4 Free or Cheap Ways to Liven Up a Bare Wall

*** This post contains affiliate links.  If you click one and make a purchase, I may receive a commission, at no cost to you!***        While I was reviewing pictures from my updated House Tour, I realized that the most boring wall in my entire house is the wall above my desk.  My desk that I sit at for hours (does 2-3 hours qualify as hours?  I mean, I know, technically, it does, but I also don’t want to give the impression that I’m spending, like, 10 hours a day here.  Glad I got that off my chest) pouring my heart into this blog.  There was not a picture on the wall.  Nothing.  No color.  Even the wall color in this room is totally boring (it’s on the to do list.  Wait, no it isn’t, but it should be).  And if you’ve looked at the House Tour, you know that I am not a blah-wall kind of woman.  I wanted an update and I wanted it fast and cheap.  I am a woman on a budget, after all.  A really LOW budget.  So I needed some cheap ways to liven up a bare wall.  Luckily, I have a few tricks up my sleeve.  

4 Free or Cheap Ways to Liven Up a Bare Wall

Cheap Ways to Liven Up a Boring Wall

Shop Your House

Cheap Ways to Liven Up a Boring Wall

My first place to look for free stuff is my own house.  I always have a stash of stuff, like vases, picture frames or past DIY’s that never found a permanent home in a closet or cupboard.  I knew I wanted some type of wall storage for this desk area and I’ve been holding on to that rattan paper holder for ever.  Perfect spot to put all of my important papers in, right?  They are off the desk and in plain view, so I will hopefully not forget about them.

Make Something!

Cheap Ways to Liven Up a Boring Wall

Depending on what type of a craft hoarder you are, you may or may not already have all of the things you need to make some really pretty DIY art.  The three water colors below are on inexpensive small canvasses (12 of them for $11.96 from Amazon) I have a tutorial for those here.  The abstract floral art below is also a DIY on another inexpensive (2 for $9.98), slightly larger canvas and done with tissue paper and  hexagon shape cutter.  Tutorial is right here.  Pro tip, I’ve primed over old canvases with white primer and repainted or tissue papered over them as would be the case here.  (PS, the tissue paper and hexagon shape cutter are not what I would consider cheap, but I only used a small amount of the tissue paper and the hexagon cutter is something I will have forever in my craft stash and will use many times).

Thrift Store Shopping

Cheap Ways to Liven Up a Boring Wall

Thrift stores are the best for finding frames.  I found a bunch of these pretty gold frames for about $2 each at my local Savers.  I’m into this gold, thin frame look right now, but, if, or when, my tastes change, I won’t mind swapping out the inexpensive frame.

Free Printables!

Cheap Ways to Liven Up a Boring Wall

So what do you fill your cheap thrift store frame with?  Free printables, of course!  I love scouring my favorite blogs for printables.  Or, you can very easily make your own.  Pick your favorite quote and play around in Picmonkey.  I made the calendar you see there and you can access it here if you are in need of a cute and bright calendar.  The Choose Happy print is actually an Etsy find.  It still falls under cheap in my mind at $7.20, but you could DIY something similar, too!

Alright, no excuses, go liven up your boring walls!


Home Chef Review

Guys, I have made a great discovery.  Fancy meals that look like they came from a restaurant are not hard to make.  They have been lying to us all these years.  I don’t know who they are, but they have definitely been trying to make us think that cooking is hard.  IT’S NOT!  I do a lot of home cooking, but not really anything fancy, until last week.  Last week I tried Home Chef and I made a fancy meal.  AND IT WASN’T HARD!  It took some time, yes, but with the help of Home Chef (which does not mean a chef comes to your home, FYI.  That’s a different thing and you need to be Oprah rich), I made a pretty fancy meal, if I do say so myself!

Home Chef is a service that creates delicious recipes, packages all of the ingredients and then sends them to your door!  You get to pick out the meals you want to make, how many servings you need and how often you want them sent (weekly, bi-weekly or monthly) and the food arrives ready to be prepped and cooked at your doorstep in a cute box that is totally refrigerated.  The first meal I made was Bone-In Pork Chop with Pecorino-Garlic Butter.  Which is gluten free, in case you are interested.  Home Chef notes which recipes will work with certain allergies.  Yay!

Everything arrives neat as a pin and well packaged.  The contents of my box included two separate meals with enough to feed a family of four.  The food is surrounded by ice packs and then the box is lined with insulated packaging that keeps everything cold and cushioned.

I love that the food comes with a cookbook that you can keep the recipes in.  The recipes are printed in color on thick paper, so they are fairly durable.  The cook book comes with a great insert with info on kitchen tools you might need, how to safely store and prepare food and a description of some of the more chef-y terms, like chiffonade.  That insert immediately made me think that this would be such a great gift for a newly married couple, or a recent grad who hasn’t a clue how to cook and no time to shop for food.  

The first thing I noticed as I started sorting things out was that the food looked nice and fresh.  Check out these pretty pork chops:

Pork chops on the bone are not something I would normally buy, neither are full length carrots, but I’m glad I chose this meal.  I snuck a few bites of carrots as I was chopping them and they were delicious.  Definitely different, fresher I guess, than what I have bought at the grocery store.  And the pork chops looked beautiful, even uncooked.  

I don’t think I’ve ever seen fresh peas like the ones that Home Chef sent to me. They were stored in a little container and they were a beautiful bright green, but not frozen.  I adored these veggies.  They were cooked stove top with some seriously good honey.  I would never have thought of cooking carrots and peas like this, which is another great bonus of Home Chef.  My culinary skills have definitely expanded!

And the fanciest part of the meal was the Pecorino Garlic Butter that you top the chop with.  I have never made a blended butter before, but it’s something I definitely want to try to do again with other ingredients.  It was much easier than I thought it would be.  

And, by the way, Home Chef even sends you butter.  There are a few things they expect you to have in your pantry, like olive oil and salt and pepper, but other than that, they really think of everything!

Just to keep things 100% real, my two teeny tiny complaints are that the meal took a little longer to prepare than I usually like to spend and there was an inordinate amount of packaging.  As far as the time, I did force myself to work slowly so that I wouldn’t mess up the recipe, so that is probably a factor in the additional time.  And as for the packaging, Home Chef does also give you information on how to properly dispose of the ice packs and insulation that come in the box.  Everything in the box is recyclable.  I kept a few of the ice packs in the freezer for when/if warm weather ever comes to the North East again.

I am looking forward to making the second recipe that I ordered, Sherry Wine Demi-Glace Sirloin Steak!, and I have scheduled two meals to arrive monthly!  I love trying new foods, so this is going to be so fun for me!  I love that I get to learn new cooking methods and add some fancy recipes to my repertoire!  Thanks Home Chef!!

You can join Home Chef by following my referral link:

Home Chef

They are offering $30 off your first order right now!  Also, eBates is offering 10% cash back at Home Chef!  If you need to sign up for Ebates (and you NEED to sign up for Ebates.  Unless you don’t like money), you can do so here with my referral link:


Happy Chef-ing

Updated House Tour

I had a whole day with a smidgen of sunshine all to myself the other day, so I took some pictures of the house so that I could update the house tour.  Want to have a peek?

The first room you see when you enter the house is the Living Room (aka the Parlor, aka the former Dining Room).

I love this room.  It’s pretty cozy. There is a tv in here, but we mostly use the room for reading or phone surfing. It’s right off the kitchen, so it gets a lot of traffic and that makes me happy. I hate an un-used room.  Did you want to see the before of this room?  Yes?  Alright, if I must.  I’m warning you, it used to be a dining room…


Next stop is the kitchen. 


Ahhh, so fresh and white, right?  You won’t believe the before.


This is not a joke.  That is really the same kitchen.  Check out the wallpaper.  Take it all in.  How about the creepy clowns on top of the fridge?  And OH MY GOD, that dishwasher!  JUST KIDDING THERE WAS NO DISHWASHER!

Want to see the new dining room which used to be the old family room??

I pretty much love everything about the dining room.  Especially since I finally put down a new floor (Traffic Master Allure).  And of course, the mural never gets old!  Here’s my affiliate link if you want it for yourself – Komar Passion Wall Mural – and they have a bunch of new ones that I was just drooling over for 20 minutes.  

And the before for this room:

FamilyRoom Before

I can’t lie. Except the stained floor, I don’t hate this room.  Although, I’m pretty sure that’s a ghost at the top, just right of center.  

And now we are on to the family room, which has not really been on the blog very much because it has mostly been a disaster for 7 years.  But it’s coming together, sort of. It’s much better than it was, but it’s also still the room I want to do the most to.

This sofa and chair are at the front end of this long and skinny-ish room.  There’s a tv on that wall you can’t see.  IT’S ENORMOUS.

These chaises are toward the rear of the room and face the sofa and chaise which makes this long room a bit cozier.  And yes, that’s a ping pong/air hockey table behind the chaises.  I told you the room was long.  You can also see the little desk that I sit at while I work on this little blog.  Yes, it’s literally the blandest spot in the house with nothing on the wall above it, but I have some inspiration for that little corner.  And it’s colorful.  See below.

And of course, a before for you –


And, lastly, who remembers the bedroom makeover from last year?  Pay no attention to the book page wreath that is also in the living room.  I like to switch things up, okay?  All.The.Time.

I just redid this room for the One Room Challenge last year and it is so very lovely.  To think it used to have twin beds.  In the Master.  

I will be updating the House Tour Page with these new pics and an updated To Do List!  I hope enjoyed your visit to my crazy house!




Perfect Valentine’s Dinner – Restaurant Quality Sirloin Steak

If you want to plan an at home Valentine’s Date Night, I have the perfect, simple recipe for you.  Restaurant Quality Sirloin Steak.  I actually try to make this at least once a month because everyone in my little squad loves it and it’s actually really quick and easy to make.  A very easy week night dinner.

So, first things first.  What kind of steak do you buy?  This is kind of important.  I get my steak from my local Wegman’s.  It’s Beef Sirloin Steak and it costs $9.99/lb.  There is another one, a filet, that is a lot more expensive.  (I bet it’s probably even more delicious than the $9.99/lb steak, but I will never know for sure because I will never spend that much money on food I have to cook myself.  Mmkay?)  Wegman’s very kindly portions the Beef Sirloin Steaks in a little vacuum sealed thing and the two steaks are less than a pound, so, for instance, the steaks I cooked tonight cost a little over $7 for two.  Not bad and if you cook it right, you will love this as much as a steak you get at a restaurant, I promise.  One thing to note when you buy your steak, you want them to be about the same thickness so that they cook about the same.  I made four steaks tonight and one of them was a lot thinner than the other three and the thin guy got totally over cooked – no pink center.  No bueno.

Restaurant Quality Sirloin Steak

2 Beef Sirloin Steaks (a little less than 1 lb total)



Garlic Powder (or, if you prefer onion powder, go for it)


  1.  Heat an oven safe pan to medium/high on the stove and preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Sprinkle one side of the steak with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  3. Place a pad of butter on top of the steak
  4. Place the steak buttered side down in the hot pan
  5. Allow to cook 3-5 minutes.  And DON’T touch the steak.  I know it’s hard, you like to fidget with the food.  Don’t do it, okay?  3 minutes for more rare steak and 5 for closer to medium well.  I do 4 minutes for Medium (pinkish/red warm center).
  6. While the steak is cooking, sprinkle the salt, pepper, garlic powder and add the pad of butter to the side of the steak that is facing up in the pan.
  7. Flip the steaks and pop the pan in the oven.  Cook another 4-5 minutes in the oven.
  8. Remove from the oven and place the steaks on a plate to rest for about five minutes before eating.  Don’t skip the rest.  It does make a difference.

Your steak will be pink/red in the middle.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  If you really want totally well done steak, then you really don’t like steak and you shouldn’t waste your money buying it.  For real.  Well done steak is not tasty or fun to eat.  Medium steak that is warm and pink/red in the center is delicious and and very fun to eat!

I’m not a big potato person, but there is something to be said for meat and potatoes.  I made roasted red potatoes, but mashed would be fantastic.  I serve this with Brussel Sprouts all the time, so I switched it up and went with sauteed peppers and onions.

This meal is such a hit and it really is super easy to do.  I bet your special someone would think you really slaved over this for Valentine’s Day!

The Sewing Bug

***This post contains affiliate links.  If you click one and make a purchase I may receive a small commission!***   Have I told you yet that I got a sewing machine for Christmas?  I did.  Actually, I like to tell people I got the house wife starter kit for Christmas:  a sewing machine, a set of pots and pans and coffee mugs.  And I couldn’t be happier with those gifts!  I’ve made a few simple things with the sewing machine, but I’m itching to make something a little more substantial.  Like curtains or pillows!

If you happen to be a beginner sewer and you are in the market for a sewing machine, might I recommend to you the one my sweet husband got me for Christmas?

Computerized 80 Stitch Sewing Machine Brother Sewing https://www.amazon.com/dp/B013SQR9O2/ref=cm_sw_r_pi_dp_x_sorLybTWP85VN:

It’s a Brother machine and it has been super simple to learn.  I haven’t done more than sew some straight lines with it yet, but I had basically no clue how to even thread it and the instructions have been very easy to follow.  It has three speed levels, which is great for a beginner like me because if you keep it on super slow mode, you are almost guaranteed a straight line.  It might take you a little longer than most, but it will be straight.

So, I’ve got the machine, all I need is some fabric to inspire me, right?  I’ve purchased fabric from Fabric.com in the past and was very pleased with it.  The prices are light years better than my local Joann Fabrics and they have a HUGE selection.  I did a very simple search for Home Decor Fabrics between $9-$15/yd and I came up with 54 pages of fabrics to drool over.  You can refine your search of course in many ways: by measurements, by theme or by pattern if you want to narrow in on something in particular.  My favorite feature of the site is the Design Board which allows you to sort of pin a bunch of different fabrics together so that you can reference back to what you liked while browsing.  Here’s what mine looked like after a good hour of poking around:

I’m obsessed with that turtle pattern.  But I love the two navy and green patterns together.  And each and every one of those fabrics is under$13/yd.  Get yourself over there and start making a design wall of your own – Fabric.com .

Game Day Bingo

Anybody out there not really care about the big game on Sunday?  Are you just in it for the snacks and the excuse to get together with friends?  Do you feel awkward when everyone else is cheering or booing and you have no clue what is going on?  This post is for you (so isn’t this one if it’s the snacks you’re really in to!)  I’ve devised a way to keep your head in the game and look totally engaged while still having fun.  It’s a little thing I like to call “Game Day Bingo”.

I found a great site called My Free Bingo Cards.  It is super easy to make your own customized Bingo Cards for any occasion.  Mine are football themed, of course, but the possibilities are endless.

Game Day Bingo:

You can create your own cards, or print mine with the link at the bottom of this post called Game Day Bingo.  If you want to create your own cards, all you have to do is go to the Bingo Card generator, add your title and your words (the hardest part was coming up with a bunch of football related words.  My cards have 25 squares, so I needed more than 25 words in order to make each card fairly unique), select a theme and make a couple of other easy choices and hit Next to generate your cards.  You can print up to 30 for free.

I think this is great for kids who might not be that into football.  They just have to listen to hear the words on their card to be said throughout the game and when they get five in a row, they win! It would be a super smart idea to laminate these bad boys so that the kids can use a dry erase pen to mark off the words as they get them, then just erase the whole thing after someone wins and start again.  Otherwise you will need something to cover each space with, like a small candy (M&M’s are perfect!) or coins.  It will probably be a good idea to have a few inexpensive prizes on hand for the winners.  My kids love prizes.  And they don’t love it when someone tells them, “You won!” and then they don’t get a prize.  Just FYI.

I hope you enjoy bingo and I hope you enjoy the game!!

Game Day Bingo

Can He Even Do That?

Almost every day I find myself turning to my husband or my coworker or a stranger on the street and saying, “Can he even do that?”.   The response is always “Apparently” with a side of “I can’t believe this is happening” face. Donald Trump’s latest executive order on immigration makes me ashamed and angry.  Ashamed to live in a country that elected this person and also a little ashamed at how much I have taken our democracy for granted and how little I know about how it works.  I can’t be alone on that.  I’m a college educated person.  I had four years of History and Western Civ in college. I studied democracy from it’s roots. I took US History classes.  Why did I not know how much the President can actually do all on his own?  “Checks and balances” was the phrase that kept popping into my head to comfort myself.  When do the checks and balances start??  Why did I wait until now, when it’s possibly too late, to speak my mind about this and re-educate myself?

I feel compelled to do something, but I don’t even know what to do.  Luckily, I have at my fingertips all the knowledge in all of the world.  Literally.  I’ve been researching ways to resist (other than marching) the policies that are being put in place and I wanted to share some of them with you.  Here’s what I have found:

  • Indivisible – This is a website and practical guide with steps you can take to show your resistance to Trump’s policies.  This is based on the grass roots efforts of the successful, if unpalatable, Tea Party.  I don’t like what they stand for, but they sure can organize.  Happy to steal their ideas.  Thanks Tea Party!
  • Five Ways to Be a Silent Protestor – These are five simple ways to protest without marching.  My favorite, #4, Stay Informed.  I like to google “fact check Trump” and see what fun stuff I come up with.  I actually laughed out loud at this one that I found on NPR:

I had a standing ovation like you wouldn’t believe….They actually — they were standing from the beginning. They didn’t even sit down. It was one standing ovation, the whole thing.” Trump in interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Jan. 26

THE FACTS: Trump never told the CIA officers to sit at the beginning of his speech, and it’s standard protocol without a directive from the president, they wouldn’t have sat down, as Huffington Post’s S.V. Date explains.

  • If you can’t stomach all of the political stuff but want to feel like you’ve done something to help someone, donate to a refugee fund.  International Rescue Committee has a 4 star rating.
  • 10 Actions/100 Days – The Women’s March organizers will send you one thing you can do every ten days to protest.  The first is to write a postcard to your representatives.  They even made a postcard for you to print.  Doesn’t get much easier than that.
  • Read this statement by Madeleine Albright and sign the petition by clicking on the link.  And I dare you not to cry as she describes arriving in New York Harbor.

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the executive order on immigration and refugees that the President signed on Friday. It bans Syrian refugees from entering our country, suspends the entire refugee program for 120 days, cuts in half the number of refugees we can admit, and halts all travel from certain Muslim-majority countries.

I felt I had no choice but to speak out against it in the strongest possible terms.

This is a cruel measure that represents a stark departure from America’s core values. We have a proud tradition of sheltering those fleeing violence and persecution, and have always been the world leader in refugee resettlement. As a refugee myself who fled the communist takeover of Czechoslovakia, I personally benefited from this country’s generosity and its tradition of openness. This order would end that tradition, and discriminate against those fleeing a brutal civil war in Syria.

There is no data to support the idea that refugees pose a threat. This policy is based on fear, not facts. The refugee vetting process is robust and thorough. It already consists of over 20 steps, ensuring that refugees are vetted more intensively than any other category of traveler.

The process typically takes 18-24 months, and is conducted while they are still overseas. I am concerned that this order’s attempts at “extreme vetting” will effectively halt our ability to accept anyone at all. When the administration makes wild claims about Syrian refugees pouring over our borders, they are relying on alternative facts — or as I like to call it, fiction.

The truth is that America can simultaneously protect the security of our borders and our citizens and maintain our country’s long tradition of welcoming those who have nowhere else to turn. These goals are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, they are the obligation of a country built by immigrants.

Refugees should not be viewed as a burden or as potential terrorists. They have already made great contributions to our national life. Syrian refugees are learning English, getting good jobs, buying homes, and starting businesses. In other words, they are doing what other generations of refugees — including my own — did. And I have no doubt that, if given the opportunity, they will become an essential part of our American fabric.

By targeting Muslim-majority countries for immigration bans and by expressing a clear preference for refugees who are religious minorities, there’s no question this order is biased against Muslims. And when one faith is targeted, it puts us all at risk.

I will never forget sailing into New York Harbor for the first time and seeing the Statue of Liberty when I came here as a child. It proclaims “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” There is no fine print on the Statue of Liberty, and today she is weeping.

This executive order does not reflect American values. If you agree, make your voice heard now.



Madeleine Albright
Former Secretary of State

There are a million reasons I’m not on board with Trump, but the Executive Order on immigration is possibly the scariest.  I’m not a particularly religious person, but I know if we ask the question, “What would Jesus do when faced with women and children who are fleeing from places RAVAGED by war?” the answer would not be, “Let’s make them wait 90 (more) days to come to the United States”.  If you find a way to justify to yourself that Jesus would be on board with this executive order, you are reading the wrong bible.

I’ve never asked for my work to be shared, but I’m going to now.  If you found this post useful, please share it in as many forms of social media as you can.  You can do so with the sharing buttons that should be staring at you from the left sidebar or at the bottom of the post.


Gluten Free Game Day

Who’s excited for the big game on Sunday?  As in years past, I have what is possibly an irrational fear of saying the name of the game that is being played on Sunday because I think the NFL will try to make me pay for using it.  Because the NFL is totally stalking my blog.  I got my eyes on you, Goodell.  As a New Englander, I’m excited to have the Patriots in the game, but I will be straight with you, I am mostly excited about the food.  Cause that’s my life. I’m planning on making a bunch of Gluten Free Game Day treats.  I don’t plan on telling anyone they are gluten free because some people will pull a face about it and think the food will be “healthy” or “bland”.  Could not be further from the truth!

Most of what I’ll make on Sunday are recipes I’ve shared here before, so I’ll give you some pictures and links below, but I have not shared my Gluten Free Sheet Pan Nachos, so here is a quasi recipe for those.

Gluten Free Sheet Pan Nachos

About a bag of Gluten Free Nachos (Tostitos will do!)


1 Bag of Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese

1/2 Red Onion, chopped

3 T Green Onion, chopped

3 T Sliced Black Olives (PS, I’m the only person in my family who liked black olives on the nachos.  Use with caution.  Know your audience).

  1.  Preheat the oven to about 350.  You are really just going to melt the cheese and toast the nachos a little, so not particularly important what temp this is at, but if you go hotter, just keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
  2. Add a good layer of nachos to your sheet pan.  Cover the whole pan so that you can’t really see the bottom.  My goal was to have enough nachos spread out that none of my toppings would make it to the pan, but not so many nachos that some of the toppings would not make it to the underlayer of nachos.  Got it?
  3. Add your veggies
  4. Spread on some salsa.  I used a spoon and did my best to find that delicate balance of not too much and not too little.
  5. Add your cheese
  6. Pop them in the oven for a bout 8-10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the nachos are warm.

I love these!  The week after I made these for the first time, we ordered nachos from a restaurant for take out and it just wasn’t the same. They were soggy by the time we got home and the toppings were only on the top, not evenly spread out as the sheet pan allows you to do.  This is definitely an instance where home made is better than take out.

Now, woman cannot exist on nachos alone.  So to round out the menu, we’ll have:

Gluten Free Burger and Fry Bites

Gluten Free Veggie Pizza 

That’s some good eats.  Can’t wait for the big game!


Monthly Wrap Up

I had plans for a post about shopping at Ikea for today, but this month is about to come to a close and it has been an absolute whirlwind!  I feel like I had a lot of solid posts and I’ve actually gained a bunch of new followers, so welcome to all of you!  You have no idea the thrill I get when I have an alert telling me I have a new follower.  It makes my day every time!  So, welcome aboard and I hope you find some fun projects, recipes and some laughter here!

So, number one crazy thing that has happened this month just happened today.  I work part time outside of the house and today… I GOT LAID OFF!  I’m sad that I’m going to be leaving the company that I’ve worked at for seven years and don’t get me started on the people that I work with.  They are my family. I’ve spent 6-8 hours a day with them everyday for the last 7 years.  I can’t think about not seeing them everyday.  For now, I want to focus on the positive side.  I will be home full time for at least a little while, which means I will be focusing big time on this here blog.  If I can manage to get this thing making me some money, maybe I won’t have to go back to work at all!  Expect lots of good content because I will have plenty of time to create it!

Number 2 crazy thing also happened today. I was featured in one of Hometalk‘s emails today and oh my, I have like a 1000% more people coming to see this blog today than ever before.  If you happen to be a blogger and you are reading this, get yourself on Hometalk.  Their features are the real deal.

I had some really fun posts this month, too!  If you are new here and haven’t made it through any of the posts, here are some of the fun things I’ve been up to:

I painted these tiles which are a precursor to a top secret project that will be on the blog in a couple of months.  Sadly, the tiles pictured above were destroyed in my attempts to find a good way to seal the tiles.  I did, however, find a way to seal the tiles.  And you can find out all about that in this post:

I also shared how I painted my favorite upholstered chair.  This is the post that was featured on Hometalk today. Thanks Hometalk!!

And I made some pretty delicious food this month, too.  If I do say so myself.  Other people said so, too.  Like my daughter and my husband.  These Gluten Free Burger and Fry Bites were legendary.  As in, my family keeps asking me to make them again, so they are a legend now.

I also made some delicious and easy gluten free Peanut Butter Cookies and some gluten free Chicken Fried Rice as an early Chinese New Year celebration.

This is year is off to a crazy start! I can’t wait to see where we end up!!



How To Seal Painted Tiles

***This post contains affiliate links.  If you click one and make a purchase, I may receive a commission!***        I was so excited to see a massive response to my post about painting tiles with Sharpies and Rubbing Alcohol!  So happy you all liked it and welcome to anyone new who found my little blog because of it!  I have exciting news!  I have an update on how to seal painted tiles!  Just in time for me to get started on a pretty important project that I will share when it is done!

First, let me tell you what did not work.

  1.  Mod Podge – I first tried painting on some clear Mod Podge.  This left some paint lines on the tile and I absolutely hated that. It ruined the look of the tile.  Also, when I put it to a water test, the Mod Podge came off in clumps.  The Queen of “How to Remove Mod Podge” (my most popular post) should have remembered that Mod Podge is water soluble and therefore would not stand up to water.
  2. Shellac – Shellac, in case you didn’t know, is a natural product made of bugs and alcohol.  Had I known that it was made of bugs and alcohol before I purchased, you better believe I never would have bought.  Because, a. BUGS! and b. Alcohol is exactly what I used to activate the color blurring when I made the tiles in the first place.  So, of course, the first thing that happened when I sprayed shellac on the tiles was that the ink started to blur.  Which, by the way, ruined ALL of the tiles pictured above, so I was super bummed about that.

So what did work?

Krylon UV Resistant Clear Acrylic Coating  did the trick.  It was extremely easy to apply, although it smells horrendous and I strongly recommended doing it in garage with the door open or somewhere outdoors if possible (remember to keep your project covered so nothing lands on it.  Like a fly).  I did it in my basement and it made the first floor stinky for a while.  But, other than the smell, it does not affect the ink in anyway.  I didn’t see any new blurring.  The finish is completely clear.  I ran it under hot and cold water and did not have any issues.  I still would probably not put this finished product in the dishwasher, but my plans for this project wouldn’t require that anyway.  If you’re making coasters, I would say hand wash them, just to be safe.

And, further proof that the Sharpie/Alcohol painting comes out great every time:

The tile does still need to cure for a couple of days before it’s completely dry, but I’m thrilled to see that the hot and cold water had no effect on it.  This was my biggest concern as my project will eventually be out in the elements.  I’ll keep an eye on it and I’ll be sure to post an update if there happen to be any hiccups as I continue to the project!