favorite things – kitchen

A while back I posted on some of my favorite things (see that post here). That post was more specific to things I like for me. I thought it was fun to share those things and I love reading other blogs that also share their favorite things. SO I figured I try another favorite things post but with a twist… the kitchen edition. Not too exciting, I know, but hey… still fun!

The little things (and usually the most essential):

1. Ikea carries these nifty and colorful scrub brushes. They are only $1.49, I mean seriously, how could you go wrong here? I stock up on these bad boys (and Ikea is a 2 hour drive, one way, for me so it’s months before I can get back to get more). I use these brushes to clean dishes (duh), and I have one in every bathroom, under the sink, for cleaning. I use one for cleaning the eggs too. I just love these dang things. Plastis at Ikea (not a promo here, just my opinion and no I wasn’t paid for this but I wish I was!)

2. Mini colander in fun colors. See my colander in this kitchen post here, it’s an aqua color. I keep it on my sink and it store our fresh eggs. We use our eggs within a week so it’s not necessary to refrigerate them, hence the cute little colander I picked up here. I love the color, I love that it’s metal (easy to clean) and I love that it’s small and fits perfectly on my sink.

3. Glass storage jars. I purchased my jars at Wal-Mart and I have loved them ever since. They look beautiful and add charm to the kitchen. Someday I think it would be stellar to have a pantry full of these, similar to this awesome one here (like an old general store). See my post here about my super awesome glass container.

The Middle Sizers:

4. Pendant Lamps are SOOO great for kitchens! I love pendant lamps. Sure, I really wanted something along the lines of this or this but lets be realistic, I want a lot of things so I need to keep a budget. The Ottava pendant lamp at Ikea totally fits the bill with it’s big design on a low budget, perfect! Eventually I think I may paint these brass but I’m not entirely sure just yet. However, because of the great price I won’t be afraid to try something new with this pendant. I love it.

5. Do I need to say more? Isn’t the Kitchenaid a staple in every kitchen? Well if it isn’t this mixer it is probably one similar. I’ve had my mixer since 2000 and it’s still going strong as day one. My parents bought a white Kitchenaid for my grandmother when I was a kid, 30 years later that thing is still taking a beatin’ and my gram uses it every day.

The BIG ticket Item/Splurge:

6. When we moved into our house it was stripped bare of all the appliances, so a fridge, dishwasher and range were must haves on our list. The hubby does all the cooking and was super stoked that we had natural gas in this home. So we decided that we’d buy a professional gas range. We went cheap on other things to justify our big purchase for the range. I bought the range hood ,and painted it Aqua, at Habitat for Humanity for $5.00! Total steal. See a post on that here. We bought a stainless dishwasher at Costco for under $600 (with a rebate), awesome! And we borrowed a fridge for our first two years, which I painted in chalkboard paint…(update: we have drawer refrigerators in our kitchen now, but please do notice that those DID NOT make my favorites list).  And because I like to think of myself as somewhat thrifty, I scowered craigslist and found a professional appliances resale store in Phoenix (a 2 hour drive away). They sell appliances that were floor models from showrooms all over the city and they sell damaged and refurbished appliances too. We paid… wait for it… $1780 for our DCS 30″ professional range. It was a floor model so we scored! It was 2 years old and had never been used {swoon}. We received a 1 year warranty with it too. Such a steal! See here for our stove on sale via the web…. Lets just say we were more than happy to save nearly $3,000!

What’s in your kitchen?

easy screen door

Look what I did this weekend!! Yes, I said “I”… I did it while the hubsband was out of town! From start to finish, I totally dominated this project! Instant gratification, this project was simple and quick!

I added a screen door to the back door, leading out to our patio area. The boys always leave the door open and the fly’s were driving me bonkers! So I up and installed a screen door…yeah for me!!

Look how cute it is! I love it… and now I want one for the front door…I love the cool summer breeze coming through the house and there’s nothing that says ‘home’ like a screen door!

Here is the door I purchased, unfinished wood, screen door:

Once I got it home I removed the screen with a phillips screw driver (there were about 8 little screws holding the screen on the back. That was super easy.

Then I painted it. I literally painted this on Friday evening (both sides at once, two quick coats, while the door was leaning, height wise, against the wall in the garage). By Saturday I was ready to hang it. I used regular ole paint, nothing fancy, just grabbed something I had in the left over pile.

Besides having a drill all I needed (in addition to the screen door itself) was a handle and the self closing hinges, …seriously… it was THAT simple! This project was right up my alley!!

Here is the door in all her glory BEFORE the screen door:

What a difference! And what a simple project.

Totally awesome!



What are some of my favorite things…

I actually have a lot of things that I consider favorites. Maybe I can make this a reoccurring post, monthly or something like that…. hmmm, I like that idea.  To keep it simple because it’s hard for me to stay focused on one thing I thought I’d start with some of the basics that are my favorites, or shall I say some of my ‘staples’.

#1. Pureology | Shampoo & Conditioner. This stuff is amazing, I love it. And it helps that they are animal friendly & vegan (makes me feel better about using their product). I use the Pure Volume, it is a great shampoo & conditioner, especially for my limp, fine hair.

#2.  Aveeno | Ultra Calming Foaming Cleanser. I love this stuff for a lot of reasons but my top three reasons: 1. I can get it at nearly any drug store, or online and that makes my life all that much easier. 2. It’s cheap ($6)  and 3. It’s soft, works well &  gets my make-up off (even the mascara).

#3.  Gillette Fusion | 5 blade razor. Originally I had to steal my husbands razor (forgot mine on one of our quick trips, so I grabbed his razor  and a new blade for myself), after using it ONE time, I was forever hooked. I usually get my razors at Sam’s Club on one of my many trips, they aren’t cheap (at all) but they really do the job and last for a good amount of time. Smooth summer legs are the best!

#4.  Lancome Pressed Powder | Dual Finish. I don’t spend much money on cosmetics (I’m a drug store & Amazon kind of girl), but I will spend money on this powder, it’s amazing. I don’t wear foundation, just this powder. I feel like a porcelain doll after applying this stuff. It’s silky smooth and light weight with great coverage. It’s quick, easy and efficient, lasts all day. Love it!

#5.  Cover Girl Mascara | Lash Blast in Black/Brown. Been using this for a few years. A lot of mascaras are too oily for me and leave marks on my skin. I have long lashes but need volume and this stuff does the trick + it’s affordable and easy to get.

#6.  Suddenly Slim | Tank Top (every color – white, nude & black). These are THE BOMB! Holla! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these! They are $18 at Target and now they have some with lace on the bottom, super cute for layering. These tanks are pretty much an everyday item for me. I love how they slim my frame. I love the lycra material, nothing sticks to it so my shirts look smooth when I layer. These tanks are a secret weapon for slimming, they rock!

#7.  Hudson Jeans. I have a pair of Hudsons and I feel super sexy when I wear them. They elongate my legs, slim the big-ole-booty (even with the flap pockets), and the low rise does wonders to make me look and feel slimmer. They stretch out and fit super comfy. Sometimes I have to be aware of the butt crack showing as they are super low. When I have enough $$ I may spend it on a pair of the mid-rise jeans. These are my staple jeans, but I only have one pair and they are getting pretty worn out so I usually save them for date night.

#8. Dansko | Women’s Clogs. Best. Shoes. Ever. Need I say more? And they give me an extra 2 inches, I feel tall and strong wearing these shoes. No, they aren’t the cutest shoes on the market but they are the best (IMO). They will last you for years and they are great for posture (hence why so many nurses choose these shoes too). Love me some Dansko clogs.

What are some of your staple/go-to favorites?


This week is dedicated to the new boys room and our big makeover taking place (see the mood board here). 

I thought I’d break it up a little and go in another direction for a fun short post that turned loooong post on handmade goods and the value of having something made by hand. I am assuming you know of Etsy… and if not, check it out at Etsy.com, a site dedicated to selling vintage and handmade items. This place is a real treasure, with thousands of vendors who sell vintage and handmade goods. I can’t tell you enough how much I LOVE ETSY. I shop there frequently and am in love with so many merchants and the quality stuff they offer. Many items that I purchase are not available at retail stores and such, but best of all, this stuff is hand made! I appreciate handmade things… I like to make stuff too, it’s great to see how popular Etsy has become over the years. In such a fast paced world with so much technology it’s great to know we can still go back to our roots and find the quality things our grandparents use to buy and make. It’s refreshing.

Here are a few of my favorite purchases and what I loved about each one (in no particular order and there are many more, these are just a quick few): ** it was hard to narrow it down to only 6 **

#1. Mud Hut

#2. Fly Duds

#3.  Effy Bags

#4. FlyTrapOne

#5. Aesthetic Innovation

#6. Decal Farm

 #1. The mudhut offers original clay pieces, like the one in the photo. A few years ago I bought one to hang with our pictures on the collage wall. Our little plaque has two big birds and two littler birds, all 4 of them on a branch and the wording reads “Kruger Family, est. 2001″. After I purchased one of these sweet little plaques I was in love! I bought a change tray with “Nana” engraved in it, I purchased four more of the hanging plaques for miscellaneous family members and one more plaque for my office to remind me how sweet life is. These are truly unique and because they are customized with names and date, it makes them one-of-a-kind.

#2.  Flyduds is my go-to-shop. I could ramble on and on and on about this fabulous store, I absolutely love their product, the customer service and the fact that they posted my boys in their store front was quite a perk (see the photo at end of this post)! Now, mind you, I have purchased A LOT of custom shirts and these far surpass any shirt I have EVER bought. These are not thin t-shirts with iron on applique (not that there is anything wrong with that, but when I’m buying an $17 shirt, I want it to last, applique is for home projects, IMO). My boys have about 10 shirts each from this store and I have purchased many, many more for Birthday gifts, big brother gifts, and so on. Buying one of these shirts for a gift will make you the hit of the party and receiving one is even better. Like I said, I could go on and on so I’ll quit right now, but did I say how much i love Fly Duds?? :)

#3.  I recently bought this perfect little hat for my girlfriends first baby.  What a great gift and beautiful quality. This little hat was perfect for the newborn photos I took too (more on that later).

#4.  These note cards from FlyTrapOne were a last minute purchase before heading down to visit an old friend for girls weekend. OH MY WORD! All I have to say is FUN, FUN, FUN!!! We took these cards out on the town with us and never looked back, it was hysterical and probably one of the funnest nights ever! Just imagine receiving a little note card from some silly, mid-30′s woman that reads “Reasons you should do me… I won’t complain about your excess body hair”! Holla!! Of course we are all happily married women, but we couldn’t resist playing fun tricks on a few of our friends and passing these out to other women for them to give to their hubby’s.  I HIGHLY recommend these cards or any of the fun items at this store.

#5.  These tooth fairy cards are an all time favorite purchase. I have one set that is half way used and one brand new one waiting to be used (Noah has yet to loose a tooth). These make it easy for me to keep the baby teeth organized and each one has room for a little story about the tooth and how it came out. Such a great memory keeper.

#6.  Decal Farm is just one place of many great vinyl stores. I bought this exact decal for my mailbox and it looks AWESOME!! I have also purchased wall decals for the boys bathroom, the stair well, and our front door (all from the DecalFarm). Etsy has tons of options in the vinyl decal department, Decal Farm is one of my favorites (obviously).

That was kind of hard, narrowing it down to six favorites. I have also purchased: engraved rock coasters, dog tags, jewelry, jewelry stamps, jewelry supplies, a blanket, sweatshirts, lip balm, lotion, custom lunch boxes, hair clips, hats and arm warmers to name a few. The possibilities are endless. Happy Handmade owner, that’s me!

My sweet boys, modeling their Fly Duds shirts for Halloween in 2009.

Make it a great day… :)

Jonathan Adler Love

OH MY GOSH!!! I am smitten! Jonathan Adler has a BRAND NEW collection at JC Penny! Holla! {me: jumping up and down like a 5 year old on their birthday}.

I saw most of the items in the photo above on line at the JC Penny web site: loving EVERYTHING they have!!! Honestly, Jonathan Adler is my style icon, I admire him SO, SO much. And now he has this affordable, quality line at of all places JC Penny! Awesome! The two sofa’s (one is pictured below) are freaking beautiful and so stylish and classy. I didn’t find the plates (shown in the photo above) but keeping my fingers crossed that more kitchen items will come available.

Loving the living room set up in the photo above. Especially those retro styled nesting tables with that sleek, modern sofa. I want to jump right into that photo and live in the room! Sweet and sexy… it’s soooo me!!

Here are a few things I window shopped for on the web site:

I am in LOVE (as if you didn’t notice). JC Penny is quickly becoming one of my favorite on-line shopping stops (see my JCP sofa deals here). And now that they have my man Jonathan, I am sure to be buying something VERY soon. EEK!! SO excited!!

Visit/see more here.

* PS… I wish I was paid for this, but I wasn’t and I am in no way, shape or form soliciting for JCP. These are solely my opinions… and they are pretty awesome (IMO)!! 

Pom Pom Decor

This sweet little item makes me happy every time I see it.

An empty rum bottle and three little pom poms (that my boys made) on some flower wire. Makes the sweetest little window decor for my bedroom. Lovely.

Have a beautiful day… sometimes it’s the simple things in life that are the best things.



This Halloween I found myself in need of an ‘original Hawkeye’ costume, as requested by my 5-year old son. Oh and by the way, “not the Hawkeye from the movie, the real Hawkeye from the comic”.  Huh?   I don’t really do comics, nor do I know the difference between the movie version and the comic version (or at least I didn’t use to know) so a google searching I went…  I found a lot of Hawkeye costumes, that was easy, but they were not the Hawkeye costume that my son wanted. The “real” Hawkeye is purple and blue and wears a mask “with wings”.

Here is “the real Hawkeye” as my son would tell me.

Besides being blue and purple, the mask was the most important element of the costume, Noah insisted on having a mask!

Luckily, with some searching, I found a great resource for sewing the “comic book” Hawkeye. Here I found the insperation I needed to  break out with my sewing machine and be the domestic godess /mother of the year…  link to the insperation costume at  Shwin & Shwin Blog

With the Shwin & Shwin tutorial it was easy to get the ball rolling for this costume, it was just the motivation I needed.

My biggest hang up in making this costume was my bad choice in fabric. I will admit that when it comes to fabric, I go for the pretty stuff, whatever looks good. I really don’t know how to choose “appropriate” material.  I ended up with some super awesome, shinny stuff that I loved but it was awful to sew. Come to find out, it is perfect material for lining, like coat lining. Thin, soft and silky. It was perfectly terrible for sewing a Hawkeye costume. It frayed easily and was super MESSY. Lesson learned (I think). Luckinly I bought a lot of felt, super easy to use and looked great.

And without further a-do! Here is my little Hawkeye… (Noah was over the top happy with the final product):

I was so proud of myself ! The felt mask turned out especially good. I used thin cardboard from a frozen pizza box for the mask (as well as purple felt) and sewed the felt together with the cardboard inside,… it worked like a charm, perfect! My son was sooooo happy with his outfit, he wanted to wear it every day for a week! It really made me feel good. The boot/shoe covers were a last minute request from Noah, made them real quick out of felt too. Can I just say that felt is awesome!

I pretty much whipped this costume up without a pattern and without my son. Seriously, it was so easy. I can’t wait to make something else! I am in the sewing mood… Yipee!!

Hope your Halloween is fantastic!

Family Portraits

Again, finding time to do the things I love (and there are many things I love), but photography was my first true love. It always feels good to be behind the camera, capturing a family and their life in the present. I know that pictures are such a gift, something that will be treasured for generations and I feel good knowing that I am that person taking those photographs.

A recent session I did here in Flagstaff.


I had some fun making this mood board.. it was like window shopping with a skinny girl’s body!  I picked what I loved and I didn’t have to pay a dime or try anything on, now that’s my kind of shopping! I can just imagine myself in this cute little outfit, looking good, thin (eventually), and flirty! How fun!


Beach Relaxed
I made this on Polyvore. What a fun place to fool around.
And in all honesty, I am really dying to try some colored skinny jeans.  I guess this is step one in the process. Aren’t these orange skinny jeans adorable? Maybe they aren’t for everyone but I am really digging these!
And Rainbow flip flops are my go-to shoes, can’t have enough of these! Best flips ever!
I think the Star Wars shirt would be a hit with my hubby and my little guys, they are all Star Wars fans.
Au natural colors for makeup makes me happy, I love the idea of looking “naturally beautiful”.
Those sweet little rosette earrings add a perfect pop of color and in my favorite color. AND, I just got a pixie cut 4 days ago (a big decision but I did it!!), so these little earring will really show with my super short do!
And of course, no summer outfit is complete without a great pair of shades! I love the wayfarer styles for sure!!!
Have a great “summer” day!

Photoshop Actions

Actions are fun! Don’t be intimidated, just go for it. Eventually you might just find yourself making your own… oaky, but one step at a time.

I found a fun polaroid action for free so I thought I’d give it a whirl. I love it! SO fun and it’s super easy to use! Now I’ll show you how quick it is to upload an action to Photoshop.

Here is the final product…

Isn’t it fun?

It sort of reminds me of those Instagram pictures that are popular right now.

Okay, so let’s get down to biz-ness. Download or purchase the action that you want to upload. I provided the link to the free polaroid action that I used at the top of this post.

Wherever you have your action (I prefer to have mine right on the desktop so they are easy to find and drag into the folders.

Step 1. Go into your Photoshop folder. Accessible through  >APPLICATIONS > PHOTOSHOP

Keep going… >PRESETS >ACTIONS. Here is where you will drag and drop the actions icon.

Now that you have put your action into the PRESETS folder, open up Photoshop. Also you will want to open up a picture, any picture is fine.

So now we are in Photoshop and we need to LOAD our new action. First, be sure your ACTIONS window/tab is open. If you cannot see it then go to WINDOW> ACTIONS and you will then be able to view your actions (if anything, you should at least have “default actions” already loaded. Now we want to LOAD our newest action. That tiny drop down button on the top right of your actions menu, click on that (only need to click once) and a drop down menu will appear.

Select LOAD ACTIONS from the drop down menu…

Here is where you locate the action that you just uploaded from your desktop. The action I chose to upload was “polaroid generator”. Once I find the action I am looking for, I click LOAD. ** Hint, if you have a hard time finding the action, it should be located > APPLICATIONS> PHOTOSHOP> PRESETS> ACTIONS and then you should find the action you uploaded.

Once you clicked load, you will automatically be taken back to your Photoshop screen and it should show the new action(s) in your action menu.

That’s the way to load an action!! Yeah! Wasn’t too hard, right?

Just to double check that everything works correctly, I tried the first action “Type 660″. Amazing! Love it. Actions are so cool. Love how the program does all the work to make my photo look so super-dooper cool!

I went one step further and added some text to the bottom of my new polaroid.

ALWAYS, SAVE AS when you are done. And, if you are not going to make any more changes, FLATTEN IMAGE, then SAVE AS.

All done! What a snap!

Hope to see some cool polaroid snaps soon.