Saturday, July 31, 2010

Remodelaholic Featured Me Today!!

Remember this Spray Painted Pillow project?

Well--today it is being featured at one of my MOST FAVORITE BLOGS EVER--REMODELAHOLIC!!!


I am Super Duper Excited about this and hope all of you go check out Cassity's amazing blog (and me in it!!)

Thank you Cassity!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Secret to Perfect Cookies

After years of making MANY cookies--I think that I have come up with the secret to making perfect cookies.  Oh sure, every recipe is different--and you may like some more than others--but each recipe can be its best by following this cardinal cookie making rule:


Ok--so that may sound really simple.  Duh Sharon--of course you shouldn't burn them.  But what I am saying is that baking the perfect cookie goes beyond not just BURNING them.

I FIRMLY BELIEVE that the perfect cookie must look underdone when it comes out of the oven.  I spent years of baking cookies until they looked nicely golden on top--and they were delicious right out of the oven.  But give them 15 mins to cool and they turned a little too crispy, a little too chewy for my liking.  It wasn't until I experimented and started taking them out of the oven when they didn't look quite done to me--that I found PERFECTION.

So with no further ado--I present MY favorite cookie recipe.  I got it from a friend 13 years ago and its STILL my favorite.  (Who knows--it may be the one off the back of the chocolate chip package for all I know.  All I know it is HEAVEN!)

1 c shortening (I REALLY like using shortening in my cookies--not butter or margarine)
3/4 c brown sugar
3/4 white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Mix above ingredients in mixer then add:

2 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Mix and then add:

1/2 package of semi sweet choc chips (or if you like them REALLY chocolatey like me--you add 3/4 bag)

Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 for 8-10 mins depending on your oven.  JUST REMEMBER TO TAKE THEM OUT WHEN THEY LOOK RIGHT!  (I will show you a picture below).

(I had a little help with this batch!)

 As I said--I like to use shortening--but it can be SO messy.  So this is one of my MUST HAVES for cookie making:

The Pampered Chef Wet/Dry Measurer thingy (LOVE IT): 

Here is the batter all made up so you can see the consistency (and yes, I use a kitchen aid mixer--LOVE that thing too!):

I also use a cookie scooper thing to get PERFECT shaped cookies so they look like this:

And I LOVE my baking mats.  I happen to have SILPAT--but the cheaper ones work awesome too.

See how they are still pale looking and puffy?  If you were to touch them they would still be squishy.  This is JUST RIGHT.

You put them on a cooling rack and let them cool a little and they turn into these:

 Soft, moist, yummy, delicious, PERFECT cookies.

I also LOVE to put some on a tray and pop them in the freezer: 

Then I stick them in a freezer bag so that we can make fresh baked cookies ANYTIME.

Oh yah--and the dough tastes pretty good too.

Cookies are Yummy!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

2 People, 2 Days, 2 Story House Make Over

My Wonderful Inlaws live in an older 2 story home that was in need of a new coat of paint.  So my hubby volunteered our services to help them out (as they are physically unable to do the job themselves).

So we loaded up the kids this last weekend and drove the 5 hours down south to their house for a fun filled PAINTING WEEKEND EXTRAVAGANZA!

Now--you will have to excuse the lack of BEFORE pictures--as once we got there and realized the job ahead of us--we got IN THE ZONE pretty darn quick--which meant paint brushes, spray guns, and rollers were in hand and NOT my camera!

But here is the only before shots I got (and actually there is new color around the garage doors--I told you we got in the zone--I'm lucky to have gotten these shots):

As you can see--it was BROWN.  Brown, Brown, Brown--Which just so happens to be his parents favorite color. 

So we encouraged them to change it up a bit for fun and for re-sale value.  We suggested a nice tan color with brown trim.  His parents experimented with a few different tans--and finally settled on one (with a little more peach in it than I had expected--but I still think it turned out nice).  And so they bought all the paint and on Friday morning--my hubby and I became painters.

We taped, and sprayed, and rolled and brushed, and sprayed and painted and brushed some more.  It was THE HARDEST JOB I HAVE EVER DONE IN MY WHOLE LIFE!!!   The siding was old and so it didn't except paint super well--and it was VERTICAL siding which had an inch gap between all of the planks which made it IMPOSSIBLE to paint all of the surface edges inside that one inch gap!!  We had a lot of dripping and frustration do to that DARN VERTICAL SIDING!!!

Anyways--we worked like DOGS for 2 days straight in the million degree weather, dripping our blood, sweat and tears into this house (a little much?  Maybe--but we did work our butts off I tell you!)--and this is what we have to show for it:

Even the shed got a new look (My hubby's mom painted this--and we did the Trim)

In the end we even did some landscaping to give it some more curb appeal.

From an untrimmed Bush:

Trimmed into a fun looking tree:

So one last look.


After (minus the trimmed bush--I guess I took this picture before we trimmed it):

And now all that is left to do--is the trim work.  Eventually this house will have nice brown trim around all the windows and doors.

Yippee!!  It is DONE and it looks GREAT!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Best Deal on Craigs List!

Ok--I am ABSOLUTELY GIDDY about the deal I just got on Craigs List yesterday!!!

So for starters let me tell you that my Hubba Hubba Hubby and I have been married for just over 14 years and the only furniture we have is our original college days furniture--which is this lovely Futon and Love Seat:

They have served us well over the years--but we have longed for a proper couch.

But we have had many business related expenses (the fun life of the self employed) and so all other expenditures such as a bigger house, or fun new furniture--have been left on the back burner...UNTIL YESTERDAY.

I found a Micro Fiber Couch AND Love seat on Craigs List for $120!!!!  Can you believe it?  BOTH THE COUCH AND THE LOVE SEAT FOR ONLY $120!!!

I immediately called on it--only to find that it was STILL AVAILABLE--but a couple other people were coming to look at it in 45 mins!! 

I threw the phone down--ran the baby monitor over to my neighbor (for my little napper), through the other kids in the car, sped the whole way into town (20 min drive), stopped at the bank and got the cash, and drove like a mad woman to her house and BEAT OUT THE OTHER PEOPLE and got the couch!!!

I'm sorry--please don't think less of me that I kind of cheated and budged the line.  But I know that when you are dealing with craigs list it always is FIRST COME FIRST SERVED.  And I DID get there first! 

And after some minor repairs (which I forgot to take pictures of--because I was SO EXCITED and in the ZONE), and with help from my AWESOME neighbors by transporting them and then helping to scrub them both down (Thank You Kim and Jared!)--we are now the proud owners of these beauties:

I Love them from EVERY ANGLE!

AND the best part is that I think I can sell my futon and love seat for MORE than I bought these guys for!!! 



Monday, July 26, 2010

Grandpa's Foot Stool Re-do

The oldest piece of furniture that we own is this little wooden foot stool:

(Which is currently actually used less as a foot stool and more as a road block so our little munchkins can't get into the TV cabinet and mess around with all the videos and DVD's that are kept under there).

It actually used to be just a short little table--It was my grandparents--and I believe it was one of the few things that they brought with them when they immigrated to Canada from South Africa many years ago.   

It was given to me when I was in high school and it sat in my room for many years with my Ghetto Blaster on it.  After I got married we turned it into a foot stool by adding some foam padding, batting and fabric to the top.  It has looked like this for around 10 years--and I have been thinking it could use an update--but have not been able to find any fabric that I liked UNTIL the other day at Walmart I found THIS FABRIC:


So here the project starts!

I decided I wanted to paint the legs a darker brown to match the fabric better.  So I cut open a garbage bag and taped it around my existing fabric.  (Even though I was going to remove the fabric--I didn't want paint to seep through and get on the batting and such--so I decided to just cover it up)

Next I took it out to the garage and sanded down the legs with a fine grit sand paper.

I wiped them down to get rid of any dust and debris.  Then I got out my trusty friend: SPRAY PAINT.

After a couple coats the legs were looking PERFECT!

Then I took off the plastic and went to work removing all the old staples and fabric.  (BEING CAREFUL NOT TO SCRATCH MY NEW PAINT JOB!)

Just as a side note: whenever I upholster anything--I ALWAYS staple the batting down separately BEFORE adding the fabric on top.  That way if you ever want to change out your fabric later on--you don't have to start ALL OVER. 

So this is what was left after removing the fabric.

The batting had shifted a little over the years and pulled away in some areas.  So I just repositioned it over some of the areas and re-tacked it. 

Next I started stapling my fabric around the under side edges of the table.  I turned the fabric under about 1/2 " as I went--so it had a nice finished edge.

I did all my sides this way right up to the corners. 

So when I got to the corners they looked like this:

There was too much fabric there to tuck in nicely--so I trimmed them off to look like this:

Now there are many ways to finish off the corners--for this foot stool I wanted it to look the same from all the different angles--so I just folded down the excess fabric in kind of a gathered pattern around the edge.  Then I stapled it in place.

And that is it!  My Grandpa's little table is now an AWESOME little foot stool.

And here it is in its natural habitat as a road block in front of our TV cabinet (That needs a make over too--I know!).

AND YES--I did say the words "Ghetto Blaster" earlier on in this post, and YES that is the original Nintendo System.  And YES, we have BLUE CARPET.  I LOVE the 80's--minus the blue carpet thing!  But there are SOME THINGS that even spray paint can't fix!

OK--my Favorite Part...







I think my Grandpa would have been proud!

I'm Linking up to THESE parties!

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