Thursday, April 26, 2012

Make Your Own Mirror

Ever since finishing the "guts" of the Bathroom Update, I have been on the hunt for what to put on the  walls.
I couldn't get this picture out of my head
..and I thought for sure I wanted a [much smaller, not painted] version of a driftwood mirror for the long wall above the towel hooks:

 But the more I searched, the more empty-handed I came up.
I don't live on the shores of North Carolina where driftwood is plentiful and washes up on the shore by the ton, so if I wanted to DIY the frame I'd pretty much have to cross state lines.
I found a couple beautiful options online, but they were either A) Gigantic or B) more expensive than a car payment.  Since I had limited space and prefer not to place investment pieces in a bathroom, I thought I'd shelve the idea.

Then, I found this cute little driftwood frame at Gordman's for about $7.
That's what I'm talking about.
[I do love that they took so much time to place this haphazard piece of paper indicating where the "photo" should go.  Whew!  Thanks for that help, guys! ;) ]

It wasn't a mirror... but it soon would be!

Thanks to this little bit of magic in a can:

Here's how it works:

1) Take out the glass from your frame and clean it
2) Give the BACK SIDE a light coat - you want to spray the reverse side of whatever you want to be the reflective surface.  Think of it like you're spraying the back, painted side of an actual mirror.
3) In all, you're going to give the piece 5 *light* coats, allowing at least one minute in between coats for the solvents to evaporate.
**Note - this paint DOES have solvents, so make sure you really do use it in a well-ventilated area. I would avoid it altogether if you're pregnant in your first or second trimester.  I'm literally 72 hours away from my due date, so I used this outside, AND I made sure to wear a mask. **

That's it!  You just have to wait about 10 minutes for the magic to really happen, and then voila!


Catch as Catch Can
Frugal Friday

Monday, April 23, 2012

Deal Alert! Ballard Nautical Knock-Off

You know I love me some Ballard Designs, but I love a great deal even better! :)

I really like the natural, nautical look of their Rope Knot Doorstop.
I do not love that it's $45.  For a doorstop.

Never fear....
While running errands I found a dead ringer for it at my trusty Hobby Lobby... for $12.99!
At full price it's a major steal, but as we all know, wait 5 days at Hob Lob and you'll no doubt be able to find it on sale for half-off.  And if that doesn't work, just go to the website and print off a 40% off coupon.

I love the smell of a deal in the morning. :)


Friday, April 20, 2012

So Pinteresting... YUM! Edition

The V Side isn't normally a spot for food and recipes.
I really enjoy cooking, but the truth is it's not my greatest strength.
My sister is an awesome cook, and hates doing it.  Go figure.

But today, I think it's an overload of pregnancy hormones because I am all. about. FOOD.
And with the advent of Pinterest, a host of recipes and fun ideas are more accessible than ever before.
So, in today's "So Pinteresting..." I'm featuring a few yummy, easy, and "why didn't I think of that" ideas that will make your mouth say HOLLA! [follow that up with two snaps, please ;) ]

**And if you like any of these, click through to the original sources and pin them to your boards.  I know they would appreciate it.  Gracias!**

After seeing this picture of Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries, I knew I wanted to give them a try.
AND, I had the perfect opportunity - a baby shower for my cousin who's expecting her own little person late next month!
Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries

This particular tutorial guides you through making your own cheesecake (say what?), and other versions that add chocolate (yes please!) also have you making your own chocolate drizzle.  Yeah, not for me.
But here's what I did and it was the EASIEST (and yummiest!) thing ever!

I started with fresh, washed strawberries (duh), cut off the tops and hollowed out the core.
[My little paring knife from Pampered Chef worked perfectly for this job]

Instead of making my own cheesecake from scratch, I just used a box of the Jell-O No-Bake cheesecake from the store and it worked like a charm.
 To make filling the berries easier, and to avoid them spilling out when I put them in the fridge, I loaded them into a muffin tin so they would be standing up straight.  This worked great!

I piped in the cheesecake by putting it in a plastic ziploc bag and cutting off one corner, then just squeezing it in.

When they were loaded, I sprinkled on graham cracker crumbs, and drizzled chocolate over the tops.

Tip: for chocolate, don't use chocolate syrup because it will immediately soak into the berries and will end up looking kinda gross.
I would also recommend not taking the time to make your own chocolate because if you're impatient like me, that takes too long.  And using almond bark is fine, but it just doesn't taste the same.

My solution:
Magic Shell!

You can find it in the grocery store where they sell ice cream toppings.  The minute it hits something cold, it hardens into a perfect shell.  Drizzle it on, then pop your berries in the fridge!
I repeated this same process with fresh raspberries and they turned out great.
Forgot to take pictures of the finished product, but let me assure you, they looked super and were delicious. :)
And not a single one left over! Success!

Also floating around Pinterest are these "why didn't I think of that???" baked potatoes.
 In the crock pot. 
[I know, right?  DUH?]

crock pot potatoes

So I've used my crock pot for warming mashed potatoes before (for holidays, etc.) but how come it never occurred to me to try baking potatoes in it before?
Well thanks to a whack upside the head from Pinterest, I'll be making them all the live long day.
I love baked spuds, but am rarely patient enough to wait for them to cook in the oven or on the grill.  

Just wash and dry your 'taters, wrap them in foil and pop them in the crock pot on low for 8 hours.
I dropped them in before I left for work (I actually put mine on the 10-hour low setting) and when I came home, we had steamy baked potatoes all ready to go with our chicken on the grill.
Easy, and it really works!

And finally, this one is Oh.My.Lanta-good.

White Chicken and Artichoke Lasagna.
It was far simpler than I thought it would be to make, and here's a tip - it freezes exceptionally well!  

I can't even talk about how rich and creamy this was... I just have to drop the mic and walk away. ;)
Click through the pin to the original source for the recipe...

What yummy goodness have you pinned lately?

If you're so inclined, you can check out what else I'm pinning by
following me on Pinterest here:

Follow Me on Pinterest


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

An Organic Start to Spring

This post brought to you by Whitney Farms. All opinions are 100% mine.

Spring started waaay early in Iowa this year - we had 70/80-degree temperatures in MARCH, people!

So, naturally, the bug to get moving on sprucing up our outdoor areas has bitten early, too.

This year we have some landscaping to add, and I have some transplant plants that I got close to the end of the season last year that are going to need a little TLC.  Up until now, my gardening adventures have revolved exclusively around flowers.  But this year, I might be giving something else a try.

I've been TOYING with giving a "real" garden a go. 

Like a "hey let's make a salad from our garden" kind of real garden.

Am I crazy? 

I've been thinking about trying a small container garden, with just a few things like carrots, potatoes, lettuce and garlic.

Something like this:

I like that it's simple, still cute, and I can use pots I already have rather than having to build some permenant monstrosity in the yard.

The soil where we live is awful. It’s extremely alkaline and you have to do a lot to it to make it suitable for growing food.  Knowing that I'll have to add to it, and that we'd be eating the bounty,  I'd like to try using only organic nutrients.

Whitney-Farms-Logo_Banner_New_C.jpg (6 documents, 6 total pages)

Now, prior to this little revelation I had never heard of Whitney Farms® but it is a very accessible brand to most families since it’s part of the Scott family. I didn’t know they had an organic gardening line.

Organic Plant Food

I think it's important, when you're growing FOOD, of all things, to use organic soil and organic plant food.  There are so many synthetic chemicals in the food we eat, I feel like here's one way to help cut down on that. I’m hoping that by using organic nutrients, like the ones offered by Whitney Farms, we’ll have a flourishing garden full of lovely veggies by fall.

If you want to try out Whitney Farms, they currently have a $3 off coupon on their website.



Visit Sponsor's Site

Monday, April 9, 2012

How to Frame a Builder Mirror

One thing with this bathroom redo I went back and forth on was the big, frameless, builder-basic mirror over the vanity.  I knew I didn't want to leave it as-is, but I really didn't want to buy anything major for this room.  I liked the size and scale of the mirror, and how it does make the room look a little larger.
But a replacement for something this size would be more dinero than I cared to spend.
So, a little DIY action was in order.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Deal Alert! Cute Summer Lanterns

Quick post today...
Just wanted to pass along this super cute deal I found yesterday!

I was wandering through my Target and found these fun lanterns for a STEAL!  
The medium ones you see on the top row are just $4.99! (and they're a decent size!)
The large ones on the bottom are only $9.99 and they all come in these fun colors - how fun would that pop of coral be on your deck this summer?

I love lanterns and I use them everywhere, so I just wanted to pass along a good deal.

Have a great weekend - I'll be back on Monday to show you how easily we framed our big ugly builder-grade mirror in that bathroom redo.

Happy Friday gang!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Bathroom Redo Breakdown

Thanks for your nice comments, pins and emails about the bathroom makeover!
You all just made my day.
Now, if I have to spend a day getting sick, I'll be able to do so in a much prettier environment. :)

As promised, here's the breakdown of what I did:

For the walls, I used Mindful Gray by Sherwin Williams.  It's a warm, soothing gray with some putty undertones that keep it from being too sterile or cold.

Probably my favorite detail is this wall opposite the vanity:
I knew I wanted beadboard wainscoting, but when I bought the board and was ready to cut, I realized I would have to rip out and redo all the baseboards in the room for a seamless look.
OK, I started this makeover with my head in the toilet; I wasn't up for ripping out baseboards.
Enter one of the easiest DIY solutions out there:
I've had this roll from Lowe's for nearly a year now - I knew when I saw it I would want to try it out, but never had the occasion to.  Well, now I did and it was like BUTTAH.
The biggest draws for this for me were that it's paintable AND pre-pasted - all you have to do is measure and cut your pieces, then soak in water (I used my bathtub) for 30 seconds.
Lay it out and let the paste activate for about 5 minutes, then slap 'er up on the wall.  I used my hands to smooth out the bubbles and had an old towel on hand to sop up the excess water as I smoothed.
So once that was up and dried, I used pieces of primed MDF and some under-counter trim to create my own ledge. 

Mr. V. helped me nail it into the wall, and from there I simply caulked all the joints and seams (between the wallpaper and the ledge, on the ends, and also between the wallpaper and the baseboards).
I painted the wallpaper, the ledge and the trim all the same rich ivory (the same SW custom blend I used for trim in the basement, the laundry room, the Redhead's room and the Nursery update - can you tell I love it? :) )

I got the towel hooks from True Value and attached them to the mdf. to avoid putting more holes in the wall.
I just added them in where we had marked for the studs so I knew they would be evenly spaced.

For the vanity - the size and shape of it were right for the room, plus I really like the storage and the wood is a nice quality oak that will last for a long time.
I made 3 small-effort changes that made a big impact, in my opinion:

The most obvious is paint.  I used a black All Surface Enamel (latex based) from Sherwin Williams that I already had.

I know some people prefer a very glossy look for painted projects, but that's not my style.  It's very in right now, but like any trend, I believe the shiny lacquered look will have it's day and then be dated.  With this enamel, you get durability, nice wipe-ability, a rich, semi-gloss look, and it doesn't look "wet" or shiny.  Bonus in my opinion.

Many tutorials will tell you "how to paint ___ without having to sand!"
Can you do it?  Sure.
BUT, no matter what people say, you will get longer durability and FAR fewer chips/nicks/ etc. if you take the time to give your pieces a quick sand.  That's just a fact.
You don't have to sand all down to bare wood, but a general scuffing all over will give the primer and paint that extra "something" to grab onto, and that will make your work more worthwhile in the long run.
So, I gave the vanity a light sanding, primed with Kilz Stain-Blocking primer, and then 2 coats of paint.
Make sure you give the paint enough time to properly cure in between coats.  Again, it makes a difference.

I replaced the faucet after stalking the one I wanted from Lowe's and taking advantage of their bathroom sale. (I left this install up to Mr. V. because he's awesome)

The hardware I really like - and they weren't anything special or super expensive - just found them at Lowe's.

The towels are from Target and I didn't buy any other accessories - I just shopped the house.

This post is already too long, but we'll talk about the mirror soon.  You won't believe how easily and inexpensively you can update these big builder mirrors!

Have a great day!


Monday, April 2, 2012

Cure for What Ails Ya: Bathroom Makeover

Hi there!  No baby yet.  Just wanted to get that out there.  :)

So I've come to realize that my thought process just doesn't work like most [rational] people.

A few weeks ago, I was home sick from work.  We quickly deduced that it was definitely something I ate, since in between intermittent hurling episodes, I felt just fine.
Thing was, I really couldn't leave the bathroom (sorry for that visual).
Most people's stories would go something like "I upchucked in the bathroom all day long."
Me? Not so much.
Here's how my brain finishes that sentence:
"I upchucked in the bathroom all day long so I decided to redecorate it."

So... that's how it started.