Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A wee bit o' green for March...:)

Hello and Happy March!  :)

Last year, I took an old St. Patrick's Day wooden wreath that I was ready to dispose of somehow and decided to paint it and glam it up a bit (the post for the redo is here if you are interested).

Anyway, this year I added a bow from some leftover ribbon and attached to wreath to the front door:

I have not made any progress on my fireplace remodel, but since I am continuing to live with the red brick (for now) I decided to add some touches of green to see how it might look in honor of March... 

I LOVE green, but I really don't have much green decor in my house...

It is my goal to "shop the house" for these little mantle vignettes.  Why should I shop and purchase new "stuff" when I can simply rethink what I already have?  So I looked around for some green items, attached a simple green (Christmas) ribbon to my wreath on the mirror, moved some plants around, and (happily) moved on from the LOVE decor.

Artwork by youngest son, years ago...

I dismantled the shelf from the light window-pane green mirror that used to hang in the boys' bathroom and placed it against the fireplace for a funky look.  If you look closely you can see reflection of the back of my dog laying in the family room (LOVE her!).

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Simple PB Bar Cookies

I brought these to a small-group-from-church function this past weekend.  They are so easy to make and delicious that I thought I would share.

First, mix up a batch of peanut butter cookie dough.  I used natural organic peanut butter and whole wheat flour in mine and nobody knew any differently.  ;)

To the PB cookie dough, add about one cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and spread into a square baking pan (I did use a light cooking spray prior to filling the pan).

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Let cool and then cut into squares.  No messy nor time consuming steps.  :)

They do taste great, really.  I promise.

I have been trying to get rid of disposable anything in my house in my efforts to be greener.  For these, I placed them into a simple basket and lined that with a pretty cloth napkin. 

Hope you try them!  Please let me know if you do.


Bookcase for Hubby

 Hi Friends!  Remember when I updated our Master Bedroom?

See the the window with the pretty desk in the photo below?  That is "my" side of the room.  :D

I purposely failed to photograph the side of the room that houses my hubby's messy desk and assorted files and papers.  That's because it looked so bad!  He works very hard and he really does try to be fairly neat, but....well does that term "pack rat" ring a bell?  While far from a minimalist, the idea of piles of files and snippings of things to be read that carry a great likelihood of never being looked at again....well, that does not work well for me.  So, I got him this bookcase to store his important stuff in.  Just being a helpful wife,  ya know.  ;)  The good news is that he likes it and is using it so it's a win-win.  :) 

I am hopeful that he will stay organized!!!!  It's not great having a bedroom that you sleep in double as an office, but it is what works for now.

I apologize for the poor lighting in these shots; it's an awkward spot.   

The bookcase, file folder holders, and sea grass cubes all came from IKEA.  My older son and I assembled the bookcase fairly easily.  :D


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Boys Bathroom Makeover: BEFORE photos

Hello!  One of my 2012 home improvement goals is a partial makeover of my boys' bathroom.  The bathroom had a leak and that was really the motivation here.  I am trying to keep the renovation very low cost as well.  :)

Here are a few BEFORE shots of the bathroom (I know it is no fun to look at "before" shots, so I will make this short!):

This bathroom is set on an interior wall of the house on the second floor.  Hence, the lack of window.....what a horrible design, but there is no place for a window to go!

You can see I had decorated the room in a Polynesian theme.  Prior to that it had been Beatrix Potter- inspired when the boys were little dudes.  Now they have as many grooming products as I do (see the mess below!):

I am sure I counted at least 8 bottles of hair gel.  What is up with that?  And look at their "lovely" display?

Oh to have two teenage boys....

I did love the surfboard shaped area rug and will save it for one of them...

This faucet works perfectly well and I will likely have it moved to our downstairs powder room.

Here is a shot of the flooring was replaced in the water closet area and the floor needed smoothing and leveling out with a leveling compound.

I decided to replace the flooring with vinyl rather then tile, although I found some beautiful porcelain tiles that look like real wood that I plan on using for our master bath renovation (hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later!).

The vinyl I chose is Home Depot's Allure in Pacific Pine.  I did have to order it online since the color I wanted is not one that they usually carry in the store.  We will be keeping the vanity, shower tile/tub, and shower door.  I hope to frame out the "builder's grade" mirror rather than to replace it. 

I will post AFTER pictures soon!  :)


Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Final Forced Amaryllis Bulb

Yes, it's the Christmas Amaryllis.  :)  I was at the Home Depot several weeks back and there was this lone bulb on sale, a reject that no one had picked up during the mad holiday rush.

I felt a bit sorry for it.  So instead of buying a small flowing plant or cellophane-wrapped bouquet of flowers that would last only a brief time, I bought the bulb in hopes that it's amazing red flower would arrive on Valentine's Day.  :)

A little late for V-day, but here she is:

I think watching the bulb take root and slowly grow was really as much fun as seeing the final huge flower.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Orange Juice Cake

Last week we had several oranges from our organic navel orange tree that needed to be used up before leaving town.  So I squeezed them and made an OJ cake.  Not horribly unhealthy, either.  Here are the ingredients:

1 stick of butter
1 egg, room temperature
a scant 1C of splenda/sugar blend (this is what I used because of my son who was going to be eating it...honey or sugar could be easily used here instead)
1C plus 2T white wheat flour
3t. baking powder
1/2t. baking soda
1/4t. sea salt

I love simple recipes.  Mix the ingredients up properly, place in prepared square baking pan (I used my 9x9inch) and bake at 350 for 20-25ish minutes.  :)

Place on a pretty plate, cake stand or platter... 

After tasting it (very good!), I served it with light whipped cream to the three guys.



Monday, February 20, 2012

Green(er) Idea: Cloth Napkins

When I learned that the Dollar Store was offering large cloths for a dollar each that looked a lot like rustic antique French linens, I scooped up eight of them for the purpose of finally replacing our paper napkins.  Got them home, though, and realized that they were simply too big to be regular family I asked my "seamstress/artist/knitter/upholsterer extraordinaire" mother to cut them in half and seam them up (thereby making 16 napkins).

Cost = 50 cents per napkin.  :)

My mom does not like them.  And I quote: "they're kind of ugly, Steph."  But she agreed to hem them for me.

I told her that in a rustic table setting they would look pretty...   


or here....

People also criticize my desires to be more green, believe it or not.  While using cloth napkins might seem like a small thing compared to eliminating single-use plastic, my goal is to reduce waste and to tread more lightly on the planet.  Washing napkins does take water and energy, yes, but I am doing laundry anyway. 

We are a throw-away society.  Once you open your eyes to this, it really does get hard to go back.  I am sure someone reading this can relate to me.

We will see how my cloth napkin experiment goes with my family.  I still have paper towels in the kitchen, although I am personally using microfiber cloths for clean up, instead.

The cloth napkins need to be easily accessible to be used, so I have them stacked in a basket in the kitchen.   Personally, I like how they look.

I will be updating my attempts to go green on this blog.  While they are not design related per se, they are DIY attempts that incorporate beauty (again, my version of it) and practicality.  I hope you enjoy them!



A Day in San Francisco

Here are a few taken in San Francisco Saturday.  My youngest son and I went to tour an art school there, which he loved!  :)

A few of the amazing computer labs at the school, where students learn 3D animation, visual effects, 2D stuff, web design, graphic design and game design...

The student's projects and work on the walls was amazing...

an idea of some of the artwork below...

After three hours of touring, we walked around...

The architecture and beauty of the city is so impressive.  It seems much cleaner now than I recall when I  was growing up (their ZeroWaste efforts are excellent), and we had beautiful clear skies...

Then we went down to the wharf area...below is the Golden Gate bridge in the background...

Alioto's is a landmark for sure...

My son with his whole loaf of sourdough bread (yes, I know he needs a haircut...)...

The next day I attended the San Francisco Ballet with my mom.  I did not bring the camera, but the buildings in the civic center are beautiful.  Here is a photo of the War Memorial Opera House where the SF Ballet performs: 

It is an amazing structure inside and out and the ballet was just phenomenal. 

Back to reality now!  :)

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