A Look Back at the Summer Projects of 2014

At the end of the summer I usually post the fun things we did, trips we took and so on. This year however, I decided to take a look at some of the projects completed during the summer of 2014. Oh but first let me update you on my vacuum cleaner situation. 

It has been resolved and I finally picked up my Miele this past Saturday. She is running beautifully and I was charged no more that the quote...sweet! The man I dealt with on Thursday when I ran over to pick up a loaner was very kind and apologetic for the entire situation, so that made me feel somewhat better. But to be honest, if I have any other problems with my Miele I think I am going right out to by a Shark! Many of you suggested the Shark vacuum and I actually had a chance to use one when my gal pal Pegs loaned me hers for a couple days. I loved the power of the suction and boy it really pulled stuff out of my  carpet I would have sworn was not there. So thank you to all who took the time to volunteer your advice...it really made me feel not so alone.

OK now lets get down to my project list. Starting in June I shared with you...

And then in the beginning of July I shared my 

July was a busy busy month. I was down the shore helping my ever so wonderful bestie update her new beach home kitchen on a shoestring budget. The one job I was assigned to was to paint the harvest gold kitchen counter top to look like granite

I also began the project of repainting and redecorating our living room here at home. This 
job is still in progress and I hope to share the reveal with you the beginning of next month. But in the meantime I did go a little stencil crazy with the walls behind our bookcases.

Then the beginning of August it was back down the shore to help finish up the kitchen project at Donna's beach bungalow.

Can you believe this transformation for under $2100???

(We even painted some of the appliances with liquid aluminium to look like stainless steel.)

I still have this beauty to paint for our living room makeover...

...and new window treatments for the room's bay window. Things are coming along slowly but surely. 

Over the past weekend Mr. Rosemary Lane took on the task of painting the ceiling of our back patio. We still have to paint the studs and replace the screens. This project is kind of taking top priority because we want it to be ready to go for next spring, especially if it turns out to be an early one. (Fingers crossed)

It is going to be a gorgeous last week of summer for the kiddos so we are taking a few days and heading back down to the shore.

Hope your week is going swimmingly!



Trying Not to Blow a Fuse - My Appliance Dilemma

The vacuum cleaner is probably one of the greatest inventions ever as far as I am concerned. It is right up there with the automatic dishwasher, washing machine and modern ranges. Over the last century these fantastic inventions have revolutionized the way accomplish daily chores saving us countless hours of intense and backbreaking labor. And I for one am a woman who would not want to go back to the old way of washing clothes or cooking over an open flame.

So here's the question...what to do when one or more appliances manage to die at the same time. Appliances today are not cheap...most of them typically cost somewhere in the range of $500- $600 for a middle of the road model, and that is a hard one to swallow if two or more of these modern day miracles needs to be replaced.

Well with that being said, here is how my appliance dilemma has come about...

About 3 weeks ago our automatic dishwasher, which is just short of 9 year old, totally crapped out on us. It was like the thing had a mind of its own and simply quit. There was no warning of any kind...no odd noises or inconsistencies in performance...it just stopped working. So fine...we can deal with that for a while...we have two able bodied children who can step up and assume the task of washing and drying dishes. As soon as we can pull the money together we will purchase a new dishwasher. This is rather reasonable way of thinking isn't it? We made the decision that we can live without this wonderful appliance for a few weeks until we can buy a new one. 

It was only two days later that one of the burners on our kitchen stove refused to turn off. Me and hubs frantically played with the dang thing for about 15 minutes or so trying turn off the burner as to avoid the unthinkable of unplugging our entire stove from the wall leaving us without anything to cook on or in. Finally the burner was off and not to be used again. So now I am down to 3 working burners but thankfully the oven is also operational. But this is a prelude to the fact that a new stove will be in our not too distant future. Sometime after we pull the money together to replace our dead dishwasher we will have to tighten up the purse strings and begin to save so to replace the now dying stove.

Then last Friday I pulled out our 5 year old Miele to vacuum up the crumbs on the kitchen carpet from a biscuit the dog had eaten, and I realized that it was not picking up a thing! I flipped the vacuum upside down to make sure the beaters were moving and nope, they were as still as can be. Making sure that they were not accidentally turned off, I flipped the switch for the beaters on and off several times but still no movement. Dag...must be the belt I thought. I made the call to the closest vacuum cleaner repair shop which is easily 35-40 minutes away and ask if they repair Miele brand. "Yup" the man said and within minutes I was in the car with my Miele in hand making the trip out to drop it off. He told me just to open up the thing was going to be $40 but that money will also be applied to whatever repairs need to be made. "Call back on Monday morning and it should be ready for pickup" the man told me. I then asked for an estimate and he quoted "$129 to $149 roughly". Not so bad a price and then I can minus the $40 already paid to open up the vacuum. This we can live with and have no real setback in purchasing a new dishwasher, or so I thought.

Monday rolled around and I called the repair shop. I was told it was not ready and that they want to replace the chewed up electrical cord before they gave it back to me. Only one problem...they couldn't get the handle where the cord originates from to open. "Did you or anyone else glue this handle shut at one time?" the man asked. My reply was no and never. The only thing I have ever done was to change sweeper bags. "Call back on Wednesday to see if it's ready" the man said and that is what I did.

So today (I waited until 4pm to give them ample time to to work on my machine) I called the shop to see if it was ready. "Well no it's not" was the reply I got to my question. I explained that my vacuum had been there for a week already. "Can you hang in there another day or two and maybe I have a loaner here and you can just swing by to pick it up." Swing by...what is he kidding me? I told the man that I was about 40 minutes away from his shop and that if the sweeper will be done by the end of the week I would just rather wait to pick it up. "Let me ask you...did you ever glue the handle of the thing shut for any reason?" the man, obviously not the man from Monday, asked. No and never was again my response. "Well I worked on this for about an hour today and can't seem to get it open. How about I give you $100 on a trade-in on a new Miele?" A trade in??? What the heck!!! All I did was drop it off for a simple belt replacement and now we're talking trade in on a new vacuum? "You see I really can't give it back to you with the cord like this. It is a hazard, God forbid it causes a fire with these wires all exposed."  OK...I get that, but really how can we afford to buy a new sweeper when the dishwasher has to be replaced? "I can give you a new Miele originally priced at $699 but has been reduced to $599 plus $100 dollars off for the trade-in, with a 2 year supply of bags, a lifetime warranty on the motor, and I'll even throw in a bag of vacuum accessories which is an $89 value." Now my head was flipping spinning off my shoulders. I told the man that I can't just make that call because we currently have other appliances to replace and that I will need to confer with my husband.

I called Mr. Rosemary Lane at work and explained the entire situation. I asked him what he thought we should do and his response was to go out and buy another vacuum only a different, less expensive, brand. But I love my Miele...this is my second one in 12 years and I have to tell you that I am not exactly easy on any of my appliances. With 2 kids and a dog and cat that both shed I need a good brand when it comes to vacuums. Also I am not exactly impressed with this repair shop's inability to replace a simple electrical cord. They have my machine but with no idea of how long it is going to take them to fix the thing, AND they won't give it back to me with the cord's wires exposed.

So here we sit with no dishwasher, 3/4 of a stove top and a vacuum cleaner being held hostage in a repair shop, a questionable repair shop, 40 minutes away! Boy when it rains it really does pour and I am usually a pretty positive person. I'm just hoping...scratch that...praying that nothing else appliance-wise or anything else-wise gives out in the meantime. At this point we have decided to mull over our options but let me ask you...

What would YOU DO??? Cuz I'd sure like to know!

I sincerely hope your day as far as appliances working is going at least a little bit better than mine.


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Kid Fun: Marshmallow Pops

While at the beach the beginning of this month my sister Kim shared with me her Woman's World magazine, and on the 3rd page was this adorable fun kid recipe from blogger Vanessa Coppola from See Vanessa Craft.  (You must hop on over and check out Vanessa's blog...so many great ideas for parties and crafts!) Well it stuck in my head as being one of the cutest party treats I have ever seen. So today when my friend Donna invited us to her pool for a little swim party with the kids, I knew I was going to have to make Vanessa's summery sweet treat to take along.

These are incredibly easy to make with some pretty simple ingredients.

Here is what you will need...
About 15 lollipop sticks or straws. (I used plastic straws from Walmart and cut them down.)
15 marshmallows
1/2 12 ounce bag of  light  blue candy melts (also from Walmart)
1/4 cup of crushed graham crackers
15 cheddar flavored gold fish
 30 large white pearl sprinkles for the fishy's bubbles

Push the straws or lollipop sticks into your marshmallows. Melt the candy according to package directions. For really smooth coverage I use a teaspoon and dipped it into the candy and then with the right side of the spoon I smoothed on the candy as I twirled the marshmallow stick. Then dip the bottom of the pop into the graham crushed crackers and lay them on their side on a clean plate. Press in the fish and the pearl sprinkles. The candy will hard pretty quick but if you are in a hurry you can pop them into the frig for a few minutes.

This darling recipe appeared in the August 11, 2014 of Woman's World Magazine

These pops are really perfect for a kid party...but I have to admit that adults like them too!!!

Hope you are enjoying a great day!
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1970's Kitchen Makeover for Under $2100

Hi Everyone and good morning!

OMGosh...it feels awesome to be back behind my keyboard blogging away after being away for the past week, and boy do I have a doozy of a post to share with you today! Myself and Mr. Rosemary Lane, along with our kiddies and my sister Kim, spent a fabulous week at the Jersey shore soaking up the sun and enjoying family time together. We were so lucky that my dear sweet friend Donna invited us to use her family's newly purchased beach home for a full 10 days. 

However before any visitors could come to the beach bungalow, Donna and her hubby spent the better part of the summer bringing their 1978 charmer into the 21st century. And the biggest challenge was that of updating the kitchen on one incredibly thin dime. I am not kidding you when I tell you that this kitchen could have been the poster child for the entire 1970's with its harvest gold counters, dark brown Formica cabinets, orange painted walls and mismatch appliances. 

Take a look at the photos from the property's MLS lisitng...

Pretty dated right? This room is enough to make anyone run scared at the mere thought of purchasing this home, that is except for my friend Donna. Talk about fearless...when was the last time you saw anything so unbelievably ugly let alone contemplate taking it on as a budget renovation? And the budget was tight one, but with a little ingenuity, a lot of elbow grease and one creative vision, this heart of the home was given stainless steel appliances, new wood flooring, a center island and granite counter tops.

But how could that be...right???
 I mean we all know the price of new appliances especially stainless ones. And granite counter tops demand a pretty nice penny too. 

Well it was done and here are the photos to prove it!!! 

Of course the first thing to do was to paint over the oh so very loud orange walls with a much more soothing gray color using Valspar's Premium paint. This driftwood gray color was also used throughout the main living area and hallway. 

(Tip: Using a uniform color in adjacent rooms helps to make the entire interior of a home seem much larger.)

The refrigerator, dishwasher and range hood are all the same appliances you saw in the listing photos. Yup not kidding you in the least, they've just been painted with liquid steel to look like stainless. Since Donna felt the previous stove posed a safety issue for the house, the decision was made to replace it with a new stove and oven. 

And instead of going through the time and expense of ripping out all the dark brown cabinetry, Donna painted them using a kit she bought specifically made to paint over Formica. She then bought all new cabinet hardware. 

The center island was fashioned using the microwave cart left by the previous owners, along with particle board covered with a granite looking Formica. Feet were added to the island to raise it up a little and for style. and the entire base and legs were painted black. A finished edge still needs to be added to the island top, but with that said the entire project was done for just $100.  

A new flooring laminate with an interlocking system was laid right over the old 1970's floor...no glue or nails needed. The kitchen is actually a pretty good size and the floor extends into the adjacent laundry room, so given the fact that there was a lot of floor space to be covered the price of the flooring was really pretty reasonable...it came in at about $900. 

Some cute open shelving was also added to the space along with new window treatments.

Donna and her hubby built the kitchen's farmhouse style table and then last week yours truly painted the skirt and legs and stained the top. The tabletop was cut from a larger piece of pine Donna purchased at Home Depot along with 3/4 round strips to bull-nosed the edges. Mr. Rosemary Lane cut and attached the 3/4 round to the table with an air gun and compressor. The six chairs were another thrift store find for only $50. They are slated to be painted white with a new fun and funky colored fabric for the seat cushions.

And finally the last big ticket item added to the kitchen was the new counter top finish. This again was painted on right over the old Formica top using a faux granite paint kit by Giaini. This was my project for the kitchen and I am still in shock over how fabulous the counters turned out...they really do look like granite! To see this transformation up-close and personal, just click here

Donna also painted the tile back splash with a special tile paint in which she added a little sand to for texture.

The breakdown...

The total cost of Giani liquid steel paint to transform the mismatched appliances...$79.95. 
The new stove came in around $500.
Kit to paint Formica...$79.95 by Giani
New cabinet hardware...$52
The Center Island total project cost...$100
The leather-topped stools were picked up at a thrift shop for $10 each.
The total cost for the new laminate floor came in at $900.
Farmhouse table project...$130
Six chairs for the kitchen table...$50
Open shelving and dishware...$25
New window treatments...$30
Faux Granite paint by Giaini...$69.95
Back splash paint...$25

Total cost for kitchen makeover...$2071.85 not including tax and shipping for those items bought on the internet.

Here's a side by side look...

 The kitchen came out looking fabulous and my oh my what a charming space. 21 Rosemary Lane was thrilled to be part of this transformation and we want to thank Donna and her family for allowing us to share in the experience. 

Hope you all are enjoying these last few weeks of summer before the kiddos go back to school!

Have a great day!!!
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