Friday, July 5, 2013


Here's the shoe bench with one coat of paint:

And then two coats of paint:

I added a third coat of paint and then 3 coats of polyurathane to protect it, but forgot to take a picture when I was all done!  And now the bench is under a pile of boxes in the corner of our living room where we're storing everything for the move, so unfortunately I can't take picture of it completely finished.

We decided to make a simple board with a bunch of hooks to go over the bench instead of the hook/shelf system on Ana White's plans.  We thought it would be too top heavy with the shelves and stick too far out in our cramped room.  So this was much easier!  Lots of coats of paint and polyurathane and 7 hooks later it's all done:

We love them!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Shoe Bench Progress

Here are some pictures of the progress I'm making on the shoe bench!

 I used books to hold my shelves in place while I put the screws in.

Below is the primed shoe bench looking up from the bottom!

 Painting the primer took longer than I expected, and I had a disastrous time trying to clean up!  I wish I'd thought to buy paint thinner before I had everything, including my hands, covered in oil-based primer... but from now on I'm armed with mineral spirits and latex gloves!  I also learned that olive oil and salt will get the primer off your hands but not off your tools!

These supplies are actually clean in the picture above.  I gave up when 99% of the paint was off!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Working on a project...

I haven't posted in so long (I've been sewing some stuff all year but didn't want to take the time to take pictures) but I have a project in the works that I'm excited about!

My husband and I are moving to PA at the end of July.  We've purchased a townhouse that we love, but has a really weird entrance!  The front room is going to be a combination office/entryway and we needed some sort of shoe bench and coat hook system to designate the entry area.  Everything we found online was really expensive, and the things that were less expensive were cheaply made. 

So, I found plans to build an entryway bench on!  It's mostly built right now, I'm just finishing off the shelves - I'll post a picture soon!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Favorite Books

My favorite books page is back with a new book I read this month.  It blew me away.  Check it out on the Favorite Books tab =)

Monday, January 9, 2012

What I made this Christmas (WIMTC)

 My hubby made these.  It's his way of man-i-fying the cookie decorating process!

I love making Christmas cookies each year - but I love decorating them even more!  We're trying to not focus on food over the holidays, but it was fun to keep up this tradition (and give away the majority of the cookies!). 

I used a different type of icing this year and liked it a lot.  Instead of buying something store bought I made a glaze-ish icing.  I saw this idea online and decided to run with it using a basic recipe I keep in my head:

1 bag of powdered sugar
some melted butter ( a couple tablespoons)
a splash of vanilla
a tiny dash of salt (so it's no overly sweet)

I beat everything together, adding the milk until it had a slightly runny consistency.  Then I refrigerated it overnight, and set it out for an hour or so the next day before using it.  The goal was for the icing to spread easily using a pastry brush, but not to run everywhere and make the cookies wet.  I liked it a lot and I think it's my new standard cookie icing!

I made a lot of stuff this Christmas.  Gifts, food, projects for our home, etc.  And I actually took a lot of pictures too - but I never had time to put them up.  So I'll slowly start showing them as I get the pictures on to the computer (first I have to find that cord...). 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Simple Homemade Cleaners

Or as we call them around here, Elise's Elixers.

I started making most of the cleaners I use around our home after I read this post from Young House Love a year or two ago.  I'd heard of different recipes people used, but never were they so simple or effective!  Here are my favorites that have become essentials at our house:

Air Freshener - Essential when your bathroom has no windows and a ridiculously loud fan!  But the stuff from stores gives me a wicked headache and not to be gross, but it doesn't always get rid of the smell, just sort of mixes it so you have Apple Cinnamon ______ (insert gross bathroom smell).  This stuff is the opposite.  No headache.  Gets rid of the smell.  No chemicals!  And really inexpensive.  Oh, and no ridiculously loud noise when you spray it - just saying.

All you need is:
A spray bottle
Favorite scented oil (I buy lavender oil at Whole Foods (or on Amazon for even less) and Tea Tree Oil at Trader Joes for super cheap)
Rubbing Alcohol (super cheap at Costco)

The ratio is 2 parts water to 1 part rubbing alcohol.  Add in as many drops of your favorite scented oil as you like.  I do about 30 drops of lavender or tea tree.  I guarantee you will love it!

Oven Cleaner
I tend to get distracted when cooking, which means that my pots and pans boil over a lot and my stove top and the inside of my oven are messy.  I've never seen anything work as well (especially on grease) as this little trick.

Spritz water all over the surface you need to clean.  Sprinkle baking soda liberally on top of the water and allow it to sit for 5 minutes or so (until the water is absorbed and you can see that the baking soda is absorbing the mess).  Scrub with a washcloth and rinse.  It will be shiny, non-greasy, and clean!  This also works well for greasy pans.

Tip: Costco sells HUGE bags of baking soda for $6.  I use it for cleaning all the time and always keep one on hand.

Shower Cleaner
I've tried a bunch of them, but this works better than anything else I've found.

Plain old bleach and water.

I use about 1/2 to 1 cup of bleach in a spray bottle and fill it the rest of the way with water.  I keep it in the shower and any time mold and mildew starts to pop up, I spray it down.  Usually right before my shower so that I can rinse it off a few minutes later.  Sometimes I'll even bring my scrubber (it has a little handle and I only use it for the shower) in to my shower with me and scrub down the walls while I'm in there.  That might be TMI, but it's an easy way to do two things at once - and not worry about getting my clothes messy!

Obviously bleach is not the safest chemical and a lot of people try to avoid it.  I've done that too.  But it's so much more effective than anything else, and it's the active ingredient in most bathroom cleaners anyway.  By buying plain bleach I save a lot of money and my shower gets clean =)

Check out the link above to the YHL post for more ideas.  Here's to inexpensive, easy cleaning!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Simple Meaningful Art

I framed this "To Do" list last spring to write on with dry-erase markers, but quickly realized it was easier to write my to dos on the giant mirror that hung on the wall nearby (ala YHL).  So after months of not using it, I was ready to make a change.
I've been reading this awesome book by John Piper and came across a quote that I loved and wanted to hang on my wall as a constant reminder.
So I grabbed my favorite book of scrapbook paper (which I've used to make a baby book and tons of stationary)...

...and got to work.

The first step involved cutting out a piece of scrap paper with the right dimensions for the frame, folding it into 4 equal sections, and practicing spacing my words out evenly.

It took a few tries, which is why you can see pencil and marker on my practice sheet.  Next I cut out a properly sized piece of scrap book paper, and carefully wrote the quote down.

And here's the final product!

I love the way it constantly points me toward eternal things.  I don't want to waste my short life on things that will not last into eternity.