Monday, June 24, 2013

One Hour and 30 Dollar Craftsman Garage Door Makeover

What can you do to improve the curb appeal of your home in less than an hour and with about $30?

I have been wanting to do this for YEARS...I don't exactly know why I haven't.  But finally, while walking the Home Depot clearance aisle--one of my favorite bargain bins to rifle through--I found a garage door hardware set for $6.  Yes, $6!!!  So, there was the motivation.

In a few minutes, my hubby was able to attach the hardware to the garage door.  It instantly looked great, but it was still missing something.  So I had my hubby pick up some vinyl trim and he created faux window grates in the four small windows of the garage door.  Tah Dah!  Love it!

Now don't fret if you've missed out on the $6 clearance hardware kit.  The pieces can be found in the gate section of Home Depot, or you can just buy a whole kit...they are anywhere from $12 to $39 and even include instructions on how to place the hardware for various two-and three-car units as well as gates.  Very cool!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Healthy Chicken Salad Is Not an Oxymoron!

Healthy Chicken Salad on Arugula
I "heart" chicken salad.  Knowing it's just terrible for you, I was thrilled to find (and modify) this recipe for healthy chicken salad.  I make it at the beginning of the week, and then enjoy throughout the work week, alternating between putting it in a whole wheat pita, and eating it atop an arugula salad.

Healthy Chicken Salad Sandwich Pita

Effort Meter (1 to 5): 2

Delicious Meter (1 to 5): 4

Serving Suggestion: Serve in a whole wheat pita or atop a bed of arugula lettuce

Weight Watcher POINTS - About 7 points for 1/2 a pita
Healthy Chicken Salad on Whole Wheat Pita
2c shredded chicken (I used poached chicken breast)
1/3c plain non-fat greek yogurt
1/4c reduced fat mayo
1/2c shredded carrot 
1/3c sliced celery
1/4c chopped green onions
1/4c coarsely chopped sliced almonds
Garlic salt and pepper to taste
Baby arugula or any other greens (optional) 
Whole wheat pita (optional)


Mix shredded chicken, carrot, celery, onions, and almonds in a bowl.  Add mayo and yogurt and mix well, adding garlic salt and pepper as needed.  Top chicken mixture on a bed of arugula, or stuff inside a pita with arugula.

Monday, June 3, 2013

What Wood You Do With This Juniper?

Juniper Wood Framed Bathroom Mirror
Living in the high desert of Central Oregon, there is one thing that is strikingly conducive to this region: the distinctive smell of juniper in the spring.  Juniper, if you've never smelled its blossoms before, has a pungent odor similar to that of...well, cat piss.
When I first moved to Bend, the smell of juniper would sting my nose with such overwhelming intensity that I would scramble around the house screaming at my cat and crawling around the carpets on all fours trying to track down the location of the kitty pee.  I eventually figured out it was the juniper--not the cat--that was causing the odor, and this saved my cat from a one-way trip to the humane society.
Utah Juniper tree (Juniperus osteosperma) in C...
A juniper tree
Now that I've grown accustomed to the smell, I almost like it.  After a long vacation away from home, we'll make the turn around 97 leaving Mt. Hood and entering the high desert, and I can't help but take a big whiff and celebrate the "smell of home."

So, needless to say, juniper and Central Oregon go hand-in-hand, which is lucky for us high desert dwellers, because juniper has one characteristic that is a lot less off-putting than its smell: it produces a beautiful wood for furniture making and wood working (oh, and the juniper berries are also good for making distilled liquor!). Juniper has beautiful knots and curves, and gorgeous coloring once removed of its dingy, rough bark, and the contrast makes for beautiful wood working.
Juniper Bark
Juniper bark
A couple months ago, my husband's friend was out clearing some property for a friend when he ran across some debris from some juniper that was cut down. 
The juniper scraps we salvaged
 He asked my husband if he knew anything that could be made from the juniper debris, and so I jumped searched around Pinterest for inspiration and found this mirror.
Pinterest Inspiration
What a gorgeous idea! But, not having the need for a tall, skinny wardrobe mirror (and questioning the usefulness of a mirror this size that's half-covered with wood), I tried to think of how I could apply this idea elsewhere in the home.  And, while sitting in the bathtub reading the latest addition of Country Living magazine and thinking to myself how ugly bathroom mirrors are, it hit me: why not apply the wood as a frame around the big, ugly bathroom mirror.

And so that's exactly what my husband did.  To make this juniper wood framed bathroom mirror, simply:
  1. Find juniper wood scrap (this will be the hardest part).
  2. Plane four long juniper wood sections to about 1/4" in thickness.
  3. Cut pieces of juniper scrap to fit your mirror, making a 45 degree angle on the ends so they can fit together much like a frame would.
  4. (Optional) Router the external edges for a finished look.
  5. Sand down any sharp surface areas with rough sandpaper.
  6. Sand down the clean cut areas with a high grade sandpaper to give them a finished look.
  7. Apply clear or transparent stain to the pieces.
  8. Top with a coat of satin finish poly.
  9. Assemble by gluing the juniper wood pieces to the mirror using silicon.
So simple, yet so completely gorgeous!  Stock mirror no more! Mission accomplished!