4 Secret Ingredients You Should Be Adding to Your Smoothies

When I was pregnant I was a smoothie fiend. I was drinking one almost everyday. Now my son LOVES them! I love adding good-for-you ingredients to my own smoothies, because I’m a health nut and I like veggies, but its a great way to pack tons of nutrition into a sweet treat for my boy. Here are 4 awesome ingredients that you should definitely start adding to your smoothies, and your kids’! (P.S. Click on the image above for a delicious smoothie recipe ala Amy, from the Fearless Homemaker,!)

This week I am super excited to be participating in Williams-Sonoma’s Smoothie Week. Williams-Sonoma is a magical wonderland for cooks. I happened to have been in the store earlier this week getting my mom a Chinois for her birthday. My dad thinks its a potato masher ::shaking my head::

1) KEFIR

Kefir is like a thin yogurt that comes in a bottle. It pours out easily and blends in perfectly. If you’re already adding yogurt to your smoothies then you should definitely make the switch to Kefir. Its much easier to pour in, than having to scoop out of those tiny cups. It adds just the right touch of creaminess, sweetness, and is packed with pro-biotics that help support a healthy digestive and immune system. You can find Kefir in most supermarkets in the dairy section by the butter and yogurt. It is best to get organic Kefir if you can find it because you want the milk to come from cows who have not been given antibiotics, hormones and steroids.

2) SPINACH

Adding spinach is a great way to load up on vitamin A, vitamin C, and iron. The reason I love adding spinach as opposed to other greens is because it adds virtually no flavor, and the soft leaves blend up very easily, even in cheaper blenders. I have a cheap black & decker blender and the spinach gets super smooth. I’ve tried Kale in the past but I found the stronger flavor was much more noticeable, and the tougher leaves didn’t get completely blended (I’m sure a vitamix would have done the trick. They happen to sell them at Williams-Sonoma and no they didn’t pay me to tell you that, I just know its a super awesome blender, and you can pick up things like fleur de sel or a fancy potato masher while you’re there!) I add about 2 handfuls. It will make your smoothie green but it still tastes amazing! Try it out!

3) CARROT JUICE (or any vegetable juice!)

You can pick up organic carrot juice at Costco for a good price. Or you can find it at any regular supermarket (maybe not organic). I love adding carrot juice because it adds little to no vegetable flavor, but it is packed with awesome benefits. You could easily add all sorts of vegetable juices to your smoothies, like cucumber juice, beet juice, or celery juice. This is a great way to sneak in veggies if you don’t like them, or if you have a hard time getting your kids to eat them.

4) COCONUT OIL

The benefits of coconut oil for our skin are pretty well known, but did you know that consuming about a Tbps of coconut oil a day can boost your metabolism and help you lose weight? Plus it adds a lovely light coconut flavor to your smoothies. That’s a good enough reason for me! You can also get a huge jar of coconut oil from Costco for about $16. One of these jars lasts me almost a year! That’s about as good as it gets.

art cart8

How to Organize Your Craft Supplies with an Art Cart

Now that I’m a mom things have gotten super busy around here, from playdates, to nap time, to doing cloth diaper laundry, I don’t always get time to blog as often as I’d like. However, I know how much you rely on HomemakerChic for all your creative juicing needs (you do right?), so I’m not leaving you hanging. In the weeks that I’m not able to post, you’re going to be getting the super awesome joy of hearing from some dazzling friends of mine. I have some uber crafty and clever friends so you will not be disappointed one bit.
Today you’ll be hearing from my sweet friend Shawna, who is a talented photographer and blogger over at Perfection is My Enemy. We took a fun trip to IKEA recently to come up with a solution for her kid’s craft troubles. I had some adorable bottles that I got from SKS Bottle awhile ago. I had great plans for using them to organize my craft room but alas they were gathering dust, and that just wouldn’t do, so I offered them to Shawna and the kids with the ulterior motive of having her do a guest post (I’m so very sneaky). So without further adieux… Meet Shawna!
art cart8
As a homeschooling mom I’m always trying to think of good ways to get the kids’ creative juices flowing, especially since we just started a new school year. I want to keep the “I’m bored” comments at bay and the requests for screen time to a minimum as well as get some creative breaks into our school day.
Confession: I’m not a super crafty mom.
 I like the idea of crafts but I don’t ever actually do them.  
My daughter on the other hand is totally into them.  She would craft and draw or paint all day if she could.  The problem was that all of our crafting and art supplies were tucked neatly away into boxes where you couldn’t see them.  I prefer things put away, but I could see that the out of sight, out of mind mentality was a little too prevalent with this storage method.  I decided to get everything out in the open and in one place. I headed to Ikea where I got the Raskog kitchen cart (along with a few other things, how could I not!).  After a surprisingly easy assembly it was ready for our art supplies!  
 
art cart01
 
The good news is that the only thing I had to buy was the cart. Everything else I already had on hand! Plus, my lovely friend who writes this lovely blog donated a box of craft jars for me to use.  
I love that this cart has open trays.  You can see everything at a glance and you can’t knock anything off because of the deep sides. My absolute favorite thing is that we have a whole jar full of freshly sharpened pencils!  If you are like us then you know how hard it can be to find a pencil when it’s time to do an assignment and this has saved us many wasted minutes searching for them.  
The top tray has most of the items that we use on a daily basis like markers, crayons, glue, tape, scissors, and colored pencils (kept in the pencil box since we often take it with us places).  
 
art cart1
 
The middle shelf is reserved for paints and other craft supplies.  This is where the jars came in really handy.  I love that they have lids to keep all those beads and shells from spilling.  
 
artcart2-3
We also found other craft stuff we had forgotten we even had, so we added some thread and various fabric scraps and modeling clay in the wooden box.
 
art cart7
 
The third shelf is where we are keeping our paper supplies.  There are coloring books and paper pads and doodle books along with card stock and construction paper.  Originally we had the paper in a tray but it always ended up a mess so the loose leaf stuff like construction paper is now kept in that sturdy purple folder and seems to be working much better at staying neat.  
 
art cart5
 
The box was one of the original art boxes we had, but now it holds paper scraps and ribbon instead of all those bottles of paint!  Some things do need to be kept in a box in my opinion, but you could always opt for a see through box if you want everything truly out and in plain sight, I just wanted to use what I had on hand so I went with what I had.  
 
art cart6
My children have been crafting and creating art much more since we introduced the art cart so I would say it’s been a great success.  It also looks great!  And it’s on casters so if you did want to hide it out of the way for any reason, you can wheel it around easily. I hope you and your kids enjoy crafting much more this school year!
heart divider
About the Contributing Author:

Shawna is a wife, homeschooling mom, photographer, recovering perfectionst and writer of the blog Perfection is My Enemy

rustic-raspberry-lemon-buttercream-layer-cake

Rustic Lemon Raspberry Buttercream Layer Cake

raspberry-lemon-layer-cake-homemakerchic.comI love family get togethers because it gives me the chance to show off my baking chops and to try out new recipes. Which really benefits everyone, especially you! Well maybe it benefits my family slightly more because they get to sample the delicious treats! This summer I made this fabulous Lemon Raspberry Layer cake which was equally as scrumptious as it was gorgeous. And the rustic messy buttercream frosting is so splendidly simple to do.rustic-buttercream-raspberry-lemon-layer-cake-homemakerchic.com

You will need two batches of your favorite vanilla cake recipe or vanilla cake mix. Its surprisingly easy to find organic and gluten-free cake mixes now! They’re a bit more expensive than your usual Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker mix, but they don’t have all the garbage in the ingredients. Check out your local supermarket (super Target, whole foods and Trader Joes have great selections) for products from Bob’s Red Mill or Arrowhead Mills or you can grab them on Amazon and have them delivered to your door!

 

Here’s what you need for the cake:

  • 2 x vanilla cake mixes (or your favorite homemade recipe)
  • 2-3 lemons (you will need 2 for the juice and zest, and one for garnish)
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries (plus 8-10 extra berries for garnish)
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 3 cups seedless raspberry jam
  • Yellow food coloring
  • Pink food coloring
  • Red food coloring
  • 1 x – 8″ cardboard cake round

For the frosting:

  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 7.5 cups confectioners’ sugar (one 2 lb bag)
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  1. In a bowl combine butter, sugar and salt. Beat until blended.
  2. Add the milk, lemon zest and vanilla and beat for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until smooth and creamy.

 

Make the following adjustments to your mix-

Lemon Cake:

  1. Substitute half lemon juice and half water for the liquid called for in the instructions.
  2. Substitute melted butter for the oil called for in the mix.
  3. Add 2 teaspoons of freshly grated lemon zest.
  4. Add 5-6 drops of yellow food coloring.
  5. Pour into two 8″ greased cake pans. I like to use Baker’s Joy cooking spray with flour added. Bake as directed

Raspberry Cake:

  1. Substitute cream for the water called for in the mix.
  2. Substitute melted butter for the oil called for in the mix.
  3. Add 1/2 cup pureed and sieved raspberries (about 1 cup of whole berries). Be sure to use fresh, ripe, sweet berries. Its best to let them ripen for a few days before you make the cake, so they are at their peak sweetness. Sieve them through some cheesecloth or a chinois (which is really just a fancy pants version of a fine strainer) to remove all the seeds. Because let’s face it, no one likes raspberry seeds.
  4. Add a few drops of hot pink food coloring, and 1-2 drops of red food coloring to get a nice deep raspberry color.
  5. Pour into two 8″ greased cake pans. Bake as directed.

Assembly and Frosting

yellow-and-pink-layered-cake

To make this glorious layered effect we are going to be torting this cake. To tort a cake just means you are slicing each layer in half and adding filling in between. This makes your cake slices look beautiful plus it gives you more filling which makes for a much more delicious cake.

I recommend using a cake slicer (or cake saw) like this one from Wilton. You can use it to level off the tops of your cake, then drop it down to the lowest setting and slice your cakes in half. Be sure to do this on a level counter or table or your cakes will end up lopsided.

Slice all four cakes in half. Then begin by smearing a little frosting on your cake board then place the bottom raspberry piece down. The frosting will keep the cake from sliding around. Add about 1/2 cup of jam in the center and spread it around leaving about 1/2 inch of space all around the edge (that way when you place your next layer on the jam doesn’t smush out the sides.) Next, add a lemon layer and more jam. Continue layering one raspberry, then one lemon layer, with jam in between until you get to the top. Make sure your top piece is a “bottom” layer of one of your cakes. That way you will have a smooth top and not too many crumbs. Does that make sense?

Now for the frosting. Just drop a big blob of frosting on the top of your cake and, using a large offset spatula, begin working the buttercream down the sides in smooth swirly motions. Don’t worry about making it too smooth. Just make sure you have a nice even layer. Then go back and using the tip of the spatula make some nice rustic swirls. Finally, slice your lemon and stick a few slices around the bottom of the cake and add a few berries for garnish. That’s all she wrote friends! I hope you enjoy this delicious and delightful cake!

lemon-raspberry-with-lemon-buttercream-frosting-layer-cake

whole-foods-clearwater-now-open-homemakerchic.com

Whole Foods Clearwater Now Open!

Nothing makes me more excited at 8am on a Wednesday than loading the baby up, stepping out into the crisp autumn air (okay well 78 is crisp in Florida) and waiting in line to enter the glorious new Whole Foods Store that opened in Clearwater today at Countryside mall! With a fairly nice variety of natural food supermarkets, farmer’s markets and even a widening organic selection available at Publix in the Tampa Bay area, it was high time Whole Foods got their slice of the organic consumer pie. I’ve been patiently awaiting the grand opening since I heard about the new store last year and I was so excited to be there on opening day!

whole-foods-clearwater-opening-day-homemakerchic.comMy fellow blogger friend Lane and I arrived at about 8:30 in the morning and the line was already wrapped around the building. There was a promise of free gift cards ranging in value from $5-$500 for the first 500 people in line. Apparently some verrrrry enthusiastic (read:insane!) Whole Foods fans lined up at 9pm last night to get the first spot in line. By the time we got there all the cards had already been given away, but we were super surprised and thankful when they came by with a second round of gift cards for all the rest of us! Lane and I got $5 each which bought us some delicious coffee and pastries at the cafe inside.

whole-foods-countryside-mall-open-homemakerchic.com
Thankfully we only had to wait about 35 minutes to get in and it certainly was a madhouse once we entered the organic mecca. But this was a well (albeit newly) coconut-oiled machine. The staff were friendly and informative, and when Luke knocked over my coffee and spilled it everywhere there was a crew with a cone and mop on the scene within seconds. It was quite impressive. (Don’t mind Luke’s uninterested pose below, there were some very appealing flowers right within his view.)homemaker-chic-whole-foods-open-countryside The selections were vast and most surprisingly there were a lot of very reasonably priced products. I was overwhelmed with the health and beauty section and all the awesome deals on products I’ve been looking for! 99 cents for all natural fluoride free toothpaste? I’ll take four! Liter sized bottle of All-natural shampoo for under $7? Thank you ma’am! Guava Kombucha for the road? Yes, Please!

Most impressive of all were the 100+ locally sourced items like fresh seafood and produce, and locally farmed and packaged pasta sauces and honeys. That’s the sort of thing that will really steal my business. Its a good option for when I can’t make it to the farmer’s market on the weekend.

I can’t wait till all this opening madness dies down so I can go back and really take in the store aisle by aisle. Or partake in the beer and wine bar on $8 beer and burger night! This is going to be a very good thing for mama. :)

DIY-baby-bird-onesie-homemakerchic.com

DIY Birdie Onesie

If you’re a mom, on Facebook, who has had a baby in the last few years, chances are you’ve heard of, or are in, some sort of Mom’s group. Well I’m in one too. Our group is seriously awesome. Its a bunch of girls from all over the country who happened to be pregnant at the same time and happened to join the most amazing group ever. Over the last year we’ve all grown so close. We’ve been there through the births of our children, though those early weeks of being up all night, and wondering if our baby will always be so needy. We’ve answered each other’s questions from “what-the-heck-is-this-rash?” questions, to “how do I keep from shooting my husband?” questions, and “does this dress make me look fat?” questions and everything in between! Some of us breastfeed, others use formula, some of us had magical unicorn hippie natural births, while others had c-sections. We’ve shared joys and losses, ups and downs, moments where we think we’re gonna lose it, and moments where we all just laugh at each other. We’re all different, but we all have something in common- we’re moms and we’re there for each other. Its been a beautiful thing to see how so many different women, from all over the country, from such vastly different backgrounds, can come together and support one another with virtually no drama. It really is a miracle.

So one of the things we like to do is send each other gifts! We do several gift exchanges a year. For our babies 6 month birthday I got paired up with a sweet momma with an absolutely darling little girl who loves birdies. Isn’t she just precious? I wanted to do a homemade gift and I had seen some super cute custom onesies on etsy that I knew I could totally DIY, and you can totally use scraps of fabric that you already have lying around. So here’s how you can make your own custom birdie onesie that makes an awesome homemade gift!

10563628_10100623871379263_1661503114_n

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Plain onesies
  • 2 complimentary fabric scraps.
  • Embroidery floss (various colors)
  • Sewing Needle
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Paper and Pencil
  • Iron on interfacing
  • A couple beads or a button (for the eye)

Start by getting your onesies. I got the Carter’s pastel set with the lace edges on Amazon. They are simple and sweet. Just what I was looking for.

black-baby-pink-birdie-mdNext, you’ll need a template. I just freehanded a birdie shape onto a piece of paper and cut it out. Or you can print out something like this

(I just did a simple google image search for “birdie vector”).

IMG_0507You’ll need three templates, one for the outside of the birdie, one for the beak and one for the wing. Again this is a simple enough design that you can easily freehand the template.

Trace your birdie, beak and wing onto your fabric. Then flip the templates backwards and trace them onto your interfacing. You will need to cut out two of the birdies from the interfacing (I’ll explain why later).

birdie-onesie-diy-homemakerchic.com

IMG_0504Cut everything out. You’ll want to use a different fabric for each piece so you will have a nice contrast. Iron the facing onto the back of the large birdie piece and onto the wing and the beak. Peel the paper backing off the back.

IMG_0513Using a contrasting thread color, stitch the wing onto birdie. I made my stitches about 1/4 inch long, to give it a nice, old fashioned, homemade look.

Next, stitch a little eye onto your birdie. You can do this with a bead, or a cute little button. Or simply stitch a little circle or X to make an eye.

IMG_0516After you’ve stitched on the wing and the eye, lay your second piece of interfacing on the back of the birdie and iron it on, over the stitching. This will ensure that everything lays nice and flat on the onesie.

IMG_0518Now its time to sew the birdie to the onesie. Use a different color thread for even more adorable contrast. Be sure to only sew to the front layer of the onesie. Don’t be a ding-dong and sew through the whole thing. Lol, I believe you are smarter than this, but you never know. I’ve done much dumber things when sewing!

IMG_0527Now that your birdie is on, you can stitch on the beak, and make some little legs with yellow or orange stitching. So easy and super fun to make. You can get so creative with the colors and do all sorts of nice combinations. Make several for a sweet, homemade, baby shower or 1st birthday gift. Have fun and do send me pictures of your finished projects!

 

How becoming a mom changed all my plans…

Image

 

Recently I was joking with a friend who is planning to start trying for a baby soon. I joked about the fact that my son is still sleeping in our bed at 6 months old, something I swore I’d never do. In fact the list of things I said I would or wouldn’t do [but have now completely changed my mind about] has grown considerably long.

For example I swore I would never nurse my baby to sleep, give him a pacifier, or any plastic toys. I was NOT going to co-sleep, and I was positive I wouldn’t give my baby anything but breastmilk until 12 months. It didn’t take long for me to learn that as much preparation as I had done, training for being a mom can only be done ON THE JOB.

 I may only be a mom of 6 months, but I’ve learned a few things in my short career.

1) When you are pregnant, or planning to be pregnant, or thinking about your goals as a parent- read all the books, do all the research and make a plan BUT be ready to change that plan to meet the specific needs of your baby, and your family.

2) Do NOT allow yourself to feel guilty when your plans change. So what if you let your baby watch a little TV from time to time so you can go to the bathroom? Oh dear God, you fed your precious little one NON-organic baby food?! Gasp!!  Yes try everything you can to be the best, most wholesome, crunchy mom you can be, but sometimes we just have to stay afloat! Do what you can to get through today and tomorrow you can give being a supermom another shot.

3) Don’t accept judgment from others for doing what you think is best. This is coming from a former Col. Judgy McJudgerton herself. Before I had a baby of my own I thought I knew what everyone should be doing with their kids and I enjoyed sharing my opinions with everyone. I apologize if you were ever personally on the other side of this. Now that I’m a mom I’ve learned that you never know someone else’s circumstances and personal journey might be. So let’s stick together moms! Don’t judge each other, and when someone else judges you just ignore it and be confident in your own choices. If you’re reading Homemaker Chic, then chances are you’re a bright, educated woman who does her research and wants to give her child all the best in life. You’re a good mom! Don’t let anyone (including well meaning family members or girls in your mom’s group) to bring you down!

Can I get an Amen?

So what about you? What are you doing differently as a mom that you never thought you’d do?

Bright & Cheery Living Room on a Budget

cheery-living-room-decor-on-a-budgetIt was almost a year ago that my husband first laid eyes on the house that would become our first home. When he brought me back to tour this place with our realtor I instantly saw visions of us decorating the nursery, bringing home our son, and watching him grow up in this wonderful place. But aside from the sweet sentimental (5 months pregnant at the time!) woman in me, I saw all my Pinterest boards coming to life before my very eyes! After a more than 2 year search for our dream home, my Pinterest boards were full of inspirations for decorating that I just couldn’t’ wait to bring to life.

My vision was to unite my love for French Provincial decor with the fresh, cheery, colors of Key West Florida. The final product was a fusion and style all my own

And the best part of all? I DID IT ALL ON A BUDGET!

I plan to share with you every room in my house eventually but let’s start with my formal living room.

Here’s how I did it…

 

The first and most important part of putting this vision together was finding the right furniture. So it was straight to Craigslist.com for me. Craig’s List is always my #1 source for furniture. You can find amazing deals, and if you can’t find the exact piece you’re looking for you can always use your imagination to repurpose and add new life to old pieces.

(P.S. if you look closely in the photo above you can catch a sneak peak at a super cool orange ombre fondant wedding cake I did for a bride a couple weeks ago! It is a dummy cake and I thought it looked pretty awesome in my living room. :) bright-living-room-inspiration

paint-sofa-leg-upcycle-repurpose-living-room-on-a-budget-turquoiseI found the sofa for $100. All I did was add a coat of fun turquoise paint to the legs and I had a bright new statement piece!

The accent chairs took more work. I found a pair of gorgeous french provincial arm chairs for $50 each. They were originally very traditional with dark wood and neutral fabric. I wanted something that would really pop with color, marrying the classic Marie Antoinette style of the chairs with fun cheery Key West colors. chevron-throw-pillow-lime-greenI found the lime green chevron fabric at Hobby Lobby on sale and I had a 40% coupon as well! 4 yards of fabric only cost me about $19.00 and I had enough fabric leftover to make the matching little throw pillows on the sofa (The orange pillows came from Home Goods – $25 for both). The turquoise paint is the same I used to paint the legs of the sofa, and also my mantel piece on the fireplace. I still have 1/2 the can left for other projects and it only cost about $12.00. Lucky for me I have an AMAZINGLY crafty and talented aunt who hooked me up big time by painting and reupholstering the chair set for just $100. All in all these fantastic chairs set me back just over $230. repurposed-chair-turquoise-chevronThe white side tables also came from CL already painted ($100 for the pair), as did the coffee table ($30). YES!! I found a french provincial coffee table already painted orange! Seriously?? Who besides me would have the vision for an orange coffee table? Apparently my decor soulmate. The green rug was $20 from Old Time Pottery (to be completely honest I would have loved a rug about 3x that size, but we’re on a budget!). I snagged the blue vases and silk flowers from my mom (shhh don’t tell, LOL!)orange-lime-green-turquoise-chevron-living-room-modern

 

lamp-stack-of-old-books-add-heightThe lamps came from IKEA for $15 each. They ended up being a bit short in my opinion and didn’t make enough of a statement. So to make them taller I simply stacked them on some old books. Such an easy little touch that makes for a really cool look!

 

scrabble-letter-photo-box-craft-diyA sweet friend made me this awesome scrabble letter photo box for my birthday. Isn’t it awesome! It has found a lovely home on the magical orange coffee table. photo-coasters-diyFor Christmas our family decided to do homemade gifts. My creative nephew (with help from my super crafty sister!) made us a set of photo coasters with pictures he grabbed off my Facebook page! Isn’t that just the coolest thing you’ve ever seen? He did it by mod-podging photos to plain old ceramic tiles (you can pick them up at Home Depot or any home improvement store) and then sealing them with  spray sealant. I absolutely love these coasters!!

square-picture-frames-grid-oranges-diy-wall-hangingI found this lovely piece at a second hand shop. The guy in the store asked if I was looking for anything specific and I told him I wanted a french provincial sideboard. He happened to have one in his truck that he hadn’t even unloaded in the shop yet. He said he was going to paint it but if I had a specific color I wanted he would do it custom for me. So for $260 I got an antique sideboard freshly painted and distressed by hand! I couldn’t believe my luck because a search on CL for anything similar to this piece was anywhere from $400-$800!!

dunedin-floridaNow, when I moved this piece in there was such a huge piece of empty wall space above it. I knew I wanted a square grid of frames but it took some creativity to come up with what sort of art would live in those frames. Enter Dunedin, Florida. We live not far from this adorable little Florida beach town. On the facade of many buildings in “delightful Dunedin” you will find these charming paintings of oranges. There are probably 100 or more of these mysterious paintings on the fronts of antique stores, ice cream shops, restaurants, and bars. You can read the story of how they got there in the Tampa Bay Times. Its an adorable story.

So I decided that I wanted a touch of Florida in my art and what says Florida more than Oranges??dunedin-orange-mural So I strapped Luke onto my back, grabbed my camera and headed downtown. I took pictures of about 20 oranges and decided on the best nine. A little bit of photoshopping to correct the lighting and to crop each photo into a perfect square and they were ready for printing. Whenever I need high quality prints I always turn to PersnicketyPrints.com. They have never let me down AND they do 12×12 prints which is exactly what I needed for this project. All 9 prints cost me less than $20 including shipping. I also needed to find the perfect frame. 12×12 frames are surprisingly hard to come by, and they are usually pretty pricey. After several days of searching the interwebs for the right frame at the right price I came across FrameUSA.com. Not only did they have great customer service, they had gorgeous frames for cheap! This whole project cost under $75.00!

IMG_0485This fireplace originally had a hideous 1970s puke brown stone facade that thankfully the previous owners had the sense to paint white. I further modernized the mantle by adding a coat of turquoise semi-gloss paint. The map of Puerto rico was used on a real cruise ship and you can see the captain’s handwriting on it! I picked it up years ago when I worked for a cruise line. I got the frame at Michael’s on sale and with a 40% off coupon for $17.00.

The candlesticks came from Ross for about $5 each, and I had the bunch of silk flowers laying around. I just stuck them in an empty Mad Housewife wine bottle.

rattan-chevron-chair-diy-upcycleThese two chairs actually came exactly as is from Craig’s list!! I know! I’m the luckiest craiglister in the world. Honestly I just check back every day for new items in my area. Whenever something awesome comes up I jump on it right away! Having cash and a truck really helps. Someone had already up cycled these rattan chairs by painting them blue, recovering the cushions in lime green chevron fabric, and making these adorable throw pillows. They were a STEAL at $60 a piece! I really couldn’t believe I found these gems. The side table in between them was found at a thrift shop for $20. The plant is from IKEA.

SO for around $1000 I was able to completely furnish an entire living room. You can do it too! Just keep your eyes peeled for awesome deals, and use your imagination and a little creativity to come up with a style that is totally you!