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August 29, 2014

DIY Craft Hutch | $200 Weekend Project

DIY Craft Hutch

Welcome to my new favorite spot in our house - my charming little corner of supplies and storage.  It is filled with all of my entertaining essentials, linens, candles and the packaging supplies that I use for gifts.  It sits right in my kitchen by a big window, where I used to keep my desk (as you might remember).  I've dreamed about having a spot just like this for years... I had no idea that it was a weekend DIY project and $200 away from becoming a reality.

You might be wondering why I went to all of this trouble for a room that is going to be torn down in three weeks...  Funny, Mike asked the same question.  As I explained to him, I'll be taking this with us to our temporary home (more on that later...) while the new addition is being constructed.  It will serve as my product "home base" for the store and will be a perfect spot for me to style my photos while we're away from our home.  And then... it will be installed in our new mudroom/studio area in the new house.  Win, win.  When we install it in the mudroom, I'll be adding to it (I think) to make it a large counter area.  

This peg board was a last minute addition - it used to be attached to our cabinetry and hold pot holders, but now it holds my current tea towel collection.

*To spare you from too many product links, I've included all products featured at the end of the post.

I used two unfinished cabinets from Home Depot (not sponsored) and screwed them together.  Then I sanded and painted.  It took all of an evening to do.  More details and photos about the process at the end of the post.

I used the same Martha Stewart Living Bedford Antique Brass Pulls (from home depot) we used in our current kitchen and plan to use in the new kitchen.

You might recognize the wood top - it was on my old desk that sat in this same spot.  More DIY details about how I refinished the top at the end of the post.

Why didn't I do this 2 years ago?!   With very little storage in our kitchen, I had been keeping my  platters, candles, packaging, etc.  in the dingy basement.  No more!  

You can see the top is very distressed and worn - I like it that way.  It came from my old desk that I bought in college for my first apartment.  I've used it since then all through each new adventure and project.  I'm glad to have reinvented it in a new way that I can still use.

Now for a look inside :

I have all of my Wood Candle Holders lined up ready for my next table setting, Linen Tea Towels & Napkins in a basket so I can take them in and out easily without messing them up, Kraft Boxes for packaging cookies and Kraft Bags for last minute gifts.

In the drawers, I keep all of my gift tags and cards, ribbons, scissors, twine, etc.

I also keep a stash of Cello Bags, Labels and Tablets that are sold with my Le Pens (restocked today!).

I got this wooden organizer in the silverware organizing section - storing my Everyday Cards & Tags, Le Pens (added a new Brown color for Fall), Bakers Twine, Scissors & Everyday Tin Candle.

Ribbons, Taper Candles & Cotton and Jute Twine.

And, of course... all of my bakeware supplies.

And here is a look at the pulls - at only $4 each, they are the most affordable and beautiful brass pulls available.  

The Butternut & Acorn Squash are doing a great job holding up the Creamware Platters.

Okay, so here is how I made it.  It started at about 9pm at night.  I bought two 18" unfinished cabinets from Home Depot.   You could just buy one set that is 36", but I wanted to have half drawers and have cabinet, so this was my only option.  For both, it was about $170.

I sanded, then painted them my favorite - Benjamin Moore Navajo White in Satin.  It is the same color our cabinets will be in the new kitchen.

You can see how the paint really transformed them.

Then, I added the top.

I had recently damaged the finish, so I sanded the old finish down, then stained it with Special Walnut Minwax stain.  I finished it with Tung Oil for a soft, matte luster.

I hope you've been inspired to create your own little corner of happiness!  I can not emphasize enough how easy this was, and how much storage I've gained in our small kitchen for all of my goodies.

Products Featured (and stored!) in my Craft Hutch :

Linen Tea Towels & Napkins

Wood Candle Holders

Kraft Boxes for packaging cookies

Cello Bags, Labels and

Tablets + LePens (restocked today!)

Everyday Cards & Tags

My Everyday Candle Tin


Taper Candles 

Cotton and Jute Twine

Bakeware Supplies

Here is the Pinterest Strip for easy pinning.

In other store news, I've received a small restock of Herringbone Throws.  I should receive even more in 2 weeks or so.

Hope you have a great holiday weekend - ours is packed with visits from out of town friends, brunch at our house and date night for me and Mike tonight.

Happy Friday!

August 28, 2014

Emma's Big Girl Room

Well, it has taken me the entire summer, but I finally got Emma's Big Girl room done - sort of.  There are still many things that I need to "find," like the antique (looking, or real?) pine dresser and a headboard/bed (probably upholstered?).  We have replaced her crib with a Big Girl Bed - the real purpose of this project, and removed the clunky changing table from her room.  

It is just perfect for now - it is a cozy, not too perfect and filled with Emma's favorite things.

This gallery wall is what took me all summer - well, actually, it only took a weekend, but finding that weekend is always the tough part!  I painted all of the frames myself (because I like everything to match my trim... like a crazy person).  

Her Big Girl Bed - Pottery Barn woodland duvet and shams layered with ruffled white sheets (also PBK), linen euro sham (Pottery Barn) and the quilt my Mom made for me 10 years ago.

Here's Emma's snuggly bed.

Our nightly reads : )   Around the Year is Emma's favorite book - we love Tasha Tudor around here.

A glimpse of the closet - remember how pale pink and cream it was before in her nursery?  Growing into a "big girl" means more fun colors, which I love now - it is all a little more fun.

This is our "golden shell" souvenir from Seaside - every night the girls and I would go on a treasure hunt for the "golden shell" and the last night they found it!  I plan to write the "Legend of the Golden Shell" on the back... at some point.

I mounted it on artboard and removed the glass from the frame.

We worked on the watercolors over the summer - nothing here is permanent, I plan to swap out our artwork for Emma's in the next couple of months.

The sweet little antique chair filled with lovies and Blah Blahs.

Emma's board of friends and photos.

Into the closet - the best part of Emma's room.  It is almost half the size of her actual room and we treat it as a mini play room.

Mocs and ballet slippers.

Her old crib mattress became her "secret snuggle spot" in her closet... because we literally had no where else to put it.  It does make a nice bed (that we put out in the room) for cousins that spend the night!

Just in case you thought Emma didn't have any real "stuff."

We've got lots of it, but I do continually try to keep it to a limit.  Daily battle : )

The doll house from her birthday.

Thanks for joining me on a tour.  I really love to document our living spaces, especially for Emma - there are so many memories made in four walls!

August 25, 2014

Salted Caramel Apple Tart | Cute Teacher Gifts

Who doesn't love a mini dessert?  Especially when they are filled with spiced apple filling and topped with salted caramel.  They make a darling gift when wrapped up or a cute presentation for dinner topped with ice cream (and more caramel and sea salt, of course).

Emma and I made these to give to her teachers as a Back-to-School present.  We thought it'd be better than just the classic Apple!  I've listed all of the packaging details below.

I love these Petite Tart Pans - I think they look very professional.  It can be so hard to find elegant, unadorned bakeware unless you are a professional baker.  These are fantastic - and disposable.  They are incredibly sturdy and have a non-stick coating that allow you to take the tart of the pan easily, if you'd like.  I can't wait use them to make pecan tarts with a shortbread crust... and individual brownies like those from the Barefoot Contessa's new book.

You can make homemade Salted Caramel sauce (my recipe here), or use a store-bought, then add sea salt to it.  If you've never made it homemade before, I highly recommend it - there is nothing quite like it and it is very easy.  

Salted Caramel
Apple Tarts

makes 4 tarts

My Easy Pie Crust Recipe
4 apples
1 teaspoon of orange zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons of flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Caramel Sauce (store-bought or my homemade, recipe here)
Sea Salt
Begin by making the pie dough from My Easy Pie Crust Recipe (link above).  Let it rest in the refrigerator while you prepare the apple filling.

To start, cut apples into thin wedges - while cutting out the cores.  I leave the peel on because I like the color.

Emma likes to wear her baking gloves all of the time... you can never be too cautious!  ; )

Zest the orange.  Don't skip this part - it adds so much flavor!

Add zest, orange juice, cinnamon, salt and sugar to the apples.  Toss to coat.

Roll out the crust on a well floured board.  Trace the tart pans about 1-inch bigger with a small knife.


 Press the dough into the pans and pinch off the excess.

Fill with the apples.

I like to pile them in, over the top because they do cook down.  

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until browned on top.

After baking, and before serving, drizzle on Caramel and then sprinkle with Sea Salt.

For serving, warm in microwave or oven, then top with ice cream and more caramel and sea salt.

Happy almost fall baking!
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