s May 2014 - The Kim Six Fix
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May in Review (Flashback Friday)

Wowzas!  I mean seriously.. WOWZAS!  It is June tomorrow!!!!
Image source

So for Flashback Friday it is time to look back on everything I tackled back in May, which was a lot!

The thing I worked hardest on, believe it or not, was setting up my new email subscription service! You can now get posts delivered to your email so you never miss them!

I actually have 2 options to subscribe:  Daily (meaning a new post whenever I write one) or Digest (which gives you all the posts for the week in one email on Monday morning.)

If you haven’t signed up yet, you still can!

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If you aren't signed up, here is what you might have missed this month:

My most popular post, hands down, was this tutorial on how to paint upholstery:

And clearly I am ready for summer to begin with some of these projects:

Americana Inspired Patriotic Mantle:

Some other teacher appreciation ideas include: 

An unlike last month, this month I did get around to posting a few recipes:

And finally, a few minor home projects.

 This month has been so busy with the kids and school and activities that I haven’t had any time to work on the house, but next month should be different. I already have some big plans in the pipeline!

I hope you sign up so you don't miss it! 

Wine Cork Keychains (For the Pool or Beach)

Wine cork keychains
I always hate lugging my entire set of keys out to the pool whenever we go.  I really only need my house key and pool key (if you drive to your pool you also would need a car key I suppose.)  I don’t need all my store loyalty cards, large keychain, mailbox key, husband’s car keys,  etc.   I also don’t like to risk losing my entire set of keys.

To deal with the problem, I decided to make a dedicated keychain for ‘pool use only’ but I needed to make a key chain for it.  I liked the idea of a keychain that would float, in case the keys ever fell in the water (since the last thing I would want to do is free dive for my poll key.)

How to Create Word Art (For Printables or Cut Files) Using Tagxedo

How to create word art
In my recent Summer Gift Basket Post I included a custom tumbler I made using word art that was all the kids names in the shape of an apple.
Teacher apple word art tumbler
I have had quite a few people ask me how I make the word art itself and how I am able to manipulate the words so that they are big enough to cut on my Silhouette.

Daydreaming About My Master Bedroom Floors

This post brought to you by Tarkett NA. All opinions are 100% mine.

I mentioned before that one of my big goals for 2014 was to finally tackle my master bedroom.   It has it’s fair share of quirks, mostly with layout and lack of straight walls.  I have some ideas about what I want to do with it, but the best way for me to see if my ideas make sense is to combine them all in a virtual room layout.

Right now I am starting with a blank slate (a really really blank slate):
Master bedroom
From flooring to wall color to furniture placement, all the elements in a room need to blend together in order to end up with a successful design.

My room currently has golden orangey oak flooring. I would love to explore some other options, such as Tarkett’s FiberFloor® or Luxury Vinyl Tile products.  With much better durability compared to traditional hardwoods, they would be a great option if I could just decide what color scheme I want.
Fortunately TarkettNA offers an online way to Visualize your room at RoomVue.

Pottery Barn Knock-Offs Before Pottery Barn Has An Original! (Flashback Friday)

I've done quite a few Pottery Barn "knock-offs" since I started this blog.  It is a practice that is actually pretty common among bloggers.  High end designs re-imagined on a small budget.  Typically I see something in their catalog or store that I like, and then I figure out how to create my own version.

Here are some examples that I have posted about in the past:

Their version: A reclaimed wood planter for $180
My version: Cheap lumber and paint stir sticks for $8

Americana Memorial Day Mantel

American flag mantle
 Memorial day is right around the corner and so it is time for me to set up my annual tribute to America on my mantel.  I wanted a more weathered and vintage look this year (although nothing I used it actually old.)

Most of the components were reused, like my Pottery Barn inspired beadboard flagmy burlap banner and the wooden thrift store stars.
Americana mantle
There was one project that was brand new, and that was my ‘faux milk bottles’ made from Starbucks Frappucino bottles:
Starbucks milk bottles

Unlike the bottles I used on my easter mantel (which I spray painted) these bottles were painted from the inside to make them look more authentic.

Summer is Here! End of Year Teacher Gift

Summer is Here Gift Basket
I know teacher appreciation week *JUST* ended, but this is the last week of preschool for my four year old, and so we are prepping end of year teacher gifts.

If this seems like a familiar gift, that is because it is.  We previously put together a “School's Out for Summer” gift basket with very similar items, but this year since I have my Silhouette, I kicked it up a notch.

The first thing I did was gathered up all things ’summer’ related with my budget of $20.
Teacher end of year basket
Here is a breakdown of what is in the basket, and where I got it:

15 Things to Do in San Francisco (You've Never Heard Of)

We’ve lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for a little more than 3 years now, and we absolutely love it.  We have visited San Francisco multiple times as tourists in the past, but since moving here and buying a home, we have discovered a whole other world of fun stuff to do that isn’t as well known.

Sure, there are dozens of “must see” lists out there that include things like Fisherman’s Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge, Ghirardelli Square, Lombard Street, Coit Tower, Chinatown, Alcatraz, etc etc.. but there are dozens of lesser known places that are just as fun and interesting (plus you are a whole lot more likely to run into the “natives” and not throngs of tourists.)

So here are 15 places in the bay area that our family enjoys, but that you may never have heard of:

Outdoor Spaces:

Everyone has seen those iconic shots looking down at the Golden Gate Bridge and back towards the city as the fog rolls in.  But if you really want to get up close and personal with the iconic bridge, make sure to stop at Fort Baker and walk along the beach at the base of the bridge.
Golden gate bridge

Mount Diablo State Park:
At nearly 4000 feet above sea level, Mount Diablo is the highest peak in the greater Bay Area.  On a clear day you can easily see the Sierra Nevada, Central Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains and the Golden Gate Bridge.  With many easy (or difficult) hikes, it is great day trip.  The kids love to explore the beacon tower at the summit, which was built by the Civilian Conservation Core in 1939 and was originally lit by Charles Lindbergh to assist in commercial aviation.
View from mount diablo
Golden Gate Fields:
If you love the sport of kings, Golden Gate Fields, (“Where the Bay Comes to Play!”)is a great way to spend the afternoon.  In the summer you can enjoy live entertainment and if you are looking for a budget friendly outing, check out their famous “Dollar Days” (typically Sundays) where hot dogs and beers are only $1.
Golden gate fields

The Front Door Makeover That Took 3 Years

Front door before and after
Some projects crawl along at a snails pace.  Either because of time or budget or because you just don’t know exactly what you want your final vision to be.  Some times you try something and decide that your changes aren’t what you expected or aren’t “enough” and it feels like you will never be finished.

My front door has been one of those projects.

When we first moved into the house it was so bad that I had to do something RIGHT THEN to update it.  Because I didn’t have the money or HOA approval to make major changes, I could only update it partially.

Here is the front door when we moved in:
The first thing I did (about 3 years ago) was spray paint the hardware.  At the time we didn’t have the money to completely change it, but I couldn’t stand to look at the tarnished brass one more minute:
Spray painted door hardware
I have been really impressed with how well that paint has held up.   This is what the hardware looked like 3 years later.

Easy 30-Second Slaw (Mayonnaise Free)

30 second coleslaw

I LOVE coleslaw.  Especially the sweet, creamy kind that you get at fast food restaurants.   My husband, on the other hand, can’t stand mayonnaise.  He won’t touch anything with mayo in it.. especially coleslaw.  So in honor of National Salad Month and National Vinegar month (you didn’t even know there was such a thing did you?), I tracked down a great substitute courtesy of Rachael Ray.

Gift Ideas for Mother's Day (Flashback Friday)

Mom tattoo card
Image available as card on Etsy

I am actually writing this post on Thursday night because on Friday I am heading off to spend my Mother’s day weekend in the woods with a bunch of Girl Scouts.  So if you think your Mother’s day is going poorly.. just remember mine: Cold, dirty and internet-less, surrounded by sleep deprived 8 years old who have played with fire and ingested a ton of sugar in the form of s’mores all weekend long.

Ahh.. the joys of motherhood!

Okay, enough joking.  On a more serious note, today’s Flashback Friday post is about ways to show the moms in our lives (not necessarily our own moms since I know not everyone has a great relationship with their mother but moms in general) how much we appreciate them.

Two years ago I wrote a post about my experience as a mother and my reflections on motherhood. Those sentiments still hold true today.  There is no one way to characterize a "good mom" since every situation is unique. And most moms are doing their best, even if some days it feels like nothing is going right.

So if you have any moms or soon-to-be-moms in your life this Mother’s Day, here are a few suggestions for gift ideas I've posted about in the past:

The blue and brown items are baby socks, stacked and rolled, and wrapped in baby wash cloths (which are orange and white)  There is also a little white onsie, folded into a square and placed under the little fish chew toy.  All the “sushi” is wrapped in black grosgrain ribbon and tacked in place with a small pin from the back side.

Frozen Strawberry Moscato Granitas: A Perfect for Summer Treat

Strawberry moscato granitas

I don’t know about where you live, but here in Northern California the warm weather is officially starting!  It is HOT HOT HOT.  I posted this on Instagram last week.  This was the car, sitting in the garage, IN THE SHADE.
Hot car temperature
Needless to say, we have been spending plenty of time at the pool.

Typically when a group of us get together we like to unwind with frozen cocktails, like margaritas, but since we are so close to the Napa Valley, wine cocktails and mixers (like Sangria) are becoming more and more popular.

To mix it up a little, I thought I would try a recipe that would integrate the sweet fruity flavor of Moscato into a frozen treat.  I love the idea of a granita because it is a hybrid of “cocktail” and “dessert” since you don’t really drink it, but rather eat it with a spoon.
Moscato granita
Plus it only uses THREE INGREDIENTS and doesn’t require anything special in terms of equipment.

You can make Granitas with pretty much any fruit, a little sugar, some Moscato and water.   In this case I went with strawberries because they were on sale.
Three ingredient granita

Frozen Strawberry Moscato Granitas:

2 cups water
1/2-1 cup sugar (less if you don’t like sweet, more if you want it your granita to taste a store bought frozen slushy)
1 cup  White Moscato
1 1/2 cup sliced strawberries (about 1/2 pound of whole berries)

Please keep in mind that you must be 21 years or older to enjoy this frozen treat.  Like anything containing alcohol, please consume it in moderation and NEVER drink and drive.  

Clean and slice up your berries.

In a small sauce pan add you water, sugar and the berries and heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and the berries have softened slightly:
Strawberry sugar water
Take this mixture and add it to a blender (you can wait for it to cool off or not.. I was in a rush so I added it warm):
Strawberry syrup
Blend the mixture pretty well until is is smooth:
Strawberry pureeRemember if you are blending hot liquid to always hold the lid down with a dishtowel over your hand. The blended mix may get a little foamy and that is okay.

Add your Moscato and give the blender one or two quick pulses to incorporate the wine. Pour the mixture into a shallow freezer proof dish (Metal is recommended but I used ceramic since none of my metal pans would fit in my freezer):
Strawberry moscato recipe
If you are worried about the smoothness of your blended strawberry mixture you can strain it though a sieve. I didn’t but I don’t mind the seeds or little chunks.  For a smoother granita you should strain it.
Throw you pan in the freezer for a few hours:
Freezing granita
When it is frozen (and it won’t be super super solid because the sugar and alcohol prevent it from becoming a rock) use a fork to scrape across the surface.  You want to form flaky ice crystals:
Scraping granitas
I then used an ice cream scoop to serve the fluffy ‘shavings’ in a shallow glass:
Moscato strawberry granita
Or even a regular old high ball glass works great.. just add a sliced strawberry on the side to garnish: Strawberry wine granita
If you wanted to mix it up a little, you could also try some of the new varietals, like the peachy flavor of the Pink Moscato paired with peaches or orange juice, or the berry flavors of the red moscato with raspberries or even pomegranates.

After scraping the frozen granita mix with a fork, the shavings can be stored in the freezer for up to 24 hours. A perfect way to prep a dessert in advance for a party, since it only requires scooping to serve.
Strawberry moscato granita

Don't miss this collection of 20 more fabulous drink recipes:

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