January 6th, 2015
Happy New Year! I’m back after a nice long break. Well, a break from blogging anyway. It wasn’t really a “break”, because I was working my butt off on a bunch of projects! Exhibit A, I installed a subway tile backsplash in my kitchen.
I’ve wanted to put subway tile in my kitchen for ages, but our backsplash was painted wallpaper on top of wood paneling. You’re not supposed to hang tile on wood paneling since it expands and contracts with the weather, which can make the grout crack and the tiles pop off. I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of doing it the right way—installing cement backer board before tiling. After a lot of research I found this wonderful stuff called Tavy Thin-Skin, an adhesive and fiberglass paper combo that makes any hard surface tile-able (wood, cement, laminate, existing tile, etc…). Here’s a little video if you want to see it in action. Once I peeled off the wall paper, the thin-skin worked really well to prep our paneling for tile.
Once the walls were ready, my amazing dad and mom came over with their tile saw to help me cut and hang the tile. Using a tile saw is hard. I couldn’t even cut one in half properly! Props to my dad for his cutting skills and to my mom for her mortaring skills. I could not have taken on this project without them. (By the way, this is the tile I used. Each tile has little nubs on the sides that made it easy to space the grout lines evenly.)
(Removing the granite backsplash made all the difference in the world!)
What did you do over the holidays? Did you take it easy, or are you a glutton for punishment like me?
December 19th, 2014
Merry Christmas everybody! I’m taking a blogging break for the next 2 weeks, but I’ll be back with new posts on January 6th. Until then I’ll be frantically working on my 30 by 31 list, because time is running out! Before I sign off for the year I want to leave you with a quick and easy DIY gift idea.
I used to bake all the time, but once I perfected my microwave mug brownie recipe it has become the only dessert I need when I’m craving something rich and decadent. It’s really that good. I love that it only makes one, so I don’t end up with a whole pan of leftover brownies laying around to tempt me. I decided to mix up a big batch of my mug brownie mix to put in jars and give as gifts.
To make a gift-able jar of mug brownie mix, whisk the following ingredients together in a big bowl. Make sure they’re combined very well.
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 cup mini chocolate chips
3/4 cup cocoa powder
Then scoop the mix into a jar. The mix will make approximately 10 mug brownies, and it will perfectly fit into a 3 1/2″ x 7″ canning jar, with a half a cup of mix leftover so you can make one brownie for yourself. You’ve gotta test it out, right?
Next print out the mug brownie tag I designed for you! You can download the file right here (for personal use only please). Print it on card stock, punch a hole in one corner, and tie the tag to the jar with a bit of twine.
If you want to try out this recipe to see if you like it before making a big batch of the mix, here’s the recipe to make just one mug brownie (just leave out the caramel).
December 17th, 2014
I picked up the prettiest poinsettia a few weeks ago, and it’s still going strong. I was planning to get some fresh flowers until I spotted this little beauty for only $3. Today I pulled out my gouache and did a little painting!
December 12th, 2014
Do you have an old-timey tangible address book, or are you strictly a digital address book person? I was still using the hideous address book I got when I was a kid. It looked like a kid’s address book too and not in the nice, nostalgic way. On top of that, it was filled with the addresses of people I hadn’t talked to in years.
So, I decided to update my address book while sending Christmas cards to my friends and family this year. I ended up getting this classy Moleskine one.
I’m totally feeling like a grown-up over here. Now, what to do about the hand cramp I’m getting from writing in all these cards?
December 9th, 2014
Here are some of my sketches that turned into this year’s holiday cards! I did these in the summertime while listening to Christmas music like a weirdo. I always struggle to get in the Christmas spirit in July, but Bing Crosby always helps.