Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sign Me Up

Saturday morning I met the Petersiks!  If you aren't familiar with John and Sherry I suggest you check out their awesome blog: younghouselove.  My cousin and I traveled to the Duke Energy Convention Center to attend this year's Books by the Banks.  We got there around 10am and the line already looked like this to meet John and Sherry.

Their table was somewhere over in the right side of the picture, so it went all the way in front of me and to the right.  It was long.  John and Sherry were giving a talk at 11am and we knew that if we stayed in line we would miss it.  So...we snuck up front and snagged two books to buy before the talk.  Here it is:

We ran off to pay and then to grab a seat in the auditorium.  To say I was excited was an understatement. The room filled up fast and it seemed more like a group of old friends than 100 or so complete strangers. 

The talk was light hearted and informative.  They covered some tips and advice on how they got where they are and how not to tak yourself too seriously or be too afraid on your way to making your house a home. 

After the talk, it was back in line, for an hour, to meet John and Sherry and have our books signed.  It was well worth the wait, but as I got closer to meeting them I was so nervous, like a fangirl, and I completely blanked about what I was going to say. I think that I ended up not making a total fool of myself.  John and Sherry were so gracious and completely down to earth.  It was a relief I have to say.  You think about meeting people and hoping that they aren't completely different than you have imagined all this time. 

Here's my nerdy picture:

 Yes, I have the cheesiest smile on my face, and yes, my scarf is attacking John's arm.  Sorry John. 

Here is the (finally) signed book:

I have to say, the book is amazing.  I have already gone through it, twice.  I can't wait to work on some of these projects and I suggest you pre-order your copy ASAP!

Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Vacation Motivation

Long time, no blog...

There have been many changes around Baker's House, none of which got me any closer to completing my to-do list! I have a new full-time job which requires most of my energy on a good day, and sadly that leaves me just enough time around here to work on the basics: laundry, light cleaning, etc.

This week however, things are a little different. I'm on vacation! 11 blissful days of no work (sorry guys, love you) and the ability to do as much (or as little) as I want.

I was looking over the to-do list and found it's a little out dated:

-Upgrade the master bath to match our master bedroom
- Switch the "sports room" and our guest room
- Updgrade the decor in the sports room
- Paint and decorate the guestroom
- Paint the laundry room
- Install new trim in laundry room (Marypoppins destroyed it as a puppy)
- Refinish the dresser in the guestroom
- Re-paint the coffee table
- Clean and stain the fence in the backyard
- Freshen up the paint on the outdoor trim

A few of these items are completed, and a few need to be changed. Namely, some of the rooms have a new function. Presently, there is no longer a sports room or anyone that lives here that is interested in sports. That room will more than likely be an office. I don't have a guestroom either, it's more like a giant box of junk...

With those changes in mind, here's the new list:

- Paint the master bathroom to match the master bedroom
- Create an office (old sports room)
- Create an area for crafting/sewing in front bedroom and also an area for guests...(currently my guests either have to sleep with me (hello) or on the couch!
-Install new trim in the laundry room (I am woman hear me roar)
-Paint the laundry room
-Clean and stain the fence (again...roar)
-Refinish dresser
-Refinish Armoire

As per usual, I'm sure there are 100 things that I am forgetting, but I'll be sure to add to the list, and keep you guys updated as much as I can.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012


UPDATE: Find shopping locations at the bottom of the post!

Before getting into cleaning, I just want to say thank you to everyone for reading.  This blog is such a positive and creative outlet for me.  Creating is something that I have always done, and something I have always loved.  It is something I learned growing up from the amazing women around me.  From my great grandmother with her quilts, my grandma with her floral business, and my mom and cousin with their talent for crafts.  I have learned something from each of them to make my own style, to make Baker's House.  So, thanks to them, and thanks to you :) 


I have a strange love for cleaning.  For fun when I was little I would dust my grandma's furniture and clean the windows (the one's I could reach anyway).  It provides instant gratification that I am a fan of and then at the same time it is productive.  LOVE IT.  Since I know all of you are as excited about cleaning as I am, I thought I would share a little bit about my favorite (and only) cleaning products and tools. 

First on the list...

Mrs. Meyers Lemon Verbena All Purpose Cleaner

It smells heavenly and packs a major cleaning punch.  It is concentrated so one bottle lasts forever a really long time.  I bought a large spray bottle and mix the solution (follow the directions please) with water in it.  The light scent is just a bonus to the fact that it cuts grease better than some industrial chemically (yes that's a word) cleaners.  Bottom line: I love it and use it on almost everything!

Next Up...


Please go to the company website for the many, MANY uses for Borax.  It has two purposes in my home: to clean the toilets and to clean carpets.  I pour a cup in the toilet bowl and leave it overnight.  A quick swish in the morning and sparkling clean.  For the carpet, I love it for spot cleaning.  Marypoppins is the sweetest dog, but she's a giant.  If you have a giant dog, you know there are going to be giant messes.  The borax neutralizes odors and takes up the stains really well.  I just dissolve it in warm water and scrub away. 

Another favorite...

Dr. Bonner's Magic Soap's (and Baking Soda)

Magic is right...I love this soap.  It is so versatile I use it to clean my bath tub, and clean my face...yes you heard me right.  There are many lovely scents, but my favorite it the Lavender.  To clean the tub I squirt the soap in the tub and then sprinkly baking soda on it. Once they are both in the tub, I mix them together making a paste.  I let the paste sit for a little while and then take a stiff bristle brush to it.  This is really great for me because it provides a deep clean without any harsh smelling chemicals.  I have allergies, so this is amazing.  I hated cleaning the bathroom for that very reason. 

Some other staples in my home for cleaning: Soap and water.  I will take glasswares, figurenes etc, fill the sink and let them soak.  It does all the work for you and they come out gleaming.  I use lavender mint dish soap from Seventh Generation.  It's amazing.  Another thing you cannot have enough of are microfiber cloths.  Even without any cleaner they pick up dust and dirt like a magnent.  Just be careful when washing them not to use fabric softener or they loose their magic powers. 

So there is my list.  Those are the only products I use. They keep my house clean and keep me healthy (no allergy problems from these products)!  For local people (Dayton/Cincinnati Area) the cheapest price for Mrs. Meyer's is at Kroger.  $5.99 is a steal for that great big bottle.  Target has been the best place in terms of price for the Dr. Bonners Magic Soap.  It is in the makeup section, not the cleaning section.  I think they have it for $12.99 the last time I checked.  Borax is pretty cheap everywhere.  I don't think I have ever paid more than $3 a box. 

Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Paint Party

Paint, a little dab will do you.  Unless you have three painting projects going on, then you might need more than a little dab...you might need a lot of dabs!  Over the past two weeks, I have found that to be true.  There were a few moments where I was alternating between two cans of spray paint and almost sprayed the wrong color on the wrong project.  This time around I will be sharing about my chalkboard painting experience.  I have wanted to paint something with chalkboard paint for a long time, but couldn't commit to a permanent location on the wall.  I thought making a small chalkboard might be enough of a good thing for right now. 
Last summer I found this old frame at a friend's garage sale.  It had a picture of a horse painted on velvet inside (which I left at the sale for someone else to buy).  I have seen a lot of groupings of empty frames and thought that's what I would do.  This frame started my collection for a whopping 50 cents.

Not a great colot, right?  It is off white with gold weathering (if that's even the right word).  It was too traditional and too blugh (I couldn't even think of another kind, appropriate word to put here), so I decided that I would paint it a nice crisp white.  Before painting, I had a few prepping steps which I hate to do, but they really help and save you time from having to do the project all over again.  I started out with a quick sanding job.  Sorry, I didn't pay any attention to the grit I used.  It was handy in the garage so I snatched it up.

Next, I used a microfiber cloth to wipe off all of the dust from sanding to make sure I was painting a clean surface.  I used a microfiber cloth because they are lint free and pick up dust really well.  I got 4 in a pack a Home Goods a while back for $2.99, so I didn't have to pay for those either. 

After I gave the from a good wipe down, it was time to paint.  I chose a white, satin spray paint from Valspar which I purchased at Lowe's.

Here is the frame after two coats of being sprayed.  Also, you can see that I tried to put the obviously too big frame on one of the dog food bags I use for projects and failed miserably at not painting the grass.  It turned out okay though because the grass was short enough that it didn't interfere with painting and once the grass grew out a little the paint got chopped off. 

Okay, now onto the part where I made the actual chalkboard.  I needed the board and also the paint.  I had a list of things to get for several different projects so off to Lowe's I went.  Matt measured the frame so I would know what size board I needed and also the depth of the frame so I wouldn't get something too thick.  In the lumber department they had a section of pre-cut boards that you can purchase, but the were still too big (2'x2') so I had the handy lumber guy cut it down for me.  Even on a small project like this one they will do two cuts for free on any lumber.  It was great because I could have them take care of it for free and not have to ask Matt to drag out his saw for such a small project!  I also grabbed a quart of Valspar's chalkboard paint.  When I got home I spread out in the living room to get started. 

Here is the board after two coats. I let it dry completely before adding the next coat.  I was so excited that I literally watched the paint dry before putting on the second coat and before putting the board into the frame.

I had to wait overnight until the next afternoon to write anything on it.  The can said wait 24 hours, but I thought 12 was enough and I was right!  All was fine.  I won't make you all wait overnight, here is the finished product, hanging in the living room.

I love it.  That's probably not going to be it's permanent spot, but I wanted to see how it looked hanging and I had a free spot there.  I have to say that I really like it and want to paint something else to make a chalkboard.  I was thinking about the door in the kitchen to make lists and family schedule's on.  I also love that I can wipe it off when we want a change, like a different verse, or saying.  I hope everyone is having a happy Wednesday!  Thanks for reading.  

Monday, May 7, 2012

Graduation, Gifts, and Going through the Garbage

The last four days have been a whirlwind of activities and emotions!  My sweet husband graduated Saturday from Miami University and this weekend we hosted family and friends celebrating his accomplishments.  Here we are just after the ceremony. 

Matt's parents were in town until today, and yesterday we spent the whole day with some of our closest family and friends.  Everyone ate more food than should be legal, played cornhole, and talked until we collasped.  It was great. 
Speaking of great, besides all of the wonderful gifts Matt got for graduation, my mother-in-law, Cindy bought me a present that I LOVE.  She works at a travel resort in Florida (jealous, I know) and they have returning customers every winter.  Several of the customers are so crafty they make me jealous.  For example, I haven't had to buy kitchen scrubbies in two years because one of their friends crochets them from hand!  I've also been gifted a beautiful cheese plate from a flattened wine bottle, and then yesterday, I got these:

This lady makes them from hand and in several different sizes.  Cindy bought me two of the smaller ones, but let's just say that I am thinking about buying a big one when we visit them next.  They have the option to hang, but I'm not just sure where to put them.  For now I have tucked them away on these shelves:

I love them so much, and I may not hang them at all.  We will have to wait and see. 

Also something that we will have to wait and see about is this fabulous find from the garbage.  Don't worry, I didn't crawl through a dumpster looking for it, it was sitting sweetly by the curb waiting to be picked up for the trash.  As my father-in-law nicely put, this isn't my best find, but I think it has amazing potential.  

It may look beyond repair to some of you, but it is sturdy and only has cosmetic issues.  I am going to paint it a bright glossy color (probably blue) and I'll have to bust out the old sewing machine to make a cushion and pillows for it.  I love it...that's all. 

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.  I've got a lot of projects to share with you so you'll be hearing from me soon!

Monday, April 9, 2012

My "Precious"

No, not that "Precious."  What I'm talking about are Office Supplies.  I have to admit I get a little "Gollum-ish" at Staples or in the office supply aisle at my favorite stores.  I have had a love for office supplies even before I had an office.  Back then we called them school supplies.  I've been a junkie for a long time and at this point I do not have the strength to quit.  I have found solace in the fact that there are others out there just like me.  My friend Brandi and I bonded over the release of the Sharpie Liquid Pencil...strange I know!  We are always talking to each other about the newest things that we have seen out and usually end up with the same style and color of whatever we buy...love her :)

For some other folks who love office supplies please see exhibit A:

"Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms"
~ You've Got Mail

Great movie, great smell.  Moving on!

So I thought I would write up a post about my favorite supplies and include you all in the nerd-love. 
Here we go...

1. The sharpie retractable medium point pen (that's a mouthful).

I was so so happy when the sharpie company came out with their pens.  I am left-handed and always have the unfortunate "stained hand" at the end of the day.  When these pens first came out I thought I had arrived.  Then, a little later, they came out with the retractable option and then a little after that the retractable option with a medium point.  I've in love.  They do not bleed through paper like the sharpie makers and do not leave with the ink all over my hands.  

2. Wite-Out Tape, Ecolutions

I love the wite-out tape because it is cleaner and you do not have to wait for drying time like with the liquid option before writing on the paper.  What I love about the ecolutions is that they are teeny-tiny.  They are so small I even carry one in my purse just incase (do not judge what you do not know).  I know they made them smaller to save the planet (which I am a fan of) but that's not why I bought 6 packs of them when they were marked down to 64 cents a two-pack after the back-to-school season was over.  What is better than an office supply?  That's right, a miniature office supply...on to the next!

3. Post-it Super Sticky Notes

I am a traditionalist when it comes to sticky notes.  They must be post-it brand, they must be canary yellow, and they must be...sticky.  I have several "posted" to my computer monitor at any given moment.  Currently, there are three of them staring back at me reminding me of the things I still need to accomplish.  

4.  Martha Stewart Home Office 

Martha, Martha, Martha...despite your criminal past, my love for you continues to grow.  Ms. Martha has recently released the most fabulous line of office supplies with the help of Avery and Staples.  Everything is impeccably detailed and beautiful.  The only thing I could justify buying were the reusable chalkboard labels.  That's right...reusable (which means removeable) chalkboard labels.  I love some chalkboard paint, but I do not necessarily want to paint everything with it.  I like the idea that I can stick them on jars and bins and then take them off and use the label on something else or pitch them in the garbage.  Here they are in action in our kitchen:

The first few pictures are of a plain jar that I bought at Target (I think for like $4).  I used it to keep homemade dishwasher soap, but I switched to the Seventh Generation brand and did not need the jar for that anymore. 

The next few pictures are of our kitchen canisters.  They contain sugar, flour, and Stevia.  The only problem was that we could never remember which of the canisters held what, especially the two in the back.  There is also a close up of what the jars were decorated with before. 

Ta, da!  I love them.  The labels revived the otherwise usable and functional canisters.  There is no need to replace them, as they still have a good seal and the latches work.  The labels make them a little better for us and it was a quick, frugal upgrade.  SO cute...anyway...

5. Notebooks and Notepads

This might be considered the same as post-it notes, but I love a good notepad.  I have them stashed all over the house, in my purse, car, desk, you get the point.  The smaller and cuter the better.  Here are a few cute options for you to puruse:

Cute Vera Bradley option

My favorite notepad write now that was a gift from a sweet friend,
and if you love Gilmore Girls like I do you know how cool this notepad is.

So, now that you have wasted 15 minutes of your life reading this list, I say goodnight.  I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing it even though you may not share my affinity for office supplies.  Happy Monday (sorry, it sounded bad as soon as I typed that)!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Great Outdoors

Happy Sunday everyone!  I have for the longest time written exclusively about the inside of our home and have yet to do a post about the front or backyard at Baker's House.  Just like the inside of our home, I love order and neatness.  Mother Nature has a since of humor though and try as I might there's always something. 

For example...have a look at the mutant dandelions I found in the yard this afternoon.  Disgusting, right? 

I have an unnatural hate for these yellow weeds.  They are evil and are nearly impossible to get rid of completely (especially if you are lucky like us and have neighbors who have no grass and only dandelions for a yard).  I spent the majority of my time outdoors spraying a nasty chemical on the yard to get rid of these pests.  That being said, I thought I would give some tips on eco-friendly ways to improve your outdoor space. 

My first green tip for working outdoors is one I recieved from a sweet friend a few years ago.  Many of you know Marypoppins (our fur-baby) and with having a big dog means you are going to have big bags of food.  For years I would just throw the empty bags in the trash, but not anymore.  These bags are great for stuffing yard clippings from your flower beds or from raking the grass.  I have found them to be even stronger than the average lawn bag that you pick up at the store.  I keep them in a bin in the garage (and stock up over the winter) to have on hand when spring time rolls around. 

My next tip involves baking soda.  Geez, I love that stuff.  I use it for cleaning ALL THE TIME.  I was googling around one day and found several eco-friendly options for killing weeds in the cracks of your pavement.  Just take a handful of baking soda and sprinkle it in on the weeds in the sidewalk or driveway.  When I did it, the baking soda went everywhere, but I just took a broom and swept it in the cracks. 

If you doubt my friend baking soda, here is a picture of a weed that I sprinkled on Thurday of this week...crispy and dead as a door nail...victory!

You can also poor boiling water on your sidewalk or driveway to help with these little critters (just be careful).  Something else that I read, that is not eco-friendly at all, but cool, is spraying WD-40 on those flat thistle weeds that murder your feet when you step on them.  When I was little, a friend and I name them "little Joeys" after this mean boy Joey D. in our fourth grade class.  We were so funny...I have to say that I have not tried this tip and would say give it a try but use caution and try to keep it just on those weeds only.  I have no idea what it would do to grass or other plants. 

Well, those are all of the tips I have for now!  Happy outdoorsing (totally just made that word up)!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Baggy Bag

It's that time again!  The winter Pinterest Challenge is here.  Katie and Sherry use this unofficial challenge to motivate their readers and check off a to-do from their lists.  For the fall Pinterest Challenge, I submitted this pallet art.  This challenge, I am going on a much smaller scale with some homemade reusable shopping bags.  I got the idea from this wonderful blog, More Design Please.

This is their finished product, which I saw on Pinterest and pinned right away:

I thought this is a great idea, and something I could accomplish relatively easy.  Easy once I figured out how to use my sewing machine....yeah, I know.  My mom gave me a sewing maching for Christmas FIVE years ago and I have never used it.  I loved the gift and thought that I would get great use out of it, but married life, college and work prevailed and I never got around to using it.  This challenge gave me some courage and some get-off-your-hineyness to call my mom and get a tutorial on my five year old sewing machine.

After a quick basic this is where you put the bobbin, needle, etc I thought it would be a good idea to put foot to pedal and get sewing.  I had a few old t-shirts that I have been hanging on to since high school that are sentimental, but I never wear and I thought they would be great to use as bags.  They would have a function, I would see them all the time, and it would free up space in my shirt drawer. 

First, I laid the shirt flat and cut off the sleeves.  I cut on the side of the seam that is closest to the design on the shirt, so in other words I cut the seam off:


I also shortened the bottom of the shirt by several inches to make the bag a little smaller.

Next, I needed to cut the neck hole.  When you cut the neck (after you've cut the sleeves off) it creates the "handles" on the bag.

I was working with a design on the front and back of the shirt that I wanted to keep intact so I had to be very mindful of where I was cutting.  If you are less attached to the artwork on your t-shirt you can make it as scoopy as you want. 

Now came time to go (wo)man versus machine.  Since I was only sewing one line straight across the bottom, I did not use any pins, but feel free to pin the bottom closed to help guide you as you sew.  Make sure you turn your shirt inside out before sewing.  It will look nice and neat when you are all finished.   

One line across is all it takes!  Take your shirt, and pull the bottom through the neck hole to turn it right side out.  I used my index finger to push out the corners, but you may feel inclined to use a more sophisticated tool like scissors or a pen...show-offs. 

Here you go, the final product:

I made three bags of various sizes all using the same instructions.  I used a Hard Rock Cafe shirt that I bought on my and Matt's Honeymoon in Gatlinburg.  When I turned it inside out I saw it had a Hard Rock tag. 

You know sometimes when you cut the tag out of a shirt it makes a hole in the seam?  Well, I placed the tag on the inside of the shirt (when it was inside out), pinned it in place where that hole was. 

I sewed the tag and the seam and when I turned the shirt inside out it looked like this:

I think it turned out really cute and it made it a little more unique.  Here are all three of my t-shirt bags:

I have already used them, and gotten compliments on them!  I went shopping with my friend Lisa last week (at Ikea, where else) and the cashier was like, "are those t-shirts?  What a clever idea, you are a genius!"  Okay, maybe I exaggerated that a little but she did think it was a cool idea :) 

Alright, it's your turn.  Ever make anything that you pinned on Pinterest?  Let me know, I'd love some more cool ideas!  Happy Friday everyone!