Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Make Your Own Apothecary Jars

I have always loved apothecary jars, but they always cost more than I'm willing to pay. I found a tall, skinny jar at the thrift store a few weeks ago that had a lid and thought it was pretty so I brought it home. I didn't know what to do with it, so I left it on my countertop until I could think of a use for it. I just so happened to have a collection of glass candlesticks that I was going to use with plates to make cake stands, but then it hit me that I could epoxy the candlestick to the bottom of the jar! Eureka!

***For those of you who are wondering (Naomi), epoxy is a really strong glue you can find at any home improvement store. Mine was called "Two-Ton Epoxy" so I guess it would take 2 tons of pressure to pull the candlestick and jar apart. It works great on glass and ceramics, or pretty much anything you want to stick together. And one other thing--to see the photos better, click on them to make them bigger.

So, take a cute jar with a lid (this one is from JoAnn's for $3):

Then pick out a candlestick holder, like this one from a thrift store for fifty cents:

Think of something you want to put in the jar:

Then add it all together to get something like this:

Or this:

Or make a whole collection to display together. I want to put little terrariums in them and watch them thrive.

Pretty. Easy. Quick. And really inexpensive. My kind of project!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Art for Ashlee's Room

Here's some art I made for Ashlee's room last year. I had these two frames for displaying birth announcement samples that I used to do and thought they would go perfectly in her room.

All I did was print off bird silhouettes that were part of a free font download to the right size for the frames. Then I meticulously cut them out with scissors (the skinny little legs and feet were the hard part), found some cool paper in the scrapbook section of Michael's, and mounted the birds on top. Sooooo easy!

I found these shadowboxes on clearance at Target a good 6 or 7 years ago. I think they were only $3 a piece. The sand dollar and star fish came with the frames and the letter "A" used to be a seashell. Originally, I pulled them all out, added the wooden "A" monogram, reused the sand dollar, and added a cute little plaster mold of Ashlee's baby hand in the last one. I covered the back insert of the frames with leftover fabric that I had used to make her some bedding. But as she got older, they were in need of an update for her "big girl" room. I hunted down the star fish again, painted it white and replaced all the fabric with more cool paper from Michael's. This is the same girl who insisted I paint the zebra rug, so you can clearly see where her inspiration came from.

**Disclaimer** No, I don't have a zebra theme going on in my house, I promise.

I'm such a procrastinator that these 3 are still sitting in a stack on one of her bookshelves and I only put the bird prints up on her wall about a month ago. When I finally get around to painting her walls, fixing the crumbling plaster ceiling, pulling off the chair rail, and refinishing her floor, THEN I will put up these last finishing touches. Sigh!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

No Need to Adjust Your Television Set

Yep, that's right! You're not seeing things and you're not hallucinating. I am actually updating my blog! Trust me, I'm as surprised as you are! I have a million things I could blog about right now, but many of you have let me know that you are ready to see pix of the overhauled kitchen I began tackling last August. Well, today is not exactly your lucky day as this is not the reveal post for that. Sorry, I know that must have been anticlimatic. But, there is a decent picture of part of the "after" kitchen that should satisfy you for now. Really, I just wanted to show you this quick and easy makeover I did on an old sisal rug that has found its new home in aforementioned new kitchen. Here's the "before" rug, an old rug I already owned that had seen better (and cleaner) days:

I pulled off the old fabric border and cut it down to a 2' by 3' size, perfect for in front of the kitchen sink. Then I primed it with a thick coat of my trusty Kilz white primer, let it dry, and sketched a zebra print I had seen in my West Elm catalog. (It was a tough decision between Chevron and zebra, but my horse-loving daughter insisted zebra was the way to go.) Then I added the cool black contrasting stripes with some black paint I had lying around. To seal it and stop stains from soaking in, I sprayed on 3 coats of Minwax Polycrylic. By the next day, it was ready for its debut:

Ahhh! Don't you just love the contrast of black and white? It's really fun to see as you walk into the kitchen. A little pick-me-up especially after this long, dark winter. And here's what it looks like on my floor in the kitchen you have been waiting so patiently to see:

It's just a little piece of all the hard work I was doing last semester. It still needs crown molding and I have to put in all the filler pieces between the walls and cabinets, but this should give you a general idea of my little Ikea kitchen. I will try to post the before and more afters of the entire kitchen remodel in the very near future, but until then, this is all I've got. Don't you just love that cool zebra rug?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I have been living, breathing, and dreaming IKEA lately. Why? Because I got this idea in my head that I wanted to completely redo my kitchen. Let me tell you a little secret . . . IKEA is stressing me out! I went online to use their kitchen planner and 12 hours later, finalized my design. Then I went to the store to look at everything I had picked out only to find that the white finish on the cabinets was more of an off-white. Now I can't decide if I should do it in a wood tone, or pick a different style altogether. I browse their kitchen brochure constantly, check out all the nitty gritty details online, measure and remeasure every tiny inch of my kitchen, watch installation videos, measure the kitchen again, and generally waste a lot of valuable time trying to decide if I really can squeeze in a dishwasher. Plus, they offer WAY too many options. This is not good for someone as indecisive as me. I picked out the countertop I wanted and then found out that if you are installing it in an 'L' shape, you just butt the two pieces together at a 90 degree angle . . . huh? That's not how countertops are supposed to be done. I guess I will get them somewhere else. But really. What can you expect for almost two grand less than everywhere else . . . caviar on a McDonald's budget? Honestly, yes. That's what I expect. Especially for the amount of work I'm doing.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Most Delicious Eye Candy

I stumbled across a blog called Clever Spaces today. It's for a company called Ferm Living which sells wallpaper and other stuff that is so, so, so beautiful. These are a few of my favorite things:

Don't you just loooooooooove this? Too bad it's $110 or I would order it right now. You can also get this in a wall sticker (below) which I also love, but which is also way out of my budget at $96.

I thought these bird cage wall stickers were also really cool. I don't normally love birds, but this black and white graphic is just too magnifique!

If you want to check them out for more amazing eye candy and designs, click here. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My Dream House

I signed up for a service where a realtor emails me house listings in the area whenever they come up. I really love real estate and looking at houses and just dreaming of a space bigger than my 25' x 25' little house. Just the other day, the house of my dreams came up in Saline (about 20 minutes from here).

Here are its specs:
  • 4 bedrooms
  • 2 full baths
  • 1 half baths
  • Built in 2001
  • 2 car garage
  • 2236 square feet
  • 0.37 acres
  • Basement
  • 1+ fireplaces
  • SALINE school district
  • 130 BY 124 lot size
I love it! And to top it all off, it's only listed at $190,000. I'm tempted to rent out my house to incoming University of Michigan students and buy it. Isn't this house amazing?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Off to the Market We Go!

There is a "to do" in my life that will just never go away no matter how many times I do it and causes me a great deal of stress. No, it's not the dishes, or the vacuuming, or the never-ending laundry. These are things I can cross off my list without my heart rate increasing too much. But the one thing that completely stresses me out is grocery shopping. I hate it. I really, really, really, really hate it. And the funny thing is that I haven't taken either of my kids with me in I don't know how long, so it's not the stress of a screaming toddler or having to abandon a cart full of food because of a child who is having a meltdown. It just dawned on me a few days ago that the one thing that is giving me anxiety attacks is the actual grocery store itself. And the people who work there. Just last week I decided to ditch my regular ghetto Meijer and make Kroger my new store. Sadly, it did not make a good impression on me. With only Ashlee in tow, we decided to go pick up a few things for dinner. We were greeted by a blasting air conditioner, which was good because it was over 90 degrees outside and almost 90% humidity. But within as little as a minute or two, Ashlee was saying how cold she was. I said, "Hold on. We'll be out of the refrigerated section soon." But no matter where we went, the cold followed us. We had goosebumps and our teeth were chattering. We were sooooooo cold! I started shopping really fast so we could check out, but when you don't know where things are, this takes awhile. Upon making it to checkout, the cashier commented on the watermelon in my cart: "Now that's a seeded watermelon if I've ever seen one." First of all, What?? How can you tell a watermelon is seeded just by looking at it? I said, "Actually, it's supposed to be a seedless watermelon." He says, "No, no. It's way too late in the season for a seedless watermelon. That one is seeded." I was thinking to myself, Well, Mr. Produce Specialist Moonlighting As A Cashier, I picked this one out of the section labeled seedLESS watermelons, but whatever, dude. Just let me check out and leave. He scans all my stuff and then I go to put the watermelon on the belt, but he says he's already scanned it. So I'm thinking, How on earth did he scan it when I haven't even taken it out of the cart yet? So I say, "Can you tell me how much it rang up as?" He takes 3 years to scan back over the receipt and tells me it was $5.99. I say, "It's supposed to be just over four dollars." All of a sudden, he takes off. Yep. Just turns around and leaves without a word. The bagger guy and I look at each other like, "What the heck?" We realize that he went to go and see the posted sign for himself in the produce section. I say to the bagger, "Why didn't he just scan the sticker on my watermelon? It would have told him the price." Bagger guy just shrugs and looks confused. Ashlee starts with, "Mom! I am FREEZING!" and we're all just standing there wondering when he's going to come back, and I'm getting anxious because I'm supposed to be on my way to pick up Nick. Then a manager lady comes over and asks where the cashier went. I tell her that he went on a quest to do a price check. Then I politely request that she kindly scan the sticker for me and send me on my way. So she does, and it comes up as $4.38. But then I realize that now I'm being charged for two watermelons and ask her to take the more expensive one off. While she's doing this, the cashier comes back and says, "Yep! It's $5.99, just like I said it was." The manager says, "No. It's $4.38. Why did you leave to do a price check? You should have just scanned the tag." He starts into some explanation about how my watermelon was long and not round like a ball, so he thought it was a seeded watermelon, blah, blah, blah. The manager tells him to void out the first watermelon which he can't seem to do very quickly. Ashlee reminds me again how cold she is and wants to leave. I'm stressed because of how much time this is all taking. After what seems like forever, they hand me my receipt without a single "Sorry for the wait." In fact, they seem to have the attitute that I am the one who is causing so much trouble and shame on me for making them correct their own mistake. Geez!

So, I have a few options. I can go back to my regular Meijer where the lines are ridiculously long and I'm afraid I will get mugged, I can give Kroger another chance*, or I can spend 3 months of my grocery budget on one trip to Whole Foods (where I get good customer service and have no fear of being mugged, but will be forced to fast until we have enough money to buy more food.) Can you see why I love grocery shopping so much? Seriously! Please tell me there is a better way!

*Kroger originally put a bad taste in my mouth when I was approached by a very scary hooded homeless man who was mumbling some extremely crude things under his breath--it frightened me so much that I didn't go back for many years. The Kroger mentioned in this watermelon account is at a different location.