Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How To: Install An In-Cupboard Pot Rack

About a month ago I wrote a post about organizing my kitchen and adding a pan rack was one of my ideas.
We really wanted to have a normal pan rack displayed in our kitchen, but the problem was the only spot available would be above the sink and that would block the view of our backyard. Browsing around on the internet I came across this in-cupboard hanging pan rack from a cupboard company (Ayr Cabinetry). I LOVED IT!

We have a cupboard just left to the cook-top that really doesn't get used much, so I thought this would be a perfect addition to the kitchen and really aid us in the storage of our pans.I contacted the company and they told me they just purchased a pan rack (that normally would hang from your ceiling) from amazon and mounted in the cupboard, but they didn't know how the carpenter had mounted it in the cupboard. After about a month of going back and forth I nailed down our plan of attack. Here is my little How To:

What you'll need for this project:
36" inch Dual Track Natural Wood Ceiling Rack
Electrical Saw
(4) L-Brackets about 1.5"
Small Level
Stain (if you want it to match your cupboards)
8 screws (about 1/2" to 3/4")

I purchased this pan rack from overstock for $37.74 (pic is hyper-linked). You really do not need to purchase this rack, you can just use some 1"x2" board and buy some pan hooks. I found the pan hooks, were about $6 each (6 times $6= $36, and I could get all the parts for just $1.74 more if I bought the rack) I thought purchasing this rack was the better route to go.

Next, you need to start out with measuring the width of your cupboard. We chose this cupboard next to the cook-top so that it was easy access for cooking.

Take the two wood boards out of the kit and cut them down to the width of your cupboard. Make sure that you measure twice! You don't want them to be too small.

With the remainder of the board (the cut off part), cut a rectangle that is about 1.25" long. This will be the "gap" between the two boards so that your hooks can slide back and forth.

Clamp the boards together. It should be the long boards the outsides and the small 1.25" boards in the middle on the ends. Drill holes in the boards equivalent to the size of the metal screws that came with the kit. It should look like the picture below.
Attach the boards together with the metal screws that came with the kit.
At this point I chose to stain the rack so that it matched our cupboards. This is entirely up to you.
Next, measure where you would like your rack to hang. Make sure that you put the rack high enough for your tallest pan. Also, you need to make sure that the rack is in the center of the cupboard. Start out with marking just one side.
Attach two of the L-brackets in the area you have marked off as center one side of the cupboard. Place your wooden pieces on the L-brackets to line up the other side. Using your level, mark where to place the two remaining L-Brackets on the other side. Making this level is very important.
Once your L-Brackets are in place you can attach the wooden rack. Drill holes in the rack where you would like to place your screws. This should prevent the wood from splitting. Make sure to avoid hitting the metal screws that hold the rack together. We only used the outer holes on the L-Brackets. Use the remaining four screws to attach the rack to the L-Brackets.
Insert the metal hooks in the pan rack and then adjust your shelf (if you have one) to the right height above the rack. We had just enough space for the shelf to be used to hold pan lids.
And wallah we are finished! The rack is in place and couldn't look nicer! It's just so handy to have the pans close at hand!

We are so proud of our little pot rack. It's just another nice way to keep your kitchen organized and minimize the clutter!


Monday, July 26, 2010

Even Though We Ain't Got Money

I admit from time to time I find myself listening to the light station. 92.5..."Turn the light on" as they say in Sioux Falls. It's extremely dorky and kind of lame to say the least. I also realized that they tend to play the same loop of soft rock every. single. day. "Lean On Me" at 2:00 pm. "Pina Colada" at 2:30. Ugh... You get the idea. While flipping through the radio stations today a song came on that made me get a little sentimental: "Danny's Song" by Loggins & Messina. I guess the song was named for the singer's brother and family when they had their first son. Anyway, it's super old and a little cheesy but I couldn't help but feel like this was the perfect way to describe what Nathan and I are going through. Like a lot of people our age we're feeling bummed by the economy/job market and absolutely buried by our student loan debt. But regardless of the fact that we're not rolling in the money we are so, so happy. Almost every night we find ourselves being silly and just laughing until our stomachs ache (the best kind of laughter!). I am a very lucky woman and regardless of our money situation I cannot lose sight of the fact that I married a wonderful man and that our love will always suffice. Everything will be okay.

"Even though we ain't got money,
I'm so in love with you, honey,
And everything will bring a chain of love.
And in the morning, when I rise,
You bring a tear of joy to my eyes
And tell me everything is gonna be alright."


Anne's Easy Taco Dip

Well I don't know if my friend Anne actually came up with this dip but I got the recipe from her so I will fondly refer to it as "hers." (Love ya, Anne!)
Prepare for deliciousness...

1 Can of Refried Beans
8 oz of Cream Cheese
1 Packet of Taco Dip
With the following use as much or as little as you wish:
16 oz of sour cream
1 Jar of Salsa
Shredded Cheese
Shredded Lettuce
Sliced Black Olives

Spread softened cream cheese on the bottom of the pan followed by the can of refried beans. Add the packet of taco seasoning to the sour cream and layer this on top of the refried beans. Finish off by layering salsa, cheese, lettuce and sliced black olives. Enjoy right away or let the dip settle for a bit so the taco seasoning isn't so potent. I love this taco dip recipe because it is so quick and easy! What's your favorite taco dip recipe? Share below if you have a tip!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Little Notes Can Mean So Much

My morning routine is pretty much the same everyday. Rush to shower, rush to do my hair, rush to dress, rush to get Gizmo outside, rush making lunch and rush out the door. As you can tell, I really don't make much time for anything in my morning schedule.

As I am rushing out the door early this morning, I notice a paper sticking out of my purse and it just seems off. I grab it and read quickly it, "Hope you have a nice day at work. I love you!" It's from my husband.

Many times in life we are moving so fast that we don't take time to write a quick little note that could mean so much to that special person in our lives. I was starting out my day pretty bad, very tired, and just counting down till the end of the week. His little note, though it was short, added a bright spot to my day. It's nice to have husband remembers to do little things like this and I really appreciate all the little things he does that mean so much to me.

I am sharing this with all of you to remind you that the little things, no matter how small, can really make a difference in your significant others day. You don't need to write some long drawn out letter, buy flowers, or bake a cake. The little things, such as a note scratched out on a coffee stained piece of paper, can give that little reminder that there is someone else out there thinking of you.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Would You Try It??

And here we are! A different crop of trends to evaluate. What do you think of these trends? Would you wear them?...

The Denim Vest
This trend is taking me back... to grade school. I definitely rocked a jean vest with a Winnie The Pooh motif at one point. When I see this trend part of me just screams, "No, no, no!" Yet when I see some people wearing it I think, "Ehh... that's not that bad actually." For example, it didn't look that bad on Kim Kardashian. Then again, what doesn't look good on her?

Here are a couple ways to wear the denim vest inspired by Kim's look:

Patterned Pants
There are definitely some trends I see and think, "No way would that EVER grow on me!" But then I see some young starlet trying it out and start to re-think my initial reaction (see above). However this trend, this loud, printed, harem-shaped (or non-harem shaped) trend will never grow on me. Simply put, it looks like pajama pants in the day time. NEVER okay. Which reminds me, what was with the girls in college who wore pajamas to class? Really, you couldn't take 2 seconds to just throw on some jeans?? I always found that to be disrespectful to the teachers and the class... alas, I shouldn't get off on that tangent. Instead here are some examples of the pants I'm describing:
So am I feeling these pants?... not so much. What do YOU think? Comment below!

Long, Full Skirts
Here's a delightful nod back to Audrey Hepburn and the 50's housewife. Long, full skirts are making strong appearance in Fall 2010 lines. While I love a shorter full skirt I wonder if this longer version would be harder to pull off. I can definitely see myself wearing it to church but I am not so sure how it would look at work. One things for sure I like it better than the printed pants! Here are some looks inspired by the very lady-like full skirt:
(all pictures from Louis Vuitton Fall 2010 show)

Here are a couple outfits inspired by the full skirt:
I can see myself trying the denim vest and the long full skirt but the zubaz inspired pants should stay as far away from me as possible! Gwen Stefani could probably make them look good but I guess that goes to show you that you could probably pull off anything simply by wearing it with confidence!

So would you try these trends?


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Super Fast Everything Bars

Every year we have this event with our friends called the Summer Olympics. It's basically playing a bunch of yard games and grilling out. I wanted to bring some sort of treat for everyone to snack on and I found this recipe. It took a total of about 5 minutes to put together and about 22 minutes to bake! They were soft, gooey, and so yummy! The pan was almost empty within a couple hours.

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup brown sugar, well packed
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups peanut butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups oatmeal (I use half quick cooking and regular oats)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Set oven to 350 degrees. (make sure rack is in the middle)
2. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
3. In a large bowl using an electric mixer at medium speed cream the butter with both sugars
4. and vanilla until no sugar granules remain.
5. Add in the peanut butter and egg and beat until combined.
6. In a sifter (or a separate bowl) combine the flour with baking soda. Sift into to big bowl mixture and then stir.
7. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.
8. Spread into prepared baking dish.
9. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until set (golden brown top).
10. Cool then cut into squares. Easy and simple!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Nursery: Feedback Please!

Decision, decision....I need some help. I can't decide what color scheme/stripes I like better for the nursery.

Here is the ugly room before:
I found this super cute, light green set at JCPenney that I thought would be perfect for the room!I found some fun patterned fabric (below) to make matching pillows and other decorative elements for the room. (lamp shade cover, rocker cushions, window seat cushions)
Now my questions is, what kind of stripes on the wall??

I have mocked up several ideas for the room and I thought it would be fun to see what others thought. I would LOVE if anyone would help me with some suggestions. Click the comment button below and just give me some feedback. I appreciate any comment!

I have labeled each on A-G. If you don't like any, just be honest and let me know what you think would look better.


So PLEASSEEE! Let me know you ideas and thoughts. Just click the comment button below!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Easy Fashion/Beauty Updates

Feeling like you're in a fashion/beauty rut? It's easy to feel overwhelmed and perhaps even outdated by all the different trends that are always popping up. Now no one wants to become a fashion victim and simply buy every single trendy item that's out there! You need to have your own look while adding a bit of flavor. It's fun to try something new and a little different every once in awhile. With this in mind, here are a few easy pieces and ideas to incorporate if you feel like your wardrobe rotation is in need of a little "spice!"

1. Blue, Green or Lavender Nail Polish
Bright, fresh nail colors are popping up all over and I'm not complaining. It's definitely refreshing to see so much color and creativity on nails after the reign of black nails (not to say I won't be rocking some dark nails again come fall!). I know it can seem like a bit much but what's the harm in trying it? You may apply a couple coats of a calm lavender color and find yourself pleasantly surprised. I'm currently wearing Essie's Turquoise & Caicos and find myself thinking the water there must be just this shade of blue-green. (left to right: Essie "Turquoise and Caicos," OPI "Done Out In Deco," OPI "Gargantuan Green Grape," and OPI "Ogre-the-Top Blue")

2. Crochet or Lace

I know crochet and lace may seem a little "elderly" for some people but I promise, these trends ain't your grandma's sewing projects! There are plenty of cute tops and dresses to try out and if you're feeling a little hesitant then try a crochet accessory (such as a clutch).



3. Statement Necklaces
Statement necklaces are an easy way to add some fun to your basic tee or even your work ensemble. Whereas thick bangles and bracelets can hinder your writing, typing and corporate handshaking, a statement necklace adds attitude while keeping things professional. Try adding one to a white tee, jeans and some kitten heels. Or just add one to a suit for work.

4. Wayfarer Sunglasses
These classic shades are a fun and easy way to add "rocker cool" to your wardrobe. Although Ray-Ban started the trend you can find this style in plenty of generic brands.

Edward Cullen didn't look too bad in them either... (wink wink)

5. Flashy Cocktail Rings
I used to shy away from fun cocktail rings but once I tried wearing them I became addicted. Cocktail rings can be an easy and cheap way to add some fun to your fingers. Try one next time you go out for happy hour or a Saturday night dinner-date. A little fabulosity never hurt anybody! (All rings below from Forever 21)

6. Turquoise Lined Eyes
Yes, again with the turquoise. But it's back and bigger than ever in clothing, makeup and even home decoration. It's hard to find a person this flattering shade won't compliment! If your a little timid about this one just lightly rim your gorgeous peepers with a baby blue color. Add some eyeliner and mascara and you just might love how much it makes your eyes pop! Just look how much it makes Rihanna's eyes stand out. This one might be a little more daring but why not try it? You may just love it!


How to Hang A Chandelier

In my quest to become quite the accomplished handy-girl, I can finally check off another task, hanging a chandelier. The overall process is very easy to do, but there are some parts that become a little of an annoyance.

Here is what our old chandelier looked like. As with everything in our house, it's the 1987 original. Don't you just love the tulip edging on the glass....I think not!
First of all I would like to start out with saying that I am not an electrician and no where close to ever becoming one. My husband helped me through the whole process and he has done a lot of electrical work throughout his life, so it was nice to have someone with experience help me out.

First of all, always turn off the electricity to the circuit you're working on at the main electrical panel. Unless you want to get shocked and injured, make SURE the power is off!

Next start with removing the old fixture. This usually involves taking off the canopy (the round metal plate that hides the wires) to the chandelier. Look at your wires. You should have a white wire, a black wire, possibly a red wire, and a copper wire. Unscrew all of the twist off connectors. Note the placement of the ground wires (the copper ones) when removing the old fixture. Mine were twisted together and attached around a screw, which is pretty typical. Also, I had a red wire, which you might not have. It was just by itself and had a connector on it. I am not sure what this was for (assuming a ceiling fan wire if wanted) and I didn't ask.
Pull the wiring from your current chandelier out of the "nipple". (You can tell a man named this part of the fixture, it's the round metal tube with rivets that attach the wires into the through the junction box.) All of your wires should be loose now, like below.
Next, set up your new chandelier. You will have to read your manufacturer's directions for this part, it will vary from chandelier to chandelier. My set up involved cutting the chain down to the correct length, fishing the wire through the chain, and then attaching the canopy to the chain. I also had to cut off the wire that came with the chandelier because it was too long, but it's good to leave about 1 foot of additional wire beyond the the chain length to install in the ceiling. You will need wire cutters and wire strippers for this part.
Next feed your new wires through the nipple in the ceiling mount. This part is perfect for a woman's small hands. My husband always has problems with this because you have to put your fingers above the metal bar and pull your wires down. Tiny fingers help out a lot!
Use wire cutters to clip the new chandelier's double wire to make same length as the wires currently in your ceiling. Pull the ends of the double wire apart to separate about 2-3 inches of the two wires. Strip the now separated double wires of your new chandelier so there is about 1/2 inch exposed of just wire. There is a third wire, a slender copper wire, it's the grounding for the fixture.
Now comes the twisting part. Twist the two copper wires together (the ground) and attach the wires where your ground wires were before. Mine were around a screw. I had a red wire coming out that just had a connector on it. I replace it with a new connector and left that alone. Connect your double wires from your new chandelier to the white and black wires in the ceiling. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you read your manufacturer's directions on what wire goes with what color. On my double wire, one wire had a smooth coating and the other a ribbed coating. The ribbed coated wire went with the white and the smooth wire went with the black. It will vary, so make sure you read your directions. Twist your wires together and slide the wire connectors over both ends and twist to tighten. Push the house wires and connectors back into the ceiling junction box.
Put the canopy in place and then turn the hanger nut until the fixture canopy is securely fitted to ceiling. This is where the annoyance comes in, when you turn the hanger it is helpful to have someone turning the chandelier chain below. If not your chain gets all bunched up.
Adjust your chandelier chain as needed and your done!! Easy, simple, and quite the upgrade from the old!!!


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