Saturday, June 29, 2013

Saturday Snapshot: Fungus

Why did the mushroom go to the party? Because he was such a fun-gi!  Why would such a fun guy leave the party, then? Because there wasn't muchroom! ;)

Another picture snapped on our trip north.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Craft Room Renovation

My last home improvement project!  Well, for the month of June anyway :)  This old house still has a long list of must-dos!

For a long time, I have been doing my DIY projects on our living room coffee table.  It works out fine, but whenever I'm painting or doing something messy, I'm always worried I'll spill!  Plus, I can't just leave something sitting out overnight- it gets in the way of the "living" that happens in the living room.  So, I decided that I would take one of our unused areas in the basement and make it into a craft room!

This is a room in our basement that became a bit of a catch-all. 
This is my craft pile... not super organized...

I cleared it all out and gave it a thorough cleaning.  I bought a 6 foot folding table, painted the plywood wall, and then set to work organizing the space into useable craft storage.
My new craft room!  I added a lamp for extra light, and look!  My crafting stool :)
I hung up old paintings I've done.  Sort of an inspiration wall
Cigar boxes, vintage tins, and plastic tubs help keep my crafts organized now.  No more craft pile!
I painted the wall, but I also added another shelf. 
I have more supplies stored here, but also a smattering of old projects that don't have homes
It's been so great!  I can focus on my projects without making a huge mess in our living room. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Painted Top Bar Stool

This old stool was once my grandfather's drafting stool; he used it at his drafting table for many years.  I decided to give it new life, turning it from a drafting stool to a crafting stool.  It will be sure to get lots of use now!

I was inspired by the dip dye trend that's been hanging around for a while.  I wanted to preserve some of the original wood, but also give it a more modern look.  So, I taped off a portion of the legs and only painted the top part of the stool.

To make your own, you will need:
  • Bar stool
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint
  • Paint brush
  • Painter's tape
Decide where you want the paint to stop, and place painter's tape all around the legs.  Be sure it is smooth and level.

Lightly sand the area above the painter's tape with fine grade sand paper.  Follow the grain of the wood as you sand.

Wipe down the sanded area with a damp cloth, and then get painting!  I bought two different colors to test on the stool, but ultimately chose Winter Lake because it had a bigger contrast against the wood.

Just like when you sanded the stool, paint with the grain of the wood.  Apply two, thin coats to get the best coverage, allowing the paint to dry between coats.
One coat...
Two coats!
When the paint is nearly dry but still a little tacky, remove the painter's tape.  This allows you to scrape off any paint that escaped the tape with your fingernail.

So simple, but such a fun update :)  Stay tuned for the makeover I gave the room that will be this stool's home!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Updated Doorbell

Hello all, happy Monday! 

I showed you all earlier the update that I did for our porch light.  It was much needed and made such a big difference!  While we were out there putting the light up, I noticed our pathetically decrepit doorbell:
I mean, how sad is that?  And how did I not notice it sooner??  Well, I guess I'm not really out ringing my own doorbell all that often...

So, a new one was a must!  

Isn't it amazing what a big difference such small changes can make?  Do you like the change?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Saturday Snapshot: Butterfly Wing

This is one of many pictures you'll be seeing from my weekend up north (Two Harbors, MN). This was taken on Day Hill Trail while we were hiking in the area around Split Rock Lighthouse.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Encampment Weekend Getaway

Last weekend, John and I went up to a cabin (pictured above- aren't the windows amazing?) at a place called Encampment.  It's a little collection of cabins that are privately owned along the shore of Lake Superior, just a little outside of Two Harbors.  We spent the weekend there with his family.  It was a great time and so relaxing.  The best part was that we were completely off grid- no cell phone, no internet.  Being unplugged gave me a break I didn't even know I needed :)

We hiked every day and went to Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse.  Even though I'll be featuring pictures from the trip on many of my upcoming Saturday Snapshot posts, there are just too many pictures not to do a whole post :)
I woke up at 5:00 the first morning and saw a beautiful sunrise
Gorgeous scenes like this were everywhere
I was OBSESSED with hunting down agates on the beach!
We're going to put them on display in a little glass jar
Gooseberry Falls.  We hiked the Gitchi Gummi Trail here
We even got to bring Inga!  She was such a happy puppy
A beautiful view of Split Rock Lighthouse
Hiking and agate hunting along Lake Superior's shore
 I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  Be sure to stop back here tomorrow for another little taste of the North Shore :)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bathroom Paint

I've got another home improvement project for you today!  This is probably the easiest way to give a room a fresh feeling: a new coat of paint! 

I felt like the bathroom just needed a kick in the pants.  Before, the paint color was a pale beige.  It made the room look big and bright, but it also had the effect of making everything kind of blend together.  Nothing popped.

So, we added a couple coats of Behr's Flint Smoke.

It really makes the oak trim pop in the room, but it doesn't make the room look small, either!  I also took out the roll down shade and added a cafe curtain instead.  What do you think?  Have you been itching to change up your paint colors?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Rhubarb Cake

Hi all!  Happy Monday!  Over the weekend, John and I got to go up north for a weekend off the grid :). You'll be seeing some snapshots over the next several weeks from our trip.  It was so nice, but now I've got to catch up on all my blog reading!

Today, in a departure from my home improvement projects, I thought I would show you a tasty cake recipe :)  We all need a break for cake, right?

So far this summer, I've made rhubarb syrup and peach rhubarb cobbler.  But our rhubarb plant is massive and just begging to be used more.  So, I dug up another Granny recipe to share with you: rhubarb cake!

I made this for Father's Day....but then totally forgot to bring it with me!  Sorry, Dad :(

To make your own, you will need:
  • Batter:
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
    • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
    • 1/2 cup shortening (ours was bad, so I used the same amount of room temperature butter)
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/3 cup milk
    • 2 cups chopped rhubarb
  • Topping:
    • 2/3 cup flour
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 4 tablespoons margarine

Sift together the dry ingredients for the batter in a large bowl.

Add the shortening (or butter), eggs, and milk and mix well.  This gets hard to do because the batter is very stiff.  If you have a stand mixer, it might be wise to use it :)

Add the chopped rhubarb and mix slightly.

Spoon and spread the batter into a greased and floured 9x13 pan.

Make the topping by mixing the flour, sugar, and cinnamon.  Cut in the margarine.  Then, add the nuts.  Press the topping on top of the batter, patting it down with your hand.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Friday, June 14, 2013

Kitchen Renovation

At the beginning of the week, I told you that I'd be showing you home improvement projects, big and small.  Well, this is definitely one of the big ones!  We moved into this house a few years ago, and there are some wonderful features in it.  The kitchen, however, was not one of them.  Soak in these before pictures to see what I mean:
Formica counter tops... you can't see it here, but it's a lovely green pattern
This fluorescent light was great for adding brightness, but it was heating the pantry!  It had to go.
Do you see that?  That's Formica ON THE WALL behind the stove.  Uffdah.
And of course, who doesn't love an exposed fluorescent bulb light fixture?
Pale green patterned Formica; on the counter or on the walls, it's ugly.  And stained.  It's just bad.
The first step was to get granite counter tops installed.  We actually got a different shade than we ordered, but it turned out to be a happy accident, because we love how it turned out!  We also added in a tiled back splash and a new light fixture.  The improvements, plus a little reorganizing gave us so much more useable (and attractive) space in the kitchen.
Our shiny new granite!
A close up of our back splash- there's a mix of silver, smoky blues, and natural stone.  Love!
I am in LOVE with our new Delta faucet!
No more Formica on the walls!
I love this new light fixture, but let's be honest, anything would be better than the "before"
So, what do you think?  Are there any rooms in your home that you're dying to give a facelift?
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