Wednesday, August 31, 2011


My shutter project is featured on Knock Off Decor! Seriously one of my favorite blogs, so I am extraordinarily excited. Go check it out, along with all of the other great projects featured there!

click away!

Wednesday Words

These are good words.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Everyone loves cupcakes. Am I right, or am I right?

My friend recently asked me to make cupcakes for her son's first birthday party. Basically, she said it was a beach themed party and gave me free reign with the design.

After much debating, I decided on blue polka dot cupcake liners, blue buttercream frosting, all topped with a chocolate sand dollar.

I made the sand dollars using a candy mold I found at a local cake decorating store. To make the detail pop a little bit, I painted some melted chocolate in a contrasting color into the details of the sand dollar before pouring in the rest of the chocolate.

Let me tell you, the buttercream frosting I made was delicious. So delicious that I ate an entire ramekin of leftover frosting with a spoon. By itself. My husband caught me. He thinks I have a problem. I probably do.

Anyway, here is the recipe:

Buttercream Frosting
{frosts 24 cupcakes, and then some}

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
gel food coloring (optional)

Beat butter, sugar and salt until smooth. Add milk and vanilla and beat for a few minutes until well combined. Add in food coloring, if desired. Fill decorating bag and pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes.

(If you want to use this on a cake, I would add a little more milk to make it more spreadable)

p.s. Thanks to Nikki for her help with the cupcakes! No way I could have made 4 dozen without you :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Shutter Kitchen Rack

As I may have mentioned before, I'm not the quickest when it comes to completeing my projects. "Not the quickest" is actually putting it mildly.

Take this shutter, for example:

I have had this shutter for well over a year...maybe even two. I bought it at the thrift store for 95 cents. It's made three moves with me. This is craziness. But somewhere deep down I knew it had some seriously great potential.

Well, I finally decided to tackle it. I saw these shutter hooks from Pier1 and felt the inspiration bug hit. I needed something to fill up some blank space on my kitchen wall, and I also needed somewhere to hang at least a few of my many aprons (I have a slight obession with love for aprons). I am not necessarily in love with a lot of things about my kitchen: the cabinet color, the wall color, the color of the appliances, the counter top. So ya, pretty much everything. But such is life when you are a renter. I needed something to pretty it up and make me a littler happier to be in there, so I got to work!

If you want to re-create this project, you'll need:
  • one  shutter (or similarly sized piece of wood)
  • paint brushes (1 medium size, 1 very small, fine) 
  • latex paint, any color
  • craft paint, contrasting color (for lettering)
  • 3-5 small knobs or hooks (mine are from world market)
  • drill, 3/16 drill bit (if using standard cabinet knobs)
Obviously, a shutter might be hard to come by. Keep an eye out at thrift stores, on craigslist, or at the Habitat for Humanity Restore (if you have one near you :) If you can't find one, you could certainly create this project using a simple piece of wood.

Step one: clean that dirty shutter. I just used some basic cleaning spray and paper towels. LOTS of paper towels. That sucker was dir-tay.

Step two: paint! Tip: Home Depot sells small samples of their paints which are perfect for small projects. The colors are many and the price is right. I got my sample of behr paint/primer for less than $4. Usually, I end up buying a quart, which is just wayyyy more than I need. And another great part about the samples is that they have screw on tops, instead of the typical pop off ones. Makes for easier storage!

I knew I wanted the shutter to have a distressed look, so I wasn't overly concerned about getting into every nook and cranny of those shutters. That was probably a good thing, because I definitely would have made myself crazy trying to get complete coverage. I only painted one side because I knew it would be hanging on the wall. Why do more work than you need to??

Step three: The quote. After paint dries, write out your quote in pencil. I chose "hey good lookin', watcha got cookin?", but the possibilities are endless. You could easily put a non-kitchen themed quote on this and place it in your entry way, a bedroom, the bathroom, etc...

The first time, I didn't get the spacing quite right, so I had to erase and re-write. But once you get it right, you're ready to paint it on! It's easier than you think. I just squirted some basic ivory craft paint from Michael's onto a plate and used a fine paint brush to trace over my letters. It's best to do a thin coat, let dry, then go back over with a second coat.

Step four: The knobs.
Measure out where you would like to place the knobs, and mark with pencil. Double check your measurements!

Next, you'll need to get drillin'. Don't be afraid of the drill. Honestly, I kind of was, but I'm still alive to write this post, so you will be too. You should probably wear some protective goggles. If you don't have those... at least put on some sunglasses.

Position the shutter on a stable surface and drill your holes. Obviously, make sure the part you are drilling into is hanging over your stable surface, or else your beloved stable surface is going to have a 3/16" drill hole in it.

Screw your knobs into the holes you made, and you're done! Hang it up on the wall and admire your work.

linking up to:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Stuff

Guess what? I had my first night of interior design class tonight! I'm so excited for all the goodness I'm going to learn.

So, in honor of some good interior design, here are some rooms I love love love. Enjoy!

 Honestly, would you ever want to get out of that bathtub? 

Probably only if you knew this dining room was awaiting you...

or this kitchen...

And oh my. This bedroom is perfection.

Maybe one day I can design rooms as gorgeous as these.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Vietnamese Noodle Salad

I made this salad. I told my husband it was "Asian Noodle Salad". 
Why? Because I knew just the word "Vietnamese" would scare him. Turns out I didn't fool him.
I even gave him chicken instead of tofu! It didn't work- he only ate about half of his bowl. I ended up making him a quesadilla. True story.

Good news though was that I loved it. And so did the friend who came over for dinner.
Lots of veggies. Yummy grilled tofu. So good.

Want to make it? Find the recipe here, on Shutterbean!

Wednesday Words

Monday, August 22, 2011

Homemade Coffee Syrup

So, yes, I may be mildly obsessed with this whole espresso machine thing. Just roll with it.

Anyway... I started thinking about how I not only love lattes, but I also really love VANILLA lattes. I got to thinking about how I could make one at home. Obviously, I could buy the vanilla syrup from the store, but that stuff is expensive! I figured there had to be some way to replicate it at home.

So I did some internet research and consulted my ever trusty Joy of Cooking Cookbook and came up with this super easy recipe. You're going to be oh so impressed with yourself.

You only need three ingredients. And you probably already have them in your cupboard. How perfect is that?
Even if you're not making lattes at home, you could still use it to spruce up your regular coffee. Or package it up pretty and give it as a gift along with some fancy coffee. Yum!

Homemade Vanilla Coffee Syrup
{makes one cup}
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Heat sugar and water together in saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently until sugar is completely dissolved. Cover, and let simmer for 5 additional minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let cool and transfer to glass or plastic container. Store in refrigerator.

I put mine in leftover balsamic vinegar bottle (which I washed out thoroughly, of course :). If you're transferring to something with a narrow neck, you're definitely going to want a funnel. Use some simple twine and a fine point sharpie, and you have yourself one cute little bottle of vanilla syrup, for a fraction of the cost of the store bought stuff!

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Treasure Hunting

Two weekends ago, my friend Nicole came down from Pasadena for a weekend visit. Our favorite thing to do together? Shop! Thrifting, to be exact :) We managed to mix in a few other non-thrift stores too, of course.

This time, I pretty much shopped vicariously through Nicole. Most of my thrift store finds need a little love and turn into projects. Unfortunately, my vision can sometime be greater than my drive and I take my sweet time getting around to actually completing a project. So, I'm trying to finish up the projects I already have going at home before I bring home new ones.

Anyway... Nicole was on a hunt for some items for her new apartment. Most specifically, 3 mismatched chairs for her dining room. The plan was to paint them all white, to go with her green table, giving the room an eclectic, yet still pulled-together feel.

So, we started the day off at Kobey's swap meet. Despite the fact that I've lived in San Diego for YEARS, I've never been there!

At first, it didn't look too promising. We were hoping for some vintage thrifty furniture finds, but seemed to be walking by endless booths of cell phone covers and knock off purses. But, we rounded a corner and found gold! Holy moly, I have no idea how I resisted all the great finds.

There was one item I just couldn't resist though. I've been wanting a vintage soda crate for who knows how long and looky what I found! For $5!

At the same vendor, we found these colorful books for Nicole's apartment. Love it!

Chair #1 found! A little white paint and a recovered cushion and it will be perfect!

I love the lines and detail of the dresser. It was unfininshed and so ready for a coat of fun, bright paint.

Boxes of vintage stamps. I've seen brides use these for wedding invitations and they look amazing.

 I loved these two books. I really should have bought them. I have no idea what they were about (besides the obvious- Spain), but I loved the covers and that there was one in English and one in Spanish

Vintage game of Clue. I wonder if it had all the pieces?

I loved all of these suitcases. I saw a photo recently of  vintage suitcases stacked in a guest room as a nightstand. If we had a guestroom, I SO would have snatched a few of these up

Chair #2. Found!

Needing som re-fueling, we headed to The Living Room in Point Loma for a quick latte and bite to eat. 

I think by that time I had camera fatugue, because the pictures are lacking, but we managed to make it to Amvets, Big Lots, Goodwill, The Rock Thrift Store, Salvation Army (where chair #3 was found!), Pier One, World Market, Ross & Marshalls. Whew! That was one long day, resulting in one VERY full car...

And since it took me a whole week and a half to get around to this post, Nicole actually was able to refinish her chairs! Doesn't it look great?

I need some of that motivation she has. If I had purchased these, it would have taken me AT LEAST a month to get around to buying the paint, and who knows when I would have completed the project. Oh, well.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Just in case

If I drop off the face of the world wide web and my blog goes silent, please know that I've gained so much weight that my fingers have gotten too fat for me to type and that this is the culprit:

Yup, Nature Valley Dark Chocolate Granola Thins. We have a Costco-sized box that is disappearing embarrassingly quickly. Great news though, they're only 80 calories! Bad news...that doesn't matter if you eat three in one sitting.

Those darn delicious granola thins, combined with the fact the we live approximately 3 minutes from Sprinkles is straight killing me.


Seriously. This is dangerous. I'm likely to gain 10 pounds simply due to the proximity, let alone my mass uncontrolled consumption. I swear, that frosting is like crack.
My favorite cupcake flavor? Black and White. 
perfectly moist chocolate cake
amazing slightly salty vanilla buttercream frosting 
heaven in cupcake form.

Life would be so much better if delicious food didn't make you fat, wouldn't it?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Dark Horse...

I'm sure you've been anxiously awaiting the news. You probably can't take the suspense of waiting any longer. Well, wait no more! I am the proud owner of a new ceramic travel mug. Which one did I choose? #10! *insert scratching record sound here* huh? There wasn't a #10 in the post below... but I happened to be shopping at Ross this weekend and saw this gem:

So cute. I love all the colors, especially that sunny yellow lid. And no ordering online, paying for shipping and anxiously awaiting arrival. I'm an instant gratification kinda girl.

The best part? I turned that sucker over to find this glorious price tag:

$3.49? um. yes, please!

Of course, I picked up a few other things espresso machine-related on my shopping trip. If you give Lindsey an espresso machines she's going to want... an adorable chicken wire basket ($7.99 @ World Market, unavailable online) to hold all of the espresso machine accessories AND a stainless steel frothing pitcher ($6.99 @ World Market, unavailable online).

This is now my happy corner in my house.

Curious about that bottle of goodness on the right?  Post coming soon...