Saturday, January 21, 2012

Shiny of the Week: High Tops and Higher Education

This week has been crazy, a little overwhelming and a little fantastic! The Mr. started a graduate class last Friday, he's working towards his MBA. We are excited to start this chapter of our lives as he begins the process of getting his Masters Degree, I couldn't be prouder of my Mr.! Our kiddos are quite proud as well. Each night as Daddy is studying we make him a hot cup of tea and draw him a picture. C LOVES to get the tea out and check the "flavor" with his sniffer, he really likes the cinnamon apple, and then he waits patiently to hear the whistle of the tea kettle. He takes SO much responsibility in his duties of tea deliverer, cheerleader, motivational smoocher, and official artist.

It seems as if our little man has grown up so much in the last week! On Monday we went to look for new shoes for him and he picked out his OWN shoes. Not only did he pick them he INSISTED on them! I was not very fond of the shoes he choose at first, but they are VERY him and fit his sweet little sports loving personality so so much that it truly makes my heart smile seeing him wear them! My little guy picked out BLACK HIGH TOPS, yes like the ones that were styling in '80's. But how can a Mom resist when that sweet little almost 3 year old face says "Mom, these are my favorites to play basketball in". He, of course, wore the shoes out of the store, was a little upset when they got wet, MUST sleep with them in his room, figured out how to put them on all by himself and has been wearing them around the house CONSTANTLY. Not to mention that the basketball hoop now resides upstairs! Best $12.99 I've ever spent. Oh and they've grown on me. I now think his high tops are pretty snazzy, it's amazing how quickly a 35 lb little boy can change my perspective.

Let's not forget about our sassy little lovely Q, her fun of the week has been standing over the heating grate and letting her long locks blow like crazy when the heat kicks on.... and let me just tell you, IT IS HILARIOUS!

That's my Shiny ~


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pom Poms & Pulled Pork for a New Family of Four

More babies, babies, babies so what does that mean?? More gift making fun! I got back to it, with the towel making EXTRAVAGANZA! This time around, the new big brother welcomed a little sister, so two extra special towels need to be whipped up. 
I wanted to mix it up this time and see what else I could come up with. I headed to Target to find some towels, I was hoping to find more of the super cute striped towels I used last time but those were sold out. I moved on and picked solid lime green towels for this go round. While choosing the towels I remembered the teal fabric paint I had left from Q's first birthday t-shirt and thought it would look fantastic with the lime. At that point I wasn't sure how I was going to make the towels a little extra special. I was hoping to find some ribbon or something to individualize the towels a bit. However, the snow fell and we were stuck at home and I have ZERO ribbon in the house....I had to use my resources, so I went digging through my fabric pile and there it was teal and lime green FELT!!! (scraps from Q's Halloween costume) Hooray!! The idea hit me POM POMS, two POMS for the little sister and one POM for the big brother !! The Poms turned out EVEN CUTER than my original ribbon plans!

I got to work following the same process from this post (SUPER simple, fun , practical gifts for babies/kids). EXCEPT I wanted little sister to have double pom poms on the back of her hood, so I changed it up a bit so the hood would have double points.

Double Point Towel Hood:
- Fold the hand towel in half, short end to short end.
- On the side you will be sewing the seam, at the folded center push the center down into the towel about 2 1/2 - 3 inches,creating two mini folds, pin. (see photo below)
- Carefully sew one point closed
- Sew the other point and continue down to rest of the hand towel to complete the back of the hood

- Flip hood so the seams you just completed are on the inside. 
- The hood is now ready to be attached to the large towel (per instruction in the previous tutorial) and for the finishing touch of two pom poms!

*For the single pom hooded towel follow instructions as in the previous tutorial and attach pom as described below.

Also, instead of spray fabric paint for the letters, I used regular fabric paint in teal. Once I finished the towels themselves I got to work on the pom poms.

DIY Felt Pom Poms:
- Cut a big pile of thin strips of felt,about 4 or 5 inches in length
- Stack up a big bunch of your strips until the thickness looks like it will be full enough 
- Using a length of heavy duty thread about 18 - 20 inches long tie tightly around the center

- Give your Pom Pom a good trim until it fills out and is the right proportion.
- You should have a long piece of thread left over after tying, use this to attach the poms to the points on the hood of each towel sewing by hand.  
- As you attach the pom pass the needle and thread through the entire Pom Pom to secure it together(see pic above, that is the needle in the center of the pom), this way no felt pieces will be pulled loose or out of place.
- Continue to sew until secured well (move your stitches around the pom to secure at all sides).

Along with the gift, I have also been favoring one specific meal to make for newly expanded families.  It really is perfect, cooks in the crock pot, I can make a large enough batch to feed my family and have a meal to give. TRULY PERFECT!
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Fajita Burritos:
1 10 lb pork loin
1 jar medium salsa
2 cups sweet baby rays BBQ sauce
1 large onion chopped
3 -5 sweet peppers (variety of colors red, yellow, orange and green)
1 T cumin (more or less to taste)
1 1/2 T chili powder (more or less to taste)
2 packages of whole wheat tortillas
3 cups shredded Colby Jack or mild cheddar cheese

place pork loin in slow cooker, chop onion place on top of pork loin. Mix BBQ sauce, salsa, cumin and chili powder in a small bowl, poor over top of pork loin and onions. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Once pork is tender shred with two forks, turn or keep crock pot on high, cut peppers into thin strips and add peppers to crock pot, continue to cook for 30 minutes or until peppers are tender. When preparing to eat immediately preheat oven to 350. Using a 9x13 casserole make the burritos by putting a small amount of cheese in a tortilla top with about 1/4 cup of pulled pork mix, roll into a burrito and place in pan, repeat. Each pan makes about 10 burritos. Lightly top with more shredded cheese about 1/2 - 1 cup. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and slightly browned. Serve with sour cream, tortilla chips, salsa and guac if desired.

What have you been whipping up?

That's my Shiny ~

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Tonight I am without a computer, I'm watching a movie (including all the previews) and eating ice cream. While watching this said movie I will be "projecting" as my little guy calls it.

I was hoping to get a few blog related things done this evening but without a computer, (I am writing this on my iphone) I am forces to do this instead, what a splendid turn of events!!

I will be working on a few projects while watching the movie and will hopefully have updates later in the week.

Is your evening going as planned or are you doing something splendid and unexpected?

That's my shiny ~ J

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

An Impromptu Pinterest Dinner Party

 My college girlfriends and I try to get together twice each year, once in the summer and once around the Holidays. Being totally honest we are lucky if one of those two times actually ends up coming together. This year we got to do BOTH! Our Holiday gathering happened last weekend and we had so so so much fun! We did lots of catching up, giggling and we even did some hair braiding (see more on this below). Funny even at almost 30 we still manage to have the good old stereotypical sleep overs, LOVE!

For the location, we decided to congregate at my house, it's a decent middle point (and the ladies also wanted to see our little kiddos for a bit). We also decided to have a dinner party instead of going out to dinner, that way we wouldn't feel rushed and could REALLY catch up. Once those things were decided we all started throwing out menu ideas and what each of us would bring. I was in charge of the main dish and wasn't coming up with much. So about a week before the shindig we went a different route and decided to go TAPAS style (that means a wide variety of appetizers or snacks). This was SUPER fun and came together really GREAT!! Much easier than trying to coordinate the type of food and what would go together and assigning each person something, because with appetizers it all GOES!! 

Once the ladies arrived we pulled out the fare and realized that MOST of our dishes were made via Pinterest! It ended up being a WONDERFUL impromptu Pinterest dinner party! We had so much fun talking about what we made, were we found it and of course the BILLION other things we have seen on Pinterest and have tried or have been wanting to try!

Here are the DELICIOUS dishes we made. Let me just tell you, the food was FAN-to-the-TASTIC, all of these are definitely worth whipping up!!

Southwestern Egg Rolls with Avocado Ranch
Pinned Image

Baked Brie
Pinned Image

Mini Caprese Bites
Pinned Image

Easy Pizza Rolls
Pinned Image

Baker's Square French Silk Pie
Pinned Image

Nutella Cake Balls
Pinned Image

We also had a few other things that we didn't find on Pinterest like this amazing crab cheese spread on english muffins, YUM! The good old grape jelly and chili sauce meatballs, chips and salsa, shrimp and dip, raspberry truffles, and a chocolate peanut butter cheesecake, another YUM!! This is what our spread looked like.

Here's a little more Pinterest love, back to the hair braiding as promised we tried this waterfall braid and as expected it was GORGEOUS, not the easiest hairstyle to master on yourself though and we did this no heat hair curling technique.

Pinned Imageno heat hair curls, MUST TRY! 
I have been doing this curling technique for a few months now and LOVE it! It is great for second day hair. I actually did this technique the night before the party so my hair was wavy for the festivities!

What have you been up to on Pinterest lately?  What have you tried and LOVED?

That's my Shiny ~


Friday, January 6, 2012

Time to Dine

We have a COMPLETE DINING ROOM that is thankfully VERY far from where we started! We have been enjoying our finished room for a little over a month. We couldn't be happier with the results and I am excited to share the details with you all! 

Let me start by describing our style, this might be helpful as you see this project and future projects unfold. The Hubs favors traditional style and I favor modern (particularly mid-century modern) and together we seem to find a good balance that both of us LOVE. Here's a perfect example of our meshed style (photo from West Elm):
Pinned Image

When it comes to board and batten, We LOVE the clean lines it dishes up and the traditional element it adds to a home. Kind of the perfect fit for our combined style and our VERY traditional home.

The EXTRA piece of motivation was finding the PERFECT inspiration picture, on Pinterest of course! Here's the inspiration photo of the pattern we wanted to use for our board and batten.

Pinned Image

Great right! So we had our inspiration layout, now we needed the right tools and the materials. The Husband was a LITTLE more than excited to be getting some new tools (including a miter saw, nail gun and air compressor). For materials we choose a thick detailed molding for the baseboard. We love the detail and weight it provides to the room and double bonus we didn't need to add quarter round, time and cost saver! For the rest of the wood we used 2 1/2" x 1/4" pine wood general purpose trim . I've read about a cost saving trick on a few blogs to cut strips of MDF boards to size but with this being our first time tackling trim we wanted to use real wood and the FOR SURE straight option. So we opted for maybe not the cheapest route but we couldn't be happier with the outcome so we wouldn't change a THING!! Even the cost.

As for the paint color we decided NOT to use a standard pure white. We painted some of our surviving trim stark white and with the lighting in our house it ended up looking like primer, so we went for what we know and LOVE the same "white" we painted our cabinets in the kitchen. We used Behr, Swiss Coffee (apartment therapy voted best off white! SCORE! just found this link) in satin finish. It has a great taupe tint with NO YELLOW it really adds depth and doesn't come off flat like the stark pure white did.

As far as spacing goes we did a little bit of playing around and tried to decide what would look best, serve some function and create balance. First we choose to work off the center point of the window on the back wall of the dining room. The next thing we needed to decide was height and spacing. We kept the first horizontal row the same height as the previous chair rail. This would conceal the dry wall damage and was also a good starting height to achieve the look we wanted. The next thing we decided was the spacing between each vertical row. To add balance we opted to make the main vertical rows the same distance between the base board and the first horizontal row (previous chair rail, 25 1/4 inches). Then we had to decide how high we wanted the top vertical row, our deciding factors were what ascetically looked best, avoiding electrical components like the light switch and thermostat and lining the molding up to where our chairs actually hit on the wall. After finishing our spacing plan it was time to measure, cut, glue, nail and repeat....lots and lots.

One MAJOR thing that we learned and I think got right was measuring every vertical board exactly for the space, instead of cutting the boards in mass and then putting them in. Nothing is EVER perfectly true and measuring and cutting for each particular space provided the tightest fit possible resulting in a seamless look with minimal caulking and filling (my handy Hubs deserves all the credit for this). Doing this definitely added work on the front end but MUCH less finishing work and in the long run it makes it look really professional and polished.

As the Hubs cut and hung boards. I was filling nail holes, sanding, priming and then painting. We primed the walls twice to cover the orange as best we could and then did three coats of Behr Swiss Coffee satin finish. After the second coat of paint I went through the room and caulked any gaps between boards or between the wall and boards. Basically any space that didn't look seamless, this step was minimal do to measuring mentioned above. Finally I applied the final coat of paint and VOILA!!

little ladies sunny high chair looks pretty cute in the space too! Not too shabby! At some point we may add a rug under the table and of course will probably change photos out and the arrangement, but for now we are LOVING it!

A reminder of where we started:

Here we are now:

As far as cost, we spent about $350 on wood and supplies, like paint, brushes and tape. This doesn't include the cost of the new tools as these will be used on LOTS and LOTS of other projects and is something we planned for and saved to buy.

What is your personal style? Does it match your mates? How do you incorporate the two? Have you found your perfect "white"? Have you added any architectural details to your home?
That's my Shiny ~


Thursday, January 5, 2012


Up to this point I haven't shared much about the renovation we have been doing in our home but with some VERY exciting newly finished projects, NOW is the time. We have lived in our wonderful home for just over 3 years. Our house is situated in a GORGEOUS neighborhood with big trees, large fenced in yards and big colonial style homes (see above pic). This is what sold us. The inside is big, with a great floor plan and big rooms... the love story stopped there. Our house was built in 1984 and had all the finishes to prove it. Not only that, it was built by a contractor and that contractor used 100% builder grade materials with ZERO upgrades (reason #1 why we could afford our house). Not to mention, we are the sixth owners of our home, yes SIXTH. Resulting in not one previous owner updating the house but all doing a few of their own "projects" resulting in a hodgepodge of flooring, wallpaper borders and appliances (reason #2 why we could afford our house, and reason #3 was moving to Michigan during the economic down swing).
Here's the kitchen in progress after we painted the cabinets white and installed our new stainless appliances.

Sorry for the HORRENDOUS before photos. We began renovations WELL before I started blogging and did a very poor job of taking pictures. I guess we decided to take photos of this little guy instead, he arrived late February of 2009.

In December of 2008 in we moved with my big ol' 8 month pregnant belly and all of our stuff. Later that night some cabinets came down, part of the partial spindle wall (seen behind the cabinets in the picture above) and some carpet. We bought new appliances immediately, new carpet and began to work on replacing ALL the flooring (check out that yellow linoleum in the kitchen). In our previous house (we lived in Iowa) my Husband and Dad laid new tile in the kitchen. The Hubs also laid tile in our bathroom and built another bathroom complete with a tile shower and floor. Moving into this house He was a tile EXPERT!! So the kitchen, dining room entry way and half bath on the main floor all got new tile. The front living room, new carpet and our "back room" as we call it, laminate flooring. We replaced all the carpet upstairs as well, outside of the two bathrooms (yes, the bathrooms are partial carpeted, ugh).

We have also removed LOTS of wallpaper boarders, wood paneling, patched some dry wall and have painted about 75% of the house. We are just now getting to some of the really super duper stuff, the finishing details like TRIM!! Replacing all the flooring meant loosing a lot of our VERY cheap and in VERY poor condition baseboard trim. So we have had no trim in the house for a LONG time. A few months ago we decided to fork over the dough and FINALLY get the supplies we needed to finish up some projects, including a miter saw, air compressor and nail gun. We have been busy working away since. 

Our first FINISHED product is the dining room. When we bought the house the dining room was an awful faux painted green on the top half, with a low chair rail (see photo above) and a yellowish cream paint below. Not only that, it featured an awful ceiling fan and CARPET flooring. We removed the chair rail and tried to patch the dry wall but the upper portion of the wall had been painted SO MANY TIMES (six owners) that we couldn't get the top and bottom portion of the wall to smooth out nicely. From the beginning we knew we wanted a board and batten look but that it would be done far off in the future, once we completed more crucial things in the house. This would also be the PERFECT solution to hiding the lumpy bumpy issues we faced due to the LAYERS and LAYERS of paint caked on to top half of the dining room.  Knowing we would eventually add board and batten we choose a dark saturated paint color keeping in mind the white would balance the room out and make it light and airy. It is amazing really how everything came together, I mean it took us three years!! Seeing the finished product has really given us the motivation to get to the details in the rest of the house.

Here's a sneak peak:

I will post tomorrow about the finished dining room, details and pictures. Oh happy day! Finishing projects and taking steps to living in a home that is ours is AMAZING! Do you have any projects in your home you have worked on FOREVER and are finally finished with?

That's my Shiny ~