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:


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


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)


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:


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


  • 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.


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. 


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:


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:


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)




And the afters:



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. 


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!



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.


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 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!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Custom Made Glass Tile Backsplash

So it’s been a while since I last blogged.  But great things take great amounts of time.  I’ve been obsessing over tiling the backsplash in the kitchen for about a month now.  This is what I had:
And while the vinyl quote was quite fitting for my kitchen, it was time for a change.
I was greatly discouraged when I couldn’t find red glass tile that a.) I liked and b.) didn’t cost a fortune ($20+ per square foot!).  So I came home and started searching the internet for ideas.  Why can’t I just make my own glass tile? 
Well, it seems that not much will stick to glass.  You can’t simply paint the back of the glass because it will pull off and make a mess.  You could buy special paint, but it’s over $200 for a gallon and I don’t need that much for this project. Hmmm, what to do.  Then I stumbled on alcohol inks.  They are made by Ranger and are called Adirondack Inks.  Youtube had a few videos of people inking glass vases and the like, but no tile. 

So I took my coupon to Michaels, and bought two packages of inks that had different shades of red in them.  Apparently you can buy individual bottles online, but I couldn’t find any like that locally, so I just bought the 3 packs.  I used “currant” and “cranberry.” 
I went to a local glass cutting place who was generous enough to give me 3 tiles to practice on.  I colored a couple of them and glued them to a scrap piece of wallboard and I loved it!  Next I drew up a blueprint on graph paper for how I would mix the glass tiles with some tumbled marble tiles.  I got boxes of tumbled marble tiles at Lowe’s for $50.  I ordered 34 more glass tiles for just over $50.
The tiles are all 3 x 6 subway style tiles, but the tumbled marble are about 3/8 inch thick and the glass are 1/4 inch thick. 
I set about inking all of the glass tiles.  This task goes pretty quickly because the ink dries in about a minute.  I used the ink applicator that is sold separately and just dabbed all over using 5 drops of Currant and 2 drops of Cranberry for each coat per tile.
After about 5 coats, the color was deep enough for me.  *Note, there will be some lint that comes off the felt applicator.  It is okay, you don’t have to rush to remove all the ink and start over.  Seriously, learn from my rash mistake!  You can lighten and blend using the alcohol solution they sell, but I didn’t like it as much, but did use it to correct any errors.  Oh and wear rubber gloves, because it stains your hands. 
The tiles are somewhat transparent still, but will be put against white tile adhesive.
When it’s time to tile, find the center and start placing tiles.  I used 1/8 inch spacers, and with the help of my husband got done a lot faster than if I had to do it alone!
The adhesive behind tile is usually spread with a notched trowel.  We did that behind the stone tiles, but behind the glass tiles we used smoothed it out so there wasn’t air pockets behind the glass that could be seen. It is very important to lay the glass with the colored side against the adhesive.  This way it won’t get worn off over time.  I did find the adhesive did pull the ink off if you rubbed it around, so just place and push.  Don’t butter the back of the tiles with the adhesive either, big pink smears is all I’m going to say.
After all the tiles are hung according to plan:
And the smaller section between the corner and the refrigerator:
Today was grouting day.  The stone is porous and has small holes that we wanted to fill with grout so they don’t get filled with kitchen mess.  So we first wiped the fronts with a wet cloth to prevent the faces of the tiles from soaking in too much of the grout and then my hubby went to work pressing grout into the spaces and holes.  Instead of the normal rubber float though, he found with such small spaces, good old messy hands worked better.  I followed behind and wiped them off and down, smoothing the lines as I went.
And the almost finished project (still need to wipe off the haze, seal the tile tomorrow and put the outlet covers back on)
I’m totally in love.  I love the imperfect look to it, and that is surprising with my type A perfectionist tendencies.  I also love that it is completely a creation of my own and it executed into reality exactly how I imagined.
Hope you love it as much as I do, if you do follow my page or fan me on Facebook!

I'm joining a few link up parties throughout the week to try to increase my traffic, and because I think these tiles are gorgeous and should be shared throughout the world.  These are some of my favorite places, check them out for more crafty inspiration!

Mad in Crafts, A Little Lovely, I Heart Naptime, Under the Table and Dreaming,
Simpsonized Crafts, Making the World Cuter, Between Naps on the Porch, Craftomaniac, Skip to my Lou, Sumos Sweet Stuff, Dittle Dattle, Little Eme, Funky Polkadot Giraffe, All Thingz Related, Todays Creative Blog, Hope Studios, Sugar Bee - Craft Edition, Boogie Board Cottage, My Backyard Eden, Someday Crafts, Creations by Kara, The Trendy Treehouse, Blue Cricket Design, Lil Luna, Sisters Stuff