Organized Pantry Ideas

Friday, December 20, 2013

Lately, I have tried to cut down on the amount of processed foods I buy.  But still have a few favorites like Doritos for my taco soup and taco casserole, marshmallows for hot cocoa, and microwaveable popcorn.  I can't give those up!  Those are three staples you are likely to always find in my pantry along with some more healthy things like black beans, brown rice, and pasta.

Since I know I am going to eat these things, I would like to be able to store them when I catch them on sale without having to look at a lot of packaging.  So, I thought this pantry featured in the January issue of Better Homes and Gardens Kitchen and Bath Ideas did a great job of organizing the pantry so that you don't see a lot of the packaged goods.  Along with decanting into containers, I think using baskets can be a great way to store packaged goods.   I love the way this pantry is organized!





Better Homes and Gardens also has a video with tips for how to get this same look for your pantry.  I don't know about you, but I am feeling like doing a little organizing!



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Restoration Hardware Chalkboard Knockoff

Thursday, October 31, 2013

{Update:  I am excited to offer a smaller version of these chalkboards in my online shop and in my Etsy shop!  Custom sizes are available on request by email.}

For a couple of years I have had a tear out of this chalkboard from Restoration Hardware.  My inner 'frugalista' would not allow me to spend $499 on a chalkboard.  But I knew that I could build one on my own.  So finally this week, I bit the bullet and decided to do  it.  And she is glorious!  I still consider myself an amateur woodworker, so it is not perfect.  But it actually turned out even better than I anticipated!



I figured if I liked it, someone else would probably like to build their own as well, so below is a tutorial.

To get the project started I had to create a frame as a base.  For the longest, I felt stumped as to what do.  I finally settled on building a frame out of 1x2's.  These pieces were attached with screws.  The outside lengths are on edge so that the 3/4" edge is showing.  I did this so that I could later attach outer trim.  The two inside lengths are flat and flush with the front of the frame.  I did this so that it would better support the hardboard that I would later attach.  My frame was 36"x 68".  If I were to build another one,  I would add another support so that they were closer to 16" apart.  These were spaced about 23" apart.



I then attached a 36" x 68" sheet of quarter-inch (1/4") hardboard to the frame to serve as the chalkboard surface.  I used a nail gun and 1 1/4" nails to attach it.  I also used regular wood glue on the back as well.  This is where I ran into my first problem.  I got the hardboard cut at the store, but it was off by about 3/16th of an inch.  I wanted my outside trim to lie flush with frame, so I ended up buying a piece of trim that was 1/4"thick and the same width as my frame and just applied it to the overhanging edge.


Next it was time to apply the chalkboard paint.  I let the first coat dry for two hours and the second coat overnight.





The next day I went back to the store to buy trim.   Before cutting trim,  I 'seasoned' the chalkboard by rubbing chalk all over it.  I was a bit worried about the roller lines showing, but they weren't really noticeable once the paint dried.  And after 'seasoning' the board, I can't see them at all.



So now was time to add trim.  Here is where I ran into another problem.  Now the problem is that I was using a mini-miter saw.  The problem is it has a 7 1/2" blade and can only cut short widths of wood.  So I kept getting cuts that looked like this.  ( I know this a footwear violation!)


The solution was to use a coping saw to cut off that little bit of tooth.   Please tell me I am not the only one who has these problems when doing DIY!



I stained all of the wood before attaching it.  I used 1x3 clear pine for the outer trim.  This was attached with a nail gun to the original frame.  The outer trim was nailed using 1 1/4" nails and regular wood glue.   Then I attached 3 1/4" pine baseboard molding to the inside face of the chalkboard.  Since I wasn't going to be using any nails on the face trim, I used a liquid nails glue and applied two beads.  




After that I let it dry a bit and stood back and took a look.



Not too shabby for two days of work.

Cost breakdown:

3ct 1x 2 x 6 whitewood, for frame                           $10
4x8 sheet 1/4" hardboard                                          $ 9
chalkboard paint (on hand)                                       $ 0
'Provincial' Minwax stain (on hand)                         $ 0
1x3's(one 8' length, two 6' lengths) for outer trim   $17
3 ct 8' lengths of 3 1/4" base molding                      $21


                                    Total Cost                             $57

So, if you have been eyeing those chalkboards, or just love a good DIY, give it a try!  And if you do, tag me on Instagram @oakhousedesignco!  I'm off to hang this in the playroom.

Update: The chalkboard is finished off  and hung up.  Check out how!

Linking up to Beth's Tutorials and Tips Link Party at Home Stories A to Z.  Thanks Beth for the feature in 10 Tutorials and Tips Not to Miss!


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Bringing the Fall Indoors

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


 Every year I look forward the watching the leaves change colors in the fall, so that I can bring some clippings inside.  I love the warm colors that signal that fall is here.  We actually had some freezing temps here last week, but my trees had not turned yet.  This week we are back in 70 degree weather and my 'October Glory' maples have finally begun to change!  I brought some in and now I feel I can officially say,  "It's fall y'all!"

Maple Clippings for the Foyer & Family Room











The fall leaf colors inspired me to change out pillows in the Playroom.



Seeing a bit of nature's color makes me happy before going to sleep.






Its time for hot cocoa, cozy blankets, and warm boots.  Get out and enjoy the fall colors before they are all gone!



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Fall in the Kitchen

Monday, October 14, 2013

I got the chance to attend the Casual and Chic Entertaining workshop hosted by Ikea this weekend.  Stylist Annette Joseph was the speaker and she did not disappoint.  I was excited to attend for two reasons.  One, I am always hesitant to host parties for some reason.  I always feel like I can't pull it off.  Secondly, it was chance to meet Annette Joseph, who is a styling guru.  Needless to say, I enjoyed every minute of it!  They gave away copies of Annette's new book, Picture Perfect Parties,  to the first 12 RSVPs,  and I was excited that I won a copy.  I originally thought the book would just have tips on entertaining, which is what I was hoping for, but it also has plans and menus for about 16 different parties to get you started.  {Ahem, this is just what I need, since I never did host that party on the patio this summer.}



On the heels of this weekend, I got the urge to organize a bit in the kitchen.  Feeling and being organized helps to put me at ease for planning.  So I started some fall cleaning and organizing in the kitchen.  I pulled the stove out and cleaned behind it.  Then I reorganized half of my cabinets and got rid of some cookbooks, magazines, and dishes that I don't really use.  It also helped with being able to access my most used cookware.  My kitchen doesn't have a ton of storage, so I have found over time, that purging makes it easier keep like items together.  That was another tip Annette gave.  Routinely go thru the items that you have and purge what you don't need.  I wasn't initially planning to do any re-arranging, so I didn't snap any before pics.  But here's some shots of the results of my work.

The countertops were cleared and re-arranged, thus leading to the cabinet re-arranging...
To the left is the new location for my baking cabinet.  Previously it was in the smaller cabinet to the right, but with fall approaching, I thought I would expand to the larger cabinet since I tend to bake more  when it's colder.  


On the counter, I keep my flour and sugar and some baked treats. 




Above are all the baking add-ins, additional sugars, spices, and mixing bowls!



Below in the drawers are tools and spices.






And below, cookware and bakeware.  It was time to move that heavy dutch to the front for some yummy soups!







To the right, I transferred over my everyday cooking supplies.  These are the things I use daily for cooking breakfast and dinner.  




And in the drawer, less used cooking utensils.


I don't know about you, but I'm feeling ready to bake for the fall!  Now to just host that elusive soiree...

Linking up to Wow us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style.





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Thrifted Desk {Refinished}!

Monday, September 30, 2013

I wrapped up refinishing the desk for the playroom a couple of weeks ago.  I ended up re-stripping and sanding it with hopes of removing the bit of lime wax on the top.  Although I wasn't able to completely remove that finish, I was able to remove marker stains and the original varnish that sort of dated the wood.  I used a water-based stripper to keep cleanup easy, reapplying two times.  So there was a time trade-off.  



 After stripping the finish, I sanded it down and wiped it clean.



I love the look of clean, stripped wood.  However, it will not hold up well in a playroom without some sort of protection.  I went searching for a clear, matte finish, and ended up using a water-based satin polyurethane.  So here is a before and after:

BEFORE



AFTER



Not bad for eleven bucks!

This desktop has been taking a beating since the day I returned it to the playroom--being used as a homework station, play-doh table, and a playing field for superheros.  That makes me happy, because that's what it was intended for.  I may eventually change to a painted enamel finish for better durability, but for now it works!  Now I just need to find new hardware, sew the curtains, and a few more projects...

You know it never ends!

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Late Summer Yard Clean Up {Progress}

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Last Saturday, the weather was so nice, I went outside to sit on my patio and enjoy my yard.  Unfortunately, my eyes were assaulted by site of a neglected yard.  Overgrown grass, outta control weeds, and random trees made me want to run back inside.  But instead I decided to do what any good blogger would do.  Post some ugly pics and motivate myself to get to work!

It's been a few days, and I have been working hard to clean it up.  Monday I had about six bags of yard debris to take to our local recycling center.   This is just some of it.


One day I hope to compost, but for now I let them do it.  My yard is so tiny any compost pile would be within 10 feet of a patio.  And I think compost smells worse before it gets better.  So, after cutting back tons of overgrowth, dead foliage, and grass, this was the result. 

1. First up on the list was to cut the grass.

BEFORE


 PROGRESS!

2. Next up was to cut down the weeds.

BEFORE

PROGRESS


3.  Third was to limb up this tree so that I could walk underneath it without ducking my head.  

BEFORE


 PROGRESS


 4.  Fourth, was to cut down the random trees sprouting in the yard.  I ended up also pulling the dead stems from the daylilies and cutting back the irises.  I still need to cut back more plants and trim the shrubs.

BEFORE

 PROGRESS


BEFORE

PROGRESS


5.  Fifth was to get rid of the spider webs and spray for mosquitos.  I did and the spray I used for the mosquitos has really helped.  I think I will re-treat in a few days to make sure there are not any more around.

6. Sixth was to blow clear the patios.  Now they could use a good pressure wash.  Maybe later!

BEFORE


PROGRESS



BEFORE

BEFORE


PROGRESS

7.  Seventh was to replant the pots.  I have yet to do this.  But I did go and visit the Growers Outlet.  They had an amazing selection at great prices, which made me want to buy just about everything.  I decided to wait and pick out what I want to plant first.

8. The final plan was to host a soiree.  I have a small one planned.  Let's hope the weather holds up!

In the process of doing all of the clean up, I visited Home Depot and Lowe's and found some amazing deals on replacement cushions and some outdoor chairs.  I'll be back to share the finds.  Hope you're having a great week!






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