Bathroom Remodel: Door Handle Edition

I would say that I am relatively new to the world of spray paint. I have really only come to know and love its magic since Bub and I moved into this house and began our long remodel journey. We have done several projects with spray paint including the shudders and a couple chandeliers. We have taken the summer off from any remodeling projects but now that Fall has engulfed us, we are back at it. Also, Baby Bub has started going to preschool 2 days a week and we have time to give attention to some abandoned tasks.

When we bought our house, the interior was fairly dated. We knew we were buying a fixer and we were okay with that. We started attacking projects one by one. The latest area of attack has been the master bath and dressing room. We painted the bathroom (again) and got new light fixtures and it has made a world of difference.

We also changed the hand towel holder and toilet paper holder as well as the switch plate covers to oil rubbed bronze. Yes, I really like it. All were very simple changes and all really make the rooms come together. Well, I was cruising Pinterest when I came across a pin detailing spray  painting the door handles. Our door handles are perfectly fine- just not oil rubbed bronze finished.

Before Door Handle

Bub agreed that it would be nice if all the finishes in the bathroom were matchy-matchy. So, first things first, the door handles had to be removed from the door. Just had to unscrews on the handle itself.

Remove the Handle

Next I took them outside and sanded them with some very fine sand paper- just to scratch them up a bit so the primer would really stick.

Sand and Prime

I used  empty toilet paper rolls to stand them up so that I could stand them up and spray them without fear of them sticking to the cardboard. And I sprayed them with a good coat of spray paint primer and then let that dry.

primedAnd then I did the exact same things with the paint. I was also careful to spray the heads of the screws so that they would just blend in with the handle.

paintedThe only thing that was left to do after they were dry was to put them back in the door.

Spray Painted HandlesYes, we like them! And yes, there will be a slow progression of this all update through our house! It was a simple and easy update- might even say the easiest so far! The best is that it is matchy matchy with the rest of the bathroom (and so is the handle on the door leading from the bathroom to the dressing room).

Have you done any projects that were silly simple and yet had a wonderfully polishing effect? As always, let us know.

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Baby Tomato Lifehack: A SupaFresh Salad for Ya

Do you ever get on a flavor kick? Where a certain flavor haunts your taste buds all day? I’ve been on a HUGE vinegar kick lately. When your body craves something, it is often because there is a nutrient deficiency. A cursory internet search suggests that I may need acetic acid so I can process potassium. Or, maybe chasing the vinegar dragon may just mean that I adore the brightness that vinegar adds to dishes. Vinegar wakes up all kinds of reactions in my face sensory areas.

In addition to the vinegar, I’ve also been on a grape/cherry tomato kick. Unless it is homegrown, sliced on white bread, with mayo, salt and pepper, with Vidalia onions, I am generally not a raw tomato fan. But, while I was at Trader Joe’s recently, there was something so beautiful and delicious looking about their mixed-medley of cherry tomatoes.  I took ‘em home. Tried them in my salad and loved the sweetness and density of tomatoes smaller counterparts. I’ve been rolling with them ever since.

In order to monopolize on both my tomato and vinegar cravings, I decided to replicate a salad I had eaten while last in Georgia. And you guys know my thoughts on salad. It is a standard, southern salad of which I have always been aware: chopped veggies, crumbly cheese, and Italian dressing. But there was something about this particular salad at that particular time that just hit all right flavor markers, for me. The hostess shared with me that she had used Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing mix. I’d never heard of (nor consciously tried) this mix though she intimated that it was super old school and pretty ubiquitous. *Later research shows that Good Seasons is a Kraft brand with many DIY iterations that look promising.* I tucked my hostess’s secret in the back of my mind until I returned to California.

To pay for my summer of leisure, I am really trying to up my veg quotient right now. Having a ready-made, healthy, vegetable option on deck makes it easier to make smarter choices when reaching for a snack or side dish, for me, at least. As I had also recently discovered an amazing source for fresh basil, I knew it was time to bust out that salad recipe. Come! Follow me on my SupaFresh Salad journey!

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The salad couldn’t be simpler. Chop desired veggies (for me: one cucumber, one onion, fresh basil, and cherry tomatoes). Make dressing. Mix veggies with crumbly cheese of choice (feta, blue, goat, mozzarella) and dressing. Substitute out or in any veggies of your choice.

But, wait! Didn’t the title of this post mention something about a baby tomato lifehack? Individually cutting baby tomatoes is tedious business. Wrangling them for chopping? Also tedious. I had seen this lifehack floating around Pinterest but witnessed it firsthand in action this summer. I found myself sous chef-ing for dinner with my amazing sister-in-law, Donna. She was prepping an amazing, Italian version of this salad, with Buffalo mozzarella globes. She grabbed two small salad plates, with low rims, poured 20 (or so) baby tomatoes on one plate and then sandwiched the other plate on top of the tomatoes. She very carefully ran a serrated knife gently, yet firmly through the opening between the two plates. I have replicated the process below in pictures! You have to hold the plates firmly, but not too tight. You also have to make sure the plate is flat enough to be able to hold the tomatoes. A balancing act to be sure.

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See! All cut in half! Look how beautiful those babies are! Also, a big shout for that luscious basil. Sorry for not warning you about the possibly NSFW pics of ingredient porn. Fresh ingredients, amirite?!

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So, yeah! Ingredients! Dressing! Mix! The vinegar sharpness, next to the creamy feta is divine. The crunch of the onions and cucumbers (who lend their own brightness) really round out the texture. There are cherry tomatoes explosions across the fresh, sweet basil top note. The dressing is equal parts light, tangy, bright and crisp. And, hey, is that a re-purposed spaghetti sauce jar serving as a dressing mixer? You know it. Super win.

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Upon subsequent makings of this salad, I have amped up the vinegar and toned down the oil for some calorie stat juking. Modify to taste, but put this salad in your arsenal!

A SupaFresh Italian Salad
 
Ingredients
  • 1 onion
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 carton of baby tomatoes
  • 1 handful (or to taste) fresh basil
  • 1 package of crumbly cheese (feta, mozzarella, goat, etc.)
  • 1 package Good Seasons Italian Dressing
  • Oil to taste
  • Vinegar to taste
Instructions
  1. Chop fresh vegetables. Make dressing. Toss dressing and cheese with chopped veggies. Enjoy!

What do you think? Is this salad a southern staple? Is this something you might try? As always, let us know!

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Homemade Eye Makeup Remover

I am sure you are going to be blown away to know that I basically wear 3 makeup components. I wear eye liner, mascara and powder. So, eye makeup remover is an important part of my arsenal. And can we talk about how it can be expensive? It can be pricey.

And then one day I came across this pin on Pinterest with a recipe for homemade eye makeup remover. It only called for 3 ingredients and I had all three- I had nothing to loose.

1-2-3This is it- 2 ounces of water or a 1/4 cup, 1/4 teaspoon of baby shampoo and 5 drops of baby oil. Yep. That’s it. I  mixed these 3 together and poured them into an old eye makeup remover bottle. And bam! it works like a champ!

makeup removerI use this pretty much every day and it works as well as or better than any store bought varieties that I have tried.

Homemade Eye Makeup Remover
 
Ingredients
  • 2 ounces of water
  • ¼ teaspoon baby shampoo
  • 5 drops of baby oil
Instructions
  1. Mix all together and store in some handy container
  2. Shake before each use.

Have you tried any non-consumable recipes off of Pinterest that were winners? As always, let us know.

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T-Shirt Mod Time: The Thrifty, High-Low Hem

The high-low hem trend looks as if it is here to stay– and why not? It’s fabulous. A high-low hem is basically the mullet of design– but in a great way– with a shorter hem in front and a longer one in back.  Whether it is on skirts, dresses, or tops, this look is a winner– at least for me. Some of my favorite wardrobe pieces right now have a high-low hem. Which is why, when I saw an amazing shirt at my awesome local thrift store, I knew a project was on the horizon.

As I’ve mentioned before, my neighborhood has some amazing thrift stores. Not only are thrift stores great for those on a budget, but many of the stores are also charitable organizations. Maybe that would help Coralie with her “community charity work” goal, perhaps? A good thrift store in the right neighborhood is a thing of beauty. Not only do thrift stores provide you with the opportunity to find vintage, one-kind-pieces, but they are also eco-friendly alternatives against the mass-produced fashion trend. I own mass-produced pieces, get me not wrong… but  every little bit helps. Plus, you know how I like to re-use things.

shirtfulleditfinalI found this awesome shirt at my favorite, local thrift store. It is two blocks from my place and across the street from a Trader Joe’s- which means I’m there frequently. The shirt was one of those coulda been a tunic/coulda been a dress type-deals with a trapeze dress length hem. Not only was the shirt my exact size, with fabric in immaculate condition, AND have an awesome hand- beaded bib… but it was also made from a creamy feeling spandex/modal cotton blend (which fabric nerds know means extra creamy). The best part of it all? It was $7.

I did notice, however that there were two problems with the shirt. Some of the hand beading had started to come loose (due to improper washing) and a small stain on the front bottom.

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See? Teeny-tiny red dot. It looks like someone dropped or smeared a spot of bleach. And do you see the beading on the right? I’ve said it before, but it always amazes me what people will donate because either they don’t know how to take care of their things or don’t have the time to care. But, who knows? Just means more awesomeness for me! These were both easy fixes… and for $7? Sign me up. I had seen several Pinterest tutorials on how to convert maxi skirts to a high-low hem and as the bleach stain was so low on the shirt, it occurred to me that I could simply use the same technique but on the shirt. Though, for the record, I could have also spot dyed the area black… but, I opted for the easier, cleaner, quicker, more personable t-shirt mod option. The more you know!

Same golden rules for all jersey t-shirt mods apply:

  • Embrace the jersey cotton-ness. There is give, there is stretch, and there is about a 1/4″ amount of rolling at cut hems.
  • Always cut smaller first. You can always cut more… you can never cut less.
  • Don’t cut your favorite t-shirts first. A test shirt might be needed.
  • Always Be Aligning. When folding your shirt for cutting make sure your symmetrical points match up for regularity (shoulder seam to opposite shoulder scene, etc.).
  • Try it on and modify. Repeat as needed.

First things first! To figure out how short you want the “high” part of your shirt or skirt, try it on. Since I wanted to keep as much length as possible, but cut off the stain, I let the stain dictate the length. But, in theory, you can cut as high as you like (iffen you wanted a mid-drift baring top, or summing). Mark where you want the high point of your cut to begin (front and center) and then fold the top, as always.

For this particular t-shirt mod, you want to fold your shirt in half with the side seams aligning in the center. Can you see how I’ve done it with the beaded bib in half and the sleeves?

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Cut at high point and slope however you like it! I chose to keep it straight across the front with a stark slope towards the side hem line. After I made the first pass, I tried it on. I liked the front length but found the slope to be too sharp. The third picture shows the shape of my second pass with the scissors softening the shape on the hemline.

As far as fixing the beading, I went in and reinforced problematic beads tying down errant lines and beads. Needle and thread, baby!

And that’s it! I’ve worn this top probably 5-6 times this summer. I love it and think it will also transition nicely into a fall/winter piece. I am a bad blogger, though. I wore it on Saturday and took no pictures, so I have no AFTER pic. But it works! So, show all those extra long tees high-low you can go! Get it?! *groan* Good luck!

Have you checked out our other t-shirt mods? Are you a fan of that thrift store lyfe? What do you think? As always, let us know if you give this project a shot!

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Lifehack: A Bowl of Sound

For those of you who keep track of these things, this post is late. Like, squeezing in under the wire, late. It has just been that kind of week, you know? Which might also explain why this post is a little short and sweet- but nonetheless useful! This post will not apply to 75% of our readers (who probably already know this trick), but for 25% of you, this post is going to be a game. changer.

Coralie and I are both big lovers of music and having a soundtrack to accompany most of life’s moments. But, what do you do when your phone is the only sound system at your disposal? Tech gurus recommend never cranking your phones speakers to full tilt, so what are you supposed to do when you need a little bit more sound? Enter, science!

Thanks to sound waves being amplified by concave surfaces, you will be amazed at how much more volume your device will exude when you put it… in a bowl. Or a glass. Or any kind of vessel will fit your phone and is angled such that the sound waves will amplify and exit. I’ve seen several other lifehacks involving more intricate methods of the same principle (involving paper towel rolls or Pringles cans) but bowls and glasses are pretty ubiquitous- which means that you can take advantage of science almost anywhere!

Some bowls/glasses work better than others, so be aware. But, check out this video, iffen you don’t believe me!

Did you know about this trick? Are you all about life’s soundtrack? As always, let us know!

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Homemade Pepper Jelly- Take 2

Ok. Reader. Did you think I could let the summer slip away without one more blueberry recipe? Surely not! This summer’s CSA boxes had a bunch of great veggies but, there is no doubt that we got a ton of a couple things in particular… potatoes, yes- like a 5 pound bag every week; peppers of every kind but mainly jalapeños, banana peppers and bell peppers; and blueberries!

If you come to our home for a party or a gathering, there is a really good chance one of the starters is going to be pepper jelly and cream cheese with crackers. If you have never had it, I absolutely suggest you give it a whirl. For the longest time I thought pepper jelly came in two varieties- red and green. And then I stumbled across some blueberry and some raspberry pepper jellies- game changer.

If you will remember, I made pepper jelly last summer. Before that batch I did some research- there are 2 ways to can something. You can seal it by boiling pressure cooking it or you can seal it with wax. Last summer, I opted to boil the jars. And I also opted to make sugar-free jelly. For my first attempt at pepper jelly- it wasn’t too shabby. However, when this summer rolled around, I knew I was gonna make some changes to my techniques.

The first change was that I knew I wanted to make 2 batches of pepper jelly- a traditional one and a blueberry one. The second change was that I wanted to just go ahead and use sugar. Lastly, I wanted to seal the jars with wax. And just for good measure, I wanted to get back to my roots and use a recipe that is tried and true- I decided to use a recipe from one of my hometown’s cookbooks. It is one of those cookbooks that is an institution of sorts.

Sumpthn' Yummy

Now, this cookbook is close to 40 years old and many of these recipes older than that. So, the first thing I did was gather all my peppers and send them through my food processor.

Peppers

I had so many that I had to go in batches. I followed the recipe’s instructions- combined about 1 cup of peppers with 6 1/2 cups of sugar and 1 1/2 cups of apple cider vinegar and brought it to a hard boil. Then strained the peppers out and brought it back to a hard boil.

boiling(The left is the peppers first put on the stove and the right is after they have come to a hard boil- they get foamy.)

While I was waiting on the peppers to boil, I washed all the pint jars in hot soapy water.

JarsI added green food coloring to this batch to make it a pretty green color and poured this hot mixture into jars. At this point I started over doing everything exactly the same except after I strained the peppers out, I added a pint or so of blueberries and I never strained them out of what would become the jelly.

blueberries

jars full

After I got this batch in the jars, I started working on the wax. I created a double boiler and melted the wax.

melting waxI followed the directions on the wax and it instructed to apply 2 layers of wax to each jar applying the first layer when the jelly is still warm. Below, I have just poured wax over the hot blueberry jelly and the first layer of wax over the traditional pepper jelly is already starting to cool.

Wax 1 and 2And after the wax has cooled it is a pretty solid mass that makes the jar air tight.

all waxed upThe outcome was super tasty. The jalapenos were so hot I was scared the jelly would be super hot- but, it is not- it is tasty.

Homemade Pepper Jelly- Take 2
 
Ingredients
  • 1- ½ cups of peppers, chopped
  • 6½ cups of sugar
  • 1½ cups of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 4oz "tube" of Certo
  • red or green food coloring
  • 1 pint of blueberries, optional
Instructions
  1. Mix peppers, sugar and vinegar in a large boiler and bring to a hard boil
  2. Strain out peppers and bring to a rolling boil. Add the blueberries here if you are opting to use them
  3. Remove from heat and add Certo and food coloring and pour into sterilized jars.
  4. Seal with wax

pepper jellyDoes your hometown have cookbooks that have been around for more than 40 years? Have you tried any of the recipes and found some jems? Have you had pepper jelly? How do you like to eat it? By itself or with other stuff? As always, we wanna know.

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