Hey guys,

I know that some of you are still hanging on to this old website. We had a good run, but it’s time to change over! So, please change your feed settings for the new site!

www.acoupleofdreamers.com

See you there!

Ok, so probably not what you think. No, we are not selling our house. We are moving to a new web address! We are now at:

www.acoupleofdreamers.com

How official is that?

Why the move, you ask? Well, we love WordPress. It is actually a phenomenal free blog. But, we are limited in what we can do to improve the look of the blog and make it the best experience for you.

One of the best parts of this new blog is bigger pictures! You will now be able to see all of our projects and adventures in greater detail!

There will also be some new features at the new website. We’ve added some new pages so that you can more easily find our projects and repairs. We also added a “House Tour” page with all of our completed house projects.

All in all, it will give us more freedom in the future. We’re super stoked!

So, if you are subscribed to us in Google Reader or any other feed reading program, make sure you change your feed settings to:

www.acoupleofdreamers.com

I’ll keep this up on the WordPress blog for a little bit, and then the old website will direct you to the new one.

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I’m back again with another fall craft tutorial, the burlap wreath. I got this one from somewhere else and modified a bit. This is not just a fall-only wreath, but burlap seems autumn-esque to me.  The original idea for this wreath came from Emily at Jones Design Company.  Which, by the way, she has some really cute projects on her blog!

To make this wreath, you will need the following: a cheap-o wreath (can be foam or wicker, like mine. I got it at the dollar store!), burlap, string/twine, large needle, a hot glue gun, and embellishments.

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You first need to cut the burlap into long strips about 4″ wide. Emily suggests the strips be 70″ long, but that all depends on the size of your wreath. I didn’t measure my strips, but I do know that my piece of burlap was not long enough to accommodate the length I needed.  So, I just joined pieces together until I got the look I wanted.

Take one (or however many you need) strips of burlap and wrap the wreath, completely covering it. Since I used a wicker wreath, I just hot glued the burlap in several places to secure it to the wreath. I also made sure the ends were nice and secure. Be very careful when hot gluing burlap. You can burn your fingers very easily!

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Next, sew along the edge of a strip of burlap with the twine/string. You will need to tie the end to the burlap (instead of making a knot) to ensure that it stays in place.

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Once you get the the end of your piece of burlap, pull the string to gather the material. I gathered the burlap until I got the look I wanted and then placed it on the wreath to make sure I had the desired length of gathered material.

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Hot glue the burlap into place.

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Flip over the wreath and repeat (sew, gather, place, hot glue).

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Then, just trim the strands and the edges of the wreath to get the look you want.

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Then add some embellishments and you’re done!  I pinned on a scrunched up fabric flower and a little bit of brown material to make it look more fallish.

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What’s great about this wreath is that you can swap out the embellishments to match the seasons! Happy Fall!

It’s garden update time! We got a ton of rain last week and our garden was loving ever bit of it. It’s officially been 3 weeks since we planted the garden.  Here’s what it looked like when we planted it:

And here’s how it looks now:

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Here’s another “before/after” from another angle:

Now:

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We had to put cages around the tomatoes.  And check out a close-up of our tomato plant!

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It looks like we’ll be able to pick some tomatoes in the next couple of weeks!

We also added another addition to our garden this weekend.While at Lowe’s looking for stones for a patio, we saw a row of these:

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That’s right, fruit trees. And for $30, we couldn’t say no!  This is what we decided on, partly because these oranges are tasty, and partly because it was the healthiest looking of the bunch.

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So, here she is, loving her new home in our backyard!

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We’ll also be adding pineapple and sweet potatoes to the garden soon! I’m loving having these herbs ready for use so close by. I can’t wait for the veggies to be ready!

The book this week, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, is making true on two of my “Fall To Do List” items, reading a book a week and reading all Harry Potter books before the next movie in November. Nothing better than multi-tasking!

As I have stated on this blog numerous times, I love everything Harry Potter. I never get bored with the books or the movies. (By the way, have you seen the new trailer for Harry Potter 7 – Part 1? It’s incredible!) So, I am really excited to reread the complete series for the first time in my adulthood.

Just as a side note, if you have not read the books (ha-like those people exist!) and are planning on reading them, don’t read this post. I’d be spoiling it for you!

For those of you who know nothing about Harry Potter, the gist of the first book is this: an orphaned eleven year old boy living in London finds out that he is a wizard and is accepted to a wizarding school called Hogwarts.  At Hogwarts, he makes some great friends, Ron and Hermione, and settles in to classes learning about the wizarding world. A few months into the term, he learns that his parents were killed by an evil wizard named Voldemort who actually tried to kill Harry as well, but something about Harry caused this very evil wizard to become extremely weakened, almost destroying Voldemort. While Harry is at school, he, along with Ron and Hermione, believe that Voldemort is trying to make a comeback. In the end, Harry saves the day and stops Voldemort from gaining access to an elixir that will make him immortal, thus bringing him back to power.

The story is the classic battle of good vs. evil. It is a little unbelievable that Harry and his comrades, only 11 years old, get past spells and puzzles meant for the most experienced of wizards, not to mention Harry defeating Voldemort.  Otherwise, the story is rich in storytelling details that make you want to drift into Harry Potter land. J.K. Rowling did such a phenomenal job immersing the readers into the story that I am always sorry when a HP book ends. For me, this is the true sign of a good book. If you have become such dear friends with the characters in the book that you hang on to the last pages because you don’t want that friendship to end.

Every time I read this book I pick up new details. Did you know that the Mirror of Erised’s inscription is actually a sentence spelled backwards?? It says “Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi“, which, if read backwards, says “I show not your face but your heart’s desire”. I have never thought to read it backwards, I just read the nonsense and kept reading. How clever to have the inscription on the mirror an almost mirror image! Speaking of the mirror, I get a little worked up every time Harry sees his family for the first time, even if it’s only an image of them.

Also, at the end of the book, when Harry asks Dumbledore why Voldemort wanted to kill him as a baby, Dumbledore tells him that Harry is too young to hear the answer. I really didn’t remember that question being asked or Dumbledore’s answer. But, now I know that Dumbledore is taking about the prophesy (heard in Book 5)!! I am amazed at how Rowling was starting to outline the big picture, even in the first book!

All in all, I was not disappointed with this book. I can’t wait to read the next one!

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Fall To Do List :: Put up Fall Decorations

As promised, I have our fall home to show you today. I was a little late getting things together this year. The sweltering heat makes it hard for me to feel fallish. But, today, my friends, it was a crisp 75 degrees when I stepped outside. It’s cloudy and I think there’s a good chance it’ll stay below 90 today!

Here we go!

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I’m still acquiring fall decor items, so it’s still a little sparse.

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I showed you how to make this yesterday.

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The dining room, by far my favorite fall arrangement.

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There you go! Hopefully next year will be even better! In a week or so, I’ll have some Halloween decor to show you! Happy Fall!

I am way overdue to show you the fall decor in our house. I promise to have that to you tomorrow! The weather’s been crummy here, so I haven’t taken a good outdoor shot.

I’m always up for a good craft project. I especially like one I do on my own (without instructions) that turns out looking halfway decent!  Oh, and just so you know, Matt was away this past weekend, so I was in super duper craft mode. I have several crafts to share with you in the next few days!

This fall craft was inspired by this page in my Pottery Barn catalog.

PB Magazine

I thought it exemplified everything I love about fall: candles, warm colors, crunchiness. Here’s what you need to make a homemade version of this Pottery Barn magazine decoration:

Glass candle holder,Indian corn with husks, a candle, and some string/twine. You will also need some rubber bands, scissors, and a hot glue gun (these aren’t pictured)

Supplies

First, you want to fold the husk part of the corn up, around the corn and place a rubber band around the corn and husk. I didn’t have any rubber bands, so I had to use hair ties. Don’t judge!

Rolled husks

Next, you’re going to hot glue the corn husks to the bottom part of the glass candle holder. I found that the key to this was to use a lot of glue and to get as much glue as possible on the corn part instead of the husk part.


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Here’s what it should look like when you are done:

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The cut off all the rubber bands and glue down any stray husks. Next, wrap your twine or string tightly around the center of the husks, making sure to tie it really tight to pull everything together. Keep wrapping and trying until you get the look you want.  Place a candle in it and viola!

Finished

Fall at its finest!

Here’s a price breakdown with where I got the supplies:

Glass candle holder  – Dollar Store   $1.00

Corn – Publix  – $1.99 per bunch (used 4 bunches)

Candle – Dollar Store  $1.00

Twine – already had

Total: $9.96

Not too bad! I really think you could find the corn cheaper somewhere other than the grocery story, but I didn’t have a chance to hunt them down.  I really like the way it turned out! Happy Fall!

This has to be one of the best Pioneer Woman recipes that I’ve tried. I know some people are a little squeamish about warm pineapple, but Matt and I love all things pineapple, hot or cold. Warm pineapple is a little strange at first, but it is totally worth it!  I had to make a few adjustments (like removing all the butter), but the concept stays the same. Here’s the Pioneer Woman’s version.

And here’s my version.  A bonus of this recipe is that it only calls for a few ingredients! Pineapple, chicken, cheese (I used Mozzarella because I had it on hand, but you can also use Monterey Jack), tortillas, BBQ sauce, and anything else you want to add to spice it up. I don’t like spice, so I omit those parts.

I use my panini press to grill the chicken and the pineapple, but you could also use a real grill. So, while that’s warming up, cut up the pineapple. There is a great instructional for this with the original recipe if you have never cut a pineapple.  Once the pineapple is in sections, stick a skewer in them. This is not necessary, but it makes it easier to turn the pineapple without getting your hands all messy.

Then, throw ’em on the “grill”.  You’ll want to occasionally turn them. Mine don’t really get grill marks on them, but I can tell when they are getting warm and juicy when they get a little darker yellow.

While the pineapple is cooking, stick the chicken in a ziploc bag and flatten it.  Then, I just season them with salt and pepper, but you can add some extra spice if you want to raise the temperature.

When the pineapple is done, grill the chicken, brushing on barbecue sauce while it’s cooking.

Once the chicken is done, you can cut up the chicken and pineapple and assemble your quesadilla.  Mine goes like this: tortilla, a little cheese, chicken, pineapple, barbecue sauce, a little cheese, tortilla.  You can also add jalapeño slices if you want.

Then, I pop it into my quesadilla maker (thanks, Mom!).

You can also use the panini press or grill for this also. I just happen to have a specialized little gadget that makes it look like this when it’s done.

And that’s it! Quick, easy, and yummy! Enjoy!

Remember when I pledged to read a book a week? Well, the first book of that pledge is Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer. I don’t know how I feel about jumping on this band wagon. I have held off for so long. But, I am slightly interested in the story and more than slightly curious about the craze. So, I dusted off my copy (yes, I have the first and the second one, I just hadn’t gotten around to reading them yet!) and hoped for a good story.

One word sums up the book for me: disappointed. I think the idea to change some of the common details about the myth of vampires (sleep in coffins, bats, etc) and to make these vampires more like humans, was brilliant. Meyer made the likelihood of vampires in everyday life almost believable. However, I felt the writing style was very simple and I did not feel a connection with the characters or, with the exception of a few suspenseful scenes, with the story.

For me, the best comparison to the book is the Harry Potter series. Both are old ideas, magic and vampires, with a new spin. Both series are written for younger audiences and both have created a social and media frenzy.  And for my comparison, I think I will quote Stephen King:

“Both Rowling and Meyer, they’re speaking directly to young people… The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good.”

I kept waiting for more character or story development, but I never got it. I do have to remind myself that this is only the first of four books. Hopefully Meyer pulls out some character development and character history in a later book.

I also feel that Bella is a weak role model for all the young girls reading these books. Yes, it is seemingly romantic that Edward is dreamy and cares for her, but does he always have power over everything she does?  She gives in to him and allows him to run her life. Not only is this bad in theory, but it’s romanticised in this book. Girls need to be strong and stand up to 17 year old guys, and Bella does just the opposite.

Overall, I was underwhelmed. I will read the rest of the series and I do hope that I get more out of the next three books.  What about you? What did you think of this book?

When we bought our house, some of our first purchases were a lawn mower and a trimmer. The trimmer we purchased has changeable attachments and until a few weeks ago we just had the blower attachment. Now, however, we are the proud owners of the chainsaw attachment. We’re hoping that this will save us some moolah by not having to hire tree trimmers.

So, last weekend, Matt climbed a ladder, unsteadily resting on a palm tree, with an extended chainsaw in hand.

Yes, yes, our yard is huge mess, I know. But, focus on the young man climbing with the chainsaw.

It did the trick, but it is not for the faint of heart.

Matt said it was a little shaky up there.

Hopefully, he’ll only have to do that a few times a year. The problem is that the previous owners trimmed the trees zero times a year for many years.   You do that math! And then tell me when you are coming over to help pull up that mess in front of the palm tree!

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