Jan 29, 2011

A closet makeover story.

Today was a b-e-a-utiful day.  Gorgeous.  Loved our little taste of spring.

John was off all day (yes!) so we went to the park and enjoyed some ice cream after.  Carson got to ride his 4 wheeler (twice) and treated us to a super long nap and an early bedtime.

In between our family time we managed a quick makeover of Carson's closet.  I love that I can say "we" because I really wasn't expecting John's help on this one (except for maybe some lifting and tool tips).  This was one of those projects that probably wasn't exactly necessary.  The kind husbands maybe don't understand.

I mean the closet did have shelves and was fairly organized.  But it was dirty and it has been gnawing on me since I skipped painting it when I originally painted Carson's room.

I forgot to take a before picture, grrr.  Basically it was like this:   (Yes, I did include a shot of the yucky baseboards.  Just so you can understand how desperate the situation truly was.)

The clothes were hanging in the niche to the left of the doors - not at all easy to get to.  There was a large black wire shelf in the middle of the closet holding all the toys.  In the right niche there were narrow wood shelves holding his books.

Here's an idea of everything that came out of the closet and had to fit back in.

It took a little while to get everything out, demo the old built-in wooden shelves, and fill all the holes.  John pitched in and painted the closet so I just had to cut in and paint the really gross baseboards.  Ahhh, so clean!

I agonized over how to hang the shelves.  Carson's closet is a good size and he doesn't have many hanging clothes so our main need in there is space for toys and books.  The closet goes about 2 feet to the left and right of the closet doors so I had a great little niche to install some toy shelves.  For now he will have plenty of room to put toys and things on the floor and eventually (when the cars and trains and tractors have gone) he'll have space for larger items.

Still working on a few narrow bookshelves on this side.  Maybe someday he'll use the shelves for shoes.  But really (who am I kidding?) we'll probably be in a new house by then!

By the end of the day the closet was put back together.

And Carson's room was back to normal (except for the piles of books).


Jan 21, 2011

DIY Bow Holder.

Because I am a recent bow addict... this week's Friday craft project was a bow holder.  Thought I'd share how I did it since it was super easy and could be FREE if you have the right supplies on hand.  You will need:
  • an old (or new frame) - no glass required!
  • fabric that is 2" wider & taller than your frame (I bought a fat quarter from Wal-Mart - they are around $1.50 and come in tons of cute patterns)
  • ribbon
  • hot glue gun
I had to take a picture of my supplies because look at the picture in this old frame I found!  Cute little John.

First take your frame apart.  Take the glass out and store it some place if you think you might want it later.  You just need the frame and the back.  My frame was cheap and only had this cardboard backing.  I laid it out and cut my fabric to be about 2" wider and 2" taller than the cardboard (I trimmed the top and bottom after this picture, sorry).

I ran a strip of hot glue across the bottom then folded my fabric over the glue.

Glued all 4 sides.  Don't worry too much about how it looks - no one is going to see the back!

Next I laid out my ribbons and positioned the fabric covered cardboard over it (right side down for both ribbons and cardboard).  My ruled cutting mat came in handy for spacing the ribbons evenly.

Took my hot glue gun and glued each ribbon piece up around the back.  The ribbons should be tight so that they'll hold your bows.

Put the fabric covered cardboard back in the frame (which I spray painted) and voila!!

Look how cute!

Still looking for a solution for all the headbands though.  I'm thinking a piece of wood with a row of hooks that I can hang under the bow holder.

I love being crafty!

Another crafting tip:  You can easily make a dry erase board using this same method.  Wrap your fabric around your cardboard but don't add the ribbons (or do if you want your dry erase board to have columns for days of the week or rows for members of the family!).  Keep the glass in the frame and put the fabric wrapped cardboard behind it.  You can write on the glass with a dry erase marker and have a cute fabric pattern behind your notes!

Jan 10, 2011

Snow Day Productivity

Well.  Woohoo for John being home today!  We were able to enjoy the beautiful snowy views out our windows and also finish up some projects that have been hanging around.  Let's recap the snow day adventures so far.

John and Carson went out early to explore the snow all over our yard.  An ingenious system of Wal-Mart bags under shoes was invented for John (need boots!).

John enjoyed some video gaming with Mike (also stuck at home today).  He also helped me finish up the buffet project and painted some crown molding in the living room.  The crown was coming down in several spots and he nailed it up for me, caulked it, then helped me paint it (the previous owners had never painted it!).

I spent about 4 hours (thanks to Johns help with the kids) painting all the crown, base boards, quarter round, and door frames in the living room.  The wall behind the couch got a change of paint color too.  Thank you Nate Berkus for your I-hate-accent-walls statement which made me me completely unsatisfied with my green accent wall.  I finished up the mini living room redo by switching around all the wall decor.  Whew!

(Just look at that beautiful painted-all-one-color-not-falling-down crown molding!)

The final project to finish up was the new chair covers I've been working on.  I made slipcovers for our dining room chairs once before.  They took forever!  A few days to make a sample, create a pattern, and cut out fabric - then, about 3 hours of sewing per chair cover.  Yeah, I wasn't going to do that again.  

I got an old sheet and started draping it around a chair until I found a drape that would work.  I made one sample and loved it!  These covers are just one large piece of fabric with some strategically placed ties.  Each cover requires 2 yards of fabric (after washing - lesson learned) and about an hour to make.  That's easy enough for me to change my mind about the color at least once a year!  I know myself so well.

Lastly, a little bit of kiddie cuteness.

Big fat *sigh* for completing some projects that have been running through my mind for months.  Now time for a relaxing night - eating BBQ Chicken Ranch Pizza and finally watching Inception.

Jan 9, 2011

Steam Love

This little number may just save my life.  Or at least my floors.  Thanks honey!  You know I've been dying to have a steam mop!

Jan 7, 2011

so it sits


I think I can talk about this calmly now.

My old cabinet/new buffet project is turning out to be not as easy as I had hoped.  I have learned something new about myself.  I love projects BUT only if they are EASY.

Also I hate painting furniture (actually I already knew that).

The issue with the cabinets is this:  They were in the garage and were exposed to some sort of sealant type product. Maybe a deck sealer.  Not everywhere - just in patches.  The primer went on great but when I went to paint the cabinets the paint beaded in the areas where there was sealant.

I put on 3 coats before I realized the paint just wasn't going to cover.  I then began the process of removing the paint I had just applied so that I could get to the sealant to remove it.  I used some sort of goof-off type product and went through a whole roll of paper towels before I threw a HUGE tantrum.

Like a 3 year old.  

Doors slamming.  Feet stomping.  Shutting myself in the bathroom and taking a candle-lit bubble bath at 2 in the afternoon.  Tantrum.

I even informed my husband that he could just go ahead and remove the cabinets he had installed because there was no way I was going to finish stripping the cabinet doors.

Ugh.  I can't believe I just told you that.

My sweet husband came to my rescue and sanded down the cabinet doors.  Why didn't I think of that?  It took him 15 minutes.  I think it will come as no surprise that he was glad I was getting out of the house last night for a girls night.

He is the best.  There was much apologizing last night.

There is one more cabinet door to sand down.  I am now at the mercy of my husband's schedule - because I will not be doing any sanding.

So it sits.

Jan 4, 2011

Italian Turkey Mini Meatballs

Tried a new recipe yesterday!  I've never made meatballs from scratch and these were delicious!  These came together super fast (except for the 40 minute simmer).  It's a little gross forming the meatballs but I wore disposable gloves and that made it bearable.

Italian Turkey Mini Meatballs
Serves 4-6

1 package lean ground turkey (usually 1.2 pounds)
1 tbsp dried onion flakes
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
2 egg whites
 2-4 cups of your favorite pasta sauce (depending on how much sauce you want)
1 lb whole wheat penne pasta, prepared per package instructions

Combine all ingredients (except sauce & pasta) in a large bowl and mix very well.

Coat a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray.  Roll the meat mixture into 1” balls (or whatever size you want) and place in a single layer in the skillet.  (They won’t all fit; it usually takes two batches – spray the pan again between batches.)

Cook over medium heat, turning with tongs or a wooden spoon to brown the meatballs on all sides.

Transfer meatballs to a large saucepan and pour pasta sauce over them.  Simmer, covered, over a low flame for 40 minutes.

Serve over pasta.

Jan 3, 2011

1st project of the new year

I mentioned we did some garage organization this weekend.  One of the garage projects was clearing space for a work bench for John.  We had this area:

Disclaimer:  This is not my junk!  This was one of the pictures I took the first time we looked at this house.  Can you believe all that crap!

Instead of making a new workbench we decided to remove the upper cabinets.  It was a great solution and led to my first big project of the new year... a built in buffet/desk area for the kitchen!

Luckily those upper cabinets were actually 2 separate cabinets so we were able to install them like so:

There is a handy little gap where I can tuck a stool.  Excited to be able to pay bills or write letters in this area. The extra storage is going to be so nice since I don't have a pantry.

So far I have removed the doors, primed everything, and done 2 coats of black paint.  Since I won't be able to match the color of the kitchen cabinets I decided to paint it black (the color of the dining table and an accent color throughout the kitchen).

I debated about the counter for the buffet.  Again, can't match the kitchen counters so we bought a nice piece of wood ($26!) and I'm going to stain it the color of the cabinets to bring some warmth to this side of the kitchen and hopefully tie everything together.  Hopefully it will match.  

The whole project should come in less than $50 (board, primer, new knobs, stain).  Excited with my thriftiness!  Thanks to my wonderful husband for all his help on this project.  Can't wait to see how it turns out!

Jan 1, 2011

Happy New Years!

We hope that everyone had a blessed Christmas season and a Happy New Year!  In celebration of New Years, we are offering free shipping on select items in our Etsy and Ebay stores, including our large and extra large unlined oilcloth tote bags!  Grab your beach bags for the upcoming beach season now and take advantage of a great deal!

Our Large unlined oilcloth tote bags, $20

Also, don't forget about our oilcloth aprons available in our Ebay store for $18