Some things are just better the next day…

DSC_0001 Some things just taste better the next day.  Some things need a little more time to get it right.

Some of the things I prefer the next day are:

  1. this recipe in this post for Chicken and Dumplins
  2. chili
  3. homemade potato salad
  4. cheater peach cobbler
  5. this recipe that I pinned here from Martha Stewart (of course) for slow cooker beef ragu
  6. German Chocolate Caramel Squares
  7. refrigerator cucumber salad
  8. homemade salsa
  9. tuna salad
  10.  potato soup

What about you?  Is there something you prefer the next day after you’ve cooked it?

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I’m back…but don’t get too excited…

I finally decided to stop “revamping” my blog and just open it back up for posts even though it is a mess.  I am going to be tinkering with it even more now that it’s back up, so don’t freak out if it looks different from one visit to the next.  Trust me that hideous pink border is going…eventually.  The Peppered Peony is a work in progress, much like me and everything else in my life, which brings me to today’s topic.

So I have this friend, Hollie, who, I swear, gets giddy when she says, “What!?!  “Martha” (burnt a meal, has a messy house, has weeds in her garden, has a kid who is made a bad grade – insert any or all of these or any regular person screw ups you can think of).  I’m shocked!”  I love her to death.  She makes me feel like a million bucks  about my decorating, cooking, how I raise my kids, and she asks for my opinion a lot because, and I truly believe this,  she values it.  She is always going beyond what she needs to do when I’m invited over because she wants to impress me.  She thinks I expect that.  She thinks I’m so used to perfection I expect it in everyone else.

She is deluded.

I’ve felt  like a fraud talking to her recently.  The false facade of “living in a magazine” I often get “complimented” on is about to be shattered.

My life is a wreck on so many levels so I just thought I’d come on out with it so people who think I’m getting everything right can see I’m really a mess most of the time.

This blog is the perfect example.

I want it to be, and thought everyone expected it to be, perfection like Thistlewood Farms or Jones Design Co or Miss Mustard Seed.   Those blogs are so sleek and stylish, the bloggers so witty and creative and they give the impression everything they touch comes out perfectly.  They were all are saying, “I feel so guilty I don’t have my fall decorations out yet” around Labor Day while mine  are still today packed away in the basement or scattered all over the living room carpet that desperately needs to be shampooed just waiting to become a Pinterest success story.

In actuality The Peppered Peony is totally screwed up on the design side, and feels abandoned because I’ve not bothered to write any posts for months.  I’ve wanted to write a million different times, and I’ve really missed it, but I’ve been investing my efforts into just keeping my head above water.  The choices of font, theme and design styles changes to the blog overwhelmed me, and are representative of my life as a whole where I’ve had too many decisions to make and too many projects open up over the last year to get anything finished.  Even if they were done, they either took way too long to do or they weren’t done very well, so I just pushed it aside and tried to focus on something, anything else I might be able to do right.

I also know TPP hasn’t been worked on becauseI am a quitter.  I hate that part of me, but I can acknowledge it.  I quit when I get bored with something or it gets too hard or it’s not turning out like I want.  Boy, that’s hard to say out loud to other people, but it’s true.  I’ve always been that way.  Dance lessons, track team, playing the flute, college, my jewelry business, selling Kelly’s Kids clothes, opening a catering business, my librarian job, opening a restaurant…  I can go on and on but I won’t because it’s depressing, and the people who’ve known me for years probably can point out many more abandoned projects than even I remember.  I have managed to stay married for 22 years which is a testament to the fact I know how to stick with things when I have a partner, but when left to do something all alone rarely does it get accomplished from start to finish.

I can also recite all kinds of motivational sayings about missing every shot you don’t take, or when you feel like quitting remember why you started.  Saying it doesn’t make it happen though.

So today I’m going to start again.  Today I’m quitting quitting, at least with the blog.  I don’t think I’m going to magically start finishing all the projects I’ve stopped working on, but this is a start.  I don’t think I’m magically going to get all the crap I’ve bought at auctions over the last few months neatly organized in the garage or get my business plan cranked out tout suite, but at least now that the illusion of holding it all together is gone, I can move in that direction with a huge weight lifted from my shoulders.

Yep, I’m back, but don’t get too excited…yet.

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I have priorities…


After 2nd huge snow storm in a week 2013

I know I said I wasn’t going to post again until I made my theme change, but I just have too many pictures to share and too many people in my house causing distractions to get it done.

As you may have heard, the Midwest got hit by two major snowstorms in one week.  I mean major.  The weather in MO has been brutal and crazy the last few years.

Feb 2010 blizzard

Feb 2011 blizzard

2 years ago in Feb we had a mega blizzard.  Later that spring we had a major storm with unbelievable straight line winds.  Right as we were about to fulfill our snow make-up day obligations at the end of the school year, a tornado hit our little town.  Then came the flooding.

Tree damage in our back yard from straight line winds 2011

Tree damage in our back yard from straight line winds 2011

Then when winter came around again, it was the warmest on record.  And the driest.  Summer came bringing record high temps, but forgot to bring any rain with it.  When we did get a storm, it usually consisted of damaging winds and not much else.

Self explanatory

Self explanatory

So we plunged headlong into a drought where we have languished at about an 18″ deficit of water until recently.  Being the heart of the food belt, that’s a problem.  So one might think we would welcome these storms with open arms.  One would be wrong.  The first one seemed kinda cool (pun intended).  11″ of snow was something to brag about.

John and Joe shoveling the first round of snow 2013

John and Joe shoveling the first round of snow last week Feb 21, 2013

The second had everyone on Facebook in all caps screaming STOP!  ENOUGH!

Again...self explanatory

Again…self explanatory

The first day of it brought another 11″, and when I woke up this morning it had the nerve to still be snowing bringing another 3″ (and I just looked up at the window over my computer and, guess what, it’s still snowing).


My handsome hubby digging out a place in the back yard for our little pooches Feb 26, 2013

Remember this view from my 3 r's post?

Remember this view from my R & R post?


Anyone want to come to a cookout?

We are on day 2 of this week’s snow days adding to last week’s 2.  I just got a text saying they aren’t going tomorrow either.  I can’t say this enough.  “these people” need to go back to school soon!  I hope, however, if we exceed our built-in snow days, we are able to attend to them at the end of the year in as much peace as possible.

People all around town have been without power.  Then they get it.  Then it’s off again.  Back and forth.  A cruel joke.

There is also so much tree damage.  Sedalia is a “Tree City”, or it was anyway.  My neighbors huge tulip tree is a casualty, and my mother (whom I texted this picture to down in balmy TX) and I are grieving for it as much as my neighbor.  It was so beautiful and a harbinger of spring.  Winter showed it who was boss though.

Let's all have a moment of silence for the Doc's tulip tree

Let’s all have a moment of silence for the Doc’s tulip tree

One of my neighbors trees

Limbs down at another neighbor’s house


This tree was also featured in my R & R post in early October. The one that had been next to it was blown down in another storm a couple of months ago.

This is my back yard this morning.

This is my back yard this morning.

Isn't this the sweetest!?!

Isn’t this the sweetest!?!

So with all this crazy snow it was inevitable that I would eventually have to shovel a flake or two.  I try to avoid it when my husband is around because all too often he hasn’t been, and I haven’t had a choice.  Well, when my neighbor, Brittany, who is also my hair stylist, texted asking me to drive her to work since her car was snowed in and she couldn’t dig it out because she might break a nail (totally kidding, she has a broken rib), I knew I was going to have to get to work.  I have priorities, and if I could help one woman bring beauty to Sedalia in it’s time of trouble by delivering the person who was going to rid her of dark roots and split ends, I knew it was my duty.


My handiwork Feb 27, 2013. Looks a lot different from this, doesn’t it?


Thank you, postal employees.

I can be thankful though that John did the heavy lifting yesterday, but I’m ready for spring all the same.  The next time I click on my weather app those meteorologists better have erased all those ridiculous forecasts or snow tonight, Friday and next Tuesday.  I mean it.

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Who’s Ben Affleck…

Last weeks snow storm

I know I should be frantically preparing for our 2nd snowmeggedon this week, but I just can’t face that right now.  I’m doing the Scarlett O’Hara “tomorrow is another day” thing, and writing what might be my last blog for a while since not only will my family be stuck at home again which means more dry walling, cooking and cleaning on my part, but I am going to try to change The Peppered Peony’s theme.  For those of you who don’t speak geek (that includes me), it means while I’m trying to make creating my blog easier I’m probably just going to wreck it.  I know, you are super impressed with my self confidence.  At least hardly anyone will notice since almost no one reads it yet.  That’s looking on the bright side for you.

Okay, so anyway, my Oscar predictions for the big winners were a little off as you can see here, but I did get a ton of the technical and design ones right.  Joe, my son, was actually impressed with how many of thos I guessed correctly, I mean predicted.

I am sorry to say that as much as I love the Oscars, and I do, I missed the first hour running my kids back and forth to church and finishing one of my organizing projects, the fireproof safe where we keep all the important stuff.  My sister, Pam, and b-i-l, Lance, our executors, will be thrilled with how efficient it is if John and I die unexpectedly, which might come sooner rather than later if we keep getting trapped in this house together working on the basement, or what has affectionately become known to me as The Dungeon.  More on both projects later hopefully.

Naomi Watts 2013 Oscars

Stacy Keibler 2013 Oscars

Oscars 2013 Winners List - Jennifer Lawrence Best Actress ( UK)

Jennifer Lawrence 2013 Oscars

Anyway, I did enjoy the show, or at least what I got to see of it.  I’m sad I missed some of the singing and dancing numbers, but that is what the internet is for.  I did love Halle Berry’s, Naomi Watts’, and Jessica Chastain’s dresses as well as Jennifer Lawrence’s, Zoe Saldana’s, Stacy Keibler’s and Amy Adam’s.  I was sad Anne Hathaway’s dress had those unfortunate darts because it really was beautiful too, and it just overtook the buzz about her on her huge night. Kristen Stewart, Helena Bonham Carter and Brandi Glanville were just awful.  Kristen, you have no business being at the Oscars.  You’re a terrible actress, and always look a mess and like you are doing us all a favor by showing up.  Here, do me this favor.  Don’t.  Brandi, whoever you are, you looked like Jessica Rabbit.  I feel like Seth MacFarlane’s song, I Saw Your Boobs, should have been dedicated to you.

Being a huge Broadway musical fan I did love all the musical numbers.  I also got a little weepy a few times during acceptance speeches which usually would be a sign I was pregnant, but since that is a physical impossibility, it must have been a sign I’m cracking from all the stress snow days and remodeling bring.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some wonderful times with my family in the last really, really long week.  One of them was watching the Oscars with my kids.  I’ve always wanted to have an Oscar party, but I don’t have enough movie loving friends here in Sedalia that would be willing to stay up that late on a Sunday at someone else’s house at a party about movies, dresses and celebrities so I watched with my kids, a glass of red wine and a bowl of raisin bran.  Joe did want to fill out prediction ballots, but I thought might be unfair since he’s 11 and was only allowed to see a couple of the movies.  Considering how well I predicted, I should have done it.  He probably would have done better than me.

Oscars Show 2013, Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck at the Oscars

Some of Joe’s finer moments:

  • “Who’s Ben Affleck?  Is he the guy who started that insurance company?”
  • During the Les Mis musical number, “Hugh Jackman’s tuxedo looks like it’s made out of a black paper towel.”
  • J: “I bet the Hobbit wins lots of awards.”  Me: “It’s not up for very many.”  J: “Not even Best Picture?”  Me: “No.”  J: “Why not?”  Me: “Because it was 3 hours of theatrical misery and boredom.”  J: “You just don’t know good movies, Mom.”
  • J: “I don’t understand these jokes with Ted, the Teddy Bear.”  Me: “Thank God!  So what are you wearing to school tomorrow? (and any other mundane conversation I could think of to draw his attention away from that embarrassing and family unfriendly skit).”

Avery’s contribution consisted of commenting on about 3 dresses when she could manage to lift her eyes from the texting she was doing on her phone.  No matter.  I apparently have found my Oscar party partner in Joe.  Next year there will be ballots, decorations, appetizers and “mocktails”.  Who am I kidding, mine won’t be alcohol free, but it will be in my beautifully remodeled basement if we all live that long.

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Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a little drinkipoo…

I’m a big fan of champagne.  Big fan.  I am completely happy to drink it au natural, but sometimes I also like to add a little liqueur to the bottom to the glass first.  Chambord comes to mind.

But don’t these look yummy too…

Raspberry Mint Champagne Cocktail Recipe Blog Smarty Had A Party Elegant Disposable Plastic Dinnerware

Raspberry Mint Champagne Cocktail

Smarty Had a Party

Strawberry Champagne Punch

Simply Creative Insanity

Citrusy Champagne Sangria

Kiran Taran

Coconut Vanilla Bellinis

How Sweet It Is

Kumquat Champagne Cocktail

Kumquat Champagne Cocktail



Pomegranate Pear Champagne Punch

Pomegranate Pear Champagne Punch

Eat.  Drink.  Love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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To plank or not to plank…

Now that we got our mojo going on the basement after this post, we are back to talking design.  I have had my heart set on horizontal planking for 3 of the walls.  John was totally on board (no pun intended) until lately.

This is what I want to do…

House of Smiths

Owen’s Olivia



Sweet Pickens

Southern Living Idea House

As you can see, plank walls look good in every room.  They are the hottest thing going right now, and I want some!  If they turn out well in the basement, I might want some in another room because I think they are beautiful.  They are supposed to be easy and inexpensive too.

What do you think?  Should we put up the planking up or not?

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What’s Lurking in the Basement…

In the beginning...

In the beginning…

Wow!  That sure is some ugly shag carpet, isn’t it?  And those light fixtures!  Is that a naked bulb on the ceiling? Why does this room smell like the fireplace?  This room sure needs some TLC.

Yep.  That’s what I was thinking when I took these photos when we were buying this house.


The monster in the basement...

The monster in the basement…

…it became this.

This is what I’ve been living with for the last couple of years.  What started as your typical ugly basement over time became the construction war-zone you see above while we worked on other projects.  The ceiling had to be torn out because we needed new ducting for our new AC.  The carpet had to go because of the dust from the dry wall that crumbled when we removed the old ducts, and the water leak from the crack by the fireplace that started right before we moved in and kept on leaking until we were finally able to get the foundation guys to show up.   This is what you expect to see when a major renovation is commencing.  Problem is, we have been living like this for years with no end in sight.  We planned to fix the basement up the next winter, and then the next, and then the next.  John had good intentions, but time and money had to be spent on other things.

This room made me sick and grouchy and frustrated whenever I saw it, so I didn’t.  I shut the door, and refused to go back in it.  Outta sight, outta mind.

Then John came home from Afghanistan in October with big plans.  We got a real plan drawn out.  He bought supplies and got to work.  We made real progress until Thanksgiving when I called for a complete job stop because my brain was full from all the holiday minutia that I just couldn’t spend another second thinking about where to put outlets and what type of counters I wanted for the bar which was MONTHS away from being installed.  Besides, we’d made a deal after the eternal kitchen reno to never again be working on a major project during the holidays especially if we were going to be hosting company.  It dawned on me when he turned the water off at Thanksgiving with a house full of people that we needed to go back and honor that deal.

News Flash, the holidays are long over, and we need a little shove to get us moving on it again.  I think seeing the pictures of our progress is just the thing.

Top right is the room after John demoed the whole ceiling and cleaned it out; bottom right the room framed out and the insulation liner; and the left is the room mostly insulated.and electricity installed.

Top right is the room after John demoed the whole ceiling and cleaned it out; bottom right the room framed out and the insulation liner; and the left is the room mostly insulated.and electricity installed.

I can’t wait to write up some posts on our future plans.  We have some cool ideas that will look fabulous…when we finally get back to work.

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My Very Most Favorite Cake Ever…


As a few of you know, yesterday was my birthday.  Every year my family lovingly makes me a cake.  What once started as a simple box cake and tub of icing has evolved into full on homemade cake baking.  At first, John made the cake, then it was John and Avery and now it’s simply Avery baking her little heart out.

I’ve always been allowed to pick the flavor, and we’ve tried quite a few.  EVERY year John wants a Boston cream pie, but I generally try to mix it up a little bit.  We read books the same way too.  He can reread the same ol’ books over and over while I hate doing that because there are just too many more books out there I want to read to waste time repeating.  That bit me in the rear last year when Avery baked me a lemonade bunt cake.  She put a lot of work into it, but it wasn’t the greatest. It wasn’t Avery’s fault.  The recipe promised more than the cake delivered.  So disappointing.  So this year, for the first time, I asked for my very favorite cake of all time.  The Coca-Cola cake.  I knew it was dependable.

Why hadn’t I asked for this before, you ask.  Because my whole life I’d thought it was a Texas Sheet Cake.  I’d tasted this cake quite a few times when I was a kid, but never got the name so I just assumed that’s what it was.  I knew the rich flavor I was looking for.  The dense texture.  The spicy scent.  All of which were missing every time I made or ate a Texas sheet cake.  Don’t get me wrong, I can wolf down a TxSC a quick as any 14 year old boy because they are yummy too, but they aren’t the same.

Well, I ran across a recipe on Pinterest, and something about it nagged at me.  It was the cinnamon.  So I looked up Coca-Cola cake , cola cake, chocolate cola cake or chocolate Coca-Cola cake in several of my cookbooks and it was always the same ol’ story.  Finally I decided to give it a whirl, and I almost cried after the first bite.  It was EXACTLY the cake I’d been looking for for 35 years.  The holy grail of cakes, as it were, had been under my nose in all those cookbooks for years.  Boy, did I feel like a dummy!  Oh well, I will just have to make up for lost time.

So here is the recipe.  It will not disappoint, I promise.  Be prepared to eat it with a glass of milk because it is SAAA WEEEET!

The Coca-Cola Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9×13 dish with non stick spray.

For the cake:
2 c    a.p. flour
2 c    sugar
1/2 t salt
1 t     baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon

  • Combine all of these ingredients in a large bowl.

1 c      butter
1/4 c  unsweetened cocoa powder
1 c      Coca-Cola
1/2 c  buttermilk*

  • Heat these ingredients in a saucepan over medium high heat constantly stirring until it comes to a low boil.
  • Remove from heat blend it into the mixed dry ingredients.
  • Stir until just combined.
  • Add:

2 eggs
1t vanilla extract

  • Mix well.
  • Pour into prepared pan.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes. Check it once you start smelling it.  You want it to be moist so don’t over bake it, but if you push it down gently in the middle it should spring right back up.

For the icing:
1/2 c butter
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c Coca Cola

  • While the cake is cooling a bit (and I mean a bit because you want it warm when you pour the icing over it), cook these together over med heat.
  • Once it’s at a low boil, remove it from the heat and slowly whisk in 4 cups sifted of confectioners’ sugar until it’s smooth.
  • You can add in a cup of chopped pecans if you like to cut the sweet a little bit, but we don’t bother with it.
  • Pour this beautiful stuff over your cake.  It’s more like a glaze than a true icing so it will be kind of runny. Just tip the edges of your cake pan up and around to make sure it gets distributed evenly.

Now at this point you are going to want to grab the closest fork and dig in, but just give it a few minutes to cool off.  It is best if it’s served warm though, so if you manage to have leftovers pop it into the microwave for about 10 seconds.  That’s what I did before I took the picture above, and just look how that icing spills over the edge.

*I should also add that I don’t keep buttermilk around, and I usually forget to buy it when I need it, so I mix up some SACO Cultured Buttermilk Blend that I keep in the cabinet.  It works just as well.

This year Avery hit a home run!  I may even ask for a repeat of it.

What’s your favorite cake?

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One more built in and then I’ll move on…

I actually have a few more built ins I could share, but I want to move on to something else.  ADD I guess, but I couldn’t leave this subject before I featured this particular one.

It’s the kitchen booth.  Or banquette in designer speak.  I’ve always wanted one even before they came into vogue.  I think it’s because I if I’m offered the choice in a restaurant I always choose a booth over a table.  I think they are more comfortable and offer a more casual and cozy atmosphere that lends itself to easier conversations.

The last owners of this house had a small decorative table in this corner.  Wasted space 101.  We did find a mock up of a booth drawn up by some business or another, but they didn’t follow through with it.  It was pretty unimaginative so I don’t blame them.  I had this idea in the back of my mind from the moment we decided to buy it.  It was either a booth or some kind of locker/mudroom storage just waiting to happen.

For the first year or so we had a regular table stuffed in there, but it was super awkward.  Then we decided we’d build the booth, and make it an L shape to maximize the amount of seating.

L Shaped booth John made for the kitchen nook.

HUGE mistake.  HUGE.  I realized that once the table was installed the people who were on the inside were of the booth were the ones who always wanted something else with their dinner like ketchup.  (Any idea who was on the inside?)  Maybe that wouldn’t have been a problem except I was always the one getting up, not John, so my dinner was actually a lot more like an exercise class.  I finally got up the nerve to tell him I didn’t love the way this was constructed, and he said he’d change it (please insert a giant “that’s so inconvenient” sigh here).  It turned out to be really simple.

My perfect little booth

My perfect little booth

Not one to waste space, we turned this side into the dogs kennel with a side attached with heavy duty Velcro for easy cleaning and a roll down door, both of which have hole drilled in for lots of ventilation.  The pooches love it.

Not ones to waste space, we turned this side into the dogs kennel with a side attached with heavy duty Velcro for easy cleaning and a roll down door, both of which have holes drilled in for lots of ventilation. The pooches love it.

The other side opens to a storage area for items we don't use very often.

The other side opens to a storage area for items we don’t use very often.

I love this area now, and spend a lot of time here writing my blog (or checking FB).

I know not everyone is married to a handyman.  Truth be told, John didn’t know how to do most of these things before he started.  He watched a lot of how to videos on Youtube and read a lot of The Family Handyman magazines.  Even if you can’t do it yourself, I hope these built in posts have inspired you to look at wasted space differently.  I hope you’ll have an “aha moment”, and maybe even hire someone to customize your home into an organization paradise.

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Get Rid of That Blasted Trash Can…

This post isn’t about anything beautiful or charming or ultra organized.  It’s about trash.  The trash can to be more specific.  Before we remodeled our kitchen the can sat where the previous owners kept theirs.  Ugly.  Then we moved it to the stairway leading from the kitchen to the spare bedroom.  Inconvenient.  So the very first item of business for me was to find a place for it to go permanently.

See that hideous trash can?  It's about to find a new home in the cabinet behind it.

See that hideous trash can? It’s about to find a new home in the cabinet behind it.
Boy, oh boy, my kitchen used to be awful. Seriously ugly! It only takes peeking at these old pictures once to make me thankful for John’s handiwork.

Fortunately for me, we had a cabinet that wasn’t meeting it’s full potential.  It’s the one behind the can in the above picture.  It looks like a drawer and a cabinet, but it’s just a cabinet.  It did have this nifty pop-up mixer holder counter thing, but it was really hard to move and always made me think it was going to pinch the bejeezus out of my fingers when I touched it.  We never used that part, and just stored my Kitchen Aid mixer under it.  Talk about being killer on the back when I had to get it out.

I told John I wanted to convert it to a pull out drawer for the trash can.  He drew up a little diagram, headed to Lowes (where John is now on first name basis with most of their employees) to pick up a couple of supplies, and put it together in a just a couple of hours.

He essentially took the door off, took the hinges off it, sanded over that little hinge area and repainted the whole thing.  Then he removed everything from the cabinet including the finger smasher.  He then built a platform base from scrap wood left over from another old kitchen shelf and connected that to the back of the cabinet door with shelf brackets.  Next, he attached blocks to the inside edges of the cabinet as a base for the heavy duty drawer slides, screwed them onto the blocks and then on to the base platform of the drawer.  We learned by trial and error to add the little wooden bar at the back to keep the can from sliding off.

In all, the project cost about $40 and an afternoon.  I don’t count the hardware because that was much, much, much later in the remodel process.

Yea!!  FYI...don't decide to put picture of your trash out there for the world to see unless you plan on cleaning for an hour or you haven't used it yet.. Oi!  Any and all marks you're seeing are where the paint is rubbed not anything disgusting.

Yea!! FYI…don’t decide to put picture of your trash out there for the world to see unless you plan on cleaning for an hour or you haven’t used it yet.. Oi! Any and all marks you’re seeing are where the paint is rubbed not anything disgusting.

This is the heart and soul of it all.  Heavy duty slides, shelf brackets, some scrap lumber and the original cabinet door.

This is the heart and soul of it all. Heavy duty slides, shelf brackets, some scrap lumber and the original cabinet door.

My favorite part of this, other than the fact it’s no longer an eyesore, is that because of the little lip on the bottom of it I can pull it out with my foot when my hands are full or dirty.  What a bonus!  What do you think?

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