Name: April

Posts by Apey:

    6 Simple Decorating Ideas For Homeowners

    November 24th, 2015

    Have you ever remodeled your home? Are you aware how challenging that usually is? No? Well sometimes, you don’t have to tear down walls to make a huge impression. Sometimes opting for smaller, inexpensive redecorating ideas and changes can be as efficient. Here are six simple decorating ideas that will surely help you make a big difference in the feel of your home.

     

    Attribution: WikiMedia Commons -simple decorating ideas

    Attribution: WikiMedia Commons

    1. Repurpose Unused Space

    Rooms you do not use all the time can be repurposed and turned into a space you are currently missing – a new study, a library, a nursery, a home gym or something else. This way, you will create a double effect: minimize the unused space and create a new room you were yearning for.

    bouquet floral arrangement Remodeling Tips For Homeowners -simple decorating ideas

    2. New Accessories

    If you do not want to renovate your home, but still want to update it, accessories are the key. Their elegant touch is always welcomed and can transform an ordinary living room into something stylish and sophisticated. Therefore, look into golden picture frames, fireplace screens, wall decorations, floral arrangements or small sculptures.

    Clean uncluttered dining room- Remodeling Tips For Homeowners - simple decorating ideas

    3. Declutter and Maximize the Potential

    Too many pieces of furniture and massive piles of clothes make your home cluttered, disorganized and unnecessarily messy. Therefore, if you throw away things you do not need and create the illusion of openness, your home will look much nicer. You probably already possess more than you need, tell us rubbish removal experts from Sydney, and should get rid of it as soon as possible.

    4. Clean Space

    After you have decluttered your home, it is time to make it cleaner. Your rooms do not have to be equipped with the newest accessories or freshly painted every single year, but, as long as they are clean, you are good to go. With a good strategy, your home can be spotless and look like a new one in just one day.

    Remodeling Tips For Homeowners - simple decorating ideas

    5. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

    Another trick is to install mirrors that will create an illusion of an open space. The best way to do this is to place two of them on the opposite sides of your dining room, for example. Mirrors not only reflect the room itself, forcing you to think that the space is twice as big, but also reflect the outside light, making your rooms brighter.

    6. Bring in the Lights

    A lighter home is a more elegant home and, moreover, a happier one. Nobody likes spending time in dark and gloomy areas, which is why you should introduce as much natural light into your home as possible. Big windows make a huge difference, but you should also consider new light fixtures and task lighting that provide enough light in the evenings and create new atmosphere. Many people also browse flea markets for antique chandeliers that can, if repainted and installed accurately, become a new focal point of your home.

    Other Ideas

    Whether you are remodeling, renovating or just updating your home, you must stay on the budget in order to maximize the entire project. Remember – you do not need to do much, but smart choices and planning will lead to great results. Applying these 6 simple decorating ideas will help you achieve your dreams.

    Lana Hawkins

     

    Author’s Bio: Lana Hawkins is a crafty girl and a student of architecture from Sydney, Australia. She enjoys writing about home décor and architecture, which she does regularly for Smooth Decorator. Majority of her free time Lana loves spending outdoors and cooking for her friends.

    1 Comment "

    Thank You to the Officer Who Didn’t Give Me A Ticket

    August 7th, 2015

    A big thank you to the officer who didn’t give me a ticket the other night. I sincerely thank you so much.

    I don’t know who you are so I can’t name you specifically. I guess you’re probably part of the Lehi Police Department, or maybe the Utah County Sheriff’s office. All I know is you were the one driving the big police truck I almost hit in a moment of confusion. That’s right. I almost hit a police officer. It was a strange intersection, on a newly rerouted set of roads near my home. I thought my lane was going the wrong way and cut you off, very badly, trying to correct myself. It was bad driving. I completely own that, and maybe that is part of the reason you didn’t end up giving me a ticket. I admitted my mistake. Only a moron would argue against what I did, and thankfully I’m not a moron. It was bad driving. I was completely in the wrong, and I sincerely told you I was so sorry.

    Thank you for listening to my flawed reasoning too. It made me feel better to explain to you my split second thoughts during that moment of confusion. You see, I’m not usually a bad driver. In fact I haven’t had any traffic violations since I was 16. (Except for that out-of-state speeding ticket last year. But that was out-of-state so I don’t count it.) Otherwise, my slate is clean. And maybe that’s also why you didn’t give me a ticket. Perhaps you saw my 20+ years as a good driver and didn’t want to spoil it. In that case, thank you again.

    Or maybe you noticed my daughter sitting sweetly beside me. You asked us where we were headed and I told you to an activity together. I didn’t elaborate, but I’m sure you could tell it was a mother-daughter activity. In fact we had a wonderful time at the dinner with friends and neighbors from our church. Getting a ticket would definitely have dampened the evening, so thank you again for not giving me that well deserved ticket in front of my daughter.

    And while I’m thanking people, much thanks to the friends who noticed us pulled over on the side of the road on your way to the same activity. Thank you for being kind and discrete, and laughing with me about my moment of shame rather than at me. Laughing about it helped to lessen the embarrassment and hearing your similar stories relieved the anxiety of the experience. We’ve all had our moments, deserved or undeserved.

    But the one I owe the greatest thanks to is Heavenly Father for watching over and protecting us during that scary moment on the road. I pray everyday that you will watch over and protect my family, and I appreciate your watchful care the other night. We so easily could have been in an accident, and due to the size of the police officer’s truck compared to our little car, I know who would have come out the loser in that scenario. I know situations like this one happen everyday, and sometimes the accident is spared and sometimes it isn’t, but much thanks for sparing us this time. And thank you for softening the heart of the police officer, whose truck I almost hit, to not give me a ticket.

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    How To Install a Strong Doorstop

    July 24th, 2015

    I need doorstops in my home. Strong! Inexpensive! Doorstops!

    I recently repainted my oldest son’s room and as part of the process needed to make a few repairs in the walls. (Life happens.) One of the repairs I had to do was fix a hole in the wall right behind the doorknob. The crazy thing is that this wasn’t the first time that spot needed to be repaired. It was obvious that a previous owner had needed to do the same thing.

    repaired hole in wall

    “Well that’s stupid,” you might be thinking. Just use a doorstop.

    I guess we’re on the same wavelength, but that wasn’t the problem. A doorstop used to be there. The problem was there wasn’t a strong place to attach the doorstop, and to have an effective doorstop it needs a secure base.

    The baseboard in his room is too short. It has a curvy part at the top, right where the doorstop needs to be in order to actually hit the door, making for a very insecure attachment to the wall. Behind almost every door in my home is an ugly, little hole in the baseboard where a doorstop was once screwed in and has since broken off.

    Solution:

    My solution is very simple. Make a strong base for a doorstop.

    How to Install A Strong Doorstop

    First I cut a small block of 1×3 from some scraps I had on hand. The existing baseboard is almost 2 ½ inches tall, the same as a 1×3.

    Then using the block I traced straight lines on the baseboard on either side of the block in the location best suited for the doorstop.
    Next, I needed to cut out this portion of baseboard.

    Oscillating-Power-Tool

    The easiest way (and the only way I can think of) to make the cuts necessary is to use an oscillating multifunction power tool to cut out the small portion of baseboard. I used one from my local Harbor Freight tool store, though you can get them at Home Depot, Lowes, and other such stores. I used its plunge cut attachment.

    Oscillating-power-tool-whole

    After making the cuts and scoring the caulk along the top of the chunk of baseboard, I could pry the little piece out with a flat head screwdriver.

    Once the hole was all cleaned out and the old caulk scraped off the wall, I fit the new square block into place. There was a little extra room on either side, but that’s okay since I knew I would be caulking it later. If there were tons of space, I would have cut a new piece of 1×3.

    I nailed this new piece in place and drove nails into the baseboards on either side to make sure they were still secure.

    Nail-placement-guide for strong doorstop

    Then a little caulk and paint to make my block look like it was always meant to be there.

    Strong Doorstop wood foundation

    Once the paint was dry I could install the new doorstop to its new and improved location.

    The doorstop came in a package of 2 for under $2. Cheap but effective.

    doorstops

    I opened the package and removed the twist-on bottom of the doorstop.

    Doorstop-bottom-2

    This is what gets screwed into the block. The screw was inside the doorstop.

    Doorstop-screw

    It only took a minute to thread the screw through the hole in the screw-on bottom and screw it into my new doorstop block.

    Doorstop-screw-on-bottom strong doorstop

     

    Finally I threaded the bottom of the spring doorstop into the screw-on bottom and presto, done.

    Strong Doorstop spring install

    It’s been fabulous so far. There is now plenty of room between the wall and the doorknob to avoid any more wall holes.

    How to Install a Strong Doorstop

    I hope! Of course one should never underestimate the destructive power of six children. Oh well. That’s why I’ve gotten really good at fixing holes in my walls.

    1 Comment "

    Down Pillows vs Polyester Pillows: When and Where to Use Them

    July 21st, 2015

    Finding throw pillows to fit a specific vision is hard. Understanding what’s inside them is even harder – most people don’t even consider the filling options of their accent pillows, which can lead to less-than-perfect designs and lots of replacements.

    Pillows have two main filler options: down and polyester. Down is the fuzzy undercoating of birds, below their exterior flight feathers. Polyester filler is a synthetic fabric that mimics the fluff and loft of a down pillow, but is much denser. While purchasing all down throw pillows may be the ideal, not everyone can afford to invest that much in their décor. A savvy decorator will know where to use an accent pillow of each fill based on daily use. So the question is down pillows vs polyester pillows? When and where to use them?

    When to Use Down Pillows

    Down Pillows vs Polyester Pillows

    These down pillows from Surya fit snugly into the corners of the sofa, using the space most efficiently for maximum comfort.

    Couches : A “pillow chop” requires a down pillow. A polyester pillow on a couch will not conform to the angles of the arms easily. For something more moldable, choose down for soft surfaces like sofas and recliners.

    Beds: Escaping to the bedroom after a long day is a simple joy. Beds should be plush and inviting, with deep pile rugs and low lights. Down pillows play into this imagery of floating softness. High-quality sleeping pillows are also made of down, so all bedroom décor may have the same consistency.

    Home offices or workspaces: Our workplaces are often overlooked as places for throw pillows. Having a throw pillow in an office makes visitors (or potential clients!) feel at ease. Down pillows in the office also have a practical use – toss it on your own chair for a little back relief.

    Pros:

    Softer
    More moldable

    Cons:

    More expensive
    May cause irritation to those who are allergic

    When to Use Polyester Pillows

    Down Pillows vs Polyester Pillows

    Surya’s polyester pillows are great for resilient jobs like hard furniture or outdoor spaces.

    Outdoor: Down pillows absolutely cannot get wet. Polyester pillows can be hung to dry and will be a more hostile environment for mold. Patio sets and outdoor parties are the perfect places for polyester pillows. They need a poly pillow’s firmness to counteract the iron, cement, or plastic of outdoor furniture.

    Dining sets: Like crisply folded napkins, small pillows on the chairs of a formal dining room are a sharp addition to a dinner party. Since the focus in the dining room is on the food, the pillows are mostly for show and can be of a lower-quality material.

    Wooden furniture: Rocking chairs and barstools make beautiful accents, but sometimes can be a bit tough to sit in for long periods. A polyester pillow won’t twist or flatten out as easily as a down pillow would in these situations.

    Pros:

    Cheaper
    Easier to clean

    Cons:

    Won’t last as long
    Can’t be reshaped

    Hopefully this will help you when you decide where to put down pillows vs polyester pillows in your life.

    Choose a pillow design you love. Then find it in either down or polyester on PillowCenteral.

     

    pillowcentrallogo-squareSpecial thanks to our Guest Writer: Logan Falletti is the lead content creator for www.pillowcentral.com. With over 20 years of combined  home decor experience in the office, she’s still learning every day about home furnishings and design. Contact her via Twitter: @pillowcentral.

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    Lemon Garlic Chicken for Slow Cooker

    June 26th, 2015

    I have a large family and a very busy life, so I rely on my crock pot / slow cooker quite often to feed my family. Here’s a recipe we tried this week that went over well with everyone. This recipe makes about 10 servings and requires a large crock pot/slow cooker. Half the recipe for a smaller cooker and family.

    Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken

    Servings: 10-12

    Time:  10 minutes prep time, 5 hours cook time

    Ingredients:
    • 7-8 chicken breast halves (I used frozen.)
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/2 cup natural soy sauce – *See note
    • 1/2 cup chicken stock
    • 3/8 cup lemon juice
    • 2 tsp mustard
    • 4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
    • 3-4 cups frozen vegetables of your choice -*

    *Note: I actually used 3/4 cup soy sauce but thought the recipe was a little too salty so here I’ve reduced the soy sauce. For the veggies, I like to use a normandy blend of broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, etc.

    Instructions:
    1. Put chicken in large slow cooker. I used frozen chicken breasts and just put them directly from the freezer into the crock pot. If you use fresh or thawed chicken, the initial cooking time can be reduced.
    2. Combine other ingredients, except vegetables, and pour over chicken.
    3. Cook on high for three hours, stirring once or twice to make sure all the chicken cooks evenly in the liquids.
    4. After the first three hours, pour in the frozen veggies and cook another 1.5-2 hours.

    Serve over rice or alone. Also great with green salad.

    This recipe for Lemon Garlic Chicken was inspired by a recipe in a Fix It and Forget It cookbook. I’ve adapted it to my own tastes and convenience. Best wishes.

     

     

     

     

     

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    Quick and Simple White Cheddar Carrot Soup

    June 25th, 2015

    Today I made a delicious carrot soup that even my kids love. I’m calling it White Cheddar Carrot Soup. It’s based off a recipe I found on the Real Simple website entitled Cheddar Soup, but of course I couldn’t just follow the recipe. I’ve included my time-saving hints and directions, and since I have a large family including a couple of teenagers, this recipe makes a boat load. I’m guessing 10-12 servings. You can half this recipe for a more manageable size. So here’s my version.

    White Cheddar Carrot Soup with tomatoes and spinach

    White Cheddar Carrot Soup

    Ingredients:

    • 5 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into thin (and I mean like 1/4 inch thin) slices–*See hints
    • 4 celery stalks chopped
    • 2 Granny Smith apples cored, and chopped into small chunks *
    • 5 small red potatoes cut into small chunks *
    • 2 TBSP coconut oil
    • 9 cups chicken stock
    • 1 pound cheddar cheese (I used Tillamook Extra Sharp White Cheddar)
    • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
    • salt to taste
    • croutons (optional)
    *Time Saving Hints:
    1. Since the carrots take the longest to cook, chop them first and get them cooking while you chop the rest of the ingredients. The smaller you chop them the faster they will cook. I suggest at least 1/4 inch disks.
    2. The original recipe said to peel the apples. Since I don’t have the patience or time to peel anything, I decided to leave the peels on. The soup gets blended and I found it wasn’t a problem.
    3. The red potatoes have such thin skins I decided to skip the peeling step for them too. They were blended up into tiny specks of color in the soup.
    4. I used Extra Sharp White Cheddar, but any cheddar will do the job.
    Directions:
    1. For one pot cooking, select a large pot with a wide bottom. Cook the carrots, celery, apples, and potatoes on medium-high heat with the coconut oil. Heat until most of the vegetables are soft-ish. It took me around 15-20 minutes.
    2. Add the chicken stock and cook on medium for 15-30 minutes until the carrots and potatoes are all soft.
    3. Blend the carrot soup until all the peels are so tiny you can’t recognize them. Think specks of pepper tiny. (Note: Any blender will probably work, but I used my amazing Blendtec blender on hi for 30 seconds or so. Originally I did try using my immersion blender, but it didn’t have the ability to pulverize the skins like I wanted it to. Due to the size of the recipe I had to divide it into two portions to blend all the soup in the blender.)
    4. shredded white cheddar cheeseAfter blending the soup into a smooth, liquid puree, pour it back into the pot and stir in the cheddar cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and salt to taste.
    5. Serve with croutons if desired, but I found I liked it best alone.

    Servings: 10-12

    Time: 15-20 minutes prepwork, 30 minutes cooktime. (I’m a slow cook. I’m sure others could do all the chopping and cooking faster.)

    Eating delicious cheddar carrot soup

     

     

     

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    Molding vs Moulding

    May 22nd, 2015

    black mold vs decorative wood moulding

    Is it moulding…or is it molding?

    May the great molding vs moulding debate begin.

    In the past, when I’ve needed to describe the beautiful stuff I like to put around doors and windows, and at the bottom of walls, I’ve scratched my head, taken a guess, and moved on with my life. But not this time! This time I need answers.

    Research

    Let me start out by saying I love Google, but in this instance it completely failed me. I found sites using both spellings. So the question became, who out there is misspelling the word for wood trim? Which ones are the idiots, and which ones know their stuff? (I say this in the kindest way possible because I am often one of those idiots. Spelling is a real weakness for me and I live in terror of one day really botching something up by misspelling something really important, like the name of a company.)

    Well today I finally decided to set the record straight and turned to my faithful friend Dictionary.com,  something I should have done ages ago.  Determined to find out once and for all who is spelling it right and who is wrong, I self-righteously typed in “moulding” and guess what?

    They are both correct!

    “Moulding” is the British spelling and  “molding” is the US spelling, like color versus colour.  (I’m sensing a trend with the “u”.) [Editorial note: Remember that spelling issue I talked about earlier. Well it nipped me in the backside again. In the previous sentence I originally used verse instead of versus. These u’s are really out to get me. Thanks reader LCM for catching it for me.]

    So the question is which one do I like better? Since I’m American I should probably accept the “molding” version, and move on with my life, but I prefer the British spelling so as not to confuse my beautiful, decorative moulding

    Front door moulding and baseboards
    So Pretty!

    with something growing black, fuzzy stuff (molding).

    molding
    Just GROSS!

    See the difference people? I sure do. Maybe those British know what they’re doing throwing an extra “u” in the word. At least in this case. Now color is a different story.
    April

    [Editorial Note: This post was originally published on Feb. 20, 2012. But today I went back and spruced it up a bit. Because I wanted to.]

    7 Comments "

    The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

    May 21st, 2015
    The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

    The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

    While browsing through the books at Costco recently I came across The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. Since I need a lot of help in this area I thought it was worth buying. My husband on the other hand thought he would tease me by handing me a twenty-dollar bill and suggesting I rip it in half saying, “It’s about the same as buying that book.” Well I took his snarky challenge and immediately started reading, determined this would not be just another self-help book gathering dust on a shelf.

    It is actually a surprisingly fun and easy read and I found myself devouring each chapter saying to myself, “That’s right,” or “That’s exactly how I am,” or “I can’t believe I didn’t see this before.”

    After the first chapter I was antsy to get started and gathered my first bag or two of junk to send to charity. It was a bit premature since I didn’t yet have the KonMari method (a name for Marie Kondo’s method of tidying created by a play on her name), but it felt so good to start making some headway on all the junk. After reading more I started doing it her way and immediately got rid of several bags of clothes clogging my closet and drawers. I did the same with each one of my kids too. With six kids this took about a week, but we did it and the back of the van started looking like this.

    Van full of clothes for charity

    One of several loads of used items taken to charity after reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

    In all, I ended up filling the back of the van three times, and now three loads to charity later, I feel so happy about our clothing situation. The kids still have plenty of clothes to wear, and in this last week the laundry has been much easier to handle. Amazingly, fewer clothes is translating into fewer loads of laundry. I’m not exactly sure how or why, because we are still wearing and dirtying clothes everyday, but there aren’t the piles and piles I used to battle. At least that has been my assessment this week. I’ll let you know if that changes, but so far so good.

    Next on the KonMari method is going through all the books in the house. I’ve started to do a bit, but I’ll save that story for another day.

    April

    P.S. On Facebook I just saw a clip (Today Home video) featuring this book and Marie Kondo. Apparently I’m not the only one finding this book “life-changing” as it says in the title. And you can find the review by Meena Hart Duerson here.

     

    2 Comments "

    Wisdom from Inigo Montoya Meme & I’m Back

    May 13th, 2015
    Hunter Funny Face

    Hunter pulling a funny face when I asked him to smile. He is such a little turkey.

    Hi there!

    So it’s been a while, I know. But there has been a lot going on. Let me explain. It all started way back when I got pregnant with my sixth. There was tons of morning sickness, and preschool teaching, and baseball games, and mountains of laundry, and good times and bad times, and … wait a second.

    Wisdom from Inigo Montoya Meme

    Inigo Montoya meme - Let me sum up

    Actually, as the wonderful Inigo Montoya so expertly immortalized in The Princess Bride, “There is too much. Let me sum up.” Thank you Inigo Montoya for your great wisdom.

    But in this instance, I actually I like this next version better.

    Inigo Montoya Meme - There is too much to sum up

    Sometimes there is just too much to hash through. Thinking about all that has happened in the last few years and trying to boil it down into one post makes me want to flit away and forget I even had the idea to start posting again. Perhaps I’ll share bits and pieces here and there. That is probably the best way to tackle a few years of being AWOL.

    I’m interested in picking back up. There is so much to share and document. My kids, my projects, my life. There’s never a dull moment or a dull day.

    So here I go.

    April

     

     

    1 Comment "

    Let There Be Light…In the Laundry Room

    February 6th, 2015

    So I’ve lived here for three+ years wishing the laundry room had more light.  What was it’s problem?

    This!…This was it’s problem.

    DSC_0146

    Why you ask? Well the laundry room is a substantial sized room in our house. It doubles as a storage room, mudroom, rabbit habitat, and catch all. Three little lights highlighting the corners of the room just haven’t been cutting it.

    This was my answer.
    And There Was Light!

    DSC_0148

    Ok, Ok. I know it’s just the standard ceiling fixture. Nothing amazing or awe inspiring, but it immediately made a difference in the lighting of the room. So who ever thought the other fixture was a good idea? No clue. I’m just excited to look at my laundry and be able to tell if it is clean or dirty, without having to walk into the kitchen. (Ok..that’s a bit of an exaggeration but you get the idea.)

    I’d like to add some can lights in the future, or even just a second light fixture like this, but for now I’m happy.

    Quick lesson learned: Change the fixture sooner rather than later.  It’s worth every penny.

    Ahhh… Light.
    Apey

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