Toy Bench

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a friend and asked if I would be interested in helping her re-design her kids play room. I was so excited about the opportunity! My imagination ran wild with fabrics and colors and patterns (OH-MY!) Play rooms, nurseries (really anything "kid") is always super fun to decorate. You can use bold elements that you might otherwise be fearful of and chalk it up to the fact that it's "for the kiddos."

The main element I wanted to bring to this family and their four amazing children was organization. The play room space is not that large, but with four kids in the house, toys are abundant! I brainstormed with the owner and shared some ideas, but at the end of the day I was given carte blanche. Although my play room reveal is still a week or so away, I thought I would share my storage bench idea with you. 

One of my first posts on this blog was a DIY bench seat cushion that my dear friend Andrea shared with me. It seemed simple in theory, and she told me time and time again that it was - BUT - this is a girl who is also an electrican and can mount her own kitchen you can understand why I wasn't super confident :)  

Now that the bench project is complete, I can assure you all that it is indeed quite straight forward and not as scary as I thought. Check out my step by step tutorial to learn how to do this at home:

Getting Started
(Choose your fabric and measure your bench dimensions)
  1. After measuring out the length and width of the bench you are working with, cut a piece of plywood to those specifications (Home Depot, Lowes, etc, will even cut it for you if desired)
  2. Get to your local craft store (Joann Fabric, Hobby Lobby, etc.) for 'Poly Foam' - I selected the 2" thick and it worked perfect!
  3. Lay the plywood on the poly foam and use a razor blade or sharp scissors to cut it to the exact dimensions of the board (this will ultimately be the cushion top for your bench cushion)
  4. Purchase batting from your craft store - this will be used to cover the poly foam and keep it in place
  5. Cover foam and use a staple gun to secure the batting to the bottom of your bench cushion
  6. Fold your batting like you would a gift and staple the ends in place on the bottom
  7. Now you are ready for your last step - THE FABRIC!!!! You will work with the fabric in the same way you worked with the batting. Keep the fabric taut as you fold it around the cushion and staple to the bottom (see photo below for close-ups)

Continue to staple the same way you did for your batting until everything is in place underneath. If there is excess fabric, cut it! I had long strips of excess fabric (I'll show you what I did with this in a moment).

Here it cushion ready to be placed atop the storage benches we selected.
As with most things in life, budget was a key part of the planning process. Not only was budget important, but so were the dimensions of the play room and the area we selected to have the toy bench. We ended up finding the perfect options from Target and they worked well with the fabric.

We purchased two Circo brand storage benches in white ($50/piece). Next, we decided to go with red fabric bins to fit the bench ($5.99/piece). Great deals!!! The red bins work well as an accent color and tie into the red chevron pattern fabric that I'm having made into pillows for the bench. drum roll please...TA-DA! A beautiful, functional, affordable and Semi-Custom toy storage bench. Total cost was right around $150!
Oh - and remember that I told you I had some extra fabric left-over from the bench...well I have a friend who sews and she is making a valence for the window. Stay tuned to see the full reveal in a week or so when I post the before and afters of my play room makeover... :)


Veggie Frittata

Greetings everyone!  I just had to share this delicious and guilt-free recipe with you. It is really yummy and easy to bake up. It's also very healthy and gives you the flexibility to use up left over vegetables in your fridge. My mother shared this with me after seeing something similar on an episode of The Biggest Loser. 

Here is the typed recipe from my wonderful mother...

***NOTE: We added phyllo dough in each muffin tin after spraying with non-stick spray

These are absolutely delicious and the recipe is easily modified based on what veggies you have in your home. Bon appetite! 


Desk Decision

One week ago, I posted some inspirational photos of desks that I found online in my Desk Drama post. I considered various options and searched around for a piece that would work for the space I wanted to use for my desk area. Then, with a change of heart on where to locate my desk, I found myself very limited based on the newly selected space being small and in between two large windows in my home.

While I often find myself at vintage shops in search of an old piece that wants to be repurposed or brought back to life, I instead found myself at the EXTREME opposite. I found myself at (get ready) Target! Now we all love Target for a variety of reasons, but I didn't think my desk search would end there. Au contraire!

Not only did I find my desk for the unbeatable price of $109, I found a desk lamp and decor to go along with it. Here is what my setup looks like...

It's quaint, clean and cute! Nothing super-amazing, nothing super-creative, and oddly enough...nothing super-unique. And while I'm always in search of the distinctive piece, I realize that not every piece has to be. 

Here are some other views and details shots:

Just so you are aware - the drawer you see is the full length of the desk (42 inches), so you can store a ton of papers, folders, etc. 

Both the desk and the lamp are part of the 'Threshold' line at Target...which I absolutely LOVE! You can find out more information on each one by clicking the photo links below. 


It's safe to say that I'm really loving my cozy little setup, and of course it doesn't hurt that my brand new iMac takes center stage :)


Sweet Potato Pasty

OK - so it's Superbowl Sunday and I was trying to figure out what to make this year. I literally had four boxes of Pillsbury Pie Crust in my refrigerator from all of the holiday pies that I never made. I also had a sweet potato, onion and ground beef that needed to be cooked. Add these together and you'll arrive at my super-easy, and super-yummy "Pasty". Pasties are a traditional English recipe that comes from the Cornwall region. There are different variations and you can get creative with your filing.

For the sweet potato version that I made, you'll simply need the following:
  1. One large sweet potato
  2. 1 # of lean ground beef (you could easily cut this out of the recipe if vegetarian)
  3. One onion (yellow will do just fine)
  4. Seasoning: Nutmeg, Kosher Salt, Cracked Black Pepper
  5. Olive Oil
This recipe is totally fool-proof. Here you go...
  • Brown the ground beef in a non-stick pan (drain the grease)
  • Once drained, drizzle about 1-2 tbsp. of olive oil
  • Turn heat to a low setting and then season with 1 tsp. nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste
  • Add diced sweet potatoes (I always soften mine in the microwave first for about 5 minutes) and finely chopped onion
  • Sautee on low for about 10 minutes - cover and let soften
  • Remove pan from heat and set aside
  • Take out your read-made pie crust. Cut down the center of the pie round making two, half-moon shape pieces of dough (One round = 2 pasties)
  • Spoon meat filing in center of half-moon
  • Fold together from each end and seal edges like you would a pie crust
  • Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes 
  • Pasty should be light brown in color
  • Let sit for a couple of minutes before serving ~OR~ freeze in Ziploc freezer bag for a ready-made meal
  • That's it! ENJOY :)

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