Friday, March 30, 2012

Flowers on Friday: Dining Room

To simply call today's post Flowers on Friday doesn't do the post justice. It's Lots and Lots and Lots of flowers on Friday.
For some reason or another we had 4 bouquets in the house at one time . . . It could be because I have a super sweet husband or I could have bought them for my self at the market, on sale 4 bunches for $10. Or Oprah could have sent them over to let me know how much she loves the blog ;).  Either way I ended up with a whole schwack of flowers on the dining room table!!!

Happy Spring!!!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Strawberry Cream Pie!

This recipe was adapted from Crumbly Cookies Recipe found here.
I changed a few things but not much, I'm not a huge fan of almond extract so I cut it out, and graham cracker crust was from here. It's was SO delicious and so easy to make I had to share it!!!!
Strawberry Cream Pie:
 Crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (it's about 10 smashed up graham crackers) I buy graham cracker crumbs in a bag from Walmart!! :)
5 TBSP butter, room temp.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix butter and crumbs together and press into a tart shell or pie plate.
Bake for 10 min.
Filling:
- 1 8oz block of cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cups whipping cream
- 1/3 sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 carton strawberries, sliced into thirds or halves
Whip up the cream until it forms peaks. Meanwhile mix the sugar, cream cheese and vanilla extract. Fold in all of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
Fill in cooled pie crust with filling. Top with strawberries!
Chill in the fridge for about an hour!
EAT!!!

It took 10 min to make and was So worth the effort.


 (If you'd like a larger, thicker filling feel free to double the recipe, I've made it both ways and either way is good, although half the amount = half the calories ;)
I Hope you'll try it! It was Amazing!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cafe Curtains in the Kitchen

Our kitchen windows were the "pane" of my existence for a while . . . get it . . . pane instead of bane.
Nothing like a super corny joke to start off my morning!

I had a really hard time deciding what to do with the kitchen windows. We have a pretty pane detail at the top that I didn't want to cover with blinds. I also wanted to add a 'soft' element. There's only hard edges and stainless steel in the kitchen .
I considered roman blinds but they would block the detail at the top & because our kitchen is east facing blocking out light isn't a concern.
So, taking all of that into consideration we decided that little cafe curtains might work. I wasn't fully convinced but if I had to try an option first I should try the cheapest and cafe curtains are CHEAP!

The rod is a tension mount (no screws or other hardware needed). I used little alligator clips to hold up the curtains (it took two packages from Home Outfitters @ $6.99 ea.). I love using alligator clips, all you have to do is sew a hem around a piece of fabric . . . you could even buy pre-made napkins and just clip them up! 
Including the tension rods the total cost was $34.

Since this was just a test run, I used some old fabric I had lying around from our Library Curtain Project last year (I still love the little brown polka dots).
 I'm kind of LOVING the cafe curtain look!

 What do you think?? I'm still deciding on leaving the brown polka dot fabric or changing it up with a more modern fabric???  Or maybe something more BOLD???

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Living Room Reveal!

       No big huge changes, just a small touch here and there, but it's always the small touches that make the difference so I should be saying, BIG HUGE CHANGES IN THE LIVING ROOM!

       Yesterday I shared our new side table between our wing back chairs.
       I should explain what's going on with them. They are the same chairs that we had in the library. When Christmas came we had to clear out the library to fit our HUGE 12 foot Christmas Tree, with the Christmas Tree in the library we noticed how much more time we spent there. While it looked nice (in fact it was my favorite room in the house) we never used it and our house isn't big enough to have pretty rooms we never use! So the two chairs found their way into the living room, and the two slip covered chairs are nervously waiting to find out their fate, they could be re-homed somewhere else in the house or they just might find their way on to Craigslist! (Still waiting to decide the best way to use the library, I'm thinking office. And YES we will definitely keep the bookcases no matter what we use it for!) Maybe a big grand piano . . . although neither of us play piano :S errrr . . . scratch that idea.
       Now that we've got that out of the way, here's the new, more neutral/rustic look of our living room:

On the left of the fireplace is our new blanket rack. I am a HUGE fan of blanket racks (see here), it so much nicer to have a neatly hung blanket, then a crumpled mess on the couch. My other reason for a blanket rack is that, some throw blankets are so lovely they're almost like works of art! The yellow arrow is pointing to the future site of some fabulous artwork (fabulous artwork I have yet to find).

Next I'll talk about the mantel decorations. Since Spring has officially sprung I thought I would add some Forsythia Branches. I LOVE the small pop of yellow they add! Also, I thought what mantle is complete without some candles, I found the small black candle holders at Ikea . . . they were $5 for all three . . . $5!!!!

Then there's the little yellow throw pillow I sewed using my trusty envelope pillow cover technique! You might recognize the yellow fabric, I sewed up a set of napkins in the same fabric in this post!

A perspective shot (you can see our front hall console):

Another perspective shot (you can see my new desk too):

So there it is! Our new, rustic, neutral living room . . .I hope we've convinced you that beige doesn't have to be boring . . . beige with a little yellow that is ;).
One last look:


Monday, March 26, 2012

Side Table Love!

Something always bothered me about the right side of our living room . . . I knew something didn't look 'right' but I wasn't sure what.
I went to Homesense (yes again, don't judge me ;), and I saw a little, square, super rustic, low side table. Here's how the conversation in my head went "That's so cute I wish I had a spot for it" . . . "What?? It's $25??? I'll make a space for it!"
 Driven by pure determination or the fact that it was a clearance priced, none refundable purchase I wracked my brain thinking of a spot to put it! Then I thought of somewhere . . . in the master bedroom beside the chair in the corner! Alas, it was WAY too big, but standing there, staring at the table  I thought "You know what would be perfect??? The two little nesting tables in the living room" . . .
AND BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE!!!

The small nesting tables that I LOVE so much, found a spot in our bedroom (more on that in another post) and the new rustic table found a perfect home in our living room between our chairs!
I think it works so much better 1) Because it's larger, which suits the large scale of the two chairs, & 2) It's lower, which definitely suits the low, armlessness of the chairs.

Before:

(Sorry for the fuzzy bad picture! Although it does make for a better before and after ;)

After:



I LOVE IT! I'm always amazed how one small change to a room can make such a HUGE difference. I am so happy to score the perfect side table for the new neutral, rustic direction of the living room!

To top it off, I added one of the glass lamps we already owned (you might recognize them from our Townhouse Master Bedroom, and our old living room set up). I've always liked the contrast between really rustic elements like the table, and really polished elements like the Chrome in the lamp, I think it's that kind of 'tension' that really makes a room! I did do one thing to the lamp, a quick shade change was in order, the last shade had a bit of a taper to it:

A drum shade would definitely update it!

One last look:

I hope you liked the glimpse into how my brain works and our living room!! ;) hehe

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring Cleaning Playlist

Just a quick weekend post!!!
In our Big Spring Cleaning post last week I mentioned I need some great* music to clean to.
*Great music in my opinion, my friends generally agree I have terrible taste in music.
I received a ton of emails (actually it was 3) asking for my Spring Cleaning Playlist, so here it is.
I LOVE country music (go ahead and judge me), and I love oldies (mostly Motown). I alternate between the two most of the time, with the occasional . . . oh so shameful . . . Backstreet Boys or TLC thrown in, a little Montel Jordan's "This is how we do it" never hurt anybody either ;).
Here's some of my favorite selections this year:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Terrarium Love

I LOVE terrariums! What's not to love, succulents, pretty glass containers . . . air purification.
I've been on the look out for a terrarium for a while now but they are expensive, capital EX, capital SPENSIVE.  So it was becoming clear that I would have to DIY one!
I found the glass container at Homesense for $7.99. I bought the plants from Walmart, I bought three different species (I lost the tags so I have no idea what their names are . . . sorry). The plants cost less than $10 for all 3! I added a couple of decorative rocks we had lying around, I thought I'd turn it into a little mini landscape. 5 minutes later we had a terrarium that looked like this:


Total Cost: under $20.00 not bad compared to the $75+ terrariums I found here.
*Word to the wise . . . double check you can fit your hand in the hole easily . . . this was the 2nd glass jar I bought for a terrarium, the first one was too hard to work with! 

Honestly, It's been my easiest houseplant ever. It lives on my desk most of the time (in front of a South Facing window). I rarely remember to water it! Seriously, SO EASY!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

New Entry Art

I mentioned in this post, that we were starting to decorate with a more neutral direction in mind. Part of the reason we're going more neutral is because I love homes where there is crazy, bold artwork and I think that a nice neutral backdrop is the perfect accent to it.

I wouldn't really say that we have any specific taste in artwork, we just kind of like what we like. No reason, I don't even think I could explain it if I tried. Sometimes we just see something and love it, which is also why a neutral scheme in the house works really well for us.

Now, here's where I'm going with all of this, we found a new piece of art for our front entrance. We saw it . . . loved it . . . had to have it. I think it kind of reminded me of Lee and myself, only a little taller, and a little slimmer ;).

We found it at Homesense complete with wood frame around the canvas, but I've seen the Canvas on sale at Target, you can see it here.
We hung it in the front hall above the console. It's one of the first things that you see when you walk in the front door, and the last thing you see as you leave.

We're super happy with it, and it also means that we're making progress on the front entrance.
Still to come:
  • We still need an Area Rug
  • and I'm thinking it might be the perfect spot for a small fish tank (goldfish are great feng shui). 

I hope you like it too! And Yes, I know the peace lily plant has kind of gotten out of control. Lee saw this picture and said he didn't realize how big that plant has grown.
Actually add that to the list:
  • Move peace lily to new spot in house and pick out a better proportioned plant for that spot!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Clean Check List { & Homemade Linen Spray}

Oh it's that time of year! I LOVE to spring clean. I love the way the house feels after I'm done.
So here's my Inside Spring Cleaning Guide (it's still WAY to cold to Spring Clean outside).

Spring Cleaning Must Haves:
  • OXO Brushes, I love these brushes. I bought them at Target a couple of years ago and I use them all the time. They are way better then using an old toothbrush, the angled bristles and pointy rubber end come in handy cleaning everything, but especially the bathroom drains and around the faucet.

  • Lemons
  • Rubber Gloves (so important).
  • Beeswax Wood Polish


  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Vacuum (with attachments) 
 HOMEMADE LINEN SPRAY: 
-3 Tablespoons Vodka
-20-25 drops of essential oils (in any combination you choose) 
-Distilled Water (around a cup to a cup and a half).

Spring Cleaning To Do's:

Everywhere
  • Windows . . . the bane of every spring cleaners existence. All the windows, and the windows sills.
  • Floors, all the floors! ugg. . .that's mean, taking area rugs outside, sweeping and mopping all stone and wood floors. I remove all the furniture that can be moved by me, if Lee's home I'll get him to move some of the larger pieces around. Bonus Points awarded for cleaning under large pieces like the couch.
  •  Dusting!! Double UGG . . . I always "dust" with the vacuum. I have some icky dust allergies to dusting the old fashioned way does not agree with me. I use the brush attachment and the upholstery attachment to dust everything!
  • Use the brush attachment on your vacuum to clean your baseboards. 
  • Wipe down all light switches with damp cloth and a bit of rubbing alcohol if your worried about germs.
  • Wash all window treatments . . . I don't wash them though, I just run them over with the upholstery attachment on the vacuum, then give them a spritz of linen spray!
  • Clean ,and re-pot if necessary, houseplants. I use a damp cloth and wipe the dust off the leaves.
  • Change the batteries in the smoke detectors
Living Room: 
  • Vacuum your couch, inside and out. Seriously get in there! 
  • Clean slipcovers
  • Clean fireplace glass
  • Dust Picture Frames (I do that with a damp cloth).
  • Apply wax to coffee table.
Kitchen: For a more detailed list, check out last years Kitchen Spring Cleaning Checklist found here.
  • Re-seal grout
  • Re-seal Granite
  • If you have an older fridge that has uncovered coils you should definitely pull out your fridge and vacuum the dust off of the coils. 
  • Take everything off of the counters and clean them (then re-seal them if they are stone).
  • Clean your stove top, I use a mild dish detergent and a sponge with a scrubby on the back. 
  • Clean your oven (hopefully it's self clean). 
  • Take everything out of the Fridge and clean everything, every bin, every shelf. Bonus points for cleaning off the bottles of sauce.
  • Disinfect the garbage bin, a cap full of bleach and some warm water should do it.
  • Wipe down Pendant lights, and any other surface that grease can land on.
  • Clean Microwave inside and out. (a bowl of water with Lemon slices, microwave for 30 seconds, and leave to steam in the microwave for 5 min, then wipe out with a damp sponge). 
  • Polish all stainless steel and the chrome faucet!
Bedrooms:
  • Wash all bed linen. 
  • Vacuum Mattress
  • Flip Mattress
  • If your pillows are machine washable . . . wash them. If they aren't throw them into the dryer for 10 min or so to kill all the dust mites. Bonus Points for a quick spritz of linen spray before putting them into the dryer.
  • Vacuum under the bed!
Bathrooms:
  • Use the little OXO Brush to clean around the faucets and the drains. 
  • Clean the mirrors.
  • Clean the Toilet
  • and the best tip I've ever found . . . to get all of the soap scum off of the shower glass, use a bounce sheet!!! Wet the shower walls and scrub with a bounce sheet, all the soap scum and water marks come off! It's amazing! But make sure to use gloves! 
So there it is! Our Spring Cleaning Checklist!

& Don't forget to Spring Clean the dog ;) A fresh groom and haircut was needed for Max!

Monday, March 19, 2012

A little privacy Please!

So I'm just going to come right out and say it . . . "I'm pretty sure half of the neighborhood has seen my butt" ~ Lee February 2012 ;) hehe
Here's the spec's: 
~At the top of our stairs there is a BIG window.
~It's west facing and we're lucky not to have a house on that side.
~We can use all of the natural light we can get.
~The view was Less than desirable
So we needed something that wouldn't block the light, but would give us privacy (so that the other half of the neighborhood doesn't see Lee's butt!).
Vinyl Window Film was the perfect solution.
You can buy it on Amazon, or Walmart has it sometimes, we bought ours from Canadian Tire. It's part of their Debbie Travis Line.
It cost around $20 and we were able to cover the whole window.
It was really easy to install, first, wash you window. Next spray window with water. Cut Vinyl to size and place on top of wet window. Squegee out the bubbles! DONE! Seriously so easy!

Here's how it looks at Night, we chose a Bamboo Pattern:


Sorry I had to take the photo at night otherwise you wouldn't be able to see the pattern, here's how the window looks during the day:
We're really happy with it. It blocks NONE of the light and  gives us complete privacy, definitely a great alternative to blinds!

Friday, March 16, 2012

St. Patrick's {Cupcakes} Day

I'm a closet cupcake maker. I haven't really mentioned it before but I've made 1000's of cupcakes over the last few years. I make them for every holiday, friends weddings, family weddings, every birthday party, bridal showers, I've even made them for a bachelor party! It's something I LOVE to do!
So with it being St.Patrick's Day, I did the 'oh so predictable thing' and made cupcakes!
A simple Rainbow Sprinkle Cupcake, with a butter cream icing, and a little sugar 4 leaf clovers!

I iced them 2 different ways:
1) a simple spiral

2) a random spiky pattern (it kinds of looks like hydrangea leaves to me).


Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

p.s I'm working on a cupcake decorating how to:, keep an eye out for it in the next few weeks!! :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring Cleaning Outfit

I love March! It means it's time for Spring Cleaning. I've spent the last couple days knocking tasks off of the old "To Do" list. This weekend Lee's going to get around to his Spring "Honey Do" list and we should have a great spring cleaning post ready for you next week, but I thought today I'd share my GO TO spring cleaning outfit:
You can see the sources for these items HERE.

A pair of loose jeans, a striped tee and a pair of runners are my favorite spring cleaning tools. I wear a clean pair of runners around the house when I do a lot of chores, it's way easier on your feet then running around in sock feet with no support (I also have a pair of rubber soled slippers for the task too). A headband is a MUST HAVE, and a pair of good fitting rubber gloves are priceless!

Does anyone have a spring cleaning outfit must have??

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What's better than 1??? . . . 3

What's better than 1 towel bar . . . 3 towel bars.
I Love Towels, Clean, Dry Towels. I think that Clean, Dry Towels are one of life's little luxuries.
We have limited wall space in our bathroom. There was only one wall space that would fit a towel bar, and it was also the only spot we could put a full length mirror. The full length mirror won out and we needed to find a different spot to hang our towels.
Behind the door was the perfect solution. The perfect spot to grab a towel coming out of the shower.


The Chrome Towel Bars are from Homesense. I've always found that Homesense has great hardware for a great price. The Last 3 bathrooms we've renovated have all had Towel Bars and Toilet paper holders from Homesense.

Speaking of Toilet Paper dispensers . . . if you have kids or a husband and especially if you have both, your toilet paper dispenser should look like this.

This is the only way to get people to change the empty roll of toilet paper!!!


And yes, of coarse I always fold the toilet paper into a little point . . . that definitely wasn't just for this picture, this is always how the toilet paper in my  house looks ;).

One last glimpse at why 3 is better than 1.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Kitchen Organization: Pantry Cabinet

It feels so good to be moving through my Kitchen Organization To Do list:
This weekend I checked off Organize Lower Pantry Cabinet.
Lee installed some pullout wire baskets for me. I found them at Lowes for less than $15 each. The reason I had to have them was because they go all the way to the back of the cabinet, and have full extension so they can pull all the way out of the cabinet!


Before Lee put them in we were only using half of cabinet depth, now we can use all of it, definitely worth $30.

We also installed a little plastic, tiered Rubbermaid shelf. I don't think it's possible to have too many canned goods on hand so we needed another way to store them. The shelf does just that!


Only a few more projects and the kitchen will be officially organized!

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