Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Knock Off Pottery Barn Eagan Mirror

Way back I posted about my loooong dining room wall and how I added stripes to try to break up the space. But it was still a long wall of nothingness.

We have lots of artwork but I couldn't exactly hang up a whole row of frame across! What I needed was a large statement piece to anchor the wall.  Ever since I saw this mirror online, I loved the design and knew it would be perfect for that wall.

Unfortunately, with the $700 price tag, it was simply not happening! And then Layla came to my rescue. She gave an amazing tutorial how to recreate it - count me in! I am not going to document my process in detail because she does such an amazing job, but here are some photos showing what I did.

I used 1/2" plywood instead of MDF because I knew I was going to hang it (Layla has hers on her mantle) and it would have made it extra heavy. I also glued the mirrors and trim one row at a time.

You can see my oh-so-glamorous basement workshop in the background. The guy at HD who cut the original piece didn't do a perfect job so I waited to do the outer trim last and centered everything else. I ended up using outside corner moulding to go around the border because I wanted the exposed sides to have a clean look.

Here's a closeup of the rosette detail where the trim intersects. I love how it covers up the seams.

Voila! Here it is all pretty and hanging up. Ignore everything you see in the reflection because it's (hopefully) all going to change. I used two picture hanging anchors that hold up to 100 lbs each because, man, this thing is heavy! I know it's only about 30 lbs or so, but better safe than sorry!

I LOVE how it came out and I couldn't have done it without my amazing dad! In total I spent around $200 which is much more reasonable than PB's $700 and I got to make it the exact dimensions that I wanted to.

What kinds of things are you eyeing that you want to knock-off?
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DIY by Design  | House of Hepworths  | Remodelaholic | Serenity Now | It's Overflowing | Beneath My Heart | Thrifty Decor Chick | Pretty Handy Girl |

Monday, March 26, 2012

Yard Updates

When I last posted about the yard, things weren't looking all that great. We had a bunch of trees taken down and their stumps ground up, but there were still big piles of wood chips across the lawn. Our neighbor's cleaning lady wanted the mulch for her garden so we were happy to see her take everything that she could. Numerous posts on craigslist offering free mulch only brought a handful of people and there was A LOT!

This is what the yard looked like after everyone took what they wanted:

In other words, still not all that good looking! Here's a view looking out towards the street.

We decided to also have these two bushes removed (should've had it done when the tree guys were here, but we decided too late). A few different landscaping companies came out to gives us some estimates for smoothing out the yard, removing remaining mulch, filling holes, planting grass, etc.

I was pleasantly surprised when I came home from work one day and found the yard looking like this.

It may not look like much to you, but for us it is amazing! We have a clean slate for our yard and I'm looking forward to adding some color. The protective layer that's over the grass seed is supposed to turn brown and disintegrate so we just have to wait for that to happen. In the meantime, I'm turning my attention elsewhere.

Our front flower bed is looking pretty haggard. There are hydrangeas (my favorites!) on the outer parts and three azalea bushes in the center. What do you mean you can't tell?

Are the random daffodils and humongous weeds blocking your view? Yeah, tell me about it. I'm looking forward to spending some time out here weeding and probably putting on some more mulch. I just need the weather to cooperate. It's been rainy and cool the past few days so nothing's happening out here yet.

Directly to the right and back of this flower bed is the future home of our vegetable garden. It doesn't look like much now, but after Passover, the kids and I are looking forward to some big time gardening. I already got some seeds so I need to read when the best time to plant them is. I think it still might be a little early, but we can definitely start carving out some space.

Did you get any projects done over the weekend?

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Crispy Onion Baked Potatoes

It's been a while since I posted a recipe so I wanted to share another crowd pleaser. I admit I took the easy way out and used canned potatoes, but you can definitely use regular potatoes for this recipe. My favorite is Yukon Gold potatoes, but any type should work.

Crispy Onion Baked Potatoes

4 cans of potatoes (or 4-6 baking potatoes)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup onion soup mix
1 teaspoon flour
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed (or 2 tsp. garlic powder)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika

1. Preheat over to 350.
2. Cut potatoes into bite size pieces and place in pan.

3. Pour remaining ingredients over potatoes and mix very well.

4. Bake uncovered for 1 hour. Raise temperature to 400 and cook an additional 15-20 minutes for extra crispiness.

Yay for one dish recipes that are easy and delicious. Enjoy!

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House of Hepworths | Serenity Now 

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Pantry is Now Safe!

Good news! The pantry door is now safe to open and close without the risk of something falling on top of you! To be honest, the longest part was taking everything out and organizing it, but it was definitely well worth it.

This is how the pantry/closet/staircase looks when totally empty.

My great hubby cleaned it all out - vacuuming and wiping it all down.

Here's the chaos that ensued all over the kitchen. It was not a pretty sight...

And here's an "after" of the food cabinet. I still need to pretty it up and add labels, but at least it's functional and we can find what we need. The only money I spent on this project was the $10 little drawers from Target on the middle shelf, every other container or box was something that I already owned. Yay for being cheap!

And then there's the pantry closet. It may not seem like such a major before and after, and like I said, I still need to pretty it up, but the difference for me is Huge! Each shelf/step actually make sense now.

 And it's incredible to see how much empty space there is now.

I threw out everything that had expired and gave away some stuff that we don't use to my sister. After that, everything sort of fell into place and now it all makes sense.

And here's a before and after just for fun:

What did you tackle over the weekend? Any spring cleaning or fun organizing projects?

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pantry Danger Zone

Warning: You are now entering the pantry, which has come to be known as the "Danger Zone" -- anything can fall down at any point without warning. Ahhh! How did it come to this?

This is not the primary place where we keep our food (though it may look otherwise), but it houses the overflow and things not used on a daily basis. It is actually the stairway to our attic and the previous owners of the house put in shelves and used it as storage. We don't use the attic for anything so it's not an inconvenience. The wood that you see in the top of the picture below has a handle and is a "hatch" that you can lift up to get into the attic, but we keep it closed all the time so the rest of the house is better insulated.

The previous owners also added these storage pieces on the back of the door which come in handy. 

This space wouldn't be half bad if it was actually used efficiently. And I didn't take a picture of our other food cabinet, but you can use your imagination.

There are so many gorgeous pantries out there and in my dream kitchen, we are definitely having a walk-in pantry, but this is what we have for now so I gotta make the best of it.

Here's some eye-candy of real pantries that real people use, instead of enormous pantries in houses that don't exist in my zip code.


I love all the clear storage, labels, baskets and overall organization. Let's see what this weekend brings. What projects do you have on your agenda?

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pinterest Challenge Complete

For the winter edition of the Pinterest Challenge, I went through my pinterest boards and chose this monogrammed tray as my inspiration. I found it on the blog Being Brook.

(Click image for direct link)
I started with this tray from the dollar spot at Target. It was cute, but could definitely use an upgrade.

The supplies I started with: letter stencils, Martha Stewart floral stencils, acrylic craft paint and foam stencil brushes (all from Michael's). Notice I said "started with" - that should give you a clue that this project did not progess in the way I imagined...

I started by tracing the stencils directly onto the tray just to get an idea of the layout and what it would look like. I knew they would eventually get painted over, but it helped me see how everything would look.

Then I began brushing on the paint with a craft paint brush and things were not looking good. The coverage was very minimal and I wasn't expecting that. I started painting this in the morning before leaving to work and was hoping to get the pink layer finished before I left so I could work on the stencil part when I got home. At the rate I was progressing, I would not make it to work on time so I just had to leave it for later.

As I was driving home, I knew I'd have to pull out the big guns a.k.a. spray paint, and made a detour to Home Depot. I already had primer at home, but wanted to get a bright pink, fun color.

A few coats was all it took to cover up all the polka dots. Phew! (Don't mind my impromptu ribbon roll supports!)

Another few coats of spray paint in "Berry Pink" and I was good to go.

Now for the stenciling. On the original tray, Brook used a Silhouette to create her stencil. Since that is not in the budget right now, I relied on good old Martha. Since I have never used a stencil before, I wanted to do a dry run so to speak. I practiced on some craft paper. The first time I used too much paint so it bled through and the design was not very crisp. The second time was much better, and I also learned that even using the smallest brush, it was hard to keep the paint from going off the edges onto the surrounding paper.

I took some painters tape and put it around the edges where the openings were close to the edge of the stencil.

This is how it came out. The lines aren't perfectly crisp but I am totally okay with that. I'm actually really happy with it, especially considering how it was looking in the beginning. I decided not to put any name across the middle because I am becoming a little attached to it myself!

I put some of my stuff on it just to see how it looks and me likey :-) Sorry for the discrepancies in how the color is coming out. I'm still learning my camera, but the true color is closest to the one above, it's not a coral color as its showing below.

What do you think?

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