A Glass Act

If you were to take a peek inside our kitchen cupboards you’d notice that I like simplicity. I prefer a nice clean slate to showcase delicious food and pretty decorations on, so white plates and clear glasses make up about 80 percent of our housewares. Sometimes though, a pop of color can be a welcome addition. I was recently craving some color after I brought home some pretty yellow flowers. The clear vases I had on hand just weren’t helping them shine, so I decided to transform the rather plain items below into colorful bud vases.

What we started with for the DIY Bud Vases (by somethingwewhippedup.com)

What we started with for the DIY Bud Vases (by somethingwewhippedup.com)

All you need to do the same are a few colorful balloons, scissors and some small vessels to cover. Seriously, it’s that easy. Take a look at the result below. Not bad, right?

DIY Bud Vases by somethingwewhippedup.com

DIY Bud Vases by somethingwewhippedup.com

Whether they’re displayed on a shelf or lined up down the center of a table, I bet my guests would never guess that these bud vases are made from random kitchen items including jars, bottles, salt and pepper shakers, a shot glass and a jigger.

To make some for yourself, use scissors to snip the ends off of a balloon (the amount you cut will vary based on what you’re covering). Stretch the latex over the vessel and adjust as necessary. The balloons will only stretch so far without tearing, so use your best judgement when selecting balloon sizes and objects to cover. I allowed the latex to bunch a bit on a few of the vases, which added a nice texture to the look. I also enjoyed when the balloon didn’t cover the entire object, and just provided a stripe of color (as it did in the glass bottle in the background of the photo). Play around and have some fun.

SWWU Tip: The best part about this project is its versatility. Balloons come in every color of the rainbow, so you’re sure to find one that matches the look or theme you’re going for.

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Sugar Rush

My morning coffee—and many other treats—will never be the same, thanks to the vanilla sugar we recently made. Recycling the beans used for our delicious homemade vanilla extract, we made two batches of the sweetener. One was made with standard granulated sugar and the other was made with raw sugar. I wouldn’t say that one is better than the other, but I expect each one to carve out its own place in our kitchen. So far, the raw version has worked well to top muffins and french toast, while the granulated sugar works best when incorporated into baking recipes (like these brownies). Both give coffee and iced coffee a nice hint of flavor and I can’t wait to jazz up my summertime sweet tea (stay tuned) with a few spoonfuls.

Vanilla Sugar by somethingwewhippedup.com

Vanilla Sugar by somethingwewhippedup.com

Vanilla Sugar

Makes 1 cup

  • 1 cup sugar (granulated or raw)
  • glass jar
  • 3 vanilla beans (used is fine), split down the middle

1. Pour sugar into the glass jar. Trim the vanilla beans down to 2- to 3-inch segments so they’ll be completely covered by sugar once placed in the jar. Add to the jar, secure the lid tightly and shake until well combined. Set aside and shake the jar every few days. The flavor should develop within a week and will get stronger and stronger every day. I was happiest with ours after two weeks.

SWWU Tip 1: If you’ll be using previously used beans for this, be sure to let them sit out on the counter for a few hours to dry out. They shouldn’t be wet when placed in the sugar.

SWWU Tip 2: Using fresh pods for this? Split each down the middle, remove the seeds and add everything to the jar. Mix to combine. 

SWWU Tip 3: This can be a never-ending jar of sweetener. As the level gets lower, just add more sugar to the jar. If you notice the flavor isn’t as strong, swap in some new vanilla beans.

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A Polished Look

Brian and I came across some adorable insect-shaped hooks while wandering from store to store one weekend and thought they would be a cute way to display aprons on the back of our kitchen door. They’re made of iron and have a nice distressed look. Unfortunately, the shop we purchased them from didn’t have screws to match. Instead of stressing, I headed straight to my nail polish collection. A quick coat of brown polish helped an ordinary silver screw blend in perfectly. Nailed it!

SWWU Tip 1: Apply the polish after you’ve screwed your object to the wall so you can avoid chipping the paint.

SWWU Tip 2: We used Givenchy Vernis Please! Nail Lacquer (in Delicate Brown), but that’s just because we had it on hand. Most drug stores have inexpensive picks for as little as $1 a bottle and you don’t need anything fancier than that for this task.

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Got Time To Make A Clock?

Brian and I have been on the hunt for a colorful kitchen clock for quite some time. Nothing we found was quite right though. They either had visible power cords, made too much noise or just didn’t fit in aesthetically. Finally we decided to stop looking for the perfect clock and just make our own!

Dessert Pan Clock by somethingwewhippedup.com

Dessert Pan Clock by somethingwewhippedup.com

Once we had all the pieces in place the clock came together a lot easier than we expected. It’s made from an old Duncan Hines dessert pan that I picked up at an antique store for only $2. A quick coat of Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch paint (in Sun Yellow) transformed the tattered pan into a bright, cheerful piece. A Clock Movement Kit provided the working parts we needed. The arms got a coat of Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch paint (in Deep Blue) to provide some contrast. We drilled a hold in the center of the pan and followed the instructions that came with the clock kit to assemble everything. We’re both quite pleased with the finished product and can’t wait to find something else to turn into a clock in another room. After all, it doesn’t take that much time.

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SWWU Tip: Like the dessert pan we used? I just did a quick search on Etsy and eBay and found a few, ranging from $6 to $20 each. Try searching for the term “Ekco Bakers Secret Duncan Hines,” and see what you can find.

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That Looks Familiar: DIY West Elm Industrial Pipe Rods

We both love the simple yet sturdy look of the Industrial Pipe Curtain Rods from West Elm, but not the price. Just one would have set us back $99, and we needed two.

Inspiration for DIY Industrial Pip Curtain Rods by somethingwewhippedup.com

Inspiration for DIY Industrial Pip Curtain Rods by somethingwewhippedup.com

A quick trip to the hardware store helped us create an almost identical look for a fraction of the price. In fact, a set of two rods cost around $45, a savings of more than 75 percent!

DIY Industrial Pipe Curtain Rods by somethingwewhippedup.com

DIY Industrial Pipe Curtain Rods by somethingwewhippedup.com

DIY Industrial Pipe Curtains Rods

Makes 1 rod

1. Make sure the pipe you have selected is the length you want to use. The pipes don’t come in too many sizes, but they can be cut to your specifications and rethreaded at most larger hardware stores—just ask! Once you have all of your pieces, connect them to form your rod. Connect an elbow to each end of the pipe, making sure you create two 90-degree arms facing in the same direction (so your rod will be flat against the wall). Next, connect a flange to each elbow.

2. Put your tarp or drop cloth down in a well ventilated area (preferably outside) and apply spray paint in an even coat and let dry.

3. Install your rods making sure to use anchors that are well suited to your type of wall.

SWWU Tip 1: Since the rod won’t be spring-loaded, you’ll need to think about how you want to hang your curtains before you put up your rod. If you want to thread the rod through your curtains you’ll need to do this BEFORE you attach the last flange and attach the rod to the wall. If you’d like your look to be more flexible (like we did) choose curtains with grommets and hang with hooks. We used the IKEA Grundtal Hooks.

SWWU Tip 2: Pipes come in various finishes including copper, black and gray. We chose to paint ours so the look was consistent, but you can leave yours plain for a more natural look.

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