Monday, April 4, 2011

It’s not that I haven’t been creating..

It’s just that the creating is taking up so much time!  I have done a ton of stuff in the last month, but just haven’t sat down and blogged about any of it.  I have a ton of pictures on the camera that haven’t been uploaded. 

I added 400 square feet of office to my house from what was a concrete-unfinished-basement section.

 

But I’m still trying to finish organizing…

I’ve started painting over the orange part of the basement that was a rec room (or wreck room is probably a better use of the term) and where the old office was. Because heaven forbid I finish one project before moving onto the next :)

 

I have more than that done now, but it was the first picture I took.  The colors are way off on that too, the orange isn’t quite so ORANGE and the green is a light olive color.

In the midst of this my hubby and I took a trip to Las Vegas for the construction expo and took a day to drive out to Valley of Fire State Park.  Beautiful and breathtaking doesn’t even begin to describe it. (these were all taken with my iPhone…I have to say I’m impressed with the first one and how cool it looks!)

And my favorite of them all…

So I’m hoping that life will slow down, though I’m sure that’s more of wishful thinking anything, so that I can share more details of the stuff that has been keeping me so busy and hopefully inspire you all.

Monday, February 14, 2011

IKEA Can Change the World…

Or at least my living room!  In summary, 3 years ago I bought a matching set of Lane chairs.  Biggest mistake EVER!  Long ordeal in a shorter version?  It took 5 chairs to get two that were passable, and even one of the ones that I finally kept needed repair.  Well, they were marginal at best, but I settled with the two I had.  One has always had a chronic problem of the pillow top getting wedged to the back, and last week after hubby reclined the chair, it broke.  And by broke, I mean you have one side of your body 5 inches lower than the other.  The back looks worse, but here’s the picture I have:

IMG_2889

So we went shopping.  And we ended up with a nearly new living room.  So here are the before:

IMG_2890IMG_2886IMG_2885IMG_2891

The bookshelves are all IKEA as are the end tables, and as soon as the TV is replaced with a flat screen, I have the matching TV cabinet that fits neatly between.  But in the meantime, here’s what a new rug, two new chairs/ottomans, a new couch, and a new coffee table will get you! (Note, the first picture is closest to the true wall color)

IMG_2898IMG_2899

Notice the reflection of the dog in the window below, kind of creepy, but he has a bad habit of getting in every picture!IMG_2900

Shockingly this is what the couch looked like before assembly:

IMG_2895

Simply stunning. 

Now I just need to do some updating and rearranging of d├ęcor (almost time for snowman stuff to go away) and this room will be just perfect.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Homemade Egg Bread

I ventured into trying a different bread today instead of my standby Honey Wheat Bread.  Instead I tried Egg Bread.  I’ve had Egg Bread from an Amish store in my area before and love the light sweet taste of it.  So here’s how it’s done.

Egg bread

Ingredients

  • 5 1/2 – 6 cups of bread flour or all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 packages or about 2 Tablespoons of yeast
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 egg white, beaten (optional)

Combine 2 cups of the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in a large bowl.  Melt margarine and milk together to about 110 degrees F.  (You can microwave it at this step, but keep a close eye on it and make sure it is just melted, NOT boiling or you will kill the yeast)  Pour mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until smooth.  Add the eggs and mix well.

IMG_2822

Gradually add in the remaining flour until you have a soft dough.  I mixed with the spatula until it got too difficult then I dug in with my hands.  It took me about 6 cups total to get a dough that wasn’t stuck to my hands and was smooth enough to knead.  Knead lightly on a floured surface for a minute or two.  Place dough in a clean bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled.  (This took about an hour and half today, but it’s COLD today) 

Punch down dough and divide into two loaf pans and let rise for another 45 minutes or so until it’s coming up over the top of the pans.  You can brush the top with egg white if you want, I chose not to.  Place the pans in the oven at 350 degrees on a low rack for 20-25 minutes.  Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. 

If it sounds hollow when you tap on the top of the loaf and it’s golden brown, then it’s done!

Slice and enjoy the sweet goodness.  I can’t wait to have a peanut butter and jelly tomorrow…or maybe peanut butter and honey…decisions, decisions.

 

Linking up!

All Thingz Related

Giving Empty Space Function

When my husband and I were building our house, the initial plan was for the kitchen cabinets to run along the outside wall and have the sink looking out the window.  Well, I came in, changed husband’s mind and go the kitchen area moved to the other side where there was more room, and made the small window that was supposed to be above the sink a large double window (6 feet wide by 5 feet tall).

Over the years I have struggled to give the empty space a function.  A variety of things have been in that area (desk, bakers rack, china cabinet, etc.), but I eventually end up hating it and moving things around. 

So this past fall when we were making the decision to put a woodstove in the house, we were looking for a large space to accommodate the stove and a hearth.  I had just the place for it.  The big empty corner. 

IMG_0231

In lieu of a tile hearth, we called up a good friend who does stamped concrete and he agreed to help us out.  We marked off the area that would meet the specifications of the woodstove (Vermont Castings Defiant).  We laid down Durarock concrete boards 3 layers thick on the floor and screwed sheets to the wall as well.  Then Jason came and worked his magic and we have this:

IMG_2508

The concrete was stamped, then sections were stained various colors, and then sealed. 

But it still wasn’t complete.  The space in front of the windows was in dire need of something.  So I went on a road trip to IKEA (my most favorite store in the world!) there I found the most fabulous chair and pillows to complete my space.  (excuse the funky light pouring through the window!)

This has become a favorite place in the house for all of us, and we tend to fight for the chair.  The dog however, has no problem finding his favorite spot…as long as his nose doesn’t combust!

The only thing I’d like to do to finish this space is to put up a nice big mantle.  It’s on my to do list!

Linking up!

Sew Much Ado, Night Owl Crafting, My Backyard Eden, Someday Crafts

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hardware … Repurposed

While working on updating the kitchen, I REALLY wanted to get new pulls and knobs.  I’ve always heard it’s an inexpensive way to really change the look of a kitchen.  That and the brass ones I have are getting pitted after 8 1/2 years of use.  So I went shopping.  With 21 pulls and 17 knobs there was no “inexpensive” about it.  Even if I settled for $4-ish replacements, that would have been well over $150! 

 

So I went to the spray paint aisle.  And bought this:

UN_SatinBlack_SP_L

It was around $8.00. Rust-oleum Satin black spray paint.  No primer needed, just a little scuffing with sandpaper.

I took all the knobs off, screwed them to cardboard and did 3 light coats, careful to make sure I got it on the under side too.  (I did have to touch up about 6 of them on the underside)

Befores: (I don’t have pictures of the island…let’s just say the cleaning fairy is fired)

IMG_2811

IMG_2812

IMG_2816

And the afters:

IMG_2819

IMG_2817

Completely new look, $8.00 and a little bit of time.  Not bad if I do say so myself!

Linking up at these fabulous parties!

Night Owl Crafting, My Backyard Eden, Creations by Kara, Someday Crafts, Sister's Stuff, Blue Cricket, The Trendy Treehouse,

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fun Little Boy Quilt

My kids love quilts.  I made a big one that is kept in the living room and we usually fight over it, or race to be the first to lay claim on it. 

So since it only took me 6 years to make that one (Long story, but 182 applique petals.  Enough said.) I decided to make one for each of the kids rooms. I waited until the snuggle flannel was on sale at Jo-Ann’s (back in October, but it goes on sale frequently) and spent close to 2 hours browsing and choosing fabrics that reflect their personalities. 

IMG_2076

I found a pattern for this on McCall’s Quilting website for a full sized quilt.

It said beginner, so I thought maybe I could actually complete it in a timely manner.  I cut the pieces out for my son’s quilt right after I bought the fabric, but took a long break around the holidays.  I picked it back up last week and banged it out completely in about 3 or 4 good days worth of work (not the whole day!  Just a few hours here and there!)

The instructions show some of the blocks turned around.  I made mine all the same (2 different 12 x 12 blocks) and kept them all turned the same direction.IMG_2786

I decided to tie the quilt instead of traditional quilting because it would be faster and I thought it would be cute.  But I’m not a huge fan of regular yarn, so I picked out some 4 thread yarn called Lily Sugar ‘n Cream Twists that I got at Hobby Lobby. 

After pinning the top, the batting and the backing flannel all together about every 6 inches, I put a tie at each of the 4 corners per block and one in the center. 

I spent 2 nights finishing the binding and was able to cover Pierce up with his new quilt while he slept last night.  He was so excited it was done!

 

IMG_2784

Now if I can get Camryn’s finished in a timely manner!  I’m off to go start cutting!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Honey Wheat Bread

You just can’t beat fresh bread.  A little secret?  When it comes out of the oven, I slice some off warm and eat it without even adding anything on top.  I don’t need it, and I’m too impatient to sample the bread to take the time to spread something on top.

My grandma gave me a bread maker last year that was in her closet, still in the box.  That changed my bread making ways.  No more kneading and messes of flour.  (Although I do find that somewhat therapeutic)  I don’t however bake the loaf in the bread machine, I just use the dough cycle and put it in the oven. 

But you can do whatever makes you happy.

IMG_2667


Since the grocery stores in my area insist on not selling the healthy bread I like anymore, I have begun a quest to make all of my own bread.  No more store bought.  Cheaper, healthier, tastier.  Win, Win, Win.  I know the recipe by heart now and bake one loaf a day, sometimes I can skip a day but usually not; we like carbs. 

I found a recipe at allrecipes.com and tweaked it to my liking and wanted to share it with everyone.

Honey Wheat Bread

  • 1 1/8 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 Tablespoons oil (I use canola)
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Put the ingredients in the bread machine pan in order listed.  If you chose to bake it, set your machine and go.  If you just use the dough cycle, after it is complete, dump the dough into a greased loaf pan, spread it out a little and cover with a kitchen towel to keep it from drying out.  Let it rise for about 45 minutes to an hour until it’s domed up pretty.IMG_2674

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350.  The loaf is done when it’s pretty brown on top and it sounds hollow when you tap the top.  

Enjoy however you wish.  I prefer it plain or with homemade red raspberry jam. Or a sandwich is good too. Mmmmm!

bread