Planning Kitchen Updates

Wood floating shelves kitchen

maybe-i'm-crazy

Okay, I know what you are probably thinking… “Update?! Didn’t she just give her entire kitchen an update?!” Well, yes, yes I did. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have the blogger itch to make changes every couple of years! Nothing big this time, but some superficial changes that will hopefully be an upgrade to my inexpensive choices the first time around, and in turn gelling better with the general style of my home. So, yeah! I’ve got a couple of projects in mind for the month of August! And I wanted to share it with you and get opinions before I throw myself head first into them. (The above image is a rendering of the changes I plan to make.)

First, let’s review. My kitchen has been through quite a transformation already! When we moved in, our kitchen looked like the one below.

kitchen before and after

Now it looks like the image above. Much brighter and more fitting to our style. But some of the finishes and installations I had chosen simply for their budget friendliness, and I’m ready to upgrade them now. Check out the link list below to view my detailed posts about each step of our budget kitchen reno. And read on to hear about the new updates I’ll be working on this August!

kitchen white circle tiles

the-walls

This one is nonnegotiable. I’ve been wanting to tile my kitchen walls since I first did a facelift to this space two years ago. But instead I chose a shiplap treatment that was incredibly budget friendly, in turn helping my entire ktichen reno log in at under 2K total.(Read about the shiplap process here, with details on the cost of each material used.)

shiplap

I’m very drawn to the dramatic tile wall trend that’s happening right now, in particular, tiles with a sixties modern boho vibe. Jonathan Adler designed a beautiful circle-textured tile for his home that would be perfect for what I envision for my kitchen, but I couldn’t find anything like it in my price range. Enter: The DIYer’s Solution! You guys, I’m going to use ceramic coasters to tile my kitchen wall. This is a thing that is actually happening. I’ve ordered the coasters in bulk and am currently waiting for them to arrive. Before I get to work, I’m planning on changing up the shelving situation as well. Let’s talk about that next!

floating shelves options

the-shelves

This is actually the first part of the work I will be doing. I decided to instal floating shelves first, then cutting the tiles to instal around the shelves, making the design fully integrated and visually cohesive (no gaps between shelves and the wall). For my first budget kitchen facelift, I had chosen simple Ikea brackets and used 1x10s and 1x8s with a 1×2 front lip that I glued in place to give the shelves a more substantial feel. The end results was a nice, bright open-shelving look, but perhaps a bit more country than I’d like. Not a big deal, but since I’m redoing the wall, I wanted to take this opportunity to change up the shelves as well.

I purchased some 2×6 and 2×4 poplar boards that I’m edge gluing to make them wider and will be installing them as floating shelves, with no visible brackets. I’ll share all about the easy process later this month! But for now I’m stuck on deciding if I want to paint the shelves white, or stain them. I had to do a mock-up to see how both ways would look with the new tile I plan to do, but I still can’t decide! I love the clean, crisp look of the white. But I love the warmth of the wood too.

white-or-stained

I’d love to hear your opinions! I’m very excited to do this little addendum to our kitchen facelift, and am so excited to share the results with you guys! Later this week I’ll share peeks at the progress of our little living room facelift as well. So many little changes that are adding up to a big shift in the look and feel of our home. We’re lovin’ it!

MOST WANTED: Vintage Planters

sideboard vignette with plants and candle holder

It seems like everyone’s bringing a little more green in to their homes these days, and I’m not just talking about paint! Even brown thumbs are giving houseplants a go, and with good reason! They add such warmth and liveliness to a space, and for those who like a good challenge, the right plant will fill that void in your life. Ha! As if we need another living creature to take care of, eh? Well, now that I’ve mastered the art of nurturing the houseplants I’ve had for years, I’ve been all about adding a few newbies into the mix, which in turn launched a hunt for a few new (old) pots. I really love the way vintage planters put the icing on top of my houseplant cake, adding a whole new element of texture and character to the decor of a room.

Now that I’ve claimed dibs on my favorites (they’re en route to my house as I type! Yippee!), I figured I ought to share the fruits of my vintage planter hunt with all of you, in case you’re in the market for a new houseplant or two. I mean, whose home couldn’t stand a new little green guy, amiright? Check these out, though! Very nice planters simply oozing all the cool mid century vibes.

(above planters on my dining room cabinet from left to right: West Elm; thrifted ; Lowes)

vintage plantersvintage planters

vintage planters Spiral Stoneware Planter (5″ x 6″) // $20.00
vintage planters White Splatter Pedestal Pot (6.5″ x 8″) // $26.00
vintage planters Turquoise Drip Glaze Dish (12″ x 4.5″) // $30.00
vintage planters Brown Spatter Pedestal Dish (5.75″ x 4″) // $10.00
vintage planters White Scalloped Bowl (6″ x 3″) // $19.95
vintage planters Two-Tone Brown Portuguese Planter (3.5″ x 4″) // $14.84
vintage planters Orange and Lavender Speckled Planter (5″ x 3.75″) // $18.00
vintage planters Brown Glazed Planter (5″ tall) // $14.00
vintage planters Copper Hanging Planter (2.5″ tall pot) // $48.00
vintage planters Green Splatter Dish (9.75″ x 3.5″) // $20.00
vintage planters Blue and Teal Footed Planter (5.5″ x 4.5″) // $60.00
vintage planters Black Stoneware Globe Vase (4.5″ x 3.5″) // (etsy shop on break)
vintage planters Goldenrod Yellow Pedestal Planter (5″ x 5″) // $10.98
vintage planters Large White Pumpkin-esque Planter (10.5″ x 5.75″) // $78.50

And for good measure, I thought I’d share some new plants I have in my home! Hanging pothos plants are my fail-safe houseplant that I can use in dimmer lit rooms. I’d been wanting to hang something in our bathroom for quite a while, and finally got these cool diagonally glazed planters from CB2. I think the pothos will grow pretty long and look beautiful in here!

CB2 hanging planters

I found this ficus tree (below) on Craigslist and took Lucy on a two-hour road trip (four hours there and back) to go get it. We’re crazy like that! (Super fun experience, by the way! We talked all the way there and back!) I was really nervous about having this ficus in our home, because I heard they are notorious for dropping leaves in shock when moved to a new location. I love the tree and while I would’ve been disappointed to lose the money (just $30) and waste the effort I put into the tree, I mostly just really felt like this tree is exactly what our living room has needed. So, I have lost some leaves, but I’ve also have a lot of regrowth and feel pretty good about this guy! It’s a great sculptural element to jazz up the simple white brick fireplace wall in our living room.

ficus alii

And last, but not least, I decided to challenge myself to grow a couple of cacti in our home (one pictured below). I’ve been convinced that they’re very easy to maintain, and I’ve been reading lots about them, but they’re so different from anything I’ve grown, I definitely feel challenged and a wee bit worried.

houseplant collection(above planters in order of left to right: West Elm, Vintage, Home Goods, Amazon, Ikea)

Side note: Am I the only one who stays awake at night worrying about my plants and reading up about them? I feel a a bit like a crazy person. Crazy plant lady. It’s the new cool thing to be. I’ll accept the title gladly.

The Parent Trap 1961

The Parent Trap 1961

It’s been absolutely ages since my last Movie Monday post, and I’m simply dying to talk classic film with you again. If you’re thinking that my syntax seems a bit odd, just reread that first sentence in a poorly disguised Haley Mills American accent, and it might make a bit more sense. Yes, this girl’s been watching the original Parent Trap again, and it’s seeping into every nook and cranny of my brain!

The Parent Trap 1961

Rather than summarizing the plot and offering a sort of quasi-review of the 1961 Parent Trap, I thought it would be a bit more fun to just talk about the style influence this movie can offer to our modern day homes (and wardrobes!). So click through if you’d like to take a walk down memory lane with me, and, of course, drool over that killer 1960s Monterey California house.

The Parent Trap 1961

The Parent Trap 1961

The Parent Trap 1961 Continue reading »

Chocolate Hazelnut Tarts

mini chocolate hazelnut tarts recipe

Sometimes two foods find each other and you know it’s true love. Just think about chocolate and peanut butter. Meant to be! Chocolate and hazelnut? Perhaps even more of a match made in heaven! Today I’m about to share a recipe which should be approached with great caution. No, not because it’s difficult or dangerous. In fact, the danger lies in how easy this recipe is to execute.

Now does anyone actually need a batch of rich chocolate hazelnut tarts lying around tempting them at every glance? I certainly don’t! But I’m so glad I gave in. Truly, truly glad. I’m still thinking about these tarts and how perfectly they hit the sweet spot. But you’d better believe I won’t be making these again unless I’m having guests over to participate in the indulgence!

mini chocolate hazelnut tarts recipe

The secret to these tarts isn’t in the simple tart crust. That’s pretty fool-proof. The secret lies in the use of International Delight hazelnut flavored creamer to make the rich chocolate ganache filling. It will change your life. Trust me on this. And as I warned above, approach with extreme caution. The deliciousness abounds.

Sometimes two foods find each other and you know it's true love. Just think about chocolate and peanut butter. Meant to be! Chocolate and hazelnut? Perhaps even more of a match made in heaven! Today I'm about to share a recipe which should be approached with great caution. No, not because it's difficult or dangerous. In fact, the danger lies in how easy this recipe is to execute. Now does anyone actually need a batch of rich chocolate hazelnut tarts lying around tempting them at every glance? I certainly don't! But I'm so glad I gave in. Truly, truly glad. I'm still thinking about these tarts and how perfectly they hit the sweet spot. But you'd better believe I won't be making these again unless I'm having guests over to participate in the indulgence! The secret to these tarts isn't in the simple tart crust. That's pretty fool-proof. The secret lies in the use of International Delight hazelnut flavored creamer to make the rich chocolate ganache filling. It will change your life. Trust me on this. And as I warned above, approach with extreme caution. The deliciousness abounds.

For the crust, you just melt butter and mix in the sugar, salt, and flour. Very easy! No cutting in butter or any of that nonsense that you have to deal with when making pie crust. This is a great hands-on baking experience for kiddos.

mini chocolate hazelnut tarts recipe

Press the warm dough into each muffin pan cavity (I used a mini muffin pan), and cut away the scrap at the top. Note: I thought I had made my crusts on the thin side, but I definitely didn’t! They puffed up more than I had anticipated, So keep them on the thinner side. If you use a nonstick pan, they will pop out very easily, even if they are thin. (I tried both thicker and thinner, and liked the thinner ones better aesthetically, though I do like to eat lots of crust, so either way is a win in my book!)

mini chocolate hazelnut tarts recipe

Cover with plastic wrap and chill the pressed dough before baking. Don’t forget to pierce it so the dough doesn’t puff up too much! If you’re making a big tart, or even a standard tart or a standard muffin-size pan, you may want to use pie weights to keep the crust from popping up in the middle during baking.

The bake time will depend on how thick you pressed out the crust, as well as how large of a muffin pan you use. Set your timer for ten minutes, and add time depending on how golden they look, and also your preference. Allow the tart crusts to cool completely before flipping the pan upside down and gently tapping to release the shells from the pan.

mini chocolate hazelnut tarts recipe

The chocolate hazelnut ganache filling is equally as easy! Your ratio of creamer to chocolate should be 1 to 2. So, for my recipe I only needed 1/2 Cup hazelnut creamer with 1 Cup of dark chocolate. Start by warming the creamer in a sauce pan, and slowly stir in a little chocolate at a time, whisking to incorporate the chocolate into the creamer along the way. Don’t overheat! Once all of the chocolate is melted into the creamer, you’re ready to fill the tarts.

mini chocolate hazelnut tarts recipe

mini chocolate hazelnut tarts recipe

If you’re not worried about how your food photos look for your blog, this would be a prime time to let the little hands help again! Scoop the warm ganache into the cooled tart shells and top immediately with chopped and toasted hazelnuts. Or perhaps you prefer to top with a single hazelnut in the center. Let your conscience be your guide.

mini chocolate hazelnut tarts recipe

mini chocolate hazelnut tarts recipe

I think these mini tarts are perfect for parties, because you can make them well in advance and impress your guests with your artistry and, of course, your good taste. Or their good taste? (The tarts, that is!) I’m all about trying to impress my guests and trick them into thinking I’m the hostess with the mostest.

mini chocolate hazelnut tarts recipe

Mini Chocolate Hazelnut Tarts
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For the tart shell
  1. 1 stick of butter
  2. 1 1/4 Cup of flour
  3. 2 Tablespoons sugar
  4. 1/4 teaspoon of finely ground salt
For the ganache filling
  1. 1/2 Cup International Delight hazelnut creamer
  2. 1 Cup bittersweet chocolate chips (get the good stuff!)
Optional topping
  1. chopped and toasted hazelnuts
For the crust
  1. Melt the butter and mix in the flour, salt, and sugar with a fork. Press the warm dough into mini muffin pan cavities. Make sure to keep the crust on the thin side. Trim off excess dough. Chill the pan for about 15 minutes. Pierce the dough with a fork all over. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until the crust is golden.
  2. Allow tart shells to completely cool on a cooling rack before gently turning over and tapping on the pan to release the shells from the pan.
For the ganache filling
  1. Warm the creamer in a sauce pan on low heat. Slowly stir in chocolate chips just a little bit at a time with a whisk. Do not overheat.
  2. When all of the chocolate is incorporated, fill the tart shells with the desired amount of ganache filling. Top immediately with chopped, toasted hazelnuts if desired. Allow the ganache to cool completely before serving.
Notes
  1. Do not stack tarts in storage. If you wish to stack tarts, decrease the amount of creamer used in the ganache recipe for a more solid set-up after cooling.
Making Nice in the Midwest http://makingniceinthemidwest.com/
mini chocolate hazelnut tarts recipe

Thanks, International Delight for partnering with me on this recipe! Any excuse to use bring hazelnut creamer into my home is more than welcome! But this recipe is takes the hazelnut experience to a whole new level. It’s certainly one for the books. Check out more recipes using Internation Delight creamers at their Facebook page and Pinterest too.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Delight. The opinions and text are all mine.

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