny BBoy was! I remember we went to pick him up one night after work. We found him on Ebay (no, we didn't bid on him). He had a sister on the ad (which, don't tell Buster, but I originally wanted) but it was meant to be that we got the Buster Boo. Although, if his sister was still there with him, I'm positive we would have ended up with two dogs. I mean, look at him!

We drove across Phoenix to this house in a semi-sketchy neighborhood and got him from a family that had a bunch of animals. We walked in the door to a huge bird cage with parrots. It was weird and probably borderline puppy mill. Anyways, we saw him and knew he was ours.

He was so tiny and sleepy and really scared because someone had taken up his sister the night before. I held him the whole way home and he was shaking and wondering what the heck was going on. It was a long few nights... he cried ALL night.

And what a little handful he was... It was rough going at the beginning, but we all made it through and now he is such a good puppy. We love him and he is the perfect little guy for us. Still a handful, but always fun and never boring! Love you Buster Boo!

PS see some more of our Buster adventures here.


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