Guest Post: A Bottle Cap Table

We got some new neighbors not too long ago, and they are pretty darn cool.  Mindy and Tim live down the street and fit in with our crowd right away. We have been crazy lucky with neighbors the past 4 years- only the coolest people live in our ‘hood.  Well Tim knows about my blog and expressed interest in sharing his bottle cap table. Here he is:

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Bottle caps: they keep liquid in beer bottles and other fine beverages. And, many of them are unique and colorful. I collected them as a kid and wanted to do something with them rather than just leaving them in a tin can for no one to see. I decided to hot glue them to an end table for display. If you have never used a hot glue gun, let me tell you, they get HOT. I ended up blistering my finger on some molton glue by accident. I filled the caps almost full and let them dry. Then I lined them up straight with a straight edge and glued them to the table, alternating brands and colors.

 

 

288 caps later, it turned out pretty neat! It looks awesome! Now I want to branch out to other flat items and make them into gifts out of bottle caps! I guess I have to start collecting again (taking them out of recycling bins!) Oh and I put one cap upside down, can you spot it?

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Thanks Tim for sharing your crafty project!

 

 

GIVEAWAY: Square 1 Printable, Re-Positionable Material

Ok guys, I know that’s a mouthful, but I am SUPER EXCITED to share this amazing product with you today. Square 1 contacted me and asked me if I’d like to test out their product. It’s an 8.5 x 11 sheet of printable material that can be cut any way you like and put on walls, glass, metal- just about any surface. And the best part about it is that it’s removable! You can reposition it countless times to get the look you want.

Some of you out there have probably used vinyl before on your fancy cutting machines (Cricut or Silhouette). Apparently it’s all the rage, but I don’t have a cutting machine so I don’t have first-hand knowledge. What you can do with vinyl is not enough to make me want to go buy a cutting machine to do it…does that make sense? As far as I know, vinyl comes in specific colors and is pretty permanent. Those can be drawbacks for those of us with fickle minds.

So when Square 1 sent me a pack of this material that I could print on my own home printer, I started thinking about all the projects I could do with this that couldn’t be done with vinyl. Fortunately my friend Amy came up with a great use for it- one that would really show off it’s flexibility- and I was totally on board. Amy and her husband live in a super cute bungalow that she loves to decorate but is limited by the fact that they are currently renting. She thought we could try to do a back splash in her kitchen, since the material is removable and leaves no residue.

Reason #532054 I’m friends with Amy: She has one of those fancy cutting machines, a Cricut to be exact. She had chosen a thin circle with little nubs on it  and thought it would look neat tiled. The biggest advantage of the Square 1 product, in my opinion, is that you can print any texture or color you like on it. Amy chose this:

 

It’s a blue/green texture that matches her countertops. To be sure, we printed it on regular paper and cut out a few of the circles. It was l.o.v.e. at first site. Completely. Deeply. Madly. In Love.

We started with printing 6 copies on the material itself (ignore the striping, the printer cartridge was adjusting).

It’s important to let the ink dry completely before cutting, so we left the sheets on the table for a good 15 minutes then sprayed them with Krylon’s Digital Image Protector (since the back splash is a high moisture area) and let them dry another 10 minutes.We tag teamed the cutting- Amy manning the machine and me peeling the circles off and applying them to the wall. We found out pretty quickly that we didn’t have enough sample to do the whole back splash with 3″ circles. New plan: Accent behind the sink. Amy figured she could always extend it later on, but at least we’d get a good idea of the finished product and how it performs.

Before I get any further, let me share a “before” kitchen shot with you. To prep the wall, Amy wiped it down very well with a Magic Eraser and let it dry.

In hind sight, it would have been easier to do the tiling if we had chosen a shape with more surface area. Nevertheless, we were able to get it done with only a little bit of squinting and hand cramping. It’s important to note that this would absolutely not have been possible with vinyl. Each circle was re-positioned about 5 times to make sure it was perfectly shaped and straight (again, hindsight is 20/20-this will make more sense when you see the shape). We definitely tested this property of the Square 1 material and it passed with flying colors. Even after several removals, the product still sticks to the wall.

Are you ready to see it?

Do you like how I’m holding out on the shape?

Ok seriously, here it is:

Are you LOVING it? I am, and most importantly, Amy is. We so enjoyed this project and working with this material that I asked Square 1 for some extra for YOU!

Square 1 generously offered 10 sample packs (3 sheets each)! Every week for the next 5 weeks, I’ll be choosing TWO winners to receive these samples.

Here’s how to enter:

1. “Like” Square 1 on Facebook

2. Leave a comment here with an idea of how you’ll use the product.

3. Share this giveaway via Facebook or Twitter (2 separate entries).

So you have 4 chances to win, but make sure you let me know here all the ways you entered! It doesn’t have to be multiple comments, just one with all the entries is fine.

I’m so looking forward to you guys testing this product out and adding it to your crafting collection! You can also order packs from the button on my sidebar that looks like this:

GOOD LUCK!! The first winners will be drawn Wednesday 8/24 and then the following 4 Wednesdays.

*******Linked Up To These Wonderful Parties*******

Color Therapy: Navy

I’m loving this classic color with a big impact. It goes with so many other colors well, and I find it refreshing to see it in a non-traditional pairing.

 

{Apartment Therapy}

{Paloma 81}

{Cococozy}

{Mial Linnman}

 

{Martha Stewart}

Do you have navy in your house? What is your favorite color to pair with it?

NEW SPONSOR GIVEAWAY: Curry Designs Handmade!

 *****This giveaway is now closed******

Hello, my name is Jessica Curry and I own Curry Designs Handmade and DIY Style Home.  I live in a small town in Asheboro, North Carolina.  We have a Walmart, state zoo, and a few grocery stores…lol.  I can still say that I’m a twenty something year old woman who is happily married with 2 boys.  I have always had a creative side ever since I could pickup a paint brush or pencil.  Whether it is crocheting, drawing, decorating, etc, I am easily interested in anything crafty.  I discovered  jewelry making in 2007 and since then I’ve been hooked.  It is very rewarding to see people wearing something I worked so hard on and designed myself.  I work full time in a family practice and my coworkers are some of my best clients!  They are always wanting something custom made and when I come to work they ask “what have you made now, let me see!” My site, Curry Designs Handmade, was created in December of 2010 with a goal to show the world my new designs and serve as a gateway to my Etsy shop.  Since then, it has evolved into much more.  I feel like it is a second home for me!   I taught myself to  make wire wrapped rings and  beaded jewelry using stones, glass and semi precious gems.  Click here for my Etsy shop!

My other blog, DIY Style Home is sort of a rookie.  I started it in May of 2011 with the goal to share another creative side: interior DIY decorating.  Whenever I am at home my mind is constantly coming up with ideas.  I have to write them all down.  This blog lets me share my home with you and help people to understand that they don’t need a lot of money to make their homes look great and expensive.  If you read my blog you’ll see pretty quickly that I love spray paint and my local Habitat Store.  Be sure to visit and follow both my blogs so you can keep up with what I’m making or doing! I love the handmade  community, they are so welcoming and supportive, like Rachael here.. Thank you for featuring me!
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Thank YOU Jessica for offering this beautiful ring as a giveaway!

{Curry Designs Handmade}

The ring can be made any size for the winner, and here are the ways to enter:

1. Like Curry Designs Handmade on Facebook.

2. Follow Curry Designs Handmade through Google Friend Connect.

3. Leave a comment on Curry Designs Handmade.

Please make sure you leave a comment here on LCH to tell me the ways you entered. If you don’t, your votes may be lost in the shuffle!

The giveaway will be open for 1 week, winner will be announced Monday 8/22.

Lovely Crafty Weekend #33

This past weekend was the biggest yet! Thank you to everyone who entered. I enjoy looking through all the projects even though I can’t always comment on each one. Here are the top 4 most clicked from #32:

Laura Beth at A Step In The Journey got creative with existing materials and DIYed this rustic headboard which I’m totally digging (you know I’m partial to rustic headboards).

{A Step In The Journey}

Head over to This DIY Life to check out these sweet cafe curtains. I love the print on the fabric! And that reminds me of a project I still need to do in my kitchen…

{This DIY Life}

Natalie from Johnny In A Dress shared a tutorial for no-sew fabric flowers.

{Johnny In A Dress}

This chicken wire hutch makeover at Living In The Woods is killing me because I’m DYING to do this to two of my kitchen cabinets, but can’t work up the guts!

{Living In The Woods}

Don’t forget to grab a button from the sidebar if you’ve been featured! Now on to this week’s party:

1) Please link to a specific post, not your blog address.

2) Share the love and comment on other people’s blogs! We all love comments!

3) Please join my Google Friend network.

4) Please grab my linky party button from the sidebar and link back so others can join in the fun!

Fall Crops?

I figured with the relative success of my summer garden, I could try to push my luck into the fall. And this time, I’d start with seeds!

I planted Broccoli, Bibb Lettuce, and Red Cabbage.

Broccoli

Bibb Lettuce

Red Cabbage

It’s so exciting to see the little seedlings! I love the shape and colors of the tiny leaves. So what about you guys? Have you planted any seeds for the fall?

Dispelling Common Myths And Fears About Baking

And now, a note from our resident baking expert: Amy!

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My best friend Rachael, who is the normal author of this blog, often told me “I can’t bake,” and then she discovered a cookbook that really spoke to her, Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes or Less, and before I knew it, she was baking. She was like, power baking, like professional style baking—like dropping this BREAD BOMB all over my Easter Brunch baking!

Mad skills, right? And she still says she doesn’t bake—whatever. She even made a birthday cake for her brother and used diet coke as an egg substitute—and it was GOOD. I am still a little puzzled about what in diet coke is a lot like eggs…I digress…

My point is, anyone can learn to be a from scratch baker—even someone who says they can’t. It’s really easy. And just like anything else, with a little bit of practice, you will be a pro before you know it.

I love to bake. I have been baking (or at least making a good mess in the kitchen) since I was about 3. I bake all the time and today I plan to share with you a few tips and tricks to help make your next adventure in baking a smashing success.

Step one: MEASURE THINGS CAREFULLY. Baking is not like cooking. You can’t really just toss in a little of this and a little of that. If the recipe calls for one cup of flour, spoon the four into the one cup sized measuring cup, level it off, and then put it in the bowl. Don’t eye-ball it. Don’t even use two ½ cups instead. Put into the batter exactly what the recipe calls for—no more, no less.


Step two: MIX INGREDIENTS IN THE RIGHT ORDER. This may seem simple, but some recipe directions leave a bit to be desired. As a general rule, when you are baking something that is flour based (like cake, cupcakes or most cookies) mix the ingredients like this:

You will need two bowls. In one bowl mix the flour and whatever combination of baking soda, baking powder and salt the recipe calls for along with any other dry ingredients—like coco powder, for example (important note: Sugar is NOT a dry ingredient).

Some recipes call for four to be sifted. I never sift flour. It’s messy and unnecessary. I do, however, mix my dry ingredients well and with a whisk-that seems to do the trick.

In another bowl, preferably the one that goes with an electric stand mixer, whip your butter. Butter should be used at room temperature for most cake and cookie recipe. If the recipe doesn’t specify, go with room temperature. If your butter is straight out of the fridge, warm it up a touch. You can use a microwave or a toaster oven for a FEW SECONDS. Don’t melt it. Just take the chill off. You can hold it in your hands for a few minutes and use your body temperature to warm it. If your butter is a little chilly, just be sure to whip it really really well. The friction of the beaters will warm it up a little too. In any case, mix it until it is fluffy and there are no lumps at all. Then mix in sugars and extracts (like vanilla) and add eggs, one at a time, mixing and scraping after each one.

It’s best too, but not usually critical, if eggs are also room temperature, but the microwave trick does not work so well on them ;)

At this point, you can’t really over mix the batter, so make sure your butter/sugar/eggs are combined really well.

Next, add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar/eggs batter in two or three batches, scraping the bowl between each and being careful not to over mix. If there is liquid in the recipe, like milk, melted chocolate or sour cream, add it in small batches too, alternating with the dry flour mixture, and ending with the liquid.

Common Problems

If your cake, boxed or homemade, comes out too dense, pay close attention to how much you are mixing. Over mixing will make a fluffy cake into a brick. Once the dry ingredients are added, you really just want to combine things.

One other common problem with cake, cupcake and cookie baking is ending up with weird white lumps in your creations. Or you may have had a cake that baked flat and didn’t get fluffy, cookies that were weird and runny, or other similar ‘strange baking’ disasters. These are usually from baking soda or powder that is too old. You should replace baking soda and powder at least once every six months. If you bake a lot, you probably never have to worry about it, but if you are thinking of whipping something up and it has been a while, throw out these old ingredients in your cupboard and start fresh.

And finally, don’t over bake. All ovens are different and factors like altitude and humidity play a role in how long your items need to bake. Bake your items in as close to the center of the oven as you can. I always set a timer for the lowest suggested time and then turn the oven light on and pay attention. If you are not sure if something is done, stick a toothpick or bamboo skewer in the center of it—if it comes out clean, your item is done.

Eventually, you’ll develop a sixth sense with practice and you will get better and better at knowing when things are done baking. My mom used to call it ‘the fleeting moment’ when a cake is baked to perfection. Totally baked, but not over done–golden but not too brown. And eventually you will just know when that fleeting moment is. I don’t really know how else to explain it. I guess it’s a combination of sight and smell, but as Mom says, “all of a sudden, they are just in there [the oven] and you can hear them….fleeting” :)

 

Happy Baking Everyone!

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Thank you Amy for those super helpful tips (I am totally guilty of the using two 1/2 cups…now I know!) For some awesome recipes (and other awesome things), be sure to check out Amy’s blog Good Day!

New Addition

I’ve been obsessed with refinishing furniture lately, and I’m always on the look out for a new project. So when I saw this sad piece at Goodwill for $30, I knew it had to come home with me and live in the foyer.

 

I’ve been wanting to upgrade this area for awhile with something that had more storage, and I loved the solid wood construction of this dresser. I’m not quite sure what the previous owner was going for with this look, but I knew it wouldn’t be difficult to revamp it. I decided to move the knob holes on the top two drawers, so I filled the existing ones and gave everything a light sanding. I settled on SW7622 Homberg Grey with an antiquing glaze for the body and Minwax Dark Walnut with glaze for the top. The giant olive knobs had to go, so I replaced them with some simple leaf-motif iron beauties (on clearance for $1.59 ea!).

Once I was done with the dresser, I thought the mirror looked a little blah. A little coral craft paint and glaze made it pop. I think it’s a little funky, but I like it. What do you think?

The dresser came with small casters underneath, so I replaced them with larger ones so it would sit off the floor a bit. I may eventually replace them with legs.

So what’s the verdict? Here’s the last shot I took with the old buffet:

I wasn’t loving the dark corner as much as I used to. And now, the fresher after:

I loooooove it.  The height of the new dresser fills the space better. Plus, we have so much more storage! What about you guys…have you made any furniture upgrades lately?

********Linked up HERE**********

Kids Social Network?

With the rise of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Pinterest, it seems like you can learn just about anything or meet someone who lives across the ocean with the click of a mouse. I remember when the internet came into homes (60 free hours of AOL on CD, anyone?), and I would spend time chatting in group rooms through AOL, meeting new people, and exploring the internet. I suppose I’ve always been an internet enthusiast, but I realize there are dangers out there-especially for kids.

That’s why when I came across KidzWorld, I wanted to share it with you moms out there. It’s a social networking site for children, and it’s WAY more comprehensive than anything I ever saw when I was younger. The premise is basically the same as any adult version- you create a profile, then you have access to forums, hot topics, chat rooms, homework help, and games. KidzWorld was established in 2001 with the intent to create a safe online environment for kids, and they take this responsibility very seriously.

I went ahead and checked out the profile set up to see what the process is like and I was impressed by the helpful pop-ups.

But the safety of over a million kids doesn’t depend on this alone-all content is monitored by staff 24/7. Chat rooms and forums have moderators to ensure all kid-to-kid interaction is safe and positive. Even profile content is monitored to be sure no detailed personal information is shared.  You can read more about the KidzWorld mission and the safety of the site  here.

If you have tweens, I invite you to check out the site! They even have a homework help section-which might get you off the hook ;)

Lovely Crafty Weekend #32

Happy Friday everyone! It’s time again to share your projects from this week. I know I’ve been about knee deep in 10 things, so I’m anxious to see what you’ve been working on. Here are last week’s top 4 projects:

Lynda at Something Created Everyday shared this AH-MAZING tiered record stand. I’m dying over it!

{Something Created Everyday}

Liz Marie revamped an overly shabby chic armoire with a metallic twist…totally awesome. Bonus: It’s for sale!

{Liz Marie}

You all must be fellow Harry Potter fans, because you loved Rae Gun‘s Chocolate Frogs!

{Rae Gun Ramblings}

I’m digging this factory cart coffee table at Our Hiding Place. I love the title of the post too..check it out!

{Our Hiding Place}

Don’t forget to grab a button from the sidebar if you’ve been featured! Now on to this week’s party:

1) Please link to a specific post, not your blog address.

2) Share the love and comment on other people’s blogs! We all love comments!

3) Please join my Google Friend network.

4) Please grab my linky party button from the sidebar and link back so others can join in the fun!