Haven 2013

Last week, I spent 3 days in Atlanta at the Haven Conference.  You would think that a 3-day conference would be easy to sum up into a few words and pictures, but it really isn’t.  Haven is the one time of year that I don’t have to explain what a blog is, or what DIY and home blogging is all about.  It is a wonderful opportunity to be with so many like-minded people.  Bloggers come from all walks of life, but at Haven we have the common bond of primarily blogging about our homes and projects we call DIY.  I was so much less nervous going to Haven this year, because I could actually introduce  myself as “Leslie from Puddy’s House”.  I felt like I belonged.  It also helped that I have a great traveling companion, who could also introduce herself as a blogger this year, “Amy from Always Never Done.”

Haven 2013 - Leslie and Amy

The Haven Team puts on a great conference.

Haven 2013 - Haven Team

I know they put forth tons of time and effort to make it great, and it shows, and it is appreciated!  We arrived Thursday to register, which is a fun time because we pick up our swag bag.  The Haven Team and Sponsors had it filled with goodies.

Haven 2013 - Swag Bag and Name Tag

Thursday evening, we opened the conference with a cocktail hour to give everyone time to meet and mingle.  After that, Amy and I headed out to dinner.  We were staying at a Hyatt for the conference and they have a shuttle driver that will take you anywhere within a few miles for free.  We said we wanted to go to dinner and the driver recommended The Buckhead Diner.  I think he saw the look on our face, and he said it wasn’t what we normally would think of as a diner, so we said we’d try it.  We pulled up and it certainly looked like you average diner.

Haven 2013 - Buckhead Diner

But, inside it was very nice.  The staff was great and it was delicious food.   The driver’s recommendation was right on target.

Haven 2013 - Amy at Buckhead Diner

Friday morning, the day started with Ana White as the keynote speaker.   She was educational and inspiring, which are two of the four things she said she always tries to have in her blog posts.  If you don’t know Ana White, I recommend you check out her blog.

Haven 2013 - Ana White

After the keynote, there were many sessions to choose from.  Most sessions were repeated on Saturday too, so Amy and I went to a mix of sessions to help with blogging and also hands-on DIY sessions.

Haven 2013 - Emily A Clark  -Design Mistakes

Emily A. Clark teaching us about The 5 Most Common Design Mistakes.  We also learned about the components to layering design with this real bedroom example.

Haven 2013 - Bedroom design

In another session, we learned from Sawdust Girl and Pretty Handy Girl about molding, trim, and wall planks.  After they taught us, we had time for hands-on.  I shared some pictures of Amy and I on Facebook using the tools.  I really liked learning how to install crown molding.  Sawdust Girl showed us her templates she uses and then we each had the chance to make our own templates.

Haven 2013 - Sawdust Girl and Pretty Handy Girl

In another hands-on session, we got the chance to work with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Wax.  I had used Chalk Paint before on my corner shelf in the basement, but this class was great to learn more techniques about application and layering and waxes.

Haven 2013 - Chalk Paint session

Some of the other sessions we took, but I don’t have pictures of included photography, blogging basics, and advertising.  My head was swimming at times.   Maybe that is why Amy and I took crazy pictures like this in the bathroom!

Haven 2013 - Leslie and Amy mirror reflections

The conference ended with more giveaways from the sponsors, and a very motivational closing speaker from Habitat for Humanity.  He challenged us to do good on a grand scale.

Haven 2013 - Closing presentation

After two full days of learning and a few evenings of fun, I think we all left inspired and I’m pretty sure that is what the Haven Team hoped to accomplish with the closing speaker.

Overall, Haven was even better than it was last year.  We learned, we networked, and we had fun!  Oh, and we took home a whole suitcase full of our free swag!!

Haven 2013 - Swag packed

I’ll be sharing some of the swag soon as I know I will be using a lot of it in upcoming projects.  One project I didn’t anticipate is a technical one.  I learned in the blogging basics session that I should make the change from wordpress.com to wordpress.org.  I have already started the process, but I just wanted to warn my readers that if you visit my site in the upcoming days and see anything strange, or maybe don’t see anything at all, please try again…it is just me trying to make the transfer on my own.  I hope its seemless, but I can’t make any guarantees.

Celebrating one year at Puddy’s House

Today is a special day because exactly one year ago today I wrote my first blog post: Welcome to Puddy’s House.

Puddys House - Front View

I wrote that I was dipping my toe into blogging, and that is definitely the truth.  I still feel like I’m only dipping my toe into blogging, but I enjoy it so much.  I get excited to see when people like you have come to visit my blog.  I hope that you find some value in what your read, or at least feel entertained by what you have read.  I’m still working on finding balance in life and also what I share on Puddy’s House, and defining what Puddy’s House is really about.

My blog has taught me a lot too.  I’m always surprised at what posts get the most traffic.  So far, the DIY Diaper Invitations are very popular, followed closely behind by the DIY Baby Shower Favors.  And, that surprises me because they are not what I had considered my “normal” DIY projects.  They were definitely fun for me and obviously very special as they were for showering my little sister as she was expecting her first child.  Our Basement Retreat and Our Outdoor Paradise are two other top posts, which I’m happy to see as they are two aspects of our home that we really love.  We put a lot of planning and effort over time to get both spaces to truly be our retreat and our paradise.

Basement - View from steps

Patio - view from the yard to the back of the house

Tomorrow, I embark on the next step in learning and growing in terms of blogging.  I will be flying to Atlanta to join hundreds of other DIY and Home bloggers at the annual Haven Conference.

Haven Conference

Last year, I went to Haven as a non-blogger thinking I was going to just learn more to help me with my DIY projects, and also get the opportunity to meet some of the well-known bloggers that write the blogs that I read on a daily basis.  Instead, I came home so inspired and motivated that I decided to start my own blog.  So, now that I have been blogging one year, my perspective has changed as I prepare for Haven.  This year, I hope to learn so much more about blogging so that I can improve and grow, but also to continue to inspire and motivate me to keep going.

So, as I celebrate one year of blogging, I’d like to hear from you.  Tell me what you like and what you want to see more of.  I welcome any constructive criticism too.  I’m still learning and trying to grow my blog.  And, do you have any questions for me?  I’ll do my best to give you answers.

Thrift Shopping Finds

I try to get out to go thrift shopping on a regular basis.  Some of my favorite places around Lancaster are:  Goodwill, Salvation Army, and then local places – Thrifty Elegance, Stock Swap, Charlie’s Used Furniture, and Attic Treasures, which is only once a month at a local church.  I haven’t had much luck with furniture lately, but I have gotten some good deals on accessories and other small finds.

Thrifty Elegance is a newer store, and I don’t think I have stopped in a single time that I didn’t buy something!  I bought this painting after debating the purchase several times that I stopped in.  I loved the colors and knew they would work in many places in my house, but I hated the frame and the picture and mat are not a standard size, so I wasn’t sure what I would do with it.  But, one day I finally caved, because for only $11.95, I figured I could spend a little money on it to make it what I wanted.

Thrift Shopping - new painting

This picture was before I did anything to it.  I started just with some spray paint to see if that would be enough to make me like the frame.  I’ll share the after pictures soon.  It just got a final coat of paint today.

On the same outing I bought some more pictures.  I haven’t found a spot for these three yet, but again the colors work well in our house.  I think all three were only $6.

Thrift Shopping - 3 wall canvases

I can’t remember if I bought the birdhouse in the same trip or not.  But, it was $5.  It’s pretty tall, and I like the natural texture to it.  I tried it in the foyer, but it didn’t go over well with Bob.  So, I’m still looking for the right spot in the house for the birdhouse too.

Thrift Shopping - Birdhouse

I know when I got the birdhouse, I also picked up this fake plant for $2.

Thrift Shopping - Fake Plant

We have tons of real plants, but it is too difficult to have real plants in the basement, so I need some more faux ones to add some “life” to the basement.  I plan to paint the pot for a new look.

Just last weekend, I picked up this beauty.  I couldn’t resist the branches and flowers, especially for only $4.  Again, its pretty large and it hasn’t found its spot in the house, but I’m sure it will soon.  I might even use some spray paint to give it a new look too.

Thrift Shopping - branch flower wall art

On another trip, I picked up these two vases, which were $4 for the pair.  I bought them in anticipation of changing the color scheme in the living room with the new sectional.

Thrift Shopping- new ceramic vases

I put them on the mantle today, and I’m really enjoying the nice pop of color in the room.

In early June, I went to Attic Treasures for the monthly sale.  I didn’t spend much, but came home with a few treasures.

Thrift Shopping - vases cutting mat and book

All of the glassware was 25 cents each.  I’ll give the green ones a coat of paint to really show off the texture.  The cutting mat was only 25 cents too, and it will come in handy in my scrapbooking supplies.  And, I couldn’t resist the upholstery book for 50 cents to help me try to figure out some of the more complicated upholstery jobs.

A few weekends ago, the Salvation Army was having 50% off the whole store.  I knew I needed a cart as soon as I saw the sign!

Thrift Shopping - scrapbook - paper holder  and wreath from salvation army

The plastic container is to hold scrapbooking paper.  It was $1.50.  The album is a Creative Memories scrapbook album.  The sale price was $2.  Someone had written on 2 of the pages, but since it is refillable, it is definitely worth it.  The wreath is quite crazy, but underneath all of that fabric is a white painted grapevine wreath for just $1.  I didn’t waste any time cutting off all the fabric as soon as I got it home.

Thrift Shopping - grapevine wreath uncovered

I’ll use it to create something new when I’m ready to change up my current Spring wreath that is still on our front door.

The purchase that I really was excited about the most was this bamboo tray table.

Thrift Shopping - bamboo tray table - price is right

It was half price too, so for $1.50, I got the perfect size table to put my laptop on while I’m sitting blogging.

Thrift Shopping - Bambo tray Table - use for laptop

I’ve used it regularly, like I am right now typing this.  It is nice that I can pull it out and sit on the couch to type, but can easily tuck it behind the door in my craft room to put it away.  I left it the natural color, which is a bit worn for now, not sure if I want to paint it or not.

Later this week, I will share the updates to some of my finds.  Anyone else have good luck thrift shopping lately?  Any yard sale finds?  Anyone local that has other thrift shops that I should check out?

Weekend Fun

There was not much time for DIY projects this past weekend, because it was a weekend full of fun!  Even though I had to work Friday, I kicked off my weekend on Thursday night.  Thursday evening, I traveled to York to meet a group of local bloggers.  Many of us are going to the upcoming Haven Conference in Atlanta but some of the bloggers were not.  It was a great night getting to know other bloggers in the area and having the opportunity to learn a bit from ladies who have a variety of blogging experiences to share.  It got me so excited for Haven, which is now less than two weeks away!! Unfortunately, my pictures turned out blurry, so I don’t have one to share of our group….at least I can blame the blurry picture on the waiter and not on my mediocre photography skills. 🙂

The weekend really started Friday evening when we went to the Lancaster Liederkranz for the Parrot Fest.  There were five couples from our neighborhood, and it was a night of food, drinks, music and fun.  I shared this picture of the our neighbor, Debbie, and I sporting our pretty drinks that matched our outfits on Instagram.

.weekend fun - leslie and debbie - parrot fest

Saturday night, we helped to celebrate Debbie’s daughter’s 21st birthday.  Since she was turning 21, what better gift than some alcohol!  We had 2 bottles of booze for her and I had nothing to wrap it in.  I tried to just tie some fabric around them, but it ended up all bunched up, so I took the opportunity to pull out the sewing machine and sew 2 semi-straight lines to make a wine bottle bag big enough to hold 2 bottles.

Weekend Fun - DIY Wine Bottle Bag -sewing

After I sewed it, I just flipped it right side out and put the bottles in the bag and attached some ribbon.

Weekend Fun - diy wine bottle sack

Now that I know how simple and easy it is, I think I will find some fun fabric to keep on hand for just such an occasion.

On Sunday, we had some more fun.  On Summer Sunday evenings, the Long’s Park Amphitheater has a free concert each week.  This past weekend, the concert was Dawes.  They were also there last year and put on a good show, so we knew we wanted to go back.  Bob and I packed some snacks and drinks, picked up our friends and went out to enjoy the evening.

Dawes Concert - Leslie

There was quite a crowd.

Dawes Concert - Longs Park Ampitheatre

Dawes Concert - Crowd

Dawes did not disappoint.  We listened to good music and got some nice pictures to remember the evening too.

dawes 4

dawes3

dawes 6

dawes7

dawes1

Did you have fun this weekend?  Or, maybe you found some time to fit in some DIY?

I started to work on a few small projects this evening, so I should have more to share later this week.

Landscaping Style

Landscaping style can differ as much as decorating style.  With landscaping, there are two main styles of sculpted or natural. I definitely prefer a much more natural style, while Bob prefers more sculpted. So, we have had to compromise with our landscaping style.  It is something we regularly have to work on to achieve that balance to keep both of us happy with our landscaping.  But, I think our backyard really shows our compromised style.

Patio - view from the yard to the back of the house

It looks somewhat sculpted from a distance, but up close it is much more natural.

Patio - view from yard up close

And, these were spring pictures.  Some of the shrubbery grows like crazy, which I like.  But, it gets a bit out of hand from Bob’s perspective, so I end up trimming it mid-Summer to maintain the compromise.  I just trimmed the spirea – the ones beside the birdfeeder – last weekend.  We have agreed to let them bloom the first time and then trim them back before they bloom again.  It works to keep them from not taking over.  So, while I was doing the trimming I was really thinking of landscaping style.  I went searching on Pinterest for landscaping pictures to better illustrate the style differences.

Sculpted Landscapes

sculpted landscaping - f75a94a07d4e40c64c27513337e3438c

source

sculpted landscaping - c25778f6547adb3f1c60dcd2f11ddd9f

source

sculpted landscaping - 8d4d5f9367ae4034a22cbeba10dfb588

source

sculpted landscaping - 11249bd877fbfeeffee127f1d01e6567

source

sculpted landscaping - 6e13d6cf0be1329014a01f3a1fd9fad1

source

sculpted landscaping - b069a7e3295388c18ddf80f775281c48

source

Natural Landscapes

natural landscaping - ffeb5b78c234dc8ea89eb1708d090133

source

natural landscaping - 4351bcc0f01ec14423e0034075d0c77b

source

natural landscaping - 0259b53efb95286f5560844e935257ae

source

natural landscaping - 72cfa8afe8e0f9ff1d9b620c0e7d137d

source

natural landscaping - 997161855c5182e91882a574d8e0331c

source

natural landscaping - 96e103ffaa6e44c736c5ec31461e4ce7

source

natural landscaping  - fd696ed3df580ac2fcde469287ad956b

source

What is your landscaping style – sculpted, natural, or somewhere in between?

Kitchen Makeover

I knew it was going to be a busy week, but I’m happy to say the kitchen makeover mission was accomplished at my mother-in-law’s house. The cabinet painting was complete and reassembled before she got home. Here are some quick before and after pictures of each side of the kitchen, before I get into all the details of the process. The fresh paint really brightens the space.

Kitchen Cabinets - before and after left side

Kitchen Cabinets - Before and After Right side

As far as the process, it was not without mistakes, frustrations, and lots of sweat, but that just makes it feel even better to have it complete and that she is happy with the results. When Bob and I returned home from the beach last Sunday, we started the project of making over his Mom’s kitchen. The days started to blur together, but I finished all the sanding by Monday. For the drawers, we were changing from knobs to handles, so I filled all the knob holes with wood filler, allowed to dry and then sanded it smooth (pictured in between filling and final sanding).

Kitchen Cabinets - filling holes on drawers

After the sanding was completed, I started to paint the drawer fronts.

Kitchen Cabinets - drawers painted starting bottom doors

Unfortunately, the first coat of “Icy Bay” did not really look any different than white. So, I took the paint back to Lowe’s and asked it to be darkened. But, it turns out that Icy Bay wasn’t dispensing properly, which is why it wasn’t much different than white. They couldn’t darken the paint, so instead color-matched it to the Icy Bay sample. I tried that paint Tuesday night. But, yet again on Wednesday morning it didn’t look any different than white. This time at Lowe’s, I choose another similar color and they tried to use that to darken it, but again failed. So, I ended up just changing from “Icy Bay” to “Summer Breeze”. Once I got the color situation worked out, I made good progress. It also helped that I took the day off work on Wednesday to work on the cabinets all day. I took pictures of all the steps. Since I was painting the top cabinets Delicate White and the bottom Summer Breeze, I separated them into two different work areas so that I didn’t get anything confused (more on that later).

Kitchen Cabinets - set up in sunroom for painting

It worked well to have the bottom cabinets in the garage and all the top cabinets in the sunroom. We numbered the cabinets when we took them off, but that is one step that I should have done differently. Bob and I were working together and just started taking all the cabinets off on the left side, top and then bottom, and then switched to the right side top and then bottom. I wasn’t thinking ahead and should have just taken all the tops and kept in numerical order and then the bottoms in numerical order. Since we didn’t do that, I had to go back and count the cabinets inside and write myself a cheat sheet of what was top and bottom. Then, once I had it straight I separated it by the work areas.

Kitchen Cabinets - brushing around magnet on doors

I worked on the inside of the doors first. I used a brush to cut around the magnet on the doors. The rest I rolled. I used a small foam roller (labeled for doors and cabinets) for the sides, and then a full size roller for the door. I found this foam roller and it worked very well.

Kitchen Cabinets - Wooster 3-16 nap roller

I used the same process on the white doors. I did two coats on the sides and insides, switching between the colors to allow dry time between coats.

Kitchen Cabinets - painted bottoms on inside

Kitchen Cabinets - painted tops inside

After I got two coats on all the insides and sides of the doors, I went inside and started working on the frames. I’m a terribly messy painter, so I needed to tape everything surrounding the frames to not get paint on what wasn’t to be painted.

Kitchen Cabinets - drawers numbered and frames taped

Kitchen Cabinets - frames taped for painting

There was not much surface area for frames, but it did take much longer than I expected it to take since it was so tedious. After I got one coat on with each color, I went back outside and flipped the doors to begin painting the first coat on the outsides.

Kitchen Cabinets - bottoms flipped ready to paint outside

Kitchen Cabinets - tops flipped and started painting outside

I had time left in the day to put a second coat on inside.

Kitchen Cabinets - painted front under stove top

Then, it was time for me to quit for the day. Thursday evening, I returned and put a second and final coat on the outside of the doors.

Kitchen Cabinets - Tops painted outside

I was very happy with the finish of the paint.

Kitchen Cabinets - close up of painted surface

Friday, was the only day I didn’t work on this project, but Bob did. He began putting the knobs on the doors and reattaching them to the hinges. It was then that he discovered a problem. I had written down the door numbers correctly according to the paint colors, but I hadn’t followed my own notes. I painted two bottom doors in white instead of color. So, Saturday morning I had to work on those two doors to get them the correct color. I did that between preparing the drawers to be reassembled. I used a simple process to mark the drawers for the new holes to be drilled:

Kitchen Cabinets - 4 steps for handle placement

Step 1 – Lay handle on the sticky side of painters tape

Step 2 – Use a pen or pencil to poke holes through the tape where the screws go

Step 3 – Place the tape on the drawer and measure from the top to ensure that it is level, by having an equal distance to each hole. I also measured from the original center knob hole to each of the new marked holes to make sure the handle was centered left to right

Step 4 – Securely attach the tape based on correctly measured placement.

It worked very well. Bob just drilled directly through the holes and tape to make new holes for the handles. I painted the two doors in between our reassembly and we got everything put back in place on Saturday except for the two doors that needed dry time.

I should note that reassembly took much longer than we thought it would. The cabinets were so snug it was like a house of cards, you got one right and then went to put in the next and you would have to go back and readjust the other one.

Sunday morning, we returned and attached the last two doors and took our final pictures.

Kitchen Cabinets - after right side view from fridge

Kitchen Cabinets - after left side from stove view

Kitchen Cabinets - After left side from dining room view

This project definitely resulted with what I had envisioned. Not only is my mother-in-law happy, but so am I.

I do want to note for anyone who is considering a similar project, you need many hours. And, however many hours you think it will take….double it. I was fortunate to have an entire day when I took off work, so I made a lot of progress in one day, but it was a solid 10 hours of work that day. I hope that the little details of the process will help someone else complete a kitchen makeover. I think we just opened a can of worms with this project though….now we are considering redoing the floors in her kitchen too.

Have you ever painted kitchen cabinets? Anyone considering a kitchen makeover?

Linking up to: That DIY Party at DIY Show Off, Tutorials and Tips at Home Stories A to Z, and Much Ado about Monday at Huckleberry Love

Life and a Little DIY

We spent the long holiday weekend at the beach.  It was great to get away, but Ocean City, MD was pretty busy because of the holiday.  We did our best at just relaxing and enjoying the time away.  Bob and I found some time to relax by the pool, hit the beach, and boardwalk, and of course had some good eats and drinks!  Over the weekend, I also finally caved to signing up for Instagram, and I’m really enjoying it so far.  Here are a few of my instagrams from the weekend.

Harborside view instagram

That was our view from the Harborside on Saturday, and below was the inside of Harborside on Friday.  It is one of our favorite spots at the beach.

Leslie Harborside instagram

Our beach trip had at least two purposes, to get away and relax was one.  The other one was to take Bob’s Mom, Helen, to the beach to stay for the week.  So, this morning Bob and Puddy and I packed up and headed home and we left Helen at her house at the beach for the week.  And, my goal while she is at the beach is to give her kitchen cabinets a fresh new look!

This is what her kitchen looked like when she left for the beach.

Kitchen Cabinets - before left sid

Kitchen Cabinets - before right side

And, there’s a few more cabinets that I didn’t fit in the picture.  The goal is to paint the lower cabinets “Icy Bay”, which is a fresh mint color, and the upper cabinets will become “Delicate White”.  Both are colors in the Olympic paint line.  The cabinets will also get new knobs and pulls.  There a total of 12 drawers and 23 cabinets, so there is much work to be done.

Today, Bob helped me remove all the doors and drawer fronts.  And, then I began the prep.  The old knobs have all been removed and about half of the doors and drawers have been sanded.

Kitchen Cabinets - Sanding

This week will be a busy one, so I’m sure I won’t be blogging along the way, but I will try my best to share sneak peaks on Facebook and Instagram.

Have you painted cabinets?  Any tips or tricks to share?

The Kitchen’s Open

Our kitchen is in the center of our home and open to all the rooms around it.  It was something I loved immediately about our house.  It wasn’t finished when I first stepped in it, but it was so nice to be able to see the other rooms around it.  I remember this view the most, which is basically standing at the stove and turning around to see all the seats at the bar and into the dining room.

Kitchen - view from stove

From the same spot, if you turn to look to the right you can see into the Breakfast Room too.

Kitchen - from stove into dining room and breakfast nook

Now, if you walk into the breakfast room and look back into the kitchen, you can see most of the space.  You can also see a bit of the living room in the distance.  To the left of the refrigerator is our pantry cupboards, and to the left of that is the laundry room door, which also leads to the garage and the stairs to the basement.

Kitchen - view from breakfast nook

This is the view from the laundry room door.

Kitchen - view from laundry room with living room in background

And, a close up of the stove side of the kitchen to show off our tiled backsplash.  Bob and I tiled the backsplash ourselves, after we tiled underneath the bar.

Kitchen - stove with tiled backsplash

Lastly, this is the view from the patio doors looking back into the kitchen.  The breakfast room is on the far left.  The door you see leads to the laundry room.

Kitchen - view from living room with tiled underneath bar

So, that is a little tour of our kitchen.  Bob had it all cleaned up nicely, so I took the opportunity and snapped these pictures. 🙂

Sorry, if you noticed the brief blogging hiatus, Summer is getting the best of me, and I’m definitely still working on Balance!

Do you prefer an open kitchen?  Or, would you rather have it is a separate space?

Our New Sectional

Our new sectional finally arrived about two weeks ago.  I did share a sneak peak on Facebook with Puddy making himself at home on the couch.  But, I didn’t share the rest of the couch because it wasn’t exactly how we ordered it.  Our pillows were on back order at first, so we got them about a week later.  And, it had the wrong color feet on it.  The correct feet finally arrived and are installed, so now I can share the full sectional.

New Sectionl - close up

When it was delivered to the house, it had espresso colored feet on it, which looked terrible with our light floors and other wood furniture.  The feet on it now were just like we pictured.  The great part about the sectional is that we ordered it for this room.  Our old sectional was from my previous house, so it wasn’t set up the right way for our living room.  Now, we have the longer side facing the fireplace, so the coffee table can be parallel to the fireplace too.

New Sectional - view from patio doors

It makes the room feel cozier.  We are still debating an end table for the other side.  It would need to be skinny though so it doesn’t block the walkway.  I was even considering a garden stool.  With the length of that side previously, we couldn’t have an end table on that side.  So, it’s nice to have options.

New Sectional - Flexsteel

We are still using the rug we had.  It really throws off the colors since the new pillows have blue.  The four matching pillows are what we ordered with the sectional.  The other two prints, I picked up before the sectional arrived.  I don’t think I’ll keep both on there at the same time, but for now we like having all the pillows on the couch.

New Sectional - Puddy on corner

Puddy definitely approves!  It took him a little bit to adjust, but he didn’t waste time making himself at home on the new couch.  Bob and I love it too.  It is long enough on each side for us both to stretch out, which is great. We have the comfort factor taken care of, now we just need to work on redecorating the room.  So, now that you see it in the room, what are your thoughts on a rug?  What about a second end table?

Simple Strawberry Shortcake

I don’t know about you, but I always look forward to this time of year.  Not only does the warm weather finally arrive, but so do local strawberries.  It is a very short window of time that local strawberries are available.  And, one of my first thoughts when the season arrives is Strawberry Shortcake.  There are many recipes for Strawberry Shortcake, but I’ve never met anyone outside of my family that makes it the way we do.  So, today I’m sharing our family recipe.  I’m giving you fair warning…it’s addictive!  I almost had Strawberry Shortcake for breakfast today because I enjoy it so much.

Simple Strawberry Shortcake

This time, I actually picked  my strawberries.  It was a lot of fun, and I might go try to pick some more this season.

Strawberry Picking - 2 quarts full

The recipe is quite simple:  yellow cake mix, cook and serve vanilla pudding, and strawberries.

Strawberry shortcake - ingredients - strawberries vanilla pudding yellow cake

Bake the yellow cake according to the directions on the box.  You can bake in whatever size pan suits your needs.  I usually use a 9×13 pan.  While the cake is baking, you can begin to make the pudding.  For the pudding, the only variation is to double the milk amount.  The larger box of vanilla pudding says 3 cups of milk, so I use 6 cups in the pudding for shortcake.  I used skim milk and it turns out fine.  You really just want it to be runny pudding.  Once the pudding boils, allow it to cool, and then refrigerate.

Strawberries up close

Wash your strawberries and remove stems.  Cut the strawberries into halves or quarters depending on the size and your preference.  Then, sprinkle the berries with sugar.  I used 1.5-2 quarts of strawberries and sprinkled 2 tablespoons of sugar on them.  Refrigerate strawberries.

Strawberry shortcake - sliced strawberries with sugar

Once your cake is done and all of your ingredients have had time to cool, you can make each dish according to individual preferences.  I keep the pudding in a small pitcher so that it is easy to make to order.  Cut a slice of cake, pour some pudding on it, and add strawberries.  You have a simple and delicious strawberry shortcake.  Enjoy!

Strawberry shortcake - served

How do you make strawberry shortcake?