Home Improvement: $67 Faux Plank Wainscot Hall Treatment

So a while back I did a mini makeover on our back hall.

I used frames from around my home, a clearance rug and a $3 Goodwill fixture.

See the full makeover process here.

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But my plan was to finish off this back hall with some sort of treatment to make it look more polished.

The hall leads to the master bedroom and the garage.

I liked beadboard but I felt like our house is too modern for that look. I also like the look of planking (aka shiplap) but didn’t want to spend the $$$ on it since we won’t be in this house that much longer (at least that’s the plan).

So this hall sat without a treatment for  1 1/2 years.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago I finally had an inspiration for what I could do.

I took the measurements to Home Depot, tracked down someone that could help me, and had them cut sheets of paneling in the sizes that I needed to finish the hall.

But because I wanted a planked look I had the panels cut with the vertical lines running horizontal.

While the panels were being cut I found simple 1.5 and 2.5 inch trim pieces that I liked.

While I was there I also purchased hooks because this space will be used for coats and the dog leash etc.

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I came home and laid everything out to check to see that it fit.

THEN… I got to use the nail gun. If you need to boost your confidence, you need to learn to use a nail gun.

EMPOWERED is the best way to describe how it feels to use it!

Power tools are the greatest.

I did have my husband help me cut the hole for the outlet because I did not trust myself to not mess it up.

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 Anyway, then I filled all the holes I made with the nail gun, and painted everything twice.

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Real life: Unmade bed and laundry basket in the background.

I have not decided if I am going to put up the hooks yet.

I will see how I like it without them first.

Cost Breakdown:

$34 – 2 sheets of 8 ‘ paneling

$25 – 6 pieces of trim

$8 – 3 hooks

Paint, nails, caulk and wood puddy leftover from previous projects were not included in the total.

Almond Cherry Muffins |

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Warning: Only proceed if you like delicious muffins and don’t mind a few extra calories every once in a while.

This recipe combines two things I love. The essence of almond pound cake and cherries but in muffin form. Yum!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

Adapted from Taste of Home, Cherry Almond Muffin

Yield: 18-20 muffins

Batter

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4  cup sour cream or Greek Yogurt
  • 1/3  cup milk
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups fresh (or frozen) cherries, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4  cup almonds, sliced

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp cold butter
  • 1/4 cup almonds, sliced

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease muffins tins with cooking spray or fill muffin tins with liners. Set aside.

Muffin Batter:

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs(this takes a while but it’s worth it). In a separate bowl, beat the egg, sour cream, milk and extracts until smooth; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened (batter will be thick). Then, fold in the cherries and sliced almonds. Set aside.

Topping:

Combine flour and sugar in a small bowl; cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in almonds; set aside.

Fill greased muffin cups 3/4 full with batter. Sprinkle with topping. Bake at 350° for 27-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in muffin comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to wire racks. Yield: 18-20 muffins.

I liked these muffins right from the oven but I think they were even better the next day. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Note: If you buy your spices and nuts in the Ethnic/Hispanic food aisle in the grocery store, they are almost always much cheaper. I only paid 75¢ for the sliced almonds for this recipe and the extracts where half the price of the store brand.

 

Retail Therapy: Spring Basics 2015

 I hope spring has sprung in your neck of the woods.

Spring sprang at our house and then we had our yard graded last week.

So now we have a yard of red mud with some new grass seed thrown on top.

Real life, folks. Just real life.

Anyway I have been doing some closet purging and refreshing for the new season.

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Dansko Women’s Tasha Sandal

 I needed a casual sandal with a little heel because of some sciatica I am still dealing with

And because my favorite pair of neutral brown wedges got eaten by a dog we were sitting on.  :(

I purchased these last week and I have not taken them off since. They are the most comfortable sandals I have ever owned.

I keep telling my husband I feel like I am walking on clouds. It took about 24 hours to break them in but no blisters and my feet have never been happier.

A bit pricey, but Danskos last forever. The last pair I owned for 5+ years and they still look new.

I did have to size up because my foot tends to be a little wide.

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Women‘s Draped One Piece Black Stripe

 We are headed to the beach in early May and I also needed a new suit. Or as we called it when I was growing up, “bating suit.”

Somewhere along the way we dropped the “h” and no one ever corrected us.

This is basically the greatest swimsuit ever made (slight exaggeration, but only slight). Lots of support for the chest and tummy areas but still super cute and reasonably priced.

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Some cute little spring studs for $8. Just that simple.

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I purchased one of these tunics from Old Navy a few weeks ago. The shirt is super light weight but well made.

It comes in lots of fun colors.

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These pants are a newer version of my favorite linen pants that I gave away to two readers this month.

I just bought these because I love stripes and I love linen. So basically it’s a match made in heaven.

And last but not least I am hoping to snatch of few pieces of the Lily Pulitzer line for Target in April.

This post contains affiliate links. 

Simple Roasted Sweet Potatoes (3 versions)

If you had asked me a 10 years ago if I liked sweet potatoes I would have said no.

I didn’t mind the taste but the only way I had ever eaten them was when they were covered in marshmallows.

And I REALLY don’t like marshmallows.

But then I discovered sweet potatoes not covered in brown sugar and white fluff.

And simple sweet potatoes are just delightful (and cheap and SO good for you). And my husband even eats them now too.

Here are three ways we enjoy them on a weeknight.

Serve them with chicken, pork or as a veggie dinner.

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Three different ways to make roasted sweet potatoes! thedomesticlady.com

Printer version Roasted Sweet Potatoes here.

Southwest Style Roasted Sweet Potatoes*

Serves 4

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes (2-4 potatoes)
  • olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • dash of cayenne

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Peel and dice the potatoes. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil. Then add all the spices and toss.

Bake for 25 minutes. Stir half way through the baking time. Serve warm or at room temperature. (for extra yumminess top with a little cheese).

*also makes a great filling for veggie tacos

Roasted Honey-Glazed  Sweet Potatoes

Serves 4

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes (2-4 potatoes)
  • olive oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Peel and dice the potatoes. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil. Then add all the spices and toss.

Bake for 25 minutes. Stir half way through the baking time. Drizzle with honey while still hot. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Serves 4

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes (2-4 potatoes)
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary (chopped fine)
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Peel and dice the potatoes. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil. Then add all the spices, Parmesan, and toss.

Bake for 35 minutes. Stir half way through the baking time. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday Randomness: Nail Polish, Perennials, Wainscoting, and Boxed Mac and Cheese

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 First off, I have discovered this insta-dri nail polish by Sally Hansen actually lives up to its name.

The color is Rush Hour, and it’s the perfect pinky/purple neutral color.

Imagine having pollen spring on your finger nails.

Last week, we had our yard worked on for reasons which I will not explain because I don’t want you to die of boredom.

But b/c of the work, I decided it was time to add a flower bed up near the mailbox.

I scored a bunch of perennials for $1 and $3 in the clearance plant sections at Lowes. Yay for cheap plants!

My husband was working on another project on Saturday so I did all the digging, hauling mulch and ground cloth by myself.

Let’s just say I am not cut out to be a farmer.

Planting is tough work.

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But before I started planting, I hung some mirrors and other stuff that I purchased for a quickie home office/guest bedroom redo for a client.

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Fresh paint is Liveable Green by Sherwin Williams; the bedding is from Kohls. The mirrors are from Kirklands.

Back at my house I have wanted to put some kind of wainscoting in our back hall for several years.

But I never could come up with a cheap way to do it…until I had a inspiration while standing in the paneling aisle at Home Depot. The smell of saw dust and expensive construction materials seems to have that effect on me.

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Anyway the back hall is finally coming together. I will share the whole project once I get it all painted.

Let’s just say its WAY better than I even expected.

But after working literally all day Saturday I made boxed mac and cheese for dinner.

Annie’s Homegrown Shells always come through in a pinch.

Mixed with frozen broccoli and some chopped chicken.

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We literally crashed on Sunday after all the work on Saturday.

Church, naps and some good food.

Have a great week!

A Green Smoothie Challenge- April

In addition to striving to be more active (see this post and this post), we are also trying to get healthy food in our bodies on a regular basis.

And while doing some research on recipes, I came across this challenge for a month of green smoothies.

All you need is a blender.

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Here is how it works:

You sign-up on the Simple Green Smoothies website and they send you the recipes and instructions via email.

Note: each smoothie recipe makes enough for 2 people.

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It’s as simple as that.

I will try to do at least one update throughout the month to let you know my thoughts and how I am doing.

It’s starts April 1st. Want to join me? 

Follow Simple Green Smoothies on Facebook and Instagram for daily smoothie inspiration.

And if you prefer to get all the recipes and shopping lists in printed form at the beginning of the month go here. 

Retail Therapy: A Trip to Goodwill

 I get asked occasionally how I put my home together from so many thrift and consignment store finds.

My brain is weird number one and my style is eclectic so that helps, but I also put together vignettes in my head to help me a picture how something will look with the other items that I own.

And sometimes I go so far as to put stuff together in the store to see how I like it together so I can determine if the said item is really a good buy.

Because a $10 chair is a great deal but if you bring a $10 chair home and you can’t use it you wasted your money regardless of how good a deal it was.

And when you thrift or consignment shop you don’t have the luxury of going home to measure or really taking much time at all to decide because  when you come back the item is almost always is gone…

Because of the Goodwill vultures! Hang on to your treasures while you are in the store. Finders keepers!

So last week I quickly put together an arrangement with

canvas art $25,

gold book ends $5,

a bronze lamp $8,

yellow wing back chair $80,

and a turquoise ottoman $12.

PS. If you saw a red head putting room arrangements together in a Goodwill store last Friday that was me. I got lots of crazy stares.

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These bookends would probably get spray painted white if they came home with me.

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 And I would buy a bright white drum lamp shade to replace the grody cream one.

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Tips for Goodwill Shopping

 

I love how this little reading nook came together in 15 minutes for under $150. That’s chic cheap!

Monday Randomness: Baby Dedications, Porch, Cake and Selfies

The last few weeks were full of extended family, fun and thankfulness for new life.

My sister Nancee had a porch raising at her house (see the before and after pics of her home remodel here and here).

A porch raising=free family labor as long as you feed them.

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We spent Saturday evening shopping for porch furniture with baby Cora.

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Porch Collage

These are the basic selections we ended up with. All the items are from World Market or Target.

Then my sister Annie’s sister-in-law got married over the weekend.

Annie made the naked bacon chocolate wedding cake with maple frosting. I didn’t try it, but I heard it was decadent.
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We also had two baby dedications.

My brother and his wife had Cora dedicated last weekend.

Cora is wearing the dress that my sister-in-law was dedicated in as a baby.

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And then MacKendrick was dedicated Sunday morning.

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MacKendrick’s dress was the same one that my sister Annie wore at her dedication 27 years ago.

Mac promptly spit up on it after her dedication, but I made my brother model the dress so you could see it:)

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Prayer before our big Sunday lunch after Mac’s dedication.

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Both great-grandmas with MacKendrick at lunch time.

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Bailee was talking to her cousin Cora after lunch.

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Just so many nieces.

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Finally Sunday afternoon we took a 3+ hour nap, and then Joe and I dined at Olive Garden because we wanted too.

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Happy Monday!

Old Fashion Banana Cake and a Tip for Ripening Bananas for Baking

This has been my dad’s birthday cake for ages.

It’s quick, simple and reminds me of February 26th every time I eat it.

It also reminds me of the time my sister (who was in 6th grade) and her friend ate this whole cake during a sleepover. It’s really that good.

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Two things to note about this handwritten recipe:

1. My handwriting will never be as good as my mom’s handwriting is.

2. And my mom’s maiden name is written on this recipe which means that she had to call her to-be mother in law in California for the recipe.

Oh the things we do to please the men in our life.

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The bananas I was using were not to the overripe stage yet.

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So I cut them up, covered them, and then heated in the microwave for 3 minutes.

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Then simply mash the bananas. Allow to cool for a few minutes before adding to the rest of the ingredients.

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Any white frosting can be used for this cake.

We typically use the Jiffy white frosting because that’s how my grandma always made it for my dad.

But cream cheese frosting is great too.

2-3 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp half and half

4 oz cream cheese

Whip until smooth.

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Click here for the printable version of this Old Fashion Banana Cake.

Home Improvement: Stenciling an Accent Wall at Rebecca Illsley’s Home

 I had the privilege of helping a friend (and my hair dresser) with an accent wall in her home a few weekends ago.

Rebecca chose the French Floral Damask wall stencil from Royal Designs for me to use.

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The stenciling process was incredibly easy with the help of  instructional videos online, but there were three basic steps that really helped us complete this project successfully.

  • Type of design: Because we used an irregular design matching up the pattern was very easy (and didn’t have to be perfect).  If we had used a geometric pattern or similar I would have been pulling my hair out. Painting perfection is not one of my strong points.

 

  • Type of paint and roller: A semi-gloss paint was used as the stencil paint over a base coat of flat paint. The base coat of flat paint quickly absorbed the semi-gloss stencil paint making the process go very quickly. Using a sponge roller with very little paint makes the process go quickly with not a lot of excess paint on the stencil (because lots of paint on the stencil smears on the wall as you go).

 

  • Paint color selection: We chose to use two tone application. Because there was not a lot of contrast between the two colors, we were able to hide our “oops” very easily.

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Using a sponge roller and a 8 ft ladder, my sister Nancee Lee and I completed the whole wall in about 4 hrs start to finish.

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 I didn’t have to start in the middle of the wall but I wanted to make sure the pattern was centered.

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We used painter’s tape to hold the stencil in place while we rolled the paint on.

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 Stenciling near electrical outlets can be tricky but not impossible. Just go slow and paint around the outlet without painting over it.

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Roll slowly as you get close to the trim. Using a dry roller is especially important here because you don’t want any drips!

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 Nancee Lee touched up the edges near the trim with q-tip and extra paint.

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 Tada!

The semi-gloss paint really sets off the design against the flat paint. It’s a HUGE impression for very little money, especially in comparison with the price of wall paper.

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I have loved working on so many rooms in Rebecca’s new home!

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Stenciling a wall