Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Accent Walls & Fireplace Painting, what to do?

My client has a new home, newly stripped wall paper and now they are ready to paint.
They asked me to help them in choosing the right paint colors and help them to create a modern and comfortable space. They would like an accent wall, 2-3 colors maybe in this open floor plan consisting of a living room, dining room, hallway to bedrooms and hallway to down stairs. There also in an adjacent kitchen that has a large window opening to the dining room.
And the fireplace. Should they paint it?
Let's see what it looks like now-

Come back to see how I create some images for them with different color options.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

How to Make Lotion Bars, for Soft Skin all Winter!

My hands are very dry in the winter, and start to crack when its really cold.  I'm always reapplying lotion, it doesn't last throughout the day.  My skin is also very sensitive so I don't use anything with scents, etc..Most of the lotions are made with chemicals and the all natural ones are expensive.  So I researched into making my own.  The ingredients are not cheap, but much cheaper than if you bought the products already made. After you make batches it is well worth it! 
You just rub it on your hands and they will be greasy for a few minutes, but it'll go away then they will feel soft, even after you wash them.  I use it twice a day.  This recipe is based from the site The Wellness Mama, she has great recipes & ways to make them. I found this one to be the easiest for me to make. 

If you can find them, buy organic ingredients & unrefined which means raw, not processed to remove impurities or unwanted elements.

Hand Made Lotion Bars Ingredients:
{Equal Parts} I'd start with 1 cup each, will make about 8-10 lotion bars, size shown below
1 Part: 100% Pure Shea Butter
1 Part: Beeswax
1 Part: Coconut Oil
If using 1 cup of each ingredient above then:
1 tsp. Vitamin E Oil
30 drops (or more) of Peppermint Essential Oil or you can use lavender, whatever essential oil you like. Peppermint oil is very good for your skin! Read more here.
In a double boiler, add the Shea Butter, Beeswax & Coconut Oil. Place over a pot of water, then turn heat on and stir as it begins to melt. Stir until completely melted.
I bought a double boiler to use just for this, then I don't have to worry about cleaning it after.

When mixture is completely melted take off of heat and stir in tsp. of Vitamin E Oil & 30 drops of Peppermint Oil, this will give it a light scent, add more drops if you like it a little stronger.  Carefully pour into molds. My daughter's requested silicone hearts. I also used paper cupcake liners, place in a cupcake tin before pouring. Let sit over night. They will easily come out of the mold. I store them in a small zip lock bag after. I also bought small tins for gifts.


It is cheapest to buy these ingredients on line. I bought my 1st batch at Whole Foods, and spent a little more than I needed.  Cost at Whole Foods:
7 oz Pure Shea Butter, $9.99 (2 of these)
14 oz Organic Coconut Oil 7.99 (aprox)
Beeswax, there probably is someone in your town or near by that is a bee keeper, go that route 1st to see if they have any.  I found 1 near me who sold it for $10 a pound. You can also buy a block at AC Moore or Micheal's in their candle making area, just make sure its pure beeswax.
.5 oz Vitamin E Oil $5.49
2 oz Peppermint Essential Oil $10.99

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Easy Tackable Wall Surface for Kids Room

This is an easy way to make a tackable surface. After my son has been taping or tacking stuff all over the walls I finally made this for him. The first thing I did was figure out the best place for it. I decided to put it between the door and dresser, a narrow space where he usually is taping pictures on the wall anyway.
I bought (2) 20" x 30" foam core boards, (micheal's 2.99 each) and I bought a piece of black flannel fabric, with a subtle herringbone pattern. I like having a dark background that isn't too busy so you're pictures pop out. Not shown, an exacto knife, ruler and I also bought some felt to do some cut-outs (optional), felt will easily adhere to the flannel so he can move the pieces around.

Foam core comes in different sizes, so figure out what size(s) are best for your space. You want to cut as little as possible, just easier. Butt the pieces together and use duct tape on both sides to attach them.
For mine, I taped the 2 pieces together making it now 20" x 60".
After I laid out my fabic, which is 54" wide, I realized I had to cut back the foam core a few inches so the fabric could wrap around. Its important to use a very sharp blade on your exacto knife & use a cutting board or a large piece of cardboard underneath because you will cut through.  First I drew the line in pencil across. Before you cut, sheer the top layer of paper all the way across, along a ruler's edge. Then go back and cut all the way through.
I used duct tape to adhere the fabric to the foam core. I actually ran out so I used duct tape on 2 of the opposite sides and used a hot glue gun for the other 2, which worked great.
I used small 1" nails to attach it to the wall in the corners and along the side near the duct tape seam.
Using felt, which is super cheap and can make it custom for your child, I cut out a C for my son's name and Pikachu, from Pok√©mon, who he is obsessed with right now.  I printed out a picture of Pikachu and traced it on the felt.  He now wants me to add some more characters...I did the C free hand, it came out ok considering it was late, I did this at night while he was sleeping so he could wake up to it.



Monday, January 27, 2014

Chocolate Zucchini Bread


This chocolate zucchini bread is so good & moist.  It's best the day you make or the day after. The original recipe I found is from the blog, Simply Recipes. I changed it slightly, (there were coffee grounds in the other I wouldn't have liked). You can also add less butter if you like but replace with the same amount of unsweetened applesauce.

This makes 2 loaves.

Spray/flour the loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 



4 cups grated zucchini (about 4 small to med size zucchinis)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa (I've used both Hershey's special dark cocoa and regular, both are good)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) melted
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Grate zucchini, with a small hole grater so the pieces are small/fine, keep in a separate bowl.

Whisk together: flour, unsweetened cocoa, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl until well combined. 

With an electric mixer, mix sugar & eggs well.  Gradually add shredded zucchini, use a wooden spoon to mix well. Then add flour mixture.
Spoon mixture into the 2 loaf pans equally.
Place in the center of oven & bake for 50 minutes, (until toothpick comes out clean).
Let cool for about 20 min before removing from pan.

This one's very dark because I used Hershey's Special Dark cocoa.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Paper Towel Craft/Art

I recently saw a wreath made out of cut paper towel roll pieces so I thought how easy is this and no cost, the kids would love this. So I was thinking what kind of sculptures could we make? I saved a bunch of rolls and we played around with them-

I like the white foam core behind them. If you glue them together with no background it's hard to see, unless you have a contrasting wall color behind.

First I measured 1 inch increments, then creased  the whole roll before cutting with scissors.

My daughter used elmer's glue to attach her pieces and let it sit over night. She used paper clips in some areas to keep it together. A close pin would also work. I tried a hot glue gun which holds well and much faster drying time.

The next day, I spray painted my daughter's snowflake white and she sprinkled purple glitter on it.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins Kids Favorite

I've made many variations of banana chocolate chip muffins, this one is the easiest and the kids love them!
This makes about 24 muffins (a dozen isn't enough)

Preheat oven to 350. Spray muffin tin or line with cupcake liners.

6-8 ripe bananas
1 cup of palm sugar
2/3 cup coconut oil
2 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups of flour (I use Arthurs white whole wheat flour) Or you can use 1/2 whole wheat, 1/2 white
1 cup of mini chocolate chips

Healthy optional add ins: about 1/4 cup ground flax, chia seeds or walnuts

Mash bananas, then add sugar, oil & eggs. Mix well.
In a separate bowl wisk together baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour.
Add to banana mixture. Mix well, then add chocolate chips.
Using an ice cream scooper (if you have 1 that has the slide out lever) scoop in each sprayed muffin tin.  Bake about 20 min. Insert toothpick to make sure they're done.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Making an Ottoman out of a Storage Bin

I bought these 2 storage bins on clearance for $5 each a few years ago. They are very strong & sturdy and I had every intention of painting them and reusing them for storage. But I'm glad I waited because I was recently looking for ottomans/extra seating for the kids & their friends and I remembered I had these!
After a light sanding I primed and painted, 3 coats of Benjamin Moore French Beret. Then finished it with with 3 coats of Minwax Water Based, Polycrylic Clear Satin.
We had extra plywood in the basement, so my husband cut them the same size of each top for the seat.
I purchased 2 1/2 inch thick foam for each at the craft store. I learned that using an electric knife (same for carving a turkey) is the best way to cut the foam.

I wrapped the foam and plywood together with batting, attached with staple gun. Then I cut the fabric leaving 6 inches around each side, and also attached with my staple gun.  I choose a heavy upholstery fabric for extra durability, I highly recommend upholstery fabric.

After you get the 4 sides tightly on, trim the corners to avoid it bulging. Fold the corners neatly and staple pulling the fabric to get it tight. After the fabric is on I then applied Gorilla Glue around the top of the storage bin, then placed the seat on top.  With a nail gun, I nailed a 1" nail, 18 GA. (with no head) along the side, at an angle from the fabric into the plywood then into the bin. The nail goes through the fabric and I swear you cant even see it, the hole left is so small I cant find it.  

I could have used these seats for storage by attaching the top with hinges but from experience these would just get filled with junk never to be seen again. So I opted from seats/ottomans with no storage.

All done and getting plenty of use.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Free Stuff, Table Makeover, Zinc Finish

At the end of the summer, I passed a house in town with many pieces of furniture out front, all free. I grabbed a couple, what I could fit in my car, to refinish them. Maybe keep them or give them away. I've been wanting to try this Sherwin-Williams Impressions paint, which can create a zinc look. So here's how I did it, for what I decided to keep as my new coffee table:

The paint I used was Sherwin-Williams Faux Impressions Metallic, Latex Finish, Pearl. This a translecent paint, so a base coat is needed.  I wanted a smooth finish so I used this sanding block between coats, 100 grit. These 3/16" rollers worked great too leaving a smooth finish.  The directions by Sherwin-Williams recommended a different nap roller, but it would leave a pebbly finish, which I didn't want. This small roller was great for this size project. I recommend using this rather than a brush to avoid brush marks, which will show up on this finish.

After disassembling the table, I sanded with an electric sander, then primed using a gray primer because I knew I was going to use a dark gray paint.  

 After priming was done & dry I painted each piece of wood with 2 coats in Sherwin-Williams 7076 Cyberspace. Giving that a couple days to dry, I rolled on the 1st coat of SW Faux Impressions paint.
* Important * - This paint dries quickly so you have a few minutes to remove the roller markers. I continued to roll, in different directions until the marks disappeared.

Its sort of blue when 1st applied.  Left side is still wet, the 2 on the right have already dried.  I gently wiped off a little of 1st coat. Then after it dried too much was wiped off so I did a 2nd coat and didn't wipe off any.

The legs I sanded to remove any loose rust, primed and painted. I spray painted these with Rust-Oleum American Accents Metallic, color: Oil Rubbed Bronze. I could have used black because its hard to see the color once done.

 I finished the top with 3 coats of Minwax Water Based, Polycrylic Clear Satin.

I really love this finish and will try again with a larger piece of furniture like a bureau.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

How to Make a Coffee Filter Wreath

Supplies: 16" foam wreath ($4.50 with Michael's coupon)
200 count natural coffee filter package ($1.29 at grocery store)
Glue gun
a dozen glue sticks (give or take)
 2 1/4 " thick satin ribbon
3 sewing pins

 Because I didn't want my wreath too full, which is what happens when you use the whole filter, I cut each one, leaving 2" for the wreath.  Throw away/recycle the pointed piece. With the 2" remaining piece, bunch together the filter and apply hot glue, place on wreath, hold for about 30 seconds to adhere.


This is the back of the wreath, as you can see its hard to get the glue on every piece of the folded filter, which is fine, it will still hold.

I wrapped a piece of the ribbon around the top of the wreath, then brought it up to hang. Because mine is on the wall, no door, I used a staple gun to hold it in place. Its hidden under the ribbon. Sewing pins keep the ribbon in place on the back and 1 is used to attach the bow on.