A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: January 2011
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31 January 2011

Stale Tortillas = Homemade Tortilla CHIPS!

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I used fresh tortillas for this, but stale tortillas are even better.  Quit throwing them out and make some chips!
Keep cutting into wedges from the outside into the center point.  I did three wedges per piece.

Spray a pan with non-stick spray.  Any pan works as long as it has edges.  
Attempt flipping chips on a cookie sheet with no sides and you will absolutely end up dropping chips on the floor
and on the bottom of the stove and in that terrible little crack in between the stove and the door...just trust me...
use a pan with sides.   I use this griddle (thanks Uncle Tom and Aunt Kelly!!)

Sprinkle on a little kosher salt and lime juice.  That is it.  Plop them in a 350 degree oven.

How long?  Ummm...until they look like this:

Flip those puppies over when you start to see just a few of those little brown bubbles.  
Leave them for a few more minutes until they look like this (scientific I know...):

Pull them out quick...they burn fast!  Serve with some salsa or a steaming bowl of chili....

...in the words of a master...yummo...

Beating it.

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Motherhood is sometimes like a prison.  It's also wonderful in a multitude of ways, but oftentimes, it is just hard and I would love to escape it.  Anybody relate?  I'm sure you do...
Anyway, I can't escape the realities of dirt and noise, but I can tame them enough to keep my sanity.  I have an internal checklist of personal chores that I try to complete every day to fool myself into thinking that our home is organized and peaceful.  If I don't fool myself, I might go crazy.  like crazy, crazy.  Seriously.  These little chores help me beat it.  Beat the depression when I see a newly swept and mopped floor covered in Cheerio dust and want to give up cleaning.  forever.   Beat the annoyance when baby #1 knocks over the folded piles of laundry.  Beat the anger when baby #2 knocks over the whole basket of folded laundry because he wasn't watching where he was going.  Beat the fury when baby #3 knocks over the laundry on purpose.   Beat the desire to bang my head against the wall (literally!) when the baby is woken up.  again.  and again.   and again.  and again.  and it never feels like there will be peace and quiet ever ever again.    Then I remember that sooner than I can imagine it will be unbearably quiet and I will miss the crazy babies everywhere.  So I try to beat the human emotions and attempt to enjoy this crazy period of our lives.

Do you have a list of chores that give you back your sanity? What does your list look like?

1.  everyday either clean or work out to a whole cd.  (yes, I still listen to cds...my husband thinks I'm crazy)
2.  prepare the bed everyday.  even if it is 3:30 in the afternoon.  or 8:00 at night.
3.  shine the sink...in the afternoon...when no one will use it for at least 30 minutes...
4.  have at least 3 days a week that laundry is not being done in some form.
5.  make something.  clean something.  everyday.
6.  smell something good for at least the same amount of time that you have to small something bad.

update:  today I DID shine the sink, and I made a bunch of things and we cleaned up two rooms at least, but the bed...it's a disaster...so....

Tip #7:  You won't accomplish everything you write on a list.  Write lists with the expectation that some things will roll over to the next day.  ...or else you'll go crazy.  like crazy, crazy...

30 January 2011

Inquiring minds want to know...who is Andrea?

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If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you might have met Andrea.  She hangs out with Grace Becky and Meg as my cheerleader commenters :)  Andrea is that commenter you always dream of having.  She says sweet thing and encouraging things, but best of all...she asks relevant questions.  She's like the editor you wished you had making sure you don't accidentally write curse words in you posts (if you aren't trying to of course...) and making sure you include vital details.

Take this recent post about my 1005th IKEA cabinet door project.  Andrea was the one who brought it to my attention that I didn't tell you guys how to even attach those puppies to the wall.  Long story short...screws.  Whenever I have something heavy to hang up, I ask dh to screw it to a stud and he happily (I think!) obliges.

You see, I need my creativity to be sparked.  when I look at a blank canvas, I don't see much.  I dont' know where to start.  I don't know where I want to end up.  ...but if that same canvas has paint spilled onto it by a baby, or cat footprints tracked across a corner, I am immediately inspired by various ways to cover up the mistakes.  So, I use my husband to spark my creativity.  He chooses where to screw the boards into the walls (given a couple parameters such as "not too close to the edge!"  or "at least a few inches apart!") and he randomly attaches them.  Then , it is my job to be creative and cover them up.  For these boards it was putting the pockets on over the screws.  The pockets are just attached with hot glue by the way :)

For this whiteboard project, the buttons cover up the screws.

If you take a tour through my house and look closely, you'll see lots and lots of coverups. :)

...but back to Andrea...you know you want to meet her, right?   You SHOULD want to meet her...she's amazing.  Well, hop yourself right on over to HER BLOG, check out her {AWESOME} writing...and just tell her I sent you :)

29 January 2011

I hem like a child...

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I am a big fan of using fabric that has already had some of the work completed for you.  I will often buy flat sheet or single curtain panels or any number of other premade fabric items on clearance.  Then I cut them up and use them for other projects, taking advantage or all those finished edges.   I just recently cut up this tapestry to use all over my kitchen and the adjoining room with the kid's table.  Once I added that fabric to the room, the black of my pocket organizers stuck out like a sore thumb, so I decided to replace them with white organizers.

I found a bunch of director chair covers at Lowes.  You know, the chairs that they write the stars' names on so they can "rest" while they are on set?  I found that they were absolutely perfect for making pocket organizers for non-seamstresses folks like myself. 

You see, the seaming and the hemming is almost all completely finished for you.  I like that.  a lot.  ...because my hemming looks like a child did it most of the time.

So here is a photo of a few of the black organizers I made a few weeks ago.

I really like the black, but once I finished adding in these boards to this offshoot of the kitchen, the black pulled too much attention and was distracting, so I made a couple white ones instead.   While I actually prefer the black when looked at alone, the creamy white works better as a whole for the room.


Now, for those of you curious about making your own and those of you that can bear staring at my ugly mug for 4.58 minutes, introducing my first go at videos...please be kind...this is embarrassing....

28 January 2011

What exactly is a tapestry?

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I was a bit confused when I saw these "tapestries" on sale at Target.  It was last fall when all the college dorm stuff went on sale and I realized that they were marketing a giant sheet of fabric as a "tapestry" to put over your bed.  They were charging $20.  Brilliant Target.  Honestly brilliant.

Anyway, back to shopping...they were marked down to $4.98, so I picked up the two they had left.  I am always a fan of fabric that has been hemmed already because I hem like a child.  (badly!)  So I didn't have anything specifically in mind for these panels until a week ago when I decided it was time to rework the kitchen and get rid of the curtains with green hens (I'm not kidding!).

I also used the fabric for two curtains for the sink window that aren't up yet, and then I used the leftover scraps to make these:
        ...and these:
          and this:
Tell me that's not worth 5 bucks?!?

The 2nd $5 tapestry covers the kids' table when it isn't in use :)

The pantry got a few little purple and steel touches too and a little artwork rounded out the project.

IKEA Boards | Part 1001

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I know I have written what seems like 1001 posts on how to reuse leftover cabinet doors from IKEA.  I would go as far as to say I am addicted.  I can't get over the thrill of taking a piece of throwaway material for a few dollars and turning it into something I love.  I love the cheap thrill of recreating something useless into something I can't buy in a store.

So please indulge me once again as I introduce you to Mr. and Mrs. IKEA doors with an interesting ridge on the top.

As soon as I saw them, I instantly thought those ridges would e perfect for holding pens, or pencils.

Then I made these whiteboards.  There was a space that needed to be filled and no place to put a dry erase marker.  The smaller of these boards was perfect.

See that cutout?


I made little "pockets" out of leftover fabric from my kitchen sprucing up and pocket organizer projects.  (I did a video tutorial on these that will be up soon!)  They hold markers and pens and receipts and things I find on the floor that shouldn't be around babies.  The buttons are decorative...they make me smile and they tie into the whiteboards.

If you have been following, you've seen this beautiful fabric on the pantry doors and now on these pocket organizers, but I promised you more than that.  Don't fret, there is more to come tomorrow!

Blogger Love

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I'm doing a couple bloggy friend connect things this week that I thought y'all might be interested in.  The first is the bold and the beautiful over at Meghan's.  Basically, you invite sweet blogger ladies to come check out your blog and give you gentle critique on what could be improved.   Check it out HERE!

Please take a look around my blog, check out the layout, pages, buttons,  sidebar and gadgets. I would love for you to gently critique my blog. I’m hoping you will leave me some positive feedback about my blog. It would be great if you could give me constructive criticism but be sure to tell me what you like about my blog too! Do you like my pictures? Does my blog load quickly for you? How about the font?  All tips and tidbits welcome!

You are welcome to join the party, it starts Thursday night and is open for a week.

The other fun bloggy link-up I'm participating in is at Life of Meg.  She is organizing a little gift giving party for Valentine's day.  You simply comment with a few of your favorites and she will link you up with a blogger friend.  Price cap is $15 on the gift.  Check it out HERE!

27 January 2011

Some people say a penny can't buy you anything nowadays. I disagree...

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           Give me two pennies and I'll buy you tile. 

                 No, I am not kidding.  

These white tiles were marked 2 cents.  Of course, they were originally only 74 cents, but still, 2 CENTS!

I know, i know...you think I'm making it up, but I'm NOT!  Look!

...so of course I bought them.  all of them.  without a plan.

I knew I hated the tile backsplash in our kitchen, and I knew that I love white and use it everywhere, 
and I knew that if it didn't work for the backsplash, it would work for a kid's project, so I bought them.  

all of them.  with kind-of a plan.

When I got home, I looked at the backsplash that I hate...
..and then I had a crazy idea to make a 3D layering of tile just like I had done with the button on my new whiteboards.  

What?  You haven't seen that project yet?  It's right here.  

See how those buttons overlap and are layered on top of one another?  I was inspired by the screws that hold it to the wall.  What?  huh?!?  Well, you see the nails needed to be covered up, and that kind of problem is always pretty inspiring to me.  In fact, I usually come up with better ideas when I have a "problem" to work around.   

Anyway, back to tile, I used the same concept and came up with this:

I kind of love it.  No, not kind of.  I love it.  ...and it cost less than a dollar.  

UPDATE:  This project was taken on because we KNEW we were ripping everything in the kitchen out in a couple years, so if something failed, it was no big deal.  However, I ended up loving the look!  Lots of commenters over at Apartment Therapy made a big deal about the "cleaning nightmare" that this would be.  It is not a cleaning disaster AT ALL.  I honestly just ran a white cloth behind all of the tiles and they totally passed the white glove test - NO PROBLEMS at all with cleaning.  The tiles are on one small section of the kitchen and DO NOT go behind the stove, so no grease issues whatsoever.  CLICK HERE to see the full view of the tile and our $10 "granite" countertops!

UPDATE YEAR 3: Cleaning behind this is STILL not an issue!  I still love the backsplash and we have not updated it because...well...I still like it!  We DID however replace our fake granite with the real thing and it is a wonderful improvement!


Want to learn live vicariously through my DIY victories and failures?   
Follow along on FACEBOOK for behind the scenes photos and chatter from our everydays!

Want to see more DIY failures and success stories?  
Check out PINFAIL and PINTASTIC -- my newest group pinterest boards 
with some of my favorite bloggers chiming in!

I paid $10 for Granite Countertops

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Well kind of.  I was inspired by Grace and the Oops counter at Lowe's that had 2 gallons of greyish granite paint.  
I didn't know "granite paint" existed, but I'm happy it does!  

I'm even happier that they were marked down to $5 from $42.  (so is my husband...)

I wanted to complement the smoothness of the wood and white finishes already in the kitchen, 
so the rough finish of this paint was perfect.

The men of the family spent a night ripping out the green laminate...

By the way, the plan is to expand the kitchen a bit and get really nice real stone countertops in a few years, 
so if the paint didn't work out, it would be ok.  It is still better than icky green.  





 So the changes were small, but signifigant.   The total rundown is this:

1.  Countertops - granite paint, $10
2.  Hardware - I had the larger hardware and painted the knobs to match - maybe $10 at most...
3.  Backsplash - White tile - < $1 and stone - $6
4.  Floor - about $25
5.  Rug - $3.74 from target clearance
6. Fabric - $4.98 from target clearance

TOTAL - around $60-70 for a little shakup redo...not bad, eh?

I'm a little behind my self-imposed posting schedule, but bear with me...I will give more details on the white backsplash (it is 3D!  for a dollar!!) , the fabric (it goes WAY beyond those door panels...) and the kid's section next to the kitchen (yes, there are MORE IKEA panels! :)

What have YOU been building?

...yes I realize there is a paint stick on the floor and a dirty rag on the recycling bin...ah well...

UPDATE:  As of June 2012, we finally were able to purchase the stone countertops we have always wanted thanks to Apartment Therapy and Cottonelle - THANK YOU!  The granite paint held up, but the cardboard under the paint did not do so hot.  This project was definitely worth it to ditch the green laminate, but NOT as a long term solution.  Think long and hard before pulling up the laminate or painting it because you will probably need to replace those counters in a few years!   ...but long story short -- I'm so glad I spent the 10 bucks and got rid of that green -- it saved my sanity for a year or so ;)

PPS I left THIS TILEWORK even though the other solid surfaces were replaced.  I love it that much.  ...and yes I did snub my nose at all the haters when I left it there...cleaning scpleaning....

Want to hear the latest happenings at the nest and check out behind the scenes photos?  Follow along on FACEBOOK!

Sometimes I'm brilliant.

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It's not very often...but sometimes I'm brilliant.

I noticed that the laptop was getting hot.  Quite hot.  Quite often.

So I went to the store and found little platforms that the laptop can sit on to keep cool.  They were $40.00+.  No thanks.

Then this morning I was typing and the laptop started getting hot.  I looked over to the corner of the desk, and what do I see?


I told you it was brilliant.

It won't be long now....

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I really really really want to post photos of our kitchen update, 
but I'm restraining myself until at least 10 am to get some decent light in the room...
I assure you I'm more excited than you are :)

Anyway,  this is the fabric...the $5 fabric that I used for ALL the kitchen projects.  
FIVE DOLLARS...for everything!  That makes me so happy! :)  

More details to come...about 30 minutes after 10 AM...

By the way, if you are enjoying this blog (Oh how I hope you ARE!), make sure to "like" our facebook page and vote for us on picket fences...check out the buttons right over there...to your left...

26 January 2011

A Day in the Life...

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Note the concerned brother in the background...  :)

25 January 2011

Going Green.

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My Aunt Fran has one of those homes that have sweet little surprises around every corner.  She's a collector and displays antique linens and vintage pieces integrated seamlessly into her modern day home.  She recently showed me her green master bathroom where she boldly painted out furniture pieces to give the room a cohesive, chic look.  Isn't it lovely?

What will you paint today?

23 January 2011

Winter Sowing the FREE way! | Chapter 3 | SHARE YOUR LINKS!

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Make sure you link up your cheap winter sowing ideas at the bottom of this post!!
...and if you missed the first 2 winter sowing, posts, you should check them out here:

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

This final post (I hear cheering from the non-gardeners!!)  is a sweet and short one.  Follow all of the same procedures outlined in Chapters 1 and 2, but this time, don't buy anything.  Just save your berry containers and your doggy bag plasticware from Olive garden and anything else that has a clear plastic top.

This first flat is made up of all leftover plant containers.  Most of the plants were clearance plants to begin with, so the containers are just a bonus.  I put several small pots in a flat and then cover it with a clear plastic top after adding snow (see Chapter 2!).  

Do you want to know the most perfect accessory for wintersowing?   A Rotisserie Chicken.  I'm not kidding...the packing is incredible for plants.  The bottom is dark so it provides warmth to the soil, the clear plastic top serves as a greenhouse, inviting condensation and warmth.  The greatest advantage to the chicken container though is its height.  It is tall enough to allow seedlings to get a little taller and allows more air circulation so tiny plants don't suffocate and die.

Do you have any creative ideas for winter sowing containers?  

Would you like to show off your rows and rows of milk cartons and yogurt cups?  

Make sure to link up below!!

THANKS to BECKY for guest hosting this set of winter sowing articles!

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