Archives for August 2011

The Two Little Cloths that Could

I hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend.  It’s been a good one for me.  Had a great day thrift store shopping with my buddy, Carrie Lynn, yesterday.  Found some fabulous things and can’t wait to share them with you.  I’ll  be ending my weekend this evening with a Michael Buble’ concert!  Can’t wait – love his music.  We call it “sexy music” in our house :-).

I had planned on working on a post today showing you how I painted and distressed my daughter, Morgan’s, furniture.  BUT, instead I got up this morning and looked at my windows and thought, “Okay, now that summer is coming to an end (Dear God, I hope VERY soon), I think I’ll clean my windows with the Norwex items that I purchased a few weeks ago.  So here is the story.

My girlfriend, Judy M., (everyone knows her because she was born and raised here in Fresno, but also she is one of those people who is just plain fun to be around….I’ll mention to her that I met someone at a party  and she’ll say, “Oh, is her last name ______?” and OF COURSE she will know her).  ANYWHOOO, Judy calls me a few weeks ago and says, “Hey, I’m having a cleaning party at my house, do you want to come?” I’m thinking, this is a very clever way to get your house cleaned! ha!

She goes on to explain that she has run across an amazing cleaning product called NORWEX.  She went on and on about how amazing it is…blah, blah, blah.  So I agreed to be there and clean her house :).

At the party, she demonstrated dusting, cleaning mirrors and windows, appliances, etc.  Yes, her house was cleaner at the end of the party!  I ended up ordering the Enviro Cloth, window cloth, dusting mitt, and makeup remover cloth.  Okay, back to window cleaning today…..

I removed all the screens from the windows (only on the back of the house because I was still in my nightgown), wet the BLUE cloth (with just plain tap water) and proceeded to wipe down the 1st window.  Next, I dried the window with my window cloth, and  it was SPOTLESS and NO STREAKS!  I’m serious, THAT WAS IT!  No Windex, nothing!  The outside of my windows – all 12 of them PLUS 2 sets of french doors (hate cleaning all those little windows), were clean within 1 hr.  I hosed off the screens and dried them, popped those babies in and I was ready to head into the house to do the inside of the windows.

The best thing about these two little cloths are that you don’t have to use any chemicals.  I LOVE THAT!  We have too many chemicals in our world today (that’s why I have to be spider woman around here because the hubby won’t hire a “spider man” to come and spray…but I think it’s because it’s $30/a month…whatever).

So here are the cloths:   The blue one is the Antibacterial Enviro Cloth (this is the one you get wet with tap water).  DISCLAIMER: be prepared you might think this part is boring.  It’s a blend of polyester and polyamide (which is about 1/100th the size of a human hair) and when it’s combined with the right knitting process, it creates an extremely effective cleaning material, which can hold up to 7x its weight in matter!  Most cloths smear dirt across the surface, but these  microfibers produce an electrostatic charge which removes dirt, germs and bacteria.  This cloth can be used in replace of your antibacterial wipes (the clean odor is the only thing that will be missing!) It also removes grease!  Swedish laboratory tests show 99% bacteria reduction on smooth surfaces.

The purple cloth is the Window Cloth.  This is what you SHINE WITH.  First you clean your surface with the blue cloth moistened, then you polish (dry) with the purple cloth.  It’s STREAK FREE!  You can clean mirrors, jewelry or any shiny surface.  I can’t wait to use this on the inside of my car windows.

Norwex has a 2 year guarantee.  These two clothes are called “THE BASIC PACKAGE” and sells for $30.99 plus tax.  I thought it was a bit pricey, but when I saw how great it worked, the chemicals I didn’t have to buy or breath, all the counters, doorknobs, etc. I could clean with the Antibac Cloth and the surfaces I could shine with the Shine Cloth PLUS protecting the environment, I didn’t think it was a bad price at all.

Thank you Judy M. for inviting me to your cleaning party!  I had a great time and I LOVE MY two little cloths!

I still need to try my dust mitt and make up remover cloth.  Somehow, I don’t think I will be disappointed.

If you are interested in learning more about the Norwex products, you can contact Judy.


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Breakfast Granola

Wooohoooo tomorrow is FRIDAY!!!! My favorite day of the week!  I love Fridays because I give myself permission to have a FUN day.  A FUN day to me means NOT FEELING GUILTY if I don’t do one single chore.  I can go sit in a movie, hang out at a book store or browse the thrift stores… whatever I want without feeling like I should be home doing chores.  I actually think it’s more about taking my time and not feeling like I need to hurry everywhere I go.   I think all of us need a day when we can just take a deep breath and enjoy the moment we are in rather than thinking about the next place we NEED to be.   So give yourself permission to take a day off.  We all deserve it.  Don’t you agree?

AFTER a Friday of giving yourself a “guilt free, no rushing around day” swing by the grocery store and stock your pantry with the necessary items to make this amazing granola for a yummy, healthy Saturday morning breakfast.  My daughter, India, sent this recipe to me this week.  She has been making this for the past several months and has been giving it as a special gift to her friends and they are loving it.  Can’t wait to try it myself.  Let me know what you think!

4 cups rolled oats

1½ cups walnut halves

2 cups unsweetened shredded large-flake coconut

1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

2/3 cup currants or raisins

Grated zest of 2 oranges

2/3 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 300 F with racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven.  Set out two rimmed baking sheets.

Combine the oats, walnuts, coconut, salt, currants and orange zest in a large mixing bowl.  Heat the butter in a small saucepan over low heat and stir in the maple syrup.  Whisk until thoroughly combined, then pour the maple mixture over the oat mixture and stir until everything is well coated, at least 30 seconds.  Divide the mixture equally between the two baking sheets and spread into a thick layer.

Bake, stirring a couple times along the way, for 40-50 minutes, or until the granola is toasty and deeply golden.  You may want to rotate the pans once, top to bottom, to ensure even baking.

Remove from the oven and press down on the granola with a metal spatula – you’ll get more clumps this way.  Let cool completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes about 8 cups.

Have a safe and restful weekend.


The Stenciled Wall

Hello Family and Friends~ I pray all is going well for you this week.

Today I’d like to share the saga of girls and their bedrooms.  Do you have a daughter or two?  Do they want you to decorate and paint, only to change it the following year because they don’t “like that color” anymore?

Madison left for college 2 years ago.  Last year, Morgan decided she wanted to re-decorate her room AND she wanted to switch rooms with Madison!  This meant  I had to re-paint and decorate 2 rooms, not just 1!  Of course, SHE wanted to pick the color (I liked it when I got to pick everything for them, including their clothes) and decorate it herself.

Morgan chose a very dark hunter/peacock green and she only wanted it on one wall.  Ugh.  I hated it, but (gritting my teeth) I stuck to our agreement of allowing her to decorate.  For 8 months she and I would shop for bedding, curtains, accessories only to bring them home and return them because she didn’t like the way they looked.  FINALLY, she said “Okay, Mom you were right, you can do it.”  Sweet Jesus, I could NOT believe what I had just heard.  Did my 17 year old daughter just tell me I was right???? Of course, “I told you so,” was right on the tip of my tongue, but I SWEAR…I did not say it!  Boy howdy, I wanted to though.

“TRANQUIL” = free from disturbance or turmoil

(Is there such a room like this for us mothers????)

Tranquil is the word she used when I asked her to describe the room she wanted.  Her one stipulation was it couldn’t be “matchy-matchy.”  She knows her mother well.  This was going to be a challenge.

I got right to work and started surfing the net.  I came across an archived post on one of my favorite websites Centsationalgirl.  You can see what inspired me by clicking here.  Could I do it?  Centsationalgirl (Kate)  didn’t use a stencil, she made her own! YIKES! AND SHE HAND PAINTED IT!!! I emailed her and she was gracious enough to take the time to email me back with the color of the wall and also the stencil paint color. Thank you Kate at Centsationalgirl!

Have you noticed the header of this blog?  The little sentence under PROJECT QUEEN?  “Turning the daunting into the doable.”  Yup,  I tackled (me, Mandy who is afraid of failure) the daunting and I DID IT!

First thing I did was call my BFF, Carrie Lynn, to help me make a stencil.  We took a piece of poster board and folded it in 4ths.  We copied Centsationalgirl’s picture of the trellis and blew it up on the copier (you’ll have to just play with the enlargement option on your printer), then we traced a 4th of it on the board and then replicated it on the other 4th’s. The diamond (for a lack of a better word) ended up being: height 11″, width 10″.  They are spaced 2″ apart vertically (I hand-painted the circles to connect them).  Horizontally, they are connected.

I painted the room with Benjamin Moore‘s Nantucket Gray (same as Centsationalgirl).  I always use an eggshell or satin finish on my walls so that I can wipe the walls off without a problem.  I used FolkArt Metallic paint in Taupe that I found at Michaels (same as Centsationalgirl).  I used a stencil spray adhesive and a stencil brush.

Next, I grabbed my hubby’s handy-dandy laser level (Skil 30′ self-leveling cross-line) that he purchased from Lowes.  I placed it on a very tall ladder (had to do the first line high up!) and started to work on the left side of the wall.  I worked my way (one by one with the stencil) all the way across the top, aligning the top of the stencil along the laser line.  When I got to the end of the wall on the right side, I repositioned my laser level for the next set of diamonds and started on the left (leaving a 2″ space between my diamonds to paint in my circles).

If you have never stenciled before (like me)I found a ton of useful information at Cutting Edge Stencils.  They have tutorials, videos, galleries and best of all beautiful stencils that you can purchase.  They are amazing…I’m scoping out a wall to stencil with one of these puppies as we speak!  If you get a chance to look at Cutting Edge Stencils, tell me which one is your favorite…I have mine :-).

Now, might you ask….“Is there anything you would add or change Project Queen?” YES, I would add coral/salmon colored pillows like this (Aryanahome/Etsy) and this (Willowwhimsy/Etsy) and this (KainKain/Etsy). But that would be “matchy-matchy” :-)….Oh and by the way, Morgan LOVES her room!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to send me an email or click on COMMENT below.  Thank you for stopping by!

I couldn’t resist adding my furry children – MIA and TUX.  They wanted to be in the picture!  I had to shoo them off the bed.

P.S Don’t forget to click on the “F” button (Facebook) and “like” Project Queen!

I’m linking to:

Sew Woodsy


Smelly Towel Dilemma

Ugh!!!! I’ve got smelly towels!!!!

This is that time of year that if I use my bath towel MORE than 3 times it gets that MOLDY, MILDEWY, DISGUSTING smell that I feel like IS ON MY SKIN after I towel off.  I have been washing them in SUPER HOT water, they smell fresh when they come out of the dryer…I get out of the shower, dry myself off and…UGH, the smell is back!

Yesterday I was on the hunt for the answer to my “smelly towel” dilemma.   After a few hours of research, I loaded my smelly towels into the washer (follow steps 1-3 below) and hoped for the best.

1.  Wash your towels on the HOTTEST cycle that you can with 2 cups of WHITE VINEGAR.

2.  Wash a 2nd time with detergent.

3.  Dry as usual (with no fabric softener).

And a few more interesting things I found out….

  • DO NOT put any kind of fabric softener into your towels because it decreases the absorbency (I didn’t know this).
  • ALWAYS wash NEW towels with vinegar to get rid of the sizing the manufacturer applies to the cotton.
  • To keep your towels smelling fresh (no more mildew stench)  put a cup of white vinegar in your rinse cycle (if you have a Downey Ball you can put the vinegar in that).  The towels WILL NOT come out smelling like vinegar – the detergent will mask the vinegar smell.

That’s it!!! That’s all it takes.  I tried it and it worked my friends!!!


Welcome to Project Queen!

Photo courtesy of Project Princess Carrie

Welcome to Project Queen!  I’m thrilled that you stopped by (family, friends, and future blog friends).

My name is MANDY, and I’m a PROJECT QUEEN!! My “grown up” name is Amanda.  I have chosen to go by MANDY because I don’t feel like an Amanda.  Crazy?  Kinda.  I always thought when I “grew up” I’d go by the “grown up” version of Mandy.  I guess I’ve chosen not to grow up!  The only time I use my “grown up” name is when I’m on the telephone.  When I tell the person on the line that my name is Mandy, I end up being called: Sandy, Andy, Nancy….Oh yes and even BAMBI! Ugh.  Mother’s out there….please don’t name your daughter’s BAMBI.  YOU KNOW WHAT WE ALL PICTURE???? Yup, not the little Bambi who’s mother got shot……what’s with Disney anyway??? Everyone is motherless!!!

I just turned 48 years old….I CANNOT BELIEVE I’M ALMOST 50 (my husband says it’s easier on the other side of 50…anyone believe that?)….who knows, maybe I’ll use my grown up name when I turn 50!

I live in a city called Fresno, located in the central valley of California. Everyone asks, “Is it hot there?”  YES…it’s freaking very hot here! I have not always lived here.  I grew up in Fair Oaks, California.. moved to Algonquin, Illinois.. then on to Bokchito, Oklahoma and then back to California to a town called Roseville (where I was actually born).  I’ve been a city girl, a country girl, I’ve had a California accent (yes, people in the south think WE have an accent), Illinois accent, and of course a Southern accent that takes me about 10 minutes to adapt to when I am talking to someone from the south! When God moved me all over the world (wish it had been Europe so I could speak French and Italian) He was preparing me to marry a man who was also going to move me all over….California!  I met my hubby in Sacramento, moved to Bakersfield (with 2 dogs, 2 cats, and a bunny and 4 kids) then to Marin County, and we have settled in Fresno.  Of course we didn’t just stay in 1 house in each of these towns….oh no, we FLIPPED houses!  YUP!  Am I sick of it? YUP!  That’s why we are staying in Fresno….(more on this one later…..)

I have been married to a wonderful man (Steve) for 21 years (His hobby is acquiring properties in the downtown area and refurbishing them).  He is the BEST (although there are days when he irritates me a bit when he breathes ha!) and I wouldn’t trade him for any billionaire (or Ryan Gosling) in the world.  He has blessed me with 3 awesome stepchildren (Tracie, Sean, and India) and 2 amazing children (Madison and Morgan).  We are almost “empty nesters” (I totally DID NOT get what this was really all about until just recently) and we have 4 amazing grandsons, with 1 more joining the world in late October.

I have been blessed to be a “stay at home mom” since Madison was born in 1991.  We chose to live simply (without new cars, designer clothes and expensive purses :-)) and I have never regretted it for one moment. The only time it became a problem was when my husband called from the office and said he was going to lunch… ALONE, which meant he was going to get to be in the car ALONE, which then had me turning shades of green with jealousy when I thought of him getting to use the bathroom…ALONE!  But all, in all….life was simple and good.

I LOVE to eat, but I’m sick of cooking (having dinner on the table at 6pm for 21 years did me in), but love to bake!  I love a good VODKA MARTINI, a little bit DIRTY! (Thank you Pam K.)  Love, love, love sweets and have been on a diet all my life.  I’ve lost 30 lbs. at least twice and 76 lbs. once!  I HATE to exercise, but promise myself I will get to the gym every day, blah.  Love to garden and would spend hours in my yard if only it would stay cool enough in the summer.

I’m a bit OCD with certain things like PROJECTS.  If someone else paints something, I think it’s AMAZING and if I paint something, I see every single spot that I should have done better.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE thrift shopping!  A RED LETTER DAY for me is finding a great deal on a piece of furniture and then painting it and making it an amazing piece that I can say, “Yup, I did that!”  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE….INSTANT GRATIFICATION!  Once I start a project, I cannot stop or think of anything else until it is DONE!  Yup, that’s me….I’m an ALL or NOTHING kinda gal.

Hope that this gives you a little bit of an idea of who I am.  I could have gone on and on (so great about a blog…even if I bore someone to death, I don’t feel like I’m being ignored).  I hope you stop back by again. Ideas and projects will start coming VERY SOON!  You won’t want to miss them!