Help Me Pick a Mirror!

After a failed wax ring around our half bath toilet and subsequent water leak, we found ourselves with a decision to make. Replace the ugly vinyl plank floors with more ugly vinyl plank floors, or re-do the whole thing. We picked the latter and got busy.

Here is the before –

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We have successfully removed popcorn and refinished the ceiling, stained the vanity, removed old trim, removed the big old builder-grade plate mirror, painted, and now are installing floor tile.

We are planning on keeping the bar-style horizontal lighting in this room since I don’t want to deal with drywall patching issues. I have picked out a fixture set for the towel ring, paper holder, etc. however I cannot decide on a mirror shape! The original mirror I picked out was rectangular and mother-of-pearl but it ended up too ivory for the floor tile.

HELP! Oval or rectangle?!?

Here is the design board (made on handy Polyvore) for our downstairs half-bath.

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Most of this is the exact items going into the room, with the exception of the vanity- this is just an example of the wood tone we are using. Wall color is BM Normandy.

The Chrome and Porcelain Fixtures are Gatco Franciscan Collection.

Here is a close-up. This porcelain and chrome is the design of the TP holder, towel ring, shelf unit, and mirror.

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I like how the Franciscan collection’s porcelain details feel kind of Victorian to me – especially paired with the pinwheel mosaic floor tile.

Gimme a hand here people!

 

 

 

Inexpensive Art

Back when we were still living in our apartment I found myself looking for a fun piece of kitchen- or food-themed artwork to hang in the dining room. Everything that I liked from PB or BD or HD etc. was way too expensive unless I was going to get a poster print and that just didn’t fly. I, like everyone else in the world, wanted an expensive looking piece that wouldn’t break the bank.

I explored my options, and finally resorted to my old standby, eBay. I ended up finding a sweet little vintage Spanish advertising print (not Italian, thanks Jean for the tip!) for around six bucks. It features a cute pheasant, pretty colors, and bright red tomatoes. Perfect. It arrived on thick quality paper, with bright colors, and I was really excited about it. I think it is an advertisement for a canned tomato product.

We brought it to Michaels and used one of those 50% off custom framing coupons that they have every so often, but it still ran us about $200. Thats right, $6 art in a $200 frame and mat situation.

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Call me crazy, but I think it was worth it. This could have cost $5-700 without the Michaels coupon and if I had paid for legit art, or an original version of this vintage advertisement in good condition. Also, The frame and mat look so expensive and nice that I am sure we will decorate around it for the rest of our days. It is our favorite thing in the house, and makes me unexplicably cheerful.

I am going to employ this cheap decor strategy again very soon with this vintage ad that has the perfect colors for our living room! I am in love with the little dogs.

Plus, you can buy frames and mats at Michaels or many other places and DIY it for WAY WAY less than what we paid and it would look just as awesome.

Tips for today:

1. Buy cheap art on eBay! I have never had a bad experience. If you want, you can splurge on a gorg frame. Or not!

2. Vintage advertisement reproductions make fun, playful, colorful art for any kind of decor. As an added bonus, using ads in different languages can make you look worldy! 😉

3. Don’t think you have to spend a ton on ANY kind of decor to class up your home. Think inexpensive and you will be way happier in the end because you can spend more on shoes.

 

DIY Old Ceiling Fan Refresh

Jered put on Barefoot Contessa and went upstair to take a nice little afternoon nap. So, since both my guys are down for the moment, I figured I would show y’all another one of my recent projects!

Remember that gorg ceiling fan I showed you that plugged into the wall? The one in the front room? With the swag kit? It was terrible.

Turns out that there really isn’t an electrical box there (I don’t know why we thought there might be one). This means that until we have worked an electrician into our budget, we are stuck. Instead of taking it down, we have decided to leave the monster up for the sake of Caseybear in the hot Texas summer. I couldn’t just leave it looking like that though, so I reached out to my BFF. Rustoleum ORB spray paint.

A few coats later, and some switched out glass shades, and you MIGHT not be able to guess upon FIRST inspection at least that its like fifteen years old. It was a pretty straightforward DIY that didn’t really SAVE us a lot of $$ since ceiling fans are pretty cheap, but I really didn’t want to invest in a second wall plug-in fan.

DIY Old Ceiling Fan Refresh

First, before you try to refresh any old ceiling fan, MAKE SURE that the power at your breaker is switched off.

This is important if you don’t want to (maybe) die. Even though I was well aware that our fan was plugged into a power strip (that when unplugged could not POSSIBLY have any power in it), I was still scared during the wiring bits of this.

Next, unscrew and remove the fan blades. Then remove whatever housing and light kit you’re having to deal with, ours removed with just a few small screws.

When you get the housing for the light kit off, it will more than likely be hanging by some wires. unscrew the plastic caps the hold the wires together, and set them aside. Wrap all of your wire ends with electrical tape, so as not to get spray paint on them later. Stuff scrap paper or newspaper in any crevices you don’t want painted, so as not to get those electrical bits covered in paint. (If you do, you can use a pair of wire strippers to remove the ends and reveal a fresh connection.)

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Remove whatever cage is around the base of the fan from your ceiling, and you should be left with a stub of a fixture. I taped and papered all around this thing so that my precious popcorn ceiling would not be compromised by ORB (what a shame that would be.) A few spritzes of spray paint should do.

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MASTER TIP: Use a box or large piece of cardboard/styrofoam to hold behind the fixture while you are spraying to catch the excess paint. You don’t want to end up with speckled furniture or rugs.

Open your windows and let this dry.

Lay out all other visible pieces that you have removed and give them a few coats of ORB, letting dry in between.

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Piece that franken-fan back together and enjoy that you have now marginally improved one part of your room. Lol. When reattaching wiring, remember righty-tighty lefty-loosey when swirling the wires back together. “Swirling” sounds pretty pro right? Im practically an electrician.

So it kind of seems like a lot of work, but I have enjoyed the improvement without any real cost until we can find a better way! I stole a better set of glass shades from another room that we barely use, but if you don’t have extra you can purchase them for not very much at any home improvement store!

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Easy peasy.

Not too long ago we had our first experience with scraping popcorn ceilings. We are planning on accomplishing MOST of the scraping within the next year. PROGRESS ❤

 

 

A New Light

I have been a lazy bum recently. I apologize. Jered is off for the summer and I have found myself wrapped up in the glory that is getting to spend time together. So sue me. 🙂

Lots of stuff getting done, but not a lot of sharing, which needs to change.

Therefore, today I bring you one of the easiest room “makeovers” you could do; the entryway! Reimagining an entryway/foyer can bring a whole new feel to your home, and its the first thing people see when they walk in. Don’t you want that first impression to be welcoming? It would appear that the answer, for the former owners of our home, was a resounding “NO.”

If you read ANY of my other posts you probably saw me complaining about the sad excuse for a light fixture that existed in our foyer. This “chandelier” was only the first issue. The stair rail was in bad shape, there is terrible linoleum tile, it just wasn’t perty.

Wasn’t. 

But now, its better! The linoleum is still hangin’ on, but I’d say we have made some great improvement in a short few months and for little effort and $$.

The first and most exciting thing in my eyes is that new light. We found this chandelier, (but in the five-light version that now appears to be discontinued), at Home Depot for like $150. We picked out a nice simple ceiling medallion, and let our friendly AndyOnCall guy install it for us for a small fee. Seriously we were NOT gonna do this ourselves, the height of the foyer made it too intimidating. I didn’t even think they made ladders this big.

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(Also, they are so nice and always do a great job! I highly recommend them!)

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I am so excited with the switch, I cannot imagine keeping that old weird fixture as the first impression of our home. It just wasn’t happy. This 16$ ceiling medallion (also from Home Depot) will look great with our one-day-to-come crown moulding! But thats another day.

Another project that I took on was staining the hand rail going up the stairs. The existing finish was in bad shape, dull, cracking, and that ugly orange honey oak color everyone loves so much.

After some research online, I decided on a gel stain. I took a chance, against everyone’s recommendation, and went with Minwax Gel Stain in Hickory. I just didn’t want to wait to get the General Finishes option shipped to me, though I hear it’s fantastic.

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I could not be happier with how it turned out. After a light sanding, and wiping with a wet cloth, I simply put on some rubber gloves and a lint-free sock over my hand and wiped it on. I used a small foam brush to get the tight corners. Like some, I didn’t like the shade of the coat when wiped off, so I decided to put on a VERY thick single coat without wiping the stain off. I will warn that it took like three weeks to dry to the point that it wasn’t tacky. I did pick a very humid week to tackle this though, I am sure this didn’t help. Here are some before & afters for you! Whole project cost like $15! Plus I have enough left over that I can stain all of our three bathroom vanities! (I think.)

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We found a silly little indoor-outdoor rug on sale for $26 on Wayfair that echoes the design of the ceiling medallion and had some great color in it! It has held up very well so far. Little stool is from target. I also sprayed the door knob ORB until we can get a new paneled door for that closet. I’d say the feeling of our foyer is just a little more welcoming now. 🙂

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Sorry that first pic is grainy, it was a photo from the listing when we bought the house. We also found a fun LARGE woven basket for that empty, bare, 80s plant shelf above the closet door.

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Target had it priced at maybe $40, about HALF what I was finding elsewhere online for similar baskets. I love the texture it brings!

So thats what I’ve been up to. Happy hump day y’all! Thanks for reading!

Master Carpenter

Ok so not really.

I didn’t have much time to write much so I thought I’d do a little “product review” kind of thing since we are so pleased with this purchase.

We recently nabbed a kitchen island/cart from Wayfair at almost 40% off! Score!

It is called the Moreton kitchen island, is manufactured by Crosley furniture, and comes with a choice of black or grey granite, stainless, or natural wood for the top. We got the stainless and it’s gorg. Also, the base can be ordered in black, white, mahogany (that is MAHOGANY!) and cherry woods.

This took me about 2 hours to put together with some help from Carter, and was pretty easy! Its possible it would take you less time without “help” from a toddler, but I’m not sure. 😉

I would definitely recommend this to anyone needing extra cabinet space/counter space, especially if you can get it on sale like we did.

It’s substantial, and high quality. It definitely feels like a much more expensive piece of furniture.

Here it is pictured covered in kitchen junk because I haven’t finished painting the insides of our cabinets yet due to the cold wet weather. 🙈 I uploaded this on my phone, and it turned out blurry and a weird size. Huh! My apologies.

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Also, the intimidating mass of construction materials that I found when I opened the box.

I so hope it holds up! Putting my kitchen island building (OK so more like instruction following) skills to the test.
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So fun watching a room start to come
together!

Nutritious Toddler Super “Muffins”

Hello everyone! This post goes out to all the toddler moms and dads out there. Carter has always been a very good eater, and THUS FAR has not refused veggies. Or anything else for that matter. He just eats whatever he can get his grubby little baby hands on. I know that most of the time, parents don’t get that lucky. So I thought I’d share with you a little recipe for something we affectionately call “Super Muffins.”

They are super easy to make, easy to serve, and just help to ensure that our little ones are getting enough veggies, protein, or whatever you think their diet could be lacking! The ingredients can be easily altered to your liking! I make these every two weeks or so, and freeze half. That way they stay fresh! We give him one or two of these at most lunches and dinners and he really likes them.

Warning: I went a little picture crazy with this one.

Nutritious Toddler Super “Muffins”

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Ingredients

1 Medium bag of Carrots

2-3 Sweet Potatoes, depending on their size

1/2 Tub of Baby Spinach

1/2 Cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese

1 Cup Uncooked Quinoa

4 Large Eggs

1 Tbs Olive Oil

Salt, Pepper, Turmeric, Other Spices To Taste

 

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Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Peel and evenly cube sweet potatoes. Fill water to completely cover sweet potatoes in a large pot on the stove. Boil for about 13 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain and let cool.

In a large saucepan, prepare quinoa per the directions on the package.

Peel the carrots and remove yucky ends, like so-

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Use the shredder attachment on your food processor to shred your carrots and baby spinach, its ok to do these at the same time. They are all ending up in the same place. This looks so fresh and delicious and healthy all on its own.

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YUM! Almost makes me want a salad.

This is the easiest part of the recipe. Dump all of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl. I end up using only about half of the prepared quinoa, and spices usually include salt, pepper, turmeric, (known for its multiple beneficial health properties) parsley, and garlic powder.

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I use a potato masher to combine all of the ingredients. When properly mashed, the consistency is usually similar to a muffin batter.

Grease a mini-muffin tin and use a spoon (or your hands if you are like me and are a kitchen barbarian) to fill the cups. These don’t rise all that much so you don’t have to leave very much room.

Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops of muffins turn golden brown.

When you remove them from the oven, it is helpful to use a knife and spoon to remove the muffins from the pan, as they tend to stick and you don’t want them to fall apart. These end a little denser than the consistency of a quiche.

Let cool on wire racks, and freeze half for later use!

When refrigerating, be sure to let cool completely before you put them in. Otherwise the heat builds up, causing steam and making them soggy over time. Its really NBD though. They are still good soggy.

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This recipe makes approx. 60 mini muffins.

You could do SO MUCH with this recipe, adding different veggies and spices and things. You could make it all organic! So good.

One of my favorite things about this recipe is that I get to eat the leftover Quinoa for lunch! I mix it with corn, red onions, and cheese. With an avocado sliced on top and some spices it is delicious! Healthy lunch for mommy and healthy snacks for Carter!

Can’t lose. 😉

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YUM!! I am always looking for fun easy nutritious recipes for Carter. Let me know if y’all have any!

Better than Starbucks Pumpkin Scones

I, like most twenty-something females, rediscover my undying passion for anything pumpkin-spice related the day I first feel that fall chill in the air. Though its not fall anymore, it is pretty DARN cold here in DFW (and everywhere else), and that means that our sense of the “holiday season” has been extended. Along with this, a feeling that it is still A-OK to bake a million things and eat them all myself. Jered is pretty much obsessed with the pumpkin scones from Starbucks, but it is painful to think of how much moolah we would have to spend to quench his (and my) hunger for these for an entire season, let alone a super long winter like this one.

Many months ago, I tasked myself with finding a recipe for pumpkin scones that was as close to Starbuck’s version as I could get. I ended up finding one that is even better and actually extremely quick and easy to make!

This is VERY similar to the recipe that I first found on Pinterest, with a few tiny changes.

Better than Starbucks Pumpkin Scones

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Scones

2 Cups all-purpose flour

7 Tbs sugar

1 Tbs baking powder

1/2 Tsp salt

1/2 Tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 Tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 Tsp ground ginger

6 Tbsp COLD butter

1/2 Cup canned pumpkin

4 Tbsp heavy cream

1 Large egg

Powdered Sugar Glaze

1 Cup + 1 Tbs Powdered Sugar

2 Tbs whole milk

Spiced Drizzle Glaze

1 Cup + 3 Tbs powdered sugar

2 Tbs whole milk

1/4 Tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 Tsp ground nutmeg

Pinch of Ginger

Directions

TO MAKE THE SCONES:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly butter a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl.

Using your hands (or any other way you prefer, I find this the easiest) cut butter into the dry ingredients until no chunks remain and butter is evenly dispersed. Set aside.

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In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, heavy cream, and egg.

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Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients with spatula or spoon until your arm is killing you. At this point, I find it convenient to use your hands to mix the ingredients further until a consistent dough ball forms.

Pat dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle (about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide). Using a pizza cutter or knife slice the dough into three equal sections. Cut those sections diagonally so that you have six triangles of dough.

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Place on prepared baking sheet, allow room for them to almost double in size.

Bake for about 13-14 minutes, depending on your oven. Most important thing to look for is that the scones will begin to turn light golden brown.

Place on wire rack set inside another cookie sheet wrapped in foil to cool.

Since our oven is a dinosaur and heats so unevenly, it took a few times to figure out what worked for me. You may have to turn the cookie sheet halfway through to ensure even baking. Every oven is different!

TO GLAZE SCONES:

Once the scones are cold, combine ingredients for the powdered sugar glaze and brush on top of scones using back of spoon, pastry brush, etc. While waiting for that to solidify, combine spiced drizzle glaze ingredients and drizzle over tops of scones in zig-zag pattern (This is occasionally successful for me.) Let solidify.

TA-DA!

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As you can see, in my haste to eat one of these babies, I did not let the first glaze solidify before applying the drizzle. These aren’t so pretty. Maybe you’ll have more self-control and yours will come out prettier!

One of the best things about this recipe, is that it only makes six, which makes it hard to justify bingeing on too many at a time. Well, almost hard. 🙂

Enjoy!! Let me know how they turn out!