Monday, August 31, 2009

No More Naked Windows

Ever since I painted our kitchen several weeks ago, the windows have been very bare. I wasn't crazy about the curtains I had before. While I liked that they were sheer and let in a lot of light, that just didn't seem quite right. Since we have bay window, it makes finding the right curtains and curtain rods a bit trickier. Before we had one curtain rod higher than the others so that all three rods would fit. It looked a little weird.

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When I painted the kitchen, those rods came down and I spackled the gazillion holes left behind so that I could put the rods back wherever I wanted. And the windows stayed bare for weeks.

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Finally this past weekend, I was ready to get some covering on those windows. But I wasn't crazy about the silver color of the original curtain rods. So out came the oil-rubbed bronze Rustoleum. (If can't find this paint, try Lowe's or Home Depot. I just bought this can at one of those places.)

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Luckily, I had saved all the hardware, screws, and anchors in a ziploc baggie so nothing got lost. After an hour and half of drilling new holes, measuring, making sure everything was level, and screwing in all the screws, I had curtain rods up again. I hung them all the same height, and removed the finials from the end of the middle rod so that it looks like one long rod wrapping around the window.

I bought these roll up curtains at Target for $15.99 each. I like them, I'm just trying to decide if the ribbons are too girlie. I wanted something to cover the top of the blinds since one of them is broken without fully obscuring the window. I also like that I can make them as long or short as I want. What do you think?

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I'm also linking up this post to A Soft Place to Land and the Shabby Chic Cottage. I love DIY days!


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Kohl's Clearance Finds

I'm a fairly regular Kohl's shopper. I love their clearance sections and combined with the coupons I get all the time for having a Kohl's card, I can come up with some pretty good deals. I went there this weekend and picked up several shirts for the hubby at 80% along with some other clothes for me. I also found a couple fun accessories for the house.

First I bought this pretty little pillow. It was marked down 80%. It is the final pillow I needed as a grand topper for the bed. Of course hubby grumbled about it a little bit. "What does this make 9 pillows on the bed?" he said. "No dear, it's only 7 and we do use some of them for sleeping."

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I think it matches very nicely with the comforter and our new IKEA curtains. These were only $24.99 for the pair and they were long enough that they could hang above our round window. It's very hard to find cheap, long curtains.

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The other fun find is this lovely mosiac candleholder. It was also 80% off. I thought the colors with nice with our newly spruced up bathroom. Even my little seagull friend seems to agree.

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Laying Laminate in a Bathroom

About a week ago I revealed the results of the makeover one of our bathrooms received here. A big part that makeover was covering up the old, yucky white vinyl floor. I was tired of the floor never looking clean. It had stains and scratches and every piece of dirt or animal fur was magnified against the white background. However, we really wanted to do something fairly inexpensive and easy to cover up the floor. I looked at using peel and stick vinyl tile, but wanted something a little nicer and more durable. So I looked into using laminate that looks like tile. There are a few rules you have to follow when using laminate in a bathroom, especially a full bathroom.

1.Not all laminate is rated or warrantied for use in a bathroom. Certain types of laminate are more moisture resistant than others. We went with the Swiftlock brand from Lowe's. The package labeled it as highly water resistant and the website stated it could be used in residential full bathrooms. Make sure the kind you choose does say it can be used in a bathroom, some brands are not recommended to be exposed to the potential of so much moisture.

2. Double check all your cuts before you start cutting down pieces to fit. Also make sure you are cutting the right end. Each side and each end has either a tongue or a groove. If you cut from the wrong side, you might have two grooves or two tongues that won't fit together. Not a groovy match. Trust me. I cut the wrong end of a plank. Twice.

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3. Use an undercut saw to trim down the door jambs by sawing up the bottom portion. Lay a piece against the door jamb to determine where to cut. This allows you to slip the pieces of laminate underneath and not have to remove the door trim. This also works when installing ceramic tile.

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4. Most laminates will require you to use glue when connecting the pieces together in order to make the seam watertight. Our laminate said to put the glue on top of the tongue only, but the glue kinds of ends up everywhere. You mostly just want to prevent any water from getting underneath the floor. The top of the laminate is water resistant, the underneath is not. In theory, you should avoid walking on the floor and flexing the seams while the glue is drying. However, the easiest way to lay the floor in our bathroom was by starting at the doorway so we ended up walking on it alot. Oops.

5. Once the floor is installed and you have left the required 1/4"-3/8" gap between the edges of the floor and the walls, tub, and/or vanity, you must go back and fill in that gap with caulk. Make sure you use 100% silicone caulk. Silicone caulk is waterproof and is flexible so that the floor can still move and expand as needed. Also caulk all around the edge where the toilet drain is. See this post for tips on getting a nice pretty caulk line.

6. We also caulked all around the top and base of the trim in order to further prevent any possible water seepage.

7. You will probably need a new wax ring for your toilet because the new floor height will be taller if you are going over another floor. Removing and reinstalling the toilet and wax ring is gross, there is not way around that. Our toilet spent over a week sitting in the bathtub while we worked on the floor, caulking, and trim. It helps to have a strong guy around to help lift the toliet around, they are heavy!

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8. They sell trim kits that contain pieces to transition from the laminate to carpet or whatever flooring you have outside the doorway. We only needed one small piece, but you had to buy a whole kit. The kit was $27. So we bought a $6 pewter colored metal floor transition that works just as well.

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Hopefully this tips will help you out if you decide to try laminate flooring in your bathroom.

Before you know it, your floor could go from this:

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to this:

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Grilled Lemon-Lime Chicken

I'm linking this post up to DIY day on A Soft Place to Land. I do love Thursdays!


I wanted to share a new recipe we just tried and loved. I found this recipe on Allrecipes. If you've never visited Allrecipes, you are missing a wonderful world of amazing recipes with thousands of reviews. It is my favorite recipe website by far because I love seeing people's reviews, tips, and suggested substitutions for thousands of delicious dishes. The ability to search recipes by ingredients is also important.

This recipe is called "Unbelievable Chicken." While I wouldn't call it quite unbelievable, the chicken did grill up moist and flavorful. I'm always on the lookout for good chicken recipes.


1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons prepared coarse-ground mustard
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 lime, juiced
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
ground black pepper to taste
6 tablespoons olive oil
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

I didn't have a juicer so I just squeezed the heck out of the lime I bought to get out as much of the juice as possible. I also used bottled lemon juice in place of the fresh lemon juice. And I left out the salt and pepper because I hardly ever add salt to anything.

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1. In a large glass bowl, mix the cider vinegar, mustard, garlic, lime juice, lemon juice, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil. Reserve about 1/4 of the mixture for basting if desired. (I did this.) Place chicken in the mixture. Cover, and marinate 8 hours, or overnight.

2. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat. Lightly oil the grill grate. Place chicken on the prepared grill, and cook 6 to 8 minutes per side, until juices run clear. Baste with reserved marinade.

3. Eat and enjoy!

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Caulk it Up

Our bathroom makeover involved a lot of caulking. A lot. I used 2 tubes worth of caulk and my fingers were very sore from squeezing the caulk gun. We had to caulk all around the floor because it was laminate as well as all around the trim on both the top (to hide the gap between the wall and the trim since the walls aren't perfectly straight) and bottom (to keep any water from getting underneath since it's a bathroom). Not to mention all the caulking around that new vanity top we had to install.

After all that caulking, I'm still hardly an expert. But I wanted to share a few tips I learned about getting the best results from your caulk job.

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1. Use the right caulk for the application. Make sure you are using the correct type based on where you are caulking, interior or exterior. Caulk can be latex(acrylic), 100% silicone, or a mix of the two. Latex caulk is easier to apply and clean up and is also paintable. However, 100% silicone caulk will not shrink or crack, is flexible, and is more durable. There are also many other special types of caulk for different uses. We used 100% silicone caulk because we needed something durable and flexible so that our laminate floor could move freely.

2. Pick the right color. Most caulk is white or clear, but there are other colors available. Remember some caulk can be painted, some cannot.

3. Use painter's tape to mark off the area you are going to caulk. Put a line of tape both above and below the area to be caulked. This is easiest way to get a smooth, even caulk line!

4. Don't cut too much off the tip so that your opening of the caulk bottle isn't too big or you will have too much caulk coming out at once which equals a sticky mess.

5. After applying your caulk smooth a finger along the caulk line and then remove the painter's tape before the caulk begins to set.

6. Have some paper towels or a sponge and bucket of water handy for cleaning up all that caulk that ends up in random places you don't want it to be.

7. After the caulk has set, a utility knife comes in handy for scraping off stray bits of caulk you missed cleaning up before. Like the spots on the side of the bathtub. Or the sink. Or in the middle of the floor. Or the stray bits of caulk your cats find and try to eat.

Hopefully these tips will help you get a nice clean caulk line like this:

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Monday, August 24, 2009

The Bathroom Makeover Reveal

I'm linking this post up to DIY day on A Soft Place to Land and Transformation Thursday at the Shabby Chic Cottage. Head on over to both blogs for more DIY goodies.


We're done! I'm so excited to have this project complete in just a week and a half. There were problems and setbacks like any home improvement project (See this post.) But it all worked out in the end and now I seriously luurrrrve this bathroom!

Here are some before shots of what I we started with. It wasn't bad, just all the builder grade boring floor, vanity, and faucet were really starting to bug me. I do adore my shower curtain and I wanted to use the colors from in it as inspiration for the room.

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Being the lazy blogger I am, I forgot to take before shots of the mirror and faucet. I'm learning to remember to take this important step, really.

So here are some photos from our master bath (which is also on the list for a major overhaul.) Picture a similar plain jane massive mirror with an ivory vanity top and cheapo chrome faucet.

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And of course the dressing room style spotlights that should be outlawed in residential bathrooms. (And those stupid bulbs that burn out all the time and probably equal the energy usage of some third world nation.)

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But that is all behind us in this bathroom. Here's what the room looks like now:

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Ta da! After a lovely coat of Behr Rain Washed on the walls, my own custom blend of colors on the cabinet part of the vanity (See post), new oil-rubbed bronze faucet, mirror, light, and bath hardware along with some fun accessories and of course a new floor, this room is now just what I imagined.

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See the floor? It looks like tile, but it's not. It's actually a laminate designed to look like tile. I'll dedicate a post about this flooring later on.

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Here's my favoritest thing in the room, the glorious faucet. Even though replacing the faucet ending up costing much more because we had to replace the vanity top after the old one broke, it was still worth it.

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I rehung my white cabinet on the wall and added scrapbook paper to the backs of the shelves for some added drama. It houses some seashells, starfish, and two $1.99 IKEA vases. I found a mirror at Old Time Pottery for $20 and gave it a coat of Rustoleum's Oil-Rubbed Bronze metallic paint. I do not recommend the Krylon bronze paint, stick with Rustoleum.

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Here's my new light. A great find on Amazon for only $22.49.

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I'll have several more posts explaining all the details and how-tos in more detail, but that's the overview of the room. Now for the cost breakdown(hubby tossed most of the receipts so these are estimates):

Flooring-Swiftlock laminate tile 2 boxes(Lowe’s)- $95
Underlayment for flooring- $25
Faucet ( -$50
Light (Amazon)- $22.49
Vanity top (Lowe’s)- $84
Mirror (Old Time Pottery) -$20
Spray paint for mirror- $6
Towel bar, ring, T.P. holder (Wal-Mart) -$30
Shower hooks (Garden Ridge)-$6
Trim, quarter round, glue, caulk, wax ring, paint, etc- $60

Total $398.49. So I’ll just call it my $400 bathroom makeover!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Almost Finished

I'm wrapping up the final details on our bathroom makeover. The floor is done, the new vanity top and faucet is in, and all the bath hardware is up. I just need to hange some photos and/or artwork and I can call the job finished. I plan to post photos tomorrow, I just wanted to wait until I have the final and finished project to share.

In the meantime, look for some other ideas in these lovely bathroom images. All photos are from Enjoy!

Whatever's framed and reflected in mirror in the photo below looks a little scary. Like the shadow of an angry octupus maybe? Other than that monster from the sea, the colors and accents in these room are calming and beach cottagey. While the mirror is not really my taste, it is definately fun and stands out in the room.

Nice and simple. Not sure about the plant that seems to be encroaching on the toliet though? But I love the shower curtain and the soft bluish walls.

This room has the coolest windows at the top.

Looooove the beams at the celing and how they painted them a gorgeous rich blue-green.

Anyone keep track of the number of starfish? I think there are at least 5 of them between all these pictures. I have 2 in my bathroom so I suppose I'm part of the trend. But we can't all live near the beach so we make due with whatever touches of the ocean we can get., right?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Little Cheddar Meatloaves

I'm also adding this recipe to DIY day on A Soft Place to Land. This is one of my favorites. I never even had meatloaf before I tried this recipe and I was surprised at just how good it is. I found the recipe in a Taste of Home cookbook that was a wedding present. I've tweaked the original recipe slightly These mini meatloaves are covered in a sweet yummy glaze.


1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese (Or any mix of cheese you want, sometimes I use an italian or mexican cheese mixture instead)
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup chopped onion (or 2-3 tablespoons dried minced onion)
1/2 teaspoon salt (I never add this, it's up to you)
1 pound ground beef (lean works better)
2/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons prepared mustard


1-2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup shredded spinach

Or use any other shredded or chopped veggies you want to stick in the mix. A great way to get your picky kids or hubby to eat their veggies. I don't have kids, but hubby usually won't eat veggies unless they are hidden or covered in some kind of cheese or sauce.

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Here's the steps to follow to yumminess:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Mix together first six ingredients as well as any additional garlic or veggies. Basically mix everything together throughly except the beef, ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard.

3. Crumble ground beef into previous mixuture and mix well.

4. Line a baking pan with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray to keep loaves from sticking.

5. Shape beef mixture into 8 mini loaves.

6. Mix together ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard. Spread this mixture on top of the shaped mini loaves.

7. Pop the pan into the oven for 35-45 minutes and enjoy!

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