Special Feature – The Gotter House

Hi there! I have a special treat to kick off your weekend today. I get to share with you a special feature on a home that I love so much: the Gotter house. I love the Gotter house for many, many reasons, but one reason is that is just so darn cute!

Elizabeth (Liza) Gotter is my sister-in-love, and happens to be one VERY talented (and believe me when I say VERY) woman. I kid you not when I say that anything she touches turns to gold, and her home is no exception.

I’ve admired her home decorating skills for quite some time now, and the thought/desire to blog about her home has been in my head for quite a while. I finally worked up the courage to ask her if she’d be willing, and the sweet girl said yes! You will know that she is such a generous person when I tell you that she cleaned house for me while she was pregnant so I could do this feature. Talk about love.

All right, without further ado, here is the Gotter house: 20160424-DSC_0146

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Don’t you feel welcome already?

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One of Liza’s talented creations. Can I buy this please?

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Downstairs bath

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Another creation of Liza’s; she crocheted each swirl, then stitched them together into a rug for her downstairs bathroom.

Dining room

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Liza’s also a very talented cook and baker (there is seriously nothing this woman can’t do).

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Her own arrangement of branches. An inspiration that you can have bouquets in the middle of winter.

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Liza has a very fun style in her dishes, ranging from eclectic to classic.

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Liza’s cat, Murphy. He’ll make an appearance again later.

Kitchen

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Living room

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Liza also does pottery, and here, she displays some of her creations.

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She and her husband, Steve, are avid book readers; you’ll find books throughout the house.

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Master bedroom

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This garland was handmade too. It’s called talent, folks.

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Upstairs hallway

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Liza also loves to paint, and has several of her paintings displayed through her home.

Guest bedroom

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Laundry room window

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Murphy was quite perplexed by what I was doing.

I hope you enjoyed the little tour through the Gotter house. Maybe someday you can even visit it! You won’t be disappointed.

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Weekly Dishes – Steak with Rice and Beans

Anybody else loving the ability to go outside and enjoy your backyard? Some of you are probably still looking at patches of snow, so I apologize in advance, but here in the PNW, we are enjoying SPRING!! My roses are blooming like crazy, and I am loving the times spent on our patio, enjoying the sun, warm breezes, and lawn. Today, I even picked my first strawberry of the season.

But back to the point of this post: FOOD. Spring and Summer are such a fun time to cook, don’t you think? I feel like our imagination and appetite in regards to food and drink come to life in these seasons.

Today, I’m sharing with you an adaptation of a recipe from Real Simple: Rice and Beans with Steak and Fresh Tomatillo Salsa. This recipe is very tasty, and very easily put together; the whole process takes just over 30 minutes.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 1/4 lb. Steak (Real Simple’s recipe calls for skirt steak, but I used hanger steak)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Rice
  • 1 can Black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups Chicken broth
  • Cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons Lime juice
  • 1/2 lb. Tomatillos
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper

Your first step is to get the rice and beans going. Get a large stock pot, and add broth, rice, and 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper.

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Cover and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. It should look like this when it’s done:

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While your rice is simmering, put the salsa together. To start with, dehusk and wash your tomatillos, as well as your cilantro and lime (if you’re using fresh).

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Cut up the tomatillos into quarters, the lime in half, and chop the cilantro.

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Then, add all the veggies, squeeze the lime, and also add a 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper into a blender.

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Blend away! You can make the salsa more chunky or more smooth, depending on your preference.

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Doesn’t that look delicious?

Now that your salsa’s done, let’s get that steak going. Your rice should be still cooking.

Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a skillet, and once it’s hot, stick that steak in there. Season it with salt and pepper.

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Cook it to the doneness you prefer (Real Simple’s recipe calls for medium rare, but I like mine medium well).

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There she is. All ready to sit. 🙂 Let the steak rest a few minutes to let the juices set.

By this time your timer for your rice ought to have gone off. Remove the lid, and once you’ve confirmed that the water is all gone, add in the black beans.

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(Once again, this is what it should look like.)

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Cover again, and let rest for 10 minutes.

After ten minutes, your rice and beans should look like this:

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Lastly, cut up the steak into bite-sized slices.

Now you’re all done!

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As you can see, I served this dish with quesadillas, but you could absolutely eat it by itself, or with plain tortillas.

Enjoy!

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Weekly Dishes – Pepper Beef

Hi folks! Hasn’t the weather lately been lovely? At least it has been here in the PNW. I’m going to blame the sunshine for keeping me from posting this last week. ‘Cause who wants to be inside when it’s sunny out?

This week’s dish has a somewhat long ingredient list, but is actually fairly simple, and is a great choice for when you’re craving Chinese takeout. It’s another family favorite, and was one of my top choices as a child. Even with the pepper in it. My own kids love it too.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • 1 lb. Thin cut beef (or breakfast steak cut thinly)
  • 3 Green bell peppers, sliced
  • 1-2 Onions, thinly sliced
  • Vegetable oil for cooking (about 2 tablespoons)

Sauce A – Meat marinade

  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Cornstarch (flour works too)
  • 1 tablespoon Soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Mirin (a Japanese sweet rice wine; sherry is a good substitute, just add 1-2 tablespoons sugar to sweeten it)
  • Sesame oil, to taste (I usually put about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon in)
  • Ginger (fresh or powdered), to taste
  • 1 clove Garlic (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1 tablespoon Vegetable oil

Sauce B – Broth

  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 3/4 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Soy sauce

All right, now if that list of ingredients scared you, put those fears aside. Trust me, it’s not as scary as it sounds.

Step one is going to be assembling your sauces. Get a larger bowl for sauce mixture A, because you’ll be marinating your beef in it. The second mixture will fit in a smaller bowl (I use a cereal bowl). To minimize on utensils, start with all the dry ingredients first, then add in the wet. If you’re substituting sherry for the mirin, don’t forget the extra tablespoon or two of sugar when you’re doing this step.

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Next, set mixture B (that’s the little bowl) aside and grab your beef and mixture A (the big bowl). Mix in the beef so that it’s thoroughly coated in the mixture, and let stand for 15 min.

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While the meat is marinating, cut up your green bell pepper and the onion. Try and slice the onion as thinly as you can.

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Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a wok on high (you can use a regular frying pan, but I’d advise sticking with a non-stick, no pun intended). Once the oil is hot, add in the peppers and onion, and fry for about 2 minutes.

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When the vegetables have just started to soften, remove to serving bowl.

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Wipe out the pan with a paper towel if needed. Add more oil to the pan, and once it’s heated, add the beef. Fry on high for about 3 minutes.

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Before the meat is completely cooked (aka while it’s still a bit pink), add sauce mixture B and cook until it starts to thicken slightly (about 1 minute).

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Add in the pre-cooked vegetables, and cook until heated through.

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And you’re done!

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I serve this with white rice and sometimes make some store-bought spring rolls in the oven.

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Enjoy!

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DIY Garden Sign

Hi friends! I have another fun little project to share with all of you today.

I recently found this old 2×4 cutting in our shed. I think I’d set it aside at some point thinking it would make a good swing seat. Of course, without the right tree branch or power tools to turn it into one, it ended up just sitting there.

But when I rediscovered it, I realized it would make a perfect sign. Then it proceeded to sit in the dark again for a couple weeks more (please tell me I’m not the only one who does that).

So this afternoon, I finally went upstairs, got my can of spray paint, and decided to go for it. The result?

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Here’s what you’ll need for this project:

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  • a piece of 2×4 (preferably at least 1 foot long, and up to however long you want it)
  • a can of spray paint (I used red, since it was what I had, but a pink or blue would be fun too)
  • a marker (I have a silver pen in the photo, but ended up going with gold; you’ll forgive me, won’t you?)
  • a hook and nails (you should be able to find a picture hanger kit with these pretty easily at any craft or hardware store; not pictured)
  • a hammer (not pictured)
  • a towel (not pictured)
  • newspaper

Step one is to make sure that your board is clean. Wipe off any dirt or dust (or cobwebs), and make sure it’s dry.

Take that board, the spray paint, and your newspaper on outside. Lay the newspaper down, and if you happen to struggle with slight winds, you can use masking tape to hold the newspaper down (don’t do it on a super windy day, otherwise you’ll get paint all over you).

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Now shake up that can and get spraying.

Let the paint dry completely (the drying time will vary depending on your paint variety, and how much you put on). If you feel it needs another coat, go ahead and put on a second coat.

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Once it’s completely dry, take it back inside, and grab your marker. Now I did a terrible job at centering my letters, but a quick rule of thumb is to start with the middle letter (or letters if your word has an even number of words), and write those first, making sure to center them. Then write the remaining letters. If you feel that you have terrible handwriting, you could always use letter stickers, but bear in mind that they may not last as long.

Draw the arrow last.

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Once you’ve written the word(s) down, take the board off the table, and lay the towel down. This will keep your table and your board from getting scratched up while you hammer the hook on, as well as soften the sound (should you have sleeping babies or sensitive neighbors).

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Place your hook on the board as close to the center as you can.

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Then, hammer in one nail, just enough to hold it in place. Realign the hook to make sure it’s level. Hammer in the second nail, and then hammer in the first all the way.

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And you’re done!

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Yay! You could literally write whatever you want, but I love the invitation that a “garden” sign indoors makes, even if you don’t have a garden.

Now go have fun!

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P.S. If you’d like to know how I lined my shelf with fabric (like you can see in two photos above), you can find that tutorial here.

Make Your Own DIY Spring Wreath

Spring is here! Spring is here! Spring is here! (Can you tell I’m excited?)

And now that Spring is officially here, I can share this post with you guilt free. If you’re anything like me, if you can stretch the use of your seasonal décor longer, you do. So my Christmas wreath hung around for quite a while. I won’t tell you when exactly it came down, but let’s just say that my door has been wreathless for only a few weeks. That Christmas wreath was going to be used for as long as I could.

But now it’s time to move onto better, brighter things, so yesterday, I sat down and made my Spring wreath, which I must confess, was easier and funner (that’s a word, right?) than I thought.

Here’s what you’ll need for this project:

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  • A metal wreath frame (I actually saved this one from my Christmas wreath)
  • 8+ faux flower bouquets (Mine were from the dollar tree)
  • 2ft length of wide ribbon (not pictured)

One word about your choice for the flowers: try and stick with a one or two color scheme. My flowers were all white and yellow. If you want to go more for a wildflower feel, then you’re welcome to mix colors, but pay attention to the type of flowers you pick. The cohesiveness of this wreath really depends on the colors (or type) you go with.

This really doesn’t take much work. All you need to do is stick the stems into the prongs of the wreath frame. Start from the top of your wreath, and work your way down each side. Try and weave your stems into the prongs as much as you can, so that they end up either covered by the other flowers, or come to the bottom of the wreath (which you’ll wrap with the ribbon).

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At this point, if you have extra flowers, you can continue to put them in and make it flowers all around, or you can do what I did, and add in the ribbon.

Your last step is to wrap the exposed stems and wreath frame with the ribbon. If you choose a silkier ribbon, it will feel more formal; burlap will make it feel more rustic. Choose whichever you prefer.

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Tie a pretty bow, and you’re done!

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This project probably took me 20 min max, and that was with photo-taking and dinner prep happening at the same time! Super easy.

Hope you’re enjoying Spring where you live too!

Make a Seasonal Scrapbook Frame in 3 Easy Steps

Yay! Spring is finally here! Well, ok, technically it’s not for another few days, but here in the PNW, you need only look outside to know that it has arrived. Daffodils and cherry blossoms are EVERYWHERE (and that’s an awfully good thing).

To celebrate this momentous occasion (that happens every year, but hey, it’s still exciting!), I am going to share a fun little project with you, just in time for the weekend (again, I’m celebrating a bit early).

These scrapbook pages are the result of several years, mostly because I didn’t have always have time at the beginning of a season to put on together. The actual creation of one of these pages really only takes 5-10 min, but somehow, Spring was the last one that got made (Spring cleaning, anyone?).

Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • A 12×12 picture frame
  • 12×12 Cardstock/scrapbook paper
  • Clippings of fun photos or illustrations
  • Double-sided tape (a glue stick works fine too)

A few words of advice on picking your cardstock and photo clippings: you can pick a patterned backdrop or one without for your cardstock, but if you choose a patterned one, try and pick one that will “frame” your work, like the one I picked. A patterned one will create movement and add color and life to your overall composition, but with the movement comes busyness. Keep that in mind when you’re picking out your photo clippings too; you don’t want your backdrop to clash with the images that are supposed to be the main event. As for the clippings themselves, pick photos or illustrations that speak to the season you’re going with (for example: fireworks are a perfect choice for Summer, but not so much for Winter. Unless you celebrate Chinese New Year).

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Your first step is to figure out which photo/illustration you want to have in the center. It should be one of the biggest ones that you have, to maintain a balanced look over all. Go ahead and adhere it to the paper.

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Next, arrange the remaining cuttings around the big one (but don’t adhere them yet – you may want to rearrange them). Play around with the layout until it looks balanced and feels right. Go ahead and layer your clippings on top of each other, but remember to only overlap slightly; you want to be able to still see the majority of the image.

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Once you’re happy with the layout, go ahead and adhere the remaining cuttings to the cardstock.

And you’re done! Stick that paper into the frame, and hang her up!

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Just for fun, I’ll share some of my other seasons with you:

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I really can’t decide which one is my favorite… it might be Summer. But I’ll have to wait a little longer for that one.

Modern Met Chic Etsy Shop

Hi friends! Remember that surprise I was telling you about in my last post! Well, it’s reveal time!!

This dream of mine has been in the works for a while, and I’m so excited to share it with you! I’ve opened an Etsy shop, and will be selling one of a kind crocheted items.

It all started about a year ago when I taught myself how to crochet. I mostly did it for fun, but man, is it fun! I ended up with a real passion for it, and have been toying around with the idea to sell my creations for a while now.

Then, about a month ago, I finally decided to go for it. And now here we are.

I would like to introduce you to:

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My new shop.

You can find the shop here.

Go check it out! And as a reader, I’d like to offer a little gift to you. For the first month, I will offer 10% off any order above $5 to all my readers (offer expires on 4/4/2016). Simply put down “BLOGFOLLOWER” into the coupon slot when you check out on an item, and it will automatically be applied to your order.

Hope you like my shop! And be sure to let me know what you think!

How to Remove Paint from Hardware

Ah friends, blogging is much harder than I thought it would be. I apologize for not being more consistent with my posts. I have to admit, I’ve found that Instagram is a much easier form of social media for me to keep up with. Perhaps partly because I don’t have to take pictures on one device and then move to a different device to share it. Anyway, if you’d like to keep more “up-to-date” with my days, you can find me here. There’s also something special in the works that’s kept me busy, and I’ll share that with you all soon, promise (If you already follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you probably already know what that is).

Anyway, I do have a fun project to share with you all today. Recently, my mother-in-love shared with me a huge box of hardware from their recent renovation. This is coveted vintage hardware, folks. And it is beautiful. The downside was that over the years, some of the pieces had been painted on. So, after a little research (since I don’t have paint remover), I figured out how to bring them back to life.

This is what the hook I cleaned looked like before I started:

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Talk about caked in paint!

Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • Paint-crusted hardware
  • Nail polish remover
  • A plate or some surface to protect your table
  • A putty knife for extra stubborn paint (I used a table knife)
  • A Q-tip
  • Cotton wads

You’re first step is to setup. Be sure to have a surface that can handle the nail polish; that stuff can eat through a lot of things (made me wonder how in the world it’s safe for our skin; guess our skin is really resilient?).

Next, dip your Q-tip into the nail polish remover, and test it on the hardware surface on an inconspicuous spot. If your fixture is a solid metal (like mine was), you won’t see any of the color come off when you do this; if you see any color come off, then you won’t be able to safely use the nail polish remover to remove the paint.

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Once you’ve confirmed that the nail polish is safe to use on your hardware, go for it! Seep the remover into your cotton wads and go at that paint. Depending on how much paint is on there, this could be a fast or a slow process. Mine had quite a bit caked on, so I probably spent a good half hour on it (hence the reason I only got through one). As I mentioned earlier, having a putty knife handy is helpful; for sections that are particularly thick, I softened the paint with the remover, then scraped it off with the knife.

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And that’s it! Be sure to wash the hardware once you’re done; you don’t need any residual nail polish remover getting on your clothes.

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Doesn’t it look so good?

Go ahead! Go put it up, and enjoy the fruit of your labor.

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How to Update a Jar

Hi friends! Isn’t this weather glorious?? I’ve been waiting for just such a lovely, sunny day for this project, and I’m so excited to share it with you.

I shared with you a while back about the beautiful glass jars that I have in my pantry. They were given to me by my mother-in-law, who had collected them over many years for use in her own pantry. But in their recent kitchen update, they decided to switch to different containers that fit their new setup better, and she asked if I would like to have them. Would I ever!! There was no hesitation in my answer: yes.

I’ve loved using them ever since, but had always wanted to paint the lids so that they were all the same color. Also, the advertisement for pickles was kind of getting old. And so, I recently purchased a can of gold spray paint, and today was the day I stepped out and did some spraying.

Here’s what you’ll need for this project:

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  • Jar lids
  • A can of spray paint
  • Newspaper
  • A sunny day (or a well ventilated room, such as your garage with the door open)

Your first step is to make sure that those lids are clean. Mine were in pretty decent shape, as I had washed them all recently, so I didn’t clean them again, but if they do have any dust on them, go ahead and suds up and get them clean.

Next, spread out the newspaper.

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Lay out the lids on top of the newspaper, and spray away!

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Now, I found out that these lids needed a lot more paint to totally cover them than I thought, so I actually ran out of spray paint, so make sure to get a large can if you have a lot of lids to paint.

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Next, let them soak up some sun for at least 30 minutes (check the label on your can; some spray paints may require more time to dry).

And you’re done!

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I’m so happy with how these turned out!

While I’m on the subject of the pantry, I’ve been wanting to change the liner that is currently in there, and I wanted to share a sneak peak of the options I’m looking at, and I would LOVE your feedback:

Option 1:

Isn’t this so bright and fun? And apparently it’s scented too; not quite sure how I feel about that, but it sounds somewhat attractive. (Here‘s the Amazon link for it)

Option 2:

Michel Design Works Scented Drawer Liners, Blue

I recently decided to change my kitchen colors to blue, white and gray, so this is an option that would match the kitchen. (Here‘s the Amazon link for it)

What do you guys think? Should I go with the bolder pink one? Or stick with the kitchen color scheme?

If any of you have a shelf liner that you love, and would be willing to share it with me, I’d love to see it! Feel free to leave a comment with a picture of what it looks like and where you got it.

The First After

It’s finally here, folks! I’ve had these photos for a week or so, but I’ve been busy working on an office project that has kept me busy, so forgive me for neglecting my blogging “duties”.

The duplex project that I was able to record and be a part of alongside D&R Concepts is finally finished, and I can’t wait to share the transformation with you! Remember the graffiti, and all the other messes that this duplex had? You’d never guess that it was there now.

Let’s start with Unit A, which by far had the worst damage:

Entry:

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Remember the stairwell that had the graffiti? Here it is now:

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Isn’t it breathtaking? I’ll share the before just so you can compare:

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Talk about transformation.

They put bamboo flooring in upstairs, and it is gorgeous:

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Here’s the kitchen:

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Now onto Unit B.

Although the damage to this unit was less severe, it was the one that needed the most flooring replacement, and again, the bamboo flooring in here is beautiful.

Kitchen:

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Dining and Living room area:

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Upstairs:

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I’m so impressed with how these units turned out. What did you like best?

(If you’d like to see more of the before, here‘s the original post.)