Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fish Foam GIVEAWAY Results

Hey ladies! 

 I used the Random Sequence Generator from for the Fish Foam giveaway.

 Here are the first three numbers chosen:

Random Sequence Generator

Here is your sequence:

Timestamp: 2012-01-29 17:14:16 UTC

Sharon from Elizabeth & Co.
Cassie from Primitive and Proper
TracieB from Bellabellissimo
I'll be in touch via e-mail to get your address and your product will be on its way!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Colortopia Quiz

Have you taken the Colortopia Quiz yet?  I thought my results were pretty spot on. 
Stone White
30GY 76/017
Barely Jade
10GG 62/026
Shaded Fern
30GY 10/048

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I Was Featured...

on My Repurposed Life!

Check out Gail's blog!  There's not much she can't do...this woman can build!

Thanks Gail!

How to Change a Light Fixture

Ever since I discovered Pinterest, I've had this image floating around in my head.  I love lanterns!

One of my favorite past times is cooking and I love being in the kitchen.  I do not, however, love the light above our sink.

It is outdated and tiny in proportion to the window.  (And I haven't changed the dead bulb in a year!)

I've had this lantern sitting in my basement for almost a year now.  I've tossed around the idea of replacing the light fixture myself but always chicken out...ya know, the whole electrocution thing.  It's my new phobia.

I got it out of the basement this morning to take a look at it.  Almost all of the tutorials and videos I've seen about replacing a light fixture mention, "black wires to black, white wires to white".  This concept seems pretty easy but the lantern I bought has one brown cord (along with the copper wire).  This is usually where I would put it all back in the box and vow to do it another day.  But after searching the web, I discovered that there's a smooth side and a ridged side to my brown cord.  When split apart, the ridged side of the cord corresponds to the white wire (neutral) from the junction box and the smooth side corresponds to the black wire (hot).

With that information I felt comfortable enough to proceed.  These are the steps I took to replace my light fixture:
1.  I turned off the electricity to the entire house.  I wanted to take all precautions.  If you're comfortable just turning off the fuse to the particular light you're working with - go for it.
2.  I unscrewed the old unit from the ceiling.  This is where I stopped taking pictures because I needed both hands (and could have used two more).
3.  I screwed the mounting bracket that came with the lantern to the junction box.  The old unit didn't have one but this lantern is heavy and needs support. 
4.  My next step was to connect the smooth side of the brown cord to the black wire hanging from the ceiling (or your fixture may have a corresponding black wire).  I twisted them together and screwed a cap over the exposed end. 
5. Then, I connected the ridged side of the brown cord to the white wire hanging from the ceiling (your fixture may have a corresponding white wire).  I twisted them together and screwed a cap over the exposed end. 
6.  The copper wire hanging from the ceiling got twisted in a loop around the green "ground" screw on the mounting bracket.  Then I tightened the screw.  Next, I twisted the remaining end of the copper wire with the copper wire coming from the lantern and capped them off. 
7.  The last step is to tighten the plate to the ceiling with the small bolts provided.

  Uh oh...this is where I ran into a problem.  Do I ever complete a project without hitting a bump on the road and making a trip to the hardware store?  Never.

A mounting bracket screw wasn't "catching" the electrical box.  The two screws I used were the exact same size and the side on the left was screwed in tight.  But when I let the weight of the unit hang without my support, the screw on the right side would  pop out of the screw hole (I'm sure that's not the technical term).  It left a gap at the ceiling and the lantern was only holding on by the cords and one screw.  I was so frustrated at this point because I was close to being done, it was time to pick up my daughter from school and my arms were killing me.  I have a new found appreciation for electricians.  They have to have some serious muscles.
Off I went to pick up my daughter and shop for a new screw.  Thankfully, after explaining my situation to the guy at the hardware store we both came to the conclusion that the junction box on the right side must be stripped.  Replacing an electrical box is obviously beyond my realm of repairs and calling an electrician to finish my job would cost money (and technically my husband didn't even know this little project was going on while he was at work).  The guy at the hardware store suggested I buy a screw with a different, "more aggressive" thread, as he called it.  I couldn't buy a larger screw because it wouldn't fit through the hole on the mounting bracket.  Long story short, a screw of the same size but with a different, more aggressive thread worked!

I hope my instructions make sense.  Writing tutorials is not my forte.  The directions that came with the lantern were actually very helpful and easy to read.  It stated that the whole project should take ten minutes.  It took me about 45 minutes (minus the trip to the store) but this was also the first fixture I've replaced.  I wouldn't hesitate to change another now - easy peasy!
Next, I will be painting over the ugly ring the old fixture (which had a larger plate) left behind.

I have a hard time taking photos of this area in my kitchen.  This window is really the only natural light coming in and I end up having to over-expose the image which makes the cabinets look yellow and the walls mint green.


It casts the prettiest reflection at night!
This is the other light in the kitchen.  I hate it more the old light over the sink.  It throws off zero light.  I swear the whole room is like a cave.

We need recessed lighting.  Kinda like this...

Notice anything else in the Country Living picture that I used for inspiration in my own kitchen?  How about the black window trim with the white molding. 
You know what they say...every room needs a little black!

I'm linking up with:
Hookin Up With HOH @ House of Hepworths
Coffee & Conversation @ Passionately Perfect
Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage
Transformation Thursdays @ The Shabby Creek Cottage
Crafty Scrappy Happy Me Thursdays @ Crafty Scrappy Happy
Open House Party @ No Minimalist Here
Catch as Catch Can @ My Repurposed Life
Whatcha Got Weekend @ Lolly Jane Boutique
Saturday Night Special @ Funky Junk Interiors

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I Was Featured...

on Savvy Southern Style!

Thanks for featuring my Bathroom Renovation Kim!

Hop on over to Kim's blog.  She is a huge inspiration to me.  Her house is amazing!

Subway Tile Back Splash Complete

I want to add about 10,000 exclamation points to the end of this post title.  I finished my first back splash tiling project.  As in only me...solo...alone!  And I'm telling everyone out there with doubts, if I can do it, you can do it too.  This is definitely my most rewarding project to date.  It was also a lot of fun - even the cutting.  What's mind-boggling is that with my track record, this should have taken me about six months to finish.  But I was done in a weekend!  Can you tell that I'm shocked/proud/excited?!

This is the wall where I started tiling.      

That big black arrow is pointing out the now-defunct alarm system.  I have stared at that ugly wall plate for four years wondering when it would magically disappear.  Well, the tiling project gave me the little push I needed to do something about it.  It was now or never.  

We had the company who originally installed it (in the 80's) check the system about two years ago.  The rep that came out said there was zero power to the unit and if we wanted an alarm system, we'd need to install an entire new system.  Which basically means that these ugly boxes are here for no reason (there's also one upstairs).

Here's a closeup (the outdoor timing dial to the left is also ugly/broken and needs replacing)...

I began by shutting the power off to the entire house.  I'm nothing if not extremely cautious.  I had visions of being electrocuted.  Then I called my brother, who is a contractor, and asked lots of questions about removing the faceplate and cutting the wires.  Mainly my questions surrounded being electrocuted.  I was assured I'd be fine.  I then proceeded to call my father, who is also a contractor, and double checked about being electrocuted. 

These are the steps that I took: shut off the power to the entire house, unscrew the screws on the faceplate, call my brother again so he could be on the phone while I cut the wires, cap the wires off, stuff them back inside the hole and patch the wall up.  I didn't get any pictures past pulling the faceplate from the wall.  My hands were shaking.  But I survived!

After tiling over the patch job, no one will ever know it existed.  Well, unless they go upstairs...gotta take care of that one.

Ahh, much better!

If I can work up the courage, this light above the sink will be replaced with a beautiful lantern.  Must do!

This color is most true to the actual grout color.
tile - Snow White
grout - Oyster Gray

The Oyster Gray is such a beautiful color for grout.  We used it in our basement and it dries much lighter than the swatch you'll find at the store.  And bonus, I had an entire bag leftover in the basement!

This is such a big impact project for little money.  I was fortunate to have the mastic, trowel, grout floater, grout, spacers and tile cutter on hand from past projects.  I did spend $54 - $40 for the tiles and $14 for a tile cutting bit that attaches to my Dremel.  I was impatient and couldn't wait to get my hands on a borrowed wet saw and I wasn't willing to pay the $50 rental fee from Home Depot.  I didn't have very many odd cuts (around sills and outlets) so I decided to buy the tile cutting bit and it worked out great for me! 

Even if I had to purchase every item needed for this project, it could be done for under $100.

 Next on my kitchen-bucket-list is installing corbels underneath my cabinets and replacing the light above my sink.  Right now I'm enjoying my cleared off counter tops.  It's amazing how a project can make you declutter!

Thanks for checking my project out.  I am thrilled with the results!

I'm linking up with:
Wow Us Wednesdays @ Savvy Southern Style
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday @ Coastal Charm
Tuesday's Treasures @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Rock 'N Share @ The Shady Porch
Hookin Up With HOH @ House of Hepworths
Crafty Happy Scrappy Me @ Crafty Scrappy Happy
Open House Party @ No Minimalist Here
Transformation Thursdays @ The Shabby Creek Cottage
Coffee & Conversation @ Passionately Perfect
Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage
Catch as Catch Can @ My Repurposed Life
Whatcha Got Weekend @ Lolly Jane Boutique
Saturday Night Special @ Funky Junk Interiors

The Many Wonders of Fish Foam - A GIVEAWAY!

I was super excited to be contacted by Fish Foam to hold my first giveaway.  I'm sure everyone has read this review about the product.  There are plenty of other great reviews out there in blog land. 

A few days ago the "big brown truck"  pulled up and I excitedly opened my package.  There were three huge cans of glass cleaner to experiment with.  Now I hate cleaning and try to put it off at all costs but it must be done (especially if company is coming).  I like cleaning products that make my effort minimal.  Enter Fish Foam!

When I'm not taking care of four kids, a husband, a house and blogging, I'm a hair stylist.  I like hair products..and hairspray.  I love hair spray!

What I don't love is this sticky residue overspray that always, always lands on my mirror.  It's hard to see in the picture below but trust me, it's there. 

I'm always up for a competition.  I grabbed my new can of Fish Foam and the "blue stuff".  You know the one.

Certain identities have been concealed to protect companies, ahem, embarrassment.
The blue stuff was sprayed on the left.  I was pretty annoyed that before I could even pop the cap on the can of Fish Foam the blue stuff had already run down and was pooling on the wood molding of the mirror.

Fish Foam on the right.  True to it's foamed immediately and stayed put.


Yikes!  On the left, I had to use some serious muscle and all I was left with was a streaky haze.  There were paper towel particles stuck to the mirror because I was rubbing so hard.  I would have needed to spray the mirror at least 2 or 3 times to get a semi-clean look.

Fish Foam on the right...sparkling clean on the first try.  My arms thanked me.

I ended up cleaning the streaky side on the left with the Fish Foam and was left with a gleaming, streak-free reflection.

My feelings...

I have to let you in on a little secret.  There's another reason I was excited about receiving the Fish Foam product.  I usually take my rings to be cleaned where my husband purchased them but that's not often.  In a pinch, I've used the blue stuff on them.  Maybe I'm not the only one.  I was anxious to give Fish Foam a try on my jewelry.  I just spray a little on being sure to hit the surface and the inside of my rings.  I get into the nooks and crannies with an old toothbush, rinse under warm water and pat dry.  They are now gleaming!

I have yet to clean my windows with Fish Foam but dare I say I'm excited to clean them.  My husband will be pleased when I do.  I know my windows are nasty when my husband notices.

Fish Foam has generously offered 3 of my readers a chance try their product.  The 3 winners will each receive 3 cans of their own (each can is 19 oz!).

I'm not big on rules, so simply leave a comment letting me know you'd like to try Fish Foam out for yourself.  Or answer letting me know how nasty your windows are so I'll feel a little better about my own!

For an additional entry...

Become a follower of Maxwell House Interiors or let me know you're already following along.

That's two chances to win! 
Winners will be selected randomly using and will be drawn on Sunday, 1/29/12 at 12 p.m.!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Laying the Field

In my last post I included a photo of a white 3x6 porcelain tile.  I've also mentioned a few lingering projects in my kitchen renovation.  I bet you can guess where this is going!

When we decided to work on our kitchen last year, every aspect fell into two categories: things I could do myself and things that shouldn't be attempted by a novice DIYer.  I knew I could paint our 1980's oak cabinets a creamy white (I mean there are tutorials all over blog land) so why pay someone to do the work?  I also painted the entire kitchen for the second third fourth time since we moved in four short years ago and changed out the cabinet hardware.  Saving money on things I could accomplish myself left more money for things that should be left to the masters.  Such as, removing a load bearing wall and reinforcing the new door frame, laying granite counter tops, building a tiered island, adding an additional kitchen cabinet and changing out the kitchen faucet (OK, maybe I could have done this myself but have you read the directions that come with a new faucet?  Not all the YouTube videos in the world make me want to tackle that one...yet).

After all the dust settled I still felt like something was missing.  Maybe a back splash?  The "kitchen remodel project" was done in my husband's eyes.  He doesn't have the same vision as I do.  That left me two options.  Live backsplash-less (is that a word?) or get it done myself.  Option two please.  

I decided to buy just enough tile to do a small section as to not overwhelm myself.  But what do you know?  Tiling is an addiction.  I was back at Home Depot bright and early this morning (with a two year old screaming, "Not Home Depot again?!?") to grab the remaining tiles.  Here's what I was working with to start. 
(Don't mind the unfinished cabinet on the right...or the protein shake mix...or the alcohol.)  

Does anyone else let their world around them crumble when they have renovations going on?  Avert your eyes from the mess because I see back splash progress!

Wine is entirely optional while laying tile.
 Here's where I am now.  Laying the field work, as the professionals call it.  My Dad got a good laugh when he received an e-mail with a photo of my work and a note that said, "This is so much fun!"  I was informed I'd feel differently about tiling after I started cutting.  But look at how nice it looks?  I already love it and I haven't even grouted! 

I did one step a little differently.  Normally, you would spread the mastic on the wall and adhere your tiles.  I have kids around here and the thought of mastic drying in fifteen minutes while I tend to them made me nervous.  Instead I spread the mastic on each individual tile as I layed them down.  I'm sure my method isn't as quick but it is much neater and I can stop whenever I need to.  Using this method, I did have to dip the spacers (one side of the "x") gently into the mastic so they would stick between the tiles without falling.

Our tile cutter's wheel is worn dull and the feet (to break the tile in two) are missing.  How in the world do a tile cutter's feet go missing is beyond me?  I'm off to borrow my Dad's tile cutter and I'll be sure to update as to whether or not tiling is still SO MUCH FUN!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Little Bit of Spring

I love decorating for Christmas.  It's the only holiday where I really go over the top.  We don't host Thanksgiving dinner here, so on November 1st I pull out all of my Christmas decor.  Some people think I'm crazy but it's a lot of work and I like to enjoy it as long as possible.

After Christmas passes, it's time for the not-so-fun part of packing away the decor for another year.  I know I'm not the only one who feels like suddenly the house is naked and needs some sprucing up.  It's no longer Christmas but not quite Spring.  Even if the warmer weather is months away, it's never too early to get in the spirit...the spirit of Spring, yes?

For the last two months I had two four foot faux Christmas trees flanking each side of the fireplace (I wish I had taken pictures).  I loved seeing them in my living room all lit up every night!  When it was time to stuff the trees in the closet, I was left with a very naked hearth.  I didn't want to part with the 1 foot urns that the Christmas trees sat in so I was hoping to incorporate them in my year-round decor somehow. 

This was my bare fireplace this morning... 

After dropping this kids off at school, I made a quick trip to Home Depot to check out their plants.  I purchased two plants at $4.98 each.

I was hoping to drop the plants (plastic planters and all) into my urns...

But I hit a snag.  A metal rod in the center of the urns wouldn't allow the planters to drop in and be hidden away.

What's a girl to do?  I glanced at the bottom of the planter and was happy to see three perforations in the shape of a circle.

A few snips of the scissors and I was left with this oddly shaped circle and a solution to my problem!

I placed a layer of Saran Wrap (to catch any seepage when watering) in the urn and dropped my plant inside.

Much better!  One down, one to go.

Ready for the hearth...

The plant on the left is looking a little sad but hopefully I can bring it back to life.  My track record with plants is very, very bad (hence the reason I have so many fake plants around here).  I am going to try my best to keep these alive...until Spring at least.   : )

A close-up of my Moosehead Beer crate.  I found it at a flea market and scooped it right up.  We vacation in Moosehead Lake whenever we get the chance!

Next, I need to take care of the naked mantel.  I'm thinking Valentine's Day decor!

But first I'll sit back and enjoy my little bit of Spring.

And here's a sneak peak of my other purchases from Home Depot...

Paint & Varnish Remover...this little beauty is next in line for some much needed attention!

And 3x6 subway tile.  I see tiling in my future...and watching lots of Youtube videos!

Linking up with...
Transformation Thursday @ The Shabby Creek Cottage
Wow Us Wednesdays @ House of Hepworths
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