Thursday, November 29, 2012

greenery in the kitchen

Update: This greenery died faster than I can even explain, so I quickly moved it out and stuck with the fake stuff.  Bummer for sure, but at least I know now!

Christmas Decorating is continuing slowly this week, as we get closer to the Christmas Tree on Saturday!! If you follow me on Instagram (@erinacolburn) you may have seen this picture of Matt pushing our cart at Home Depot on Friday.
See that greenery at the end of the cart? That is 15 feet of fresh garland that I scored for $5! I didn't really know what I would do with it, and I've never used fresh garland before, but for 5 bucks, I was willing to take the risk.  It literally took me 30 seconds after walking in the house from our shopping trip to start putting it in the kitchen.
What do you think?  Here's where I need your help! What else should I put up here? Lights? Candles? Something else? Nothing else?  It's really pretty, but I feel like it's a little bare, and any suggestions you have would be wonderful!

Also, after I was done placing all of it, I had a ton of pieces of garland all over the place.
So I grabbed a jar that I had laying around, and scooped up the smallest bits and put them in the bottom, and then put a candle inside.
I added larger pieces of garland that had fallen, on the side, and got this super simple, not to mention FREE, decoration!
 And this one is just because I'm messing with my camera that I'm super excited about!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

diy christmas carol art

Have you started putting up your Christmas decorations yet?  We have a few things out, but we will put everything else out this weekend when we get our tree.  One of the very first things I did on the day after Thanksgiving was put garland on the mantel. It was rather plain looking, and we knew we needed something on the barn door we made a few months ago.  So, I made this Christmas carol art with supplies we already had at the house.  This project is similar to the anniversary pillows I made last Christmas.
Remember that the amount of fabric, and size of your frame will depend on how large the piece of art will be. To make your own, you need the following:

Linen fabric - $3.99/yd at Hobby Lobby 
Black Fabric Paint - $2 at Hobby Lobby
Large Picture, or canvas frame - Look at Thrift Stores/ReStore for a couple dollars

Then, choose which lyric you want to display.  O Holy Night is both Matt and my favorite Christmas hymn, so this was an easy choice for us.  We chose the font Tangerine, and typed up our words.  Now, if you have a printer that currently has ink (unlike us), you can just print out your words, and skip this next step.

But, if you are like us, and you either don't have a printer or just don't currently have ink, you can place a piece of paper on your computer screen and simply trace the letters.
Then, cut out each letter.  You are essentially creating a stencil.  I used the little scissors that come in a manicure kit, and they work really well for a project like this.  Once all of your words are cut,  place your frame on top of newspaper, your linen on the frame, your words on the linen, and tape in place.
 Starting with the top line of words, paint where you cut the letters.  You will need to try to keep the paper as close to the fabric as possible, but the lines come out pretty clean every time.  
 This paint needs only about 15 minutes to dry since you're not using much, and then you can staple the linen to the frame.  The whole process is simple, but it definitely takes some time to cut all those letters out, and to paint them on.  Plan on spending a few hours on this.
 This art is the perfect for above our mantel for Christmas.  Don't mind the other items for now, still working on what will stay up here for December...
Love it! And the best part is that I already had everything I needed for this project, so it cost zero dollars! That's the best feeling!

Check out some of the other DIY Christmas projects I've made this year:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

pinterest tricks i love

Happy Tuesday, Everyone!! Is everyone still recuperating from their long weekend, like I am? I am so stuffed of delicious food and time with my hubby, I really did not want "normal life" to pick back up yesterday.  After hosting an event like Thanksgiving, and right before the holidays, I thought it seemed fitting to test out some of the Pinterest cleaning tricks that we have all seen.

Since our sink was used A TON this past week, I wanted to give it a good cleaning.  I saw this tip from Mallorie over at Happy Home, and gave it a try.  Her directions are simple and easy to follow, and it worked so well for me.  Here was my sink before.  Not terrible looking, but in need of a good shine.
The first step is to spray down the entire sink with vinegar, sprinkle baking soda on top, and then let it sit for 10 minutes.  It makes an awesome sizzle sound when the vinegar and baking soda mix, too! #yayforscience
 While this is setting, boil some water and then when the time is up, rinse the sink with the boiling water.
Next, you spray more vinegar and scrub scrub scrub, then wipe it down with a paper towel. 
  The next step is the one I missed, which I wish I hadn't.  After you're done scrubbing, spray goo gone, and clean the whole sink with it.  I thought I didn't need this, but it makes life so much easier.  The goo gone will get rid of all of the gunk left from the baking soda. Once this is nice and clean, wipe out your sink again with a paper towel.

The final step is to buff the sink with olive oil and a rag.  This is the key to a great shine.  Check it out!
 Love it! And I plan to do this every few months to keep it looking great!

Next up is a trick I tried last week before our holiday guests arrived.  Since we got Roxy when she was a puppy, she had a few accidents on the carpet, and left two stains upstairs.  So, I stumbled upon this pin which actually takes you to eHow, and tested it out.
Now, I have not tested this on bright red Kool-Aid spots, just relatively light stains.  All you do is spray the spot with a vinegar and water mixture, and place a damp rag on top of it.  Then, with your iron on the steam setting, iron the spot for about 30 seconds.  Then repeat until the stain is gone.  I had to repeat about 2-3 times, but it was so worth it. Check out the before and after on this spot right next to our bed.
First you see it, then you don't! Like I said, I haven't tested this on bright stains, but it worked wonders on spots like this.

Next is a tip from Martha that I mentioned a few weeks ago when we were talking about bathrooms in the simpler home series.  It's an amazing tub scrub that worked so well, I just had to share twice! 

Since we just have a shower, not a full bath, I halved the recipe, and mixed 1/2 cup of baking soda with 1/2 teaspoon of liquid soap, and then just added small amounts of water until I had a paste.  The recipe also calls for essential oil, but I didn't think that was necessary.
Do you see that line!?! I had only scrubbed for about 5 minutes when this happened, and I was sold.  It was so easy, super cheap, and made our shower like new again.

After you're done with all that cleaning, you may want to help yourself to some pampering, so here's a non-cleaning tip for good measure.  I saw this pin from the Gluten Free Navy Wife, and it is...you guessed it...amazing!!  I apologize in advance if you are a man that does not shave his legs.  This tip is for the ladies... or swimmers, I guess.
Obviously, I didn't take any pictures, but it was awesome! You just make a mixture of 2.5 cups of sugar, 1 cup oil (I used Canola), and 5 tablespoons of citrus juice (I used lemon).  You need a razor to shave the hair off your legs, and then I also recommend having 1-2 more dollar store razors that you don't mind ruining.  Then, follow these steps on each leg:

1. Shave leg with good razor to remove hair.
2. Take a handful of the mixture and scrub on your leg, then rinse.
3. Take cheap razor, and shave your leg again.  This will remove all the dead skin.
4. Take another handful of the mixture and scrub your leg again, and rinse.

Not even kidding you, my legs have not been this soft ever.  It is perfect for the winter-time when everything gets all dry here in Colorado.

So there they are, folks! Four tips from Pinterest that actually worked for me and I highly recommend.  I'm working on some Christmas projects this week, as well as getting outdoor decorations up, so I will be sharing all of that very soon!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

the $15 bench

Does it annoy you when you are looking through pinterest and you see a great picture that says something like "plans to make this _____ for cheap!", and then you go to the link and they are so excited because they only spent $125 on materials to build that. I know it is frustrating to me, because I am cheap! There are some things that I want to spend $10-$20, and not much more.

If you're like me, friend, then today is your lucky day!
To build your own bench, you will need the following:

(4) 2x4s (I buy the super cheap ones) - $10.00
(1) package of mending plates - $3.58
2" screws
Stain of your choice - we used Minwax Jacobean (leftover from our bed and headboard)
You will need to make the following cuts:
(4) @ 48", (2) @ 14.25", (4) @ 14", 2 @ 9", 1 @ 34", and 1@ 36"

First up, make your sides by screwing a 9" board in between (2) 14" boards.
 Then, center a 14.25" board on top of this "H" and screw together.  You should end up with two "A"s.
Now, your mending plates come into play.
Lay each of the "A"s upside down, place the 34" board between them, and screw them together, using the mending plates.
 Your "bench" should look like this now:
 Now, will we add the second support by flipping the bench on it's side, and screwing the 36" board between the 9" boards on your "H"s.
**Note: I made this bench to put plants and other decorations on it for my porch, not primarily for seating.  If you intend to use this bench for seating, be sure it is secure and consider adding diagonal supports underneath.

 Take your (4) 48" boards and space them evenly across the top, to create the seat of your bench.
Screw them into place, and voila! You have a bench! Easy, right?
 I stained my bench in the garage with some cardboard underneath to protect the ground, starting on the bottom, and then flipping over to stain the top.  For this project, I used a foam brush to apply the stain, and the color came out much richer than when I used a rag to apply it to our bedframe.
 Because it's been so cold, I let it sit in the garage to dry for about a week, and finally put it out on our front porch today!
I am going to see how it does with the elements, and I may choose to apply a poly to it as well.  But, the "aging old bench" look may end up being the winner. We'll see!
This bench is perfect for holiday decorations, and I can't wait to dress it up for Christmas!! So Soon!
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