More Plants!

Thursday, February 28, 2013



Oh man! Two plant projects in a row!
As you saw in my herb garden post, I have two other plants on my kitchen counter. Both plants started off elsewhere in the house, but ended up here because of the great light. The plant in the yellow pot was only a few inches tall and only had about 5 leaves before I moved it here. The other plant was virtually dead before I moved it to the counter. Look at it now!

Because they both came from different areas of the house, they had different pots. The yellow pot is from Hobby Lobby and the white one is from IKEA.

I wanted to get matching pots for the plants so it looks like they actually belong together. I have a big pop of color planned for another spot in the kitchen, so I wanted to keep it pretty neutral. I figured white pots would work best. I love IKEA’s white pots, but they don’t have any drainage holes (I never have luck with pots without drainage). The IKEA pot in the picture above actually has three holes drilled into the bottom plus the plastic drainage dish. Anyway, I found these pots at Wal-Mart for about $12 each. I already had potting soil, so this was a pretty cheap change.  

This poor guy is a little wilted because I didn’t water him on Sunday like usual. I was planning on repotting them that day, but ended up doing it three days later…Don’t worry, he perked up later in the night.

Here they are together with my herb garden. I love how green and fresh this area looks. Plants really do add life to a space!

And with that, another project crossed off the to-do list:
To-Do List:

Add backsplash
Replace faucet
Update kitchen artwork
Update menu board
Create “Eat” sign
Re-pot plants
Create sign for above sink (to replace bon appétit sign)
Buy rug
Add accessories: potholders, towels, bamboo utensils/crock, oil/vinegar bottles



Painted Pots + Herb Garden

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

It’s time for another Pinterest Challenge!

Since I’m currently in kitchen mode, I figured I’d work on a kitchen-related pin…and because all of my other Pinterest Challenge projects have been artwork. Anyway, I’ve wanted to plant a vegetable/herb garden in our backyard since I moved in 2 years ago. Unfortunately I gave up on that idea after we got Ringo the Destroyer.  

And then one day I realized - I can plant an herb garden in my window sill…duh! I get my herb garden and Ringo can’t reach it – win for me!
I wanted to get light blue pots to go with my canisters, but couldn’t find any that were the right size and/or had drainage dishes. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never had luck with pots that don’t have a hole for drainage. Anyway, after I couldn’t find what I was looking for (story of my life), I turned to Pinterest and was inspired by all of the painted pot projects I had on my DIY board.


I started with plain terra cotta pots from Michael’s (but you can find them anywhere) - they were about $2 per pot/drain dish set. I wanted to fill up my window, so I bought five sets. I painted them with CraftSmart Robin’s Egg Blue acrylic paint. It took three coats and about 3 bottles of paint to get all five painted. I’m a little worried about how the paint will hold up since I didn’t prep or seal the pots - I didn’t want to add any extra chemicals since we’ll be eating the herbs. I guess we’ll see…

(Edited 2/19/14: Be sure to prime or seal your pots before painting them! The wet soil ended up staining the paint and I had to repaint all of my pots. I used primer that I had leftover from painting the bedrooms, then painted another coat of blue. The paint is holding up so much better now.)

I’m too impatient for seeds, so I bought herb plants at Lowes - they were about $3 each. I chose rosemary, basil, parsley, oregano and thyme (I actually wanted chives instead of thyme, but they chive plants looked dead). I planted them in my painted pots after letting the paint dry for about 24 hours. Hopefully the plants…and the pots survive!

I love the pop of color in the window! I originally planned to color block (like my inspiration pin) or embellish the pots in some way, but ended up deciding that color blocking/embellishing x5 might be too much. I might change my mind at some point, but for now I love the simple blue. 

Wellll, I guess there is still a little embellishing to be done – I was going to DIY some herb markers, but I found a set in an Etsy shop that I couldn’t pass up. They had the best prices by far and were willing to customize the silverware with the herb names I needed. I ordered them on Sunday, so they haven’t arrived yet, but I’ll update y’all when they do. 

And with that, another project is crossed off my kitchen to-do list!



To-Do List:

Add backsplash
Replace faucet
Update kitchen artwork
Update menu board
Create “Eat” sign
Re-pot plants
Add herb garden to window sill
Create sign for above sink (to replace bon appétit sign)
Buy rug
Add accessories: potholders, towels, bamboo utensils/crock, oil/vinegar bottles



Don't forget to check out Katie, Sherry, Michelle, and Megan's Pinterest Challenge projects! Plus you can link up your own (or check out everyone else's projects) on any of their posts.  

White and Gray (Faux) Roman Shades

Monday, February 25, 2013

I’m back with another kitchen project! Seriously, that mood board I put together was the best inspiration! I’m going to put one together for every room project from now on. I love being able to see all of my ideas together before I actually start buying and DIY-ing!
Anywhooo…
I you might remember that last year I made faux roman shades for my kitchen windows.

I still love the fabric (although my boyfriend hates it), but I didn’t like the fabric with my new canisters and design plan for the kitchen.

So, I decided to replace the bold fabric with a more neutral gray and white striped fabric. I found this one for $7.50/yard. I ordered a swatch and loved it in person, so I ordered 4 yards. I asked my boyfriend what he thought of the fabric and he said “It’s better than that ugly stuff that’s up now.” So we’ll call that a win!

I used iron-on hem tape to “sew” the sides and bottom of the shades. However, I did sew the top rod pocket because I thought it would hold better and last longer. I used the same tension rod method as before, so this ended up being a pretty quick update.  For detailed iron-on hem tape instructions, check out YHL’s step by step post here. My only advice would be to make sure the steam is off and make sure you don’t iron the tape too much – it makes it hard and won’t stick correctly.

Multiply that by three and you have this:


I love them and I’m so happy with my kitchen progress! I hope you aren’t sick of seeing my kitchen because my other 2 posts scheduled for this week are also kitchen projects.

To-Do List:
Add backsplash
Replace faucet
Update kitchen artwork
Update menu board
Create “Eat” sign
Re-pot plants
Add herb garden to window sill
Sew new faux roman shades
Create sign for above sink (to replace bon appétit sign)
Buy rug
Add accessories: potholders, towels, bamboo utensils/crock, oil/vinegar bottles

Matching Appliances!

Monday, February 18, 2013

The day has finally come – my kitchen has all matching stainless steel appliances! I can finally cross ‘buy new stove’ off my to-do list! Woohoo!

I’ve had the exact model picked out for over a year now – this Amana electric range in stainless steel. I really only picked this one because my refrigerator and microwave are Amana brand and they only had 2 choices in stainless steel. The other one was more expensive because it’s self-cleaning – I can clean my own stove thankyouverymuch. It also has good reviews, so that made me feel more comfortable about my choice.

I figured since I’d procrastinated this purchase for so long I might as well wait for a sale. Luckily, Home Depot was running a sale on appliances last week.

So now that I was ready to stop procrastinating and the range was on sale, it was time to buy! Did you know that the power cord is sold separate? WTF is up with that?! Someone explain that to me please.
Anyway, you can see the $50 discount pretty much covered the tax, so I feel like I got a pretty good deal over all. Plus I shopped through Ebates, so I’ll get a check for $17.13 (3% cash back at Home Depot) in a few months.  (Side note: If you do a lot of online shopping, you should check out Ebates. It's legit - I've gotten 2 checks from them.) My old stove is listed on Craigslist right now, so hopefully I can get some money from that to cover even more of the cost.

OK, enough blabber! Let’s see some before and after shots! Here’s my mismatched appliances (and sweet Abby pup):

And here’s the after shot – with all matching appliances:


Aww yeah! Check out that shiny new stove!


It looks so good I’m wishing I would have bought this last year when I had the money saved up and the model picked out…slacker! Anywhoo, I’m really happy with my kitchen makeover progress so far – wait until you see the next project!
To-Do List:
Add hardware to kitchen cabinets
Add backsplash
Replace stove (stainless steel)
Replace faucet
Update kitchen artwork
Update menu board
Create “Eat” sign
Re-pot plants
Add herb garden to window sill
Sew new faux roman shades
Create sign for above sink (to replace bon appétit sign)
Buy rug
Add accessories: potholders, towels, bamboo utensils/crock, oil/vinegar bottles

Installing Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

This kitchen makeover is actually happening! I already have my first big project done – installing knobs and pulls on the doors and drawers! First let’s look at the kitchen before I started the project:


The cabinets are in great shape, but they have always been missing hardware. So after work on Friday I went to Home Depot and bought a handful of different knobs and pulls to try out on the cabinets. I knew I wanted a brushed nickel finish, but I wasn’t sure about anything else besides that. I ended up choosing this knob for the doors and this cup pull for the drawers:


Of course I had to pick the most expensive pull out of the ones I bought...good thing I only have 5 drawers! The knobs were only $2.97 each, but I had to buy 22 of them! Luckily Home Depot (and Amazon) sells that style in “value packs” of 10, so I ended up saving about $13 by buying 2 value packs instead of individually. I also bought an installation template, which is a must for installing cabinet hardware. I’ll talk more about it later, but it was $7 well spent. After all was said and done, this project ended up costing me $91.76.

But before I could start installing the new hardware I had to fix some of the cabinet doors. All of the upper cabinets looked like this:


Wonky!
Luckily I was able to even up all of the doors by simply loosening the screws on the hinges and pushing the door up/down until they matched up. That didn’t work on one door, so I had to actually take it off and drill a new set of holes. I was scared I was going to screw it up, but I wasn’t going to live with wonky doors anymore, so I just went for it. It was easier than I thought it would be and now all the cabinets look like this:


Now the really scary part - drilling into the cabinets for the first time! I was really nervous, but the installation template made me feel a little more comfortable. I bought mine at Home Depot, but you can also find them on Amazon. Seriously, don't do this project without one of these templates. They are cheap and make the project so much easier and less stressful than trying to measure on your own!
These are the steps I followed while installing my cabinet door pulls:
Line the template up with the edges of the door and mark your hole with a pencil – make sure you use the same hole every time!
Using a smaller drill bit, drill through the cabinet door. The smaller drill bit is easier to control and there’s less of a chance of the wood splitting or cracking. You can leave the door closed, but make sure there’s nothing on the other side that you could puncture/break.
Once through, go through again with the larger drill bit.
You now have even holes and can add your knobs!

I installed all of my knobs first because I knew they would be easier than the pulls. Once all 22 knobs were installed, I moved on to the pulls.
First measure the length of your drawer and mark the center with a pencil. Say the drawer is 25” long – I marked the drawer at 12.5” and then measured from that line to the edge to make sure it really was the same distance on both sides. Yeah, I’m a little obsessive about measuring.
Line up the holes on the pull with the holes on the template. The template gives you 3 different options for width, so make sure you pick the right one.
Hang the template from the top of the drawer and line up the center line with your pencil mark. Mark your holes with a pencil – make sure you use the same set every time.
Use a smaller drill bit and then a larger one like the steps above. Then add your pull and celebrate.

After all of the pulls were installed I couldn’t stop talking about how much I loved the new hardware. Seriously, I said “It looks so good!” to myself, my boyfriend, and the dogs about 20 times. And now here are the after shots, which include a sleepy Abby:

OK, here’s where I need your opinions: do you think I should add a pull to the “drawer” below the sink? It does tilt out and there’s a plastic tray attached, but I don’t use it. I think a lot of kitchens don’t have a pull on that “drawer”, but I’ve seen ones that do. I wasn’t planning on adding one, but after seeing the pulls line up across all the drawers I’m wondering if it would look better to put one there too. For now I’m going to live without adding one and see how it goes, but tell me what you think.


I’m so happy with hardware choice! Ahhh, I love it!

I’m already working on my next kitchen project, so expect another update next week!


 

Pinterest Recipe Week 4 Review

Monday, February 11, 2013

Last Monday I announced that I was going to cook dinner for the whole week based only on recipes that I’ve pinned on Pinterest - aka Pinterest Recipe Week.  Everything turned out pretty good, but not all earned a spot in my recipe binder. Before I crap on any recipes I want to say that these are just our opinions. You might like something we didn’t like or vice versa. That’s what makes food fun; everyone is different.

Monday


I cooked a pork roast last week (using the recipe listed in this recipe’s ingredients list) for pulled pork sandwiches, so this ended up being a really quick and easy dish to throw together. I love Mexican food – I could eat it every day, so I might be a little biased on this recipe. I thought these tostadas were yummy and simple to make. I ended up eating 3 of the 6 tostadas, so that’s probably a good indication of how much I like them/I like Mexican food in general. I like the idea of cooking up a pork roast and using it for multiple dishes throughout the week. This is a great “leftovers recipe” and I definitely think I’ll make these again.
Cooking Note: I topped my tostadas with: refried beans, pulled pork, salsa verde, shredded iceberg lettuce, sour cream, reduced-fat shredded Mexican cheese blend, and sliced avocado. Next time I would also dice up some onion.

Tuesday


I liked these sliders, but I’m not sure if they were worth all the effort/dirty pots and pans it took to make them. I would recommend skipping the queso and just using regular cheese or buying pre-made queso. The queso took the most time to make and the pot was a bitch to clean afterwards, plus I don’t think it was that special. I will say that I used reduced-fat shredded Colby/Monterey jack cheese instead of white American cheese (because I couldn’t find white American without getting it sliced at the deli counter), so maybe that was the problem. Regardless, next time I make sliders I’m just going to grill them up and top them with a slice of cheese, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, and avocado…and maybe some bacon =)

Wednesday
White Chipotle Chicken Chili


This chili was pretty good. I liked that it had a little kick from the chipotle powder without being too spicy. Plus it was easy to make and didn’t have to simmer for hours like some chili recipes. I topped the chili with cheese and cilantro like the recipe said, but I also served it with a side of sour cream and a tortilla. I’d probably make this again.
Cooking Note: I halved the recipe and we still have leftovers, so don’t make the full recipe if there are only 2 of you eating. Also, the recipe calls for 3 onions, but when I halved the recipe I only used 1 and it was more than plenty.

Thursday
I was running late making dinner and forgot all about taking any pictures, so just pretend there’s a picture of chicken and veggie kebabs right here.

Anyway, I loved the orange teriyaki sauce from this recipe. It was soooo good! I’m definitely making the sauce again. If you don’t want to mess with skewers it would also be good on a rice bowl with chicken and veggies.

Cooking Note: I also grilled onion, zucchini and cherry tomatoes with the chicken. I served the skewers with rice.


Sunday

I didn’t realize this recipe was missing the cooking instructions until I started making dinner last night. It’s missing the step between wrapping the shrimp in foil and serving the shrimp. I think you are supposed to cook on the barbeque, but I’m not sure at what heat and for how long. So, my review is really only on the butter mixture – which was delicious. It’s hard to go wrong with butter, garlic and shrimp! I accidently burned the garlic, but it still turned out great. I served the shrimp with rice and French bread to soak up the garlic butter…yum!

Dessert
Chocolate Chip Clouds


I was a little nervous about making these after reading some of the comments on the recipe. Some people said their batter was too runny or they just couldn't get peaks to form, but I didn't have any problems. You just have to beat the egg whites on high-speed and give it a few minutes. Anyway, I liked them right out of the oven, but I think they were even better the day after. I stored them in tupperware overnight and the next day they were soft and chewy. The airy texture was different, but we ate the whole batch in less than 2 days, so I'd say they were pretty good =)

So, the recipes that earned a spot in my infamous binder are:
Pulled Pork Tostadas
White Chipotle Chicken Chili
Orange Teriyaki Chicken Kebabs
Spicy Garlic Shrimp
Chocolate Chip Clouds



Has anyone else tried a recipe they've pinned? Leave any recommendations in the comments section - I'm always looking for new dishes!
You can see these pins and other food related pins here
You can read previous Pinterest Recipe Week reviews here
Lil\'Luna

Kitchen Mood Board

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

It all started with a trip to Target…isn’t that how it always starts?! I went in to buy rawhide chews for the dogs and ended up buying this garlic jar:


But I couldn’t stop at the garlic jar; I also wanted a set of canisters I’d seen on a nearby shelf. I thought about those canisters for weeks and finally I bought them a few days ago- $49 for the set.


Once I put the canisters on my kitchen counter, I knew I wanted different fabric for my faux roman shades. So, I ordered 4 yards of this gray and white striped fabric:


And now here I am, planning to re-decorate my kitchen. Good thing I haven’t done much decorating yet! This is the most recent picture of my kitchen:


OK, now let’s talk plans and inspiration! This is the mood board I put together for my kitchen update (source list at bottom of post):
A lot of the items are subject to change, but I thought this would help me focus on creating a cohesive kitchen look. I’m sure I’m missing some items in the picture, but you get the idea.
I’m planning to keep my existing cabinets and countertops, but I’m going to add hardware to the doors and drawers. I’m also going to add a backsplash - as of now, white subway tile. As mentioned before, I still need to buy a new stove and I also want a new faucet. Right now I just have some funky cheap one.
I’m going to update the kitchen artwork and menu board that I’m currently using –maybe just change the frame color/paper. And I also want to make a sign to replace the Bon Appétit that I currently have up. The rest is just going to be adding kitchen-friendly accessories. I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

To-Do List:
Add hardware to kitchen cabinets
Install backsplash
Replace stove (stainless steel)
Replace faucet
Update kitchen artwork
Update menu board
Create “Eat” sign
Re-pot plants
Add herb garden to window sill
Sew new faux roman shades
Create sign for above sink (to replace bon appétit sign)
Order rug
Add accessories: potholders, towels, bamboo utensils/crock, oil/vinegar bottles


Source List:

Pinterest Recipe Week 4

Monday, February 4, 2013

It’s time for the fourth installment of Pinterest Recipe Week! You can see the previous three weeks here. For those of you new to the game, Pinterest Recipe Week is when I attempt to make a week’s worth of dinners from recipes I’ve pinned.
Every Sunday I plan out my meals for the upcoming week - I typically plan 5 dinners per week (we usually eat out Friday and Saturday) and this week I’m even adding dessert!
Today I’m sharing my meal plan and next Monday I’ll share my reviews. Let’s hope everything tastes as good as it looks in the pictures!

Dinner
Spicy Garlic Shrimp with rice and French bread
White Chipotle Chicken Chili



Dessert


You can see these pins and other food related pins
here
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