ECO OBSESSION: THRIFTING

Now that its started to warm-up outside my weekly addiction has returned. Religiously checking the Friday paper to browse the Garage/Estate Sale advertisements. I need to get my DIY on so bad, I can't wait to spray paint or reupholster something.

LAIDBACK LONDON SHOES


This weekend we ended up pet-sitting and my little bedroom DIY spruce has taken a backseat. So instead I did a little online sandal shopping, which means my feet will have to come out of winter hibernation! I found this great brand that not only looks fab, but all of their shoes are handmade by Kenyan artisans. Laidback London is a company committed to sourcing raw materials locally where possible and using various recycled materials including scrap metal, brass and bone to embellish their sandals. They work closely with local artisans, training them with new skills and offering ongoing support, and making sure the workers receive a fair wage. The employment created and income generated helps improves lives and has a significant impact on the local communities.

DIP DYED DIY

This idea is great for all of you thrifters with mismatched kitchen utensils. We pick up most of our kitchen tools from flea markets and thrift stores. I love the mismatched, vintage feel that they have- we mix them with white china and glassware, and it gives our wood and metal utensils a sense of consistency. By painting the base of each it won't matter what the pattern is. This idea could be great if you are having a party and you need some extra flatware. And you can pick any colors and change them whenever you change your decor!


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VINTAGE PLATES

I have a collection of old, vintage, mismatched dishes that have been hiding in a cupboard for far too long. Now that I've finished my Spring cleaning and given the place a spruce, I've decided I needed to get them out and display them. I stumbled upon some great uses, and creative displays for my collection. I love the idea of using them as jewelry storage. I store my makeup in tea cups and small vases on my vanity but why not my watches and rings!


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Hanging your collection on the wall gives individual pieces more strength, because they are displayed in numbers. A few plate hangers, and a clever layout could be just what I need in our guest room above the desk! To make hanging plates a breeze, lay them out on butcher paper or newsprint and trace around the arrangement marking where you need to put the nails. Then hang the paper on the wall and hammer the nails straight over the top. Once you rip the paper down you will be set.

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I love this idea for re-purposing plates and candle sticks into cake stands. It would be great at a shower or wedding reception. Or for a little girl's tea party. If you have a large collection of china, and vintage dishes from a family member plate rails are a great display option. This collection makes a big statement on this wall for little money, and its sentimental.

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SPRING CLEANING CHECKLIST

Now that you are so EXCITED to do a little spring cleaning, and you have mixed up all of your home cleaning products- here is a checklist. Martha Stewart Home created this handy printable list. And she has thought of literally everything to help freshen your home. I know I am excited to get my summer linens out on the bed this weekend, and I've got a little DIY sewing project to share with you next week, assuming nothing goes wrong! I'd love to see your spring spruce-up projects.

SPRING CLEANING

After a long winter, I love to open up the windows, put out the summer linens, and give everything a good scrub. I've learned a lot of tricks on how to get the house sparkling without it smelling like chemicals. You can make your house sparkle with just a few simple supplies, many of which are already in your cupboards.

Mild dishwashing liquid is excellent for removing spills that water won't budge. Make a simple all-purpose cleaner by mixing 2 cups water with 2 tablespoons dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle. Use it on countertops and other hard surfaces.



Baking soda has scrubbing power but won't scratch surfaces. Mix a paste of 3 parts warm water to 1 part baking soda to scrub kitchen stains or clean the oven. Make a bathroom cleanser by mixing dishwashing liquid with baking soda until you have a thick paste.

Distilled white vinegar and lemon juice are both excellent for cleaning, deodorizing, and mild bleaching. They are acidic and can eliminate soap scum. Make a window- and mirror-cleaner by mixing equal parts vinegar and water, which also works well on most polyurethane-finished wood floors. You can also mix 1 tablespoon vinegar with 1 tablespoon dish soap with 2 cups of water for a carpet spot remover.

I also like to invest in some good tools. I try to avoid using paper towels and substitute with rags made from old T-shirts. I use a squeegee to clean windows, and shower doors because it gets them to sparkle without having to wash out rags afterwards. Because I clean my hard surface floors with vinegar and water I use an average mop, no Swiffer. I can unclip the mop head and wash it in warm water and reuse it. I have seen people who modify their Swiffers to have a washable terry cloth head. Which helps save money and the earth.

And if making your own cleaners isn't something you want to do, brands like Method, and Seventh Generation, make good quality household cleaners and products you can invest some peace-of-mind in.

TOMATO BASIL SOUP AND PANINIS

This weekend it was so dreary out, I got rained and snowed on in the same walk. After that I just wanted to stay in and make comfort food. I loved tomato soup and grilled cheese as a kid so I decided to make a grown up version. And we had a lot of fresh basil we needed to use. Both of these recipes are great if you are watching your calories, and they are very filling! Enjoy!



CREAMY TOMATO BASIL SOUP

Ingredients

4 tomatoes - peeled, seeded and diced
4 cups tomato juice
14 leaves fresh basil
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup butter
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Place tomatoes and juice in a stock pot over medium heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. Puree the tomato mixture along with the basil leaves, and return the puree to the stock pot.
Place the pot over medium heat, and stir in the heavy cream and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Do not boil.

1 cup of soup has about 80 Calories



TOMATO BASIL PANINIS

Ingredients

1 ripe plum tomatoes, cored and sliced
3 ounce(s) fresh mozzarella, sliced
1/4 cup(s) loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 avacado
1/8 teaspoon(s) salt
1/4 teaspoon(s) freshly ground black pepper
4 (1/2-inch thick) center slices whole-grain bread

You can also add chicken or turkey if you don't want the vegetarian version.

Directions

Prepare outdoor grill for direct grilling on medium. Or heat skillet on medium high.
Meanwhile, assemble panini: Place 2 slices bread on work surface. Divide tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, salt, and pepper evenly among slices. Top with remaining bread slices.
Place on hot grill grate. Place heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) on top of panini, press down, and cook 7 to 8 minutes or until bread is toasted and browned on both sides, turning over once.

Each sandwich has about 290 calories

ECO STYLE: COPY KATE

Duchess Cathrine has such great style, but who wouldn't if you were married to a prince right? I love this look on her, maybe because I love kelly green, maybe because I love nude heels. Here's how to pull it all together with some earth friendly accessories.

Eco Style: Copy Kate




HARDWARE STORE CHIC: JEWELRY

I love this trend that I've seen lately for DIY jewelry made from things like nuts, bolts, washers, rope, and cord. It seems so easy and chic. Check out these awesome tutorials, I bet most of us already have most of the supplies, I know I can't wait to start digging through John's toolbox and see what I can make.

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DINING CHAIR DIY



In October, I found this set of 4 chairs at an estate sale. They were covered in plastic and lived in a barn with some chickens. Someone had made some awful slipcovers for them- I almost walked by without even a second look. But my instinct got the best of me, and I peaked under plastic and chicken feathers to find black lacquer and a tropical Lee Jofa cushion. I loved the lines, and all of the caning was still perfect on every one. So I took them all for $20.

I usually take about a month from the point of buying furniture to recovering or painting because I like to make sure it turns out just how I want, I like to consider, and reconsider ALL of my options. Not so with this set. We needed dining chairs, and I had one good weekend before it became too cold to spray paint. Here is how I did it:

Supplies:
White Krylon Spray Primer
Heirloom White Semi-Gloss Spray Paint
Staple Gun and Staples
1.5 yards of Fabric

Directions:
1. Unscrew the seat cushions from the frame. Wash the chairs with soap and water. When dry I primed them. Primer is cheaper than paint so i usually prime A LOT before the final coat. I did 3 coats on each side. (I laid the chairs on their back and primed the fronts and sides then when dry I laid them on their front legs with the top on the drop cloth to prime the back and sides.)
2. Paint the final coat, I did this the same as the primer and only needed 2 coats.
3. To recover the seats I laid them on top of my fabric and I cut them out with about a 4 inch border of excess. fold the fabric around the cushion and use a staple gun to secure in place.
* Staple tips: I like to put the first staple in the middle of the front edge of the cushion and pull tight as I place a staple across from the first. See the diagram below. Then repeat with the sides and do the corners last.
4. Screw the cushion back onto the frame, and you are done!

ECO OBSESSION: GREEN

It's March! Spring is so close I can feel it, its been a little harder with all this snow falling around here, but I won't lose sight! To kick off the month I thought I'd share a few things "green" if you know what I mean!


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