Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bathroom Renovation Begins


This is our guest bathroom...


The decor was left over from college and when we moved in, we recycled it for lack of anything else.  And there were a lot of other things that needed some attention so we let it be...few people use it anyway.  However, Nick and I will be hosting Thanksgiving for our family on my Dad's side, and the thought of people using our tiki-inspired bathroom makes me cringe a little.  I found a fantastic (grown up) shower curtain on clearance at Pottery Barn, but the shower hooks that are currently in the bathroom which are pictured above simply will not do.


Luckily shower hooks was one of the few gifts for our wedding that we got double of from the things we registered for to decorate the master bath.  I love the design but they are chocolate brown which doesn't work with my design plans.  But that's nothing a little flat black spray paint won't fix.  I set up shop outside the garage, so the neighbors probably think I'm nuts spray  painting and photographing the process.  First I gave them all a couple coats of white primer...


Then I thought, why stop there?  So I recruited my husband to remove the existing hardware from the bathroom and did the same thing with the door pulls.  They were shiny silver before.  Next, everything got a coat of flat black paint.


The finished product looks pretty good if I do say so myself.  I'm not a great spray painter so the final paint job is a little bit rough but I love it.  They look like they're cast iron.


And the best part is all it's cost so far to redo this stuff is about $10 worth of spray paint.  Now to finish the towel bar and toilet paper holder tomorrow....




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Monday, August 30, 2010

Fried Chicken

This blog is entirely at my husband's request.  He insisted that I share my method for making fried chicken since he claimed "it's the best he ever had".  It should also be noted that I hear that at least once every dinnertime (not that I mind).  I offered to let him be a guest author on the Being Elgin blog but he turned that down, which is probably good since he has zero idea how I fixed the chicken to begin with.

I wasn't prepared for this blog so the pictures are limited to well, one.  I also don't measure things a lot, so any measurements are rough estimates.  Fried chicken is one of the recipes that's been evolving over the past 9 months of our marriage.

To start with, I soaked the chicken breasts in salt water for about 15-20 minutes, although next time I'll probably do it longer.  Not having chicken thawed before limited my soaking time.  I dried them with paper towel and gave them a quick turn in an egg wash (2 eggs and a splash of water mixed up).  The breading is a mixture of about 3/4 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of Corn Flake crumbs, a little salt and pepper, and about 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.  You can't taste it really, it's just a little flavor.  Coat the chicken in it, and move it to the skillet.  I fry my chicken in a mixture of butter and Crisco.  I used about 3-4 tablespoons of butter and a couple big spoonfuls of Crisco.  (I never said this is a healthy dinner -- in fact it's one of least figure friendly dinners I make).  Fry until it's done...I don't really know how long, I didn't pay attention.  The chicken should be very resistant when you poke it with the tongs...if it's squishy feeling, keep cooking.

I also made mashed sweet potatoes which is Nick's new favorite side dish.  He also requested fried apples.  I usually do make something green to go with, but we were out of peas and I wasn't in a broccoli mood so I didn't worry about it too much.

So without further ado...the fried chicken Nick insist that I share.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tissue Paper Pom-Poms

The Girl Creative

Another project I did for my sister's baby shower was tissue paper pom-poms.  I made them in pink, chocolate brown, and white, although the white ones fell down so we just left them down.  These were super easy to make and looked really cute hanging around.  I've seen them made two different ways.  You can use the styrofoam and hot glue method.  I used the Martha Stewart method, basically just because I had the stuff for that method. 

To start with, you need 8-10 sheets of tissue paper, stacked on top of each other.  Then starting at the end, you need to do an accordion fold all the way down the paper. 


Next, I fold the paper in half so I keep the sides even.  At the crease, I tied fishing line with long tails to make it easy to hang.  Martha's instructions said to use floral wire, but I found fishing line MUCH easier to deal with.  If you don't tie the knot tight enough, you just pull on the tails and it tightens up.



It's tough to see, but there's fishing line there.  After you tie the fishing line, I cut the ends of the paper to make it look more decorative.  You can round the ends, so do a point.  I cut the ends into a point because it's easier.


Next, fan out the ends as much as possible.  I found it's easier to seperate the layers that way.


The next step is seperating layers.  Take one layer of the tissue and pull it toward the center. 


Make sure you pull the layer loose all the way to the center where the fishing line is. If you don't pull it to the center, it won't look right when you're finished.



Pull apart the layers of tissue paper on both sides of the center until about half of the sheets are seperated.


Next, flip the pom-pom over and follow the same steps with the other half.


Once you and finished, you should have a full pom-pom.  You may have to adjust the layers a little once you hang it.



And here's a photo of one hanging at the baby shower.  They made a nice backdrop.  I might even make some little ones to hang in my classroom.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Baby Shower Banner

Make it Yours @ My Backyard Eden


One of the projects that I did for my sister's baby shower was to make a banner. I got the idea from Dragonfly Designs.  I used my handy dandy Cricut and it made the project SO much easier, but you could do it without.

I started by cutting out triangles out of solid pink paper.  Then I cut a slightly smaller triangle to glued them together.

I used scrapbooking glue stick for this part.  I found that regular glue made the paper wrinkly. 


I like Elmers Extra Strength Glue Stick...the kind that goes on blue and dries clear.  Next, I cut out the letters to spell out 'Welcome Baby Grace' from chocolate brown cardstock.  My sister's naming her baby Grace if you hadn't already figured that out.  Then I glued the letters onto the triangles.


After the letters were attached, I used double sided scrapbooking tape to attach the banner to pink ribbon.  I used the double sided tape just for convenience sake...it stuck to the ribbon nicely but it was easy to take the triangles off to realign and adjust. 

And here's a couple of pictures of the final product.  It held up beautifully and looked super cute!!



And a close up from where I hung it in our office so I could see what it looked like.





Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I'm Still Here...

I haven't given up blogging...or set a once-a-month blogging rule for myself. Since my last post, I have started my Masters program, started back to work (which GREATLY reduces my project and blogging time), started my wedding scrapbook, and am in the midst of planning a baby shower for my sister. I actually have blogs nearly ready to go about shower projects, but the shower is a surprise...well at least the decorations are...my sister knows about the shower. I will be eagerly sharing my baby shower projects sometime on Saturday AFTER my sister sees it all.


In other news, Abby is recovering from being fixed. I think they took out girl parts and put in more energy. But she has adjusted to me being back at school during the days very well. And she's discovered a new hobby...watching television....