Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Barn Wood Topped Side Table

A few years ago I found a couple of side tables at Target on clearance.  They were a steal at less than $15 a piece. The simple glass topped tables have a black metal base in a transitional style which can easily work in a traditional or more clean lined room.  I used them as is for a little while but always knew that I'd redo them eventually.  It really annoyed me that the glass was always covered in smudges. Destined for decorative greatness, these tables needed a new look...and pronto.  My now transformed and "newish" side tables are topped in reclaimed barn wood slats giving them a farmhouse fresh look.

Check out the BEFORE picture (below) of one of my tables.  

This one has actually spent a good bit of time on my patio which caused the finish to peel on top.  It was already a bit distressed when I purchased the tables.  No worries - I'll clean it up with a wire brush before refinishing.  But I'm debating on refinishing the bases because I like the already distressed look.  The top part of table won't even show because it will be covered with the barn wood top.

As I was walking down the wood aisle at Hobby Lobby the other day, I found these great barn wood slats for about $7 a bundle (less if you use the 40% off coupon).  It took 2 bundles for each table.  Here's how the barn wood looks up close.  Both sides have the barn wood finish so either side can be used.

I did a "dry fit" of the slats on top of table by lining up the slats along the table with about 1/2" overhang on all sides. The slats were too long for one side and needed to be cut down to 22 1/2".  That means I get to use power tools!  

I removed the slats and placed on floor. Using bass wood slats, I attached three slats (see picture below) to barn wood grouping.  I used my Easy Shot stapler using 5/16" staples to attach wood slats along back of barn wood.  The bass wood slats (24"x1"x1/8") can be found in the wood area at Hobby Lobby.  I cut them down to 17" for my table top.

After barn wood is attached together to form "table top", it's ready to cut to appropriate length with skill saw.  My length was 22.5".  My husband demonstrated how to use the skill saw and stood by as I made the cut.

I did it!  I made a straight cut (surprisingly) and didn't lose a finger in the process (whew).  The noise the saw produced was much louder than I expected so if you are doing a lot of wood working use hearing protection.  See those scraps on the floor?  I'll be using those for another simple project so stay tuned...

My barn wood top is now ready to be attached to table base.  I originally thought I'd refinish the base with a fresh coat of black paint. But the already distressed finish is growing on me and it saves me a paint job.  I carefully applied a little constructive adhesive along edge of tabletop where the slats (underneath) touch the table. I carefully placed tops to each table leaving a 1/2" overhand on each side and voila! - check out my "new" Barn Wood Topped Side Table.  

I told you those original tables were destined for greatness! If I can't have the farmhouse and barn (farmhouse sink, chickens, fresh eggs, horses...I could go on), I'll bring a little farmhouse charm into our home.

What are your farmhouse wishes?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Easy Enchilada Casserole

Baby, it's cold outside.  Well, sort of.  Although the winter solstice doesn't officially begin until December 21st, it's beginning to feel cooler down here in Texas. Finally. The low this morning was actually in the upper thirties. Woohoo! I can finally wear my puffy vest and scarf.  I know that's probably laughable to friends living in the north.  But, hey, I'll take what I can get.  

What kind of food do you like to eat when the temp drops and the weather man announces a freeze warning?  Comfort food?  Yep, me too.  I crave something warm, hearty and Mexican.  For me that translates into enchiladas.  Any kind of enchiladas - beef, chicken, or spinach.  As much as I love to eat them, I'm definitely not a fan of the messy, tedious and time-consuming process of rolling each individual enchilada.  I came up with a simplified version of enchiladas which has the same great flavor without all the work - Easy Enchilada Casserole.

I've got two versions - Easy Beef Enchilada Casserole 

and Green Chili Chicken Enchilada Casserole.  

The only difference in ingredients is the meat and enchilada sauce.  For demonstration purposes (and dinner tonight), I made the Green Chili Chicken Enchilada Casserole earlier today.  But my boys are begging to order pizza because it's Thursday Night Football and we did have the Easy Beef Enchilada Casserole last weekend.  Ugh!  I guess I know what I'm having for lunch tomorrow. 

This is the Las Palmas enchilada sauce that I found at my local Target.  It doesn't really matter what brand but be careful to check the "heat" level because canned enchilada sauce can be very hot.  It will usually indicate mild, medium, or hot on the can.  Check the label.  I prefer mild to medium.

First things first, lightly toast the corn tortillas in nonstick skillet.  This is probably the most time-consuming part of recipe but don't skip it.  The tortillas taste better when toasted. Set aside.

Cook your meat in a large nonstick skillet adding taco seasoning and enchilada sauce.  I'm thinking I should have diced my chicken a little smaller but haven't cooked the casserole yet so I'll let you know.  

Lastly, assemble your casserole by layering sauce, tortillas, meat, cheese, and more sauce.

Repeat layer one more time then top with tortillas, sauce, and cheese.  You can cover and refrigerate before cooking later.  It's a great make ahead recipe.  You can also bake it immediately.  

With only a few ingredients (that you may already have on hand), this meal comes together quick for a busy weeknight meal.  You can have it ready to pop in the oven when you get home from a busy day at work or after a long day on the ski slopes.  

It's hearty, hot, and muy delicioso!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Room Redo - Part One

Over the summer, I replaced the small nightstands in our master bedroom with new larger tables that have more storage.  The former tables found a temporary home in our garage (much to my husband's dismay).  The garage is his domain afterall so having various decorative items in there puts a cramp in his style.  That would be like him putting his camping gear in my creative space.  Yikes!  So...he's been very patient with me as I've finally come up with a plan for the tables and lamps taking up precious space in his "mancave".  So what's the plan?  A Room Redo!  

Well, you might be wondering what kind of room redo.  We have two options - a Girl's Room Redo or a Guest Room Redo. The only "girl" in our house besides me is of the golden doodle variety and she definitely does not deserve a bedroom of her own.  Her sock fetish is out of control and she's been waking us up in the wee hours of the night to hang out in the backyard!  Enough about my delinquent dog...

I have a few friends who are interested in a room redo and helping me out with this blog series.  I'll let you know in an upcoming post which makeover it will be.  Your guess is as good as mine!  Who knows, maybe I'll end up doing both because I have two sets of side tables that need a new home.  I know one thing for certain - my husband will be happy to know that both design plans include the removal of side tables and table lamps from his mancave.

Here's what I came up with for each design plan:

Girl's Room Redo

The bedding I envision for the girl's bedroom makeover is the Tenley Floral Paisley Quilt Collection from Steinmart.  Although not pictured on the design board, I would also include an orange duvet (color in euro shams) at the end of the bed for a little extra warmth when needed.  Painted horizontal stripes in the dusty blue or soft yellow would look awesome on the bed wall!

Guest Room Redo

The bedding I envision for the guest bedroom makeover is the Suravi Floral Paisley Quilt Collection from Steinmart.  Although not pictured on the design board, I would also include a blue duvet (color in euro shams) at the end of the bed for a little extra warmth when needed.  Painted horizontal stripes in a beige or light tan would look great on the bed wall!

I think the Tenley bedding is a bit more "girly" but could still work in a guest room.  I can really see it in a teenage girl's bedroom or a beach house bedroom though.  The colors are light, bright, and fun!  The Suravi bedding has more earthy colors which make it a bit less feminine and probably more gender neutral for a guest room.  But the blue side tables and lamps can work in either room.

Do you have a room that needs a makeover?  Look around your home or a friend's garage (wink, wink)...you might find a great lamp or a cute side table just waiting for a new life in your room.

Happy Decorating!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

The deluge of rain definitely put a damper on things last weekend but the sun finally came out Saturday afternoon so it turned out to be a perfect night for trick-or-treating.  Did we let the dreary weather stop us from carving pumpkins? No way!  Even the slimy little slugs in our garden liked our jack 'o lanterns so much they came all the way up to our front porch to check them out.  Have you ever saved the pumpkin seeds for roasting?  Why throw them away when you can make a tasty little treat!

After rinsing the seeds off in a small colander to remove the pumpkin "guts", I placed seeds on a sheet of waxed paper to dry out over night (or until they are completely dry).  The picture below shows how the seeds look after mixing with olive oil and seasonings but before roasting.

Measure out a cup of seeds and pour into mixing bowl.  For each cup of seeds, I tossed in 1 teaspoon of olive oil plus a variety of seasonings (except for Sugar & Spice version which calls for melted butter).

Simple Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
(Fiesta Lime pictured above)

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Toss seeds with oil.  Add seasonings stirring to completely coat each seed.  Pour onto parchment covered baking sheet spreading seeds out into a single layer.  Place pan in the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes depending on how toasty you like them.  I checked my seeds every 10 minutes to make sure they didn't burn. You want them lightly browned.

For roasted pumpkin seeds with a little extra flavor, you can add a variety of seasonings.  I like the Mrs. Dash brand of seasonings because they are salt-free.

Fiesta Lime
Add 1/2 teaspoon Fiesta Lime Seasoning (Mrs. Dash brand)

Lemon Pepper
Add 1/2 teaspoon Lemon Pepper seasoning (Mrs. Dash brand)

Add 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Sugar & Spice
Eliminate olive oil, salt and pepper.  Add 1/2 melted butter, 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice seasoning and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar or turbinado sugar such as Sugar in the Raw.

My older son (who can be on the picky side) said, "These are amazing!"  That's a huge endorsement coming from him and made my heart smile! :-D

The entire batch of roasted pumpkin seeds (garlic seasoned) got gobbled up before I could even finish typing this post! This snack is so yummy and addictive it should come with a warning label - Once you start eating them, it's hard to stop! 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Simple Thanksgiving Mantel

After putting away the plethora of Halloween decorations yesterday, I was more than ready to simplify things for my Thanksgiving decor.  In less than an hour, I came up with a simple "Give Thanks" design for my mantel.

I actually used a few items from my Halloween mantel - two of the clay pots and the artwork.  I placed the large artwork in the middle leaning against the stone.  I created chalk art with the words "give thanks" using my framed glass chalkboard. 

This chalkboard tends to move around with the seasons.  For the Thanksgiving season, it will be leaning to the right of the main artwork.

I moved the clay pots to the outer edges of the mantel and placed faux cream pumpkins in them.  This creates a sort of pumpkin topiary.  On the inside edge of each clay pot, I placed a Mercury glass candle holder.  Sprays of fall foliage are tucked between the pot and candle as well as the outside edge of the art.

Using five different fall-inspired scrapbook papers which I already had on hand, I created a simple banner to drape along the front of the mantel.  

Using a template, I traced and cut out eleven banner shapes.

I threaded a natural fiber string for hanging it using thumbtacks to secure it to mantel.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Hard Cider Sangria

Happy Halloween!  I have no tricks up my sleeve today but I do have a treat for you.  Yesterday I made a yummy fall-inspired sangria for a gathering and wanted to share the recipe with you.  This is not a true sangria in the technical sense of the word because my version is not made with wine or brandy.  But my fruit-infused libation calls for hard apple cider, apple-cranberry juice blend and orange liqueur which gives it a sangria-ish quality.  I think it's pretty tasty.  Based on the mostly empty decanter, I think my guests enjoyed it too!  

I'm a big fan of hard cider especially the Angry Orchard brand. The apple ginger flavor is my absolute favorite!  I got to thinking that a "punch" or sangria using this drink would be really good.  When I searched for recipes, I didn't really find anything that appealed to me so I got creative.  Here's what I came up with...

Hard Cider Sangria

1/2 honey crisp apple, cubed (toss with a little lemon juice to keep from browning)
2-3 lemons, sliced
2-3 small oranges, cut into small wedges
1 cup cranberries
1 1/2 cups Grand Marnier, orange liquor
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 cups apple-cranberry juice blend
4 bottles of Angry Orchard hard cider* 

Place fruit in drink decanter.  Pour in remaining ingredients. Stir to blend.  Serve over ice and garnish with oranges, apples, or cranberries.

Makes:  110 oz of sangria or roughly 14 - 8oz servings

*I used these varieties of Angry Orchard hard cider: 3 crisp apple, 1 green apple.  I'm curious to try the cinnamon apple blend.

I hope you'll mix up this wicked easy drink for your next fall gathering.  It's scary good! 

BOO, Y'all!

Monday, October 19, 2015

ENTER if you DARE - Halloween Home Tour

Although my Halloween decorating started in the foyer with a simple pumpkin vignette on my entrance table, I just couldn't stop there.  The decorating continued with a polka dotted pumpkin patch along my adjacent dining room table and migrated into my kitchen, family room, and even the powder room.  Well, you know what they say, "Go big or go home!"  I've got a few ideas for you so it's not too late to get into the "spirit" of things!  Are you ready to take quick tour of our haunted lair?


Our haunted house begins just outside the entrance to our home with a smiling skeleton and a mischievous crow bidding you welcome along with fall flowers and a cluster of pumpkins.

A small walkway leads to our front porch where another skeleton is hanging out on the door.  Say "hello" to Mr. Bones.  He is decked out in his superhero costume with his candy bag at the ready.  I cut the mask from felt and the cape came from an existing dress up set I already had on hand.

Mr. Bones is flanked by two pots of white mums and more pumpkins.  We will have fun carving these orange pumpkins the weekend before Halloween.

I love how the morning sun is highlighting the pumpkins in this photo.  My porch tends to be very shady in the afternoon so I chose white mums because they stand out more in the shade.


The designs in the foyer and dining include the polka dot pumpkins that I created in September.  It's fun, whimsical, and not too scary.  The theme is black and creamy white with a little glitter bling.  For the entrance table, I created a monogram polka dot pumpkin.  My crow friend sits atop the monogram pumpkin.

I displayed it with a large black glitter pumpkin and a small black glitter pumpkin.  The large pumpkins are elevated on ceramic cake stands in a muddy orange color.  The smaller pumpkin is elevated on a tall orange candle stick.  I added a small chalkboard sign at the top the candlestick that says - Enter if you Dare - which gives all our guests fair warning as they enter our haunted lair.

Here's a wide shot of the entrance table to show the small vignette.  The colors of my existing artwork worked perfectly with my scheme.  I love when a plan comes together!  I purchased this table at IKEA a few years ago and love it!  Each family member has a shoe basket below and small basket at the top.  It keeps us organized (at least some of the time).  

The small trays I normally use to collect sunglasses and keys remained in place.  I added a Halloween ribbon around the candles and place faux bones in the base of each holder.


The black and cream theme continues into the adjacent dining room.  Once again, I've converted my antique dough riser into a unique Halloween display just perfect for the spooky season.  This time around it has become a polka dotted (albeit haunted) pumpkin patch.  

I alternated four polka dot pumpkins along the dough riser sections Two black glitter pumpkins elevated on white stands sit between the polka dot pumpkins.  Green moss in tucked into each section to cover the filler (beans) and to add to the creepy vibe.

I made the center of the display the focal point with two elevated black stands which both hold a foam skull inside an open top.  Small chalkboard signs tell guests to "beware", "turn back now", and that it's a "dead end".  Our guests can't say I didn't give them fair warning!  Three dimensional bats hang from the light fixture to guard the pumpkin patch.

In addition to the dining table, I embellished the existing console table as well.  I covered some books in coordinating scrapbook papers in cream, black, and tan.  The books elevate a ceramic horse head - we call him Mr. Ed - who is sporting a fantastic feathered mask for Halloween and a chevron bow.  

Two mercury glass candlesticks and two large black glitter pumpkins flank the sides.  I added the word - BOO - vertically above the display by taping it to back of existing artwork.

Bats dangle from the light fixture to watch over the haunted pumpkin patch along the dining table.


The witch hat and spider topiaries give the kitchen and family a spooky vibe.  

Additional bats and a chalkboard sign telling you to "Eat-Drink-Be Scary" complete the vignette in the kitchen window.  

A "bewitching" vignette adjacent to the kitchen highlights the space along the top of our piano.  


I just couldn't resist!  What do they say?  Laughter is the best medicine.  I hope this wisdom doesn't exclude bathroom humor.

I live in a house full of boys (with the exception of our doggy daughter) so our bathrooms (especially the downstairs powder room) gets a lot of action and isn't always smelling like a rose...just sayin'.  You MOBs (moms of boys) out there know what I'm talking about!

I added this simple galvanized chalkboard to an easel along with a few embellishments to set the stage.

I hope this tour has given you some ideas for decorating your home for Halloween.  You still have 12 days before the little spooks start knocking at your door!

Mr. Bones says...Happy Haunting!