Monday, January 30, 2012

Mixing it up for my cravings...

So when I was pregnant with my little girl (who, by the way, is 17 months now), I was having cravings for Butterfinger mixes. And the craving has continued, because hey! Butterfinger is just so good in soft, vanilla ice cream. I love to get it at Sonic or my favorite Okie ice cream place, Braum's.

We've been really trying to get our finances (and our waistlines) in order, and I knew the first place I needed to cut was going out to eat or for treats. And to encourage myself to do this, we're trying to recreate our fast food favorites at home on the nights we would have gone out (and make them a little healthier, if we can swing it). Well, that craving was back, so I set out to make it at home. Now this is NOT Butterfinger ice cream or a Butterfinger shake. Those totally didn't do it for me. I loved the soft-serve stuff with the chunks of candy bar freshly mixed in. And I found a pretty good substitute:

This was so easy it's ridiculous. Pull out your blender, some vanilla ice cream (I actually got the low-fat, lowest-priced stuff at Wal-Mart and it worked great) and four or five fun-size Butterfingers.

I put 10 good-sized scoops of ice cream in the blender, and then crunched up four of the little candy bars (I did a few with the rolling pin and a few by hand -- the rolling pin pulverized the candy bar but made it perfect for mixing. I like a little bigger chunks, so doing it by hand was better for me...). Add those in and set your blender to mix. I used a spoon, carefully staying away from the blades, to help it mix around a little better and voila! Butterfinger mix.

Are you hungry yet? :)

This made about three servings (my serving in the picture was the biggest one, and these are baby bowls). I took one more Butterfinger, broke it in a few places and sprinkled a little more on top because, like I said before, I like some occasional chunks in mine. Mmmmm, mmmmm, mmmmmm! Took like 5 minutes and completely satisfied my craving.

Good? So good, in fact, he was too busy eating to smile for me. I was also thinking you could make this a bit healthier if you used frozen yogurt, and you could certainly substitute any of your favorite candy bars. Maybe for Valentine's Day I'll make the hubby a Kit-Kat mix...

Monday, January 23, 2012

How refreshing -- necklaces where I can actually find them...

While I was making my earring organizer, I knew I had to do something about my necklaces, too. I have a ton of really long ones, and several with fine little chains or chunky medalions that things get stuck on. And I never wore any of them because they were a giant mess...

Here was my temporary solution, hanging on a few nails beside my earring hanger (which I absolutely adore -- makes picking out jewelry so easy). Still a big mess...

So I signed the hubby up to help me, and we made a very easy -- and inexpensive -- hanger. I used some wood he had leftover. We ended up using a piece 16 inches long and 2.75 inches wide. I had him add some nice edge trimming...

Ahhhh, such a great guy for helping me with all my crazy projects!

We sanded it up and then he drilled holes for my hooks. We left 3 inches on both sides, then added holes for six hooks, 2 inches apart. Here's the only thing I had to buy for this project (got them at Home Depot and they work fabulously):

After my hubby pre-drilled the holes for my hooks, I sanded the whole plaque and painted it with the same color as I did the earring holder (haha, or so I thought; I noticed it's a little darker shade of brown... Oh well). I also sealed it with some polyurethane. I tried out the spray kind and it was great -- much easier to get a smooth finish.

I had my husband use his router to make me some keyhole holes in the back for hanging, and I used two nails to hang this. If that's not an option for you, you can easily find hanging hardware anywhere; I suggest using two instead of one for something as long as this (plus it gets kinda heavy with all the necklaces on there).

The hooks are long enough that I had room to double up my longer necklaces (which keeps them out of reach of the baby fingers) as well as kind of separate the necklaces on the hooks.

See? I have a lot. I may still not wear these frequently, mostly because of grabby baby fingers, but it's so much easier on the eyes and my peace of mind knowing if I do want to wear one, it will be a snap picking it out and putting it on. I won't have to untangle everything to find what I want... Love it!

Plus I needed a special place to hang a pretty amazing gift I got for Christmas. Thanks, Erin! Here's the pictures we forgot to take before I left. :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Remaking a dresser, overcoming intimidation...

This was a project months in the making: Mostly months of procrastination, a few weeks of talking myself into finally doing it and then about two weeks to actually do it. Sad, huh? I have never redone furniture, and while I was really excited about the project, I was a little nervous to start. Guess I was hesitant because I didn't know what I was doing...

But I was really tired of having this sit in my garage, so I finally motivated myself to get it done. And I love the way it turned out. Wish I would've gotten over my fears sooner...

We have a bazillion books at our house, and I was actually looking for a book case for my son's room. We didn't find one for a good price when we were yard sale-ing, but we did find this little guy for $5. So I figured I would give it a try...

It was pretty banged up, missing some handles, and some chunks out of it. But I really liked the character of it. Plus I was able to minimize the imperfections when I painted.

We used spray paint for this project, so if you're going to do that, I think you can sand or not. I think you can sand a little if you want to rough up the surface and give the paint something to stick to; I decided to sand because I wanted to buff out some of the scratches and nicks.

We whipped out the electric sander, and I'm glad my hubby did the work on the main body of the dresser. There were a couple of layers of paint under the black, so I think it had already been painted twice. I wasn't able to get quite as much off when I sanded the drawers, but I think the main goal isn't necessarily to remove what's there -- just make it so you have an even, mostly smooth surface to work with.

So here's the part I was nervous about: the painting. I wanted to try spray paint because I was hoping it would be faster, and a few of the friends I had spoken with said it would be a smoother finish because you don't use a brush. I needed a good get-me-going, and I found it at All Things Thrifty, a blog written by a friend of mine from college. If you need a little more ideas when it comes to redoing furniture definitely check our her blog! Her tutorial here is what helped me get going on this dresser.

This color is called Colonial Red (Rustoleum) in a glossy finish. I had gotten bright red, and it was almost too much. So I just sprayed over where we started with the other color. The employee at Home Depot told me I didn't need to seal it since I was using glossy spray paint, but it seems to chip off easily so I may regret that.

And mess ups? Yep, I think I was afraid of that and I got that on one side. Before I found Brooke's tutorial about how to use the spray paint, my hubby did one side and, not sure why, but the paint dripped and ran like crazy. So we let it dry really well and I went back over it with the sander, used a dry towel and then a moist towel to make sure I got all the old paint and dust off. Then I just repainted and it turned out just fine!

I got these knobs at Ikea, and the original plan was to paint them into little baseballs. But then I found some vinyl baseballs on Etsy, and I thought it would be too much with both. Plus, I was worried the baseball detail would rub off as we used it. So I stuck with just the vinyl, and I really like it.

And it has been sooooo nice to have! My son has two drawers for books, which has cleared up room in the living room so little sister has a drawer all her own. Plus we have a drawer for cars, a drawer for shoes and a drawer for dress up clothes/winter clothes. Ahhhhhh, feel so organized and not quite so cramped in other places.

Do you have a project you've been putting off because you're intimidated? Just not sure where to start or worried you'll mess it up? Well, it's a new year! Time to just dig in! Look for a good tutorial, pull your stuff out so it's staring at you, take a big breath and just go for it! If it's not perfect, all the better. It will have some great character. :) And if you do mess up, remember you'll probably learn more and there's always a way to fix it.