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Before/After- The Guest Bath

11.30.2009
Ready to see the After pics of our guest bath? Just to make sure you remember where we came from (like we posted here) behold what we started with-



When we moved in we fondly named it the "Wizard of Oz" bathroom. You know- Dorothy gingham paired with the yellow brick road. Mix that with the fact that we live in Kansas and it becomes such an "awesome" theme.

Add more honey oak, a huge builders mirror, brass, and blue peel and stick tile and this bathroom landed with every other room in the house on our makeover list. To complicate matters the floor also sloped...a lot. Not the kind of sloping that you need a level to see, but the type of slope that makes you say "holy crap is the house falling down" when you walk on it. The home inspector reassured us that nothing structural was wrong with the house, but we still needed to fix it as we remodeled this room.

Oh yeah I almost forgot that it glowed-


During

We started by taking out the vanity, the glued on mirror, the vinyl floor and the toilet-

We fixed the subfloor and then laid a vapor barrier and metal bracing for the cement to level the floor-
Then to level the floor we poured cement. The low side was about 2 inches below the other side....hence the slope-
Then the beadboard went up-
We fixed all the walls, painted and then put down the tile on our newly leveled floor-
I glazed the vanity in other room during this process as detailed here-

And now drumroll......The After.....






So what do you think? This bathroom will eventually will be our future kids so we wanted it to be easily converted to a kids bathroom. But at the same time be elegant and functional for our current guests. So we decided on a light blue (the paint color is Sherwin William's Sleepy Blue). Of course we used my favorite paint (detailed here) on all the new beadboard.

The shower curtain was one of the most difficult design decisions. We started with solid white and it blended too much with the wainscoting. But I did not want solid brown because it would match the cabinet. But all the patterns with blue did not match the blue on the walls at all. After going to numerous stores (it is actually is embarrassing how much time we spent on this decision) we found this one which I like because it is a little more modern.

Anyway let's get to the nitty gritty of the budget. Our goal was to spend less than $700.

Things that were free:
Shower hooks/liner- from previous house
Toilet Paper Holder and Hand Towel Ring-free with faucet
Faucet-Bought for old house and not used
Vanity hardware-left over from kitchen remodel
Vanity Glaze-supplies left over from kitchen remodel
Towels-used at old house
Accessories on shelf and toilet-from previous house
Sticks in vase-harvested from yard
White Paint-left over from other trim

Things that were not-so-free:

Light Fixture-$69.99 (Home Depot)
Mirror- $49.99 (Homegoods)
Paint- $35 (Sherwin Williams)
Beadboard/Cement/Thinset/Grout/other hardware- $200
Tile - $200 (closeout at tile and stone warehouse)
Silver Tray- $19.99 (Homegoods)
Silver Tray Accessories- $8 (Homegoods)
Shower Curtain- $26.99 (Target)
Towel Bar- $7.99 (Homegoods)
Brown Shelf-$6.99 (Homegoods)
Vase- $14.99 (Homegoods)
Orchid- $14.99 (Home Depot-yes it's real which is possible because of the skylight)

Grand Total: $654.92 Not bad for a complete bathroom overhaul including a sloping floor if I do say so myself. I hope our guests love it as much as we do!

Holiday Yum

11.29.2009
Call me boring and unoriginal, but my all-time favorite Christmas cookie is the sugar cookie. I loved decorating them every year when I was growing up and would eat them before any one else had a chance. Also since I have a nut allergy which eliminates 70% of holiday cookies, this variety is an easy favorite. When I began to make my own sugar cookies as an adult, I started the hunt for the perfect recipe. There are so many recipes out there that it was difficult to narrow it down to the good ones. I like my sugar cookies thick and soft so that was the main criteria.
After a lot of trial and error recipes from Allrecipes were the definite winner. I have not made a batch of them this year yet (because frankly the entire batch would disappear within a couple of days because I have no self control with these babies) so my pictures from last year were more for documentation and not very blog worthy or pretty. I will take better pictures this year....promise.

Sugar Cookie

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Directions

  1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg; set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg, vanilla and sour cream until well blended. Stir in the sifted ingredients. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 1/2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frosting

Ingredients

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 4 teaspoons milk
  • 4 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • assorted food coloring

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
  2. Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. Dip cookies, or paint them with a brush.


I roll the dough out pretty thick in order to get a really soft cookie. They only rise slightly when you bake them, so use that is a guide for how thick you decide to roll them out. For Christmas, I just use a top of a drinking glass to make the circle shape. Then I use the paste food coloring (the liquid kind does not give me bright enough colors in my opinion) to make red and green. I put a dallop of red and a dallop of green on each cookie and swirl it with a kabob skewer (a fork would work as well). The icing is a little drippy so have something under the cooling racks to catch it. It hardens to a shiny marble finish which I think looks great and is super easy. And everyone will be impressed that you took so much time on them (or at least that is what my friends and coworkers say....they could be lying)

I also give tons away as gifts to coworkers which has resulted with many requests for the recipe. It is a super easy to just slip them in a bag and add a cute tag.

Also with a quick color change you can use these cookies for many occassions like favors for a baby shower-

Or for secretaries day-

And while this has nothing to do with a recipe exchange, no post about the sugar cookies is complete without the story of the cookies of Christmas 2008.

The story stars Jack as the main culprit-
And Winter and his trusty sidekick-

Two weeks before Christmas, I had made four batches of cookies and had them all allocated for staff at my different schools as well as other gifts. I put the first batch in bags and took them to work with me and left the rest in sealed Pyrex at the back of the counter.

I came home to this-
No cookies to be found. Jack and Winter never jump on the counter and we do not even crate them during the day when we are at work because they usually stay out of trouble. Luckily they did not have any glass stuck in their paws and if they ingested any while extracting the cookies, it all worked out OK. At this point I had no time to make any more so one of my schools got jipped out of their cookies because of misbehaved puppies. So a word of warning: do not leave these cookies on your counter even in a sealed glass container as your pups will still somehow sniff them out and have a sugar feast while you are away.

This recipe is part of the DIY blog party at the NewlyWoodwards. This week the Dare To- Eat Cookies and I can't to try some concoctions of the talented bloggers out there!

Dare to DIY


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Happy Thanksgiving!

11.26.2009
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and I hope you are enjoying your day with your families and stuffing yourself with good food!


The upstairs bathroom is complete and ready for a full reveal on Monday. Our goal was to stay under a $700 budget for the entire project and while I am still adding up the numbers, I think we just might have done it.

Also the house is 75% ready for Christmas. My goal is to have it completed (including the tree) by Monday (wow it will be a busy day) so we have the entire season to enjoy it. I would post progress pics our house looks like a box bomb exploded in it. Can't wait to share!

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This Post Could Possibly Include Christmas Decorations (Yes Before Turkey Day)

11.22.2009
I am back for week 2 of the blog party....this time it is Dare To-Entertain.
Dare to DIY

(good thing Emily having this party to make sure I post occasionally during this incredibly busy time at work....this week will be better I promise). Last week there were so many awesome thanksgiving ideas at the party and I met so many great bloggers.

Anyways for this week we were supposed to show off our table, whether it was set for everyday, Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Since I like to use any excuse to get out the good china and I have so much more Christmas stuff and because it was a great excuse to start decorating for Christmas early.....I chose a Christmas setting.

The challenge I gave myself: not spending a single cent. I have a slight weakness when it comes to spending money on holiday decorating. But we are not hosting Christmas or Thanksgiving this year so spending money was a little silly.

So here is the Anything Pretty Dining Room (almost) all decked out for the holidays-
Align Center

The details-

These frames were left over favors from my bridal shower, now they are perfect place markers-


My knock-off Pottery Barn plates I found a couple of years ago at ABC Distributing for $10 (for 12). They are less formal than all the china, but I think they add a fun Christmas element to the table-

The bead garland around all the candles-
The table runner-

The napkin and napkin ring-

Of course there were things I would have liked to done (like maybe a glass personalized ornament hanging from a silver branch at each setting or red sparkly candles instead of white) but that would have cost some money so I am happy with what I was able to do with things sitting around the house. This week I am going to add some more decorative elements to the dining room as a whole but this party got the table kick started. Now I just need to pour the red wine!
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Thanksgiving DIY Wreath

11.15.2009
When I read the first week's theme of the NewlyWoodwards blog party-Dare to: Be Thankful- I will admit that I was totally stumped. Sure, I had tons of great ideas for future weeks but for this one I had nothing.

Dare to DIY

I have fall decorations out but really none of them are DIY and nothing is really spectacular. But lucky for me Martha came to the rescue with this easy and pretty wreath. I am loving the finished product and it completes my dining room decor. Just in time for Thanksgiving....

Best of all it was super cheap-under $7. I would write out the how-to step by step but Martha does such a fine job that I will direct you to read it here.

Of course I did not follow her directions exactly. Instead of all craft and gold paper I used a couple of colors. Some were metallic cardstock and others were scrapbook paper. Here are my colors (in addition to the craft paper) cut into squares:
In addition to the partial roll of craft paper, I used about 8 pieces of colored paper.

Also Michaels does not carry the 2 wire wreath form, so I bought this and it worked great-

Finally, Martha tells you to attach the leaves with a stapler. I started this way and it could be because my wreath form had more wire in it, but I was struggling to get the staples to close. So I would have to staple a leaf on and then flip the wreath over to manually close the staple. This was not fun and I kept stabbing myself. So I switched over to hot glue (so then I could burn myself) and this method was a lot easier as well as allowing me a lot more flexibility in leaf placement.

After I started, I compared my partial wreath with Martha's and realized that my leaves were too far apart.
It was so easy with the hot glue to go back and fill it in.


I love the finished product and how it looks hanging on the simple orange ribbon in our dining room. I am also to happy to report that is very sturdy as it got dropped twice during the hanging process and still looks great. Thanks for the invitation to the party and come back for next week's theme-Dare To: Entertain. I can't wait to see everyone's projects!

Also linked to It's So Very Creative @ It's So Very Cheri
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