Thursday, December 3, 2009

Everyone Loves a Giveaway & A C.U.T.E blog!

What a great week to find the cutest little blog! I stumbled upon Making the World Cuter when I saw her fabulous advent calendar here. And then I saw this:


Check it out.... and get entered!!! gotta love a giveaway and why not LOTS of giveaways!

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Big Basket for Blankets: Improvised

I love blankets. I love to wrap up in them. I love to have them out for people to wrap up in when they visit. (Bear in mind our cheapness thriftiness, it stays between 62-64 degrees in our house all winter.) I like when other people have them out in their house. I think they add such coziness and warmth (imagine that!) to a living room.

I have never done this well. I've always wanted a h.u.g.e basket for putting blankets in. You know, the kind that are over $100.

Like these beauties from Pottery Barn for $89-$129.

Photo Credit: Pottery Barn

Or this one from Restoration Hardware for a mere $149.

Photo Credit: Resoration Hardware

Now I know they sell them at Marshalls or TJ Maxx for a discounted $40-$60, but I still don't want to pay $50 for a basket. I love my husband that much!

Well, I busted out my blankets since its November now. And after rearranging the furniture in my living room a little, I had the perfect space to store my blankets beside the loveseat. Then, I remembered these two crates that were left here by the previous owner. I used them outside this summer to decorate the back porch....

Pretty nasty after being outside all summer and then in my scarey basement for a few days...

a good scrubbing and this would be my blanket "basket" improvised.. for F.R.E.E! It holds 5 throw blankets! I'm way excited! I didn't bother repainting or anything

Shopping the house never felt so good!

*Edited to Add: Get over to Get your Martha On for her awesome Pottery Barn giveaway. you know, the one or two or maybe three of you that will see this.... ;)

*Edited to Add: I'm linking this up to MET Monday at Between Naps on the Porch!

*Also Edited to Add: I'll link up to DIY Day at Kimba's. At her NEW place on the web!!


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Typewriter Keys: the afters

Here are some of the "After" shots of this project ... now that its completed and hanging above the desk in our living room.

It did need another coat of stain! And I decided against the shelf and locker box at the last minute.... so she hangs all alone here. I'm liking it!

Monday, November 2, 2009

PotteryBarn's Typewriter Keys Knock-Off

I saw this picture about two months ago and loved it...

Photo Credit: PotteryBarn
Specifically, I'm loving those typewriter keys. SO then I happen upon Suzie Harris' project at Bienvenue ....

Photo Credit: Bienvenue

And I believe she has this listed in her etsy store ... unless someone snatched it up already. Had I known of Suzie's incredible sign making skills at the time, I would not have attempted this project... but I didn't. And I thought to myself, "I could make that."

Yea, leave the sign making to the truly gifted, crafty signmakers and not to mommies of 2 kiddos (2 and under) whose patience is nowhere in sight lacking by the time they are able to work on this project each night.

So fast forward a bit .... I used some thin plywood underlayment that we had in our garage from when we tore up the old kitchen floor. Yes, we save used underlayment around here. And I cut it to 30"x30". Pottery Barn's version is 42"x42" but that is just huge for my space. So I chopped off a foot in either direction.

I painted it up with Behr's seaside sand, which I always have on hand. Then I used black licorice acrylic paint for the circles, which cost me $0.97 at WalMart.

I printed out my letters and numbers/symbols in a font that I liked and I traced around them really hard with a pen so that they would imprint on the underlayment. And I filled in the traced letters. And that stretched me. I long to be crafty.. I really do.. but it stretched me. Fortunately I'm not afraid of paint... and I had to repaint one or two or three.

When all of the letters were painted, I stained that bad boy with Minwax's Provencial 211, which I also had on hand.

And there she is. The PB version is going for $349. I made mine for $0.97 and a lot of labor.

And I am looking forward to editing this post to include the finished product hanging in my living room.... but I literally just finished staining tonight and was too excited not to share ..... And come to think of it - I'm definitely going to add another coat of stain. It needs to be darkened up. any thoughts on that...?

I'm linking this up to DIY Day at Kimba's.
Happy DIY day.... all you who actually completely finish your projects before posting!

Edited to add: I'm linking this up to the I can make that party at Just A Girl because I have a couple friends who have specifically requested one.... and while I didn't think of it as a gift (you can see it hanging on my wall here) I do have a ton more underlayment and paint! Maybe I could crank out one or two for gifts before Christmas!

Now all I need is more time....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Leen the Graphics Queen

Check out the giveaway over at It's the Little things ......

And then check out Leen the Graphics Queen on Etsy and her really sweet stuff like this:

I'm loving this for the boys room.

Decor Blogging Fun

Check out Beth at The Stories of A to Z.... and her hilarious top ten list for decor bloggers.

So so funny!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

a bathroom renovation ... DIY style

Our first floor bathroom when we moved in ................ Something needed to be done!

Hubby took out the shower doors and some of the tile came out with them.. to reveal some other tile and wall in disrepair. Therefore, all the tile had to come out.

So Hubby removed all the tile and rebuilt some of the wall. Then he prepared the wall for tile.

And ......

Hubby learned to install wall tile!

The thing that the BEFORE picture is lacking is a view of the NASTY green carpet that adorned this space. That came out, thank goodness! And Hubby also learned how to put down floor tile!

These are some of the AFTER's. I had to use wallpaper on the walls because the removal of the old wallpaper on our PLASTER walls was not going so hot. Our walls were in rough shape.

I used Beadboard wallpaper from Home Depot, as seen at Rhoda's here. And I used paintable wallpaper that looks like brush strokes from Lowe's above the chair rail. Is it still called chair rail if it's installed at 64"? Its not high enough to be picture rail.... hmm..

A close up of the brush stroke paper painted and the beadboard wallpaper. And honestly, I think it turned out really well. I did NOT want to use wallpaper, but I am surprisingly impressed with how well it turned out. I took a picture of a seam on purpose... can you see it?

I'd let you in on the paint color, but I can't. I confess. I shop the "OOPS" paint sometimes at Lowes or HD. And this I found a full gallon of Valspar satin in a brown color. The color was not labeled. I mixed it myself with some white satin I had on hand.

Total Expenditures:

LABOR......................$0 (I LOVE my handy teacher hubby with summers off!)

Drum Roll Please....

$1,122 to bring this little 1960's bathroom into the 21st century and fix a lot of the major issues it had going on...

Edited to Add: I'm linking up with Transformation Thursday at Gina's.

The Shabby Chic Cottage

Homemade Applesauce Canned

I bought two buschels of Cortland apples last weekend. Cortland apples make great applesauce. We have also made it with Monroe apples... not as tasty. Anyway, Hubby helps me with this task every year, but this year we found ourselves overcommitted with activities. So last Thursday night we started at 9:30pm (after Hubby got home from teaching a night class). We finished up at 1:30am and promptly went to bed!

We started by quartering the apples and placing them in stock pots with just a slight bit of water to boil down. No peeling, no coring, easy peasy... Only a slight bit of water to keep from burning to the bottom. But not too much or you'll end up with runny applesauce!

Perhaps the thing that makes this seemingly large task so super easy is this little machine. It's a food strainer by Villaware. I found it on Amazon about 3 years ago. This is the reason you don't need to peel or core anything. The boiled apples get dumped into the funnel on the top. Then we crank the apples through the strainer and the waste comes out one shoot, the sauce comes out the other shoot. Easy peasy...
This is Hubby's hand pouring the applesauce into the quart size jars. We just reuse the funnel from the strainer to make pouring less messy. I'd be interested in any other tips though, because this part is still messy. And apparently you need a bag of paperclips on the table as well to do this... hmm, not sure why those are there. The cup of coffee, however, is necessary if you're starting this at 9:30pm.

Then I skipped a few steps in photos, but you have to prepare the lids by soaking them in hot water. And the jars should be wiped down to make sure there isn't spilled applesauce all over them. I put them in the canner when it's hot, but not quite boiling. And when it comes to a boil, you boil for 15minutes. And thats it! See, easy peasy...

Canned yummy homemade applesauce. Two buschels made 27 quarts. My sister in law, who has 7 kiddos, does 80 quarts each year.
I'm linking up to DIY Day at Kimba's with this fairly easy peasy DIY project.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Desk Rehab - Procrastinators AFTER Party!

I have to say that the accountability works. I was able to successfully complete this little project (that I have been putting off for weeks) in two short days. I suppose it was the task of sorting through & emptying out the messy-beyond-all-reason well used drawers that intimidated me and kept me from completing this project sooner. But I am very glad that I did.

Here again is the before......

And Here are a few of the afters .....

I sanded the whole thing down with a palm sander (LOVE that thing!) and painted her up with
Behr's Seaside Sand (LOVE this color!)

Then, I distressed her a bit. And I spray painted the handles with Krylon's oil rubbed bronze (as I was forbidden strongly encouraged by Hubby not to buy new drawer pulls) .

The paint and spray paint I had on hand, so they were FREE. The desk was part of a $70 bedroom set that we purchased, so how to put a price on that other than CHEAP...

And I'm linking this project up to Melissa's Procrastinator Party at The Inspired Room!

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Sign for a Coat Rack

Signs seem to be popping up everywhere in decorating. I see them used all over blogland. I see them used in Potterybarn. So how happy was I when I spied this Maple House sign in the 2nd floor loft of our garage!! What is Maple House, you ask? I have no idea. I have no clue why the previous owners had this sign or what it was used for. But I made it into a coat rack and it now sits in our entryway. (Awaiting the Rustic Bench from PB for a mere $249 that I so long to have underneath my FREE coat rack ... but I will be longing for a long, long time)

First, I stained her all up with Minwax's dark walnut. I tried to deepen her tone with the dark walnut to age her just a bit. Then I tapped a small finish nail every so often to start the holes for some hooks.

The hooks I also found around this house in various closets. I simply screwed them into the starter holes that I made with the finish nails. Then I enlisted hubby to help me hang it on the wall. (It is quite solid and heavy!)
Total Cost: FREE!!!!
And I'm linking up to Kimba's DIY Day at ASPTL