s June 2012 - The Kim Six Fix
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June In Review: Bathrooms, Beadboard and Red White and Blue

Another month has flown by? Really?  I say that every month don't I?  
Anyhow, it is once again time to look back on everything I got accomplished this month.  

June was mainly about three things:
My powder room
The end of the school year
Getting ready for the summer.

The Powder Room
I did the ceiling:

I made some basket shelves:

The big reveal:

End of the school year 

And I finally finished the handprint teacher appreciation quilt:

Getting Ready for Summer

Fired up the grill with some Herb Crusted Porkchops:

A few other things I blogged about this month:
My experience living on $20 a week:

Once again, a really busy month.  I hope you enjoyed all the projects, and keep coming back since there are a lot more projects on the horizon!

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Living on $20/week: What I learned

Could you survive on $20 per week for one month?
$20 for EVERYTHING?  Gas, food, clothes, entertainment, emergencies?  (The only thing excluded would be the cost of housing, utilities and the cost of commuting to work.)

Back in January I did.

I previously blogged about the nitty gritty of the challenge, and you can read about my adventures here:

The Rules of the Challenge

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4 

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Not only did I survive during the month of January, I also kept up my DIY blogging adventures on a budget of pennies:

Low/No Cost Projects During the Month:
New Life to a Crystal Chandelier
Ikea Expedit Makeover
Hallway Update
Paint Chip Valentine's Day Garland 
Veggie Stamped Gift Wrap
A Valentine's Day Mantle Vignette  
Milk Glass/Jadite on a Budget 

I never got around to posting a follow up to this challenge.  How I felt about it once I had the chance to go back to my regular spending.

What I learned from the challenge:
  • Costco is the best place to buy milk. Hands down.
  • When you only have enough money to buy food for a week at a time, buying grains/cereals m bulk bins and shopping the sales are a MUST.
  • Once you tell yourself you cannot have something (eating out, manicures, trips to the mall)NO MATTER WHAT it is much easier to resist the urge for them.  I found it was much harder to pass up things I didn't really need when I wasn't on my budget.
  • Unexpected expenses are always going to throw you for a loop.  When your budget is tight and you something comes up, you need to get creative to figure out how to accommodate the unexpected.
  •  When you are restricted to what you have in the pantry, meal planning can be difficult but fun.  I was pretty happy with the meals we had over the entire month and was very pleased with the recipes I found on Pinterest.
  • When you don't have a lot of money you need to think outside the box.  From scoring free meals to home improvement projects and decorating, it is amazing how much you can do for free or almost free when you are forced to.
Lastly, I wanted to share these photos.. The before and afters of my pantry and fridge:

Being a coupon user and having a good stockpile of groceries is one of the ways I was able to get through the month.  By the end of the challenge we were having a pretty tough time putting together meals that were balanced and appetizing. 

It was a great way to save up a couple thousand dollars (which we actually used to take a family vacation to Disneyland!) and it cleaned out the pantry.

 In hindsight I now realize that it was a good experience.  It really did get me to appreciate just exactly where all the money goes.  Would I want to live that that forever?  No way! I love my Starbucks iced coffees too much, but I am at least a little more frugal about how I spend my money.

Every penny counts!

Fixing a Faucet Aerator: You CAN be a DIY'r too!

If you aren't a fellow DIY'r (or if you think you don't have the skills or desire to do simple repairs or improvements in your house) don't stop reading!  Trust me.. once you see how easy it really is, how much  money you can save doing it yourself, and how great it comes out when you are through you are going to be empowered too.  

A lot of women I talk to are afraid to tackle projects at home and often lament that it is "their husband's area of expertise." But I know if I waited for my husband to get around to a 'Honey Do' list I would die before it happened.  And that is how I got started blogging about home improvement.  I bought a house.. it needed a LOT of improvement.. and I had no money and nobody else willing to do it.  It was up to me.

My number one piece of advice for anyone thinking about tackling a project but freaking out because they feel clueless is this: 

With the exception of a few things (like electricity), a home improvement project (even if you screw it up) will not kill you.  You can do this! 

I laugh when I hear on someone hiring "unskilled labor" to do a home repair.  If it is UNSKILLED surely I can handle it, I have an advanced degree for crying out loud! This isn't brain surgery.. it is painting a wall, fixing a toilet, hanging some shelves... 

And if you aren't sure what you are doing, that isn't a reason to not try.  There are so many people out there who are willing to help you, just ask.  Hardware stores aren't just for boys anymore!  Don't be intimidated.  

image source

I always remind myself (when I begin freaking out that I am in over my head) that *IF* I mess something up, there will always be someone I can call to fix my mistake.. nothing is forever.  No guts, no glory! (Although I can say that I have NEVER EVER needed to have someone repair damage I have caused attempting a project.  NEVER.  Somehow it has always worked out in the end.)

So jump right in.  Inspired by something on Pinterest?  DO IT!
Something not working around the house and it is driving you nuts?  GOOGLE IT! 


Pep talk over.  Time to talk DIY!  How 'bout Plumbing?!

Since we moved into our current house, the powder room faucet has always sprayed crazily.   An explosion of water in all directions (I didn't even know water could do an 180 degree turn, but it can!)   I have spent the last 6 months of my life wiping water stains off the mirror.  My husband told me to call a plumber and have the faucet replaced.

Umm.. yeah. No.  That would cost at least $50 for a new fixture and a couple hundred dollars for labor.  l decided to take it apart to figure out what was wrong with it (Remember, you could always call a plumber if you can't figure out what is wrong.. but there is no need to call him first!)

To take apart a faucet, you just need to unscrew the spout to get at the "guts."  If you can't get it to unscrew with just your fingers, you can use a pliers to loosen it: 

Once it is loose, remove it completely (make sure you close the sink drain so nothing gets lost!)

In my case I immediately realized what the problem was:  The aerator was missing:

Ah Ha!   Off to the hardware store!
When selecting a new aerator there are TONS and TONS of choices.  DON'T BE AFRAID!
It may be intimidating, but it isn't impossible.
When doing a repair project, it is always best to take exactly what you are fixing with you.  It will make selecting the right replacement part much easier (and if you are lost, you can always hold up the part to an employee and say "what is this and how can I fix it?")
Here are all the parts of my faucet spout:
It turns out when repairing a faucet aerator there are a few things you need to know:
How big is the spout and how is it threaded?
What flow rate do you want (how much water comes out)?
What type of flow do you want?

You don't know the answers?  Ask for help!   

Question 1: How big is the spout and how is it threaded?  
Well, lookie that.. Home Depot gives you a handy dandy cheat sheet right there in the store:

In my case it turns out that I had a 15/16 inch (27 thread count) spout.
That sign actually says "90% of faucet spouts are 15/16" Well, whoda' thunk! My faucet is average. 

Question 2: What flow rate do you want? 
My spout (like most) had the flow rate printed on it: 2.2 GPM (gallons per minute.)  Because we live where water is pretty valuable, and because the powder room is where my kids wash their hands (AKA play in the water) I decided I wanted to cut down on the flow rate.   Low-flow aerators range from 1-1.5 GPM.  I settled on a 1.5 GPM replacement.

Question 3: What type of flow do you want? 
Well, in my case I wanted ANYTHING that wasn't "spray all over every surface."  However, if you are pickier than me, you can once again count on Home Depot to show you your options:
I decided on aerated, since that is typical for a bathroom faucet.  This is all personal preference.

Now that I know what I need, I find it on that giant wall of faucet parts**.  Here is what I buy (Notice the three yellow circles indicate the answers to the three questions we just answered):
Total cost: $4.89 (take that extra $200 you saved and buy some shoes!)

When you get it out of the package you can clearly see difference between it and the one that wasn't working correctly.  This one has a screen to keep the water aerated.
Before you put it back on your faucet want to make sure you assemble all the parts in the correct order (there is a diagram on the packaging):
Now screw it back onto the faucet and you are DONE!  That is all there was to it. 

Stand back admire your handy work:

A splatter free faucet. 

Now get out there and tackle those projects!  Don't be afraid! 
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**Another option was to buy just the plastic insert and reuse the metal spout that was originally on my faucet. My home depot was sold out of the small inserts that fit, so I settled on an entirely new spout. 

This post was originally written as a guest post for Andrea at Good Girl Gone Redneck.

Patriotic Burlap Banner (Tutorial)

I thought I had finished decorating for the 4th of July but I decided that my beadboard flag wasn't enough decoration on the exterior of the house.   I decided I needed a bunting or banner and I wanted to make it with supplies I had on hand.

Digging through my craft closet I found a little bit of burlap yardage leftover from my easter banner.  I knew I was onto something!   (Isn't everything better with burlap?)

After cutting out large triangles, I used a star punch to make a couple cardstock stencils and I grabbed a role of painters tape for the stripes. 

 To keep the stars from sliding around while I painted over them, I added double stick foam to keep them in place:

I decided to use craft paint (the same stuff I used for the flag) and diluted it out so the burlap would look tinted more than painted.

 I applied the paint with a foam brush:

I laid them all out on my counter to dry overnight:

The next morning I strung them onto a length of twine (pushing the twine through holes in the burlap) and hung it across my front entrance:

Once it was hung, I sprayed it lightly with a coat of polyurethane to protect it from the weather a little:

It looks great, especially next to my distressed beadboard flag:

I think we are definitely ready for the 4th of July! 

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Sharing at some of these parties (HERE are their buttons):
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Show me what you've got- Our Delightful Home
Mop it Up Monday - I Should Be Mopping the Floor

Today's Creative Blog-Get your Craft On Tuesday 
 Uncommonly Yours- Link Party
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t' Time- Raising 4 Princesses
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Beyond the Picket Fence-100 Ideas Under $100
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Catch as Catch Can- My Repurposed Life
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Shabby Creek Cottage- Transformation Thursday
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Repurpose, Remodel, Reveal - The Rooser & The Hen  
Pity Party- Thirty Handmade Days
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Sunday Round Up- A Rosie Sweet Home

Herb Crusted Grilled Porkchops

 I am pretty sure I stumbled upon the easiest recipe for pork chops.. EVER.  Seriously, it basically only has 2 ingredients, and doesn't even require a dish!  That is my kind of recipe!
What you need:
  • 4 (6-ounce) bone-in center-cut pork chops (about 3/4 inch thick)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp  Herbes de Provence**
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper 
  • 1 tsp. salt  
**Herbes De Provance is a spice mixture available in most grocery stores (I get mine from Penzey's spices).  It is mainly rosemary, fennel and thyme.. so you could do a similar blend if you don't have any Herbes De Provence.

Add olive oil, Herbes de Provence and pepper to a ziplock bag and mix well.  Add porkchops and make sure surfaces are in contact with oil/herb mixture.
Refrigerate 6-8 hours or overnight (longer is better.)
 Place chops on medium-high grill for 5-7 minutes per side (and internal temperature reaches 160 degrees)
 Salt before serving.

I served my porkchops with wild rice and spring peas.  It was nicely seasoned and juicy.  Try it.. it is definitely worth the (lack of) work!

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Original recipe modified from Cooking Light

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