Monthly Archives: July 2011

As I hinted in the post right before my small hiatus from the blogosphere, I decided to redo our laundry room. The main thing was to get all of the clutter under control – This room is our main go-to storage space for tools/hardware (I think we now officially have a supply of these on all three floors of the house…), dog stuff, candles, reusable bags, extra paper towels and appliance overflow from the kitchen, gardening supplies, camping supplies (??) and, of course, laundry stuff. I think the space was intended for a pantry, but it just works better for us to use it as household storage instead.

With all of that stuff, comes a whole lot of cluttered shelves…Feast your eyes on this chaos:

Okay, okay…That side’s not so bad. But wait until you virtually turn a bit to your right and see this…

Oh my GOSH, I’m so embarrassed to show you that…You know how sometimes you don’t realize how bad that too-tight pair of jeans looks on you until you see a picture of yourself and you’re like “HOLY CRAP! That’s how I look in those?!” – An objective perspective on things can really be a kick in the gut. I had no idea until just this very moment how bad our laundry room looked until I saw this picture – Especially those top two shelves. I guess since we can get to all the stuff we really need to get to, I never really noticed how the rest of the shelves looked…

Plus, why do we have TWO Swiffer dry mops?

Here are a few more angles of the rest of the room:

The photo above shows how we store our step ladder – But notice also the displaced mirror from this project lurking…Time to send that on its way to Restore! (Speaking of Restore, stay tuned for a Habitat-for-Humanity-related sidenote at the bottom of this post!)

Thankfully, all of that craziness has been taken care of and the pictures to come are much more serene and organized – You may even hear a chorus of angels in the background…Just sayin.

So at one of our weekly Sunday trips to Wal Mart, I wandered over to the storage aisle and picked up a large stack of clutter-killing boxes. I really wanted to go with a bright sky blue color in terms of accessories for this room, but all they had were dark red, dark green and dark blue…I figured the brightest color we could do was the red, so I tossed six of the canvas boxes into our cart. I also bought some plastic, hard-shelled boxes that were a tad bigger and could hold more on the high shelves above the washing machine and dryer. They didn’t have red, but I figured black and grey went well enough – Although, now our laundry room is the exact colors of my high school…Not sure if I like that or not.

Now for the fun part – Filling up the boxes!

My method for this process was essentially just going shelf by shelf, filling a box with like items and then moving on to the next. If I came across something that didn’t make sense in the space, I took it out of the laundry room and placed it on the kitchen island just outside the door – My compromise on this stuff was, if we ended up having room in the boxes once I was done with the essential stuff, it could come back in. Otherwise, it had to find a new home. Luckily, there was only a small arm-load that had to move out!

Here are the newly boxed-up items over the washing machine and dryer:

And now, the best part yet…The stacked shelves in the corner!!

“Hallelujah, Hallelujah” 🙂

I realized afterwards that I needed two more of the red canvas boxes, and I still need to type up labels for the convenient little plastic inserts so we know what’s in each box, but it’s already SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much better…Speaking of, I think this calls for a side-by-side comparison.

I’d say we are well on our way to having a functional AND attractive storage space! Here’s what I have left on my to-do list:

  • Buy two more red canvas boxes
  • Create labels for boxes
  • Take mirror to Restore
  • Add some things to make it seem less like a laundry room/storage space and more like a tiny room (i.e. art, lighting, curtain??)

Hopefully we’ll have a full update and the final “After” photos to show you next week.

Oh and before I go, as promised earlier, I wanted to give a quick tid bit regarding Habitat for Humanity…If you haven’t heard, the “One Project Closer” program is underway with their fourth annual “Before & After” series – This is all in support of Habitat for Humanity, so it’s a win win situation…Every week throughout the summer they’re sharing a “Before & After” story from people like us. I actually submitted the post about our half bathroom makeover!

If you are interested in sharing your OWN awesome “Before & After” project with them, all you have to do is email pictures and a story about the project to BeforeAndAfter@OneProjectCloser.com.

Here’s a little more information from the project people themselves:

“‘One Project Closer’ runs this series to help raise support and awareness for Habitat for Humanity. How do they do that? If your submission is picked, OPC makes a $100 donation to Habitat in your honor. By the end of the Summer, they’ll have donated more than a $1000! Plus, look for the Habitat fun fact on each post to learn interesting tidbits about what Habitat is doing all over the world. That’s not all! OPC gives each winner a $50 gift card to either Home Depot, Lowe’s, or Amazon (you pick), and at the end of summer the voting starts. Readers can vote for their favorite B&A, and the grand prize winner will receive another gift card for $150! Combine that with a Lowe’s coupon or Home Depot coupon, and you’ve got a great start to your next home improvement project.”

Pretty cool, huh???

For all the official details, head over to the One Project Closer website.

Have a great weekend!

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Ya know how when things are FINALLY settling down in your life – Like after you’re a couple weeks into your new job and starting to feel like you MIGHT get the hang of things soon, or when a new house is finally starting to feel like home? Well it’s times like these that fate often deals you a big ole’ hand of “Don’t get too comfy!!!”

Well…As you’ve probably gathered, that’s what happened to me/us last week.

That, my virtual friends, is water damage. Not MASSIVE water damage (we are both well aware that it could have been much worse), but enough to make us jump to action and head to Home Depot for a solution.

“Home Depot???” you might ask? Yeah, we are definitely a Lowes-typa-couple, from paint to fans and hand sanders, you’ve “seen” us traipse back and forth from home to that store many a time. But we’ve actually been in the process of looking for a new sink for a while and found the best option at Home Depot.

Here’s what our old sink looked like:

Doesn’t look so bad right? There are TONS of people who would love a white porcelain sink!! But ours was anything but white porcelain…It was actually white plastic that chipped when you dumped cereal into it – damage seen here:

Nope – It’s definitely not dirty. All of those black marks are scratches in the plastic and, I promise, we are not any harder on our sink then the average person! It’s just not very pretty…And the real reason we decided to go on the new sink hunt was that we don’t need a two-basin sink. We’d LOVVVVE to be able to wash a whole skillet in the sink without banging constantly into that annoying center divider. I know that some people can’t live without the two separate sections, but that’s just not our taste.

But do you know how hard it is to find a single-basin sink??? It wasn’t easy…Lowe’s didn’t have any that were standard kitchen sink size (at least none in our price range), but Home Depot miraculously had THE PERFECT ONE!!! It was $199 – A little pricey for this frugal couple, but we were willing to start saving our pennies to get it in the near future.

Little did we know that the near future would be VERY soon…

After John discovered a big pool of water under the old sink one night (and after pouring a tiny inch-worth of water around the back and side of the sink to find water creeping down through the counter), we were more than willing to shell out the $200 to get it taken care of once and for all. We are absolutely aware that we probably just needed to reseal the old sink to fix the water seepage issue, but since we were already hoping to replace it with a new sink soon, we figured we might as well go all out. So off we went to Home Depot! We knew exactly what we wanted, namely this guy:

It came with the faucet and the two drying racks too! Pretty sweet deal if you ask me…Plus, while at the register I asked if they took competitor coupons and lo and behold they do!!! So I handed over my coveted 10% off Lowe’s coupon and saved us $20 🙂

Now unfortunately, I was in the midst of housesitting for a family friend while this project was taking place, so I don’t have much to report in terms of the process. But let’s just say that it took John and his dad several hours to put it in place. After just now reading the reviews, (notice its 3 out of 5 stars) it seems that the worst part of the sink is it’s installation difficulty. So kudos to them for getting it done in the little amount of time they did (and this was their first time installing a sink!!).

I just have to chuckle and at what the kitchen looked like when I got home:

Through all of the chaos of tools and parts though, all I saw was the gleaming new sink in place… ::happy sigh:: After twenty minutes of clean up, we were back in order and the sink could REALLY shine!

(I probably should have wiped all of the water out and cleaned it up a bit, but we all know that’s not real life. Plus, as you can see from the water in the basin – It works!!!)

A week later, we aren’t seeing any issues with water seepage or leakage so I think the project was a resounding success! I am forever thankful to John and his dad for their hard work in getting our kitchen back to functioning order again…An ugly old sink is definitely cause to start looking around for a new option, but an ugly old sink AND leaking water isn’t something that can wait. Thank goodness for handy men (and 10% off coupons) 🙂

(Photo credit for website picture of new sink: here)

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Like anyone with a passion for DIY, I’ve amassed a rather large collection of tools. From twine and mini screw drivers, to four or five different kinds of 3M tape – You name it I’ve got it. But oddly enough, my DIY tool kit was one of the most messy spots in our house! I kept it all together in one place (namely a medium-sized wicker basket), but that place was getting outgrown quickly. Not to mention all of those accumulated tools were h-e-a-v-y…Too heavy for my weak little basket.

Time for a new, more portable and larger solution!

This is when I start to gush about Thirty-One (as always, I am not being compensated for any of this product lovin’ – I just can’t get enough of these bags and hope you can get as much joy from them as I do, even if you just window shop). My mom introduced me to this phenomenon and I’ve seen it slowly creep up in popularity over the last year.

Essentially it’s the new Tupperware party for women! A Thirty-One consultant comes to your home and you host a gathering of women to check out the latest styles, functions and possibilities. For all the information you could want, be sure to click here for their website. If you are interested in PURCHASING something, I will provide a link to a local rep at the bottom of this post 🙂

So back to my tool organizing cunundrum…Mom bought me this beautiful Thirty-One bag – It has all sorts of handy pockets and lots of roomy inside space for the big stuff. Plus its got my initials embroidered on it! How fun is that??!

As you can see, it was SCREAMING to hold my DIY tool kit. So I quickly emptied everything from the basket onto the floor – This is when I realized how much STUFF I had crammed in that little basket!

  1. Standard-sized hot glue gun
  2. Rubber cement
  3. Hot glue sticks
  4. Mini hot glue gun
  5. Rope/Twine
  6. Dowel rods
  7. Spare change (??)
  8. Hooks
  9. Foam paint brushes
  10. Staple gun
  11. Staple gun staples
  12. Random decorations (silk flowers, a saddle figurine, stencil)
  13. Mini measuring tape
  14. One safety pin (???)
  15. Felt pads
  16. An assortment of tape
Woa.
 
I started with the little stuff, putting everything in the smaller outside pockets of the bag. When I got to the assortment of tape and felt pads, I went ahead and took everything out of its packaging. No need for all of that extra cardboard and plastic to take up prime real estate in the newly organized bag! As you can tell from the pile of discarded trash, it made a pretty big difference.
 
 
Here you can see all of the tape and felt pads in their teenie tiny compartments now that the bulk was gone!
 
 
Next I took care of the hooks, paint brushes and rubber cement, also placing them in the outside pockets for easy accessibility. Plus, this way, they wouldn’t get lost in the bottom of the big center part of the bag. Is there anything worse than having to root around in the bottom of a bag for the one little thing you need?
 
 
 
 
After that, it was just a matter of tossing the rest (neatly) into the main part of the bag! Everything fit with a bunch of room to spare. Guess that means I should go stock up on some more fun tools at Lowe’s! 😉
 
 
All done!
 
 
I love that I can grab it by the sturdy handles and swing it around in the air, even with all of that bulk.
 
 
Yes, the above picture is me happily swinging the filled bag in mid-air one-handed for the camera. Couldn’t have tried THAT with my overloaded wicker basket of stuff!! I’m just so happy to finally have a functioning tool kit ready for our next project – Still trying to decide what to tackle next…Stencil a wall? Hang some curtains? Repurpose some furniture or art? We’ll see! 
 
But before I go, I wanted to share just a few of my other favorite Thirty-One products with you – Prepare to drool.
 
We’ve got pantry storage options:
 
 
And beach/pool ideas (Summers not over yet, folks!!):
 
 
Helloooooooo office storage…
 
 
Thirty-One even has their own line of purses! I love me some purses…
 
 
And look at all the fun prints you can get!! I ADORE that blue/green plaid ::happy sigh::
 
 
Anyways, I’m going to quite gushing. If you are interested in anything above, definitely check out this link for our local consultant (her name is Jennifer) – I know she’ll be more than willing to help you!
 
(Photo credit for all Thirty-One products: here)
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Is anyone else just SOOOO ready for Fall? Here in Virginia, things feel like they are melting it’s so hot. Reminds me of that awesome Perrier commercial they have running all the time these days:

Love that for some reason.

But anyways, I’m back today to give you the final run down of my silhouette project! As I majorly hinted in yesterday’s post (or rather flat-out told you), I finally got around to tackling this sentimental little art piece and couldn’t be more pleased – Both with how simple the process ended up being and how sweet the final product is.

I’ve heard of people Photoshoping a picture of someone in profile to cut out everything around the face, etc. etc. but I wanted to go a bit of an easier route…I don’t have Photoshop on my personal computer and, while I’m familiar with the software because I use it all the time at work as a page designer, it just seemed like an energy/time waster. I’m also just lazy like that 🙂

So I first tracked down a photo of myself in profile and one of John. The one of me was pretty easy to find:

But the one of John was more difficult. Let’s just say that there are a little over 850 photos tagged of me on Facebook, while John has 24. He’s a hard guy to catch on film…But I was able to find one of him finally, I just had to zoom in REALLY close to get it. It’s blur-tasktic (and really small), but it’ll do as you’ll see in just a moment.

I printed out both photos in black and white (although it wouldn’t have mattered if I printed them in color – I just wasn’t about to waste the ink in my printer for color photos I was going to mark up). Then I grabbed a Sharpie marker and traced around the faces.

I was kind of winging it at this point but am happy to report that, after flipping over, I had two great beginnings for silhouettes since the Sharpie ink bled right through onto the back of the photo print out.

I decided to use these two art pieces in our master bathroom – We are probably the only two people who really care to see each other’s silhouettes…So I chose a light teal color for the actual cut outs. It will match the shower curtain we have in the bathroom:

Here’s a photo of the scrapbook paper remnant I ended up using – It worked well for our purposes and color palette!

This is where I have to chuckle at my process a bit…Although it was a silly idea, it totally worked! I took my traced photos, held them up to the studio window, layered the teal scrapbook paper on top and drew along the Sharpie line! Easy as pie. Maybe like lions and their natural instinct to hunt, woman are born with the random ability to know how to make a silhouette.

See how the Sharpie marker outline shows through for a perfect guideline while tracing?? Thank goodness it was a sunny day and I got good tracing light…A couple of seconds later, I had my shapes ready for the scissors!

Using some rubber cement, I glued the two shapes to some plain old white printer paper and stuck them temporarily in two black mats I had on hand.

I didn’t have any pretty frames to put them in just yet, but I knew they needed to be behind glass if they were to live in the bathroom – Exposed paper and steam from showers do not mix well. But here they are in their temporary surroundings!

This past weekend though, I finally found a moment to get them their glass homes – I picked up two 11×14 frames at Ross for $8.99. The frames actually came with cream-colored mats, but I figured I’d remove those since I had the silhouettes all done up with the black mats. Once I got them in the frame though with the black, it read a little too dark…So out went the black mats and in went the cream ones again! Here they are in their complete state 🙂

I’m glad to finally have my own set of personal silhouettes. I’ve seen sooooo many other people do this project and just love how quaint and sweet it turns out! One of my best friends actually did one of herself, one of her husband and one of each of their dogs – Adorable! They are about to have their first baby too, so I can’t wait to see the new silhouette get added to their collection. Maybe John and I can make one for our two cats and dog!

We’ll keep you posted 🙂

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Good morning!!! It’s good to be back in the blogging seat again…The break was definitely a necessity though – Last week was nuts to say the least. Between my second week at the new job (which is going well by the way!) and housesitting, my routine has been so off the tracks that my blog entries would have looked like this had I attempted to keep up with it:

“We wiped down the counters today. They look less dirty. See you tomorrow…”

Needless to say, I don’t think many of you would have gotten much out of them. But on a positive note, I had a LOT of time to mull over the little ole’ blog and dream up some exciting things for our to-do/to-share list in the near future! I also devised a few tweaks for the blog features too, the first of which you’ll see today!

But before I get to that, I just want to extend a heartfelt “THANK YOU!!!” to the handful of readers who left replies to last Monday’s reader survey!!! The tips, feedback and suggested direction I received were invaluable and I’m definitely going to take it into consideration. However, I KNOW there are more of you out there…According to my calculations and daily WordPress read stats, I’m pretty sure that these 4 faithful followers aren’t refreshing the DreamGreenDIY page 75 times each…But that’s okay – I’ll let the rest of you off the hook for now 😉 While our home and projects are the stars of this site, we are sharing things just as much for your benefit. So please feel free to drop us a line anytime with suggestions or comments! As always, the email is DreamGreenDIY@gmail.com.

So back to my first feature update – I decided that my “Monday Inspiration” posts need a new title…The original title is pretty mundane and, while I really enjoy spouting off about my latest design trend obsession each week, I think we could do better on the direction. So starting today, Monday’s will be all about my “Weekly Pinspiration”!

Does everyone know about “Pinterest” yet? I hope so, because this is easily one of the best suggestions I can make to anyone who scours the internet for inspiration. It’s also a FABULOUS way to organize your ideas (a lot of the feedback from Monday was about organization – I’m definitely going to ramp up my suggestions in that area, starting with this!). I know that I’ve talked it before, but maybe not in huge detail?? Well we will today 🙂

Meet the bliss that is Pinterest…

Here’s a scenario: You’re reading a blog or browsing a major website like Real Simple or Better Homes & Gardens, and come across a room that you just ADORE! The colors are right, the accessories just speak to you and the couch in the photo looks a heck of a lot like the one you already own…Instead of printing it out and putting it in a folder (although, as you may remember, I’m not totally against this idea as seen here), why not “Pin it”!?

Once you get signed up with the website (you actually have to go on a bit of a waiting list but it usually takes only a week or two) you can download the “Pin it” application to your browser. This will enable you to essentially grab any photo you’d like off of the internet. You click the button and the website you’re looking at suddenly turns into a big list of pictures. For example, here’s the CraftGawker website before clicking my “Pin it” application:

And now after! See how the photos are now lined up and ready for easy “grabbing”??

Once you find and click on the one you want to “Pin”, another window pops up. You sign in to Pinterest and write a little note/caption for the photo – Something like “Love this color” or “Clipboard as wall memo art – Gotta try this!” to remind yourself of what inspired you. Then you can go to your Pinterest site for inspiration when you’ve got the time to work on a project!

It’s so simple and so much fun…Plus, you can “follow” other people with similar taste and “Repin” their ideas to your “Board” – It’s a global mecca for A-Type design hounds looking for ideas and projects! Can you tell I’m excited? I have a Pinterest board for DreamGreenDIY, wedding ideas, outfits and random “Just For Fun” things.

So anyway, that’s where I got the idea for my “Weekly Pinspiration” posts – I have soooooo many happy little pins living on my Pinterest boards (which can be found here if you’re already a member and feel like following my design whims. There’s also a button you can click on the right side of our blog to find my boards). Lately though I’ve noticed that I haven’t done much with my pins. So this new weekly feature will give me a little push to tackle a couple of pin projects a week. Or I’ll at least be able to focus my daydreaming a little bit more!

This past weekend, I found a little extra time to work on one such pin project – Here are two quick clues from past additions to my virtual inspiration board:

That’s right – This week’s “Pinspiration” is none other then silhouettes! I’m not going to share the final product of my own silhouette project today, but stay tuned tomorrow for the big reveal. I was AMAZED at how easy this art project was!

See you tomorrow and thanks again for being patient while I took a little vacation from the blog – Hope you’ll stick around to see what’s next 🙂

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Well guys…It’s finally caught up with me…A crazy few months that includes an engagement, a new job, a big move – I think I am going to finally admit that it’s time for a breather.

I’m also house/pet-sitting for family friends for the next week, so I’m not in my studio/office with my resources available to me. So I’m going to spend the week taking care of things at their house and enjoying some much-needed r&r.

But in the mean time, I thought it might be fun to host a little reader survey!! I’d love to hear from you – Where are you from? How long have you been following the blog? What would you like to see more of? Got any suggestions for fun projects that we could tackle and dish about? We’d LOVE to hear from you – Just leave a comment on this post!

Oh, and here are a few lovely inspiration pictures that might hint at a redo project we’ve got up our sleeves for sometime in the near future…

Hope that everyone is having a great summer and I’ll be back bright and early this time next week 🙂

(Photo credit for pale aqua laundry room: here; laundry room with mirror and beaded sconces: here; green laundry room: here; stenciled laundry room from The Mustard Ceiling: here)

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I think that, no matter if you’re a 25-year-old with no kids or a mom of four, the idea of putting together a delicious and healthy dinner at the end of the day can be a bit of an annoyance. It’s certainly not something I looked forward to, even when I was single living by myself in an apartment! I KNEW that I should be putting together better, less-processed meals, but a lot of the time I would end up making a box of mac and cheese…

Then, sometime last year I found something that had the potential to truly turn my idea of dinner around (this is starting to sound like an infomercial…I promise you that this is a true testimony. Oh and it’s definitely not motivated by perks – The managers of this product have no idea I’m blogging about it).

It’s called Emealz! Some of you may already be aware of this little gem of a service – If you are, then you probably know just how AWESOME it is!!

I first came upon it during a health kick I was having at the time, perusing websites for quality recipes that would make me feel better about myself. There was a little banner ad to the side of one recipe website and you’ll NEVER guess what drew me in…

That’s right, friends – Their logo is an owl 🙂 This little guy used to be a little more prominent on their website, but they recently revamped and he’s not QUITE as visible anymore ::sad face:: But their marketing ploy at the time worked like a charm, because I was all over their website within seconds. What I found was something that actually interested me though and I ended up grabbing my wallet for credit card info.

Here’s the low down: First you choose your meal plan. They have several options from 5 meals to 7 meals per week, recipes that serve 1 to 2 people or 4 to 6 people. You can even choose an option that gives you recipes that are low in fat, low in carbs, portion controlled or gluten-free! You also specify your grocery store – I chose Wal-Mart because they have good prices on groceries, but you can do Publix, Kroger or “Any Store” depending on where you shop.

Here’s a screen image from the website of the plan variety (or you can click here and check out the website yourself)

The reason you choose your grocery store is because the service will plan certain menus around the store’s specials for the week, saving you some moolah.

Speaking of money, how much does this cost…? Well it’s only $5 a month (I get charged $15 every three months) – For that price, members can log into the Emealz website and download/print off a weekly meal plan menu and corresponding shopping list each Friday.

Below is a sample of what these look like (feel free to click here to see it loaded up from the website):

(the image above is cut off since it’s just a sample from their website – The meal plan you print out will list all 5 [or 7] of your weekly recipes depending on what meal plan you choose)

And here’s the shopping list that corresponds to the daily recipes. As you can see, it’s oh-so-conveniently organized by aisle and you can see which meal it links to by checking out the number in the far left column. It does that for you so that if you don’t like a certain meal in the list, you can just cross off those ingredients from your list.

The staples are listed at the bottom to show you what you’ll need for the meals but that you probably already have in your pantry. If you DON’T happen to have bread crumbs or sour cream though, you can simply write it in under the “Other Items I Need” notes section. Oh, and did you check out the projected total cost for all of that stuff? $38.44!!! For a whole week’s worth of dinners!! Not too bad at all…They help you keep costs down by listing shopping items that are generic and don’t cost as much – For example, all the items that have a “GV” next to them mean “Great Value”, which is Wal-Mart’s generic brand. MUCH cheaper than the name brand stuff.

But here’s how it works for us in REAL life.

I print out the menu on Friday afternoon when they post them on the website. Then, sometime over the weekend (we like to do it on Sunday morning over coffee at Starbucks or Barnes & Noble), we go through the recipe list crossing off the ones we aren’t interested in. I tend to cross of the seafood ones and John crosses off the ones that are high in creamy ingredients. We probably cross off one or two from the list each week but we are kind of picky – You might not have to cross ANY off! Then we take the shopping list out and cross off the ingredients we won’t need based on the meals we rejected. We fill up the “Other Items I Need” section with, you guessed it – All of the other stuff we need for the upcoming week (ex. tooth paste, toilet paper, lunch meat for lunches, etc.). From there we hit Wal-Mart and get it all done!

It’s always a little bit over the approximated total cost just because we have lunch/breakfast stuff to get too, but our total cost for weekly groceries for two people usually comes in around $60-70. It probably wouldn’t be that much if I refrained from wandering over to the “Home” section where there are pretty candles and picture frames…

You saw last week where we keep our meal list:

It’s front and center in a kitchen cabinet so that we can access it at any time to plan ahead (ex. take chicken out of freezer to thaw on Monday night).

John and I started to really buckle down and use this together two weeks ago and I think it’s going really well! The meals are DELICIOUS and they are home cooked, which always makes things taste better…They are EASY to make too!!! I mean, if you can fit five recipes onto one sheet of regular-size copy paper, you know the steps are going to be pretty simple, short and sweet. But that definitely doesn’t make them any less worthy of your efforts. Seriously, just try a sample week and see for yourself!

I was going to take some photos of our meals for you, but there’s something about photographing food that is beyond me. It never looks like the delicious pictures restaurants have on their menus or websites…But here’s one to tempt your taste buds!

It was a Salisbury Steak recipe with baked potato and fresh green beans on the side. Yummmmmm…I gobbled that meal up in about 5 minutes flat.

So I just thought I’d share one of the ways that we have simplified our life without skrimping on the good stuff. For all the information you could ever want on this service, definitely check out their website. We loooooovveeee it!!!

Have a great weekend 🙂

(Photo credit for owl logo: here; All other images from the Emealz website: here)

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If you’re a regular here at DreamGreenDIY, then you know I usually post a “Thrift Store SCORE!” on Thursdays. Unfortunately, due to household budgetary restraints, I’ve decided to make these features a once-a-month thing…Plus we are sort of running out of display room for all of my thrifted treasures 😉 So this is my way of disciplining myself. We’ll see how long it lasts!

So today, I wanted to share a little artsy switcheroo with you instead.

You surely know by now how absurdly fanatic I am over Emily Henderson – You may also already know that this is my favorite room she’s ever done (since I have posted about it both here and here before):

I loooooovvvveeeeeee that wallpaper. The minute I saw it I was infatuated with the room (and Emily, in a totally platonic, I-want-to-be-her-best-friend way). I typically don’t ever think that I can ACTUALLY get any detail or piece of my favorite HGTV-designed rooms, but miracle-upon-miracle, I GOT IT!!!!!!!!

Allow me to explain – I follow Emily’s (yes, we’re on first name basis) blog and came upon a post describing some of the resources for this room. I thought nothing of it, knowing that there was no way I could actually afford it. But you know I couldn’t help but at least GLANCE at the link for the wallpaper…Turns out that the wallpaper was designed by Joy, the home owner and lucky dweller of this, my favorite Emily makeover (P.S. Joy has a FABULOUS blog of her own – Check it out here), and rolls of it can be ordered through Hygge & West.

After deeper inspection, I was correct in my assumption that there was no way that I would be able to afford the wallpaper (which is almost $150 a roll), but all was not lost!!!!

They sell samples.

Oh joy!!! 😉

I ended up adding all three of the samples you see in the screen image above – (in order from left to right) “Lovely Leaves” in white and copper, “Petal Pusher” in white and gold, “A Stone’s Throw Away” in white and gray. The patterns are so pretty and the metallic sheen is GORGEOUS in person.

A week or so later, the three samples arrived at my door!

Just as thrilling in person, if not more so! After a little contemplation as to where they should go, I decided to add them to our entry way “art gallery”.

A lot of the original art that I had put in the frames there were quick copy/pastes from the internet after running a “Yellow” and “Gray” Google search. They were nothing special. But the three wallpaper samples DEFINITELY are.

So last night, I popped the old images out of three of the frames and replaced with the new ones.

I started with the “Stone’s Throw Away” pattern – I decided to keep the textured yellow paper I had originally in the frame because the gray and yellow play SO well together! I think it makes it pop a little more.

Then came the “Lovely Leaves”…Here’s the “Before” – Just a piece of scrapbook paper:

And the “After”! Much more modern and crisp in my opinion.

And finally, my favorite – The “Petal Pusher”!!! Here’s the “Before” – A pixel-y, blurry image off the internet that seems almost blue and green, not the soft gray and muted yellow I was going for…

The “After” is SO MUCH BETTER!!!

Here are the collections “Before” and “After” side-by-side.

The new art looks like it’s an actual collection rather than the random place holders that the others were. The original art did its purpose, but now it’s time for the real designs to reign…

I am so excited to have a tiny piece of my favorite professionally designed room! It’s like Emily Henderson came in and did her thing with our entryway! Hey, a girl can dream…

Oh and speaking of art, look at the gorgeous print that John’s mom brought back for me from their recent trip to China!!!

And here’s what the back says:

The Manchurian (Ching) Dynasty represents an era in Chinese history while the Manchurian and the Han cultures were in close interchange. The Imperial Dragon gowns were virtually a combination of the dresses oriented to the Manchurian horseback riders and the traditional Chinese clothing. The Gowns made with the fine and exquisite workmanship, fastidiously selected materials and magnificent colors are believed the special pieces to illustrate the Ching Dynasty costume charms.

The Imperial Dragon Gowns are mainly in elegant black backgrounds matched with golden dragon motif, with the attractive transparent touch to signify bold and heroic character of the ethnic races in north China. Overall, the Imperial Dragon Gowns convey the charismatic charms of a great country of China in the Manchurian (Ching) Dynasty. 

I can’t wait to find a place for this little treasure! I’m sure I’ll tell you all about it when I do 😉

(Photo credit for best-room-ever: here and here)

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Even though this isn’t exactly house-related, I just HAD to share with you our most recently-completed wedding checklist item: the cupcakes. Yes I’m aware that it’s 10:00 in the morning, but is it REALLY ever too early for sugary baked treats? I have definitely been known to eat my little 100-calorie pack of chocolate-colored pretzels at my desk anywhere between 9 and 10 am…

Instead of doing the traditional wedding cake, John and I have chosen to go with a more casual spread of cupcakes – We aren’t having a huge reception, so the couple-of-bites-sized baked goodies seem more fitting for our event. Luckily, I know of an absolutely FANTASTIC baker in town!! And she happens to be the younger sister of one of my best friends, whom I’ve known my entire life 🙂 Her name is Marlee and her creations are absolutely to DIE for!!!

(from left to right: First up is Lauren, and then my best friend Erica, beside her is Marlee and then their brother Benton)

After letting her know that John and I were interested in having her do the cupcakes for us, she sweetly brought over a little white box of mini cupcakes for us to try. We gently lifted the lid to take a peek inside and instantly knew that we had made the right choice (and also that there was no way I was going to break into the dozen cupcakes without a quick photoshoot to capture their GORGEOUS color and decoration!).

Seriously, just LOOK at the detail!!! There are chocolate and caramel drizzles, dainty berries and sprinkles, little sugar toppers shaped like flowers and even a “W”!! Needless to say, we were super impressed…

She also included a VERY helpful note explaining each of the cupcakes, like what flavor they were and what kinds of frosting and filling they might have (Yeah. I said “filling”.) – Since I’m already torturing you with pictures of these delicious treats, I might as well twist the dagger by giving you some of the descriptions 😉

(P.S. I hope that I’m giving the correct descriptions with the right cupcake…Marlee’s notes were pretty detailed, but I give her permission to yell at me later if I misname any of them!)

First up we’ve got “The Classic”, which is yellow cake with traditional butter cream topped with a gum paste sugar flower. We LOVED how the frosting tasted – Sooo fluffy and sweet…

Next is the “Berries and Cream” – White cake filled with strawberry preserves, topped with cream cheese frosting and a fresh berry. I thought this one was super unique! My little note to the side of the sheet of paper she gave us literally says “Yummmm”

And lastly for your drooling pleasure, we’ve got the “Chocolate Ganache” – Chocolate cake filled with chocolate ganache topped with ganache and sprinkles. Oh.My.Gosh. this one was delicious…As you can imagine it is extravagantly rich and decadent. Definitely a crowd- and bride-and-groom-pleaser 🙂

All-in-all, we came up with two favorites – The “Snickers” cupcake was John’s favorite (chocolate cake with peanut butter and caramel filling, topped with chocolate swiss meringue butter cream, drizzled with fresh caramel, and decorated with a mini snickers candy bar) and mine was the “Red Velvet” (red velvet cake with traditional cream cheese frosting topped with a gum paste sugar decoration).

We can’t wait for our wedding now that we know these amazing little treats will be around for everyone’s pleasure! HUGE thanks to Marlee for bringing us these samples to taste and for being willing to make our special day even MORE special!!!

Now I’m going to go eat my 100-calorie pack of chocolate-covered pretzels and be completely disappointed…

UPDATE: The cupcakes were a HUGE success at the wedding…Feast your eyes on these little goodies as they were set up the at our reception – Delicious…

Photo credit: Katie Stoops Photography

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I’m not a big traveler…I am typically very content to stay riiiiiiight here at home in my cushy comfy house without having to worry about finding places to eat or bathrooms in unfamiliar territory. I like KNOWING where things are and being able to plan with ease. Luckily John’s the same way.

But my best friend and her husband are a different story altogether.

Here’s a photo to introduce you to the two of them: Meet David and Savannah! (and their dogs Corbin and Deebo too, of course)

(Photo by Liz Cook)

They are adventurous and daring when it comes to the places they’ve traveled to, whether together or separate. They have gone four-wheeling out in the deserts by Las Vegas, they’ve repelled down zip lines in Mexico and explored caves to their heart’s content. Between the two of them, they’ve gone across the US, to Australia, Mexico and I think even Africa! And many-a cruise as well – I’m thinking the Caribbean?

They recently celebrated their one year wedding anniversary and Savannah thought it would be neat to find a way to document all of the places they’ve visited together as a gift to David. After a bit of research she came across this amazing product:

Scratch Map!!

This is essentially a giant lottery ticket – You take a coin and rub off the top layer to reveal a different colored section beneath allowing you to easily see all the places that you have been!

The map came in a fun tube with instructions on it, seen here:

If you can’t see it clearly, it says:

“They say a journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. We say it begins with a single scratch! Scratch Map is a large, high quality wall map which features a gold top foil layer. Why? So you can scratch off all the places you’ve visited to reveal a whole new world below, featuring vibrant colour and geographical detail. The result is a totally unique and personalized world map. What a perfect gift for the intrepid traveller in your life!”

Savannah enlisted my help to figure out how to put this fun map up in their home, so we drove on over to the nearest art supply store. As soon as we walked in we came across a HUGE framed corkboard that could have worked – All you’d need to do is thumbtack the map to the center of the corkboard and you’d have plenty of extra push-pin-ready surface to hang things like plane tickets, activity brochures, memorable receipts, etc. around it. But I should reiterate that this thing was HUGE and would have taken over whatever wall they chose to hang it on…

So back to the framing section we went! Although at first we didn’t think putting it behind a frame would be ideal since you’d want to be able to easily scratch off sections after vacations, we eventually came to the conclusion that putting it behind glass would protect the delicate surface better than if it was open to the elements. Their two dogs might end up jumping up and scratching off all of South America!

After a bit of perusing and rummaging through the frame section, we ended up finding a beautiful wooden frame that would fit and protect the map with ease 🙂

Savannah and I rushed home to show off the purchase to David who, thankfully, was pleased.

I was lucky enough to stick around while to two of them broke out a quarter to document all of their travels together as a couple. It was so neat to watch them light up when thinking back on their adventures.

I had to go before they put it behind glass and hung it on the wall, but she sent me an iPhone picture of it later and it’s beautiful 🙂

Although John and I would be able to scratch off about a millimeter of this map throughout our lifetime, I highly recommend this for any world travelers out there. It’s definitely a great way to document your memories and have a visual reminder of all the places you have gone.

Happy travels!!!

(Photo credit for scratch map promo image: here)

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