Sunday, December 14, 2014


The power of a simple toss pillow

The bedrooms at our beach cottage were coming along nicely.  They seemed to be complete (Bed Linens, Furniture, Lamps, Assessories), but I couldn't help but think something wasn't quite right.  The beds are the obvious focal points in the room and I loved the cottage style quilts I had acquired for each room.  I decided toss pillows would serve to enhance the beds as focal points.


The power of a simple toss pillow

This was a fun toss pillow as I had a chance to try out the "ragging" technique I had seen on items in local shops.  The inspiration for the color for this room came from the quilt found at Kohl's - a faded blue that reminded me of faded denim. So...some old denim would be ideal for a toss pillow.


 AFTER - with toss pillow
The power of a simple toss pillow

 See Post here on the making of this pillow and the ragging technique.


The power of a simple toss pillow

I was concerned about the yellow quilt in this bedroom, especially since all the walls in the home were painted this pale yellow by Sherwin Williams (Lemon Chiffon).  My strategy was to fill the room with neutrals to counteract the bright color of the quilt and provide a sense of calm in the room.  the furniture, bedding and curtains were all either beige or white.  I knew I wanted the toss pillow to be in the same color scheme and I pictured a beige/white cabana stripe.  Surprisingly I had a tough time finding the fabric I had pictured in my mind.  I ended up finding what I wanted on ebay, and I think it works perfectly.

AFTER - with toss pillow 
The power of a simple toss pillow


The aqua color of the quilts in this room is so pretty and compliments the barn wood headboards nicely.  With the quilts being a solid color and the shams being neutral with a subtle stripe - a patterned toss pillow seemed like an obvious choice.  However, I didn't want the pattern to be overwhelming - to me, the headboards still needed to be the star of the show.  I love this linen-like fabric from Hobby Lobby with the raised stitching.  The large scale of the pattern contrasts well the small ticking stripe of the shams, but I don't think it takes anything away from the headboards.

I'm still stuck on whether I need any sort of wall décor over the beds.  I've tried a few different things but didn't like them.  In my mind I'm thinking of something in a weathered-white finish.


 AFTER - with toss pillow
The power of a simple toss pillow
 AFTER - with toss pillows
The power of a simple toss pillow


The power of a simple toss pillow

The toss pillow on our bed in the master bedroom was always a part of the bedding plan.  I found the two fabrics for the shams and the toss pillow sitting right next to each other at Hancock Fabrics.  The fishnet look of the toss pillow fabric is really neat.  I had already purchased this vase for the room (photo below) and they compliment each other nicely. 

Vase with similar pattern to toss pillow fabric

I had not found a quilt for the bed yet.  I felt that the fabric I had chosen for pillow shams was neutral enough to go with any quit I would find.  Fortunately, it worked out well.  The quilt is from Pottery Barn, but by the time I had found it - they were out of stock.  Fortunately - I found this one on Ebay (a good deal because it was NWOT - "New Without Tags").  The seller had a good rating and it was reasonably priced, so I decided it was worth it and I was not disappointed.

The power of a simple toss pillow

TOSS PILLOW TIP - Pillow forms can be expensive, especially if you are looking for something that is down filled.  Here is my tip - purchase pillows from the clearance section of Marshall's and TJMaxx.  I often find pillows where the covers are either damaged (torn, missing embellishments, etc...) or they are just plain not so pretty.  No worries - you are going to recover them anyway.  Look for pillows that have zippered covers so you can easily remove the cover and utilize the form underneath.  I have acquired some really nice pillow forms for almost nothing with this strategy!

For more beach cottage posts see my Beach Cottage page.

Monday, September 1, 2014



We had lots of ideas about what to do with the stairway wall in our beach cottage.  I wanted to do something rustic and interesting...a collection of old shutters, or a few old wood window frames.  My husband, on the other hand, liked the idea of just an interesting framed picture - something "beachy" he said.  One way or another, I felt like something needed to be there, since it is a focal point when you walk in the front door.  The challenge was it also had to be practical and not cause an issue with anyone walking up and down the stairway; something that would not stick out too far and could handle light bumps and scrapes.

Blank Stairway Wall

So here is what we came up with - an old wooden pallet used as a frame for a photo printed on metal.

Pallet on Wall


While visiting family in Indiana, I saw a stack of these old white painted pallets at an antique store.  At first glance, I envisioned a collection of pallets on the wall, but after taking some measurements - it was clear they were larger than I originally thought and just one would be fine.  At $10 a pallet - this plan was worth a shot.  It would be durable since it was already weathered and chipping, and it would not encroach too much on the stairway space.

Pallet picked up at antique store

With some more thought - my husband and I talked about making it into a frame.  We considered cutting out the middle to make it a literal "frame" around a picture, but then I came across photos printed on brushed metal from Shutterfly.  It's a new product and I figured this would be perfect - we could mount it right on top of the pallet (no cutting of the pallet required), and the metal print is thin and completely durable!

The photo was taken in Marco Island, Florida, by my husband's uncle Art.  Art took the photo the weekend of our beach wedding, and it has always been one of my favorites collected from our guests.  I just love the colors, the composition, and the simplicity of it.  Just a great shot, with a lot of great memories connected to it!

Photo taken by my husband's uncle Art

NOTE:  Always test for lead paint when working with something that could have been from prior to the 1978 time frame.  Lead paint test kits can be purchased from hardware stores and big box stores.  If there is lead paint, do your research on how to handle it safely and make sure you understand the proper way to dispose of any chipped paint or dust.

The pallet needed some cleaning up.  I scraped a lot of loose paint off with a metal scraper and some very light sanding.  I used 80 grit sandpaper for the purpose of releasing the remainder of the big chips of paint.  The pallet also needed some structural reinforcing.  While transferring it from the car - one of the slats came loose from the base.  It was a good reminder to reinforce the whole pallet.  I added screws through the back of the pallet base to give some extra support to all the slats on the front.

Additional Screws added on back of pallet for structural reinforcement

I coated the entire pallet with three generous coats of acrylic polyurethane.  The sides/edges of pallet ended up getting six coats (since I covered the sides when putting the three coats on both the front and three coats on the back).

Close up of chipped paint on pallet

Close up of chipped paint on pallet

The metal print from Shutterfly included hardware on the back for hanging.  I used the template provided to help provide the placement for two short screws to hang the piece in the middle of the pallet.

Since this is a somewhat heavy piece - I purchased D-ring hangers from Lowes to put on the back of the pallet, and hoped to be able to hang these on screws/hangers that have been drilled into studs.  When the pallet was centered on the wall - we were able to use two D-ring hangers screwed into the back of the pallet and two large nails hammered into studs on the wall.


The final solution to our stairway art was a great compromise between our two ideas.  Overall, we ended up with a rustic piece for me, and my husband got a great "beachy" photo on the wall.  Funny how things just seem to work out!  :o)

If you like the look of the white spindles with the stained brown banister railing - check out my banister transformation post.  The banister was originally stained all dark brown.  Painting those spindles white really made a big difference in making this element work better with the cottage style of the space.  See post here for a good before and after view.

Here are links to some other rustic pieces for the walls of our beach cottage:


For more beach cottage posts see my Beach Cottage page.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


DIY Branch Ring Holder

I really needed someplace to put my wedding rings on the bathroom counter of our beach cottage.  The granite we had picked out for the countertops was beautiful, but small items disappeared from view when you set them down on the surface.  I could see myself inadvertently knocking my rings into the sink and down the drain.  I was looking for a cute little plate or an actual "ring holder", but nothing really grabbed me that was worth buying.

One day my husband and I were trimming the trees in our backyard.  As I was chopping up large branches into smaller pieces - this piece caught my eye.  Looking at the nubs left from trimming the branches I thought - "Hey - that could be a ring holder!"

In initially tried silver spray paint, but it wasn't quite the right silver (I had used some leftover paint I had from a while back).  It looked strange next to the brushed nickel hardware on the faucets.  After seeing it in the space - a high gloss white spray paint was my next try...

DIY Branch Ring Holder

This branch definitely does what I need it to do, and the best part is that it was free!  Between the found branch and leftover spray paints - it didn't cost me a thing. woo-hoo!

DIY Branch Ring Holder
For more beach cottage posts see my Beach Cottage page.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Paint Distressing Techniques - sandpaper, candlewax, Vaseline

The purchase of our beach cottage prompted my interest in painted and distressed furniture.  I had very little experience with this process, but big dreams about reviving thrift store and Craig's List pieces of furniture.  I had a lot to learn, which I soon realized when I got started.  Overall, it was fun to get a chance to learn something new and get to apply it in so many different ways.  This is a summary of my experience with these three methods over the past year.




These three methods can be used to create a weathered/distressed look when painting.  Most of this information can be found within my individual posts for each project, but I decided a summary might be helpful for anyone looking for some general direction and advice.  I'll start with the pro's and con's of each technique...


Provides a good look but takes some elbow grease to sand the paint down to the next level.  This works on flat surfaces if you want a slightly scraped weathered look.   If you want to weather corners and edges - using just sandpaper is possible, but note that candlewax will make the process easier.  When you use sandpaper alone - you run the risk of weathering right past a layer you are trying to expose.  Sandpaper alone is not a good choice if you are trying to achieve a chipped paint look exposing multiple layers of paint.

When using just sandpaper to distress, I wait until my piece is really dry.  If the piece is still slightly wet, you might end up messing up your piece.   Depending on the look you want, you can use any grit of sandpaper, I would recommend starting with a lighter grit (120 or less) and moving to heavier (80 or more) if you are not getting the results you want.  Once I'm finished distressing, I typically finish my pieces off with a final coat or two of clear acrylic polyurethane if I am concerned about durability.

Here are some of my projects where I used sandpaper to do some weathering...

Paint Distressing Techniques - sandpaper, candlewax, Vaseline
The flat surface weathering was done here with just sandpaper.  Note - candlewax was used to create the letters and it ws used on the edges/corners of the plaque. (See link to post here)

Paint Distressing Techniques - sandpaper, candlewax, Vaseline
Sandpaper was used to weather this barn wood sign.  It worked particularly well because of the texture of the barn wood.  (See link to post here)
Paint Distressing Techniques - sandpaper, candlewax, Vaseline
Nightstand distressed with sandpaper.  (See link to post here)

Paint Distressing Techniques - sandpaper, candlewax, Vaseline
Dive flag made from barn wood and distressed with sandpaper.  (See link to post here)

Paint Distressing Techniques - sandpaper, candlewax, Vaseline
Old Cola Crate painted and then sanded with sandpaper  (See link to post here)

Paint Distressing Techniques - sandpaper, candlewax, Vaseline
Chairs finished with a drift wood inspired painted finish with a light sanding to expose bare wood underneath.  (See link to post here)



A great option for weathering and exposing corners and edges.   It is MUCH easier to remove paint with sandpaper if candlewax is applied prior to painting.  The candlewax does a great job of preventing the paint from adhering to the surface, and it is easily scraped/sanded off.  This is ideal for subtle distressing and tends to look more weathered than chipped.  The application of candlewax is very easy, as you can simply focus on edges and corners and scratches and dents.  If you want to have a more chipped paint effect - Vaseline is a better way to go.

Start with a base layer.  This can be bare wood, stained wood or paint.  To do this technique, take any old candle (I choose to use cream or white just so there aren't any issues with colors you don't want on your finished piece).  Rub the candlewax on any surface where you will want the base layer exposed (corners, edges, cracks, dents, any area you want).  Paint over the entire surface of your piece and let dry.  Use sandpaper to remove the paint where you applied the candlewax.   I typically finish my pieces off with a final coat or two of clear acrylic polyurethane if I am concerned about durability.

  1. Don't be afraid to apply enough candlewax.  If I'm going over corners - I try to "over do it" onto the edges a little bit for a more visibly noticeable weathered effect, otherwise you might be disappointed.
  2. Use old pieces of sandpaper when weathering a piece after using candlewax - the sandpaper becomes gooped up with paint and candlewax and you will likely need to throw these pieces away.
  3. If you don't want any inadvertent scratches on the remaining paint - be careful to just sand the areas where the candlewax was applied (although, sometimes these scratches can add more character).  

Here are some of my projects where I used candlewax to do some distressing...

Dresser distressed using candlewax primarily on edges and corners.  (See link to post here)

Wall plaque with letters created using a paper stencil and candlewax.  (See link to post here)

Paint Distressing Techniques - sandpaper, candlewax, Vaseline
Bar stools distressed using candlewax.  (See link to post here)

Paint Distressing Techniques - sandpaper, candlewax, Vaseline
Nightstands distressed using candlewax on corners and onto flat surfaces to create a pretty weathered effect.  (See link to post here)
Paint Distressing Techniques - sandpaper, candlewax, Vaseline
Candlewax used on light distressing of media table.  (See link to post here)


A great option for a chipped paint technique.  This method takes some getting used to if using a lot of Vaseline on areas and brushing paint overtop (see tips below on this process).  It's a little messy.   Vaseline is really the way to go if you are trying to expose multiple layers of paint.  Be sure you have a good distressing plan to avoid it looking too contrived.

Start with a base layer.  This can be bare wood, stained wood or paint.  With a small to medium sized artist brush, apply Vaseline to the areas where you wish for the base layer to be exposed.  Next, paint over the entire surface of your piece.  Note that where the Vaseline is - the paint will look messy and goopy - that's OK - just leave it - this will help you know where to scrape off the paint later.   Let the paint mostly dry.  Use a plastic scraper to remove the paint where you applied the Vaseline.  You can also go over these areas lightly with sandpaper.   Your piece will feel a little greasy after scraping off the paint from the residual Vaseline.  Clean up with a little all-purpose cleaner before doing any more layers of paint or polyurethane.  If you are doing multiple layers of different colored paint - simply keep repeating this process.  I typically finish my pieces off with a final coat or two of clear acrylic polyurethane if I am concerned about durability.


  1. Apply the Vaseline with a small to medium sized artist brush.
  2. If you are brushing on paint over Vaseline - be prepared for the paint on top of the Vaseline to look goopy and messed up.  Know that it's OK - leave it that way.  Resist the temptation to try to smooth it out - you are going to scrape off this paint anyway.  Furthermore - that goopy look will later help you identify what you need to scrape off.
  3. After using Vaseline on a piece it will feel a little greasy/slimy.  I recommend going over your piece with a little all purpose cleaner and a wipe with a cloth rag.  This is important if you are going to apply additional coats of paint for distressing (more Vaseline can be applied to focused areas after cleaning up the piece to prepare for the next coat of paint).  It is also important if you are applying a coat of polyurethane.
  4. Use a plastic scraper when removing paint for the Vaseline technique.  A metal scraper can tend to scratch where you don't want it to.

Here are some of my projects where I used Vaseline to do some chipped paint looks...

Paint Distressing Techniques - sandpaper, candlewax, Vaseline
Distressed chest of drawers created with both Vaseline and candlewax.  (See link to post here)

Paint Distressing Techniques - sandpaper, candlewax, Vaseline
End table heavy distressed with Vaseline as well as candlewax.  (See link to post here)


  1. If you are trying to expose a wood stain as a base coat - and if you have to do some sanding to prepare for painting (to rough up a top coat of polyurethane) - be sure to sand lightly in order to avoid going all the way down to the bare wood.
  2. Also, if you are trying to expose wood stain and have mistakenly sanded down to bare wood in some areas (don't worry) - just place candlewax or Vaseline on the stained areas (rather than bare wood) so the stained areas will be exposed with your distressing (rather than bare wood).
  3. Distressing Plan - If you are doing heavy distressing - don't make what I call the leopard print mistake (a bunch of small areas of distressing placed over the entire area of your piece).  It will look very silly and contrived.   A good plan - distress edges and corners, distress existing scratches/dents and imperfections, if you want to create large areas (example with Vaseline to create large areas of chipped paint - pick a few large areas to distress.  See this post on my experience with heavy distressing.
What NOT to do when distressing - "the leopard print mistake".  See a better example of distressing here.

  1. Test the paint techniques on small scrap pieces.  It's worth the time to help you understand how these different techniques work, and do a test run of paint colors.
  2. I'm a big fan of using Lowe's paint samples - they are only $3 each - and you can have them mix any custom color you want.  Note - The Valspar samples only come in Satin Latex.
  3. If you are doing heavy distressing and focusing on large areas - I have found using chalk to mark out your distressing plan on a piece is very helpful.  It can identify your areas of distressing and can easily be wiped off after candlewax or Vaseline has been applied.
  4. Use the existing scratches and dents on a piece to your advantage.  Focus on these areas for some distressing.  Real scratches or dents don't look manufactured or contrived like some faux distressing.
All of the posts found above (and more) can be found on my Beach Cottage page.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


This was my go-to blueberry muffin recipe and I modified to make it "real food".  The recipe came from and you can find the original post here:

Yes, I still use sugar - I have not yet tried to make this with another sweetener like pure maple syrup or otherwise.

Note that many of the ingredients need to be room temperature - I have found this to be important in most baking.  Take the time to set your ingredients out for a couple hours to get to room temperature.

You can make this in regular size muffin tins (you can get 12-16 from this recipe), but lately I have been making them as mini muffins and I get 36 of them.  Sometimes you don't want the whole big muffin and the mini muffins make different portions for different people possible.  Plus they are so darn cute!



1 Stick Butter - Room Temperature  OR 1/2 stick butter & 1/4 cup Plain Yogurt - Room Temperature
1 cup Sugar
2 Large Eggs - Room Temperature
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 Tbsp Lemon Zest (this is my addition to the original recipe)
2 1/2 cup Fresh Blueberries (If I don't have fresh I thaw some frozen organic blueberries)
2 cups White Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup Milk - Room Temperature
Paper muffin liners (optional) see step 7 in directions below.

Crumb Topping

1/4 cup White Whole Wheat Flour
1/3 cup Sugar
2 Tbsp Butter - Cold

NOTE - I use organic butter, yogurt, sugar, eggs, blueberries, flour and milk.


Preheat oven 375 for conventional oven (325 convection oven)

  1. Measure 3/4 cup blueberries and mash them with a fork.
  2. Cream butter ( and yogurt) and sugar with paddle attachment until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs, vanilla, baking powder salt, and lemon zest mix well.
  4. Add the mashed blueberries and mix on low.
  5. Add half the flour, mix on low until combined well, mix in half the milk on low...add the remaining half of flour mixing on low...then end with the remaining milk still mixing on low until well blended.
  6. Fold in whole blueberries.
  7. Scoop into prepared muffin pan (either paper lined or use butter).  If you have non-stick pans - you can use butter - use a crumpled up piece of waxed paper rubbed on a stick of butter and then rubbed into the bottom and sides of muffin tins, and a little around the top edges.  The original recipe called for Pam but I just can't use that stuff anymore.  If you are not using non-stick muffin pans - paper muffin liners are probably your best bet.
  8. To make the crumb topping, put the flour, sugar and butter in a small bowl and use a fork or pastry blender to combine the ingredients into a crumbly mixture.
  9. Sprinkle tops of the muffins with crumb topping mixture.
  10. Let rest about 5 minutes before baking.  Bake for 25-30 minutes at 375.  (25 minutes at 325 for a convection oven)
  11. Let cool before trying to remove from pan.

Sunday, August 10, 2014


This recipe was modified from

  • ⅔ cup organic 2% milk
  • ½ cup plain rolled oats (I buy the organic oats from bulk bins at Earth Fare)
  • 1 spoonful yogurt (I use Stoneyfield lowfat organic)
  • Hand full of raisins
  • Cinnamon sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Honey
  • Pure vanilla extract 

  1. In a small pot over high heat warm up the milk & yogurt. *Be sure to watch it carefully, it will start to bubble fairly quickly.
  2. As soon as the milk starts to bubble drop in the oats & raisins, stir a few times, and turn the heat down to medium-low.
  3. Let the oats simmer for 2 – 3 minutes. No need to stir.
  4. Once the oats have soaked up most of the milk (here you can add vanilla, honey, cinnamon if you want - I don't use any of this) and mix.  Take off the heat and serve.
  5. I sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar as I eat it. Or you can add it and mix it in before you serve.
You can find other recipes on my Real Food Page.


ORIGINAL RECIPE:  The original recipe was from a website called and the link is no longer available, otherwise I would have included it here.  I have modified the recipe slightly.

Serves 4
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 russet potato (I use 1/2 - cup whole wheat pasta cooked instead)
  • 1-15 oz. can organic diced tomatoes and their juice
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Salt
  •  2 tbsp fresh parsley (If I don't have this on hand - I leave this out or use dried parsley)
Note #1 - I use all organic vegetables and organic vegetable stock when making this soup.

Note #2 - Obviously you can throw in any vegetables you have on hand.

Cooking Directions

1.      Chop the carrots, onion, celery, and zucchini into bite-sized cubes. Peel and cube the potato (unless you are using whole wheat pasta instead). Mince the parsley.

2.      Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat, and add the olive oil. Add the minced garlic and sauté briefly.  Add the onion, carrot, celery, zucchini, and a pinch each of salt and pepper, and the garlic powder and garlic salt, and allow the vegetables to cook and soften about ten minutes.

3.      Add the potato, tomatoes, vegetable stock, bay leaf, and another pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes.

4.      Add minced parsley (and the cooked whole wheat pasta if you are using this) to the soup in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Divide among bowls and serve or divide into small containers and freeze.

You can find other recipes on my Real Food Page.



Original Recipe:

I use these tortillas for a lot of different meals.  I like using these better than store bought tortillas or bread as I know exactly what is in them, and there isn't a bunch of extra preservatives and other ingredients we don't need.

  • Breakfast burritos
  • Sandwiches - a good alternative to regular bread.
  • Soft taco shells

This is basically the 100 days of real food recipe, but I took some suggestions from a comment on her blog and found that they were helpful in getting better results.  I have summarized them here...


(1) Use a little less oil and a little more water than what the recipe calls for.
(2) I have used both whole wheat and white whole wheat flour.  Both work, the white wheat are just a little lighter in texture.
(3) It is very important to let the dough sit for 15 minutes before rolling it out.  It is much less sticky and easier to work with.
(4) In the recipe, she cautions about using too much flour, but as the comment stated - you need to use enough, or it's just too sticky, so. . . use enough flour when rolling them out.
(5)  Don't roll them all out and stack them on a plate before cooking them.  I made this mistake last time and they stuck together and I had to re-roll half of them out.
(6) The recipe calls for medium high heat.  I found this to be too hot for my non-stick pan, as well as my cast iron skillet.  Medium heat works just fine. 
(7) I like the results with the cast iron skillet much better than my non-stick pan.
(8) The comment suggested the following technique/process works out well.  Put in pan for only 10 seconds, than turn over and cook the second side for the full 30 seconds.  Then turn and finish cooking the first side for 20 seconds.  She cautions about turning too much, or the tortillas will become stiff.
(9) I let the tortillas mostly cool and place them in Ziploc bags with wax paper in between.  I place half of them in the fridge to use soon and the other half in the freezer.
(10) Don't let them sit out too long or they will become stiff.

Serves: 12 Tortillas
  • 2½ cups whole-wheat flour (I used King Arthur’s white whole-wheat flour)
  • ½ cup oil (I used olive oil) (I use a little less than what is called for here based on tip from comment section)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup warm water (heat in the microwave for 1 min) (I use a little more than what is called for here based on tip from comment section).
  1. In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer set with a dough hook, pour in the flour, oil and salt. Beat with the dough hook until crumbly, about 3 to 5 minutes. I found I need to scrape the sides down multiple times if using a dough hook.  It doesn't seem to mix well until you add the water in the next step.
  2. With the mixer running, gradually add the warm water and continue mixing until the dough is smooth, about 3 minutes.
  3. Take out the dough and divide it into 12 equal sized pieces. Do this by making the dough into a big log shape that is about 8 – 10 inches long. Then cut it in the middle. Then cut each of those pieces in the middle and so on until you have 12 pieces.
  4. Using the palms of your hand roll each piece into a round ball and flatten it out on a baking tray or board. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes or up to one hour.
  5. Heat a cast iron skillet (I think this works best), griddle or 12-inch skillet over medium heat.   I found that medium-high is just too hot.  The pan should be fairly hot before you begin cooking the tortillas.
  6. On a lightly floured board or counter top, use a rolling pin to turn each ball into a 8 to 10 inch flat circle (measure against your recipe if printed on a 8.5X11 sheet of paper).  They should be fairly thin.  Be careful not to use more than a teaspoon or two of flour when rolling out each ball into a tortilla because too much excess flour will burn in the pan, but use enough flour or they will be too sticky.
  7. Grease the pan with a touch of olive oil and then carefully transfer each tortilla, one at a time, to the pan and cook for 10 seconds on the first side, then 30 seconds on the second side, then back to the first side for 20 seconds.  As the tip in the comment section said - too much turning will make them tough.
  8. Set aside on a plate to cool slightly. Eat within an hour, refrigerate or freeze.  I refrigerate half of them to eat soon, and freeze the other half to eat later.
You can find other recipes on my Real Food Page.

Saturday, August 9, 2014


Distressed Media Cabinet - candlewax technique
This is one of my favorite before and after projects.  This piece was created for our friend's bonus room.  The original media cabinet was found at a local thrift store for $50.  Lot's of scratches and a few chips but the glass doors were intact and it had all six shelves - what more could we ask for?

Before Photo

Distressed Media Cabinet - candlewax technique
After Photo
The inspiration for this room re-do, came from Wisteria catalogue.  My friend saw this picture and was drawn to how bright and fresh this room was, so this became a reference for all our decorating.  We acknowledged that white sofas aren't ideal in a home with pets and small children, but we could use white in other furniture and décor choices...

Inspiration Room from

We knew we wanted white furniture in the room, and the original plan was to do the whole piece in a distressed white finish, however, some pictures of distressed white furniture on pinterest inspired me to just distress the top with some sanding rather than painting it white.

Distressed Media Cabinet - candlewax technique

The yellow knobs are from Hobby Lobby and I love how they complete the piece and provide even more character.

Distressed Media Cabinet -  Hobby Lobby Yellow Knob


SANDING - The whole piece was sanded with 80 grit sandpaper and then 120 grit sandpaper.    On the larger surfaces I was able to use our small rotary sander.  The corners and smaller edges required hand sanding.  Note - I tried to avoid over sanding the corners of the base down to bare wood because I knew I wanted to exposed some of the dark stain in distressing. The top required some extra sanding (a lot more) to weather it and expose some of the bare wood. 

PREPARATION - After sanding I wiped down the entire piece and taped off the top (since the top was the only part that was not going to be painted white).  In addition, tape was placed on the edges of the glass on the doors.

DISTRESSING - I used candlewax to help with the distressing.  I rubbed a candle on all the edges and corners.  The candle wax makes removing paint and exposing the base so much easier than just using sandpaper.  Also, it definitely helps to use candlewax for distressing when using this type of paint (paint and primer in one). This type of paint adheres so well with the primer in it, it will also take more sanding to distress and remove the paint - as opposed to regular paint. 

Distressed Media Cabinet -  Candlewax technique

PAINT - The paint I used was a paint and primer in one with a satin finish.  It was leftover paint from another project in their home.  In this case, paint and primer in one is good for covering a dark surface (the dark stained wood) with a light paint (an off white).  Please note, in my experience I have found that paint with primer in it dries quicker and has less "workable" time than a regular paint.  For example - if you mistakenly have a glob of paint, and wait to long to brush over to fix it - it might just make it worse by mucking up the paint that has dried too much already.   Overall, it is great for coverage, just work quickly and carefully.

DISTRESSING - Once the paint was dry - I used sandpaper to distress the edges.  Once again - the candlewax makes this an easy process; the paint comes off easily where the candlewax was applied and exposes the dark stained wood underneath.  You can see the sandpaper gets gooped up with the paint and candlewax in the photo below.

Distressed Media Cabinet -  Candlewax technique

TOP COAT - I applied a top coat of satin polyurethane to the entire piece for added durability.  I believe some sort of top coat was necessary on the top since I had sanded off the original finish.  As for the bottom - perhaps it was not so imperative, but will provide a more durable surface particularly on the shelves.  Although...another scratch or two will just add more character :o)

Here are links to some other distressed furniture pieces I worked on for our beach cottage.  These pieces utilized a variety of techniques including candlewax, Vaseline and just simple sanding...







If you are interested in a general overview of some DISTRESSING TECHNIQUES, see my post here which covers the use of SANDPAPER, CANDLEWAX and VASELINE.