October 29, 2010

A New Old Tray

One of my thrifty treasures from a couple weeks ago was this tray:

It’s a cherry-wood tray with areas to put photos under a protective plastic sheet.  The plastic is held down by tiny magnets.
I thought it was $2, but I found the price tag and I actually spent $4 on it.  Full disclosure, ya know :D
Pretty neat design for photos and all, but the plastic was scratched beyond repair, so this cute little tray would see no more photos.
I wanted to keep the plastic, but I had to deal with the scratches.
Enter Mod Podge!  Here it comes…to save the dayyyyy! Mighty Mod Podge!
I also got my behind over to Hobby Lobby and picked out some pretty scrapbook paper for 20c a sheet.
Then I Mod Podged the paper right to the plastic tray, one design on the front, and one design on the back.  Gotta have options you know :)
Now I have a reversible, water-proof tray liner!
Then I had to do something with the tray itself, since cherry-wood is just a little too red for our decor.  I grabbed some “Oregano” Rustoleum and sprayed painted on Sunday during a calm spell in the afternoon.
I finished it up by spraying it with a clear coat:
Pretty right?
But…a little too perfect.  So I grabbed a sanding block and scuffed it up a little bit, and then I used some of this
to stain the paint and scuffed areas and make the tray look a little more weathered (I also used this stuff on my homemade guest room headboard, and while I had it out, I went over the top of the cedar chest as well, and it did a GORGEOUS job of hiding scratches and shining it up).  You just rub it on with a rag and then toss the rag.  Couldn’t be easier.  Because of the cherry stain on the wood, the scuffed areas on the tray turned out a little bit pinkish/reddish, but I’m ok with that.
And now, my “new old tray”:
It’s in the guest room for now, until I find a better place for it.  I figure it will be nice to be able to put those tschotschkes on it to quickly get into the top of the cedar chest. 
Not bad for $4 and a little patience!
Thanks for stopping by!  I’ll show you next week what I did with that ugly brass lamp :)
I’m linked up to:

October 28, 2010

Master Bath: Master Plans

Yesterday I took the plunge and introduced you to our master bath and closet.  It’s a bit of a weird feeling showing the world your jam-packed closet and probably-in-need-of-cleaning bathroom.  Well I had to get over it, because those are going to be the ‘before’ pictures. 

How do you like that toilet paper wall decor?  Pretty “plush” huh ;)

IMG_2994 IMG_3000

We had our trusty contractor over a few weeks ago to take a look at the situation and give us a general idea of what it would cost to move some walls and some plumbing around for a little better layout.  Without the faintest clue of what something like that would cost, we were looking for just a ballpark idea of what we needed (or needed to save.)

I’ve seen “What You Get for the Money.”  And “10 Grand in your Hand”.  And scores of other TV shows depicting bathroom renos.

I was afraid of what that bid would come in at, because I really hoped it wasn’t going to turn out to be an “over-improving” situation….in which case, we’d just live with what we have.

BUT thankfully, the estimate came in MUCH less than what we were hoping for. 

We also know our contractor has very little business these days, so the estimate combined with knowing he’s short on work have resulted in a decision to move forward.  !!!!! YAY !!!!!!

Here’s where we’re going:


Don’t worry – our 15’x15’ current bedroom will still be a decent size afterwards, at 15’x12’. 


And to remind you why we’re changing things up, here’s our current layout in “blueprint” form (ha):

Bathroom Diagram


Me too :-D

October 27, 2010

Master Bath: Got Space?

When we first moved into our house, we anticipated changing a few things.  And we also knew that a couple of those things would involve some significant expense, because they’re not things we’re willing to DIY.
One was our fireplace.
It started out as this (after I goofed around with iridescent paint on it)

And now it looks like this

The second major project on the to-do list was our master bathroom and closet.  I’ve never shown pictures of these areas before….so brace yourself.

This is what we’ve got now:
The closet has double racks down the right side (you can see our hamper hiding back in there too)
Shelves and hubby’s dresser at the end – both packed/organized about as full as I can get them.  I can’t reach that top shelf without the utility ladder, so it’s not a daily-basis type shelf.
And a wall along the left with some hooks.  Some of my dresses are hanging from these hooks because there’s no room for them to hang down on the other side.  That Safeway bag is my VERY classy storage solution for all my nylons and tights.  Nice, huh?  If you really want one, email me and I’ll tell you where you can find one ;)  Har!
So, in general, a bigger closet would be a huge improvement. I currently have a few long dresses also stored in the guest room closet, which I really want to get out of there because that closet will eventually need to be available for someone else’s things. 
Onward to the HUGE 5x8 foot master bathroom
It has the bath/shower with the nice 3-piece vinyl tub surround... a toilet (jackpot!)…and a single vanity.  The bathroom door, when open, completely blocks the door into the closet.  And on the floor is a previous owner’s admirable attempt at an upgrade….peel-and-stick tile.  And yes, it’s the exact same kind and color as used on all those HGTV shows. 
I try to keep the vanity top less than 80% covered with my stuff, so I’ve gotten a little creative:
Jewelry storage – notice the push pins (hey, at least I made an effort at using CLEAR ones):
And styling tool storage:

I know we’re lucky to have a master bathroom.  I took it for granted until I got the impression from our next door neighbor that they DON’T have a separate bathroom and they share one with their two little kids.  I’m glad we have our own.  Incidentally, our hall bathroom/cat’s bedroom/guest bath looks strangely similar:
And on the other side of the bathroom wall:
Shoe storage.  Hair dryer storage.  Space for bedroom furniture or a dresser. 
But we have another idea.  I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow!

October 21, 2010

For a House that Smells like Fall…

Grab yourself a butternut squash

They’re pretty big, whitish-colored squashes in the veggie department.

Slice it lengthwise down the middle.

Scoop the little bit of seeds out.

Put the halves face down on a baking sheet (flat side down – because we all know where the squash’s face is, right?) and I’d use a baking sheet that has the short little sides on it too, since you’ll probably see some juices when it’s done.

Bake it at 375 for an hour.

When it’s done, let it cool, then use a spoon to scoop out the cooked squash from the hard rind. Throw out the rind.

Put the cooked squash in a blender. 


1/2 C white sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1.5 C milk

Dash of vanilla and salt

3 eggs

2 T flour

1/4 C melted margarine

And now blend it all nice and smooth.

Transfer your mixture to a 9x13 pan and bake it at 425 for 45 minutes.

While it’s baking,

Mix 1/2 C melted margarine with 1/2 C brown sugar and half a box of vanilla wafers (crushed up please).

After 45 minutes, take it out of the oven and add the topping.

Put it back in the oven at the same temp until the crumb topping is sufficiently brown/crispy. 

Eat it!

And your house will smell amazing.  And your family will love you.  More than they already do.


I can’t take credit for this recipe, it’s just my modification of this one I found on Allrecipes.com.  It’s really tasty.  My husband says it’s “magical”.  Enjoy :)


October 20, 2010

Thrift Store Goodies!

Hubby and I paid a visit to a couple of thrift stores on Saturday – Goodwill and the Arc.  We were looking for some Halloween costume ideas and of course, cool project ideas (I was looking for those!) 
And we seriously lucked out with 50% off sales at BOTH stores!
We did get some things for our costumes, but I won’t tell you about those just yet :)
We ALSO got some amazing deals on other things! 
Let’s see…
A supercalifragilisticexpialidocious brass LAMP for $2 that I promptly disassembled after we got home!  It’s a work in progress.
A really cool lantern candle holder for $1
It was a little broken, but nothing some Gorilla glue can’t fix:
IMG_2923 IMG_2925
A neato-frito TRAY for $2 that’s really scratched up, so it will be getting some further attention:

A lovely pillar candle holder (originally from Target) for $1:

And, (though not the greatest deal in the world at $12 – but not bad), this very nice mirror.  The guest room has been needing a mirror etc on the wall above the cedar chest for quite some time, and this one was not too heavy or too big to hang with regular old nails and picture hangers.  I try to avoid the need for studs because I’m just not a good stud finder.  My stud finding skills were all used up on my husband :-)
Obviously my little wall montage needs another item on the right side.  The sconces I moved from our master bathroom, where they were pretty lackluster anyway.
And now I have some new projects to think about and work on :) 
Aren’t you excited!?

October 18, 2010

Easy DIY Winterizing Part III – Door Shoes

If you’re like us, you have a great little house that has its fair share of drafty corners and cracks.  Maybe you even have cheaper windows than you’d prefer, possibly a vaulted ceiling that sucks warm air up and far away from where you want it, and maybe you also store your paint in the basement like we do because your garage gets cold enough in winter to freeze anything stored in it.

Well, as relatively new homeowners (of a year and a couple months), we’re still learning how to seal up the house and deal with all those little energy suckers.  After Part I and Part II, we’re now onto Part III of my Winterizing Series.


A “door shoe” is the funny little piece of weather stripping that is attached to the bottom of your exterior doors.  It looks something like this:




No, wait.  That’s what it looks like if it needs to be REPLACED:  the rubber fins are brittle and/or permanently smashed, and maybe the front edge has a tear in it (or two.)

Once again, I would never have thought about the door shoes or known they could/should be replaced if our storm door installer hadn’t pointed it out to me while he was here.

While at Walmart the other day, we found a replacement door shoe.  Unfortunately, it was the wrong kind, so it went back, and we got the right kind of shoe from Home Depot for $7.

The door came off the hinges,



we removed the old shoe, and nailed in the new shoe, 




put the door back up.



And it was that easy.  Done.  And It should keep drafts and dirt out much better than the last one.

Do your doors need “new shoes” too?

Have a great week!


October 14, 2010

Space Planning for a Small Space

Our dining room is pretty small. 

I’ve mentioned that before, and I’ve mentioned how our dining table has to be relatively small as well, to avoid overpowering the room.

Well, I’ve been thinking more and more about that room – seating, having people over for holidays (my husband does have four siblings after all), future rugrats….and I think I need a good plan. 

I say “plan” because we don’t have a pressing need right now, since the hubs and I are still eating dinner on the couch most nights…but we will soon. 

And I say “plan” because I like things to match and look nice and not be a hodge podge of hand-me-downs if I can help it.  If I don’t plan, and if I don’t feel like spending a bunch of money to buy new things when the time comes, a hodge-podge it will be.

First case in point:  the bar. 


Ok, I’m really not sure what to call this.  It’s kind of a bar.  But it’s narrow, so maybe it’s not intended to be a place for people to sit?  No matter!  In MY world, I think it’s a great place for some barstools one of these days, and now and then I get a hankering to do some barstool window shopping. 

Well, a search for barstools turns up quite a few links, the top one being www.allbarstools.com with the additional bonus words “Free S/H” right there in the title before I even clicked!  Hello!

Criteria include….

I need a cushioned seat.  Because my bum doesn’t care for hard chairs.  And because I like to slide into chairs with one foot tucked under, and that is really uncomfortable on a hard chair.  The ankle bone really starts to yell!

And because this site gives me tons of options for filtering through their selection (which I LOVE – I often wish I could do this when I’m in a brick-and-mortar store, kind of like the car commercials where you wave your hands and say “ONLY WHITE ONES!” “FOUR DOOR SEDANS!” yeah….)  I can also specify that they need to be “bar-height” since my counter is 43”. 

Next, I really like the concept of a swiveling bar stool.  Easier to get in and out of.  Fun to twist around on.

And just because I have the option – I’m going to specify “armless” stools as well.  I’ve never really liked chairs with arms (the old foot-under-me thing again).

Here are my favorites:

image image


Kind of a pub feel dontcha think?  Sort of European…not to frou-frou, nice dark leather.

Alright, now moving to the table part of my space planning…there’s really only one on my mind these days.

I think this table is too big for my space….but I think about it a lot….and I haven’t actually measured yet….but it’s sort of expensive considering we don’t need a new table right now….but I really like it….and I think about it a lot….and I keep seeing it in the Pottery Barn catalogue….but it’s so expensive….but I LOVE it…..


Let me tell you about this bad boy.  Under that rustic charm exterior, it hides support for not one but TWO 18” leaves, providing a possible extension of the table to a whopping 10 feet long to seat 10 people!  Now for those of us who want our houses to look just a little castle-y and who are married to someone with a huge family, is this not totally PERFECT? 


Oh my.

I think my entire dining room is 10 feet long…

I better go measure!

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