Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My daily smoothie

Ever since returning from Christmas break, this (or something very similar) has been my lunch most days:

Sometimes I add Greek yogurt, and if I'm out of coconut milk I'll use OJ instead (but I prefer not to have the extra sugar that is in OJ). All of my ingredients are organic except the coconut milk and maybe the ginger, I think. I've been using the Silk Coconut Milk that comes in a carton in the fridge at Costco. It has a few additives I'd prefer not to eat, but I suppose that is the price of convenience.

Once it's whirled, it comes out to a lovely swamp green color, but the color can't dissuade me from drinking it -- it's actually pretty tasty and it makes me feel happy. Do you make smoothies? I want to know what you put in yours. What am I missing?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Light fixtures on the cheap

One of my early goals for our basement renovation was to use as many re-used materials as possible. One of the first things I found was this old antique brass chandelier with big glass globes on the mis-matched lights and a big antique brass ball hanging off the bottom. It was dated. And ugly. I found it sitting in a neighbor's driveway after the house had been foreclosed on. Some guys were there cleaning out the house and gladly let me take the chandelier away.

As soon as I got the chandy home (how often do you see a woman walking down the street carrying an old chandelier?), I took the big brass ball off the bottom and tossed it in the trash. I'm not a fan of those big balls -- this is the second chandelier I've owned who has lost it's ball. Haha. Then I cleaned it, taped up the electrical parts, and painted it my favorite shade of Krylon green, Celery.

This chandelier is not up to code for a bathroom -- first of all, it is not damp-location listed. Luckily, this is a seldom-used bathroom with an AMAZING ventilation fan. Second, it hangs too close to the bathtub. The electrical inspector suggested I move it over near the toilet but that really messed with the whole vision for the bathroom, which included a fancy chandelier hanging in the center of the doorway. So, for our inspections we installed an old flush-mount fixture. Once all of the inspections were passed, we traded it out for our up-cycled beauty.

The wall sconces came from the ReStore for the wallet-busting price of $4 each. They were shiny brass until I sprayed them with Krylon Celery. The shades on them came from the clearance section at Lowe's for $1.99 each. Bargain, right?

So, for the grand total of $10 plus a can of spray paint, we got ourselves three matching light fixtures with a touch of vintage-looking glam. The funny part is, it isn't like I "settled" for these fixtures. I actually did look to find something I liked as well and couldn't find anything that made me as happy as these three fixtures. I guess I'm easy to please! can see the rest of the basement here

Monday, January 23, 2012

The anatomy of the world's largest medicine cabinet

That title might be an exaggeration, but then again it might not. The cabinet measures a little over two feet wide by about three and a half feet tall. Giant, I'm telling you.

The idea with this guest bathroom medicine cabinet was to make it giant so that it would take care of nearly all the toiletry storage needs of our guests. The reclaimed wood vanity below doesn't have much storage in it, and there is no space for other furniture in the room, so this cabinet really needed to be high-impact in terms of its capacity.

Not only that, but since there isn't much counter space, we also wanted it to provide room for guests to plug in and charge things like razors and electric tooth brushes. Yep, the ultimate in livability, right?

So here's how I did it:

First of all, during the basement renovation, we already had the bathroom wall opened up. We had to remove the drywall in order to get plumbing into that wall, so I figured I might as well build the medicine cabinet into the wall to give it more depth without taking up much of the bathroom. Here is what that wall looked like after I framed in the space for the cabinet:

You might notice the two sideways electrical boxes in there. I was not certain whether it would be "to code" to do the boxes that way, but they are both GFI outlets and the inspector said there was no problem when he checked them out during the electrical rough. Whew. I had to be pretty creative in figuring out how to get them in there -- I ended up nailing them into the wooden part of the foundation directly behind them. Not typical, but it works.

In order to build the cabinet, I first lined the back with 1/8" plywood. Then I used my Kreg Jig to attach the vertical sides of the cabinet to the upper and lower framing using 1x6 pine. Next was attaching more 1x6 pine for the top and bottom of the cabinet to the rough 2x4 framing using my finish nailer. Once it was all together, I caulked the seams, filled the nail holes, and painted. Then I drilled the holes for the adjustable shelving, framed the front of the cabinet with 1x2 pine, glue, and finish nails and then and crowned the top of the cabinet with baseboards leftover from the basement demo. Upside-down baseboards, actually.

We picked up some mirror from the ReStore and had it cut to fit in the back of the cabinet and a second piece cut to fit in the door. As it turns out, mirror is relatively cheap when you're getting it straight from a local glass supplier, so next time I'd probably just get it from the glass company and be able to go with 1/8" thick instead of the 1/4" thick mirror available at the ReStore. 1/4" thick mirror is much heavier than I was expecting. We also had the glass company cut 1/8" glass shelves to fit in the cabinet.

Eventually (as in like six months later) I got around to actually building the cabinet door and finally got it up just before Christmas.

I Gorilla-glued some fun beaded trim around the edge of the mirror and used three heavy duty hinges to keep the door on. Honestly, I wasn't sure whether the whole thing would hold together so I waited a few weeks to post photos to be sure it wouldn't fall apart.

In the end, the whole medicine cabinet cost under $40 and really, the size and customized features (especially those outlets! Love those outlets!) can't be beat.