Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Custom Frame Ikea Hack

Thanks for taking the time to stop in today!  If you're new to the blog you may not know that I am a total sucker for anything that reminds me of the East Coast (where my husband and I grew up.)  We absolutely love our sunny west coast home but we definitely miss the seasons (except the sub zero temps, bone chilling winds... oh and blizzards).  I heart this oil painting that my mother in-law gave us.  It's the view from The Dam Ice Cream Shop in New Hampshire where my husband went as a kid.    

Sadly, the painting has been sitting in a closet collecting dust because I've been putting off getting a custom frame made for it.  Why is custom framing so darn expensive?!  Ugh - hate!  

On a recent trip to Ikea I saw these great rustic natural wood frames.  It looked about the right size for the painting so I decided to take matters into my own hands.  I just removed the plastic sheet protector so that the painting is exposed and you can see all the textures and paint strokes.

The original mat slightly covers part of the painting but hey, the frame was 13 dollars!  I can't complain about that!  I'm digging it in the guest room.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Flowers for days

One of my besties is flying in from Boston tonight!  The weekend forecast calls for high temps in the 70's, beautiful sunny skies and lots of wine.  So excited!  If you follow me on Instagram you may have caught that I ventured down to the Los Angeles Flower Mart yesterday.  I love having an arrangement in the guest room of the favorite flower of our out of town guests.  In this case -  blue hydrangea.  Everything about hydrangeas reminds me of Cape Cod and Nantucket which is fitting because she and I used to vacation together on Nantucket when we lived together in the city back in our single days.

I couldn't resist taking some shots of the breathtaking assortment of gorgeous blooms at the mart.  They have everything from simple roses, hydrangea, tulips, lisianthus and orchids to exotic plants, ivy topiaries, succulents, cherry blossoms and some stuff I've never seen before!  Photo overload - take it all in...

Have you ever visited a Flower Mart in your area?  Amazing right?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Open Shelf Obsessions

If you follow me on Pinterest it's no surprise to you that I have an obsession with open shelving.  I need them in my life.  I've been on the hunt for inspiring ways to somehow incorporate them into our current kitchen.  Here are a few gems that caught my eye.

This whole set up on Ikea Hackers is killer.  White cabinets, butcher block counter top, open shelving, well styled - be still my heart.
Blessed be the day when my kitchen looks like this incredible remodel by Doug and Elissa at Our House.  In fact, check out their entire house tour.  Ah-mazing.

These open shelves from White Wooden Home are styled so sweet & simple.  What a charming idea to hang dainty white tea cups, too.  Must do!
Look at this one.  Dana from House*Tweaking used old reclaimed wooden boards and Ikea shelf brackets to create her kitchen open shelves.  Brilliant!

How about these from Houzz?  The combination of textures and colors is perfection.

Tracie from Beneath My Heart completely transformed her kitchen with open shelving.  I love the open airiness and how the natural light floods throughout the entire space.  Jealous much?? Yes.

Oh I want these shelves so badly!  Unfortunately, a head cold has plagued both me and Andy so our open shelve project was put on hold.  Boooooooooo!!!  Hopefully I'll have something of my own to share with you soon!

Friday, January 17, 2014

DIY Chalkboard Lettering

I always find myself admiring the fine penmanship written on chalkboard menus at Starbucks (am I  the only nut that does this?) How the heck do they get it to look so perfect and professional??  Probably by hiring a professional.   Or maybe every Starbucks in America has an employee blessed with perfect free hand penmanship.  Me?  Not so lucky - chicken scratches.  According to the Urban Dictionary: a description of poor handwriting that resembles the marks left in sand by a gaggle of chickens.  Yep, that's me.  I'm sure besides hiring a professional there are a variety of ways and techniques for doing your own chalkboard lettering with all sorts of beautiful fonts.  Today I'm sharing the approach I took in an attempt to give hope to all you lovelies out there who are cursed with horrible penmanship.

There are loads of chalkboard fonts you can download for free online.  I did a Google search and chose Return to Sender for the header and KG Skinny Latte for the days of the week. Once you have your fonts create a text document and print the words out onto paper in the actual size you want them to appear on the chalkboard.  Lay the papers out on the board to determine placement and spacing.

Then rub the entire back side of each piece of paper with regular chalk.

Place the paper chalk side down onto the board and trace each letter with a pencil.

When you remove the paper you'll see that the pressure from the pencil creates a faint template of the font.

I used a white chalk marker to finish off the lettering for the Dinner Specials header and the days of the week since I plan to keep them up on the board for a while.  Chalk markers are much harder to erase than regular chalk (*tip: I did a quick test and a Magic Eraser easily removed the marker from the board).  You can find these markers at your local craft store.

I used a Q-tip and a little water to remove any of the access regular chalk that got on the board during the tracing process.

I repeated the same process for the days of the week.

I chose to put the days of the week on the left hand side and plan to use regular chalk to write our dinners on the right hand side.  It will be easy to erase the dinners each week without smudging my pretty days of the week font.

Homemade pizzas tonight!  I love a great pizza night to kick start the weekend.  Hope you have a great weekend! xo :)


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tonight's Specials: A DIY Chalkboard

Last New Year's I resolved to make a weekly dinner menu every Sunday in an effort to stock the fridge with healthy foods and put an end to the age old question of "What's for dinner?"  And guess what... I actually stuck to it all year.  It's a freaking New Year's miracle!  To keep me motivated and continue with that resolution into 2014 I decided what our kitchen needed was a Dinner Specials chalkboard.  I certainly didn't break the mold with a DIY chalkboard... they have been all the rage for quite some time.  Finally, I have one of my own.  It was super easy to make and cost about $15.

For a cohesive look I wanted the shape of the chalkboard frame to mimic the shape of the window frames in our house.  

We used a Kreg Jig and wood glue to secure all the frame pieces together.

I wanted a rustic aged wood look for the frame.  Andy read somewhere that you can rapidly oxidize wood to get a weathered look by applying a steel wool and vinegar mixture.  Who knew!  Here's the step by step process.  The longer you let the mixture steep the darker the stain will be.  We painted on two coats for this project.

And a jig saw to cut the MDF board down to size and Rust-Olem Chalkboard Paint for the board.

I secured a basic Sawtooth Hanger to the back of the chalkboard frame to mount it to the wall.  Just like hanging a picture frame.

On tap this week for dinner...

I love the little ledge.  Perfect to hold a piece of chalk.  FYI the "Go Pat's" dinner on Sunday will consist of football snacks and beer.  GO PATS!

What are you having for dinner tonight?  It's Turkey Taco Tuesday in our house! Tune in tomorrow to see how I got those cool fonts on the chalkboard.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Sweet Thank You

It seems everything these days has gone digital.  Which I personally love: less paperwork = less clutter.  Even modern etiquette on sending a personal or professional thank you note has changed.  To each his own.  But for me, my mom taught me there is simply no substitute for a handwritten thank you note.  On that note pun intended, our neighbor recently stopped by to invite our family over for dinner.  We happily accepted.  But after the holiday madness my stock of hostess gifts was gone like Kris Kringle - and with dinner only an hour away I was out of options.  GASP!!! Anyone who knows me understands that this is a major crisis in my world.  So I decided to turn up the volume on my thank you note and hand delivered a package of homemade chocolate chip cookies a couple days later to personally thank them for a great evening.

I recently discovered the most AHHHHH-mazing brown butter fleur de sel chocolate chip cookie recipe at The Ambitious Kitchen.  You MUST try this recipe.  The cookies are perfection - sweet and salty and the prefect amount of gooeyness.  YUM!  I hope they enjoyed the cookies as much as I loved eating the leftover cookie batter! 

I picked up some cookies bags at Michael's and used my favorite navy ribbon to attach our thank you note.  I also hand wrote a little message on the back.

How do you acknowledge appreciation when you're the recipient of someone else's kindness?

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