Thursday, March 31, 2011

Making Progress

So last week Craig took some days off to get a few things done around the house.  We have lived here almost three years and were still living with flat builder beige walls in several rooms, and it had not held up well.  Painting was my first priority.

We began with Pinkerbelle’s room.  Her room was this same lavender color and design in our last three houses, so this time we went with something different.



I decided to go with green this time.  It went with her duvet and would still work with the touches of pink and lavender that she has in her room.  My design inspiration was this room from an older PBKids catalog.



Craig painted the walls; Lowes American Tradition Panacea on top and Paris Mint on the bottom (color matched at Home Depot with their paint/primer in one).  I have a shoebox full of paint chips collected over the last 5 or 6 years which I pulled the card from, so I’m not even sure if they still have that card at Lowes.  When he was done, I did the dots with rubber stamps.




He also got the kids’ bathroom painted.  It has always been my practice to get eggshell or satin paint, but based on the beating the satin-painted kitchen and family room walls have taken, I decided to go with semi-gloss for the bathroom.  The color is Benjamin Moore Yarmouth Blue, again color-matched.



It looked fine with the existing shower curtain, but then I remembered that I still had one of the famous Target shower curtains from when I found them brand-new at Goodwill a couple years ago.




Still two bedrooms, the upstairs landing, and the master bath left to paint, but progress is being made.  Someday (soon, hopefully) I’ll get to the rest of the decorative accents in these two rooms.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tuesday’s Tips and Tricks: Brow Gel

I am not blessed with shapely eyebrows.  Left to their own devices, they are somewhat thick and straight across.  Not unlike Brooke Shield’s famous brows, but I’m not getting any super model contracts. For years I didn’t even tweeze them; I found it too painful.  But I’m over that, and I do my best to keep them groomed now, although I’m still not brave enough to have them waxed or threaded. 

I can’t believe I’m showing you this, but here’s a side-by-side comparison, ten years ago on the left (scary!), and more recently on the right.  The one on the right isn’t perfect by any means, but certainly it’s an improvement.

Craig, Lauire, Holly and Samuel4IMG_4350


However, even thinned out, they are archless.  Brushing them up gives them a more pleasing shape, but it doesn’t stay put.

Now I use Maybelline’s Clear Mascara to hold them in place.


Love this stuff!  It does a good job of keeping my brows tamed, shaped, and in place.  Plus it’s under $5, well within the budget.

Got any favorite products, gadgets, or other tips?  Link them up here!  The post can be old or new (just please add my link if it’s an old one).

  • share a tip that makes your life easier
  • you must link back to me in your post
  • link to your specific party post, and not your general home page
  • please be polite and visit several other participants and leave a nice comment
  • I reserve the right to delete entries that don’t link back to me or do not fit the party theme

Monday, Monday

Ahh, Monday morning.  Back to the old grind. 

We’ve been on a bit of a stay-cation since last Wednesday.  Craig took some well-deserved days off work (Wed, Thu and Fri), with the goal of getting some of the honey-do list done.  Of course, my idea of what might get done in that amount of time was rather more ambitious than what actually got done, but I’m very pleased with the two rooms that got painted (I’ll show some of that at a later date). 

We did take some time to have a little fun, as well, like a coffee date at our favorite café.  He’s on his Blackberry in this picture, but we did manage to get in some conversation!IMG_7798


The weather has been a bit of puzzle lately.  Wednesday it was 80 degrees.  Friday we woke up to this:



Friday’s snow was all melted by evening, but it snowed again all day Saturday and Sunday we woke to another 3”.  Honestly, will this winter never end?

Tomorrow is Tuesday’s Tips and Tricks, a linky party for you to share your ideas (recipes, how-to, DIY, whatever).  I’m not too picky about your post topic (although please don’t try to sell anything); almost anything goes, so why not add your link?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Party Shout Outs

Thanks to everyone who showed off their creations at yesterday’s party!  The linky is open until Sunday at midnight, but today I’m going to highlight a few of the entries.


Jaime from that’s my letter did a great job recreating PB’s Eagan mirror. 



Carol from The Answer is Chocolate showed an impressive remake of some artwork from Ballard Designs.




Libby at Life With the Mondellos took inspiration from PB to make a photo-hanging board.




Amy and Emily at Sisters of the Wild West wanted our vote on a little sisterly competition.  They each made a replica of the PB butterfly pillow.


Butterfly pillows


There are more inspiring entries on yesterday’s post.  My intent is not to leave anybody out today, but to encourage you to go over there and visit other links.

If you were featured in today’s, January’s, or February’s shout-out posts, you can grab my “featured” button if you like.  It’s been sitting there all along, but it just now occurred to me to use it for this!  The code is on my right side bar.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Knock-Off Party!


My project this month was inspired by Restoration Hardware’s Key Art.  I guess this has been around for a while, but somehow I just recently noticed it in catalog.  They are sold out now, but the price was $199 each!  These were genuine vintage skeleton keys mounted on white linen in an 18.5” square frame.


Screen Captures1


I was looking for a quick project, and since I didn’t have any skeleton keys, nor did I want to run all over town searching for some, I decided to go a different route.    I found some uncopyrighted photos of skeleton keys and printed them out (okay, I was certain they weren’t copyrighted, but now I’m second-guessing myself.  These aren’t going anywhere except my walls, but I don’t want to break any laws.  So I’m in a bit of a conundrum here—don’t turn me in!) 

Looking through my stash of frames, I found this set of 3 square black frames that I got at Target’s Dollar Spot a few years ago and never used.  They are about 6” square, and I was just going to frame the keys and be done with it. 



Then while I was out today I decided to stop by Dollar Tree on the outside chance that they would have some larger square frames, and wouldn’t you know it, they did!  They had a single pane of glass with the collage and the stand glued on either side of the glass.  They came off very easily and I scraped off the remaining adhesive residue with a razor.



Using a screwdriver, I removed all the hardware from the back of the smaller frames.



Lacking any white linen, I instead used burlap and hot-glued it into the inset on the back of the larger frames.  I also reused the hanging ribbons from the smaller frames by gluing them on, although I should have shortened the ribbon and attached them higher.




Next, I hot-glued the smaller frame to the front of the glass. 

Not quite as elegant as the originals, but then again, these cost me under $2 each, so I figure I “saved” around $594!






Your turn!

Linky rules (for full details see this post):

  • your knock-off entry must be made by you
  • it must inspired by Pottery Barn, Ballard Designs, or Restoration Hardware
  • you must include a picture of the original item from the catalog so we can compare
  • it must be a specific comparable item, like my lamp shade, and not just a “this kind of has the PB look to it”
  • you must link back to me in your post, preferably using my button code, which you can get in my right side column
  • link to your specific party post, and not your general home page
  • please be polite and visit several other participants and leave a nice comment

I’m going to leave this open until Sunday night, but will do a highlight post on Friday.

Also joining:



Spotlight on My Sponsors

Knock-Off Party Tomorrow!


I’ve got some pretty cool sponsors…take a look and see what they offer!

LoveLetters by Dina sells folk-art inspired magnet letters in several color ranges, all hand-painted by Dina.  Right now she is offering 50% off with the code THANKYOU.




Simply Bags has personalized bags of every type and color.  Very fun!



Amanda at Serenity Now is an awesome blogger with a fun blog!  She hosts a Weekend Bloggy Reading linky party every Friday, and has recently begun hosting an I {Heart} My Crafty Cutter party.  Serenity Now is one of my daily must-visit blogs.




Michelle has created a system to Make 5 Dinners in One Hour.  Subscribe to receive a month’s worth of menus, recipes, shopping lists, and directions at a very reasonable rate.  Imagine always knowing the answer to the question “what’s for dinner?”.


Gina at Moneywise Moms will tell you how to spend your hard-earned money wisely.  This month she is doing 31 Days of Grocery Savings in vlog format.  Plus she posts lots of deals around the internet and frequent giveaways.



Thank you to my sponsors, and my readers, for supporting my blog!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tuesday’s Tips and Tricks: A Handy Little Tool

(I’ll try to get the button changed to reflect the new party day soon.)



You most likely have several of these in your house:  nail clippers!




Besides the obvious use, I have found it handy to keep a pair in my laundry area for snipping tags or loose threads off clothing.  The scissors I used to keep there kept “disappearing”, but nobody wants nail clippers, so they stay put!

I also keep a pair in my purse.  Picked up a new sweater or pair of shoes that you want to wear right away?  Snip the tags with the clippers.  Bought a bottle of pain reliever for your splitting headache but can’t get the shrink wrap off?  Clip the edge of the wrap to get it started.

One of the best reasons to keep a pair in your purse is for doing the kids’ nails.  When they were little and in car seats, I found it easier to trim their nails when they were strapped in and couldn’t squirm away (I would do it when we were waiting in the car for one reason or another, not when we were driving).  Now that they are older and are in the anti-personal hygiene stage, it’s easy to hand the clippers to them (again, while stopped) and say “do it now!” and they can’t say “later!”.  Just catch the clippings in a tissue or something.

Got a great tip to share?  Add your link!

  • share a tip that makes your life easier
  • you must link back to me in your post
  • link to your specific party post, and not your general home page
  • please be polite and visit several other participants and leave a nice comment
  • I will delete entries that don’t link back to me or do not fit the party theme


Last Monday I woke up to 3” of snow on the ground, and it continued to fall all day.  I despaired of ever seeing spring!  By Thursday it was nearly 80 degrees, and although Friday was cool and rainy, that one warm day was enough to put the forsythia and daffodils in bloom.  I am cautiously optimistic that we have at last turned the corner, just in time for the first official day of spring!  Hurray!

In light of that happy news, this weekend I finally started putting out a bit of spring décor.


A few forsythia branches add a touch of sunshine to the family room.



We planted some forsythia bushes in our yard last year, but they are still too small to cut off any branches.  I found these faux-sythia at the thrift store several months ago, and I think they are particularly good-looking for being fake.




My little nest of eggs has one real robin’s egg shell that I found last spring.



A couple of weeks ago I showed you some pretty spring wreaths, one of which was this dogwood wreath.



Using it as my inspiration, I gave my grapevine wreath yet another makeover with a $10 bunch of dogwood from Michaels (it was 50% off so I only paid $5).  This time I used floral wire instead of hot glue so it will be super easy to change it again next time I want to.




Happy Spring, everyone!

Friday, March 18, 2011

My Food Processor is Making My Life Easier!

So, last week I mentioned that I ordered a food processor with a $35 credit I had from CSN Stores.  I’ve tested it out a few times, and so far, I like it.  I’ve never had a food processor before, and until now had been doing all my chopping with the Pampered Chef chopper (until it recently got too dull after 8 or 9 years).  I liked how the PC chopper worked, it just took so long because you could only do a small amount at a time.

Based on reviews and my budget of not-much-more-than-$35, I got the Hamilton Beach 10-Cup Food Processor.  CSN’s price, including shipping, was just over $50, but you can find it at Amazon for $39.88 with free shipping.

The first thing I made in it was salad dressing, and it worked fine.  I didn’t expect it to have any trouble with that.  Wednesday was a bigger test…I made my hot ham sandwiches for supper.   That’s a lot of ham chopping, and it took for-eh-va with the PC chopper.  The HB processor did enough ham for 8 sandwiches lickety-split.  (This photo doesn’t look too appetizing, does it?)



In my opinion, though, the real and true test of this machine was going to be onions.  I’ve had mini electric choppers that were only able to basically puree them to mush.  The PC chopper could do an onion as coarse or as fine as you wanted, but again, only a small amount at a time.

I put half of a large onion in the bowl, in chunks as the manual said.  A couple of pulses gave an acceptably uniform coarse chop.  A few more pulses produced a fine mince, without liquefying it.  So thumbs up for the onion chopping capabilities!   I tested out the slicing disk on a cucumber, and it had no problem with that either.  I haven’t been able to try out the shredding disk yet.




I think I’m going to enjoy having this machine.  I doubt I will get it out to do just a small amount of onion or whatever, but for a recipe that needs several things chopped, or for a large amount of something, it will be awesome.   As I said, I don’t have any other food processor experience to compare this to, but I think if you’re just looking for a basic model and don’t want to spend a lot, this is a good choice.

BTW, the hot ham sandwiches are delish, and so handy!  It’s a great use for leftover ham, and they can be frozen and heated individually later.  If you use small dinner rolls instead of hamburger buns, they’re nice for a brunch.  Try ’em, you’ll like ’em!