Monday, April 14, 2014

Organizing My {Spice} Cabinet or More Uses for Velcro

After about four years of rummaging through a cluttered, overly-crowded spice cabinet, I decided that enough was enough.  My spice cabinet is an awkward corner cabinet that limits arrangement options.  It's difficult to see what I have and almost impossible to find what I'm looking for. This problem has often resulted in my double purchasing a spice that I already own. Grrrrrr!!!! 

Here's my problem.

Here's my solution!! 

When you really begin to put some thought into it, uses for velcro are limitless! I looove this stuff.  So when I was hatching a plan for my new, ultra-organized spice cabinet, I turned to my good friend velcro.  My husband so graciously picked me up some of these square velcro pieces.  I only had to use them for the second row of spices on each shelf.  And here's the result:

 Deciding where to place my spices took considerable thought.  I ended up placing the spices I use most often on the bottom shelf; spice blends and lesser used spices on the middle shelf; and extracts (except for vanilla. that went on the bottom shelf), homemade spice blends, and doubled spices on the top shelf. Hopefully those double spices will stop showing up!  This project took me all of 20 minutes  to complete and collectively will save me probably hours of searching through jar after jar of spices to find what I need.

Friday, April 11, 2014

DIY {Stenciled} Floor Rug

I had a few people ask me recently where I come up with my ideas for doing projects around the house.  Most projects are a direct result of my being stubborn and cheap. I see something, don't want to pay for it, and swear I can make one just as good. And that's were this ginormous project came from.  It took me about ten hours to finish, but it was ten hours well spent.  I just recently purchased a new entryway table (pictured here) that completely changed the look of my entry.  I thought the space really needed a rug but didn't want to spend the pretty penny that usually comes attached to a rug this size. After scouring the internet and reading tutorial after tutorial, I blended a few methods together and came up with this gorgeous rug! It wasn't difficult at all, and I only ended up spending about $70 not counting the cost of materials I already owned. I also had some materials left over and of course got to keep the stencil I purchased. 

Want to take a whack at a rug of your own?

These are the materials you will need (prices may vary at different stores):

  • canvas drop cloth - $12 (Lowes)
  • paint (water-based) $9 (Lowes - I used two Valspar sample size paint tubs)
  • stencil - $15 (50% off at Hobby Lobby)
  • plastic drop cloth - $.99 (Lowes)
  • 1 quart clear satin polyurethane - $11 (Lowes)
  • natural bristle paint brush - already owned (probably bought at Lowes)
  • sponge brush - already owned (Hobby Lobby - a regularly buy packs of various size sponge brushes)
  • pencil - already owned (um...the back of my junk drawer)
  • non-slip rug pad - $10 (purchased at a very inexpensive discount store Ollies)
  • gorilla tape - $14 (Lowes - had A LOT left over)
  • light spray adhesive (optional) - (I think I got this at Hobby Lobby)

I did most of my stenciling indoors using a thin plastic drop cloth underneath.  Never having experience with a stencil like this one before, I was surprised to see how simple it was to use.  Other than my back sometimes feeling like it was going to break in two from bending over, this process was a cinch. 

After the stenciling was completed, I dragged my rug out to the garage to put a coat of polyurethane on it for durability.  I would suggest putting a very thin layer of this on your rug.  I put mine on a little too thickly and it darkened the color of my rug considerably.  It also stiffened my rug to the point that I wasn't able to sew up the edges like I had originally planned. 

To keep my rug from sliding around on the floor and to give it a little bit more cushion, I added a rug pad underneath using gorilla tape.  Unconventional, I know, but I wanted it to stay.  I was going to sew it on, but I would have probably snapped any sewing needles that I tried to use on this thing.  

It worked out that the drop cloth I bought ended up almost exactly matching the dimensions I wanted for my rug.  It was, however, about a foot too wide.  So I had to cut this excess length off and figure out how to make that edge look finished.  I finally decided to iron the edge under (the polyurethane made it stiff enough that the ironed edge stayed very well.) and gorilla tape the rug pad over it. 

It is a wonderful and satisfying feeling when a project actually turns out like you envisioned it would. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Corner of My {Craft} Room: Arranging Items on a Bookshelf

What is it about women not being able to use something for its intended purpose and call it quits? For instance, this is a picture of a black bookshelf not being used as a bookshelf but rather as a display case.  It cannot simply house my books. No. I find it difficult, very difficult to allow my things to just "sit" somewhere.  It must have function AND style. This bookshelf is a part of my craft room, something  else that ironically has lost its original purpose as being a place in which to craft.  It has morphed into a museum.  Really a storage room that caters to my Audrey Hepburn obsession.  In my defense, I will say that along with Audrey one can find in this room pretty much anything with which they might need to craft something. 

Anyway, back to my bookshelf.  I'm particularly proud of the items on these shelves because most everything has either been DIYed, recycled, or thrifted. Even the black mirror (originally gold framed. spray painted black) and photo board were found at thrift shops. The candle stick holders were purchased at an antique store and many of my books were found after scouring second hand stores (a treasure trove for classics). To spruce up my books and bring some uniformity to the overall look, I covered many of my books that had unattractive or damaged covers with packaging paper purchased at the Dollar Tree. I also used some scrapbooking paper for a few. My "L.U.V" book ends were a previous project of mine.

I had a lot of fun arranging and rearranging these items until I was quite satisfied with this little corner of my craft room. There are a myriad of ways to arrange items on a bookshelf.  Here are a few things I kept in mind while putting together this bookshelf.

  • I arranged books horizontally as well as vertically.
  • I stuck to a single color (white) for most of my accessories.  My craft room colors are black, white, and Tiffany blue.  I didn't want to stray too far away from that color scheme, but  I did allow a few of the book covers to add variety.
  • I kept in mind that less is more.  I could have easily packed much more onto each shelf, but opted to display only some of my favorite book titles.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Wives and Lovers: A Little Bit of {Wisdom}

I don't usually make it a practice to get marriage advice from pop music but there is no denying that this incredible standard "Wives and Lovers" (written in 1963) contains some pretty wise counsel to every wife who cares about her marriage.  The first time I ever heard this song it almost blew my mind! I couldn't believe how much music had changed over the years.  If someone tried to publish and record this song today, they would probably be labeled as a antifeminist bigot and banned from the radio. Seriously!!  But in reality, this song shows how important a wife's role is in keeping romance alive in a marriage.  It portrays wives as being valued, loved, and desired.  It challenges a wife very straightforwardly to care about her appearance and put effort into being attractive for her husband. What woman wouldn't want to be all this and more for her hunk of a man?!

Below is my favorite version of this song being sung by Frank Sinatra.  You really can't argue with these lyrics, ladies!

"Wives And Lovers"
(originally by Jack Jones)

Hey, little girl
Comb your hair, fix your make-up
Soon he will open the door
Don't think because
There's a ring on your finger
You needn't try any more

For wives should always be lovers, too
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
I'm warning you

Day after day
There are girls at the office
And men will always be men
Don't send him off
With your hair still in curlers
You may not see him again

For wives should always be lovers, too
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
He's almost here

Hey, little girl
Better wear something pretty
Something you'd wear to go to the city
And dim all the lights
Pour the wine, start the music
Time to get ready for love

Oh, time to get ready,
Time to get ready
Time to get ready
For love.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Low-Maintenance {Terrariums}

Last summer I planted terrariums not really knowing what to expect but ended up really loving the results. They were beautiful. But they began to become difficult to maintain.  They actually grew amazingly well.  Too well. I couldn't keep them trimmed without them looking like I had just taken an axe to them. Also, the style of the jars made it difficult to keep them looking clean. As sad as I was to see my living succulents replaced by faux plants, I made the switch.

I took a trip to Hobby Lobby and found some extremely realistic looking faux succulents. They were a little pricey, but I only needed a few.  I already had a large supply of moss at home so I was good there.  Lastly, I purchased some smooth river stones to add some more texture to the jars.  Now I have the "look" without the maintenance. Close enough for me.  I absolutely love the way they bring a bit of nature into my dining room. Gorgeous colors!

Linking to:
Skip To My Lou
Sew Can Do
Mad in Crafts
Keeping It Simple Crafts
Say Not Sweet Anne
Creating My Way to Success
Uncommon Designs
Tip Junkie
Ginger Snap Crafts
Someday Crafts
Polkadots on Parade
Lady Behind the Curtain

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Snack of the Month: Trader Joe's Contemplate Inner {Peas}

Any HEALTHY snack that tricks my tastebuds into thinking they are one of my favorite UNHEALTHY snacks instantly goes on my best friends list.  Trader Joe's, being the awesome brand that they are, really outdid themselves in my book with their Contemplates Inner Peas.  Made from whole green peas, this snack tastes very much like a certain other crunchy, cheesy snack.  You guessed it - Cheetos! Seriously!! With just a hint of salt, Inner Peas are the perfect "healthier choice," although their yummy goodness makes it pretty much impossible to not gobble up the whole bag.  (I think my husband is still bitter about coming home and finding ours "all et up.") So wanna know what's inside?

Ingredients: whole green peas, canola oil, rice, salt, calcium carbonate, ascorbyl palmitate (vitamin C)

Serving Size: 1 oz 
Per serving: calories 130 ~ total fat 4.5g ~ sat fat 0.5g ~ trans fat 0g ~ sodium 50mg ~ carbs 17g ~ fiber 4g ~ sugars less than 1g ~ protein 5g

And with the price tag of only $1.49 for a 3.3oz bag, I'm not sure how the deal could get any sweeter. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Reading the {Anne} Series

After recently lending my Anne series to a friend, I was drawn in once again by L.M. Montgomery's red-headed heroine's powerful charm.  I just had to pick up these books and read them through again. I've just begun Anne's House of Dreams and my own memories as a newlywed come flooding back.  There is just something about Anne that I think every girl can relate to in no matter what stage of life she finds herself.  Maybe it's Anne's knack for always finding trouble or her endless daydreaming and optimism.   I think what I love most about Anne is that she allows herself, after many difficult lessons learned, to let go of her "ideals" as she looks around her and realizes what is truly important in her life.  Her dreams evolve over the years and she steps out of her fairytale and into reality seeing that this was what she truly longed for all along.  Wow, can I ever relate to that! The Lord has a very interesting and wonderful way of showing me that my plans are NOT always (actually, rarely) the best for me.  If I would only learn to surrender the FIRST time, I would make things so much easier for myself and my husband. 

I didn't intend for this to become a sermon, but there really is so much that I've learned from Dear Anne.  

I own a lovely Anne series that my mom passed down to me. Thanks, Mom! I love owning these books and being able to pick them up whenever I choose.  There are a host of beautifully illustrated Anne books out there that I never realized were available. Wouldn't exchange mine for any other these, but I still think these are "divinely beautiful!"

I kind of cheated with this one.  It's an ebook cover, but I couldn't pass it up.

Looking for your own set of Anne book?  Check out

And finally, I would like to leave you with some words of wisdom from Anne Shirley herself:

“It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.” 
― L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Green Gables

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Beginnings of an {Herb} Garden

I absolutely can't wait for these little babies to mature so I can put my new herb garden together.  This year I'm going with an indoor garden for the sake of easy access.  I'm super excited to show you what I've come up with.  No spoilers! Sorry! So far I've planted dill, sweet basil, cilantro, and oregano. A friend gave me some chives and coriander that I also plan on growing.  Not sure how I will use the coriander yet (suggestions?).

So what is your favorite herb and why?  Any good recipes I should try these out on? 
Would love to hear any ideas you all may have. Happy almost spring!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Five Things I Reach for When I Get the {Munchies}

We've all experienced it.  You're watching your favorite television show when suddenly every actor on the screen is grabbing a back of potato chips and chowing down or tossing handfuls of M&Ms in their mouth.  The feeling that follows is almost unbearable. The gnawing, nagging sensation that tells your brain you MUST have a snack or you will perish!!  You aren't really hungry but the urge is very real and very present. Please, please don't reach for the bag of Oreos.  I try my best not to eat carbs after 7:00 PM and since most of my snackish cravings happen in the late evening, even foods like gluten-free, organic pita chips are out of the question.  Here are five healthy alternatives that help me cut through those intense cravings and leave me feeling like I've won a tiny little battle in the great big war of healthy eating.

  1. Baby Carrots:  When I get the munchies, I actually want to MUNCH DOWN on something. Carrots are the perfect juicy, crunchy snack full of vitamins and low in calories.  You may be saying, "When I get a craving, veggies are NOT something I reach for." Believe me, eventually you will if you just give these bite-sized babies a chance.  Try dipping them in hummus or almond butter to add a little flavor.  They are my number one go-to snack. Update 3/12/14: Some very supportive friends kindly reminded me of some of the concerns surrounding the production of baby carrots.  I have done some research myself in the past and am not concerned.  However, you may want to do your own research just for your own peace of mind.

  2. Raw Almonds: Almonds are an amazing source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber and really help me stay feeling full. I stick to raw or dry roasted instead of salted or oven roasted (they could be roasted in oils). They are low in calories and fat per serving compared to most other nuts. Just remember to eat these little bits of yumminess in moderation.

  3. Bananas: Bananas are another food that help me feel full quickly.  They also help kick that nasty empty taste out of my mouth.  When my sweet tooth gets out of control, bananas are the answer. You can also add a little almond butter to beef this snack up a bit. 

  4. String Cheese: Let's add one more food group to the mix.  Go ahead and admit it.  You love the fact that there is an adult snack out there that makes playing with your food socially acceptable. Just try to resist reaching back into the fridge for a second stick : )

  5. My Toothbrush: Um…well…not technically a food but it's almost better.  I will have to admit that my toothbrush is NOT the item I reach for the most often, thus its #5 standing.  But it literally works like a magic wand when it comes to cravings.  Can't explain why but a fresh, clean, minty mouth takes all food cravings away. It really does. 

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