Wednesday, February 29, 2012

No Bake Cookies

Do you ever have those days when you're craving some homemade cookies and you just happen to randomly have everything you need in the cupboards?  It so very rarely happens that it's like it must be a leap day!  
No Bake Cookies
Ingredients
  • 1/2 C Earth Balance
  • 2 C Sugar
  • 1/2 C Chocolate Hazelnut Milk or any Faux Milk
  • 1/2 C Vegan Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 C Peanut Butter
  • 3 1/2 C Quick Oats
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
OK, this recipe is suuuuuuuuuuuuper complicated so don't get confused.  Seriously though, it would be a really good idea to have everything measured out and ready to go before you start.

First, bring the first three ingredients- butter, sugar, and milk- to a boil and boil for one minute.
Get ready for a super attractive photo of me:
Then throw the rest of the ingredients in the pot and stir stir stir!



Now drop spoonfuls of the mix onto wax paper and allow to cool!


Yum!!  Wasn't that soooo very complicated?

These cookies are great for washing your wine down!  They're so rich that Tim and I could only have two each a night, so they lasted for a good two weeks!  It's a great surprise to have in your lunch that your husband packs for you in the morning.  Tim packs my lunch and drops me off at work each morning, went a gent, right?

Want to make some more wicked awesome vegan dishes?  Check it out!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Console Table

Tim and I recently decided to stop living like we're in a college dorm and instead try out this whole cleaning concept.  Our couch area used to look like this:
Yup, we look like hoarders.  Piles of boxes mixed with a chair to be a temporary side table while we figured out what we wanted to do over there.  There was even a bunny hiding on our couch!

So needless to say, we needed some sort of side table situation over there! 

After looking through table options for weeks without finding anything that fit our weird nook dimensions, I decided I might as well just build a table.  it would cost a lot less than the tables I was looking at, so I wouldn't have to wait and save up for it.  Even better?  The table would be designed to fit our exact needs.
So I made a few drawings, took a few measurements, and planned out my masterpiece. 
At Home Depot, I got to venture past the 2x4's and into the real big pieces of wood (that's what she said)!  Most of the 5' x 8' sheets were being sold for $20-40, and we happened to snag a great pre-sanded, non splintering, awesome piece of wood the was on sale for $30. 
The store offer's free cutting, so I was able to get all my big pieces cut to the exact size I needed- including a piece I plan to use for a custom wall mounted jewelry holder I'm going to make in the future!
We also picked up all the hardware we'd need: eight bolts, a set of 4" screws, washers, and a set of 1 1/2" screws.  We ended up only using four bolts and the 1 1/2" inch screws, and returned the rest.
We had lots and lots of wood when we got home (that's what she said!  How soon will that get annoying in a post filled with the wood?):
We also picked up two 8" 1X4's for the legs at only $2 a pop.  After making all the cuts I needed for the legs, I labeled everything to avoid confusion.
My basic plan for the table was to make two H shaped legs for either end, resting a long shelf on top of the two cross pieces.  On top of all the legs would rest a slightly larger top shelf. 
So we got to work drilling holes through the 1x4's...
Attaching the nuts and bolts (I'm trying so hard not to yell that's what she said right now!)...
Screwing them in tight (maturity of a seven year old over here)...
And voila, an H-shaped leg!  After making a duplicate leg for the other side, it was time to attach the shelf!
We made the legs slightly narrower than the shelf pieces because we wanted the ledge to stick out a little on the front like so:
We were originally planning and running a support beam under the shelf and another one underneath the top piece, but the wood was sturdy enough as is, and we wouldn't be putting anything heavy on the table, so we just kept things simple and screwed the shelf right into the crossbeam of the H-shaped leg.
Pressing the drill in a little bit longer than needed creates a little extra space for the head of the screw to go in (that's what....nevermind!).
At this point we tested it out in the nook and liked what we saw!
And since it was so much work to put the table in place, it was too much to move it back out to attach the top.  So we literally just set it on top.
While I decided what color I wanted to paint it, I gussied it up for the time being!

This is how the table looked for a couple weeks as I hemmed and hawed and sought the eternal truth over what treatment my table would look best with.
I took a scrap piece of wood and used all the random stuff we had lying around to see a few ideas.  I originally wanted to stain the whole thing dark brown, then paint it white and distress it so it looked a bit antiquey and would show the stain through.  But then Tim decided he really wanted a bright turquoise table (yup), so that was the plan for a bit.  But....all my accessories are so bright I thought bright turquoise would be a bit much and wanted a more neutral backdrop.
Here you'll see (from top to bottom): stain, spray painted hammered metel silver paint, then three shades of light to medium blue/teal.  My favorites were the stain and the spray paint.
You can see the cool texture the silver paint gets- I was in love with it, but...it was almost identical to the walls and I worried it would blend it too much.  Now that it's finished I think the silver might have been the best, but I like what I ended up doing instead.
I decided to take the lightest blue and distress it over the stain like I described before. 
So in went the stain, then a nice sanding followed by primer and a coat of blue paint. 




I hated it. Sure it still needed a couple coats for full coverage, but I knew it wasn't working.

One problem was I didn't think the light blue went with all the darker blues I had between the dining area and my throw pillows.  I didn't want it to clash, but I wanted a nice backdrop so I could rotate more berry blue accessories over to this table in the future.  So I laid out all the planned items with a bunch of paint samples...
And decided that dark teal was just my favorite option!  Why didn't I think of it sooner?  Because trial and error is sometimes the only way I figure out what I want to do.  Hands on, that's me!
A couple sample pots of dark teal later, I had a bright teal table on my hands:
Like super bright.  Too bright.  I wasn't pleased. 
I was actually wearing my favorite tank top at the time, which is this same blue pinstriped with bright white, so for a moment I was like, oh I can make stripes!  But then I just decided that I should mix in some black paint and see if I could salvage the sample paint I already bought.
So in went the black- it was actually just chalk paint because it was all I had.  Maybe I should try writing on the table...
My end result seems to be a couple shades darker, so I was excited to try it out!
And since I'm crazy, the second I started painted I started thinking, "Oh no!  Now it's boring!  I want bright teal!!  This is going to be too lame!"

But....it was absolutely perfect!  It was just dark enough to take off the edge, but still bright enough to be fun.  And, it matched all my accessories perfectly!
After that, I set out distressing it to give it an antique feel.  I just lightly sanded all over, with a bit more force on the corners and edges.  I wanted the brown stain underneath to show through, but I found that as I was sanding it, I could reach the white primer pretty easily but then I went straight to naked wood, which I'm not a fan of.  So, I just let the white show through all over.




After it was distressed to my liking, I ran a couple coats of all natural sealer over the top!
And....





Voila!




We put the Playstation, laptops, and magazines on the bottom shelf, and the Apple TV, remotes, and notepads on table. 
The sample piece of wood I painted even made a nice little art piece to tuck behind a chair in the corner. 
The best part about this table?  Between using half of a $30 piece of wood and a few other supplies, It only ended up costing around $30 total!  For a custom fit piece!  That makes me a very very very happy camper!  And now I have a much better stop to put my wine glasses (couch arm rests aren't the most practical place).

I will be back soon to tell you about our cord organization with the new set up!

Check out more projects here!