Friday, December 31, 2010

Remodeling/Reorganizing The Laundry Room

Well, many of you know that we started yet another project of remodeling one of our bathrooms. Right across the hallway is the laundry room, and I thought it would be a great time to just get both rooms remodeled. The laundry room though, has a lot more work to do than the bathroom.

For one, the room is right off our garage and serves for a dumping ground for almost everything we have when walking in the door.

On an average day the room looks like this:
You can now see how messy we keep the room, just no organization whatsoever.

For the before and after pictures I cleaned up the room a little, so you can see what we are dealing with in the room minus the clutter.
Ugly Wallpaper:
Huge washer and dryer that needs to be moved (which btw we are keeping till they die):
The room is very long and narrow. I had my husband install these little hangers on the wall to help keep down the clutter in the room. They aren't the cutest thing but I did only pay $1.50 for each of them at TJ Maxx.
There are ugly light fixtures in the room that are a fake wood grain on a metal fixture:
We would ideally like to keep them, to save money but if anyone out there has any suggestions on how to "dress them up" or what would be nice to replace them with, I would love to hear from you.

And when the cupboard doors are off, you can see where the real need to organize comes from:

Our 2011 goals for this room are:
1. Remove the wallpaper
2. Paint the walls
3. Refinish the cupboards
4. Change up the light fixtures
5. Organize, Organize, Organize


We are hoping to have this finished in the next few weeks. My husband has a month off of work, so with some good luck we might get it to go faster. I would love if some people would comment or send me any suggestion on organizing or just remodeling in this room. I love to hear your ideas!

~Beth

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Year's Eve Outfit Ideas

New Year's Eve is just around the corner. Whether you plan on getting together with a few friends or attending a fancy, schmancy party I hope these looks will provide you with some outfit inspiration or perhaps just some entertainment!


1. Fun Shirt with Jeans
If you're planning on having a casual New Year's Eve at one of your friend's houses the outfit above is a perfect way to add some pizazz without being horribly overdressed. I love to dress up but let's face it; a lot of people simply don't (esp. in my beloved Midwest)! I hate showing up somewhere and feeling completely overdressed. I think adding a fun piece such as the black sequined top above to jeans is the perfect solution. It provides a dressy look without going overboard. Add some fun extras like a ruffled clutch, chandelier earrings, and darling wedge booties. Keep hair soft and natural while polishing off the whole look with some red lip gloss.
Oh and don't forget the champagne of course ;)


2. LBD with Colored Jewels


This look is all about focusing on the accessories to bring out the potential of your LBD. It was actually inspired by one of my friends from high school! We met for lunch the day after Christmas and she showed up with this beautiful statement necklace. I couldn't get that necklace out of my head and it is a perfect way to add some glitz to your basic LBD. A cocktail ring in similar rosy hues combined with pink MAC lipglass will make sure your LBD is anything but "the usual." W
rapping a skinny silver belt around the dress is also a great way to emphasize your figure. Since it's New Year's why not add some dramatic false lashes? If you buy some and they seem like too much simply snip off 1/4 of the strip and apply it to your outer lashes. A chic chignon and silver nail polish provide the finishing touches to your New Year's Eve LBD.


3. Nice Kitty

If you're tired of a basic black or silver New Year's dresses why not hop on the leopard trend for something fun and different? This look combine black tights, a leopard print dress, and merlot-colored velvet heels. I haven't been keen on velvet coming back in style but these shoes are to die for as Rachel Zoe would say. I imagine this look with deep red lips, black and gold jewelry, and a petite gold clutch. Keep the hair fun with big, cascading waves and opt for wine-colored nails to continue the sassy look. Finally, finish the outfit with a dramatic black trench and long black gloves. Rawwwwwwwwr!

4. Snow Queen
When I left my parents' house the day after Christmas I was completely inspired by the frost-covered trees around us. We already had snow but overnight the city was transformed into a winter wonderland! For a look inspired by the bitter but beautiful cold I chose a silver, sequined cocktail dress. When playing with the sequin trend (which I adore - can you tell?) it is important not to go overboard. This is hard for me. When I see the volume of sparkling clothes and accessories I just want to pile it all on! But in the interest of avoiding tackiness this just won't do. I couldn't resist the snowflake earrings and bracelet but to offset all the sparkles I chose a pair of nude pumps. This works well with the blush material of the dress and bonus!: nude heels give the illusion of longer legs. Who doesn't love that? I imagine the ice queen wearing this to rock a fabulous faux fur and some pale blue nails (perhaps reminiscent of Chanel's "Riva").

5. Black and Gold

Okay I know what you're thinking, "Sequins? AGAIN?!!" But I won't apologize! As long as this trend is rampant I will be one of its biggest advocates. To throw together this easy New Year's outfit swipe one of the zillions of sequin skirts available and pair it with a basic black shirt. Black tights will help keep you warm and come in handy with some of the shorter hemlines. I love this look with a cute headband and flats but if you're going for a more sophisticated look heels or boots would look great as well! Play into the color scheme with black and gold smokey eyes and a darling lacy clutch.

I hope these looks have provided you with some inspiration for your own New Year's Eve! If you have any suggestions please comment below.

Have a safe and Happy New Year's!


~Christi

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cranberry Pistachio Christmas Bark

This is by far my favorite Holiday sweet! My husband's Aunt made it one year and I just fell in love with it! The combination of chocolate, pistachios, and cranberries makes it a real treat for this season of goodies. The best part about the recipe is it is SUPER FAST!

If you have a party to attend this season or you just want to make something quick to impress your guests, this Christmas Bark is sure to make everyone happy!






Ingredients2 cup (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped pistachios
2/3 cup dried cranberries
1 cup vanilla or white chips

1. In a double boiler (or microwave) melt chocolate chips. Stir until smooth.
2. Stir in half of the pistachios and cranberries.
3. Spread chocolate, pistachios and cranberries onto a sheet of wax paper.
4. In a double boiler (or microwave) melt vanilla or white chips. Stir until smooth.
5. Drop teaspoonfuls of white chips melted over chocolate/nut layer. Use a knife to swirl in white and spread throughout the chocolate/nut layer.
6. Sprinkle with the remaining pistachios and cranberries.
7. Chill until firm and once firm break into pieces.

Yield: 1 1/2 pounds and happy eaters!

For you calorie counters: Serves 20 @ 154 calories

Info About The Holiday Link Party
I thought it might be fun to have a link party until New Years to share all your different recipes that you love for the Holidays! Who knows...we all might discover a new favorite!

We have never hosted one of these so here are the rules:
1. Become a follower of Between3Sisters.If you decide to follow us let us know so we can follow you back!
2. Link up to your favorite Holiday recipe, not to your main blog.
3. Grab the text below for our button and put on your post or sidebar.
(optional)

Between3Sisters

Enjoy visiting other post link ups and let's PARTY!!!



This blog has been featured on:
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~Beth

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Refinishing A Rocking Chair

This is a project that I have had finished for a while but I have be procrastinating on writing it up. Why you might ask???? Well, this is BY FAR was the worst project I have ever taken on!

About 2 years ago, we was at this church garage sale and my husband and I came upon this rocking chair. It was old but sturdy...they don't make them like this anymore. My 6'3" husband fit in it nicely and I thought, "What a great chair to buy for a future nursery someday." At a price of $20 we couldn't resist. This chair sat in our garage until I was about 6 months pregnant and decided I better get working on refinishing it for the nursery.

I have refinished quite a few things in my life. I grew up with a Mom who stained all the wood in all the houses we lived in (five houses in total) and refinished quite a few little tables, desks, and other objects along the way. I know refinishing, but when it came to this chair I almost gave up on it.

Just a note to all you people out there, when you are starting a refinishing project...think about entire layout of the object you are working with. This chair might have only cost my $20 to purchase, but I ended up spended over $120 on refinishing supplies.
This refinishing project was so horrible because:
A) The dowels
B) The original finish

To refinish most wooden furniture you take the following steps:
1. Sand down the original finish. Start from the smaller numbers and move to the highest number on sand paper.
2. Rub down with steel wool (smoother finish)
3. Stain (2 coats are the best)
4. Polyurethane to protect

This chair was very beat up so I needed smooth out the wood and sand down the chair to the wood grain. I started out with a 60 grit sandpaper and worked my way up.

As I started sanding this chair, I noticed how tough it was to sand off the old finish. After working on it for a few hours I realized what was wrong...the original finish was covered in shellac! Well I am assuming that is what it was, either that or about 20 layers of polyurethane. Anyways, sanding it was tough! It used up so much sand paper.

Then the real reason why I hated doing this chair...the dowels. There was no tool on earth that fit into those tiny spaces of the decorations on the dowels. I first tried to buy a stain stripper. I tried two brands and nothing would remove the finish on the dowels. Sanding was the only option. Luckily, I found this sander at Lowe's for $40 and it could get into the tiny space somewhat, but the paper ran out so quickly I had to keep buying more packs of sandpaper. The packs cost about $10 a pack and I think I had to purchase four of them.


Even though I had the fancy sander above, I spent at least 40 hours sanding this chair. You can ask all of my neighbors. They would walk by and make comments like "still working on that chair I see" or "when is that chair going to be done". This chair had me crying at least twice (or maybe it was pregnancy hormones.) I wanted so badly for it to be finished the the STUPID dowels took so long!

On top of that, the problem still remained that I couldn't find anything to get into the little cracks on the dowels and original finish was just sticking out. After one tearful evening, about two weeks before my inducement date, I gave up. Who cares if about the original stain I can't seem to get off this thing...I was planning on staining it dark anyway. Here is the chair when I finally gave up sanding.

Next was the staining part. I wanted to match the light cherry wood in our nursery, so I mixed up some red mahogany and golden oak and I came up with a color that was almost the right shade. I needed just a little more red in it to match the nursery furniture.

My Mom knew how much I was fretting about finishing this chair before the baby's arrival, so she suggested I purchase this awesome product she had found. Varathane makes this stain and polyurethane in one. It was a lifesaver. I purchased the cherry color and it added just the right amount of red to the wood and applied the polyurethane at the same time. I used two cans, which at $10 a can it's not cheap stuff, but it was worth the time it saved me. It took a few days to apply each coat, but it worked out great overall. As you can see the finished product turned out beautifully!
The moral of this story about the rocking chair is to "Think clearly about a refinishing project before you start it." This project ended up costing me more then just going out and buying a new rocking chair. It was $20 for the chair, $40 for a new sander, $40 in sandpaper (if not more) and $20 for the stain. That means I spent over $120 on this chair and that's not including the hours I spent working on this project. Granted this chair should last for years to come and looks great but the pain it caused me was not worth it.

By the way, did I mention my son hates this chair? I wanted it finished for his feedings and he hates eating out of this chair. I don't understand it, but maybe the next child will appreciate all my hard work more :)






~Beth

Friday, December 17, 2010

Winner of the $25 Lowe's Giftcard Giveaway...



And the winner is...


Abbey!


Abbey and her husband Jay have an adorable blog that we simply love to read. To keep up on their exciting times (a baby on the way!) and creativity (Abbey is a fantastic photographer and lover of all things handmade) head on over to 99th Street to check out their blog.


Bet you guys had no idea the winner would get a nice plug as well? Okay that wasn't originally part of the plan but if you do have a blog and happen to win our next giveaway we'd love to give you some extra props!


Abbey just send us an email at between3sisters@gmail.com with your address and we'll get your giftcard in the mail ASAP.



Thanks to everyone who entered, became a follower and offered great suggestions! Please continue to comment and let us know what you would like to see more of.


~Christi

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Remodeling The Half Bathroom

We are at it again, remodeling another bathroom. This might seem like some horrible deja vu, but when you have five bathrooms and they are all needing work you just keeping checking them off as you go. Here are the first two bathrooms we remodeled:

Main Floor Half Bath
Upstairs Bathroom


This bathroom is on the main floor and another half bath. Who needs two main floor half baths???? Well, I guess the people who built this house did...it's pretty stupid. I would have much rather had a large pantry in place of this bathroom.

Here is the bathroom when we bought the house:


Just like all the other bathrooms, really ugly wallpaper. There is also a dated light fixture but unfortunately this is the only photo I have of the 'before' because my husband started tearing it apart before I could take any more.

About four months after we bought the house I was cleaning the floor of this bathroom and notice the linoleum was sagging down behind the toilet. You know what that means: LEAK! (Just another reason why you need a good home inspector when purchasing a home.) When we notice the leak, we decided to shut off that bathroom until we had time to fix it. Well the time has come and we have to deal with the leak.

My husband started by removing the toilet. We found that the tank of the toilet had a leak and it must have been leaking for years. The floor was entirely destroyed under the toilet. He had to tear out the sub floor all the way down to the joists of the house. It was quite the process. Then he had to patch the hole where the floor had deteriorated. He did a pretty good patching job.

Next we removed the chair rail and I attempted to remove the wallpaper. Like in all the other rooms, it was applied directly to the drywall which made it super hard to remove. I decided to paint over it.
(See previous post here for a step by step 'how to paint over wallpaper'.)

In short, we removed any lose wallpaper. Next, we applied joint compounded the seams of the wallpaper and anywhere the wallpaper that was lose was removed. Once the joint compound was dry, we sanded it down to make is flat with the wall. Next, I wanted to apply texture. Instead of rolling on a texture or sanding the walls down flat we used this spray on texture you can buy at Lowe's.
I didn't trust myself to aim it straight, I am kind of lacking in the hand-eye coordination. So my steady handed husband applied it to the wall and he said it was pretty easy. The only downside of this approach is the cost of it is pretty expensive. It took two cans for this tiny bathroom and it cost $11.89 per can!
The texture takes about 6 hours to dry. After it was dry, I painted an oil based primer over the top of the wallpaper. Keeping with the spirit of remodeling on a budget, I decided to paint the bathroom with leftover paint from previous projects. This room has a chair rail, so I will use the darker blue from my hallway on the bottom half and the lighter blue from the kitchen on the top half.

Once all the painting is finished, all we have left is to install a tile floor (hubby's part), reinstall the trim and chair rail, change out the handles on the cupboard, and reinstall the toilet. We should be finished hopefully some time right after Christmas.

~Beth

Monday, December 13, 2010

The "Adult" Christmas Cookie

Brandy Balls
When the Holidays come around this is one of the Christmas cookies that I love to make. They are just so good and require no baking!
However, this recipe does contains alcohol and should be recommended as an "Adult Only" treat!

1/3 cup Brandy
1/3 cup Light rum
1 pound vanilla wafers (finely crushed)
1 cup honey
1 ½ cups chopped walnuts (finely chopped)
Powdered sugar for rolling cookies

1. In a large bowl combine the vanilla wafers, honey, brandy, rum, and walnuts.
2. Hand stir to form a stiff, sticky dough.
3. Break off walnut sized chunks and roll into balls
4. Roll each ball in powered sugar.
5. Store in an air tight container.

Yield 3-4 dozen cookies.

Check out the Holiday Link Party where you can post all your different recipes that you love for the Holidays! Who knows...we all might discover a new favorite!



~Luci

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