Monthly Archives: November 2012

Spray Paint File Cabinet

This is a easy-peasy and cheap diy project I completed when we first moved into our apartment.

I found these file cabinets on craigslist for $30. I wanted to spruce them with some paint, so I headed to Home Depot to pick up some Rustoleum  spray paint. I couldn’t decide on color so I chose a few different colors that I liked. At the Home Depot by my office, they actually let you test of the spray paint there. I was just being super indecisive.

Once I got home, I tested out the three colors (againnn) to see how they would look in the area where the file cabinets would be.  I decided to go with the lovely yellow or Summer Squash as Rustoleum named it.  diy file cabinet

I laid down a tarp, had my personal hee-man mover place the file cabinet on top, and then taped the handles and metal place card holder.

I spray painted both of these cabinets inside, but if you have a space I would definitely recommend doing this project outside. Man o man does spray paint smell. Wooweee. Don’t know how  people graffiti with that smell. I was careful to only spray paint the file cabinet, but a mist of paint traveled to our TV stand. Luckily it wiped off pretty easily.


I spray painted the first coat and then waited over night and spray painted a second coat. Then I just painted some index cards to go inside the place card holders.


Ta DA! His and hers file cabinets. Just call me a diy graffiti gansta!!

I may later paint a design on the front of the drawers or use wall paper to cover them (like these here)  but for now they’re just staying summer squash yellow.

Cost:

  • $30 file cabinets
  • 3 cans of spray paint around $10
  • Total: $40

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Visiting Coricancha and the Cathedral

Brian and I actually managed to sleep in this day.

Before heading to Peru we had read plenty of hotel reviews, and noticed a few complaints some rooms weren’t heated. Brian and I thought, welp how bad can it be? Cold rooms would be good for snuggling but not so pleasant hopping out of bed in the a.m. Then we got to see it, or rather, feel it first hand .

In our barely 40 degree room, it was certainly hard pulling ourselves out from under our massive down comforters (note the plural). So hard, in fact, we resorted to extreme counter-measures.  CONFESSION: I know this is a huge waste, but when you can see your breath inside your own room,  you resort to desperate measures. Each morning we blasted our shower as hot as it could go and turned our room into a steamy sauna.  It helped some with the bitter cold. I know, I know  it was a huge waste to the environment, but I could get dressed without freezing to death.

Breakfast every morning was around the same temperature  so I stylishly sported my jacket, hat, and mittens. Let me tell ya,  trying to eat with two fingers is pretty hard.

By 11 am or so, Brian and I finally ventured out to visit the Coricancha and Cathedral, two of Cusco’s best landmarks. There’s about 3 different spellings for everything in Peru ( Coricancha, Koricancha, or Quoricancha) which I like because I’m an awful speller… so I just pick my favorite spelling and go with it.

coricancha

The Coricancha was originally a massive Incan Sun Temple filled with a ton of gold. The Spanish tore most of it down and built a church and monastery over its remains. Brian and I enjoyed both types of the architecture, and especially liked the views of the well landscaped courtyard.

qoricancha peru

If you ever visit here, I would recommend skipping the Coricancha Museum. It was generally unimpressive. The best part was reading the english translations which had a ton of spelling and grammatical mistakes.

coricancha

We stopped at a restaurant nearby, Freddy’s,  which wasn’t my favorite  because it was super dark and kinda pricey. They did have great quinoa soup (my new fav) though.

Later that afternoon, we toured the massive Cathedral. One recommendation again if you ever visit here, bypass the tour guides outside. The free headphone-based audio tour was amazing and actually lasted longer than the 20 sole tour offer.

The Cathedral was absolutely stunning. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos to share because they didn’t allow photography. Somehow this blog managed to snap a few if you’d like to take a peek.  Brian and I were baffled at intricate woodwork and silver that decorated every corner of the cathedral. This is a must see when visiting Cusco. My favorite piece was a painting of the Last Super featuring Jesus and the apostles eating a guinea pig.

jesus eating guinea pig

Later on, we walked back up to the Incan ruins at dusk. We heard the sunsets were beautiful over the Andes Mountains and wanted to see for ourselves. Walking up the 5000 stairs again, we were greeted by the guard who warned us about visiting the ruins at this time because there have been incidents of tourists being robbed in the past. We thanked him for the warning and continued walking, willing to take the risk. The women chatting with him gave us a look of horror though. I immediately knew she thought we were crazy… and she was right we I am.

cusco ruins

We found the perfect spot, noshed on our hand-made chocolates, nibbled on a traditional Peruvian snack of cheese and sweet corn,  sipped on wine, and enjoyed the quiet moment to ourselves. I think not being robbed made it more romantic.

That night we decided to be typical tourists and checked out the famous Jack’s Cafe which offered a taste of good ol’ USA. In our whole stay, this was the only place we waited to be seated. Guess Americans just like American-style food. The food was tasty and the company was even better.

We ended the night, enjoying the amazing view of the city from our treehouse room at Tika Wasi.

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DIY Built-In Closets

I’ve been brainstorming closet ideas since Brian and I first signed our lease.  One small closet for two people with quite a few clothes, I knew just wouldn’t cut it.

diy built in closet
I sought the wise advice of my favorite renovators, Sherry and John, from Young House Love. In case you don’t know of them, they’re DIY extraordinaires. They have now bought two homes and have put a lot of love into each.

In their first home, their bedroom had a very similar set up to ours along with the same problem,  limited closet space. Using Ikea wardrobes, they constructed built-in closets on each side of their bed. You can view their project here.

Sherry and John used crown molding to build in their closets. Since Brian and I are renting our apartment and can’t damage the walls, I knew Brian and I needed to be a little creative.

I googled around and found this diy wooden treatment, and thought it would be perfect for our built in instead of the crown molding.

And so our first DIY project begins.

DISCLOSURE: Before we begin, I must give full credit to Brian for this project. I was the idea girl but he was the action man. He made my adapted idea a reality.

One thing I’ve delightfully learned about Brian since moving in with him, is he’s awesome at putting things together. Where I would get frustrated just looking at the Ikea directions, he thrives. This newly discovered talent, my friends, was the key to this DIY project and will be for many more to come!

cutting_wood

Wardrobes

Ikea Supply List:

  • For our closets, we bought these Ikea wardrobes. We bought one Ikea Pax Wardobe off of Craigslist for $75 (included 4 shelves) and the other from Ikea for $150 (included 4 shelves). Ikea has tons of sizes of the Pax wardrobes, so you’ll just need to pick a size that fits snugly next to your bed.
  • We also bought the curtains to cover the wardrobes from Ikea as well  (I can’t find them online unfortunately). I believe they were around $40 for two.

Wooden Window Treatment

First we measured the room and wardrobes.  Our room is about 12 ft across and the wardrobes were about 4 inches  from the ceiling. I knew I wanted the window treatments to hang over the wardrobes a bit to cover where the curtains would hang. We decided a board 9 inches wide, and 11 ft 11 inches long would be perfect…andddd also would be a tight fit once in the room. Fingers crossed.

So off to Home Depot and JoAnn Frabrics we went.

Home Depot Supply List:

  • Wood: We found a board 1 ft wide, 12 ft long,  and 3/4 inches thick.  We had the friendly Home Depot man cut the board into three pieces so it would fit in my car. The three pieces totaled 11 ft 11 inches and were 9 inches wide.  If you have a truck,  you can skip cutting it into 3 pieces.  With the leftover wood, the friendly Home Depot man cut into 3 small pieces for the wood braces. These wood braces were 3 inches wide, 1 inch thick, and 5 inches tall.
  • Metal Joint Connectors: Since we cut the board into three pieces we needed 4 straight metal joint connectors to connect the wood together , along with 4 to connect the window treatment on each side of the wardrobe. You’ll also need 4 L-shaped joint connectors to connect the wooden braces to the board.
  • Curtain Rod: We bought two cheap metal curtain rods to hang the curtains.

Total Cost: Around $55

JoAnn Fabric Supply List:

Man o man. Let me pass on some advice, don’t go to any craft store the weekend before Halloween. I’ve never seen JoAnn Fabrics so crowded. We walked up to grab a ticket to have our fabric cut and we were about 40 numbers away from the current number. Womp.  Anywho here’s what we bought.

  • About 4 yards of light beige linen fabric
  • 1 bag of quilting batting like this.We bought one bag and then cut it in half to cover the whole window treatment.

Total Cost: Around $40

window-treatment

Wooweee I’m tired just writing about all the steps.

Tools You’ll Need:

  • Tape Measure
  • Electric Drill
  • Heavy-Duty Stapler (we used an electric one)

Construction Steps:

  • First Brian measured where he wanted the metal joint to connect (9 inches from the ceiling) and drilled matching holes on each side of the wardrobe.
  • Brian then connected the wood with the straight joint connectors. He used two connectors to connect each piece of wood.
  • Next he connected the small wooden braces with the L shaped joint connectors.
  • Then he attached the other four straight joint connectors to the wooden braces. These braces will then connect to the wardrobe.
  • Brian installed the curtain hangers inside the two wooden braces on each side.

diy wooden window treatment

diy wooden window treatment

Fabric Time:

  • Next we covered the wood with the quilt batting, using a staple gun to attach it.
  • I then cut the fabric into two panels to cover the wood, again using a staple gun to attach it. Make sure to pull the fabric tight. It’s best if you have two people. One to pull the fabric, the other to staple.

diy buit in wardrobe

Installation Time:

Finally it’s time to hang this baby!

  • It was a little scared of this step. With only about 1 inch to spare, I was worried it wouldn’t fit! Luckily it did though (cause Brian is amazing).  I held the piece (cause I gots muscles) while Brian drilled it into the wardrobe.
  • Then we hooked the curtains into the hooks and ta da! The finished project!

diy built-in closet

diy built in closet

Total Cost for this project:

  • $225 for Ikea Wardrobes
  • $40 for curtains
  • $55 for Home Depot Supplies
  • $40 for JoAnn Fabrics Supplies

Total: Around $360

I must say I’m ecstatic over the finished project. I’m so impressed with Brian’s skills!  Now we have his and hers closets that hide all our belongings too.

Thanks Sherry and John for your idea! This project took a lot of love, but was well worth the organization it brought to our young house.

My next diy projects for our bedroom:

  • Make roman shades for our windows
  • Paint Brian’s Ikea dresser

Don’t you worry, I’ll blog about it all.

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Treat-or-Treats

happy halloween

This year for Halloween we hosted some friends over in our new apartment. I must admit our apartment was still pretty unorganized the week prior. So when deciding on the food, drinks, and a costume, I went for easy-peasy, knowing we had other things to handle.

Complicated dishes look great on Martha Stewart’s website and all , but the detail that goes into those recipes is just outside my scope of concentration. Sorry Martha, but I don’t have 4 hours to devote to carving a goblin face into 10 apples. I actually tried this recipe last year. Maybe it’s the fact that I have cooking A.D.D. I always start about 4 different recipes at once. Does anyone else have this problem ?

Here a few of my “Becca Certified” easy recipes for Halloween.

halloween appetizers

mozzarella broomsticks

Witches Broom Stick Appetizers

Just like the GEICO commercial, I turned my kitchen into a Broom Stick Factory and made a appetizer that would surely sweep my guests off their feet. With only 3 ingredients, it was super easy to make and almost too cute to eat (almost :))

Ingredients:

  • Mozzarella string cheese sticks
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Chives or green onion

Directions:

  1. Cut the cheese sticks in half.
  2. Using a small knife, cut the bottom part of each half into strips.
  3. Insert a pretzel stick into the uncut end of the cheese stick.
  4. Wrap cheese with chive or thin strip of green onion and knot.

broom stick appetizer

jackolantern cockail

Jack-o-Lantern Cocktails

Fall is by far my favorite season. I love the crisp weather, the attire (boots, jackets, and scarves oh my!), and everything pumpkin! So it only seemed fitting to make pumpkin inspired drinks for our party.

Ingredients:

  • OJ
  • Diet Sprite
  • Vodka
  • Oranges
  • Limes

Directions:

Cut the orange slices as thin as you can. Peel the lime.  Shake the OJ, Sprite, and vodka in a shaker and pour into your glass. Add your orange slice and then add the lime peel in the middle of the orange.

mummy pigs in a blanket

Mummy Dawg Appetizers

These spooky treats are a delight to eat, and again simple to make.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package hot dogs
  • 1 can (8 oz.) refrigerated crescent dough
  • Ketchup and mustard
  • Pizza cutter

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F and spray the pain with cooking spray.
  • Roll out your dough sheet and pinch any seams together. Cut vertical strips of dough evenly, about 1/2-inch thick. The strips are about 1 inch already pre-cut.
  • Pat hot dogs dry with paper towels.
  • Wrap 1 strip of dough around each hot dog so that it looks like a mummy. Press the ends of the dough together firmly at the ends to secure. Place wrapped hot dogs 2-inches apart on baking and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Use ketchup and/or mustard to dot little “eyes” on the mummies and for serving!

bat meatballs

Bat Meatballs Appetizers

I’ve tested out this tasty Asian Turkey Meatball recipe from Skinny Taste, a time or two. Skinny Taste is  one of my favorite food blogs. Gina, the chef and blog writer, shares healthy recipes that taste realllll good. And if you’re a Weight Watchers follower, she even provides the points for each recipe.  For Halloween, I just added some black corn tortilla chips to the sides of the meatballs. Before  I knew it they were flying off the table (into my guests bellies of course).

Click here for the Asian Turkey Meatball recipe.

pumkin cooler

Pumpkin Cooler

My mom shared this great idea with me she found of the Rachel Ray show. Our awesome friend Dan came over early to help out with our party and I put him on pumpkin duty.
Item List:

  • Pumpkin
  • Serrated Knife to cut pumpkin
  • Colored tacks (I found yellow ones at Home Depot)
  • Ice
  • Beer to fill your pumpkin

Directions:

You simply cut about a 1/3 of the pumpkin off and then gut the pumpkin. Next use tacks to spell whatever you like!  Ta dah! Festive drink cooler.  Click here to see my pumpkin flower arrangement from last Halloween.

Here’s the GEICO commercial I just love.

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