Monday, April 21, 2014

Kitchen Updates

Hello!  I thought I would pop in and share a couple of big changes in our kitchen.  If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen them.   Even though I was happy with our all white kitchen, I was ready for a change and so one evening while cleaning out a cabinet, I came across my can of Annie Sloan chalk paint in French Linen and wondered how it would look on my lower kitchen cabinets.  So I tried it and absolutely loved it.

Problem was, after painting the lower cabinets, I now hated the countertop.  However, I've always hated our countertops.  When our home was renovated, leftover ceramic floor tiles were used as countertop.  Yuck.  But new countertops have never been in our budget so the only thing I could think of to do was to paint them.   So, that's what I did and I just love them now.  :)

To paint the countertops, first I cleaned them really well to make sure there was no grease or anything that could prevent the paint from adhering.  Then I primed them with Kilz oil based primer.  I let that dry for 24 hours.  Then painted one thin coat of Rustolueum Oil based enamel in Glossy White and let dry for a full 24 hours.  To roll the paint on, I used a foam roller meant for very smooth surfaces.  I did a total of 3 coats making sure to let it dry a full 24 hours between coats.  Also, using oil based paint was important as I was afraid latex would just bubble and peel off if got wet often around the sink.  It was definitely stinky but luckily our kitchen has lots of windows for ventilation. 

I can't believe I didn't do this sooner.  It is super easy to clean and very durable.

And I love the shininess as well as how they look with the french linen paint.

And of course I had to make some cute little cafe curtains from some Ikea tea towels that I just bought.  They completely take me back to my grandma's kitchen.  She had something similar and they were always blowing in the breeze, which I just loved.

The whole project took about a week when you consider the drying time between coats but it was totally worth it.  I just love it and the total cost was around $20 for primer, one can of oil based paint and a roller.  Gotta love that even more!

Have a great week!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

DIY Smocked Burlap Curtains

Hello!  Anyone else ready for Spring as much as I am?  Winter always makes me feel a bit lazy because really, if it's brutally cold, which it has been, the only thing there is to do is sit around and stay warm somehow.  So, what better time for a sewing project.  Especially one that will take a lot of time  And this one did.

I've seen these smocked jute burlap curtains floating around blog land for a while now but seriously, $150 for ONE panel??  No thanks.  I would never spend that kind of money for one curtain panel, I don't care how much I loved them.  And boy did I love them....

I wondered if I could make them but smocking fabric sounded hard and looked time consuming and I would need a lot of burlap for my tall windows.  Well, the opportunity presented itself recently when last week a friend and I needed to purchase a lot of burlap to use as a table cloth and decor at a Homecoming banquet.  Here's a pic of the gorgeous barn where the dinner was held.

It was so much fun!  Anyway, we had all that burlap left over so we split it and I decided to make the curtains with it.  The burlap we bought was perfect, not too thick and not too thin.  Just right and just right in cost, too.  It can be purchased here

Now, I had no idea how to smock fabric so I looked for the best possible tutorial I could find and did I find a great one.  Click here for that.  I probably wouldn't have been able to figure it out if it wasn't for that step by step.

So, I grabbed by burlap, got cozy and warm in a chair with a good movie playing in the background and sewed for hours.  At first it takes forever but once you get the process down, it goes so much faster.  By the time I made my second panel, it was going a lot quicker.  I am so happy with how they turned out and can't believe I did that when I look at them.

Call me crazy but I actually like the look of wrinkled up burlap, especially with these curtains, so I wadded up the panels when they were finished to make them look a bit more casual and rustic. 

I love these so much that I just might have to buy more burlap and make some for our bedroom.

The sun was shining so strong in the window and I loved it.  It's the first time the sun has been out in a week or more.

So what do you think?  Are you going to make some too?  Send me photos if you do, I'd love to see them!

Have a great day!

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Stairway Renovation

If you've read this blog for long, you know that I've always disliked our stairway.  I was so disappointed when we moved in and saw that the renovators just stuck a boring half wall on there and called it a day.  I added trim and a newel post later but still, I hated that half wall.  The staircase deserved a pretty railing.  :)

So, after removing the carpet, painting, repainting and many projects to take the focus off the half wall, we finally decided to just take the wall down, thanks to these reclaimed spindles hubby found.

It was certainly not in our budget right now to buy all new spindles, wood and trim to create a new stair rail so finding these was perfect.  And I'm proud to say that because we reused a lot of the wood we removed and wood from storage, this entire project only cost about 10 bucks.  :)

Here are the 3 redos that this staircase has seen all in an attempt to take the focus away from the half wall.  The carpeted stairs are the way they looked originally.

And here's how they looked the day before the project started.

I have to admit, this project was scary.  I've never done anything like this and to get the wall out, we first had to have a light switch moved and then we didn't have the right tools to get it out.

So we used a chainsaw.  :)

But oh my, how I would do it all over again because here is how it looks now and I could NOT be happier!  Our staircase finally has the railing it deserves.

The stairs were painted with Annie Sloan chalkpaint in French Linen.  I distressed them and then dry brushed a little white paint on top to age them a bit.  We have a dog and kids so they will get distressed anyway and this was a great solution for us if they were going to be painted.  The more distressed they get, the better as far as I'm concerned.

And as usual, this is causing a room makeover for this room (the den) because I love the railing so much that now I don't have to hide the furniture that isn't my favorite in this room anymore.  I would LOVE to remove the carpet in here as most of it is hardwood floor, however, the large section right in front of the stairs is plywood as they used some flooring to repair in other parts of the house.  Any suggestions on what to do with the plywood area?  Throw a rug over it?

So that's it!  Probably the last big project I will do for awhile!  :)

Thanks for stopping by today!


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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Beer and Cheddar Soup

Hello!  It seems that most of the US is experiencing bitterly cold temps right now, including us as we wait for the "polar vortex" to hit our neck of the woods Sunday and Monday.  I don't know about you but I'm a little tired of the cold weather and it is only early January.  We still have a couple of months at least of winter.  Ugh.  But on the positive side, cold weather is the best time to eat and cook one of our favorite foods; soups and stews of all kinds.  This one is amazing if you like bacon and cheese and really, who doesn't. 

Beer and Cheddar Soup

8-10 slices of thick cut bacon chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1/2 of an onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBS chopped fresh thyme
One 12 oz bottle of beer
3 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
4 TBS unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
8 oz sharp yellow cheddar cheese, grated
4 oz smoked cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper


Cook bacon in a large pot over medium heat until crisp and fat is rendered.  Transfer to paper towel with slotted spoon.  Add celery, onion, garlic and thyme to bacon fat and cook until soft.  Add half of the beer and cook until reduced by half.  Add broth and bring to a simmer.

In a small skillet melt butter and then add the flour.  Cook, stirring this until slightly browned, about 2 minutes, and then add to soup.  Whisk until incorporated and continue to simmer until thickened.

Add the cheeses and the rest of the beer and simmer until thick and creamy.  Stir in the bacon and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve it up with some crusty bread.

There really is nothing like a pot of homemade soup simmering on the stove on a cold day, right?

Enjoy!  And stay warm!! :)

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Sneak Peek

I'm in the middle of decorating for local Christmas Tours and don't want to share too much here just yet but couldn't resist sharing a little....

My hubby brought home this little cedar tree and I thought it would be perfect for this empty space in the kitchen.  I simply adorned it with some of the wood gift tags I made.

And as you can see, I'm a jar person.  I love decanting all my dry goods into pretty vintage jars.  The more the merrier.  :)

 The two vintage paintings I actually found in a dumpster.  I was so drawn to them so I snatched them up and gave them a home in my kitchen. 

I was so excited to decorate the dining room this year.

The chippy red bench was also found by my hubby and I thought it was perfect for Christmas and our home in it's less than perfect condition.  (Sorry for the sun glaring in the photo)

I love using things from nature to decorate so these walnut tree stumps definitely got to come inside for the season.  I sanded them a little and sprayed them with a clear gloss.

And here's a little peak at our stairs.  I usually never share them because I don't like the staircase.  I dream of having a beautiful stair rail but for now, we don't.  I was inspired by Carla's stair project last year so I did my own version this year with one of my dad's favorite Christmas songs.

That's it for now!  I'll share more soon!

Take care!

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Anthropologie Inspired Gift Tags

I always take inspiration from Anthropologie during the holidays.  Their gift wraps and tags, as well as, holiday decor are so happy.  But the prices, not so much. 

I recently came across their holiday wooden gift tags and became completely smitten with them.  I love using nature in decor and even better that it's something that comes from your own backyard.

I knew these would be ridiculously easy to make so I went looking around in the backyard for a log, preferably a dead one that was already somewhat dried out.  I found the perfect one about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and used a miter saw to slice it into 1/4 inch slices.  I used a drill bit to make a small hole in the top and threaded a piece of twine through it.  Done.

I made homemade vanilla this past summer to give away as gifts for Christmas and I thought these would look cute on the little bottles.  And I can't wait to use them on my gifts.

Note:  I tried making these with some logs that my hubby cut fresh off a tree and the wood was still so wet inside that I didn't think it would work.  I was worried they would crack during the drying out process.  I didn't coat these with anything.  You could probably seal them with polyurethane if you wanted.   But I like them natural.

Super easy and free and I was able to make a big pile of them.  I love giving gifts so I need a lot!  LOL  :)

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Chalkboard Wall

I've wanted to do a chalkboard wall in our home forever but as you will see from the photos, our walls are very heavily textured and I didn't think I would be able to write on them. 

But I just couldn't stand it anymore.  I really wanted one.  So, I tested it out first with a piece of chalk and tried writing on it, and surprisingly, it was no big deal at all.  Sure it isn't perfectly smooth, but I could write on it and it still looked fine.  That was all I needed to get busy and paint a side and I couldn't be more happy with the results.

Of course, this did inspire a couple of other projects.  Isn't it funny how that always happens.  When my dad died, I inherited some of his wine collection.  He was quite a wine connoisseur and even though some of it is no longer drinkable, I will never get rid of it and I wanted to display some of it proudly.  I also wanted to display it on the wall against the chalkboard wall color.  I looked for a DIY wine rack tutorial and found this one.  I did it a little bit differently in that I didn't use the same size bolts and I also spray painted them oil rubbed bronze because I didn't care for the color of them. 

Because we already had the barn wood, this project cost me less than $5 because all I had to buy was the bolts for .38 each.  How great is that?  I absolutely love how it turned out.

I've had a lot of emails asking where we bought our light fixture in the dining room.  I actually don't remember because it was bought 8 years ago when we bought the house.  However, I wasn't happy with it at all because it had frosted glass shades on it that forced the light up onto the ceiling instead of down onto the table for a cozier setting.  For years I just lived with it but I couldn't stand how cold the dining room felt with the light like that so I decided to see if I could just remove the glass shades and sure enough, you could.  I removed them all and added clip on shades from Lowes, which I loved and they made the lighting perfectly cozy.  For this project though, I went a little further and added burlap to each shade to give more texture to the room.

I cut out the fabric, sprayed the shade with spray adhesive, wrapped it and hot glued the rest.  Because I didn't cut it out perfectly, I added a piece of rope to the inside to clean it up a bit.  I just hot glued it on.  It just makes it a little bit neater since you can easily see up under the shade while walking in the dining room.

For the sentiment on the wall here, I printed everything from wordpad on my computer and traced it onto the wall using different fonts.  Yes, it took all day but boy do I love it.  I wish I could remember the name of each font I used but I don't.  Sorry.

I still have a couple more things to add to the wall but I wanted to go ahead a share it now.

I love it!  So if you've been wanting to do a chalkboard wall but thought you couldn't because of the wall texture in your home, I'd say go for it!  :)

Have a great day!

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