Want to update your living space without adding to your carbon footprint? If “reduce, reuse, recycle” is in your DNA, then bring new life to old furniture with paint and get a look that is uniquely you! I went to a furniture painting class and came home with a renewed love for a little plant stand that holds a piece of my heart.Read more
Helloooooo! Yass, it’s been a while, but I’m back…today anyway. The weather broke and we’re back to typical North Carolina winter weather (50s and 60s), so I dug out from under the mountain of blankets, peeled myself from the sofa, and by Gawd I did a little DIY. Woot woot!
I’m embarrassed to say (not really, because y’all know me by now) that I’ve been meaning to do this simple little ditty for a couple of months. Here’s a variation of it (Closet Organization Sans Tools) that I did back at the condo a few years ago. Actually, almost four years to the day–coincidences like that fascinate me. Apparently the end of January is when my organizational impulse kicks in.
Before I get off track though, the Closet Organization Sans Tools was about utilizing the inside of a closet door for storage where maybe you don’t own a drill or perhaps you’re renting and drilling holes is a no-no. Today’s project takes it just one step further by adding a drill and more permanent fasteners.
- Three inexpensive hooks ($3.25 ea)
- A drill w/drill bit and phillips head bit
- Tape measure
- Step ladder (if you’re short like me)
I have three backpacks that take up real estate on the floor or valuable shelf space. And I’m never sure which closet each one is in. It’s been status quo for me to check all three closets before I find the backpack I’m looking for. Before you ask, yes, I need three backpacks. I need the big pack for travel, medium pack for my laptop and sometimes travel, and small pack for Grace–it’s the equivalent of a diaper bag for my pup’s stuff when we hike or road trip (for the basics: treats, bowl, water, poo bags). Yep, my dog has her own micro pack and I’m okay with that!
Install a series of hooks on the back side of the closet door on which to hang backpacks. They’ll be in one location and not taking up coveted closet space.
- MAKE YOUR MARK. If you like for everything to be just so, measure the center of your door so you can get the hook centered. If you don’t care about that, eyeball it and ditch the tape measure.
- LEVEL. Mark one hole with a pencil, and then use the level to get the hook straight before you mark the second hole. I do like to have things level and cannot hang anything without one.
- DRILL. Drill pilot holes slightly smaller in circumference and shorter than the screws.
- ATTACH. Use the screwdriver bit on your drill to attach the hooks with the screws.
- Hold the level across the bottom of the hook. You have more of a plane to work with on the bottom rather than the tips of the hooks on top. Trying to use the level on top of the hooks gets pretty squirrelly.
- If your arms aren’t the guns they once were, hold the drill no higher than mid-chest. You’ll have more control and leverage to put behind the drill when tightening the screws. If I get my arms above mid-chest, I’m more likely to not have the pressure I need behind it and strip the screw heads. This is where the step ladder comes in–so you can get at that top hook and still hold the drill mid-chest.
This project took about 20 minutes from start to finish and the backpacks are all together, out of sight, and occupying what was previously dead space. A win-win-win! Trifecta! Triple-header! You get the idea.
And that’s a wrap! Less than $10 and 20 minutes to get the backpacks off the floor, out of the way, and where I’ll always know to find them. I call that a productive rainy Sunday. If you’ve found a use for dead space in your closet, let me know–I’d love to share your ideas on the blog!
You would think that my cue to replace weatherstripping would be a draft or maybe even moisture seeping inside. No M’am. It was increased mosquito traffic. Those nasty, blood leaching vermin get in every now and then simply by hanging around the door awaiting my ingress and egress. Lately, they were a constant presence in my home. Egads! Right around the same time, I noticed the weatherstripping was…not entirely there. Hmm.
This was my first weatherstripping project, so I stood in front of the multitude of products at Lowe’s bewildered and purchased the wrong product. Ha! I know I did not want the peel-and-stick foam strip (typically used for windows) because that’s not what was on the door. I wanted to replace like with like. What I bought was the metal strip with the hollow, rubber cushion attached, but it too was a peel-and-stick. It sounded great at the time–way easier than drilling holes and attaching with screws, right?
Well, sure, but then what about mid-winter when that stick doesn’t stick any longer? Then I’d have to do it all over again. No thank you. Back to Lowe’s I went and exchanged the stick-on for the screw-in type. Do y’all make every project more time consuming for yourself like this? We should start a club.
Anywho, all the fretting about attaching the screw-in strip was for nothing. I used a utility knife to score around the existing metal plate. The trim on my house was recently painted, and so it was nicely sealed. After scoring with the utility knife, I used a spackling knife and a hammer to pry the metal plate away from the door frame. Once that was started, it was a breeze to remove the nails with the claw hammer.
After the old stripping was removed, I used those pieces to measure and marked with a pencil the length I needed for the new pieces. The associate at Lowe’s told me I would need a hacksaw to cut the thin metal, and I protested saying my hand saw could do the job. He said no, it probably would not, and I reluctantly bought the hacksaw just in case my hand saw couldn’t cut it. Turns out it could not. So glad I listened to the Lowe’s associate because that would have been what, boys and girls? Another trip to Lowe’s! Whew.
Once the three pieces (both sides and top) were cut to size, I held them in place and marked with a pencil the drill holes for the screws. I drilled pilot holes, and then it was time to attach the metal plates to the door frame.
Of course, even after all of my measuring and matching up with the old pieces, somehow I came up short in the top right corner. What? Get out! No big–nothing a little caulk couldn’t handle.
The finished product is great! I like that I can do some of these things myself and not have to hire a handyman for every little thing. You won’t see me doing the bathroom remodel, but when it comes to the small stuff, I’ll give it a whirl any time.
It took me roughly two hours to install weatherstripping on one door, which I’m sure is considerably more time than an experienced handyman would need. However, the cost was roughly $30 all-in, and even if I had hired a handyman who could have done this in an hour, it would have been at least $100. I get a greater sense of pride in my home when I do the DIY thing, and there’s $70 saved for the next project!
As the kitchen is ever so slowly coming together, I’ve been contemplating what to do with the blank wall above the buffet. Now that the walls are painted, it seems the right time to finally make a decision and fill that space.
I like to purchase original artwork (when I can), but haven’t yet come across anything I love for the kitchen, and I was giving up hope. But then it hit me. There was a photograph I took in Florence, Italy back in 2006. It was shot with black & white film, and I knew exactly the scene, composition, everything, but I could not find the photograph for the life of me. I had removed it from my photo album and not replaced it–Egads!
I started going through my negatives, which is no small undertaking given that I have a lifetime of them stored in a Rubbermaid Tote. These are the times I thank God for my OCD and the fact that I painstakingly label everything. Negative found, and off I went to JW Image Co. (who are fantastic, btw!) to see about a print.
Within a week I had a 16 x 24 print on canvas stretched on a wood frame. My photograph was real art! And the image was perfect for the kitchen. It shows an adorable little lady shopping at an open-air Italian market complete with bins of produce and the woman’s plaid shopping bag. Perfezionare!
Once it was hung on the wall, it seemed small for the space. Not wanting to have it framed, I headed to–where else–the At Home store and found the Miranda poster frame for $20. I removed the glass and the clips, and it was ready to hang. Two nails and five minutes later, I have a canvas print perfect for the kitchen in a floating frame that better fills the space. Voila!
I love everything about this project:
- The artwork adds a personal touch to my space because it is by yours truly
- The frame was inexpensive but doesn’t look so
- Hanging the frame separate from the art gives it more of an artsy vibe
- It was easy-peasy!
So take a look through your photographs and see what might look good on canvas. You got this!
We all know that feeling of walking into a room and wanting to rearrange the furniture, accessorize, or do an about-face and march right back out. Well, I know that feeling–this blog wouldn’t exist if I didn’t have the urge to paint a room or swap out furniture every couple of months! But sometimes the need is real. Like when things aren’t functioning well, or when a room feels…depressed.
That describes the state of my kitchen when I bought my darling little home a year ago. While it was beloved to someone, we all have our own slice of style, and peachy walls with orange/salmon counter tops are not my [apricot] jam. Ha! And it’s more than color that seems amiss.
If you and your kitchen are indifferent at best, these five easy-to-fix items might be the key to renewing your zest for the mess[hall]–I can’t stop myself!
1. Wall color. Maybe you never liked the color, or you were into the color but your style has moved in another direction, or you love the color but it’s become a bit dull from years of kitchening.
You’re in luck! This is an easy-peasy fix. If you’re a woman or man after my own heart and are not afraid to throw down a drop cloth and roll out a wall, all that’s left is to choose a color. Even if you’ve never painted a room before, it’s fairly simple to try your hand at one wall, just to give it a go. If you’re nervous about cutting in (painting a steady stroke along the baseboard or ceiling), go ahead and use some blue tape to be sure you don’t get your Sherwin Williams Sea Salt or Benjamin Moore Seattle Mist all over your crisp white baseboards or ceiling.
If it’s been established that a painter you are not, hire one. Prices vary, and I recommend checking reviews and asking for recommendations.
Lastly, if you love the color you have, but it’s looking tired, give your walls an old fashioned washing. Yes, it’s not something only your grandmother did; people still wash their walls! Dust first, then use warm soapy water. It’s true because it’s on the internet right here.
2. Your Dinnerware is Hiding. Love your dinnerware but the only time you see it is beneath a pool of steak juice?
Install shelves to display your favorite pieces and enjoy them every day. If you have a large collection of dinnerware, rotate your display with the seasons…or whenever you choose.
You can also swap out a cabinet door with a glass door, or even better (imho), remove the doors from your upper cabinets entirely. That’s my plan, Stan. You’ll need to fill the holes where the hardware was attached with wood filler, and depending upon what material your cabinets are made from, you can lightly sand, prime, and paint. Your kitchen will become a whole new world!
3. Things are Broken/Don’t Work Properly. This is a sneaky one. When one little thing malfunctions, you might think it’s no big deal and you live with it. And then another little thing goes, and so on. Before you know it, you’re camp-site improvising every time you make a meal. One of my lower cabinet doors has come unhinged. Every time I close the cabinet door, I have to lift and push. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but once a little annoyance like that is fixed, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t corrected it years ago. So schedule some time to give all those little creaks, rattles, and loosey-goosies the attention they need.
4. Your Inspiration Photo and Your True Photo are a World Apart. Are your Pinterest boards filled with inspiration? Filled with rooms so beautiful they make your eyes hurt? They are so beautiful, in fact, that you never even attempt to replicate such perfection. Am I right? I’ve done this to myself plenty, but every now and then I get the courage to give it a whirl. Sometimes Pinterest’s “simple solution” turns to a big pile of poo, and I call those learning experiences. My point is, you’ll never know if you don’t try. Pinterest or bust! Pull out an inspiration photo and make it happen, or at least your version of it.
5. The Room is Not Your Happy Place. Your home, whether it be owned or rented, is your home. It should spark delight and contentment. If you walk into a room and it does nothing positive for your mood, or worse, it brings you down, re-read each of the above. Something is amiss. Why not repair, paint, (always check with landlord first), clean, give general TLC, and enjoy your home rather than spend another minute wishing you lived somewhere else? It’s your home, and you should love it!
I have some great DIY ideas for my kitchen. Although the granite is not a color I would choose, it is high-quality, so I can’t justify removing it. I’m not going to cover the granite, but rather work with everything around it to tone it down. Give me a follow, and stay tuned!
Dear Bathroom, I’m just not that into you.
There, I said it. My master bath is ridiculous, and not in the modern-day ‘you’re so awesome’ sense of the word. I’m talking old-timey, Merriam-Webster definition: arousing or deserving ridicule : extremely silly or unreasonable : absurd, preposterous. That is all that can be said for my water closet with a shower. The toilet cave. The Mad Master Bath, as it was named in this post from December 2016 when I installed shelves in the toilet room. You can also see the crazy layout in that post. Trust me, it’s worth the drive-by.
My elbows have been bruised since I took ownership a year ago. The recessed vanity from wall to wall is 36″ and when you allow for the shelves on either side (which are absolutely necessary because there is not nearly enough vanity or cabinet space), I have a total of 27 1/2″. Turn sideways, you say. Sure. From vanity to the door behind me, I have 26″ of wide open space.
Given that my wingspan from elbow to elbow when I’m styling my hair is 29″, I was in quite a jam (see what I did there?). Since it’s likely going to be another year before I have the budget to rehab the MMB, I did the only thing I could to remedy the bruising situation — I removed the door and hung a curtain. Yes. I. Did.
Now, I know y’all are blessing my heart as you read this because curtains for doors are home fashion blasphemy, but hear me out. It’s temporary. More specifically, it is an inexpensive fix until the toilet cave can be gutted and made right.
Why hang a curtain at all? To block the light that comes through the MMB window (the one with the shelves), lest I toss and turn all night at the hands of the dimmest hint of a stray light particle. I used to close the bathroom door at night to block the light. Now I have a groovy curtain. Can you dig it?
At the vanity, I installed two shelves that were given to me by a friend who had no use for them, and the Langesund mirror from Ikea. I’ve been searching for a round mirror that doesn’t break the bank for a good while, and Ikea wins! The shelves free up a lot of space on the vanity by getting my stuff off the surface, and it looks and feels roomier, which is always a bonus.
Although the curtain-in-a-doorway schtick is not the most proper, it works for me as a temporary fix. No more bruised elbows for this girl, not until demo time for the Mad Master Bath…
I’ve been in my new place since May, and here it is December already! Time. Is. Flying. And the plans, they are a piling up. Seriously, I have so many half-finished projects going on, I’ve lost count.
As much as I adore the new place, there are a couple of rooms that need some serious TLC. I showed you the entryway closet conversion here. I know, that was 100% utilitarian and not a lot of pretty. Well, the master bath refresh has a bit of both. I’m calling it a refresh because it’s definitely not a remodel (maybe in a year or two–I hope!), nor is it a facelift. I merely softened the space with textiles and added some DIY functional window shelves. And to be clear, I only did a small part of the master bath. It’s a quirky little space. Honestly, it’s the oddest damned layout I’ve ever seen.
This is my first try at drafting a floor plan, so disregard the measurements. I am no CAD technician, for sure. But do you see how cramped the space? How one could be smacked with a door at every turn? Oh, my aching elbows! Unfortunately, there is no budget at the moment to do what I’d like…which might involve a sledgehammer and wrecking ball. So for now, I’ll focus on the toilet room and pretty it up as best I can. I can’t just leave it, right?
The window above the commode was disgusting and it had a thin, metal mini blind circa 1990 with 1990 crud still attached. Think I’m joking?
I filled the rusty holes in the sill, then lightly sanded and put a fresh coat of white on the entire frame. I added some privacy control window film by Gila to keep my showering private. You’ll notice a little snafu in the top left corner of the bottom pane, but I am so not worried about it. The mini blind was going, and since window coverings are my Achilles heel of decorating, I decided to forgo the traditional. Imagine that?
What I’m most excited about are the shelves, and for so many reasons.
- First, it might be the only Pinterest attempt I actually pulled off. Somebody get me a drink!
- Second, I gained storage space with the shelves and more privacy from all the stuff on the shelves.
- Third, and maybe best of all, I used wood left over from the deconstruction of a built-in media cabinet in the living room (a post in the works). You know how I love to reduce, reuse, recycle!
I don’t own any fancy tools (yet). My stash includes a corded drill and a small hand saw. I cut the boards by hand, painted them white, and attached them to the window frame with L-brackets. I should have used shims to even things up, but I didn’t have any and I’m not one to leave a project mid-way just to get the right stuff for the job. Pfft! I had a couple of nuts and used those to build up behind the brackets. It’s a little hokey, but who cares? Remember the impending sledgehammer in a year or so? It’s all practice as far as I’m concerned. And look how it turned out!
I threw in a cutesy little rug and shower curtain, both from one of my happy places (World Market) and voila! It’s a sweet little vintage toilet room. Maybe I’ll put some artisanal soap in there. Ha!
That’s the skinny on the jacked up mad master bath. I’ll show you what I’m doing with the tiny little vanity space next. Remember, it’s all quick and easy just to hold me over until I can fund a demo and buy myself a real ladies room. Until then…
Remember when Grace and I hosted foster kitty, Lola Cat? She was super cute, high energy, and rough on lamps.
Here is some of LC’s handiwork.
I was about to toss the lamp when I turned it over and saw ©UTTERMOST stamped on the bottom. Um, not trash. I bought this lamp at a consignment shop and probably paid around $20, but when I saw that this was a quality piece, I had to at least try to save it. So off to Lowe’s I went.
I found an adult working at Lowe’s and showed him pictures of what Lola did, and he showed me what I needed and walked me through what to do. Turns out all I needed was a switch. Woot woot!
The first thing was to separate the new piece into it’s three components. Well, actually, the first thing was to unplug the lamp from the outlet. Sounds like a no-brainer, but when you’re ready-to-roll and want to jump right in, you can forget. Bzzt!
Then I used a pair of pliers to remove the broken switch base from the rod that resides in the body of the lamp. I stripped the wires so that I would have enough wire to wrap around the screws.
I attached the split wire to the two screws on the new switch. Even though the adult at Lowe’s told me it doesn’t matter, 5 minutes of research told me that it does matter which wire goes to which screw. The neutral wire, which is usually ribbed, connects to the silver screw. The other wire, or hot wire, connects to the gold screw. The lamp will work either way, but it is a matter of safety to have them connected properly. The moral of this story? Always do your own research.
Once the wiring was finished, I set the switch into the base, threaded on the cap, and voila! Ready for lightbulb and shade.
I have to sing it just once: I’ve got the power! It’s gettin’ it’s gettin’ it’s gettin’ kinda hectic…
I surprised myself again–like when I reupholstered the sofa. Remember that craziness? Another pet-related incident. Hmm. Anywho, you won’t know what you can do until you give it a try!
We had a little mishap at Chez Grace and Kelly this week. Grace has been free-ranging for about a month and has done well sans crate. I typically find her curled up on the sofa or on her blanket when I get home from work, and the worst she has done is scratch crop circle designs into the carpet. I think she’s trying to fluff up a good spot to lie down, but honestly, who really knows?
The free-range gig was going great until I forgot to put her ball away one morning. I was concerned she might chew it into bits and choke or suffer an intestinal blockage, so I made a habit of only letting her play with the ball when supervised. And by the way, she is obsessed with this ball. She has skipped meals so that I wouldn’t get her ball while she was eating.
What happened the day I forgot to put the ball up was neither choking nor intestinal. The ball simply rolled under the sofa and Grace could not help herself but to GET THAT BALL! Any way she could. Which meant grabbing the sofa with her mouth and moving it. You know where this is going and it doesn’t look good for the sofa.
For a moment I was excited at the thought of getting a new sofa. Wootwoot! Said no pocketbook ever. I looked online for upholstery repair, but it seems everyone is doing complete re-upholstery or commercial work. So I figured I’d patch it myself and live with a bit of an eyesore. I pictured a square patch a few inches wider than the tear, probably a shade lighter or darker than the original fabric. I was resigned to my own version of shabby chic.
I did a search and found this article about how to repair an upholstery tear. I followed none of it. But I did head over to Hancock Fabrics to see if they had any fabric similar to that of my sofa. About five bolts from the left was a perfect match! What are the odds? I should have bought a lottery ticket. Instead, I bought a yard of the fabric just in case I messed up and had to do a few patches before getting it right, an upholstery needle, and some foam.
When I got the fabric home and started playing around with it, I realized I could cover the entire base rail and possibly not have a patch at all. So that is what I did.
First, I snipped off the loose threads and dangling fabric to clean up the area. Then I inserted a piece of stuffing to fit the shape of the hole, and I tucked under the edges of the torn fabric.
I machine sewed a hem all the way around the fabric for reinforcement. Then I centered the fabric on the sofa and hand stitched it to the seam just beneath the cushions.
After the strip of fabric was sewn to the top, I pulled it taut around the base rail and stapled it to the bottom of the frame. The list of items I have in this little condo is short, but thank goodness an electric staple gun is one of them!
I did not stitch the left and right ends of the fabric to the front of the sofa for two reasons: 1) you’ve seen my hand stitching and it isn’t pretty; 2) movement from sitting on the sofa may have caused those seams to tear, so I left both ends open.
The only indication that anything is amiss is a little lumpiness where the new stuffing lives. I couldn’t get that to be smooth, and I’m okay with that.
All things considered, I am happy and satisfied with how this turned out. I never, in a million years, would have guessed I could do this kind of repair and have it look as well as it does. I’m glad I gave it a shot before throwing in the towel. It took 4 hours (with a break to take pictures of the blue moon) and $14.29 in supplies, and was well worth it. It just goes to show, you can do it!
Of course no project can be complete without some little snafu, right? Here’s where I need some input. When the laminate counters existed, there was a strip of laminate along the side of the pantry that was attached with glue. When the counter was removed, as expected, the glue damaged the wood on the side of the pantry. I say wood, but it is actually pressboard covered in wood grain paper.
Initially, I thought I would have a row of subway tile installed there, but after talking with the contractor, we decided that might look odd. One idea the contractor had was to call the granite folks back and have a strip of granite installed where the laminate was. I may end up doing that, but first I had to try to fix it myself. You’re all shocked, I’m sure.
I patched it with wood filler, sanded and stained it, but it is a hot mess. Because it’s not solid wood, when I sand it the edges of the wood grain paper tear. Blah.
So here are my options–let me know what you think would look best or if you have another suggestion. Maybe you’ve dealt with this same situation? I’m curious what you all have to say.
That’s about all I can think of to make this right. What do you think? And how about this fancy schmancy voting poll thing?!