Crown Moulding: Look Ma, No Miters!

One of the easiest - and pretty inexpensive - things Sid and I have done in our house is to install crown moulding.

From our front door, you walk in to our rectangular living/dining room.  It is literally a long, long, long boxy room (and no foyer to speak of.)

Although we own a cute little yellow miter box, we decided to add some architectural interest - and miter-free moulding with the addition of wooden ornaments.
Check this out:

 We bought wooden corner blocks, which are about $6 each at HD.  To break up the length of the room, we also bought some half blocks, which we centered along the walls.  You can see one of them here.

This is one of the corner blocks at the dining end of the room.  I like the extra oomph it gives the room!

 Another shot of the half block centered along the front wall.

This is how we solved the end of the wall meets the stairwell problem.  Our front wall ends, and there is a short low ceiling (the bedroom closet upstairs fits here) before the ceiling opens up to the stairs.  We used another half block to end the moulding in a way that makes sense.

This is how we handled the many ins and outs of our kitchen moulding.  We had several interior corners and exterior corners.  FYI, the outer corner pieces are way more expensive (close to $20 each) than the inner corners but made the kitchen look so much nicer!

How to do it:

1) Screw in the corner pieces near the top of the wood blocks.  The moulding will hide the screws.

2) Measure and cut the moulding.  In our LOOOOONG front room, we used very long pieces.  Smaller spaces or more corners require more cuts.

3) Use Liquid Nails adhesive behind the edges of the moulding, at the top where it meets the ceiling, and at the bottom where it meets the wall.

4) Use just enough finishing nails to hold it up while the adhesive dries.  Countersink the finishing nails.

5) CAULK! CAULK! CAULK! CAULK! CAULK! CAULK!  - Caulk the any gaps between the moulding and the ceiling; the moulding and the wall; the moulding and the corner pieces; the corner pieces and the ceiling; and the corner pieces and the wall.

6) Let the caulk dry.  Look for any additional gaps in any of the above places.  If you find any, CAULK AGAIN!

7) Paint the moulding.  I love Behr Ultra Pure White.

We also installed bead board wainscoting.  More on that later!

(In case you're wondering, my front room color is Behr's Warm Terracotta.  My stairwell is Behr's Arabian Sands.  The kitchen and den are Behr's Whisper Yellow.)


Picture My Memories: Christmas Crafts

One of my 43 Things is to photograph my kids' old Christmas craft projects and then let them decide which ones they want to keep themselves. 

I still have the memories and the cuteness...just not the clutter.

So how did I do this?

First I took the photos.
I decided to start this project with my crappy little camera on a cold day.  Because my house faces south, I don't have many really bright rooms.  So I decided to try to photograph the kids' crafts outside on our back patio.

I wanted a white background, so I took a piece of white foam board and used spray adhesive to adhere white tissue paper to it so it wouldn't be shiny, just white.

I used a clear thumb tack to hang each piece from the foam board so it would look as good as I could make in the photo.

Then I let the kids decide which pieces they would like to keep in their own memory boxes.

I plan to include these photos along with our photos of Christmas past on a Christmas memory card that I put into a digital photo frame.  I know that when we move into our fifth wheel, space will be at a premium, and this will be one way to keep my home from being uncluttered while preserving our Christmas memories.

I decided I wanted to make a photo collage with these cute photos, so I looked online for a free collage maker.

I found one at Photovisi.

I literally downloaded my Flickr Picnik-ified photos to my computer and then uploaded them into the Photovisi program.

It was that easy...and completely free! 


Two Legs on Two Wheels Equals Happiness!

I need a new bike!

Image Credit: jenny downing

Don't get me wrong; I have a pretty red bike hanging in our garage.

 Image Credit: cowbark

The problem with my cute red bike...

Image Credit: jerrold

...is that it's a multi-speed mountain bike

Image Credit: reflexer

And the problem with mountain bikes is...

Image Credit: peacockmodern

My wrists can't hold the handlebars...

Image Credit: helga's lobsterstew

Carpal tunnel makes my hands go numb

     Image Credit: susan astray 

It makes steering a little difficult

Image Credit: kamshots

I can't ride comfortably for long

Image Credit: portocala mecanica

The cruiser style - the kind I had as a kid - has easier to grip handlebars

     Image Credit: portocala mecanica

And, most importantly, the cruiser style looks fabulous with a BASKET!!!

(and cute blouses and sandals and skirts)
(and cute blouses and capris)

Nah, just the bike
And the basket
And a little ring-ring horn

Image Credit: anders b

I need a new bike!       


Simple Cravings (Again)

You can probably guess what I have been craving...

Image Credit: clevercupcakes

Homemade chocolate topped with marshmallow sweetened with agave nectar

Image Credit: sugarbloom bev

Lemon buttermilk with lemon mascarpone frosting 

 Image Credit: jwannie

Cinnamon roll

  Image Credit: chotda


Image Credit: sugarbloom bev

Orange sherbet   

 Image Credit: m.e.c.

Cookies and cream

Image Credit: thehoneybunny


Image Credit: sugarbloom bev

Creme de menthe and cocoa with white chocolate buttercream

Image Credit: nikita!

Lemon with pretty roses

  Image Credit: sugarbloom bev

Coconut cream with milk choconut buttercream

 Image Credit: distopiandreamgirl

Chocolate hearts

I truly regret to do that to you, but I have had cupcakes on the brain, and I wanted to share the addiction love with you.

This is true cupcake-a-licious eye candy.  So sweet and no sugar to boot.  PERFECT!  

By the way, if that wasn't enough amazing and beautiful sweetness, check out distopiandreamgirl - aka probonobaker  here on Flickr.  Sit down and bring a hankie because you will drool and/or swoon at her BEAUTIFUL creations.



New Year's Resolutions Update

I've been thinking a lot lately about my monthly 2010 resolutions, and I want to post an update on my progress to keep myself honest.  And real.  I'm all about keeping it real.
January: walk an hour a day

This resolution is still in progress.  I have probably walked about 1/3 of the days in 2010.  Upon reflection I think I do better when I walk first thing in the morning.  I am still working on making that happen.  My next strategy is getting to school early to walk there.  My school is set up like a shopping mall, so just a few times back and forth from end to end is like a mile.  Seriously!

February: eat 3 fruits and 4 veggie servings daily
Image Credit: Phuong Possible

I've had much better success with this resolution, although I haven't met my goal every day.  I have been much more diligent about adding fruits, especially apples, bananas, and blueberries to my daily diet.  I tend to eat my veggies in the evening.  This is where I usually run a little short.  I'm convinced that more menu planning will help me shore this one up.

March: Alternate upper and lower body strength exercises daily.

Image Credit: lollyknit

Hahahahahahahahaha!  I need to start this one.  Seriously.  

What I did accomplish LAST month was actually my August resolution.

August:   Drink mostly water and tea.  

This is a great one because before water and tea I was addicted to this:

   Image Credit: NonTrivialMatt

These are full of artificial stuff, are bad for the environment, and they cost a lot of money - because I HAD to have the cans so the fizz wouldn't go out of the soda like it does in the bottles.

Switching to this helped:

Image Credit: ttstam 

Not this as much....

 Image Credit: narisa

Or this...

Image Credit: Moh tj

It's gotta be this:
Image Credit: makenosound

With ice, no sweeteners, and preferably with some fruit-infused green tea.  YUM!

Or, of course, this:
Image Credit: Jim Murphy

I hope you are on track with your resolutions, goals, or whatever you call those things you want to accomplish in your life.  

Happy Saint Paddy's Day!


Paring Down Old Photos

Image Credit: Lars Hammar

I tried scrapbooking once.  I LOVE markers, cool scissors, glue dots, and stickers - they inspire my creativity (and I have a THING for office supplies) and they organize so neatly.

Unfortunately, I had many other things calling my name and life got in the way.
Image Credit: shimelle
Scrapbooking went by the wayside, and the kids have since used up most of my stickers and markers on their own projects.

What I do have are a bunch of old photos from the pre-digital age of our lives.
These have been sitting in a white plastic storage bin in my closet forever.  

Can I get an amen for white plastic stackable storage bins??? Yes, I know they are not the greatest for photos, but neither are the plastic bags I've separated them into. Acid free? Hmmph.

SO the great photo pare down project began.
  • I opened my white clear plastic box, and I started purging and sorting my photos.

Here's what I purged: duplicates, blurry shots, landscape shots that didn't do the landscape any justice, thousands of the same kids opening boxes over the years.  I love pictures of them doing things, but celebrating our crazy past materialism is NOT a memory I want to keep.

  • Doesn't everything look more "official" with a bullet in front of it?
  • I put the discards in the basket above.  Crazy how many we had!
Here are what's left.  The discard pile is in the basket, but the nice, neat (mostly) stacks around them are the keepers.  

And yes, that is a Glamour Shot.  I definitely want to remember myself in all my airbrushed 90s glory.  I have another pose in a hot pink frilly number and my absolute favorite in a straw hat with a sunflower on the front.  Tres chic! 

Notice also the ADORABLE Christmas photo of my sister and me (on the right).  Cutie patooties!  My mom rolled our hair with rag for those curls.

  • Sid's old photos are next.  

They think they're hiding in his closet, but nothing is safe from The Purger...muhahahaha (cue dramatic music)!!!

Image Credit: florriebassingbourn

He's currently researching a scanning service to quick scan our photos for us.  Once we have them digitized, and backed up, we can enjoy a variety of images in digital photo frames without worrying about memories that take up space and weight in our home.
And that, my friends, is a GOOD THING!