I’ve been absent for a while, mostly because I haven’t really moved forward on any of our house projects. I know, I’m a bad blogger. My excuse is that we went to Jamaica in the beginning of September to celebrate our anniversary, and when we got back I focused my energy elsewhere. Don’t get me wrong, we really want to finish the basement now that football season has started, and of course there are a ton of things on my to do list other than that. But that was all put on the back burner in order for me to pursue another very meaningful project- opening my Etsy shop, bumble house! So please, check it out if you have a moment, and I hope you love what you see. I honestly love making things so this is a joy for me, and there’s much more still to come! This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop working on our house or blogging, because those are two other things that make me happy. So, although I’ve been absent here for a while, have no fear– there’s lots of good things going on in our happy little home
One year ago today was the greatest day of my life. It had nothing to do with a house or a DIY project. And neither does this post. Nope. This post is about the greatest day of my life, which was the greatest because I married the most amazing man.
Jason was meant for me- we have the kind of relationship that I’d always hoped for but until him, had never found. I knew I was going to marry him before we’d even been on our 3rd official date. Our wedding day was filled with so much love and happiness- we are so blessed to have each other and to have the most fabulous family and friends.
Simply put, this guy is my best friend and I’m crazy about him. From the start, he has supported me and understood me. Over the few years we’ve been together, he’s made so many of my dreams come true, just by being who he is. Everything I’ve done, everything I’m trying to accomplish, the good moments, the bad moments, everything, every moment has come with his full love, support and honesty. This is one of the greatest feelings in the world.
Thank you Jason for being the best. You are, and always will be, my favorite.
“I like you because
I don’t know why
but everything that happens is nicer with you.
I can’t remember when I didn’t like you.
It must have been lonesome then.
I like you because because because
I forget why I like you, but I do.
So many reasons.
On the 4th of July
I like you because it’s the 4th of July. On the fifth of July,
I like you too. If you and I had some drums
and some horns and some horses,
If we had some hats and some flags
and some fire engines,
We could be a HOLIDAY.
We could be a CELEBRATION.
We could be a WHOLE PARADE.
See what I mean?
Even if it was the 999th of July,
Even if it was August,
Even if it was way down at the bottom of November,
Even if it was no place particular in January,
I would go on choosing you.
And you would go on choosing me.
Over and over again.
That’s how it would happen every time.”
-”I Like You” by Sandol Stoddard Warburg
Disclaimer: I swear I did not write this post because Jason decided to hang my pictures. It just so happened that he started hanging them while I was writing this. I should probably write nice posts about him more often
You know how other people’s houses have a smell? I don’t mean a bad smell, or even necessarily a good smell, just a smell. It doesn’t smell like your house. The people who live there can never smell it. Well, every once in a while, our house doesn’t smell like our house. I’ll come home after work, walk in the door and suddenly our house smells like it did when we walked into it for the first time. It smells like someone else’s house.
The house hasn’t picked up our scent yet. I think it will over time, but I don’t like that it doesn’t now. I suppose if we were cats, we’d lift our tails and spray. But we’re people, so I made an oil diffuser.
Step 1: Find a jar you want to act as your diffuser. It should have a small opening at the top. You don’t want a large opening because you don’t want a wide open jar of oil, and you also want your reeds to sit nicely in the opening. I found the perfect jar at Dollar Tree. It had a big painted-on label that said “Vinegar” but that didn’t matter to me because I was covering it.
Step 2: I knew I wanted the diffuser to go in our living room, so I found some mosaic tiles that matched our light fixtures. I used some glue (E-6000) to adhere the tiles to the jar.
Step 3: After allowing the glue to dry overnight, I grouted the tile using some regular, plain old grout that we already had. It ended up with a beachy vibe that I really like. But they do sell grout that’s specific for mosaic tile projects (it has a smoother finish). Also, I don’t recommend doing this on a table you really love, like you see in this picture that I did. I’m seriously lucky I didn’t get that grout somewhere it didn’t belong. I’m notorious for being a messy crafter, so I really don’t know what I was thinking.
Step 4: After allowing the grout to dry overnight, I took the bottle outside to sand down the grout a bit and wash off the tiles. Just a sponge, a little water & some elbow grease will get the coat of grout off the tiles. You can see the difference in the pictures below. You might notice in the “after” picture below that the grout has some green flecks in it. That is not the grout itself, but the color from the cheap Dollar Tree sponges I used for this project. Yeah, don’t buy those. The green came off, but it wasn’t worth the hassle.
Step 5: Add oil to the jar. I’m actually in the midst of attempting to make my own essential oil from the lemon verbena plants that flourished in my garden this summer (clearly they’re hardy- I did nothing to contribute to their success). Alas, the oil isn’t ready yet so isn’t a part of this project. I simply did the old-fashioned thing and bought some. Next, add your reed sticks to the oil. You can find these online or at Yankee Candle. A lesson you can learn from me is this: bamboo skewers do not work in the place of the reed diffusers. I was hoping they would, and I think my logic was good (you’re supposed to soak them in water before you use them as skewers-so therefore they are absorbent, right?). But it just didn’t work. The oil didn’t travel far enough up the sticks to scent the room, even after a week of me patiently waiting.
Step 6: Stand back and wait for your room to start smelling lovely!
Cost for this project: $13
Reeds because skewers were a bad idea- $3
And, while you can certainly buy a reed diffuser for the same cost and maybe less, would you find a diffuser as perfect for your room as the one you make will be? Probably not. And making things is just fun.
Linking up to: At The Picket Fence
Sometimes, the big projects have to wait, and it’s about the small things.
Like some new plants and their new home in some pretty little pots (actually, the two right-most containers in the picture below are actually hand-blown glass jars I found at Home Goods. When I saw them and thought it would be fun to put plants in them).
…a little white birdie friend for my blue bird. Everyone needs a friend, right? Ceramic animals are no exception.
… a trio of vases from Anthropologie (which I got on sale!)
… and some vertical file folders that fit nicely in my desk’s awkward file slots (gotta love that Martha Stewart stuff from Staples).
Sometimes, it’s the smallest things that make me feel like I’m making progress. And make me smile.
Oh, and of course the bigger projects are coming, I swear.
There are so many reasons why bookcases are great–besides the fact that they hold books (yes, I am a huge book nerd and not ashamed to say it).
They are great because there’s so many opportunities to style them…with collections, with color, with photos, with art, with random little things that you love. Everything about them becomes personal- what books do you read? what are those things that you love? WHO do you love?
Yet they can also become chaotic, dusty, overwhelmed little spaces.
We were lucky enough to find a house with a large built-in bookcase, and so we call it the library. That sounds snobby and puffy and way more high class than we are or want our home to be. But still I call it the library, even knowing how it might sound, because I love books and I love that we have a room that gives them love back.
It was clear to me that we could not just throw the books on the shelf and call it a day. It had to be better than that. And so I painted the back of the bookcase a beautiful blue. And arranged the books by color. The large majority of the people we know find this highly amusing and possibly slightly bizarre. At least one tricky friend of ours is involved in rearranging a few books at each party we have. It never fails that I discover it days later and emit a startled “Hey! Who put a yellow in the red?!!!?” while Jason laughs softly (maybe he’s in on it?).
While the books are arranged, I still haven’t accumulated the right collection of things or even the right vision in my head for what else should fill the shelves, and the ledge below it. For now I just ooooo and ahh over other pretty library pictures, like these.
Truthfully, I have far too many books to recreate the look of most of these well-styled bookshelves that I drool over. But I’m sure I’ll come up with something!
Do you struggle to reign in the chaos of bookshelves in your home? How do you make them beautiful?
Part of looking for a new home is being able to look past style choices and see just a house for its structure and features. You know, “don’t judge a book by its cover” and “beauty is more than skin deep”. Those kinds of thoughts go a long way in house hunting. Which is good, because besides the inexplicable mirror wall, our house had 2 rooms whose walls were covered with one of the most offensive wall coverings mankind has ever invented. Yeah, I’m talking about paneling.
There aren’t many things that can make a house feel more dark and dated than 1970′s style paneling. Am I right?
I’m right. And while there are certainly some modern and beautiful ways to incorporate paneling into your home and have it look amazing, like these…
….that’s not the stuff that we had in our home. We had this
We lifted up a corner of the paneling in one room, and realized that removing the paneling would involve sheetrocking the walls. That was a task we were just not up for, to be honest. Maybe we could gain the knowledge, and even the skill, to do a good job ourselves, but we weren’t going to get the enthusiasm. Sure, if we had an unlimited budget and tons of time, maybe we would have made a different decision. But we were hoping to get this done within 2 weeks (including all the other rooms we were painting, moving, cleaning our old apartment, and of course working 5 days a week). Which was fine because paint is a miracle worker. And after 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint, the paneling was gone (well, at least hidden). The rooms felt much more “us” and much less feathered hair, velour pantsuit, Starsky and Hutch.
While both this rooms are still a work in progress, the point here is that you don’t always have to undertake a major renovation or even 100% complete a major project in order to create a major change. Sometimes paint works wonders!
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I’d snagged some key items for our office redo. The office is not yet complete, but since I have a bunch of the items I want for it, and a few I still need to get, I felt like it was a good time for an office mood board– to put my ideas somewhere besides in my head. Things in there have been a little crowded lately anyway.
Mood boards are a great way to create a cohesive vision for a room, to visualize the ideas you have, and to give you a guide for what you need. They can also help you from heading in a direction you might not ultimately be happy with–or make you more confident that the direction you’re headed is a great one. Just like there was a blueprint for your house before it was built, creating a design blueprint for your decor before you buy/paint/create is a smart idea.
Of course in this case I’m putting it together after I’ve already bought some things…so I guess that goes against my own advice…but still, it’s a good idea to see how it’s all coming together.
Items I currently have: My desk, Jason’s deck, chair, painting, filing cabinet, 6 framed photos, lamp
That’s pretty good progress, but if you walked into our office today, you wouldn’t be impressed. Pictures need to be hung (they’re sitting on the floor), there’s an empty can of paint in the corner along with a pile of things that never got hung back up after we stenciled the hallway. So there’s some stuff we need to get done, is what I’m saying. Like hanging those pictures that I mentioned. Those ones that are sitting on the floor (ahem, Jason. cough. ahem. cough. Ok, clearly I just need to learn to hang pictures straight on my own but it’s not my fault I didn’t get those genes and I really really really would love to see them hanging on the wall I really would).
And since I bet you’re wondering what that white rectangular thing is to the left of the filing cabinet in the photo above (at least, I would be), I’ll tell you. It’s my totally amazing, space saving desk. And you’re thinking “Desk? That’s not a desk! Homegirl has lost her mind” Ah, but here’s what it looks like when it’s open, my friends.
In my search for a desk that didn’t take up too much space, never did I think I’d come across something this perfect. It hangs on the wall. My loving, amazing husband installed it and it wasn’t easy to hang but he did it because I was SO excited about it. And because he’s good at hanging things (hint hint hint hint hint).
And that desk is where I’m sitting right now, typing away. Trying to send telepathic messages to my husband to hang those dang pictures already. Could you tell?
This DIY craft project started when I found this tray in the clearance area at JoAnn’s. The price tag said $7.97, but it was marked down even further to $1.97. Sweet! I just knew I could make something fresh and pretty out of this.
This tray was in need of some love. It’s hard to tell from the picture above, but close up it was in rough shape.
This minor damage was fine with me since I wasn’t planning on keeping the color anyway. I started by taking the tray outside and lightly sanding it. Yes, my sanding block is the same exact color as the tray but no, I did not plan that! It’s just a fabulous coincidence.
After I was done sanding, I just washed it down with a little soap and water. Once that dried, I put a few coats of spray paint on it (Rustoleum Gloss White). I must have forgotten to take pictures of this step. which is probably good because my camera + spray paint= a recipe for trouble. I should just be glad I didn’t get cement on it during my last project.
It took at least 6 or 7 coats (lightly applied each time) of white spray paint to cover the magenta evenly. In between coats, I worked on the insert for the tray. On the same shopping trip that I picked up the tray, I found this bit of fabric for $1.99.
I wanted to line the bottom of the tray with the fabric, so in order to do that I measured the bottom of the tray and cut a big sheet of cardstock to the correct size. Because I’m honest, I’ll tell you that was after I cut one to the wrong size, because I’m no good at measuring or cutting things straight. But who’s perfect, right? Anyway, after I cut it correctly I ironed the fabric to be sure it was nice and smooth, and just wrapped it around the cardstock and glued it down flat, folding the corners like I was wrapping a present.
Next, I spread glue throughout the bottom of the tray and placed the insert on top. I used E6000 glue and placed a bunch of books on top of it overnight to be sure it dried flat against the bottom of the tray.
The next day, I put 3 coats of ModPodge over the fabric, letting it dry a few hours between coats.
Once those coats were dry, I took the tray back outside and sprayed the whole thing with an acrylic sealer in order to protect it. I love how it turned out.
Total cost for this project….Tray: $1.97, Fabric: $1.99. Everything else I already had on hand. So total cost for this was $3.96. Hurrah!
This is hugely dorky, but it makes me happy that not only was this project so inexpensive, but that it made something that started off dingy and damaged into something pretty. What a lovely beefore and after.
Home is where the heart is. So if I’m going to keep my heart somewhere, it’s gotta look like somewhere my heart would go. And that starts at the beginning. It starts at the front door.
When we first bought our house I had grand plans for a fabulously bright and punchy magenta front door. Those plans were quickly and firmly nixed by my husband. I was so sure that he wouldn’t care about the door being pink that I probably asked him another 10 times after he first said no. He pretty much ALWAYS lets me go with my vision, but this time was a no go.
I had to give in, in the spirit of fairness. I mean, I have to respect his opinion when he feels strongly enough to put his foot down, right? Although I can’t say that my mom and I didn’t contemplate just painting it magenta and seeing what happened. But that’s probably not good karma to have around your front door.
Beautiful magenta front doors still make my knees weak. Check out these beauties:
Aren’t they gorgeous? But in this household, a compromise needed to be found. The next color that popped into my head? Yellow. Bright, happy yellow. Yellow is a good compromise color for us since a) we both like it b) it’s gender-neutral and c) it’s the color of bees, which I love, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, which my husband loves.
Even better? Benjamin Moore’s Color Capture app has a color matching feature. I had a picture of a Steelers logo on my phone. I uploaded the image to the app and in the list of color matches I found Yellow Brick Road. I was so excited because, let’s face it, this is a great name for a front door color. I’m a girl who sometimes picks nail polish colors based on the names, so I was in heaven. To make it even better, the Wizard of Oz has special significance for Jason and I. Yellow Brick Road just seemed fated to make it’s way into our color palette.
Shortly after we moved into our house, I bought a $10 filing cabinet through Craigslist. I bought it for its price, not its beauty–seriously, have you seen how expensive filing cabinets can be? Outrageous.
It wasn’t ugly, but it wasn’t pretty, either. Medium wood tones, brass fixtures, just not my style. Maybe filing cabinets aren’t made to be pretty (and why aren’t they?) but nothing was stopping this ugly duckling from turning into a swan, you know?
Unfortunately, all I have of the “before” filing cabinet is one crummy iPhone picture I thought to snap halfway through priming. I wasn’t blogging yet, so I was thinking the pictures were just for my own fond memories anyway. But it looked pretty much identical to this one
First step- sand lightly, wipe down with a damp cloth, dry, then prime! (I guess that’s kind of 4 steps in the first step, huh? Oh well, it sounds better to think of this as just one step anyway).
After the primer had dried, I painted 2 coats of Benjamin Moore semi-gloss White. Yup, no fancy name- just straight out the can, plain as can be. No messing with undertones and hints of color. Just white. And after that dried, I sealed it of with 2 coats of Minwax Polycrylic.
While that was drying, I took the drawers outside. I had picked up some beautiful handmade paper on a recent trip to NYC with my Dad that I thought would be great to cover the drawer fronts with. Armed with a bottle of Elmer’s Spray Adhesive, a foam brush and a credit card, I wasn’t quite sure I had the patience to work slowly and carefully enough to pull this one off (spoiler alert: I did. But I assure you I would still blog about my failure if I didn’t).
After spreading out the paper so it would be ready to grab as soon as I needed it, I lightly and evenly sprayed the Elmer’s across the drawer fronts. Then I lined up the paper and carefully laid it down on top of the drawer, smoothing it out by hand as I went. Once the entire drawer was covered, I grabbed the credit card and ran it lightly over the paper to be sure there were no wrinkles or bubbles. Since this is handmade paper, there’s natural texture that probably helped cover up any creases.
The drawer had a beveled edge, so I carefully ran my fingers down the edge to be sure the paper was smoothed into the groove. Next, I sprayed the foam brush with spray adhesive and ran over about 1/4″ of the inside of the drawer. Then I wrapped the edges of the paper around to the inside and laid it flat against the adhesive and cut off any extra. After repeating the same steps with the second drawer, I brought them both inside to safety. I was seriously amazed that this had gone off without a hitch (I have bad memories of spray adhesive from a junior high craft project gone wrong, but that’s a story for another time). Once the spray adhesive is dry, you could go over the paper with a few coats of Mod Podge. I was afraid the Mod Podge would ruin the handmade look of the paper so I skipped that step. I don’t know if it would, and I’ll probably end up sealing it at some point anyway.
I also sprayed the drawer fixtures with Rustoleum Oil-Rubbed Bronze to give them a look that was more my style (helpful tip: it you have to spray paint screw or any other small part, stick them into a piece of fruit, like an apple, so you can spray the top of the screws without them rolling everywhere.)
Once everything was dry, I reassembled the fixtures onto the drawers, and the drawers onto the filing cabinet.
It’s such a huge improvement, and has made a mundane piece of furniture special. I had so much fun doing this…anyone have an ugly filing cabinet in need of some new life? I’m itching for another painting project!
Linking up to: Not Just a Housewife, Sugar Bee Crafts, DIY Showoff, Home Stories A to Z, Thrifty Decor Chick, Addicted 2 Decorating, At The Picket Fence, Making the World Cuter, Beyond the Picket Fence