Thursday, May 31, 2012

Because Sometimes You Just Need a Cobb Salad

And this was one of those days. It was Saturday, late-morning, and already fixin' to be a scorcher of a day. Rather than fill up on rich, lethargy-inducing carbs like french toast, we decided to fix a brunch-tastic, energy-packed cobb salad.

It's always a fun (and money-saving) challenge to use what you already have. So, while our cobb salads certainly tipped their hats to the traditional recipe, we focused on what was in the fridge. 

Here's what we had:
  • hearts of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • fresh spinach
  • bacon, chopped
  • hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • cooked chicken thighs, chopped
  • cheese, shredded
  • your choice of dressing (I used blue cheese)
Toss lettuce and spinach in the dressing of your choice, and top with remaining ingredients. Then, commence eating. It doesn't get any simpler than that!

What's in your fridge these days? Any fun salads in your future?


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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Step into my office...

Howdy! I figured it was about time I showed y'all my home office. It's one of the few rooms in my home that is completely and utterly done, with the exception of organizing the closet, but that'll make for a nice blog post someday!

So, please.....step into my office.

The walls are a painted light blue ("Gravity" by Valspar). The green stripe is "La Fonda Deep Olive," also by Valspar (am I the only one who immediately thinks of Napoleon Dynamite? Anyone?).

I like organizational systems that set me up for success. I don't like piles of clutter. I like to know exactly where things are, but I do NOT enjoy having to constantly file paperwork. So, I picked up several white hanging baskets from Ikea for $3.99 each. They are designed to screw right into the wall, but I decided to hang them from a double towel hook instead. This way, I can quickly pull down the basket I need and fully utilize my vertical space. I created baskets for my four most popular paperwork categories, as well as two baskets labeled "to file," for less important paperwork that will need to be filed later.

I also have two bulletin boards for pictures, cards, baby announcements (that's my adorable niece Annika in pink on the top bulletin board!), reminders, and words of encouragement.

I thought about hiding my printer and ultimately just couldn't bear to do it. I like my resources to be easily accessible. I believe efficiency and design can go hand-in-hand, but in a home office, design cannot be achieved at the cost of efficiency. They must be applied in equally successful measure. So....the printer remains exposed, loud and proud. My paint color actually matches the printer, which was a total (yet pleasant) accident.

Lighting for the room was definitely an interesting challenge. The room isn't wired for a ceiling light -- not that it would have made a difference. I needed task lighting, not generic ceiling lighting. So, I purchased two of these industrial pendants from Ikea that plug into the wall (I have them on the wall socket linked to the room's light switch), and ran the cords behind my curtains. I wrapped the cords with rope for a little rusticity, and hung them from chunky industrial clamps secured to the ceiling.

I made the curtains using fabric I purchased at Home Fabrics. I also recovered my office chair, which you can read more about here.

The yellow flowers came from Michaels -- they remind me of the mustard that blooms in Napa in the winter / early spring.

I have two Billy bookcases flanking my L-shaped desk (which is actually TWO desks from Ikea). Brian and I added trim and moulding to the bookshelves to make them look a little more substantial. And of course, what room is complete without a yellow ceramic flying pig? I mean, really!

The mirror was on clearance at Ross -- the silver paint on the frame was significantly chipped. I sprayed it with a few coats of glossy white paint, and called it a day!

I have to give my friend Adrienne a shout out -- the green stripe around the mirror was her suggestion, and I'm so happy I took her advice! It's one of my favorite features in the room.

Lastly, in order to make the big, empty wall at the back of the room functional, I painted four chalkboard squares of various sizes onto the wall, and framed them out with 3" stained boards. I use the chalkboards to manage to-do lists, reminders and words of inspiration. The biggest challenge with this wall was addressing the heavy, orange-peel texture -- it's pretty much impossible to write with chalk on such a textured wall. You can read more about how I solved that problem here.

And there you have it, folks! My home office. :) Functional, and funky.


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Monday, May 28, 2012

Elements of Upcoming Projects

Happy Memorial Day! I wanted to share a quick taste of projects-to-come with you. I've had some of these elements sitting around my house for a few weeks and am getting ready to use them.

White Crocodile Vinyl -- this is probably my most indulgent purchase. I just love this stuff! There are so many places in my home where I'd like to use this.....I'm still narrowing it down. :)

Nail Head Trim Strips in Antique Brass -- I have a feeling this is going to end up in several projects as well. Right now, I've got my eye on my dining chairs and possibly a lighting project.

Mint Green Penny Round Tile - This is for my fireplace. I'm still accumulating the remaining supplies, but I am SO excited about this gorgeous tile!

That's all for now! Stay tuned to see how these elements make an appearance in my home.


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Saturday, May 26, 2012

To Quote my husband...on Being a Christian

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Leveraging Under-Utilized Space {Tackling the Mail Problem)

If you're like me, you have a spot in your home where crap just seems to always pile up. This crap pile is usually made up of 40% mail, 40% random papers, and 20% other stuff. In my house, our kitchen island is home to our pile o' crap. I don't like the pile o' crap. It gets on my nerves. 

As I was walking by our island the other day, it dawned on me -- I have a perfectly under-utilized nook that would be perfect for hiding my pile o' crap.  Can you see it?

It's riiiiiiiight here.

I immediately added "hanging basket organizer" to my hunting list. My "hunting list" a list that I keep in my phone of all of the ideas, crafts, projects and corresponding supplies and measurements I would need to make a spur-of-the-moment purchase anytime, anywhere. helps me stay focused when I need an extra boost of will power against an impulse purchase.

I found this rustic wire basket at TJ Maxx. I had originally planned to hang this basket with Command Strips (I didn't want to damage the wood). But, I didn't have any Command Strips in my possession and I quickly realized I could actually drill into the plywood underneath the granite instead of the cabinet. Win-win!

I made two labels out of leftover card stock, labeling one basket "Mail" and the other "Crap."

Look at all of that glorious CLEAN counter space! Let's see how long I can actually keep it that way!

Do you have under-utilized space in your home? How could you use that space to create an efficient organizational system?


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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

No-Sew Sweater Cozy for Mason Jars

As promised earlier this month, here is the easiest tutorial EVER for making a mason jar cozy. This requires zero sewing, zero knitting, and zero skill whatsoever. And, I mean, really, look at how adorable they are!

As part of my bedroom makeover, I had turned a lime green sweater into a pillow cover. I saved all of the excess sweater pieces, and had both sleeves still in tact. 

{I couldn't get Aybee to move far enough along during these next few pictures, so please pardon her paws.} 

I stuffed a mason jar inside one sleeve, so that the bottom of the jar sunk right into the wrist-end of the sleeve. 

I stood the jar upright and made a small cut hear the top of the jar. You don't want to cut too low, because you will need enough material to roll over on top of itself. You'll see what I mean.

I removed the jar and cut in a straight line across the width of the sleeve.

I stuffed my jar back into the trimmed sleeve, again with the bottom of the jar sinking down towards the wrist-end of the sleeve. Don't worry if the top edge looks a little rough. Fold the top edge once.

And then fold it over one more time. 

And you're done! I put a few tea light candles inside of my mason jars, but you could put fresh flowers, or whatever your heart desires.

These cozies bring a wonderful pop of green to my dresser, and the knitted texture really warms up the presentation.


P.S. I'm linking up here:

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Monday, May 21, 2012

How to Make a DIY Designer Capiz Drum Shade Chandelier {a la Oly Studio Serena}

So.....I made another light fixture and now my capiz shell chandelier has a friend. Meet our newest addition!!

Today, I'm going to walk you through how I made this beauty. You may recall from a previous post that we had a bit of a chandelier mishap in our home recently. No, my capiz shell chandelier was NOT harmed, but the quaint chandelier in my family room WAS harmed.

One thing led to another and suddenly I was enthusiastically Rockette-kicking my way into a new DIY project. My inspiration was this Oly Studio Serena drum shade fixture, which retails for a whopping $2,850 (O to the M to the Gee-whiz!!). 

I know, it's pretty, right? Don't's rubbing elbows with THREE THOUSAND FREAKIN' DOLLARS.

So, I decided to make it myself.

One important item of note: I almost made hundreds of DIY wax paper capiz shells for this project. Almost. I didn't want to spend the money on real shells this time.....but after test-driving some wax paper shells, I just wasn't feelin' it. I even glazed the wax paper with a metallic taupe-y paint, and I've gotta say, it looked nearly real....nearly. I just couldn't do it. So, I ordered real capiz shells from a new company, Caribbean Imports Shell Outlet and so far I'm pretty stinkin' happy, primarily because this company lets you order capiz shells in the EXACT quantity you need -- none of this having to buy in pre-packaged bulk quantities. For comparison sake, I spent $70.80 on real capiz shells for this project (that includes tax and shipping, and I ordered extra shells, just in case). It would have taken me many, many hours to make the hundreds of fake-looking shells for this project if I had gone the wax paper route. Sometimes I have to put the brakes on my DIY-brain, and remember that good quality ingredients will make a good quality product, and I really wanted this fixture to be a Rachel-Berry-calibar STAR (and I'm sort of embarrassed that y'all are just now finding out that I am a HUGE, psycho Glee freak. My deepest apologies! We should have been talking about Glee months ago!). 

I searched the web high and low and couldn't find any one else who had attempted to make this fixture successfully, so I made it up as I went. Remember, you saw it first on Pig & Pant! Ready? Here we go!

Step 1: the source of light. I purchased a cheap, brass light fixture for $36.99 on I had bold intentions in buying this brazen brass, but chickened out and ended up rubbing some Antique Gold Rub 'n Buff all over the brassiness to tone it down just a hair. 

Step 2: the drum shade frame. I purchased two 23" quilting hoops on, and separated the inner hoops from the outer hoops. I used a flat head screwdriver to gently pry the small wood blocks off of the outer hoops. I stained both the inner and outer hoops with a dark walnut stain. 

Step 3: the supporting cast.  This step tried my patience BIG TIME. I tried affixing thin, clear template plastic (also known as craft plexiglass) to my hoops to no avail. I initially tried using hot glue as well as construction adhesive to glue my plexi around my quilting hoops, but it just wasn't working for I purchased a bunch of antique brass brads, hoping to drill small holes through the quilting hoops and plexi, and use the brads to pull the whole shootin' match together. No dice. Then I thought I'd try rigging everything together with fishing line (don't ask). I, then, tried attaching 6 dowels (stained to match the hoops) to the inside of the two inner hoops, using copious amounts of hot glue. This seemed to work ok for a little bit, but ended up not being a sturdy enough solution.  

I later ended up having to swap out the dowels for thin, flat pieces of board (stained to match) that I screwed into the frame with teeny tiny screws.

I then glued burlap around the exterior of the inner hoops. 

Once the burlap was in place, I glued the outer hoops around the top and bottom edges.

Step 4: the bling. I bought capiz shells in 4 different sizes. I had to do some high school algebra in advance to make sure my shell formation and sizes would fit nicely within my 23 inch diameter hoop (the circumference is equal to pi times the diameter: 3.14 times 23 in my case). At the same time, I cut out sample circles out of post-its, so that I could lay out the pattern to ensure it was properly scaled. I ended up with 29 2.5 inch shells, and 116 each in 2 inches, 1.5 inches and 1 inch size shells. 

I "dry-fitted" my post-it circles (and a few capiz shells I had leftover from this project) to get a feel for the pattern. I was happy with how it looked, so I ordered my shells.

Step 5: assembly. I began hot gluing my shells onto the the burlap in a pattern matching the one in my inspiration photo, using a very small amount of hot glue at the top and middle of each shell. It was very important that my spacing between the shells be exact so that my fixture wouldn't end up looking lopsided. I started with my #4 shell (2.5"), and used my long-level to make sure the middle of each shell sat right around 8". I glued my shells concave out (i.e. pac-man mouth out).

I added a row of #2 (1.5") shells on either side.

Then, a row of #3 (2") shells on either side.

And then, a row of #1 (1") shells on either side.

And so on and so forth until the pattern was completed....

I took this picture because I just couldn't wait to see how it looked in the I used the timer feature on my camera and ran like the wind! YAY!!!

Step 9: the annoying details. This step will vary depending on your light fixture set-up. In my case, I was able to attach three strands of gold chain to a gold key chain, and inserted the keychain just above the fixture (I unscrewed the top part, inserted the key chain and then re-screwed the top back on).

With the help of the hubster, we installed three cup screws into the inside of what would be the bottom of my drum shade. For clarity sake, the drum shade is upside down in the picture below.

Step 10: everybody on the ceiling. Par-tay!! I shut off the power in the family room, and hardwired my fixture into the ceiling. We, then, hooked the drum shade onto the three gold chains, using the cup screws we had attached to the inside bottom of the frame.

Let's take a trip down memory lane and remember what the room looked like before...

And, now it looks like this!

I'm SO thrilled with the result! The bigger fixture it better scaled to the size of the room, and it makes such a statement. Woot!!   

I ended up spending about $150 on the entire fixture (half of which was spent on real capiz shells). Compared to $2,850, I'd say this is a steal of a deal!


P.S. I'm linking up here:

Home Stories A2Z Sew Chatty I Heart Nap Time  

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