Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New items throwing your room off...

Have you ever bought, added, or had something happen to a room and it just threw everything off? Something that made you rethink the whole room?

That's what has happened to every room in our house over the past year.

The white colored living room furniture got the boot and we got a new couch and black chair...

I loved the white, but with three kids I was constantly cleaning microfiber. I'd rather be a fun mom than a stressed out mom complaining over every Cheetoh stained finger. (I know, I should be more calm, but I was cleaning the whole set every other day - top to bottom!)
We also added an electric fireplace. That purchase limited the amount of seating we could have.
You can see how that would throw things off. I still don't know which way I want to go with the room. I would love a sleek mid-century room

but I also love many other styles.

It may come down to a comb. For now, I'm up in the air.

Then, during vacation we picked up two hermit crabs for the girls. They came in a cage the size of a milk carton.

The guy that sold them to us said that it was all they needed. After thinking that over I googled it and found out that he either lied or just didn't know what he was talking about. (I hope it was the latter.) Now the girls have... drum roll please... a 55 gallon tank with 8 crabs. It turns out that those things need as many friends as you can accommodate and a big tank to romp and roam.
We have the monster tank on this...

That's a cabinet the girls use as an American Girl house. It has curtains on the front. We used a shower curtain rod to hold it in place. The tension rod was too much of a light weight for the kids. ;) Anyway, the problem is that the cabinet is so deep that it's blocking the door. Oh, and I never got around to repainting it. How ashamed I feel. :(
And, did I mention that the cabinet is so tall that I have to get a chair to gain access to the crabbies?

The tank is an eyesore to me, with it's Saran Wrap to keep humidity up, heat lamp on top (not pictured), and cords and pumps galore. I cropped it this way to show how I feel about it. (Love the crabs, Not the mess)

Our bedroom also got a change, a new bed and cheap bookcases to store a ton of homeschool stuff. Those reproduce yearly, yay. (sarcasm intended)

I'm feeling some spunk to get things going, though. My hubby is feeling the spunk too. He actually said something about needing some trim on the girls walls... keep watching... I'm sure we'll have a project up and running soon.

In the meantime, I leave you with a tip and an awesome redo.
Use the furniture you have in a new way instead of throwing it out.

Here's an example I found on the Better Homes and Gardens website:

I've also seen these turned into amazing kitchen sets. ;)

Click here if you want to see! (It's worth the click!)

See you all tomorrow!
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Monday, December 28, 2009

Looking back... a living room in evolution

The new year has me looking back and taking stock of all the changes that have taken place in our lives.
Yesterday, we all spent a good part of the evening crammed onto the couch while looking at photos and old videos of our family. All those old memories, in film and print, made me realize how bad I would miss this little tract home. My kids have grown up in this house. Our oldest was only a few months old when we bought this place and the other two came home from the hospital to this humble abode. As we talk about selling, I'm both happy and sentimental. We still have a ton of things to do to get this place ready to sell, but selling does lie on the horizon. How close are we to getting to that point? Only the Lord knows.

My sentimental mom side loved seeing the kids as infants and watching our family grow and change at movie speed. My design side thought it would be fun to share some little snips of the living room over the years. Some of these pictures are were scanned in, so please forgive the quality. Most of them are also birthday party shots so I had to crop around children. ;) My pool of images would have been bigger if I knew how to take pictures from HI8 video. (So glad someone came out with and SD/hard drive video camera!)

When we bought our house we were so excited that we went over and applied a faux texture on our walls right after we closed, which was around 6 p.m. After living in a an apartment that we couldn't paint, we went wild with paint colors. For two years we had been looking at white walls and yearning to paint... that led to this...

Yep, that's orange!
We sponged and ragged it on. I really loved that color/faux texture combination. We had bright yellow carved candlesticks and a huge tropical bird print with a deep turquoise matting above the futon.
That's my eight year old, sigh... and me younger, when I actually had time to work out... hold on while I jot that down for my resolution.

That was our futon. We loved it but had to get a couch because we were always stretching it out and napping the evenings away. lol. The look here was more of a bright Latin American vibe. The palette was orange, blue and shades of cream/beige to brighten it up.

Then, in an effort to brighten up a fairly bright orange...

Lemonade yellow walls!
This color was so bright that I remember evenings at home and having to check the clock only to realize that it was super late. It always felt early with this color. It was like living inside a tanning bed without the goggles.

We had icky blue carpet that we were stuck with for a while, a long while. As a temporary and cheap fix, we put a wood area rug over it. The look here was bright and Caribbean. The color palette was bright yellow with orange tones (in the wood and pillows), cream (in the furniture and futon cover). I threw in a lot of other colors in prints and plants around the rooms. All the hard surfaced furniture was wood to keep the palette more livable.
(I was pregnant with our second child here and opening a gift for our soon to arrive baby girl.)

Next, looking to hide dirt on the walls...

Brown. I really liked this brown. It had golden and green undertones that really gave the color life. White furniture... what was I thinking! The tables were the same. I loved those Wal-mart tables but the scale was off.
Notice the blue stained carpet that is still around... ick!

That turned to a brown shag rug over stained concrete. Yay!

Wall art and other accessories changed but the furniture and wall color stayed the same for a while. I wanted a more funky look here, thus the change in canvas.

The room may change but one thing stayed constant... the beachy accessories. True, they aren't the same accessories as I have now but all had the taste of salty seas. I wish I had taken more pictures of the accessories - because we all know that's what makes the room.

This house has such great memories. I'm going to miss this place. Now watch, we'll never sell this place and my love and nostalgia will turn to loathing, like Edgar Allan Poe's black cat story.
Well, see you all on the flip side.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Is it really over?

Santa came and went. I think the picture above says it all. On the 26th of December I felt exactly like that picture - like an icky residue of Christmas was all I was left with - just plain crumby. Not that I had a bad Christmas, no not at all! It's just that I was overly tired and needed to sleep the day away.

Although, I do find myself wondering - Is it really over?!?!?!

I think this is the first year that my hubby wrapped the presents. I was too busy making two German Chocolate cakes and finishing last minute projects.
Santa and his trusty elf, that would be me, didn't get to bed until 4 a.m and the kids were awake at 7 a.m.

After opening presents and being out in the freezing cold while they tried out their new Power Wheels and 4 wheeler, my hubby and I were left wondering where in the world all this stuff would go?

I always feel like purging the house after Christmas so we started with our son's room.

We moved the kitchen set from our daughters' over crowded room to our son's room. Not wanting it to be the focal point, we had to move things around. The kitchen set is now on the same wall as the door to the room. It is to the side of the shallow bookcase, so you can't see it unless you're in the room.

Scroll over the images to see how things got moved around to accommodate the kitchen set.

I still need something(s) above the kitchen set. The stacked wall art above the bed was my way of making a small bed more of a focal point. I couldn't hang them too far down (within son's reach) or they would be potential weapons of destruction. The bottom frame was one I had laying around with no glass. I just inserted some scrapbook paper. It was a quick cheap fix but it could be better if it were a bit larger. I'm meticulous about scale. If it's off a bit it really bothers me.

... to recap... this is the room now.

Yep, it's a very small room and the requirements on it are many.
It has to have open area to pull out the under table drawers. It must have the bookcase to keep breakables up high. It must have the kitchen set because the girls have ruled that it can no longer take up residency with them. Every piece of furniture must stay in that 12x12 box. The bookcase could do for some decluttering and nice storage boxes but other than that, I'm pretty happy with the rearrange. Hmmm... what's next?

I hope you all had a great holiday season and will continue to have a happy 1st!
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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Chameleon Recipe

I know you all are probably as busy as I am. I bet some of you are baking and will or already have family visiting... so I chose to share a recipe today. This was my grandmother's recipe and it's now mine. I can't tell you how many compliments I get on this recipe. I've increased the sugar amount since I got it. It makes a nice sweet roll.

Sweet Refrigerator Rolls
  • 1 cup of shortening
  • 1 cup and 3 level tbs. of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of lukewarm water
  • 2 pkgs. of highly active yeast dissolved in 1/2 cup of lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 7 cups of all purpose flour
Dissolve the 2 pkgs. of yeast in 1/2 cup of lukewarm water with 3 tbs. of sugar.
(The water should be warm to the wrist but not too warm. I consider it colder than a bath but warmer than body temperature.)
Cream the shortening, sugar, salt and eggs.
Add the 2 cups of water, 2 cups of flour, and yeast mixture.
Mix that together and add the rest of the flour a cup at a time, while mixing.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap.
I then let mine rise while on the counter. It will be very mushy but don't worry.

Spoon them on to a cookies sheet for rolls. Let them rise a bit before baking at 400 degrees.

You can then stick the dough in the fridge for a week and use as needed. Just make sure the pan it is in is big enough to allow for rising. ;)
Oh, I forgot to mention that these get better everyday they are in the fridge.


Two topping ideas for the above rolls.
(I use these toppings all the time.)

Quick & Easy Cinnamon "Roll"

Mix 3/4 cup of sugar with 1/4 cup of cinnamon.
Spoon a thin layer of the roll mix in an 8x8 pan sprinkle the cinnamon mix on top. Bake at 375 degrees.
When it comes out spoon on icing - butter and powder sugar with half a teaspoon of vanilla. Sorry, I don't have measurement for this. Just add the powdered sugar to the butter until the icing gets medium thick, like a pretty thick glaze. Then add the vanilla.
Sometime put down some oiled plastic wrap and spoon out the mix in a rectangle. I then sprinkle the cinnamon all over and roll into a log. Then I slice and put real cinnamon rolls in the oven. The above method is much faster and less messy, though. ;)

Pecan Streusel Dessert

I use cupcake liners for this in a 9x13 pan, not a cupcake pan. I then add a bit of roll mix to each cupcake liner, about halfway up. Now, add topping...
(I got this from Coastal Living's magazine and made it a bit sweeter.)
1 cup of butter
1 cup of brown sugar
2 tbs. all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 cup of chopped pecans
Just stir everything together in one bowl and then spoon this mixture into each cupcake liner - on top of the bread mix. Bake at 375 degrees.
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Monday, December 21, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

Wow. It's been a busy and disappointing few days around here. Not only do I get the pleasure of always having a birthday in the middle of Christmas chaos but this year I got to enjoy the worst cake I've ever tasted...

In all honesty, the cake and filling were good but the caramel icing was super gritty and tasted like a mouth full of sand. How's that for an evil play on my love of the beach. My hubby tried to surprise me by ordering this catastrophe from one of the best bakeries in town. What a waste of $34 bucks! We ended up cutting the frosting off and eating it anyway.

On the bright side, I did get this beauty for my birthday...

It reads, "IN A WORLD THAT NEEDS MORE DANCING SHE IS A HULA GIRL AT HEART". If you are a Jimmy Buffet fan then you'll probably understand and know the song by heart.

When I look at my beautiful necklace it makes me smile from the inside out. My camera doesn't play nice with shiny things, in case you haven't noticed. I tried to get a good shot of the lovely clear crystal hanging in front of the words but failed miserably. He ordered it from Queen Bee Designs and the pictures on her site are way better than mine. It's the 1.25" domed sterling silver circle on a 16" chain, in case you are wondering.

I did want to share some great Christmas "could be" ornament finds, just in case some of you haven't fully decorated yet. I found both of these at Michaels.

I really love the lanterns. They were on the wedding isle. Not long after spotting them I had to go to the mall and Pottery Barn had a tree full of little lanterns exactly like these. Well, they PB ones were black but the shape was spot on. Can you believe these were only $2 each?!?! The lovely little boats were only $.99.

I've also finished my stack of head wraps. You can get them for about a dollar and who couldn't use a head wrap and warm ears?

I did them on my embroidery machine but you could easily stitch on one of these...

As if that didn't keep me busy enough, we sent Christmas cards out and I wanted the girls to have matching headbands in the pictures. Here's what I came up with...

It's just a plain plastic headband. After I embroidered their names on ribbons, I stitched down the sides, inserted the headbands, and stitched across the bottom edges - near the ear. I'm going to do some more with foam inside so they look cushiony. I'll post pics when I get them done.

Of course, I've done a ton of baking, too. I'll be back to share a recipe for easy rolls and few topping ideas that I use to transform part of the dough into coffee cake and breakfast. ;)

Happy Holidays!

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Fabulous, Fantastic, and Frugal Friday - Gift No. 7 - A gift fit for a blogger

Ah, we've finally arrived. This is my 7th and last gift, the number seven representing completeness and perfection. How fitting that it is our 7th then, right?
This gift is a perfect fit for ladies that love to write, share, or read, ladies like some of you and myself.

First off...

  • book or page of type in small font
  • washers (the kind you find in a hardware store or your toddler's mouth)
  • Mod Podge
  • 3D Crystal Lacquer
  • jump rings
  • beads
  • Tools: scissors, pen or pencil, pliers, utility knife
  • 1 pair of hoop earrings that completely close to a circle or ribbon/cord for a necklace
Take your washers, if using hoop earrings make sure they fit the hoops leaving room for lobes of ears, and trace around them on your page. You may want to do this a few times if you want certain words to appear on your washer. I used the preface so I didn't destroy my dictionary. If you're oohing and aahing over me not keeping the preface of my dictionary intact, you're a nerd. :P

Okay, all joking aside... back to our project...

Now cut out the circle and Mod Podge it to the washer. You can just smear it on with your finger or a paintbrush and stick the paper right on top. If you are doing a necklace use the smoother side of the washer for the back so it doesn't scratch. You can see the rougher side in this picture, the side the paintbrush is on - also the side you'll Mod Podge.

Let it dry for a few minutes and then trim the excess paper, around the edge, with scissors. Next, take a knife like this...

and insert it with the tip down into the top middle part of your Mod Podged washer. It is super easy to run the knife around and cut a clean edge.
You'll then go over the entire top of the paper and edges, middle and outer, with Mod Podge. Let it dry completely and then do the same with this (squeeze some out on the top and edges)...

You can find it at most scrapbooking stores. Stampers use it to raise their designs. It makes a plasticy thick layer with a glossy professional finish. If you've never used it before, you'll be in love after your first go 'round. Use it sparingly, it will spread a bit. After you go over it with that, you will have something that looks like this.
Notice that the smaller one is dry and you can see the colors well. The top one is still milky looking because it isn't dry. I used an old book that's pages were yellowing, love that - it's got history and wisdom that comes only with age. :)

While that, or those, are drying, grab your jump rings and use your pliers to do this to them...

Insert your bead in the gap and then close your pliers. Now your bead is on your jump ring. Mine were plastic but still pretty...
Be careful not to crack your beads.

If you use earrings, use some like this or another type that closes into a circle so that the washers and jump rings stay on.
It may take a full day for your 3D lacquer to dry but when it is dry, slide the washer and jump ring onto the earring. It will look like this...

If you are using a necklace, slide the washer and jump ring with bead onto another jump ring. It will look the same as above but the earring would be the jump ring and you can then slide the ribbon/cord through the top jump ring. I wish I had a picture of the necklace but I only thought about making a necklace tonight, so it is still drying. I've had the earrings done.

Here is a pic of me sporting the earrings. I hate pictures of me, and especially ones of me with no make-up and feeling ick... thus the half shot.
Now, credits for this idea...
I came up with the earrings first. I love my Staxx jewelry and the idea was from there. You can buy their pieces and put them on hoops. We have a boutique here that sales those and another jewelry brand. The other jewelry brand has lots of vintage images and writing. I wanted a combination so I came up with this but without the beads.

The necklace, sadly, didn't dawn on me until I was thinking about sharing pics of my birthday gift and link to the lady's site. My gift is from Queen Bee Designs by Amanda. On her page, she has something called "washers". Hers are sterling silver and nothing the same, but that got me thinking about a necklace to match. That then led to me thinking about the pretty crystal on my necklace and how I could easily add something similar to my frugal set. After quickly making three jump ring/bead sets. I had something that I consider exceptionally pretty. The only problem is that my necklace isn't dry because it got thought up today. I promise to add full pics of the set once the pendant is dry, Scouts honor.

I hope you are in love with this set as much as I am.

(picture added - sorry about the quality.)

Happy Friday! :)
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