Monday, August 22, 2011

Mudroom - Then and Now

A while back (May to be exact), I showed what we did to update the dining room and asked what room to show next. My sister requested the mudroom, but I showed the kids bathroom next. Then came the family room. I guess maybe now would be as good a time as any to show the mudroom.

When I started writing this post, I realized the mudroom wasn't included in the original before post.  No clue why.

Anywho, here is what it looked like when we had our inpsection.

The previous owner was using it more as a sunroom. As soon as we looked at the house, I saw mudroom. Finally! A place to drop all of our crap without it taking over the rest of house. I couldn't wait!

It had the faux beams that were in the kitchen and the family room. And, below the chair rail was paneling covered with wallpaper, then painted. 

And, here is what it looks like now:

The wall color is Glidden Smooth Stone that we had color matched in Behr's Paint + Primer. Our house is older and the floors aren't nice and flat anymore, so we used a click together tile on the floor. You don't have to put down mortar or backer-board or anything. It goes right over whatever you've got. We went with Avaire tile in Sonoma.  Both the paint and the floor are carried into the kitchen. Sparky and my bro-in-law got most of it cut and put down together, but he did all the grout himself. Which I guessed sucked. In a big way.  The grout is an acrylic grout and dries fast and is really thick and generally just a PITA. (That would be pain in the a@# for those not up on acronyms.)

We liked the look of the chair rail, so decided to put wainscoting backup (it also saved us from "fixing" the walls and painting them). The wainscoting is actually vinyl planks that are two-sided. We used it in the laundry room and they are great. Everything just wipes right off. Like when your 5-year old kicks off his muddy shoes and they hit the wall.

We didn't have anything on the windows for a long time because I couldn't find anything that would fit all three windows that were the same style. I finally found bamboo roman shades I liked at (I heart Sigh.)

We also wanted a shelf with hooks to hang our up jackets and backpacks, as well as have storage for hats, mittens and all of our other stuff above.

I got the baskets at Michael's for $6 a piece! Score! But, I'm not in love with the shoe situation. I just picked up that rug for $5 at Big Lots. I like the color, but I think we need another one, or a shoe rack on one side. We'll need something different, especially when winter hits and we have shoes and snow boots to deal with.

The church pew I got at an antique mall and probably paid too much for it, but I love it.  Who knew church pews were so hard to come by?

(Obviously, no styling was done before taking this picture. Jackets, bags, backpacks all in a hodge podge. This is pretty much what it looks like all the time. Not very pretty, but it functions.)

We also needed a spot to drop things on our way out to the deck. We had a smaller table there, but it just didn't look right. This is one we picked up at Gordman's. They have a line of furniture made from recycled materials. It fits perfect and I love the way it looks. The art above came from Gordman's. (We don't have HomeGoods stores here and it breaks my heart. Sniff.)

I'm also not a fan of the current garbage/recycling situation. I've been scrounging IKEA's website and keep my eyes peeled whenever I'm at Wally World or Target hoping I'll have an epiphany. So far, nada.

Here's a close up of the side table. So pretty and doesn't look like anything else in our house. I think that's why we like it so much. Sparky is the one that actually found it.

This room (along with all the rest in the house) is a work in progress, but it's already come a long way!

Here's one last before and after.

Family pictures/subway art above the church pew
New garbage/recycling cans/containers
Replace big metal flower with a fun bright colored clock
Possibly replace rug going out to the deck
Curtain on deck door to soften up the room?

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Banana Cupcakes with a Nutella Surprise

When it comes to baking I always follow the recipe. To. The. T. I may sub out applesauce for oil or replace regular white flour with whole wheat flour, but that's as far as it goes. So, tonight was a big night for me.  I created my own recipe! I took inspiration from a couple of recipes and made my own.

We had a bunch of bananas that I needed to use up. Typically, I make banana bread, but I didn't have all the ingredients for my usual banana bread. So, I searched Recipe Girl's site and found Nutella Swirled Banana Bread. Um, ok!  But, I had five good sized bananas and no yogurt. Hmmm. Now what?  Then I remembered the Caramel Banana Cake from The Kitchn that I'd made a while back.  It was great and moist and wonderful. And I had all the ingredients for the cake, but not the caramel sauce.

Lightbulb! What about nutella with that super moist wonderful banana cake? Brilliant!

The result, Nutella Filled Banana Cupcakes!


Nutella Filled Banana Cupcakes

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour (mine was actually a mix of whole wheat and regular)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups mashed bananas
1 tsp vanilla
¾ c nutella

Heat oven to 325 degrees F.

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy then add the eggs and vanilla and beat until silky and lightened. Sift the flour with the baking soda and salt. Whisk the milk and mashed bananas in a separate measuring cup and add to the eggs and butter, alternating with the flour. Beat just until smooth.

Fill cupcake liners 1/2 full, then drop ½ to 1 tsp nutella into the batter, add more cake batter until cupcake liners are full.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 40 cupcakes


I asked RC if they needed frosting and he said no, they were awesome as is. And he loved the chocolate in the center. He had two for his bedtime snack with a great big glass of milk.

But, they would also be great with a little chocolate ganache drizzled on top.

They are super moist and dense. And maybe could've used a bit more flour. But all in all, they were a hit at our house! How often do you change up recipes when baking? What would you do to change this one?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Thriftstore Lamp Makeover

It's no secret that I'm cheap. Cheapy McCheaperson, that's me.  And lamps are spendy. Too spendy if you ask me. And to be honest, I really don't like any that I've seen in stores.  I'm not going to shell out $40 (at a minimum) for something that I only kinda like.

But, I'd seen people all over blogland making over lamps and having them turn out fabulous. So, I thought I'd give it a try.

First, finding the perfect lamp. I knew the general shape I was looking for, tall and curvy. But I had no idea how much it would be.  I checked out The Arc Attic Treasures that's close to where I work. They had a pretty good selection of lamps. They ranged in price anywhere from $2-$10. Not too bad.

I found one that I really really loved the shape of for $3.99. But I didn't buy it. I wanted to check out a couple of other places first. Just to compare. To see if I could find one cheaper somewhere else. (Cause, 4 bucks isn't cheap enough ya know.) The Salvation Army was next. Bust there, they didn't have anything. Next stop, Dakota Boys Ranch, they had some, but nothing that looked like I wanted. 

By this time, I was starting to get a little nervous. It'd been about a week since I'd been to Attic Treasures. What if it was gone? Hmmm, maybe I should go there. Right. Now.  So, I did.  And lo and behold, my lamp was still there! Yay!

Pretty fantastic, right? For $3.99?

I already had some primer, but had to pick up a can of green spray paint. Which was an ordeal in itself. I looked at Home Depot first and their selection of spray paint was not great.  By far the best selection I've seen has been WalMart of all places. 

First step (after cleaning it off a bit), primer! 

When I saw the lamp primed, I almost decided to leave it white. It looked that great.  But, the whole purpose of this lamp was to add some color to our family room, so I kept with the original plan and painted it green.  First coat on, looking pretty good! Second coat on, and I ended up with this. 

It's kinda hard to see in this picture, but it's all crackly. All over. GRRR. Not the look I was going. I enjoy a good crackle finish, but not on my lamp. Sigh. Crap. <insert favorite cuss word here>.  How the heck did that happen?  My 16 year old nephew informed me that if you don't shake the paint for as long as you should it will do that. Huh. Good to know.  Now what?

Sanding is what. I don't have any pictures of the sanding process. Sanding kinda sucks. I was covered with green paint powder. All those lovely curves on the lamp are a pain in the rear to sand. But, sand I did and put on another coat of primer, just to be safe.

Two more coats of green paint later, and I had was finished.

I snagged the lamp shade off of the lamp that was originally there. And it looked great. I originally thought I wanted to put a drum shade on her, but really like how this one looks.

Not too shabby for a $3.99 lamp!

(You may have noticed a bit of a new look to my blog as well. I've been wanting something a little more me. After seeing this post on how to make your own header using Microsoft Word, I decided to give it a try. Let me know what you think!)

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Painted brick and other goodies

I love our family room. I love the space, the furniture, the light, the fireplace. (You can see what it looked like when we bought the house here.) But I don’t love the nook thing by the fireplace. I’m sure it originally held firewood. That it did serve a purpose. But the fireplace is now electric (done by the previous owners I think). No need for firewood. And the only purpose it served now was to mock me. I’d bought a big vase to try to brighten it up, but it didn’t really work.

I couldn’t take it anymore. The dark black hole next to the fireplace. Mocking me. So, this weekend while Sparky was off playing golf with my uncles, I decided to paint it. Yep, I finally painted brick. And it kinda sucked. Painting brick is not that fun. But, it looks soooooo much better. Like, I can’t even believe how much better.

We had left over masonry primer from the playroom project and lots of leftover paint from when we painted the family room. The color is Gobi Desert from Behr. It’s a nice tan that goes with pretty much anything. And the majority of our house is painted this color.

Even just the coat of primer made a huge difference!

But, painted was even better! Ahhhh, no more mocking. It's like it almost disappears into the wall.

And of course, once that side looked so good, I had to do something to the shelves on the other side of the fireplace to even it out.  Poor, pathetic shelves.

First, I cleared everything off except for the TV components. I straightened up the cords as best I could and tucked things behind to hide them a bit, but still need to do something about them wrapping around the front of the fireplace.

Then, I went shopping. Around the house. With a glass of wine in hand.  At 10:30 on Saturday night. An exciting life I lead, I know. Don’t be jealous.

Anywho…on the top shelf, I leaned a picture of a Celtic circle. (I can’t for the life of me find what it means. Love or life I think?) I made it from a stencil 8 years ago maybe? I’ve had it forever anyway and still love it. I also have my Grandma’s old Brownie camera. I love it. Then, I found some hardcover books and “covered” them with scrapbook paper so they were all the same color. The pitcher I had just picked up at TJMaxx Thursday for $5. I had bought to go upstairs in the dining room, but it fits here too. And brings a nice touch of color. I've had the basket forever. I have kind of a basket obsession. Once they come into my house, they never leave. 

For the second shelf, I wanted to draw attention away from the cable receiver, but I couldn’t completely cover it up. First, I hung a collage frame on the back wall. I made this for Sparky for Father’s Day a few years ago. (I taped a white sheet to the wall and setup the tripod and RC and I did silly stuff for the camera. Eventually, I’d like to change out the pictures of RC and me for pictures of RC and Baby Peach.) I got the camera from my MIL the last time we were at her house. My FIL taught high school photography and she has some of his old equipment. I have no idea how it works. I'm actually impressed that I figured out how to open it and get the lense out. But I love it! Again, more books wrapped in scrapbook paper. (Webster's Dictionary to be exact.)

The bottom shelf has a pitcher full of branches I cut off one of our bushes. The Shamrock picture is one I made for St. Patrick’s Day this year. I love it so much; I wanted to put it back out. The family plate was a gift from my SIL. The picture of RC and Baby Peach is one I’d taken to make a silhouette. I love it. The white piece is an old light fixture globe I spray painted white.

I’m not sure if the shelves are giving off quite the vibe I’m going for in the room, but it’s definitely better than what has going on in there before. And it was all free!

This room still has a bit work left to it, but it’s getting closer!

Tile fireplace hearth
Shorten curtains
Possibly embellish shortened curtains
“Family” wall above trunk
More pillows
Possibly make a pouf or two for the floor

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