Thursday, October 27, 2011

Clever Storage Solutions {Pinterest Tips Round Two}

Last month I share a few household tips to make those nagging chores a little easier. Of course, I got the ideas from Pinterest :)

Well, I’ve spotted some more great idea that I’m excited to share with you guys. This time, its all about clever storage ideas.

Our house is plenty big enough, but our storage options pretty limited. Our kitchen is small and the master bath has a pedestal sink. No storage space at all! These storage solutions would help us organize a lot.

The first idea is something I need to do right away. This rack would help organize our pots and pans shelf so much!

store-pots-and-pansfound here on pinterest

And this measuring cup/spoon rack would make it so easy to find what I need!

Pinned Image
found here on pinterest

Here’s two ideas that would help organize our small bathroom so much. Clever storage solutions go a long way in a bathroom that’s only about 5’ x 5’ :)

bathroom-storage
found here via pinterest


Pinned Image
found here via pinterest (how cute!)

And finally, look at this idea that would help all of us hoarders thrifters store our finds until we’re ready to use or repurpose them. Our garage would be so clean if everything was kept on the ceiling instead of the floor.

Pinned Image
found here via pinterest

Hopefully my urge to purge (sorry, couldn’t resist) will continue this weekend and we’ll do a little organizing and take some trips to Goodwill. To donate. I’ll try really hard not to buy anything!

What are you up to this weekend? Organizing? Halloween-ing? Watching football?
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween Entry Way Display

Hi guys! How was your weekend? Our was great. As usual it went by too fast, but Matt and I went for a run in Forest Park (It was sunny. In Portland. In October!), watched the Beavs win with family and friends, and I canned a whole bunch of pears with my girlfriends. All in all a great weekend, minus a itty bitty hangover on Sunday :)

I also finally got around to taking some pics of my Halloween decor in the entry way.


halloween-entry-way

Sorry about the weird angle of this pic. Our entry is pretty skinny so its hard to get a decent shot.

I had our summer decorations up way too long, so I was excited to change it up with the Halloween decor. I keep it pretty simple in the entry since its so small, but I love having a little space to decorate. I already know exactly what I’ll do for Christmas (damn you, Pinterest!).

Anyway, the decor was centered around using my fancy Halloween candles. 


halloween-candles

I splurged and bought these at Pottery Barn last year (I had a 10% off coupon from attending a class). Usually PB is way out of my price range but I knew I’d never be able to DIY these candles and I just love them.

I’m also digging the bright orange in the Chinese lanterns (that plant grows like a weed in my yard) and the pumpkins in the vase.

halloween-decor

The silver and black gourds I bought at the dollar store and spray painted. Funny enough, my sister-in-law (the clever bat pumpkin artist) bought the same ones and spray painted them gold for her fall decor. Great minds! :)

Last but not least, my favorite part of the decor is Black Jack.

halloween-entry-way

Although his wild purple hair does not go with anything else, and he’s just a randomly placed toy on our entry table, he’s definitely my fave :) He reminds me of “playing trolls” with my sister when we were little. We went through barbie and stuffed animals phases too. We were only weird some of the time. He also reminds me of trick-or-treating in the old ‘hood, trying to wear a costume over my raincoat (oh, Portland), and collecting pillowcases full of candy.

So even though Black Jack takes the sophistication of my decor down a notch, he’s most definitely my favorite part about it. (And I’m telling myself that with Halloween, most people aren’t looking for ‘sophisticated’ anyway.)

halloween-entry-way

Did you guys save trolls from when you were young to use to decorate? No? Just me? :)

I know you guys DO have some great mementos displayed in your home. What is your fave?

PS. I changed the blog template without ruining our site! I was nervous about it, but it wasn’t too bad. I still need to fix the header but hopefully its a little more user friendly around here now!

Linked up to A Bowl Full of Lemons and Today's Creative Blog.
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Pardon the Mess

I'm updating the blog template. Its a total breeze and I'll be done in a sec really confusing so I'll probably be working out some kinks for a while.

Please let me know what you think! I used a template I found online that seems to be working pretty well. I'll write a post with the links to the resources I used once my eyes uncross :) Thank you for your patience!






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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pumpkin Carving Party {Halloween Celebration}

Last weekend Matt and I had a few friends over to carve pumpkins. So fun! I love carving pumpkins, we’ll probably continue the tradition forever.

Armed with yummy hot cider (recipe here) and some Pinterest inspiration, we started carving.

carve-pumpkins

Most of us chose a design, scooped out the seeds and carved away. Then there was Andy.

Granted, his design was intricate and looks great, but seriously. It took him hours to carve his pumpkin! The rest of us carved, had hors d’oeuvres, more cider, and roasted seeds, while he was still carving away.

carve-pumpkins Yes, Andy looks a lot like Matt. Twin brother.

Have you ever roasted seeds? Its super easy and delicious. We just rinsed off the pumpkin bits and baked them on a baking dish with a little bit of salt, stirring every 10 minutes or so. I think it took about a half hour to fully bake? And Andy was still carving :)

pumpkin-carving-skull

Its tradition for us to vote, by cheering loudly, for pumpkin winners. We line up the pumpkins, light candles, turn out the lights and vote. Yes, we’re all adults, but what is more fun than slinging back a few ciders and yelling for your fave?

IMG_3153

We had four categories, scariest, most creative, best overall, and most like Charlie Sheen. You’d think the pumpkin enjoying a beer would have been voted most like Charlie Sheen.

IMG_3150

But the little guy in the middle of this pic won. I think its because of the facial expression :) (The pumpkin on the right was dubbed scariest).

pumpkins-candles

My creative sister-in-law won best overall with her cute bat.

pumpkin-bat

Poor Andy didn’t win anything :(

I didn’t either. The only votes I got were from the cats.

IMG_3148

After carving was over, we kept the yelling going with a rousing game of catchphrase. It was a wonderful Halloween celebration!

Also, on Monday I shared a sneak peek about our finished bathroom vanity… sorry I’m slow in sharing it with you guys :) Tomorrow we have a dodgeball game but I’ll post it soon, promise!

Linked up to Serenity Now and Fingerprints on the Fridge. Pin It

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bathroom sneak peek

Yay! Our bathroom is fully functional!

install-sink

Yep, that’s a car jack holding up our sink while it adhered to the granite. It worked beautifully!

I’ll be back tomorrow to show you our wonderful vanity with a sink that actually works! Cheers to being able to wash your hands in the bathroom, not the kitchen :)

 bathroom-sneak-peek

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Pumpkin Carving Inspiration

One of my absolute favorite things about Fall and Halloween is carving pumpkins. I love everything about it – the squishy feeling of the pumpkin guts, roasting the seeds, thinking of clever and creative designs that I may or may not be able to pull off, everything.

pumpkin-carving
via

With Pinterest, its easy to be inspired with all sorts of clever carving ideas. For the source, please click on the ‘via’ link below each pic.

I love the scary ones…

carve-pumpkinsvia

pumpkin-carvingvia

pumpkin-carving-ideasvia

carve-pumpkin-scaryvia

The cute ones…

cute-pumpkin-carvevia

carve-squashvia

And the just plain cool ones…

carve-pumpkin-words via

pumpkin-carving 
via

carve-pumpkin-drill via

Ooh! I just can’t wait to get some pumpkins and start carving! My husband finishes up his comprehensive exams for his masters tomorrow, so maybe in between his celebratory beers I can convince him to hit up the pumpkin patch with me :)

I’ve pinned many more ideas to my Halloween board on Pinterest, please check it out if you’d like more inspiration.

Are you carving pumpkins this year? Do you stick with the traditional face or get creative?

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Guest Post from What You Make It

Note: This was originally published on one of my fave blogs, What You Make It. Please go say Hi to Coley!

Hi guys! I’m so happy to be here today on Coley’s blog! Isn’t she great? I’m loving her Spooktacular series so far and am excited to be a part of it. I’m here today to share my Fall mantel with you.


I’m Katie from Newcomb Home. I live with my husband and two furry roommates in Portland, Oregon, and blog about all things related to my house and our life renovating it – great tips for home improvement, easy decorating ideas, and what to do when your water main starts flooding the garage :) We’re new homeowners and learning as we go, so my hope is that others can learn from our mistakes!

That's the husband and me, with wine and carbs. Its ok, we were on vacation!
Okay, thanks for letting me introduce myself, now back to business :) I wanted to share my Fall mantel decor and give you a few easy tips for decorating a space like a mantel, shelf, hutch, etc.

fall-mantel 

As you’ll commonly hear from many bloggers, work with what you’ve got.There is no need to buy a bunch of new stuff each season (or at all). Little changes here and there can really update your decor. 
Plus, don’t you feel less pressure when you  “just threw together a bunch of stuff from home” instead of “Oh no, this better look fabulous; I just spent a bunch of money at …” ?
Other than trying not to break the bank, I generally look at three things when I’m decorating: scale, texture, and color. 

Scale is important so your mantel feels balanced and your eyes scan the entire thing rather than focusing in one area. I love the pumpkins I snaggged from the produce section of the grocery store. 

mantel-pumpkin 

I wanted the little ones to be noticed so I put them on top of little ceramic stands. This helps with the scale by balancing out the height of the ornamental corn on the left (and the stands were only 99 cents each at Michaels). 

I have a really hard time with scale because our mantel is so big and deep, but I just do my best and am happy with not-perfect.

A lot of what I have around the house are shiny ceramic or glass items, so I also tried to vary the texture with the paper-covered books, pumpkins, and ornamental corn. 

fall-decor 

And the best part of seasonal decorating? 
Color :)  Seasonal decor is an excuse to use new, fun colors that don’t necessarily go with your room. I mean, they shouldn’t downright clash, but its definitely ok to think outside the box a little. So have fun!

pumpkin-mantel 

My husband thinks its too early for Halloween just yet. I can’t wait to add in some fun Halloween details like spiders and their webs and spooky titles on the books.

IMG_2908 
Or maybe frightening cats? 

halloween-decor
Diego is such a ham, I can’t ever take pics without his help :) 

What ‘rules’ do you think about when decorating? Please leave a comment if you have any tips, I’m always interested in learning more. 


I’d love for you to stop by Newcomb Home and check out my blog! 


Thank you so much Coley for having me over today! Its been fun introducing myself to your readers. Happy Fall! 
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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Guest Blogging at What You Make It

Hi guys! Today I'm over at Coley's blog, What You Make It, sharing my fall mantel. What You Make It is a fantastic craft/DIY blog, and Coley has an awesome Spooktacular series leading up to Halloween. I'd love for you to head over and check out my mantel and all of Coley's great Halloween ideas!




If you're visiting from What You Make It, Welcome! Hope you'll stick around a while! Some of our popular posts are listed in the side bar and you can learn more about our little family here.

If you like what you see, you can find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, or subscribe for free via email or RSS. Thanks for stopping by!
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Monday, October 3, 2011

How to Make Grandma Proud (or, Katie Started Canning)

can-peaches


This summer a couple of my dearest friends and I started a new (to us) hobby: Canning.


Its fun. And time consuming. And stressful. And totally worth it. If my grandma were here, she’d give me a high five.


canning-food Look at my cupboard! Ignore the rest, check out those cans on the top! (Haha, check out those cans :)

Inspired by many things including Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, a fear of chemicals in our food, my CSA farm, and overall healthy eating, we decided to try our hand at canning.


None of us really knew what we were doing so we did some research, bought basic supplies, and got going.


make-applesauce


And let me tell you, it takes a lottt longer than we expected :) Probably a combination of being nervous about botulism and having never done it before, but man were we slow!


Today at lunch I had some of our applesauce and it was delicious! I also knew exactly what I was eating, apples from a local farm and a little bit of cinnamon. That’s it.


So far we’ve done freezer jam, pickles, tomato sauce, peaches, and applesauce. Everything turned out well, but we definitely made some mistakes and learned some things the hard way.


broke-jar-during-canning


For example, hot jar in hot water. Not cool jar in hot water :)


The two best resources we’ve found for the canning is www.pickyourown.org and the Ball recipes. We had a magazine but they’re the same on the Ball website. I recommend those two for recipes, information, and a place to go when you start worrying about bacteria :)


The answers to common questions can be found at the links above. However, here are a few tips for newbie canners. Just one tip per food, to keep this post from becoming a novel.


Oh! And I should mention, we did not do all of this in one day. One afternoon we tackles pickles and jam. The next weekend we did peaches and tomatoes. The apples took two days (we did a LOT of applesauce). This includes gossip time as well as canning time.


Applesauce


For us, it was easier to peel and chop the apples, then cook them on the stove and puree them with a hand held blender right in the pot. We also tried a food mill, but that was much slower for us.


peeling-apples
Peaches


We also learned the hard way that you really only need a few seconds to blanche the peaches to get the skin off. Any more than 30 seconds or so and the peaches got mushy.


canning-peaches
Pickles


The longer you wait to eat them, the better they taste. We’re not really sure why (anyone know??), but the longer we wait to eat the pickles, the crunchier and tastier they are. So don’t open the jar the day after! Wait at least 2 weeks, preferably six.


canning-pickles
Tomatoes



This is largely preference, but we did not skin or seed the tomatoes, but pureed the whole thing. It saved a ton of time. It will change the consistency of your tomato sauce a little but we were running out of time. I’ve made spaghetti sauce with my tomatoes and they still taste great.


Freezer Jam


Make a lot! My husband and I were never fans of store bought jam. I think this is where I notice the biggest difference in taste. Homemade jam is sooo much better. We eat it much more, in yogurt, oatmeal, on toast, anything. Yum.
Sorry, I don’t have any more words of wisdom, this one was pretty easy. If you buy the Ball fruit pectin, the recipe is on the can.


freezer-jam


One more generic tip: purchasing a canning kit is worth the dough. I got mine at Freddie’s for $6.99. It had a magnet stick thing to get lids from the bottom of the hot water, a hot jar picker-upper (Real word. Swear.), and a tool to get the bubbles out of the jars.


One thing I’d like to know is, why is it called canning? Why isn’t it jarring? I’m not making a joke. Serious question! Do you know?


Does anyone else preserve food? What is your favorite thing to can/freeze/dry? What is your best tip for newbies like us? Pin It

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