We have so many bathrooms in this house -- but no counter space. Project! We created some counter space for my makeup and hair products using an old desk. It's the vanity that every little girl dreams of, with an extra pop of color. We were lucky to have a desk that was left behind when we moved into this house, but they are pretty easy to come by at estate and yard sales.
When it comes to getting the color you are looking for -- make sure to sand and prime properly. I also used a topcoat of polyurethane to add some shine. To bring in other colors from the room, top the desk with a bold, patterned fabric. Keep the fabric in place with a glass desk protector. I found the mirror at a yard sale, but am still on the hunt for the perfect chair or stool to finish off the set.
Post-grad weekends are for...estate sale shopping. Among the dishes and bright yellow ice bucket I picked up this Saturday morning, I also snagged this great leather briefcase for $5. It has found a home as a magazine rack as part of our fireplace composition. Meant to be portable, it can be carried away to bedside or sofa-side for easy reading access.
Unique pieces like the desk vanity and our briefcase storage are the elements that bring character to rooms filled with Pier1 and Target furnishings.
Annnnnnd…I'm back. It took some time to get life under control and in a comfortable place to start sharing again, but we are almost there. May couldn't seem farther in the past -- with finishing my thesis, closing on our house, vacationing, graduating, starting a new job, losing some very important people and settling into our new city, filling our days since the spring. I am excited to be here and more excited about having a routine and time to work on my projects in the kitchen and around the house. We have gotten a good start on furnishing and organizing our spaces, but I will keep you in suspense as to our complete context as I share small projects around the house. Small projects are certainly filling our evenings and weekends, but each one makes the house feel more complete. And I have the long awaited opportunity to live Pinterest -- for real!
Everyone brings character to their home differently and are trying to make our house comfortable for day to day living and special occasions. We recently completed as easy chalkboard wall in our kitchen that will serve practical purposes weekly, but also allow us to write fun messages throughout the year. This project was great for [impatient] me because it was quick and made a great difference in the feel of our small, white kitchen.
Here's what you'll need…
Sponge and gentle cleanser
2-3 tack nails
Let's get started…
1. Wash your wall and let it dry before you get started on the painting.
2. Hang your frame using your level and tack nails. I hung the frame so that it can be easily removed and re-hung. It will be more convenient to clean the chalk wall if the frame can be removed. While your frame is on the wall, trace the inside lightly with pencil.
3. Remove the frame and nails. Then, tape around a your traced line. I left about 1.5" inches in excess of the traced line.
4. Begin with your first coat and paint the space as directed on your selected paint.
5. After the paint is sufficiently dry, carefully remove your tape.
6. Replace your tacks and frame.
I traced some lettering using my favorite fonts to give my board content the decorative look I was going for -- but the wall may be a place to doodle in your house or to take down the shopping list as things come up.
Things in our new city have been good, but I am definitely taking my time to adjust. With new people, experiences, and "stuff" coming our way, I am making every effort to chalk it all up to the weekly menu. The new will soon become comfortable if I take it in stride and with the confidence that I know I have inside.
Being a way for awhile, you haven't heard too much from me, but I haven't heard too much from you either. Let me know if there are new recipes or projects you are trying or if you have ideas for me to explore.
We're moving! And we have a lot to move. In an effort to cut back and get our move underway, we have decided to invite some friends over for a rummage sale dinner party. We hope to bring new light to a Sunday night family dinner and neighborhood garage sale all in one.
Here's the plan: guests will enjoy a turkey dinner while perusing our apartment for tagged items. They will be encouraged to make offers of what they can to help us make our move, but our pricing will be flexible. Tagged items will be noted as available to be taken on the spot or for pick up at a later date. We will still be around here for a bit longer and will need to hold onto our furniture and lamps for that while longer. There will be furniture, books, dishes, and home decor items available for the taking. Leftovers will probably find their ways to Goodwill, but we would love to see our items getting used by friends.
With all of the hype around Macklemore's Thrift Shop, the time feels right to turn our apartment into a secondhand shop. We are using Facebook to get people together because it is easy. And it will allow us to post previews of items for sale as we get ready for the event.
Life is crazy right now, planning for our move, finishing my thesis, trying to pull a new life together in a new city. Brainstorming for this event and putting together the little details really is my escape. It is so much fun to put the pieces together and create a fun night to celebrate all that is great with some of our friends. More updates are to come on getting the night together -- including my first turkey cooking adventure -- let's do this!
There has definitely been a slowdown in the kitchen as my daily thesis schedule expands, but this weekend we had a family event to bring a dessert to. So, we decided to challenge ourselves and embark on the wonderful world of cheesecake. This fall, I am of the mindset that you just can't have enough pumpkin. After all, we haven't even hit daylight savings time, let alone Thanksgiving.
We used the Kraft recipe for Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake because it seemed appropriate to learn from the cream cheese experts. As usual, I made several adjustments to the recipe. But to start, we didn't even own a spring-form pan; yet, after a "quick" stop at Marshalls, we were in business.
So the baking got started around 10:00 PM, not recommended for future cheesecake endeavors. But, nonetheless we forged on. While the cream cheese softened, I crushed gingersnaps and chopped pecans for the crust. I added brown sugar to the butter and crumb mixture to add some candied taste to the base. I do recommend building the crust upwards of an inch so that it will be thick and easy to slice.
The cheese mixture needs to have a smooth consistency without lumps. I wish I had given the batter a few more minutes on a low mixing speed. With a thinner batter I could have poured it without a spatula and potentially minimized cracks in the baked final product. The cake heads into oven for about an hour and a half, luckily I had Law & Order SVU to keep me company. Finish up after 12:00 AM, I left the cake out to cool until morning.
I advocate for mixing desserts, so I decided to decorate the cheesecake with sugar cookies. Somehow, our household also does not have a rolling pin. We use a clean wine bottle to roll dough. It does the trick and you can throw it into the dishwasher. I also topped the cake with candied pecans. Michael's reaction to the candied pecans…"you can make these at home!?" The carnival fairies graced our kitchen with butter and sugar caramelized over the pecans on medium heat for about ten minutes. The cheesecake was finished off with a sprinkle of a confectioners' sugar and cinnamon mix.
Among the craziness of work and thesis, I take great pride in getting things done around the house. Last weekend I got to spend Saturday morning with a great friend enjoying the Philadelphia Flea Market. Of course, I picked up a few household items, but was excited to find a new way to display fall gourds. The cigar box is not really old, but has a great warmth to it and looks like a treasure box. I look forward to filling it with Christmas treasures in a few months.
I also spent about a half an hour cleaning up our pantry. That was all the time it really took and we had been rummaging through that mess for months. Why do we do that!? But, I feel such a great sense of accomplishment for completing that one item on my list. So, I will leave you with this advice: hold onto a list of things to do around the house that you can get done in less than a few hours. Fill any evening or weekend mornings tackling those small tasks and celebrate each one you accomplish. Getting these tasks done will boost your energy in working on business projects.
The entryway to your home is important. It gives your guests their first glimpses into your style [and your tidiness]. My husband and I found that the long hallway that leads from the front door to the living room of our apartment was sending all the wrong messages. It had geometric wall hangings left from the previous tenants, a blank, white brick wall, and smattering of kicked off shoes along the baseboard. We recognized that it wouldn't take much to bring our style [and some tidiness] to the hallway, just a few steps and a couple of hours.
1. Get Inspired
Michael had the idea to cover the white brick wall with "cool, old" empty picture frames. We were lucky to get off to a great start by hitting up some weekend flea markets. We nabbed a huge gold picture frame that was so great that one of the vendors tried to buy it off of us -- for more than we paid! But we just couldn't let it go because…we were inspired.
2. Go Shopping [in the house]
Something I am always skeptical of when reading magazines and design blogs is the task to: "look around your house for pictures and accessories to use for decorating." But it is more true than I believed; we have lots of pictures and plenty of frames, but most of them were sitting in the closet. We sorted through what we had on standby and got them organized. We separated the pictures into photos of us and our more "editorial" photography, you know, like our vacation photos. Then we were able to match up the new and old, empty and occupied picture frames in color schemes and get them up onto the wall.
3. Put a Shelf In It!
The shoe problem is so easy to have and just as easy to solve. One stop at the Container Store and we were equipped with a small rack that we later realized could act as a petite console for our keys, sunglasses, and even a few more pictures.
4. Take a Seat
It's where we put on our shoes, but was there a seat? No. Michael and I putting our shoes was usually some awkward dance or a pair of adults plopped on the floor like toddlers fumbling into their sneakers. We simply picked up a faux leather ottoman with storage from Target -- you can't go wrong.
5. Make it Your Own
The final step of putting our hallway together was getting rid of what doesn't belong -- the accessories left by those previous tenants.
And this is what we came up with.
who : becky yannes.
where : philadelphia, pa.
what : making, hosting, sharing.
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