Wednesday, January 30, 2013

ampersand update!

Hootie hoo! (my ma says that when she enters my house..)

I added some new goodies to the Ampersand Interiors booth! 

My mom came up to Birmingham to deliver some wood to my stash so I can make more Herring Design Co creations, and she also got the lucky task of helping me haul some stuff down to 5th Avenue Antiques. 

First up is this BEAUTY I found. This six drawer dresser has a mirror attached and awesome wood details on the drawers. I don't think I even need to mention the legs that remind me of my favorite style (mid-century, duh). 

Sorry for the terrible picture. They were closing while we were finishing up, so I was rushing..

Here's a better view of the mirror, and also these two lovely matching lamps. The coloring in this shot makes them look a bit off, but they're the same. I love the gold at the bottom of the bases. 

Hootie hooo! (it had to be said again..) This cute little nugget would look good on anyone's shelf. Can you have enough white animal statues? I don't think so. 

How lovely is this lamp?! I love the shiny brass! 

Head on over to the Ampersand Interiors Facebook page to learn more about these pieces!

Bonnie is working on a glorious china cabinet, so be on the lookout for that soon! 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

buffalo chicken dip

I felt like I was on a roll there getting blog posts out everyday, and then it all went south. I'm scho schorry. 

Since the Super Bowl is coming up (and I haven't had time to edit all the pictures from my weekend trip), I thought I'd share the recipe to one of the best dips ever. My roomie Katie made it a while ago, and she had gotten the recipe from her sister. I know the recipe by heart now, because I've made it 4 times within the past month. 

It is that delicious.

I had a few of the ingredients leftover to make myself this tiny batch..

It usually fills up a big ol' 9x13 pyrex dish. That's it below, half devoured (probably by moi). 

2 blocks of cream cheese
2 cans of canned chicken
1 cup of buffalo wing sauce
1 cup of ranch dressing
1-2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese


(go ahead and preheat the oven to 350)
1. Let the cream cheese sit out to soften, then spread it on the bottom of the pan.
2. Mix chicken (drained), ranch, and wing sauce together
3. Pour mixture over the cream cheese in the pan
4. Sprinkle cheese on top
5. Grab yourself a brewsky and tell everyone how awesome their life is about to be after you introduce them to this dip
6. Pull out the deliciousness once the cheese starts bubbling (about 15 minutes I think)

and one last step.. this is very important..

7. let it cool down! 

Pizza rolls have nothing on this dip, y'all. You will burn the top 4 layers of your tongue off if you don't follow step 7.


PS- I know, the canned chicken is a bit of a turn off, but it's really not bad! The first time I had this dip was the first time I had canned chicken, and I was a bit skeptical beforehand. I couldn't tell a difference due to the delicious saucy, cheesy goodness. 

I went to market this weekend in Atlanta, and it was glorious! I'll have a post all about it soon. Of course I went to IKEA, so I'll have some updated decor for you to see as well.

And just for aww wees.. 

my sweet Diesel man. 

"Pet me, pweez"

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

painting laminate furniture

I introduced my new little design adventure yesterday, Ampersand Interiors, and now I'm going to show you some before and afters of some of the pieces I made in the booth (at 5th Avenue Antiques, y'all). 

First I'll introduce you to sad little mid-century modern side table. How miserable he was with his discolored laminate top and chipped side legs..

and a little bit cuter, but only from afar, ol' chipped mid-cent dresser. Yep, I abbrev-ed mid-century. And abbreviated. 

He had a laminate top as well.

I researched how to paint laminate, and I'm going to let you in on my findings. First up was to wipe the entire piece down so it's free of dust and grim. Then remove the hardware. 

Yeah, this guy looks pretty much the same wiped down..

After researching several tutorials, the consensus from most was to use Kilz Primer. You KNOW how much I love to use spray primer, but I felt like I should break out the roller for this project since these were pieces of furniture that would have stuff constantly sitting on the top surface (rather than something like a lamp or doodad that wouldn't see much traffic/handling). 

Before you prime, go over the surface with a block sander (that's what that black block is in the picture below). I got a fine/medium grit and went over all the surfaces I was painting on the furniture.

A random tip: I lined my paint tray with aluminum foil so that I could reuse it without have to clean paint out of it.

I primed them outside. I rolled the primer over the surfaces I was going to paint, and I did a second coat on the top of both pieces. Of course I forgot to take one of the small table during this step.. On both, I used a 1" brush to get the primer on places the roller wouldn't reach.

Did you know Pantone's Color of the Year this year is Emerald? It inspired me to paint this little pup Rust-oleum Meadow Green.

Since it's been so long from my last tutorial, I shall repeat: 

Light even layers of paint!

 See how SUPER light this first coat is? Believe me, I know how hard it is to stop with only this tiny bit of paint, but you must step back and let it dry for a bit. Also, constantly keep your hand moving. If you hold it in one position, the paint will glob up and drip, then you'll have to sand it down and start over. The horror!  

I probably did about 10 layers. Luckily I was working on the other piece as well so I could make myself drop the green can and go pick up the white one.

 While I sprayed this big boy, I wrapped the legs in foil. It saved me from having to tape it off with painters tape.

We had quite the project city going on in the front yard.

My roommate Kate is getting married, and she was making stuff for her wedding while I painted. Check out those awesome corn hole boards! 

Gah, I love a good craft day. 

After the bajillion layers of paint. See how nicely it filled in?

Oooo wee, I dig him!

I feel like he's a little irish looking with his shiny gold handle.

And this bad boy.. don't get me started. It took all I had not to squeeze him into my room. 

I wiped some Howard Restor-a-Finish over the drawers and legs with an old cut up tshirt. 

I love the way he turned out.

Yeah, stare into the sun, you gorgeous thing, you. 

After they dried thoroughly overnight, I loaded them up and put them in the booth!

Go check em out y'all! 

If you adopt one of these puppies, I'd love to see it in your space! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

ampersand interiors

I have some exciting news for everyone! I have paired with one of my artsy friends Bonnie Browne to open a booth at 5th Avenue Antiques here in Birmingham! We met at Artwalk last September. Bonnie designs jewelry, and it is SUPER cute. We happened to be in the same space during Artwalk and just hit it off. I confessed that I really liked transforming furniture, and she exclaimed that she did too. Thus our new venture was born..

Ampersand Interiors
Get it? Because it's she AND I.. or should I say she & I.  Hardy har har! Bonnie has her own company with Bonny Bee Designs, and I have Herring Design Co., so rather than merge our names into something creepy (HerringBee?), Bonnie came up with Ampersand Interiors. Genius.

Here's what we're working with so far:

It's just in its beginning stages. We've had it for about a month and are still working on filling up the space, but I couldn't be more excited about having this booth! We have created a Facebook page where we will update everything we put in there, so go like it y'all! I even made a logo for us!

 Since I will be adding stuff, along with Bonnie, we will each be showing our transformed pieces on our own blogs before we add them to the Ampersand Interiors fb page. Her style is more Shabby Chic/antiqued, whereas I am more Mid-Century Modern/pops of color. Something for everyone, eh?! Click here for a link to Bonnie's blog

You may remember this (oops, grainy) Instagram shot from a few weeks ago, and this project is what I was alluding to! 

That's Bonnie on the left as we setup on the first day! 

If you head to 5th Ave. Antiques, our booth is upstairs right behind the staircase. Just walk up there and turn around (ours is in the corner). We are conveniently right next to the Theatre Downtown! YEAH! What a great location!

Just to show you that we are RIGHT next door. I really need a wide angle lens..

So go on and get to the Facebook page to learn more about our inventory, like Bonnie's glazed table and chairs,

my mid-century modern chairs, her antiqued table,

and my little green cutie. You might've seen this puppy on Instagram (ilikewhatimherring) or the Herring Design Co. fb page this weekend!

I'll do a before and after post in the next couple days on this baby along with the wood and white dresser in the back there below.

EEEE! I'm so excited to have an outlet for my furniture obsession! I've completely run out of room at mi casa. I'll be sure to update you on the look of the booth as well, as it will progress once we add art and doodads. 

PS: This is my 200th blog post! HOW EXCITING! Let's try to make it to 300 before the year is out, shall we?! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

heart string art

Just in time for Valentine's Day, y'all! I had a lovely customer request this piece, so I decided to list it in my Etsy shop.

It's 8"x8", but if you'd like another size, I can accommodate you. I can also do different colors. As always, there's a picture hanger on the back for you to hang wherever you'd like!

CLICK HERE if you'd like to order one! 

Of course my little man got a little too close as usual. I thought this was too cute with both our paws in there. 

It's been raining or overcast in Birmingham for TWO WEEKS, hence the rain boots above. The sun is finally coming out tomorrow, and I can't wait to bust out my new saw and make some new art. GET READY, YALL! 

AuburnArt email feature!

Yesterday, AuburnArt featured my work in their weekly email! HOW EXCITING! I just love AuburnArt! Here are a couple of images I pulled off the email:

How cute to put the string art in the image! 

This weekend, I answered a few questions they sent to me, and they featured some of the answers in the email as well.

They asked for a recent photo, so of course I sent one of me in my natural habitat.. gameday in Auburn.

Thanks to everyone who voted for me in the contest a few months ago! I wouldn't be here without y'all's help! I wish I could hug each and every one of ya. 

Rumor on the street from a friend in Auburn is that my artwork is in the window display at the store! EEEE! I'm working on getting someone to send me a picture (hint hint, Binky..). I'll be sure to post it if I get one. Be sure to check out to see all the great stuff they have! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

treaties, y'all!

I haven't done a cooking post in a while, but then again, I haven't found something so easily delicious worth sharing, so here goes..

Yesterday was my sweet lady-neighbor's birthday. I LOVE my neighbors. They just got married and are around my age. We both have doggies, we watch them for each other, and we all like to drink beer and wine. So it's a win/win for all of us (ya know, watching pups when we're gone and drinking beer/wine when we're together). I'm not sure how they feel about sharing names on here, so I'll refer to them in initials.. P the hubs lived next door when I moved in to my house. He was a great neighbor, letting me borrow stuff like extension cords and whatnot. After we were friends for a bit, he met C. She is awesome. They just got married a few weeks ago, and I love living next to them! 

Needless to say, they clearly hear me sawing next door every so often.. I feel semi-creepy, because I'm ALWAYS outside sawing or painting when they're walking to and from their cars, and I'm kind of like that sitcom neighbor that's always saying things like "HOWDY NEIGHBOR!" or "WHAT ARE YALL GETTING INTO TONIGHT?!". Erroneous. 

Let me tell you how awesome they are: they gave me leftover craft supply stuff from their wedding! HOW AWESOME! I'll be sure to blog about it once I put them to use!

Back to the subject! I knew that it was C's birthday, so I wanted to make something delicious! Of course I'd been on Pinterest pinning stuff for like ever, so I immediately went to my "eats" board to find something sweet to make (otherwise I would've made something meat-y because that is my forte). I have several birthday-ish recipes filed, but the cake batter fudge caught my eye. I am a HUGE fudge lover. My mom makes the BEST fudge over the holidays, so I thought "hey, I'm going to try this out, and maybe it'll give it a run for it's money".

It is DELICIOUS! So here is the link to the original pin: CLICK HERE FOR THE LINK WHERE I GOT THE RECIPE!  She also gives instructions to a non-dairy recipe, so click that if you want to create it that way! 

So here is my take on it:

Ingredients: Yellow cake mix, Powdered sugar, Butter, Sprinkles, and not pictured, MILK! 

      Put a cup of cake mix and a cup of powdered sugar into a MICROWAVEABLE bowl.
Mix it together. I used a spatula that I was gonna use for the rest of the recipe.

Then plop in a 1/4 cup of butter (half a stick.. I cut it up into a few pieces) and 1/4 cup of milk. DO NOT STIR IT. Put it in the microwave for 2 minutes.

Once you remove it, you can stir it until it turns into a thick consistency and pour some sprinkles in there. 

Put it into a greased pan. Let me tell you that I didn't read ahead in the pinterest link (which said it fit into an 8x8 dish), so I plopped it into this big one.. It clearly didn't fit..

So what did I do? Make another batch to fill it up! When you buy a box of cake mix, powdered sugar, butter, and milk, you're gonna have extra ingredients. I used the same recipe and bowl, but scooped out all of the thick fudge-y remnants I could before I microwaved the bowl again. Then I mixed, poured, microwaved, and emptied out the new batch into the dish. 

After I got it all (semi) even, I put it into the fridge. The original recipe says to leave it in for an hour, but I think it needed a little more time than that. 

Well I couldn't leave it as just fudge before I took it to the neighbors, could I? I made one of those ultra-spiffy bunting banners! 

First off, I cut out little triangles with tabs on the top. I drew them out on leftover card stock with a bit of color, so you can see the sketching on them. Most of them are folded up here, but you can see a few of the tabs.

I took a skewer that we had and cut it in half. Then I tied some baker's twine to each piece. I held it up before I tied it to get what length it should be. 

Baker's twine isn't as giving as you would think, so really measure when you hold it up! After that, I colored the bunting! I made some polka dots and the others were zig zag (not quite chevron). 

Then I wrote out the letters with a dark blue sharpie. I laid it out under the baker's twine before I attached it with some tape..

clearly I didn't even it up before I took the picture..

I used clear packing tape, which we all know comes off in two inch wide strips. I pulled off just a little bit, then cut that strip into TINY pieces to attach the bunting flags onto the string. 

Then I stuck the skewers onto the fudge! 


 How cute!


Happy Birthday, Neighbor!! 

I hope it was yummy to them!  I know the pieces I kept were..