happy earth day

Most of the projects we do around here are “green”.  We love to recycle, upcycle, repurpose…whatever you want to call it.  We generally try to use what we already have and consider what the impact of buying new may have on the earth.  Not only is recycling earth-friendly but it is practical on the wallet in most cases too.  It is incredible to think of what we’ve repuposed in our home for a look that is uniquely ours.

Here are a few of my favorite earth friendly choices that we’ve made…

In our kitchen, we have a recycled pallet wood backsplash that has been going strong since day one.  We still love it.

kitchen (31 of 33)

Recently we wallpapered our dining nook with old blueprints.  Love!

Flea Market Style Dining Nook

Our headboard is made from a recycled old interior door.

architectural salvage bedroom

Once we rescued this old chair from the curb and gutted and upholstered it, it was good as new.  We couldn’t part with it!

Rehabbed Club Chair

We’ve started working outside in the vegetable and perennial gardens.  We’ve began composting all of our kitchen scraps and seeding veggies for a summer harvest.

beans

We’re also working on cutting back on unnecessary garbage wherever possible.  We recently switched solely to fabric napkins.  They’re no longer just for fancy occasions!

Spicy Tortilla Soup

Habitat for Humanity’s Restore recently launched a new blog with all sorts of DIY tips and ideas on this very topic.  I contributed this post regarding repurposing a small window.

Habitat for Humanity

Did you know that most counties have a Habitat Restore that will take your donations?  If you are renovating, do the responsible thing and  donate your old cabinets, doors, hardware and fixtures plus furniture and other household items.  It’s better than these items ending up in a landfill.  Find the Restore near you!

How are you making an impact in your home, garden and community this Earth Day…and everyday?

 

 

 

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creating age & patina

A few months ago, my sister-in-law and I tackled this large hutch for their home “landing area”. It was the perfect candidate for milk paint. An older, well made piece with slightly porous wood in most areas and a dulling finish left on it in others.  We predicted the dulling finish would create a resist and cause chipping.  Sorry, I can’t seem to track down a before picture but it was looking slightly dated.

Mustard Seed Yellow Milk Paint Hutch-3415

We chose to use “half strength” bonding agent. That’s a term I sort of made up meaning I don’t measure the recommended one part bonding agent to one part paint ratio. I don’t recommend “half strength” bonding agent until you really have a feel for how the paint works on different surfaces because it can be a bit of a wild card in terms of adhesion.  Of course, that is the fun of it!

Mustard Seed Yellow Milk Paint Hutch-3419

For the look we were going for, it worked out just right. We did little to no prep on the piece other than removing the hardware. We applied 2 coats of Mustard Seed Yellow with some bonding agent as described. We used antiquing wax around the edges, handles and details and waxed the rest with furniture wax. This created a perfect warm patina on the yellow.

Mustard Seed Yellow Milk Paint Hutch-3425

We were thrilled with how natural the chipping looked as if this hutch has been gracefully aging in a farmhouse for decades.  It chipped a little further after the piece was moved into its permanent place.  Once they felt the finish was just right, my brother applied flat polycrylic to those areas to stop any further chipping from occurring.  This essentially locked the age in.

For the inside shelves, we applied 2 coats of Linen. We thought the yellow undertones in the neutral would be a nice complement to the Mustard Seed Yellow.  We used regular furniture wax on the linen to keep it bright.

Mustard Seed Yellow Milk Paint Hutch-3426

When evaluating whether or not to paint a piece of furniture and what color to paint it, I feel you really have to honor the style and era of the piece.  I’ve learned this with trial and error of course.  But not every piece can handle every color.  This hutch is just perfect in a warm chipping yellow.  It has a nice farmhouse feel.  Yet, it can also complement some contemporary homes and decor as well.

I really love how this one turned out!  I’d love to see your latest milk paint project too!  Email pictures or tag @circadee on instagram with your finished project.

Mustard Seed Yellow Milk Paint Hutch-3428

trail mix cookies

spring. Spring. SPRING!  I think it is really here.  The sun is pouring through the windows.  The trees are starting to bud.  It’s amazing!

Over the weekend, I made trail mix cookies.  This is the third or fourth time I’ve made these and they never last long.  I thought I’d share the recipe with you all because they’re pretty tasty, vegan and the trail mix ingredients pack a lot of energy. There’s not a ton of sugar either so they’re not overly sweet.  The cookies have a crunchy exterior and are soft inside almost like a granola bar.  Yum!

Trail Mix Cookies recipe

I’ve dubbed them Trail Mix Cookies because there is 3/4 cup of trail mix ingredients that you can choose – seeds, nuts, dried fruit.  I haven’t made these the same way twice.  Stay tuned and I’ll explain…

Trail Mix Cookies – makes about 2 dozen

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 apple sauced
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup granola
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit
  • 1/4 cup seeds (1/8 c sunflower kernel + 1/8 c flaxseed)

Trail Mix Cookies recipe - 1 cup of granola

Pre-heat your oven to 275 degrees and grease 2 cookie sheets.

I like to sauce a fresh apple.  Core and peel an apple.  While measuring the other ingredients, allow the apple to boil.  Using an immersion blender, blend the apple into sauce.  (A work around for this step is to just add 1/2 cup of jarred apple sauce.)

Combine coconut oil, brown sugar, apple and vanilla.  Mix thoroughly.  This will make a nice adhesive for your trail mix.

Combine flours and baking soda and add to your mix.

Now for the fun part…and in the “trail mix” of your choice – 1 cup of granola + 1/2 cup of dried fruit (like cranberries, peaches or raisins) + 1/4 cup total of seeds and/or nuts.  I usually use 1/8 cup of sunflower kernels and 1/8 cup of flaxseed.  I have also used cashews.  The possibilities are endless.

Trail Mix Cookies recipe

Spoon cookies about 2 inches apart on your baking sheet.

Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Trail Mix Cookies recipe (5 of 10)

Enjoy!

Trail Mix Cookies recipe

For the brown sugar, we have been using Turbinado sugar which is essentially raw “brown sugar”.  We have been avoiding processed white sugar where we can.  Most brown sugars are just processed white sugar with the addition of molasses.  Turbinado is raw sugar with molasses.

Trail Mix Cookies recipe - Turbindao sugar

There are other modifications you can make to this recipe for it to work for your pantry choices.  For example, you can substitute the coconut oil for canola oil.

And while we’re in the kitchen, I don’t believe I shared you with you my two cents about oiling cast iron.  I posted last week over on Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint blog about the wonders of hemp oil and cast iron.  Check it out here.

Hemp Oil + Cast Iron

In fact, I’ve been all over the web lately.  I’m excited to share that our bathroom renovation was featured on Apartment Therapy and Hometalk over the weekend.  So if you’re new here, welcome!  Please enjoy our Trail Mix Cookies!

Trail Mix Cookies recipe

 

upcycled toolbox table

A couple of weeks ago I posted a quick snapshot on instagram and facebook of an upcycled table we put together.  The new table deserves a proper feature here today…

upcycled toolbox table

This was a fun little collaboration. Our lead picker, Jake, found this old, heavy toolbox a few months back. Lucky for him it was loaded with many worthwhile tools.

upcycled toolbox table

The utilitarian case is sturdy and well made yet too heavy to lug around filled with tools in modern times.  The rectangular box is the perfect size for a small coffee table or side table and has a lot of life left in it. The vintage piece has the best patina which tells stories of decades of hard work.  The original creamy yellow color is under there too.  After a thorough cleaning, I applied a coat of furniture wax for a nice durable finish.

upcycled toolbox table

I set out to find a nice set of legs and scored with these tapered mid-century ones.  We attached the legs to give the toolbox a boost to table status while leaving all of the original hardware in place.  I particularly love the brass corners.

upcycled toolbox table

Bonus, the table acts as a great storage piece since the top opens the same way the toolbox once did.

upcycled toolbox table

The toolbox table has found a new home!  Thanks for your interest in it.

Have you repurposed anything lately?

diy capiz shell chandelier

Back to the bathroom renovation posts…  I last left you with how we transformed the dresser into a functioning bathroom vanity.  Today is all about how we DIY’d that glowing goddess of a chandelier.

DIY Capiz Shell Chandelier and Bathroom Fan

I’m so in love with it!  We were always destined to have a chandelier in this bathroom.  That was a known fact from early on.  I was originally scouting antique chandeliers.  The reoccurring problem was the size and proportion of a true chandelier to this room which is very important to take into consideration when choosing a light fixture for any room.  I noticed capiz chandeliers pop up a few times on pinterest.  The wheels started turning. This, I thought, we could do on our own on a smaller scale and small budget.

First of all, what are capiz shells?  Turns out they’re oysters.  And not only popular on pinterest but in beach towns too.  I found a couple of these wind chimes at a local gift shop for 10 bucks each.  Score!

DIY capiz shell chandelier

DIY capiz shell chandelier

Need a closer look?  They’re funny.  Not my style, as is.

DIY capiz shell chandelier

I dismantled the shells so they could be re-worked into our light fixture.  These were absolutely priceless for this DIY because they already had the small hole punched through the delicate shell.  Perfect for stringing the fixture together.

  DIY Capiz Shell Chandelier and Bathroom Fan

Behind the depths of the radiator vent sits the original oh-so-important bathroom fan.  It is quite nondescript, builder basic like this one sold at Lowe’s.  Once the plastic cover is removed, a world of possibilities awaits.

DIY Capiz Shell Chandelier and Bathroom Fan

In our case, it was the replacing the cover with a salvaged heating vent.  So much more interesting!  Rather than having a bulb recessed into the ceiling as intended, Ryan wired a single pendant light bulb into the receptacle and mounted the cast iron vent to the ceiling.  At that point I laid out a design for the shells using painters tape.

DIY Capiz Shell Chandelier and Bathroom Fan

Each shell was strung on fishing wire using a series of half hitch knots.

DIY capiz shell chandelier

We started with a length of 3 shells for the center portion of the light.  The next layer is a length of 2 shells and then the perimeter layer is just a single large shell.    They were all tied directly to the vent creating a subtle graduated look.  The fishing line pretty much disappears into the ceiling so the focus remains on the shells.

DIY Shell Chandelier and Bathroom Fan

The fixture casts a nice warm glow when it’s on and of course the fan is fully functioning as well.  I am still on the hunt for sconce lighting by the mirror.  I’ll know it when I find it…maybe this weekend.  It seems to be hunting weather.  Stay tuned!

DIY Capiz Shell Chandelier and Bathroom Fan

This is a fun, custom addition for under $30 and about an hour of work.  A relatively easy DIY.

Cottage Style Bathroom

diy cottage style bathroom reno

We have had a quiet yet incredibly productive winter.  We needed it quite frankly.  We also really needed a new bathroom.  The 80′s builder grade hall bath was so dated and just blah.  We gave it a bright makeover on a DIY budget.  Ok, a renovation really.  Here’s how it looked when we acquired the house.  Yikes.

Bathroom Before

Let’s check out the updates.  Come on in…

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

I’ve been hoarding this dresser for a while because I knew it was just right for the new vanity.  And it only cost about $40 because the drawers needed work which is a basic requirement of turning a dresser into a vanity anyway.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

Storage is at a minimum in this house so preserving as much drawer space as possible was a goal that we easily met by using a porcelain trough sink instead of a drop sink.  I love how it turned out!

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

Check out this post for details on how the vanity was constructed.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

Please admire the vanity mirror.  It makes this tiny room seem much larger than it is and the bonus is that we had it all along.  It is very special to me.  The mirror is part of the French provincial bedroom set that I inherited from my grandmother.  I didn’t want to use the mirror with the dresser in our bedroom and opted to split the set up.  It worked out to be the perfect width to pair with the new vanity when hung vertically.  I didn’t touch the old finish.  It seemed like just the right warm, contrast to all of the cool aqua and white.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

 I really can never have enough hound dogs on guard around here.  Especially when they are in the form of vintage paint by numbers.

Vintage Hound Dog Paint By Numbers

Did you catch a glimpse of the shell chandelier.  Yup, I’m pretty smitten with that DIY too.  Sigh.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

Details about how we pulled that off for under 30 bucks are posted here.  The salvaged radiator grate is actually acting as a screen to the bathroom fan.  It is so much more interesting looking than the hardware store options.

DIY Shell Chandelier and Bathroom Fan

The renovation began with Ryan demoing out the old vinyl flooring and vanity.

Bathroom demo

He then installed white ceramic hex tile for my birthday present!  The gift of home is the kind I love.  Seriously.  The vintage hooked rug was a birthday gift to myself.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

Next up was the PVC beadboard installation that Ryan also DIY’d.  We kept the stained wood molding around the door and window to match the rest of the house.  However, we replaced the door with a white beadboard style which we’ll continue throughout the house.  This seems to be a great compromise between the bright cottage style I love and the craftsman wood style that Ryan loves.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

We picked up a few old brass ship plates last year at Brimfield.  The ‘Certified Private Lavatory’ one found a home paired with the wire bike basket.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

We went with top down window shades again.  I love the privacy they give but the light they allow in.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom

Thanks for visiting.  Stay tuned for some DIY tutorials from this room in the coming days.

DIY Vintage Cottage Style Bathroom