DIY: Porch Makeover

porch-makeover

When we bought our house I loved that it had a double decker “party” porch.

When we moved in it had green turf carpet, the screens were covered in plastic and the wood paneling was starting to warp. We immediately ripped up the green carpet and removed the plastic from the screens in our initial house demo. This got us through a few years. This year, the wood paneling started to fall off,  get moldy and just fall apart. Not to mention our demon dog [Darth] tried to chew his way through the house. It was time for a face lift. 

If you have a porch and it’s starting to look a little dingy or dated, follow these easy steps to give it a brand new look that’s easier on the budget than an entire new porch!  Continue reading

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How To: Chalkboard Art Tutorial

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Chalk art makes my heart happy.

This week has been crazy, and it’s only Wednesday. Sure a glass of wine [or 3] at night can help to de-stress after a long day, but sometimes I like to start the day off relaxed by letting my creative juices flow. A little chalk dust and a few cups of coffee later and I was ready to start my day.

I’ve posted previously how to make your own chalkboard wall, but I figured I’d do a quick tutorial on how I actually create my chalkboard art for the average person. [let’s be real – no one has time or sanity for that elaborate fancy shit] I’ve seen people print out their designs and cover the back of the paper lightly with chalk dust then trace over it, I prefer to do mine all by hand. I find it therapeutic to see what you picture in your head come to life.
Continue reading

DIY: Hand-painted Wall Pallet Art

We’re doing something a little different this post – a guest post!

13055297_10209548199326906_6413409663848052651_n.jpgMy sister and her fiance are moving so that he can attend dental school. [excuse me while I go cry] She’s been busy buying and crafting away to fill their new apartment. We come from a family of crafty ladies.

She recently made this amazing hand-painted, antler silhouette, wall pallet art to hang above their bed. Check out how she did it below!

Take it away, Kaitlyn!


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When decorating, you typically have an idea in your head of what you want the space to look like. It’s frustrating when you can’t find the perfect piece of art or furniture to make that vision a reality. In this case, I decided to take matters into my own hands and make it myself! Here’s how you can too – and you can customize it with any silhouette of your choosing – you could do your initials, last name, child’s silhouette – the options are endless!

The piece I was pulling inspiration from was about $300 at Pier One, this one cost us about $75 total.

  1. Map out about how big you want your finished art to be so that you know how many boards to buy. I ended up purchasing 4 of these boards from Michael’s that have 5 planks each. They come in all different sizes.
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  2. To save money – gather up any extra or left over paints / stains you have lying around and use those. Or determine your color palate and go buy paints / stains.
  3. Using those colors map out your design so that you don’t end up with the same colors next to each other, etc. I also included the painting technique I wanted to use and how big each section would be.
  4. Choose a color to start with and paint all the sections of that color at one time. It’s easiest if you tape off the boards and sections you’re painting with painters tape to keep the lines crisp and clean. Use different brushes, sponges and painting techniques to give the art character and texture! Also, purchase some fun stain colors to stain your boards a darker color to give the illusion of different types of wood. We also taped the boards off into two sections at all different levels to give the appearance that some boards were split into 2. This really gives it the pallet / hardwood feel.

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  5. Arrange your sections into the order to create your desired pattern. Attach the brackets to the back to connect them all together creating one piece. Using a 4 hole bracket and 4 screws, place 2 screws in each board section to connect the two. Continue until all are connected.

     

  6. Measure the boards to determine what size stencil you need. Find a picture of the silhouette you are wanting and download it onto a flash drive. Bring it to Office Max and tell them what size you need the image. They will be able to print the large image for you, that will become your stencil. Ours cost only $7.00.
  7. Cut the inside [black portion] out to reveal your homemade stencil. Place this on your board and paint the inside to reveal your silhouette. Do this step very carefully and use little paint so that your paint doesn’t bleed under your stencil.
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    You now have your completed artwork that you can proudly display because it’s one of a kind and you did it yourself.

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DIY: Bride Binder

Being a bride is one of the most exciting yet overwhelming times of your life. You have a million things to decide, a million other to keep track of and a never ending to do list – all while maintaining everyday life! If you’re lucky like I was, you have a super supportive family and amazing coordinator [shout out to Jill at Sunkissed Events] to help you through it.

Shortly after I got engaged, my sister made and gifted me a Bride Binder. It was full of checklists, worksheets, information, etc. I’m not sure if she knew at the time but it ended up being one of the best tools I had while on my bride-to-be journey. It gave me a place to organize all my brochures, contracts, notes, torn out magazine pages, etc. [better than tagging everything “wedding” in my email] Now that she’s engaged, I’ve made some updates to it and gifted it back to her to carry along her bride-to-be journey.

Have a bride-to-be in your life you want to help stay organized? Here’s how to create the perfect Bride Binder – downloadable worksheets and checklists included!

Find a 3 inch+ fun binder, something she’d be happy to carry around and keep her excited for her upcoming wedding! You could even find a fun decal like my sister did to affix to the front. The word bride, her wedding date, new last name – get creative!

Inside mine I added a few items I found helpful and I knew she would too. A fun zipper pouch to hold all the things, a 3 hole punch – those contracts don’t come pre-punched, fun pens, post-it tags to mark all those finds in bridal magazines and a small notebook to keep in her purse to jot down any questions, ideas or notes as she thinks of them.

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When my sister gave it to me she had it all divided out into sections to keep everything super organized. Pick up some binder dividers and pre-fill them out for her. Ours included the following sections:

  • Budget
  • Venue
  • Ceremony
  • Reception
  • Wedding Party
  • Guest List
  • Flowers
  • Dress / Tux
  • Invitations /
    Save-the-Dates
  • Cake / Food
  • Music
  • Photography
  • Registry
  • Rehearsal
  • Contacts
  • Honeymoon
  • Misc

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Lastly, include some worksheets and checklists to help her stay on top of things and organized. I’ve created blank versions here for downloading.

I also kept in some of my contracts, brochures, collected save-the-dates, etc. for her to look back on or compare to.

What are some things you found helpful on your bride-to-be journey? 

DIY Bathroom: Updating the 80’s to 10’s

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Our house was built in the 80’s and I don’t think our hall bathroom had been updated since then either. Every time I walked past it and saw the faux marbled sink, orangy wood vanity, pink rose linoleum with pink walls to match, I would shudder. When we first bought our house we updated almost every room except this bathroom. Money was tight from all the other updates so instead of a full overhaul, it was time to give it a face lift.

Here are some before pictures so you can relive the 80’s style in all its glory.

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The first step was to take everything out! Since the vanity was in good condition I knew we could re-purpose it. We carefully removed the sink top and then the vanity. Next was the mirror, light and toilet. The wall cabinet was attached to the wall really well so we left it to just paint around. The tub/shower was in good condition and since this was just a facelift – it was saved from my sledgehammer. We then primed the vanity, wall cabinet and baseboards and painted the walls a lovely shade of tan. [we weren’t thinking of needing to see when we originally removed the light -ha!]

 

Now to tackle those hideous dated floors. We decided on a large tan/grey and white glossy porcelain tile. We first installed the tile cement board and nailed down all the creaks. Then it was placing and cutting the tiles and adhering them to the floor. After many years of watching and helping my mom remodel her house and do tile – I had a general idea of how to. Just apply a generous amount of tile adhesive to the floor and mark ridges using the trowel. Do the same to the back of your tile and stick them together! Using spacers to allow room for grout and a level and more adhesive to keep things even. Once all your tile is in and set a day or two – apply your grout using a float and then a large sponge and water to wipe away the excess. Boom – beautiful tile.

Note – Keep a damp cloth over the hole for the toilet – this well help trap the odors a bit! 

We then painted the vanity and cabinet a light Robin’s Egg Blue and reinstalled the vanity. We topped it with a pure white sink and new brushed silver faucet and hardware. We installed a new light fixture, white toilet, towel rod and other accessories. Our mirror isn’t pictured because it took us a while to find the right one… but I finally found a white framed mirror at TJMaxx.

Here is our updated 2010’s hall bathroom. We were able to complete the entire revamp for less than $500 and in about 4 days!

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Whimsical Woodland Nursery

Walking through Babies R Us with the scanner in my hand trying to determine what “theme” I wanted my future child’s nursery to be, I realized that everything is so cartoonized and predictable. There were varying shades of light blues, greens, pinks and yellows. Cartoon animals, hearts, nautical and underwater scenes. I wanted something different, something my child could grow with and continue to enjoy. It was clear I was on my own but knew with my creative abilities I could make it something great.

I finally landed on “Whimsical Woodland”. Our color scheme is grey, white and navy blue with pops of gold. I wanted it to feel rustic and have non-cartoonized woodland animals.

For my baby shower I wanted something different – I wanted each person to have a “piece of the painting” to hang in Gunnar’s room. We bought 4X4 canvases and provided paint in blue, grey, gold and tan and gave general directions and had each person paint the canvas to their desire. We then hung them all together to form one larger painting – here.

For the most part it’s completed and will change and grow as Gunnar does. Photos with details below.

12208749_10101619022707647_4579612527264769775_nCrib, Bookself, Antlers – Homegoods and spray painted gold

IMG_3494Recliner – already owned, Giraffe, Pouf – Homegoods, Shelves – homemade

12208400_10101619022617827_7827110594595617397_nRug

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Growth chart – homemade cedar, Rocking Moose

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Dresser, Changing Pad & Cover, Basket & Letters – Hobby Lobby, Paintings – homemade

12122768_10101619022652757_2137931644072321345_nKnobs – Deer, Wood, Fox – pulls came with dresser spray painted gold

12118677_10101619022847367_4926602705483063477_nHomemade – pattern

IMG_3495Wood Sign – won in an auction, can purchase here

DIY Rustic Farmhouse Table

Does anyone else fall in love with something ridiculously expensive, put it in your online shopping cart knowing you’ll never spend that much on it, then obsess over it for a while? Just me? It’s OK – you don’t have to raise your hand, I know you ‘serial shopping cart abandoners’ are out there.

I knew I wanted a rustic farmhouse-esque table for our dining room, but I couldn’t bring myself to spend the $1500+ they are at Pottery Barn or West Elm. So being the amazing Supervisor/Forewoman that I am – I knew this was the perfect job…for Leep.

It all started with a butcher block counter top we found at our local home goods store. It was about 9 feet long, which was too big for our space so we first cut it to size – about 6 ft.

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Once it was cut to size and the edges sanded, it was time for a couple coats of stain and sealant.

Now, to make this beauty stand! We used 2 – 4x4s cut to the appropriate height for our chairs. This is not the place to use an exact measurement others use, but better to “sit” at it with your chairs and cut the legs to your desired height as some chairs sit taller than others. We also used 2 – 2x4s to create an under-edge and supports. We probably didn’t need so many cross supports since the table isn’t huge – but what can I say, Leep likes a sturdy table.

Once everything was ‘measured twice and cut once‘ to the proper length, it was time to stain the underside pieces to match and put it all together. We used wood screws to attach all the parts together and L brackets to attach the bottom structure to the underside of the table top.

Voila! I say this beauty can stand tall and proud next to those $1500 tables. We were able to make it custom to the size that best fit our room & chairs and choose a stain that matched our decor. Costing about a total of about $220.