Friday, January 30, 2009

Look...look...look what I got!

Yay! I know exactly where I'm putting it. I'm creating a new arrangement with a mirror I'm framing, my Paris map, and this cutie on top of the bookshelf in the living room. The color is fabulous.

Keep Calm And Carry on Poster - Sunny Yellow.
You can get your very own at sfgirlbybay

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Who you callin' Imelda!?

While visiting my most fabulous friend K at her new home a few weeks back, she gave me goosebumps. Well, first off, because of her wonderful new love nest with the new fiance. Then, she showed me the fanciest bling-age. Finally, she strode me past her closet full of shoes.

She, just like many of us, is a fan of the shoes. When you are a fan of the shoes, we can sometimes fall victim to the carelessness of shoe disorganization. Ugh. That is not love. Yet, my fab K, found a simple, and cost effective solution to that situation...the shoe rack. Not just any shoe rack. It was a shoe rack that stretched as far as...her closet could go. It was down below, two wooden rods attached to the WALL!! Genius.

So, because I inspire to be as cool as her, I decided to copy. Isn't that supposed to be flattery? Oui, oui.

For a mere $23-ish dollars, I put together my shoe display.

The before (Be brave and nice, this will be scary.):

Imagine this and that in a closet in an area about

4' squared.

It was super easy to put the end result together. Two long wooden rods and two pairs of the plastic end thingers. It's just like hanging a clothing/closet rod.

Measure where you want to place them (I used my shoe as a guide) and then screw them. I like to make a little whole with the drill first to help get the screw in faster and straighter. After that, place the measured and cut rods into their slots and shoe rack!

Now, the after (much betta'):

Check out the rack! Look at all those pretty girls lined up in the back.

I put it up high enough that I could put bins underneath. Filled with what you say? More shoes, of course!

Do you have any special set-ups for keeping organized?

Letter to a Dearly Departed

Dearest Cottage Living,

I don't know where to begin. You have been here with me through the many changing tides of my life. I remember our first encounter as if it was yesterday. You have always inspired me in ways no one else really has. You gave me the determination to rid myself of the remnants of my yesteryear and move forward into a more vintage, classic, modern or what I like to call "Vimoclass" style. How I looked forward to your fresh visage by the register at the local market or sitting silently, yet bursting at the seams while waiting for me at the bookstore.

It makes me teary-eyed that I won't have you to move me into the next stages of my life. We will never get to share in the expansion in many aspects of the turning world. How will I know what to do with the extra space in my future larger home or what colors to use in the baby's room?

Just know that although you have now left the world, you will continue not only in my heart, but in my kitchen. It was, that gave me the courage to paint the cabinets in what other people term as an "interesting" look.

You will be dearly missed.

Fabulessly Yours,
Yes, this is how I will be painting my kitchen (starting this weekend!). Check it out for more pictures.

My eyes are wide open and ready for what's next

While wandering about the Blogsphere, I can upon a little jewel of a quiz. You don't like quizzes, you say. Silly, nonsense. This will totally appeal to the wonderful designer within you. Believe it or not, it is in there. 

These were me

Which one are you?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Baby, you're on my mind

In the eventual future, the hubby and I will hopefully be bringing a little EskimoJohn into the world. Yet, for the time being, I can just turn my head and gaze thoughtfully into the clear sky and ponder the super sweet baby room I'll get to create. Yeah! 

So, even though I don't get to have a baby now, my wonderful dear friend S. does and that means I don't have to feel too bad about having babies on the brain. Not only is she having a sweet strawberry, it's a girly berry! How adorable. 

During one of my many blog reading tangents, I found this adorable image and just had to save it. Love the green, the initials, the green houndstooth, the bamboo shade, the rug...okay, I love it all!

I apologize to the room owner. I don't know where I found this image. 
I believe it was while browsing a link from

Wouldn't it be so sweet to snuggle up in that little twin bed with your baby bug right beside you? 

How I love my nerdy husband.

Before the hubby and I got married last year, I bought some super cutie buttons that I found though the etsy seller, Button Empire. I believe she had purposely made them with us in mind.  I wondered, "Is she watching my life through some magically fabulous ball right now?!" Crazy, you say? 
 The Dynamic Duo-1 Inch Buttons For Married Cool People
Your can find these by visiting:Button Empire

Yup, this is the hubby and I in a nutshell. 

If there were buttons made in the same fashion as these little sweeties, for example, "I'd rather be smooching my...," about you and your significant other; what would they pronounce?

Happy 4 month wedding anniversary amor. 

Monday, January 26, 2009

I've got grout for you baby!

I love a busy, yet relaxing weekend. My brain has been full of new ideas to work on lately and I LOVE it! Can you guess what one of the projects from this past weekend was???'re a genius!

Yes, it was a little grouting. A "little" since we have a fairly small area that is what we call the kitchen counter. Lately, I'd been feeling like our counters were looking a bit grungy and so I decided re-grouting was a job for me.

Grouting...could it really be that hard?! Anyone can do it. I guess I did take a little shortcut. Why don't I give you the details?

First off, this is our lovely counter top before:

Would you like a little crack with that?

Lovely, isn't it? I especially love all the little bits and pieces that made their way into the cracks. Nice. We adored it so much I just had to get rid of that funk.

After this en"counter." ha. The hubby accompanied me over to the hardware store to select our supplies.

Here's the list:

-grout flout. hehe. It rhymes.
- grout cleaning brush: This helped clean out all the funk in the crack.
-grout saw: This got rid of any excess grout we weren't happy about having.
- grout: I don't have a picture of this one, but I can tell you it came in a plastic container. We went the easy way and purchased a pre-mixed grout. It saved me the time and effort of trying to get it to the perfect consistency. I highly recommend this.

Now, there is an option when it comes to grout. Apparently, if your grout line is 1/4 inch or larger, you can use sanded grout. It doesn't work for smaller lines because the sand won't fit into it and that's a problem. Also, they have quite a variety of colors.

These are a few of the color options.

We have itty bitty lines of grout, so we went the non-sanded route.

Once I had the supplies in hand, I got to work. I made sure the grout was cleaned out as much as possible and then moistened it with a sponge. I took a big glob of the grout out on the counter with the flout and then "pushed" it into the lines with the flout at a 45 degree angle. The experts say you don't want to go straight up and down (although it does work in some cases). Then, I scraped off the extra grout using a straight side of the flout. To finish it off, lightly wipe over the counter with a grout sponge in a circular pattern to clean off the tiles.

Now, the after pictures.



How fabulous!

There you have it ladies and gents. How to grout in 1 hour or less.

Any grouting projects in your home? Do you know any tricks of the trade?

Next up in the kitchen...painting those yucky cabinets. I've got the paint, supplies, and inspiration. If I could only have more time.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Such a tease

I was inspired today and decided to start a new crafty project. I thought I'd give you a little glimpse into my top secret work.

Seriously, this picture does not do her any justice. She's a Pottery Barn girl.

What will this beauty become? Any guesses?

What's for dinner?

Just tried a new recipe tonight and the hubby and I loved it. We stole it from the pages of Cooking Light magazine last night while we were out grocery shopping. We were only going to pick up a few things, but ended up buying ingredients to make dinner for tonight and Saturday. Check out what we had this evening: Ranch Steak Bruschetta Salad.

We did edit the recipe just a tad. I wasn't convinced by the arugula at the market last night and instead decided on good old romaine. It did the job right.

Thanks Cooking Light, we loved it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hungry? Check. Dinner in 15 minutes? Check.

Around 4 o'clock every day the hubby is probably sitting at his lonely corner desk thinking about leaving work and figuring I'll be calling any minute. That's part of a little "game" I like to play. hehe. I call to check in and see how his day is going and ask him one burning question; he prefers I not ask of him, "Hey Honey, what would you like for dinner?"

Although I prefer being super organized and have, in the past, made menus on Sundays for our weekly meals, I've been lazy lately. I think it has something to do with my guilt for not going to the gym as much as I'd like to. I'm sure all the ladies can empathize with how hectic our lives can be. I have work, try to keep the house clean, take the dogs out if I can before it gets dark, make dinner, make lunches for the next day, relax, prepare for work the next day, and then squeeze in going to the gym. I find that if I make time right after work, the probability of me actually getting my booty to the gym is a lot higher. 

Since I'll be at the gym around the time the hubby gets home, dinner needs to be either ready and waiting for him or quick and easy for me post workout. This is where my 15-30 minute dinners come into play. I may overdo these sometimes, but hey, I'm a busy girl. Sorry boys. 

How about a weekly entry? Fabulous! We'll call it, "Dinners You Can Make with Your Eyes Closed."
Week 1: A Tandoori Delight

-Tandoori roasted chicken. I buy one from Whole Foods, but they are available at any supermarket. A regular roasted chicken will work as well. 
-How about a roasted eggplant for all the veggies? Or tandoori seasoned tofu?
-Roasted bell peppers. The red ones. I usually just buy the ones in the jar. If I had more time, I'd roast them under the broiler or on the gas stove top.
-Naan. Again, I buy this at Whole Foods. It's either available in the freezer or fresh in the bakery section. You can buy it plain or garlic flavored.
-Feta cheese. This is just what I prefer, but you can use any type you like.
-Olive oil 
-Minced garlic
-You have to take the chicken apart. I like to eat bits and pieces while I do this. is so juicy. Separate the meat from the bone.
-Cut the naan into sandwich bread pieces.
-Place about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small bowl and add 1 clove of minced garlic. Smash it with a fork or spoon to get the oil nice and garlicky.
-Spread the olive oil on the naan.
-Place the naan on a cookie sheet that is covered in foil (for easy clean-up) and broil it for about 5 minutes. That's how it works in my oven, but yours may be different. You just want to warm it up.
-Cut bell peppers into slivers.
-Last step, put it all together. One piece of naan, a few slivers of bell peppers, a nice heap of chicken, and sprinkle feta cheese on top. I also like to slip it under the broiler for a minute or two in order to soften the cheese. Finish it off with another piece of naan. Yumm. 

I've served this with couscous, seasoned potatoes, green beans, or salad. 

Sounds good, huh? Maybe I'll make this tonight and post some real live action pictures. 

What do you suggest I serve it with next time? Any ideas on how to improve this recipe?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Easy as hiking up Mt. Everest...a tutorial on painting cabinets.

With the wedding now behind me. My oh-so-sad self was left with a lot of time to devote to something else. I really need something to keep me busy and get my creative juices flowing.

When the hubby and I moved into our house about a year ago, we made a list of things we wanted to eventually get to. Things like: clean the gutters, get a garbage disposal, repair the dry rot on two windows...etc. One of those things was (yay) updating our bathrooms. Imagine this; a generic tract home bathroom with a white tile counter, a plastic (fiberglass??) shower/tub combo, large wall mirror, white walls, linoleum, and regular old oak cabinetry. Beautiful, huh? Yeah, not so much. Looking over our list, I decided it was time to undertake that challenge all by myself. Girl power!

In reality, our bathroom never really looked that bad, but I felt it needed a little pick-me-up to bring it into the new era of our lives.

So, enough with the talking and on to the photos. (I need to practice my photo taking skills)

How did I do all this magic? What tricks did I use? Here it goes.

Step Uno: Visit your local "informed" paint person. Perhaps I should have located the expert because my "informed" person was not so good. I drove to one of our various local hardware stores and sought out/sucked all the information I could out of the guy in the paint center. He seemed to know what he was talking about. Maybe...perhaps....only a little. I had decided that I would stain the one upstairs and then paint the wood cabinets downstairs. I wanted to do it fast and easy, too. I decided to go with a product that is stain and polyurethane combined in order to skip the sanding process and then plain old primer and paint for the other. Okay. "Informed" paint man also suggested a specific brush. Great. I'm ready to go. He wished me luck. Ha, luck, I don't need it!

Step Dos: Go at it. I removed the doors and hardware. Set up my workstation in my office and set to lightly sand and paint with the polyurethane mix. The results, not to good. It was streaky and it dried super fast. Not good.

Step Tres: Research and do over. I scoured the Internet to get some advice on how to work that junk and found some really helpful advice. Lots of people hated it and few loved the product.

This is what I really should have done. 1. lightly sand. 2. use really, really thin coats and use a foam brush or old t-shirt. 3. let one coat try and then use a 000 steel wool to go over it after every coat. 4. do the same thing all over again.

Results: The polyurethane stuff is junk. I did my best job ever on the cabinets and they are still not perfect (I know I'm not a professional, but I inspire to be one and I dress like one, too). I think the t-shirt thing might have worked, but the coats were really way too light to get it to the color I wanted-super dark. But, my dear hubby says they look great and I love him for it.

Paint and Primer:

Basically, it was a million times easier. I'm not totally done yet, I'm still waiting for them to dry. I'll post the after pictures later. But, the entire process was not nearly as stressful. Here is what I went through.

Step One: Take off parts and remove doors. Tape off area you don't want painted with blue tape. Lightly sand (even though it said I didn't have to). You probably definitely want to if your cabinets are heavy on the shiny stuff.

Step Two: Coat with primer. Who cares if you can see the wood underneath, the primer is meant to get the wood nice and sticky to pick up the paint. Just make sure you cover it all. I used a foamy brush and it worked fabulously. My primer said to wait an hour to dry and I wanted two.

Step Three: Prepare paint in dish and use a small roller. You don't want to use one with a long nap. Something short will work. I found one that said it was specifically for painting cabinets at Home Depot.

Step Four: Make sure to roll off excess paint from the roller. Too much paint and it will just slide instead of rolling. Rock n Roll until you get the coverage you want.

Step Four: Assemble it all back together and you're done! Good Job!

Result:Paint and Primer was a gazillion times easier and less stressful. I can handle my dear friend Paint.

What do you think? What advice would you give me now?

Where's, Nancy!

Ookay, okay, I know. What the heck?! How could I start this thing-er and then just leave it be. Well, I guess I was busy. There was the after-real-wedding-cocktail party in KS, Christmas, birthdays, announcements, New Years, an online class, and a new semester of work. Ugh...thinking about clearing my credential makes me nervous. Do they really expect me to do it six month in advance? poop. So, on top of that online class, I just realized today I have to take CPR. Yay.

I was recently rejuvenated of my desire to actually run with this blog by the hubby. He's so smart. Just what I always wanted. He reminded me that I had a lot of projects that I've been working on and no outlet, aside from his ears, to really share my work with. So, on back I slowly walked to the lonely computer to start (or continue) with a bang., here I go.