My 3 Monsters: March 2012

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Stop the Presses! Breaking News . . .

My tulips are blooming!  It's a little earlier than I had hoped, but I'm really excited.  I was walking past them the other day and just caught it out of the corner of my eye.  A little yellow bloom.  Not just one.  Like three or four!  And they just keep getting prettier.  I also painted the dresser this weekend so here's a little BEFORE:

and AFTER:

I love the black and white so much more.  And the yellow tulips in the white tureen really pop on it.  It makes me happy every time I walk by {a thousand times a day}.

Anyway, that's my big exciting news.  Planting tulips in gravel really works and it looks delightful.
Have a great day!


A Pantry Mini-Makeover

I've been giving my kitchen a mini-makeover this week, so I decided to let my pantry get in on the act.  Now, I feel I must tell you that my pantry is not swoon-worthy like this one {or several others I've seen in blog-land}, but I have made a few {subtle} improvements.  Just don't set your expectations too high, alright?  Alrighty then . . . I've had these glass canisters in here for quite a while and I love them.  They are pretty inexpensive {$3-$6 at WalMart} and they have nice wide mouths so it's easy to get stuff out of 'em.  I was getting tired of the kids calling to me, "Mom, which one of these is flour and which is oats?" so I decided they needed labels. {OK, my kids are smarter than that, but you know what I mean.} After searching Pinterest for inspiration, I came upon this most fabulously beautiful idea at The Painted Hive.

Kristine designed labels for her pantry that literally took my breath away.  I love every single thing about them -- the style, the fonts, the definitions.  They're almost too perfect.  Because she's awesome, she has them available for download on her blog.  I had already purchased the decal paper for my Pride and Prejudice plates so I was good to go.  I didn't need several of the labels she had created, but I did need some others.  Thankfully, because she's even more awesome, Kristine also shared the names of the fonts she used so I was able to download them and create some new similar labels.

I explained how to apply the waterslide decals in the post about my plates, so I won't bore you again.  Kristine also has a great tutorial for using Magic Decal Coating Paper.  I didn't try it her way because I just wanted to use what I had on hand and because my paper is supposed to be permanent already after you bake it on.  Still not sure if that's true, so I'll just wipe them down with a damp cloth instead of running them through the dishwasher.  I'm good with that.

You can see in the close up how they have a translucent background -- almost like lightly frosted glass.  It's hardly noticeable when the canisters are filled, but I don't mind it at all.  I found the little metal scoops online a while ago and I think they add a lot to the look of the jars.  {They're also very practical.  And super inexpensive.  Just sayin'.}  I have some smaller canisters for my baking stuff.  {With smaller scoops, of course.}

Now, here's just one more fun idea I found at Ask Anna:

How brilliant is that for storing your rolls of foil and plastic wrap?!  Just little cheap-o hooks from WalMart turned sideways!  And now I don't have to dig to the back of the pantry to get that stuff out when I need it.  Love that!  So, there you have it.  The rest of it is just a plain ol' pantry, but these fun touches cute it right up and make me excited about cooking again.  By the way, feel free to come over and use our community pool since you now have the code.  {LOL} Just clean up after yourselves so we don't ruffle any feathers with the HOA.  Mmmkay?  Have a great weekend!



Potted Tulip Bulbs

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of iBulb for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.


I don't know if there is anything more beautiful and spring-like than tulips.  One of my most favorite things in the world is when I walk into Trader Joes in March or April and see all the tulips and daffodils right by the front door, looking all cheerful and just begging to come home with me.  Actually, almost anytime of year you can buy forced tulip bulbs and they're always lovely.  My husband usually buy  me potted tulips for Valentines day.  I think it is so much more romantic than traditional red roses because my beautiful tulips last for weeks.  And every time I look at them I think, "Aaahhh!  My husband is the best."  I wonder if he buys the tulips on purpose, knowing that will happen, or if it's just a happy accident when he picks up the pot at the grocery store on his way home from work.  Hmmmm.  Best not to dwell on that.  The point is, tulips make a great gift.  A gift that keeps on giving, if you will.  And, hello!  Mother's day is right around the corner . . .

I just got some tulip bulbs for Easter and re-potted them into my favorite white ceramic soup tureen.  {Because, let's be honest, when I make soup I hardly ever want to dirty up an extra dish just to set a fancy table for my  . . .  three monsters.  But the tureen is lovely and begs to be used for something.} I picked a couple of pots of tulips at my local grocery store for about $3 a pot.  There were 3 bulbs in each pot.  If your store is like mine, they'll have the big, beautiful, already blooming pots right up front for about twice the price.  Those are great if you want instant gratification, but I'm hoping to have a few blooms for Easter.  Plus, I'm cheap so I looked further to find the smaller, non-bloomers.  THEN I looked for the smallest ones I could find so that they'd still have lots of growing to do once I got them home.  

It's pretty easy to repot them, too.  I decided {after a quick Google search} to plant mine in gravel.  Just fill up your container with some clean gravel until it's at least 2-3" deep.  Then, gently pull your tulips out of their plastic pots and very carefully separate the bulbs.  Try to keep the roots in tact as much as possible and remove as much of the soil as you can.  Set the bulbs on top of the gravel, pushing a few rocks aside to make room for the roots.  Add a little extra gravel around each bulb to keep it standing upright, but don't bury the bulb. 

Once you have them all "planted" in the gravel {a 5" pot will hold 4-5 bulbs}, pour in some water.  You want enough water to cover all the roots, but you don't want the bulbs themselves sitting in the water, if that makes sense.    Once I had added water and could see it down in between the rocks, I carefully re-situated a few of the bulbs higher up in the rock bed without moving the roots too much.  All that's left to do now is make sure the water level is always high enough {the water is the only thing feeding the bulbs now} and wait!  The thing is, they look really great as is.  The flowers will just be a bonus when they arrive.  What do you think?!

I think it makes for a great little Easter vignette here next to my front door under the picture my mom cross-stitched for me.

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Many thanks to iBulb for their fantastic planting ideas.  iBulb is the flowering initiative from Anthos, Holland’s Royal Trade Association for Nursery Stock and Flower Bulbs. This foundation was set up in January 2012 to focus on the financing and implementation of three activities that are important for the Dutch flower bulb sector: promotion, technical research and market access. iBulb supports 85 Dutch companies in the dry sales and forcing business, which together represent more than 90% of Holland’s flower bulb business. 

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Bright Spring Wreath

Since Christmas I've had an empty front door just begging for a wreath.  I've kicked around a few ideas, but couldn't really commit to one.  I didn't want it to be too seasonal and I didn't want to spend a lot of money or time on it.  That's when I remembered seeing a beautiful, colorful wreath a while back while I was looking at some of my favorite blogs.  It took a little searching, but I finally found it here at Nest of Posies.

Kellie's color scheme and fun felt flowers had me at Hello.  I already had a foam wreath and some black and white striped ribbon so I decided to put my own little spin on it. All I needed was to buy a few sheets of felt {3 for $1 at the craft store} to make those cute flowers.  There's a great tutorial for the snipped felt flowers at A Pumpkin and a Princess.  They're super easy to make.  Kellie used the greatest felt colors -- the selection at my craft store was much more limited so I did the best I could to make it cute. Here's how mine turned out:
I love how festive it looks {off-center} on my {really dusty} black front door.  Oh well.  For a total cost of about $3, I can't complain about much.  Have a great day, folks!  I'll be back tomorrow with a pantry mini-makeover.



Finishing My Chalky Paint Cabinets

As I mentioned before, I finished my chalky paint kitchen cabinets with a coat of Paste Wax to protect the finish and give them a pretty sheen.  It's a simple process, really, but I did want to share a one big tip if you're going to attempt to wax an entire kitchen of cabinets:
See that fluffy thing on the left?  It's a buffing attachment for your drill.  That thing cost about $6 at Lowes, but it was a real life-saver!  Imagine rubbing the wax on by hand, and then buffing it back off by hand.  Both sides of every cabinet door.  And the cabinet frames.  I would still be working on it and I have a small kitchen -- just 22 cabinet doors.  Most of y'all probably have double that.  Crazy lotta' work.  {I'm not going to lie to you, It's still a crazy lotta' work, but your hand won't get quite so cramped up and you'll finish in a fraction of the time.}

On the right in that picture is the wax I used -- Minwax Paste Finishing Wax in Natural.  It was a great product, I think, but I would have liked a clear wax better.  The Natural color toned down the bright white of my Ultra White paint and made it look a little more subdued, which is nice . . . but not really what I was expecting.  I'm sure if you shop around you can find clear wax out there.  Maybe a different brand?  The process is easy.  Here's how it went down:
  1. I set up a "work station" for myself by covering my kitchen table with old garage towels so the cabinets wouldn't scratch the table and vice versa.  I could fit 4 cabinet doors at a time laying flat on my kitchen table so that's what I did.
  2. Using and old t-shirt, I rubbed a light, even coat of wax on the first side of each of the cabinet doors.  I covered the entire door on the front side, but only did the wood around the outside edges on the back side {not the middle panel}to save time.  My thinking was that nothing inside my cabinets is going to damage the finish of that interior panel of the door, but my kids sometimes open the door from the edge instead of using the knob.  I wanted to protect the parts of the cabinets that would be getting some wear and tear.  The only exception to this was that I waxed the entire inside of the doors on the cabinet that houses my garbage can.  Because those doors were really gross when I was prepping to paint.
  3. I watched TV {or looked at Pinterest} for 15 minutes while the wax "dried".
  4. I grabbed my handy little buffing tool and buffed away.  One thing I learned is that I could only buff the flat surfaces of the doors with the tool.  If I tried to get in any of the grooves or buff the angled edges it was a little too powerful and started removing the paint.  Yikes!  You might not have that problem if you use a variable speed drill and buff on the lowest speed.  
  5. Once all my flat surfaces were shiny and squeaky {they will squeak when you rub your finger over the buffed surface} I got out another old t-shirt and buffed all the grooves and edges by hand.  I also kept a few q-tips on hand to get any stray clumps of wax out of the corners.
  6. Once I was done with one side, I flipped those bad boys over and started in on the other side, following the same routine.
Just keep plowing through your doors, four at a time, until you've done them all.  Then do your drawers and cabinet frames and put your kitchen back together.  I actually did the drawers and frames first so I could hang the doors as I finished them.  The waxed finish is really nice and smooth.  It has a bit of a gleam, but I wouldn't call it shiny.  The best part is that any water that gets on them will just bead up and run off -- before I waxed them the chalky paint seemed to soak water right up.   That's it.  Easy Cheesy!  I'm thrilled with my freshly painted kitchen, and, as a bonus, my cabinets got all cleaned out and organized in the process.  Woot!  Woot!


Burlap Potato Basket Liners

As I was preparing my laundry baskets to plant potatoes on Saturday I decided that I needed to cute-ify them a little bit.  My thinking was that maybe people wouldn't think I was plum-crazy for having laundry baskets full of dirt next to my front door if they looked ruffly and fun.  They won't, right?  So I endured my husband's eye rolling and sewed up some burlap liners.

I used two yards of fabric for my two small laundry baskets.  The first thing you need to do is measure your basket -- around the top edge and the depth.  Mine were 48 inches around and 12 inches deep.  For each of my baskets I cut:
  • 1 piece of fabric for the liner sides 49 inches long by 13 inches wide {the top dimension + 1 inch by the depth + 1 inch}
  • 1 piece of fabric for the ruffle 72 inches long by 6 inches wide {these dimensions are completely arbitrary -- more length = more ruffle, more width = wider ruffle}
  • 1 round piece of fabric for the liner bottom  {just trace around the outside of your basket bottom onto your fabric and cut}
1.  Fold your side piece in half and sew the short edges together. Do the same for your ruffle piece.
2.  Fold your ruffle piece in half length-wise WRONG SIDES TOGETHER {the hot-dog way, if you speak 2nd grade} so the long raw edges are together.  NOTE:  Burlap doesn't really have a right or wrong side, but once you stitch the ends together the RIGHT SIDE becomes the side where the raw edges of your seam DON"T show and the WRONG SIDE is where they DO.  Make sense? 

You'll now have a loop of fabric 71-ish inches around and 3 inches wide.  Stitch around the raw edges with a long stitch length to gather the fabric up.  When I gather fabric, I crank the tension on my machine as high as it will go and set the stitch length as long as it will go and let the machine do all the work of gathering for you.  Soooo much faster!  {In the picture I didn't fold my fabric in half because I thought I might like the look of a wider, unfinished ruffle, but it was really a lot cuter when folded in half.} Pin your ruffle to the WRONG SIDE of the liner side fabric and sew all around the top edge.  {Don't forget to reset the stitch length and tension of your machine to normal before you sew it here!}
3.  Take your bottom fabric {the circle} and fold it into quarters.  Mark each fold with a pin.  If it were a clock face, you'd be putting a pin at 12, 3, 6, and 9.  Then mark each quarter of the bottom edge of the liner side fabric.  You could get all math-y and measure here, but I just fold the loop of  fabric in half with the seam on one side and mark the seam and the fold opposite it.  Then I bring those two pins together and lay the fabric flat again and mark each fold with a pin there, too.

With RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER, match up the four pins around the bottom edge of your liner side fabric with the four pins at the quarters of your circle fabric.  You'll have a lot of extra fabric on the liner side since the top of your basket is probably wider than the base.  I just made it fit by making a large pleat in between each of the pins.  I tried to take a picture of that, but it's hard to hold the fabric with one hand and the camera with the other, y'all.  The important thing to remember is that this is a liner . . . for a potato basket . . . and it doesn't have to look too nice.
{Just push all that extra fabric down flat and stick a couple pins in it.}

4.  Once you have it all pinned, sew around the bottom edge.

5.  Turn it all right side out and stick it in the laundry basket, like so:
From here you just take it outside, fill it with soil and plant away!  It took a little extra time {like maybe half an hour to sew both liners}, but I think it's worth it in the long run since they're right next to my front door.  If I had a bigger yard and these weren't going to be so "on display"  I might not have bothered.  
I'll keep you all posted and show you what they look like as the potato plants start to grow.  Don't forget to enter the Miracle-Gro Expand-n-Gro giveaway I have going on right now to win some lovely planting mix for yourself.


Growing Potatoes {New Miracle-Gro Expand-n-Gro Concentrated Planting Mix}

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Scotts® for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I’ve got a pretty serious case of the spring fever, folks.  I’m cleaning and freshening everything I can get my hands on.  I’m leaving my windows wide open to breathe in as much fresh air as possible before the Arizona heat sets in, which it is bound to do any day now.  I have one more project in the works that I need to get done before it gets too warm --  planting potatoes.  Yup.  I said it.  I live in Arizona and my yard is itty-bitty {and a tad neglected, I’m not gonna’ lie} and I am planting potatoes.  My friend Launa, a certified gardening genius, gave me a bag of Yukon Gold seed potatoes last week to try and grow.  She had lots of success with hers last year, so I’m excited to give it a try.

My yard is sad, however.  The soil is dry and hard and I can just imagine it sucking the life right out of those potatoes so I’m going to try a fun little experiment and plant them above ground in laundry baskets.  Yup.  You heard me.  Laundry baskets.  I found this really cool tutorial on Vegetable Gardener about planting seed potatoes in dollar store laundry baskets.  That way I can use better soil than my neglected native soil.  I mean WAAAYYYYY better soil.

EnG Product Shot.png

Miracle-Gro® has a new product out called Expand ‘n Gro™ Concentrated Planting Mix.  It is specially formulated to help you get awesome results whether you plant in the ground or in containers {even laundry baskets} – up to 3 times more flowers and vegetables versus native soil.  That’s pretty cool.  Plus, it feeds your plants for up to 6 months and improves the soil for years to come.  
This planting mix is different from other basic potting and garden soils because it is a blend of Miracle-Gro plant food and coconut coir fiber.  It expands up to 3 times when mixed with water so a small bag of Expand ‘n Gro can do everything a big, heavy bag of soil can do, only better.  Hopefully even grow potatoes {fingers crossed}.
Expand ‘n Gro is super easy to use, and helps ensure plants get the right amount of moisture and air they need to thrive. I’m not gonna’ get all science-y on you now, but here’s how:  In pots or in-ground, the absorbent coir fibers help ensure that water is used efficiently. Expand ‘n Gro retains up to 50% more moisture than basic potting soils and then releases water as plants need it, to help prevent over or under watering {both of which are sure to happen around here}. Since moisture and nutrients need to reach plant roots, proper air space and circulation in soil is super important for plant health. Tilling this planting mix into native soil can reduce the soil’s density – making it up to 40% lighter, and creating up to 90% more air space. The result is more workable native soil with better water holding ability, moisture distribution, and drainage, all of which ultimately creates an improved rooting environment for plant.  Watch this:

Phew.  Got that?  Now for a super-not-scienc-y rundown of how to plant potatoes in a laundry basket:

  1. Get some plastic laundry baskets from the dollar store and line them with straw or burlap.  The laundry baskets are great because they have holes all over for drainage, but if you don’t line them you’ll lose all your soil in the watering process.  I’m no expert, but I’m thinking that’s not ideal.  I'll share a tutorial for my ruffly basket liners soon, but just an old piece of burlap shoved down in there would do the trick.
  2. Prepare your potatoes for planting.  I’m told you can get seed potatoes online or at some garden centers, but you can also use organic potatoes from the grocery store.  Just let them sit until they start to sprout.  You can generally cut each potato into about 3 pieces as long as you make sure each piece has 2-3 eyes on it.  While you're at it, prepare your Expand-n-Gro, too.
  3. Fill each basket with 2-3 inches of your Expand-n-Gro planting mix.  Drop 3 potato pieces in each basket, spaced evenly, and cover with 2-3 inches of planting mix.
  4. Set your basket in a sunny spot, water regularly and wait.  Try to get some water past your dog, who is very interested in what is going on out there.
  5. Once the plants have grown to 5 or 6 inches in height, scoop more soil into the container.  Leave a couple of inches of the plant showing above the soil.
  6. Continue to water.  Be patient and water slowly so it doesn’t all run out the sides of the basket.
  7. Gradually add more soil as your plant grows.  Once you reach the top of your basket, just keep watering.
  8. At some point your plant should bloom.  That means your potatoes are working, in theory.  Once the  plant shrivels up and dies, it’s time to dig those bad boys up and eat.

I’ll keep you posted about the results.  I’m excited to try it out, especially with my Expand-n-Gro planting mix.  This stuff sounds good.  Miracle-Gro sent me a sample to use for my potatoes, but here’s the best part – they gave me a sample to share with one of my lucky readers, too.  Yay!  I {heart} sharing.  To enter to win, just leave a comment telling me how you would use your Expand-n-Gro planting mix this spring.  Entry deadline is Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 at 12:01 a.m.  A winner will be selected using Thursday, March 22nd.   Be sure to leave me an email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win.  Happy planting, friends!  Advertisement

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St. Patrick's Day Minty Boston Cream Cake & Irish Potatoes

We don't usually do much to celebrate the lesser holidays in our family.  {By lesser I, of course, mean anything other than Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter.  No offense, my Irish friends.}  This year St. Patrick's Day just so happens to be on a Saturday, during spring break, and after I finished my big painting project, so I feel a bit celebratory.  Plus, we could use a little good luck over here.  Whatever.

I made one of my family's favorite dessert treats and gave it a little minty green makeover today.  Who doesn't love a good Boston Cream pie?  Or Andes Mint candies?  Here's a delicious way to combine the two into one super delicious, easy-cheesy dessert.

Minty Boston Cream Cake

yellow cake mix {prepared according to package directions in a 9x13 pan}
1 lg. box vanilla pudding {prepared according to package directions}
1 jar hot fudge ice cream topping
1 tub of Cool Whip
1 bag of Andes Creme de Menthe baking pieces {These are awesome!!}
green food coloring

1. Prepare your yellow cake mix.  Let cool and then use the handle of a wooden spoon {or any thing about that size} to poke holes all over the top of your cake.  You want the holes to be bigger than fork holes so that the pudding will really sink in there.
2.  Prepare your vanilla pudding, adding about 5 drops of green food coloring.  Pour over the cake before it sets up and chill cake in refrigerator for 15-30 minutes.
3.  Warm hot fudge topping in the microwave until it is thin enough to spread.  Drizzle the entire jar over the top of cake and pudding.  Gently spread the hot fudge over pudding layer.
4.  Mix 5-6 drops of green food coloring into Cool Whip and spread over the hot fudge layer on the cake.
5.  Finish it all with a layer of Andes Mint baking pieces and chill.  You can eat the cake at this point, but it is way better if you wait a couple hours.  If you can wait . . .

This was a super hit with the kids.  The mint chips give it just a hint of delicious minty flavor.

I've had potatoes on the brain lately {you'll see why next week!} so I thought it would be fun to make some Irish Potatoes today, too.  They're not actually Irish -- they're a Philadelphia delicacy -- but I thought my kids would get a kick out of them.  They helped me roll out the potato shapes and dip them in cinnamon and powdered sugar.  I think they did a fine job!  You can find the recipe here.  Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!


Home Made Chalky Paint

As I mentioned in the previous post, I have been repainting my kitchen cabinets this week.  Nothing major, really.  Just a fresh coat of white paint.  {Please ignore the junk on the countertop -- I'm still moving back in to the kitchen and getting things situated.  Please note, however, that I baked banana bread today.  Yay me!} Eight years ago when we bought our house, the kitchen was sporting oh-so-lovely classic 1980's builder's grade oak cabinets.  One of the very first things I did after we signed all our paperwork and got the keys was to pull out my old sander and start prepping the cabinets for paint.  A shiny coat of white paint and some brushed nickle knobs freshened that kitchen right up.  However, that was eight years ago.  We've done some living in that kitchen since then and she needed a little lovin'.

I've been seeing Chalk Paint everywhere in blog land and I love the finish it gives -- so smooth and . . . chalky.  No, not chalk board paint, as I've explained to my husband and children several times this week. Just plain chalk paint.  There is a difference.  I think.  That was the finish I wanted for my cabinets, but heck if I was gonna' pay the premium price for real Chalk Paint. I was super excited to come across a couple of great tutorials from other bloggers about how to make your own "chalky paint":  No Minimalist Here was my original inspiration, but I also found great tips at Art is Beauty and Homeroad.

I'm not going to give you a step-by-step tutorial, but I'll share the basics with you.  Here's the secret . . . wait, come closer . . . plaster of paris.  In a container with a lid that you don't care to use again, like an old mason jar, mix about 1/2 C. plaster of paris with 1/2 C. hot water . {Not everyone will tell you to do this, but not everyone is a genius.  I can say that because it wasn't my own idea.  It keeps your paint from getting clumpy -- kind of like making gravy.}  Once that is well blended, add about 1 1/2 C. of your latex paint -- add more if you need to get the desired consistency.

Everyone says that you don't need to prime or sand before using chalky paint, but I chose to lightly sand down my cabinets before I started painting.  Mostly that was because it was easier to sand off all the old food and grime than to clean it off.  Ewwww gross!  Too much information, I know.  Just keepin' it real, yo.  I removed my cabinet doors and hinges and lined them up around my dining and living rooms, keeping them in order so I could put them back in the right place when I was done.

Brush the paint on the doors and cabinet frames until you get the coverage you like.  Most people say chalky paint covers in about two coats.  It's kind of hard for me to tell if that's true since I was repainting the same color, but it did seem to cover well.  It was thick and creamy and hid the brush strokes really well, which was nice.  This homemade chalky paint dries really fast, too, so by the time I had painted all the doors I could start back in with another coat.  Once your paint is dry, lightly sand it to a pretty, pretty smooth finish.  Do any distressing you want to do at this point as well.  {Chalky paint distresses really nicely, if you like that look.}

I finished my cabinets with a coat of paste wax to protect the finish and give them a subtle sheen, but I show you that process in another post here. I love how it turned out!!  So worth the effort in the end, even though I had my doubts midway through.  We're still a long way from where we'd like to be with this kitchen -- new countertops and sink are definitely in order -- but this is a good start.

On a side note, we almost turned this little paint job into a major kitchen renovation this week until I talked some sense into my husband {and myself}.  As I was taking down all the cabinet doors I got to thinking how nice and open our kitchen would feel if we removed the bank of upper cabinets that separate the kitchen from the dining room.  Our contractor friend came over and gave us the go-ahead since the structure is non-supportive and doesn't house any electrical or plumbing.  It was tempting to get out the sledge hammer and swing out all our frustrations, but cooler heads prevailed and we decided to save that project for another {non-spring break}day.  But just for funsies, I quickly mocked it up in Gimp today to see if I might actually like it.  Here's the current set up:
And here is what it might kind-of look like with those cabinets and the ledge above removed:
Fun, huh?  It opens up a whole lot of possibilities.  Maybe a cool pendant light over the peninsula.  {I would have a peninsula!}  A built-in plate rack on the end of the peninsula.  A fun display of vintage dishes on that wall next to the door.  Yep, I can see this happening in my future, for sure.

Edited to Add:  I received this email from an oh-so-helpful commenter today:
     Hi ...I'm sure you didn't know, but "Chalk Paint" is a trademark name belonging to {a company}.  She developed it 21 years ago.    You truly cant make your own...well yes, you can mix things to make a chalky paint but you cant call it "Chalk Paint".  I just wanted you to know this so your readers will not get confused and you can make the change on your blog.
 I have no doubt that you, my intelligent and fun readers, were not in any way confused by my use of the term Chalk Paint, but just to be clear, this is a post about CHALKY PAINT, not Chalk Paint. I've made the corrections in the original post above.  Didn't mean to step on any toes . . .
Join me here:



Spring is in the Air

Ahhhhhh . . . tomorrow marks the beginning of Spring Break round these parts.  I'm looking forward to a few days of sleeping in and hangin' with my kiddos.  I'll also be finishing up the spring cleaning that I started last week.  I pulled out my kitchen appliances and cleaned every nook and cranny.  Now I'm going to give my cabinets a sanding and a fresh coat of paint.  And repaint the half bathroom, the coffee table, and the dresser next to my front door.  Since spring is so strong in the air and I'm in the mood to freshen things up, I gave Sis's room a virtual makeover tonight.  She's tired of the pink and brown {and don't tell Brent, but so am I} so I came up with a plan to make it more "teenage girl-y".  Here's the plan:

Clearly we like-a the color in our house.  It'll be a while in the making starting, but it was fun to play pretend tonight.  Please tell me I'm not the only one getting spring fever lately . . .


The Debate

I know many of you who read this blog are fans of Pinterest.  I am.  If you don't know Pinterest or use it regularly, this post is not going to be interesting to you.  Sorry.  There is much debate right now about Pinterest and copyright violation.  At first, I'll admit, I thought, "That's ridiculous!  Pinterest is just good, clean, creative fun."  What's the big deal, right?  That was before I read this article.  And this one

Hmmmmm.  As a "creative blogger" it got me thinking.  Is Pinterest ethical?  Or do I at least use it ethically?  I LOVE the idea of sharing ideas.  I love finding inspiration from super creative people, and I think it's great to have a place where I can visually organize all the things that inspire me.  I truly believe many of us in the Pinterest community feel similarly.  I get thousands of great ideas and recipes {that I intend to make and use} from all over the internet via Pinterest.  From my perspective it's great.  When I put an idea out there on my blog, I'm happy when other people like it and are inspired to try it themselves.  I have seen my Typography Wall Art recreated a thousand times on the internet {almost all of them link back to my blog, which is very considerate}.  I love it when people "pin me".  I get more traffic to my blog from Pinterest than from any other source, which is great for me.  For many bloggers, traffic to their blog = money in their bank account.  That's the good part -- Pinterest working at its finest.

The bad part is that not everyone gives credit where credit is due -- sometimes unintentionally.  I never thought about the effects of repinning someone's pin.  If that original pin doesn't link back to the source of the idea, and that pin gets repinned a thousand times, the genius behind the idea gets lost in the jumble.  Many of their admirers don't know who they are admiring and the admired loses income.  Boo. Worse is when someone intentionally tries to pass an idea off as their own.  Some even steal images and text from the source.  BOO!

I'll admit, I'm a copycat.  I've always said that.  But I think I've also always made it very clear when I'm copying someone else's idea.  When I did my 31 Days of "Pin"spired Projects back in October I talked about what I liked in the original project and always linked to the original source.  I feel really good about that.  If someone has put something out on the internet that I think is really cool, it's OK for me to attempt to replicate it if I give credit to them, right?  Send a little traffic their way?  It's mutually beneficial.  I hope.

I get frustrated when I pin something great and find, when I go to make the project, that the pin leads to a dead end.  When I click on a pin I want it to take me directly to the source -- the directions for the project or the place where I can buy the product -- NOT to some random blog or Tumblr where the picture sits, looking all pretty, with no credit or additional link. Dead. End.  The only real solution to this problem is to always pin from the original source and link back to that source when you feature a project on your blog.  From now on when I see a pin that I love on Pinterest, instead of just repinning and going on my merry way, I will click over to the source of the image and pin it again from there.  I will also try to remember to credit the source in the comment of my pin.  It will take longer, sure, but I feel like creative people who take the time to share their ideas with the world deserve it.   

Hopefully this little bit of polite behavior can keep the ugly side of Pinterest {law suits, etc.} at bay.  Maybe that's enough, maybe not.  Anyway, I'm stepping off my soapbox now.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on this issue in the comments.


More Scripture Post-Its {Printable}

UPDATED 11/21/2015:  I have combined all the Scripture Post-its pages, downloads, and printing instructions into one convenient location here.  Hope that makes it easier for you to find everything you need! 

I've made another sheet of printable Post-Its for your scriptures that I wanted to share with y'all today.  As I continue to study the Book of Mormon using the Book of Mormon Institute manual, I like to take my favorite quotes and "cute 'em up" to stick in my scriptures.  I bought myself an extra large Book of Mormon for about $5  so that I have PLENTY of room in the margins to make notes and stick in my pretty Post-Its.  It's just a silly little thing, but I've never enjoyed REALLY studying the scriptures quite so much.  I'll keep sharing the Post-It printables as I make them in the hopes that they will make scripture study more enjoyable for someone else as well.  Hope your weekend was fun, all!


I Knew I Was Raising 'Em Right

"Laboratory tests over the last few years have proven that babies who start drinking soda during that early formative period have a much higher chance of gaining acceptance and 'fitting in' during those awkward pre-teen and teen years.  So, do yourself a favor.  Do your child a favor.  Start them on a strict regimen of sodas and other sugary carbonated beverages right now, for a lifetime of guaranteed happiness."

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