AUDOBON PRINTS GALLERY WALL

February 3, 2020
Rachel Schultz

Our dining room has two feature walls with a paneling we installed and painted behr “midnight blue.” For the opposite side of the room I wanted to add a dramatic and maximalist art wall. It came together really easily and everything I used you can get yourself. (All of the art in total was 50 cents thanks to a used book sale.)

So yes, first I found a thrifted book of John James Audubon artwork. Thrifted art books are always one of my favorite places to get inexpensive prints. This book was particularly a good one because it had large full page images. And lots of them. I am not sure if this is the EXACT same one but a similar one is inexpensively here on amazon.

Next I sourced a good frame I liked that I could buy in bulk mass produced, but still with classic lines and little bit of old style character.

These at michaels! Like always on sale 50% off, and so only $18 each.

The prints had a slight variety of sizes from how they were printed in the book. To avoid paying for custom matting I just put an 11×14 piece of solid matting behind the print in the frame. I got solid pieces of 11×14 mats (with no hole) by going to hobby lobby. They have really big sheets that you can buy for $10 and then they cut it down into pieces of whatever size you’d like.

I deliberated how big I wanted the wall to be (15 frames or 21) and settled on 21 with a 3 x 4 grid on the left side and a 3×3 on the right. It cost some extra cash, but I thought the additional fullness would achieve the collected, maximalist look better.

On a large scale art wall like this, all the frames being level is important, so after leveling everything out, David secured each frame on the back with a small piece of adhesive putty. Especially the ones by the high chair!

Our dining room has gone through several iterations, but the way things are lately is our favorite and we find ourselves spending so much more time in here. Adequate lighting being the possible biggest mvp!

My New Cookbook


PRE-ORDER NOW:  AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

Our dining room has two feature walls with a paneling we installed and painted behr “midnight blue.” For the opposite side of the room I wanted to add a dramatic and maximalist art wall. It came together really easily and everything I used you can get yourself. (All of the art in total was 50 cents thanks to a used book sale.)

So yes,

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BATCH COOKING AND FREEZER MEAL IDEAS

January 28, 2020
Rachel Schultz

I have been doing more with batch cooking and freezing foods and I love it when I do. I cook so much, everyday. (Which I like, but.) Why do I ever make a pasta bake and not make two? Part of my limitation before was I didn’t have a deep freezer. (And the more we started buying food in bulk the more I’d joke with David “MAMA NEEDS A DEEP FREEZE.”)

And now I have one and it is here and it is spectacular and I dare you to just TRY AND KEEP ME from the low priced produce this summer. Below are some of my favorite ways to freeze things.

frost-free upright freezer | vintage rug (similar) | clear organization bins | retro trash can | children’s bicycle (similar)

MEAT

I buy a ton and have a big session of bagging up dinner entree size portions. Then I have lots of bags ready to go that I can thaw when needed.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts and ground beef are ones we especially keep on hand. Chicken in particular is one it feels so good to have trimmed and ready for cooking.

CASSEROLES

As mentioned above, one of my goals for myself is to improve in remembering to just make double whenever I’m making something very freeze-able for dinner! Try this cheesy chicken and wild rice casserole or of course, the ever faithful lasagna.

SOUPS

Such a friend of the freezer! Along with casseroles I think this is the other best freezer resilient type of entree.

Some of my favorites are sausage minestrone, chicken meatball soup, green vegetable soup with roasted chickpeas, orange and honey carrot soup, 25 minute ham and white bean soup, one pot quinoa turkey chili,  one pot creamy potato soup, slow cooker chicken and wild rice soup, hearty chicken tortilla soup, and wonton soup. Okay, maybe I really like soups. Yeah, soups are awesome.

FRUIT

When the summer comes and the berries are so wonderfully ripe (not all white in the middle strawberries like in winter!) buy buy buy them at the great price (or do a you pick farm day with the kids) and then eat summer-level-quality produce all winter.

PIES

Things that take a long time to make I like to make in big installments. In the dessert world, pie is one of the more tedious categories, but they freeze so well! Fruit pies and pie crusts are sent to the freezer in droves.

SPINACH

My best friend told me this one. It freezes really well and is easy to remove just the amount you need when making soups or sautéing spinach! I now mostly only ever have spinach in the fridge if it’s directly for a salad.

SMOOTHIES

Smoothies are lovable once you are drinking them but the preparing process is too annoying if there are too many ingredients I would have to get out or slice everyday. For the freezer you can make smoothie packs by measuring out the ingredients and then just writing the amount of liquid ingredients to add on the exterior.

This one is my favorite everyday smoothie. Just write “add 1/4 cup yogurt, 2 tablespoons honey, 3/4 cup almond milk” on the outside. I do either single serve pack or a six times serving size for a pack for whole family smoothies.

ICE CREAM

Just for fun, this is my #1 brand of ice cream. (NOTHING ELSE COMPARES). And an awesome ice cream recipe cookbook. (The baked goods in it are my favorites too.)

Related to all of this is a post about doing a good job bringing a sympathy meal which is a fun one and very applicable to deep freezer life! Having an active freezer presence makes taking a meal to someone in need easier.

I love finding a new thing that freezes well and experimenting with how to make dishes come back to life at room temp and turn out nicely!

My New Cookbook


PRE-ORDER NOW:  AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

I have been doing more with batch cooking and freezing foods and I love it when I do. I cook so much, everyday. (Which I like, but.) Why do I ever make a pasta bake and not make two? Part of my limitation before was I didn’t have a deep freezer.

READ MORE

MOVING LIGHTBOXES FOR NEW FIXTURES

January 15, 2020
Rachel Schultz

A few rooms in our house have been suffering from insufficient lighting and we almost got used to it, but especially in the dark winter months, we’ve become READY for an upgrade. Good lighting is helpful everywhere, but the kitchen and dining room are particularly important to our family life.

During our renovation, we flipped the orientation of our dining table from the traditional centered in the middle of the room spot and installed a built in bench. Because of that, the light box was not over the dining table anymore, so we had to for a time use a plain flush mount to not hit our heads. BUT a simple flush mount is not enough light at all to make a dining room feel not dreary. And certainly not enough to make a fine table spread feel grand.

We went from such extremes with a terrible, barely adequate amount of light to now such a beautiful and bright fixture, the cleara 14 light chandelier from kichler.

We got the artistic value of the fixture itself and also spatial layering in the dead space above the table. ALSO IT’S JUST NICE TO HAVE THE LIGHTBOX APPROPRIATELY CENTERED!

Similarly, our kitchen used to have an eat in dining area which we scrapped to balance things out and build an island. And so yet again that left an off balanced light box. We closed up the old fixture and centered two of the aura five light chandelier (also from kichler) as pendants above the island and the difference is INCREDIBLE because among other things it’s quite pleasant to be able to see well when using a knife.

We put dimmers on both of these fixtures which is good for different moods. (I’m a stickler for dimmers on lights.) Low lighting for a cozy dinner or really bright for doing a puzzle, cleaning, or other task work.

The quality of the metals on these pieces stood out to us right away when they arrived, and after they were wired and installed, the rooms looked and felt completely different.

There’s many brasses in the world, some good and some bad. The one on this dining fixture is some of the best I’ve seen.

We like experimenting with different looks with the glass flutes the cleara dining chandelier comes with too.

Looking into these rooms and seeing pretty new fixtures that also feel like works of art has elevated our whole first floor and feels like a significant jump in our renovation on this level of the home. Also you’re probably noticing the new dining room art gallery wall. Will share about how I put it together soon! It’s completely able to be replicated.

My New Cookbook


PRE-ORDER NOW:  AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

A few rooms in our house have been suffering from insufficient lighting and we almost got used to it, but especially in the dark winter months, we’ve become READY for an upgrade. Good lighting is helpful everywhere, but the kitchen and dining room are particularly important to our family life.

READ MORE

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