Sweet Summertime Linky Party, Week One and Guest Post

Hi friends!  Today I am honored to be guest posting at Primitive and Proper, one of my all time favorite blogs!  Come join me over there as I confess to a secret love affair.

Onto Sweet Summertime…..
join me as I kick off a weekly celebration of summer today!

Share a glimpse into your adventures, amusements, happy happenings and simple pleasures each Friday.
Here are a few of the good things from our world this week.

the silver lining to missing haven….white water rafting with hannah, her girl scout troop & moms on the deerfield river in western massachusetts….oh so fun!

i also was able to go to a wine tasting with one of my besties thanks to being a haven no-show!

gifts from the garden

fresh summer blueberries for breakfast

the kids getting to be IN our friends' pool while it was filled up {with two tanks of water!}

a new tradition……mom & son birthday lunch with best friends - and birthday dessert of course!

the summer bucket list…..diet coke & mentos geyser

sean caught the photography bug

i downloaded the app camera+ to my old school iphone and i think it takes pretty good shots
ps * i'm in love with stone walls and old gates*

For stay-cationing, I think we're off to a good start!

What have you been up to??  I hope you are enjoying this sweet summer!


Build Your Own Shelves

Remember those shelves I built for my bathroom that I shared way back when?
Since I have fairly recently proclaimed the power tools in our house are MINE and have a newfound love of building things myself, I thought I'd share a quick tutorial on how I put these together for all you beginner carpenters out there.  (Pro carpenters, please avert your eyes.)

Gathering Supplies
*SHELVES:  This is super easy.  go to Home Depot or Lowes and have a piece of wood cut to size.  They will do it for you for free - just ask!  I had a 1"x6"x6' piece of select pine cut into three 2' pieces.  {The shelves are on a wall next to the toilet and I didn't want them to be too wide or we'd be wacking our heads on them when maneuvering around that area!)

*BRACKETS:  I bought these brackets at HD:
*TRIM (optional):  If you would like to trim out each shelf, figure out how much you'll need for one long and two short sides of each shelf and make sure to get more than you need to compensate for waste created when you cut angles.  (see below)


If you choose not to trim out your shelves, scroll down to Assembling The Shelves.

I couldn't decide if I wanted to go with the clean lines out a shelf without trim, or add some detail like these black cafe shelves from Ballard.

I decided that I wanted to add trim to the perimeter of the shelves after all.

Adding Trim
If you decide to trim out your shelves, it's time to get out the compound miter saw, girls.  
You can do it, don't wimp out!
If you own a saw but have never used it, get someone in the know to give you a tutorial (HD & Lowes have free classes on the weekends) and get up your courage.  If you can drive a car, operate an oven or  mixer or use sharp knives…….then you can learn how to use a saw!

Now, I said you could figure out how to use a saw and cut wood, but I can't promise that learning how to cut angles properly is going to be a breeze.  It still takes a few wrong cuts for me to get my groove on!

Miter the corners of your trim on 45 degree angles.

Assembling The Shelves
First up, paint your shelves, bracket and trim.  I decided to add trim after I had primed and painted the other pieces.
These products are a woodworker's best friends.
 If you are trimming out the shelves, add the trim before the brackets.  
Glue each piece of trim and hold in place with painter's tape while you attach with a nail gun.  
Next, attach the brackets.  Glue & tape them into place then nail from the top of the shelf.  I also added nails through the bracket shooting up into the shelf but in retrospect this wasn't necessary.  
Fill nail holes with wood filler, allow to dry, sand, and then prime and paint.

You might run into problems…
but hang in there!  
-That piece of trim that was too short?  I just cut an extra little piece, glued it in, filled the seam with wood filler and sanded it all down.  
-The nail that I shot through the top of the shelf by accident?  I placed a flathead screwdriver on the top of it and whacked it with a hammer to invert it, then used wood filler and gave it a good sanding.
-The mitered corner that was far from perfect?  You guessed it, wood filler to the rescue.

Trust me - once you have filled in your corners, nail holes and imperfections with wood filler, sanded it all down, primed and painted, your shelves will look fabulous!!!

There are all sorts of imperfections on my DIY shelves, but that's why I'm honing my amateur carpentry skills on a project for my master bathroom….only Mark & I will see the shelves up close!
Ya gotta make some mistakes to learn how to do it better the next time….so if you're just starting out, choose a project that won't be in a public area.  You'll still get the satisfaction of having built something yourself and you will learn some mad skills for your next carpentry project!!!

Was It Worth The Time & Money??
Well, let's see.  My shelves are not an exact replica of the Ballard Design Cafe Shelves, but similar.  The smallest BD shelf is 3' for $99.  My shelves are only 2' each, I have 6' total of shelving which would cost $198 at BD if I purchases two 3' shelves.

My Cost*:
-6' select pine board, cut into 3 shelves:  $13
-6 brackets @ $6.92 each:  $42

*I had the trim, primer, paint, wood filler and wood glue on hand already.  I estimate that if you don't have these items they would cost $34 to purchase cumulatively which would bring the project cost up to $89.

Gratification of building custom-sized shelves myself:  priceless!!

I hope this tutorial helps you to build your own shelves, or inspires you to try something new and scary!

Are you joining me for Sweet Summertime tomorrow?  Share a photo or a bunch of photos of your summer fun, every Friday right here!


Announcing Sweet Summertime

Hey friends!  Are you loving summer so far?  Enjoying gorgeous sunshine and warm breezes?

Since my goal this summer is to make some fun memories with my kiddos, and I'm also trying to improve my photog skills (and take pictures of more than just home renovation projects!), I thought it would be fun to host a party each week for all of us to share summer adventures and amusements.  One snapshot or 10 - the mission is to try to capture a happy moment from each week.

This is meant to be an easy breezy way to celebrate and share happenings from the summer - big or little - your post can even be wordless if you'd like!

The first Sweet Summertime linky party will be this Friday - I hope you'll join in!


Mangia Mondays:: June Features

Welcome to another edition of Mangia Mondays my peeps!

First of all - have you seen what my MM co-host, Kristin of Delightfully Dowling, cooked up with her husband?????  It's simply scrumptious!  I'll give you a hint at the ingredients:
sugar and spice and everything nice!

I'm over the moon delighted about that latest creation of Kristin's……hop on over to check it out!!

Time for June features!  Man, we've got some culinary talent amongst you chefs out there!  I'm always on the hunt for tried and true recipes for real life and you guys do NOT disappoint!

How about this quick and easy dinner for a busy day?
Chicken Tortilla Bake from Melissa's Cuisine:

Not Your Ordinary Recipes shared this Ballpark Salad that features turkey sausage.  I love interesting salads -- doesn't this look YUM?

Grilled Sweet Potatoes?  Yes please!  Thank you to Allison of Feeding My Temple for sharing this idea….Mark & I are on a huge sweet potato kick right now and I'm definitely going to try them this way!

This Sweet Shrimp Stir Fry With Rice from Healthy Mommy Healthy Baby sounds light and delicious for some al fresco dining on the deck this summer!

Elizabeth of The Mustard Ceiling linked up this Tomato and Goat Cheese Quiche that I would happily devour for breakfast, lunch or dinner!  Elizabeth also made this recipe using feta, which I'd love to try too.

This Couscous Summer Salad with apples and craisins, from Couponing and Cooking,  is a must-make for me this week!

How about some sweets for your sweeties?

Cooking Up Good Times shared these Raspberry Cheesecake Dessert Cups that are oh-so-pretty, and look exquisito, no???

This Carmelized Banana Icebox Cake hails from the blog Simple Living With Diane Balch.  Have mercy!

Now that blueberries are in season I can't wait to try Shopgirl's Blueberry Yogurt Cake!!

There are so many other wonderful recipes linked up week after week.  Thanks to everyone who participates in Mangia Mondays.  It's truly so inspirational to read your recipes and I have tried many delicious foods as a result of this blog hop.  I hope you have found a few new things to try too!

{Help yourself to a button if you've been featured!}
Shine Your Light

A reminder on linking up to the Mangia Mondays blog hop:
The only requirement of this blog hop is that you link back to either Kristin at Delightfully Dowling or to Shine Your Light in your blog post (not a link on another page of your blog).
You can post a Mangia Mondays button (see that "Buttons" link under my header? You'll find the html code there) or just provide a link to the party on either blog if you'd prefer.
Thank you for remembering this blog etiquette when linking up your fabulous recipes!!!

Alright, link on up, chefs extraordinaire,
and have a great week, all!!


Cleaning Silver - The Lazy Way

Thank you so much to everyone who left a comment on yesterday's post.  You're all so sweet and I appreciate each and every message of support!  It'll all work out, and in the meantime, we're crossing things off the summer bucket list left and right!

As Cruise Director, I'm pretending things I do around the house are big ol' science experiments for the entertainment of the children.  I had Sean help me clean silver jewelry and flatware and learn about oxidation and he was all over it.  Oh yeah, baby, it's educational!!!

This is the easiest way to clean silver jewelry!!  You must give it a try.  

First of all, a little background on silver:  Silver is a soft metal, so for the purpose of creating jewelry, bowls, platters or flatware, it is mixed with other metals to give it strength.  It is actually the other metals (most commonly copper) that react with the air and cause tarnish.  Silver is deemed "sterling" when it is at least 92.5% silver.  The higher the silver content, the less a piece will tarnish, so it's worthwhile (especially for the lazy girl) to invest in sterling.

Here is my sterling silver pendant.  Over time it darkens and loses it's luster.

Place the tarnished silver in an aluminum baking pan or pie plate, or line a dish with tinfoil.  Boil water.  Sprinkle baking soda over the silver piece, then pour the boiling water on it, and watch the tarnish just disappear!  It's magical!
After the boiling water and baking soda does it's work, take the silver piece out, rinse it off and rub any residual tarnish or baking soda off with a cloth or paper towel.
Much better!

I tried this method on my Lisa Leonard Itty Bitty Hearts necklace.  I know these necklaces are very popular so I'll share with you my experience.
While the charms did noticeably brighten, the reaction wasn't nearly as magical - it turns out those charms are actually pewter, hanging on silver rings (this may not be true for other brands of charm necklaces).  Pewter can be cleaned with baking soda, but it is not going to be that bright silver of sterling - it's just not it's natural color.  Still, I think the charms are much improved, don't you?

Beware when cleaning any jewelry with pearls - they are very delicate and the finish on them can be ruined by jewelry cleaners.  I was wary even with baking soda, so I used this method to clean the charms:

1) line a shot glass with tinfoil, 2) add a scoop of baking soda, 3) pour boiling water in to glass, 4) have your 10 year old assistant dip charms into glass by holding onto the pearl.
Edited to add:
I also cleaned these bracelets….the top is silver plated, the middle has some kind of natural blue stone (lapis lazuli maybe?) set in sterling, and the third has colored enamel set into sterling.  The boiling water and baking soda did not harm any of them.  I believe this method is very safe and gentle - it has never harmed any of my jewelry - but I still don't want to take any chances with the delicate pearl.

This method is also fabulous for cleaning silver flatware.  One of the treasures I brought home from Mom's was her set of silver-plated flatware that she received as a wedding present from her sisters.  The set hasn't been used in many years.

I gave them a baking soda-boiling water bath in a tinfoil lined pan, turning over after a minute or so….
…and look at the difference - labor-free!!
I'm telling you, this is even easier than my Lazy Girl's Ironing Method.
After I got these all cleaned up and beautified, Mom told me that she secretly always disliked this set because the pieces are not comfortable to hold or eat with.  Super.  But at least they are pretty!

That's my big tip for the day:
aluminum pan or foil + baking soda + boiling water =
lazy girl's guide to cleaning silver!

 Happy happy happy day my lovelies!!!