Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Small Change = A Big Change

A quick and easy change can make a big difference.

Man - that vent cover looks awful!

$10 later and it looks GAW-juss!

Not sure why I waited 2 years to change out that stupid vent cover in our kitchen. It was so gross from the previous owners covered in grease and grime and was full of dog hair. Blech! Now, it looks so purdy! And the air actually comes through it!! Go figure! LOL. Funny how sometimes you don't realize how bad something worked/looked until you fix/clean/change it. LOL.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

My cup runneth over! Thank you Heidi!

OK, so I would be COMPLETELY remiss if I did not take a moment to send a quick shout-out...

 ~ HOLLA!~

... to Heidi over at The Frugal Girls. Over the past month, she has featured my projects... not once... not twice... but THREE times! What the What???  Holy canoli!!

I am sooooo incredibly honored and flattered that she (and all of her readers!) find me to be somewhat inspiring talented worthy cool creative interesting {dare I say it outloud?}.

Why the big deal? You see, I currently have about 250 followers. And I am proud of my 250 followers. I am grateful for each and every one of those followers. And while I know I am "small potatoes" in the land of blogs, I am just fine with that. I am here for fun - not numbers. Knowing that there are a handful of you out there who enjoy traveling along with me is so gratifying and it just makes me feel all warm inside to know that there you are truly interested in what I have to say/write.


But, seriously, when a blog like Heidi's gives me a few "props", I have to admit that I am humbled and giddy with excitement all at the same time. I mean c'mon folks... in case you haven't noticed, Frugal Girls has... oh... I don't know... somewhere in the vicinity of 130 THOUSAND followers/likers! That is 6 digits people! Um yeah, I have about 0.2% of that. LOL.

As I said before, I know I'm "small potatoes" and that's cool. But the truth is... when you're talking about a blog the size of Frugal Girls... I'm really like one single dehydrated instant potato flake in comparison to Heidi who is a big honkin' bowl of creamy, buttery, mashed potato goodness. {Great, now I'm hungry.}   So, yeah, when a blog that size gives little ole me some exposure, I am giddy with excitement and pride. :D

Anyway, I just want to send out a formal ~THANK YOU~ to Heidi and to all of you new visitors {hello!} and followers {welcome!}. I sincerely appreciate you stopping by my humble little blog and hope you come back again! :)

You can see my project features over at Frugal Girls HERE (rainbow pudding popsicles), HERE (cake mix cookies) and HERE (DIY Mock Wainscoting).

And be sure to check out The Frugal Girls!

{p.s. Truth be told, my initial discovery of the land 'o' blogs started with Frugal Girls a couple of years ago when my husband was out of work for a year and we needed to save as much money as possible. Heidi shares so many awesome money saving tips/coupons/deals it was truly a lifesaver for us. I got hooked quickly and it wasn't until almost a year after that when I started getting into the DIY/crafty side of the blogosphere. Heidi is now venturing into that realm as well and I am so excited to have my two worlds collide!} I encourage you to check her out!

Thanks again!

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Monday, July 18, 2011

How I store my sheets

How do you store your sheets? Do you fold each sheet individually and then put sets in piles? That is how I used to do it. And my closet looked like this...

Piles of sheets

Not necessarily terrible, but not the nicest looking pile either - don't you agree?

Then I discovered the "pillowcase method" (as I like to call it). Here is the dealio...

1 - Fold the flat and fitted sheets from your set as you normally would. {Wow, those are some wrinkly sheets! LOL} {Oh, and yes, they will stay that way - the 3 yr old doesn't care if her sheets are wrinkly} {Ok, you got me - the sheets on my bed look the same exact way} {Hello, my name is Kyra. I am a non-ironer of sheets}. {And clearly I don't even bother to get them out of the dryer and folded soon enough to prevent wrinkles. Such is my life. Sue me.} Ok, so anyway... fold each of your sheets however you like to fold them.

Lay out your folded {terribly wrinkly} sheets

2 - Take a pillowcase from the set and open it. Slide in your first folded sheet into the lower half of the pillowcase.

Slide the folded sheets into a pillowcase

3 - Slide in your second folded sheet on top of the first. Add any extra pillowcases.

Peek a Boo!

4 - All of your sheets should be in the lower half of the pillowcase. Fold over the top half of the case to create a nice little neat package.

Nice little package!

5 - Admire how much nicer your linen closet looks now!

Much neater now! I love organized sheets!

The nice thing about this method is that when you want to change the sheets on a bed, you just grab your nice little packet and carry it easily to your bed. No searching for missing pillowcases, no juggling of crazy fitted sheets that want to pop open when you look at them funny... just a nice organized packet of linens. :)

Niiiiice! :)

What do you think? Better, huh? How do you organize your linens? Do you use my "pillowcase" method? {'cause, after all, I invented it you know} {and you probably owe me some sort of commission or royalty or residual check if you do} {heehee - I think I need to get more sleep!} {maybe the wrinkles in my sheets are disrupting my sleep??} {OK, I'd better go schedule this post and get to bed!} 

{  :) }

This project was featured! Thank you! Please be sure to check out these amazing blogs (and their parties!)

Linking up to these aprties (also see linky tab above):
Polish the Stars
A Bowl Full of Lemons

This project has been submitted to The CSI Project: Organization Ideas Challenge

Visit thecsiproject.com

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Boxes on our Walls - Part 4 {Assembling}

When I left off before, I had cut all of my molding pieces and gotten out this baby...

I gave this Nail Gun and Compressor to the Heela for his birthday this past year and he graciously showed me how to use it for this project. Now, you could clearly do this project with a hammer and nails, but if you have access to a nail gun, I highly recommend using one!

If you want a play-by-play visual of how to do this, check out THIS POST here by Thrifty Decor Chick. She actually made a video of the process and it was my go-to guide! I won't go into too much detail since that video is so great, but here are the basics...

{NOTE: Before you start assembling your boxes, I recommend painting your wall (if you plan to) as well as painting your molding pieces. According to all the research I did, it is much easier to paint everything before you put the molding up on the walls. Then later, you just fill in nail holes, caulk edges and touch up paint where necessary. I admit I had the luxury of skipping the painting step altogether since we had hired painters to come do our entire lower level the week after I did my boxes. But if we had not had them coming in, I would have painted everything before nailing, etc.}

Starting at the edge of your wall, use your spacer to determine how far away from the edge/top/bottom your left piece of molding needs to be. I cut my spacer from a paint stirrer/stick.

Use a pre-cut spacer to determine how far from the edge/top/bottom you need to be.

Use your level to make sure your molding is straight.

Make sure it's straight!

Nail in place using nail gun or hammer and nails. Line up the corner of the top piece and repeat the process, then repeat with the right piece, and lastly with the bottom piece. Don't worry if you have some gaps as they can be hidden later with spackle.

Align your angles to make a nice corner.

Here is a finished box - ta da!

For boxes on the same wall, again use your spacer to ensure you are the proper distance away from the first box and from the top. Continue, continue, continue. :)

Use your pre-cut spacer to make the positioning of your boxes easier.

Here is how it looked once I had all my boxes up (before caulking, filling in nail holes or painting).


Your next step would be to fill in all of your nail holes and caulk the edges. As mentioned above, I did not have to do this step myself since the painters we hired to do our lower level preferred to do it themselves. However, go HERE to see recommendations on this step (again from the fabulous Thrifty Decor Chick - she rocks!).

Lastly, your final step would be to touch up any paint. Again, since we had the painters coming in the following week, I was able to avoid the paint process. Here is the final result after they had caulked and painted a coat of primer.

Already looking so good!

And here is the final result after the walls were painted (Sherwin Williams Balanced Beige) and the area below the chair rail was finished out in semi-gloss white.

Finished {mock} Wainscoting - LOVE!

And here is a before and after collage...

What a nice change!

SO?? What do you think? How'd I do? Personally, I love the way the boxes came out! I plan to do some more in the dining room and on the upper landing (where we already have chair rail). Those areas have already been painted white semi-gloss so I'll just need to add my boxes (I'll paint them before hand) and caulk. I'd like to add some along the stairs too, but those require a little lot more work since they will have funky angles. We'll see if my math skills are up to the test - someday! ;)

I'd say this project was a fabulous success and couldn't be more pleased with how it came out. :)

**You can see the rest of this series here:
Part 1 - Idea
Part 2 - Sizing
Part 3 - Cutting

This post has been featured - THANK YOU!! Please be sure to check out these amazing blogs!



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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cake Mix Cookies

On the 4th of July I went to a friend's house to help celebrate her daughter's first birthday. I made these cookies to take along and they were a BIG hit...

Cake Mix Cookies - 4th of July style
What you need:
  • 1 box cake mix (I used white)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk *
  • Colored sprinkles
  • 1 can vanilla frosting
  • Food coloring
* I don't ever have buttermilk on hand so I used this substitute (combine 1 c. milk with 1 T. vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes. Use the amount you need).

What to do:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine cake mix, egg, oil and buttermilk in large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium until smooth.
  • Shape into 1-inch mounds of batter into balls and flatten a bit, then place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. (I used a small cookie scoop to get my dough on the cookie sheet and then flattened each dollop with an offset spatula.)
  • Top with sprinkles to match your color scheme (I used a red and white sugar combo left over from Christmas, with some blue sugar added on top since I was going for a 4th of July theme)
  • Bake until cookies are golden and firm, 8-10 minutes. Cool on wire rack. (my cookies were quite large so they took closer to 13 min. to cook)
  • Divide the frosting into bowls as necessary and use food coloring to achieve the desired colors. (I split mine into 2 bowls, leaving an equal amount in the frosting tub. Then colored one bowl red, one blue and left the stuff in the tub plain white).
  • Sandwich 2 cookies together with frosting (making an equal amount of sandwiches with each color of frosting). Enjoy!

These cookies got rave reviews from the adults and kids alike! The best thing I like about this recipe (besides the taste!) is that you can modify your cake mix flavor, sprinkle choices and frosting colors/flavors to suit any occassion! I'd love to try them with yellow cake mix and chocolate frosting since that is my favorite type of cake. The possibilities are endless!

Cake Mix Cookies

Notes for next time:

- I will flatten the dough balls a little bit more before baking. I found that the dough really doesn't spread much during the baking process and I would have liked my cookies to be a little thinner since they were being sandwiched together.

- I liked using my small cookie scoop to make my dough balls, but next time I think I won't fill it quite so full. My cookies ended up really quite large and I think they would have been better (and the dough gone further) had they been a bit smaller.

Note: Recipe adapted from Parents magazine April 2011 issue.

This post has been featured - THANK YOU!! Please be sure to check out these amazing blogs!

Linking up here:
Eat at Home - Cake Mix Link Up
It's A Keeper
House of Hepworths
A Little Knick Knack
FIngerprints on the Fridge
The Frugal Girls
Simply Designing
While He Was Napping
Tatertots and Jello
Under the Table and Dreaming
Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms
Keeping It Simple
The Tattered Tag
Polish the Stars

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Boxes on our Walls - Part 3 {Cutting}

Remember how I told you HERE about how I had decided to add some boxes to my walls? And then HERE I told you about how I decided what size to make my boxes. Well, now it is time to tell you how I actually "built" them. In other words, how I cut the molding and put it on the walls.

When I left off before, I had headed out to Lowes to buy the molding to be used for my boxes...

So I knew that I did NOT want to make wood boxes. Yes it would be more professional and all that, but I also knew it would be more difficult to cut, nail, etc. So I took Thrifty D├ęcor Chick’s advice and went for the foam-like stuff that is so much easier to work with. Initially I was going to use the stuff she recommended HERE which costs less than $5 for an 8’ length. 

(pardon the glare and crappy cell phone pic)

But the more I looked at it, the more I felt it was a little too wimpy for the look I was trying to achieve. So I splurged on this stuff which was much more interesting even though it was much more expensive and decided that the extra cost was worth it (although I admit, I had a realllllly hard time telling my cheap frugal side to shut up!).

Much more expensive at $13 a piece, but also much more stylish

I ended up needing 9 pieces for my 7 boxes - ouch! (but oh, so worth it! :)

Next step was to do all my cutting. I had previously purchased a miter box at Lowes (less than $15 for the box and saw) and got it set up in the garage. 

Handy Dandy Miter Box and Saw

Now, mind you... we have a whole wall’s worth of work tables, but the Heela has it all covered in junk important “man stuff” so I had to improvise with a couple of trash cans. Hey, I can be resourceful like the best of 'em! {Tip - I recommend putting something with “grip” under the miter box as I found mine really slipped around a bit. The Heela found an old rubber car floor mat in his pile of junk “man stuff” and it worked perfectly!}

Improvised work area - puts the term "white trash" on a whole new level - LOL

Then I just started measuring my pieces and cutting the ends at a 45 degree angle. {Tip - If your molding strips are like mine and not uniform on each side, make sure you are making your angle cut the right way}. Huh?? Ok… so my molding looked like this.

I decided that I wanted the right edge (as you look at it in the photo above) to be on the inside of my boxes. This means that my angles always need to look like the piece on the right in the photo below…

My angles all needed to be like the piece on the right

I admit that I made my cut going the wrong way more than once. {Rookie mistake!}

Be sure to pay attention to which way your angle needs to go!

But once I got into the groove of things, it just flowed. {Tip - I had previously tallied up how many pieces I needed of each length. Then I determined how to get the best “bang for my buck” from each 8’ length of molding. Some 8’ lengths gave me 3 pieces of cut molding which were all the same size, while others were cut into 4 pieces of different-sized molding. Just play around with the numbers until you are satisfied. The goal is to buy the fewest number of 8’ strips possible}

{Tip - As I cut each piece of molding, I wrote the exact length on the back. This way I wouldn’t have to guess which piece was which or re-measure them later to be sure I had grabbed the right one}.

Jotting down the length on the back of each piece of molding helps keep them organized

Here they are all lined up and ready to go. Yes, it was a lot of cutting, but thankfully, this foam stuff cuts SO easily!

That's a lot of cutting!

Now it was time to put them up on the walls. So I gathered my molding pieces, a level, a 3" spacer (I cut mine from a paint stick) and this lovely baby...

Not a necessity for this project, but it makes it soooo much easier!

In the next installment, I'll tell you about how I actually built the boxes on the walls. To be continued... :)

**You can see the rest of this series here:
Part 1 - Idea
Part 2 - Sizing

Part 4 - Assembly

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