Category Archives: Kitchen

Finding a New Kitchen Rug

Rug-with-family-room
Awhile back, Bridget gave us the scoop about the fresh woven rug she found for her kitchen. I was absolutely smitten with the gorgeous runner she purchased, and I’ve wanted to find my own fabulous runner ever since.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a rug-in-the-kitchen kinda girl. A swoon-worthy striped runner brought B to the other side, but I’ve been cheering on this team for a long time! It’s nice to have something cushy under your feet when you’re chopping away (or doing dishes) and if you have hardwood floors, then a rug can definitely break up all of the wood going on in a kitchen (cabinets, floor, etc.)
Unfortunately, the rug that we’ve had in our Chicago apartment left much to be desired…
rug before
Yeah…not much excitement going on here. The rug was way too small for the space, the colors were a bit dishwater dingy, and it had seen a few too many spills and stains.
close up of rug
Clearly this little guy had seen better days.  It was bringing the upbeat vibe of our kitchen waaaay down, and who wants to see old stains from last month’s dinner every time you head to the fridge for a snack? No thank you.
Time for a little shopping. I headed to World Market because I remembered a gorgeous blue runner had caught my eye the last time I was in there browsing. Lucky for me, they still had this Indian rug on hand. I scooped it up, brought it home, and tried it out in our space.
world market oriental rug
Then a funny thing happened, I didn’t like it. At all. Just looking at the runner by itself, I was sold. The geometric design, blue pattern, and unique look were spot on. The style is so on trend, and to me it screamed “a cool, stylish, laid-back girl should own this!” But when I put the runner down and checked it out…it just did not work. I wanted to love it, I really really did. I took pictures, I moved things around, I fluffed it, I smoothed it down…but it was still not right.
world market runner
So I sucked it up, headed back to World Market, and came home with a different rug…
gray world market runner
This jute rug with its thick gray border was much more me. Of course it isn’t as hip and worldly as the first rug, but it’s clean, classic, and just right for the space.
The size (2.5′ x 8′) fits the space perfectly. No more dinky rug here. It covers the entire span of the kitchen and island, and I think it makes that area look much more complete.
close up gray runner
It feels very substantial underfoot and has a nice cushioning built right in. We did have to get a rug pad to put underneath, so it doesn’t slide around and now it stays in place easily.
kitchen rug
Now I know what you’re thinking…”Casey what about spills? This is a kitchen after all!” I totally hear ya. But the nice thing about jute is that spills and dirt don’t really cling to it. Instead they just rest loosely in the weave. We have a jute rug in our family room, and it doesn’t show dirt or stains at all. All it requires is some weekly action with the vacuum. I am looking into finding a Scotchguard type product for a little more protection on this bad boy. Let me know if you’ve ever used anything that works well for jute rugs.
gray rug in kitchen
The gray and natural colors blend right in with the other colors of the room. Lots of whites, grays, and blues. It just seems to naturally flow with all of the other accessories in our home…and I love that!
kitchen rug and family room
So that’s my tale of stepping way outside my comfort zone, only to be escorted right back in. I tried to be a little dangerous, but it just didn’t work this time around.  Even though my brave attempt at something new didn’t work with rug shopping, I’m still going to evolve my taste and try out new pieces for our home…because that’s what keeps home decorating fun!
Casey DIY Playbook
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Organizing Pots & Pans

What-a-mess1
I’ve mentioned before how I’m not much of a cook. In fact, I’m very lucky to be marrying a man who absolutely loves whipping up delicious meals in the kitchen. 
But, there are those nights when I’m all by my lonesome and I have the urge to whip up some eggs or some…yeah probably just eggs (that’s about the extent of my culinary skills). I’ll get out all of the ingredients, and open up our cabinets in search of a suitable cooking pan. Then…I’ll typically shut the door, and make new plans to just eat a bowl of oatmeal for dinner.
Why the sudden menu change? 
messy kitchen cabinets
Yep. This is the reason. I open up the cabinet and this scary scenario stares back at me. There’s no way in heck I’m digging through those pots and pans to find the right one. 
However, I recently decided to get our cabinets under control to make our pots, pans, and lids much more accessible while cooking. 
disorganized pots and pans
Our kitchen cabinets have more than enough room for all of our kitchen items. They’re very deep and even have a shelf in the back. However, because they’re so deep things get stuck way in the back and it can be difficult digging through everything to find the right sized lid for a specific pot. We typically go with the “Russian Nesting Dolls” technique where we put a small one, inside a medium one, inside a big one, etc. But then you have to take out everything just to get to the one you need. Not fun.
So I ordered a few gadgets on Amazon to get our cabinet under control. 
How to organize pots and pans
pan organizer
This first one is a frying pan sorter and it just sits right in the cabinet. It definitely gets the job done and keeps our pans all separated. The slots are not wide enough to hold our saucepans, but we’re able to put some on top (with the nesting doll technique), so the sorter is still a huge space saver. Plus at $17 you can’t go wrong!
pan lid organizer
Now this is my favorite organizational purchase, because I find that lids are the absolute worst to keep tidy! Seriously how do people do it?
This rack keeps all of our lids organized by size and it is much easier to find the correctly sized lid when you’re knee deep in a recipe. And did I mention it was only $10?
screw lid organizer into cabinet
We screwed the lid into the side of our cabinet, but I think you could probably screw right into the cabinet door (just be sure not to screw all the way into the other side!) It’s very sturdy and easily holds up to 5 pot lids. 
organized pots and pans in cabinet
Overall, I’m very happy with our new and improved pots & pans setup. We spent less than $30 and it is making both of our lives a heck of a lot easier! We can now fit way more in this cabinet (look at all of that room in the middle there!) and it takes no time at all to navigate and find the correct pot, pan, or lid while cooking.
Now the big question…will this prompt me to hit the kitchen to whip up a few more dinners for myself? That is still to be continued. What can I say, this girl likes her oatmeal and cereal a bit too much. 
Casey DIY Playbook
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Above the Fridge Decor

Wicker-tray
Decorating and styling awkward spaces is…well, awkward. One area I’ve always had a problem styling is above the fridge. If your refrigerator doesn’t fit perfectly snug under your cabinets (or you have no cabinets at all), then you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Fridge before
Check out our refrigerator area. Our fridge is short and squat and definitely doesn’t fit snug into the open space. I think the builder anticipated a much taller fridge going into this spot. Yes we have 2 nice kitchen cabinets above for storage, but we’re also left with a weird in-between area.
Because it’s so darn awkward, I’ve chosen to neglect and ignore this area. I just threw a basket up there, and a vase with some napkins in it and called it a day. But the area always bugged me (it looked pretty terrible), and I knew I couldn’t leave it looking like that much longer.
So I took 10 minutes, gathered some stuff from around our house that was currently “homeless”, and got to work styling.
Fridge after
I knew that I wanted three things for this area.
1. I needed some height. Putting something short and squat up there was not going to do any good.
2. I didn’t just want this to be decorative…it needed to also be functional with some kitchen storage.
3. If I needed to access those upper cabinets, I had to be able to take down and put up the decor very easily.
I think my wicker tray (found in the basket aisle at HomeGoods) definitely helped fulfill all three categories.
wicker Homegoods tray
It’s great because it corrals all of the items, so they’re not loosely hanging atop the fridge. If I need to access the upper kitchen cabinets to find my fondue pot (you bet I’ll be using that bad boy for some chocolate fondue once lent is over!), then all I have to do is lift the tray right down onto the counter, and then put it right back into place.
pellegrino and hydrangeas
It’s also great because it holds some items that were crowding our bar cart like these Pellegrino bottles and champagne glasses.
candle and napkins
I also tucked some extra coasters, a candle, and our linen napkins right up in the wicker tray. The silver candle looks like mercury glass and I’m obsessed with this HomeGoods find. Something that smells good and looks good? Yes, please! The peacock bowl was found in the HomeGoods clearance aisle last year and it’s currently holding some blue linen napkins.
Now if I need to set the table I’ve got all kinds of goodies right at my fingertips.
pellegrino and champagne glasses
wicker tray from HomeGoods
For now, I’m loving my new styled area in our kitchen. The space is definitely less awkward, and a lot more “me.” (But heck, I’m plenty awkward too.)
Bridget added a fun and unique setup above her fridge. Check out her “Pop Shop” in this post.
Casey DIY Playbook
What do you have above your fridge? Any decor ideas we can try out up there?
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10 thoughts on “Above the Fridge Decor

  1. Emily SimpleLifeFireWife

    That looks so pretty up there! Love that you have it all in a basket to easily get in to your cabinets!
    -Emily

    Reply
  2. Emily SimpleLifeFireWife

    That looks so pretty up there! Love that you have it all in a basket to easily get in to your cabinets!
    -Emily

    Reply
  3. Shanice

    Looks fantastic! I would love it if you joined and contribute your awesome posts at my link party at City of Creative Dreams on Fridays 😀 Hope to see you there at City of Creative Dreams Link Party

    Reply
  4. Shanice

    Looks fantastic! I would love it if you joined and contribute your awesome posts at my link party at City of Creative Dreams on Fridays 😀 Hope to see you there at City of Creative Dreams Link Party

    Reply
  5. Lia ~ Smart n Snazzy

    I too struggle to decorate this awkward space and haven’t known what to do with it so I store the kids’ trays and lunchboxes up there. Such eye candy! I really *love* the shallow basket idea so it’s easily removable for accessing the upper cabinets. Thanks for this awesome idea, I can’t wait to style mine now!
    PS ~ Congrats on the Domino feature! It’s how I found your awesome blog and have since been drooling through your posts 🙂
    xo ~ Lia | Smart n Snazzy

    Reply
  6. Lia ~ Smart n Snazzy

    I too struggle to decorate this awkward space and haven’t known what to do with it so I store the kids’ trays and lunchboxes up there. Such eye candy! I really *love* the shallow basket idea so it’s easily removable for accessing the upper cabinets. Thanks for this awesome idea, I can’t wait to style mine now!
    PS ~ Congrats on the Domino feature! It’s how I found your awesome blog and have since been drooling through your posts 🙂
    xo ~ Lia | Smart n Snazzy

    Reply

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10 thoughts on “Above the Fridge Decor

  1. Emily SimpleLifeFireWife

    That looks so pretty up there! Love that you have it all in a basket to easily get in to your cabinets!
    -Emily

    Reply
  2. Emily SimpleLifeFireWife

    That looks so pretty up there! Love that you have it all in a basket to easily get in to your cabinets!
    -Emily

    Reply
  3. Shanice

    Looks fantastic! I would love it if you joined and contribute your awesome posts at my link party at City of Creative Dreams on Fridays 😀 Hope to see you there at City of Creative Dreams Link Party

    Reply
  4. Shanice

    Looks fantastic! I would love it if you joined and contribute your awesome posts at my link party at City of Creative Dreams on Fridays 😀 Hope to see you there at City of Creative Dreams Link Party

    Reply
  5. Lia ~ Smart n Snazzy

    I too struggle to decorate this awkward space and haven’t known what to do with it so I store the kids’ trays and lunchboxes up there. Such eye candy! I really *love* the shallow basket idea so it’s easily removable for accessing the upper cabinets. Thanks for this awesome idea, I can’t wait to style mine now!
    PS ~ Congrats on the Domino feature! It’s how I found your awesome blog and have since been drooling through your posts 🙂
    xo ~ Lia | Smart n Snazzy

    Reply
  6. Lia ~ Smart n Snazzy

    I too struggle to decorate this awkward space and haven’t known what to do with it so I store the kids’ trays and lunchboxes up there. Such eye candy! I really *love* the shallow basket idea so it’s easily removable for accessing the upper cabinets. Thanks for this awesome idea, I can’t wait to style mine now!
    PS ~ Congrats on the Domino feature! It’s how I found your awesome blog and have since been drooling through your posts 🙂
    xo ~ Lia | Smart n Snazzy

    Reply

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Fresh Woven Rugs

IMG_46391
I was never a rug-in-the-kitchen-kind-of-girl. My mom never used a rug in the kitchen, my grandma never had rugs in her kitchen, so naturally… why would I? I never really thought about it, until I stumbled upon a long kitchen runner that begged me to take her home.
Since I’m a sucker for stripes, I did just that. I lugged this striped runner home & laid her right in front of my kitchen. And I hate to say it mom, but I am now officially a rug-in-the-kitchen-kind-of-girl. I may not be a cook-in-the-kitchen-kind-of-girl…. but doggone it, rugs I can do!
I have A LOT of dark everything going on in my kitchen and not a whole lot of texture or pattern to work with, so a runner on the floor is the perfect way for me to break up the brown wood everywhere kind of feel.
The downside of rugs in the kitchen? Stains.
Yup, being in a high-traffic area, conveniently placed right under the dishwasher… spots happen. It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but allow me to highlight some of our noteworthy spills.

Not cool.

Rookie Tip: If you’re going to join Team rug-in-the-kitchen, be prepared to get a little messy! The most important part is to accept the stains as part of the territory and not worry about it. I spent about $20 on this rug and it has lasted me a whole year of wear and tear… every.single.day.  $20 for an entire year is a pretty awesome return on this investment & makes me far less attached to this rug and far more understanding when a little red sauce flies out of the sink and onto the rug… to stay.

But now that our runner has seen better days and has made us proud for over 365 wonderful days, we are okay to retire the stripes and move onto something a little more… well, clean. Plus, we just happened to stumble upon an amazing collection of AFFORDABLE runners at HomeGoods and couldn’t resist the new woven rug.
$19.99 fit perfectly into our budget. Plus, we love the woven look… it just seems to “flow” better in the space.
Just so much more natural.

So yes, I am still a rug-in-the-kitchen-kind-of-girl and am digging my new runner thanks to HomeGoods! And the best part?

The fun doesn’t stop there!

HomeGoods hooked it up with another fabulous (and AFFORDABLE) rug.

Our entryway has seen some serious wear & tear throughout this brutal Chicago winter. One old gross rug, somehow multiplied into 2 mismatched rugs that looked even worse than the original problem spot. Rule of thumb: 2 wrongs still do not make a right, even when it’s cold & wet outside.

Again, this affordable woven rug was the subtle change that would add a clean, fresh and functional pop to our entryway.

It’s a little longer than the original doormat sized rug that was there, however, I love that it peeks out from behind the half-wall. Just like in the kitchen, this rug adds some serious texture and makes the whole space feel more “finished”.

Simple changes that make a big difference – amazing. Simple changes that make a big difference on a budget – the BEST.
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I Heart Grandma’s Kitchen

kitchen recipe
Grandmas.
Like moms, grandmas wear all kinds of hats.Beyond playing mom and grandma, these caring women are responsible for also being: wives, sisters, aunts, nurses, social workers, life coaches, bankers, neighbors, friends, professional organizers, caretakers, cleaners, baby-sitters, personal shoppers, landscapers, gardeners, and if your grandma is anything like mine…. master chefs.

DIY Grandma's Recipe

Of course both of my grandmas play each of these roles and many, many more, but it’s something about their talents in the kitchen that are beyond impressive. Each of these women have a way in the kitchen that leaves me worried that I will never, ever, ever be able to re-create the masterpieces that these ladies create so effortlessly.

These recipes are not only delicious, but they remind me of 2 wonderful ladies that have helped shape me into the person I am today! So… creating a DIY project to honor these woman was a no-brainer.

Favorite Recipe DIY

I started with two of my all-time favorite recipes, one from each grandma’s recipe box.

Frame a recipe
With two Target frames, tape, scissors and some scrapbook paper, this meaningful project (and priceless gift) took me about ten minutes to complete! Seriously, like ten minutes.
Because one of the recipes was too small for the 4×6 opening, I added some scrapbook paper as a backing. The mat will hide the edges of the scrapbook paper, so I didn’t even have to cut precisely! #livingontheedge
I taped one of the vintage recipe dividers from my Grandma’s old recipe box behind the recipe itself and…
Recipe Decor

I was done!

Frame a recipe

I love that I have a piece of each of my grandmas in my own kitchen. Having their speciality in a place that reminds me so much of each of them seems so fitting and perfect. The meaning behind this project makes this DIY project one of my favorites so far and it is the perfect way to celebrate these amazing women! #happygrandmothersday

Gift for Grandma
Maybe one day I’ll try and re-create each of their staples. Until then, I can’t help but smile and think how special these talented women are, how lucky I am to have them as my grandmas, and how thankful I am to have a piece of them in my new home.

 

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Anthropologie Inspired Zinc Letters

EAT sign

So I have a love/hate relationship with Anthropologie.

I adore all of the quirky and whimsical home decor they sell in their store.

But, I’m not a big fan of their sky-high prices.

So being the thrifty gal that I am…I typically browse Anthro for inspiration and try and recreate their gorgeous pieces right at home.

That’s how I came across this project.

Anthropologie Zinc Letters
Anthropologie sells these letters for $18 a pop. Not quite in my budget…
After a quick trip to Michael’s, I was able to recreate the letters without breaking the bank.
Supplies:
-3 cardboard letters ($2.50 a piece)
-Silver metallic paint ($1.50)
-Black paint (already owned)
-Paint brush (already owned)
TOTAL COST: $9
I decided to go with the word EAT to add a little fun to our kitchen. Other ideas might be to use your initials, WASH for the bathroom or laundry room, READ for an office. Get creative…
EAT letters

I first painted the cardboard letters black and let them dry.

(Sorry…I don’t have any pics of that step. Bad blogger, bad blogger)

Silver Metallic Paint paint brush

Then it was time for some metallic paint.

Silver Paint and paint brush

One quick coat did the trick.

It certainly gave the letters some depth and texture.

From a distance it truly looks like the letters are made of metal. Success!

I decided the best place for the letters was up high on top of our kitchen cabinets. They add a bit of height and fill in some of the empty space.

Anthropologie Inspired Zinc Letters reading EAT

The only problem…sometimes from a certain angle…it doesn’t look like the word E-A-T…instead it reads F-A-T.

Letters on top of kitchen cabinets

Perhaps it’s a reminder to stop visiting the kitchen too much or else I will be F-A-T…

Clearly, these letters needed a little boost in height. So here’s my temporary solution.

EAT Anthropologie inspired letters

I’m not in love with the basket look…too much beige going on for my taste. I think I’ll eventually adhere the letters to the wall instead.

Update: With a little change in scenery, we were able to change the view from “FAT” to what we were really hoping for – “EAT”. Read the latest here.

Anyone else have a love/hate relationship with Anthropologie? When it comes to clothing, I’m a big fan of their SALE section! And their candles…I die, they smell delicious!
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5 thoughts on “Anthropologie Inspired Zinc Letters

  1. Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean

    i think the letters would look great on the wall! and the FAT view cracked me up!

    Reply
  2. DIY Playbook

    ha Thanks Lindsay! When I put them up, Finn was like ummmm why does our kitchen say “Fat?!” So they definitely got a much needed boost in height after that comment. Now I just need to get some sticky things to adhere them to the wall.

    Reply
  3. Heather @fitncookies

    Those letters are great! I can totally see the Fat comment though, and I wouldn’t want that in my kitchen! Well, maybe I would! Hahah

    Reply

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5 thoughts on “Anthropologie Inspired Zinc Letters

  1. Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean

    i think the letters would look great on the wall! and the FAT view cracked me up!

    Reply
  2. DIY Playbook

    ha Thanks Lindsay! When I put them up, Finn was like ummmm why does our kitchen say “Fat?!” So they definitely got a much needed boost in height after that comment. Now I just need to get some sticky things to adhere them to the wall.

    Reply
  3. Heather @fitncookies

    Those letters are great! I can totally see the Fat comment though, and I wouldn’t want that in my kitchen! Well, maybe I would! Hahah

    Reply

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