January – Dejá Vu a Month in Review

Did January seem to fly by for anyone else? It sure did for me.

Here is your recap of the posts at Pretty Handy Girl for the first month of 2011:






Coming up in February, I am dedicating the whole month to posts that will help you
Fall in Love with Your Home!
The month will be filled with frugal ideas to help you transform your abode into a place you won’t want to leave. Plus, several guest bloggers will be here to share their tips as well. 
So get ready for a love inspiring February!

Words of Wisdom for Bloggers from Blissdom 2011

{Disclaimer: This post is a departure from my normal DIY tutorials.
If you are craving the usual familiar Pretty Handy Girl posts, you may want to leave now and come back when our regularly scheduled program returns.}

I arrived home from Nashville on Saturday. It was so wonderful seeing the smiling faces of my boys at the airport.

I had a week I will always remember. A week where I absorbed enough wisdom, information, and friendships to make my head swim. A week that made me need a 2 hour nap early Saturday evening.

A week where I met my sister in looks.

Me (aka PHG) and Cindy (My Cottage Love launching this summer)

And my sister in soul.

PHG and Sandra – Sawdust and Paper Scraps

And many more women who I can truly call a sister in spirit. (Unfortunately, they aren’t all pictured below. If I missed taking your picture, you know who you are!)

Marian, Kristen, Kim, Sandra, Layla, Erin, Ashley

In summary, this week was so inspiring to me, that I felt the need to share some of the pearls of wisdom I took away from Blissdom.

What is your intention, your purpose, your goal?

Write down your goal for blogging. YOU MUST HAVE A PURPOSE or you will be unable to stick with it for the long haul.

  • Blog for money and your account will run dry.
  • Blog for fame and you will find yourself alone.
  • Blog for attention and you will be ignored.

“If you can be yourself on your blog, then you will have no competition.” - The Nester

  • Don’t be someone you’re not on your blog.
  • Don’t copy anyone.
  • If you do use a photo, idea or portion of another blog, be sure to ask permission and definitely link back to their blog.

“Start as you mean to go on.” - Old British expression.

In other words, start your blog as if it will be a huge success. Be prepared to be BIG one day.

Be professional from the start. Set your intention and stick to it. Determine now if you want to share photos of your children or your real name.



“Post the Awesome! Don’t post mediocrity”Scott Stratten

We all feel the pressure to keep on a schedule, but don’t just post to post. If you aren’t feeling inspired, ignore the pressure to put something out there.

Lack of inspiration? Take a break, lay down, go for a walk, get outside, call a friend. Or take a longer hiatus to re-group your thoughts and find your intention again.

…you are responsible for your happiness and you are responsible for the energy you bring to everything.” - Oprah Winfrey

As a blog writer, it can be difficult to keep your spirits up. There are days when it seems that no one cares about you and your blog. Or worse yet, you receive a comment from a Troll.


About Trolls: 

   {a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response…} – Wikipedia

Emotional currency: “Let’s say we have $100 worth of emotional currency a day. Give it to people you care about, not to trolls. Don’t even give them a $1 of your emotional currency.” - Scott Stratten

Don’t whine, complain or post negativity on twitter, facebook or your blog. Think about it before you rant. “Would you put those words on a 30 ft. billboard for your mother to see?” - Scott Stratten

“Let them hate you because they fear your success and their lack of success.”- Scott Stratten

Make a short list (even if it is only one or two people) of people whose opinions you value above all others - Brené Brown, PhD

Taming the Green Eyed Monster:

It is so hard to read anyone’s blog without your eyes wandering over to the Google friend follower or feedburner counters. You may find yourself measuring your blog against theirs. Or, wondering what makes them better and able to have more followers, comments, advertisers, etc. etc.   

STOP! It is so important not to get sucked into feeling envious of your fellow bloggers. We all need to support one another and be happy and thrilled for another’s success. Those that have succeeded are only paving the road for the rest of us. 

If you do find yourself comparing. Turn your follower widgets off or hide them at the bottom of your blog. Pull out your blog intention statement and remind yourself why you are blogging.

Remember that no one reached 200,000 page views the first week they started blogging. Your blog will grow, give it time and recognize that it is a slow and steady incline if you stay true to your intent. But, also ask yourself, how will you measure the success of your blog? Refer back to your intention. 

Re-think what is important in your life. Is it your followers, stats, income and/or readership? Or is it your physical family and relationships that are concrete and there for you even if you stop blogging tomorrow? 

“Thank you for being a Friend that would Move a Body” - Brené Brown, PhD

We all need friends. But, as a blogger, we need good friends that also write blogs. Choose a network of blogging buddies that you can rely on:

  • as a sounding board
  • as someone to help you when you are stuck
  • as someone to help promote your blog
  • as someone who will be completely honest with you
  • as someone who will share information with you
  • as someone who will listen with a kind ear but won’t dish about you later

This is probably the most important thing I learned at Blissdom. The need to create a network of other bloggers.

This may seem a little daunting. I admit going to a blog conference can help immensely with networking. But, it isn’t mandatory. Email bloggers that have blogs similar to your own or that you admire. Email bloggers whose blogs are bigger and smaller than your own.

If you don’t get a response or the out-stretched hand, don’t sweat it. Just recognize that everyone is different and they may have their own support networks or just don’t have the time to invest in a good friendship. Don’t let it hurt your feelings.

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of networking with newer bloggers or those with less followers. You may be surprised what they can teach you.

Case in point: This wonderfully smart and sweet blogger taught me more about advertising and WordPress than anyone else at Blissdom:

PHG and Kristi (Creative Kristi)

Kristi was a business major, but she is also hard-working, determined, and one smart cookie. I urge you to check out her blog.

Build Each Other Up and Support One Another:

I have a song that has been running through my head since I heard Brian Walker and Crystal Bowersox (husband and wife singers) perform it the last night at Blissdom. It speaks to me about what we need to do for each other:

“I wanna be your mason baby, I wanna build a life with you…Bridges burn and buildings fall and time can tear down walls…but you will always have a home with me.” – by Brian Walker with Crystal Bowersox

So, to my new blogging friends: I wanna be your mason baby, and I want us to support each other as we build our blogs together.

PHG and Kate

Cleared for Takeoff
The Cottage Chick
Creative Kristi

Erin, Sandra, Kristi and PHG

Decor Chick
Dr. Baby Mama Drama
Frugal with a Flourish
Heels and a Hammer

…and any other bloggers I met and forgot to mention, call me out on it and I’ll add you!Now available! Watch the Blissdom seminars from home:

Couldn't make it to BlissDom? Get it all here.

Mousetrap Memo Pad

I’ve been dying to show you this project, but didn’t want to give away any secrets. You see, I made them for a few bloggers out there in the home décor blogland. And as luck would have it, most of these special women are here at Blissdom! As a tiny token of my appreciation for their inspirational blogs, I put together a little gift bag. Inside (among other things) was this one-of-a-kind memo pad.

With a note attached.
“My mouse is hooked on your blog!”
Get it? The notepad holder is a mousetrap and I was playing on the word, mouse (the one for your computer). Corny, I know.
So, you want one for yourself? I’m happy to share with you the tutorial.
The memo pad started life as a mousetrap (4 for $1) and a mini picture frame also $1 at the Dollar Store!

Materials:

Wooden mousetrap
Small picture frame
Cabinet Toe kick boards or other thin scrap wood (1 – 4.5″ x 4.5″, 1 – 4.5″ x 10″)
Wire
Ribbon
Notepad
Corrugated cardboard
Small 2″ x 3″ picture
E-6000 glue (optional)
Gorilla glue
Primer
Paint
Sandpaper
Needle-nosed pliers
Saw (hand saw is fine)
Drill and bit (for hole)

Start by removing the hook and trap hold parts with pliers. Then remove the bait hook.
All that will remain is the spring and snapping bar.
Cut the excess wood from your mousetrap with a handsaw.
(I used mine in a miter box for a straight cut.)
Sand down the rough edges.
You will need to cut down your scrap wood to the dimensions below.
The 4.5″ square piece is the same thickness as the mousetrap.
This insures an even surface for the memo pad to rest on.
Following the directions for the Gorilla Glue,
I wet each piece of wood and then added the glue.
Glue the 4.5″ square piece to the bottom of the larger piece of wood. Then glue the mouse trap right above the square piece. Make sure your snapping bar is facing down, as shown below.
Set a weight on top of the wood to “clamp” it while the glue dries. (About an hour or so.)
Anyone know what these hand weights are good for?
Beats me, I only use them to weigh down projects.
After the trap is dry, spray your boards with 1 or 2 coats of primer.
Then follow up with your favorite color paint.
At this point, you will want to drill a hole through the top of your board.
Take apart your picture frame and discard the backing.
Replace it with a piece of corrugated cardboard cut to size. Slide in your picture.
Carefully add a small line of E-6000 glue* to the back of the frame and glue it just above the mouse trap. If you use too much glue, it will glue the cardboard to the frame and you won’t be able to switch out your picture from time to time.
*You could use Gorilla glue for this step, but the glue expands and might glue your frame shut so you can’t change the pictures.
Create a bow with the ribbon and slide a piece of wire through the bow knot.
Secure the bow by threading both ends of the wire through the hole at the top of your mouse trap memo holder. Twist the wires together to make a loop for hanging.
Add your memo pad and you have a unique little note center.
So do you think those wonderful bloggy ladies will like it?
It isn’t too cheesy is it? (Pun definitely intended!)

Camping Themed Boy’s Room

NolanBedView
NolanBedView
I have been having the best time meeting most of my favorite bloggers at Blissdom.
Dear sweet Home & DIY bloggers, y’all really rock!
A few of those rockin’ women bloggers:
Sandra (
Sawdust & Paper Scraps), Rhoda (Southern Hospitality), Shaunna (Perfectly Imperfect), Ashley (Pure + Lovely), Erin (Two Story Cottage) and Layla (TheLetteredCottage)

While I am here, I figured you might love a good before and after. Here is my son’s bedroom shortly after we moved into our home.

NolansRmBefore2
NolansBeforeRoom
Pretty boring, huh? Poor guy didn’t even have a bed frame. But, frankly, it let me sleep better at night knowing he wouldn’t roll out of bed.
Two plus years later, we moved beyond the rolling out of bed phase AND something divine happened. I met a “real” mural artist and it was like finding a clone of myself! I promptly hired my clone to help me paint a mural in my son’s room.
A beautiful woodland and mountain theme!
DayWall
Tom Barber (mural artist in Raleigh, NC) painted most of the background and I painted the animals (because wildlife illustration was my major in college.)
NolansNightWalls
I bought some corner rounded shelves at Home Depot and installed them in the corner where Tom painted a big tree.
SecretCloset
A perfect spot to curl up with a good book.
CornerNook
The closet is my son’s super secret hideaway.
HiddenCloset
When you open the door you are met by a tent.
Tent
Pretty Handsome Son can either close it up or secure the tent flaps on the sides with the velcro tie backs.
Tieback
The tree is made from some crepe myrtle branches that we had to trim from our trees out front.
Tree
The lantern in the tree was an old oil lantern. I drilled a hole in the bottom and inserted a candelabra light kit. It is the perfect amount of light for him to read stories by.
Lantern
I used a larger branch for the curtain rod. And tied the rod to the shelf with some rope knots.
WindowView
CurtainRod
And I had to add this adorable bird that my son made in preschool. No kids room is complete without his or her artwork.
KnotandBird
He sleeps soundly under the light up moon on the wall.
BedView2
The bookshelf was re-painted and I mod podged old US Geological Survey maps onto the back.
mapbookcase
Thumbtacks
I wish I had a room like this when I was a child. Heck, when he outgrows it (which I hope he never does), I’ll move in to his room!
Before:
After:
BedandTree
Bedding from Target Woolrich collection.
home_tour

Welcome Guest Blogger – Jessica from Decor Adventures

Hey all, I’m safely at Blissdom now and meeting many other inspiring bloggers. Unfortunately, there is one blogger who, sadly, I won’t be meeting. Jessica from Decor Adventures. She is as sweet as can be and a real kindred spirit when it comes to DIY projects. Instead she’s staying home to kick DIY butt in her basement, but agreed to take some time to meet you all in my absence. Take it away Jessica!
Jessica

Hello Pretty Handy readers! I’m Jessica from Decor Adventures, a professional by day and project addict by night, decorating my new 111 year old house. Today I want to share with you how to hang plates on a wall.  It’s so simple, with no visible hardware, you’ll be hanging them up in no time.

When we had a housewarming party last fall, we made our guests participate in a fun little activity while helping to decorate all at the same time. I got some inexpensive plates at the thrift stores and asked our guests to freestyle it!  We had them decorate plates to hang in our house with their well wishes for our first place.

Kitchen

First the secret is Dischangers. They are easy to order online, ship super quick and come in different sizes to hold various weight.

To use them, moisten the disc and secure it to the back of your plate then let it dry overnight. Make sure you wait, even if you want them up right away. You don’t want any plates crashing to the ground because the glue is wet!

Plates

To make my arrangement I used a technique I saw online where you make a grid of your art on a piece of paper, hang it on the wall, nail in the holes, hang up your art, pull the paper away and presto! Art on the wall. This actually can be done with different wall arrangements, plates, art or photos, etc.

To get started I pulled out a piece of packing paper that came in box from an item I ordered. I was that thick butcher paper. I laid it out on the counter space which was just about as big as my wall area.

Then I arranged the plates on the paper how I wanted them to look on the wall. This way I could move them around without having to hammer a new hole in the wall.

Plates

Then I traced each plate onto the paper with a sharpie, making sure it didn’t bleed onto the counter underneath. You can write on the plates or art which piece it is. This will help to see what you’ve got going where.

IMG_8563

Then I removed the paper from under the plates and hung it up on the wall with painter’s tape. Now you’ll see the placement of your art/plates.

IMG_8561

After that, measure where each nail hole goes,

IMG_8562

mark that spot on your “plate” on the wall,

IMG_8563

and hammer one in!

IMG_8565

Once you carefully remove the paper, you’ll have your nails all ready to go.

IMG_8566

Lastly, simply hang up your art and you’re done.

IMG_8570

Plates

This is the little bistro corner in our kitchen. So when our friends come over they get to see their handiwork.


Kitchen

IMG_8812

Hoped you learned something today with my plate art. Do you have a technique for hanging things up on the wall? Any tips you want to share?

Thanks again to Pretty Handy Girl for letting me visit!

Please give Jessica a round of applause. Wasn’t that a great tip for hanging plates? I think I’ll be using this technique to hang our family photo wall soon!

You should hop over to her blog where she and her husband are doing some crazy renovations to their home.

Re-Sizing and Dressing Up a Goodwill Sweater

I owe a huge hug of gratitude to Kathleen at Grosgrain Fabulous. She posted 30 days of sweater embellishments on her blog. In those tutorials she took the most ho-hum sweaters from Goodwill and turned them into Cinderella-worthy tops.
Because of her inspiring transformations, I was able to re-vamp two sweaters for the Blissdom conference, saving my bank account some precious pennies. (I used the savings to buy two pairs of cute PJs. Apparently PJs are mandatory after conference hours.)
And now, on to the transformation!
I started by resizing the sweater per Kathleen’s tutorial HERE.
Put the sweater on inside out and pin excess starting under the arm and ending at the hip.
Carefully (very carefully unless you want to become a pin cushion) remove the sweater. Stitch along the pinned line.
Put the sweater back on to check the fit.
If it looks good, go ahead and trim off the excess. (This reminds me of a nip and tuck surgery. {Sigh} If only trimming fat was this easy.)

 

Next, grab some of those adorable felt roses we made the other day. (Rose tutorial HERE)  Lay them onto the sweater and play with the placements.

 

When you are happy with the roses, pin them on with safety pins. 

 

Sew on the roses with needle and thread.
And remove the safety pin once the rose is secure.
That’s it. Beautiful new cardigan from a $3 Goodwill sweater!

 

I added a knit belt that I sewed some roses and a hook and eye clasp on.

 

Poor Buddy (aka Pretty Handy Dog), he’s not so sure about me leaving for Blissdom tomorrow.

Check out some more Goodwill and thrift store fashionista outfits at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

Sharing also at:
Visit thecsiproject.com

Wool Roses on a Stem

Hello my sweets! I’m definitely getting down with the sugar lingo just in time for Valentine’s Day. And in honor of that day devoted to love, don’t you think these felted wool roses would make a nice gift for that someone special in your life?

If you haven’t already, learn how to make the rose heads, in the tutorial HERE.

Materials:
Hot Glue
Tacky Glue (or E-6000 but that is overkill)
Cardstock Scrapbook paper
Scissors
Sticks

Turn your roses over and snip off the middle flap.

Squeeze a fair amount of hot glue into the back center of the rose.

Then insert one stick into it.

Next fold your scrapbook paper in half.

Cut out a leaf shape with the stem landing on the fold.

Bend the stem down slightly.

Next make a crease along the length of your leaf.

Put a small dollop (I just love that word) in the middle of the two leaves to secure them together.

Next glue the stem of your leaf to the stick. I used hot glue, but half my leaves fell off. Therefore, I recommend using a tacky glue instead.

Who would you give these everlasting roses to?

Next up on Pretty Handy Girl: The same roses used to embellish a Goodwill sweater HERE.

Felted Wool Roses Tutorial

Y’all are so sweet to welcome Buddy onto my blog. I appreciate your kind comments and encouragement to include some of my personal life. There was not a single comment asking me to “stick to business.”

But, getting back to business, I have the felted wool roses tutorial for you today.

Last week when I saw THIS ADORABLE WREATH that Stephenie made. I knew that I wanted to make my own roses.

You need to start with a 100% wool sweater (or other wool fabric). Run it through your washing machine using hot water and then dry it on a medium or high heat setting. When you open the dryer you will find a shrinky dink version of the sweater (raise your hands if you remember Shrinky Dinks! Click HERE to learn how to make your own.)

Grab a pair of sharp scissors and a round object. I used a can of chicken and a cereal bowl for slightly larger ones.

Trace a circle around your round object. As you can tell, I like to use those slivers of leftover soap.

Cut out the circle.

Start from the edge of your circle and cut a spiral towards the center of your circle. Try to keep the rows consistent, but it is okay if they aren’t. You can give your rose a “haircut” in the end if needed.

At the center, leave a small circle.

Grab the outside starting point of your spiral and begin to roll the wool. Keep rolling until you reach the end.

 
 
 
 

To secure the rose, use some needle and thread to sew several passes back and forth through the center of the rose.

(I’ve used contrasting thread so you can see the stitches, but you should use coordinating thread for a cleaner look.)

Here is a video tracing the stitching pattern I used. Pretend that you don’t notice the radioactive shape I’m about to draw. I guess it could be worse (like a devil symbol?)

If you want to learn how to turn these into roses on a stem, click HERE.

If you will be securing your roses to a flat surface, continue reading:

Lay down the flap and stitch around the edges to secure it.

And you are done! Here is the size of the finished rose in comparison to the can I used as my circle template. About half the size, wouldn’t you say?

Now posted: a tutorial for felted rose stems and embellishing a Goodwill sweater with roses. I can’t wait to show you them!

In the meantime, what could you do with these adorable roses?

Felted Wool Rose Wreath
Felted Rose Adorned Knit Hat

Introducing Pretty Handy Dog

I know you all thought I was going to be posting about felt roses today. Well, I promise, I’ll get the tutorial up soon. In the meantime I’ve been a little distracted.

I debated whether or not to blog about some “personal” stuff on my blog, so please let me know if you want me to stick to the “handy” stuff and I promise to be a good listener.

Those of you that know me personally know that we had to say goodbye to our australian shepherd in May. She was our baby before we had children and lived with us 11 of her 15 years.

We missed her dearly but couldn’t think about getting another dog until our hearts healed a little. 

Buddy meet my readers. Everyone, meet Buddy.

Buddy is a rescue who was found wandering and a vet picked him up after he observed some kids being mean to him (I can’t even tell you more because it just breaks my heart.) He lived with the vet for a while and was very helpful to them. He was a blood donor for some very sick dogs. He also saved his kennel mate, Tumbles on more than one occasion.  When Tumbles mischieviously got into the goat pen and got cornered by the goats, Buddy put himself between Tumbles and the goat while the vet techs rescued Tumbles.

Buddy was brought home as a foster dog by a sweet woman named Carol. Carol has fostered him for over a year, but knew that he would be so much happier with a family that had children. She posted his profile on Craig’s List and I happened to find her post.

Buddy arrived yesterday and we are all loving on him and trying to help him not be so sad about being away from his foster mom, Carol.

Wish us luck this week as he acclimates to life in the Pretty Handy Household.

By the way, if you are looking for a new pet, please consider Petfinder.com. They have a fairly extensive list of rescue, foster, and shelter animals.

Until next time, I’m off to teach Pretty Handy Dog how to use a hammer.

Goodwill Pants Make a Cute Bucket Liner

Hidey-ho my bloggios. I’m in a giddy mood this morning. The kiddos are at the in-laws to spend a day of fun. LOVE my in-laws! So Pretty Handsome Guy and I will have our own day of fun.

Did you see that cute bucket of bath and body love above? (Who am I kidding, how could you miss that gigantic picture.) Today I’ll show you how to make the liner.

So, I started this post and wrote “How to Make a Pants Liner” in the title field until I realized that pants liner is only one letter away from panty liner. {snicker, giggle} Not good.

The liner started out in a previous life as a pair of pants:

Not my pants, I found them at Goodwill. I liked the print and had plans to use the fabric for a sweater embellishment, but then I saw how nicely the purple color looked next to my newly painted bucket and inspiration hit.

Start by turning the pants inside out.

Set the foot of the pants inside your bucket. And roll the waist outside the bucket. Move the pants up and down on the bucket until you have a snug fit.
Mark the outside edge of the pants with a disappearing fabric marker or an old sliver of soap. Make sure you allow an extra inch to roll under when you sew it.
Remove the pants from the pail, take a big breath and cut the pants. Yes, I cringe at cutting up pieces of clothing. One day I hope to overcome my phobia.

Fold over the cut edge twice and sew it.

Set the pant leg into the bucket again and roll the finished edge over the bucket until you are happy with how much cuff shows. Then use a pin to mark where the bottom of the bucket is.

Remove your pants liner {snicker, snicker, giggle. I almost said panty liner again.} And use some more pins to mark a straight line across the leg.

Take another breath and cut just below the pins on the leg. Remember to allow at least 1/2″ seam allowance.

Turn the pants inside out (right sides together) and stitch the bottom closed.

 

Slip the liner back onto your bucket…

 

…and smooth out the bottom of the liner into your bucket.

 

That’s it. You are done. Now fill up your bucket with a few of your favorite things.

The possibilities for this project are endless. How cute would a pair of old jeans look as a liner? Or some funky striped pants. So get thee to Goodwill ASAP and scour those pant racks. Size large or bigger works the best.

Oh and while you are there look for 100% wool sweaters to felt. I’ll have a tutorial for making these cute roses coming soon.

Never Die Roses

 

Sharing also at:
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Aged Painted Pail Tutorial

GiftBasket

I was strolling through our local Goodwill last week looking for goodies donated by people trying to claim a last minute tax write-off. I came across a bucket with a $1 price on it.

I grabbed it and ran to the register. Especially because the pail was originally $9.

I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. Miss Mustard Seed’s aged painted pails have been stored in my memory banks since I first saw them in August. (And that is saying a lot, considering I can’t remember what I ate for lunch today!)

Marion used crackle medium, but I remember seeing somewhere that you can use regular elmer’s glue mixed with a little water instead. So that is what I did – and guess what – IT WORKED!

I only used enough H20 to water down the glue so it would be easier to paint on.

I brushed it all over the outside of the pail (bottom too!) And let it dry.

Next I pulled out leftover flat white paint that we use on our ceilings and painted one coat on the pail.

I had to work quick, because the paint got gooey quick and you don’t want to keep brushing over the paint when it starts to dry (trust me on this one.)

After the white paint dried, I took out some acrylic paints and painted some stripes, flowers and a monogram for my good friend, Amy.

To protect the paint from chipping off, I added a coating of matte mod podge.

Isn’t it cute? Much better than the original.

But, I wasn’t done…no sir E Bob. I cut up these Goodwill pants that only cost $2.49:
To make this:
The liner was super easy to make, tutorial HERE.
AND then I filled it will some bath goodies for a special friend.

Visit thecsiproject.com

Sharing this Lined Aged Bucket at this week’s $5 CSI Project Challenge.

Installing a New Toilet Seat

I just finished cleaning the bathroom. The mirror is spotless, the sink is clean, and the toilet is cl… ARGH! I just cleaned the toilet and that flaking hinge just dropped another metal flake on the seat!

Do any of you have a similar problem? Or is your seat old and looks dirty no matter how much elbow grease you use?
Don’t put up with ugly toilet seats any longer! This fix is inexpensive and takes about 15 minutes.
New toilet seats start at $20. I splurged on this soft close lid for $35. I’ll tell you why later.
You will need pliers and a phillips or flat head screw driver (depending on your bolts).
I received the adjustable Irwin Groove Lock pliers from Irwin to test, and I do have to say that I like the convenience of adjusting it with the push of a button. That sure beats looking for the right size socket or crescent wrench! {I was not paid to say that, see my product review disclosure here}
Locate the bolt and nut under your toilet bowl. Use your pliers to loosen the nut (remember lefty loosey to unscrew.) 

Once the nuts on both sides have been removed, you should be able to lift the old seat straight up and off the toilet.
Locate the two seat bolts for your new seat. (Be sure to familiarize yourself with the instructions for your new seat since they may vary slightly from this post. Some seats have the bolts attached to the seat already.)
Insert them into the holes in the toilet.
Thread the nut onto the bolts from underneath. Then tighten the bolts with a screwdriver and hold the nut with your pliers. Be careful not to over-tighten the bolts or your toilet bowl could crack.
The seat I bought has a quick release hinge so you can thoroughly clean the seat and around the hinges. Simply snap the seat on top of the bolts and then rotate the hinge cap clockwise to lock it in place.

And the seat is installed. I love that our toilet seat has a soft close feature.

Now the true reason I bought the soft close seat:

These two boys in training think it is pretty cool and are MORE likely to lift up the toilet seat when using it and return it to the down position when done! Any of you who have little boys in your home, you know what I’m talking about, right?! You have to start training them young! (I never want to sit down in droplets of pee ever again. Ewwww!)


Tutorial for Painting Dandelion Wall Graphic

3Prints
BedWallView

I’m back from a wonderful weekend getaway with three of my fellow mom friends. We enjoyed laughter (with a few snorts), good conversations (with no interruptions), cake (without a care about calories) and a few glasses of wine (with no whine from children!) It was heaven.

As promised, I finally have the tutorial for painting dandelion graphics on your wall.

MePainting [Read more...]

Painting Dandelions on the Wall

It’s Friday!!! But, it’s not just any friday. No, no, no. This friday I’m headed to the beach with some other mom friends. No kids, no husbands, NO BOYS, just us 5 mommas! I can’t wait.

But, I promised to show you the graphic I painted on our bedroom wall. I know, I teased you as long as I could.

Pretty Handsome Boys #1 & #2, can you please pull back the curtains for the final reveal?

Dandelion Seeds

Floating Away

Dandelion Head

The Pair

Gentle breeze picks up...

...blowing in our bedroom suite. Peaceful restful. Ahhhh.

I painted the graphic in a few hours using a mixture of 1/3 of the wall color to 2/3 white ceiling paint. The tutorial is HERE. But, if you are hesitant to paint your own, check out Leen’s graphic dandelions HERE.


Because I tortured you with anticipation, I’ll give you a quick tour of our bedroom (a very quick tour because it is a very small bedroom).


Our pottery barn sleigh bed (gifted to us by my sister) flanked by new curtains and blinds that I showed you how to hang this week.


Thank goodness for two closets! Peeking into Pretty Handsome Boy #1′s room.
We painted a woodland mural in there.


A photo I took of the London Eye when Pretty Handsome Guy and I had a romantic getaway. I uploaded the file to CanvasPeople.com and gave it to my love for Christmas.


Sunprints made with my boys. So fun, so easy, so pretty!


And on the opposing wall, is the dandelion mural blowing seeds over the Craig’s List Dresser I refinished.
Ultimately, I want to add a wall quote over the dresser. But, Pretty Handsome Guy and I are still not agreeing on compiling quotes.

Visit thecsiproject.com

Hanging Curtains and No Iron Solution to Wrinkles

Glad you came back to see how I hung the curtains in our bedroom. If you are just joining us, I hung some blinds the other day in a mini-makeover for our master bedroom.

Then I hung a curtain rod and flanked both windows with some billowy white cotton curtains. I still can’t believe what a difference this made in the room.

Here is the dark and drab before:

So, you want to hang your own curtains? I’m here to help you along with that.

By the way, if you have a Tuesday Morning near you, check out their curtain rods! This extra wide one for spanning two windows was only $24.99!

Start out by holding up your curtain rod (preferably with a friend holding and you looking.) And mark the height of your rod on the wall.

Take the time to check and see if there is a stud behind where your bracket will hang. If there is, check out my post HERE for hanging the bracket into a stud. All my brackets landed in locations without a stud behind them.

So, I grabbed some Toggler anchors and used them instead of the screws that came with the curtain rod.

Start by tracing the screw holes in your bracket.

Next screw the two screws that come with the Toggler anchors partially into the wall. This creates starter holes for the anchors.

Remove the screws.

Use a philips head screwdriver and screw the anchors into the wall until they are flush with the wall. Be careful not to over-tighten.

Line up your bracket on top of the anchors, and then insert the screws that come with the anchors into the wall.

As you can see, the toggler screws are silver, but not for long! Grab a permanent black marker and color them black.

Or if you are using white or brown brackets, you can simply paint them with acrylic craft paint, stain or primer. Your choice.

Next, using your level, rest it on top of the first bracket and make a mark on the wall where your next bracket will be mounted. This will insure that it is level with the first.

Repeat the steps to install the second and third bracket (if you have a wide span of windows like I do.)

Assemble the brackets per the instructions that came with them. And hang your curtains!

You may have noticed how far the rod extends beyond the window. This is a design trick to make the windows appear bigger, plus it allows for the maximum amount of natural light to enter the room.
 

Okay, less you think that everything I do is perfect – remember how I said to have a friend hold the rod when you first decided how high to hang the rod. Well, I didn’t! I was too impatient. So, I ended up having to re-do the first bracket and was left with this.

No biggie. I just patched the hole and applied some touch up paint. Good as new!

Except, I was too lazy to iron the curtains before I hung them. (Yup, I’m an instant gratification kind of gal, couldn’t you tell?!)

So, I have for you a two-fer post. Two posts in one! Wow, your lucky day right?!

A No Iron Technique for Removing Wrinkles!

This is my favorite technique for removing wrinkles. I use it on everything! Slipcovers, curtains, sheets, and clothing I am already wearing.

You will need one of these:

Just a squirt bottle with plain old H2O in it. Nothing fancy. Set the nozzle to mist.

Spread out your curtains.

Then go to town spraying your wrinkled areas. When it dries the wrinkles are magically gone.

Sometimes they might need another spray and some smoothing with your hands, but ultimately they usually come out.

Only the stubborn wrinkles get to meet my iron.

As you can see below, most of the wrinkles came out, but we had party guests arriving in 15 minutes, so I left them as is and will iron them another day. Maybe.

And one more look at my new curtains and blinds.

Hey! Are you peeking at my new wall graphic I painted? You cheater, you’ll have to read my post where I will show you how to paint a wall graphic. In the meantime, I posted a picture of me working on it on my Facebook fan page.

Ringing in the New Year – Hanging New Blinds

Happy New Year! I love January 1st. It is a new beginning, with new goals, resolutions and a chance to start fresh.

We had an open house style party on New Year’s Day. I was talking with my friend Leslie about how little changes can really make a big difference in your home and attitude. It is better to make some small alterations to your home instead of waiting to make bigger changes. We all have many reasons for waiting:

  • Lacking Money
  • Lack the skills
  • Lacking a vision
  • Lacking time
  • Lacking motivation
  • Insert your own reason here!

When we first moved into our home I didn’t want to do anything to our master bathroom because I knew we would need to gut it one day.

But, I can’t tell you how awful I felt every morning as I stepped into that hideous bathroom.

Finally I stopped waiting and made a few changes. I didn’t rip out the tile, I just added some paint, stain and new fixtures. And it really made me happy! Sure I still have to step into a harvest gold tile coffin to shower. And I will have to wait until we have the funds to renovate the room one day. But, at least that room makes me happy for now.

So, in the spirit of a fresh start, I decided to give our Master Bedroom a little face lift this week.

Our bedroom was the first room we painted when we moved in, and I stopped loving the room last year. Especially when these showed up!

Yuck, I’m not sure how our roman shades got stained. I think it might have been from the vaporizer I run in our bedroom because I can’t find any other places where water could have penetrated the window.

I admit, I was in a holding pattern. I found myself stalling, thinking that I had to wait until we scraped our ceilings. Then we could re-do that room.

The truth is that I had all the supplies to give our room a mini-facelift. Back when Layla posted about her new window treatment in her master bedroom, I was all eyes!

Our bed is situated in the same location as her’s (in front of two windows.) I had struggled with what to do with our bed and those window until I read her post. Luckily, I was able to find these natural grass shades at Bed, Bath & Beyond on clearance. $9.99 per blind! SCORE!

Thank you Layla@TheLetteredCottage for sharing your window treatments!

But, I waited another 2 months to do anything with those blinds! Sheesh, I can’t believe it took me that long to pull on my big girl “go ahead and do it” panties?

I started by removing the old stained blinds. Sadly I sewed them myself only three years ago. Sniff, sniff.

Then, I held up the new blinds to the height I wanted them. I hung them higher than the window to give the illusion that the window was taller, and also to be sure not to block too much natural light from the room.

Made a mark on the wall with pencil.

Next, I used a level to mark a line across the whole window.

I measured the width of my blinds and held up the first bracket at one end. Lucky for me I had already located a stud near the one end of the blind. (Read about stud finding HERE.)

Here is the first trick you NEED TO KNOW about hanging any window treatments! Those screws that come with blinds will not hold up your window treatments over the long haul even if you are screwing them into a stud. Especially if you have small children that may try to play Tarzan on them one day.

The wimpy 1″ screws are not long enough to go through the drywall and into your studs. And DO NOT expect them to hold if they are simply screwed into drywall either.

Be sure to purchase some extra drywall or wood screws that are 2″ long.

Also have some of these wall anchors on hand at all times! They screw into the wall when a stud is not behind your bracket. I can’t tell you how much better these are than those cheap wall anchors that you get for free.

Next I drove the screws into the bracket using my cordless drill. (Finishing off at the end with a screwdriver.) I used two of the wimpy screws and two longer screws.

I repeated the process to hang the other bracket. Then followed the directions for hanging the blinds I bought.

I was able to hang the other side the same way and used my level line to make sure both blinds were hung at the same height.

Next I adjusted the cord stop and pulls to fit our windows. Because the blinds weren’t custom made for our windows, they hung down below the window sill. I started by closing the blinds to the bottom of our windows. Then moved the small stop bead to the top of the cord.

Next I moved the pull knobs to a location in the middle of the blinds, added new knots to hold them there and then cut off the excess.

Next up on Pretty Handy Girl. How to hang curtains and a no-iron way to iron your curtains!

Plus, I have some more frugal changes that cost me – ummm – nothing! I added a big graphic element to the side wall (Tutorial HERE.) I know, sorry to tease you like that, but if you follow me on Twitter, I gave away the secret there.

Until then, I encourage you to embrace the New Year by making a small change to a room you really don’t like.

  • Try hanging a new picture.
  • Try hanging new blinds or curtains.
  • Cover up something you don’t like with fabric.
  • Buy some new throw pillows.
  • Change around your accessories.
  • Or switch out your bedding.

If you have a little more time and energy, It really is amazing what a new coat of paint can do for a room!

So, please don’t wait. Make yourself happy! Change out something today! It doesn’t mean you have to buy something new.

I am planning on swinging by our local Goodwill this week. You should have seen the lines of people donating their items before the new year (myself included!) I bet there are some treasures to be found this week.

Addendum: Monique sent me an email asking if she would be at risk of electrocuting herself when using the longer screws. Good question Monique. Here is my answer:

When I used the 2″ screws I was screwing them into the studs. See THIS post to determine how to find a stud. It is about halfway down the post past the bench assembly. Electrical is not normally in a stud, occasionally it is run through a stud, but the 2″ screw is actually only penetrating the stud about 1/2″ to 3/4″. Sometimes electrical wires are fed through a hole in the stud, however, it is normally centered in a 2″ x 4″ stud, so about 2″ back. But, normally electrical is not run up near the ceiling through studs (where I was hanging the blinds). The electricity for your outlets is down near the outlets. The electrical for your ceiling light would run vertical from the switch and up through the ceiling. Most of those wires are either loose in the cavity between the studs or stapled to the middle of the stud (about 2″ back).

If you are mounting your bracket into the drywall cavity (not a stud) I wouldn’t use just the screw. That is where I would use the plastic toggler anchors that I showed above. The cavity in the drywall is 3 3/4″ deep (the width of a stud.) Should an anchor touch the electrical (which that would be rare, it is sheathed in thick plastic and would normally flex away from the anchor. Plus, because it is plastic it wouldn’t conduct electricity.)

In other words, long explanation short, you don’t need to worry about shocking yourself if you are using anchors in the hollow areas and 2″ screws into the studs.

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