Friday, June 19, 2015


It has been quiet on the blog lately.  Life is so full these days.  Which is awesome and great and wonderful.  And exhausting.  Like all parents out there, I find it hard to find perfect balance in my life.  A perfect balance that allows me to be efficient and effective at work, present at home and fulfilling to myself.  I am not perfect so at any given time, something usually suffers.  Lately, it has been the blogging.  Although, I have been quite busy on projects, makeovers and crafts.  I just have not shared them because I could not put the perfect words to the perfect pictures with the perfect lighting (or as perfect as I am capable of with my limited photography skills).

You see, I have this problem with perfection.  Sometimes it is crippling.  If I can't do it perfectly, why do it?  I don't want to put a product out there that was not put out there with my best efforts.  This problem with perfection has been with me ever since I was little.  If I could not be one of the best players on the team, why play (basketball, softball)?  It can make your life really small.  Until you are living in a tiny box, terrified of not being perfect.

I am old enough and know myself well enough now to see it for what it is.  After about 2 weeks, I realized where I was heading.  Instead of being disappointed I had to go back on my medication, I was relieved I had a solution.  Grateful to have something to pull me back to where I want to be.

So lets not waste anymore time and let me show you what I have been up to....

Here is a before pic of my dining room.  Lots of room for parties:)  We used it a lot when entertaining but not at all when not entertaining.  I wanted this to be a more useable space.  I mean, its huge and it was just sitting idle most of the time.  And my craft/sewing/toy/guest room was busting at the seams.  So I thought, why not move all my craft supplies to the dining room and get a nice, big table to craft (and dine) at?  And that was the purpose behind the change.

Also, I wanted to purge the laminate book shelves that I painted black 10 years ago.  It was time!  And I wanted to change up my gallery wall.

This the best before pic of where my fireplace was that was taken within the past 6 months.  Oops.

After selling my table, chairs and bar stools, I moved the fireplace to the area where the dining table was.  Between the patio door and window.  Immediately, the room felt different.  More cozy and it made sense.  I should have had it there all along!  Gah!

To fill the empty wall this move left behind, I searched thrift stores for a small dresser or cabinet and I was fortunate enough to find this guy.

I sanded it down (I LOATHE sanding).  Then I took a 50/50 mixture of white latex paint and water and painted sections then rubbed it off.  Like I was staining.  I put the knobs back on and it turned out PERFECT!  Double bonus, it is on wheels!

Now it houses all the craft supplies I could possibly cram into it (decorative paper, felt, scissors, writing utensils, cards, laminator, chalk, glue, stapler, ribbons, etc).  Next to it, I hauled up a wicker chair from my basement for some additional seating which can also be pulled up to the new table.

Speaking of the new table, I wanted to go with a big farmhouse, chunky table.  My parents came and I put my dad to work immediately building me one.  

Look at him!  What a guy!

Once done, we brought it in and placed it right in the middle of the room.  I bought a nice sisal rug off of Rugs USA (they had a 70% off sale + free shipping) to anchor the table.  (I got a good teasing about having 8 rugs on this floor of our house from the hubs.  He hates rugs.  I love them.  I win.)

See what I mean about the new fireplace placement?  Its perfect!

But the table was not done!  I stained it with a mix of Minwax Weathered Grey (75%) and Minwax Dark Walnut (25%).  It looked really pretty but it was not quite the style I was going for.  Too dark and competed with other elements in the room.  So I white washed if like I did the new cabinet.  

Pic during the white washing process.

The top white washed.

Then I sealed it with 3 coats of clear Polycrylic.

I painted the skirting and legs white and the table was done.  

Pay no attention to that back wall.  Still working on the details there.

I bought two of these mid century modern style chairs off Overstock for the ends of the table.  I am still working on what to do for the rest of the chairs.  I will figure it out but have a few options I am considering (lucite, wood, benches).

I embellished the chandelier with some wooden beads I strung on fishing line.  I have more and plan on adding to it at some point.  

It is certainly coming together.  From here you can get a glimpse of the new gallery wall.  

I wanted to get Syd's silhouette up and I wanted to extend the gallery wall to wrap around the corner. Everything else was worked in going away from that point.

The furniture in this area was also rearranged.  Feels good to change things up.  They had been the same for SOOOOOO long.

I mean, come on....

I am thinking it is time for the blinds to go.  They seem too reddish now.

And there you have it.  Still a work in progress.  But it is coming along nicely.  What do you think?  Suggestions for side chairs or benches?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Plank project

Hey all!  I have not posted in over two weeks but I assure you, I have not been idle!  I finally caved into the planking trend.  What better place to try it out but in a small, very doable space, my downstairs bathroom.

It is a small bathroom and I didn't think I was up for a full room plank yet.  So I decided on the back wall, or what looks like the back wall when you look into it.

(I apologize in advance for the yellow-y tone is some of these pics but this is a tricky room to photograph due to the placement of the window.  I have to have the light on or the pics are super dark.)

 See that big window grid with fabric on it next to the toilet?  Yeah, that is covering up an awful little secret.  Lets just say it involves a rookie homeowner and a can of texture spray.  

I tried to get a closer pic of the "texture" below.

 So I removed the towel rods and shelves and toilet paper holder.   I decided I wanted my planks about 7" after doing some math so I could get the strips precut and I would not have to trim any of them the long way.  Then I measured how many I would need at each length and went to Home Depot.  I picked several large sanded 1/4" ply wood sheets and the Home Depot guy was nice enough to cut them for me.  Side note:  if you are going to have them cut these for you, DO NOT GO ON A WEEKEND!  I made the mistake of not getting enough cut the first time (because I was not sure I was going to do the wall behind the toilet and had to go back for more).  The weekend crew was too busy and aren't super happy to make a ton of cuts for you.

Back at home, I painted my planks (highly recommend this step) before putting them on the wall.  I wanted a little contrast between the planks so I chose to keep the wall color as is instead of painting it white.  I painted my planks with the generic Behr paint+primer white.  I think it is a non-color but whatever.  It is nice and bright.  I used it on my board and batten in my entry way and liked it so I used the same on the planks.  Once those are dry, I applied a caulk adhesive the backs like so...

Then I placed my first plank up at the ceiling and used my pneumatic nail gun to nail it on.  (I started at the ceiling because I was going to just put my trim back on and figured if I messed up on the math and had to cut the plank the long way and use my jig saw, the trim would cover up the not perfectly straight cut I would have to do.)  I did not try to find the studs at all (thank you for saving me that step, Allie).  And thanks to the blogosphere, I found out about the nickel trick to space my planks.  See below.

 Place a nickel between the planks and your spacing is done.  Nail it on and move on to the next plank.

 Forgot to pre-paint a few of those little pieces.  

I caulked at the ceiling and where the board met each other and along the shower.  I was almost done.  But I wasn't digging how I messed up caulking the seams were the walls meet.  Some of the caulk got stuck between the planks and it looked sloppy.  So I decided to use a little piece of trim were the planks meet the walls to cover up any imperfections.  You don't have to do this step but it was really bugging me so I had to.

Here is what I mean.

And here is the little piece of trim I used in the corners.

I still have to fill the holes and paint it but it cleans it up nicely.

I also placed this edging on the ends of the wall but the window and the toilet wall.

 I filled the holes on the planks and touched up the paint.  Then rehung the shelves, towel rods and toilet paper holder and there you have it!

 I have a few other decor changes that will take place in here but for now, I am very happy with it!  I think I will plank a half wall in my craft room with my leftovers.  I was not anticipating the texture of the planks to be quite so rough so I think I will sand the leftover planks myself and then white wash them for a little different look (translation: I am too lazy to go buy new paint to paint them solid white and I don't need much paint to white wash a few of the planks).  Stay tuned for that project!

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015


I admit, my number of failings as a daughter to get an anniversary card out to my parents are more than I would like to admit.  I take it for granted that they are still together, happily.  I know so many couples of all ages that grew apart and divorced or are still living together but don't really like each other.   But not these two...

Yes, they truly are this fun!  They love to laugh, spend time in their "Peace of Paradise" in FLA or their "Shangri La" in WI and spend time with their kids and grandkids.    They are open and generous loving and kind.  My dad is a homebody but my mom likes to go places.  They are both creative and enjoy building and crafting.  

Sometimes they are a bit different or unconventional.  Like they don't mind living in trailers and have an outdoor shower and an outdoor fire place. 

Like all marriages, I know not all the years have been easy.  They worked hard for so many years to provide for my brother and I.  They modeled what hard work is and what it will get you.  They provided us with a warm home and many memories of family vacations.  Two vacation memories stand out the most:  a camping trip in which Crystal and I heard, "You hungry Buck?  How 'bout a brat?" at 2 am (I know this makes absolutely NO sense to most of you, and that is ok) and a road trip to FLA were my parents thought it was a great idea to drive all the way there in their Chevy convertible WITH THE TOP DOWN!  My childhood was filled with parties full of my parents' friends and their kids.  Games of kick the can and Pictionary.  You will never meet two parents who are always on your side, always rooting you on and encouraging you to do anything you dream of.

Thirty-seven years ago they got married.

Thanks to my Aunt Janet for digging up these relics;)

Since then, they built an amazing life.  A life that produced two houses, two kids and 5 grandkids.  A life that they love.  Together.

Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad!  Here is to many, many more fun years filled with laughs!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

DIY Groceries sign

Hey there!  I am sharing a cute little project that I did for our kitchen (with a little help from the best little helper ever).  Pinterest and Etsy are full of DIY adorable little wooden signs.  I realized I had the perfect place for one right above my pantry.

First, you need to decide on your word.  You could choose anything from Market, Eat & Drink, Grocery, Pantry and the list goes on.  I chose Groceries.

I didn't want to spend any money so I went shopping for wood in my garage and found this perfect piece of wood that would fit the word Groceries...

I apologize in advance for the poor lighting in these pics but I tend to do projects at night and there is a lack of beautiful natural light at that time of day.

Next, I stained it with Minwax Dark Walnut stain.

You could paint the board and distress it instead of staining it but I wanted some dark wood accents in the kitchen so I opted for the stain.

 Next, you need to make your stencil.  I chose the font Geneva and enlarged it.  I printed the pages out and cut them out of some binder dividers.  I had to piece three of them together to get all my letters on my board.

 This step is important.  Get your little helper to hold them where you want them so you can tape them down with super hero duct tape.

"Mom!  Mom!  MOM!  Take a picture of me!"
 I can't get that kid to stop wearing those jammies.  He will fish them out of the dirty laundry every night.  They are so gross and so bagged out.  But I pick my battles.

Alright.  Now you need your paint.  I used some left over cabinet paint I had on hand and added some royal blue and back to it.  I mixed it really well.  Then I got my foam brush and let the little guy help.

The key here is to dab the paint on with the brush and not get too much paint on your brush or your letters will end up looking like this...

No need to worry.  You can use a super small craft paint brush to line around the edges of the letters and make them all nice and smooth.  The smaller the brush, the better.  The little one I used below was perfect.

And then your letters will look nice and smooth.

Now you could allow this to dry and distress it a bit with a sander or by hand with sand paper.  I opted not to for now but may go back and do this at some point.

And now you are ready to hang it.  I used two saw tooth hangers on the back to hang the sign on the wall.

It turned out exactly the way I was hoping!  Did you spot the other change in the kitchen?  I painted the walls the same color(ish) as the cabinets.  I think it makes the kitchen look much brigher, bigger and more cohesive, less "choppy."  I say color(ish) because I didn't have enough of the cabinet paint left to cover the walls.  So I just added a bunch of Pure white Behr paint to the Dutch Boy cabinet paint.  In all honesty, I was just too darn lazy to go get more of the exact cabinet paint.  So now I have a mystery custom paint color on the walls.

Side note:  the ultimate goal is to convert all my trim to white trim.  This will definitely make the stain on the sign make more sense in that area.  Problem is, I simply cannot decide if I am going to just paint the existing trim or invest in replacing the trim with 1X4s painted white.  I would much prefer to replace it but not sure if I am willing to purchase all new wood for trim when the trim we have is fine, just not the color I want.  Decisions, decisions.  I guess you can say I am making a non-decision and doing nothing right now.  What do you think?  Replace the trim or just paint it??

This post was linked up to Thrifty Decor Chick.

Update!!  I could not help myself and had to take my electric sander to the sign!  I was nervous I was going to completely reck it but obviously not nervous enough to not try it;)

Yup, like it even more!!