Aug 23, 2013

Cleaning hardened caramel sauce out of your fridge

So sometimes I like to buy those little pre-made cups of flan, because yeah, I'm too lazy to make my own. Well, one of them apparently exploded when it was hiding in my flex drawer of my Samsung refrigerator. I've left the little caramel mess for months, not knowing how to get rid of it. I couldn't even scratch it out!

Well, I finally tackled the job. I removed the tray from the flex drawer and just looked at the messy caramel mess and considered different ways of cleaning it out. Finally, I decided to pour a little Goo-Gone onto it and I let it sit for 10 minutes. After that, I poured enough cold (not HOT) water to cover the stain, and let it sit 5 more minutes. Using cold water is important: if you use hot water, it will just continue to 'cook' the caramel. Use cold water only. When I went back to check it out, I found that much of the sugar had dissolved in the cold water. It was a breeze cleaning it out -- I just scraped out most of it with my finger and then wiped the rest of it clean.

Of course, I did end up spilling about a quart of water on the floor because I forgot that there were air holes on the bottom of the tray. Other than that, it was a success!

This method will also work for your bowls and pans that may be affected by burnt and/or hardened caramel! Good luck!

May 23, 2013

I love DIY projects!

So here are a few more small projects I've completed.

This is a combination of two tutorials I found on Pinterest...that of the sea glass candlestick holder and a DIY cake stand. I actually made three of these, though this smallest one I am using as a little stand for all my kitchen "scrubbies". I found the plate at Target, and just super-glued it to the painted and dried candlestick.

For the sea glass candlestick tutorial (which is super easy), click here.

To the right, you'll see the dining room. I still want to add a pelmet box above the patio door and repaint everything, but first things first: get rid of the "boob" light that was on the ceiling. I really hate those lights, and they're everywhere in our house (two more in the kitchen that are yet to be replaced). Anyway, I knew I wanted a barrel pendant lamp over the dining room table, but with funds as tight as they are, I couldn't afford the ones I truly love. However, while at Lowe's one day, I saw this baby on clearance for $25.00 (that's 75% off!). It's hard to tell from the photo, but it's a muted brownish-stainless look (if that makes sense). The lampshade itself is taupe, with pictures of antique doors on the inside, which are visible when the light is on.

I personally think it's cute, and it will go great with everything else I have in mind for the kitchen. I don't know that I won't eventually replace it, but for now, it still looks 100 times better than the boob light that was there.

For the entryway, we got a hold of an extension ladder from a neighbor and then repainted the ugly brass chandelier that was hanging there (Rustoleum oil-rubbed bronze metallic spray paint - it was so easy!). Later, we were able to paint the entryway grey, so that it's no longer the blah off-white it used to be. You can "kinda' see the color here. Our awesome coatrack is on display here, too.

 My latest project (below): distressed-looking signs. We have a bunch of old cedar fencing in our garage that was there when we got there (half of our fence is down due to bad windstorms that happened before we even moved in). I decided to repurpose some of it and first made a sign for my co-worker and friend Megan, and her fiancĂ©e, Yani. Then I decided to make one of my own to hand above the coat rack :) It's only my second attempt, so I know I'll get better as I keep trying, but so far I'm really liking it!

Mar 10, 2013

Another few projects completed :)

I used to blog all the time, and I can't believe that now, when it's one of the most popular things to do in social media, I no longer do it. However, since I'm not in this to make money or anything, it can be what I want it to be. Right?

Anyway, I wanted to share a few projects that I've completed (or my husband and I have completed) since moving in. We have been so busy with work, life, and just plain unpacking that we really haven't had time (or money) to dedicate to even small projects. However, as we complete our projects I feel that much more that we are making this our home.

I am always getting ideas from Pinterest and then attempt to put them together.  Funny thing about Pinterest -- I noticed how my style has started to drastically change. I used to be all minimalist and modern. Now I am finding that I like to be more eclectic with my style, but I am definitely loving some vintage and antique looks jazzed up in a modern way in my interior design. I think it began with this wonderful purchase from Craigslist:

This was never my style before. I was such an Ikea fan. However, I saw this for $20 and thought it would work in with the first idea I had about decorating our new living room.

This was my original inspiration: (note: I'm not sure the source of this image, but have seen it posted several times on the internet).

Isn't it lovely? I already had pillows like this in jewel tones, so that was a bonus. I also found some gorgeous silk teal pillows at Ross on clearance!! However, as most ideas do, they changed.

We've never had much extra money, so other than the money we added to our house loan to repair the house and add new flooring and appliances (not to mention adding a central A/C unit, new windows, and a new roof - what is with Utahns and their swamp coolers, anyway??) we only have a little here and there. I mean very LITTLE. I'm not talking about limited budget projects that are sweeping the web, because we rarely even have a few hundred dollars here and there to put towards something. I'm talking thrift store, dollar store, hardware store budget!

Anyway, as lovely as that silver couch in that picture is, I wasn't so sure about the upkeep and the comfort level. We do, after all, live in the real world. We had one cat at the time (three now) and knew we would be adding a few more, plus we're trying to conceive. I'm a realist, and knew I needed a couch that could stand all the wear and tear from children and animals. 

So we found some grey microfiber couches at RC Willey. They are more transitional than modern, and much more "fluffy" than this lovely piece above, but they work for us. They have been pre-treated, and they are amazing at not collecting dirt and cat fur. Anyway, I saw the pillows that came with them and saw the mixture of grey, some teal and brown, and thought, "I wonder if those colors go together?" I already had some brown modern lamps, and honestly, we didn't have money to buy new ones. My tv stand is also brown, and while I still want to replace it with something vintage and gorgeous like my new coffee table, I knew that wasn't possible yet. 

This is what my living room looked like with everything I already had, with my walls painted a custom teal and a custom greige (greyish beige), plus the purchase of a $12 gloss grey Ikea table and the new couches:

While no where near done, I saw a lot of potential! I still wanted that teal shag rug, but honestly, matching the teal and finding one in our price range was impossible. However, during Christmas we saw this grey shag area rug at Costco for under $150 and fell in love with it. It's the softest rug I have ever felt, and it was the same grey as our couches. We couldn't pass that up!

This is what it now looks like with the rug. There's still a lot I need to do (like figure out window treatments and completely re-do the tv area) but we're getting closer :)

I've been toying with the idea of bringing in some chartreuse or lime (chartreuse might be a bit too warm), but I don't know where. Possibly in the window treatments, as long as it's not garish. Any suggestions, anyone?

Moving on to other projects -- Pinterest suddenly became an amazing inspiration. With my new found like of things vintage and/or rustic, I saw a door wreath that I thought looked cute. I also saw a "letter" wreath that I liked as well. I decided to combine the two, give it a distressed look and came up with this for our door:

It's SO CUTE and I absolutely love it!!!! Plus, it's the same paint that I used on my living room wall, so it is where things start to pull together.

Now I get to what we finished tonight. I've been cruising Pinterest for months looking for a perfect coat rack. I wanted something that matched my new style: rustic/modern/vintage or whatever you want to call it. I saw several cute ideas, but I wanted something different. Then, after seeing so many different styles, it came to me. I bought a 45 inch 2x4 of pine from Lowe's and had my hubby use his brand spankin' new DeWalt table saw to cut it up into blocks. I then proceeded to paint them and distress the blocks with a coat of brown acrylic paint, and then the color of choice. I watered down the paint in areas, and used a sand block as well as some steel wool to achieve the distressed look I wanted.

These blocks sat for a month until today. I've been sick, but asked Dustin to hang up some things that have been sitting around. He decided to finish the coat rack today, too. It took a lot of time figuring out measurements and lining things up where he (we) wanted them, but this was the end result!

We are so LOVING it! It takes up what was once a bare wall in the entryway (yeah, we have one of those lovely 80's splint entryways) and is providing much-needed storage for coats, especially for visitors. Our current coat closet is already small and is housing more mops and brooms than coats, so this worked out great!

The green didn't turn out exactly how I wanted it to. I first painted it with a green that was too yellow-looking. I then bought a tube of a more spring green and painted that on top and rubbed away parts of it to show the other green coming through. It looks better, but still wasn't exactly what I had in mind. But, no matter, I still love it! We'll have to take it down once we finally buy (or borrow) a tall enough ladder that will allow us to paint this wall (and spray paint the ugly brass chandelier that is hanging in our entryway) but until then it at least adds some functionality, uniqueness, and color :)

Last, but not least, is our new mail center. I cannot believe how difficult it is to find a decent-looking mail/key holder. They do not exist in stores, or so it seems. I found this one by Umbra on, but was dismayed at how small it was when we received it. I love it, and it matches our stainless steel appliances in the kitchen. However, it only works for my hubby's mail. I needed somewhere to put things like catalogs and coupons that needed to be read and dealt with. Their current home was on our kitchen counter, and I hated it. I HATE clutter. Well, I was cruising through Target on Friday afternoon and found a teal hanging file folder on clearance for $6.98. I thought it would be perfect for my coupons and catalogs. 

We will see how it works. It is so much larger than the mail/key organizer, but I needed something to put that stuff in. If in the end, it doesn't work, or I just don't like the way it is all pulled together (as I'm still mulling over that) I won't feel like I wasted much money!