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House #1 Revamp: Kitchen May 30, 2012

Filed under: Room Revamps — bellsandthistle @ 8:39 pm
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Our first house was a little townhouse (not very wide, but long), and a major fixer upper.  The kitchen was a very small room with a bedroom* next to it on the ground floor.  So we knocked down that wall and combined the two to make a larger kitchen.

Here was the kitchen initially.  Blue walls, a sink unit and fridge on one wall and an oven and a couple of cupboards from the 1950’s on the other.  Dirty linoleum floors.

Here’s a pic of it during demolition. You can see the wall where the sink unit is, and how small the kitchen was.  We have support posts up here until we could put in a proper support beam.  There’s a side shot, and then a face-on shot where you can see the remainder of the dividing wall on the floor!


So we used the ‘bedroom’ to house a U-shaped kitchen with breakfast bar.  Had a mosaic tiled backsplash on top of the countertops, and a stainless steel backsplash behind the stove.  The opposite wall had the same layout as before:  refrigerator and a double cabinet for extra storage (but I can’t seem to to find a pic of that wall!).  The wall with the window also had a frosted glass door to the backyard.


For our first home renovation, I’m pretty happy with how it came out!

*technically it was a bedroom but I think it would only have fit a single mattress and not much else! Called a boxroom in the UK.


House #3 Revamp: Nursery

Filed under: Kid Stuff,Room Revamps — bellsandthistle @ 8:14 pm
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I knew I was having a girl but didn’t want to go down the pink route. I was inspired by the bright green and white colors and floral imagery of a certain bubbly wine, so I used that as my base and added brown to dampen the effect.

Here are the before photos:


And here are the after photos. I want to mention that I worked for this company at the time, so I had access to some branded materials. But I didn’t want bottles of Champagne all over the nursery either!

I painted most of the room green and one wall brown to balance it out. There was an existing closet so I used 2 patterened banners and had my mom sew fabric to the bottom to achieve the correct length. I ordered green valances and crib bedding from Carousel Designs.  And put up floating IKEA shelves for books and toys.

I just loved the Tord Boontje lamp and thought it fit well with the floral theme.

I took some creative liberties with the floral motif and had a vinyl sticker printed with the baby’s name.

Continuing around the room…

And finally the crib furniture and brown feature wall with floral motif. I used an “avocado”-type lampshade for the ceiling fan.

Yes, lime green is a bold choice for any room but I think it made this room more cheery and exciting for the baby!


Patriotic Cake Trials

Filed under: Uncategorized — bellsandthistle @ 6:39 pm
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Let’s just start with no, I am not a chef by any standard. I mean, I get dinner on the table but just barely.  So I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I’m even less of a baker. But, I figure I might as well start getting some practice in for all the Bake Sales I’ll have in my future. (Ok we’re a  few years out, but…)

So, I wanted to try making a pretty multilayered cake.  And an easy one at that, I mean, who has all day for this stuff?  I really like all the ombre stuff we see floating around, and I liked this rather patriotic one that looked easy to frost.

I didn’t have a fancy bundt pan so I kinda did my own thing, which can either result in culinary genius or just some extra leftovers for the dog.  This one worked out ok though. Simple tutorial:

1. I used a box vanilla cake mix.  Divided it into 3 bowls and added food coloring.  I only had 2 x9″ pans so I baked 2 first and then let the pan cool down and did the 3rd cake.  I didn’t think the 3rd would take as long to bake as having 2 pans in the oven, but what do I know.

2. The irony is that I forgot to spray Pam on my 1st 2 cakes and they came out ok, but I sprayed it on my Blue cake and it fell to pieces…go figure.  So I had to stick the blue layer in the middle.  I cooled the cakes and then stuck them in the freezer for a bit, because, ya know, that’s what you’re supposed to do.  I guess it makes frosting easier?  Anyway, in the UK they often make a white cake with strawberry jam in between the layers and so I thought that might be tasty.

3. I thought I divided the frosting into thirds (1/3 per color) but either I didn’t or it wasn’t enough.  So I would suggest at least 1/2 is white, as you don’t need as much of the other two colors that you ‘fling on’.  I was a little heavy-handed with the blue but got my act together with the red frosting.  Put some strawberries around the side to hide the fact that my white frosting was running out.


4. Et Voila! Some dessert for dinner which took no time at all. Got a lot of nice comments and it was yummy and not burnt!


Dear Men, please leave Pinterest to us girls. Thanks.

Filed under: Uncategorized — bellsandthistle @ 6:02 pm
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Dear Male Facebook Friends,*
You’re following me on Pinterest?  Really?  I mean, umm, ok….but actually,uh, no!  Pinterest is a girls’ playland, full of wedding dresses and cute puppies and pictures of babies in tutus.  Is this really where you belong?  I know,  I know,  Pinterest is the latest Social Media Phenomenon and you had to see what it’s all about.  But now that you’ve requested – and waited for – the invite, don’t you see what I mean?  Really, us gals don’t want to see pics of Joe Namath in the 80s or Land Rovers or Men’s shoes.  Most of you guys don’t even have multiple pinboards!  Hrrrrmph.  Let us get back to looking at pictures of crafts we’ll never have time to make, recipes that don’t work and signs that say “I never finish anyth

*Except Gay Male Friends. Some of you have interesting pins and are actually funny! Except for my friend M who is taking a pic of all of his coffees…erm, not so much.