House Jewelry – Update

I mentioned, oh, a mere two months ago, about the new “house jewelry” I got for our front door.  If you missed it you can check the post out here.

Usually it wouldn’t take this long to get a small project done but the mister accidentally painted it the wrong color first.  Apparently I told him the wrong color?!  (NOT what happened, but I am not going to complain since he does help me with all of my projects and I am full-term with baby number three and this chica apparently is not allowed to paint.)

The house jewelry before painted.

Wooden monogram - against current house color

After – gold metallic spray paint and coral ribbon on navy door.  No joke – the mister painted this baby black the first go around – why would I want it black??

Painted and ribbon - on front door

I decided to go with more of a coral color for the ribbon instead of the fuchsia.  I love the color combo, especially in the spring and summer months.

Although I think I might go back to my “H” in the fall and winter months.

Welcoming Entry - Monogram Moss Letter

It is “house jewelry” so it is good to have options.  Think of it like a good necklace for your home.

Which one do you like better?  Also, please share photos of your “house jewelry” for your front door.

Simple Locker Redefined

My husband works at a university and frequently shops their surplus store. When faculty transition or when a remodel occurs, all the old desks, chairs, fixtures, etc. go into their surplus storage and are then available for sale to the general public. Many schools have these, so you should check with your local college to see if they offer surplus sales.

After his trips to the store, my husband has come back with lots of awesome-ness, such as cabinets for the garage, children’s chairs that we’ve donated to our son’s school, a Restoration Hardware light fixture, and an old small locker. The locker looked like a perfect addition to my son’s room, so I decided to give it a new look.

Here’s what it looked like when he brought it home.

School Surplus Locker

School Surplus Locker

I got some spray paint primer and dark blue spray paint and started covering the whole thing. I ended up running out of the blue, and I didn’t like that brand, so I ended up trying Rustoleum’s spray paint for metal, which was MUCH better – I found mine at Lowe’s (sorry, I didn’t snap a photo of it).

Spray Paint for Metal Locker

Spray Paint for Metal Locker

After about four coats of paint, it was a great addition to my son’s bookcase in his room.

School Locker Redefined

School Locker Redefined

Isn’t it fun? There are so many things you can do with old classroom surplus…you just have to redefined it.

I’ll show you more of my little guy’s room throughout the week!

Summer Bruschetta

One of my FAVORITE Summer foods is bruschetta. It’s just so fresh and light – perfect for a snack or any entertaining you’re doing. Last weekend, I had some goodies from the Farmers’ Market, so I decided to make some bruschetta for our 4th of July celebrations.

Bruschetta Ingredients

Bruschetta Ingredients


Summer Bruschetta - Middle Redefined

Summer Bruschetta – Middle Redefined

Here’s my recipe:

5 Regular Tomatoes (or 8 Roma Tomatoes) Chopped

2 Cloves of Garlic (add more or less depending on how garlic-y you like it) diced

1 5-oz Container of Feta (I like Feta in mine, but you can also do mozzerella)

8-9 Basil Leaves Chopped

1/2 Lemon Squeezed into the Bowl

1 Tblspn Balsamic Vinegar

2 Tblspns Olive Oil

Dash of salt and pepper


Mix all your ingredients together in a bowl and serve over warm bread. I just buy baguettes at the grocery store, cut them into slices, drizzle them with olive oil, and warm them for no more than 3 minutes in a 350 degree oven. If you do any more than that, they’ll get too hard – and no one wants that!




Bling for your Blender

Actually for your mixer – same thing right?  No secret here- in our house the mister is the cook/chef/maker of the food.  Aside from the occasional batch of no-bake cookies or tacos or easy-to-cook items I tend to stray away “cooking” much.  Oddly enough my mom is a fabulous cook – I guess I just haven’t learned the craft yet.  See, I clean – organize – decorate.  However, I am getting shall I dare say “better” but I am definitely not the one who put a KitchenAid mixer on my Christmas list this past year.

Yep, that was the mister.

KitchenAid Mixer

KitchenAid Mixer

SO, I obliged and got the mister his most wanted item on his list and bought him a KitchenAid Mixer – “Artisan”.  He does actually use it quite often – homemade protein bars on a weekly basis.

Not only did I struggle with color choice but I was quite anti-having-a-large-appliance-on-our-kitchen-counter.  I decided since this was the misters mixer I chose basic a masculine black although there are 20 different colors!

Next, I thought there had to be a way to make this large piece of appliance more appealing so I found these great decals.


And in over 30 different colors and for only $12.

I found these decals on The House of Smiths Designs.


Don’t get me wrong – probably not a necessity, but what a great Christmas stocking stuffer?!

The mister has his blender – I can make sure the blender has some really cool bling!

Settee Staged

I’m finally done painting my bedroom walls white. And I have my settee all set up in the sitting room part of my bedroom. Before I go on, can I just say that the whole “sitting room” part of a master bedroom is a complete waste of space and not sure why anyone needs one. Except that it gave me a great excuse to buy a settee!!! So here it is ready for “sitting.”

I talked about getting it through Overstock in this post. And then I showed you some of my fun accessories in this post. Now, I got it all set up, moved my side tables and lamps next to it because they fit really nicely there, and then I was ready to hang artwork.

Sitting Room Staged -

Sitting Room Staged –


[caption id="attachment_1205" align="alignleft" width="600"]Sitting Room Update Sitting Room Update


The piece in the top left is the first piece of art that my husband and I bought when we first got married. We always dreamed of having a boat, so we thought this was a great way to dream – we still don’t have a boat. The photo to the right of that is me in my wedding dress. The art on the bottom left is a pencil sketch my sister-in-law gave us as a gift. It’s a drawing of our son from a photo my mother-in-law took. The last one is also a pencil sketch representing my husband and baby boy laying down together with just their feet showing. I love each and every one of these pieces, so I wanted to display them in a somewhat symmetrical collage above the settee.

Sitting Room Art

Sitting Room Art


Beyond just setting up the settee, I was also able to paint an old mirror I had mint this weekend. It’s so fun against the white walls.



Mint Mirror

Mint Mirror


This should be the last preview I share before the entire room is done. I have a new bed coming soon, and our bathroom has a few more touchups before it’s finally done. I won’t have it finished until August because the next two weeks are full of work travel and then our family Summer vacation. I’m definitely ready for it to all be completed!! Let me know what you think!!

Homemade Protein Bars

A weekly occurrence at our house is the making of homemade protein bars – super simple and very yummy. Plus these little snacks are far better than most of the “Fruit Crack” (the misters name for them), or snacks that our kids want us to buy in the grocery store.  Thanks to the mister for coming up with this recipe that every one in our family enjoys.

Ingredients - Homemade Protein Bars

Step 1 - Protein Bars

Step 2 - Protein Bars

Step 3 - Protein Bars

Step 4 - Protein Bars

Try not to eat just one – I dare you!

Chalkboard Labels

Last year, I decided to get my son’s toys under control in our basement. So I painted an old white shelf we had in the garage red and found every kind of bucket and bin we had around the house. I organized his toys so that each bin had some sort of theme (i.e. – Toy Story, Avengers, Robot Dinos, Cars, etc.). That way, he could pull one down and know that all of his robotic dinosaurs were together, which is very important for a kid who remembers every single toy he owns.

And recently, I decided to try out chalkboard labels as a way to identify each bin. Remember Jill’s fabulous “Little Details” post? I had bought some labels on eBay a long time ago, and she inspired me to finally get them out and put them to use. If you can’t find any on eBay, the ones I bought are also sold by this Etsy shop. I bought a pack that has all different sizes, so I can find all kinds of uses for these babies.

Chalkboard Labels

Chalkboard Labels




Chalkboard Labels - Varied Sizes

Chalkboard Labels – Varied Sizes

Then I went to Hobby Lobby to find chalkboard pins because I’d read about them on another blogger’s site. I found these and used the weekly 40% off coupon.

Chalkboard Markers

Chalkboard Markers

I love the way the labels give character to the play area setup.

Playroom Organization - www.middleredefined

Playroom Organization – http://www.middleredefined/caption


[caption id="attachment_1187" align="alignleft" width="600"]Chalkboard Labels for Playroom Chalkboard Labels for Playroom


Galvanized Bucket Storage

Galvanized Bucket Storage

Have you ever used chalkbaord labels before?

Make Your Own Magnetic Chalkboard

For years my mother-in-law had this sad little corkboard hanging off the side of her fridge loaded with receipts, invitations, baby announcements, etc. The only reason she had that was because she had filled her entire fridge up with photos, so that stuff had no where to go. So for Christmas last year, I made her a framed magnetic chalkboard so she could at least replace the corkboard hanging from a string.

I searched blogs to find out how to make one, and of course, blogs came through! On Less than Perfect Life of Bliss, blogger Julie talks about the best way to make a magnetic chalkboard (click here for step by step directions). My first step was to find an inexpensive frame, so where did I go? The West Bottoms Flea Market of course! They have tons of cheap frames without the glass or back, which was exactly what I needed. I got mine for $8 and gave it a nice coat of black glossy spray paint.

Julie recommended a specific kind of sheet metal, but I wasn’t able to find it at my local Lowe’s, so I just had someone point me in the direction of pre-cut sheet metal. I found some magnets in the store to test and make sure that what I was buying was magnetic. My husband cut it to fit the frame, and I sprayed chalkboard paint all over the front of it. Since it was an open frame, I wanted to make the back sturdy, so we got some inexpensive craft wood from Michaels and used clear tape on the seam – we’re really professional.

Back of Magnetic Chalkboard

Back of Magnetic Chalkboard

Then I found some hardware at Michaels that secured everything into the frame.

Hardware for Magnetic Chalkboard

Hardware for Magnetic Chalkboard

For the magnets, I bought the standard round magnets that you can find at any craft store. To make them pretty, I bought some round, designed stickers that are supposed to be used to seal envelopes. I say they work pretty well as magnet decoration!



My mother-in-law loves her magnetic chalkboard – at least she tells me she does. And I want to make one for our kitchen but just haven’t had a chance yet. Hope you find the time to create one for your home! They’re such a fun addition to your kitchen, kids room, or office.

Making a Magnetic Chalkboard - Middle Redefined

Making a Magnetic Chalkboard – Middle Redefined


Magnetic Chalkboard DIY - Magnetic Chalkboard DIY –

Hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July! Jill and I will be taking the next two days off for some R&R with our families, so we won’t be updating the blog until next week. Stay safe and cheers to a fun-filled long weekend!



Reader Submission – Window Treatments

Middle Redefined reader Sara was having a design dilemma in her living room.  Sara asked for advice on a “major eye sore” she was having with the back wall in her living room.  She was struggling with accessorizing around the window and how to address the window treatments.

BEFORE:Before - Sara

Since Sara lives in West Virginia – we discussed via email.  Sara likes color and was up for new throw pillows and accessories so she set out on a shopping adventure.  She scored new throw pillows and wall decor at Pier 1.  The jewel toned accessories look great in the space.

Jewel toned throw pillows and wall decor

Jewel toned throw pillows and wall decor

While she was out shopping my goal was to address the window issue.

In my opinion, the real “issue” was how to make her window appear larger and a focal point for the wall.

An easy solution to make your windows appear larger (which I highly recommend for everyone when dressing a large focal window) – hang your window treatments floor to ceiling and have the panel start at the outside of the window.  This illustration gives you a great visual on the Do’s / Don’t when hanging window treatments.

Window Treatments

Image via

For Sara – since she added the jewel tones and pop of color in her accessories I wanted to find a great tone on tone pattern that would add some visual appeal but not compete with her color palette.

West Elm had these great panels that Sara ordered for her room.

west elm

I also recommended that she replaced the blinds with sheers.

Sara just sent me over the after and I think you will agree it is amazing how much larger her window now appears.  Since the largest size was sold out Sara was unable to hang from floor to ceiling but I think they still look great!


Sara - After

Thanks Sara for reaching out to Middle Redefined.

Do you have a design dilemma?  If so, let us know – Erica and I would love to help and give our recommendations.


Farmers’ Market Fresh

One of my favorite Saturday morning activities is going with my family to the farmers’ market. The one we have in Kansas City in the River Market is just FULL of people, activities, and tons and tons of fresh food.

Farmers' Market Fresh

Farmers’ Market Fresh


Kansas City Farmers' Market

Kansas City Farmers’ Market

And just about every other vendor has huge bouquets of flowers for $8-$10 per bunch. I buy them every time…why wouldn’t I?

Flowers at the Market

Flowers at the Market

So when I got home, those flowers ended up in my very own mason jars, just like the ones I showed you last week at Rye Restaurant – perfect centerpiece!

Mason Jar Flower Vases - Middle Redefined

Mason Jar Flower Vases – Middle Redefined

One of the recipes I make almost every time we grill (you would think we’d get tired of it) is my Rosemary Roasted Potatoes. Here are my red potatoes from the market, ready to go.

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

I cut them into bite-sized pieces, seasoned them with kosher salt and season salt, tossed them with olive oil and some freshly-chopped rosemary from my backyard.

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes Recipe

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes Recipe

Roast them in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes (toss them with a metal spatula every 5-10 minutes so they don’t stick). And they are pretty much even better than the steak my husband grills to go with them – not sure if he agrees with that statement.

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes - Middle Redefined

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes – Middle Redefined

Make these during your 4th of July celebrations this weekend, and I promise they’ll be a hit with your fam. Enjoy!

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