Butterscotch-Pecan Pumpkin Bread

Glad that y'all stopped by!  Okay, so truth be told, I'm not a "true" Texan, because I wasn't born here. But, I like saying y'all.  And although it doesn't feel like Fall here in central Texas (yesterday it was 95°F), I still got into the spirit of Fall by trying out a new, original recipe that's perfect for pumpkin lovers!

Butterscotch-Pecan Pumpkin Bread

Makes one loaf
  • 1-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 (3.4 oz.) pkg instant butterscotch pudding (dry powder, unprepared)
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Streusel Topping:
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup pecans, chopped finely
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Butter or grease a loaf pan. (You could also use nonstick cooking spray.)
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, dry pudding mix, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Add the pecans. Set aside.
In another bowl, stir together melted butter, brown sugar, pumpkin puree and eggs.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overmix.
Pour into prepared pan.
Now combine the streusel topping ingredients together in a small bowl. Use a pastry blender or two knives to cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Mixture should be crumbly.  Sprinkle the topping evenly over the bread batter.

Bake at 350° F for 60 to 70 minutes.  Don't over-bake; it will make the bread too dry. As the bread bakes, it will rise and the topping will crack. This is normal.
Place a towel under a cooling rack; sit the pan on cooking rack for 10 minutes, then tip out of pan onto cooking rack to cool completely.  As it cools, it will slightly deflate. This is normal. (The towel is to catch loose crumbs.)

Cut into slices and serve slightly warm. You could spread a little butter on top; a dollop of whipped topping or a small scoop of vanilla ice cream is also wonderful with this bread.

This bread is not overly sweet, but certainly will satisfy your sweet tooth!    

Please try this recipe and let me know what you think!  You can comment below, or catch up with me on Instagram and Facebook

4 Ways to Update Craigslist Furniture

Sometimes when you’re searching Craigslist, you stumble upon exactly what you want – Oh, happy day!   However, more often, you find a bargain that needs a little help -- or even a lot of help!

Craigslist has been my friend for several years now, for buying and selling all kinds of household items.  We picked up this chaise lounge chair for just SIX dollars!  It was sturdy and comfortable, but the fabric was out of date, and torn on one arm. Recently I sewed up a slipcover for it from a canvas dropcloth, using Miss Mustard Seed's tutorial, the total came to about $20 bucks!  It may not be "perfect", but it's comfortable and perfect for our guest room!

This glider rocking chair and matching ottoman were snagged this summer for just $25. The wood had already been painted white, which is great!  The original seat and back cushions had been replaced with thick foam cushions, and custom-made zippered covers.  The only problem was the color...pink.
Now, when our daughters were babies, this would have been perfect for the nursery. However, it definitely clashed with our current neutral-farmhouse theme!  The chair was in fair shape, and I figured that I would just sew up new cushion covers for it.

BEFORE - The original Craigslist Ad
The first thing I did was remove the cushion covers, and deconstructed the padded top of the ottoman, thinking I would use the fabric as a pattern for sewing up new ones. They needed to be washed...but first, I filled my kitchen sink with hot water and bleach (a lot of bleach), pushed down the material into the water, and in a couple of hours, they were white!  I laundered them, and Ed helped me stuff the foam padding back inside.  That saved me a lot of time sewing, and now it fits perfectly in our more neutral living room. Zero extra cost was an added plus as well!

The best bargains for me are FREE, and I was browsing through the free Craigslist section in our area, and saw this couch.  With kids and grandkids coming to visit, we needed to add more seating spaces. This is what the piece looks like:

The sweet military couple that was giving it away said it belonged to his grandparents, and I believed him. Other than the dated fabric, this thing is clean, and has absolutely NOTHING wrong with it. It had a slipcover thrown over it, and they gave that to us as well. (All totally free to us, because they had purchased a new Ikea sofa.)  I washed and dried the slipcover, put it back on, and it wasn't too bad! The look is lived-in, comfy, and casual. Just what we were going for!

AFTER - with the clean slipcover
Our son and his family came up for the weekend after we brought it home, and everyone seemed to like it and said it was comfortable. I really like the fact that I can toss the slipcover into the wash, just in case the grandkids accidentally get something on it.

Normally, I shy away from used upholstered pieces, but if it can be washed, cleaned up, or covered up, it can be worth the chance.

Wood furniture is an easier risk to take, as you can see from my Dresser to TV Media Console.
From worn-out to Farmhouse!  Click on the two photos to see how I used DIY chalk paint, embossed wallpaper, and curbside-found wood to give this dresser a prominent place in the living room!

BEFORE - The original Craigslist Ad

After a DIY Makeover

What have you found on Craigslist that you absolutely had to have?  Was it perfect in every way, or did you tackle a little DIY with it?
Leave me a comment below, or catch up with me on Instagram, Facebook or G+!  I look forward to your next visit!

Cross & Burlap Wall Art

Hi and Welcome!  It's so nice to have you drop by! Let me show you what I've been up to...

While we were waiting on Ed's new glasses at the optical shop, he steered me next door to Kirkland's, one of my favorite stores for home decor.  We cruised around for about half an hour, when I spotted this:
Apologies for the off-center, "quick-grab-your-cell-phone" shot! 
You see, I have a small metal cross that always seemed slightly out of place with all my other metal crosses, mostly due to it's size:

After seeing the inspiration art, my brain was whizzing around (see Mark Gungor's Tale of Two Brains), and I couldn't wait to get started on this quick little project!

Thankfully, I already had the supplies I needed:
  • 9" X 9" wood plaque (mine was cut from an old shelf)
  • tightly woven burlap about 12-inches square, ironed flat
  • Small Cross about 4-3/4" X 8-1/4", as long as it fits onto the board
  • lace of your choice
  • multi-purpose spray adhesive
  • hot glue gun and glue
  • iron & ironing board
You won't need to worry if your board is a little rough, but do sand down any sharp burrs or splinters.
Be sure your burlap is ironed flat, it will be easier to work with and give you a better outcome.
Spray the adhesive on the front of the board, and immediately center it over your burlap, and press it down flat, as straight as possible, so the grain of the burlap will look attractive.
Wrap the burlap around to the back, and hot glue it neatly into place.

Cut four pieces of lace to the exact length of the sides of the board, one piece for each side.
**In the inspiration photo, a decorative metal band was used all around the edges. You could use this Metallic Copper Trim, if you like.  I wasn't going for an exact duplicate, and I felt it would soften it visually by using lace.

Use hot glue to attach the lace piece flat against the outer edge; repeat on the other side. Now, the top and bottom pieces to create a "frame".

If you would like a more rustic/ industrial look, instead of the lace, try hammering some upholstery tacks into the corners; five in each corner would be enough to give the idea of framing, or go all the way around the edges, if you like.

Flip the board over onto it's front, and mark the location for a sawtooth hanger or "D" ring hanger.  If you don't have a hanger, try using a pull tab from a can of Pepsi.  I drew a line two-inches down from the top, and then found the center of that.  This makes it easier for your plaque to hang straight.

Finally, since my cross has a built-in metal hanger on the back, I put a small finishing nail in the front where the cross itself would hang.

Now my littlest cross can hold it's own on my cross wall.  Let me know what you think in the comments below, find me on Facebook, & chat with me on Instagram

Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

Here's an easy-peasy recipe that anyone can whip up in minutes!

  • 1 – 15 oz can of pumpkin (or homemade, drained well)
  • 1 box chocolate cake mix (DRY)
Open the can of pumpkin and put it in a large bowl.
Open the box of cake mix and dump it on top of the pumpkin.

-- NO water! NO oil, eggs, milk! --

Just mix it by hand and put into muffin pan cups, sprayed with cooking spray.
Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes.
No frosting is needed, they are chocolaty, and sweet, and oh, did I say chocolaty?
choc·o·laty adjective \ˈchä-k(ə-)lə-tē, ˈchȯ-\
Definition of CHOCOLATY: made of or like chocolatealso: having a rich chocolate flavor

You really don't taste a lot of the pumpkin!

Try them with Yellow cake mix, and add 1 cup of chocolate chips to make them 3-ingredient muffins!  Or with Spice Cake mix and chocolate chips for Harvest-muffins! Yummm!

Farmhouse-Style Fall Decor 2016

This summer has been really hot and humid here in central Texas, and my allergies are already kicking up! Starting in mid-May, we had birds nesting on the front porch, right on top of the door frame, so we hardly used it so as not to disturb the babies.  Now that they are grown-and-flown, the mud nest has been knocked down; the porch needs a good cleaning, but, it's still too hot outside to do much! My sweet Ed comes in completely drenched after he's done mowing the lawns.  We are both really looking forward to cooler temps and Fall fun.

Today, I got out my box of Fall decor, and in keeping with my new neutral color schemes, I did things just a bit differently this year.  There are still some pops of those Autumnal hues, but in small, strategically placed spots.

Over the past month, we've also acquired two new-to-us furniture pieces, and I'll be showing you those in a future post...soon, I promise!  

Every year, our Fall decor changes just a little, because its in my nature to want things to look fresh and interesting.  For instance, the little log cabin birdhouse on the mantle: when I went to the garage for my Fall decor box, I discovered that the birdhouse on a Christmas decoration had come unglued due to the heat out there. I just grabbed it and figured it would fit in somewhere!  The books took on a hint of an industrial-look with the metal basket.

Natural elements are almost an essential for Fall decor.  I paired those rustic, reclaimed-wood frames along with the log cabin wood birdhouse, and the wood B from Harp Design Co. in Waco, Texas. (as in, Clint Harp, Joanna Gaines' go-to furniture building guy from HGTV's hit show, Fixer Upper!)

When I was arranging the decor, I didn't start with a blank slate, like I sometimes do. Instead, I left up the farmhouse and church sketches, my collection of vintage books went into the metal basket, and the former "rag" banner was exchanged for this burlap & canvas Autumn banner.

There are, of course, some things that are used every year, but I might display them in another area, or in a different way. I pulled all the flowers out of last year's arrangement, left some out, and rearranged the rest.  Even in a neutral decor, pops of color are welcome and necessary for interest.

On the other side of the hearth, I wanted to keep things balanced color-wise, so I added a small garland of leaves, and a stalk of wheat. I also brought out my faux dough bowl with the real deer antlers, an Aspen candle holder from Colorado, and then lightly sprinkled some colorful faux leaves into the mix.  See that suitcase?  I've got an upcoming post about that, too!

There's a little spot in our living room that I just love, because it has my favorite color of blue!  This little Ikea Hemnes Nightstand started out black, and you can see how I transformed it HERE.  Keeping with the Farmhouse Fall theme, I added some DIY cotton stems, a small blue pumpkin, and my favorite glass doorknob!  (Me and my big sis in the photo - wish we lived closer!)

You guys! If you'd like to learn how to make some of those cotton branches for yourself, stop on over to Prodigal Pieces and Larissa will show you, step-by-step!

It's always so nice when you stop by and check in on me and my journeys! Don't forget to look me up on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and other social media.

Paris Nightstand Makeover

All we needed was a nightstand for our guest room, but new tables seemed overpriced and not well built. Our local ReStore is pretty small, but I was able to score this nightstand for just $8 and knew right away that I could make her best assets shine with a makeover!

The process to give this nightstand a makeover would seem pretty straightforward, however, I wanted it to have a special flair.

Here's the Before:

 Notice on the front leg it had been chewed off, and there were some bits of veneer missing here and there, like on the corner of the tabletop.

First, I tackled the repairs to the leg and veneer by using Elmer's Carpenter's Color Change Wood Filler.  It goes on lavender colored, and dries white.  I was able to form the shape of the missing wood, fill gaps and then after it completely dried, I sanded it smooth.

Since there were some water spots and rings on the veneer, I decided to use my DIY chalk paint recipe, and painted the entire piece, using Glidden Grab-n-Go in White that I picked up at Walmart.  I used the same paint in Gray for the accent color, but didn't make it into chalk paint.

If you remember, I used this same recipe on several other projects, Dresser to Media TV Console, Pallet-to-Console Table, and on Little French Girl. I've always had really good results mixing my own chalk paint, but I have also tried Waverly chalk acrylic paint and loved it!

There's usually little to no prep work with chalk paint, but of course, you do want to start with a clean surface. On the top of the nightstand, I lightly sanded between coats to get a smooth finish.  For the white, I used an inexpensive cheap chip brush, and a small, high-density foam roller for the top.  When it came to the gray accent paint, I used some artists brushes.  Using fine sandpaper, I gave it a light distressing all over to make it look like it had been around a while. The pretty distressed knob came from Hobby Lobby with 50% off!

When it came to lining the drawer, I used some pretty Eiffel Tower Paris paper that I had been hoarding for a couple of years. I got it in a specialty shop in downtown Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, but when I visited there this summer, the shop had moved.

This pretty beauty now lives in our guest room.  For just about $20 total, we have a lovely nightstand for our guests that I'm not ashamed to say, "I DIY'd it!".

I'm so happy with how this nightstand turned out!  It's given me confidence to also tackle our two bedroom nightstands. (Just have to wait for the other projects in line to slow down!)

Always remember that I'm happy for you to leave me your comments below, or have you follow me on social media!

Farmhouse-Style Ironing Board Holder

If you follow me regularly, you know that we move...a lot...annnd that I love me a good DIY using items I already have. So, this little project was made with stuff I had hanging around the house, and with an eye to another move sometime in a year or so.

A few moves years ago, I used to own a nifty plastic ironing board holder. However, being plastic, it eventually broke...probably in one of our moves.
Yesterday, I finished putting together an Ironing Board Holder that is made of wood with metal hooks; pretty sure this one will be around a while!

Inspiration came from several others I had seen on Pinterest:

  • one drawer or cabinet door front, or simply a 1-inch board that is approximately 18 to  24 inches long and about 6 to 8 inches wide
  • 2 large coat hooks, ample size to fit the feet of your ironing board
  • paint color of your choice
  • screws
  • drill with drill bit and screw bit
  • wood filler
  • sandpaper
  • clear wood spray finish
A good source for finding either a drawer or door front is Habitat for Humanity ReStore. I happened to have a drawer front left over from when I made my Dresser to TV Media Console.

Start by sanding and painting your board.  I used a 2-oz bottle of Waverly chalk acrylic paint in white, from Walmart. (I'd been wanting to try this brand for a while, so I purchased 4 bottles in different colors to have on hand.)

For my holder, I already had a little plaque with hooks (key holder) that we weren't using anymore. Since I had applied the burlap with spray adhesive, it peeled right off.  Hubs pulled out the middle hook for me, because it would be in the way, and then I painted the wood to match the drawer front.

Next, using wood glue and clamps, I centered the plaque onto the drawer front and let that dry completely.  You shouldn't rely on only the wood glue to hold them together, due to the weight of the ironing board.  Using a drill with a counter-sink bit, I drilled three pilot holes into the plaque, and into the drawer front, and used 5/8-inch screws to secure the two pieces. {I believe in making things that will last.}  I used wood filler to hide the screw holes, and after it had dried, sanded it smooth.

If you are using coat hooks, you can of course skip the step above, and attach them with screws onto your board or drawer front.  Just hold the board up to your closed ironing board to mark the position of the hooks.

At this point, I played around with how I wanted the oval to look:  did I want it to blend in with the drawer front, or stand out?  I even looked at how the burlap would look if I re-attached it.

In the end, I decided on a distressed look, which I obtained using sandpaper.  It gives it visual interest, instead of being just plain white painted wood.
Finishing up your ironing board holder is really up to you, so look for inspiration on Pinterest.  There were a few that used either a stencil or vinyl letters to read "Wash Dry Press Fold Repeat" or "Clean Press Steam Hang", others had a very simple, rustic look with no words.

In Coffeebreak font, I printed out the word Press < that's the link if you want to use mine. Here's the method I use for transferring the lettering.  You could use black craft paint and a small artist's paintbrush to paint the letters, or purchase black vinyl letters, or use a Cricut or Silhouette machine, to cut the letters out yourself.

Since I'm going for the Farmhouse look, I used some sandpaper to give it an aged, distressed style.
Finally, to seal and protect the piece, I used a spray-on Clear Wood Finish in Satin.

Since we are currently renters, we needed it to be removable and not leave huge holes in the wall, so I used "D" style rings for the hangers on the back, and picture hangers on the wall to hang it from.

Oh, hey! Since I was kinda on a roll with this project, I also made a hanger for my broom and mop! It only took me about 15 minutes, not including drying time.

Easy-peasy: a square 9" X 9" piece of wood, sanded & painted. Added two "D" hangers on the back; two single robe hooks for the handles to hang from on the front!  Of course, I added the words Sweep & Mop to coordinate with the Ironing Board Holder, and used the same distressing-technique.

Both of these now hang in our laundry room, and look so cute together!  Having these in the home could make being organized a lot more fun! What do you think?  Let me know in the comments below, find me on Facebook, & chat with me on Instagram

Farmer's Market Box

Around Christmas time, I purchased some tangerines that came in a cute little wood and cardboard box, and kept it, knowing it might be useful.  I wasn't a fan of the bright red and blue decorations, so I tried painting over them, but even after several coats of paint, the colors still showed through.

To the rescue: paint stir sticks!

Because I paint furniture on a fairly regular basis, I've collected about two dozen free stir sticks with my paint purchases.  I decided to put them to use, covering the box, and giving it a little farmhouse-style vibe.

(As I am writing this post, I've discovered that all my "before" photos were lost
when my old hard drive crashed!  So, I borrowed this photo from 
Kerry at Momster).

**Please measure your box first to check for the correct length of the sticks before you cut them.
First, I measured each side and cut the paint stir sticks with my Ryobi Scroll Saw to length, as follows: 
  • cut 10 sticks to 11-3/4-inches each, (4 from curved end, 6 from straight end)
  • cut 8 sticks to 8-1/8-inches each, (use the straight end, these won't have a curve)

Hot glue one long stick to the top edge of the long panels, one on each long side panel. You are doing this to make up for the difference in the long and short side heights. (see photo above)

Starting at the bottom, hot glue each long stick in place, 4 on each side. I alternated the direction of the sticks since one end of each stick has a curve. (**Look at the photo below for reference.) Make sure you line up the first stick straight and level along the bottom. If you have the box sitting on the table, this should be easy.

Next, starting at the bottom, hot glue on the short sticks to the short sides, 4 on each side. Make sure you line up the ends of the sticks with the ends of the long sticks, to keep things even.

Now, lightly sand down any rough edges, and then paint. I chose a pale gray-blue color. White or country-white would also look very nice.

See (above) what I meant by alternating the sticks on the long sides? Straight end on left, next row: straight end on right, and so on.

Allow the paint to dry completely, about a day is best.

Print out this Farmer's Market graphic < click on the words

Here it is reversed if you are using a different transfer method.

Using graphite paper and a embossing stylus or ballpoint pen, outline the words onto the box.
Now, using a permanent marker, fill in:

After the ink is dry, lightly sand to give the words and the finish of the box an aged, distressed look, as if it's been around for a while!

Once you have it looking good, you have many choices....use it to store fruit, like tangerines! Or use it in your decor, as I have:

You guys! I'd LOVE to see how you used paint stir sticks in your DIY and crafts, so please drop me an email and show off your creations!