Friday, June 28, 2013

Thrift Finds Galore!

I am a thrift addict. There, I said it! I am totally addicted. My husband has been gone all week on a mission trip to Belize and I have been spending my days off from work thrifting, Craigslisting, and garage saling with my mom. None of those are real verbs, but they all happened and we had so much fun! This blog post is dedicated to just a few of the things I found and put a little love into, but there will be many more projects to come cuz I found lots of good stuff! :)

So first, my thrift store find:


A little 99 cent mirror that I picked up at Goodwill. I actually bought two of these little guys and I'm really happy I did because I love how cute the first one turned out! Here's what I turned it into...


What do you think? I love how it turned out! I'm really loving the nautical stuff right now, especially because it's summertime, so I decided to put a little nautical flair on this one. I think it would be just perfect in a cottage or beach house, or even in a little boy's nautical themed nursery! 

This was really easy to transform. Here's how I did it :)

First, I sanded down the wooden framing around the mirror so that the paint would adhere to it better. Depending on what kind of paint you use, this may or may not be necessary. I was using some latex paint that I got on clearance at Lowes for the base coat, so I decided to give it a light sanding first. I then used painters tape to cover the mirror so that the paint did not leak onto the mirror surface. Here's a picture of it all taped off. 


I don't have pictures of the rest of the process, but it was very easy. I first painted the whole frame using the pale blue color that I picked up from Lowes earlier this week, putting a couple of coats on to get good coverage. Then I actually let it dry overnight. This isn't necessary, but I didn't have navy paint last night when I started working on it, so I had to wait. And let me tell you, I hate waiting. I had such a vision for this little mirror and at 9:30 on a Thursday night, there wasn't much I could do until the next day without that navy paint! Major bummer. Anyways...

After I finally had a chance to purchase some navy blue paint this afternoon, I taped off some stripes on the frame using the same blue painters tape that I used before on the mirror. I eyeballed it but you can measure too obviously if you want to make sure your stripes are exactly even. Then I painted the exposed stripes with navy paint over top of the pale blue base color. I let that dry for a bit, then peeled off all my tape and viola! I ended up with the cutest little striped frame you've ever seen :) 

I had also purchased a little unfinished wood anchor from Michael's last week sometime (not knowing what I was going to do with it at the time) and decided it would be the perfect finishing touch. I painted it grey, roughed it up a little with some sandpaper after it had dried, and used Gorilla Glue to glue it in the corner of the frame. After everything was all dried and the anchor was stuck on there nice and tight (Gorilla Glue takes a little while to dry), I used sandpaper to rough the whole thing up a little more. I'm pretty excited about how it turned out! 




Alrighty, now on to my Craigslist find. I am ecstatic about this one. Seriously. You have no idea.

For a while now, I have been searching for a 6-pane old barn window. I have seen so many cute decorating ideas with old windows on Pinterest, and they really match the rustic/shabby chic style that I have planned for our new house. I've seen a few around, but most of them have been quite pricy so I've been holding off, hoping to find one for a better deal.

And then all my dreams came true the other day when I was searching through Craigslist. A lady from Grand Rapids had 3, THREE, 6-pane windows for sale... and for a fraction of the price that I have seen others selling for. There was only one small issue: she had painted on them to decorate for the different seasons. One had flowers, one fall leaves, and the other snowflakes. At first glance, I was a little hesitant because I wasn't quite sure if I could get the paint off but after debating for a few seconds, I decided it was worth a try! I figured that a little scraping with a razor blade would probably do the trick... and I was right!


So I picked them up today, rummaged through my dad's junk drawer and found a few razor blades, and got to work! I also recruited my little bro, who complained about his sore thumb after about 2.2 seconds of scraping. But he was a good sport and cut the scraping time in half - thanks Parks! :)


He also stuck around to help me with the final project I want to share with you today, my garage sale bargain find. Here he is modeling the finished product. Lol I was cracking up while taking this photo. He's a goofball!


This little kid's chair is just one of the awesome garage sale finds that I picked up today. It was already painted this nice light blue color and all it needed was a little sandpaper love :) So I grabbed a couple pieces of rough grit sandpaper, handed one off to my brother and we shabbied it up a little. We focused on the edges, like I usually do when I distress wood pieces so that it gives it a natural worn look.


Because I had the razor blades out from scraping the windows, I also used one to scrape off a few spots on the seat of the chair. I have never used this technique before, but I think it makes it easier to take off larger spots of paint without having to sand like crazy. 


And there you have it! I think it looks so cute now! And I barely had to put any effort into it because it was already painted when I bought it! :)

So there you have it friends - my thrifting, Craigslisting, and garage saling adventures from this week have paid off! And this is only 3 of the many things I picked up! Stay tuned for more blog posts - I have lots left to redo so there will be lots to share with you!

Have you gotten any bargains lately? Leave a comment and let me know what you've been thrifting this summer!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Chicken Wire Message Frame


Hello friends! For those of you who saw the new Facebook page for The Weathered Willow, you might have seen my status on Thursday about spending the previous day crafting with my grandma. We had so much fun and I feel so blessed to have gotten to spend the day with her. My grandma is an extremely crafty woman and I honestly think that I've inherited my creative spirit from growing up watching her paint, build, and create so many awesome things. Well, for those of you who were wondering what we were up to, this is what we made! "Chicken Wire Message Frames" is what I'm calling them, and I'm in love with how they turned out! :)


As you can see from the picture above, we actually ended up making 3 of these frames on Wednesday. And I won't lie to you... this took a long time and quite a bit of work. But it was worth it! They were actually shower gifts for 3 of my best friends from high school who are getting married this summer! The shower was today and they each received one as a gift. The little cards that say "LOVE" in the left corners were Target gift cards clipped to the chicken wire with cute little decorative clothespins that I embellished with different materials (more about those later) and I also printed out some vintage looking hearts that I found as free printables online and clipped those on as well to show how the frames can be used as message boards. I think they turned out to be really cute gifts and the girls really seemed to like them. Here's a picture of the beautiful brides-to-be with their gifts :)

From left to right: Hannah, Jess, and Martha :)
 Because I was enjoying being with my grandma so much, I kinda forgot to take process pictures again (I know, I'm a terrible blogger lol) but it's a pretty simple process so I'll just give you some step-by-step instructions if you're interesting in making one for yourself :)

First you will need a frame. I got mine at a thrift shop and paid $2 or less for each one. I'm going to warn you ahead of time that it's best if they are real wood. Two of the frames that I used for these projects were not real wood and I had a very difficult time stapling the chicken wire to them because the material was too hard. If you can't find real wood frames, other materials will work, it will just be more difficult and you will probably be sore the next day like I was from putting a little more muscle into the stapling part ;) 

You will also need paint to repaint the frames if you want them to be a different color than the original ones. I used two colors for each frame - a base color and top color. I used spray paint just because it's faster. Obviously you will need chicken wire as well. I got mine from Lowes in a fairly large roll for about $9. I believe that I bought the 1'' chicken wire but there is also a kind that has smaller hexagons if you are looking for smaller holes. You will also need a staple gun, sandpaper, and a wire cutter. 

The process is pretty self-explanatory, it's just rather time consuming so be prepared to spend a few hours on this project. Before I started painting, I sanded my frames down using sandpaper so that the paint would adhere better and then wiped them off so that they were smooth and free from any of the leftover wood dust. It's up to you what kind of painting process you want to use, but I wanted mine to have the shabby distressed look so I used a basecoat first so that it would show through after distressing. 

For those of you who are wondering, I used a white basecoat for the smaller grey frame and the blue frame, and a grey basecoat for the bigger greyish colored frame. After letting them dry completely, I spray painted the top coats on. The bigger grey frame actually has a white topcoat, but I ran out of paint after only a thin layer had been applied (oops) so it actually turned out to be a little bit of a lighter grey color. Not what I was going for, but it turned out looking fine. 

At this point, it's extremely important to let the frames dry completely. For me, this took about an hour. After they were dry, I was able to sand parts of the frames to give them that distressed look that I was going for. It's best to sand them down in places where there would be normal natural wear so that it looks like it has worn down over time. Edges and corners are the best places to focus on. 


Once they were all good and shabby, I hauled them inside to get down to business with the chicken wire and staple gun! And this is where it got a little crazy, right grandma? ;) That chicken wire is actually pretty nasty stuff! Because it comes in a roll, it's a little difficult to manipulate and to flatten against the frame. At this point, I was really glad to have an extra set of hands to help. I would suggest doing the same if you decide to tackle this project. 

You basically just line up the chicken wire pattern straight within the opening of the frame and use a staple gun to staple the wire to the edges of the frame. I used quite a few staples because I wanted to make sure that the wire laid flat within the frame and didn't bow from being stored in a roll for so long. Once it's all stapled, you use the wire cutters to cut down the extra wire hanging over the edges. I feel like I need a disclaimer here also: chicken wire is sharp once it's been cut, so be careful! My grandma was bleeding in a few places when we were done - sorry Gram! :( I think we decided that we're going to brainstorm how to do it next time without having to leave those sharp edges open on the back. Once it's hung on the wall, it's really not a big deal, but it's a little bit of a hazard until that point. That's all there is to it though! And you've got a finished Chicken Wire Message Frame!


Decorating the clothespins was another fun part so I'll quickly tell you how I made those as well. I just bought a regular package of clothespins and rounded up some things I had lying around in my crafting supplies to decorate them. I used an all-purpose craft tacky glue to attach strips of each material to the tops of the clothespins. The blue ones on the left are made using some braided trim from the fabric department at Hobby Lobby. The middle ones are strips of some cute lacy scrapbook paper from Michaels. The three top ones on the right are little bows that I made from jute, and the bottom right and furthest two bottom ones are cut up strips of burlap. In one of the pictures above you'll also see a clothespin with some blue diagonal stripes on it also and that one was made with a strip of washi-tape from Miachaels taped on top. I think they turned out pretty cute! And there are so many possibilities for these little guys - I love it! :)


And one more photo of the finished product...


I'm definitely going to have to make one of these for our house when I figure out what colors I want to use in our decor - I think it's the perfect little message board! I have also seen these same frames used to display hanging earrings on - I think that's a great idea also.

So what do you think? Do you like how they turned out? Have I inspired any of you to try making your own Chicken Wire Message Frames? Let me know if you make one - I'd love to see photos when you're finished! :)

P.S. If you haven't liked the Facebook page for The Weathered Willow blog yet, please do! You can find the link to it on the right-hand sidebar of the blog page. It's an easy way to stay updated with new blog posts and to get an idea of what I might be working on next. I'd love to see you as a follower! Thanks again for all your support!

Linking up at:
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Monday, June 17, 2013

Almond-Glazed Sugar Cookies


So, I just have to start this post by saying that these are seriously in my top 3 favorite cookies in the world... and I love cookies. They are insanely yummy and just writing this post makes me want to go bake them again RIGHT NOW. This is a recipe that my mother-in-law introduced me to and has turned into one of my most requested baked goods at her house (and she seriously has like a million baked goods recipes). 

I decided to finally try baking them myself and they turned out great! They were fun to make too :) To start, you mix all the ingredients for the cookie dough together and then roll the dough into little 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet. Then comes the fun part! You grease the bottom of a glass either with butter or by rubbing it into the already mixed cookie dough and then dip it into a bowl of sugar. The sugar should stick to the bottom of the glass as shown in the picture below.


Then you flatten the dough balls until they are about 1/4-inch thick with the sugary glass bottom. Make sure to dip the glass into the sugar after flattening each cookie so that each cookie ends up topped with a thin layer of sugar. I didn't have to grease the glass again after doing it the first time - I think it stays greased from pressing down each cookie, however, if you notice that your glass isn't picking up enough sugar, you can always grease it again. 


After the cookies are all baked and cooled completely, you mix up the almond glaze. This glaze sets up pretty quickly so I recommend mixing it up after all the cookies are finished and ready to top like I did. If you're a little impatient like me, this is difficult ;) Each cookie gets a little dab of glaze, just enough to frost the top of the cookie. Then you go ahead and top each cookie with some sliced almonds - be sure to do this fairly quickly otherwise the glaze will be set up too much for the almonds to stick on. 


And you've got your finished Almond-Glazed Sugar Cookies!


Yum! Don't they look delicious?


And isn't my plate from Home Goods gorgeous? I seriously love it. And it was on clearance! Even better :)


Don't forget to let me know if you make them - I'd love to know what you think! :)

Almond-Glazed Sugar Cookies

Preheat oven to: 400ยบ
Baking time: 7-9 minutes
Yield: around 2 1/2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

1 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Glaze:

1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
4 to 6 tsp. water
Sliced almonds

Directions: 

Combine butter, sugar and almond extract and beat 1 to 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and beat another 1 to 2 minutes. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten each ball to 1/4-inch with greased glass, dipped in sugar. Bake for 7-9 minutes. Cool 1 minute before removing and then cool cookies completely before glazing. Stir together all glaze ingredients, using a small dab to top each cookie. Place sliced almonds in glaze.  

Enjoy!


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Busy Times!

Wow! Life has been so busy, but has been filled with so many exciting things lately! I just can't believe how fast time is flying by. We're already halfway into June, people!

Anyways, tonight I'm not really here to share anything in particular with you, just a little bit about some of the things that have been going on lately. Once everything settles down I've got a LOT of crafting and recipe ideas to share with you, but for now you'll have to hang with me while we get through these slow times together. I promise this blog will turn into the true DIY blog that I've intended it to be soon - just let me get through the crazy moving process first :)

One of the first things I have to share with you is the progress on our house! Here are some of the latest pictures of the start of construction.




And we have basement walls! Yay! I think they start framing next week - I can't wait until it actually starts looking like a house! 

We also went and picked out all of our light fixtures the other day, which was fun. I'm really happy with the choices that we made and I can't wait to see everything when it finally all comes together. I must say also that I'm quite surprised with how easily it has been for Eric and I to agree on a lot of these decisions. It's turning out to be pretty easy to make choices together! Gotta love that! :)


I made another pallet sign last weekend as a birthday present for a friend's mother that I wanted to quick share with you too. Proverbs 3:5-6 is her favorite verse and the weathered red barn wood coloring worked with her decor in her family room so this turned out perfect! I'm thinking about making another one kinda like this to this to sell since I'm so happy with how it turned out - if you're interested in purchasing something similar please let me know!

Finally, I wanted to share a picture with you of the little cabinet that I purchased yesterday - my first furniture purchase for the new house! I'm so excited! I haven't dared to buy too much yet without having hardly any of the house finished at this point, but I saw this piece in the photo below for sale at a little store in town and couldn't resist! This is a picture of it at the shop because at the present moment, it's tucked away behind a lawnmower and a motorcycle in my parents' second garage - not prime photo location :) I think the only thing I'm going to change are the knobs, otherwise it's just perfect! And it was only $80!


I think it will go perfectly in our new home! What do you think? Now I get to start thinking about what kinds of cute little things I can display on it and where it will go once we move in - I have so many ideas already! 

Talk to you again soon!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Goat Cheese on Sourdough

So, I'm really sorry that I've been a terrible blogger lately and haven't updated in almost 2 weeks! I would probably be ashamed if I didn't have some legitimate excuses ;) I was sick for a few days in that time and have been pretty busy with work and with our house getting started - eee so exciting! We're also starting to move stuff out of our apartment because we'll be moving in with Eric's parents next week - our lease is up at the end of the month and we're going to try to save some money while the house is being built. As many of you know, busy days leave little extra time for crafting, cooking, or baking, hence, my insanely easy recipe for you tonight :)


I present to you: Goat Cheese on Sourdough (a very condensed name for what is really just toasted sourdough bread spread with goat cheese and topped with roasted red peppers).


So, I'll give you a little background to the inspiration behind this recipe: I love goat cheese. It is seriously one of my favorite things ever. There are two places where I always order goat cheese and this little recipe is inspired by one of them. One of these places is up north in Traverse City at M. Lawrence winery where it is served with two small sample glasses of sparkling wine (my favorite winery) and at Sanchez restaurant in Grand Rapids. The goat cheese tapa at Sanchez reminds me a lot of this recipe that I threw together tonight and I'm so happy with how it turned out! Now I can make one of my favorite restaurant appetizers right at home :)


The ingredients that I used tonight were actually pretty inexpensive even though they seem like they might be kinda pricey. The sourdough bread is from the Meijer bakery and the goat cheese and roasted red peppers are from Aldi. I seriously love Aldi - it has such great prices and a nice selection of specialty items. The goat cheese comes in several different flavors but the one I always get is the "Garlic and Herb". The roasted red peppers actually come in a jar and are the "Sweet" variety that Aldi offers, but they are just as good as fresh roasted ones in my opinion, and a lot less work.


I'm not going to actually write out a recipe for this post just because it's so easy! Basically what I did was slice up the loaf of sourdough into thin slices and throw them in the toaster until they were just lightly toasted. While they were toasting, I put the goat cheese in the microwave for 10 second intervals, mashing and stirring it up until it was a good spreading consistency and nice and warm. For me, this only took about 35-40 seconds. I also cut up the roasted red peppers from the jar into smaller strips so that they weren't such large chunks. Then all you have to do is spread the goat cheese onto the toasted sourdough and top with the roasted red peppers - easy as that! I think this could also be made in the oven and might stay warmer a little longer, but I did not try this approach yet. I would also probably warm up the red peppers next time before adding them on top.

I used about 1/3 of the sourdough loaf, the entire 4 oz package of goat cheese, and less than 1/4 of the jar of roasted red peppers for the eight slices shown in the pictures, just so you have an idea of the amounts I used when buying ingredients. I'm thinking I might bring this appetizer to our next get together with friends or family. It was so easy and seriously delicious! Eric and I ate all eight slices within no time tonight ;)

Before I go, I also just want to say that I'm going to try to be better about updating the blog over the next few weeks, however, it's probably going to be a little difficult with all the busy things we have going on. I do plan to give you a brief update of the progress on our house within the next couple of days though, as well as show you my most recent pallet sign which I sold to a friend for her mom's birthday - it turned out really great and I can't wait to show you! Check back within the next couple of days for this post. See you then! :)