Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Deals on Kitchen Accessories

I recently learned a fantastic tip from Matt’s aunt during a mini-vaca to Coeur d’Alene. (We were staying with his aunt and uncle while we were there to celebrate at a dear friend’s wedding. More on that wonderful celebration later.) I learned a few things during my weekend in Idaho:

1. Paddle boarding is really, really fun.
2. Anyone who swam in the Oregon ocean as a kid thinks any other body of water is warm. 
3. A restaurant supply store is a great place to look for kitchen accessories.

That’s the tip from Matt’s aunt that I wanted to share with all of you.


She had one of those industrial, diner-style metal coffee makers with the brewing pot on the bottom and a warming dish on the top. It was such a great thing to have for visitors (or a split coffee/tea household).

I decided to take a look at some of the fun items at restaurant supply website and compare the price to home decor stores.

For most kitchen tools and accessories, the restaurant supply websites were a much better deal:

Crate and Barrel vs. webstaurantstore.com 

Pottery Barn vs. webstaurantstore.com 

restaurantsupply-001 Food Service Warehouse vs. Williams Sonoma

Note: Just to see what the ‘middle of the road’ price is, I searched for a 5 quart colander on amazon.com and found one for $16.92 (ExcelSteel 242 5-Quart Stainless Steel Colander):

71i8 nZBfmL._AA1500_
The restaurant supply sites did not, however, have the best furniture prices (in general. I didn’t check each type of item, just a couple).

West Elm vs. Food Service Warehouse

In addition to being an inexpensive place to buy common kitchen items, you can get fun, unusual gadgets too:

Napkin dispenser, condiment caddy, luggage rack

Have you ever purchased anything from a restaurant supply store? What did you get?

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Front Yard Updates

Last year I was lucky enough to be the beneficiary of what my mom calls her ‘volunteer work’. No, she’s not really helping a needy cause (just a lazy one), but I’ll take it. She comes over twice a year and helps me fix up the yard.

Last fall we tackled the south side of the front yard. The transformation is seriously amazing, for one day of work.

This summer, we tackled the other side of the front yard. Like a fool, I forgot to take before pics. Of course. But, I do have some pics of the way the yard looked when we bought the house.

Matt and I already completed some pretty big changes to the yard a few years ago when we removed about 9 bushes and extended the lawn. But then we fell off the nice yard bandwagon and have done almost no upkeep. So my mom arrived to a mess.

My mom and I trimmed two large trees and many bushes, pulled a TON of weeds, and spread bark dust everywhere. At lunch time, my dad rode over on his bike to help for the rest of the day, which was awesome. Poor Dad. I don’t think he knows yet that now he’s also permanently signed up for the semi-annual Volunteer in Katie’s Yard Day.

My mom tackled all the weeds, which were taking over the yard.


(Old pic, but the weeds looked like that everywhere.)

Here are the changes we made:

1. This spruce (I think?) was growing to the ground. It had been there and untrimmed for so long that it was growing around two trees, a bush, and four strands of Christmas lights from 1985. Seriously, the tree branches had grown around the lights! We trimmed it up, got rid of the puzzle of lights, and removed the trees and bush growing underneath.

2. Weed, weed, weed. Like I said, my mom weeded the entire yard. She’s a champ.

3. We edged the grass and spread bark dust everywhere.

4. My mom trimmed up some bushes that were growing out of control.

It was a hot, humid, sweaty day but the yard looks so much better now. The transformation isn’t as dramatic because I forgot the before pics (like I said, I’m a fool), but our neighbor said the first thing they noticed when they drove up the street was our bark dust :)

See what a difference it makes?

Yay bark dust!

Here’s a look at the whole yard. As a reminder, this is what the front yard looked like when we moved in.


This is our yard now.

No, we still don’t water our lawn. We don’t have an efficient system in place and I just feel too guilty using water without one.  But without the jungle of bushes and weeds, the other plants (besides the grass) are doing great!

The near-death hydrangea has come back to life, and the other flowers are blooming away.


So now I owe my parents a glass of wine and a nice dinner. They can collect at Volunteer Day this fall :)


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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Outdoor Decor Inspiration (And Finally a Clean Deck!)

I power washed our deck this morning. That chore was not in the plan for today. But it was slippery and grimy and gross and I guess I just didn’t want to fall down anymore :)

For 50 bucks, a couple hours and wet shoes, its the most embarrassing and glorious Before & After ever.

Seriously, how did we let it get that gross?

I like to think its because when we bought the house there was no stain or water seal on the deck. But man, we should have addressed this two years ago.

Here’s me in action. Hot outfit, I know.

Got me thinking though. Someday, maybe in 2015 or whenever we’re done with the kitchen remodel, we can start on the backyard :) Once we get the whole yard cleaned up, I’ll finally decorate the deck!

At least the deck is looking nice and clean, for now.



Of course, one productive thing is enough for Sunday so rather than work on anything worthwhile, I went to the interwebs for deck decor inspiration.

Which is your fave? What screams “put your feet up and have a glass of wine”?

Lay Down Rugs for Style & Practicality

Under Cover Porch


sources: Fayette Woman, DigsDigsBetter Homes and Gardens, Homes-Designs

This weekend was also my mom’s semi-annual volunteer day. (I was lucky – my dad came to help too!) We got quite a bit of work done in the front yard. Can’t wait to show you!

What did you do this weekend? Work around the house? Relax? Drink wine?

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