a pretty cool life.: May 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I must confess

I've done some pretty bad things in my life. I've accidentally recycled Mr. S's favorite issue of Golf Digest; I've gone to bed without brushing my teeth; I've told Little Guy #1 I don't know where his (insanely annoying!) Little People movie went. The list goes on. However, one of the worst things I've done, by far, has been attempting to hang pictures on our 65 year old plaster walls without knowing how to properly do it. The construction genius that I am, I thought a hammer and nail would suffice. It took 2 years and everything in my power to be able to get my pictures to hang level on drywall, for crying out loud. Wrong!

So, much damaged plaster and plenty of spackle later, I know how to do it.

First, (of course) decide where you want the picture/poster/letter S to hang. Mark the wall with a dot where the nail will need to go.

Next, put a piece of scotch tape over the dot. Drill a hole big enough and long enough for your nail right through the tape.

Hammer your nail into the hole you just drilled, again right through the tape. Then hang your picture!

That's it. Really. Who knows how many chunks of plaster I (poorly) attempted to Elmer's glue back into our walls before I learned about this, but my walls can breathe easy again.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Homekeeping tip: How to remove a rust stain from your kitchen sink (one armed!)

While I am smart enough not to pour the excess fat from browned ground beef down the drain, I am not smart enough not to leave the can full of grease in my (ahem, 3 week old) white porcelain sink.

Lucky me, I got this lovely circle of rust as a reminder of what I did. (And I know my photography is crap-tapulous, so it doesn't look too bad, but I'll tell you, it was a doozy. It's there at the bottom in all its orange glory.)

The solution to this problem? Vinegar. Just plain old vinegar. I poured it on the spot and let it sit for 10 minutes or so, then rubbed it a little with a paper towel. That was it, and I did it all while holding Little Guy #2 (to be fair, nearly everything I've done for the past 5 1/2 months has been with one arm while holding him).

And, turns out, vinegar expires. Looks like mine did about 5 years ago. Yep, 2004 baby. (Don't worry-I'm not poisoning my family or making weak Easter eggs-this jug is from my cleaning supply bin, not the kitchen.)

Now here's my "after". I know it looks the same as the before (again, phenomenal photography), but trust me, it's about a million percent better (rough estimate only).

So this might not be a mind-blowing bit of information, but you may need one day when you're a genius like me and leave a can in the sink to get wet and rust.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009

S is for super

I have an unnatural love of mongramming our home with our last initial. Thank you Pottery Barn and PB Kids for starting me down this path. Here are a few.

This, of course, does not include the many others or the dozen (yes, I said 12) still sitting in the closet waiting to be hung.

So, here's the little craft project I threw together: IKEA frame I had laying around, Martha scrapbook paper and one of the letters that got its call up from the minors to escape the closet. Easy enough, and for probably about 10 bucks.

And it probably doesn't help that when I received my copy of Better Homes and Gardens this week, there was a whole article on decorating with letters. So, if you're as sick as me and feel the need to add to your collection, you can go here or here or here or here. Somehow I have a feeling my little letters in the closet are about to get some new friends.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

WARNING: Completely hilarious

I just found this blog, Cakewrecks, and am getting such a kick out of it. Definitely worth taking a peek!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

My contribution to brunch at my in-law's? Fruit salad. Man, I love my melon baller.

Have a great day all you moms!

Friday, May 8, 2009

For the love of Costco

We may only be a family of four, but we certainly get our money's worth out of our Costco membership. Once again, the store did not let me down. I went in to get our Mother's Day bouquets, and found these six beauties. They even look pretty waiting to be given, just sitting in the kitchen sink!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My little gallery of frames

I've always loved the look of Pottery Barn's gallery frames, but have always been too much of a chicken to actually hang them. Since my husband is not the Mr. Fix-it type, I knew that I would have to do it on my own (or pay the handyman).

We have a cute little hallway between our dining room and family room that has always been begging to be decorated with something. Well, now that we have two little guys and more pictures of them than I know what to do with, I pulled the trigger and actually hung a gallery of collage frames.

This is what I did to make hanging a gallery of frames super easy (and without leaving my walls looking like swiss cheese) with the perfect result. Best of all, I did it all by myself!

First, pick all the frames you want to hang. Trace each of them exactly onto newspaper, and make a hole where the nail will need to be placed for the hangers.

After you've carefully cut out each frame from the newspaper and poked holes where the nails need to be, start to arrange the cutouts on the wall. Use masking tape or painter's tape to hang them so as not to damage the paint on the walls.

After you're satisfied with your placement, start putting nails/screws through the newspaper where you marked the hangers from the frames. Take down the newspaper as you go, and start hanging your frames.

That's it! You're doing it! Once you're done, admire your handiwork - you deserve it. I'm proud to say that when my husband came home from work and saw the wall, he didn't believe that I actually did it myself. Oh, I'm good...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Planning a fiesta for today? Martha always comes up with the best ideas for centerpieces, and she'll show you how to make one perfect for today's celebration here.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Spinach and artichoke dip

Yesterday was Little Guy #2's christening, and you know what that means? A party afterwards that requires WAY too much eating. This spinach and artichoke dip is so yummy as an easy little appetizer with chips and celery.

You'll need:

4 cups chopped baby spinach
1 brick (8 oz) cream cheese
1/4 cup mayo
4 tbsp. parmesan cheese
1/4 cup milk
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 can (14 oz) chopped artichoke hearts, drained

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 large ramekins (or whatever you plan to use as a serving dish) with Pam.

Put spinach and 1/4 cup water in casserole dish and microwave, covered, on high for 2 minutes. Drain well and blot excess water with paper towels.

Beat cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in mayo, 3 tbsp of cheese, milk, garlic and basil until well blended. Stir in spinach and artichokes. Spread evenly into serving dish(es) and sprinkle with remaing cheese.

Bake 20-25 minutes and enjoy!

Try it at your next party. Trust me, you'll love it.


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