Happy Fall Y’all

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Loving Where You Live

If you are wondering where we've been lately....we are currently in between "homes".

Kai pull down kitchen faucet byPfister

Our last home of more than a decade, the "blank canvas" that we had done so many projects in, is now helping another family create memories.

And our search for the next great canvas of a home has begun.  In a new town, with new hopes and dreams, and new stories to tell.

We live in a darling Townhouse near our work and our son's school.  It's a great neighborhood and has a lot of amenities including gyms, swimming pool, community rooms, not to mention nearby parks and walking paths.  But it's not a home we can make our own in many ways.

The other day we put an offer on what we hoped would be our next great home.  Unfortunately it did not go our way.  So the search continues. And until we find that home we are looking for, we are going to give all our energy to focusing on what is important to us as a family.

Mmmm, those strawberries...

For me that means focusing on what we have, and not so much on what we don't have.  It brings tears of joy to my eyes when I think about the friends and family that have lent a helping hand along the way and lifted us up in more ways than I can even begin to count.  I hope that in my lifetime I am able to come even close to passing forward what has been gifted to me in kindness and generosity by others.

It really has been a long time since I've had the chance to sit down and connect through this blog.  I didn't realize how much I would miss it....I miss it tremendously.  It was such a big part of my life for so long. Creativity makes my heart sing.  So, I need to get back to what makes my heart sing.  I need to get back to loving where I live...and finding ways to make it our home...even during the in between.  So here's to doing more creative projects, big and small.  Here's to little changes that make a big difference.  Here's to being patient and having faith.  (Great advice reminded to me by my mom recently!)

I was asked to review this sleek,modern Kai pull-down kitchen faucet by Pfister.  I have to tell you I was hoping to install this gorgeous faucet in our new home ~ but when that didn't work out my darling of a husband went to work installing it in our Townhouse without complaint, knowing he would have to take it out when we do eventually move.  The installation went very quickly and without difficulty.  I am loving the way the handle is incorporated in the design.  It is very modern, curvy and elegant.

Kai pull down kitchen faucet by Pfister 

It's amazing how something as simple as adding a new fixture such as this Kai pull-down kitchen faucet completely changes the look of our kitchen.  I dare say it may be the focal point of the space.

We had almost forgotten how nice it is to have a sprayer!  How did we ever live without one?

Many thanks to Pfister for sending us this faucet for a review.  We didn't get the house we want yet, but at least we already have the faucet!

If you are interested in viewing this or other faucets by Pfister you can visit their website by clicking HERE
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Dumpster Dive Dining Table Gets a New Home

We rescued this beauty from the dumpster at our apartment building. 
 It really wasn't much...

An inexpensive department store table probably passed on to a college student who didn't have much of anything.

It sat in my sister's garage for months.  Out of sight out of mind.  Then a month before Christmas I heard my daughter talking about how she wished they had a real dining room table in their apartment.  All they had was a tiny drop leaf table that wasn't meant for dining.  Wouldn't it be nice if they had a full sized dining table so they could have company over for dinner?

I quickly quizzed them on their preference in stain and paint colors and went to work...in the middle of our town-home living room.  

Well, the sanding I did in my sister's garage.  

We stained the top with a Minwax stain/poly combo product and painted the pedestal in a taupe/gray color. I added a final layer of Maison Blanche Organza Shimmer Coat to Jazz it up a bit.

The finished table..

They already had the two chairs.  

The shimmer coat really makes the pedestal stand out.

The chairs need their own makeover day.  But that's another story.

Who said you can't complete a big furniture makeover in an apartment?  But beware...you might get a little light headed from the fumes... :)

~Happy Project Day~
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How to frame bathroom mirrors with scrap trim

Making a home look nice when you're on a seriously tight budget can be a real B....!  

Big challenge, that is.  

But sometimes you can make a big improvement without spending any money.  And if it's a temporary fix...that's okay...no cost means there's no loss...just an investment of time.

I was pretty disillusioned with this bathroom.  The unframed mirrors "clipped" to the wall.  The "dressing room" style lights, the flat fronted oak cabinets, the laminate counter top, the bargain basement sinks...and those faucets.  The 90's are calling and they want their bathroom back!

What is a girl to do when there's no money in the budget to redecorate?

It's time to get creative and see what we can do with what we have!

We started with some fresh paint in a soft blue/grey color.  Gone with the beige!

We took some pieces of scrap trim Scott had saved from a prior project and cut them to the lengths we needed to frame the mirror.  We decided not to use mitered corners since we were using several differing sizes and styles of trim.  We used a router to add a little drop edge for the mirror to sit in.  You can see the routered edge on the bottom left corner of this piece of trim (above) and also in the piece of trim that will go on top of the mirror (photo below).

We then screwed the bottom piece of trim into the wall where we had pre-determined we wanted the mirror to be.

Scott carefully placed the mirror in the little channel created by the routered edge.  
Very carefully...we don't need 7 years bad luck around here.

Then I held the mirror in place while Scott screwed in the top piece.

The side trim went up and yikes...those gaps!

No worries though.  Nothing a little caulk can't fix.  My man knows the power of a good caulk job!  ;)  
Caulk always makes a project look better.

All the gaps and cracks were given their share of caulk until there were no more visible gaps.

And no more frame-less mirrors "clipped" to the walls in here!

Now to figure out how to replace those lights, faucets and that green laminate countertop without breaking the bank...

One step at a time, right!?

So much better than before.  

Makes me want to get out the paint and refinish those cabinets NOW...but what to do with those 
counter tops?  Any ideas?

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How this pair of washed out, homeless, 'down on their luck' nightstands got a second chance at life. A tutorial.

These nightstands have been waiting for a second chance at life.
...and waiting...
...and waiting...
But I started a new job just a few weeks ago and everything changed.  I haven't had any spare time for makeovers or ANYTHING extra really. 

Then something amazing happened this weekend ~ we didn't have ANYWHERE to be so I got to stay up late...
...and sleep in...
...and work on these beauties!


They've come a long way.

But you need to know haw far they've come to appreciate their journey.
They were sad little boxy nightstands left abandoned on a Portland side street when we found them.   They had NO LEGS.  
One of them had a sticker on the back that said 'Pair of oak nightstands $640.00' so apparently they were something special back in the day.  But when we found them they just had a crooked piece of lined notebook paper taped to the front of one aged door reading 'FREE'.  

Seemed like a good challenge to me.

It never ceases to amaze me what a little paint and elbow grease can do to transform old furniture.  For this little duo I went with a Dutch Boy paint & primer in Cathedral Grey.

First I removed the hardware and doors then sanded them down inside and out.  Then I gave them a good wipe down with a damp cloth to remove all dirt and sawdust.  I applied a couple coats of Cathedral Grey with a paint brush, letting them dry completely between coats.

I'd found these wooden legs at Goodwill and bought them when I was planning to make an ottoman but then I didn't need them (you can see how I made that ottoman HERE) so they came in handy for one of the tables.  We just went to our local Builder's Supply store and bought four more.  There were other types of legs but I like the 'retro' look of these to go with the older nightstands.

We also bought the metal pieces that attach the legs to the base of the nightstands...

The metal brackets get screwed to the table and the legs screw into the brackets.  Easy!

They were looking good with the new paint color but they certainly couldn't go around with those bare legs showing.  How inappropriate!

I taped over the brass ends before painting then stuck the legs upside down in a cardboard Nike box to dry.  The same box was used to hold the hardware while being painted.

The shiny white hardware may be my favorite part about this duo.

Then again the way the white glaze brings out the detail on the doors is pretty nice too.

The glazing gave them so much more depth...and the cute little legs gave them the height they needed to work in our space.

And WOW do they work in our space!

Free Nightstands
$1.00 jar of paint from Habitat for Humanity.
$20.00 wooden legs and metal attachments.
Glaze, white paint and white enamel spray from our stock.

That's $21 dollars to beautiful!!!

Have you ever found furniture on the side of the road that was just begging to go home with you?  I would love to hear about it if you did.

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A Little Christmas Cheer in July

How I made a simple DIY Christmas Cheer Canvas in July!

I am not going to lie...Christmas is usually the last thing on my mind this time of year.  Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas and all of it's joy and cheerfulness.  I love the spirit of giving and the get-togethers with family and friends.  All the treats people share aren't bad either.  Most of all I love the meaning behind Christmas.

But I also love Summertime and this time of year my thoughts are more likely on hanging at the pool on a sunny day, or having a picnic at the beach, or getting into a water fight with the family.  So when Claire from A Little Claireification asked if I wanted to be a part of a 'Christmas in July' series my first reaction was to tell her NO WAY.  I've got summertime going on full swing!  Why would I want to stop doing all of that fun summer stuff to work on something Christmas related?  

Well, here's the reason why....

When Summer ends then it's time for the back-to-school rush...and then it's Halloween...and Thanksgiving.   Before I can even blink it's THE CHRISTMAS SEASON and I'm counting down the days I have left to finish my shopping.  Yikes!  The weekends quickly fill up with parties and there are houses and trees to decorate and out of town visits to make and...well...you get the picture, right?  Christmas sneaks up on me and takes me by surprise every. single. year. How does that happen?  (Tell me I'm not the only one this happens to?)  And there will be that inevitable moment when I'm looking at somebody else's beautiful handmade Christmas decor and thinking to myself...why didn't I take the time to make some Christmas decor for our home when I had the time???

Well, not this year!

1.  Discount canvas (12"x12")
2.  Die-Cut Letters (mine came from a big stack I bought at Joann's)
3.  Glue Letters to canvas
4.  Create the word "Cheer" (or whatever Christmas themed word you prefer)
5.  Paint canvas edges with silver or gold craft paint
6.  Cover entire surface with acrylic glazing liquid
7.  Hang a glitter coated star "ornament" from a string and hot glue over the edge of the canvas 

And now I think I'll help myself to a little "Christmas Cheer" since I'm hanging at the mini bar already!

THANKS Claire!  At least I will have one handmade Christmas decoration that I did in time for Christmas!  ;)

And now for the best part!  Here's your chance to win $100 gift card that could be used for getting a head start on Christmas this year!  Good Luck and Merry Christmas...I mean Happy Christmas in July ;)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Make sure you don't miss any of the other Christmas in July posts by these ladies who really seem to know how to celebrate Christmas:

Claire @ A Little Clairification 
Cindy @ Little Miss Celebration 
Jamie @ C.R.A.F.T.
Sharon @ Mrs Hines Class 
Karon @ Dogs Don't Eat Pizza 
Kristi @ I Should Be Mopping the Floor 

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Heavenly Blueberry Pie with crumb topping ~ Easy as PIE!

Blueberry Pie.  

I never knew the beauty of blueberry pie until a few years ago.

You see we live in blueberry country.  

There's a place called Gingerich Farms right down the road from us and they have a Blueberry Blowout Event each year (July 19th & 20th this year) where they sell their delicious, locally grown, freshly picked blueberries to the public at wholesale prices.  Ever since the first year we discovered them we've been going back and buying flat after flat of fresh blueberries for freezing.  That way we can use them throughout the year without paying those crazy supermarket prices for fresh or frozen berries.  These frozen blueberries go great in cereal, yogurt, fruit smoothies, and of course PIES.  

Now I've never been a big pie eater (except at Thanksgiving) but the first year we went to the blueberry festival we also purchased a pie made by Gingerich Farms employees and, boy, let me tell you IT WAS FLIPPING GOOD!

It was July and we'd been eating those fresh blueberries by the handfuls for days on end (they are so good!) so I wasn't expecting anything phenomenal from that pie.  We'd almost blueberrie'd ourselves out at that point.

I made homemade ice cream that day and we cooked the pie and served it up nice and warm after a BBQ, with a scoop of that creamy homemade vanilla ice cream on top....and I swear to you it got completely quiet as everyone experienced that first moment of warm, blueberry pie bliss.  

Talk about heaven!  

I vowed that day that I would learn how to make a crumb-topped blueberry pie that would make a small crowd go silent with it's irresistible gooey blueberry goodness!

Now I have to admit that I've learned many things since that first pie making experience.  Like how easy it can be to make your own pie crust.  My friend Julie (the Redhead) has a wonderful pie crust recipe that would work great with this pie: 

She said she would be happy to have us steal her EASY pie crust recipe.  You may want to nab the rest of her apple pie recipe at Redhead Can Decorate while you're there.  Man does it look good!

But if things are really just too crazy...you've got a house full of out-of-town guests and a BBQ to light up and homemade ice cream to churn and parades to attend...then you could even get away with using frozen pie crusts and just add the homemade blueberry filling and crumb topping.  It will still be unbelievably delicious (and I won't tell anybody you cheated.  That's one of my favorite cheats when I'm low on prep time too).  :)

Have a heavenly summer my friends!

Heavenly Blueberry Pie with Crumb Topping

1 pie shell (homemade or store bought)
3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
pinch of salt (1/18 teaspoon)

Crumb Topping:
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 stick chilled butter cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine blueberries, sugar, flour, lemon juice, and salt in a bowl and pour into pie shell.

In another bowl combine crumb topping ingredients:  flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, and cinnamon.  Cut chilled butter into small pieces and mix into other ingredients with your hands ~ working the butter into clumps.  Pour over pie shell with fruit filling.

Place pie on foil lined baking sheet and put in lower portion of oven.  Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 1 1/2 hours.  You may need to cover with a foil tent if topping is browning too quickly.  When fruit bubbles and crust is brown your pie is done.  Enjoy!

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