Saturday, January 12, 2013

DIY Mantel Tutorial

I should preface this blog post by saying that by the time these posts make it to you all neat and tidy in all their glory, I've probably: yelled at my husband, talked in a tone that is less than becoming, suffered a few injuries, given and received a few dirty looks, and said enough swear words to send my grandmother to her grave. Twice.

This mantel, though GORGEOUS, was a pain in the ass. Plain and simple. It was taken apart a few times and reassembled, it was trimmed and re cut, and hanging it proved to be an interesting feat. However, all said and was worth it. (At least to me, because I didn't have to do much heavy lifting, sawing, drilling, cutting...etc. heh)

Oh,I should add the fact that Hubby hammered my thumb. As in smashed it...WITH THE HAMMER! HOLY OUCH!  You be the judge, but I think it was totally worth the blood, sweat and tears

Oh, P.S. Angles are hard y'all!

Here is my mantle in all it's Christmas glory! :D You'll notice the cute little letters. I'll explain those in a different post.

When I first started looking for a project, I knew I wanted something to dress up the one blank wall I have in our apartment. And when I found THIS gem, I knew all I needed was a little tweaking and it was going to be PERFECT! :)  I used her mantel shelf as inspiration and then do what I always do...I make it up! Then I show my husband what he will be building for me and he gives me this weary look, to which I respond by begging and telling him it's going to be super easy and he can TOTALLY do this. (Please see above about how the project actually know with the swearing and all. heh)

Now on to the tutorial. Some of the pictures really suck this time. Sorry about that.

This is what you need:
One- 1x6x6
One 8' piece of molding (you choose which design you like best)
Finishing nails
Table Saw
Coat Hooks-If you wish to have hooks on the front of your mantel shelf. I wanted them to hang stockings. :)
stain, paint or whatever you want to decorate.

If you go to Lowe's someone will be generous enough to show you what you need. In my case they were also generous enough to make the cuts I needed. :)
You are going to have both the 1x6x6 and the 1x8x8 cut into 4' pieces. I suggest cutting the molding yourself at home! (That is where we made our mistake, which made the assembly of the mantel a lot more difficult than it needed to be!)
 The 1x8x8 is going to be the bottom and the top of your mantel. The 1x6x6 is going to be the front and the 2 sides. In the picture above, I am showing you how to place the bottom(1x8x8) and the front(1x6x6) together. You need to run screws through the wood to hold it in place. I think we did 3-4 screws across.

You should have a little extra of the 1x6x6, this is for the sides! You should have enough to make the two sides of your mantel.

To attach the top, just screw it into the sides. We did two screws (And by we I mean Hubby.) one in the front and one in the back.

Now we get to the molding part. I should just tell you ahead of time, the angles part...ARE HARD. Technically you should be able to set your table saw to 45degrees, match up the cut angles to make a 90degree angle that fits perfectly around the edges of your shelf. HA!

 The moral of the story is, it doesn't need to be perfect to look awesome! When your shelf is hanging and decorated, you can't even tell that the corners are slightly off.

To attach the molding you use finishing nails. When you stain your mantle you can't even see where the nails were put in.

 To hang the shelf, I'm going to have you visit the original site. I'm sure I could explain it to you, but she took better pictures of this part. So go HERE. As you can see in the above picture, once the mantle is stained and finished, you can't even tell than angles are wonky.
 This is an up close of the hooks we used.

 And there you have it. Your very own mantel shelf. Though there were less than ideal circumstances, the husband and I forgave each other and this mantel turned out beautiful!

In fact, it turned out so beautiful that we decided to build one for my sister and her husband for Christmas! I should add real quick, that the second mantle shelf went together in an hour and the angles weren't nearly has difficult. Perhaps practice makes perfect. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Segway Into The New Year

Before you go all APE-CRAP on me, let me just say...Yes, I know I spelled Segway wrong. However, I really didn't spell it wrong and later in this post you'll find out why. :D

We have recently returned from a LONG trip back home. For me it's always bitter sweet. I was so ready to sleep in my own bed, decide what I was cooking for dinner, control my t.v., and sleep in my GLORIOUS GLORIOUS BED.

Oh. I already mentioned that. Well, really, that's probably what I missed the most. However, it is always really sad to leave my family behind. In fact, it's almost painful. About 60 miles out from middle of nowhere town, my heart started to sink. Depression sank in for a bit,and it Sucked. With a CAPITAL S. :(

Being that we just returned, my house looks like a BOMB went off. I still have Christmas decor up from before we left. The dishes are semi-finished, because who wants to do dishes after they've traveled for 10 hours and not seen their own bed for 3 weeks?! The coffee table is in the middle of the kitchen; more on this later. Junk scatters the entryway table because it was brought up from the car and dumped in the first spot of convenience. You know what...a picture would probably do it more justice. Let me just humble myself and show you what it looks like to be thoroughly exhausted after a 3 week trip and a 10 hour drive.

Oh, the lovely clutter on the table over there and all over the floor.

You can see here that I used my new bubbling foot bath from the hubs and didn't bother to find a home for it. :)

Mmhm. That's a globe in the middle of the floor. I told you my husband is a history buff!

Now, because I am not a TOTAL gluten for punishment, I won't show you what my bedroom looks like. I think I'll keep a little of my dignity.

So you see what I'm up against. My brain has barely wrapped around the mess and traveling and getting back into drama club and making dinners and RAWR! AND on top of that the coffee table is in the middle of the kitchen because I am starting to work out. I'm hoping I can keep up with it long enough to beat the stigma of "resolutioners". :) Plus add to that, Raymond's birthday is quickly  approaching and I have a pretty intense schedule to get back to!

As I sat amongst the mess of this house today I was thinking "Hmmm, what am I going to do for my history buff husband this year?" I did some googling...and guys, I came up with the BEST idea ever!!

Ha! Yeah, what they said. source
We are going to go on a Segway tour! It's a 2 hour tour where we get to RIDE SEGWAYS through the historical parts of Richmond! Boom! Who's an awesome wife?!

Yeah, me.

This is where the crafty comes out in me. I didn't want it to be all boring and me just be like "Oh, hey...guess what, we're riding Segways for your birthday." So I drafted up a little letter with a distressed looking background, and created my own little ticket stub.

This was all done on Microsoft word using the "draw your own text box" tool and with some clip art. I believe I typed in antique to the clip art and found the neat antique looking background for the ticket and his birthday letter. Though he was given his trip REALLY early, I have a few extra tricks up my sleeve and I will be sharing those with you as soon as I get working on them. :)

Yay for the first blog post of 2013!! Hopefully the next one won't take a week to be published!

P.S.- Since it has taken almost a week for my Internet to cooperate enough to allow me to upload pictures, the house is back in working order and it doesn't look like I am well on my way to being a hoarder. Christmas it boxed up and put away neatly! Can anyone say Thank you Jesus?! Whew!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mandarin Chicken

Hey all you wives out there, any of you ever have those days where you are seriously the worst. wife. ever.?


Oh yeah, me either. Heh

Ok, all seriousness, I've been a bad wife lately.  I know some of you who read my previous post are all "But Marti, you just wrote this awesomely hilarious post about making a date jar a loving your husband and being all happy and junk." Mmhm, it's true. I did. And we are all happy and junk, but that doesn't mean we haven't had our trials getting there.

 On a scale of "Worst Wife Ever" to "Reincarnation of June Cleaver",lately my wife stats have dropped from "Pretty Awesome Wife" to "You Suck".


The Wife Scale

__10__......Reincarnation of June Cleaver
__8__.....Pretty Awesome Wife
__5__.......You Suck (aka Me)
__1__......Worst Wife Ever

 So, I mean I'm not all the way at the bottom, but eh...I need some serious improvement.

Marti, all of this for a recipe of Mandarin Chicken?!

Yes, because this blog is not only a place to enjoy some really good recipes and talk about my crafty projects, it is also a place for me to journal my life.  I want to be candid, honest and real with all of you.  I am human just like everyone else.  I don't want this blog to be something that portrays someone that I am not. Do I craft a lot?  Absolutely.  Do I like to try new recipes? Sure! Am I happy-go-lucky all the time? No. Is my marriage the perfect marriage ever?! No. Everything in my life is a work in progress. Everything. My crafting, my recipes, my cooking, my marriage and myself. This is a journey that I intend on writing about and writing about honestly.  (You've been forewarned.)

That being said, onto this recipe that I found at another one of the lovey-dovey-mushy-marriage sites.
Because of the lack of wifeishness (yeah, I make up words. So what.) on my part, I decided that I would surprise Raymond with a "chinese-ish" (again with the made up words.) dinner. :) I bought a cheap little centerpiece and some place mats at the dollar store, moved the coffee table to the middle of the kitchen, put some pillows on the floor as chairs, lit some candles and tried a new recipe. 
Mandarin Chicken
Chicken Breast (I used 1 piece butterflied, there was enough sauce for 2-3 pieces)
1 15ozCan Mandarin Oranges
1 6oz can pinapple (to use the juice)
3TBS Cornstarch
1/4 cup soy sauce
1tsp mustard
1TBSP vinegar
1tsp garlic powder

As your sauce boils and cooks down, the oranges will cook into the sauce.

 Serve over rice and enjoy! :)

Here are some pictures from our dinner! :)

Look ad Hubs enjoyin' his dinner!

Look who joined us for dinner!
Cooper is SERIOUSLY eye-balling that food!

And I'll leave you with this little number. :)


Monday, October 22, 2012

The Date Night Jar

Today I've been in a funk...I'm sorry. Correction: I've been in a funk for the past couple of days. I'm not sure why. It comes and goes, but mostly, it comes. UGH!

When these "funky" times come I get fixated on things. I will concentrate on things I think will fix the problem INSTANTLY and make me feel better; however, in all honesty it would probably just create a whole NEW bundle of unforeseen issues that I'm not ready to handle.

Take for instance the fact that I've been OBSESSED with having a baby the past couple of months.  I've wanted to be a mom for a LONG LONG time (I'm talking at an age that is stupidly stupid to even consider having children) but the want has turned into a NEED the past couple of months.

It's ridiculous.

Anyway, this fixation is heightened by the fact that I've been feeling like utter crap and I've done convinced myself...CON-VINCED myself that a baby is the fix.


I know some of you are reading this and saying "She is on complete crack, or some other hallucinogen that would trick her brain into thinking this is a good idea."

To which I would reply, "I am not."

Simply put, I'm in a rut. An educational rut, a job rut, a crafty rut. Add to that the fact that the honeymoon phase may have ended the day hubby and I decided to poop with the door open. TMI? Too bad.  Anyway,what do you do when you're in a rut?! YOU MAKE BABIES! wrong. You do not, because that creates financial strain (more financial strain than we are already having) which then creates more issues which then turns your cozy little rut into an enormous BLACK HOLE!

black. hole.

Life has become mundane and nothing super interesting has been happening in the realm of the married life lately, (thus why I think adding a baby would spice things up...or something) which just spun the wheels harder making the rut feel deeper.

Alright already, when am I ever going to get to the REAL point of this blog post? Now.
So today, as I was surfing the web looking at random things I stumbled upon this LOVELY site that was oozing with was awesome!! :D I thought to myself: Self, this could be JUST what you're looking for! It could drag you out of this rut and give you and the hubby something interesting, exciting, lovey-dovey, FUN to do! I. Was. Right. (I love saying that.)

The site that I found? Love the Grows, which is a blog that is written by a girl named Bethany.  Her and her husband are newlyweds and there are all kinds of really cool things over there. (Check her out!)  One of the really cool things I found particularly interesting was the Date Jar.  I decided this could be something that helps drag me out of the rut and back onto solid ground.  Again, I. Was. Right. (sometimes it gets sweeter the more you say it.) ;)

Tonight, hubby and I sat down and created our very own Date Night Jar! We changed a few things from the original idea, but it works all the same.  :)

So, I will ask you...Is your relationship in a rut? Are you and your significant other snuggled up in the muddy rut on the side of the road? Do this! It's fun and exciting!

So Gather your supplies and your significant other and lets get to work!

You Need:
Mason Jar
Popsicle Sticks

We color coded our sticks, because we decided it would be pretty disappointing to pull out a stick with a date idea we couldn't afford to do. Thus, the color system was born! Green = MONEY! (these are the dates that cost $26 or more dollars) Blue = A little money ($11-25) and Red = (under $10 most of our ideas were free)

Some of our favorite Date Night Ideas:
-Dress up as your significant other's parents and do impressions
-Prank Call Night- Call as many random numbers as possible and see who all answers
-Dare Night
-Teach Hubby to sew night
-Challenge Night- Winner gets to wear a gold metal that the other person MAKES for them.
-Strip Wii night- I think this one explains itself. ;)

Well, there you have it. The rut busting, fun-creating, ooey-gooey-love making Date Night Jar.

Getcha Some! :) (No pun intended...seriously.)

Be looking for some fun posts about the dates that hubby and I have pulled out of the jar! I can't wait to share them with you!

In all seriousness though, I've been seeing some super cute babies all over facebook.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Cooper's Room!

In our bedroom there is a small cubby.  I have debated over several ideas for said cubby.  I thought about turning it into a quaint reading nook, or an elegant vanity space; however, I just couldnt decide.  What the cubby usually turns into is a space to heap laundry and next thing you know the room is looking like an episode of Hoarders. (If you missed the dramatics of my Craft Space looking like a Hoarders Episode, go check it out.) 

As the debating continued, Cooper had decided to steal an old pillow, curl up on it and call it his space; thus, it was.  As I said before my goal in the next few posts is to create some happiness for Mr. Cooper. :) So with the help of hubby (ALWAYS, because my ability to run power tools is scary.) we built him an ADORABLE bed, decorated the little cubby and made him a room!

Guys, Cooper was so excited it was ridiculous! We carried that bed up, and before it even had a bed on it he was laying in it, washing himself, sleeping, drooling...he...LOVED it! I call that a pet-parent WIN!

*Cue the evil laughter!*

Now, I don't know how many of you are crazy like me, but if you love your dog more than you should and want to build him or her a bed, this post is for you, because I am providing a step by step!


Welp, the new bed and room was a HIT! I have a couple other crafts up my sleeve. I'm not sure if he will enjoy those as much, but I will. :) So, if you enjoy reading about me spoiling the crap out of my dog, stay tuned. There's more to come!

 I need to come up with some ideas for making his kennel more enjoyable...or perhaps building him some sort of doggy play pen that he may enjoy being in while we're gone? I haven't quite put together enough ideas to put this one in place. Anyone have ideas?

P.S. I Should add a HUGE thank you to the neighboors for allowing us to use their power tools and materials on a regular basis! :D

Friday, September 21, 2012

Homemade Dog Treats- Operation Make Cooper Happy

Recently, Mr. Cooper, our beloved beagle has been acting out.  Over the summer we had allowed him to be out of his kennel for short periods of time while we were gone.  Our goal was to eventually leave him out of his kennel permanently. That way, Cooper could enjoy the his life from the comfort of his little blue chair and we didn't have dog-parent guilt about having him caged.

Oh, but our goals were in vain. VAIN I tell you, because since the school year has started Cooper has been a HOLY TERROR! His separation anxiety has sky-rocketed and he has just been the HOLIEST OF ALL HOLY TERRORS!  If we leave him out of his kennel, he gets into the trash, eats anything that is on the coffee table, takes the cushions off the couches and spreads them across the room.  If we kennel him, he pees in his kennel.  Not only does he pee IN the kennel he pees OUT of the kennel. He lifts his leg in order to make it outside and inside the kennel; thus, creating the BIGGEST mess possible for hubby and I to clean up!  He also ate an entire box of Oreos.  I'm not sure what I was more upset about, the mess that was all over the house or the fact that he ate ALL of the cookies. EVERY. LAST. ONE!

What?! Me's not Holy Terror! Me WUVS youu!

One night, NO JOKE, Cooper squatted on the carpet and started peeing.  I could HEAR the stream hitting the carpet.  I sat up and started yelling "NO COOPER NOOOOO!!" This is normally enough to startle him and make him realize he's doing something wrong, but OH NO. Not that night. Do you know what he did?! He looked me DEAD IN THE EYE and continued to pee on my carpet!! OH. NO. HE. DIDN'T.

HE. WENT. THERE. I could have killed him. I smacked his behind (you know because dogs totally understand that? I'm a horrible dog parent.) and clipped him outside where he stayed until hubby and I resolved the carpet. -sigh-

I won't EVEN get into his most disgusting stunt that left hubby and me feeding him hydrogen peroxide to ensure he vomitted. LORD HAVE MERCY!

Needless to say, Cooper has shown us in EVERY way possible that he is NOT adjusting to the new schedule and he does not enjoy his Mom and Dad being gone for such long periods.

How dare we got to work and make money to buy him food!! (Ungrateful little brat.)

Now, after all of that complaining...I will say I kind of feel bad for the little man.  Here we were spending all of our time with him over the summer, taking him on trips to see the family, staying home and cuddling with him during the week and then *BOOM* we leave him. ALLLLL ALOONNEEE!

So...I've decided I'm launching "Operation Make Cooper Happy!".  The next few posts will be dedicated to Cooper and trying to make him feel a little better about the new schedule. Because everyone knows spoiling your children, human or canine, is the best way to make them happy and healthy children. Heh! I really hope we are better human-parents than dog-parents.

Alright, onto Operation Make Cooper Happy! The mission? Cooper Cookies.

Here's the Step-by-step

Cooper loved these! They are simple to whip up.