All posts by Svenja

Now You See Them, Now You Don’t – Simple Shoe Storage

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One of the things I always said I never wanted to have, was a home without a proper entry way.  Of course, our new home not only opens right into our living room, but because there is no closet near by, you also stumble over a conglomeration of shoes, with some of them being freakishly large.  I tried to temporarily remedy the situation with a shoe rack, while I tended to other, more pressing renovation projects.

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But enough is enough, and here is the solution I came up with (this is the view from our front door): Continue reading Now You See Them, Now You Don’t – Simple Shoe Storage

Recycled Pillow Case Night Gown

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I had an old pillow case made from a really soft material with one side torn at the seam.  In other words, the perfect opportunity to try my hands on a pillow case gown.  It was easier than I thought, despite the fact that I read on several blogs that it was easier to make a pillow case dress from brand new material rather than an actual pillow case.

Here is how to do it Continue reading Recycled Pillow Case Night Gown

How to Store a Mattress in Plain Sight: Create a Chaise!

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Our new home is the first home we ever lived in that had two living areas: One right off the entrance, and one attached to the kitchen area. I have never been a fan of two living rooms because I would rather see the square footage be put to a better use in a separate additional room or in a more spacious layout in general.  And let’s face it: why do you need two living rooms?  Our “problem” was that we didn’t exactly have the furniture to fill the second room.  We had an older Ikea entertainment center that we bought 10 years ago and an extra recliner, but that was it and, since we move so often, I did not like the idea of purchasing another couch.  I had to come up with some additional, functional seating for what was supposed to become a comfy “hangout” area to enjoy a cup of coffee in the mornings, read, play board games, and watch TV.  At the same time, we decided to use the space under our son’s bed as storage, which previously was home to an extra twin mattress that now stood upright in our upstairs hallway without a real purpose in life.  So, I added empty space plus extra mattress and came up with, tah-dah: the chaise! Continue reading How to Store a Mattress in Plain Sight: Create a Chaise!

Let Them Shine: How to Makeover Outdoor Light Fixtures

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Soft yellow siding + off white trim + white light fixtures = boring house exterior.  That’s pretty much our new home in a nutshell, and while we are planning on having the house painted (I think we talked ourselves out of breaking our necks trying to paint a two story house ourselves), I still couldn’t live with all the “blah” until then.  I spray painted outdoor lighting in a previous home, and, since it held up very well over several years, I decided to do it again here.  It is the easiest and cheapest way to add some interest to your exterior, without having to run out and spend lots of money on new light fixtures. Continue reading Let Them Shine: How to Makeover Outdoor Light Fixtures

… Aaaaaand She’s Back!

If you are wondering why my last post was almost 6 months ago, I can give you one very good reason: yet another move half way across the country for this family of nomads. And even though we always have the option to have a moving company assist us in our many moves, we have had too many bad experiences and prefer to do it ourselves. Why take the easy way, if you can create months of work for you, right? We started organizing and packing in March, cleaned, organized and packed some more through-out April and May, and finally loaded our Penske truck in June to head towards the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Continue reading … Aaaaaand She’s Back!

DIY Liquid Laundry Detergent

I don’t like buying store bought products that I can recreate at home.  The homemade version many times works just as well, or better, than its commercial cousin and eliminates trash.  As an example, for the past few years, I have completely replaced store-bought commercial cleaners with a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar.  It works great on all kitchen and bathroom surfaces and windows.  Plus, it’s anti-bacterial, but works by denaturing, or unravelling, the bacterial proteins so it doesn’t lead to resistant strains of bacteria…

Since I got my all-purpose cleaner covered, I did some research on laundry detergents and tried a couple of different recipes. Continue reading DIY Liquid Laundry Detergent

Homemade Mayo – Or, What’s for Dessert?

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I remember as a child watching my mother on special occasions preparing homemade mayonnaise and thought her to be the most magical person ever.  I mean, who makes homemade mayonnaise?  Even though her status as “most magical person ever” temporarily changed during my teenage years to less flattering titles (until I finally came to the realization that I may have not been all that magical myself) she continued to make homemade mayo.  That being said, she is quite magical again.

Now that I have joined the ranks of magical moms I decided it was time to defend that title by venturing into the culinary world of permanent emulsions otherwise known as whipping up some mayonnaise.  I felt like a superhero when my children dipped their fingers into the velvety goodness I had produced out of (almost) thin air and eagerly asked for more.  They were ready to eat it with a spoon, that’s how good it tastes.   It’s delicious!!! Continue reading Homemade Mayo – Or, What’s for Dessert?

Winter’s Bounty: Snow Cone Syrup

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What sounds better on a freezing winter day than standing outside with an ice cold snow cone in your hand?….  Actually, I can think of a few things, but apparently my children don’t mind.  We usually stay clear of typical snow cones because of the large amounts of food coloring and artificial flavors involved.  Not much of a treat (if you ask me!) when your tongue ends up glowing in the dark after enjoying a lime flavored snow cone.

Last summer, we came upon a snow cone stand that advertised a selection of natural syrups, which included all of 2 flavors, in addition to an overwhelming variety of “traditional” concoctions.  We asked why they didn’t have more natural flavors, because we assumed people would be thrilled at the rare opportunity to indulge in “healthy” snow cones.   To our surprise, we learned that, aside from us, nobody even asked to try the pale colored lime or soft pink natural fruit punch.  And why would you, if you have mouthwatering flavors such as “Tiger’s Blood” or “Blueberry Blast”  as an alternative?  Not only do these two turn your mouth into a multicolored wonder, but dye your stomach lining to match…  I tend to go on a rant when it comes to food coloring, because I really don’t see any reason why it should find its way into our food, other than the occasional birthday cake (yes, I use food coloring in my fondant and icing, but that’s it!).  Anyway, let me try this again:

What sounds better on a freezing winter day, than standing outside with an ice cold snow cone in your hand?….  So when the first snow fell, my children asked me to make syrup for them and since I had  a few bags of frozen raspberries in the freezer, I decided to comply: Continue reading Winter’s Bounty: Snow Cone Syrup

Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag – Reusing Resealable Bags

I don’t like to use resealable bags and try to avoid them.  However, they do come in very handy sometimes and since my motto is to “live as green as practically possible”, I have on occasion thrown veggies or some bread in a plastic bag to save them from certain doom.  As opposed to throwing the bags away, I clean them and reuse them and my kitchen countertop sometimes resembles a laundromat as they are waiting to dry. Continue reading Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag – Reusing Resealable Bags