No more naked walls!

Despite my better judgement, I spent all day yesterday working on dressing up the dining/kitchen walls. This is far from the most pressing item on my very long list of To dos but I just couldn’t resist. And I’m happy about that because it just feels so much more comfy and lived in.

I didn’t buy any artwork for the room. As much as I love art we just can’t afford to spend hundreds-thousands of dollars on beautiful art. I realize you can pick up inexpensive decent stuff at home decor stores but why not DIY?

So I stole graciously borrowed cool photographs of food from the web and printed them in various sizes at a photo kiosk in my drug store. I used old frames I already had (all of them I obtained for free) and just updated them to match the rest of the room.

Over the summer my grandparents gave me some old windows from their house which they had lying around after some updates. I originally planned to use the large pane-less one as a wipe off board for our new weekly menu board (as seen on pinterest) but while cleaning out the garage not that long ago, Bo accidentally knocked it over and broke it 😦

What was left was a couple of smaller ones with panes that wouldn’t work for what I wanted so I decided to make a chalkboard for the menu board and use the window to display photos.

For the photo display, I cleaned up the window and gave it a light coat of white paint to freshen it up just a bit (I wanted to retain it’s rustic charm). I stapled lengths of yellow suede cord to the back and paper clipped pictures to it…sort of like a clothesline look. I’m thinking when they come down for Thanksgiving I’m going to get my grandparents to write somewhere on the window their address and the years that this window was a part of it. What an awesome treasure!

For the chalkboard, I used a piece of scrap plywood (which I rescued from a trash pile, obviously). I screwed it in each of the four corners directly to my wall with anchors. I then gave it two coats of chalkboard paint, which I made myself using black paint and non-sanded grout. Do a heaping tablespoon of grout to each half cup of paint. Only make what you need because you can’t store this stuff.

My board is a rectangle of 2′ X 1′ 9″ so I picked up an 8ft piece of moulding at the hardware store. I got the cheapest kind they had (which is not even real wood) for a little over $5. I cut the appropriate lengths with 45 degree angles for mitred corners and just hot glued (yes, hot glued) those bad daddies right onto the wood. I used a little bit of wood filler to clean up the seams in the corners and then lightly sanded it when dry then painted the trim a color somewhere between turquoise and sea foam (mixed it myself).

My favorite project from yesterday was the apron (and chef coat) hooks. This was yet another free project! A stained piece of scrap wood + wine corks = EASY, FREE AND CUTE apron hooks! yay for free!

This would be so cute painted a bright funky color but I decided to stain it. I’m a sucker for stained wood but I absolutely hate the sanding part so anytime I have an opportunity to do a small easy-to-sand project, I’m likely going to stain it. So once that part was done…

I drilled holes in the center of the corks just large enough to fit a nail head. Hammered the nails into the board leaving enough sticking out of the board to go slightly more than halfway into the cork. Busted out my trusty sidekick Gertrude (hot glue gun) and filled up the drilled holes in each cork and slipped them over the nails (holding in place until it’s cooled).

So simple…I LOVE IT!

The only expense for all of my wall decor was the moulding and the photos I printed which all together cost me just under $20. 😀

On today’s agenda, the table. I can’t wait to get this done so I can share it with you. If I have time I will also work on painting the stools and the chairs.

You know, I just looked at my dining room inspo pics that I shared with you guys not too long ago and realized that this has morphed into something that really doesn’t even resemble any of that. Odd.

Have a great rest of the day and let’s meet back here tomorrow for some table action! (I hope!)

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Coffee Bar = Best space in the house!

I finally finished it, ya’ll! I can’t stop admiring it and now I wonder how I’ve ever lived without it! If you’re a coffee lover I definitely recommend making a coffee bar in your own home. Even if you have limited space (as I do) it’s likely you can make it work. Mine occupies the smallest corner of the dining room which has otherwise been empty since most functional pieces of furniture would never fit. I had a large-ish palm there for a little while but I think this is such a better use of space!

This project made me feel a bit like Dr. Frankenstein and you’re about to see why. I was never able to find the perfect piece to make-over (one that fit in my budget, that is) so I had to mix and match to get what I wanted.

Here’s what I started out with. Two small (very small) silver cabinets about a foot wide each and 1 and half feet tall for $15. The little shelf I got on a garbage digging excursion (but it’s not part of this project) and the white cabinet was $5.

I took the little feet off the two silver cabinets and busted out the jigsaw. I had to eliminate the overhang of the trim around the top and bottom.

Now, here is where the Frankenstein comes in. Using some scrap plywood I retrieved from someone’s curbside donation pile (better?) I cut a piece in the size of the bottoms of the two cabinets side by side and then glued and screwed them to it. I then used a metal bracket on the back top edge to stabilize the two together and filled the gap with a healthy dose of wood filler.

 

I basically made a box out of plywood for the two to sit on and then used wood filler again to smooth out the areas where the cabinets attach to the plywood. I also reattached the feet to the bottom and I had to turn around one of the doors since they were originally facing in the same direction.

I sanded and painted it and voila!

The white cabinet I simply used as is and hung it on the wall above. Actually, all of the knobs were shiny silver so I spray painted them to look brushed.

Best little corner of the house!

After all that, a cappuccino was in order 🙂

Like I said, I recommend this for anyone that appreciates a good cup of joe. It would be a much simpler project if you have an old chest or dresser that you could revamp and maybe do some simple open shelving on the wall with hooks to hang your cups. The possibilities are endless!

I am way behind on my checklist for make-over completion and I have only a week to get it done! Here is what I have left (in no particular order)

  • Buffet
  • Window covering
  • Artwork
  • Table extension
  • Chair redos
  • Stool redos (plus I need to find one more)
  • Rug
  • Apron holder
  • New menu board (in progress)
  • Chandelier revamp

YIKES! This is list is frighteningly long! Anyone want to volunteer to help?

The chandy, rug, apron holder and window covering are lower priority but I haven’t given up yet. I still have hope that I can finish all of this so please join me in my fantasy world and try to keep up because I’ll be moving at warp speed this week. Thank goodness my coffee bar is done; I see lots of espresso shots and abnormally large pots of coffee in my immediate future!

Have a fantastic Sunday and GO COWBOYS!

DIY Lamp from Vase

I am in super scramble mode as Thanksgiving is sneaking up on me a bit quicker than I thought it would. My brother and his girlfriend will be here on the 19th so that is my deadline to have my dining room make-over completed. YIKES! With less than two weeks left I have a TON of work to do still but (fingers crossed) I think I can get it done.

While I wait for paint to dry on other projects I decided to tackle a project I’ve wanted to do for a while. It was surprisingly quick and easy! I had heard that you can drill holes into glass using a carbide bit and knew exactly what I was going to do. A few years ago my sister gave me two large sea foam colored glass vases (which she got from Ross more than 5 years ago for $9 each) and I’ve always thought they would make great lamps. In addition to that, I came across some FREE drum style lamp shades that I’ve been dying to make use of. With the help of a carbide drill bit and lamp kit from Lowe’s I am now the proud owner of a self-made $30 lamp…and I love it!

Please excuse the terrible iPhone pics!

I like that it’s a bit worn and it’s transparent enough that you can see the cord a bit but you could always paint it. Spray paint on the outside for a matte finish or use watered down paint on the inside for a glossy look.

I plan on converting the other vase just the same and these two handsome guys will make their new home in my dining room when the new buffet is done (should be ready this weekend!).

Here are the simple steps.

Vase

tape an x in the spot where you want the hole and slowly drill, spritzing with water often to keep everything from over heating. You will need to go MUCH slower than you would if you were just drilling a hole into wood. This is going to take time and patience!

see the hole??

now rinse it out and let it dry THOROUGHLY (the hard part)

follow the directions on the lamp kit and attach your lamp shade!

This vase had a ball shaped lid with cork so I just removed the ball and used the cork as a way to hold the bulb housing in place. You could always just buy a chunk of cork and cut it to size.

Love!

It’s very likely that my coffee bar will be ready for sharing tomorrow (that’s the goal anyway) so stay tuned!

The 2 Hour Multi-way Chunky Button Scarf

This is my favorite scarf. I get compliments every time I wear it and it’s soo quick and simple! It’s also very versatile since it can be worn several different ways. I’m sharing the pattern but these will also be available for purchase in my Etsy shop starting today.

To make one you’ll need:

5 3.5 oz balls of medium (4) weight yarn. I used Stitch Nation’s full o’ sheep wool yarn in the colors “little lamb”, “poppy”, “thyme”, “mediterranean” and “passion fruit”

A giant crochet hook (not sure what size!) and a F/5 or 3.75MM hook

A small amount of poly-fil or cotton stuffing

Tapestry needle

You’ll be working with all 5 colors at the same time so arrange your balls of yarn so that you can easily pull from each one with an even amount all at once.

Gather the ends of the 5 yarns and make your slipknot leaving about a 9 inch tail.

Ch 10 using your giant hook.

Row 1: Sc in second ch from hook and continue with a sc in each chain until the end. Ch 1 and turn.

Row 2-7: sc in each sc then ch 1 and turn

Row 8: ch 4 sc into second sc from hook. ch 5 skip one and then sc into next. ch 5 and then sc into next. ch 5 and then sc into last on that row. ch 5 and turn.

Rows 9 & 10: sc into the first loop then ch 5 and repeat across until the end of the row. ch 5 and turn.

Rows 11 & 12: sc into the first loop then ch 6 and repeat across until the end of the row. ch 6 and turn.

Rows 13 – 15: sc into first loop then ch 7 and repeat across until the end of the row. ch 7 and turn.

Row 16: sc into first loop then ch 8 and repeat across until the end of the row. ch 7 and turn.

Rows 17 – 19: Repeat row 13

Rows 20 & 21: Repeat row 11

Rows 22 & 23: Repeat row 9 (but ch 3 at the end instead of 5)

Row 24 & 25: sc into first loop then ch 3 and repeat across until the end of the row.

Cut your yarn about 10 in from the hook and then tie off leaving a tassel. Keeping all 5 strands together, cut 7 lengths of 20 inch each. Use these to make the rest of the fringe along each end by folding each of the lengths in half and tieing them into every other ch on each end.

For the button:

1. using the small hook and any of the 5 colors of yarn make a slipknot onto the hook leaving about an 18 inch tail.

2. Ch 3 and join with a slip stitch to make a ring, then make 8 single crochet stitches into the ring; join with a sl st to the first sc.

3. Ch 1 and sc into the same st that you just slipped into. Make 2 sc into each of the remaining 7 st and connect with a slip st to the first stitch then ch 1.

4. For the next round, sc into the same st that you just slipped into and make 2 sc into each of the remaining stitches then connect with a sl st and ch 1.

5. Now, sc into each stitch then connect with a sl st and ch 1. Repeat this row once more.

6. On this row you will decrease your stitches. insert your hook into the next stitch, yarn over, and pull up a loop (2 loops on hook now), then insert your hook into the following stitch, yarn over, and pull up a loop ( 3 loops on hook), yarn over and pull the strand through all three loops on your hook. Repeat this process to the end of your row, decreasing (turning 2 stitches into 1) each time.

7. Cut an 18 inch tail and pull it through your last loop. Stuff the original 18 inch piece into the ball as much as you can. If it’s not round or full enough use the poly-fil to bulk it up a bit. Then thread a needle with the remaining tail and sew the bottom of the ball button closed. Use the same color yarn to sew your button onto the first end of the scarf (where you made the rows of sc).

 

 

 

Crazy Garbage Digger = Awesome Free Furniture!

In a rare find last week I scored some open shelving from someones trash pile at the curb. The high school boys waiting for their bus probably thought I was homeless…ha! It was rare because it was in great condition (relatively speaking…I mean, it was in the trash pile). By that, I mean all it really needed was a coat of paint. SCORE!

It was a hideous shade of green with a questionable substance on some of the shelves and a newspaper super stuck to it. I had to do some scraping and a bit of sanding then I just painted it with the same black satin finish paint that I used on the bar. So here is the before and after. Pretty simple but boy did we need this storage! All of these little kitchen appliances have been stashed in various inconvenient places for the past two years since our kitchen is less than large. Yay for storage!

Hubby is making the most delicious smelling bolognese right now while we have a little happy hour cocktail with pops-in-law so….gotta go!

Happy Friday 🙂

 

DIY Bar

I am so excited about this! This is the first project I have completed for my dining room make-over and it turned out pretty much exactly how I envisioned it in my head. Although, getting to this point cost a bit more than I originally hoped…the grand total is $70. I’ll break it down for you as we go.

My new bar used to be someone else’s ugly old microwave cabinet.

yuck

I got this baby for $25 from a lovely couple I found on Craigslist. It had been in a storage unit for quite some time. It had a broken door and was pretty much covered in spider webs. My husband certainly doubted me when he saw it since I hyped it up quite a bit (so maybe it was less than perfect).

First, I took the doors, hinges and knobs off and found suitable replacements for the knobs and hinges. I also knew I wanted faux glass front doors so I got an acrylic sheet, plastic cutter and silicone sealant. All of these supplies were $30. I already had sandpaper and paint on hand.

The second order of business was to get rid of the curvy lines on the top and bottom edges of the cabinet. We are simple folks and we like simple modern furniture. I used my jigsaw for this (my most recent v-day gift!).

I then cut the middles out of the doors. This part was a bit tricky. I used a very sharp utility knife to heavily score around all four edges on both sides of the door, eventually enough to pop it out.

I sanded and painted everything with a black satin finish (same paint I used here)

Then (not) patiently waited for it to dry… hardest part. While I waited I cut the plastic for the doors to size, just a bit larger all the way around than the openings. Once the paint was dry I used the silicone to hold it in place. The only thing I would have done differently here is if I had a router would have routed out along the edge of the opening so the plastic would be flush with the inside of the door…I literally tossed and turned all night last night trying to think of a way to cover the ugly edge of the plastic (obsessed much?) so if you have a router, do it right.

I wanted the middle of my plastic to be “etched” to match my next project (which will be the buffet and I’ll share soon!) and there are a few ways to accomplish this with plastic. I used steel wool. I taped off what I wanted etched and then just buffed the plastic with steel wool in a circular motion until I got the effect I wanted. I have read you can also do this with sandpaper or acetone based nail polish remover.

Once the doors were on, I attached the mirrors. I got six of these little 6″ beveled edge square mirrors from Hobby Lobby for $3 each. Way more than I wanted to spend on mirrors but I felt it was an important part of the make-over. I attached them with silicone (and obviously didn’t clean them after…)

The last step was the bar mat for the top surface. There was no way I was dropping $30 on a real bar mat to fit this spot so I improvised. I got a roll of black rubber shelf liner at the dollar store for $2 and cut it to size. It’s not exactly what I wanted but it will have to do the job until I find free or cheap bar mat to replace it.

That’s it! I can’t stop staring at this thing. I’m pretty surprised and amazed that it actually turned out the way I envisioned it. 🙂 Tomorrow, I’ll show you the simple shelf I’m using for storage.

Have a great Thursday!

3 Quick Projects

I’ve been working on home projects a lot lately so I can (hopefully!) have my makeover stuff done by Thanksgiving. The dining room makeover quickly turned into a kitchen/dining/entry/living room makeover…I can’t seem to stop myself!

As Chris Walken said on SNL “I got a fevah! And the the only prescription…is more makeovers!” (ok, maybe that’s not exactly how it went)

So, remember how I’m attempting to do all of this for almost nothing? In keeping with that these projects today are pretty inexpensive, especially when you compare them to their store-bought counterparts. I did all of these at the same time since they all got the same paint.

Project 1 is a magnetic knife strip. We used to have one I bought from BBB for about $20 but it lasted maybe a few weeks before the damn thing started flying off the wall every time we grabbed a knife (so annoying). I decided to make my own since it couldn’t possibly turn out worse than the one I bought. I used a 1 x 4 x 18 scrap piece of wood (free from someone’s curb on trash day), little round heavy duty magnets (had these left from another project but they cost just a few dollars at craft stores), black paint (leftover from other project) gorilla glue and a couple of screws (both courtesy of my garage).

Drill a pilot hole on each end where you will screw it into the wall. Sand. Paint. Glue magnets. Attach to wall (use anchors if no stud).

for Project 2 I slightly modified an existing cube wall shelf I bought from Target several years ago by adding little hooks for keys. I already had the hooks in my tool box so this was another free-to-me project. I used a hammer and nail to make little pilot holes since my drill wouldn’t fit in the tight space. Then I just screwed the hooks in making sure the open ends of the hooks were all facing out. Easiest project ever and now we have a place right by the front door to put our keys 🙂

Project 3 is 2 parts. I scored a free mirror from (you guessed it) a curbside trash pile and all it needed was a coat of paint. I often wonder if people see me rummaging through their garbage (usually in my pajamas) and think I’m some sort of rogue hoarder searching for the next addition to my mountain of junk. Either way, I have found some great stuff this way including many items for my in-progress makeovers. Anyway, I wanted to have a place for hats, purses, scarves etc. but the frame of the mirror wasn’t wide enough to add hooks so I used a piece of scrap wood and hung them right up against each other.

I bought the hooks at home depot, a package of 3 was $7. Predrill holes for the hooks and the spots where you will attach it to the wall. Sand and paint your board. Attach hooks then attach to wall. Make sure you get a stud or use anchors.

This morning I found a deep bookshelf in someone’s trash that will make the perfect coffee bar. I’m so excited! I plan on fixing her up while little little takes a nap today. Speaking of…this is what she’s doing while I type.

Birthday Weekend

Sunday was my birfday. I am now a whopping 28 years old! For some reason this particular age has made me feel like a full fledged adult. Let’s face it, 30 is right around the corner. Strange.

Bo was in Florida on a business trip for a couple of days and didn’t get back in town until Friday night so the kids and I had dinner with family and he met us after for drinks. Fun times!

Jonathan had a game Saturday morning and the boys wore their pink socks in support Breast Cancer Awareness Month…they lost the game but it was nice to finally have some fall-like weather which seems much more football appropriate.

 

My handsome hubby took me out for an amazing french dinner Saturday evening (thanks to Hollie for keeping the kiddos AND for the new espresso machine!) and that was only after he and my son gave me this new sewing machine. I love it!

By the way, if any of you are in the Dallas area and are in search of a great french place, Toulouse provided one of the best meals I’ve had in a while. I even ate blood sausage for the first time ever (even though I’ve said in the past I never would) and it was actually good!

We also had the most incredible chocolate souffle for dessert. Magnifique!

Sunday morning we drove up to Gainesville to have lunch with my grandparents, mom, sister and nieces and nephew. Then we made a quick trip out to the farm for some milk before heading back home. Had a margarita and nachos for dinner then snuggled on the couch with my favorite big guy for some downtime. Overall it was a great birthday weekend. Now back to reality…My brother and his girlfriend are staying with us Thanksgiving week and my plan is to have the dining room make-over done by the time they fly in which is the 19th. I may not have a lot of time for posting between now and then but I will definitely share all of my projects when I’m able!

Enjoy the rest of your day 🙂

Winter Squash Soup – a taste of fall

Warning! This post contains an unnecessary amount of pictures!

This is a bit late. Rather than sharing this lovely fall soup with you guys last Friday as planned, I went to the dentist and the DMV instead…double torture. The only thing that made up for it was that the hubs and I had a little date night which consisted of cooking together and then enjoying a lovely simple (and incredibly delicious) meal together (no kids!). It was fabulous.

Grilled Herb-basted Ribeye, grilled fingerling potatoes, caesar salad and garlic bread.

Molten chocolate cake with strawberries

Saturday we had our son’s football game and Sunday we went to the zoo. This was a first for our youngest so it was a lot of fun.

The remainder of our day consisted of football (go Cowboys!) and naps. Great weekend overall.

Ok, on with it.

Winter Squash Soup

 

Ingredients:

2 Acorn Squash

1 Butternut Squash

Ground Cumin

Ground Cinnamon

1 cup Shitake Mushrooms

6-8 Cloves of Garlic

Fresh Herbs – Oregano, rosemary, thyme

3-4  Cups Chicken Stock

1-2 Cups Sweet White Wine or Champagne

1 Cup milk, cream or half and half

1 cup grated parmesan

Salt and pepper to taste

Toasted Squash seeds for garnish

Parmesan for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Split all of the squash in half.

Scoop the seeds out into a mesh strainer and set aside.

Place squash flesh side up on a sheet pan and drizzle with Olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, cumin and cinnamon and place in preheated oven.

Meanwhile, smash garlic and remove skin. Chop fresh herbs and slice mushrooms. Then saute with olive oil in a large crock pot or dutch oven.

Once tender, add wine and chicken stock and simmer with lid on.

I used a sparkling Moscato and homemade chicken stock that I froze into cubes a couple of weeks ago.

While that simmers, wash your seeds off and remove any remaining flesh then allow to dry on a clean towel.

Once dry, toss the seeds with olive oil and salt then arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and set aside.

Remove squash when brownish and fork tender. Then put your seeds in the oven and roast until brown and crispy.

Scoop out the flesh into a blender and add the simmering liquid. I had to do this in batches as it wouldn’t all fit at the same time. Then, as odd as this sounds, I grated a bit of parm and cracked black pepper on the warm empty acorn squash skins and ate them for lunch. Many of the nutrients are found in the skin and when roasted this way they are tender and with that little bit of flesh left on that you can’t quite scrape off this makes a pretty delicious (and healthy!) lunch.

Once everything is pureed throw it all back into the pot and add the milk and parmesan. You can add more milk or more chicken stock here to achieve a soupy consistency or you can leave it a bit thicker like a loose puree. Bring to a simmer and taste to see if it needs salt.

Garnish your bowl with shaved parmesan and toasted seeds. Don’t forget the bread…

My Etsy Shop – Grand Opening!

I’ve been absent from the blog for a couple of days because I’ve been working on opening up an Etsy shop!

Here is the link: http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheseTwoHandsGvine

I realize some of the items listed have been blogged about here with tutorials but I figure there are plenty of people out there that don’t dabble in various crafts but may still enjoy my stuffs.

Poke around. Share with those you think might be interested. And please do leave comments and/or suggestions so I know what you think!

I’ll be back to posting tomorrow with a delicious recipe for winter squash soup!

Until then, have a great Thursday 🙂