Tuesday, July 30, 2013


I have always told Teen that with his birthday being late September and him being a little older than other kids in his class, he'd be one of the first to get his driver's license. Well, that would have held true had we stayed in New Jersey or been in Alabama last year when he turned 15. At 15 in AL, they can get their learner's permit. In NJ, it wasn't until 16. Moving messed him up a bit in that whole "be the first" realm. He's behind those in AL now. But, he hasn't thought a lot about that, he's just thought about how much he misses NJ and wishes he were still there! I've always tried to point out the positives of new places, so I pointed out the driver's permit thing. He's been studying the book for the last month and preparing. We went yesterday and he nervously took the test. I sat there nervously waiting for him too! A few people had come out and not passed. The people on each side of him at the testing station didn't pass. He came out and told me he needed $23.50 to pay for his license! He passed!
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I am proud of him and happy to see him happy about something pertaining to Alabama! ;) But, then that whole other part of me is freaked out about having a teenage boy driving! Yipes!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Homemade pickle relish

I've hated buying it in the store because of High Fructose Corn Syrup, so wished for another option.

Option #1 - make my own! ☑
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Don't look too closely at how unevenly I chopped everything. I wasn't too worried about consistency in chopping as much as I was worried about consistency in texture. One extra long push on the Ninja button sometimes leads to pulp instead of chop!

I looked at recipes online and in the Ball Canning Cookbook then adapted them all to make my own.

Sweet Pickle Relish:

2 quart chopped cucumbers
3 cups chopped onions
2 cup chopped sweet green pepper
2 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1/2 cup canning salt
3 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar
2 tablespoon celery seed
2 tablespoon mustard seed
4 cups white vinegar (I was going to use apple cider vinegar, but only had white on hand.)

Chop cucumbers, onions and peppers, then combine in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and cover with cold water. Let stand a few hours. The salt and water will draw out even more water from the cucumbers. Drain. Rinse. Repeat until the mixture is thoroughly drained. Combine sugar, spices and vinegar in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Add drained cuke mixture. Simmer for around 10 minutes. Pack hot relish into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Adjust caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water. Some of my jars were too soupy. Some were just right. I plan to just pour off that extra juice when I unseal and open the relish for use.

You saw a glimpse of my relish in my Canning Cabinet post, but I'll share that shelf again.
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Saturday, July 27, 2013

A little fun organization

With all the talk about canning lately, I thought I'd show you where I put the items I use when I'm canning - all my extra lids and rings, etc.

When we lived in Kansas, I picked up two of these antique locker baskets at a junk store. I love those things!
My dad bought several of them at an auction and let me have one of those. I need ONE more to make the storage shelves in my laundry room look right.
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(No fancy schmancy matching set of washer and dryer for me... I had thought maybe after our stuff came out of storage in Kansas from our time in Korea,
I might get a new set. No luck... the old Whirlpools are still going strong. Ok, maybe with this move? Nope, the only damage done
to them was the dent you can see in my washer, which didn't effect the way the washer works. So, I'm still using them until they quit. :) )

In the meantime, I've filled the baskets with things that are appropriate for the cubby space.
The one above the washing machine holds the bottle of liquid laundry soap and my extra FelsNapthia bars for when I need
to make a batch of my own powder soap. The basket closer to over the dryer and beside the iron holds spray starch and lint rollers.

In the third locker basket, I've stored my canning supplies. I even reused an old lid to make a chalkboard label for the outside of my locker basket.
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I really like using the giant O rings to hold the Mason rings together when not in use.
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I need to make some more of those chalkboard labels for my other locker baskets.
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See the peak of my toolbox? That's my girl toolbox. I got tired of having to go pilfer through G-Dub's tools every time I needed a screwdriver so I asked for my own toolbox one year for Christmas. It is funny how he uses it as much as I use his tools in the shop now! LOL

Friday, July 26, 2013

Canning Cabinet Makeover

Last summer, I bought a little cabinet. I was at a yard sale in New Jersey and the only two things that caught my eye in the stash of stuff were that cabinet
and a stack of terracotta pots. I asked the guy how much for the pots. "$1 a piece." Then I asked how much for the cabinet. "$25"
I mentally did the math and decided I didn't want to spend $31 so I said thanks and kept looking. I walked back over to the cabinet and then again to the pots.
He was watching me the whole time and said, "If you buy the cabinet, I'll give you the pots!" I said, "Deal. Will you help me load them?" LOL

It is an all wood cabinet, but it was painted in an eh color.
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The color wouldn't be so terrible if they hadn't painted part of the doors stark white and put a hard clear coat finish on it.
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Well, I took it home and put it in the storage room because admittedly, I was scared of the clear coat finish and the thoughts of how hard it would be to get that off!
It was a perfect little cabinet for my canning jars storage so I started calling it my canning cabinet.
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This spring, I toyed with the idea of painting it red. With moving looming in the future and not knowing what our future home would be like or where I'd put my canning cabinet or if it would even still be my canning cabinet, I talked myself out of painting it red!

Now, here we are at our home in the grove. G-Dub came before me and was here for the unloading of the truck. He asked where I wanted my little cabinet and I said, "If it'll fit in the laundry room, put it in there." It did. But, it was ugly in all its green/blue/white/hard clear coat finish glory. So, what did I do as one of my first projects?

You already know the answer to that question, don't you?

I painted it RED!
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I decided that I was going to use a homemade chalkpaint recipe and see what all the fuss was about that. I still stripped the piece of as much clear coat finish and weird green/blue paint as I could because I didn't trust that clear coat. With all my sanding and stripping, I discovered that it wasn't really green in the first place, it was blue.
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I used primer only on the knots on the wood because I didn't want them to show. Then, I mixed my chalkpaint using this recipe.

I'd found the homemade chalk paint recipe at Old Things New and pinned it a while back.

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Hobby Lobby had their drawer hardware on sale half price last week, so that worked out perfectly as I was finishing my canning cabinet.
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I cheated slightly and didn't redo the shelves. Instead, I added some pretty shelf liner to them.
I did paint the inside of the cabinet though. And this week, I've been canning tomatoes so I've been able to add more home canned items to my cabinet! Perfect!
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What do you think? I think everything looks better refreshed and a lot of things look better in RED, especially my canning cabinet!
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Thursday, July 25, 2013


Did I tell you that we've been adopted?

Left me backtrack a little bit... just bear with me.

Back in April or early May, my youngest along with the neighborhood kids discovered a cat in the storm drain. They tried to rescue it, but had no luck. Our neighbor down the road and across the street is a cat lover (and saver of wild, roaming cats), so they enlisted her help. She put some food into a net and lowered it into the storm drain as bait. It took a little while, but as we all stood and waited with breath held, the cat stuck its head into the net to reach the food, then more of its body until the lady was able to lift him out of the drain. You could tell it was a beautiful cat (and for me to say beautiful when describing cats, that's saying something as I am not what I'd call a cat lover...) But, this cat was pretty underneath all the matted hair and dirt. Tony, the neighbor cat lady, said she thought it was a Maine Coon.

Roo, my youngest, has always wanted a cat. Always. He has a tender heart of gold. He felt so bad for that stray cat.
He asked if we could take it in and it be his cat for our new home. I got an easy way out with that because Tony took him home with her to tend to and make sure he was ok. But, I told Roo if we ever got a cat, I would like a Maine Coon because they are so pretty.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when this little guy comes walking into our yard. Darned cuteness... He was tiny and we had no idea where he came from. Well, he came from the neighbor's yard, but they said he didn't belong to them. Um, ok, well, he needs to go home! We are a dog family, ya know. ;)
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Instagram photo from July 4 when he first showed up in our yard...

Problem is, he didn't go home. He lingered and lingered and eventually won our hearts. I bought him some cat food (first time ever in my life to buy cat food, by the way) My friend from TN, that was here last weekend pointed out to me that he was most likely a Maine Coon (American longhair). What? Wait, does that mean we have to keep him now? LOL She offered to take him home with her as they are in need of a family pet. But, MY boys said no way! He's made our patio his home, so I guess he's ours.

We've been adopted.
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His name is Spanky.
I called him that because he's such a little rascal and the name has stuck.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fresh goodness

With all the things on my to-do list, I am going to take a little break from it and detour to something else. My friend picked up a box of pickling cucumbers yesterday at the Farmer's Market and asked if I wanted to split the box with her. She also picked me up a box of tomatoes for canning. Last night when I should have been mowing the yard or cleaning the house for company that is arriving in thirty minutes, I was staring at these boxes of produce wondering just how late I was going to be up last night!
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The Farmer's Market lady who has never even met me must have known I was crazy enough to tackle this last night and saved me!
When I began to look at the tomatoes, I decided they weren't quite ripe enough yet and could wait a few days. (A few days being after our company leaves!

Whew... I got to plan a decent bedtime last night and mow a portion of the yard after dinner!

After finishing outside because it got dark and I could no longer see, I came in and started on the cukes. I chopped them with my Ninja which I absolutely love! Then I chopped the other veggies to go with them. I put them all in the fridge and decided to let them drain overnight and tackle the homemade pickle relish recipe this morning. It all worked out for me! I have seven pretty pints of homemade pickle relish.

The house is in a decent order and the yard looks ok too. We're ready for our guests! I'll share the pickle relish adventure recipe with you later!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Master Bathroom Makeover Plans - Ideas that have inspired me!

Yesterday, I showed you my Master Bathroom Before Photos. I promised that I'd share some of my ideas with you in another post.
It's your lucky day because this post is that post! They aren't technically MY ideas, but they are ideas I've gathered from the wonderful world of the Internet via Pinterest!

I have really come to love the look of bead-board and have pinned several bathrooms that use bead-board.
But, since G-Dub is busy with a class and I'll be doing the majority of this bathroom remodel, I'm going to have to go for something that requires less skills with a saw. ;)
I thought about paintable bead-board wallpaper, but I just can't bring myself to put more wallpaper on these walls if I ever get all of the existing wallpaper off the walls!
In comes the idea for board and batten! I can handle cutting straight boards and miter cuts much easier than I can sheets of bead-board.
I've grown to love that look more than the bead-board look!

I found these beautiful bathrooms makeovers via a Pinterest search.

One of the first ones that caught my eye was from Welcome to Heardmont.
I love how they framed out their mirror with the treatment though I don't think it would work for our bathroom's massive builder's mirror.

Thrifty and Chic turned their bathroom into a beautiful space with board and batten!

I love how Kristi from I should be Mopping the Floor mounted the hooks for towels on the board and batten rather than relying on a towel bar.

It All Started With Paint does the same thing with towel hooks.

Most of the board and batten I've seen has a larger board at the top to create a shelf for display.
Jenny @ DIY with Jen and B didn't and thus space was left for hanging other shelves along the wall.

Gourmet Meals for Less ventured away from food to share their board and batten bathroom without the shelf across the top.

I had been wondering how to still put floating shelves above my toilet in place of the wire rack display that is currently there.
Leaving off that top shelf on the board and batten would solve that dilemma.

Speaking of floating shelves, this is what I had in mind.

320 Sycamore redid their master bath and added floating shelves for storage.
Though I really love how those shelves look, I wonder if they would work along my longer wall.

I might need something with a little more character.

I've had this image from The Pickled Pepper Patch pinned for quite some time.
I think that idea of a table over the toilet is ingenious! I'm not sure about adding another cabinet to my space though.

Shelves with a little more character also caught my eye and were pinned to my Beautiful Bathrooms board on Pinterest.

Addicted to Decorating made these beautiful rustic wood shelves for above the tub.

The Butlers have a very unique shelf above their toilet and towel bar.

Maiden D'Shade gives a great tutorial on this shelf with hanging storage.

My favorite shelf I've seen on Pinterest is this one which I can not find an original source for. I apologize for that. :(

Original Source Unknown

On to my other ideas for the bathroom remodel .... framing the builder grade mirror.

The House of Smiths gives an excellent tutorial on how they framed their mirror. I really like the extra molding they used to give it an even more custom look!

Take a look at how Remodelaholic increased the size of the top board for their frame and mounted their new lights onto the frame. That's pretty clever!

Speaking of clever, I just remembered seeing somewhere a while back how someone used Command Strips to adhere the frame to their mirror. I'm not sure if I would do that or use Liquid Nail. This is going to be our house for a long time, so maybe I'll do something more permanent. I just have to remember to paint both sides of my frame in case something shows underneath!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Master Bath Makeover Plans - Before Photos

Wow! - feeling overwhelmed!

When I think about all the things I'd like to do to our new home to make it our home instead of our house, I begin to get overwhelmed. I'm also antsy! I know that everything won't happen all at once, but that doesn't stop me from wanting everything done ASAP! I was very lucky in that I didn't have to unpack a lot of stuff, so I'm not still swamped by boxes and organization. Kudos to G-Dub and Roo for that (and Granny too!) They came earlier than Teen and I so they got a lot of things set up and in place saving me from being buried by boxes. So, now, I feel like it's time to personalize the house!

I have decided that I need to overcome my ADD tendencies and try to focus on one project at a time. Yeah, says the person who was stripping a dresser and a cabinet this week then decided to see how easy or difficult the wallpaper in the master bath would be to take down. I stopped myself after one strip. I need to FOCUS! I need to attend to one thing at a time. Yeah right. Seriously though, I've decided that I'm going to tackle my master bathroom first. I know we are truly the only ones that ever see it and I should start with the wallpaper border in the kitchen first. But, I seriously believe that our master bathroom is ugly and want to be selfish and get it redone first!

Let me show you some before photos. These were taken by G-Dub when he first saw the house back in March.
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This bathroom hasn't had anything done to it since the house was built in 1989. Sigh... very standard late eighties tile and such. I love the tub and have gotten over the fact that it's greenish gray. And, of course, I love the double sinks. The toilet being so open in the middle of the room bugged me at first, but I've come to terms with that as well. I need to work around it. That whole back wall though seems massive or so blank. I pulled the over the toilet rack in that we had previously used in the boys' bathroom in NJ. I just wanted something to add some interest to that wall before tackling the whole bathroom redo.
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It helped to deter from the toilet being the white elephant in the room. But now, the white elephant with the shelf above it seems to be the focal point. The "my eyes fall directly on this" point of the room. Is it the straw that will break the camel's back? No, not at this point. It's just temporary and besides, I've got ideas!

To be fair with the whole makeover, I got my better camera out and snapped some better before photos. Do you often think that before photos look so much worse because people don't spend a good amount of time taking them? LOL These aren't the greatest, but they aren't iPhone photos, so there's fairness in there somewhere. ;)

You can see where I pulled that one strip of wallpaper off the wall. The Sheetrock is in pretty decent shape underneath, so that's good.
I'll need to prime it before painting just to seal it. I want new soap dispensers and other pretties for the vanity. I used the black in Kansas to go with my black toille shower curtain and window curtain. I continued its use in NJ, but added the white soap dispenser on my side of the sink. When I went back to Target to get a second one for G-Dub, I couldn't find the milk glass ones anymore. :( So, that'll require two new ones when the time comes.
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This lovely 1989 special is going to come down. I'd love to have two fixtures above the mirror instead of just one.
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These lovelies will come down as well. There's a beautiful window hiding behind the curtains. The rest of the house has white plantation blinds on every window.
In the storage room is a blind that has been custom cut for this window, but it was never hung.
My mind keeps going to a bamboo blind, but I know the practical/frugal side of me should just use that already here blind. :-/
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The window needs something because even though the neighbors aren't close, I don't want to strip down in front of the window for a soak in the tub!
You can see the grayish green I'm talking about here in better light. It's not as bad as I originally thought when G-Dub told me the tub and shower were green!
My mind went to the 60s avocado green and got a little antsy!
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Ultimately, I'd like to have oil rubbed bronze fixtures in here. In the meantime, we have ORB, brass door handles and chrome faucets. We're like the tricolored jewelry of the 80s! I first started with the extension shelf in the shower to store my shampoo and such. Then I replaced the shower head. I went ahead and bought the ORB one, but the original arm was silver. You all know me, I'm not scared of spray paint, so I painted it with spray paint. I just didn't spray paint it with paint.
I sprayed some into the cap of the can and dabbed it on with a brush until it covered. ;)
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I love this wall of built in cabinets! All I want to do here is replace the handles. These are cheap plastic handles. That whole concept really made me wonder. But, the previous owner had prosthetic hands, so maybe that had something to do with the choice of drawer handles. ???
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Because this post is long enough already, I'll save my ideas for the makeover for another post!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What would you do?

If you were given an antique milk can that your father got from your aunt who used it to sell milk from the dairy cows that they had while
they were running a general/community store but hadn't been in the dairy business or store business for most of your life because all that happened
before you were ever born and you are forty-three years old, what would you do with it?
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(How do you like that run on sentence? It's the kind of mood I'm in today. I apologize!)

How do you like the milk can? What should I do with it?

If those stickers read 43 rather than 42, I'd be tempted to leave them. Did I mention I turned forty-three recently? Geesh... I'm nearing middle age. Some might say I'm already there, but I disagree. My paternal grandmother lived to be 95. I'm shooting for 100, so I won't be middle age in my own personal opinion until I hit 50. ;) So, having said all of that off topic nonsense, I think the stickers will disappear from the antique milk can. I'm not sure what else I'm going to do with it though.