Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Making Our Own Nightstands!

So after purchasing our very first home back in February we set out to make it ours. Bit by bit we turned the open space into our space with homemade additions and the help of Target. However,  our master bedroom had been put on the back burner to be finished.

Mostly because I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do with it. When we moved in we had just a bed and a tall dresser. Craigslist found us another long dresser that I hope to strip and stain to match, eventually. But thats a project and a post for another day.

What we really needed were nightstands. I searched high and low for ones that were exactly what I wanted, and choked when I looked at their price tags! Ranging from $80-$150 each, even at Target! No way was I paying that much for a pair of fabricated nightstands!

Thats when my search brought me to shanty2chic. They had the perfect plan for building your own nightstands (here) and what better excuse to play with my husbands power tools then to have a go at it myself? The ladies over at Shanty-2-Chic are awesome, and they have great ideas for beginners and up!

Honey, do you mind if I use these?
Didn't think so.
I bought all my hard materials at The Home Depot (wish I would have waited for a lumber sale, they would have been even cheaper!) and followed Shanty's directions to the T!

Unless you have a rotary saw I highly recommend having the guys at the Home Depot cut your boards for you, it took me forever to do it with my hand held. But once I had all my pieces and had drilled all my holes using our Kreg Jig (super handy, I highly recommend!) I was ready to start assembling. 

This part is the hardest, ensuring that all your boards are lined up and square, patience is a must so that you don't have lopsided nightstands or gaping holes. I recommend cutting your pieces as you go, to ensure a proper fit.

I used all size screw and board measurements that they recommended on the shanty website and definitely make sure to look at the thickness of boards you're getting, it will make a difference.

Now it was time to attach the face boards. Since these sit flush against each other its really important to make sure the measurements are spot on. Remember, always measure twice, cut once.

While the glue on these were drying (I also used 1 1/2inch wire brads to attach) I started drilling my holes in the 1X4 boards that would make up the plank top. Personally I liked the look of the plank, but it's not for everyone. It's also very tricky to screw them together straight and even. Thank god for C-clamps. Once they were assembled, I put a good layer of wood glue down and stuck in 4 screw from the inside for good measure. That top piece isn't going anywhere.

Also I noted that in the plans it didnt have enough of the 1X4X8 boards to assemble both tops, so either purchase 3, or make sure to grab a smaller piece.

I also didnt like the way the middle shelf didnt have a face board, so I added one, which required another 1X2. I felt the finished look was better.

In the plans she states you can choose to add a back board piece. I wasn't going to at first, but once again the finished look was just better and decided to pick up 5mm plywood to attach to the back. Warning if you're planning on staining these, plywood stains darker.

Now to sand these puppies down, and boy does that take forever! I also rounded off the edges for a used look.
Ready for stain!

Speaking of stain, this is where it gets fun. Theres so many color choices you can do. I opted for a mix of Red Mahogany and Espresso minx stain. Staining is cake, but wear gloves because you'll be cleaning the spots of for days. A quick once over with a paintbrush, then wipe it down and let dry for 2 hours and it's good to go!
After 2 layers of stain.
Up Close of the beauty of stain. 

Whoa thats bright.
I opted for a flat base finish instead of the wheels she uses in the plans. All in all in took me 3 days and less than $100 to make these. And I absolutely love how they turned out! I don't imagine adding doors to the bottom portion would be that hard if I ever wanted to go that route, but for now some solid wicker baskets should suit them just fine.
 Thanks again to the ladies over at for the wonderful and detailed plans, I can't wait to make something else!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

An open letter to all Mom's, Grandma's, Sister's, Aunt's, and nosy people...

This is an open letter to all. I won't even dare go into the length of family members that have begun to pester us with this exact question. So I am addressing this to EVERYBODY.

As newlyweds (married last October) I have found that the more I run into family and even some friends, the more frustrated I have become.

Mainly for this one reason. The first question I always hear is: 1. How's married life?

Like it's anything hugely different from our dating life? We fight, we struggle, we get on, and we love one another. Essentially nothing has changed except for my last name. And for other's their address. But even this question is manageable and not the main problem.

More and more we are starting to get the "So when are you two going to have a baby?". Lovely question. But here's my problem with it. That is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS! The amount of people we've heard this from ranging from our own mothers to complete strangers and everyone in between has been astonishing in our so far, relatively, short marriage.

Now I'm not upset that Grandma wants to know when she's going to made a great-grandma...yet again. It's more the fact that everyone assumes that since we've been married a mere short 9 months that we should already be popping out kids. My answer is this...


I don't mean to sound rude or insensitive to inquisitive family... but seriously! You don't know our lives and you don't know our struggles.

We could be trying to conceive and struggling. Not everyone gets pregnant on their first go. Could you imagine the pain you are causing a hopeful woman who so badly wants to be a mother every time you ask her about her internal failure? While you may not know it (because who voices that to the world?) she may be dying every time you gleefully ask her when she plans on becoming a mother.

Our marriage could be on the rocks. Let's face it, with a 50% failure rate and the first year quite literally being the hardest for most married couples, we could be struggling to keep it together. And you asking if we plan on popping out a little person could just be salt to the wound.

We might not want kids yet. Some couples have a hard time deciding between their own personal time and dedicating a huge chunk of it to child-rearing. I mean let's face it, it is a 18+ year commitment. And that is slightly terrifying to some (myself for sure).

We might not think we can afford it. A recent study showed that each child costs approximately $250,000. That is no small chunk of change. And when you throw in the possible wedding costs, as well as other expenses new couples face (think new house, honeymoon, possible relocating), it really adds up to a terrifying cost to some.

We could have gotten pregnant and miscarried. 1 in 4 woman lose a pregnancy, and its more than likely that it will be before they even get a chance to announce it to family and friends. So many women choose to struggle with this burden alone. If this is you, just know that you don't have to suffer alone and there are many women who share your pain. Visit here for more information.

My point being, you don't know our struggle or what we are going through. So stop asking! Rest assured, that the day we do decide to become parents and actually have news to share, we will let YOU, our family whom we love, know first.

with love,
a new wife

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Baking for the Barker...Spent Grain Dog Treats

So my husband loves to home-brew, big surprise. We are huge craft beer fans so it was only a matter of time before he started to brew the tasty libation for himself. What started out as easy peasy home brew kits quickly turned into a bit of a hobby obsession with him when he decided to switch to all grain brewing. I was more than thrilled, more variety, more flavor, and the recipes were actually his own. What I wasn't so excited about was the aftermath.

Holy crap does home brewing put out a lot of waste.

For those that aren't familiar with the beer making process, it involves taking cracked barley grains and "mashing" them in with hot water to release the sugar components in the starch. This makes a liquid known as wort, which to a brewer is the entire purpose of this feat. What you wouldn't have guessed though, is that once you get the wort, you are left with pounds and pounds of spent grain.

The question that has come to a lot of home brewers and even commercial brewers minds is "How am I going to get rid of all this grain?"

These are what Ive seen done:
- Composting: Sounds awesome if you have a set up already, and even if you do and you are an avid home brewer you might still need another backup.
- Livestock Feed: Super handy if you happen to have a herd of cattle, goats, chickens, etc handy, because they love the stuff. Some people have formed wonderful relationships with local farmers for trade. Spent grain is like candy to those animals. But if you don't have any around, and don't know any farmers, then what?
- Homemade Bread: Sure! Sounds good, except I don't have the patience to make bread, so Ill leave this one to the avid bakers.

The last resort that I've come across seems to be fairly common and honestly to me, the best. Homemade spent grain dog treats.

We have just 1 dog, but he's the size of a person so buying treats for him can get costly. What better way to appease the pooch, and dispose of a good portion of grains in the meantime?

I found tons of recipes online, and after taste testing them myself, tweaking them a tiny and finally testing them on my dog Pooka, I came up with a winner.

Homemade Dog Biscuits
3 hours. Makes approximately 40 medium biscuits depending on size. 

4 cups spent grain
1 cup peanut butter (I prefer Skippy because there are no chemicals or bad stuff)
2 cups flour
2 bananas, mashed

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix all ingredients together until well coated and sticky. Roll out with rolling pin and use cookie cutter to cut shapes or press onto wax paper on a cookie sheet and slice with knife. Bake at 350 for 30 mins.
Lower oven to 250° and bake for 2 hours. Remove treats, flip upside down and bake for an additional 30 mins. This is to ensure the treats are thoroughly baked so they won't spoil or mold. Let cool completely. Store in airtight container.

After baking
Before Baking
I substituted bananas for eggs, to make these an even healthier treat for my pup. If you don't wish to feed your dog bananas (its perfectly safe) just exchange 1 egg per banana.
Its very important to refrigerate the grain right away or make the treats day of mashing so no spoilage can occur.
If you are adding hops during your mash (which you should never do but thats a different topic), DO NOT use that grain for dog treats.

Enjoy! I know my pup, the neighborhood pups, and my family and friends pups certainly do!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Wedding Details: The Flowers

I know its been 3 months since my wedding, but I worked really hard on putting it together and really enjoy sharing it with you! So without further ado...

Today's topic is Flowers!
Now I have been to a fair amount of weddings, and seen a lot more online, where flowers were just EVERYWHERE. I see absolutely nothing wrong with this, and dependent on venues I even agree with it. But as my own wedding was on a budget I tried my best to keep my flowers on the minimal. It helped that my venue didn't need much adding as far as decorations go, and that Thank You goes to the Bellevue Berry Farm in Papillion, Nebraska. Such a beautiful site that I did not have to add to it much.

It took me a LONG time to decide not only on a florist, but on the flowers I wished to have. Like most brides I looked up bouquets online and on Pinterest (my favorite) for weeks until I narrowed down what I was looking for. And then I met with several florists who politely informed me one after the other that the flowers I had fallen in love with were not in season. So if I can give any advice it will be Be Flexible on that! I must have changed mine 10 times and they turned out amazing.

In the end I decided to go with an amazing florist that worked with my budget, and had beautiful ideas to add to my own and actually listened to what I was looking for. It was Taylor's Flowers in Omaha, Nebraska and I would HIGHLY recommend them to any bride.

I was looking for something rustic to go with our venue and found just that.

We decided on White Dahlia's, White Lisanthus, Thistle, and White Spider Mums for the bridal bouquet wrapped in burlap and lace to match my dress and the barn setting that the reception was to be hosted in.

For my Bridesmaids I wanted similar, but in Orange. So we went with Orange Mums, and Orange Dahlias.

I also had a Junior Bridesmaid and flower girl which I did smaller versions of the bridesmaid and bridal bouquets for.

A humungous Thank You to my Amazing and Talented Sister for her photography skills. For anyone in the Tampa Florida area she is truly a talented and exceptional wedding photographer. Contact her website here and her Facebook page here.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wedding Blog! My Something's...

So I realize it's been awhile since I've blogged for you kids. And I'm sorry, it took longer than I expected for our wedding photos and most blogs that I had in mind all required the pictures.

Today's blog is going to be about my bridal something's. That is my Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue.
I absolutely love this bridal tradition and like most brides didn't hesitate to get all 4 items. Here are my "Something's"

Something Old

My grandmother had passed away a year and some before my wedding, and her presence would be greatly missed by all, especially me. A few days before my wedding my grandfather gave me an unexpected surprise, my grandmother's engagement ring.

It was so beautiful, simply sweet and unique. It brought tears to my eyes, knowing that my grandfather had wanted me to have it, and that my grandmother would be with me in a very special way on my wedding day. I couldn't have asked for a better surprise from him.

Along with my paternal grandmother's ring, I also wore a gold band from my maternal grandmother, which was gifted to me a year ago. It meant the world to me to be able to carry both of them down the aisle with me.

Something New

Like most brides, my something new was my wedding gown. Being the first in my immediate family to get married I sought out the perfect gown, which took me and my poor bridesmaids to 4 bridal stores, and TWO gowns, you read that right. I bought one and then fell head over heels in love with a second. After selling my first gown I proudly wore my second choice, the dress of my dreams. I still can't believe that I found it.

Something Borrowed

This one was very hard for me, because most of all it was an element I couldn't control. Luckily I had an idea, and approached a woman very dear to me about it.

You see, when I was a 17 I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, and realizing my situation I gave that baby girl up for adoption. Enter the Prem's. To this day I could not have selected a better family for my daughter, and have zero regrets. I love them like my very own family.

I asked my daughters mom, Lisa, if she would honor me with my something borrowed, as I had always felt a love and appreciation for her own marriage and bond with her husband Tom. She agreed and I was over the moon.

I couldn't have been happier to wear her token down the aisle!

Something Blue

This token was the absolute easiest for me! With the wedding colors themselves being Blue and Orange I knew right away that I wanted blue shoes (thanks Pinterest). After searching for MONTHS for the perfect pair of shoes (not too short, the right style, open toe vs closed toe) I found them on!

I rocked my albeit tall Jessica Simpson blue suede peep toe pumps down the aisle and all around our grassy ceremony terrain. I loved my wedding shoes!

From my wedding woes and joys to your wedding dreams, I hope you've found some inspiration!


All Images are Copyright and are not to be duplicated without permission from the photographer. A big thanks to for the beautiful photos! For more information on our photographer, click here!