Posts Tagged ‘How To’

Natural Born Griller

This Labor Day holiday was a mighty fine one in the Hernandez household. We actually got a weekend to relax, recuperate, and above all things – eat some ribs. We seem to have a pattern of eating ribs on national holidays. It just seems fitting to remember our troops or celebrate the end of summer with a big slab o’ pork. Yummy yum. After my last post about Scott’s famous Hernandez family ribs, I got some requests for his recipe. We’ve since shared this with a few people and have been met with a rousing response, so I figured I’d share the goods with the blogosphere. Enjoy!

The secret to these super easy ribs is honey. And lots of it. I have a hard time watching Scott make these because I can feel my arteries clogging, but he can make a damn good rack of ribs. First, pick up a slab of baby backs from your local grocery store. Line a baking sheet with some aluminum foil and plop those suckers down. Apply a hefty amount of salt and pepper to both sides of the ribs and then coat both sides of the ribs with honey. ::droooool::

Next, simply wrap those babies up like a pig in the blanket so all those juices stay in. Cook your ribs at 300° or 325° for about two and a half hours. Once they start to smell fantastic, take them out of the stove and cut them into manageable pieces so you can move them to your grill.

Once your ribbies are on the grill, coat them with your barbeque sauce of choice, and don’t be stingy. Again, my arteries are clogging as I see this but my taste buds are thanking me. We like to use Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce, but any sauce of your choice would suffice. Cook these on the grill for about 15 minutes or until you get a good glaze going.

Dig in. Cover face with barbeque sauce. Use lots of napkins. Repeat. Enjoy!

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Sammy the Sawhorse

After a long day at work and a rousing spin at the gym, I came home to this scene on our back deck this afternoon. Whaaa? Apparently Scott got a wild hair and decided to bust out some DIY sawhorses. Why you ask? We’ll, I’m not quite sure. I think a need to keep our new kayak free from any mud and an urge to be uber masculine may have contributing factors, but I’m glad that he did so I could share his little tutorial with you nice folk. The hubs has been wanting some sawhorses for some time now, but had a hard time paying for the fancy schmancy ones when he felt he could make his own. Well, give him an afternoon alone and a website tutorial, and we’re now the proud owners to two stacking sawhorses. Score!

This quick afternoon project takes about nine 2x4s, an electrical screwdriver, 3″ screws, a pencil, measuring tape, and your interior designer wife’s t-square. Oh, and tons of bug spray for your 20+ mosquito bites. Literally. The mosquitoes were angry tonight and took their vengeance out on my poor, tired gym legs. Now, Scott is a pretty handy guy, but he’s no master craftsman – this project is easy enough for any average Joe (or Jolene) to knock out in no time.

Mr. H used the online tutorial (complete with pictures!) to cut down his 2x4s to the correct lengths. Once he did some whittling and basic geometry, he had the form of a sawhorse in no time. We then placed the support pieces along the sides, marked their angles with a pencil, and sawed them to the correct size to be screwed into place (held my yours truly). We then alternated the location of the support beams on the other, slightly shorter sawhorse, so that they were on the inside, rather than out. This allowed for the larger sawhorse to stack right on top of the other sawhorse, making storage of these clunkers that much more painless.

Look at the ease that the new sawhorses stack on each other. Even Charlie is intrigued to see how seamlessly this is being executed. How did I get to be so lucky and marry such a handy man? After the saw horses were completed and ready for their debut, we moved them to our (rather unsightly) side area to prop up our fancy new ‘yak, keeping it safe from the yucky mud (Scott’s obsessive compulsion, not mine).

The saw horses serve their current purpose perfectly, but will also come in handy down the line for future home improvement projects. Next time we have to saw some wood or hammer some drywall, we’ll have the perfect little tool for propping up our projects. And you know we can’t complete a project without the obligatory cute shot of the pup, peaking through the newly completed DIY sawhorse.

If you feel like shocking your loved one and building something like this one random afternoon, take a stab at these easy peasy sawhorses. Just let me know if you get attacked by the mosquitoes as well. I think they’re out of get me.

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Make me a Mobile

Remember that kickin’ mobile that I made for the bodacious boy boudoir? It’s time for a little tutorial on how that $12 gem came to be so you too can enjoy the soothing swishes and turns of a custom mobile…without breaking the bank. If you have a nephew/baby on the way, or just want some 3D art in your home, you can whip up this homemade mobile in about 30 minutes flat. 

I saw a similar mobile on etsy one day while doing some nursery research, but wasn’t quite sold on the color scheme that the seller offered. Then it occured to me – why not make a mobile? It couldn’t be that difficult, right? It’s just some hangy things on some string to keep the baby’s mind gears turning – I think I can handle that. I used the etsy mobile as my guideline and popped over to my beloved neighborhood Michael’s to stock up on some supplies.

Riveting photograph, I know. My supplies for this project were as follows: 3 squeezy bottles of craft paint, 2 foam paint brushes (I splurged for 2 to speed up my process since they weren’t more than 50 cents each), a bag of pre-cut wood shapes for $3.00 and some bead jewelry string (easier to work with than fishing wire, in my opinion). I also picked up a 9″ brass hoop and some fun orange ribbon after my attempt to create a top from a clothes hanger failed miserably.

Once I had my handy craft supplies, I laid out the pre-cut shapes into three columns, being sure to mix up the patterns and the lengths of the mobile pieces to give the final piece some dimension. You could use all one shape of wood cut outs, but I would recommend keeping the length of your mobile pieces varied so there is a bit of visual interest when the mobile is hanging. I then brushed some cheap-o craft paint on my wood pieces, let dry, then painted the other sides.

My seminole lovin’ heart was desperately resisting painting these pieces orange and blue, but hey, it’s all in the name of design. I still know where my loyalties are. :) After the paint dried (remarkably in about 5 minutes) I took a large size nail and created a hole in the center of each wood piece. I did this by nailing the nail into each size of a wood piece on top of an old magazine. Unconventional, I know, but I didn’t want to search for a scrap piece of wood to nail into, so the magazine got the job done. I just hope that Reese Witherspoon will forgive me for jabbing a nail into her photo spread repeatedly.

After that, I strung the jewelry string through the wood pieces at varying lengths, tying a quick knot on each side of the wood pieces so they stayed put in their positions on the string. After all three strands were completed, I tied them to my brass hoop and kept a long strand of excess string to use to hang the finished mobile.

The brass ring I used for my top just didn’t mesh with the modern decor of the nursery (brass screams old lady – sorry brass lovers, but trust me on this one) so I pulled out some punchy orange ribbon and a hot glue gun and went to town wrapping that brass bad boy. I had to get some assistance from my grumbly husband to hold the mobile up while I wrapped (he’s not a fan of the arts and crafts), but you could hang it from a ceiling fan and get the same effect. After I wrapped the brass away, the mobile was complete and ready to be hung in said nursery. Simple, no?

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Color Me Mine

Choosing a paint color seems to be one of the most difficult tasks when purchasing a new abode. Most people I know ponder, even agonize, for weeks before selecting a beige-taupe that they ultimately hate after all the hard work of painting and trimming is completed. I have a hard time selecting paint colors for my own home, but for someone else, it’s a cinch. A few simple tips that I use every time might ease your fears the next time you pull out the paint deck and get ready to slap some color on those barren walls. I’m not color expert, of course, but color is my favorite design element, so I’ll share the love.

First off, it’s super important to select your paint color last. When I’m selecting finish schemes for a commercial client, I start with the largest item first (carpet) and work my way through all other elements before I choose the wall color. Paint comes in an exorbitant amount of colors, so it’s super easy to choose this last – and makes the most sense. You can tweak the paint colors to perfectly coordinate with your furnishings and artwork, but finding furniture to match a paint color is a bit more difficult.

Say you have this wild chair sitting all alone in a plain white room. Why not jazz it up a bit? You can pull some colors directly from the chair if you have something with this much pizazz in your space. The cooler steel blue would look great on all four walls, or you could choose the neutral background color and use the bold eggplant on an accent wall. The easy choice would be to paint the walls a neutral (like the chair’s background color) and bring the coordinating colors into the space with pillows, curtains, etc. But why not stand out and put some actual color on your walls? I’m a big proponent of color (none of my walls are anywhere near beige) so don’t be afraid to try something different. If the exact colors in the chair are a bit much, keep the same colors but tone down the shade a bit.

A more subdued shade of the colors in this snazzy chair will still work with the piece since they’re in the same color family. If you have such a predominant piece like this in your space, don’t try to compete with it. If you want blue walls, make sure the blue is a cooler green-blue like in your chair, not a navy blue or electric cobalt.

Back to that thing about if you like it, go with it. I really stand by this. Sure, some people may shudder at your bright red walls in a bedroom, but if you love it, go for it. As long as you’re happy in your space, you shouldn’t be concerned with the raised eyebrows around your fuchsia bedroom. Just make sure that color coordinates with your space.

Like this coral rug scenario, for example. With a neutral rug like this (or a neutral couch, etc), you can take a chance by putting some pops of color on your walls. These colors work because they’re in the same tones as the rug – warm tones. The blue, green and orange all have a bit of yellow in them, so they’re more warm than, say, a cool gray or cool blue. If neutral walls are your vise, you can mix it up by using the neutrals in the rug, but going a bit darker or lighter than those colors. Tweaking the tone a bit by going darker than the chocolate in the rug can keep the space from looking too matchy matchy.

Let’s say you have some graphic art that you’re working with in your space. Artwork is the perfect starting point for a finish scheme, but can pose some problems when it’s a bold black and white. You could take it one way – matching the neutrals and creating a clean, crisp space – or taking the graphic theme to a whole other level with some super bright color behind that art. With the neutral-tastic scheme, bring in some color with some rocking red or orange accents. On the high energy scheme, bring in some neutral furniture and clean lines to tone down those red hot walls.

Bottom line – choose what you like. Try to keep in the same color families or tones that your furnishings have, but have some fun with your color choices! Feel free to share any awesome color choices you’ve made for your home!

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A friend of mine recently sent the first ever request to the[artful]abode for some advice on DIY abstract art for her long, barren hallways. Of course, I had to oblige in the best way I could to keep my loyal (5) readers sticking around! Awhile back I took a stab on some quick, easy artwork for our guest bedroom. It took about 10 minutes, minimal supplies and zero talent. Seriously, Charlie could whip up this painting in no time if I trusted him with a paint brush.

First, I started with picking up a stretched canvas from my local art supply store. These come in an insane amount of sizes, so really the sky’s the limit with your creativity. Just figure out how much space you’re trying to fill and decide if you’d like one huge canvas or a series of smaller ones (odd numbers are always more pleasing to the eye). Try mixing up multiples in different sizes for a collage effect!

Next, I used the wall paint in my guest bedroom as a starting point (because I had some leftover) and picked up two other small tubes of acrylic paint in the same color family. You can basically buy whatever paint you’d like, but I chose these $2.00 paint bottles from Michael’s to do the trick. I decided to go with 3 colors that would gradate nicely from the lightest color in the room (the yellow on the walls) to the darkest color in the bedding (coral red). A nice, warm, peachy orange seemed to be in between the two, so I used that to help the progression in this piece from light to dark not be so drastic. You could definitely pick up 4 or 5 or 6 colors if you’re feeling ambitious – take a risk!

I started with the wall color at the top of my canvas and painted a third of the way down. Looking back, I probably would have divided the piece up into three non-equal parts, but I’m still happy with the outcome. I then mixed a bit of the yellow paint in with the orange (right on the canvas) to blend the two together, then brought in the orange for the 2nd portion of the canvas, then followed with the red. I used my handy dandy paintbrush, but you could certainly pick up a cheapo foam craft brush from Michael’s to take you over the proverbial goal line.

I continued the paint on the front of the canvas around to the edges to make sure any of the white canvas wasn’t exposed. I’m all about a crisp, white frame, but in the case of a canvas “painting”, I think the allure of it is that the painting exceeds the frame. I use the word “painting” loosely because hey, this is basically preschool type artwork – but you’d be amazed at the reaction I’ve gotten from this simple project! This is by no way anything new or innovative, but I hope this shows you how incredibly easy it is to create lovely, abstract art a la Rothko for under $30. Love it!

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Totally Table-tastic

This weekend I took on a little DIY project, furniture style. Scott was out of town on business, so I had to find something to do to bide my time. Oh, woe is me.

We have this little wooden table that was passed down from my mom. It’s kind of like Joseph and the amazing technicolor dream coat after a few drinks – it has way too many colors and it’s seen better days. But, I digress. This table was in need of an update, so I whipped out my handy dandy paint brush and got to work. Scott sanded and primed this bad boy a few weeks ago and painted it a bright yellow, per my request. Now, I’m sharing this with you because it’s important to know that all DIY projects don’t go like they do on HGTV. Plus, I love self deprecating humor. I didn’t even justify that first attempt with a picture because, frankly, it was a travesty. I can only attribute it to these lovely yellow chairs:

And the table was even worse than that. But I managed to pick up the pieces from my bad color choice and go for another attempt, without spending any more money.

This table goes in our office (ie. man cave) which has a lovely dark brown/olive-y green wall color. I took the too-bright-not-right yellow paint, mixed in a bit of the darker wall paint, and came up with a more subdued yellow-green color.

Ahh, much better. This is at least something I can share with you, internet, without being ashamed of my color choosing abilities. Sometimes that paint chip just doesn’t come out like you think – and that’s ok! The key to DIY projects is that you can’t be afraid to fail. If you do, just sand, paint and polyurethane again. No one will know… unless you tell them. :P
For this project, we used a latex based primer (after sanding away the previous paint coats – the electric sander is my new best friend), a semi gloss latex paint, and an oil based polyurethane. We used this combination of products due to countless hours (ie. 10 minutes) of research online, so take our word for it. The whole process took me one sunny afternoon – now isn’t that worth a freshly painted piece of lovelyness in our half-way updated office? I think so.

Any DIY furniture projects/mishaps you’d like to share? Revel in my misfortune – it’s fun!

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Hang Man

If there is anything I love, it’s art on the cheap. I love hanging framed pictures/artwork (even though I almost always have to recruit Scott’s help – I’m terrible at it) and adore looking at wall art and knowing that we created it. One of the best (and easiest) pieces of art to hang on your walls are photographs. They bring some color to your walls, some sentiment, and a heck of a lot of memories. And if you’ve taken them yourself, they’re virtually free!

After Scott and I got married, I decided to do this little collage of black frames in our bedroom of professional wedding pics and pictures we took on our honeymoon. We even included a photo of Charlie, our favorite wedding gift (he was free!) A lot of people are nervous about the whole picture collage trend, but it’s quite easy to master if you just follow a few bits of criteria, a la the artful abode:

Keep your frames consistent. Whether it be by size, color, or shape, a little bit of consistency will keep your collage from looking haphazard. If you want to mix up the sizes (like we did) keep the colors consistent. We chose to use the same type of frame, but you could certainly try different frames that are all one color, or similar frames that are in the same shade of color (shades of blues, etc). Lay your frames out first on the floor/bed to get the arrangement you’re looking for, then take your measurements and hang away.

Keep em’ close. I see a lot of collages out there that people have put up that just look a bit off. When you’re hanging a collage, treat it as a single piece of art. With that in mind, make the spacing between your frames between 1-2″. Anything more, and it’ll seem like your frames are floating on a large wall and not working together as a cohesive unit.

Keep em’ low. Well, not too low, but so many people hang pictures too high. Find the center of your piece (collage or single piece). That center line or a little above that center line should be at eye level of someone who is about 5′-6″. I used pretty vague adjectives here because it’s not an exact measurement, but a good rule of thumb. If a picture is hung higher than this, it won’t seem balanced in the room. Sure, if you’re hanging a mirror over a mantle or a large piece of art in a vaulted area, these rules aren’t for you. But for everyday hanging, think like a 5′-6″ person. This is the one bit of decorating knowledge we were taught in design school, so I took it to heart. :)

Scott and I hung these pictures on the other wall in the bedroom. One is from our wedding and the other is from one of his brother’s weddings, showing our two sides of the family. His brothers and him all got married within 5 months of each other (thank goodness they weren’t all girls!), so we like to remember all of the fun we had during that time. Pictures can definitely brighten your day if they illicit memories of boozing and dancing with family and friends. I had initially wanted to find the matching frame when we added the second picture, but I kind of like how the different frames give it a slightly eclectic look. Ooo look at me, gettin’ all wild over here. Two different frame styles! Someone stop me before I throw in a third!

This little number fills up an odd entry area from our bedroom to the back deck. Scott and I snagged these pictures during college from a local Tallahassee artist. The pics are of boats (Scott’s favorite past time) in Apalachicola, a place where we vacationed and where my best bud studied dolphins during school. The memories these pictures bring forth are threefold – score! It’s a burst of nostalgia when I come in from the back yard – plus they’re beautiful pictures to boot. Happy hanging!

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Custom Coral Craft

I love artwork and one day plan to make a million dollars so that I can cover my home with pieces by Mondrian and Seurat. But until then, I enjoy thinking up new ideas to make custom artwork for my barren walls – on the cheap! I’ve always loved the simplicity of botanical prints, but felt like their look was too vintage for our pseudo-modern home. So, one day I decided to play around with photoshop to see what I could come up with, and the result was surprisingly perfect! This little number can be created with just a few simple steps and look like a million bucks… which one day I will have. whahaha.

I started with doing a simple google search for “botanical prints” and found some coral ones that tickled my fancy. Their simple lines were just modern enough, but the organic shape kept things fluid and less rigid than say, a Mondrian. Side note, I love google. Really. We have a little love affair going on. I use the big G if I ever have a question/query and it never disappoints. Oh, how I love thee.

After you find an image that rocks your world, just open it in photoshop and do these two simple steps (if you don’t have photoshop, send it to me! I love helping my homedogs out). Choose a color that you’d like your image to be (I matched the color that was in the botanical print). Then, go under Filter- Sketch and choose Graphic pen. The graphic pen tool does a sketchy line drawing of your image, and the botanical print lends itself so well to this because of it’s white background. After that, hit print. You can tweak the colors/size for a particular frame, but the artistic part of it is that simple.

Pop these puppies in a crisp white frame (or a variety of colored/textured frames) and hang them on the wall in multiples. I picked up these frames from Target, but plan to get some similar ones this weekend from Ikea for another DIY art project. Easy peasy, right?

P.S. If you didn’t catch that, I’m going to our new Ikea this weekend. I might burst into stars with excitement – I can’t wait! It’s like the mothership is calling me home.

P.P.S. I am partially Swedish so that last comment almost made sense. Almost.

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It’s Easy Being Green

A very wise amphibian by the name of Kermit once said “it ain’t easy being green”. Despite my deep affection toward frogs (actually, I’m terrified of them), I would have to disagree with my chartreuse friend on this one. Being environmentally friendly, or “green”, has become such a trend in our society that it’s so simple to make little changes in your life that can make a difference in the long run. I haven’t been the most environmentally conscious person in my past – I recycle, I conserve electricity…. but do I have my own compost pile? Not quite. But now that I am a LEED Accredited Professional for green building design, I feel it is my duty to save the world, one bottle of soap at a time. Or, I just wanna lend my hand in the whole green trend. Either or. :)

I picked up one of these bad boys the other day during a visit to my neighborhood organic/whole food store. I’m not someone who subscribes to the idea of buying everything organic, but I do think that spending an extra buck or two on something that’s not hurting our lovely planet is worth my pocket change. I had heard so much about these Mrs. Meyers products, so I decided to join the club. These aren’t certified organic products, but they use all natural ingredients, are PVC free, do not test on animals…. and have a sense of humor to boot. Check out their website for some thrilling reading on their plethora of products. Plus, the fresh lemony scent makes my hands and kitchen smell oh so yummy.

Another simple little green trend that’s actually quite awesome is the compact fluorescent bulb. Seriously, once you go fluorescent, you’ll never go back! The long life of these bulbs alone will convert you. They also use less energy, so you’re wallet will be singing your praises. Scott and I have switched almost all of the bulbs in our house to these puppies and the thought of not having to change another bulb for a few years puts a smile on my face.

We do a few other little things around the house to save energy and money. We recycle as many items as we can (cardboard, glass, plastic) which is just as easy as throwing them into your basic trash bin. We also turn off the lights when we’re not in a room, unplug devices that we’re not using, and try to conserve water at every chance we get. We may not be the green queen and king quite yet, but at least we’re making that little extra effort to conserve. Any earth saving tips you’d like to impart?

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Spick and Span

Today’s blog installment is a tutorial on how to properly clean a paint brush. I actually just laughed out loud at how incredibly lame that sounded. But I’m still going to blog about it, despite it’s high risk of blog suicide. Scott was doing some painting today (that’ll come later in a more thrilling post) but it got me thinking about how awesome it is that we’ve done so much painting in this house and have managed to keep the same 2 paint brushes. This brush cleaning advice comes down from my very tidy father, who did some professional painting waaaay back in the day. He instilled this process of cleaning brushes in me at a young age (which I hated at the time) but it’s something that I’d like to pass on to anyone who is still reading this post after the captivating first line. It’s an easy way to save 10 bucks each time you paint and prolong the life of your brushes – now who doesn’t love that?

First, I like to start with this little number. I figure it’s best to rinse the brush in every way possible – having the water rush straight down to the base of the brush really helps to get all that caked paint out of your brush. The rinsing part should go on until it looks like all of the paint is out of the bristles… and then the piece de resistance comes into play; the wire brush.

Oh, how this little $3.00 wonder can make heavenly angel voices ring in my ears I will never fully understand. A wire brush!? Yes, this lovely little thing is a lifesaver for your paint brushes. If you don’t have one, pick it up now. Or borrow mine. If you can pry my loving hands off of it. Honestly, using this tool is the only way to get those little bits of dried paint out of your brush that will dry up and make your brush too stiff to use on future projects.

Use this little method to give your brush some tough love. Start at the base of the paint brush and run the steel wire brush up to the end of the bristles over and over, but put some elbow grease into it. Don’t be afraid to kick the pants out of your brush – it’s what it needs to really clean it. After this, just rinse the brush again and repeat if necessary. You shouldn’t see any little dried bits of paint in your bristles when you’re done with this process. Easy, right?

Now, doesn’t this post make you wanna run out and clean some dirty paint brushes? It’s either that, or you’re questioning why you’re friends with someone who would dedicate a blog post to cleaning paint brushes. Hey, there’s more where that came from, baby. Maybe next week I’ll tackle toilet cleaning or unclogging a drain, if you’re lucky.

Really, please come back. I swear next time will be better. :)

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