Monday, April 23, 2012

High Heel Shoe Cupcakes

My sister's birthday was last weekend and I wanted to do something cute to surprise her.  I found an adorable idea for cupcakes that look like high heeled shoes in a cupcake book I recently got as a gift.  They were a little time consuming, as each pair had a different design (we can't have two pairs of the same shoes, now can we?).  Totally worth the time in the end because they turned out pretty awesome. 

There were 9 pairs in total.  The heel is made from those Pepperidge Farm pirouttes cookies and the flat part is a graham cracker coated in white chocolate.  Being the first time I did these, some are a little messy, but I figured out some things to do differently next time to keep them neater.
The Dorothy shoe...

The Spring Flower... (sorry for the blurry picture)
The wedding shoe...
The Green Bay Packer shoe (she loves Green Bay...)
This one has no theme or name...the black swirly shoe maybe?

The leopard print shoe...(the cupcake holder is pink leopard but you can't see it very well.  I should've taken better pictures!)  Lesson learned on this shoe - I dipped the heel in dark chocolate but quickly realized that at room temperature it kept trying to slide right out from under the rest of the shoe.  Next time I wont be dipping any heels. 

The zebra shoe, which kinda doesn't look like zebra print because I got the icing on too thick.  Lesson learned for next time...

The Zeta shoe (my sister was in Zeta and their color is turquoise).

And lastly, another shoe with no name.  This was my daughter Lilly's favorite.  The bow is made from a stick of gum :).
So there you have it...edible shoes.  Pretty cute, huh?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Kitchen Cabinets

The kitchen cabinets needed an overhaul (as did every other thing in this house) and we didn't plan on replacing them so I had to figure out what to do to make them work for us.  Paint is magical.  Seriously.  I am always amazed at how just painting something can completely transform it and everything around it.  Painting kitchen cabinets is a long and painful process, but totally worth the time and effort when you see how they completely make the kitchen look new afterwards.  Here is the kitchen before:
Quite ugly, don't you agree? 

I sanded and sanded, which took several days.  Then I painted three coats of antique white on the top cabinets and the ones on the wall above.  I wanted to give the room a splash of color too since the walls and most of the cabinets would be antique white, so I used a country blue on the bottom cabinets around the breakfast bar. 

Three coats!  I painted and painted and was cussing these cabinets before I was done.  This is definitely a project you only tackle once every ten years or so because it is a lot of work and it takes a long time.  I had to paint three coats on each cabinet door, wait at least overnight, flip them, sand the edges (again!), and then paint three coats on the backs. 

After all of the painting, I sanded the edges of the doors and cabinets to give it an antigue finish.  Then I sealed them all with a coat of polyeurethane.  The poly gave them a yellowish tint, which I was upset about at first, but it's ok.  It adds to the antique feel.  Now that they are done I love them and it was totally worth the effort.  The kitchen doesn't look like the same kitchen at all.

Here they are - DONE!

I also hung my chalkboard up in the kitchen and am putting a quote on it each week.  The kids have really enjoyed this.
So there you have it.  What do you think of the cabinets? 

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Pool

As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, the new pool is (was) green.  Really green. Swampy green complete with frogs.  And lots of overgrown weeds and cracked concrete.  And a broken fence.
Isn't that lovely?

We had some experts come and get the pool cleaned out and ready for swimming.  Amazing that the green water became pretty blue water.  The frogs have found another home. 
But the area around the pool was still a mess. 

It needed some SERIOUS help.  So here we go...

In one week's time, this yard went from disgusting to fabulous.  A super big thank you to my father for his help and expertise. 

And here's what we have now...
 We plan on adding a pergola here in the near future.  And we have an outdoor kitchen planned for the North side of the pool, but we will wait a while before tackling that project.
Several ugly trees have been removed, we have new concrete and flower beds full of knockout roses, banana trees, and Japanese maples, and we have patio furniture.  This pool is ready for a party :)!

Next steps are to stain the fence with a white wash, stain the new concrete to give it some pizzazz, and find an antique iron headboard to serve as the gate.  I want to have all of this finished by the end of next month for my daughter Lilly's 7th birthday party.  Lots to do...and all I REALLY want to do is curl up on one of those lounge chairs and relax with a good's so nice to have a beautiful retreat in the backyard.  We don't want to go inside the house anymore!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Downstairs Hall

The hall was the last room (if you can call a hall a room) to paint on the bottom floor.  We had a situation with the hall ceiling which caused it to take longer and get moved to last.  We scraped every celing in the house (all 4,000 sq ft! Not fun!) except for the kitchen and the hall.  These two areas had been painted over at some point in time and when we tried to scrape them the drywall started tearing up.  So on to Plan B. 

We had bigger issues than the drywall with the ceiling in the kitchen, as we had to take part of it out to add a support beam to level the upstairs floor (see previous post).  We ended up laying wood on the kitchen ceiling instead of painting it.  For the hall, we ended up mudding over the popcorn ceiling and smoothing it out.  This took three coats of mud and some sanding in between each one.  It is smooth and pretty now and looks like all of the others. 

A paintbrush has hit every wall and every ceiling on the bottom floor finally.  Success feels sweet.

Here's the hall before (ceiling already smooth - I have no photo of before we did that).  It's an L shape with one leg leading to the master bedroom and the other leg leading to the laundry room and back stairs. 
I struggled with what to do for light fixtures in here.  I couldn't make up my mind what style I wanted and quite frankly I held off because I was looking for a deal.  We have so so many light fixtures to replace in this house (I have counted around 50) and lights are expensive!  I knew that at 2am one morning, which is when I do my best thinking, a plan would hit me.  And it did.

I bought two lamps with old burlap shades at a junk/antique store last year.  They have been sitting waiting on me to decide what to do with them and where to put them.  The lamps are ugly and will need a makeover (which I think I can handle - wink, wink).  But those shades have the rustic look we've got going on here.  So off to Lowe's for some hanging light kits and we were in business. 
We ended up getting plain hanging pendant lights, the kind you would hang over a bar and to which you would add a glass globe.  We just took the cord out of the base, slipped the lampshade on, stuck the cord back through, and hung.  We cut the cord to the length we wanted so the lights weren't too low for a hall.  Talk about a cheap and easy solution!  I spent next to nothing on the these contraptions, and they aren't too shabby if I do say so myself :). 

And here's how they turned out.

For the life of me, I cannot get that picture to turn right side up when I load it.  It is showing the right way and then it loads in here sideways - CRAZY.  I'm not wasting any more time on it; you get the picture (haha).
We wanted to make the hall functional space, as I am on a mission to organize our lives as part of the remodel of this house.  I wanted a place for the kids to put their backpacks and jackets instead of on my kitchen floor.  We have no mud room, so we needed to make this hall work as one. 

We added a cedar board and hooks on it down the length of the wall.  Since I went with my old faithful antique white paint which is kind of boring, I also wanted to spruce it up a little and so I added some cream colored stripes on that wall under the board.  And voila!

A closer look at my hooks and stripes.

Yes, I realize that I have one door that is white and the rest are painted with my antique finish.  Cut me some slack here. I will get to it...

I will add some art at some point and I have a plan for a homemade corkboard out of wine corks to go on the wall opposite the hooks to hold school papers, photos, etc.  All in due time. 
Now the kids have a place to hang their junk and I have no more unpainted surfaces (besides that door!) on the bottom floor.  This can only mean one thing...time to head upstairs!