Sea Glass Lamp

It’s almost summer time which mean beach time!  I recently purchased a few bags of beach glass from the Christmas Tree Shop when I saw they were $1.29 per bag last weekend.  I didn’t know what I was going to do with it at the time, but I figured I could find project!  Then I was wandering through Target and came across a fillable lamp for $14.99.  Project found!  I even found a matching shade on clearance at Target for $10!

Assembly took 5 minutes and it came out really cute.  I might go back and get more sea glass to fill the rest of the lamp or leave it the way it is.  The light really bounces off the glass and makes it glow.  The pictures do not do it justice.

Project Cost: $30 ($15 for the lamp, $10 for the shade, $5 for the sea glass)

Sea Glass Lamp

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Easter Treats

Easter is just around the corner so I thought I would post some fun Easter treats I’ve brought to family gatherings.

The first are Peeps Nest Cookies which start with a basic sugar cookie (the pre-made tube you slice and bake work fine).  I use some food coloring and vanilla or cream cheese frosting to make them festive. Then I mix shredded coconut and chocolate frosting in a big bowl. I can’t remember the exact frosting to coconut ratio, but they’re both fairly inexpensive (especially with coupons!) so I pick up a few extra of each. I believe is its 3-4 bags of coconut and one jar of frosting. I just start with the coconut in a bowl and slowly add in a bit of frosting until I get the texture right. Too much frosting and the nest will melt or get a bit soggy.  Once the consistency is right, use your fingers to pinch the mixture into the shape of a ring around the cookies. I usually let them sit uncovered overnight so the frosting hardens a bit. Then place jelly beans and peeps on top and you’re all done!

The second is Spinach Dip Bread Bunny. I use Knorr veggie mix and follow the recipe on the back except I double the sour cream and use half the mayo. Then the bunny was made with a bread boule, sandwich bun, baguette, chives, and olives.

Easter Main Image

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Doggie DNA Test

How Rylee the Beagledor became Rylee the Foxhound, Basenji, Shepherd, Lab Mix

As you can probably tell by the page dedicated to her, I have a mild obsession with my puppy, Rylee. I can’t help it, I’ve always wanted a dog and she wonderful – total sweetie – her favorite things in the whole world are children and carrots!  Once she is a year old, we want to see if she can pass the test to be a children’s hospital visitation dog. Before we adopted her, I took a few “which dog breed is right for you” quizzes and the answers kept popping up Beagle or Lab.She's ours!

I figured we’d strike a perfect match if we could find one that was a beagle lab mix (beagledor?), so off to I went.  I soon stumbled on the Road Trip Rescues page listing several for 8-week old beagle lab puppies.  Perfect!

After our application was approved, we met the foster family and instantly fell for Rylee.  As she got a little bit bigger, we thought she looked a bit tall and slender for a beagle so we decided to do a DNA test.  It could have come back that she was part giraffe and part Tasmanian devil and it would’t have changed how we much we loved her.  We just wanted to know to satisfy our curiosity and to help get a little insight into what make her tick.

From the test, we learned that since she is a scent hound and needs some “nose work” to keep her mind busy from time to time.  It also explained why she doesn’t bark but make sounds somewhere in between a howl and a yodel.

A lot of people at the dog park ask me about what breed she and then about the NDA test process when I explain what she is.  It was so simple!  We went to Wisdom Panel’s website and ordered a test kit online. They are $80 now, but we got ours for $60 or $65 because I was able to find a coupon code online. I think our vet might have given us coupons for some other brands as well but Wisdom Panel had the best reviews online so we went with that one.

The kit came in the mail and we just had to rub 2 giant q-tips on the inside of her cheek to get some drool, pop it back in the box with some labels, and wait a few days for an email with the results.  It was really fast!  The site said it would be 3 weeks but I think it was 10 days total.  And the results….(click the link for more details from the full report).

Congrats Rylee

DNA Certificate

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Boutique display in a closet (from a China cabinet!)

Last summer when Ryan and I were visiting his family at their shore house, we saw a china cabinet in their backyard and asked why it was out there.  They told us they were planning on throwing it out since they had just purchased two matching cabinets to replace this one.  As they were talking, all I heard was “Free Cabinet!”.  We loaded it in the car and brought it home.  A few days later, I sanded, primed, and painted a bright bluish color – almost like a Tiffany blue.  I also bought some paintable wallpaper at Lowe’s and attached it to the doors using double stick tape incase I didn’t like it. The knobs also came from Lowe’s. It now sits in my closet proudly holding perfumes, purses, jewelry, and boots. I love that it looks like a display case, it makes me feel like I’m shopping in my own closet!

Project Cost: $85 ($40 for paint and primer, $20 for wallpaper, $25 for knobs)


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“A throne is only a bench covered with velvet.
– Napoleon Bonaparte

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, we have a spare room that we are trying to decorate as a guest room knowing that it will eventually be a nursery.  I have been trying to pick sea foam and coral shades with bright white furniture to create a fun and sort of beachy feel.  We always need more storage space (I could probably stop buying stuff and then we wouldn’t need to store as many things and be in constant need to storage, but that’s probably not going to happen anytime soon!).  So I started looking on Pinterest for interesting storage ideas that could work in a kid’s room. Here is the final product.

Bench Before and After

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Trash to Treasure (Lingerie) Chest

We have an empty room in the house that we are trying to decorate as a stylish guest room but choosing colors, patterns, and furniture that will also work when it someday serves as a nursery.  Here is the link to the bench from a bookshelf that is also in this room.

There is a small space in the room in between the door and the closet that is only about 29″ wide.  I wanted a tall bureau to fit in this area so we would have as much storage as possible, but I needed something relatively skinny to fit the spot.  After months of searching on CraigsList, I came across a 1960’s French Provincial lingerie chest that had been through the ringer.

It was in rough shape!  When I was sanding it down, I think I went through 4-5 layers of paint – purple, beige, blue, and the original paint. It was probably toxic and I’m very glad I had a mask and gloves!  Even the poor handles had coats and coats of paint.  I saw on an episode of HGTV Rehab Addict that you can remove paint from metal by soaking it in a crock pot.  It works! A few coats of primer and spray paint and I think the piece came out great and it is the perfect fit for my space.

Project cost: About $70 ($40 for the bureau about about $30 for primer and paint).

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Linen Closet from a China Cabinet

I needed some additional space on my third floor (master bedroom and bathroom area) to hold odds and ends like linens, toilet paper, towels, soap, etc.  Our bathroom has a small sink with some storage underneath and the bedroom has a typical bi-fold accordion door closet with limited space.  No hall closets anywhere in the house.  So, I thought it might be fun to find an old china cabinet on CraigsList and give it a nice update.  I wanted cabinet and shelf space but wanted it to look nice since it would be in the hallway.  Here are some before, during, and after photos. (I completed this about a year ago but didn’t get around to posting it until today.

China Cabinet 1 b&A

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St. Paddy’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! 

I found this four leaf clover growing  with my peonies last summer and thought it would be a great photo for today. St. Paddy’s day makes me miss my  Irish maiden name and my family. My mom is a skilled bodhran player and occasionally plays with some local Irish folk bands in Rhode Island. My sisters were avid and highly talented Irish step dancers when I was growing up.  We had several rabbits when we were kids, Clover, Lucky, and Feis (an Irish step dancing competition) were just a few of the names.  


I bought my house in September a few years back and because it got cold out pretty quickly that year, I couldn’t do much to the small patio area off the kitchen. I did have months to stare at it and swear I would make it pretty. It was so boring! Gray cinder block with moss and the neighbors ivy creeping over the wall. I was out there the first warm weekend, and the next eight weekends after that. I really wanted to hide the grooves between the bricks. I felt that if I just painted without filling in the grooves, it would look like elementary school or Costco walls.

I bought some tools and quickcrete and hoped for the best. I called it “mucko” – mock stucko. I originally was going with a combination of “faux” and “stucko” but that just sounded naughty!  I had cuts, sores, bruises, sunburn, and I was exhausted. But I think it was all worth it.

Patio Before and After

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Ikea Chair Redo and No Sew Valance

Back in my spacious Connecticut apartment, I bought four “Roger” chairs for about $60 each from Ikea to fit a small dining table I had.  My parents, who live in Rhode Island, were able to store them until I bought my house in Philadelphia. The new house had an area for a larger dining table I was looking on the Ikea website a few additional Roger chairs.  They had been discontinued.  I turned to my favorite site, (this was before Pinterest!) CraigsList, and was searching for Roger chairs.  I stumbled across a listing for four chairs plus the matching dining table for $100! It was in NY near the NJ line, but my parents were driving through that area the next day on their way to visit me and were able to pick them up.  It worked out fantastically!  Until a few years later when I was bored with the look of the chairs. Since I had assembled them in the first place, I knew it would be really easy to switch the fabric, especially if I cheated and just covered over the old fabric.  A few screws, some fabric, and a staple gun and I was all set!  I had some extra leftover fabric so I looked up no-sew valances on Pinterest and found few easy steps on blogs.  Here are the results:

Chair Before and After

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