January 31, 2011

Master Bath Update: Stuck like a pig in a poke.

I’m not really sure what a poke is, actually, but the fact is that we’re temporarily stuck on the shower tiling project.

We got the grouting done.  Then we got most of the caulking done…

And then we ran out of caulk.  I ran to the store to get another tube of “Sanded DeLorean Grey” caulk, only to find that particular color of sanded caulk is the *only* color HD was out of!  But the ever-so-helpful associate reassured me there were 23 tubes of it at a store in a neighboring town.

Gee, thanks.

Nick actually works in said-neighboring-town, so I came home empty handed and we planned for him to pick up a tube on his way home from work today.

The catch?

We got freezing rain last night, the streets look like an ice skating rink, and Nick’s whole office was instructed to work from home.  To make it even more fun, it’s now snowing. 

(For those of you in warmer climates, snow on top of ice = some slick donuts and other tricks to impress your mom or wreck your car…or both.)

Would you believe that it was in the 60s here on Saturday?  And now it’s 9 degrees?

Since 2011 has already shown itself to be a bad year for our vehicle expenses, we may not venture back out until the roads melt a bit.

Murphy’s Law says we can expect this if we make the one teensy trip for another tube of caulk.

Left to do in the bathroom:

  • Finish caulking (surprise!)
  • Reinstall last baseboard, spackle nail holes (tonight)
  • Paint baseboards and doors (baseboards tonight)
  • Caulk baseboards (maybe tonight?)
  • Seal the grout (Wednesday)
  • Install shower trim (this week for sure, but beyond that…?)
  • Accessories (stay tuned for a sneak peak!)


Hey, January, don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

January 30, 2011

A Quick Fix for Under-sink Organization

I was thinking recently that I’d like to replace the over-the-door organizer basket on the kitchen sink cupboard door…with a mounted version.


After painting our kitchen cabinets, maybe I’m just a *leettle* paranoid that they’ll get dinged up/dirty?  Or that they’ll look less than amazing with little metal tabs  from an organizer sticking out over the top of a door? 

Pesky metal tabs

And isn’t it funny how an offhand thought of “someday I should…” can suddenly just happen?

While getting some caulk (ahem, “sanded” caulk, no less) this weekend for the shower project, we happened to walk down the closet organizer aisle at Home Depot where Nick saw a perfect, mountable organizer basket for the cupboard door!

For a big fat $7 smackeroos, wouldn’t you know, it just jumped right into our cart.

But when I got it home, I realized the door panel was too thin to support any length of screw, let alone the half-inch screws that came with the organizer.


My idea was squashed.  The organizer sat moodily on the counter for a bit while I refocused on the shower and tried to come up with something other than ‘take it back’.

Then it hit me. 

I’ve started keeping a supply of various 3M Command Hooks, and boy howdy, do they come in handy!  When you need something…and you have it…it just makes your day.  (Well, it makes MY day for sure.)

Junk drawer hooks

Don’t touch my junk (drawer) bro!

(Actually, I definitely need to touch the junk drawer…yikes.)


I stuck two hooks to the inside of the cupboard door…

Who needs screws?

…and hung up the organizer, no holes or screws required!


Voila – the cupboard door looks beautiful, and all the little sink doo-dads have a place out of the way.

Organizer mounted with 3M hooks

Lightbulb! More things should come with 3M fasteners!  3M, how about it?

January 26, 2011

In Case There’s Any Doubt…


Our backyard is the neighborhood litter box. 


That’s Penny.  She doesn’t go outside because she’s a ‘fraidy cat.  (And I’m a ‘fraidy cat she’ll get eaten or run over.)  But you get the gist.

I think it’s because we’re the only house in the immediate vicinity without a dog.

Regardless of *why* the yard has turned into a kitty-toilet, let’s say it just makes for some interesting “finds” while gardening.


Toilet Trained Cat 22 Aug 2005

+ IMG_2277




In case anyone thinks maybe I’m exaggerating *just a little*, I happened to look out the window yesterday, and I RAN for my camera to catch this picture. 

I tell ya – National Geographic waits for days at a time to catch shots like this…and all I have to do is glance out the window.

All of these critters (minus Mr. Whitey) were making their way out of the “Litter Box” by the time I got the picture taken.


The picture isn’t intended to be of the neighbor’s giant trampoline, it just happens to (somehow?) sneak into every backyard photo. (Whoops! A little snark slipped out…)


Need a map?  Since the snark-streak has begun, let me help:

Litter Box

Just in case there was any doubt, ya know...  the proof is in the pudding.

I mean, the “Litter Box”.

Hooty Hoo! It’s Hump Day!


And that means the week is halfway over!  I live for weekends, can you tell? 

Here’s a sneak peek at what we’ve been so busy with the last couple of weeks:

One row of tile to go

That’s right, I said “weeks”.  We’ve officially spent three full weekends plus a couple hours every evening on this shower project. 


Tonight we will set the very last row of tiles!  Tomorrow night, we’ll grout!  The night after that, we’ll caulk (I think.)  Once the caulk is dry, we’ll install our showerhead and our shower will be functioning again!  And it’s going to look SO.GOOD.  Just you wait – there’s a big fat before-and-after post coming up.

That also means that hopefully next week we’ll get the final building inspection and wrap up the bathroom project for goodsies!

I’m feeling a little overly excited.  Actually, I can tell I’m slip-sliding-away into the dark and shadowy brain-mush days of spring fever, when my motivation to get off my butt is directly related to the amount of green vegetation on the ground.  And that would be….zero… until about March 10th (based on my first too-excited photos of the bulbs coming up last spring.)  The pathetic thing is the less I get off my butt, the worse I feel.  It’s a vicious cycle.

Signs of life last March

Since this cute little leaf is going to be MIA for at least another month….I have to find a way to make it through February. 

And in the meantime, I *must* get myself to the bank so I can sock it to Chase for suddenly imposing a monthly FEE on my “free for life” checking account.  That’s right! Chase wants me to PAY them to use my money to make interest-bearing loans.  So…they’ll get paid twice, and suckers like me will be paying them twice.  Once with my mortgage interest and once with my checking account fee.  But really, it’s cool. Because today I’m not going to be a sucker, and I’m moving my money.  I just have to get off my butt.

So there.

January 24, 2011

How to Decorate a Bathroom

Ever since this time last year, when I did a second coat of paint in our downstairs bathroom (same color, just covering up the thin spots) and painted the ceiling to let the crown molding pop, I’ve been needing to decorate in there. 
I originally put up an existing decoration we got as a wedding present and found a pretty bowl to hold the extra TP:
Boring bathroom decor
And halfheartedly placed a votive of potpourri next to the sink (SUPERlame, I know)…
Lame potpourri

But there was still nothing on the main wall directly ahead as you walked through the door.
Blank wall 1blank wall 2
Well, I’m finally sick of the boring bathroom, so it was high time for some decor!
I knew I wanted
  • The wall art to have some vertical interest for the eye, which would effectively highlight the crown molding as a sort of "frame” for the rest of the wall
  • An “installation” for the long, bare wall – a montage of framed pictures, a set of three coordinating canvases…something in a group.
  • A bit of a nature theme, to tie it in with the rustic/cottage style décor in the rest of the house.
  • Bathroom-appropriate materials like glass, ceramic, etc that won’t feel “germy”  (I’m weird like that.)
  • A color scheme of white, cream, black or dark brown, gray, and a tiny dash of color (which color would depend on what I found – turns out it was red.)
So with that in mind, I went looking for things I already had as well as new items (on sale, of course!)
A while ago, I picked up a ledge shelf on sale for $7 at Hobby Lobby.  It had a red sticker on the front (on sale for a reason, apparently) that I removed with Goo Gone and a razor blade.  Even though red became the accent color….this was the *wrong* red, and not what I was going for.  The bare shelf was much better.ledge shelfledge facelift
Then it sat around in the closet for a while. Smile
Also from Hobby Lobby, I found a large, pretty vase for $5.  I snatched it up and went looking for some tall filler to put in it.  For another fiver ($10 at Jo-Ann, then 50% off coupon), I found some cool “sticks”.
Also at Jo-Ann, I ran across some vinyl wall decorations.  I was smitten.  For $6, they came home with me.  Vinyl is the perfect material for bathrooms.  The design of a budding branch with birds was perfect too.  (The buds – or are they berries? – are red, which provided the final ‘color splash’ for the bathroom color palette.)
Next, I wanted to replace the “as-cheap-as-I-could-find-clear-plastic-soap-pump” with a glass one….preferably with an oil-rubbed bronze or zinc lid.  No need to buy anything here. I found a glass jar in the fridge that had a high probability of mold inside it (what? you probably have some too…), washed it out, spray painted the lid, and poked an old softsoap dispenser pump into the top of it, similar to my kitchen mason jar soap dispenser.
DIY Jar Soap Dispenser
I was also tired of the cheapy towel ring.  I found a weathered-looking hook at Hobby Lobby for $3 and put that up instead.
Stylish towel hook
Now I needed some accessories for my ledge shelf.  Since there were bits of red in the vinyl, I decided to look for a larger red item….so I grabbed an old arrangement vase and made a second, homemade version, in the same color.  (Gotta have balance, right?)
Homemade vase
Then, for some character and texture, (and since books are a natural fit for a bathroom!)I tore the covers off a couple of old, to-be-donated paperback books and tied them together with string Pottery Barn-style. 
Twined booksTwined books 2
And finally, I thought the shelf could use some height, so I made a funny little (ok, funny to me) Victorian style sign and put it in a dollar store frame.
Homemade sign
On the long wall, I rigged up a hanging system with a wooden dowel and some cup hooks, and then I hung some dollar store art from it.  I have another idea for this area, but I’m good with the $1 ‘art’ for now Smile
Wall treatment
And lastly, the toilet tank needed something more than the “bowl of TP” (ha).  I already had a neat glass container with a zinc handle (an old Goodwill find), so I put a pillar candle in it.  A little twine and some pebble-filler later, I was in business.
Finally……$27 worth of new things + several repurposed items later….
=  we finally have a decorated bathroom!
Old books
A bigger picture
Vignette - close
Back wall
Vignette - angle
Vinyl birds
Mirror view
Bathroom decor
Candle w twine
There you have it!  Start with what you want….look for stuff you have…and fill in with new items (and yes, it counts as ‘new’ if you make it yourself – because I say so.)
I’m linked up to parties at these awesome blogs:
House of HepworthsFireflies and Jellybeans,  Tools are For Women Too, The Girl CreativeKeeping it Simple, Dittle Dattle, Making the World Cuter, Skip to My Lou, The Thrifty Home,
handmade projects

January 23, 2011

Charming Custom ‘Vase’ Decor

Custom vase 1

Here’s a really quick, cheap and easy way to add a dash of color to your décor, in just the right size, with almost no planning and very little money (if any).  When I was a teenager and babysitting a lot, I often took craft projects with me for the kids  – and this was my go-to project because it was always a hit.  In fact, two of the “pencil holders” I made in my babysitting days graced my desk all the way through college!  I don’t need pencil holders so much anymore…so now the same craft is a ‘vase’.

What can I say?  It’s a versatile project. Smile

For my red ‘vase’ above, I needed a certain size and color to fill a decorating hole.  The whole point was to meet a need without running out to the store.  I went with an old olive jar (full of fuzzy olives that had been spared the disposal for FAR too long) and some red tissue paper from the wrapping paper stash.

Simple as pie: (No, simpler, definitely simpler than pie!)Ingredients

  • A clean, empty glass jar (pickle jar? mason jar? whatever you have)
  • Tissue paper plus maybe construction paper, printer paper, and/or wrapping paper, torn into smaller pieces (maybe even bits of fabric).  I recommend starting with tissue paper, then adding small bits of the stiffer paper over the top. I also like to crinkle the paper up first, to add some texture.
  • Mod Podge or Elmer’s glue

Now, just decoupage the glass!

Tear up the paper into pieces, slather the jar with paste, and stick the paper to the jar, being sure to get the paper saturated with paste to help it take the jar’s shape and hold the edges down.  Continue with the pieces, making a collage as you go, if you want, or sticking with a single color like I am, until the jar is covered.  Let it dry, and you’re done!


For extra flair, protect your work surface with your phone book instead of newspaper Smile 

Decoupage 2

My ‘vase’ was specially designated for our downstairs bathroom (it’s finally getting some decorating love….after a year and a half….I swear crickets wouldn’t even have hung out in that room), so you’ll see it again soon.  In the meantime, I’m being intentionally narrow in these photos, to not give away too much of the cute new bathroom, which will be revealed later this week.

  Custom vase 2

Custom vase 3

I hope this idea is one you can use too – for any of those little spots that need a dash of color on the cheap.  (Or if you need a kid-friendly project!)


I’m linked up to parties at these awesome blogs:

Tools are For Women Too, Tatertots and Jello, The Girl CreativeKeeping it Simple, Dittle Dattle

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