Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Powder Room

So as long as I'm resealing the tile I may as well redecorate the entire room right?  This room has only been four different colors in six years so it is screaming for a refresh.

I'm finally getting my grasscloth wallpaper.  Kind of.  Faux.  The room couldn't be any smaller than it currently is and half the wall is covered in bead board so it will not require much paper.  I've chosen this dark teal grasscloth from spoonflower.  A bit of a gamble ordering paper online that I've never seen in person but life's short right?

The bead board, sink, lights and fixtures are already in the room so it is really a wall paper and accessories refresh.  Here we go again!

powder room

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Tile Refresh

We installed the floor tile in our powder room while we were renovating the kitchen.  Because we had knocked a wall down it meant that we had to patch the hardwood where the wall used to be...and as long as we were patching the floors we may as well extend the hardwood out into the hall...and as long as we were extending the hardwood into the hall we may has well do the powder room too.  Because that's how we do.

I don't think either of us like the tile we chose.  We were overtired and stressed and got into an argument on the way to Home Depot.  We rarely fight so this one was a doozy.  I can't even remember what it was about now but I blame the fact that we were DIY renovating most of our first floor, in the dead of winter with no heat, a very colicky 16 week old and two full time jobs.  Oh and the IRS was throwing me some audit fun as well.  We were the very definition of stretched too thin.  If all we were hit with after all that was mediocre tile and no divorce papers I'd say it was a success.  Anyhoo the moral of this story is to never choose tile angry.

Fast forward 6 years and our light colored tile and grout powder room has seen a lot of foot traffic and 3 potty trained boys still perfecting on their aim.  I've scrubbed this floor repeatedly and it never looks any better than this.  You can see what the original grout looked like in the back, center seam and what it looks like today in the front center seam that sees all the traffic.  The ring around the toilet is disgusting.

The tile and grout is clean (believe it or not) but badly stained.  To attempt a remedy that didn't include ripping out the tile and starting over I decided to give this $13 bottle from Home Depot a shot.  It is an all-in-one colorant and sealer that promises the grout will look like new.  I figured it sounded too good to be true but it couldn't look worse.  I chose a darker gray color than we currently had so that it would hopefully hide dirt/other things better the next time around.

The directions say to use a toothbrush to apply and then quickly wipe off excess before it dries.  We have pretty small grout lines so I used a fine craft brush.  In this picture below you can see where I started applying around the base of the toilet (on the right) and the old, grimy joints that I started with.  Such a huge difference.

Look how much better it looks!  

 A quick before and after.  The pictures don't really do it justice but in person it is a HUGE improvement!  I give it 3 days before it is trashed again but it will be an awesome 3 days.

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Friday, December 26, 2014

Popcorn Crack

I mentioned this ridiculously amazing popcorn recipe in my post on cookie decorating.  You're welcome and I'm sorry.

Yield: 3 gallon sized freezer bags full

3 bags microwave popcorn
24oz white chocolate chips
3 tablespoons of peanut butter
3 cups of Rice Krispy cereal
2 cups of peanuts 

  • Pop the microwave popcorn.
  • Microwave half of the white chocolate chips and half of the peanut butter until melted (stopping periodically to mix).  Then repeat the melting for the remaining chocolate chips and peanut butter.
  • Mix Rice Krispy's and peanuts into a large bowl (the biggest container you can find...a 5 gallon bucket isn't too big!).
  • Add one bag of popped popcorn (you may want to take out any seeds prior to combining.
  • Pour in about 1/3 melted chip/peanut butter mixture over the popcorn mixture.  Mix with spatula.
  • Continue adding popcorn and melted chips/peanut butter mixture until gone.
  • Dump contents of the bowl onto wax paper--spreading in clumps.L
  • Let mixture harden before putting it into a container
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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Cookie Decorating Party

Yesterday we invited some neighborhood families over for some cookie decorating in advance of Santa's arrival.  

We kept the afternoon party menu simple with popcorn (I'll share an amazing recipe in a future post), cheese & crackers, carrots & hummus and hot cocoa & marshmallows. 

I baked a few dozen cookies in advance, stuck them in the freezer and then thawed them the day before.  I made frosting using confectioner sugar, butter and almond extract and then filled condiment bottles with frosting (affiliate link).  I put the sprinkles, sugar and candies in cupcake wrappers so that there were no lines waiting for the sprinkles.  

I wrote each kid's name on a paper plate so we could keep track of each creation.  Ultimately it ended up being sprinkles and sugar with a little bit of cookie.  Some of the cookies were very 3D with the amount of sugar piled on them!

As long as we were loading it up with sugar why not shoot the moon and add whipped cream?

Probably the smartest thing I did was to snag a dozen bakery boxes from the grocery story to send the kids home with their creations.

With 15 kids under the age of 10 and a mountain of sprinkles I'm pretty sure I'll be finding Christmas sprinkles at Easter.  All in all the party was a blast.  Good friends and good treats - what more can you ask for this time of year?

Happy Holidays!

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Crock Pot Hot Chocolate

1 can 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
8 cups milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips 

  • Combine milk, sweetened condensed milk, whipping cream and vanilla extract in crock pot and quickly stir. 
  • Add chocolate chips to crock pot and mix
  • Cover and heat on low setting for 2 hours. Stir occasionally.  After chocolate is fully melted, reduce to 'warm' setting.
  • Serve and top with marshmallows.

Let the sugar high begin...

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Saturday, December 20, 2014


Now that the barrel ceiling is nearing the finish line (still need to add the finishing trim, caulk and paint) it was time to add the jewlery - a pendant light!  We initially went with this classic black pendant.  It is OK.  That's it, OK.  Ok is fine, it would have worked, but we worked so hard on this porch that I felt we earned awesome.  

Remember how I was coveting this copper and iron light?  Well we ended up using my spray painted, cheapo version for the sconces since we really don't use them.  Sean reminded me of this light, from the same collection, that I have been in love with for a while.  I reminded him that it was twice the price but he said to go ahead and get it (who IS he?!).  Thanks to a 20% off coupon I ended up getting it for not much more than the builders grade light we currently had.  This one is beautiful, constructed of copper and iron.  Art.

My hesitation was the scale.  It is huge.  10" taller than the existing pendant.

Thankfully, it is perfect!  The barrel is massive so it really fills the space beautifully.  Here it is during the day...

...and at night.

Love, love, love this light.  The never ending project is slooooowly getting finished.  The last steps are the column wraps, caulk and paint.  Unfortunately each of those things requires a series of 50 degree days which I'm not sure we'll get until spring.  In the meantime you'll find me ogling my new light. 

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Rug Pad Review

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Rug Pad USA.  They provided me with a pad to review but all opinions are my own.

Little boys running laps around the kitchen island with dish towels thrown over their shoulders, pretending to be superheroes is commonplace around the Martin house.  Superheroes doubling as ice skaters that is.  You see a rug without a rug pad adds an extra layer of slip sliding fun for these boys.  A few months back I put a new runner down in front of the sink that was a bit smaller than my old runner and an odd size to get a rug pad off the shelf.  So in true Martin fashion I've ignored it and fixed my constantly moving rug a dozen times a day.

Then a real life superhero by the name, Rug Pad USA, stepped in and offered to send me a rug pad to review.  Kapow.  Yes please.  They have a bunch of rug pads in a variety of types and prices to choose from.  I chose the eco-cushion non-slip rug pad.  I'm not a crunchy-granola-eco-nut but when it comes to products my kids will be exposed to I like to choose natural products when possible.

My favorite feature though is that while they have lots of size options you can also choose to either have it custom cut or to have them cut anywhere from 1" to 1.5" of all sides so that it fits your rug perfectly.  I chose the latter option for my odd sized rug and it is perfect.  

I've had it down for a few days and it hasn't shifted at all yet.   The extra cushion while I'm playing short order cook is pretty awesome too.  I'm a convert.  I will definitely be swapping out my current rug pads for these new ones.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Wainscoting Trim and Holiday Trimmings

What up.  Been a while.  We tend to get 95% complete with a project and then stall.  We have some final trim pieces to install and the column wraps but we're kind of dragging our feet on that until we make a final decision on what to do with the floor.  If we replace the floor the porch will need to be jacked up and the floor jacked out.  That would destroy the column wraps and at over $100 per we want to do it once.

The other hurdle is that you cannot use PVC glue, caulk, putty or paint when the temperature dips below 50 degrees.  Considering we're expecting our first snow storm of the season tomorrow the final touches may have to wait until spring.

In the meantime Sean started working on the wainscoting trim for the gable inlay.   There will be some additional layered pieces but we're trying to get the design right first.  What you see below isn't even nailed in yet.

I had been eyeing these wreaths and garland from Pottery Barn.  I liked the the color the ornaments gave to the greenery.  At $70 for the garland, and $40 and $70 for the small and large wreaths I was looking at ~$300 to do my house.

So instead I bought 2 boxes of ornaments from Ikea for $8 each and wired up the old garland and wreaths we already had.  For something I'll use for 1 month out of the year I'll take my $16 decorations over $300 any day.

 Happy Thanksgiving!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Last night I power washed the porch for the first time in probably 50 years.  Literally.  See how dirty it was?  I thought gray/brown was the actual color and was just hoping to clean it up.

Buuuuuut unfortunately it turns out the floor is super ugly under all that dirt.  Note to self: next time you build a porch determine if you need a new floor first.

When we first moved in the interior floor actually looked like this as well so I probably shouldn't have been surprised.

The good news is that our windows look really shiny and bright!

I'm hoping that I can finish putty'ing and caulking tonight so that tomorrow can be a painting day.  We shall see!
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Monday, October 27, 2014

Crowning Achievement

We're getting there!

We had ordered a bunch of brick mould and cove moulding to trim out the edges of the bead board ceiling but it didn't look right and would have been extra work because it required routing out the back.   The more I thought about it classic crown moulding was a better option.  I hated to waste the expensive material we already had but we've already spent so much time and money so it was the right call and saved us a ton of time.

The crown is made of the same PVC material as the rest of the trim.  We used the Kreg Crown Pro tool which I love.  Saves us so much time and money each time.  We were able to get the 2 sides of the shed portion to the sides of the gable done in a couple hours.

The gable portion was much tougher and we have no idea why.  This part took us 3x as long and we ended up wasting a bunch of expensive material.  Ouch.

Finally the underside of the porch is heading into the home stretch.  The only portions left are the trim above the door and the columns wraps...

...oh and filling holes, caulking, sanding and painting until Easter!
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Monday, October 20, 2014

Bead Board

We declared last weekend, "get 'er done" weekend.  Goal: No scaffolding by Sunday.

Remember where we started.  Tired...

 ...and not exactly safe.

So we pulled it down and rebuilt the shed portion to the right of the front door...

...and to the left.

Cut out the middle and built a barrel ceiling gable.

Then we ordered about a mile of PVC trim.

And we slowly nailed up 142 bead board planks.  Literally 142.

Ignore the rough edges and the dirt.  They'll be finished with...something...haven't exactly agreed on what just yet.  Then putty, caulk and paint will make it all look seamless and clean.

To cover the headers that support the gable we got clever and wrapped it with column wraps.

The columns wraps are pre-made and mitered perfectly.  They come with the corners all taped so you apply the glue to the inside, close around your wood supports and then after the glue dries, peel off the tape for a perfect edge.  We could have wrapped it with PVC boards and saved a little money but because it is in such a visually prominent place we wanted the edges perfect.  Success!

Installation on the shed portion of the ceiling flew and was completed in a day but the quick work came to as screeching halt when we had to meet the flat ceiling to the barrel.

We had to cut two planks at odd angels to get both the barrel and the flat ceiling portions to exactly meet. Ours was a tricky 132 degrees and because the saw doesn't cut that angle there was a lot of creative maneuvers.  I won't even try to explain it (because I literally can't - Sean's the math guy).  They couldn't be more than a degree or two off without screwing up the rest of the ceiling.

We cut it (punny) close but we met our goal.  Sunday night and the scaffolding is gone!

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