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A MINI KITCHEN MAKEOVER

A MINI KITCHEN MAKEOVER

Teal kitchen cabinets white subway tile Giani marble countertop

I’m so excited to share our kitchen mini makeover with you!  This is just a temporary makeover until we can do a full remodel when the time is right.  A few weeks ago I decided to give our kitchen a mini makeover, and we are thrilled with the results!

It all started with ordering our new gas range.  Not only was our old electric range falling apart, it was a huge eye sore.  We waited several  months for a sale and then another two months for it to be delivered due to Covid.  I kept thinking about this new amazing gas double oven range sitting in my hideous kitchen.  Some of our other upgrades happened over the last year, like when the microwave stopped working, the larger sink upgrade, building a larger pantry, and the new lighting, but still our new range deserved better so a few weeks before it was delivered I went to serious work!

I spend a TON of time in the kitchen so why not make it pretty even if it is temporary?  I say if it makes you happy then it’s worth it!  Ok, ready to see some before photos?

Budget kitchen makeover

Budget kitchen makeover

Budget kitchen makeover

First up on my list was to do something about the countertop and backsplash.  I debated about using marble contact paper on the countertops, lots of people are doing it and it looks pretty good.  However we use our kitchen hard, so I was convinced it wouldn’t hold up at all.  After a lot of searching I decided to go with the Giani Carrara white marble countertop kit.  Everything you need is included in the kit and there are lots of video tutorials online to help.

Giani Carrara White Marble Epoxy Countertop Kit

Prep work was minimal, just clean with a brillo pad and rinse.  Then you roll on a few coats of the white primer paint and let it dry.  To create the marble veins you simply paint on the grey lines, spray with water, and smudge with a brush until you get the desired effect you’re after.  Last you apply the epoxy, I wasn’t sure that my marble veining looked good but once we applied the glossy epoxy it brought it to life!  The entire countertop process took about 3 days and it was so worth it!

Giani Carrara White Marble Epoxy Countertop Kit

Red Le Creuset pans on wall

For the backsplash I went with a peel and stick subway tile, and it was incredibly easy.  Just measure, cut to size, peel, and stick.  The back is nice and sticky so you can reposition the tiles a few times if needed.  Initially when I opened the package I didn’t think it looked very realistic but now that it’s up I think it looks amazing!  The only downside is that the tiles are really reflective and hard to photograph.

Peel and stick subway tile

The bamboo roman shade is from Lowe’s, I can’t remember the color but it was in stock and cut to size, and the pendant light was an amazing steal for under $30!

Peel and stick subway tile review

Giani Carrara White Marble Epoxy Countertop Kit review

One thing we will definitely be doing in the full kitchen remodel is reconfiguring the cabinets to fit a dishwasher.  Until then I’ve made peace with hand washing dishes.  The small original kitchen sink was so hard to wash dishes in so we upgraded to a single basin work station sink.  It’s been a huge lifesaver!  It comes with a cutting board, a small drying rack, and a colander that fits over the sink.  I was able to toss our large clunky dish drainer, and I purchased an over the sink dish drainer to save space.

Giani Carrara White Marble Epoxy Countertop Kit review

I debated for a while if I should paint the cabinets or leave them alone, but you know I love a good DIY project so you bet I chose to paint them!  In our full kitchen remodel I have my heart set on custom alder cabinets to match our doors but until then I decided to have a bit of fun and paint the cabinets teal.

I experimented with chalk paint because of the low prep work but I wasn’t happy with the color and after a few days the chalk paint looked rough.  Spur of the moment I used our old front door paint.  Yes, I used exterior paint on my cabinets, I had it on hand and it works.  I love the end result.

Teal kitchen cabinets white subway tile

mini kitchen makeover

You bet I love my new kitchen toy, I’ve cooked non-stop since receiving it!  Having a double oven and gas cooktop is a dream.

Kitchen makeover

Cabinets are Sophisticated Teal by the Home Depot Decorator Collection

Pendant Light | Julia Child Quote | Leopard Dishes | Marble Countertop Kit | Subway TilesDish Rack | Workstation Sink | FaucetRug | FloorOven | Le Creuset Dutch Oven | Le Creuset SkilletLe Creuset Square Skillet | Mug Tree Stand

 

It’s the same kitchen but suddenly it feels so bright and fun now!  Maybe we’ll delay the major kitchen remodel a little longer now and focus on other projects because other than a missing dishwasher I can honestly say I’m happy with the kitchen.

Like I mentioned we use our kitchen hard and I’m curious how the countertop and backsplash will hold up over time.  I’ll definitely be updating, until then feel free to ask me any questions.

OLD FASHIONED APPLE CRISP

OLD FASHIONED APPLE CRISP

Old fashioned apple crisp

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching I thought I would share my favorite, most scrumptious old fashioned apple crisp recipe.  Honestly I can’t think of anything better than being curled up on the sofa with a warm bowl of apple crisp topped with vanilla ice cream.  It’s true happiness!

I love a good apple pie but let’s face it, pie crust isn’t exactly fun to make or work with.  To me, apple crisp will hands down always win because of how easy it is to throw together and the delicious crunchy chewy topping.  It’s happiness in a bowl.  Warm melty good happiness and so worth the calories.

the best apple crisp recipe

When it comes to baking with apples it’s crucial to use the right kind.  You’ll want to choose an apple that holds its texture in the oven and one that isn’t too sweet.  Many apples are great for baking, such as granny smith, braeburn, gala, and honey crisp to name a few.  I’m partial to honey crisp because of their crisp, juicy texture and versatility.  They cost more at the grocery store but they taste delicious, fresh or baked.

How to slice apples

For easy sliced apples start by peeling them and slice into four quarters.  Slice each quarter into slices about 1/4 inch thick.  Sometimes I’ll cut my apples a little thinner or thicker but 1/4 inch is a good rule of thumb.

the best apple crisp recipe

Slicing all the apples can feel tedious but once you’ve sliced all your apples everything comes together fast.  From there I mix the apples in a bowl with a little flour, sugar, and spices.  The crumb topping is also oh so easy because we add melted butter.  Yep, no cutting in cold butter.  Just melt it, pour it into the crumb mixture, and stir until combined.  You’ll know it’s done when the butter starts to clump together with the mixture.  Those clumpy bits taste so good out of the oven.

If you’re wondering why no baking powder or soda that’s a great question.   Many apple crisp recipes will call for baking soda or powder even though there is nothing to rise.  This has always baffled me, so I leave it out.  As I’ve researched why this is done it seems that baking powder or soda can raise the pH level of the topping which can enhance browning, but even that’s debatable.  So I’ve never used it.

Old fashioned apple crisp

Apple Crisp

Ingredients

For the apple filling:

  • 6-7 baking apples, I use honey crisp
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup water

For the topping:

  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 2 cups flour
  • cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • a pinch of salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Peel apples and slice into 4 quarters. Slice each quarter into thin slices.
  • In a bowl large enough to hold the apples, mix together white sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the apples and mix until the apples are coated in the mixture.
  • Place the apple mixture into a greased 4-quart baking dish or a deep 9x15 casserole dish.
  • In a seperate bowl combine 2 cups flour, brown sugar, and melted butter. Crumble evenly over the apple slices.
  • Bake for about 45 minutes and cool slightly. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Old fashioned apple crisp

You can store the leftovers covered at room temperature for up to three days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.  If you do refrigerate your crisp you can reheat it in the oven, however you may loose a little crispness.  Cover with foil so the top won’t burn and reheat it for 15 minutes at 350.

the best apple crisp recipe

Funny story, a few months ago we had some perfect fall days, so of course I had to make the family an apple crisp.  Not long after the crisp was in the oven I started smelling something that reminded me of enchiladas.  As the apple crisp cooked the smell kept getting stronger and stronger.  To my horror I realized I had accidentally used cumin instead of cinnamon!

My husband the trooper ate a lot of it, but the rest of use couldn’t get past the strong cumin flavor.  So I guess I should say there isn’t anything better than a bowl of warm apple crisp topped with ice cream… unless you put cumin in it!

OUR FALL DECK REVEAL + WILDFIRE UPDATE

OUR FALL DECK REVEAL + WILDFIRE UPDATE

Deck design before and after

I am thrilled to be home and back to working on my blog.  As some of you may know we were evacuated from our home for weeks because of the Cameron Peak fire.  Then we were evacuated from the place we were staying because of the East Troublesome fire.  Things have definitely been stressful!  The wildfire did come onto our property and burn some of our trees but our home is fine and so is our new back deck!

Brian finished the back deck in July but after a few weeks many of the boards shrunk despite us acclimating the wood.  We suddenly had dangerous wide gaps between the boards, so he had to unscrew each board and move it over, buy more wood and also let that acclimate. Then my patio furniture was on backorder for 10 weeks.  Once the patio furniture arrived and we put the finishing touches on the deck for the second time, then we were suddenly evacuated because of the fire.  Looking at the fire satellite map we knew the fire was on our property and we had accepted the fact that the new deck was cursed and might had been damaged or completely burned.  But I’m happy to say the deck was just fine… the deck curse is broken!

Ok let’s see some crazy before photos back when this area was a hideous looking sunroom.

Deck design before and afterDeck design before and after

I dismantled the interior and filled in nail holes while Brian removed the structure piece by piece.  We kept the back metal wall of the sunroom as a retaining wall and covered it with deck boards.  Brian did all the wood work while I painted the back of the house and the exterior metal stairs and stained the deck.

Deck design before and after

Deck design before and after

We love the final result and yes it was worth all the blood, sweat, and tears.  We have a front deck that we love with an incredible mountain view, however it gets very sunny and it’s not very private.  The back deck has a completely different feel from the front deck.  It’s isolated, cozy with trees and rocks, and is always shaded.  So now we have the best of both worlds.  Below you can see where the fire burned next to our house.

Deck design before and after

Tree face and string lights

Does anyone else love tree faces as much as me?  They’re so cute and look like tree people!

We went with Polywood Adirondack chairs again because of the durability.  We had them at our Texas home and they were very durable in the harsh summer sun and I felt confident they would survive Colorado winters.  I was also concerned with chipmunks and squirrels chewing things up so again I felt confident going with Polywood products.  Polywood is made in the USA and made from recycled plastics so it’s an overall win for me.  Plus they have a ton of colors and styles to choose from.

We did have a big rock roll down during the fire that broke the bottom of a chair you can see above but Polywood has a great warranty and replacement parts available.  Luckily nothing else was damaged.

Polywood black Adirondack chairs

Faux outdoor trees

Briefly we had some real potted plants on the deck and they were eaten instantly.  So I went with faux evergreen trees and shrubs.  They look very realistic from a distance and sort of real up close but hey… they’re animal and winter proof.  Plus no watering!

Tree Face and string lights

We’re no strangers to outdoor string lights, I’ve bought so many over the years from various places but these LED string lights are hands down the best we’ve ever bought.

Outdoor deck design

This is just phase 1 of our deck, you can see above how the boards just stop.  That’s where we plan to continue the deck into what I call mega-deck!  Mega-deck will extend off towards the area where the fire burned.  So I’m actually relieved we hadn’t started any deck work over there yet.  Mega-deck will extend around the trees, have a dining area, a bar counter, another lounge area and if I get my way with Brian some swings and a slide that goes from one level to the other.  It will be epic.

Cameron Peak fire damage

I love to change up my decor seasonally inside and out so I went with washable removable pillow covers to compliment the buffalo plaid pillows.  So once Christmas comes I’ll change the orange covers out to red.  Yes, we will be enjoying this patio in the winter, that’s what heaters and blankets are for!

Outdoor orange and buffalo plaid pillows

As for the fire you can see how it wrapped around our driveway, into our side yard, and in a small area went up on the hill behind our deck.  Firefighters had hoses and sprinklers around our house to prevent the fire from spreading.  We are extremely grateful for everything they did to save our home.

Cameron Peak wildfire

Cameron Peak fire damage

Cameron Peak fire damage

We did lose a few trees, and I’m worried about the trees that seem to be alive now but have charred trunks and branches.  Only time will tell I guess.  Hopefully this summer everything comes out nice and green again.

outdoor string lights at night

SHOP THE POST

Adirondack Chairs | Bench | Side Table | Plaid Pillows | Pillow Covers | Pillow Insert | Faux Tree – 36 in | Faux Shrub | String Lights | Tree Face 1 | Tree Face 2 | Sconce Light | Cheetah Door Mat | Berry Wreath

PAINT COLORS

Deck stain is Ready Seal in Natural Cedar

Exterior is Rockies Brown, by Benjamin Moore

Trim is Appalachian Brown, by Benjamin Moore

Door is Sophisticated Teal by the Home Depot Decorators Collection.

Such an improvement from a gross unusable smelly sunroom to a gorgeous outdoor living space.  I’m thrilled with the results, and fingers crossed we will start mega-deck soon.  Thanks for reading.

A VERY SPOOKTACULAR HALLOWEEN TABLESCAPE

A VERY SPOOKTACULAR HALLOWEEN TABLESCAPE

DIY spooktacular Halloween tablescape

There’s nothing I love more than fall.  The weather is cool, the trees turn golden, pumpkins everywhere, and Christmas is just around the corner.  This is my happy time and probably it’s yours too.  I mentioned in my last Halloween wreath blog post that I normally don’t decorate a lot for Halloween.  I can’t do scary but really I’m just hyper focused on Thanksgiving and Christmas.  This is the year I’ve decided to change all that!  Yes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but since we’re in the middle of a pandemic I think we all could use a little more fun.  So I’m excited to share my first ever Halloween spooktacular tablescape!

DIY spooktacular Halloween tablescape

I’ve always been a big fan of black and white decor, especially when it comes to setting the table.  I’m a firm believer that we all need a set of basic white dishes and basic black dishes.  Nothing anchors a table like black or white, and the combinations you can create year round are endless.

DIY spooktacular Halloween tablescape

I love having a vivid contrast in my decor, and these black and white striped chargers were an amazing find, and on sale for $2!  Pair them with these orange buffalo plaid napkins (also on sale) and my heart sings!

DIY spooktacular Halloween tablescape

DIY spooktacular Halloween tablescape

I’m a Le Creuset fan all the way, but I can’t help but be totally obsessed with these Staub pumpkins.  They’re the perfect size for soups, side dishes, and individual desserts.  I have the black pumpkins and the orange ones… I’m already feeling like I NEED the white ones too!  They’re adorable, oven proof, and double as home decor, you can’t go wrong with these!

DIY spooktacular Halloween tablescape

The ghost centerpiece was a cute, last minute craft project I made.  We’re having a not so scary Halloween this year and these friendly ghosts fit the bill.  I love them especially paired with my super easy white washed pumpkins.

DIY spooktacular Halloween tablescape

DIY spooktacular Halloween tablescape

Black & White Chargers | Black Dishes | Flatware | Napkins | Black Pumpkins 

If you follow me on Instagram I gave you a sneak peak of our back deck.  I’m so happy with the way everything turned out, and I can’t wait to do a full reveal on the blog so stay tuned and again happy fall!  It’s been a rough year so soak up all this fall goodness and Halloween fun.

DIY spooktacular Halloween tablescape

 

MAKE A SPOOKY-CHIC HALLOWEEN WREATH IN JUST 20 MINUTES

MAKE A SPOOKY-CHIC HALLOWEEN WREATH IN JUST 20 MINUTES

DIY Spooky-chic Halloween Wreath in 20 minutes or less

October is here and that means it’s time to decorate!  I love to decorate for every season, but some years Halloween gets left out.  Not by choice, I’m not against it or anything, it’s just that I’m usually already too focused on planning my Thanksgiving and Christmas decor and then it’s too late.  Since 2020 hasn’t exactly been an ideal year I decided if there’s ever a year I need to decorate the house for Halloween it’s this one.  I think we all could use some extra fun and playful joy right now!

I love to make wreaths, that is as long as they aren’t too complicated or time consuming.  Even though this is a Halloween wreath have no fear!  You can put this oh so easy spooky-chic wreath together in just 20 minutes or less.

DIY Spooky-chic Halloween Wreath in 20 minutes or less

When it comes to Halloween decorations I can’t do scary.  I’m a big baby and just can’t do it!  Luckily this wreath is the perfect balance of a little bit spooky and a whole lot of chic.  I’m definitely not a spider fan at all, in fact I have one trapped under a bowl in the living room right now for my dear hubby to take care of.  However, when you cover them in glitter or somehow make them cute suddenly I can deal.  I need something spooky right?

I’ve always loved making feather wreaths, especially around Halloween.  They’re just so festive and fun!  I’ve used purple feathers before, even lime green and all have turned out great.  So use this blog post as inspiration for your own unique wreath if that’s your jam.  Below I’ve listed where my items were purchased, some I had on hand from last year, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find similar Halloween embellishments pretty easily.

DIY Spooky-chic Halloween Wreath in 20 minutes or less

SUPPLIES NEEDED

18 inch straw or foam wreath ($4.99 from Hobby Lobby)

3 (6ft.) foot black feather boas ($3.99 each from Hobby Lobby)

Hot glue

A Halloween sign (Halloween clearance last year)

Black faux flowers ($2.99 from Hobby Lobby)

Glittery pumpkins (.99 from Wal-Mart)

Glittery spiders ($3 from The Dollar Tree last year)

DIY Spooky-chic Halloween Wreath in 20 minutes or less

INSTRUCTIONS

DIY Spooky-chic Halloween Wreath in 20 minutes or less

If you’re using a new straw wreath you’ll want to keep the plastic on to avoid a big mess.  Start by hot gluing the end of the feather boa on the back of the wreath.  Then wrap the boa all the way around the wreath and secure that end with hot glue.  Continue this with the next two feather boas, adjusting to avoid any bare spots.  I only glue the ends down so you won’t need much hot glue here.

TIP:  Feather boas shed like CRAZY!  You’ll definitely need to vacuum afterwards, but be sure to save the larger feathers that fall off.  They’re perfect for filling in any gaps or bare spots on the wreath should you need them.

DIY Spooky-chic Halloween Wreath in 20 minutes or less

Once the wreath is completely wrapped begin hot gluing the largest items first such as the flowers and Halloween sign.  Followed by the pumpkins and spiders.  The feathers can be a little floppy sometimes, so you might need to add several spots of hot glue until your items are secure.

How easy was that?  Once you gather your supplies you’ll have this spooky wreath done is 20 minutes, or possibly less!

DIY Spooky-chic Halloween Wreath in 20 minutes or less

DIY Spooky-chic Halloween Wreath in 20 minutes or less

Spooky?  No, we’re spooky-chic darling.  A little bit creepy and a whole lot of glam!  Now go grab that bag of candy you’ve been hiding and  start having some Halloween fun!  I’ve got a few more “not too scary” Halloween projects to share with you soon, my spooky friends, so check back soon!