Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It's easy being Green: New Desk!

I guess I should start out by explaining WHY we replaced our secretary desk with a new desk.
  • Well . . . we are turning the library into an office. Lee has recently started doing lots of work from home and needs a large desk and and area to spread out all of his papers. The only desk I've found that I LOVE is WHITE!  and the Bookcases are WHITE! I wanted the front 'office' to  be light and bright and to me nothing is lighter and brighter than WHITE. 
  • Also, I never really did any work from there because I found it a bit confining inside of the desk, there wasn't a lot of room to move your mouse or have a drink or spread out a project. Also I could definitely NOT use that desk to sew on! 
I should also tell you what happened to our little black secretary desk . . .
  • we sold it on Craigslist! And  made enough money to buy the New white desk we want for Lee, a desk chair as well as the shelves and desk in the corner!! 
Here's my New Little Corner DESK:  (still a work in progress . . . the blue file holder at the top will be gone once we convert the wicker baskets to file cabinets, and the plant will probably find it's home somewhere else, I want to be able to spread out projects on the desk and the plant is taking up some precious real estate).

The "DESK" part itself is the our old laundry room cabinet! Since we wanted some hanging space in the laundry room we had an extra cabinet kicking around. We racked our brains trying to think of a way to use the old cabinet when, as Oprah would say, I had an AH-HA moment and decided to make a floating desk out of it!

First Lee figured out where the wall studs were so he could screw the cabinet into the studs.

Once the cabinet was secure to the wall we bought an Ikea Vika Amon desk top in White for $9 (seriously it was $9, although when we cut it to fit we found out why . . . it's basically filled with cardboard haha).

We painted the dark face of the cabinet with leftover white paint from the Laundry Room Project. And found two more doors in the AS-IS section of Ikea for $10.00 each.
We used the same door pulls as the laundry room cabinets (I love those little things).
You also might recognize the chair it's one of our bar chairs, and I love it WAY more with my new DESK. 

 It wasn't too hard at all, Lee completed the project in about an hour!!!  (Not including paint drying time).

We added:
  • a couple of floating shelves (these ones were from Home Depot).
  • A magnetic bulletin board From Ikea found in the AS-IS section for $8. I really think that every home need either a Pin Board or a Magnetic Board. There will always be a piece of mail or a slip of paper that you'll want to deal with at a later time . . . ALWAYS.

We still have a ways to go . . . We have an empty picture frame begging for some cute art.

I desperately need a desk lamp. And I still have to organize the cupboard (my favorite part). But I'm really happy with how it's turned out so far!

Cost Breakdown:
Cabinet  $ Free $
Cabinet Doors $10 each
Desk Top  $9
Door Hardware  $4
Magnetic Board  $8
Floating Shelves  $14 each
Bar Stool  $ Free $
It's Sooooo Easy being Green . . . and cost effective!

I should have the final touches done by the end of the week!!! 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Chocolate Themed Birthday Decor!

This weekend we celebrated Lee's 36th Birthday!!!
We threw a Chocolate Themed Dessert Party, with a couple of skulls to make it more "Lee"!

I started by making a banner in our party colors (Chocolate, black and Cream), it was SUPER easy.

First - I cut out triangles.
Second - I ironed on interfacing (this is super important, it keeps the triangles stiff  and stops the edges from curling around.
Third - I cut the edges with pinking shears.

Last - I sewed the interfaced triangles to quilt binding . . . Both banners took me Less then 30 minutes to make!

Next I tackled the Pom Poms for the light. I tried to make them as manly as possible, so I chose Black, and Chocolate Brown (I wouldn't call them masculine . . . but they're about as manly as a pom pom can get).
I used THIS tutorial They were SUPER easy to make! and cost about 50 cents each! :)

We attached them to the chandelier using string,  and the ones on top were just thrown up there! I like the look so much they're still up there today :)

I made a batch of Lee inspired cupcakes . . .

Rainbow Sprinkle cupcakes with Black Buttercream icing and tiny sugar Skulls on top! (I probably wouldn't do black icing again . . . because everyone who ate a cupcake had black lips and teeth . . . oops), but the buttercream icing made them so yummy most people still had two!!

Next I added, in no particular order, :
  • Nanaimo Bars
  • Brownies
  • Rocky Road bars
  • Key Lime Pie
  • Black Forest Trifle (It's when the black forest cake your making doesn't want to stop leaning to the left, so you cut up the cake and make a trifle instead.
  • Peanut Butter Cups
  • Chocolate Mousse 

  • Double Chocolate Cookies 
  • Chocolate Cookie Straws

  • Bowl of Maraschino Cherries (My Favorite).
  • and a Dish of Raspberries and Strawberries!

 Overall we had a GREAT time!! A lot of Prep work but totally worth it!! The Party was a chocolate success and Lee had not only his fill of chocolate but his fill of GIN too . . . I think next weekend is going to be a stay at home and sip tea while watching PG movies kind of weekend :) haha.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Flowers on Friday: Living Room

Just a cute little mixed bouquet from the super market:

The vase is from Home Outfitters.
Hope you have a GREAT weekend, we celebrating the 7th Anniversary of Lee's 29th Birthday, also known as his 36th birthday!
I'm also Putting the finishing touches on my new DESK!! :) Can't wait to share on Monday!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Book Review: The Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking

I finished Kate Payne's book 'The Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking'.

So far on Mini Manor I have only reviewed books that I loved! This wasn't one of them.
I think it was more of a case of a mismatched reader . . . ME.

The book was VERY beginner! Like ,'you've never seen a kitchen before', beginner.
I just don't think that Kate and I share the same sense of style and comfort. The idea of mismatched/chipped dinner plates gives me anxiety. And the thought of hanging ziploc bags around my kitchen with clothespins makes me want to cry and I would never buy used/stained linens.

In general I found the whole book way too beginner . . . and most of the tips and tricks are just plain common sense.

This book MIGHT be appropriate for someone who just rented their first apartment. I found a lot of the advice to be fairly "college" (if that makes sense) so it could make a good gift for the newly graduated. But if many moons have passed since you moved out of mom and dad's house, I would definitely take a pass on this book.

Sorry The Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking doesn't get the Mini Manor stamp of approval (Clearly one of the most coveted literary prizes there is!  ;)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Desk . . . errrr Kind of!

Here's what our library corner looked like before:

Here's what it looks like now:

Better right ;)

We're making some HUGE changes in the Library or should I say . . . office!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Yam and Balsamic Salad

Happy Chinese New Year!!!! We are Exhausted from yesterday's festivities, 10 dishes in 4 hours!

In Chinese New Year tradition you feast on New Years Eve and go vegetarian on New Years Day, a small attempt to counteract all the heavy food from NYE.

So for Dinner tonight we are having Garden Salad, topped with Yams, and a balsamic dressing.
This is our GO TO quick weekday meal! I would eat it every night if I could, even Lee likes it!
I find that by adding the yams it fills you up, WAY more than a regular salad.

2 or 3 small yams (or One HUGE yam)
a drizzle of olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Toss Diced yams with olive oil, salt and pepper, roast in a 400 degree oven for anywhere from 30 minutes to 45 minutes depending on how large your dice is!

For the salad we add:
1 head Romaine Lettuce
1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced
1 Red Pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 a Cucumber
a couple radishes

Just your basic run of the mill garden salad.

Balsamic Dressing: (make lots!! You won't regret it)
3 parts olive oil to 1 part Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste!!

Pull your yams out of the oven and let cool slightly, meanwhile compile your salad. Top Salad with warm Yams, drizzle everything with your Balsamic Dressing!

It's seriously the BEST salad!!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year preparations are in full swing around here! Chinese New Year has always been a big celebration at our house!
This year Chinese New Year falls on January 23rd, 2012 that's this Monday! Which makes Sunday January 22nd  Chinese New Year's Eve. New Year's eve is when all the parting goes on.

We follow many of the traditional customs and superstitions (show me a holiday where you need to clean the house top to bottom and buy a new outfit, and I'm IN):
  • Decorate with Oranges! Big bowls of Oranges everywhere . . . specifically in the center of your home. Oranges and tangerines represent luck and wealth (two things we could all use a little more of). A lucky number to keep is 9! 
  • Buy and play with some Firecrackers or fireworks or both. It's believed to ward off evil spirits. 
  • Complete a thorough clean of the house . . . TOP to BOTTOM!! Start the New Year with a clean slate. When your done make sure to wash your cloths and dusters and empty the vacumm cleaner.
  • Make sure there is no laundry to be done.
  • Decorate Doors and Windows with RED (happiness) and Gold (wealth).
  • Make sure to settle all unfinished business so that you don't drag it into the new year. 
  • If possible clear off any debts! 
  • Make sure all projects around the house are finished and if you won't have time to finish it before New Years Day don't start it until 1 week after!
  • Lots of Fresh Flowers!!! Everywhere! 
  • Display bowls of Nuts and Candy! Fruit, nuts, food and sweets symbolize abundance! 
  • An orange tree is ideal to display in your home for Chinese New Year, but if you can't find one any new living plant would be beneficial. (display your new plant on the EAST side of your home)
  • Get a Hair Cut before New Years Day, cut away the old. 
  • Burn Candles and Keep your front porch lights on to attract good chi. 
  • Hang a gold bell in the Northwest corner of your home to bring helpful people into your life!
My Favorite part:
  • Buy a new outfit to wear, preferably in RED, but any bright color will do. Nothing Black!
  • If possible buy a new wallet, again preferably in RED, fill it with crisp NEW bills. If you don't buy a new wallet fill your existing wallet with Crisp New Bills anyway.

And Lee's favorite part:
  • Host a BIG feast on New Year's Eve. 
  • Shanghai Noodles to symbolize longevity (don't cut your noodles or you'll be cutting your life short). 
  • Steamed Halibut 
  • Chinese Egg Drop Corn Soup
  • Crispy Skin Chicken with ginger/scallion sauce.
  • Tea Eggs
  • Spring Rolls
  • Chinese Long Beans
What not to do on Chinese New Year:
  • No Swearing or getting angry. A bad mood is bad on New Year's Day. 
  • Don't say the number 4 in Chinese it sounds like death so people avoid saying it. Also don't serve or eat any food served in numbers of 4, for example instead of taking 4 dumplings take 3 or 5 instead!
  • Don't do any washing or cleaning on New Year's Day or you'll risk washing away all your good luck . . . Definitely NO sweeping. 
  • You're appearance on New Year's Day will set the Tone for the rest of the year. So Make your outfit a cute one! 
  • Never wear black on Chinese New Year!
  • Don't go to bed early on New Year's Eve. Stay up with family and pass the time playing games! After Midnight give red envelopes containing Money! 

  • On New Year's Day don't try not to use knives or scissors, you'll risk cutting through your good luck!
  • and Last on New Year's Day eat a vegetarian diet for the whole day . . . an attempt to counteract the excessive feasting from the night before!
We'll be adding our Red and Gold banners to the doors and windows this weekend as well as constructing and hanging our lanterns, check back this weekend for a Chinese New Year update!

"GUNG HAY FAT CHOY" everyone!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Living Room Pillows: a How To

 You've seen my previous envelope pillow how to, but what do you do if you want the back of the pillow in a different fabric . . . or you're like me and are too cheap to buy expensive fabric for the front and the back?
First things first cut your fabric. I measure my pillows and add 1 inch for a seam allowance. For the front of the pillow (or the envelope part), you want to add 2 inches for the hem . . 3 inches if your folding it back over (as seen in steps 1-3), plus you'll need to add another 2 inches for the overlap in the front.
Step 1: Fold over the front edge not once but twice, IRON.
Step 2: Flip the hem back over, IRON.
Step 3: Sew two lines to hold the hem in place.
Step 4: really isn't a step it's just to show you what I'm talking about and how it should look once your done.
This is going to be the front piece of the envelope. For the back piece of the envelope repeat step one and  then just run one line of stitches to hold it in place.
Step 5: place fabric right sides together, starting with the piece you want in the very front! 
Step 6: Run a line of stitches along the top connecting the pieces together.
Step 7: Add the second part of the front, run a line of stitches along the bottom.
Step 8: fold your fabric into the shape of your pillow (inside out, so it basically looks like Step 7) Run a line of stitches along each side of the pillow, and your DONE.
If you need any help in this step please take a look at THIS it should help explain what I'm talking about.
And the final result should look something like this:

You've probably noticed one more BIG change . . . those are the chairs from the library in our living room! A change that happened earlier this week! I feel like these linen beige-y chairs might suit the new rustic, neutral thing we've got going on, I'll let you know for sure next week what the final verdict on the chairs is, but so far I think I'm liking it!
I hope you like our latest additions! Lee said they're his favorite pillows to date . . . although in general he hates throw pillows so it's not that big of a compliment!! ;)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Living Room Plans

Occasionally I'll see our living room pop up on Pinterest, and no matter how many green pillows or how many bright accessories there are people always call it a NEUTRAL space. Our Living Room EATS color, I could put a 6 foot tall eggplant in the middle of the room and people would still look at the living room and think . . . gee that's a nice beige room :)
So, if you can't beat'em, join'em!
Starting with some new pillows I'll be 'Neutralizing' our Living Room. I've noticed (from flipping through my pinterest boards) that I'm really drawn to more masculine, neutral rooms . . . with Lots of texture and pattern. My new Lamps were the jumping off point for a more rustic scheme.

It seems like I was always headed this way because there really aren't any large costs associated with this change (much to Lee's relief). This change is going to be all in the accessories.
You caught a sneak peek of our new pillows last week, but here's the plan from here on in:

So for everyone who  thinks Beige is Boring . . . I'm hoping to share that Beige can Be BOLD!!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Most organized cabinet in my house!

This weekend we celebrated our 6th Wedding Anniversary!!! I don't know if it's a good or a bad sign that it feels like we haven't been married for that long but I'll take it as a good sign! :)

I don't want to get all mushy on you but this Husband of mine . . . I tell ya, I have NO idea what I've done to deserve such an amazing husband, but whatever it was I'm so glad I did it!

To give you an Idea of what living with Lee is like (cross my heart NO exaggeration here):
~If he see's dishes in the sink, he'll do them! (I didn't know this wasn't common but my girlfriends tell me that this is VERY uncommon!!)
~If it's raining he'll stop in front of the store to let me out . . . every time, without fail . . . and we live in the Greater Vancouver Area it's pretty much raining here ALL THE TIME!
~He is more than willing to attempt any project I can imagine up, with out a word of complaint not even a roll of the eyes, his only request is that we do projects as we can afford them!
~I have never once thought about my car . . . he takes care  of the cars. If my car makes a funny noise or if I think the tire pressure might be low I just mention it and it's taken care of.
~ I have never shoveled snow.
~ I have never been to a mechanic.
~I haven't had to carry anything heavy in at least 8 years!
~sometimes, if I ask really nicely . . . he'll even come to Ikea with me!! Seriously the man's a saint! ;)

He is the killer of moths (I hate moths), the dog poo picker upper, and the fixer of EVERYTHING from pipes to broken hearts. He is LOVE.

Blogs can sometimes paint an everything is warm a fuzzy picture where nothing goes wrong . . . and I don't want to do that, but honestly living with Lee is so Easy it's crazy! We do argue . . . mostly about Sleep and driving. LEE SNORES, a lot! and the driving thing . . . show me one couple who hasn't argued while driving and I'll eat my own hair!
Oh, and one time we got in a big fight at Home Depot over baseboards . . .  but show me a couple who's never fought in Home Depot and I'll each my own LEG! ;)

So how do you award such an amazing husband? ? With FOOD!
Lee had one request for our anniversary and it was Beef Bourguignon! There is a direct route to Lee's heart, you either take the cute little dog route (Max has that one covered) or you go through his stomach!!

This years gift definitely proves we've been married for a while now because there is nothing else in the entire world that is a more fitting gift for me then . . . .


The 6th Wedding Anniversary is the IRON anniversary . . . try and find a romantic IRON anniversary gift. Lee took a little spin on it and bought me these beautiful Metal (not iron but close) pot organizers from LOWES!
I am IN LOVE!!!

Here's how the cabinet looked before:
Not too messy, but not very easy to access, we had pots inside pots, which was scratching some of our pots up pretty bad (I wonder how many more times I can say pots in one sentence . . . pots, pots, pots).
During: This picture gives me anxiety!

and AFTER:

ACTION SHOT!!! *notice how they extend all the way out . . . oooooooo . . . . ahhhhhhh! :)

Here's to 6 wonderful years of marriage, and to the knowledge that the best is yet to come!!
Love you Hunny!

One more look at the cabinet ?  ? ? . . .
Here it is all closed up:

then . . . .BAM!

Hope you love it as much as I do!!!

p.s. The Yellow Dutch Oven is from Homesense!!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sponsor Post: JewelMint

This post brought to you by Jewelmint. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you caught our New Years Resolution post, you'll remember I wanted to start pulling off a more put together look on a more regular basis!  I think that accessories are going to be a huge part of that! A fabulous Necklace can transform a plain white tee :).

When I found JewelMint I was really excited to take their Quiz, I answered some questions about my personal style, about celebrity styles I identify with, and my general taste in fashion. Once I answered the questions they came up with some jewelry choices they thought I'd like . . .It's like having your own personal accessory stylist in your computer.

Here's my favorite Personal Pick:

Here's how it works:

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Indulge you passion for jewelry with affordable must haves like these:



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I hope you'll check out JewelMint they have new designs showing up every month.

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