Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bookcase Revamp

I did this project over a year ago, but found the pictures from the day we finished them and thought I would share.

These started off as cheap bookcases from Menards and when I saw the bead board panels I knew it would be perfect for this project.

The best part is that the bookcases were starting to get shaky due to lack of stability with the cardboard they include with the bookcases, so the bead board fixed that. 

I could have gone around the whole bookcase with the molding, but I planned on keeping them together next to each other. 

For this project you will need:
Bead board Panels large enough to fit the back of the bookcase

You will want to cut the panels to size for your bookcase, making sure you leave the full edge so you can nail the panel to the bookcase.

Before you nail on the panel you want to paint it first, mine were obviously painted white but I often want to go back and add a pop of color. This is always an option too.

The same goes for the molding, cut to size then paint.

Once the panel(s) and molding are dry nail the panel to the bookcase. Since this is more sturdy than the cardboard you don't have to use quite as many nails, I went every 4 inches making sure to get the nails centered on the edges.

You can nail the molding on or use a wood glue. I nailed mine on to make it more stable when moving. Depending on the molding you select you may have to adjust it so the front of the bookcase and the back of the molding are flush. 

Take a step back and admire your handiwork! You can do some touch up with the paint and cover up the nails if you like at this point too.

I loved this project! It was fast, easy and pretty cheap to do and it looks great.

I originally had them out in our living room, but a couple months ago moved them to my bedroom to reduce the clutter of the living room. They are still sturdy as ever and look great where ever I put them. 

As always let me know your thoughts, feelings or even share your own handiwork. Thanks for stopping by!

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Monday, December 29, 2014

DIY Christmas (or anytime) Gifts for Dad

S loved getting these from L for Christmas and they were fun to make as well! S actually saw the idea for the butt print on Pinterest and made a gift request thinking I would never do it. Well I proved him wrong. 
The original idea for the Ninja Turtles can be found here and the butt print idea here.

We'll start with the easiest (surprisingly) one first. The butt print. My mom was shocked I did this and that I actually used L's butt, but it was actually quite fun. Had I used one solid color it would probably have shown up better but (pun intended) I wanted it to be festive. 

You will need:
Paint of your choice, I used acrylic.
Something to put the paint on that is butt sized. I just used a paper plate.
Card stock or paper
Paintbrush if you plan on painting the words.
WET WIPES!!!!! or washcloth

I wanted it to be festive so I spread red for one cheek and green for the other on a paper plate. Then got L down to his birthday suit. It was only slightly difficult to get him to sit down since he's more into trying to stand these days. Plus when you add in him sitting on something squishy, that doesn't help either. 

I made sure to do all of this very quickly and was going to be satisfied with the first print I got. I sat him down in the paint then quickly moved him to the card stock. Once the print was done I moved him face down to a towel to get him cleaned up quick. 

I used wet wipes but you could use wash cloths. Really make sure you are getting all the paint off since their skin can be sensitive, especially on the bum. He also got a bath once we were all done but the wipes worked really well for the time being.

The perfect butt print, but I'm a little biased.

Once the print was dry and L was all squeaky clean I painted on the words using a small paint brush. You can always adapt it to whoever you are giving it to as I did.

Ninja Turtles Handprint

You will need:
Card stock or paper
Paint (Green, Purple/Red/Orange/Blue, Black and White)

I actually managed to get two good handprints from L with green paint. I was originally going to make multiple superheros for this project, but two green handprints was all I was getting out of him that day. So I worked with what I had. I had to fill in a tiny bit on one of the handprints since two fingers didn't really show up. I just used a small paintbrush and filled it in using very light strokes.

Once the hands were dry I painted on the masks and the mouths. I did two coats of paint for the masks since I really didn't want to see the green underneath. 

The eyes and lettering were last. I didn't want to cover his handprints too much so I left the orange squares (like in the original idea) off. 

I would be lying if I said L really liked making them since by the time we got through the two handprints he was done with all these art projects, but I really think they both turned out great and S loved getting them! 

As always let me know what you think and Thanks for stopping by!

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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Handprint Bowl

I'm so excited to finally be able to share all the homemade Christmas gifts L and I made this year! These did not turn out at all how I imagined. I originally saw the idea on someone's Facebook post, but it only linked to a picture. So I thought I could just recreate it, I was wrong. Although it doesn't look like the original idea I still love it.

I still would love to know how they made this one!

Here is how I made mine:

You will need:

Paint if you so chose
Gloss Modge Podge

I mixed up my salt dough using 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, and 1 cup of water. I ended up adding another 1/2 cup of flour since it was so sticky. I ended up splitting the batch into three equal sections and putting two in a Ziploc bag in the fridge. This seemed to firm it up a bit too.

I pulled a smaller section from the one I was working with. I rolled it out onto a floured surface and worked in some more flour into the dough. I rolled it about 1/4 inch thick (probably should have made it a bit thicker) into a circle. I placed the circle on a plate so L would have a firm surface to press his hand into the dough and it was easy to move from his highchair to the counter.

Once I had his handprint in the dough I cut it out using a butter knife. Since the dough was still fairly sticky this was not that easy and I had to round out the edges of his fingers by hand. After getting two handprints out of him I knew I was not getting anymore. So I decided to trace the original handprint on card stock and cut out the rest from that. 

Once I had my template I cut out about 8 more handprints.

I used a Pyrex bowl and sprayed the outside with Pam before laying his first handprint in the middle of the bowl. I then went around the bowl pushing the handprints into the middle and each other. Two of the handprints the fingers got stretched out for whatever reason and another the dog apparently wanted to eat two fingers off of so I had to reattach those. I smoothed out the bottom using my finger and some water to make sure the joints would hold. I preheated the oven to 200. I then placed the bowl on a cookie sheet (I have yet to full get the stains off but it is actually clean) and baked it for 2 hours. 

I let it cool on the bowl for about 15 minutes then took it off the bowl and let it fully cool on a plate.

The handprint in the middle is my favorite part! I just applied Modge Podge gloss to the whole thing but it could be painted with regular acrylic paint and then a gloss applied to it if you like. Again it doesn't look like the original idea, but I still like it.

Let me know your thoughts, ideas, if you have a question, etc. Thanks for stopping by!

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Before and After Pantry Makeover

I really need to stop looking for things. Or maybe keep looking since my house is getting more and more organized. This time it was honey that I tore my pantry apart and decided something had to be done about it. I'm actually beyond excited to share all the problems and the amazing finished pantry with you though. I'm pretty proud of the end result and the fact that I did it all by myself.

As you can see from the above, it was a hot mess. Things just got thrown in there, nothing had it's own place, you just couldn't find anything. 

I have been dreaming about pull out shelves since we moved into the house. Because the pantry closet is over the stairs to the basement (hence the fact that it doesn't go all the way to the floor) the shelves would only be able to pull out to the door frame, but that was okay with me. 

The closet is very deep and, as I soon found out, uneven. The width between the two walls in the back is shorter than at the front (Problem #1 on the Project). So I knew I would have to somehow even the width for the drawer glides to work. I measured multiple times both the front of the closet and the back and drew up my plan. 

I had the drawer glides already and had some left over wood from a previous project so I was ready to get at it. I came to find out that the wood I had was way too heavy (Problem #2). So off to the hardware store I went, thankfully I had to go anyway to get wood to even up the walls.

I got:

1 White Shelf 8 feet by 23 inches
4- 1"x 2" Boards at 4 feet long
2 lathe pieces of wood
2 Drawer Handles (actually gate handles, they were the only ones I could find that you can screw in from the front.)

I had the hardware store cut the shelf down to 34" for the two shelves and will eventually use the left over for a stationary shelf in the pantry.

The difference between the front and back two walls was only 3/4" so I figured a small piece of the 1" x 2" at the front of the closet would work perfect (Problem #3). 

I marked my lines level where I wanted the shelves to go, then lined up the drawer slides and marked where they would go. From my markings and the location of studs I put in my 1 x 2 piece where the front of the drawer slide would go. I just used 1 1/2" screws we had on hand and my handy dandy drill making sure I wasn't putting the screws in where the drawer glide screws would go. 

Once I got the lower shelf's drawer glides installed, I put the shelf in to see if I would need to cut it down. I just needed to cut it down 1/4" inch. Bring on the circular saw (my favorite, it has a work light and laser level), I can feel the power in my hands as I right this. Oh wait, that's right my circular saw stopped working after one cut (Problem #4). Thankfully my mother is a gem and let me borrow hers. 

Back on track I made my cut and put the shelf in. Fit like magic! Wooo Hooo my hard work paid off. Then I went to slide it. On one side it scrapped against the wall and was a huge pain to pull past an inch, but hey at least it's level. So I decide at this point to add a full length piece of 1 x 2 to the wall opposite the wall I already added it to, to even it up.

No more scrapping and slightly easier to pull out. I screwed the glide onto the shelf at that point. On to the next shelf. I repeated the same process for the second shelf, cutting out the middle man and just adding 1 x 2 on both walls. I felt very confident at this point that I had mastered the closet, so I screwed the glides on the shelf. Then tried to pull the shelf. It was so tight I had to use two hands just to get it out. Now after working on this for about 8 hours over two days I was tempted to throw in the towel and say well it's just going to be a little hard to pull. But as S pointed out when he came to check my progress, it would get even worse once I added food to the shelves. Trust me after lifting those shelves multiple multiple times in and out of that small space the first thing I thought was we'll just leave them empty. I knew I had to forge on. So I broke down and called my uncle to see if he could tell me why it wasn't working.

The 1 x 2 is too big was the answer I got. Phew not a huge thing. My uncle recommended using shims, but I already had the lathe pieces so I cut those down and put 3 in place of the 1 x 2 on one wall for each shelf. Always pre-drill the holes, especially when working with thin pieces of wood. If you don't they split and you may cry like I was on the verge of. Lesson learned there. Once I had them in on both shelves I held my breath and pulled. Smooth like butter.

Isn't she pretty. I think I will call her Patty, Patty the Pantry.

Just look at all of that usable space! Everything thing now has a place and I can find things so much easier now. Plus I cleared out some cabinet space and was able to better organize the kitchen cabinets.

Thanks for stopping by and as always let me know what you think, if you have questions, hate it, love it, let me know.

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Pioneer Momma

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Scrapbook Paper Trees

I found the idea for the folded paper tree on Pinterest here. The other I just came up with on my own (super creative I know). I'm all about using things I already have in the house so I adapted Balancing Beauty & Bedlam's tutorial. 

I used the fun paper cutter again, and cut my scrapbook paper to half inch strips. Then cut them down to 1 1/2 inches in length. 

Instead of using a Styrofoam tree I used card stock to form a cone, which is what I did with regular scrapbook paper for the plain tree.

I folded the paper and taped it on with my clear scotch tape. 

Then I finished both of them off with a tiny fluff ball for the star that you see how to make here.

I really like how they add more holiday spirit to the house!

Let me know your thoughts as always and thanks for stopping by!

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Crunchy Doritos Chicken

I found the amazing recipe at Six Sisters Stuff. This chicken is like crack (I assume I’ve never tried the stuff), I could not stop eating it. It was the perfect amount of crunch on the outside and juicy on the inside. It could have used a bit more seasoning by itself but when I added my Kraft Spicy Ranch dressing as a dipping sauce it was amazing!
You will need:
4 Boneless Skinless chicken breasts (I stock up on the frozen bags so I just defrosted in the fridge)
Bag of Nacho (or any flavor really) Doritos
3-4 egg whites (I only used 3)
Salt and Pepper to taste
If your oven is slow to heat, like mine preheat a bit before you even start dredging to 400 degrees. I didn’t really measure my flour, just poured enough into the container. You could really add the salt and pepper to the flour or the Doritos. I also didn’t end up using the whole bag of Doritos so I would recommend putting about half the bag in a gallon Ziploc bag then crushing them. A lot of the recipes I read said to use a rolling pin or meat tenderizer to crush the Doritos. I just used my hands and was able to get them crushed but not minuscule pieces, which is kind of what you want. If the pieces are too small you lose all the flavor.
I cut my chicken into half inch strips, cutting off any fat as I went.
Some other recipes I saw suggested soaking the chicken in buttermilk for a couple hours before dredging in the flour. I wasn’t going to buy buttermilk just for this one meal so I skipped this part (as did the Six Sisters, I knew I liked them). After I cut the chicken I dredged in the flour making sure all sides were coated.
Then on too the egg, again making sure its well coated.
Last but not least the Doritos. This is where it gets uber messy. I took a kind of roll and press down approach to this to make sure I was getting all sides and that the Doritos were staying on the chicken. By the time I was done with all the chicken my fingers looked like the chicken rolled 100 times in egg and Doritos. Normally I keep a cute red towel in the kitchen for hand washing and occasional goop on hands. Anytime I am working with chicken I just remove it from the area since I know, out of habit, I will wipe my hands on it. Even though I would wash it right afterwards I still don’t trust that it’s fully clean. So I set out two sheets of paper towel to use instead.
Once you are done place the chicken on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray!! I forgot this step and paid for it, half of my delicious crust ended up stuck to the pan. So don’t forget to spray! Once you have all your chicken on the sheet pop it in the oven for 15-20 minutes. I always go a little higher than the middle of cooking ranges so I ended up cooking mine for 17 minutes and they were perfectly cooked!
Again the spicy ranch really makes it. It’s not too too spicy, but it will have you reaching for a drink after a few bite.
Thanks for stopping by! As always let me know what you think, your thoughts, or anything you feel like sharing!

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Before and After Spice Cabinet Upgrade

This all started because I needed cinnamon. That's how most of my projects start, I can't find something, then I get frustrated and the next thing you know the whole kitchen has been rearranged. This usually works out in everyone's benefit, until someone else can't find something that is.

As you can see my spice cabinet was a hot mess. I don't know how I lived with it like that for so long. Every time we acquired a new spice it just got shoved in there. Eventually I would like to free up this cabinet for dishes, but it's located right next to the stove, is not very deep and fairly narrow so I have yet to come up with another use for it. Until then a spice cabinet it shall remain.

So much better! I used my label maker to label the tops, making sure all the spices could still be opened and with some of them making sure both sides of the flip top could be opened. The way I stacked them allows me to grab a spice and just put it on the top rather than a specific place and I can still find what I'm looking for.

Overall it works but could always be improved. Make sure to check back for my pantry overhaul.
Thanks for stopping by and as always comment away.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Crockpot Lasagna "Soup"

I use the term soup loosely since I tweaked the original  recipe to make it not so brothy. I'm not sure what it is about my cooking or following recipes, but my versions never seem to turn out like the photos on the original sites. I wonder if they have food stylists like in all the food commercials?

What you will need:
1 pound ground beef
2 cups beef broth
1/2 Tb garlic powder
1 Tb parsley
1 Tb basil
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 cup V8
Shell Pasta (I used about 1/2 the box, you can use as much or as little as you like)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Now the original recipe uses fresh minced garlic, chopped onion, more broth and she adds water (to be honest I forgot about the water). This could also be why mine tasted like it was missing something.

I followed the rest of her directions pretty much to the T. 

I added my crockpot bag first (I hated clean up before I found these babies), then mixed the tomatoes and tomato paste. 

Next I added the broth, beef (more about that in a minute), garlic powder, parsley, basil, V8 and salt and pepper.

Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.

Once you are down to 30 minutes left of cook time, add the noodles and give it a stir. This is also where you would add the water, which I forgot and my noodles turned out awesome. 

So the uncooked. I was so scared to do this. I have boiled beef before for our dogs, but never personally ate it. When I read the note at the beginning of the recipe telling me to just add the beef, no pre-cooking needed, I thought of the dogs. If it didn't have garlic in it that would have been the back up plan if it didn't turn out (they get all my nummy dog healthy scraps anyway). Thankfully no back up plan was needed as it turned out ok. As I said in the beginning it was just missing something. I ended up adding more salt and pepper to my bowl and that helped but I still felt like it could use something. I just couldn't put my finger on what it was. I think I may try a few more things if I make it again, like using Italian sausage instead of ground beef, putting onion in it or different seasoning. 

As always let me know your thoughts and thanks for stopping by! 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Handmade Table Part II

As promised, my second handmade table. 

We unfortunately didn't take pictures during the whole process of making this one. Out of the two of them, though, this one is my favorite. We mostly did the same process as the first one with a few adjustments. 

For the top of the table we used 4-2x8's at 4 feet long, since we needed a smaller table in the dining room. The legs are my favorite part, they are 4x4's at 29". They were so much easier to attach, minus the fact that the Kreg Jig doesn't go wide enough so you end up having to measure where to put the Kreg Jig and having to remove it from the base. Which all sounds harder than it really was. 
For the supports and the apron we used 2x4's again, nothing fancy there.

We added the same supports to the underside of the tabletop just as we did on our first table, but also added better corner supports to this table.

I went a little less Kreg Jig crazy on the tabletop for this table as well. 

I LOVE how the stain on the top turned out! We used wood glue in between the boards on the top and I really tried to sand the residue off, but some was left over and the stain didn't really take where there was residue. Overall though I ended up liking that as I think it gives it character. Which is what we say about everything that is a "mistake". 

The legs were actually stained with a deck stain I was able to find in a small amount. I wanted a stain rather than paint since I wanted a more weathered look and to also be able to see some of the wood grain through it. The Kreg Jig came with wood caps that worked out perfectly for this project.

This table just fits perfectly in our dining room and the size works for the two of us. I know come Christmas day I will regret downsizing, but that's what folding tables are for I guess. One day when I have a bigger dining room I will probably build a larger table, but until then this table works perfectly for our needs and adds to the cottage charm I am working towards in the house.

Let me know what you think and thanks for stopping by!

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