Blissdom 2012 Recap and Photos from Nashville, TN

2012_homies

I’ve been mulling over this post in my head for several days now.. And although I love a good challenge, I’m pretty sure you don’t want to read through a book today. So, today I’m sharing some photos from Blissdom 2012. Stick around for the lessons I learned at Blissdom on Friday.

This year I drove to Nashville from North Carolina. Luckily I had some good bloggy buddies to keep me company along the journey:

Erin: Two Story Cottage, Sandra: Sawdust and Paper Scraps and yours truly.

 

At Blissdom, the best place to catch up and get to know other bloggers is through the meals! [Read more...]

Back from Blissdom and Wallpaper for Windows Winner

M_graphic_design

(left to right - Erin: Two Story Cottage, Sandra: Sawdust and Paper Scraps, Traci: Beneath My Heart, Diane: In My Own Style, Kristi: Creative Kristi, Cindy: My Cottage Love and me doing my 80′s rock salute in the back!)

I made it back from Blissdom last night at 10pm. It was an exhilarating experience and I can’t wait to share with you some of the best moments and some of what I learned. Stay tuned!

(Diane: In My Own Style and Cindy (my look alike): My Cottage Love)

In the meantime, I have an important announcement!

The winner of the $75 Wallpaper for Windows gift certificate is…

…Maralee!

Maralee says, “I like having the blinds open in our room to let light in, but you can see into our bedroom from all they way down the street! Would love to have the blinds open and not worry about blinding everyone :-)”

Thanks for making me laugh Maralee. I know you’ll love the privacy and the light that Wallpaper for Windows will provide!

By the way, Maralee owns M Graphic Design. If you live in Utah (or even if you don’t) and need the expertise and creativity of a graphic designer, look her up! Her portfolio speaks for itself!

I’ll be back soon with a Blissdom recap and more.

 

Glidden’s My Colortopia Widget – How to Pick the Perfect Paint Color

wpid-Photo-Feb-14-2012-526-PM.jpg

 

I admit it, I’m a color snob. This is not to say that I don’t love color — quite the opposite. But, I am particular about the colors I choose for my home. I have specific desires for an emotion that I want each room to invoke.

Our bedroom must be restful and relaxing:

Glidden Limoges Blue #A1948

Our kitchen has to be cheery and sunny:

Glidden Orion #A0835

And our living room has the perfect balance of warmth and comfort:

Glidden Thyme #A0948

As an artist (I majored in illustration), you might think that picking colors comes easy to me. Actually yes and no. I can usually narrow down the color family that I want for a room, but finding the exact shade, hue, and saturation can be tough. I am drawn to colors that are bold, but when they are large scale on the walls, I find them to be overwhelming.

This is why I’m in love with the new My Colortopia widget from Glidden! My Colortopia asks a few simple questions about personality, mood, design tastes, etc. Within minutes, it dishes up a suggested palette to explore.

When I took the quiz, I was rewarded with these suggestions:

Powder Blush 70RR 65/053

Rosy Mauve 10RR 22/178

Black Mahogany 70RR 07/100

Imagine my surprise! This is the color palette of our mudroom! Light neutral lavender on top of the chair rail, a medium lavender-mauve on the bottom, and the bench is a warm mahogany color.

Why don’t you try taking the quiz for yourself?

A few tips for test driving the color:

  1. Pick up a few similar paint swatches. Stick them behind the light switch cover or beside the window and door trim in the room. Try the swatches on different walls and different times of day. A color that looks good on a sunny wall may not look so great on a shady wall.
  2. After a week, do you still like the swatches? Which is your favorite?
  3. Whoa now, don’t purchase a full gallon yet. Now is a good time to pick up an 8 oz. tester of the color. Paint a 2′ – 3′ section next to the trim in the room and repeat on different walls in the room. (If you are fearful of painting directly on the wall, pick up some white poster board to paint on instead.) Live with the paint squares for a few more days to make sure you truly love the color.
  4. If you aren’t quite ready to commit to painting your wall, go ahead and buy some poster boards and paint the swatches on the poster board and hang or prop them up in your room.
  5. A few things to keep in mind while you are looking at a color. Be aware that the color may change as the seasons change. Winter yields brighter and cooler colored light in our home because the trees are bare. In the summer, our light changes to a greener cast and less harsh lighting as the trees fill out with leaves. Personally, I wait for summer to roll around before choosing any colors in the green or yellow family. That insures that they still look good with the light reflecting off the leaves and into the room.

If you follow all these steps you are sure to find the perfect color for your room!

If you are still nervous, try asking the Colortopia Team (a group of highly trusted design bloggers!)

Now, go ahead and purchase that gallon of Glidden paint for your room!

You may be interested in these posts for more tips on painting like a pro:

  1. How to Prep Before Painting
  2. Picking Your Paint and Sheen
  3. Painting and Touch Ups

Best of luck on your color adventure! I’d love to see what colors My Colortopia picks for you! Send me a photo or upload it to my Facebook page or Google+.

Disclosure: I have been sponsored by Glidden brand paint to write this post but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Shabby Chic Chest of Drawers – Guest Post by Storywood Designs

Waxing_the_drawer

Hey y’all! I’m super stoked because I’m on my way to Blissdom in Nashville, TN for a few days.

I can’t wait to learn some new blogging tricks; network with a few blogging buddies; and listen to some inspiring speakers. Don’t you worry, I’ll be sharing everything I learned when I get back.

While I’m away, I will be leaving you in very capable hands. My good friend, Holly, is going to give you a tutorial for repainting and distressing a sad 1980′s chest of drawers. But, before she begins I have some news…


…I am really stoked to be partnering with Tomboy Tools, Inc. Together we’re going to bring you some serious DIY empowerment!This is such a wonderful venture for me because I love their tools; I love that their goal is to empower women; and I love that they are a company that gives back to women through the Avon Foundation.

Tomboy Tools and I are going to get YOU inspired to create more in 2012!

You may remember Holly from the Charm & Character Tour of her home. Many readers commented that they wanted to know how she distresses furniture. Holly was kind enough to create this tutorial for you:

Welcome Holly!

I’m so excited to be doing a guest post at Pretty Handy Girl! Brittany has been such a wealth of information to me as I have been working on growing my business and creating a web presence for Storywood Designs. There is truly nothing that Pretty Handy Girl can’t do and her willingness to share her knowledge and skill with the rest of us is so appreciated!

Several months back, I had a client approach me about painting an old chest of drawers she had. It had been given to her in her college years and had been painted to embrace the trends of the times. ;-) The chest itself wasn’t an antique or looked like it had been built by hand. However, it has a lot of sentimental value for my client. She wanted to pass it on to her toddler-aged daughter… and envisioned something that wasn’t too “baby” and not pink in color, and wanted to create a piece that might stay with her daughter as she grows.

Check out the chest of drawers in all her 1990′s glory! The chest itself was painted with a textured hunter green paint and the drawers were cream with hand-painted burgundy, gold and hunter green flowers. She was in dire need of a makeover! My client envisioned a more feminine color scheme and wanted the piece to look distressed. She was also itching to get rid of the brassy hardware.

I knew there was no hope of stripping the piece to the bare wood, staining it and distressing it. The piece had always been painted and I had no clue (and neither did she!) as to what was under all that textured paint. I also knew it would be cost prohibitive to her to try to get to bare wood in order to stain. I suggested painting the piece an base color that I could use in the distressing process and to create the overall look she was going for. With a plan in place it was time to get started!

The first order of business in any refinishing project is to prep the piece for refinishing. In almost all cases, this means sanding. Painted pieces require less sanding than pieces that are being stained… and in this particular case, I knew I had to sand enough to smooth out that textured paint surface. Forunately, my orbital sander made quick work of the texture and using 150-grit sandpaper, I was able to completely remove the texture without much fuss. A mask and safety goggles are important anytime you sand – you never want to breathe in the nasty particles sanding stirs up; nor do you want to get it in your eyes. But in this case, the eye and mouth protection were super important! That textured paint flew all over the place as it was sanded off. I lightly sanded the drawer fronts as well so that the hand-painted floral design would no longer show when painted. We have a scary, apocalypse-looking mask only because we use it often and for some pretty yucky stuff, but any disposable mask will work just fine!

Once sanding was completed, I wiped the chest of drawers down well using mineral spirits. I then checked for loose pieces of the chest; keeping a close eye on drawer bottoms, corner and bottom moldings, and around the top edge of the dresser. I made repairs using wood glue and clamps to hold the pieces tightly together until dry. If needed, I added a finishing nail or 2 to the repair. Before painting, I also eyeballed the dresser looking for chips in the wood that needed to be repaired with wood putty. This dresser had a large chip in the base molding, so I filled it in with wood putty, let it dry and sanded it smooth with the orbital sander. Once the repairs were made, it was time to paint!

This dresser was a little different than ones I had completed in the past because my client wanted a distressed look, but we wouldn’t be distressing down to the original wood finish. I knew that the royal blue paint we were painting over needed a strong primer to cover it, so I went with Glidden’s Gripper Primer in Gray. It’s super thick, hides well and I’ve found it to have excellent coverage.

Since I didn’t have to worry about sanding through it in the distressing process, I knew it was the paint for the job. The simple lines of the dresser and its drawers made it easy to roll most of the paint on. I did run my brush through the grooves in each drawer, but was able to paint the rest of it with a roller, which really sped the process along.

Once the primer coat was on the dresser and had thoroughly dried, I went to work on the base color. This is the color we would be distressing back to instead of the original wood finish. We wanted the dresser to look like it had originally been painted an antique white color… this would be the color that peeked through the final coat when the process was complete. I went with Benjamin Moore’s Navajo White.

Navajo White is great because it’s one of those paint colors that is not too yellow and not too beige. It is a true neutral and has served me on many, many painting projects. I was able to apply the Navajo White in the same manner I did the primer… rolled it on with my foam roller and touched up the drawers’ grooves and various places with my brush. Since the Navajo White was only the base coat and had a strong primer underneath, one coat sufficed.

The final coat of the dresser was to be a beautiful grey color. I decided to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Paris Grey for several reasons. First, Annie Sloan’s paints have great coverage and I knew that only 1 coat would be required. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint gives you a lot of control in the distressing process. That control was very important to me on this project because I only wanted to distress back to my base coat, not to the primer or original royal blue color. Finally, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint waxes beautifully and easily and that was important to me as paste wax would be the final coat on the dresser. I painted most of the Paris Grey on by hand with my brush. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is expensive and I try to use it sparingly!!

Once the chalk paint had time to dry, it was time to distress. In my opinion, this is where Annie Sloan Chalk Paint really sets itself apart from other paints. Chalk paint allows you a lot of control in the distressing process. In fact, there is no sandpaper required to distress Annie Sloan Chalk Paint! All the distressing on this dresser was done using a wet rag. I simply dampened the rag and started rubbing in the places I wanted to distress. The more I rubbed, the more distressing I got. I didn’t have to worry about sanding through my base coat and with a wet rag, I was able to get to places that would be difficult to get to with sandpaper. As an added bonus, I was able to distress the dresser in the house without a fine powdered substance all over everything!

The last steps to complete the dresser were to wax the entire piece and add the new hardware. With any piece I wax, I always start with a coat of clear wax. I’ve tried several brands, from Johnson’s Paste Wax to Briwax to Fiddes and Sons. I have yet to try Annie Sloan’s wax, only because the others are readily accessible to me in local stores. In my opinion, I have not noticed a big difference in application and finish between Johnson’s Furniture Paste Wax (which is found at Home Depot) and Briwax or Fiddes (which I can only find at a local wood working store). But there is a big difference in price. I think that it comes down to personal preference… there are definitely people that prefer one brand over the other… I just have not noticed a big difference in them! I did not apply a darker wax to this dresser… we wanted to keep it light and happy for a little girls room and I didn’t want to add the color changes that a dark wax brings to a piece of furniture.

With waxing, the key is get thin, even layers of wax with each coat you put on a piece of furniture. I find the easiest way to apply the wax is to cut a clean rag, place a small amount of wax in the center and fold the rag around it. The wax will seep through the rag as you rub down your piece of furniture, keeping your coat nice and even. Once the wax coat is completely dry, you take another clean cloth and buff the piece. The result is a soft sheen and a smooth finish!

For new hardware for the dresser, we selected these beautiful glass knobs from Restoration Hardware.

They added a bit of bling to the dresser, gave it a definite feminine touch, but weren’t too fussy or ornate. They fit into the existing holes with no issues, and with that, the dresser’s transformation was complete!

A lot of prepping and priming, several quarts of paint and a lot of elbow grease later, this dresser was transformed and updated and ready for its new life in a little girl’s room!

Thank you Holly! Oh my goodness, can you believe that transformation? From hunter green hand-painted to…

…shabby chic in Paris grey! Ahhh, that’s much better!

Be sure to check out Holly’s Storywood Designs Etsy shop where you can purchase a framed monogram like this one!

Holly also recently started a blog, Storywood Designs, showcasing the furniture that she refinishes. You really need to check it out!

Storywood Designs

Would you like to be a guest on Pretty Handy Girl? Well, here is your invitation: View this page for all the specifics on being my guest.

Adding Wallpaper for Windows to Stop the Peep Show + Giveaway

squeegee_tool_image

I’m about to share something a little embarrassing with the whole world. I confess to you that I regularly walk in my bathroom naked in front of the only window in our master bathroom!

Why would I do such a silly thing? Why? Well, I’m not intentionally trying to flash the world, that is for sure! I do it because I don’t want to cover that window that provides light and a view of our wooded backyard. I like to watch hawks, deer and other wildlife as they cross behind our yard. During the spring, summer, and fall I have plenty of privacy from the trees. BUT, in the winter that privacy is nearly nonexistent.

Now, I’m not insinuating that my neighbors are the peeping tom types, but I still feel a little self-conscious getting out of the shower at night in a brightly lit bathroom.Dear Mr. & Mrs. Jones (not their real names), if I inadvertently flashed you on one such night, I’m sorry.

When Wallpaper for Windows contacted me to ask if I wanted to try their product, I immediately said, YES! The name of their company is slightly misleading, because they sell a wide range of privacy films and decor clings for more than just your windows. You can find products in their online store for glass shower stalls, mirrors, side lights, and more.

I was instantly drawn to the decor tint line. The decor tints are sold in privacy and see-thru opaquenesses. With a variety of  11 colors to choose from, I knew I could find one to work with our blue bathroom. Ultimately I chose the sky blue see-thru film.

Why not privacy you ask? Well, here’s the thing, I didn’t want to block my view of the wildlife (and the kids playing in the yard), but I did want to keep my neighbors from thinking that I lead a wild life.

How to Install Wallpaper for Windows Window Clings

Materials:

  • Razor blade
  • Window cleaner
  • Water and soap mixed in a spray bottle (the Shaklee Basic H2 works for both cleaning and spraying)
  • Clean rag
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors (if you don’t have an X-ACTO knife)
  • Wallpaper for Windows film
  • Wallpaper for Windows squeegee

Difficulty: Easy to apply the film; Moderate if cutting shapes

Installing the Window Film

Step. 1 – Start by scraping any debris off your windows using the razor blade. (Confession #2 – that debris you see below is hairspray. Truth be told, I lived through the hair band 80′s and haven’t weaned myself off hairspray yet.)

Step 2. – Clean the windows thoroughly with glass cleaner and wipe dry.

Step 3. Measure each window panel. You may choose to add 1/4″ to the dimensions if you are unsure about your measuring or cutting skills.

Note: Wallpaper for Windows will cut your panels exactly to size (1 flat $6.50 fee for the all the divided lights in my window), but I chose to do it myself. It isn’t hard to cut the film, but you might want to pay to have Wallpaper for Windows cut it if you aren’t practiced at using an X-ACTO knife.

Step 4. – Transfer the measurements to the back of the window film (the white paper side.) Hold the ruler firmly on the back of the film and cut your panels.

Set the panels aside in a dry spot. Don’t let the paper backing get wet.

Wash your hands thoroughly to remove any oils or dirt. If you don’t, you could leave fingerprints or smudges between the glass and the film.

Step 5. – Wet the window with the water/soap mixture. (I used the Shaklee Basic H2 window cleaner.)

Step 6. – Peel the backing off the decor tint film.

Remember how I said not to get the backing wet, here is why:

Those little white spots of backing paper were near impossible to get off.

Step 7. – Position the window film onto your window. You can peel it off and reposition it as needed.

When the film is centered on the window, use your hand to press and smooth it onto the glass.

Step. 8 – Use the provided squeegee (also a credit card will work) to press from the center to the edges of the film. Push any air and water bubbles out to the sides.

Step 9. – Use a sharp X-ACTO blade to trim any excess film from the window.

This is how the see-thu decor tint (blue sky color) looks on the bottom half of the window. You could stop at this point and enjoy the privacy that it creates.

Here is a close up view of the blue sky tint next to the open window:

Cutting a Graphic out of the Window Film

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I’m the blogger who likes to push that “Amp Up the Creativity” button on all my projects. Which is why I wanted to cut graphic shapes out of the decor tint.

Step 1. Install the window film (see directions above). Let the window and film dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Install a fresh blade into the X-ACTO knife.

Step 2. – Use a sharp X-ACTO blade to lightly cut through the film. Use enough pressure to cut through the film but not to scratch the glass.

Step 3. – Use the X-ACTO point to pull a corner free. Peel the shape off the window.

Continue until you have completely the scene. I cut out simple graphic trees from the window film.

In the late afternoon, the sun shines through the cut-outs and projects this beautiful scene on the opposite wall.

And now I have the perfect amount of privacy and yet can still see wildlife and wild boys in the backyard.

The closer I get to the window, the more I can see out the cut outs:

However, as you can see, there is still enough of the film to protect my neighbors from seeing more than they bargained for.

Sorry the Giveaway has ended from WallpaperforWindows.com.

If the tinted decor film isn’t your style, they have a plethora of other films to choose from!

Disclosure:  I was not paid or compensated to write this post. Wallpaper for Windows sent me a complimentary sample of their product to test. This post is my idea and my thoughts on their product. I was not told what to write.

Winner of the $50 Apartment Guide Giveaway

Congratulations to Jennifer Hutchinson for being chosen at random to win the $50 American Express gift card. And a big thank you to Apartment Guide for offering the gift card to my readers.

Jennifer Hutchinson said, “I would love to redo my whole kitchen but I am a renter :( I think I can swing the project (and the low cost) of the added cup hooks in picture #3 of your post! It will surely add more storage room for the load of coffee cups we have! Love your blog, everyday you bring a smile to my face!”

Well, Jennifer, grab that drill and add a few cup hooks in your cabinets! I hope this has brought an extra big smile to your face today! Congratulations…and a belated Happy Birthday!


Jennifer is also a blogger, she writes Frazzled Five, a blog about her family and her passion for crafting.

See y’all next week for some more DIY fun.

Plans to Update My Laundry Room with Flow Wall System

peek_around_laundry_room

You know that beautiful laundry room I showed you last year? Yes, this one:

Well, it isn’t so pretty right now, and honestly I strategically didn’t photograph the ONE wall in the laundry room that isn’t….so….pretty. Can you blame me?!

But, that is all about to change! I’ve been working with a Flow Wall System representative to come up with a plan for my laundry room wall.

Flow Wall Garage and Home Storage Solutions

Within half an hour of sending him my measurements (of my laundry room, not my body measurements – LOL), he sent back multiple possible configurations for our room.

I can’t even begin to tell you how fantastic it is to turn over the planning to someone else for a change! Of course, being the planner that I am, I had to tape up a few paper templates to help visualize how they would work in my space.

The Flow Wall System looks like it is going to be a snap to install (and I will definitely let you know for sure!) Here is a short 60 second video to show you a little more about Flow Wall System:

Here are my beautiful plans for the laundry room using the Flow Wall System sketches as inspiration.

1. Flow Wall medium wall mounted storage bins to hold the iron and ironing supplies

2. Flow Wall small storage hook to hang ironing board on

3. Flow Wall white coated wire shelves for extra storage and drying clothes

4. Flow Wall jumbo decor bins in cream to corral detergents, spot cleaners, etc

5. Waverly Pom Pom Play Spa fabric for a faux roman shade

6. Spray painted brass chandelier inspired by Modern Parsonage

7. Flow Wall cabinets to hide my unsightly mess

What do you think? Do you like the design? I’m probably going to scrape the ceilings and repaint in there too. The exact wall color will have to wait until I get the fabric. I’m particular about color like that. More on my color snobbishness next week. Until then, I hope you have a great weekend. Don’t forget to enter to win a $50 AmEx gift card.  A winner will be chosen at random tonight.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Flow Wall Systems. I have been compensated for my time and will be receiving some complimentary products. However, the ideas and words are all my own. I was not told what to write or what products to write about. I believe you have the right to know when a post is sponsored. Regardless of whether a post is sponsored or not, I believe in honesty, truthfulness, and complete transparency in my posts.

Fabric Backed Open Kitchen Cabinets – DIY on a Dime the Tutorial

I’m back to show you the updates I made to my kitchen. Remember the plans I shared with you?

Well, they have been implemented and I LOVE the results! Best of all, the materials I bought cost me under $25 and that included the white dish set. But, the cherry on top is that I can easily reverse the changes if we move (or get sick of the look.)

And now, I present to you:
Fabric Backed Open Shelving for the Kitchen

When we first met these sad cabinets, they were dark, dreary and had an eclectic collection of mugs:

Within only a few hours (minus drying times), I had a stylish new look that is bright and cheery!

Follow along for the tutorial and the 50 cent tour (please deposit your pocket change on the way out.) Just kidding. I’ll let you in for free.

Materials:

  • Drill or screwdriver
  • Small plastic baggie
  • Foam board
  • Fabric
  • Packing tape or Duct Tape
  • Scissors
  • X-acto knife
  • Metal edged ruler
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Iron
  • All purpose cleaner
  • Rag
  • Sand paper
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife

Optional: 

  • Primer
  • Paint brush
  • Small paint roller
  • Paint
  • Shelf Paper

Difficulty: Easy

Step 1: Empty your cabinets.

Clean the insides with an all purpose kitchen cleaner.

Step 2. Starting from the bottom, remove the screws from the cabinet door hinges. The last screw should be the very top hinge (to keep the weight of the door from wrenching the screw out of the wood.)

Put screws into a ziplock bag and label your cabinet doors in order so that you can return them to the appropriate cabinet opening at a later date.

Now you should have a clean slate like this:

Step 3. If your cabinets are dark inside, you may or may not decide to paint the insides. (Be sure to check with your landlord if you are renting.) I chose to paint mine because the interiors were so dark. If you want to skip this step, fast forward to the next step.

Prime the insides by rolling on primer over the flat surfaces. Use a brush to get into the corners and crevices.

Once the primer has dried, get out the wood putty and putty knife.

Step 4. Using the putty knife, spread a small amount of putty over the holes where the hinges were. Push the putty into the holes, then scrape the excess off. Allow the putty to dry completely.

Step 5. Sand the puttied holes until smooth.

Step 6. Touch up the putty holes with paint or stain. Add caulk to any cracks or seams at the back of your cabinet. Allow the caulk to dry thoroughly.

If you are painting the inside of the cabinets, roll on paint with the small roller and use the brush to smooth out the paint and get into the grooves.

Step 7. Measure the dimensions of the back of your cabinets. Make sure your measurements are precise (measure twice, cut once is a good adage.)

Cut a piece of foam board using the measurements you just took.

Test fit the foam board into the back of the cabinet. If your cabinet’s face frame is smaller than the cabinet back, you will probably have to bend the foam board to get it in.

Step 8. Iron your fabric. Make sure to iron all the wrinkles out.

Cut the fabric 3 inches wider than the foam board. Lay the foam board on top of the fabric (wrong side facing up.)

Step 9. Tape the edges of the fabric onto the back of the foam board. Be sure to pull the fabric taut.

Fold the edges of the fabric as you would on a gift. Tape the ends to the back of the foam board.

Step 10. Insert the foam board into the cabinet.

Push the foam board firmly against the back of the cabinet. The tension of the fabric and the board against the edges of the cabinet should hold it in place, no need to tape or glue anything!

It is a good idea to try to line up your pattern if you have multiple shelves. (Do as I say, not as I do.)

Start putting your coordinated dishes back into the cabinet. Think about displaying them as you might see in a store.

For visual interest and extra storage, I hung some mugs from the top of the cabinet.

It was as simple as pre-drilling some holes and screwing in white cup hooks. (I did measure the same distance back from the face frame and spaced the hooks evenly. But, I’m a perfectionist like that.)

I am in love with my new kitchen! And all it took was less than $25 in supplies and a few hours.

What do you think?

The best part about this project is that I can easily remove the foam boards…

…or tape new fabric onto the back when I want to update the look!

Can you imagine a cheaper, easier or more glamourous update to your kitchen?

Are you an apartment dweller that is restricted from making permanent changes to your home? Or does your budget limit the renovations you’d really like to make? Why not make a few frugal changes that reflect your own style.

Apartment Guide has changes you can make that won’t break the bank:

Want to find even more design tips for your home? Apartment Guide has budget friendly ideas and DIY how-tos for people in any sized home on http://www.movingtoday.com and http://www.apartmentguide.com/blog/

Disclosure Statement:

Apartment Guide and owner Consumer Source, Inc. partnered with bloggers such as me to participate in their monthly blogger program.  As part of that program, I received compensation.  They did not tell me what project to create or what to purchase. Nor did they influence my opinions! We believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

DIY on a Dime Kitchen Cabinet Plans + Apartment Guide $50 Gift Card Giveaway

full_front_view_cabinet_right

Sometimes it can be frustrating when you want to make changes to your home to reflect your style, but you can’t because you are in a rental. Or you do own, but you don’t have the disposable income to make grand scale renovations.

I feel your pain! Long ago I resigned myself to the fact that I can’t make any major changes to our kitchen. But, I still stare longingly at photos of open kitchen shelving.

photo credit: Tatertots and Jello

I love the look, but shuddered at the thought of open shelving showing off my eclectic (in the tacky sense of the word) dishes to the world.

The other day I decided to dream no more, now was the time to take action and make my kitchen a reflection of who I am! I put together a simple design plan:

Open shelving with patterned backed shelves (inspired by Tatertots and Jello’s shelves pictured above) and matching dishes. Plus, my plan had a “wind back the clock” option where I could return the kitchen to the exact same state it is today in no time.

Truth be told, I saw this set of white dishes marked down on clearance ($5.99 for 4 place settings) at Kroger (our grocery store.) So, they were already in the mix.

But, here’s the sweet part: I sold my old 90′s cobalt dish set for $20 and then donated the rest of the mismatched dishes. So, I actually profited from my little dish switcheroo.

With car keys in hand and $20 dollars in my wallet, I set off to Michael’s to buy everything else I needed:

  • Foam board
  • 1 Yard of Top Drawer Bella Citrus Fabric
  • Clear packing tape
Check back with me on Wednesday to see the tutorial and reveal of my kitchen plans. I urge you to make your own plans to update one small space in your home. Make it your own and be proud of it.

Here are some inspirational ideas from Apartment Guide for changes you can make that won’t break the bank:

Want to find even more design tips for your home? Apartment Guide has budget friendly ideas and DIY how-tos for people in any sized home on http://www.movingtoday.comand http://www.apartmentguide.com/blog/

$50 American Express Gift Card Giveaway

Sorry this giveaway has ended.

Get Posts Delivered in Your Email

 

One lucky winner will be chosen after midnight EST on Friday, February 17th.

A special thank you to ApartmentGuide for offering this giveaway to you.

Whether you’re living, looking or moving, ApartmentGuide offers how-to tips for making the most of your space on a budget.

 If you’re ready for a whole new space or looking to move, ApartmentGuide has the photos, floor plans, features and tips to help you find the perfect apartment community.

 Special Date Night Sweepstakes Announcement!

Do you prefer a cozy night in or a night out on the town? No matter your preference, hurry to enter Apartment Guide’s Night In or Night Out Sweepstakes* for a chance to win your perfect evening. Enter today to win! Visit www.Facebook.com/ApartmentGuide to submit your entry.

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Sweepstakes ends @ 9:00 PM ET on 2/14/12. Must be a US legal resident of the 50 US or DC and 18 years of age or older. Sweepstakes subject to full Official Rules available at www.facebook.com/apartmentguide. Void where prohibited.

Disclosure Statement:

Apartment Guide and owner Consumer Source, Inc. partnered with bloggers such as myself to participate in their monthly blogger program.  As part of that program, I received compensation.  They did not tell me what project to create or what to purchase. Nor did they influence my opinions. We believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

Nope, It’s Not a Pier 1 Lantern

close_up_lantern

Thanks to my Facebook fan, Heather H., for the ultimate compliment on this lantern. She asked if I got it at Pier 1! Nope Heather, I got it at the Habitat ReStore and it found its way into my hands in this condition:

After a Women Build meeting at the Habitat ReStore a month ago, I spied that dusty relic. An old discarded hanging light fixture. I grabbed it and promptly paid $5 for it. Then I got to chatting with the clerk at the ReStore and absentmindedly walked out without my lantern. By the time I remembered, the ReStore had already closed. It was sad… it was tragic… I didn’t know when I’d be reunited with my light fixture because the ReStore is about 25 minutes away from my home. But, there is a happy ending to my story, my mother-in-law (who gives a good name to all MILs out there) offered to swing by the ReStore the following day to pick up my lantern for me. Hugs to her for reuniting us. But, I had to laugh at the look of skepticism she gave me as she handed over the dusty light. She couldn’t see its true potential, but I could.

How about you? Would you have passed this light fixture by? Or would you have seen the potential?

Well, next time you see a light fixture like that, grab it and I’ll show you how to transform it.

Materials:

  • Old lantern style light fixture
  • Pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Two screwdrivers (at least one needs to be flat head)
  • Damp rag
  • Sandpaper
  • Plastic drop cloth
  • Kilz spray primer
  • Rustoleum Lagoon spray paint
  • Rub n’ Buff Gold Color
  • Paper towels
Difficulty: Easy
Step 1. Disassemble the lantern by unscrewing all the parts.

Step 2. Use wire cutters to cut the wire to the light housings.

Step 3. Pull the light sockets, bulbs and lighting out of the lantern.

Step 4. Remove the finial from the bottom of the lighting and set it aside with the lantern. Discard or keep the lighting parts for some other project.

Step 5. If there is a chain attached to the lantern, insert the two screwdrivers into the link attaching it to the lantern. Rotate the two screwdrivers in opposite directions as shown to pry the chain link apart.

Step 6. Pry up the tabs on the lantern that are holding the glass in place. Remove the glass panels and set them aside.

These are the parts that I kept for the lantern:

Step 7. Wipe all the parts with the damp rag to remove any dust and debris. Then scuff the lantern parts with sandpaper and wipe off any remaining dust.

Step 8. Set the lantern and parts outside on the drop cloth.  Spray them with Kilz primer, flip the pieces over and spray again.

Step 9. When the primer has dried, inspect the lantern for any paint drips that need to be sanded smooth.

Step 10. Spray paint the lantern and parts with Rustoleum Lagoon. Flip everything after the first coat is dry and spray a second coat of paint.

Step 11. After the lantern has dried thoroughly, reassemble the lantern.

Screw the finial onto the inside of the lantern where the lighting used to attach.

Step 11. Wipe a small amount of rub n’ buff on a dry paper towel. Rub it on the cross bars of the lantern.

Step 12. Clean the lantern glass with windex and a clean rag. Then insert the glass panels back into the lantern.

Admire your new aqua beauty!

The hardest part of this project was trying to decide where to display my lantern. I could see it in every room of our home!

But, ultimately I gave it a place of prominence on our mantle. And included an old picture inside it.

Have you seen these old light fixtures? Could you ever guess that they could be turned into beautiful decorating gems?
Have a great weekend y’all. I hope you make a trip to your local Habitat ReStore and search for your own lantern.

I hope you’ll join Heather and some other friends on Facebook so you can see what I’m up to next!

Sharing with Tater Tots and Jello Weekend Wrap Up Party

 

Book Page Rose Wreath

close_view_of_book_page_rose

Are you drawn to the amber color of aging book pages? Do you love the scrolling detail on an ornate ceiling medallion? Do you like roses? Yes, yes, and yes?! Well, this post has your name written all over it!

I must say, I really enjoyed photographing this tutorial. The dimensions and shadows in the rose and medallion lend themselves so nicely to photography.

Before we start, I need to give credit where credit is due. I saw a beautiful  paper rose bouquet on 100 Layer Cake the other day, and knew I wanted to make one giant one. The bouquet was created by Valerie Lloyd for a wedding.  So beautiful and unique!

I had not taken down our Christmas decorations on the mantle (I know, slacker that I am.) But, this project propelled my desire to create a Valentine’s Day themed mantle.

Material:

  • Old book
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue sticks
  • Ceiling medallion
  • Small piece of cardboard
  • Ribbon
Difficulty: Easy
Step 1. Start by tearing a dozen pages out of an old book. (Check Goodwill and thrift stores. You’re bound to find some for this project.)

Step 2. Cut out petal shapes from the book pages. Make some slightly larger and some smaller for the insides of the rose.

Step 3. Curl the top edges of the petal back.

Step 4. Fold the petal in half lengthwise. The curled edges will be on the outside of the fold.

Step 5. Roll several of the smaller petals into a tube shape for the center of the rose.

You should have a decent pile of petals collected before proceeding.

Step 6. Cut a long piece of ribbon to feed through the center of the medallion. It is important to add the ribbon now before you build out your rose and cover the hole.

Plug in your glue gun and let it warm up.

Step 7. Cut a piece of cardboard large enough to cover the center of the medallion. Run a line of hot glue around the center hole on the back of the medallion. Place the cardboard over the hole.

Step 8. Squeeze a large dollop of glue into the center of the cardboard (on the front side of the medallion.) Press one of the small petal tubes into the center of the glue. Hold it until the glue hardens and sets.

Squeeze more glue around the base of the first petal. Wrap a few more of the small petal tubes around the first one.

Experiment with folding the base of each petal or leave them open (your choice.) Variety will make your rose look more “real.”

Step 9.  Continue working around the rose from the center out until you have a very full paper rose.

Step 10. Let the hot glue cool. Fluff the rose and add any petals where you think your rose might need more.

Tie a bow at the top of the ribbon and hang your beautiful wreath!

Stand back and admire your new romantic book page wreath.

What did I tell you? This rose is so beautiful and fun to photograph.

I’d love to hear from you if you make your own! Very rewarding and a relatively easy project.

I hope you are having a fabulous week!

Romancing the Mantle

entry_way_decorated

It’s true, I JUST took down the rest of the Christmas decorations. Yes — I know it is February — but honestly I’ve been a bit busy lately. I carved out a little time to spray paint a lantern and hot glue a new wreath. And that was all it took to put me in the mood to decorate for the season.

I wanted some cozy warmth and a little brightness on our mantle, so I hung a soft faux fur throw up. To avoid nailing into the brick, I used a wooden dowel rod that spans the width of the throw. I added two screw eyes in either end of the rod and fishing line that feeds through the eye hooks and wraps around nails that are secured into the crown moulding on either side of the fireplace.

I really like the softness of the throw.

A berry wrapped white bird on top of a paper wrapped book helps bring in a little more romantic red.

Michael’s has this crackle vase on clearance now, but be careful about filling it with water because it will leak. Inserting a small yogurt container inside made it possible for me to use it for fresh flowers.

I am really excited about the book page wreath I made, but I think I’m more excited about that old light fixture that I revamped. One of my facebook fans thought it was from Pier 1. That was the ultimate compliment for something I paid $5 for at the Habitat ReStore!

The paint color I used on the lantern is Rustoleum’s Lagoon, and it has sent me on a big aqua kick!

More books and a plant to balance the right side of the mantle.

I’ll have a tutorial for this book page wreath on Wednesday, so get busy finding an old book and a ceiling medallion!

I used the chandelier turned candelabra to bring some Valentine’s whimsy to our kitchen table.

The hearts on a stick were purchased from the Dollar Tree, I just slipped green straws over the stems to beef them up a little.

I did pull the stems off the rest of the hearts and piled them in this other lantern with some faux grass.

A few recycled jars pulled together make a crisp and clean flower arrangement. We have some flowers blooming in our yard already (only about one month early), but I picked up these agapantus and alstroemeria (peruvian lilies) from the grocery store.

 I think of my sister everytime I see agapanthus, because they grow right outside her front door! Lucky duck.

My friend, Leen the Graphics Queen will recognize this bottle from our antiquing trip to Southport, NC. I’d never been to Southport before, but I will definitely have to go again. It is a really neat little town by the sea.

I couldn’t neglect the mudroom.  This is where my tree branch heart wreath hangs out.

Because this is our family’s main entrance, I chose some sweet smelling daphne and daffodils to create a fragrant and colorful welcome home.

I couldn’t truly welcome spring yet (since technically it is still a month and a half away.) So, I scribbled “Hello Spring?” on the chalkboard.

I hope you have a fabulous February and a sweet Valentine’s Day.

 P.s. How many of you watched the SuperBowl (or at least the commercials and/or halftime show) last night? What were your favorite commercials? I have to say I really liked the VW, Doritos and E-Trade commercial. And my son and I were up off the couch and dancing with Madonna! I thought she rocked the halftime show.

10 Valentine’s Day Crafts for Your Home Decor

10_Valentines_Day_Crafts

Lace Hearts by Michele Made Me

Wondering how to dress up your home for Valentine’s Day? Here are 10 Valentine’s Day Ideas for romancing your rooms.  They are all very simple art projects you can create by yourself and some are so simple you can do them with your kids.

Here is just a sneak peek of a few of them.

To see the rest, head on over to Parentables. Enjoy!

 

Making it Easier to Take Out the Trash

taking_out_the_trash

I know that no one likes to take out the garbage in my house. How do I know this? I know it because we seem to be able to push our 9 gallon trash can to hold 12 gallons! Don’t do the math, it is just one of life’s unsolved mysteries.

When this mystery trashcan reaches these epic proportions, the bag of trash resists all efforts to remove it from the can. It holds tight to the can liner bringing it up with itself. I’ve only known one other thing in this world that can hold on this tight. And that would be my son at age two as he death gripped my shirt while the babysitter tried in vain to remove him.

Releasing the trash’s grip takes some practice, I use the this little dance I call the Can Can Jig. (Not to be confused with your parent’s Can-Can.)

Here is what it looks like:

One foot on the floor, the other raised over your waist height trying to keep the trash can liner from coming with the trash bag as it is extracted from the can. Yeah, I’m still working on mastering the move myself. It is not for amateurs.

Okay, all kidding aside, I found the cure for the stubborn trash bag who didn’t want to be emptied. I’d heard about this trick a few times but never tried it until now.

Materials:

  • Drill
  • Drill bit – medium size (approximately 1/4″)
  • Safety glasses

Step 1. Empty the trashcan (less you drill holes in your bag of trash. Gross!)

Step 2. Take out the plastic trashcan liner if you have one. If not, this will work just as well if you have a plastic trashcan without a bucket liner.

Step 3. Drill 3-4 holes into the bottom of the liner (or can if you don’t have a liner).

Drill the holes about 1″ above the bottom just in case you ever have any leakage (just thinking about it makes me gag.)

Step 4. Insert the can liner back into the can. Put a trash bag into the liner. Now wait for that garbage can to fill beyond capacity again.

And voila! The bag slides out easily. I almost wish I had some kind of bet with Pretty Handsome Guy to see who could extract the trash faster. You know I’d time him before drilling the holes and then unbeknownst to him I would add this quick fix and let him time me as I whipped that trash out no problem.

And now for the dramatic before and after pictures! Ooooo and ahhhhh:

Which leads me to just one question: “How will I practice the Can Can Jig now?”

Announcing the Milestone Giveaway Winners

First I’d like to thank all the generous donations from the companies shown above. I can honestly say that they all produce top notch products that I have enjoyed using.

RIT Liquid Dyes

 3M Tekk

 3M ScotchBlue

Irwin Tools

Simplify101

Mirror Mate 

Sharpie

Cutting Edge Stencils

Second, let me thank all of you for reading and following my blog. You make this blog worth every late night hour spent working on tutorials!

I have contacted all the winners, but they still don’t know what they won. So, without any more torture, here are the winners and their prizes:

The winner of the Pottery Barn Knock Off Chalkboard Organizer is…

Karin from Yankee Doodle Designs. Check out that cute pillow she made below! You can follow her tutorial to make your own Key to My Heart Pillow.

 

The winner of the RIT Dye and Scarf is…

Karina V. She is a fantastic photographer! You have to check out Karina’s photography site at Goldenview Photography.

 

The winner of the $50 Gift Certificate to Cutting Edge Stencils is…Sara.

The winner of the Sharpie Sampler Box is…Monica! Watch out world, she’s gonna be doodling up a storm.

The winner of the $100 MirrorMate gift certificate is…  Stephanie! You are going to love your new old mirror.

The winner of the Simplify 101 Organize Your Paper Clutter Workshop is… Melissa! She is actually a children and young adult author. You can see her website here.

 

The winner of the Irwin Pliers is…Jodi! She’ll be showing up all those handy guys with her new groove lock pliers. Jodi also has a blog. Check out this hanging planter she made out of a light fixture.

 

The winner of the yummy wake up package (aka Illy Coffee Set) is… SusieB! Rise and shine sleepy head.

The winner of the 3M Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape is…Melissa M. Girl, you better start picking out your paint colors because you need to put that tape to good use.

The winner of the his and hers 3M Tekk Safety Glasses is…Cheryl B. No one will guess that they are eye protection glasses!

The winner of the women’s work gloves is… Sheila G. You are now protected, so get back to work. And you should see her work! She refinished this adorable stool. Youo can view more of her DIY projects at Plum Doodles.

Congratulations to everyone. Please be sure you email me if you are one of the winners. Everyone else, we’ll have more giveaways coming up soon, so start rubbing your lucky pennies!

Need a few ideas for Valentine’s Day? Tried going to Pinterest, but got sucked into pin heaven (yeah, I know, it happens to all of us.) Search no longer! Mandi from Life… Your Way has done it again! She’s put together a virtual buffet of Valentine’s Day Décor, Crafts and Recipes. There were 18 bloggers that helped by contributing ideas for this ebook. I’m sure you’ll recognize quite a few of them:

Have fun browsing the pages of ideas below or Click here to download or print your copy of the Finding Cupid eBook!

I’ve been working on my own Valentine’s decorating. I’ll be serving up some new tutorials real soon!

xxxooo