October 17, 2012

Fireplace Phase 5

We’ve been updating our fireplace pretty much since we moved into our house.  It’s gone through several phases and is finally nearly complete!  I’ve probably talked more about the fireplace than any other thing in our house.  Here’s a reminder of how far we’ve come:

Since they way-before photo was taken, we added an expanded mantle shelf, hid the flat screen tv cables, painted the brass accents black, and painted the entire fireplace mantle white

Now we’re onto the fifth, and final, phase of the project – tiling!  We’ve done a few tiling projects in our home, including our kitchen backsplash and bathtub accent border, so I’m no stranger to tiling.  For this project, we decided to go with multicolored glass mosaic tiles as they have been pretty easy to install based on our past experience.  I like glass tiles because they have a smooth finish, unlike some natural stone tiles, which means that the adhesive and grout wipes off easily during installation and I don’t have to worry about it getting stuck in little crevices on the tile’s surface (a problem we ran into when tiling our bathtub).  I also really like mosaic tiles for this type of project because no tile cutting is involved.  I just cut the sheet of tile to the size we need with scissors and that’s it, the actual tiles themselves don’t get cut. 

I got the fireplace ready for tiling by taping off all of the painted areas (it’s hard to see in the photo below, but I taped off the inside of the mantle top and sides).   Our existing fireplace surround was a black stone material and since we had no idea what was underneath of it and it seemed like we could get tile to stick on top of it, we decided to take the easy road and tile right over it.

Tiled Fireplace Before Photo

I used a pre-mixed tile adhesive that we had left over from a previous project.  This is the only type of adhesive I’ve tried, so I don’t know how it compares to others, but it has worked great and has been very easy to use in my experience.  It’s by Tec and is available at Lowes.

Now, onto the fun stuff!  I got to work by spreading the adhesive onto the fireplace and sticking the tiles on top.  I’ve previously detailed this process in my kitchen and bathroom tiling posts, so I’ll spare you the details this time around.

The tiles we chose are from Home Depot and are sold in 12” x 12” sheets for $5 in my store.  I needed a total of 5 square feet for this project, so all of the tile ran me a total of just $25.  That’s pretty good, in my opinion, for a project that should have a big visual impact when it’s done.

How To Tile a Fireplace Mantle

Here’s another progress shot:

Tiling a Fireplace

It took me about 2-3 hours to prep the entire area and tile it (about equivalent to the length of a terrible TV sci-fi movie I inexplicably decided to watch during the project).  I wasn’t in much of hurry though, and may have taken a snack break, so it was a probably a shorter project if you count only my hard-at-work time.

And finally, here’s how the fireplace looks with all of the tiles applied:

DIY Fireplace Tile

The tile adhesive requires over 12 hours to dry for a project this size, so I wasn’t able to get to grouting this weekend.  But grouting is on my agenda for this coming weekend, so hopefully I will be able to get d-o-n-e!

What do you think so far?  What projects have you been working on recently?

October 03, 2012

Spotted At: Ross

In the world of home stores, I feel that Ross is often forgotten about, but it's actually one of my favorite spots to search for home accessories.  They have some nice stuff and fantastic bargains sometimes, especially if you score something on clearance.  I've gotten some great deals there, including my Pottery Barn knock-off mail station and powder room mirror, just to name a few.  This past weekend I was at Ross and spotted some very cute items.  I'd like to share them with you in a new segment I'm calling “Spotted At: Ross.”  Creative right?  Okay, onto the stuff.

How cute is this grey and yellow Waverly bedding set that I spotted? It comes with the comforter, bed skirt, two pillows, and two shams. I promised myself I would remember the price to share later, but the best my foggy memory can muster up is that it was around $45 for a Queen size set.


Then I saw these cute mosaic vases. I was really tempted to take the red one home with me, but I already have a shelf full of unused vases on a storage shelf in my basement, so I had to pass. I want to say they were about $12.


What I was most impressed with at Ross was their fantastic new selection of decorative throw pillows. I found these two, which felt really nice and I believe were stuffed with down or feathers, for $16 or $17. I really liked the peacock one, but I wasn't sure where I could put it so I had to pass. But now that I think about it, the idea of a peacock pillow stuffed with feathers just sounds wrong!


They had other cute pillows too, I liked all three of these pillows that I spotted, which ranged in price from about $11-$16. 


Oh man, looking back on these photos really makes me wish I would have bought these pillows, they're so cute!  Don't worry, I didn't go home empty handed though.  I couldn't bring all of these pillows home, but I also couldn't go home without buying any at all, so I snagged these two babies on clearance  for $9 each.  I thought they'd brighten up my dark and neutral living room couches and I think they're just the right splash of color.  Plus, they should coordinate wonderfully with the nearby window seat I plan to update soon!


I just can't help it, when I see a cute new throw pillow, I'm like a 13 girl at a Justin Beiber concert.  However, this has not gone unnoticed by my husband. He is keeping a running tally on the number of throw pillows we now own and that number is getting a little ridiculous.  It sounds so stereotypical, but men just don't understand throw pillows!  Oh husbands, can't live without them, can't purchase ridiculous amounts of pillows with them!

What about you?  Any pillows wars going on in your house?  Or any other Ross shoppers out there or is there another secret spot you dig for discount d├ęcor? 

October 01, 2012

Amazing Nutella Breakfast Panini Recipe

During the week I usually have quick breakfasts, that I can easily make and eat as I run out the the door to work.  But on the weekends, I turn into a bit of a party animal and make myself something slightly fancier.  Okay, so maybe party animal is an overstatement, but I’m not exaggerating when I tell you this- I invented the world’s best* breakfast panini this past weekend (*worlds best, in my opinion that is.)  I’m like the Thomas Edison of breakfast paninis (which maybe another slight exaggeration).

Get ready for this, it’s a Strawberry Nutella Cream Cheese Panini! 


And it’s easy to make! Here’s how: On Trader Joe’s Tuscan Pane bread (which is okay as-is, but amazing for paninis), spread a thick layer of reduced fat cream cheese and top it with fresh sliced strawberries. On the other piece of bread, add a light coat of Nutella spread. Put the sandwich together and into whatever appliance you use for making paninis. I don’t have a panini maker, but I have a George Forman grill which is perfect for making toasty sandwiches.


Once nice and toasty, prepare to have a breakfast sandwich that will knock your socks off! It really tastes like a special treat that I would order when going out to brunch, but it came out of my Forman grill and only took a few minutes to prepare. I actually wasn’t even that into paninis before this, but this sandwich changed my mind!


You have to try it!  And when you do, come back and let me know what you thought!