What is New?

Turn a Bulletin Board Border into a Garland

Bulletin board boarder to garland
Today I am sharing a SUPER easy tutorial on how to turn bulletin board borders (you know, the kind teachers use in classrooms to trim bulletin boards) into swaggable garlands.
Wall border
I always find darling borders in the teacher supply section of the dollar store but could never come up with anything to do with them. But then I saw this one which was made up of little buntings and I knew I could use it to make a swag.
Bulletin board border

Welcome To My New Digs! Let Me Show You Around.

If you are getting this post via email, you are probably wondering what the heck I"m talking about.. but if you reading this either online or on your mobile device, this page should look quite a bit different.

After more than 5 years blogging with my old template, I made the leap and transitioned to a new format.   Hopefully things are little easier on the eyes!    I thought I would give you a quick side by side to show you how different things really are:
Ahhhh...

Look at all that white space!  And the posting area is almost TWICE as large!  No more crammed content in between all those ads.

Isn't that refreshing?

My old template didn't even have a mobile responsive layout (I've been using the default Google layout all this time.)  But look at it now:
It finally has my grouchy little sun!  It actually feels like my blog!

Now.. like any good DIY blogger, I want to give you a little 'home tour' of the new space, so you can find everything you need!

99.9% of my content is categorized in the drop down menu under my header.  I have been working on these galleries for a while, and have 'filed away' almost all of my past posts.  I do have a few more galleries I'd like to add (like one for Silhouette projects and one for birthday parties) but the vast majority of my content can be found in those menus.
If you haven't explored those tabs and you are a relatively new reader to blog, I would encourage you to look around. 

I have gathered up all my social media, email, inspiration sites, RSS readers, (blah blah blah) and put them in one spot.  I would love to have you join me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Google+Hometalk or Houzz.  (Phew! Since we are goofing around on that many sites, it is amazing we find time to do anything..)
I do love interacting with my readers in a much more casual way in those forums, so if you are interested in my obsession with reality TV or iced coffee, that is the place to be.

Advice to New Moms: It Isn't The Big Things You'll Remember

The days are long but the years are short


There has been a huge numbers of DIY bloggers having babies lately.  I would link up to a bunch of them, but I fear leaving someone out (and nobody wants their newborn left out.) Just trust me when I say.. there are a LOT OF NEW BABIES in blogland!

So for today's Flashback Friday post, I thought I would share a bit of advice as an ‘experienced’ mom who has gotten through the baby stages three times and lived to tell about it.

This isn’t going to be a preachy “spare the rod, spoil the child” open-letter kind of advice post, since I hate those.  Instead I want to share ONE thing I learned about motherhood after my first child was about two years old, and it has changed my perspective about EVERYTHING.

Ready?  Here it is:

Red, White and Blue Independence Day Mantel

Patriotic mantel
I’m pretty excited to share my Fourth of July Mantel with you today. I’ve clearly become obsessed with folded fan stars, and these ones came from the dollar store.  To attach them to the mirror I glued them to a piece of cardboard and attached that to the mirror frame:
Paper fans
The other dollar store finds are the garland (I’ll share a tutorial on that one next week) and the glittered “America” sign:
America sign

Faux Metallic Star Wreath (From Paper Plates!)

It is time to decorate the exterior of the house of the Fourth of July, and normally I would hang my giant beadboard flag on the front of the house:

But this year I was using it on one of my mantles, which meant I needed to come up with something else.

Whatever I came up with needed to be pretty large, since I wanted to be able see it from the road and fill up the space.

Pollo Asada Nachos (No Stove Required!)

Pollo AsadaWhen we moved to California from the east coast I discovered a new chain of grocery stores I had never heard of, Fresh and Easy.  I actually have shopped there weekly and so when they approached me to a do a post on their store I jumped at the chance.   This post is brought to you on their behalf, but the experiences are 100% mine.

Now that the summer is here we are grilling a lot more and I don’t want to spend a lot of time prepping everything.  Normally making carne asada would take forever, and that is why this meal was so great.  Simple, no dishes and fast!

Using ingredients all from Fresh and Easy I was able to prep and serve it in under 20 minutes.

Pollo Asada Nachos:
Fresh and Easy Pollo Asada Marinated Chicken Thighs
Tortilla Chips (I used Fiesta Mix)
Mexican Cheese Blen
Tomatoes (chopped)
Red pepper (chopped)
Lettuce (shredded)
Sour Cream

Pollo asada nachos

15 Fabulous Fourth Of July Mantels (Flashback Friday)

I am working on my Fourth of July mantle for 2014 and have been looking for inspiration all over the internet.  There are some beautiful ideas out there and so I’m sharing a few of my favorites for today’s post in case you are looking for inspiration too.

Lace Eyelet Inspired Ceiling Border

Eyelet inspired wall treatment
This post brought to you by FrogTape. All opinions are 100% mine.

I mentioned in a previous post that I wanted to update the girls room, and one of the things I wanted to do was a wall treatment inspired by some eyelet lace I had in my sewing stash:

I knew I could stencil something all along the top of the wall, but when I realized the scallops along the bottom of the lace were mimicked perfectly by FrogTape's Shape Tape™ in Scallop, I knew it would be so much easier:
Frog tape scallop
This is the room ‘before’:
Girls bedroom before

Toy Organization in Small Spaces (And on a Budget)


We have a LOT of toys between the three kids who range in age from 8.5 to 1.  I love the fact they have a vast variety of interests, from Barbies to bikes, trains to play doh, arts and crafts, puzzles and games, but that does mean there is a huge assortment of stuff to store.

I already talked about this subject a little in my Girls’ Bedroom Makeover post, and today I thought I'd share with you how we deal with toy organization in our house.

We are lucky to have a small closet under the stairs which is kid-sized (the ceiling is only 5 feet tall.)  You can see the door my dining room makeover post:

We have designated it “the toy closet” and we keep most of the kids’ toys there.  It allows easy access to the toys without having them out in the open all the time.

In order to fit everything in this tiny space, I had to come up with a system to organize and store the toys that keeps them out of the way, yet easy to find and use. Plus it has to be KID FRIENDLY.  There is no point to having a toy storage system if your kids can’t figure out how to put everything back.
Toy organization bins
What exactly is in the closet and how is everything stored?

Laundry Room Before and After (Flashback Friday)

Laundry room before after
Welcome to another Flashback Friday post.  Where everything old is new again!   Today I'm sharing one of the first rooms I re-did when we moved into this house, the laundry room.  It was my first attempt at painting the oak cabinetry and I wanted a room where it wouldn’t matter too much if I didn’t like them. Nobody will typically see them.

Luckily for me, hating them wasn’t a problem.  I loved how they came out.

The cabinets are painted Glass of Milk (by Martha Stewart) since that is the color of all the trim in my house.  It is VERY WHITE. When I painted the kitchen cabinets I ended up with a much darker color.

The wall color is Mermaid's Song by Valspar.  I chose it because it reminded me of the color of liquid fabric softener.  Random, but true.
Laundry room shelf

My "Big" Girls' Bedroom (Ideas and Inspiration)

Pink Girls Room Mood Board
Back in April I shared that I wanted to update the girls bedroom.  It was actually one of the things listed in my "Goals for 2014" (#4) and so it is time to get serious.

The room previously looked like this, and although I don’t want to make MAJOR changes, I do want to modify it to accommodate the girls now that they are older (and no longer using a crib):

So here are the basic ideas of what I plan to change (and not change) in the next few weeks:

Updating a Brass Medicine Cabinet (Flashback Friday)

How to Spray Paint Medicine Cabinet
When I updated the guest bathroom, one of things I didn’t want to replace was the built in medicine cabinet.  However, the problem was that the medicine cabinet was brass.  Yes.. I know brass is supposed to be ‘trendy’ right now, but I am not a golden shiny brass kind of girl.

Unlike the brass sliding shower doors, which I removed or the lighting fixtures and faucet, which I replaced, the medicine cabinet needed to be transformed. And it needed to be transformed without being removed.

The key to this transformation was this:

Salt and Vinegar Potato Chip Crusted Chicken

Salt and vinegar chip crusted chickenI LOVE Salt and Vinegar chips.  I mean, seriously LOVE them.  So when I saw this recipe for fish breaded with salt and vinegar chips  on Pinterest I knew i had to try it.

But… as much as I love Salt and Vinegar chips, that is also how much I dislike fish, so I had to change the recipe.  I decided to instead crust the universally accepted boneless skinless chicken breast tender.

To do this you really only need the most basic of ingredients:

DIY Etched Beer Stein and Peanuts Father's Day Gift

Personalized Beer and Peanuts Fathers Day Gift
My father and father-in-law have a pretty good sense of humor about the often difficult task of child-rearing, so for Father’s Day this year I decided to send them the ‘manly' gift of beer steins and peanuts. (Yes the whole “nuts” and “dad” thing is becoming a trend with me.. I know..)

If you wanted a slightly more serious version of this gift idea you could just give the a personalized mug or stein without the nuts, but I wanted to be a little over-the-top.
Fathers day personalized beer mug
I used my silhouette to make the stencils for the mugs, but if you don’t have one there are other ways of making stencils for etching.

The etching process is super easy, I was always intimidated before, but now that I have it under my belt, I will definitely be etching a lot more stuff!

First I started with these mugs.  The large one from the dollar store ($1) and the small one from Ikea ($1.29).
Glass steins
I cut the stencils out of vinyl (from the Silhouette etching kit) and applied them to the glasses:
Stencil for etched glass
Then I applied etching cream with a cotton swab (again I used Silhouette brand out the etching kit, but I have also heard good things about Armour Etch if you don’t need the whole kit):
Etching cream
Make sure the cream covers evenly.. any gaps or bubbles will give you an uneven finish.  (Every 10 seconds or so I would re-swirl the cream around with the swab to make sure everything was covered.)
Etching glass
You can scrape any excess cream back into the container and re-use it (I didn’t have a lot of extra as you can see but you can apply it more heavily if you feel more comfortable with it).  I then ran it under running water.

Don’t try to wipe it off since you will inevitably get some off the edges of your stencil and mark up the glass.  The water will immediately neutralize the acid.
Rinsing off etching cream
I left it on the mugs about a minute and a half, You can leave it longer, but I was happy with the look after 1:30.
Etching glass mug
Remove the stencil and that is all there is to it:
Removing etching stencil
On my dad’s stein I wrote his name on one side:
Personalized etched mug
and put the German eagle on the other (this is a beer STEIN after all..):
German eagle etched stein
On my father in law’s mug I wrote his first name on one side and “World’s Greatest Grandpa” on the other.
Worlds greatest grandpa beer mug
I loved how they came out, but I wanted to fill them with something:
Worlds greatest grandpa personlized stein
What goes perfectly with a frosty mug of beer? Why peanuts in the shell of course:
Peanuts in beer glass
To keep the peanuts in, I wrapped the whole thing in cellophane and added the tags:
Beer and peanuts fathers day
I made the tags out of card stock:
Fathers day gift tag
Here is the image if you would like to use it (I used the print and cut setting on my Silhouette to make them but you could just print them and cut them out and then punch the hole with a hold punch)
Happy Fathers Day Nuts and Beer
I love the final product.  Funny and personal and CHEAP (total cost is less than $5 for two!)  Personalized beer fathers gift
Bottoms up!

Love you dad!

Sharing at these parties.
 
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