Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Recipe Challenge

If you're participating in the 52 Weeks To An Organized Home Challenge, you already know that this week is Recipe Organization Week. This is going to be a tough one for me. Not because my recipes are unorganized, but because I have a lot of recipes. My problem isn't really with all of the family favorites that I cook on a regular basis, but with all of those fabulous looking recipes torn out of magazines, my "To Try Someday" recipes.

I keep them all nice and organized in this little folder:

But check this out:

That's just the "Main Dishes" section. I'm pretty sure there's hundreds - the picture doesn't even really do it justice. And the problem is, they seem to go into the folder, but never come back out. So I've issued myself a challenge - I have to choose at least 1 recipe at random each week and either make it or toss it. Hopefully this will turn my "collection" into something functional and usable.

This week I actually pulled 3 recipes out (and tossed 2). I will be making - Sweet Potato and Gruyere Turnovers, Morrocon-Style Turkey and Chickpeas, and Turkey & Bacon Waffle Sandwiches. Yum!

Monday, January 30, 2012

I want to live here . . .

. . . or here . . .

. . . or maybe here . . .

photos from Blue Pueblo

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Boden Inspired Button Flower Cardigan

Inspired by this cute tunic in Boden's latest catalog:

I loved the little button flowers:

My version started out as this plain, thrifted cardigan:

If you want to still be able to button it, you can sandwich a button on the inside with one of the "flower" buttons on the outside and use the inner button as your closure:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ways to Re-Use Old Books

Ok, it actually makes me a little sad that these books aren't being read, but check out these great ways to reuse old books
(Warning: this list contains both practical and completely impractical diy ideas):

A book chair - not really sure how comfortable this would be (seen here)

book desks (seen here)

a Christmas tree (seen on Pinterest , &)

book lamp tutorial from HGTV

or as a floor lamp (here)

hollowed out to make a secret storage compartment (tutorial here)

as shelves (from Real Simple)

And finally, these paintings are simply amazing:

by Mike Stilkey

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I've been watching the thrift stores lately for a pair of vintage oxfords (a. they're cute and b. they look so comfy) to no avail until the other day I came upon these:

Unfortunately, I didn't love the all white but for a couple of dollars I thought I'd see if I could do something with them.

Originally, I thought I could apply some shoe polish to change them up - that clearly didn't work. They just look kind of dirty.

So I broke out my acrylic craft paint and started painting. Yes, you can paint shoes!

After painting them, I also went over them with a light coat of craft varnish to try to add some durability. And I changed out the white laces for brown. Now these may not be the longest lasting pair of shoes I'll ever own, but I think they were definitely worth the couple of dollars I spent.

I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can wear them like this:

Monday, January 23, 2012

Living Room Tour

Sorry, no before pics of this project because it was a bit spur of the moment. But, prior to this little revamp, our living room was painted shades of beige and chocolate brown with huge, overstuffed, dark furniture. I was sick of it - and had been for a while. So I had been on the lookout for a new couch and finally found one I liked (and could afford) over Christmas. But it was a camel/beige color and it definitely wouldn't work with the beige walls. So I started painting. And, bonus, the kids were home to help me with this project!

Here's our living room now - with the new couch, new paint color, some additional new-to-me furniture and a few already owned but revamped pieces as well (warning - lots of photos):

the painting was an e-bay purchase several years ago

thrift store table + a coat of paint (and notice the lamp from this project)

The wingback chairs were both purchased at a used furniture store. I just painted the legs white to update them a bit.

We've had this coffee table forever - I gave it a new coat of white paint. And distressed it because eventually my kids were probably going to distress it for me anyway.

Overall, the room just seems so much bigger and brighter now. And has already gotten way more use than it did before.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Thrift Store Score - The Cutest Chucks Ever!

Really, aren't these the cutest Chuck Taylor's you've ever seen? I love them. Thrifted -$3 - in excellent shape - and in my size. A total score!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Creative Mending

I picked this fun, drape-y top up at Marshall's a while back for a couple of bucks. It was marked way, way down because it had a hole . . . right, smack-dab, in the front.

I wasn't quite sure how to fix it so it sat in my to-be-mended pile for a while. Because of the location of the hole, I couldn't just darn it shut. So finally I decided I would have to cover it up with something. I pulled out a square piece of lace, sewed it on, trimmed along the neckline, and now. . .

. . . totally invisible hole!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Free Printable Labels

So my assignment for this week's 52 Weeks To An Organized Home is to organize my pantry/food storage areas. And a part of this is "containerizing" and labeling. I may be just slightly crazy, but the labeling part of this actually gets me really excited.

For about 30 seconds, I considered going and buying a label maker. And then I realized I could probably get free printable labels online. And I was right. And they're much cuter than the plain ones that a label maker would make.

My dry goods are now all "containerized" and labeled:

You can get these free printable labels here at Better Homes & Gardens.com These were my favorite because you can download and print them in different sizes, shapes, and colors and you can customize them with whatever text you would like - so you can personalize them for your pantry items. I just printed them off on adhesive backed paper, cut out, and applied to my canisters. So fun!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

World's Best Lotion

I have super dry skin, which is especially bad during the winter months. Honestly, sometimes my legs get so dry and itchy that I scratch them until they're raw. I know, gross! I've tried all different types of lotions to alleviate the problem. They either don't work, smell horrible, or, in a few cases, actually seem to make the problem worse. So, when I saw a "recipe" for the world's best lotion, I had to give it a try. And you know what, this time it actually lives up to the hype. This stuff works great! And it's easy and inexpensive to make, using ingredients you can find at most grocery or drug stores.

There seem to be a few slightly different versions of this lotion floating around, but this is the one I used.

It's made up of these 3 ingredients:

Just mix all 3 ingredients up with a kitchen mixer. I apply it once in the morning and no more itchy, dry legs. Hurray!