Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My version

of the infamous "framed seafan". I saw this project on many other blogs recently, as well as in my latest Restoration Hardware Catalog (for $550!!! Oh wait, it's just been discounted to $439...much better!). I thought it would be perfect for one of the walls in our "dining alcove". We don't have a real dining room, or even a separate dining space. Our super huge living room has a weird alcove that we turned into a dining room by hanging a drum shade and getting an area rug to define the space. We're working with what we have here, obviously. I will say, our next house will have a HUGE formal dining room!

Anyways, back to my project. I found a large seafan on Ebay for $17.95 (with free shipping!) and used a Michael's 20% off coupon to score a 16x20 dark wood frame for $22. We decided to spray paint the seafan with some leftover pumpkin orange spray paint from our Goodwill lamp project from the fall. It helps to tie in some of the orange accents (the lamp and throw pillows) we have in the living room into the dining room, since they are essentially all in the same room. So for a total of $39.95, we now have some custom art in our dining room. Here's the final results!
I love how the veining in the seafan mimics the design in the table runner that is pretty much always on our dining room table. Totally an unplanned thing, but I'll take it!

Hanging on the wall - I promise in real life, there's more of a difference between the wall color and the mat in the frame.

I'm loving the slight nautical/beachy vibe it gives our house and that the orange is a fun pop of color!

Monday, March 28, 2011

What's for Dinner - Product Review

At my mom's recommendation, I tried something new for dinner tonight:

Philadelphia Cooking Creme - I'm sure most people have seen the ads for this by now. It was on sale last week 2 for $4, so I figured I'd give it a try. Last week was sort of crazy because I was super busy at work with a big event and I'm still recovering, so I was happy to cook with this tonight because it was so EASY! I used the Sante Fe flavor tonight and made the Chicken Enchiladas, which are featured on the back of the carton.

Even with having to brown the chicken, the entire recipe took less than 30 minutes total. I had everything on hand to make it (chicken, tortillas, shredded cheese, an onion and a can of diced tomatoes) so it was perfect! It was tasty - Jake ate THREE enchiladas, if that says anything about how it was. I won't say that I would use it every week, but it was great to make a quick, easy and good meal on a busy weeknight. I would definitely try the other flavors and recipes, especially if it's on sale or I have a coupon.

So if you are thinking about trying this, I say definitely do it. Especially for those nights when you need something fast and easy!

This post is simply my thoughts/recommendations on this product - I was not compensated in any way (not that I would object to receiving coupons for more of this!)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011


A few months ago (ok, like a year ago), I blogged about how I got a Pottery barn knock off entry way bench and shelf from JCPenny to act as our "coat closet" in the foyer since our house didn't have a real place for jackets and storage. (original post here) Well we LOVE the bench, however, it's taken me quite a while to make it our own. It sat un-accessorized for a year, but I finally got around to making it cute! Especially since it's literally the first thing you see when you walk in our front door, it wasn't making a very good impression. Here's the blah before:
It is great for storing shoes and other stuff like scarves, hats and gloves, but it was just sort of boring. I hated the white cushions on the bench because they got dirty so quickly (we have a dog with black fur!) and I felt like they blended in with the wall.

My first step was accessorizing the top. I found two glass vases that I loved and they fit perfectly up there. Then I turned to Etsy to find a fun print to frame, which I propped up against the wall. My last project came just recently when I got out my sewing machine (I told you I've been busy with that thing!) and made a new print cushion for the top to replace the dirty white ones. Here's the after:
Isn't it so much more fun?
Close up of the top (ignore the lovely nail pops in our ceiling that need to be fixed). I got the famous "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster, but found a seller on etsy who personalizes them with different things. Since J is big into sailing, I thought that one was perfect!
Close up of the cushion I made. The brown and green paisley matches the rest of the colors in our house and will definitely hide all the dirt and dog hair we have going on. I'm pretty proud of myself because I did a cushion with piping, which I think it makes it look more finished than just being plain.

So that's my latest house project - definitely makes our entry way more cheery and inviting!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Beauty Recap: Microdermabrasion

A few months ago, I bought a Groupon (LOVE groupon!) for microdermabrasion - 2 very discounted sessions that could be used anytime in 2011. It was at a plastic surgeons office, done by the esthetician there. Well I had my first session today and I'm in LOVE with the results!

Obviously I'm not even the big 3-0 yet (7 months! eeeek!) but I definitely have been noticing some effects of aging, sun damage, etc as far as small wrinkles and sun spots. So I decided to give it a try. The procedure itself didn't hurt at all, it was actually quite relaxing. It basically was like a hard core facial.

She started by rubbing a few different creams and lotions on my face to soften and clean it. Then she started the actual abrasion part, which is where she used a small little vacuum device to rub very fine crystals all over my face to remove the top layer and "refresh" my skin by revealing all the new skin underneath. She went over my whole face and neck 3 times. To me, it felt like someone was rubbing a small eraser over my skin - weird, but it didn't hurt at all.

After the main procedure, she did a few more lotions and then did a super moisturizing mask that sat on my face for 8 minutes (total relaxation - I definitely took a power nap!) Then she wiped that away and I was all finished - about 45 minutes total.

I have no redness or anything - she said cause my skin is pretty young, I wouldn't have too much of a reaction to it. She recommends getting treatments about every 8 weeks so I will be going back in May. My skin seriously looks better (even right after she did it, I could see a difference). I just look fresher, not as tired and my skin feels incredible! It's so soft, I love it!

So this might be my new beauty regimen a few times a year as my splurge for myself. I'm a little worried that because I liked it so much, it might be my gateway drug into plastic surgery! haha - just kidding...sort of! Botox anyone??

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Post about trash

Actually, it's more about trashcans than trash. J and I decided we would focus on our backyard this spring and summer - we want to fix it up and get it to be a little nicer. It's fenced in and pretty big, but lacks any real grass or gardens. It's just kind of blah.

On Saturday, we did a little project that is sort of pointless and unnecessary, but it brings a smile to my face, so I guess that's all that matters. We store our trashcans and recycling bins on the inside of the fence in a little area right by the gate, for easy access to take them out. Well no grass grows in this area, so it's basically a big mud pile for our trashcans to sit in. The lovely before...beautiful huh?
So we decided to make a little bricked in patio area for the trashcans to sit so they stay out of the mud and it just cleans things up a bit.We headed to Home Depot bright and early to get our supplies. Well actually, the first step was that Jake measured everything out and figured thesize of the little patio. Since it's a place for trash to sit, we didn't get the most exciting paver stones or wood...just the basic stuff. Then we got to work!
2 10 foot 4x4 posts, 12x12 grey brick pavers and 6 bags of paver sand. Oh and the 4 large stakes that we used to drive the corners of the posts into the ground.
J measured everything and we decided we wanted to notch the wood so it fit together at the corner, sort of like Lincoln Logs. So he taught me a trick about cutting wood...
He made a bunch of little cuts half way down and then we used a hammer to loosen the wood to make the notch- sort of hard to explain, but it worked really well!
J was in charge of sawing the notches and I was in charge of hammering the pieces out.
The we laid the wood frame out, dug a little trench for it and leveled everything.
J drilled holes and hammered in a large metal stake into each corner to secure it well into the ground. It also makes it look a little bit more finished this way.
We put down some anti-weed paper and then laid out the first layer of paver sand - it was a little bigger and rocky.

Then we did the 2nd layer of paver sand and started laying out the stones.
Almost there - J just testing out the stones to make sure they are level.
Finished! It took about 3.5 hours from start to finish.
And here it is in use with the trashcans! So exciting...ha!

Even though it's a simple project, I'm really happy that we did this. It cost us about $80 in supplies, but we had a $50 HD gift card, so it was really only $30. This project was a lot harder than I expected though and it made me realize I would never be able to make a larger patio - I'm not a fan of all this leveling and measuring, etc.

So not a very exciting weekend project, but something we definitely needed!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Almost ready for Project Runway!

So this past fall, I took up sewing. I had always wanted to learn so after a few lessons from my mom, I set out to make curtains for our living room. Yes, I decided that curtains would be a great first sewing project - nothing like chewing off more than you can handle right?? It all started because I found this amazing fabric online and I wanted to base our entire living room around it - the colors worked with what we already have going in that room and I loved thelarge graphic print. Normally I'm a neutral and plain-jane sort of decor girl, so this was outside of my comfort zone.

Anyways, it may have taken me THREE months (and 3 sewing machines - I had some technical issues!) but our curtains are now done (well actually, I finished this project back in October, but I'm just getting around to blogging about it). I LOVE the way they came out and they totally make our entire room! I made 4 panels - 2 large ones for our sliding glass door and then a smaller set for the window. I just did plain panels and used clips to hang them, but I'm still very proud! I even lined them with a nice cream twill so they are heavy and nice quality.

Onto the pictures!
The large sliding door curtains closed
And a little bit different lighting, to show them opened.
The smaller window curtains - and a good shot of our painted goodwill lamp! We have small pops of orange in our living room with all the greens and browns. I'll have to do a post about the lamp later.
Close up of the fabric - I'm seriously in love with it! It's a Robert Allen fabric that I found on sale from fabric.com for $6.47/yard!

I ended spending about $50 on all the print fabric, plus the cream twill for the lining. We already had the curtain rods and hooks from our old curtains, so I consider this a very budget friendly makeover. It really makes the room look complete (well, it's definitely not done, but it looks way better!) and I still get excited when I walk in and see my handiwork!

I have done several other sewing projects and plan on taking on some more in the very near future! I'm sure I'll have some more fun projects to share!
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