31 days challenge

Welcome to the landing page for this year’s 31 day challenge, hosted by  Nesting Place– in which for the 31 days of October I’ll post a quick blurb each (week)day all related to one topic- and gather them all at the bottom of this post!

Last year I did this too, and my topic was home organization- see all  21 of those posts wrapped up nice and labeled here.

This year my topic is… drumroll please….

31 things I wish I knew in my first month of homeownership. 

It’s kind of a mouthful, but wait- I made a graphic!

tips for new homeowners, home owners, first time home buyer

By no means am I at all an expert on homeownership, but I do have some real basic stuff that I really do wish I had known. (Note that I knew NOTHING when I bought a house, including what a DIY blog was). I plan to focus on all things design, decor, and even ultra basic (like, um, you should probably shut off the water source to your outside faucets before it freezes outside). So stay tuned and sit back, because I’m on a regular posting schedule again. Holler.

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Day 1: Beige is not the only neutral! (and some paint sheen advice too)

Day 2: Sometimes You Gotta Live With It

Day 3: You Can Paint Anything (and some tips on how and what to use)

Day 4: What to do in the first 72 hours

Day 5: Saturday Happy Thoughts

Day 6: Consider Things Beyond Style

Day 7: You Don’t Have to Like Every Trend

Day 8: 3 Efficiency Updates for your Home

Day 9: Picture Editing for Free

Day 10: Winterizing Your Home

Day 11: More on Paint Sheen (and some more paint tips!)

Day 12: The Dreaded Mortgage

Day 13: Stop with the Pinning and Start with the Doing

Day 14:  Design Theory

Day 15: Shop Your House

Day 16: Who Gave Me a House?

Day 17: Buying New vs. Thrifting

Day 18: Cleaning Your Dryer

Day 19: Throwback Friday

Day 20: Your Monthly Payment Could Change

Day 21: Couch Pillows

Day 22: What’s your house love story?

tips for new homeowners - a blog series

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Like this post? Then you may like:

organize organization help for home wedding life meal planning_____

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Pinterest Food Challenge: Slow Cooker Chicken

You guys, I totally hopped on the slow cooker train recently- and I am so mad I was so afraid of it for so long.

Sidenote: I freaking love to cook and bake. But I have really weird fears surrounding it. Like when I moved into my very first apartment I didn’t eat chicken for a year because I was afraid I’d under cook it and accidentally kill myself. And now how I’ve owner a slow cooker for 2 years and just used it for the first time this month.

EXCEPTION TO THIS…. always use your slow cooker to keep rolls warm when you’re hosting dinner. It’s freaking brilliant.

 

ANYWAYS. CHICKEN. I MADE SOME.

pinterest recipe, recipe, cook, bake, food

I haven’t posted for the Pinterest Food Challenge in an exceptionally long time, so here’s 2 solid and easy slow cooker recipes for you.

 

1. Ranch Chicken:

  • Put 1 can cream of chicken soup and  1 packet of Ranch powder in your slow cooker and stir it up a bit. Add 1-2 lbs. chicken breast and stir that up a bit. Let it slow cook for 5-6 hours.

Really… just dump a few things in the slow cooker and have yourself a par-tay because it is literally that easy.

 

2. Tex Mex Chicken (adapted from this recipe at Close To Home):

  • Put 1 cup salsa, 1.5 cups shredded Mexican cheese, 1 small can of corn, 1/2 red pepper, 1/2 green pepper, 1 jalepeno pepper, and 1-2 pounds chicken in your slow cooker and stir it up a bit. Let it slow cook for 5-6 hours.

 

My slow cooker looks to be from the 60s or 70s, I inherited it from my aunt. And the “low” setting doesn’t seem to work so I cook everything on high. For both those recipes I filled up the pot around 11am and served dinner at 5:30 and the chicken was safely not pink, and so so melt in your mouth delicious. Did you know chicken could melt in your mouth? Because it sort of almost totally can.

 

Enjoy!

And please, share more slow cooker recipes in the comments because I would love some.

 

How to Upcycle an Old Frame

I’ve got a real quick and easy DIY for you today- making an old frame new again with just a little paint.

To get right down to it- frames are expensive. Super expensive. So what you should do is keep an eye out at thrift stores for decent frames and get those instead- and don’t just look through the regular old empty frames, look for the ones with the terriblely dated art too. Look beyond that old art and right into a sweet, sweet $3 solid wood frame that there’s no way you could buy anywhere else for that price.

old frame, wooden frame, diy frame

 

I picked up this bad boy about 4 months ago for $3 at the Habitat Restore and have been hoarding it ever since. The art was old and faded and the wood had seen better days, but I knew with just a little spray paint it could be awesome again.

during Collage

 

First, I removed all the staples that were holding the art in, then I also removed the hanging wire because I want to display it vertically and not horizontally. I spray primed the whole thing then gave it 3 coats of white paint. After the white was dry I then painted the inside of the frame teal with a leftover test pot I had laying around- I thought it gave it a little extra kick because the pure white was looking a bit stark. Once it was dry I flipped it over and used a staple gun to reattach the hanging wire.

upcycled frame

 

I got out some leftover black poster board from my Halloween window display and made a mat (matte?), then hung it up right outside our bedroom door with a picture from our wedding.

Our wedding colors were teal and black, so the inside of the frame and the mat are a little homage to that.

If I’m being honest, it’s actually still a little too country looking for my taste, but it’s not in a prominent place in the house so I think I’ll live with it a bit and see if it grows on me.

how to upcycle an old frame

 

What do you think? Are you ready to run out and scoop up so many cheap frames for your own art? If you are… call me. I’d totally love to come.

 

 

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PS- If you entered our giveaway under the name Thecape Onthecorner then check your email. Because YOU are winner winner chicken dinner. Congrats!!

High 5 for Friday

 photo H54Fbutton-1_zpsa7aaa665.png

I haven’t done one of these posts in a while, but thought I’d hope back on board.

Here’s my top 5 for the week:

1. I got to be a part of an awesome collaboration and was able to create something I never would have done otherwise. (and there’s still a giveaway for it going on too- make sure you enter to win a $200 gift certificate!)

DIY Halloween Window Display

DIY Halloween Window Display

2. Our professional wedding pictures are done and here! Now I can start working on Christmas gifts and frames.

DSC_0750

3. I made some crazy good baked french toast last night thanks to Pioneer Woman. It was even more delicious when I had it again for breakfast this morning. When things taste this good they’re totally healthy, right? RIGHT?! Also, it reminded me that even though I’ve been cooking I totalllllly forgot about my Pinterest Food Challenge. Whoopsie.

4. We now have both sinks and vanities needed to redo our bathrooms- we just need to make time to do them! I’m hoping slowly over the next few weeks but right now I’m eagle eyed on finishing up our darn basement stairs once and for all.

5. We had our basement movie room measured by Home Depot so we can start picking out flooring (which will probably be done in the spring) and I found out we’ve got an extra 341 square feet down there! That’ll be so huge for resale. The room is basically finished but has a concrete subfloor, so it couldn’t be listed as such.  I realized it was big, but we packed it with so much stuff I didn’t realize it was that big.

Psst: IT'S ALL THE WIRES! :)

Excuse the label, I janked this picture from the one where we hid all our wires

How was your week? Any awesome halloween decorations or projects coming together?

DIY Halloween Window Display: How To Guide

Yesterday I shared with you my newest Halloween decoration (and a $200 gift certificate giveaway!!) and today I want to break it down and show you how you can make your very own.

This looks far more complicated then it really is.

This looks far more complicated then it really is.

First up, the BEWARE sign. I bought a $7 plywood drawer insert from Home Depot and had them cut it in half long ways for me (which they do for free).

beware sign

  • Give the boards a quick spray of primer
  • Paint them the color you want your letters to be (I chose silver), then coat it a few times with glow in the dark spray (yes! it works, it’s just impossible to capture on camera).
  • Print out your letters (I just used Microsoft Word and made each letter the size of a piece of paper), then cut them with either scissors or an exacto knife. (If you have a Silhouette or Cricut this is far easier!)
  • Trace the betters onto your board with a pencil and paint around them in the color of your choice (I chose black)
  • Then do it all over again because you want your project to be 2 sided, so you need 2 signs

That’s it- so easy! No tools needed, just paint and a steady hand.

Next, I got a 4ft x 3ft piece of acrylic in the window section of Home Depot. This was about $30, but you can probably find an old window pane in a Restore or on Craigs List for far, far cheaper then that. I used Rustoleum metallic silver spray paint and a spray bottle with a water vinegar mixture to muss up the board a bit. Then I realized I didn’t take any pictures, so here’s some pictures from the tutorial I used:

see 17 apart blog for more details

see 17 apart blog for more details

You only need to do this on one side of the acrylic sheet because it’s transparent. Once the 2 signs and the acrylic sheet are all dry you need to sandwich all 3 pieces together with spray adhesive, I used 3M adhesive spray that was leftover from another project. After I sprayed them I left it on my kitchen table for about 2 hours to dry (with a bunch of books on top to weigh it down).

Once it’s dry, finally, you have to create the silhouette- the most difficult and time consuming part. Particularly because I went with a twisty, curly, Tim-Burton-y tree.

halloween tree how to

  • I bought double sided poster board so I could see my drawing easier (black on one side, orange on the other). I taped 2 poster boards together then free handed my tree on it with a pencil.
  • I cut out the tree with an exacto knife (which took for-ev-er), then painted the orange side black with craft paint. After it was painted black, I went over it with some Martha Stewart textured metallic paint to give it a little depth.
  • Once your painted tree is dry, adhere it to the acrylic board. This time, I used regular spray adhesive because I felt the 3M stuff was too thick and might do weird stuff to the poster board.
  • Flip your display over- you will be able to see your tree through the acrylic sheet but you will NOT want to cut that nonsense out again. Instead, just paint right on your sheet tracing the outline then filling it in the same as before.
  • Whew! Have yourself a drank, girl. That was a lot of work.

Place in window and decorate!

halloween window display

I know this seems like an excessive amount of work, but honestly I really enjoyed the painting. It was super relaxing and a fun day project. Plus, you can do this for anything- you can make a plywood WELCOME sign to hang above your entryway or you can make a colorful balloween silhouette to announce a birth or birthday. I went with a spooked out Halloween display, but really you can do anything.

Got questions? Leave them in the comments!

Fall DIY Project & $200 GIVEAWAY

Today’s post is so very exciting for me. Coupons.com challenged me and several other bloggers to each create a fall project. They said fall, I chose to hear Halloween. If you’ve been around here since the beginning, you may recall that I love Halloween so much that some decorations stay out in my house all year long. So when I was given $100 to Home Depot to create a project I jumped on it. And then when they said they’d give one of you $200 to make your own project, I jumped up and down.

fall give away2

I came up with the following guidelines for my project:

  • It had to be an indoor decoration because here in Massachusetts Halloween is sometimes rescheduled due to nor’easters- if I put something outside it would probably be ruined by weather immediately
  • It had to be BIG. Go big or go home.

Then I decided I wanted something to fill one of my two bay windows so I added a few more stipulations:

  • It had to be 2 sided so we could enjoy it inside and people outdoors could enjoy it as well
  • Something glow in the dark would be freaking amazing.

Here’s what I came up with:

diy halloween

I apologize for the graininess of the picture- I had to take photos at night so you could see that I mussed up the acrylic, so they’re kind of dark but you can see all the detail on the project itself.

diy window display

BAM! I used a $7 plywood drawer insert cut in half to create the 2 BEWARE signs, a  4ft x 3ft acrylic sheet as the screen, and poster board and paint to create the tree. Then I decked it out with some spiderwebs (also from Home Depot) and a few things I had around the house.

halloween window display

In the interest of not making this post crazy super long, come back tomorrow for the how-to break down 🙂 The sign, the acrylic sheet, and the tree each have a super easy, anyone-can-do-it how to.

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NOW HERE’S WHERE IT GETS GOOD. Coupons.com, myself, and all these lovely ladies want to give YOU $200 to either Home Depot or Amazon.com (it’s your choice!) to make your own project:

fall give away

Stephanie – Sandpaper & Glue
Gretchen – Boxy Colonial 
Because I have a terrible issue with coding, you can visit any one of those ladies’ websites today to see their project AND enter the giveaway (it’s free to enter and no email spam nonsense is going to happen! DO IT NOW!).
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Also, so much thanks to Coupons.com –  a site that I actually do regularly use. Before I go grocery shopping I always, always, always check Coupons.com to make sure I’m saving as much money as possible. Just search for the products you’re buying, then click on the coupon. It’ll save up your clicks and print your coupons all at once when you’re done- super easy. I don’t just DIY because I enjoy it, I DIY because I must. And saving money in other aspects of my life is key too.

Things I Need To Get Off My Butt & Do Already

I feel like lately I’ve done SO FEW PROJECTS lately. If you’re still tuning in around here, I’m sure you feel that way too. I think summer just took hold and sucked all my crafty motivation right out. I can’t even use the old “I got married and was busy with the wedding” excuse because um, there were less then 30 people at my wedding. Sooooo that was a pretty easy thing to plan.

In case you’re wondering if I’m ever going to pick up a paintbrush again, the answer is YES. Actually, Monday I’ll be back with a huge super awesome blog collaboration project (and a giveaway!). But I’ve got lots of other things on my radar too.

To hold myself accountable, and to keep you in the loop, here’s everything I want to get done like, yesterday:

  • Finish the darn basement stairs already
  • Redo both the full bath and half bath
  • Get rid of the chalkboard wall in  our entranceway
  • Relocate the gallery wall in the living room to where the chalkboard wall is now
  • Buy some large scale art to replace the gallery wall (THIS is what I want)
  • Move the sunburst mirror to where the chalkboard wall is now too
  • DIY some large scale art to replace where the sunburst mirror is (THIS is my inspiration)
  • Create a built in office in our guest room closer

IMG_2728

…. did summer grab hold of your motiviation too? Is anyone still out there reading about my abundance of nothingness? hello? Bueller?