Saturday, February 26, 2011

Nashville Bound

In just a few hours, I'll be taking off for Nashville. For all my Nashville friends who are thinking, "Why didn't you tell me?" Well, it's because I'm actually heading to a conference for work. It's the annual National Religious Broadcasters convention. It's been held the last few years at Opryland Hotel. If you aren't from Nashville and have never been to Opryland, then you don't know just how massive this hotel is. Literally, bread crumbs are recommended. Lucky for me, I grew up going to the hotel at least once a year, so I know my way around pretty well, which comes in handy when you are running from meeting to meeting.

I always love going to the conference since it's in Nashville, but because it is a non-stop event for me and my colleagues, it doesn't allow much time for seeing friends. I will get to have a quick dinner with my family tonight before the craziness of the conference really begins! But, everyone else in Nashville will have to wait one more month to see me ... sorry!

So, since I won't return home until Tuesday night, there will be no projects getting done this weekend! Don't worry, they will all still be waiting for me when I get back!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Fail

The only lesson from this "fail" is to always measure. Remember when Laura, Landon and I took a trip to IKEA? Well, one of my purchases for the day were three Lack wall shelves.

I intended to put them in the guest bathroom above the toilet, but when I went to hang them up, it was evident that would not work.

They are about a foot deep, so putting them above the toilet required hanging them super high in order not to have tall guests (or Landon) hit their heads on them. So, we are now in the process of determining where the Lack shelves will fit best. We may put them in the closet "office."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tray Changes

I look at a lot of blogs on a daily basis and one of them is Centsational Girl's blog. The other day I was really inspired by the sweetheart tray she posted about. I actually have a little wooden tray in my house that you may have seen in some of my past guest room photos:

I thought, "Why not paint it white and add a new twist to it?" So, that's exactly what I did last weekend ... well, at least the painting white part!

Phase two will be to stencil the bottom. I bought this stencil at Michael's and some black paint, which I'm planning on using.

Not sure if I'll use the stencil just once in the middle of the tray bottom or both on the top and bottom of the tray bottom. We'll see. Once I get it stenciled, I'll also put a coat or two of sealant on it, so that it will last.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bedside Table Reveal

Last week, I told you about my yard sale project. Well, I finally got it done on Saturday. Here's what it looked like before:

I used Young House Love's suggestion on how to paint it, which included starting by sanding everything down and then applying an oil-based primer. Next, I applied two coats of Glidden's Toasted Oatmeal, followed by a sealant. It all was very easy. As suggested, thin coats are the key. You don't want to goop it on or you will have a mess.

Here's what it looks like now:

I love it! Now, I have a cute bedside table in my guest bedroom.

I haven't placed anything on it yet because I want to give it plenty of time to dry so as not to mess it up. I will be adding an alarm clock and maybe a book or two for guests to flip through. I'd love to put a small lamp, too, but don't want to fill it up so much that it's completely full. I may have to look for a reading lamp at IKEA that will go on the wall.

I have one more planned project for this room and still need to buy a few more pillows, but I'm liking how it's coming together!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Yard Sale Project

Sorry it's been a while since I've posted. I had such a busy weekend and the week started off with a bang, too. 

Per my post last week, you are probably wondering if I got around to painting anything this past weekend (and if you aren't wondering, well, I'm still going to tell you!) ...

I did spend much of Saturday tackling a small project. You know that I bought a table on Craig's List and am planning on completely redoing it. It's an ambitious goal, but one I'm very excited about. Still, I made that goal having really never painted or refinished any wooden furniture. So, I thought Saturday was a good time to test my skills on a smaller piece of furniture.

Back before Christmas, I had a Saturday early morning choir practice. I promised Landon I'd pick up lunch on my way home, but little did he know I would bring home a little more. Right next to the Jimmy John's restaurant, there just happened to be a yard sale. So, I walked over intending to look at a leather footstool, which ended up not being in the best shape. But, then I happened upon a little table that I thought would be just perfect for my guest room night stand. 

It's simple but with a little paint, I thought it could look great. Being at the end of the yard sale, the women were pretty ready to get rid of things. I offered $5, but after realizing I only had $2 and some change in cash, they were gracious enough to take just that! I figure for $2 something, it was a really good deal.

Currently, I'm using a dresser beside the bed, which you can see in this post, but it's doesn't work as a bedside table because it's too tall. This table should be perfect.

So, I did paint it this weekend, but unfortunately, I didn't get to finish the process, so I don't yet have a pic! But, that will be the first thing I do Saturday morning (or one night if I can get home from work before dark) so I'll have a post all about the process with pics soon!

The good news is, the process wasn't difficult, so it gave me hope that I can indeed tackle the dining room table soon!

Have you ever painted a piece of furniture? Any good tips?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Fail

I decided that I will reserve Friday's to tell you about my projects or ideas that have failed. I'm hoping this won't be every Friday!

But I have one for you this Friday ... a cleaning project that did not work so well. The shower in our master bedroom is completely tiled. When we moved in, it was beautiful. Three weeks later, it looked horrible. The grout had gotten completely dirty with mold and mildew. Part of the problem was that we were taking hot showers without turning on the fan and when done, we closed the door, keeping in all the moisture.

I tried lots of cleaning products in an attempt and get it to go away,  including a magic eraser, but nothing seemed to work perfectly. Of course, I did a little Google search and saw this article. I read the comments and noticed one woman who said that it would have worked great, but she couldn't get past the smell. I immediately coined her as a "wuss" and bought all my supplies, which included:

Shower Cleaner
Scrub Brush
White Vinegar
Paper Towels
Clorox Bleach

First, I cleaned the shower with the cleaner and scrub brush. That was the easy part. For the next part, I opened the window and turned on the fan, because what I had to do was soak the paper towels in the white vinegar and line the shower walls. 

Already, the smell was getting to me. I coughed quite a bit. But, I finished and left the paper towels to do their thing. You are supposed to leave them on a few hours, keeping them wet. Unfortunately, I ran out of vinegar, so I couldn't re-wet them. Also, I should mention that I did this on the same day we painted the dining room, so I probably did rush the process, which wasn't wise. 

After about two hours, I removed the paper towels (still coughing from the smell) and scrubbed. Nothing happened. Since I was without vinegar, I thought I should try a little of the next round, which includes soaking the paper towels in bleach. 

I think I was able to soak about 10 paper towels before the fumes overtook me. I had to get out of the bathroom and decided it was time to give up.

The lesson I learned through all of this was ... don't let your shower get dirty! Ha! Okay, I will say that the bathroom did look a little better after, and we have started turning on the fan and spraying the shower down with daily cleaner after every use, which has also helped. 

Have you found any tried and true cleaning tricks?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Old Man Winter

Old man winter needs to leave! I'm dying to paint something! The problem is that everything I have to paint needs to be done in the garage and it's just too cold to stay in the garage. 

The good news is that it should be warmer this weekend, so I'm hoping to get some things done on my table. We started taking off the cushions tonight and looking at how to fix all the wobbly chairs. Next up will be sanding and painting. I know it's going to take more than a weekend, especially since we have an all-day church event on Sunday, but I'm so excited to get started!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kitchen Dreams

I really have a desire to paint my kitchen cabinets. I've seen so many bloggers post transformational pics of their kitchens. Just a few minor details can really change the look of a kitchen. We don't have the money to put in new cabinets, but painting them can really give our 80s kitchen a face lift and make the cabinets last much longer.

So, painting cabinets is on my "to-do" list. I don't know when we'll get this project done. I'd like to say by summer, but definitely by the end of the year. Part of the time frame will also determine when we can purchase new counter tops, because if you'll remember, our current counter tops are off-white, which won't match what I really want to do.

I've been looking at lots of pics to try and determine exactly how I want to paint them. I have red dishes and lots of black accents, so I wanted to choose something that would work with that. I really love white cabinets with black counter tops like these.

My only concern is that my black coffeepot, mixer and knives may not look good sitting on black counter tops. So, I could go with a lighter counter top like this:

But I really love that black counter top! What do you think? Have you seen any kitchens you love?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday Par-tay

It's Super Bowl Sunday and you know what that means, right?!? Good food and funny commercials! (You thought I was going to say football, didn't you?)

Our friends, Susan and Ernie, invited our family over to watch the Super Bowl. By "our family" I mean Landon, me, and our two dogs, Bug and Mitsu. 

Susan and Ernie have two dogs, too, and Bug and Mitsu love them. Matter of fact, every time we go to their house, I don't think Bug and Mitsu want to leave!

Well, in order to get ready for the party, I spent time yesterday making some food. Ernie is part of a group at his church called the "Holy Smokers." They smoke various meats and sell them to help fund missions. They recently cooked some ribs and pork, which we are going to get to enjoy tonight! Susan asked me to bring an appetizer and a side dish to go along with it, so I chose to make Spinach and Artichoke Dip and Potato Salad.

The Spinach and Artichoke Dip recipe is one my mom gave me. It's very easy and so good. Here's what you need:

Two 8 oz. blocks of cream cheese
One can of artichoke hearts, chopped
One package of frozen spinach
One stick of butter
Half a package of Parmesan cheese
garlic powder

Cook the spinach according to the package. Add the chopped up artichokes to the spinach while it is cooking. In a separate pan, melt the butter. Add the cream cheese, spinach, artichokes and a cup of Parmesan. Add garlic powder to taste. Place in a baking dish and cover with more Parmesan cheese. Bake 5-10 minutes at 350 degrees.

The dip is good with tortilla chips, bagels chips and even veggies. Here's a pic of mine before it went in the oven. It looks even better once it's all hot and gooey, but I'll be finishing it up tonight right before the party.

On top of all of my party cooking, I also decided to make homemade Red Beans and Rice from my newest cookbook for dinner last night. It was about a two-and-a-half hour process but so worth it! Doesn't it look good?!?

Mmmm ... I can't wait to chow down tonight! What are your plans for the big game?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

It's been an unusually strange week. On Tuesday, we got caught up in the nationwide winter storm and received an inch or two of ice. That created one complete day of being "ice-bound" inside. Wednesday, I ventured, very slowly, to work. I never made it over 20 mph and my normally 20-minute drive took 40 minutes. By Thursday, I had a client in town and ended up driving, still slowly, all over Dallas. I told one of my coworkers that I was getting way too comfortable driving on sheets of ice! 

Last night, before going to bed, the weather man predicted we could receive one to three inches of snow. Well, imagine my surprise when I woke up to six inches of white, fluffy snow! 

Wow! So, we had another day inside. Landon did venture out to try and find some firewood (though the store was sold out) and purchase some milk. Tomorrow is supposed to be our first day since Monday to get above freezing, so I'm hoping some of this wintry wonderland will finally melt away. 

The ironic thing is that just last weekend, it was in the 70's and we were wearing flip flops and eating outside! The cold weather has definitely affected my productivity. I'm definitely ready for warmer weather.
Tonight, we finally decided to do some decorating with a purchase from last weekend's trip to IKEA.

While we were painting the dining room, one of our small mirrors ended up laying in the floor in this space in our office/craft room:

After it sat there for a week, we decided that we really like it! The space can be seen from the hallway leading from the living room to the bedrooms. It really opened up the space. 

So, we went on the hunt for a mirror to put there. Before our IKEA trip, I browsed the website and considered this "Mongstad" mirror:
But when we were in the store, we measured it and determined it definitely wouldn't fit in our space. I didn't think we were going to find anything, until we walked up and saw this one:
It's the "Hemnes" and it was perfect! So, we made the purchase and brought it home. 

We attempted to hang it up using Hercules hooks.

If you have never used these, they are great. They will support a large amount of weight. Landon's sister and mom originally found them. We've almost used all the ones they gave us so I guess we'll be buying more soon!

I say "attempted" because we got one hook in but when we went to put in the other, it just wouldn't go. Perhaps we ran into a stud or some other weird issue, but it just would not go in. So, we ended up using a normal screw on that side. But, we've never had an issue with the Hercules hooks before, so I still recommend them. 

And, here's what it looked at in the end:

Sorry the pic's not the best. I had lost my "natural light" by the time I got ready to take the picture. (Notice I was trying to stay out of it, too.) Plus, I really need a new camera.

Anyway, it actually looks pretty good! Plus, I have a new place to review my outfits before leaving the house.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Channeling My Inner Girl Scout

Last weekend, in preparation for church on Sunday, Landon needed to cut up vegetables for the kids to use as stamps. I asked if he was planning to make potato stamps, but he didn't know what those were. Luckily, I remembered using them to make a shirt back in my Girl Scout days. So, I went to work.

Viola! Glad to know all those Girl Scout meetings paid off!

The stamps worked great. If you've never made these and have kids, then you should give them a try. They'll be some of the cheapest stamps you'll ever buy!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

IKEA Wish List

When Landon, Laura and I were at IKEA this weekend, we found a few things that are officially now on my "wish list." 

First, we saw these great chairs that I think would be perfect for our sunroom.


It may not look that comfortable, but it really is! It also has a little foot stool, that makes it even better. Landon and Laura really liked them.

We also have been throwing around the idea of getting a sofa bed, so that if we were lucky enough to have several family members come visit at the same time (hint, hint you guys) that we would have enough places for everyone to sleep. So, we took a look at the IKEA selection and found this one that we really liked.


What's great about this sofa bed, is that there is storage underneath the chaise lounge. The "bed" pulls out from underneath the love seat section. It's comfy too.
We were originally thinking about putting this in the sunroom but after measuring it out, we think it would take up the entire room and just be too much. So, we are now thinking about putting it in our living room. Our current furniture, which was bought a few years ago from Rooms to Go is falling apart, so we've had furniture on our "wish list" for a while now. This may be the first step ... we'll see!