Category Archives: Before & After

Living Room Update

Remember back in this post we showed you the couch we scored on the cheap? Well you haven’t seen her in all her glory in the living room yet because, well, the living room looks weird. It’s dark. Like, man-cave dark. We have dark hardwood floors and a dark fireplace and dark bookcases and a dark brown leather couch with dark brown and dark blue blankets on it. We have a gray entertainment center and a dark brown wicker ottoman. Things, while improving in quality, are looking very blah in our house.

But the couch is still awesome, very comfortable, and a huge hit with the kids.

Here’s the Living Room before with our inherited leather sofa and the disgusting covered-in-dog-hair love seat:

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Both couches are tan and the area rug (it’s actually 2 small IKEA rugs laid side by side) breaks up the floor.

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And here’s the new couch:

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Ugh see how dark dark dark everything is? We do have a plan:

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I’m also not completely sold on the paint color in the living room, and Travis, bless his heart, is totally OK with changing it. Again. I love that man.

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So that’s the wacky, yet very comfortable, living room situation. These pictures are also making me notice how gross the fireplace is- I’m thinking I need to clean/paint the inside area or something. It’s a little sooty, no?

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All Washed Up

In the interest of my family’s lungs and saving some dough, I’ve been sniffing around making my own cleaning supplies for the last few months. I’d pinned several different ideas and recipes on Pintrest and I also had an article from Craft Magazine starred in my google reader from 2009. I never had any real gumption around this project, until we ran out of kitchen cleaner a week ago. And all of a sudden we had nothing to wipe down the counters except Lysol wipes. And every time I used one I thought, “Wow, I wonder how much it just cost me to wipe down this counter?” (I’m totally a penny pincher in that regard). We had a leftover almost empty bottle of some kind of over-the-counter cleaner that we pulled out of the back of a cabinet to get us through until we could go to the store, but it smells awful every time it gets sprayed, and it actually aggravated my sinuses when I’d breathe. Not cool, kitchen cleaner. Not cool. Suddenly I had all the gumption I needed to work on making my own cleaners, so after some shopping research (which took me in total, about 1 week), here’s what I ended up with for the project:

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For you fellow list makers out there, here are the ingredients and where I was able to find them (some were surprisingly unavailable in every day stores):

  • Distilled White Vinegar (Publix)
  • A glass container for powdered Laundry Detergent (Target)
  • A new set of measuring spoons (you might not need that, but I did) (Target)
  • Borax Washing Powder (Ace Hardware)
  • Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (Ace Hardware)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (Target)
  • Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castille Soap, Lavender (Target)
  • Four spray bottles (Dollar Store)
  • Fels Naptha Bar Soap (Ace Hardware)
  • Essential Oil, Lemon Scent (GNC)
  • Dr. Bronner’s Bar Soap, Lavender (Target)

And for anyone else doing their research, here are the websites I frequented for recipes:

I used Jolly Mom’s recipes for my cleaning sprays, and the Yellowbrick recipe for the laundry detergent.

First, I labeled the bottles with some Vera Bradley file labels I had leftover from last Christmas. I’ve used these labels everywhere since T got them for me, and since they’re cute I felt good about using them on my little cleaning bottles. I wanted to label the bottles first so I wouldn’t get confused as I added ingredients (all of the bottles are exactly the same without a label).

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Under the pretty labels, I added a plain white label that lists the recipe right on the bottle, so when I remake everything I can do it without my handy dandy laptop. I decided to make an All Purpose Cleaner, a Glass Cleaner, and a Disinfectant in my spray bottles.

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The Disinfectant was the easiest recipe by far. I did 2 cups of Hydrogen Peroxide, 2 cups of water, and 15 drops of essential oil. Put it all in your spray bottle and shake it up, baby.

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All Purpose Cleaner included 1/2 tsp washing soda, 1/2 tsp liquid Castille soap, 2 cups hot water, 10-15 drops essential oil. Same story, shake and bake.

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The Glass Cleaner called for 1 cup distilled white vinegar, 2 cups water, 1/2 tsp dish soap (I used what we had in the kitchen), and 10-15 drops essential oil.

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Next came the powder laundry detergent (which I was the most excited about!). I used 1 cup of Borax, 1 cup of Washing Soda, and the whole bar of soap, grated into tiny pieces with a cheese grater.

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When I mixed the powders I had a lot of lovely lady lumps, which I definitely didn’t want. I was hoping for a really well blended mixture so that I got consistent results in the laundry, so I dug into that drawer in the kitchen that has some weird stuff that I never use.

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And I used this thing as my designated lump-breaker-upper.

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That helped a lot with the lumps. Thanks weird tool thingy! Next I grated up the bar of Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Soap. I had the Fels Naptha bar soap (which most recipes recommend), but it has a warning right on the label that says it’s irritating to skin and eyes, and we have some sensitive skin in our family. After reading through some comments I saw that a lot of people were subbing the Fels Naptha soap for Dove or other less abrasive soaps. I chose the Dr. Bronner’s because it was listed as an alternative and I’ve read really great things about it, and it smells yummy. Once the whole bar was grated I hand mixed it in with the washing powder combo, and I was done.

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Then I read back through my recipes are realized I had one spray bottle left and enough ingredients for one more spray that I would use often- it’s a Furniture Polish/Stainless Steel Cleaner.

You use 2 cups of oil (she says vegetable or olive is fine), 1 squeezed lemon, and 15 drops of essential oil (man that stuff came in handy for this experiment). So I mixed that up and added it to my fourth bottle.

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Now that I had all my super cool DIY cleaners made, I had to organize my cleaning cart and get rid of a ton of crap we never use. I’m not sure exactly how we accumulated fifty thousand cleaners that ironically sit and collect dust, but we did. I went through the little cart and removed anything that a) we had never used, or b) I’d just made to replace the chemical version.

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I was left with this:

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Isn’t that insane? Look at all the room we’d been waisting! I kept a few products that I wasn’t sure if I’d need or not- no sense in throwing away perfectly good stuff that you may need down the line. But anything else that we hadn’t touched in 6 months or more got tossed.

Here’s a close up of how the powder detergent turned out. The recipe recommends 1 tablespoon per load, but I’m using 2 on larger loads (like towels, mostly).

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We have High Efficiency machines (scored at Best Buy on a black Friday sale) so I was concerned about how this detergent would work. But every forum I read said that HE machines do better with “low suds” detergents, and happily, all DIY powder detergents are naturally low suds. I’ve got my 2nd load of towels in the washer now, and being the weirdo that I am I actually stopped the machine mid cycle to see what was going on in there. I couldn’t see any suds at all through the glass in the door, and I was kinda freaking out. But I’m happy to report that once I opened the door the laundry smelled like heaven, meaning the lavender soap was definitely doing it’s thang.

Ok so let’s see if I’m actually saving any money on this.

  • Borax $5.99
  • Washing Soda $4.99
  • Fels Naptha soap $1.49
  • Dr. Bronners Liquid Castille Soap $9.99
  • Dr. Bronners Bar Soap $4.49
  • Peroxide $0.69
  • White Vinegar $1.89
  • Essential Oil $5.00

Grand Total: $33.84

Since the Laundry Detergent recipe has 2 cups of powder plus the soap, and 1 cup = 16 tablespoons, it seems like I’ll get at least 32 loads per batch, which isn’t that impressive until you consider that I have enough of the powder stuff left over to do 4-5 more batches. In fact I have some of everything left over, plenty to do a whole other batch of the cleaners. For non-toxic cleaners that don’t hurt my lungs, I’ll take it any day!

This project was so super fun for me, I loved every part of it (especially smelling my first load of towels washed with my lavender laundry detergent-yum). I think this would be a cute gift if you could find pretty bottles and maybe print your labels online- maybe for a new mom who wants non-toxic cleaners? Or a grandparent who is sensitive to smelly sprays at home? Anyway I haven’t had a chance to try every cleaner, but I did use the All Purpose spray in the kitchen and I’m thrilled to report it easily handles tea stains on the counter and it smells magical. I’ll be truthful about the rest of the cleaners as I use them. Cross my heart.

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Pintrest Challenge- Chalkboard Wall

This video showed up in my Reader, and well, how can you say no to $herdog and KB? (ok, ok, let’s not forget Emily and Lana)

T and I have been talking about having a chalkboard wall somewhere for fun, for us and the kids, and we have a tiny baby wall next to the fridge that’s perfect, so…I’m painting it with, you guessed it! Chalkboard paint. We plan on using it for grocery lists and messages to each other, as well as a creative space for the kiddos. The wall is not seen from anywhere in the house unless you’re in the laundry room or getting something from the fridge, so there wasn’t any worry about it clashing with the rest of the house. We also haven’t done much to spruce up the kitchen as far as paint goes (we’re saving up for one big remodel), so we figured that we can have fun and experiment before we commit to something cohesive.

In case you’re wondering, here’s my kitchen inspiration photo for the big remodel:

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Can’t remember where I found this, but yowza, that’s a beaut, right? It’s so clean and cottage-y, fun and funky, it’s adult but still kid friendly, which is what I’m going for. I want our kids to be able to run around and feel right at home, since this is a home, but at the same time I love living in a space that beautiful and interesting.

Anyway, enough mushy stuff, let’s get to the Pintrest challenge.

Here’s my “Pinsperation”:

We had chosen our wall (the baby wall, next to the fridge), and I already had the paint and supplies on hand from another project I’d tried to rev up to do (wine bottles w/ chalkboard labels), but after some research I decided to write on the bottles w/ a marker instead.

But first, I had to prep the wall. We had an IKEA bar hanging there with some hooks to hang hand towels, spatulas, etc., but it ended up never really being used (small, awkward walkway), so it was not a life changing decision to take it down to use somewhere else in the house.

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That is the only picture of me you will see for a while, ’cause after T took these pics he was basically done with this project. My big helper.

Here’s the wall once the storage bar and the light switch plate were off. The door to the right is the pantry, and to the left is the laundry room.

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That little baby wall is exactly 2 feet wide, for perspective.

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I used some spackling to fill in the holes from the IKEA bar and a few other holes from things that had been mounted before we inherited the place. Once that dried (about 30 minutes later), I used a little sanding block to smooth the hole edges and the spackle down.

I was concerned about using the chalkboard paint on a textured wall (our walls are orange peel), but I figured it can’t hurt to try. So once it was sanded and I wiped off the sanding dust with a paper towel (or whatever was easiest, like my hands), I slapped on the first coat.

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And it wasn’t that impressive. Actually, I have read on several paint tutorials that doing thin coats is the way to go, and I was super worried about durability with this stuff, so I went light and streaky (just like college!) and figured I’d do 3-4 coats. It’s such a small area that I wasn’t worried about the time it would take to do repeat coats. The first coat only took me about 30 minutes total.

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While we’re waiting for that first coat to dry, I’d like to take a moment and let you all know that the kitchen is still on the “projects to tackle” list for us. That floor, the 80’s-tastic cabinets–

Oh hang on a second, Five wants me to measure his arm. Eighteen and a half inches.

We also had a spirited discussion about swapping the sink and the stove placement (when it comes times for the big remodel), but it seems like we’re going to need a pro for that one. The stove is gas and well, we aren’t professionals, and while I am confident about a lot of my abilities, running gas lines is a bit out of my league. There’s also a drop-ceiling in there which is so bananas to me, but we can’t wait to rip it out and learn about ceiling replacement. We also plan to add a pocket door to the laundry room if it’s possible. All in good time people, right now we’re focussing on the baby wall.

About sixteen hours later, I got antsy. The kids were coming over at 3, and I really really wanted the wall to be ready for testing after dinner, so I had to get a move on. So I forged ahead, although the paint can clearly suggests waiting 24 hours between coats.

Take 2.

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I took a close up as I was painting the second coat, because I was sooo happy with how it was covering this time around. See how streak-tastic it is at the top of the light switches? Underneath, where my second coat was happening, the coverage is nice and solid, so I was feeling good that maybe 2 coats would get ‘er done.

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Here’s baby wall with the second coat drying. It’s gorgeous, inky, and the coverage is super thorough.

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Here’s our disaster of a refrigerator. That’s not really true, I mean, I know I’m supposed to say that it looks like we live here and it’s charmingly messy, but the reality is I kind of really want to rip everything off of it and have a clean slate. Just for a day. Just for 5 minutes. The 2 foot wall is directly across from the fridge. I took this picture so you can see how this wall is completely unnoticeable unless you’re coming in the laundry room, and actually my mother-in-law walked right by it and didn’t notice it. Twice.

Well, I guess I shouldn’t leave you in suspense much longer. After dinner we decided the wall was dry and we were over the waiting thing, so…

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Today’s Special: Love & Tacos. That pretty much sums up our house, I’d say. Notice the light switch cover wasn’t back on yet, that’s how big of a hurry we were in :)

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Me, Eleven, and Five are tripping over each other to get to this wall.

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We had some AWESOME chalk to use- I think it was supposed to be sidewalk chalk, but we busted it out for this little project. SO fun.

Then we all traced our hands.

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See the japanese writing in pink? Eleven is teaching herself Japanese, and that’s her name. I am often without words when I try to describe her. She is really something.

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Here’s the whole family: Five is the top left, T is underneath him in yellow, I’m top right in green, and Eleven is in pink.

I am so in love with how this turned out, and I’m even more stoked about the kids being so into it. They are both asking for “chalkboards” in their rooms now, so this is quickly spiraling out of control. :)

If you like this post, check out my DIY Laundry Detergent and Cleaning Supply extravaganza

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Filed under Artsy Fartsy, Before & After, DIY Decor, Home Improvement

If all the hall drips were lemon drips and gum drips.

Last week we did some repair work and fixed our hallway. Here’s what it looked like before:

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And here’s the after:

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So one time, T and I got home from a business trip around 2 AM. That happens from time to time. We were unloading luggage and walking through the house, and as I stepped into the hallway, I felt a drip on my arm.

Now I’m about to tell you something that’s a little crazy, so just…don’t judge me. I work in the woods ALL OF THE TIME from time to time, and EVERY TIME I GO OUT IN THE WOODS from time to time, I get a bug (such as a tick, or a spider, or an entire infestation of spiders, or maybe some bird poop) on me, and you know that feeling, right? Where there’s maybe something crawling on your arm, and even if there wasn’t you are screwed until your brain lets that thought go, because OMG, the BUGS ARE ON ME.

So taking all of that into consideration, I’m used to feeling “phantom” bugs on my arms or legs or what have you. ‘Cause my brain doesn’t specifically ever let the thought (the maybe there’s a bug on me thought) go.

So as I’m stepping into the hallway, I think maybe I felt a drip, but my first thought is to talk myself out of it, because maybe it’s a phantom drip. Also it’s 2 AM and maybe I’m crazy (or I must be lonely, if I’m Rob Thomas).

As I continue loading and unloading and walking, I felt another drip. And this one wasn’t a phantom because it hit right in the part of my hair. Then, I turned the lights on and looked up, and saw this.

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Actually that’s not what I saw, that picture is after we’d already peeled off the paint that was falling off of the walls, and pulled the popcorn that was hanging down into the hallway off the ceiling. Now I don’t really know how we missed all of that as we walked up and down the hallway a thousand times, but we did.

We discerned, not so quickly, that the pan (some kind of pan, but apparently not like a cooking pan) for the A/C had leaked. And leaked, and leaked.
It also leaked into the master bedroom.  

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Don’t worry, we got the air conditioner fixed. I don’t remember how much it cost, I must’ve blocked it out.

So, we had to patch all of this up, obviously. We waited to do it. We waited months. Because it happened right after we’d painted the master bedroom and hallway and gotten it into that phase of “we’re not sure we’re leaving it here but we don’t know exactly what our end product is going to be.” So then we consulted our best buddy, Luke, and he told us what to do.

First up, Kilz, a stain’s worst enemy. We decided to go with the spray on stuff, because then I didn’t have to clean a paint brush. Sometimes DIY is all about convenience.

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We followed the directions on the can and sprayed over the stains.

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This was a vast improvement already, as you can see.

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I would just like to point out, that I totally have my game face on in this picture. I mean, I am fierce in my lime green shirt. Actually, it’s Eleven’s shirt. I stole it.  

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Here’s the hall, post-kilz. When T says Kilz, he says Kiltz, with a t, and it makes me think we are going to tape plaid skirts up to cover the stains.

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Once the Kilz was dry, we had to re-texture the walls and ceiling before we could paint. Enter the plastic sheets.

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Nope, they aren’t just for bed-wetters.

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And they are the best decision we ever made, because people, popcorn ceiling texture goes ev. ry. where.

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Re-applying texture is pretty easy peasy. Just buy the stuff at a local hardware store and follow directions. We needed popcorn/acoustic texture on the ceilings (we mixed the two textures b/c we weren’t sure what we needed) and orange peel texture for the walls. Once it was cured (it only takes about an hour to dry), we were able to use leftover paint and re-paint the walls.

Here’s what we ended up with:

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We still haven’t actually painted the white over the ceiling in the hallway, hence the discoloration you see. But the stains are gone, and that is c’est magnifique, non?

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Much better, but we did learn some lessons.

Lesson 1: Popcorn ceilings take popcorn texture, not acoustic texture. Don’t play with this. Also 1, $15 can of popcorn texture covers maybe on a good day 2 sq. feet of ceiling. Yikers. You can see the difference if you look in the after pics, but when you’re just walking down the hallway without a camera flash, you really can’t tell.

Lesson 2: When we repainted the blue in the Master bedroom, you can definitely see where the Kilz was under it. It only shows in the right light, but it looks pretty funky. We are re-painting a different color in there though, so we aren’t sweating it. Just happy that the giant stains are gone.

So there you have it. The stains are gone and there aren’t any kiltz taped to the walls, so everyone is pretty happy.

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Filed under Before & After, DIY Decor, Home Improvement

Much Love for Tubs

Last week, Trav and I decided that there was no way we could both work. We work together, which is fabulous because we are a great team, so typically we travel together very often. But this week, it was just not happening. We were coming off of vacation, and we had sooooo many loose ends we needed to tie up with ourselves and our clients, and the house was a disaster. It was also a light week, work-wise, so Travis made the trip alone, and I happily made myself many, many lists, and started organizing like a crazy person.

I’ll have several posts about organizing (one of my favorite all-time things to do- what? you don’t love organizing and labeling things? huh.) but this time I’ll start with the garage. I totally forgot to take a before picture (womp womp), but here’s the after.

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Before this little foray into the organization world, there wasn’t room to set anything on any of those shelves- now there’s an entire shelf empty.

I grabbed a $2 picture album from Big Lots, a pack of index cards, a stick of Elmer’s glue, a sharpie, and 5 new tubs for this project.

I took the little picture album and cut each picture slot completely out of the album, so it was still able to slide notecards in (without them falling out), but it was detached completely from the binding. I cut enough out to put one on every tub we had, then I took my glue stick and rubbed a quarter sized amount of glue on each corner of one side of the photo holder. Then I stuck it onto the tub and pressed it down. I was a little nervous that the heat would melt the glue so I took a lunch break to make sure it would all hold. I had no issues during the heat of the day, so I pressed on.

Next I started sorting items laying around the garage into my 5 bins. Your “stuff” pile will be different I’m sure, but ours was something like “Small Tools,” “Big Tools,” “Extension Cords/Bungie Cords/Straps,” “Tech Items,” etc. We already had some bins that were still functioning, so some of this cleaning adventure was as simple as putting an item back where it belonged. Annoyingly enough, we also had several bags of trash that was just laying around. That is a huge pet peeve of mine.

Once I had all of the crap miscellaneous items sorted into a bin, I grabbed my Sharpie and a notecard and made some notes. The notecards can hold any information you’re willing to write, a blanket “Tool Tub” might work, or you may need to list specifically what’s in a tub, ie: mom’s china, fall decorations, christmas lights are in your “Decorations Tub.” In our case I used wide-ranging labels like “Tech Items” for anything we use at work, choosing not to get too microscopic on my list. Before I slid the notecard into the photo holder, I noted the month and year in the lower right hand corner, so I’d know the last time I sorted everything.

Here’s a close up of the bottom tubs, which I mostly left open since nothing is dust or bug sensitive and we’ll frequently use the things inside.

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The left is “Large Tools- Drills, Drivers, Etc.” The small purple tub is “Small Tools.” Next is “Extension Cords and Straps.” Then we have some home improvement stuff before we get to the “Home Improvement” tub. That home improvement “stuff” sitting on the floor is a gagillion cans of paint and some tile grout. I took a few minutes to write notes on the top of each paint can as to the location of use. So each can says, “master bedroom,” or “hallway.” So now if I need to do a touch up I can easily locate the paint without having to pull each can out to see the label on the side.

The great thing about using the photo holders and notecards is they are super easy to change out. I left a Sharpie in the garage so if we add to a tub or take away from one, we can note it and move on to bigger things.

So it’s really that simple. Do small things at a time. Make lots of labels so you don’t get frustrated at yourself later on (especially around the holidays, when you’re pulling lots of decorations out of the garage).

Go slow and steady and if you don’t use something or you’re rediscovering it after years of storage, throw it away or donate it. Don’t keep paying for it by allowing it to take up valuable space in your home! It’s not worth it. I made a trip to a thrift store and got rid of a ton of old plates/cups/silverware and linens. There are so many people in the world who are doing without, it’s good for you and them to get rid of some of the clutter.

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Bathroom Humor

I feel like this is a “bold move” (a BM, perhaps?) for a first official post, but let’s start where the real magic happens: the bathroom.

Yes, this, is my inherited master bathroom, and just to preserve any notion in your mind that I am a lady (woah woah woah, she’s a lady), I will not say what I called this color. I will tell you it rhymes with “spit clown.” Not really sure what would possess someone to use a color like that in a bathroom, but I applaud their gutsy BM (bold move, see above).

Let us all look to the right and note the almost-but-not-quite-white towel rack and toilet paper holder, flanked by the eye-catching hole. Up and down the wall you might notice little white lines, like little traces of pixie dust, which are actually nail scratches in the paint. From fingers.

I could not for the life of me figure that out, but then Five came in and explained to me with a, “Hey, watch this!” that he can “draw in the paint!” You think a Wii is enough entertainment, but noooo.

There is also the small matter of floors in the room, as in they are old and not super sanitary anymore.

So the name of our game here was to brighten up the bathroom and make it look a bit cleaner and softer. We decided this would best be accomplished by: replacing the shower curtain with something lighter and longer to make the room feel bigger, painting the walls something light and airy, replacing the chunky square vanity mirror with something round and textured. We also wanted to replace the light fixture with something smaller and less harsh, remove and replace the toilet paper holder and the towel rack with some sleeker, more functional hooks and holders, and remove the old medicine cabinet to install glass shelves for additional storage we could see.

First, I took a sharp knife and scored all around the toilet paper holder and the towel rack sides. I had no idea what I would find at this point, but I was hoping that it would pull away from the wall easily. It looked like they were held on by caulk, so I reasoned that scoring the caulk would allow me to pull the porcelain fixtures off of the wall. The toilet paper holder came off pretty easily after a little bit of wiggling, but imagine my surprise to learn that those things are anchored via a hole in the drywall. I started sweating at this point. But, in for a penny, in for a pound, right? Yes, I trudged along fearlessly, right after I called our friend Luke, who just happens to be a contractor. Luke has known me since I was a freshman in high school and he’s super nice (and it’s possible he was bored) so he came on over to take a look. Note: I could’ve titled this post “The One Where I Learned to Patch Drywall,” because that’s what happened next.

So you take some drywall and score it to the size of your hole, and peel the actual drywall away from the drywall paper. So you have a piece of drywall and a 2-3 inch overlap of the drywall paper on the edges. The picture below sums that up pretty well. And check out that floor. Sexy, huh?

Once you have a piece of drywall that will fit in your wall-hole with some of the drywall paper overlapping onto the wall, smear some drywall mud around your wall hole. Then, put your drywall piece into the hole and press the paper “overhang” into the mud you just smeared- see the pic below, a picture is really worth a thousand words on this.

Next, you’ll take some more mud and smear it gently over the entire area.

Keep working with your drywall mud and putty knife to get it thin and smooth, but dont’ get too crazy or you’ll scrape all the mud off. Slow and steady with a light hand works best. You’re going to have to sand it later so don’t make yourself do any extra work.

Once all of your holes are patched, let your drywall mud set for 12-14 hours, longer if you can stand it. I couldn’t, so as soon as possible I was back in there sanding it all down to prep for paint.

But before we could paint, we had a few more things to prep. Remember how we wanted to replace the huge chunky mirror? We knew we’d use something smaller and curvier, so the big guy needed to come off the wall before we painted to make sure we covered everything with paint. Big chunk was held to the wall by screws so I easily used my drill to unscrew them and popped him right off, and surprise!

Wallpaper! Have mercy. I almost walked away at that point. Day 2 of my 1 day remodel. Leave that room spit clown, screw big chunk back up there and call it a day, you know? Sometimes you just get frustrated. Then reinforcements showed up, that’s my almost-mother-in-law next to me, scraping wallpaper off. You can see at the top of the picture that the old light fixture also had wallpaper behind it, so we worked on that too. Trick is to have a small spray bottle full of water and a sharp putty knives. Spray the wallpaper or glue residue with your water bottle, let it soak for a minute or two, then scrape away. It comes off much quicker, but in small pieces.

Just to recap at what is (hopefully) the halfway point, we’ve now patched 4 drywall holes and scraped wallpaper off of the wall, none of which we were planning to do. Also, our walls have an orange-peel texture (available in an aerosol spray can) all over them, and since the mirror and light fixture had wallpaper, we had to let the walls dry, then texturize those spots with orange peel so the wall would be the same all over. Which also has to cure for 12-24 hours.

The next day was painting day, and I have never been so happy to paint. We went with Valspar’s Halcyon Blue, which reads as a blue-ish, gray-ish, icy sort of color, which we were hoping would brighten up the room considerably. The adjoining master bedroom is blue so we figured that staying in the same family of colors couldn’t hurt for a connecting room. We crossed our fingers and hoped for the best and did not prime the brown before we did the light blue, and we ended up doing two coats, but when we stood back we had an instant “aaahhhhhh.” Here’s the before again:

And after:

Doesn’t it make the room look bigger?

Here’s another before and after shot:

A few more notes-

See that white light switch in the picture above? While we had everything unscrewed for painting, we changed out all of the switches and outlets to a bright white instead of the almond color. It totally made the room feel cleaner.

The shower curtain is from amazon.com and is 70″x95″ which makes it “extra long.” We hung it at ceiling height to hide the drop ceiling in the shower and to make the room feel taller. If you buy this, make sure you grab an extra long shower liner from Amazon while you’re there! We didn’t and we had to pay shipping twice, boo.

The mirror is oval and I snagged it at Marshall’s for $25. I plan to paint it an oil rubbed bronze to match the handles on the vanity (and I’ll probably spray those as well), but at this juncture in the project we were trying desperately to get the room put back together.

The light fixture is from Lowes.

I had a runner sized rug that we picked up on a trip to IKEA, I’d originally wanted to use it in the living room but it just didn’t work for our family, functionality-wise (our dog and kids kept slipping on it). So I tossed it into the bathroom and it didn’t look that bad. It is by no means a permanent fix, but it certainly helps cover the eye-sore-floor while we save some money to change it up for the long haul. It also does really well in the wet environment.

We never did get around to putting shelves where the medicine cabinet was, but pics when we do! I did attach a new TP Holder to the side of the vanity next to the toilet. It’s oil rubbed bronze from Target, and it was as easy as screwing it into the side with a drill. We still need a towel rack or some hooks on the back of the door, but for now we have a drying rack in the closet we use.

So there it is, our “this will do until we can rip it completely apart” bathroom remodel. We really like it. The room feels bigger, and it has some interesting texture thanks to the copper-y mirror and the waffle shower curtain. And it’s definitely more airy and open with the ice blue paint on the walls.

Phew. After 1545 words about this remodel, I’m totally pooped.

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