A Navy Gallery Wall

So we bought a gallon of paint and did a little mini-redo on the upstairs gallery wall.  I was a little bit worried that navy would make the space look a little too dark.  And that if we hated it we could not paint it back to the original color because we did not have it.

But I loved it from when the first coat went on.

Navy Gallery Wall- Anything Pretty

And now looking at the before pictures I love it even more.

The boring Before (reminding just how much I want to paint the entire entryway.  And get a new light fixture.)-

Navy Gallery Wall- Anything Pretty

And the After (a navy wall distraction from those thoughts)-

Navy Gallery Wall- Anything Pretty
Navy Gallery Wall- Anything Pretty

Painting a hallway wall was an easy and quick project that achieved in a couple naptimes.  We added some more pictures and frames as well-using the old paper on the wall method.

At night as you can see by the crappy phone pic.

Navy Gallery Wall- Anything Pretty
Navy Gallery Wall- Anything Pretty
Navy Gallery Wall- Anything Pretty
Navy Gallery Wall- Anything Pretty

And I love all the new pictures that now got updated and added to the walls.  You can never have too many black frames with white mats.  And a cute kid and dogs help too.  Although one could make an argument a maximum number of those per house could exist.

(Paint color is Rainstorm by Sherwin-Williams).

Anyone else wanting to paint something navy?

DIY Painted Foam Play Mat

I pin a lot of things.  And I have grand plans to complete oh 85% of them.  But somehow that does not happen and my pins just sit there looking pretty on my boards.  Maybe even mocking me a little bit.

As part of the Pinterest challenge over at Young House Love, Bower Power, Decor and the Dog and The Remodeled Life I decided to change that.  I probably should have chosen a faster project, or at least one with less drying time.  But thanks to two blizzards and days off work, this one got done.

DIY Painted Foam Playmat

Carter needed a play mat for his playspace.  And it needed to be indestructible.  And easy to clean.  Not to mention attractive.  Finding nothing that fit the above criteria, I decided to DIY.  

I was inspired by this…

(originally posted at Design Sponge)

The basic how-to is pretty simple.  Buy a cheap foam play mat, prime the non-bumpy side and paint with acrylic paints.  Finally seal with a couple of coats of polyurethane.

Easy and quick if you decide to make a large scale design with a couple of colors.  Small triangles on the other hand took a while to paint.  Especially since it took multiple coats to achieve color saturation.

But it was easy to paint while I was watching TV and somewhat relaxing to do- triangle after triangle after triangle.

In order to draw out the design, I used my sewing cutting mat to make a template out of cardboard of a 60 degree angle.

I drew straight lines on the primed mat-

DIY foam mat

And then used the template to draw in the angles.  My triangles are approximately 5 inches.  I mismeasured at some point and my triangles got a little jacked up in the middle.  I figured out my mistake, but did not want to re-prime and re do all my lines so I decided to channel my inner Tim Gunn and “make it work”.

DIY foam mat

I did not use tape to paint the triangles with the acrylic paint, so my lines are not perfectly straight but I like it that way as I think it looks more hand-painted.  At least that is what I am telling myself because it would have taken forever to tape.

DIY foam mat

Three coats of gloss polyurethane later, we have this.

DIY Painted Foam Playmat

All ready to be played on.

 DIY Painted Foam Playmat

In the basement play space that almost gets no direct light for decent pictures.  Especially when there is two feet of snow outside covering the windows.

DIY Painted Foam Playmat

DIY Painted Foam Playmat

The play area has had some other projects go in it, but I waiting until everything was done to blog about the space.  The rug was the last one, so that should be coming up.

So how does it hold up?  It has not cured the complete 24 hours as instructed but has already held up to books being dropped on it and a rousing game of stacking and knocking down blocks.  Before the poly went on, it seemed like it would crack easily.  But with the poly it seems a lot more pliable.  I will keep you posted. For now it is a hit.

And I am not painting triangles for awhile.

Nursery Reveal

We made it!  The nursery is officially complete even before he has decided to make his arrival.  It has taken a lot longer to put together than I envisioned back in January when we started this project, but considering the construction, all the DIY, our insanely busy spring and that I am the ultimate procrastinator, it is really not that surprising.

But before you scroll down to see what we put together, let’s walk down memory lane with the befores to see what we we were working with. 

What the space looked like when we moved in-


And then what it really looked like for 2 and half years…..affectionately referred to the junk room.  Don’t know where to store something?  Throw it in there.  Need to paint some cabinets?  Scoot some crap around and have at it.


And now here it is waiting patiently (unlike Derek and I) for it’s new occupant-

completed nursery

completed nursery

completed nurserycompleted nursery

completed nursery

Back in the beginning when we were planning the space, my first idea was an orange and aqua color scheme but no real theme.  I figured once we knew if we were having a boy or a girl we could add blues or pinks to make it a more gender specific space.  Of course, I figured a lot of DIY and sewing was also going to be in the cards.

One of the biggest projects in the room (and our first) was the window seatcompleted nurserycompleted nursery

Because of the window configuration, limited furniture was going fit on that wall anyway and I thought that an architectural feature that was also functional from a storage and seating standpoint would make the room.

After the construction and painting was going, we started to pick up random items we found that we thought we be good fits in the space.  Hmmmmm…somehow we had a lot of animal things so that is the loose theme we decided to run with.  However, I am a big believer in adding things that you love and not just because of a theme. 

completed nursery

completed nursery

Items with personal significance were also something I wanted to incorporate in the space.  We have not shared baby boy’s name with anyone (but my mother-in-law has a pool going if anyone is interested).  However, the first initial is common knowledge.  So of course I had to incorporate that.  On the gallery wall are also photos we took at the San Diego zoo during our last vacation (technically baby’s first).  After he is born, the clip art hand and footprints will we replaced with his (and yes I realize my stand-in has a disproportionate hand to the size of the foot…I was just using those to make sure I liked the idea).

But personal items don’t end with the gallery wall as I wanted things that meant something to us, but not scream “look at my name" all over the place (although I know some curious family members that were voting for that tactic).

For example, I needed some bookends and I love that this has his birth month stamped on it.

completed nursery

Or that all of those blankets were handmade for him by generous friends and family.  And that the silver scooter reminds us of Italy.

completed nursery

And that cross from the Vatican in Rome was the very first thing we ever bought for, at the time, our future baby.  completed nursery

I won’t bore everyone with the personal significance of everything in the space, but overall I tried to have at least one item with meaning on every shelf.  However, don’t get me wrong, some things are in the room because they are fun and I like how they look.  Like this…

completed nursery

I guess you could also say that DIY was a major theme in the space.  The only pieces of furniture that were store bought were the crib and the chair.  We either made or “revised” everything else.  I have already talked about most of those projects as we embarked on them but in case you missed them check out the abacus, dresser, changing table, bookshelves, stump table, pinwheel mobile, quilt and bedding

The space also had to be functional besides nice to look at.  We have never done this whole baby thing before, but from what I have heard, they can be messy.  So every single cloth surface (minus the chair that is stain protected) can be thrown in the washing machine.  Every pillow and cushion cover is removable and the although it took forever to find curtain fabric that I loved and could be thrown in the wash, I was ultimately successful.

The curtains are also not just for looks.  I made four panels that stretch all the way across for light control.

completed nursery

I am still planning on adding black out lining to the back of them for even more light control, but I decided not to sew them together as I read varying reports about the washability of black out lining.  So it is getting hemmed separately and then just clipped behind the panels.

The cushions also remove from the window seat easily to access all the storage underneath.  In addition, the neighbor kids have shown me that they make great hiding places.  Maybe we need to drill some more air holes.

completed nursery

Also every item that is hanging on the wall in baby’s reach is securely fastened to studs with screws.

completed nursery

And the ultimate storage area also went through a little makeover.

completed nursery

Lots of clothes and other baby paraphernalia waiting for him, but we still have tons of room that I know we will fill in the future.

completed nurserycompleted nursery

And finally just some more pictures of details of the space that I love…

completed nurserycompleted nursery

completed nurserypinwheel mobilecompleted nurserycompleted nursery

completed nurserycompleted nursery

completed nursery

abacus makingcompleted nursery

pinwheel mobile

So what do you think?   You can see from some of the pictures that a furry friend already likes to spend time in the space.  Although this is normal position…

completed nursery

…trying to will the stuffed animals that make noise when you squeeze them from the crib into his mouth.

Want to know where I got something?  Here is the source list for everything in the space.  Just got a little too long for a single post.

Missed the other nursery posts and want to see the DIY how-to?  Catch up with the window seat construction, abacus, dresser, changing table, bookshelves, stump table, pinwheel mobile, quilt and bedding

2 Steps Forward….and 1 Back

I had this blog post all planned out in my head yesterday (first mistake)….it was we got a new fridge and I love it and the white monstrosity is gone and here is also how we finished updating our cabinets with glass. Yeah!

Not so much.

But at least it is going to start the way I planned.  Here is the white box that is was our fridge. 



Not terrible and actually a pleasant surprise when we closed on our house as we thought the previous owners were taking it and we assumed we were buying a new one right away.  But we are slowly changing the appliances to stainless in the order of function.  As I mentioned before the dishwasher…well sucked so it was the top of the list.  The water and ice in this fridge has never worked so it was next…even though the stove won in the ugliness contest with the bisque color. Unfortunately totally functional.

Shopping for fridges made me realize that we have a really short space to work with that severely limited our choices especially in the ones with the features I wanted.  But we found one and I love it.

Unfortunately, to get the height we needed, it is about 3 inches narrower than our old fridge.  Which did not sound like a big deal in the store.  But compared to the old fridge that slid next to all the cabinets with less than a 1/4 inch to spare, we have some gaps. 


Not a big deal from across the room, but up close you can see the sides of the cabinets.  That are still honey oak. 



Way to be really thorough in my cabinet painting.

I told myself that we left it way on purpose so if I ever wanted to remember the pink countertops and honey oak goodness, all I had to do is pull out the fridge.


Oh and there is a little wallpaper left too….


So even though I had the official “I am not painting in anything else else in the kitchen ever again” celebration, I am sadly breaking up the paintbrush today.  But this can be a lesson if you are painting cabinets….don’t be lazy like me by not pulling out the fridge….or just never buy a thinner one.

Baby Bookshelves

The nursery is entering the home stretch…which is good because the baby is due in about 4 weeks.  But could come at any time…but probably won’t…but could.  Which is really messing with my whole “I want to plan and write things on a calendar” personality.

Anyway there is a whole lot of DIYing to go in the space (while the sewing machine is whirring in the background.)

I knew I wanted lots of books in the nursery because you know the whole reading to your child is a good thing.  Not to mention they could be used as a decor item as evidenced in this inspiration picture.  But of course cognitive and language development trumps decor….unless you can have both of course.

Elizabeth Sullivan design

Elizabeth Sullivan

I love that entire nursery but those floor to ceiling shelves made me swoon.

Unfortunately, I knew we were not going to have the space to replicate that, but loved the forward facing idea.  And those skinny shelves would be super easy to DIY.

Rumor has it that IKEA has similar shelves that would not require you to make them yourselves.  I would not know as I have lamented mentioned before, the nearest one is 8 hours away…and not worth driving for some shelves.

Here is what we came up with-

shelf DIY

My participation in the project?  Showing Derek the picture, telling him where I wanted them and placing books.  I even let go of control enough to let him try to my favorite self-leveling paint on his own (after a quick tutorial of course).  Here is what he did:

1. Cut a 1x2, 1x3 and piece of quarter round each to 36”.

2.  Put it together.  The vertical 1x2 in attached to the horizontal 1x3.  The vertical 1x2 is nailed or screwed into the ¾” side of the 1x3.  This should leave ¾” of vertical 1x2 exposed above the 1x3.  The
exposed ¾” of the 1x2 will be used to screw the bookshelf to the wall.  The quarter round is attached to the top edge of the 1x3 to create an edge for the books to lean against.  Use finishing nails.

shelf DIY
3. To attach to the wall screw through the exposed ¾” of the 1x2 into  studs in the wall.  By making the shelf 36” long you should have at least 2 studs to screw into.

4. Prime and paint.

shelf DIY

Super easy ( I am told) and super cheap.  And I love the fact that we screwed the wood directly into the studs so that junior will be OK if he decides to use them as rock climbing wall at a later time.  Plus the fact that we can rotate books and hopefully since you can see all the covers, even more reading will happen.  At least that is what I am hoping…


Glazing-Not Just for Cabinets

I love how some brown glaze can redo honey oak.  Like in the guest bath.


But why should cabinets get all the love? What about other types of wood or furniture?  Like dressers?

nursery progress

Well I was going to find out.  These dressers were hand me downs from my family and they were solid wood and not oak.  Which were two huge bonuses in my book.  But considered that the cousin whose nursery they were in is now in college, the color needed some updating.  Not to mention that the bow and flower decals did not fit in our boy decor.

(For the full glazing how-to, please go to this post)

Of course we started with the worst part of the glazing process…the sanding.  Luckily for me in my delicate state, Derek took over this arduous task.  Two hours later it was sanded and Derek was very dusty (and will think again before volunteering for the next sanding project).

dresser glazing

dresser glazing

Then the glazing started.  We wanted the dresser to match the crib as much as possible, so we started with Behr’s Spiceberry mixed with the glaze like I described in original full how-to post.

dresser glazing

After it the first coat was dry, it looked too red and too light in relation to the crib. Hmmmmm….

dresser glazing

So to darken it up, I mixed a second glaze with Sherwin William’s Black Bean and put this on as the second coat.

dresser glazing

Much better.  And I loved that the two different color glazes gave the finish even more depth.  My color misjudgment turned out to be an awesome find.

I added 5 coats of water based polycrylic to get this finish.

dresser glazing

Perfect.  You can still see the grain and the finish is really close to matching the crib as planned (don’t worry that is not the mirror’s permanent home…..the floor is not exactly a child proof spot)

dresser glazing

The drawers were painted with my favorite paint….Ace cabinet and trim in high hiding white.  And then polyed for durability.

So happy how it turned out…..

dresser glazing

The lamp is not permanent….just a stand-in stolen from the guest room to figure out spacing until I find the perfect one.  Homegoods has been letting me down lately.

Anyway ignore the accessories and just enjoy the dresser….

dresser glazing

dresser glazing

dresser glazing

dresser glazing

What should I glaze next?

How Hard Can it Be?

Thanks for all the well wishes from our little announcement!  We have started on the nursery, but a final after is a ways away.  We we have plenty of time and a whole lots of projects.

Honestly I had been thinking about the nursery since before we were even thinking about kids.  Because it is such a fun room and you can get away with cute things that would look silly anywhere else. 

In browsing all sorts of inspiration pictures, I knew I wanted some sort or built-in or architectural feature to add to our boxy room with two plain windows.


Since I knew the window wall was wasted space in terms of furniture placement, I came up with a “brilliant” idea of a built-in window seat.


Easy peasy right?

Well first the ceiling had to be scraped of the popcorn…and the stains.  Which, in my delicate state, I got to sleep through while Derek did the dirty work.

I did help him tarp everything though.

nursery reno

If you have never scraped popcorn, it is a very messy and gross job.  But it is also pretty easy.  Just dowse the ceiling with water from a garden sprayer, wait a couple minutes and scrape.

And it all falls down on you.

nursery reno

Or Derek in this case.

After we cleaned up that mess, it was time to make more messes with moving vents, light switches, and light fixtures to accommodate the new window seat.  Didn’t really envision that mess in the whole “hey let’s add a window seat” idea.

nursery reno

nursery reno

Luckily Derek’s step dad was along for this project and we could not have done it without him.  Drywalling is an art form we have not mastered and he took care of skim coating the ceiling, running new electrical, and patching all the wholes.  Not to mention the whole window seat thing.  He was invaluable.

After the drywall was done, it was time for primer and paint.  I planned a gender neutral aqua and orange color scheme, but I am sad to admit that I did not follow my own rule of painting a test spot on the wall and deciding on a color before buying two gallons of it.

Nope, I had figured I had picked enough paint out at this point that I could skip that step.  So I bought two gallons of my teal and let Derek handle the painting while I took another nap.

But after cutting in all the corners, he was very smart to wake me up because he knew it was not what I wanted.  A very pretty sage, but not a teal.  So we had to go buy two new gallons of paint.  I am never breaking my own rule again.  It is an expensive rule to break.  Here is the new teal on top of the wrong sage.

nursery reno

After the painting issue, the window seat was finally ready to go in. 

nursery reno

I wish we had a detailed window seat how to.  But it was so custom to our space and went through many redesigns during the install that it is not the case.  But I have lots of step by step pictures.

First the bookshelves went in…..

nursery reno

And then the facing pieces and the bottom (while it was blizzarding outside)…..

nursery reno

And then the lids and the crown molding.

nursery reno

The lids flip up for toy storage….

nursery reno

And there is a curtain rod built in behind the crown molding.  I plan on hanging full length drapes so the sides of the book shelves are hidden and I can try to hide that they are different sizes.

nursery reno

And I can pull them all the way across to block all light.  And when the baby gets older, the cushions can come off the tops and it can be used for a stage.

Now we are in the unglamorous section of the project of filling holes and painting.  Everything will be white including those windows. 

Ugh window painting…..

I think it is time for another nap.

It all Started With Poker Night and a Little Wine

And ended up with another in progress project.

dining room ceiling fun

Let me back up.  You see the dining room ceiling has been bugging me for awhile. 

We started with this and I am sure that you can understand why it was the one of the first things to be painted.


I am not sure why I filled in the paint colors exactly how the previous owners did on the decorative aspect of the ceiling.  Obviously they were not expert interior designers.  At least not in this decade.  Early 90’s maybe.

But that is what I did, using one shade deeper on the color strip on the ceiling.


After living with it for awhile, I did not like how the crown molding was not prominent and there was too much white up there.  However, there were other projects to do and Mr. “We need to finish everything we are doing before we start something new” did not think it was a priority to change.

That is where poker night came in.

I has spent the entire day sewing drapery panels for the kitchen.  And they were not finished so I was feeling like starting something new and Derek was gone for a couple of hours.  See where this is going?

So with my trusty side kick of red wine, I emptied the dining room, taped the molding, halfway tarped the carpet (it already has major battle scars so I am impressed I tarped at all), and broke out the wall color to apply to the ceiling.

I told myself it would only take an hour and I am happy to report that I was correct.  I would just move all the furniture back in and he would not even notice.

Except I don’t know if I like it.  Ehhhh…

During the day it is OK….

dining room ceiling fun

dining room ceiling fun

But at night the darker ceiling looks really blue and the lighter color looks more gray/green.  And does not look like it matches at all.

dining room ceiling fun

dining room ceiling fun

You can tell he is really loving that I am iffy on my new project.  Especially since all the dining room furniture  is blocking the stairs and front door currently.  So much for being stealthy.

And I could leave it because it is OK.  But it was just OK the last time and it has brought us me back to repainting.  I see myself trying to eat my turkey at Thanksgiving but not enjoying myself because I can’t get over that the ceiling colors don’t match.

So my other options-

a) change the globes on the light fixture because I think it is their yellowness that is causing the issue.

b) change the color of the inset….like a metallic pearl or silver

c) Derek’s idea, paint the vertical part of the inset white so that the two colors are not next to each other and therefore do not look so different at night

d) ????

I am open for other ideas because I am officially stumped. 

And annoyed because I while I was painting I was already writing this post in my head.  Except it had a better ending.  Like- I love it! It did not cost a cent!  Derek was so surprised that I totally completed a project in a couple of hours.  Go forth and paint your ceilings because it is so much fun!

Oh well.

How-To: Outdoor Rolling Cart

In re-designing our outdoor space, I realized we were lacking some storage.  Sure there were tables, chairs and a sectional, but no place to just set stuff. And while the garage was just a few steps away through the interior of the house, I learned quickly that it was just too far in the summer and therefore I just plopped things on the ground.

So we needed a flat surface to set stuff.  And it as luck would have it, we had a perfect awkward space for this storage to fit into.


It had to be pretty and look like furniture.  I was envisioning a simple slatted console-table like thingy.  That I could set stuff on. In a fun color. 

That was the very thorough description I gave to Derek.

He took it a couple of steps further and designed and made this-


A double decker rolling cart.

Backing up……

After I explained my master vision we headed off to the hardware store for some lumber and outdoor stain.  After much debate and price comparison we decided to go with cedar because it was not that much more expensive than pressure treated wood and I could treat it with color right away.  And it smelled nice.

And by much debate, I mean we put wood on the cart and then exchanged it for a different kind three times.  The Home Depot guys would have thought we were crazy if they did not know us so well from our frequent visits.

Anyway, we spent about $60 on wood.

Now for the Jenny version of the how-to (with pictures of course):

We made the frames for the shelves-IMG_0926

Added the slats-IMG_0927

Screwed on the legs-IMG_0928

Assembled the layers and added the wheels-IMG_0929

Simple right?

Well for the more technically inclined here is the Derek version with fancy schmancy measurements-

The cart is three main pieces.

The upper shelf is made completely of 1 x 4 boards.  The slats are 1x4 of 16 ¾ in length.  There are 9 of them spaced approximately ½ inch apart.  The long sides are two 1x4 boards hooked together.  The outer board is 7 inches shorter than the inner board (29”).  The inner board is 36” long.  This allows 3 ½ inches on each end for the vertical 2x4.  The short sides are connected with a 1x4 that is 11 ¾ inches long.  When looking at it from the short side you would see the 1 ½ inch side of the 2x4, then the ¾ inch side of the inner 1x4, the 11 ¾ inch 1x4 and then a mirror of the other side.  This totals out to 16 ¾ (1 ½ + ¾ + 11 ¾ + ¾ +1 ½)

The lower shelf is made the same way except the two outer slats are cut shorter to fit within the vertical 2x4’s. 

The vertical 2x4’s are however tall you want to make them.  Our cart is 37” from the bottom of the vertical 2x4’s to the top of the upper shelf (not counting the wheels).

OK enough of that…back to the pictures.

After the cart was assembled, it was my turn to take over with filling the nail/screw holes and sanding-IMG_0933

But happily we were going for a rustic outdoor look so not that much sanding was required.

Which is good because sanding is not rated as one my favorite DIY tasks.

I then finished it in an opaque stain in Shipmate Blue.IMG_0935

Ultimately I would have loved to do a semi-transparent stain in blue, but I could not buy it in a quart.  And I did not feel so strongly about it to justify the extra cash.

After two coats of stain we got this-IMG_0947

Or should I say this-IMG_0949

On a typical day I plan on housing most of my gardening supplies here so they are not just scattered around the deck. 

But it also can be used for this purpose-



Or for sangria...or a bucket of beer…..or lemonade.  Or setting the mint plant on there and whip up some mojitos.   Or a serving table for food.

Or a fiesta…


Confession- I was tempted to set up all of these those little vignettes and take pictures to illustrate the many uses of the outdoor cart.  But a) it would have been obvious that I had a little too much free time and b) my neighbors were in their backyard….they probably would not look at me the same after seeing me rearrange beverages on the cart six times and then snap pictures.  Especially at 8 on a weeknight when it was just the two of us outside. 

But I did capture the cart in all of it’s wheeling glory without causing neighborly concern.  It makes a perfect BBQing accessory-IMG_0954

It was super easy to construct (or so I am told) and cost less than $70 for all the materials.  And I love the pop of blue. 

It looks perfect in the completed outdoor space and I love the functionality.

Outdoor space 8/10

Outdoor space 8/10


Herbs on the Move

Know what my favorite thing about winter is?  How much it makes me appreciate spring. 

Because who can appreciate the absolutely gorgeous weather we have been having without going through the cold and incredibly long winter?

That is what I tell myself at least during the winter.  Sometimes it actually works.

Since spring is in the air, gardening is on my mind.  We are still in the iffy part of planting in good ole Zone 5 because we have been known to still have a random freeze this late.  But being the rebel I am, I decided that I could start planting my pots last week.  I know I am living on the wild side, but I figure that in the unlikely event we have a freeze, I can always pull them inside at night.

Since I am freeing up garden real estate this year, I decided all the the herbs were going to planted in pots on the deck.  There are two added bonuses to this.  First, most of them smell heavenly which brings a nice ambience to the deck space.  Also, all the flowers I planted in pots last year did not do very well so hopefully the herbs will succeed  much better.  And flowers can start to add up in terms of $$$.  So by replacing most of them with herbs I would be buying anyway, we are saving some money.

But then I stumbled onto a problem- pretty pots are expensive, especially when I plan on planting tons of herbs and some random flowers. 

I did have a stack of old terra cotta ones  in the garage and they are inexpensive for new ones as well…..but orange rust does not mesh with the color scheme of the outdoor decor I am going for. 

So I turned to my favorite thing for sprucing something up…..I bet you can guess what that is…..


But terra cotta is not a material that you can just slap some paint onto and call it good.  It took some prep work and specific materials.  So of course I am sharing the how-to so that you can also score some cheap and springy pots.

The How -To

1. First, gather all your posts and scrub them with soap and water.  I used a combination of new and old pots and definitely spent a lot more time scrubbing the mineral deposits and grime off of the old ones.


2. Let them dry for at least 24 hours.  Learn from my mistakes and do not set them on a cement garage floor if there is any moisture at all in the ground.  The terra cotta will suck it right up and they will never dry.  Which is not fun to discover when you are ready to start painting them.

3. Spray with a water proofer.   Terra Cotta is porous and when holding plants will suck all the moisture in from the dirt into the clay.  Which is bad news for your paint if you are expecting it to stick.  There are a lot of water proofers out there and some people suggest painting them with oil-based polyurethane to do the trick.  But we had cans of Thompsons spray water sealer laying around from some past project that I now have no memory of.  The terra cotta absorbed it right away and did not appear any different after spraying.  Spray every surface with this stuff- both inside and outside.  We went though a can and a half for all the pots pictured after applying one heavy coat.


4. Paint with Patio Paint in your desired color on both the outside and the inside.  All terra cotta surfaces must be covered so that no water permeates any part and causes your paint to peel.  This includes the inside of the water hole.  I found my patio paint at a local craft store next to the terra cotta pots and not next to the acrylic paint which caused me a little bit of confusion.


I covered everything with two coats of paint using a foam brush.  The yellow and the white did not cover as well, so I added an extra coat.  This paint dries really fast so the process did no ttake very long.   I also used the green on the lower inside part of most of the pots because I knew you would not see it but it covered very well.  And I had a big bottle of it.

5.  Let dry for at least 48 hours per the paint’s instructions.

6.  Fill with plants!


We put a coffee filter at the bottom the pots so that water could seep through but the dirt would stay put.

7. Color coordinate where you want particular herbs and enjoy!




Budget Breakdown:

$37 for pots (I already owned some)

$16 for paint

$0 for water sealer (already owned)

=$53 total…..which I think is great for 11 pots and some of them being large ones at that.

And I love what the color brings to the deck….I am so excited about how it is coming together.   Now I just need to figure out what I can cook with that monstrous sage that came back with a vengeance this year…..


Hanging Around

Ready for the last laundry room post?  Have I dragged it out long enough considered we started this journey a little less than a year ago?

But I know you have been waiting for the final how-to….the drying rack.

Like I mentioned before, it was totally inspired by Centsational Girl who was totally inspired by Ballard Designs.

And Derek was inspired by the pile of wood and all his tools out in the garage during the bed-making process.  And possibly by me asking really really nicely.

So I showed him the great tutorial by Kate, told him I would like some molding around ours, and no hanging hooks since we already had tons of hanging space. 

And he came up with this-


I will not go into an incredibly detailed how-to because Kate already did such a great job.  And because I knew I was pushing my luck with another project in the middle of the bed so I decided to not act like the paparazzi and stalk him while he was putting it together.  Instead every time he walked into the house, I would nonchalantly stroll out there with my camera.  Shhhh…I am sure he had no idea what I was doing.  Especially considering he kept saying things like “do you need a picture of this for the blog?”

So here is the quick and dirty version-

1. Start with a piece of wood the size you want your drying rack to be and add molding to the edges to frame it.  Again, just like the bed, straight boards are your friend, especially since it will be fitting snugly next to the frame.IMG_0528

2. Then caulk around the moldingIMG_0530

3.  Build the actual drying rack with dowel rods and woodIMG_0531

4. Sand to smooth the wood and your caulk (if you are as bad of caulker as I am at least).  Also test to ensure that your rack fits within the frame perfectly without sticking.   IMG_0532

5.  Paint it.  I spray painted it.  And then I decided I did not love the finish so I painted it again with the ole stand by.

6. Assemble it.  Because of the way the frame is, we could not use the hinge and latch the same way that Kate did.  So Derek installed two hinges on the bottom.


And some hooks and chain at the top for support as well as to latch it closed.   Pretend you can’t see the wood filler smudge.  It is now all white I swear.


You just move the chain link to latch it (although honestly it is pretty snug so often it remains closed on it’s own)


7.  Hang it.  We just screwed it into the studs in the wall.  A little wood filler and paint and you could not tell.  (although you can in this picture as I snapped it prematurely)


Like always, this was a totally cheap project.  We had the majority of the wood left over from the bed and the dowels I had for some reason in the craft room.  And of course we had the paint.  So the grand total for some hinges and random wood was $15 at the most.  Much better than over $90 at Ballard wouldn’t you say?

And it works beautifully in the space as evidenced by the running clothes enjoying it…


Happy Drying!


Wanna Paint Some Cabinets?

So did you happen to see our bed on the bragging board on Knock Off Wood?


Welcome to all the new readers/followers that found us.  Yeah!

With all the new people joining us, I have been getting a lot of email and one one of the most frequent questions is “What’s your process for painting cabinets?”

I touched on it on my post about my love affair with Ace Cabinet and Trim paint.  But I did not spell it out specifically for cabinets.  Or windows.  And I want to give you guys what you want.

So why have I not done a post like this before?  Was it a secret?

Well, back before I was blogger I did not take pictures of every.single.step of a project.  Crazy huh?  I always thought that the next time I decided to paint a cabinet that I would make sure the camera was not far away.  Because strangely that is the way that DIY bloggers have to roll.

But that has not happened because frankly I am starting to run out out of honey oak to paint.   Which is a tragedy/celebration at the exact same time. So if you can forgive this post for the lack of pictures on every step, I hope you can learn a little something about how I did things.

Without further ado, the process for painting cabinets-

!. Start with gorgeous cabinets.  Pretty pink counters and florescent light fixtures were an added bonus in our kitchen.DSC00912.

2.  Take down all the doors and remove hardware.  I would recommend numbering the doors with blue painter’s tape and draw yourself a diagram about which goes where.  Unless you really like puzzles and think that a game at the end of the project would be fun.DSC01136

3.  If you are replacing hinges or drilling for a different type, this is a good time to do that.  We went from exposed brass hinges to concealed hinges.  Was it a huge pain for a minor detail?  Yes.  But it was so worth it because I truly believe that this little detail helped make the kitchen.  For the handy hinge how to go to this post.

4. Wipe down cabinets with TSP substitute (buy at a hardware store).  I did this step outside on a tarp and let them dry on the drywall.  I was amazed how much grease and grime came off with this step. Yuck.

5. If you are replacing you old hardware with new hardware that will be installed in a different location, fill the old holes with wood filler.  If you are doing the new hinge thing, this is also the time to break out the wood filler.  For large areas to fill on the hinge holes, I used wood epoxy (also can be found at your local hardware store).  It had to be mixed and it was more difficult to use than wood filler, but it is sturdier and does not crack.

6. Empty your cabinets.  Unless you want them covered in dust and paint.

7. Sand with an orbital sander with a medium grit sand paper.  I would suggest wearing a mask and protective eyewear while doing this.  Being outside for the door sanding  is another bonus because it gets everywhere.  I did a quick sand by hand on the parts that I could  not get with the orbital.  But if I am being honest, it was not the most through job (just a couple of swipes) and it turned out OK with the paint.DSC02764

8. Wipe down everything with a tack cloth in order to get rid of the dust.  Vacuum the floor and any other flat surface where dust collected. A smooth finish and dust are mortal enemies.

9. Set up you cabinet doors and drawers in the area you are planning on painting them.  Make sure to tarp the floor. We were lucky enough to have two empty bedrooms and the cabinets took every square inch of them.  To minimize the amount of contact the doors had with a surface while they were drying, I set up thin boards to keep them off the ground.DSC01140

10. Prime with water-based Zinsser 1-2-3 primer.  For the black cabinets I used a gray primer (tinted at hardware store as "dark as they could make it").  For the doors, flip and prime the other side.  Except for the cabinets that will eventually have glass doors, I did not paint the inside of the cabinets.  One because I am lazy and two I think it would be difficult to find anything in black cabinets.


11. Apply two coats of your paint.  I used Ace Cabinet and Trim paint in Cannonball.  (post here for paint application tips…check it out)  For the doors this means paint, flip, paint, flip, paint, flip, paint, flip.  Since the paint takes a least 24 hours to dry, this takes while.  Read more about this here. I started with the back so that the final front side would never touch the wood support and possibly mess it up.  To apply the paint, I used a high quality brush.  Even on the larger surfaces, I did not use a roller because I wanted to minimize my brush marks as much as possible and with a brush I had figured out how to do that using the technique I linked to earlier.  Could a roller have worked just as well?  Possibly, but I cannot comment because I never trusted tried  it.


12.  After they dry, finish two coats of polyurethane in a satin finish.    I skipped this step the first time I painted the cabinets.  Frankly I was sick of painting and I thought they looked fine.  And they did, but a year later they were not cleaning as easily as I would of liked them to.  So I had to do half of this process over again (like I mentioned here).  Not fun.  Learn from my mistake and do the poly the first time.  An added bonus to the ploy? This also seemed to also make the paint harden faster.  I did not sand in between coats of poly, but make sure you apply it really really thinly or you it has the potential of it getting overly shiny.

13.  Re-install with hardware and hinges.  And enjoy your brand new cabinets!DSC01411  Hope this tutorial helps if you are thinking about tackling cabinet painting.  It is a huge job but makes such a difference for not a whole lot of money.  I am starting to get reader pics of their results following my process and I hope to share them soon.  If you have any you would like to share, send them my way!

If painting is not your thing, check out my how-to on cabinet glazing.  Another effective way to tame the honey oak beast!  Happy painting!


Details Details

I may have mentioned our bed before (like here here and here), but I promised a process post and I wanted to make sure I delivered.

The entire room is not complete, but I am happy to report that the bed is done (except for pillows of course….a little color is coming)
I love how the room does not feel so monstrous anymore and our furniture now looks like it fits.  And the couch does not look like it is swallowing the bed.  For example-

Yeah much better.

And the best part….the bed cost less than $250 to build.

We are forever indebted to Ana at Knock-Off Wood for the plans (here).  We used the Farmhouse Bed plans in the King size and a canopy with just a couple of adjustments.  I have said it before, but she is a goddess for DIY’ers and we can’t wait to try out some more plans.  Well I am at least….

Since we have a more modern and less rustic aesthetic in the master bedroom, we used a solid piece of wood with a little molding in the headboard and footboard instead of the slats.
I also had Derek raise the height of the footboard in order to combat the couch scale problem.IMG_0782
For the finishing, I debated between staining, painting and glazing.  For a very long time. But since we had to use three different types of wood to get all the sizes we needed (we only could find 4x4’s in cedar) I was worried that the different grains would look different and wrong if you could see them with stain or glaze.  So instead I went with old faithful- Ace Cabinet and Trim Paint in Cannonball.

First, I filled all the screw holes with wood filler and sanded it all down with an orbital sander and medium grit sandpaper.  Then one coat of Zinsser 1-2-3 waterbased primer, two coats of the black and three coats of polyurethane (in satin finish) later we were complete.  The next day we put our new mattress in and were enjoying our new bed.

Buying all the wood in the proper sizes (especially since I wanted some minor modifications) took some time at Home Depot, but I am happy to report that this project was a one tripper.  The lumber is where we spent all the money of $250 since we had all the supplies and if we were successful in finding 4x4’s in something other than cedar ($$$) we could have probably saved another $75.  And Ana was correct, the only tools we used were a drill, sander, tape measure, miter saw, level and nail gun (hammer would have done just fine if we did not have the nail gun).

So here is my view from my pillow on the new bed……ahhhhh.
Well if I was being honest that is the view up….unfortunately with the new furniture placement I look directly into the hideous and dated master bath.  There is a reason that there are no pics of it on the blog.  Think pink blinds, carpet, wallpaper and brass.  Yum. You know what that makes me want to do…….

Painting Addiction

For the last couple of days I have gotten this brilliant crazy idea in my head that just maybe we should repaint the entrance foyer.

Since I have missed painting so much.

And even though that poses many challenges.

First of all…the current color is OK.  It is actually the single room in this house that has not been repainted from the previous owners.  And really the color is fine.  When we first looked at the house with our realtor, I actually commented that it was good thing they picked an OK color and no wallpaper for that room because it would be awful to paint.


Issue #2 is that this room is 2 stories.  And I am really not a big fan of heights. So it will involve a lot of paint and a lot of time on a very tall ladder.  Yikes.

(Ignore the Christmas garland….it was the best “two story” pic I have)DSC01647

Issue #3 is this monstrosity.  Yuck.IMG_0654

I refuse to clean it or change any of the light bulbs in it because it is so ugly.  And even with a very tall ladder we cannot replace it because it is in the middle of the ceiling requiring scaffolding.

When the furniture delivery guys were bringing in our new mattress they whacked it pretty hard and I really hoped it would come crashing down so that the replacement would be on their dime.  Unfortunately it did not fall and shatter.

So even if I go through the pain of painting I will not be any more satisfied with this room until that thing is gone.

Why am I even thinking about doing this since I have all these good reasons not to?  Other than than the fact that I am strangely addicted to an activity that I largely cannot stand to actually do?

Well, first of all the front of the house faces north and does not get a lot of light so  lighter color would really help open it up I think.  I am thinking of an elegant light gray.  Like this….



Then there is this little detail-


Classy. I guess they got tired of painting?

And then finally.


The last.oak.window.

If I get enough courage to be that high on the ladder (it on the second story over the door), I will also have to be brave enough to climb there and de-oakify.

So I guess the questions are…how much do I love gray? …..and…..how afraid am I of heights?


How-To: Cheap & Modern Counter Design

There are many things I love about my “new” laundry room, and the counter is definitely in the top five.  One of the reasons that I love it so much?  It cost less than $50 and adds a modern pattern to a room of solids.
The counter was actually the reason the project stalled in the first place.  We got everything painted and new appliances but could not agree on a counter material and how to install it with the pesky outlets in the way.  That dilemma took us more than 6 months to get over.  Yeah.
I am not sure what finally inspired us to use MDF (maybe the success with it on the craft desk?) but it met all the criteria: cheap, light (so that it could be supported around the outlets and the water hook-ups), and non-permanent so if our machines bite the dust our anger about that would not compounded of having to have to re-do an expensive counter as well.
So like I promised here is the how-to:


MDF cut to the desired size
Painter’s tape
Laser level
Two colors of paint
Exacto knife
Alcoholic beverage (optional)


1. Install small strips of wood to support the counter.  Make sure it is level and screw into the studs in the wall.

2.  Cut the MDF to your desired size and screw it to the strips of lumber from the underside (make sure your screws are short enough so that they do not pop through the top).

3.Add molding.  We added molding in the front to cover the gap between the appliances and the counter since we had to hang it higher to accommodate the outlets.  We also added a thin molding along the sides.

4. Tape the walls and prime it!  I used my favorite primer-Zinsser 123 because I love it (and because I already had half a can)

5.  Apply two coats of white paint.  For this project, no surprise but I used Ace cabinet and Trim paint in High-hiding white for the same reason of step 4.

6.  I wanted the molding to remain white so I taped them so that design would end up being framed in white.

7.  Now for the fun/frustrating part…putting down the pattern.  I was inspired by this pattern by Three Men and a Lady and knew it would look perfect on the counter.  Use a ruler to mark your desired grid size.  For my counter I used 5 inches.  Mark your measurement on one side of the tape.laundry room counter how-to

8.  Then do the exact same thing on the opposite side.laundry room counter how-to

9. Use you laser level to set on the fixed setting (meaning it does not wiggle) line up the two marks and apply a piece of tape on the line.laundry room counter how-to

10. Re-measure and repeat step 9…..over and over as you move down the counter.laundry room counter how-to

11. Now for the horizontal grid lines.  Here is where I will show you what I did…and tell you to do it a different way.  I started from the front and used the same measurement and the same technique.laundry room counter how-to

12.  Then I realized that my final piece of tape would be right next to the back piece of tape.  And that would look dumb.laundry room counter how-to

This is where the optional beverage comes in.  So I may of said something and ripped off all the horizontal stripes that I just measured.  I shifted the stripes slightly and put down new tape.laundry room counter how-to
13.  Now you have a grid pattern.  I grabbed my inspiration picture and marked off sections that needed to be removed with the sharpie.laundry room counter how-to

14. Then with the exacto knife and the ruler I removed the sections.laundry room counter how-to

15.  And then the finished design!laundry room counter how-to

16. Apply two coats of your color.  I used Dovetail by Sherwin Williams because we had it left over from the master bedroom and I thought the color would look great in there.  The theme of this room-use what you have.laundry room counter how-to

17.  Remove the tape as soon as the second coat goes on (while the paint is still wet).  I found this helps (along with using green frog tape) with bleeding.

18.  Add polyurethane to protect the surface.  Since there is the possibility of wet things being on the counter, I made sure to overdo it on the poly.  I lost count, but I estimate that there are about 12 coats of poly on my counter.  Luckily it dries quickly so you can add coats pretty quickly.laundry room after
laundry room after

Glazed Over

Wanna know one of my favorite parts of blogging?

Seeing how readers take my how-tos and run with it which result in stunning results.

I was on the Nest the other day and happened to see how Beth&Derek was doing her part to rid the world of honey oak one room at a time. 

She used the glazing technique from my honey oak bathroom vanity and applied it to her entire kitchen with amazing results.

Here is what she had to say-

We're still not completely done refinishing our cabinets (need to finish adding the molding and hanging a new wine rack),  We used 4 parts clear mixing glaze and one part paint (BM Branchport Brown).  The hardest part was definitely the sanding. Removing the hardware was easy, but the pulls we had were 2.5" and 3" is pretty standard (the new ones we got are 3") so we needed to fill one of the holes and drill a new one on each door/drawer before painting.  I should add that even though the sanding sucked, it only took 2 days (I was home on vacation). The painting and the poly took longer because I had to wait for each coat to dry. I have to thank you for the inspiration!!

Here is the honey oak glory she started with-eh0rax

And then after the glazing-2iuxlhi

Wow! I can’t get over how much better the appliances, wall color and counters look with a different glaze on the cabinets.  She did an amazing job and it looks like a completely different kitchen.

Want to try it for yourself?  Check out the how-to here.  I would love to see what you come up with!

On a unrelated note….after many emails about how to become a follower of my blog I finally put the gadget in my sidebar.  You see when I first started writing it, I did not want a big fat “0” sitting there for everyone to see how pathetic I was so I left it off.  But since it has been requested many times and I want to make it easy to be follower, it now there and I would love if anyone wanted to click it to make me look less pathetic…..or you could just come over to look at the number and laugh.  Either way your choice…..


At Last

The laundry room is done.
This might just have been the 2nd longest timeline for a room reno (the kitchen still puts it to shame), but I am so happy it it finally done.  I won’t bore you with the process (in case you missed it click here) and get straight to the before and afters.
Ahhhh honey oak, how I love that you are in every room.
And the afters (which I might add are very difficult to take in a small room)
laundry room
What did we do?  Well first we got new machines by default of the old ones breaking.   This allowed us to rework the entire space and add a counter and other shelving.  And hanging space.
After much discussion and my bright pink getting the husband veto, the walls went from 20 year old dingy stained cream to Foggy Day by Sherwin Williams.
laundry room
On the other side of the room we also added another cabinet and a pegboard.  And hanging space for brooms and such.
laundry room
And a random shelf for random crap that belongs in a laundry room.
laundry room after
Some people might think that it strange to have a picture gallery in a laundry room.  Originally we were going to tile the backsplash with left over tile that we bought for the kitchen, never used and forgot to return.  But since we did not want the counter to be permanent fixture in the laundry room in case our washer and dryer bite the dust and we have to buy different size machines.  That would suck, but it would suck even more if we had to rip out tile and drywall as well.  And let’s face it…laundry is not one of my favorite activities.  Looking at fun personal pictures makes it just a little more bearable.
And then there were also the water valves I wanted to hide.
laundry room afterlaundry room after
Much better.
The counter followed a similar theme….cheap, cute and non permanent.  The counter also had the extra special issue of having to be higher than the actual washer and dryer because of outlets, making anchoring something heavy like granite more problematic.  Not to mention expensive. So we went with MDF.  For the whole how-to, click here.  Let’s just say that pattern involved some beer drinking.
laundry room

laundry room

My new drying rack inspired by Centsational Girl and with materials left over from the bed.  I love it for how it functions in the space but becomes invisible when it is folded up.  For the complete how-to click here.

laundry room

I think the chandelier gets the most comments.  As in “You put a chandelier in your laundry room!?”  Well yes I did.  And I like it.laundry room after

And we can’t forget the laundry basket storage/sorting area (which also conveniently serves as a dog storm shelter when it is thundering…who would have thought?)laundry room after

And here it is in use…because you know that I can only wash white clothes in this room now since it matches the color scheme-laundry room after

And now for the nitty gritty-

Wall Paint Color-$40-Foggy Day-Sherwin Williams

Counter Color-Free (used leftover from master bedroom)-Dovetail-Sherwin Williams

Wall Cabinet and Floor Cabinet- $175- Lowe’s

Wood Supplies for Shelving and Counter- $100

Picture Frames- $25- Wal-Mart (and some I had laying around)

Phone Enlargements-$50

Chandelier-$50- Lowe’s


Grand Total- $445

Maybe laundry might even be fun now?  No I didn’t think so.  Oh Well.

Organizing Like A Man

I have been informed that not every organization project needs to involve “girly” things like pretty labels and a label maker.   Or even color coding.  Which in my opinion takes all the fun out of organization. 

But for our latest organization project we were in Man Land (also known as the basement) and all my decorating and organizing powers suddenly disappear when we walk down there and Derek is in charge.  Oh so he likes to think so.

A little background on Man Land-It was finished when we moved in and other than doing a mini-makeover on the workout room, we have not touched it so far.  Other than to dump our old furniture (and a new must have poker table) down there.  Derek has big plans for Man Land, but other projects have taken our time and money so it keeps getting further down on the list.  There is also an unfinished portion of Man Land that is really nice for storage and to keep all of our DIY supplies.

So why bother with organizing a space we are not really using?  Ummm well because this is what it looked like.


Basement OrganizationAll of Christmas waiting to be put away

Basement OrganizationThis picture pains me.  As DIYers our tools and supplies should not look like this. 

Basement OrganizationRandom Unorganized Crap

Basement OrganizationMore Crap.

So we had a lot of organizing and purging to do.

As a disclaimer (because I will hear about this later)- Derek is actually the clean/organized one in our relationship.  Especially the clean one.  I have a bad habit of leaving things out.  Like the clothes that I wear to work I like to stack in a pile over the course of the week instead of put them in the hamper or hanging them back up.  I have been threatened with husband hacking of the blog and an expose of my piles.  So now you know and if you ever see pictures of my piles posted you will know who is behind it.  Just saying.

In the world on Man organizing, all you need is a couple of tools- a Sharpie, some tape, and boxes for organizing (not required to match).

One of the main things we needed to organize was our paint.  We had tons left over from the previous owners, our previous house, and gallon cans that were an 1/8 full that were taking up space.  So sorted through all the paint colors that we would never use again and dropped them off at our community’s household hazardous waste site.  That took over three big boxes.

The paint that we still have in our house and were more than a quarter gallon full went into this newly hung cabinet that was harvested from the old laundry room.  Finally a place for honey oak in our house.  All the paint was properly labeled with painters tape and a sharpie.  No girly labels here.

Basement Organization

The other paint that did not have much left in the can but that we could still use for touch-ups was dumped into quart containers.  And labeled with the ever popular sharpie.

Basement Organization

Basement Organization

But how should we store all the paint, not to mention our painting supplies?  How to organize it?  Did we need to buy new shelving?  Nope.  Since the basement is also the place where we store random furniture, we moved this dresser over as our new organizer.  And added more labels.  Obviously dusting is not very manly.Basement Organization

On the top of the dresser went paint trays and my box of spray paint.  Also it is the new home of my multi-use paint (like primer, trim and cabinet paint). 

In the drawers are various categories of manly tool stuff.  This one holds sponges, painters tape and protective items like gloves and face masks.

Basement Organization

And the drawer of paint…

Basement Organization

We did buy some plastic bins to sort some of the remaining items on the work bench….

Basement Organization

And added some hooks to the pegboard….

Basement Organization

So now we can actually find things that we are looking for….

Basement Organization

I do have to admit that organizing the Man way was very inexpensive.  We spent less than $25 on materials and made a large contribution of random stuff to charity which will be a bonus on next year’s taxes. 

So you do what that means?  Time to start some new DIY projects since we can find everything again!


Cheap, Quick and Easy DIY Christmas (My Favorite)

It's that time again....time for the weekly blog party at the Newly Woodwards. I have gotten so many awesome ideas from the previous weeks of the party and I know this week will top that even more.

This week was Dare To...Deck the Halls and the challenge was to DIY a holiday decoration. Throughout the Dare To.... party one of my themes has been cheap. I am trying to not blow the bank on Christmas decorations which is very easy to do (at least it is for me because I have a slight addiction).

My other theme for this week is "quick." Like I mentioned last week, I am slightly behind in the handmade gifts department so all of my DIY time has been devoted to that endeavor without much time to spare. I had a grand idea for an Christmas card holder but I knew it was going to take me over an hour to construct and that is valuable quilting time. I will keep that one filed away for next year.

OK the first project. "Handpainted" and Unique glass ornaments. Doesn't sound quick huh? Well I am happy to report that they were so quick that when I hung them on the tree today Derek did not even realize I had snuck away to do them. They are also so easy that kids could do it and it would be a great family project.

So how do you do it? Start with clear glass ornaments (I got these 60% off at Jo-Ann)
Pop off the top and squirt in a couple of colors of acrylic paint. I used a variety of red, silver and ivory. I alternated squirts to layer the colors and get a cooler effect in my opinion.
Place a piece of cardboard or cardstock over the top....and shake shake shake.

Let dry overnight-
And then pop the top back on and enjoy.

Couldn't be easier right?

Of course I did a couple of variations. If you want your colors to be more flowey and less defined, add no more than four drops of water to the ornament before you squirt in the paint.

Your colors will look more like this with the water-
Without the water you get this-

Also you do not have to cover all the glass in the ornament when you shake since the inside looks cool too-

There you have it-10 completed ornaments in 15 minutes all ready to hang on the tree.

I also did a little side project that won't win me any DIY awards but I wanted to share it anyway.

I always struggle with decorating the entry way because it is not a lot of space with a lot of doorways. We have two matching artificial trees that were given to us by the in-laws when they no longer used them. Since we have gotten a live tree the past couple of years they have been gathering dust in the basement. So this year I flanked the door with them.

I went with an all red theme with red lights and red beads. But I wanted to keep it simple so the main tree was still the focal point. We also were missing tree skirts. Again, since I am trying to be cheap this year I did not want to just go out and buy two. I was also concerned that a full size skirt would be too large in order for the door to clear.

So I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a yard and a half of red satin for $3.

I squared it off and cut it in half.
Then I seamed all four sides.....
and wrapped the rectangles around the base.
The finished product-

So much cheaper and easier than cutting and sewing a circle.

Head on over to Kim's the check out all the other great ideas!

I am also linking to:

The DIY Show Off


How-To: Reglaze Honey Oak

It's not news that honey oak and I are not friends (like here, here, and here). The guest bathroom remodel of course included honey oak that needed to be conquered. I have painted honey oak and loved the results, but this time I wanted to try something different. My goal was to make it look like wood-dark wood-but not dark oak that restaining would result in. The answer I came up with-reglazing. How do you think it turned out?


After -
The best part? So cheap....we did this entire cabinet makeover with materials we already had.

So this is how I did it......


Ugly oak vanity
Orbital sander (not required but will make it so much easier)
Clear Mixing Glaze (I used Valspar)
Paint (I used paint sample from Benjamin Moore in Branchport Brown)
New Hardware

Wood Filler in color close to final stain
Empty container with lid for mixing and storing glaze

If replacing hinges with concealed or euro hinges-
New hinges
Hinge template set

1. Start with an ugly door with ugly hardware and ugly hinges. Wash it with soap and water. Remove the said hardware and hinges.

2. We replaced the external brass hinges with euro hinges that you cannot see from the outside of the cabinet. This added extra steps but in my opinion it is so worth it and totally modernizes the cabinet. In order to install these hinges some extra steps are involved. Home Depot and Lowes sell a template and special drill bit for using these hinges and the couple of bucks was definitely worth it. (We also did this in the kitchen)

Derek marked the spot to drill using the template (he centered it on the hole from the previous hinge.)
And then drilled with the special bit.
Leaving this hinge hole-
But when you set the hinge in there, the old hinge hole on the side is ugly.
So fill it with wood filler in a similar color of the finish glaze. This step is my second least favorite of the whole process as it takes multiple fillings and lots of messy fingers (and maybe some cursing).
3. Now for my least favorite part- sanding. I used an orbital sander with a medium grit sandpaper on the large areas which was not so bad. But then I had all the edges and crevices to do....by hand....very thoroughly....which sucked. This step is the primary reason I could have never have used this method in the kitchen. It took forever and I only had four doors and two drawers. I did not worry about get all the honey oak color off, but the coat of gloss poly had to go from everywhere if the glaze was going to stick. Here is a door all sanded-4. Now onto the fun part.....glazing. I used Valspar's glaze and a Benjamin Moore paint sample that I picked up awhile ago. The bottle said you could mix the glaze with a ratio from 4 parts glaze and 1 part paint to the ratio of 8 parts glaze and 1 part paint. I wanted the glaze to be fairly thick to hide the oak ugliness, so I used the ratio of 4:1 (and started on the back side of a door in case I was wrong).
Here is my mixing can and measuring device that just might be a shot glass. I promise that it won't go back into the bar.
I put three very thin coats of glaze on all the doors and cabinet face. By thin coat I mean I was almost drybrushing to make sure it went on evenly.

5. To protect the finish I then put on three very thin coats of MinWax semi-gloss polyurethane.

6. Add the new hardware and hinges. We used hardware that had the same drilling space as the old hardware so we did not have to refill holes.

Put it all together and you get this-

I like it because it still looks like wood and not just brown paint sitting on top of wood. But is better than stain because it minimizes the oakey grain. At least I think so....but I may be delusional because I want to think all that sanding was worth it.
I am living on the edge and going out of my normal order of posting the room reveal and then how-to projects but I wanted to share since we put it all together over the weekend. I can't wait to share pics of the entire room, but right now I am just happy to report that honey oak has been banished from every room in the house (ok except one).

Update: Complete Guest Bath pics can be found here.