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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Fairy Garden Terrarium

My little fairy garden is complete!

It was simple, really...

A large fish bowl ($10 at Goodwill years ago), pea gravel in the bottom, a layer of potting soil, terrarium plants ($10), some sand, a picket fence made out of wooden stir sticks and hot glue, a bit of moss, a few accessories like a small broken terra cotta pot and..

...a tiny little fairy found at an estate sale last week ($2).

Our little mystical, make-believe world.

If you had a fairy garden of your own what would you want in it?

I think mine still needs a little chair or bench or maybe even a tiny little rope swing in the front, what do you think?

I created an entire clipboard of fairy garden ideas found on Hometalk if you are interested go check it out HERE:

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My Secret Zombie Love Affair {and Brad Pitt ain't bad either}

Mindless Thursdays 

(This post still counts as DIY because I'm demonstrating a great way to store your yard tools, right?)

I am almost embarrassed to tell you, but I have a thing for Zombie movies.  It must have started when I was young and my dad watched all kinds of scary stuff.  As kids we would sneak into the hallway and crouch down where we had a view of the tv, but our parents couldn't see us.  Watching scary movies on the sly.  :)  As we got older it was a right of passage to be able to watch a scary movie without hiding your face.  I was always saying to new friends, "I like watching scary movies, do you?"

And if they really liked scary movies then we had an instant connection.

When I was in Junior High School one of my friends had a birthday sleep over and we watched Christine, Carrie, and Kujo among other scary movies all night.  At dawn the next morning we picked up the birthday girl in her sleeping bag and carried her out to the yard so she would wake up all disoriented and scared.  She woke up while we were carrying her and became a kicking, screaming beast inside of that sleeping bag, wondering what on earth we had planned for her!  I wonder what the next door neighbors thought!?

Some of my favorite Zombie shows have been 28 days later, I Am Legend, The Walking Dead Series, and more recently the quircky, laugh-on-the-inside, heart warming movie (can you say that about a zombie movie?), Warm Bodies.  And now, finally World War Z,  with Brad Pitt.

I remember seeing the previews for World War Z awhile back and looking over at my husband in the darkened theater, with my eyebrows raised for emphasis, and a glint in my eyes, saying  "MmmmHmmm, Honey, we are definitely going to see that movie!"

I fell in love with Brad Pitt way back when he played the handsome, young, dimpled cowboy named JD that Thelma stumbled into on Thelma and Louise.  He definitely left a lasting impression on Thelma (and on me).  

Brad as JD in Thelma and Louise.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching him in World War Z. It was a bona fide zombie movie with senseless zombies who had no traces of humanity left in them, bent only on feeding on the remaining humans.  That's what you want in a zombie movie, right?  But it also had a geo-political slant about how differing countries would react when faced with a world-wide pandemic.  Brad played a middle-aged father and husband, a retired UN hotshot, that was left with no choice but to leave his family and pursue a solution for stopping the uber-rapid zombie invasion before all humanity was lost.  

Good Creepy Stuff!!!

And if zombies invade my little town I know exactly which neighbor's yard I'm running to for preferred Zombie weapons!

I wonder if any of the other neighbors have a chain saw...

Happy Thursday Friends!
Take pride in your humanity ;)


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Trottole with Asparagus and Ham {Poor Man's Version}

Sometimes life takes us on some wild and crazy rides and we have no choice but to take it as it comes, hold on tight, and make the best of the ride.  There have been a lot of changes around our house lately and some challenges too.  When life gets crazy like this it's easy to get out of the habit of making a really good, satisfying meal to share with the family and instead just throwing something cheap and fast together to eat on the run.  Usually those meals aren't very healthy or satisfying.

I was drawn to this dish because of how amazingly simple it is to make...and it's Italian...and it has asparagus...and olive oil...and it's a one dish kinda meal (I really like those kind!).  PERFECTO!

So simple to make you won't believe how deliciously satisfying this is!

1 lb. Trottole Pasta
1 lb. asparagus cut in to pieces about 1.5 inches long
1/4 to 1/2 lb. thin sliced deli ham ~ Prosciutto would normally be used but this is the poor man's version ;)
2-3 medium ripe tomatoes sliced into thin wedges
1/2 cup olive oil (I use 'rich in flavor' EVOO)
2 T. lemon juice (mine came right out of that cute little lemon shaped bottle)
3 T. fresh basil chopped
Lemon Pepper
Parmesan Cheese to taste

  • Cook Trottole Pasta according to package directions.
  • While pasta is cooking saute asparagus on medium high heat in 2 T. EVOO for a couple of minutes max.
  • Tear ham into bite sized pieces and throw in with asparagus for one minute to bring out it's flavor.
  • Add asparagus, ham, tomatoes, basil, remaining olive oil, lemon juice and lemon pepper to drained pasta and toss to blend.
  • Add parmesan to Trottone and serve in shallow pasta bowls.  

Buon appetito!

This was our first time trying this dish and as we finished eating my man exclaimed "That was one darn good meal!"  The little man dished up his own but left out all of the asparagus, tomatoes and ham.  All the good stuff, am I wrong???  I asked him to give it a try with more than just pasta and he did.  "I really like it!" he proclaimed when he was done with his second helping ( this time he included all the ingredients except the tomatoes.  Choose your battles wisely, right?).

These past few weeks have been extremely challenging.  I've been job hunting and dealing with some medical issues that needed dealing.  All around it's just been a crazy, hectic, unsure time and it was wonderful to share this delicious meal with my family and now you.  I hope you give it a try!

Whatever challenges you may be facing lately, I hope you are still able to enjoy the little pleasures found in everyday life...

With Love,

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