Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Baking Cupboard Sneak Peek

After the baking cart wouldn't work I set out to organize our baking cupboard. It's not as cool as a baking cart . . . but a whole cabinet dedicated to baking isn't too shabby.

Of course I ran out of glass jars so I only have a Sneak Peek for you today.

But a quick trip to Ikea this weekend and I will have a Full Reveal next week. But for now here's a little peek. I am LOVING these glass jars from Ikea!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Baking Cart

I Love to bake . . . actually we both love to bake (ever seen a 6 foot 8 inch weight lifter bake a cake?? FYI it's super sexy ;). haha

I saw these Raskog rolling carts from Ikea and I couldn't resist. I originally picked it up for our bathroom, but it wouldn't fit into the spot I was thinking of. I drove myself, and I'm sure Lee, crazy trying to think of another place we could use it. I came up with, what I thought, was a great idea but only if I had a pantry and I don't.
But I thought I would photograph it and explain it for all of you lucky people who have pantries, before I returned the cart.

I thought about making a Baking Cart. You could keep it in your pantry with all of your baking supplies, and roll it out when you're ready to bake.
I love it!!! Everything you need at your fingertips. I've always had a baking cupboard (in fact I have a new post coming up on our NEW and Improved baking cupboard) but a baking cupboard is definitely second to a baking cart! All the ingredients are easily within reach, there is no running back to the pantry for something you forgot. And the cart is so darn cute!
I popped the spatulas and wooden spoons on the top, as well as our large jars of flour and sugar. I would also keep our measuring cups and measuring spoons up there!
On the second shelf I stored our glass jars of things like powdered sugar, brown sugar, graham cracker crumbs, and ground almonds.
Lastly, on the third shelf I stored our dried fruits and nuts, as well as chocolate chips!
I don't know if I'll ever have a home with a large pantry but if I do . . . you'll see this baking cart in it!

I hope all you lucky ladies with pantries can find this post useful! For the rest of us I'll have a post up this week of my new organized baking cupboard!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Made by Maru Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered our Made by Maru Giveaway!!!
We have a $20 gift certificate for . . .  Lucky number 156!!!
 Our winner has been notified!  THANK YOU so much to everyone who entered! And THANK YOU to Made by Maru!

For everyone who didn't win Made by Maru is offering a 10% off coupon code!!!! 

Use the Code:  MINIMANORBLOG  to receive 10% off of your Made by Maru order!!!

Everyone has these on their face . . .

hahaha It's was an Oh so corny joke but it made me giggle.
I love this time of year, tulips are everywhere and they are so well priced. While I like all of the fancy varieties of tulips, in my opinion nothing beats a vase full of simple white ones.
There is something so elegant, yet kind of rustic about a bouquet full of tulips.

I hope you have a great weekend! We are headed to the Home and Garden show, I'll be posting lots of photos on our instagram account feel free to follow @minimanor

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Office in a Box

If you have a small space or are just lacking an office I made a post for you. It seems like a "Blank in a box week" with our remote in a box post yesterday and today I have an Office in a Box post over on I Heart Organizing.

Office in a box: 

If you have a second pop over to I Heart Organizing this afternoon for an office in a box. I LOVE small space organization and this is something that I think can work for everyone, whether you have a small space or a large one! :)

Make sure to check back this afternoon to see if you won our Made by Maru Giveaway!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

It's a remote in a box!

Due to popular demand ;) I am working on a post about our favorite books, thank you for letting me know what you'd like to see more of.  

Now on to today's topic: 
No one likes TV remotes . . . I don't think men even like them. Don't get me wrong I am very grateful for the invention of TV remotes but they aren't the most attractive things to look at.  Luckily Lee also doesn't like having multiple remotes so we have a universal remote to consolidate all of the media remotes into one. But I wanted to take it one step further and I found a cute, kind of sassy, wood box that fit the remote perfectly. It has a little chrome bulldog head on it . . . my love of uncommon weird things took over and I had to have it, $12 later our remote is out of sight. (found at Homesense)
Bonus: We found that when the remote is out of sight, it is also out of mind and we are less likely to just turn the TV on unless we have something specific to watch!
p.s. I am still loving the orange pillow, orange flower combination!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How we organize all the books

I LOVE getting questions from readers! This one came right after our new Library Bookcase post.
Thanks Jennifer!

I don't have an overly organized bookcase. By 'overly organized' I mean I don't have it organized alphabetically or by the Dewy Decimal system. 
I read mostly non-fiction so our fiction section fits on one shelf alone. As for the rest of my non-fiction collection I organize them by topic.
While I don't have a super organized system, I do have a weird system all of my own. Well the system itself isn't weird but the categories are a bit unorthodox. Here are the topics found in our library:
1) Healthy Living. Mostly heath books, or exercise books.
2) Sewing and other craft books.
3) Finance Books, I love a good finance book. I have no idea why but I love books about saving money. I think it's the organizer in me . . . I love new ideas on how to organize our spending.
4) Spiritual books. 
5) Biographies, every one from Tori Spelling to Sidney Poitier, my tastes vary greatly in this area.
6) Green Living, this section takes up two shelves. Here's one:
7) Gardening.
8) Simple Living. I have enough books on simple living to garner their own shelf. Ironic because having tons of books on the same subject is definitely NOT living simple ;).
9) Style books. Books on pretty clothes and defining your personal style. Choosing clothes and defining my own style wasn't something that came easily to me. I found a lot of help in the writing of people who have it together in that department!
10) Adoption books. This is also where we'll keep the books on babies and kids and subsequently teenagers.
11) An entire shelf dedicated to Home Organization. 
12) Another shelf dedicated to Home Design.
13) Cleaning and Home Maintenance. 
14) I have an entire shelf for Ms. Martha Stewart herself. I have no idea why I have a whole section on Martha. All of her books could fit into other categories in the bookcase but for some reason I like grouping them all together!
Last is my favorite section:
15) An entire shelf for "Housewife" Books. Those are books that have anything to do with being a housewife. Or any retro books about women.
And that's how we do it. I could alphabetize them within each category but so far I don't have enough books to make that worthwhile. Maybe one day when we have more books we'll need to get them in alphabetical order, but now it's easy enough to go to the section and find the book I'm looking for.

I almost forgot to mention that the books that are either currently in use or that I have recently purchased and haven't gotten around to reading yet, get put on top of the lower bookcase between the A and Z. Once they've been read they get put into their respective categories. This way I ensure that I don't overlook or forget about a book I intended on reading! 
I collect Martha Stewart Magazines I have approx 150 of them. They are relegated to the bottom shelves of the bookcase because they are very heavy.
I hold the magazines in magazine holders from Ikea and I group them by month. That way I can grab an entire month at a time. It's really handy for planning seasonal menus or for holiday ideas! Just grab a month and you have am abundance of ideas for each and every holiday!

I hope that answered your question Jennifer!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Tester Batch!

We have some dear friends who are expecting twins some time in the near future. I was asked to make the cupcakes for their baby shower and jumped at the chance. I have a bit of a passion for cupcakes and while I enjoy making fancy cupcakes, I love a chance to make fun ones for kids . . . like our owl cupcakes from last year.
Since they are expecting twins, it's a Thing 1 and Thing 2 theme, and although it's not until the middle of March . . . I wanted to make sure I had a good plan for the cupcakes.
 Here's what resulted from my tester batch:
We used a grass tip, it makes great "grass" (obviously) but it also makes great "fur".
I'm thinking for the final touch I'll add some blue cotton candy to the tops of the cupcakes but this was a good test run.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Made by Maru Giveaway

 I've mentioned here that I love Made by Maru jewelry and I'm the type of person who finds something I LOVE and immediately wants to share it with everyone. I was so excited that Stacy of Made by Maru was willing to sponsor a giveaway for one of our lucky readers!!

There is an assortment of jewelry to choose from . . . necklaces, bracelets, rings or my favorite their earrings!
I am a huge fan of delicate jewelry. Don't get me wrong I love a big statement necklace as much as the next gal but for my day to day I LOVE petite, understated pieces and Made by Maru does it so well!!

 Here's the details: 

To Enter: Like Made by Maru on their Facebook page, then comeback and comment below to let us know you did.
Bonus Entry: Follow Made by Maru on Twitter then comeback and let us know!

Prize: One $20 Gift Certificate to Made by Maru!!!
Open to: Worldwide
Contest Closes: Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 at 11:59pm PST.

Good Luck!!!

Chinese New Year

If our Chinese New Year celebrations are suppose to represent the upcoming year, we are in for a quiet, low key year.
We hung some lanterns in the dining room:
 and on the staircase:
Every year we roll oranges and this year was no exception.
 and what would Chinese New Year be without bowls of tangerines!!!
Wishing everyone lots of Health, Wealth and Happiness in the year of the Snake.
  • To find out some more of our New Year traditions, or why we do what we do, please check out this post!
Make sure to pop back this afternoon and enter our Giveaway!!! 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Organic Shortbread

Lee has only one request on Valentine's Day . . . Organic Shortbread cookies!

The Organic part makes them sound kind of healthy when in reality they are definitely NOT! But I figure by using organic ingredients maybe we wouldn't have to feel so bad about sneaking an extra cookie or two.
This is an amazing, super simple recipe that everyone always loves. I have had more requests for this recipe, than Cindy Crawford has had for her phone number ;)

So here it is:
1 cup Butter (we buy our Organic Butter from Target)
1 1/2 cups Flour (we buy our Organic Flour from Target)
1/2 cup Icing Sugar (we buy our Organic Icing Sugar from Trader Joe's)

Combine all ingredients in a mixer, and beat for 10 min.
You can either drop teaspoon amounts of batter, or use a piping bag and pipe teaspoon amounts of batter on to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. (I use a pastry bag with a large star tip and pipe circles onto the parchment paper)
 Cut a cherry in half, you can use glazed cherries or maraschino cherries or a nut or whatever you would like and place in the middle of the cookie.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for approx 12-14 minutes.

I hope you'll consider making these for your Valentine this Thursday!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Library Bookcase: No one got Squished!

One day overdue but it's done.
This was one of those projects that was worth every drop of sweat and every penny spent. The impact is HUGE (and so is the bookcase).

It wasn't without it's trials and small hiccups:
  • After hanging the upper cases the lower case looked way too small so we added the wood top. A mere $26 upgrade and I think it makes all the difference. 
  • The fact that our ladder was a little too small and Lee had to stand on the TOP step, 12 feet in the air to fasten and paint the top. That was a little, let's just call it a hiccup (a big dangerous hiccup).  But don't worry I stood under him the whole time, steadying the ladder, ready to catch my 6 foot 8 inch tall, 250 lb husband in case he fell. You know . . . so we'll both be seriously injured.  
  • And lastly, after the thick wood top was attached it started to come up at the front because we couldn't screw down that close to the edge, so some extra glue and a couple clamps later and it was fixed. 
Nothing too major, Lee stayed on the ladder and I remained my un-squished self. It's probably my best quality . . . not being squished!

But after all the sanding and painting was done we both couldn't be happier with the result. So without further ado:
The top of the wall cabinets is about 15 feet in the air. I have never been a big fan of double height ceilings. I really like seeing exposed rafters and other architectural details but a big empty space above has never appealed to me. If only someone had shown me 15 feet of bookcase!

Wallet Damage:
$26 for 2  2"x12" pieces of framing lumber.
$234 for Upper Kitchen cabinets without doors, from Ikea.
$18  Chair Rail as Crown around the top ($1.56 a foot x 11 feet) Here's a how to: Link.
$10  Piece of 1/4" MDF (4 foot x 4 foot)
$5 Tester pot of paint to match cabinets (Martha Stewart's Talc).
Total Cost:  $293 + some extras like leftover stain, glue, screws and finishing nails.

For around $300 dollars that's a lot of added impact!!  But remember if you don't already have lower bookcases that cost will almost double. 

And of course we can't call this a reveal because we still have a rolling ladder to fabricate and install! It should add another $100 or so to our budget, but millions of dollars of impact!!!!

We are so close I can almost hear the music:
"Tale as old as time, 
Song as old as rhyme"
Oh how I LOVE the bookcase from Beauty and the Beast. Lee doesn't like the beauty and the beast reference . . . maybe because it would make him the beast ? ? ? I however and totally ok with the reference! ;) haha

Monday, February 4, 2013

Library Bookcase, Rustic Charm

We had a super productive weekend. Lee finished off our big bookcase project, everything except the ladder and track. We need about another month before that's done.
But late last night Lee attached the trim to the top and we were able to call it done!
Because it wasn't finished until late I don't have any pictures of the trim, but I do have a charming new rustic top to share.

Because of all the action going on up high, it pulled some focus from down below. The bookcases on the bottom seemed small and wimpy compared to the bookcases on the wall. We needed to do something drastic to bring some of the focus back down.
So we pulled out the bookcases another 6 inches, and added a thick, medium toned wood top!!!
I LOVE the new wood top. The white just wasn't attention grabbing enough. The dark wood brings your eye back down.

We used two 8 foot, 2"x12" pieces  of framing lumber at $13 a piece, which makes the top only a $26 dollar upgrade because we were able to use the leftover stain from our back door project.
We'll have a whole cost breakdown at the end of our project!! :)
Here's a sneak peek of the before:
And the after:
I can't wait to share the rest of the progress!!! The trim on top is fantastic!


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