DIY Mercury Glass Lamps

Hello! I’ve been dreaming of this post for a while now so I’m super excited to share this DIY. A couple months ago I found these lamps for $4 each at a local thrift store:

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Ignore the beer in the background :) I can honestly say it’s for a craft project, you’ll see!

The shape is wonderful but the gold-bronze color is not in the color scheme for any room that I’ve designed in my head. And of course, all my favorite bloggers have taught me that literally anything can be totally altered with a little spray paint and some love. I was inspired by these lamps I found at Marshall’s:

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The best part is that my lamps work, so all the changes would be cosmetic, which is great because I’m certainly not an electrician. Here’s where this project got a little tricky though: I wanted to try mercury-glassing (yes, that’s a verb) the lamps, a la this tutorial, but I could not find the specific paint they used! It’s Krylon “Looking Glass,” and I searched Michael’s, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and finally found it at a Super WalMart, which just goes to show how desperate I was for these lamps!

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Spray paint has never smiled the way I did when I found these beauties!

First, I covered the electrical (?) pieces of the lamp with a Zip-Loc bag and some tape because I’m pretty sure paint, water, and vinegar do not mix well with electricity. I also covered the lamp cord with tape where it met the base of the lamp because I wasn’t sure if I should paint the cord itself. Now that I see the “finished” product, I’m planning on painting the cord silver as well.

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In order to get the mercury effect, I used the spray paint along with a small spray bottle of a mixture of half water and half white vinegar. I started with misting one lamp in the water/vinegar mixture, then a light coat of spray paint:

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After one coat.

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You can see the vinegar eats away at the paint, which creates the mercury effect.

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After a few light coats, misting in between each coat.

I let the lamps dry for the day, and began my hunt for shades. It took a few tries but I ended up with two big, white shades for $15 each from my favorite place, Marshall’s!

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Finished product! I couldn’t resist the “&” I got at Marshall’s too!

I kept the plastic shade covers on because I’ll be moving in a couple months and I don’t trust myself not to destroy them. Plus, they don’t exactly have a spot in my current house so they are resigned to my desk for now.

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Close ups.

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**Important Note** My lamps are not made of glass, so they did have the exact mercury glass effect that I saw on other lamps. I knew that going into it though so I was not disappointed at all. Obviously if you are looking for something like what you’ve seen at a high-end store, try to find a glass lamp. I was perfectly happy with my two lamps for $36! I can’t wait to find a home for them when I move into our new place….which I am still working on obtaining. More on that to come.

And since it’s been a little while since I had a whole project to post about, so here are some of the other fun things that have been happening in my life:

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Birthday hike with Casey at Bishop’s Peak

My mom and Casey both came for a few days so you can blame them for my lack of posting in April. As for photographic evidence of my mom’s visit, that would entail confidential wedding information that cannot be leaked at this time.

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Feeding my new Chia seed obsession

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Renewed my passport and booked my trip to Europe this July!!

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Planted my succulents

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Most exciting of all, as you can probably see by my new banner above, we got our engagement pictures!!! Done by the wonderful Heather Armstrong. She’s a super genius and I want to print these pictures and make wallpaper out of them. Just kidding. But really.

DIY Jewelry Stand

A few weekends ago, my roommate and I made a quick trip to Cambria, CA to scope out their antique stores. Cambria is an adorable little beach town with a ton of antiquey-thrift stores about 30 minutes from our house. I was looking for some cool plates to make a 3-tiered jewelry stand and was so pleased to have found these three adorable plates.

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I picked them because of the cute details on the outer edge of the plate, knowing I would be painting over the floral design and the landmarks of Long Beach (upper left plate). I think the edge details complement each other without being too matchy. I used Krylon’s White Gloss spray paint and started with quick, light coats:

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Bye bye flowers!

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Because the plates had some very small details, I used a toothpick to poke where the spray paint started to pool in the holes. I did this after each coat, mainly because I struggle with the term “quick light coats” and I’m also extremely impatient for each coat to dry, whether it be nail polish or spray paint. Moving on!

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LOVE the way they turned out, they look so crisp and white! I was worried that they would actually look painted, but I think they just look like white plates. The next step was creating the tiers, using votive holders from Michael’s. The votive holders from the Dollar Store were way too tall for my purpose, but they would be perfect if you were making a cupcake holder and needed more space between each tier.

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I placed glue around the bottom of the votive holder and pressed firmly, careful not to let it slide around on the plate. I put some books on top to keep weight on it until the glue completely dried. I waited 24 hours for the glue to dry, just to be safe. Then I repeated these steps until all three tiers were done.

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Isn’t it cute?!

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The view from this angle makes it look off-center and unbalanced, but it is actually level in person. My new jewelry stand sits on my dresser and holds bobby pins, hair ties, contact case, and other items that don’t quite have a home.

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And because I just can’t resist taking pictures of it, I’ll show you that it also holds my beautiful ring when I’m doing housewifey things like washing dishes and kneading homemade dough. Because I totally do those things all the time.

To recap, I used the following for this project:

  • Three dishes
  • Krylon Gloss White spray paint (if you find plates that match, you don’t need paint)
  • Toothpicks (if your plates have any cut-outs)
  • Two votive holders
  • Household glue

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This is where it sits on my dresser, which was one of my very first DIY projects (pre-blog, so I have very little documentation of the transformation). It was my first furniture refinish and I learned a LOT, so I’m getting very antsy to do more big projects like this one.

What projects, big or small, have you been looking to tackle lately? Any good thrift store finds?

Quinoa Pizza “Bites”

I’ve been making a conscious effort to like quinoa lately. It’s packed with protein, quick to make, and can be used in so many different recipes (or so I’m told by Pinterest). I’m still not sold on it though. I want to like quinoa, I really do, and I don’t know if it’s the texture or the taste but it’s been a struggle for me to finish the box that I bought a few months ago. Major housewife problem, I know.

In my effort to use up what I already paid for learn to love quinoa, I decided to try Quinoa Pizza Bites. I’ve seen them before and understood the general idea, but I didn’t follow a specific recipe in making them. This could have been part of the problem, but if I can’t come up with a recipe as I go then it’s really not a practical food for me. Anyway, here is my attempt at quinoa pizza bites:

Ingredients

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa

1 cup water

1 clove garlic

1/2 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup shredded mozzarella

1 tbsp dried basil

1 tbsp dried oregano

1 large egg

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1/2 cup dried quinoa, 1 cup water

Bring quinoa and water to a boil, then cover and let simmer on low for 10-15 minutes (check directions on package for specific cook time). Once cooked, mix quinoa, one clove garlic, 1/2 cup onion, 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, 1 tbsp dried basil, 1 tbsp dried oregano.

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Mix!

Add in one large egg and mix until all ingredients are well blended. Using a tablespoon, spoon the mixture into a well-greased cupcake pan, almost filling each cup.

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Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes. Now, ideally, your pizza “bites” are supposed to pop right out…

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Not quite…

Maybe I didn’t grease the pan enough, but my quinoa definitely did not come out of the pan easily. I served them with warm pizza sauce and the taste was still good, but not exactly the “pop-able” bites I was going for. The experience has not improved my opinion of quinoa and to be honest, I probably won’t buy another box of it. I prefer rice or cous cous, so I think I’ll quit trying to make quinoa happen. It’s not going to happen.

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My dinner was still pretty good, despite the quinoa mistake.

DIY Anthropologie Confetti Wine Glasses

The most important lesson I have learned since graduating college (9 months ago?!? What?!) is the importance of a relaxing glass of wine after a long day. Okay so maybe that’s not the most important lesson but sometimes, it’s just necessary to pour yourself a glass of wine and decompress. As one of my dear friends and roommates is quickly approaching her graduation in a few weeks, I was fairly certain what would make a wonderful gift to commemorate the occasion: a set of hand-painted, stemless wine glasses, waiting to be filled with a celebratory beverage.

I was inspired by this post at Radial Possibility, who has some amazing Anthropologie knock-offs. Plus she’s hilarious so she’s got that going for her as well. I trekked over to Marshall’s on my lunch break last week and picked up these bad boys:

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I like the red wine glasses better because they’re shorter but you could definitely use either one.

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I already had these ceramic and glass paints on hand from other projects but you can buy them at any craft store. From there, I began the painting process. It’s very a very complicated method so pay close attention: Make dots. On the glass. In no particular order. Did I just blow your mind?

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I put rubber bands at about the same level on each glass so the dots would be somewhat even.

Once you are happy with the confetti amount, place the glasses in a cool oven and set temperature for 425° for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven at 30 minutes and leave the glasses in the oven until cooled. This sets the paint, so it should be washable. Because I am giving these as a gift, I won’t test them first but simply cross my fingers and hope the paint stays!

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Vwa-lah! Finished product.

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These turned out sooo cute, I really hope that the paint holds up to washing. The color possibilities are endless, I’m thinking I’ll make some with gold and silver for the holiday season. So fill up your glass with some cheap champagne and toast to success, congratulations Hil!

Ready-To-Go Lunches

One of my original housewife problems is my tupperware addiction. There’s just something about having my food in little compartments that fills my heart with joy. Plus, no foil or saran wrap to deal makes it easy to grab and go leftovers for lunch. Unfortunately, it takes time and effort to fill those divided containers every night. For a girl who works until 6 p.m. almost every day, it’s difficult to find time to cook a nutritious dinner, prepare a lunch for the following day, and exercise, on top of the daily activities like brushing your hair and taking out the trash. Those are kind of necessary actions that should not be taken for granted.

So in my eternal journey to do it all, I decided to prepare my lunches for the week on Sunday night, giving me plenty of time to make real food (no, two clementines and toast does not constitute a proper lunch) and freeing up my time during the week. This method also solves my dilemma of cooking for one, by allowing me to prepare food and mix it up on different days.

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I used these Ziploc divided containers because I have used them previously and am kind of in love with them. I paid $2.49 for 2 containers and if you have a dishwasher or the ability to NOT leave old containers in your car for weeks at a time, you could probably avoid having to replace them every few months. No surprise here, I bought new Ziplocs for this endeavor.

I will report back at the end of the week on how my pre-cooked lunches worked out. As far as convenience goes, I would consider doing this every week. All four meals took less than 2 hours, which includes me sneaking from the kitchen to the living room to watch the Oscars. Let’s be honest, if I was focused I could have done this in less than an hour.

Without further ado, let the lunches begin!

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All four meals for the week

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Spinach salad with craisins, croutons, and balsamic dressing. Hard-boiled egg. Roasted rosemary potatoes.

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Broccoli and chicken. Garlic and herb cous cous. Flatbread crackers.

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I’m not as happy with this one…Clearly, I will be eating salad for dinner this night! Chicken and cauliflower. Garlic and herb cous cous. Spinach and artichoke hummus (for the cauliflower).

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Spinach salad with craisins, croutons, hard-boiled egg, and balsamic dressing. Roasted rosemary potatoes, low-fat vanilla yogurt (with granola on the side).

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All stocked in the fridge, right next to the Red Bull and ready to go!

What do you eat for lunch at work or on campus? Any tips for a hungry girl on the go? Have a great week everyone!

Handmade Valentines

I love Valentine’s Day. It’s a fact. I love that there’s an entire day dedicated to showing people how much you love them. And what better way to demonstrate love than opening a beautiful card?!

This post wouldn’t necessarily be a housewife problem if I wasn’t writing this 5 days after Valentine’s Day…but life happens, and Vegas happened, hence why this post is a little bit late. Nonetheless, behold the Valentine’s craftiness bestowed upon the loveliest ladies and gents in my life.

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For dear friends.

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For parents, both in-laws and not.

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Of course, for my funny Valentine, the best fiance on the planet. Can you tell which one of these “E’s” is not like the other? Oops.

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Can’t forget cute envelopes too! Even Grandpa enjoys a little sparkle sometimes.

As far as supplies, I bought the fun ribbon and glittery stickers at Marshall’s for $10 (16 spools) and $.99 respectively. I had the cards, envelopes, stamps, and ink on hand, mostly from numerous explorations in the $1 bin at Michael’s. There was no measuring or perfection involved in the making of these cards and I think that’s what makes them so special. Nothing fancy (except the glitter letters…those are fancy) just a little reminder to say, “Hey. I love you.” I think everybody could use that. And maybe a little chocolate wouldn’t hurt either.

Super Bowl Apple Nachos

Remember how I was going to cook something slathered in buffalo sauce and totally unhealthy for the Super Bowl? Yeah, that all changed when I bought a scale on Saturday. To be more precise, it all changed when I actually stepped onto the scale and read a number I was not very happy with.

Since finishing school and starting a career, my healthy habits have faltered. I was walking to school, walking all around campus, and working out at the gym on my breaks between classes. I now drive to work, rarely work out, and eat much less healthy lunches. Don’t forget to factor in my alcohol consumption, which has increased drastically since turning 21. Overall, I have been trying to take small steps to return to my healthy lifestyle in 2013. Which is why when I combed through my “want-to-do” recipe list, I settled on something less guilt-inducing…

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Apple Nachos!

Yes, this is still not the healthiest snack I could have eaten but I did say I was taking small steps. And I was honestly surprised because everyone at the party (mostly male, might I add) loved them! It was super easy: cut up some apples (I used 3 granny smith and 3 golden delicious), drizzle some carmel and chocolate chips on top, enjoy! You could definitely use peanut butter, almonds, coconut, marshmallows, or nutella.

I’m so happy with the way these turned out, especially because the game was such a disappointment. At least I had my delicious carmel apples to keep me occupied. Maybe next year, ‘Niners!

DIY Sunburst Mirror

I’ve recently been looking for ways to spice up the boring white walls in my bedroom (oh, the joys of renting!). I used to have a hand-painted canvas above my bed and the birds matched my sheets, but then I changed my sheets to tan and the whole look was off.

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Canvas from Michaels + silver paint + black paint + paper birds cut from a Cricut

Then I found this DIY Starburst Mirror on Pinterest and fell in love! I had been looking at similar wall art that was much pricier so I was super excited to see a DIY version. I highly recommend taking a visit to her blog too, it’s inspiring on a creative level and  on a personal one.

I had some of the supplies already on hand (spray paint, hot glue) but I made my weekly trip to Michaels to get the rest: 75 wooden dowels8-inch round mirror, and picture hanging hooks. I was surprised how many dowels it took to finish. I thought I would have extra, but I had barely enough.

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Here it is about 3/4 of the way done. I drew lines with a ruler but it looked a little too exact so I just eye-balled it.

I started hot gluing, trying to mix up the lengths to keep it interesting. After all of the dowels were glued on securely, I covered the mirror with tin foil and spray-painted it Krylon Chrome. Once dry, I attached the wall hook to the back of the mirror with a magical mixture of super glue and hot glue. I tested the hook about a million times because I knew this was going above my bed and I prefer not to be impaled by a mixture of glass and wood in the middle of the night.

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And here it is, fully installed! Oh, and say hi to Muffin, my early Valentine’s Day gift.

I really love how it turned out, especially for such an inexpensive DIY. I could have gone with a color that popped more against the white wall but I did consider that someday soon (hopefully) we will have our own home that we can paint a dramatic color and the silver will really stand out.

I hope everyone has a great Super Bowl weekend! I have a lot of food ideas swirling around in my head for Game Day, and almost of them involve a hearty serving of Buffalo sauce. Can’t wait to show you what I come up with!

Housewife vs. Crockpot

Let’s be clear on one thing: me and the crock pot are not friends. I stopped keeping score long ago, but I have lost many battles with that damn appliance. In fact, I would have given up on the idea if everyone hadn’t raved about their beloved crock pot. “It is so easy!” they said. “Fix it and forget it!” they said.

Lies! I would follow the recipe, cutting down the portions to fit my needs. I was a college student cooking for one, six chicken breasts would not be necessary. Perhaps this was the problem: I was cutting down the ingredients, but not the cooking time. Rookie mistake. Each time, my chicken would be completely dry and tasteless. I still ate it (see: college student) but too many dinners had been ruined and I banished the crock pot to the cupboard for over a year.

Mainly due to this blog, I knew I had to face the crock pot once again. I found this recipe which involved three very simple ingredients: boneless, skinless chicken breasts, taco seasoning, and salsa. If I screwed up, I would have no one to blame but myself. So I threw everything into the crock pot, set the timer, and walked away.

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Mmm looks delicious? I’m not quite sure.

And much to my surprise, a few short hours later I had a pot full of delicious chicken that wasn’t dry! It was a crock pot miracle!

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After some shredding.

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Tacos!

The finished result was so good I am considering bringing the crock pot into my rotation of meals. I might even attempt pulled pork if I’m feeling adventurous. I’m still wary of the crock pot, however, and would prefer that my dinner come from a more trustworthy appliance, like the waffle maker. The waffle maker has never betrayed me.

Housewife Problem #001

Hello!

My name is Jamie and I have a passion for trying new recipes, organizing closets, and making a room come together. As a recent college graduate learning to navigate the working world, I am beginning to adjust to waking up four hours earlier than my body would prefer, preparing my lunches the night before, and actually brushing my hair every morning. Did I mention that I live with wonderful roommates who are still in college, living the dream, while I attempt to make this graceful transition into adulthood?

It’s safe to say I am adjusting to a whole new lifestyle, but lately I’m even more excited to settle in and refine my homemaking skills because I’m getting married! It’s still over a year away which gives me time to practice (and plan!), but I’m truly looking forward to marrying my best friend and starting our life together.

In this blog, you will find recipes, crafts, decor ideas, DIY projects, wedding madness, and my anecdotes of the delicate balance between twenty-something and productive member of society. Join me as I face these life struggles that can only be classified as housewife problems.