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Being able to fix up this house over the past year and a half has been a dream come true! But it’s a bit of a letdown when people enter through the front door and see this lackluster first impression of our home. Needless to say, I’m so excited to finally be moving forward with finishing up this space! It will be the last major project we work on for a while, because Phil and I need a break… like yesterday.

Over the past couple of months I’ve been working on making final decisions with flooring, stair finishes, and front door options. There is so much to consider, so I’ve been making a concerted effort not to rush the design process! Check out the before pictures below, and read on to see the finalists for each finish option.

THE ENTRYWAY BEFORE

When we moved in, there was thin wood flooring in the entryway— all various widths with fake nail holes. The flooring was nowhere to be found in the rest of the home, so while I actually liked the look of it, we decided to rip it out. I had planned to install the same maple flooring here that I have done throughout most of the first floor, but the more I thought about it, the more I worried about excess moisture at our front door because of rainy and snowy Ohio weather.

In addition to the moisture issue, I began to get excited about the prospect of doing a fun patterned floor in here. It would be a great opportunity to do something interesting, especially since this floor would only be seen from behind the island of the kitchen as well as the study. I wouldn’t have to worry about a pattern in here visually affecting any other major areas of the house.

THE STAIRWAY

One thing I knew for sure about the stairway was that the shag carpet had to go! Phil ripped it out last weekend, and we’ll be working on those staples next.

At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have the stairs carpeted at all, but we talked about it as a family and decided it would be cozier and safer to go for carpet. So then I was left with two choices: What kind of finish to do on the stairs, and what kind of carpet.

I love the idea of a natural wood tread, and white risers. The combination of wood and white adds interest and warmth. But the more I thought about doing a fun patterned tile on the floor, the more I thought a simple and low-contrast situation on the stairs would be best. So I decided to paint the treads, risers, and spindles white, and choose a berber carpet for the runner. The handrail will stay its original stained wood finish.

TILE OPTIONS

As far as the tile goes, I narrowed it down to either this tumbling block tile using the Costa Allegra diamond tiles from Bedrosians, or doing a tone-on-tone checkered tile using 6″ square tiles from Bedrosians. While it is indeed having a moment right now, the tumbling block pattern is a classic look and something I’ve loved for over a decade. I don’t think I need to worry about its longevity. But if I wanted something a little less busy, and perhaps more classic and easy to work with, a checker pattern on a diagonal is a great choice too. Decisions, decisions!

CARPET OPTIONS

I love the look of natural jute rugs, but let’s be real— jute doesn’t feel so good underfoot. In addition to finding something comfortable for bare feet, I also need a carpet that will be very durable. That excludes using a vintage runner, which had previously appealed to me. I have children and dogs, and I worry about staining and snagging. Because of their great reputation in the field, I began looking into Stainmaster carpet options. I was really happy to see some styles and textures that mimic the look of natural jute, but with the durability expected from Stainmaster.

After looking at carpet options at the National Design Mart showroom in Medina, Ohio, I narrowed down my choices to three Stainmaster Active Family options from the Anderson Tuftex line: “Only Natural;” “Abbey’s Road;” and “St. Lucia.” After a week with the samples, I decided to go with the St. Lucia carpet (seen below) because the texture reminds me most of a natural jute rug.

Originally I thought I’d choose the Wheat color (on the bottom left of the sample board below), but after considering how it would look on a stark white stairway, I decided to go for Macadamia (on the top left of the sample board). I have a steam cleaner for carpets, and since the Stainmaster carpet is stain resistant, I feel pretty good about choosing a light color, even on our stairs. I’m also considering taking this carpet into our hallway and bedrooms upstairs, and I like the idea of a lighter carpet in there, rather than the darker options.

FRONT DOOR

I’ve been dreaming of replacing our front door ever since we first moved in! For one thing, the door that’s currently in place is your basic run-of-the-mill door that most people buy straight from the hardware store. I thought about fixing it up by applying moulding details and paint, but when it came down to it, our entryway feels like a cave. A little more light would be so nice! (I had to do a lot of brightening on the photos that I took of the entryway!)

After looking over my inspiration images, I realized that I love a bold, contrasting door with sidelites that match the surrounding wall color. The question is, what color or finish do I choose for the door? And how much glass do I want in here?

DOOR OPTIONS

I decided to go with Therma-Tru for our front door set because I loved all of the options for the door and sidelite combinations, as well as the ease of designing a set online using their Design Your Door tool. I went to check out the doors in person at the showroom at Hartville Hardware (my favorite local hardware store!), and was able to see the beautiful the wood-look finish of Therma-Tru fiberglass doors.

I love the look of a natural wood door, but a wood exterior door is simply not practical for the climate in Ohio. Wood expands across the grain during more humid times of year, and contracts in the winter, not only causing doors to stick, but also causing warping over time. Fiberglass is the best option for the look of wood, with superior insulation and durability.

Therma-Tru has a several collections, but I personally settled on two favorites.

The Classic-Craft Collection offers a wide variety of panel styles, configurations, glass options and five different wood grains to choose from. If I decided to go for a painted finish rather than the grained wood-look, Therma-Tru has some appealing pre-finish color options, or I could always choose to paint the doors myself with the color of my choice. The idea of doing a muted pink door really appeals to me!

The other collection I love is the Fiber-Classic Mahogany Collection. These doors look like real wood doors, but with all of the weather-resistant benefits of fiberglass construction. The Fiber-Classic Mahogany Collection also has several stain options aside from the traditional reddish mahogany look. As with all of the Therma-Tru collections, the Fiber-Classic Mahogany Collection offers lots of paneling styles, configurations and glass options, including decorative and privacy glass.

I used the Therma-Tru Design Your Door Tool to create eight door configurations I really love. I think I’d be happy with a solid color door, but my heart is telling me to go for the wood-look. It will tie in with the stair rail that I plan to leave its stained color, the wood shelving wall in the kitchen, plus the other wood glass-paneled doors I have elsewhere in my home (like in my nearby office as well as the sunroom doors pictured here.)

In the end I decided to definitely go with a wood-look door from the Fiber-Classic Mahogany Collection. I figure, if one day I wish for a solid-color door, I can always strip the finish and paint it!

Which configuration do you like best from the set above? I’m leaning towards #4.

I’d love to hear all of your opinions of my finish options! If you want to check out my first round of entryway planning, read this post here! I have changed a few things since then, but the paint, door knob, and other accessories have stayed the same. So excited to begin work on this space!

The post Entryway Planning Update appeared first on Making Nice in the Midwest.

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Whenever I’m searching for inspiration for a new room makeover, I’m always drawn to spaces that have an eclectic mix of furnishings. I love seeing homes with a mix of new and old pieces from a variety of eras with lots of great textures and finishes. The look of a home that feels collected is so much more special to me than a home that looks like it jumped straight from the pages of a catalogue. Of course, it can be difficult to achieve that kind of mix when you’re starting from scratch! I’ve been known to spend hours online searching for the perfect new pieces for my home, plus a great mix of vintage items to go alongside what I already have. My favorite place to find that perfect mix? Ebay!

I’ve partnered with eBay on this post to talk about my five best tips for creating a great mix in your home, plus how to find and take advantage of deals. At any point in time, eBay has over 1.1 billion listings available to shop, so it really is an unrivaled source for a wide variety of home goods and vintage treasures. I actually have over a decade of experience shopping for my home on eBay— fond memories of the thrill that comes in the last minutes of an auction where I hope to snag the perfect mid century floor lamp or lounge chair. These days, though, 81% of items on eBay have a Buy-It-Now feature so you can skip the adrenaline rush and cut to the chase.

Tip #1: Use Specific Search Terms to Narrow Down Your Search

If you’re searching for a mid century coffee table, searching for a broad term like, “Mid Century Coffee Table,” will bring up so many items to sift through. Try narrowing down your search by using specific materials or shapes such as “Pedestal Coffee Table,” “Chrome Coffee Table,” “Rattan Coffee Table,” or use designer names like “Karl Springer Coffee Table” or”Baughman Coffee Table.”

When using a designer name in your search criteria, you may find more expensive items, but you may also find items that are similar to the style of the designer, though not as expensive as an actual designer piece. I find that you’ll stumble on less expensive pieces if you search using material and shape in your criteria, rather than designer names. Though sometimes, if you find a listing that you love, but the price is too high, you can borrow words from the listing’s title in order to search for similar listings. Ebay is also great because within the listing’s page, they’ll show you similar items from other sellers, increasing your odds of finding the perfect piece.

Sometimes I’ll use specific search terms when I’m just browsing eBay and not really looking for a specific piece. My favorite terms are: “Studio Pottery Vase”; “Bargello Pillow”; “70s Modern”; “Ikebana Vase”; “Bentwood Chair,” and “Vintage Chrome.”

Tip #2: Use Generic Search Terms to Find Diamonds in the Rough

If you’re searching for a specific style or item, such as a burl wood coffee table, not every seller will actually include this detail in the listing’s title. Often you’ll only stumble on an affordable version of what you want after searching through pages of and pages of listings brought up by a broad search term. For instance, I found this really cool burl veneer coffee table as a related item featured in the listing for a pedestal table I was looking at. The title “MCM LOW RISE COFFEE TABLE,” isn’t very descriptive if you’re looking for a 1970s modern burl veneer coffee table. This is why searching more generic terms like “low coffee table,” or even just “coffee table” within the “mid century modernism” category of the antiques page on eBay may help you find the diamonds in the rough.

The idea of searching using broad terms sort of goes against the previous tip of using specific terms, but it’s great for those of you who have the time and inclination to sift through lots of listings. In any case, searching through listings on eBay takes much less time that traveling around to antique shops and resale stores to find the perfect piece.

Tip #3. Utilize Specific Category Searches

When I was looking for nightstands for my bedroom makeover, I knew I wanted a pair of elegant tables with a bit of a rough patina. I didn’t know exactly what style would strike my fancy, so rather than searching by specific search terms, I searched using specific style categories on eBay’s antiques section.

In the antiques section on eBay, you can search by antique period, style, and material. I searched the term “nightstand” and selected the Art Deco style as a category. From there, I was able to find a pair of simple two-toned Italian nightstands with burl wood doors and a curved shape that felt incredibly elegant. These nightstands also had the perfect touch of patina I had been looking for! The set ended up costing me $500 for the pair, including shipping to my front door from Italy.

Specific search terms didn’t help me out in this instance, but looking through pages of art deco nightstands turned up the perfect set right away! Sometimes it does take a few weeks of searching in the category of choice, or broadening the category a bit, but persistence always pays off when searching for treasures on eBay.

Tip#4 Take Advantage of Recommended Items

I always head to eBay first when I’m looking for a specific kind of item, or just browsing around my favorite search terms that I mentioned at the end of tip #1. Because I’m looking around on eBay relatively often, the recommended items on eBay’s homepage are so well tailored to my tastes! I often scroll through the recommendations and find something I really love, and probably never would’ve searched for. That’s how I’ve accumulated a beautiful and personal collection of home goods that work together to give my home that perfect eclectic mix I love.

Tip #5 Look Out For Special Deals

Did you know you can head to a specific eBay deals page to look for savings on items you already need to buy? I’ll occasionally look on the deals page when I’m ready to check an item off my house shopping list, like a carpet cleaner to keep up with pet messes, a veggie spiralizer for low carb meals, and a cool air humidifier for cold and flu season. I also head to the deals page when I need to buy new power tools for a project I’m working on. You never know what you’ll find!

My bedroom project was a labor of love— a mix of old and new. I brought some items from our old home, combined them with new elements like lighting and bedding, then added in a mix of vintage furnishings and accessories. Together, everything I used in here creates the warm feeling of a collected home, but it didn’t take years of collecting to make it happen!

If you’re interested in a similar mix of items, check out these pieces I found on eBay that can recreate the same look!

  1. Double Cone Sconces
  2. Linen Sheets
  3. Basket Globe Light
  4. Art Deco Nightstands
  5. White Pottery Vase
  6. Bruno Alarm Clock
  7. Rattan Serving Tray
  8. Pink Jute Shag Rug
  9. Campaign Dresser


 

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The post My Top Five Tips for Shopping on eBay appeared first on Making Nice in the Midwest.

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Lucy is now a six year old, you guys! I can’t believe it. She had her first friends-only birthday party last weekend, which made me feel completely justified to go all out with decorations to make the day super special for Lucy and her little friends! And, who am I kidding— I’ve been dying to plan fun parties for my kiddos, every since I was a little girl myself!

I haven’t blogged the girls’ parties in a while because I’ve been pretty busy with home renovations and honestly haven’t done much besides themed sticker cups and grocery store cakes. Nothing wrong with that, but honestly I enjoy doing more! I put more effort into Juniper’s puppy party this summer, which you can see here at A Beautiful Mess.

Lucy requested a My Little Pony party this year, which was a little bit of a challenge for me personally, because of the style. The new version of the My Little Pony characters are pretty wild with bright colors and anime eyes, unlike the more pastel and cute versions of my own youth. Everything I could find in line with the My Little Pony theme felt sooo tacky to me. Lucy wouldn’t have cared a bit, but I wanted to see how much I could elevate the theme to something Martha Stewart might be inclined to publish her her magazine. :)

My Little Pony Paper Cups

I made my own version of My Little Pony paper cups by purchasing plain white paper cups and decorating them with simple My Little Pony character stickers. I had purchased a pack of stickers to use as party favors, so I didn’t end up needing to purchase anything extra here. It was also helpful for each girl to keep her cup separate without needing to write her name.

Rainbow Paper Plates

I found these rainbow cake plates at Target, and snatched them up immediately! They felt like they fit the mood of My Little Pony, without having characters on it, which would overdo the place setting in my opinion.

Simple Table Decor

I used a sequined tablecloth to create a magical base for the table and topped it with a crepe paper runner. Then I laid out some silver glitter stars I had made with a star punch and filled in around them with silver star confetti. For table decorations, the combo was simple, but effective!

Rainbow Streamer Wall

I made a rainbow backdrop for the party by taping up 5 colors of crepe streamers that matched the rainbow cake plates. I couldn’t find a muted orange or yellow from a party store, so I ended up ordering them online on Amazon instead. The colors ended up making the perfect muted rainbow wall! Here are links to the streamers I used: yellow; peach; baby pink; lavender; teal

My Little Pony Food Table

I purchased a very long sequined tablecloth from Amazon (which I plan to use for lots of future parties!) to add a magical feeling to the table. Across the table I arranged gift bags, popcorn, Lucy’s birthday cake, candy pretzels and pops that we made, and cups of Chex Mix. I also filled a three-tier plate with PB&J sandwiches and made a rainbow platter of fruits and vegetables. I ended up moving the food table to our kitchen island and used the sequin table for the girls. I had planned for them to eat on the patio, but it ended up being a bit too chilly for that.

The purple gift bags and snack cups were purchased at Target, and the paper popcorn containers were from a party store. I used a piece of floral arranging foam to display the pops, and added batting around them to look like clouds. I also added batting around the cake stand.

DIY Floating Clouds

Definitely the best part of the decorations were the floating clouds! They were so simple to make, though it did take a bit of time. I took it as a nice excuse to sit down and watch some television. :)

To make the floating clouds, I put together this set of paper globe lanterns in various sizes. Then I used a hot glue gun to attach lumps of batting. I didn’t focus too much on the shape of the batting, just making an effort to attach it to the paper lanterns.

Then I used fishing line to hang the clouds from the ceiling, attaching them into the plaster with white thumbtacks. I also took off the glass globes over my ceilings lights and slipped the paper globes in their place. Once all of the clouds were hung, I used a chopstick to tease out the batting and connect the various sizes of clouds together.

To make the clouds realistic, I grouped different sizes near each other and teased them together. Hanging them individually wouldn’t have looked as good, in my opinion.

DIY My Little Pony Cake

So, I’m a pretty decent baker, but with everything else I had going on, I figured I should leave the birthday cake up to a professional bakery. However, I wanted to decorate it myself! So I ordered a plain white cake, picked it up early in the morning on the day of the party, and decorated it when I got home.

To decorate it, I did a white chocolate ganache drip-glaze. This was my first time attempting a drip glaze, and I thought it went pretty well! I used 4 parts melting chocolate (they were already this color) with 1 part heavy cream. I melted it slowly in the microwave (you can also use a double boiler), stirring in between 30-second increments. Then I let the ganache cool for a couple of minutes and poured about 1/3 of the ganache into an icing bottle with a medium size tip. The other 2/3 of the ganache I poured on the top of the chilled cake and smoothed it out towards the edges with an offset spatula. Once it neared the edges it began to drip down the sides. At this point. I added extra drips with the icing bottle. It sets up super fast, so this part has to be done quickly, or perhaps you may want to make your ganache a bit thinner than I made mine.

The buttercream icing held up well against the ganache because it had been chilled. Pouring the ganache on the chilled cake also aided the hardening of the ganache, so keep that in mind as well.

As soon as I poured the ganache, I began decorating the top of the cake, to take advantage of it as an adhesive element. I used macarons (from a bakery) , one lollipop, and sixlets and gumballs I had purchased from a party store. Around the edges I used some royal icing to glue the decorative candies, lest they fall off the side of the softened buttercream.

Decorating a grocery store cake was a lot of fun, and I plan to do it again for various themed parties!

My Little Pony Gift Bags

I didn’t feel the need to buy pony gift bags or craft any special gift bags, but I did keep the contents on theme. I filled the bags with My Little Pony stickers, My Little Pony rings, My Little Pony tattoos (from a party store for $.99), one 4″ My Little Pony doll (found at the checkout line at Target for less than $3 each!), and these clip-in fake hair clips that I also used to decorate the outside of each bag.

After Lucy opened her gifts, I had each of the little guests select a party bag and open them together. I think the girls really loved their gifts!

Here’s what the food table looked like when I was setting up, before I decided 64 degrees was probably too chilly for the girls to eat out on the patio dining table. Then I moved the food over to our kitchen island and set up this area for the girls to eat and craft.

After eating, I brought out ice cube trays full of beads for the girls to make their own necklaces. Then we served cake and sang to Lucy. After cake, we moved the party to the living room where we did presents and then the girls played a favorite school game, Four Corners.

It was honestly a lot of fun having the house overrun by girls! I suppose I am cut out for this parenting job after all. :) I’m sure the girls had a lot of fun, and I’m glad I survived and managed to have some fun as well!

Let me know if you have any questions about any elements of the party, and I’ll be happy to answer it in the comments below.

The post My Little Pony Birthday Party appeared first on Making Nice in the Midwest.

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I’m so excited to share the final images of our powder room makeover with you! I had a lot of fun planning this space, a mild amount of fun tiling this space (okay, so not really that much fun— though I did listen to a lot of podcasts!), and even more fun reveling in the “after!” Check out the “before” of this space below.

I know the design of this space is not for everyone, and that’s okay! Because most of you won’t be actually using this space on the daily. :) We’re really happy with how it turned out, and I feel like it’s exactly that I was going for. A little mid century desert design in a tucked away corner of our home. I brought in elements from elsewhere, like the fieldstone fireplace, yellow accents I always love, and mostly neutrals. with handmade and textural finishes.



Since we did away with a cabinet-style vanity, I added a ledge to this wall to store necessary items, such as tissues, soap, candles, and a little box for feminine products that my guests may need. Since this bathroom is across the hall from our laundry room, and major storage isn’t necessary. (Oh, and I added a chrome TP stacking unit in the corner near the toilet.)

This project was sponsored by Delta Faucets for A Beautiful Mess, so we were provided with some of the material needed, including this sleek chrome faucet that I selected for its simplicity and air of graceful and modern design. Plus— I’m all about that chrome! We also worked with J&J Plumbing to move our existing plumbing to new spots, and to hook everything up. If you’re in need of reliable and knowledgable plumbers in the Northeast Ohio region, be sure to give them a call!

If you would like to check out the planning posts for my powder room makeover, check them out here and here. The full reveal, details of building, and info on working with a plumber is here at A Beautiful Mess. There are links to everything I used here at the bottom of this post too!

As most rooms in my home, I’m sure this one is bound to evolve over time, but for now it feels almost perfect. There are some things I’d like to add, like a rug that’s better for here (this one will be moving out to our garage entry), a wall-mount magazine caddy, and moving the sink and light situation to the right about three inches. I’ll be sure to share with you if I make any major changed in here!

Thanks as always for following along with me! It’s a lot of fun for me to invite you all into my home and share projects with you. In case you’re curious— next up is the entryway! I’m super excited for the changes that will be happening in there. Spoiler alert: I’m have my tiling work cut out for me!

Materials:

faucet: Delta
toilet: Delta
tile: Home Depot
grout: Haystack from Home Depot
towel ring: Delta
toilet paper holder: Delta
wall hooks: Delta
mirror: West Elm
sconces: Etsy
tissue box: Amazon
soap holder: Etsy
ceramic box: Etsy
sink: vintage via Craigslist

The post Powder Room Makeover appeared first on Making Nice in the Midwest.

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Whenever I finish a room makeover in our home, I’m usually on a tight publishing schedule because of sponsors or my posting schedule at A Beautiful Mess, so I usually end up photographing the room the next day! (Sometime even the same day!) Inevitably, the space ends up evolving as I settle into it and feel out how to get every detail feelings just right. Of course, the adjustments never really end! I’ll find something at an antique mall of flea market and figure out a way to incorporate it into my home. Or sometimes get the urge to repaint the walls. And so it goes. On and on and on.

When I chose the Burard sofa from Article for our study makeover, I loved it for its shape and neutral color (as well as comfort!). But I also knew that I wanted a sofa that would be easily slipcovered so I could change up the look— and so I could go for white without worrying about dirt or stains. Recently I was able to work with Comfort Works again, who specializes in replacement IKEA sofa covers (see my Karlstad slipcover here), but who also does an amazing job at making custom sofa slipcovers. Read on to hear about the process as well as to see some other adjustments I have recently made to our finished study.

To get started on my custom slipcover, I sent Comfort Works images of the sofa I wanted covered. Per their request, I photographed a front view, side view, and angled shots showing the positioning of the arms and the cushions. Then the tailors took a look at the images and drew dimensional lines on them to show me where I needed to take measurements. I wrote the measurements down and sent them back to Comfort Works. Then they cut the fabric and began sewing my cover!

The material I chose was the Luna white linen blend, a fabric that blends natural linen and synthetic fibers for a really durable material. I didn’t have to worry about going with a light color, because if they get very dirty (which they really haven’t— yet!), it’s not difficult to remove them and launder the cushion covers.

Three other changes I made in the study were swapping out the shaggy rug for this hide rug (the shaggy rug is in the girls’ room now), using small glass side tables and table lamps as well as swapping out the desk for this mid century style desk with a smaller footprint and a height that would balance out the wall of books on the opposite wall.

The table lamps you see here are vintage bases I found on eBay paired with custom lamp shade I ordered from Jack of All Shades. It was so satisfying to design some dramatic lamp shades that felt like a fresh take on the quirky tall shade you often see in vintage lamps from the late ’60s.

All of the little changes have made the office feel just perfect in style and function! We’re loving cuddling up here to read together as a family, or sometimes just to steal away from chaos happening elsewhere in our house!

As usual, I’ve rounded up all of the details for you below. Let me know if you have questions!

The post New Slipcover from Comfortworks appeared first on Making Nice in the Midwest.

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Thank you to Power AirFryer Oven for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.

Power bowls are a great way to add nutritional and flavor variety to your meals, without a lot of fuss. Just throw a variety of tasty, nutrient-dense foods into a bowl, add your favorite topping or dressing, and dig in! It’s the perfect healthy meal to enjoy in lieu of a salad. Power bowls are, in my opinion, much more satisfying than a salad. I always crave a crispy crunch with my power bowls, so I was really excited to use my new Power AirFryer Oven to give some of my mix-ins an extra crispy texture, without all of the oil and grease that comes with deep fried food. After all, I’m going for nutritious here, folks!

I teamed up with Power AirFryer to share my favorite way to jazz up some basic foods to make them more exciting to eat. With minimal food prep, everyone in our home is more interested in eating their veggies when they’re air fried! I’ve left the AirFryer out on my counter and have literally made brussel sprouts in it every single day. Lucy even asked me to make it for a snack one day! I’ve never gotten them so crispy and light before trying this method. But since the Power AirFryer Oven comes with three trays, I can cook a variety of foods all at once to make a complete meal, without even firing up my oven.

What makes the AirFryer special is the super hot air that blasts around the food on the metal trays, allowing the food to become extra crispy, especially when lightly sprayed with oil before cooking. The unit comes with a rotisserie basket, or the option to use the three trays. At the bottom of the oven is a non-stick tray for catching any crumbs and oil dripping so clean-up is a breeze.

I’m really just getting started, learning about fun recipes to make with my AirFryer, but the power bowl is now a regular in my meal rotation! I can change up the veggies, depending on what’s in my fridge, and often choose to make my power bowls completely vegetarian. Just fill up all three trays with a variety of battered and/or oiled vegetables, select the temperature and time, and let her go! It cooks my food much faster and more evenly than the oven, which is great because I often wait too long to get dinner started at our house.

The Power AirFryer Oven comes with guidelines for cooking times and temperatures, but when combining food types in one cook, I had to do a tiny bit of planning. For instance, when making these power bowl ingredients, I adding the chicken first, then after 4 minutes, I added the cauliflower, waited two minutes, then added the brussel sprouts. They cooked at the same temperature, but for different lengths of time. In between those times I prepped the next item to go inside the AirFryer. All said, in prep time and cook time, this meal took me only 20 minutes to make!

Air-Fried Chicken Tenders
  • 1-2 beaten eggs
  • 6-7 chicken tenders
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Combine the bread crumbs and seasoning in a bowl large enough to fit a chicken tender. Dip the chicken tenders in the egg wash, then toss into the crumbs mixture, pressing the mixture onto the tender so it sticks nicely. Place chicken tenders onto a greased AirFryer tray, leaving a bit of space between the tenders for air flow. Spray the chicken tenders with the oil of your choice.

Cook at 400 degrees for 12 minutes. No need to turn the tenders as they cook!

Spicy Air-Fried Cauliflower
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 cup flour (substitute corn meal for a crunchier texture)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Mix the flour with the seasoning in a relatively small bowl. Dip each piece of cauliflower into the egg wash, toss in the flour mixture, then place onto a greased AirFryer tray. Spray with oil before placing into the AirFryer. Cook at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes, depending on how tender or crisp you’d like the cauliflower to be.

Air-Fried Brussel Sprouts
  • 6-8 brussel sprouts, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a medium bowl, add the brussel sprouts and sliced almonds, then toss to coat in the butter. Add the seasoning and toss to coat again. Spread the mixture of brussel sprouts and almonds evenly in one layer on a greased AirFryer tray. Cook at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes.

I love layering the crispy air-fried food atop a bed of spinach and topping with my favorite dressing, some tahini, or hummus. So delicious and satisfying!

You can check out more AirFryer recipes at the Power AirFryer Oven website. You can win your own Power AirFryer Oven through the Instagram giveaway I’m hosting too! I’d love to hear what kind of recipes you would try— or have tried— with an AirFryer. I feel like there are endless possibilities, and I’m only getting started!

The post Crispy Air-Fried Power Bowl appeared first on Making Nice in the Midwest.

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I’m so excited to be able to pop in with a powder room update for you all! So far I’ve completely rearranged the bathroom with help from J&J Plumbing, settled on tile and fixture choices, and have even begun tiling!

Right now I’m in the process of thinking about decorations as I pause work on the space for a moment. I’m torn between using mostly white decorative elements to add more of textural interest with less dynamic design, or something warmer like what’s pictured above right. What do you think?

Our sink and toilet used to be arranged on the left wall of the powder room, but now the sink will be across from the opening, with the toilet to the left of it.

We built out the wall a bit in order to create a ledge behind the small sink, but it was actually quite handy, because we realized the wall we wanted to move plumbing too wasn’t just drywall. It was masonry, with no space for pipes. I definitely got lucky that my original design solved the issue before it became an issue!

Right now we’ll be working on tiling, and I’ll be adding the wood for the ledge and trim. The walls and ceiling still need painted as well.

I am torn a bit with what to do about grout. You can see a sample piece sitting below the sink in the photo above. The grout color on the left is called Haystack, and would provide a softer backdrop without as much contrast. The dark gray would definitely highlight each individual rock in the tile sheets, but I can’t decide if that would just be too much, considering this tile is going up half the wall and will also be on the floor.

I need to decide what to do about grout in a few days! Send me all of your opinions!

The post Powder Room Progress appeared first on Making Nice in the Midwest.

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Wow, you guys! July was such a busy month that seemed to both crawl and fly by. We spent so many evenings working on our patio makeover— it was quite exhausting! But I’m happy to report that the project is finished! Check out my patio planning blog post I wrote before setting out on the project. Kind of crazy how the result actually turned out how I planned! Ha! I’ve shared two posts at A Beautiful Mess about the first steps of the project:

The grand reveal is coming soon, along with a post about the slat wood pergola we build. But for now, I’d love to show you some of the process and results right here at my own blog.



This is the lovely view we had from our sunroom door, which has since been transformed to the view below. We spent a grueling weekend stripping the deck, and another entire week putting up the privacy fence. I can’t even believe it was this bad before! Mostly the floor was in super bad shape, but the overall darkness of the space has been dramatically improved.

Here’s another great before and after scene! Above is the original dining area, complete with a grill which we moved out of the way to better position the dining table. We extended the fence posts so the roof in here would be enough height to add the slat wood pergola. What a difference all of that white makes! And now we can enjoy dining al fresco without baking in the hot afternoon sun.

Before we refinished the deck, it was pretty chippy and scratched. Some boards were so chewed up that we had to pull them up and replace them. Phil and I would’ve loved to replace all of the deck boards, but that just wasn’t in the budget. But I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, even though it took soooo much effort to make this old deck shine again!

Here’s how the deck looked before we finished staining, fencing, and adding the slats above the pergola area. It was so exciting to see it com together!

Below you can see what it looks like from the outside. I have since planted sweet autumn clematis up here, which will climb up fishing line that I’m string long the posts of the fence, to keep the clematis off the actual fencing. I hope it fills out how I would like! I’ve been reading a lot about caring and pruning clematis, but any extra advice you have for me would be more than welcome!




We’ve definitely been over-indulging in s’mores since the patio completion, but I know that winter has a way of sneaking up on us here in Ohio, and then we’ll be longing for this warm summer evenings with toasty sugar sandwiches! haha!

I’ve included a list of all of the products I’ve used in this space down below. Article gave us all of the outdoor furniture to be used in the project (except for the umbrella and fire pit). We’re really happy with the quality, and I’d definitely recommend their furniture to anyone who is looking! Feel free to ask me questions and I’ll check back in to answer.

Product Sources:

The post Patio Projects for the Win! appeared first on Making Nice in the Midwest.

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I’m so excited to finally begin work on our first floor bathroom this month! We ripped out the flooring and toilet last Summer, and have been hiking up the stairs every time we need to use the facilities. Yes, even through potty training. It’s been a joy.

The good news about waiting a year to begin working on a space is that I get a year to plan, replan, and plan again! I’ve been through so many design options for this space, I’ve lost count! But I finally settled on three looks that I really dig. I’d love for you all to weight in on which option is your favorite!

When we sold our home last May, the first thing I bought for our next house was this vintage yellow sink. I just knew it would work, even though we hadn’t found a home to move into yet! Thankfully we have a nice little powder room in our new home that perfectly suits a small sink like this. All of my design plans center around the yellow sink. It’s a non-negotiable. ;)



OPTION ONE: Funky Traditional

I love an eclectic interior, so this design appeals to me because of how it would blend together elements from traditional and modern design camps. That light and faucet? So deliciously modern. But the sink and mirror definitely harken back to the earlier decades of the 20th century. The tone-on-tone wallpaper, vertical shiplap, and checkered flooring would feel at home in any space, but combined, it feels so funky fresh!

What do you think? A bit too much for such a small space? Or, go big or go home?

Materials: 12 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

OPTION TWO: Mid Century Minimal

I was really gravitating towards doing a mosaic tile in here because there isn’t much square footage to deal with, and I love the grand impact a mosaic tile has been known to make in mid century time-capsule bathrooms. When I found this pebble tile that reminded me of miniature fieldstone, I was all about it. After making the mock-up seen at the top of this post, I was really digging the early minimal vibes that such a wall and floor treatment could bring to my tiny powder room. Pair it with a wood-tone torch sconce and a snazzy chrome faucet, and this mid century look feels completely updated!

Do you think you’ll go crazy if I put this tile in so much of the room? Or do you think it will make a simple and significant statement?

Materials: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

OPTION THREE: Modern Classic

As I’ve revamped each room of our home, I’ve attempted to keep baseline elements of classic design. The lighting I selected for the kitchen, the moulding details, and the medium wood tones throughout the home felt a bit like an anchor that kept things from going a bit too trendy or modern. The sconces in this powder room design tie in with the chrome elements I have throughout the house, and recalls the subway tile I put in my kitchen. In general, this design feels sophisticatedly restrained, allowing the yellow sink to take center stage. But the tumbling block floor tile still reinforce the fun vibes introduced by the sink.

Does this space feel too cold for you, or just the right restraint? Perhaps I’ll regret using ubiquitous subway tile yet again?

Materials: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

We’re beginning clearing out the powder room tomorrow and having a plumber prep the space for drywall work and tiling. I can’t wait to get things underway in here! Tune in to my Instagram stories to check in on the progress for our powder room renovation.


The post Plans for the Powder Room appeared first on Making Nice in the Midwest.

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Are you trying to fit in more vegetables, less meat, more protein, less carbs? It’s a lot to think about! But this vegetarian pesto pasta dish has it all, thanks to the edamame spaghetti I used, rather than traditional wheat-based pasta. It’s also a one-pot meal, so there’s very little cleanup involved with food prep or cooking. It’s serious the answer to all of my problems! (Or at least the problems that arise during dinnertime!)

I’ve struggled with eating healthy during the past year of home renovations. There’s so much mental and physical work involved, not to mention time, that it often feels like very little motivation and attention is leftover for planning and making nutritious meals. But lately I’ve committed to doing better with our family dinners, and not resorting to pizza, or french toast, or whatever sounds good after a long day of work.

I’ve been trying to figure out a few core meals that everyone in our family, even the little kids, can enjoy, without feeling like, “It’s okay for a healthy meal.” You know what I mean? This protein-packed pasta dish was devoured by everyone without complaints, and I didn’t mention one word about it being health. I’d say it’s definitely a keeper! So much so that I had to bring it to my blog to share with you all.

I used frozen peas and green beans as well as canned pesto, just for convenience. I always have those items on hand so I can throw together a meal without a lot of leg work or planning. Of course you can use fresh vegetables and homemade pesto if that’s your jam!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 8oz box of edamame pasta
  • 1/2 8oz jar of traditional basil pesto
  • 1 bag of frozen green beans
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 2 handfuls of fresh spinach
  • tablespoon of chopped or slivered nuts (optional garnish)



This is gonna be so easy, I promise! All you need to do to make this dish is get a big pot of water boiling, and dump in 1 cup of frozen peas, 1 bag of frozen green beans, and the entire 8oz box of edamame pasta. Bring back to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and allow to cook for 8 minutes.

After the pasta and vegetables are cooked, drain the pot and gently mix in half of the jar of pesto.

As you serve the pasta, mix in some fresh spinach until barely wilted, and top with the chopped nut of your choice. I chose sliced almonds because it’s what I had on hand, but pine nuts would have been amazing!

Such a delicious and satisfying meal! Sometimes I also serve it with sliced sausage for extra heartiness and protein. Just enjoyed a reheated bowl of leftovers for my post-workout meal today and it really hit the spot! Let me know if you give it a try. :)

The post Vegetarian Protein-Packed Pesto Pasta appeared first on Making Nice in the Midwest.

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