Sunday, April 19, 2015

Use What You Have... A New Series and A Recipe for Chicken and Pasta Skillet





Disclosure time....I have way too much stuff. Oh, you do too? Keep reading then.

Even better? I mostly can't find the stuff that I have. Sound familiar? Which means I'm often buying duplicates of things I'm pretty sure I already own. Good thing I don't have an organizing blog.

There are huge changes coming to Cottonwood Lane in the next few months that are going to require us to ditch most of our belongings. At least I hope there are. Excuse the shameless "stay tuned" drama.

But seriously. Stay tuned.


source

To get ready for some of these changes, I've decided to focus on using what we have and thought this would make for a good series. Because, I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one drowning in stuff.

"Use What You Have" is a great way to reduce our spending and the amount of stuff in our home. Including the mess of food in our kitchen.

It started with last weekend when we cleaned out the fridge. By we, I mean my oldest kid who was visiting and couldn't find room to chill a bottle of water. After she was finished, I was rather embarrassed to note that we had next to nothing left. I mean I have a thousand condiments but all the real food had spoiled or expired. Except for the moonshine I brought home from Alabama and some weepy kale on the top shelf.





I can't say the same for the pantry or the kitchen cupboards.














Awful, right? Like how many bags of frozen berries does one person need? Or boxes of cereal and cake mix?

In the interest of trying to work through all the food I had in the house, I pulled out some ingredients from the fridge and pantry and did a Google search for recipes using what you have on hand. I found the best website ever! If you haven't stumbled across Supercook, get on over there! After you read the rest of this post, of course. Super easy and freakin' brilliant!

Here's what I had on hand....tomatoes, garlic, chicken, pasta, Italian seasoning, basil, chicken broth, grated Parmesan.




I entered these ingredients and this recipe for Clock Watchers Chicken popped up. I like pasta. I sort of like chicken. 30 minute prep? Even better. The original Clock Watchers Chicken recipe can be found here.

I modified the recipe a little bit to suit our taste. We had whole wheat spaghetti, only 3 chicken breasts, and only had fire roasted tomato. I used fresh minced garlic rather than the garlic powder called for in the original recipe. We like fresh and we definitely like fire roasted tomatoes.

Actually, the littles don't like anything but I like those things. Boogers. They ate leftover pizza. Just keeping it real, y'all.

After tinkering with the ingredients I came up with this version.




This was really easy to prepare and only requires one pan which makes for an easy clean-up.










Let me know what you think about this recipe and other ideas for using what you have. If you have ideas or recipes that you'd like to share for upcoming posts and features, send me an email with your thoughts. I'd love to hear from you.



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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Navy and White Up-Cycled Tray






Before I share my easy tray up-cycle, can I just show off my new coffee table/ottoman?

I know, I know. Bragging about new acquisitions isn't lady like but how can I not share the gorgeousness of this little beauty?




I hundred years ago, I had a dark wooden coffee table that I loved. After the boys came along, I swapped out that coffee table for a brown "leather" ottoman.




It was a good thing I did, too, because these are the clumsiest kids I have ever met. Seriously. Sometimes they just fall over even when they're standing still. We've been spared numerous trips to the emergency room because of this one little decision. But that brown leather was getting tired looking and didn't work with my new gray living area.

Enter the gorgeous navy "table". The lid lifts for storage, kids can fall on it without being injured, and it looks pretty fantastic in this space. I paid a whopping $149 for this baby which is over my comfort level but it was exactly what I wanted. So there.





Of course, any new piece of furniture needs a tray to corral the goodies on the table.

The tray that I up-cycled for the table has already been up-cycled once before at our last house and was used in the rec-room. I found it a thrift store for $4.99 and just slipped in some scrap book paper to make it work with the room.




This time the tray got a coat of white spray paint and some jazzy navy and white striped gift wrap to update it once again.








How fun is that paper?







Much adorable for minimal effort.




Up-cycling an up-cycle is like the thriftiest project ever, right?



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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mint (and Gold) Up-cycled Mirrors






I have had a teensy bit of a crush on mint for the last few months. The color, not the flavor. No mojitos for this gal. Yuk.


Better Homes and Gardens

To be fair, I wasn't really convinced I could use it in my own house until recently.  Mint bathrooms and mint everything were everywhere when I was growing up and I haven't fully recovered from the eighties. Long story short, I knew this was a color I only wanted as an accent. For now. Sometimes I'm slow to warm up. So, I kept my eye out for something minty to use in my ever-evolving master bedroom.

Then, one afternoon, while the boys were napping, I took some time to poke through my collection of frames and thrift store finds in the basement. My intentions were good, really. I was planning to "de-clutter". That never happened. Because I came across a round, plastic mirror. This is not the mirror. Mine was uglier. There's a good reason why I'm using this picture instead of my original mirror.....Keep reading.


e-bay


I dutifully taped off my ugly plastic mirror and sprayed it with primer and went about my business the rest of the day. The next day I was about to take pictures when the toddlers dropped a heavy plastic car on the mirror while it sat on the garage floor, waiting to be painted and it shattered. Yup, true story. I cleaned up the broken mirror and threw it away. I didn't even yell. Sometimes I surprise myself.

The hunt for a replacement began. I stalked Kijiji and the thrift stores for weeks. I admired my collection of various mint and aqua paints in anticipation of my thrifty find. There was no thrifty find, I'll have you know, so when I found a round mirror at Homesense for $24.99, I figured enough was enough. Sold. I was tired of looking and my feet hurt that day. As per my standard MO, I have no before pic. Here she is all taped and primed and beautifully blurry.




Let the fun begin.

Now that I had the mirror, I couldn't find a mint that worked. I originally thought Sea Glass by Martha Stewart would be perfect but it was too aqua. Prior to this moment, I had no idea there was such a thing as too aqua.

Now you might wonder why I have so many different aqua paints (ummmm, like probably 18 shades or so?) but that's a story for another day. It involves a big reveal of the project I was working on all last summer so stay tuned.





Finally, I mixed the Sea Glass with darker green to get the mint shade I was looking for.




The perfect custom tint!




Excuse the crappy pictures. It was too cold to open the garage door that day (Winter in Canada, ugh!!) and I was using my i-phone. 



I did up the sunburst mirror that was lounging the basement for the past year while I was at it since I had the primer and tape out already. I also bought that one at Homesense for $7 because it had a crack in the plastic which was so tiny that I figured I didn't care. Once the primer was on, you couldn't even see the crack any longer. No repair required.

This one got a few coats of gold and then a spray of gold glitter. Still loving all things gold.




One coat of mint paint later....




Finished product....














I love how the coral chandelier contrasts so beautifully.







So much minty goodness in one little pop of color. :)




Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Navy Powder Room Reveal



If you've been hanging out here for awhile, you'll know that I have spent more time complaining about our main floor bathroom since we moved in almost two years ago than anything else in this house. Which is why I'm so excited to be able to share this makeover today.

The entire house has finally been repainted and the awful gold is just a bad memory. One of the last rooms to get some painting love was the little half bath on the main floor. Until about a month ago, it was the same poop brown that the master bedroom had been painted in. Except I had the bedroom painted before we even moved in. I don't do brown bedrooms. Just no.

Here's the before. In the real world, the brown was much darker with a weird green under tone.




I can't believe it took me almost a year and a half to finish up in here.  Mostly because I couldn't decide what I was doing. Because I rock indecision like no one else.

Initially, I started painting the bathroom walls in Dior Gray by Benjamin Moore which is the same color I used in the foyer.




I love this color so much in here. But gray is tricky. The color looked great in the hall but came off as purple when I started painting it in the bathroom. That was a big fat no.

That little mishap left me discouraged and the room stayed that way for awhile (yes, half brown with purple splotches) until I finally decided to put my navy crush to good use. There's been a lot of navy going on here lately.

Like the desk I painted last year....




And the pantry door....




I don't know if I was worried about how dark it would be or what my problem was but it took me awhile to commit to doing navy in the powder room. Now that it's done, I'm absolutely thrilled with how it all turned out.





I used the same Sherwin Williams Naval that I used in my other navy projects and then added pink, gold and white accents.

I swapped the big brown mirror for a $5 thrift store find. It was brown when I bought but some spray paint took care of that. I'm not sure if this will stay here as I'd like to find something bigger but I do love the way the white pops against the navy.




I did a gallery wall on the blank wall across from the door using frames I had on hand and some gold or white spray paint to make them flow together. Good heavens, gallery walls are hard. At least for me. I swear it took me hours to line things up and get them hanging the way I wanted them.




The gold dot pics were made with wrapping paper that I framed with some cheap frames.








The pink lips poster is from Artspace.




The pink and gold arrows are an instant download that I bought on Etsy. Love these colors together!




The little dog print is actually a card that I bought years ago and I used the pink envelope as the background. It reminds me of Miss Daisy : ) She always look so pleased with herself when she gets to ride in the car.




The rest of the accessories came from my craft room and shopping the house.




It was Christmas when I took some of these pictures and I added a faux pink tree and some pink ornaments to make things a bit more festive.




I love a good before and after...







I think this is my favorite room in the whole house right now. And it's not at all dark as we have two large windows on the one wall. I am seriously in love with this little space and so glad it's finally done.

Which is great because we're spending a lot of time in here right now...Yup, potty training has begun lol ; )






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