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Bitchin’ Kitchen Part I

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title image for dry goods labels

I have made it my goal to make my apartment look loved and taken care of. When my roommates and I moved in, the apartment was a little worse for wear, although it has tons of underlying charm that I am determined to brush off and show off! Slowly, but surely I am finishing everything,project by project, to complete my goal. This week’s task was to add some fun to the dry ingredient containers in my kitchen.

Now, I picked these little buggers up at Target for about 6.99 a pop, the smaller ones were even cheaper. I will say this now though, I would not recommend getting them. The tops never seem to want to shut. So, if I were you I would spend a little more money and get some from The Container Store or some place similar.

kitchen labels supplies

I found some fun colorful paper and cut out a square according to the size of the container. I used a tape measure to get the measurements and then used that to cut out the piece I would use to mod-podge.

Once you have the piece cut out, put a layer of the mod-podge on the glass. Place the paper on top of that and flatten out any bubbles that may appear. It is ok if you can’t get all of them. I find that once you put a layer of mod-podge on top it flattens out.

kitchen labels white background copy

And to follow that, once it has dried (about 5 minutes), put another layer of mod-podge over the paper. I usually put about two layers of the mod-podge on just to make sure it sticks. If you have any extra mod-podge on the glass, no worries. Just use a straight-edge and scratch away. I used a damped paper towel to then wipe away the rest.

Awesome DIY dry good labels

I thought it would be important to add labels, because we all have that friend who doesn’t have a clue what’s what. So, I printed off a black inch by inch triangle with white lettering of whatever dry ingredient I needed. It’s as easy as before, just mod-podge it to the corner.Adorable DIY labels

Stay tuned for bitchin’ kitchen part II

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Your Last Minute Valentine Card

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It’s only a few days until Valentine’s Day and you still don’t have a card?  Not a surprise…  It’s ok!  I have some GREAT ideas for you.  A simple card will definitely cover your ass so, here are a couple helpful tips for a valentines crisis adverted with things you most likely have around the house.

The Pop Up Card

Pop Up Valentine Card

Take any paper lying around and cute two parallel lines in the folded part of the card. Now fold that part out into the card and you have your base, for what ever lovey thing you are going to glue to it.

I think the pop-up card is the easiest way to make a card that says, “hey, I like you. I made a card that pops”

The Minimalist Card

Minimalist Valentine Card

Get out the paints and warm up your creative side for this one. Take the two things that signify Valentine’s Day- a red heart and the word love- and plop them on a card.  Remember minimalist: Less is more.

The Modern Art Card

Modern Art Valentine Card

Let the emotions flow with this one. As long as you can find a long-winded and slightly metaphoric explanation why it expresses your over flowing emotions of love, you’re good as gold.

The “Find a Popular Internet Theme and Copy It” Card

grumpy cat valentine

Grumpy cat makes for a perfect warm-feeling card.

The Ransom Note

ransom note valentine

First of all, taking somebody for ransom in never a good idea. We all saw Taken. Liam Neeson will find you. But who can resist an endearing message written out in old newspaper and magazine letters?

The Eco Friendly Card

Funny Eco Friendly Valentine Card

Don’t want to waste paper. Check out your pantry and see what you got (I opted for a banana) and just carve in that sweet sweet message.  Although stabbing a message into such a symbolic fruit might send a creepier message than intended….

Center of Love

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full valentine centerpiece

I loved my decorative sticks (yes, people have made fun of me for calling them that) from my holiday center piece so much that I decided to re-vamp it for Valentine’s day.

The sticks were already red and white so I kept them the way they were, but for an extra lovey look I made valentine heart ornaments.

full valentine centerpiece

If it makes you feel more comfortable you can create a template for the hearts but I decided to freestyle each heart on the felt because I like the look of every heart looking different. You are going to want to have two same-sized felt hearts for each decoration. Place the two same sized hearts together pin them, so they don’t move. Then, using a sewing machine, sew along the edges.The other thing to remember is that you need something to hang the hearts on the tree. Before you get to the center crease of the heart place the ribbon in between the two felt pieces and then sew over.

Once you’re done, hang them anywhere around your house for a cute Valentines look. I placed it on out centerpiece. But they would look great hanging from any knobs or sew them all together to make a garland.

Valentine Centerpiece Bow

I thought the glass vase looked a little bare, so decided to add some ribbon. The center of the bow was a little wonky, so I hide that mistake with a cute felt heart. Bwahaha now, no one will know.

Full image of Valentine Table Decor in Living room

Guest Post: Turning Headboards

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Rae and I found a sad, abandoned headboard outside our apartment next to a dumpster and decided it would be perfect for my headboard-less bed. Here is the story of it’s adoption into our DIY family:

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In its original condition, the headboard was nothing special-noticeable nicks and flaws.  What drew our attention, however, was the simplicity of the design- a blank canvas for us to transform into a masterpiece (or at least try).  The minimalist structure made it an easy first project for me to test my DIY skills!

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After deciding our general plan, we sanded only the outside edge of the headboard, knowing that we planned to partially spray-paint the piece and cover the rest in fabric.  The key to this step was borrowing Rae’s dad’s plug-in sander.  Sanding everything by hand would have taken FOREVER and really starts to hurt after a while. If you don’t have an electric sander, don’t assume you’ll finish in one sitting and stay hydrated because you are in for a work out.

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The other nifty tool we used in this project is Sticky Paper which is kind of like the “Post-It” version of a paper towel.  It has a gentle adhesive that, when wiped across a newly-sanded surface, picks up all the dusty stuff left behind.  With all the sandpaper craft happening in Apartment B, it was a valuable investment but to be honest, you could also use a wet rag and you’d have the same outcome.

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Spray painting came next.  If you need tips on how to spray paint, check out Rae’s Spray-Painting Tips– she totally explains everything you need to know.  She also did this entire step while I photographed so you should probably hear it from her.

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Ok, so the next steps are what I think is the fun part: the fabric.  Going into it, I knew I was looking for orange and aqua to go with the overall theme of my room.  I also adore the new trend of mixing patterns right next to one another, especially with all the solids already happening in my room.  After agonizing over the rows of fabric at Jo-Ann’s, we finally decided on a classic pattern for the aqua and a modern polka dot for the orange to add to the contrasts already created by the colors and the patterns.

We cut the fabric using a measuring tape and a pair of scissors.  Ideally, I would have loved to have one of those roll-y blade things, but we don’t, so we did our best.  I also have trouble doing anything in a straight line so the drawing and cutting wasn’t the absolute best.  Luckily, there are simple and attractive ways to cover my tracks which you’ll see later!

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After cutting the fabric, we move to the Modge Podge.  Again, if you are unfamiliar with this process, I direct you to Rae’s post featuring our love for Modge Podge.   It’s just the best.

DIY headboard modge podge ribbon2

The final touches were mainly to add a little flair and to cover a few noticeable cutting mistake (oops!).   The top edge of the fabric we added was not quite perfectly straight so we decided to add ribbon given that ribbon has the distinct advantage of reliably straight edges.  I bought aqua and black ribbon thinking that I would choose between the two but Karley (our third roommate) came up with the ingenious plan of layering the two- great success!

DIY headboard upholstry tacks

We also added brass studs, courtesy of the LeatherMan on Etsy, and a strip of solid aqua fabric at the top to cover all the crooked cutting I managed.  We first drew a straight line using the edge of a book.  Then we added the studs using a simple, small hammer. This was the most aggravating step and I end with more than a couple of bent studs that I removed with a pliers.  Overall, I think I hammered in about 50 or so studs to line the middle orange section.

and Voila! I had a brand new headboard that melded perfectly into the decor of my room- all all for under $40!
DIY Headboard Final Product

DIY Headboard Final Project-  Room Shot

Lefse

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lefse title image copy

Since I was little, lefse has always been a part of my family. My grandma, who was the daughter of a Norwegian and Swedish immigrant, learned how to make multiple Scandinavian treats, but it was the Norwegian treat of lefse that has stuck with all of us. Unfortunately, my grandma is no longer with us to be the lefse queen, but she spent years passing on not only her recipe but also her expertise.  In fact, when I turned 18 I was officially knighted as lefse royalty under the shoulder tap of a lefse stick.  Today I bestow upon you these secrets that were so graciously taught to me by my grandma.

My 17 year-old self is knighted as lefse royalty
My 17 year-old self is knighted as lefse royalty

To start, let me explain this thing I call “Lefse”.  Lefse is a traditional norwegian “tortilla” that has a couple different ways of being made, but the “knightly” way is with a potato base. It’s clearly the best way 🙂

Lefse can be a time consuming process- spanning two different days- but it is totally worth the work!  I have tried to speed up this process, squishing the steps all into one night, and the results are just not the same. The night before you wish to enjoy your lefse, you have to boil and rice the potatoes.

Potatoes in a Ricer for Lefser

This takes a special tool that divides the boiled potatoes into tiny pieces that resembles white rice.  Again- annoying, but makes for perfect lefse.  Add the cream, sugar, salt and butter to the hot potatoes and blend well. Put in a well covered container and refrigerate overnight.

Day 2: After your lefse has chilled add the flour to the potato mix and give it a stir making sure it is all blended. Once its all mixed you’re going to make balls about the size of 1/4 cup. Place the balls on a baking sheet cover with a damp towel and place it in the fridge. You want to keep the lefse moist, it wont roll out if it’s dry.  For cooking these little balls of joy you want to roll them out on a well floured surface and then place the lefse on a griddle (a regular griddle works too) at around 450 degrees.

lefse on the grill with a lefse stick

Once the lefse is on the griddle its gonna take about 4 mins- 2 minutes on each side.

cooked lefse with a char pattern

To enjoy the lefse I suggest a delightful mix of butter and cinnamon sugar, but anything withe a hint of sweet would work.  Jam, nutella or peanut butter are also delicious options!

Rachel Holding a plate of lefse
MMMMMM Lefse…

Oh, and here’s the recipe if you want to Pin it or share it or whatnot!

lefse recipt

A little side note-This past year I also made a gluten free lefse and it actually turned out almost exactly the same. All you need to do is substitute regular flour for an all purpose gluten free flour. Easy peazy.

Center of Attention

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Even though the holidays have come to an end it is never to late to jazz up your table this time of year. My roommates and I had a Christmas party and I put together this piece as a Piece de Resistance for the party, but I am finding that I quite enjoy it.- A little too much to get rid right afterwards. I think I may have to find a way to re-purpose it for the upcoming holiday of love (stay tuned for a Valentine’s day update!)

Full holiday table decor

I came across these beautiful red sticks when I went home to my parents for thanksgiving and I had to have them. Fortunately for me they were free in the ravine behind my house, so it just cost me a little bit of manual labor and some time out in the Minnesota cold. My hands were numb by the time I collected everything, but I’m always in favor of finding things free!  If you aren’t that lucky, I have seen similar style sticks for sale in any garden store and some fancy-shmancy grocery stores. As I began to plan out my thoughts, things were looking a little bland. I decided to spray-paint half of the sticks white to add a bit of contrast.  Black or gold would also have worked but I like the bright white against our dark wood trim. It takes about 3 coats of spray paint to cover the sticks completely. Also- side note- choose a day to spray paint when it isn’t -15 degrees outside.  APPARENTLY Minnesota winter turns spray paint into a gelatinous mess.  I was forced to retreat to the bathroom and stink up the apartment with fumes- sorry roomies!

Holiday Table Decor

There is no real way to describe how I arranged the sticks- I mainly just balanced white and red. Its good to take a step back to make sure that it doesn’t look one sided or awkwardly one color or the other. For the Christmas party I added some ornaments by the recommendation of my roommate. I think it added a little sparkle and really looked FABULOUS. And to add a little extra ambiance I put wine corks and cranberries in glass jars I found at a thrift shop.  I think I spent less than $10 on the whole project and it really livened up the look in our dining room.  Definitely doable on a small budget. …If you’re willing to risk a minor case of frost bite 🙂

Oranges and Cloves Holiday Decor

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Oranges and Cloves Holiday Decor

Right after the fresh scent of pine from the Christmas tree I think  the smell of oranges and cloves is my number 2 scent that reminds me of Christmas.  Thats why when thinking of a way to decorate my apartment for the holidays I decide to incorporate both into a piece of Christmas decor.

Since I live the life of a out-of-college 20 something I’m not into frivolously spending the money I don’t have, so I found a way to do this without breaking the bank…. aka not spending over $10.

Cloves and oranges Holiday Decor

To start, I got a bag of about 10 navel oranges and 1 0z of whole cloves.  To pre-puncture a hole in the orange, I just used a nail. It prevents the cloves from breaking (’cause, you know, I’m poor and I don’t want to waste them…) This is when you can just have fun, there is no pattern the cloves can really go anywhere. Just have fun with it. The best part is that the room will just fill with citrus bliss.

Now, if you want, you can place the oranges in a decorative bowl and call it a day, but i’m gonna go one step farther.

Oranges and Cloves in a Bowl

I got a collection of pine tree branches and vines that I used in a combo with the oranges. I then layered them all together. First, putting down the pine branches and then oranges and going every other after that.  The idea is to find a good mix of oranges and pines to create the best mix of scents. I find that stepping back and taking a look helps finding the perfect mix. I had to move everything around a couple times, but I eventually found the balanced I liked.

Vase of Oranges Cloves and Pine