Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Week 17 Assignment - Back to Work!!

So, now that I'm rested and relaxed (yeah, right!!) I think I'm ready to get back to work on the bathroom.  My main goal for the week is to get the "Crown Molding" caulked and painted, but I'm struggling with how best to deal with all the seams.  So I'm going to try one (in the back of the bathroom above the bathtub) using caulking and a second using spackle.  I'm thinking the spackle will sand down better and help be bridge the gaps between some of the more uneven seams, but I just don't know.  Regardless, I have to get this done so wish me luck!

I'm also going to try and get some decorating done in the bathroom.  I bought some canvases when they were buy one get one free at Michaels a few weeks back and want to use my cool stencil I used on the cabinet door in there to make some "art".  I started one...

I sure hope it works!!!  See you next week!

Week 16 Assignment - Results

Wow, do I feel better!!  I think I have completely erased all evidence of the party from our home, and thankfully I didn't find any more scary surprises along the way!!  I also had a chance to do a little something fun!  I took some dollar store finds I had purchased a while back and experimented with "Mercury Glass".  Not only was it fun...it was SUPER EASY!!  The hardest part was finding the Krylon Looking Glass paint which apparently is sold out everywhere in Southern Orange County!  Thankfully, I found a bottle (from what I can tell the absolute last one in the area) and got to painting.  I first tried Katies Rose Cottage technique of spraying the Looking Glass on followed by spraying with a half vinegar half water solution.  It looked great in the areas where the Looking Glass hadn't already dried (man, this stuff dried FAST!!) but I had quite a few areas that didn't work because it was dry before I could get it sprayed.  I found a couple other tutorials that suggest spraying with the vinegar solution first and then the Looking Glass so I tried that and it worked much better.  I ended up doing a little of both, spraying the vinegar solution first, then the Looking Glass, and then a little more vinegar solution and viola!!  It worked like  a charm!  I also tried doing both the inside and outside of the glass as well as just the inside and found I really like the result when I did both best.  So I have ordered some more Looking Glass online (found it on Amazon for less than I paid for the bottle at Michaels with free shipping).   I guess I went a little crazy because here's what I ended up with...

Recognize the last picture??  Well, I got tired of paper cherry blossoms falling into my sink so I gave up on the ones I had made and found these light up blossom branches at Bed Bath and Beyond.  I know...they are a bit tacky, but they make me smile so what the hell!  :)  I originally was going to try and cut the bottoms off my frapuccino bottles because they have wires connecting the branches, but after seeing a bunch of tutorials on Pinterest I decided there had to be an easier way and there was!  I found these cylindrical hurricane shades at Modern Vase and Gift and I was sold!  Their shipping is a little high but they are located in Southern California and they let you pick up your order for free if you are willing to make the trek to the City of Industry.  I figured I'd spend that much in gas getting there and opted to have them shipped...plus, I'm lazy!

All in all, I've had a great week...just wish potty training was as easy as making Mercury Glass!!  I'm  afraid if something doesn't give my beautiful blue eyed daughter will become my brown eyed girl!  But I'm hopeful...yesterday I bought two Disney Princess dresses and one Minnie Mouse dress and hung them from the shower curtain rod in the bathroom.  I told Brenna that every time she poops in the potty she gets to pick a dress, but if she goes in her pants I have to take one back.  She's still resisting but she REALLY wants to dresses so I'm hoping she'll come around.  Nothing like bribery to raise your kid right...right???

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Week 16 Assignment - I think I need a week off!! :)

After the last two weeks, I can honestly say I have zero motivation to do anything but "Un-Party" my house.  So, instead of giving myself an assignment that I know I won't finish...I think I'm just going to try and get caught up on my Spring Cleaning (I'm still finding things in strange places...the day after the party I found a full cup of beer in Brenna's doll house and a dirty diaper at the foot of Bradan's bed.  I'm not sure which is more disturbing!!).  If I get the bug by the end of the week, I may give this "Mercury Glass" Tutorial I found at Katies Rose Cottage a try to turn a few Dollar Store wonders into something fabulous...but I'm not making any promises!!  :)
See you next week!!  :)

Week 14 & 15 Assignment - Results

I know...I've done it again!  :(  I let a one week project get the better of me and it took two...but not exactly for the reasons you might think. For one thing, we've been trying to potty-train my almost 3-year old daughter and let me just say we've been less than successful!  I've always heard girls were easier to potty train than boys...guess the people who told me that haven't met my daughter!  :( She caught on to going #1 in the potty no problem, but two weeks in and she flat out refuses to go #2 anywhere but in her pants.  :(  We've tried every kind of bribery (stickers, candy, toys, and even trips to the zoo) and finally resorted to taking away all her "Princess Dresses" until she does it because "Princesses don't go poo poo in their pants!"  Any suggestions, friends??  In my spare time...the "crown molding" went up in one day and really wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be, but I never got around to painting it because I had another, much more time-sensitive mission on my plate - the Hubs' Surprise 40th Birthday Party!!!  For obvious reasons I didn't let you in on the secret until after we pulled off the coup of all coups, but I'm ready to share with you all the ups and downs of what went into planning my second most elaborate party to date (the first was my wedding!).

This all started 10 years ago at his 30th Birthday Party.  I threw him a surprise "Roast" and couldn't believe how many of his friends couldn't wait to embarrass him publicly!!  People created Power Point presentations, prepared detailed speeches, brought props (the blow up doll was my favorite!) and turned my little idea into an absolute blast.  So it seemed fitting to revisit the "Roast" for his 40th!!  I saw a pin on Pinterest with a party that had a Beer and Bacon theme and knew I had my muse!  It all started with the invitations, that I created through Heritage Makers.

In fact...I think I can say there are three reasons this party turned out as fabulous as it did...#1 - Heritage Makers, #2 - Pinterest, and #3 - The Queen of Party Planning, my good friend Amber!!  Not only did I make the invitations through Heritage Makers, I also made the cupcake toppers...

The food labels...

And the tags for the favors...

I won't bore you with the details...but if you want to learn more about how I made them just let me know!  :)

Now onto my #2 reason for my party success...Pinterest!!  Once I found my theme, Pinterest was an amazing resource for party ideas, recipes, and just plain old party tricks!  I did searches on "beer", "bacon", and "beer and bacon" and came up with a ton of ideas.  Couple that with pins Amber (my #3 reason for my success who should really be promoted to #1 now that I think about it) sent me and I was on a roll.  I will say I learned a VERY valuable lesson, if you are planning a surprise party for someone you live with...you may want to rethink using "bacon" as your primary food ingredient!!  It is almost impossible to cook bacon without them coming home and asking "What's that smell???"  :)  Luckily, with the help of some friends and family who prepared some of the main dishes for me, we were able to pull off quite a spread!  Here's the menu (everything contained either beer and/or bacon) we used in case you  are tempted to give it a try...

Bacon Popcorn - It's a good thing I didn't read HOW you make this until after I ordered the food labels or I probably never would have tried it.  It's basically popping corn in bacon grease...eewwww. But it turned out to be a huge hit and was actually pretty yummy!  And SUPER easy to boot!  I was a bit grossed out at the comments that suggested pouring melted bacon grease over the popped corn like you would butter...definitely didn't do that!!  I thought it was fine on it's own.  :)

Beer Dip and Pretzels - We added the 1 cup of shredded cheddar and doubled the hot sauce as some of the reviews recommended and it was FABULOUS!!  This was one of the dishes I farmed out...Big thanks to my sister-in-law for making 5 batches!!  :)

Bacon Wrapped Cheesy Crackers - I can't tell you how many compliments I got on these!  Super easy to make and really yummy!  Just take note that they have to bake for 2 HOURS!!

Bacon Wrapped Brats - These disappeared so fast, I only got one...but man was it tasty!!

Beer Mac & Cheese - Soooooo good!!  I think this is going to become my new go-to Mac & Cheese recipe...sorry Kerri's Grandma (the creator of my current go-to recipe)!!  Thanks to my mother-in-law for whipping up two batches of cheesy goodness!!

Bacon Potato Salad - I had so many people ask me for this recipe!!  They said it was the best potato salad they'd ever had...must have been because it was gone by the time I got to it!  :(  Super thanks to the Queen of Party Planning for whipping up a double batch of this one!!  I think I'm bringing it to my niece's birthday party later this month!!

Spicy Beer Beans - This was by far the easiest recipe on my menu...but everyone loved it.  I did have a couple of people say..."all it needs is some bacon bits"...which in hindsight would have probably made them even BETTER!!  This may be a summer cookout staple around here.  Especially since they can be served hot or cold.  And did I mention how easy they were?????

Beer Lollipops - Yes, you read correctly...BEER LOLLIPOPS!!  Everyone looked at me like I was insane - especially the guy down at our local home brew store where I bought the hops.  But I have to say they turned out great!!  Once again, the Queen of Party Planning came to the rescue and let me make her beautiful home smell like a brewery!  And when we didn't finish, she made the rest for me later in the week.  What a lifesaver!!!  There is NO WAY I would have been able to make these at home without the Hubs wondering what the #$*@ I was up to!  We used a really hoppy IPA (Stone Ruination) and "Amarillo" hop pellets.  Kind of a pain but definitely worth the effort!  If you want to give them a go, click on the website in the pin description...it was the only way I could pin it.

S'mores Bar with Beer Marshmallows - Since I finally had a permanent spot for the fire pit, it seemed like a perfect excuse for s'mores...but I wanted to stick with the Beer or Bacon theme.  Kudos to Amber for stumbling across this one on Pinterest!!  I just used the portion of the recipe to make the beer marshmallows and all I can say is WOW!!  They were amazing!!  I used my favorite beer, Blue Moon, and have to say they are probably the second yummiest thing I've ever made...#1 is coming up!!  To keep them from sticking together I just tossed them in a bag of powdered sugar after I cut them into squares and gave them a good coating.  And they were easy to make...definitely worth a try for your next campfire excursion!!  (Yes, I will be bringing a batch to Sequoia friends in case you missed them this go round!)

Guinness Jameson Baileys Cupcakes - Yep!  Why have only one alcohol in your cupcakes when you can have three???  That's just how I roll!  :)  These are by far the most delicious food I have ever made in my entire life!!  And don't let the terms "from scratch" or "ganache" intimidate you.  These cupcakes, although amazing, are remarkably easy!!  One little trick I found on Pinterest absolutely saved my life...if you haven't tried the saran wrap trick for filling frosting bags, DO IT!!!  I have always hated frosting cupcakes because I end up wasting a bunch of frosting and making a huge mess. This is soooo the way to do it!  I did it for both the ganache and the frosting and filled and frosted 72 cupcakes in under an hour.  That's a land-speed record for me!

Speaking of booze...in addition to a heathly selection of beer, I got a bee up my butt to make Bacon Habanero Infused Vodka!  (Thanks Zane Lamprey of "Drinking Made Easy" for introducing me to this little wonder!)  While the process was a little disturbing, the end result was phenomenal!  I found a recipe on Pinterest (of course!) for Bacon Infused Vodka and just added Habanero flakes when I put in the bacon.  I used a neat trick I got from Amber on how to cook bacon in the oven...way easier and less messy than on the stove!  I don't think I'll ever cook bacon on the stove again!  I used the Bacon Habanero Infused Vodka to make...

The Bloody Pig - Basically a Bloody Mary with Bacon Vodka, but the Bloody Mary Mix in this recipe is the bomb!!  I give it four hooves up!!  And once again, super easy to make but super impressive!  There's no shame in letting people think I worked harder than I really did, right??

The Dirty Pig - Basically a Dirty Martini with Bacon Vodka (the website I took it from called it the Pickled Pig...but I liked the name Dirty Pig better!).  I'm definitely not a Dirty Martini kind of girl, but I have to say this turned me around.  I don't know that I could drink a bunch of these, but I really enjoyed the one...okay two...that I had!  :)

I have to apologize now for the total lack of pictures of all these goodies...but I have to admit I had so much fun I totally forgot to take pictures once everything was set up.  In fact, I think I took less than a dozen pictures the whole evening.  Oops!!  But I guess the moral of the story is 10 packages of bacon + lots of booze + good food + tons of help + really good friends = an amazing evening!!  I really am not exaggerating when I say tons of help!!  When the first guests arrived I was no where near ready, but they swooped in and helped me look much more on top of things than I really was in no time at all!  I really REALLY couldn't have done it without you guys!!

Oh yeah...the "crown molding"!  Well, the long and the short of it is Tracy and I got it installed in about 3 hours and it was pretty easy going up.  Is it easier than "real" crown molding?  Definitely in the cutting, but the downside is you have way more seams to deal with, and it's pretty delicate.  I have a few finger dents from pushing it into place that I wasn't anticipating.  For a small room I don't think it's a bad option, but I definitely won't be doing this in my "great room"...I'd have a hundred seams.  Since I haven't finished caulking and painting it, I have no idea if the seams are going to be a pain or not...but I'll definitely let you know!  :)  In the meantime, here's what it looks like so far...

What do you think????

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Week 14 Assignment - My "Crown"-ing Achievement?

With my new invincibility in tow, I'm finally going to tackle installing the crown molding in the Guest Bathroom!  As I mentioned before,  it isn't your traditional crown molding.  It's made of foam and is installed using adhesive caulking.  They also pre-cut your corners for you.   I found it at Creative Crown a year ago and have been dying to give it a try!  I ordered samples a while back and decided to go with the pre-primed molding because it has a much smoother finish.  It's been sitting in my garage for months and it's definitely time to get it up on the walls!!

When I finally opened the box there was a piece of paper in it that said in big, bold letters..."USE WATER-BASED LATEX PAINT ONLY!!"  So much for my favorite Glidden Trim & Door Paint!! Guess this gives me a chance to give a product I found on Pinterest a try...

It's called Floetrol and it's a paint additive that is supposed to eliminate brush marks in latex paint by extending the drying time...pretty much what the Glidden Trim & Door paint does but without the oil based formula.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one...if it does work the possibilities are ENDLESS!!  :)

See you next week!!  Wish me luck!

Week 13 Assignment - Results

Let me tell you...this week's assignment has taken my new-found feeling of invincibility to a whole new level!!  Not only did I take what I saw in my head and make it happen...I did it all by myself!!  Power tools and all!!  And I have to say once I got over my fear of screwing it up, it was really quite easy!!  So here is the end result (please excuse the pictures...and the disgusting shower doors...does anyone have a pin for getting hard water stains off glass doors that are CLR proof???)

Here are a few things I learned along the way...just in case you want to give it a try!

  1. Apparently my house was built by stoners!!  Not a single wall in my bathroom is plumb.  In fact, I don't think any of the walls in the house are!  If you have the same issue, I highly recommend using trim made of MDF...it's much easier to sand the backs of to match the random angles of your walls.
  2. I installed the trim pieces using adhesive caulking and then secured them with finishing nails.  Make sure you pre-drill the holes for the finishing nails before attaching the piece to the wall.
  3. I caulked the edges before painting the trim...and instead of masking everything off with tape I bought a small, angled paintbrush at the craft store and used that on all my edges.  I have a new found fear of masking tape and this turned out to be easier and gave me perfect lines!!  Thanks, Tracy for this tip!!!  
One more project under my belt and I'm slowly getting the guest bathroom under control.  I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel!!  :)  On to the next project...