Join us on our journey to making this ugly-split level a home that we can learn to love, one DIY project at a time.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

William's Room

I have been working on William's room this summer and this is what I've accomplished so far.  It takes me a long time to get bedrooms done for some reason.  It seems I can never find what I want.

Well anyway, his room before this was bright yellow, the color of a road sign literally.  And I can't blame this on anyone because it was my doing.  I wanted a yellow room for his jungle themed baby room, but I HATE pale yellow.  So I thought, why not make it obnoxious?  That's better than any nasty pale color.

Anyway.  I decided this summer to finally cover that color up with a nice, soft greige.  And once I did that I stopped cringing every time I walked by his room.  But then it didn't seem like a little boy's room and that made me sad in a way.

So I decided to do something funky.  I found this pattern online, of triangles going up and then down in lines and I instantly loved it.  So I painted his largest wall with this pattern.  To do this, I bought a grout sponge from Menards (it was the biggest sponge I could find).  They come in a big rectangle and they are a flat sponge.  I bought two of these and traced triangles I printed off from Word over them in two different sizes.This was not easy!  Cutting thick sponges in nice smooth lines is almost impossible, but I did it after lots and lots of trimming over and over and over... You get it.

Then I grabbed some paint from my garage- I think it was a glossy paint we used for a piece of furniture and got started.  I had to do a little measuring to evenly space my lines and when I did this I used a pencil to trace lines from the ceiling to the floor and then followed those lines with my sponge.

I also used 1x2s (I think?) to stop the pattern about a foot from the ceiling.  I painted these white and nailed them to all of his walls and then I painted the space above them white.  And I really liked how it turned out...  Adds a bit of character I think.

I also grabbed a spare piece of wood from the garage, stained it, and mounted it to shelf brackets I bought for cheap.  I really wanted the industrial ones that look like pipes, but I couldn't find any?  So this was the next best thing and once I saw them up, I loved them.

I'm still in the process of finding permanent bedding and a comfy chair, but this is what I've done so far.  Everything I decorated his room with are things I had in my closet of goodies (extra things I once used or picked up at a thrift store or on clearance) or things I made, like the deer print above his bed.  His bed was a steal!  Bought that from a garage sale for 30 bucks.  It is one of those old looking captains beds in natural wood.  I painted it white. His dresser is the same from his baby furniture set.

The Front Stairs

The Front Stairs
Okay this isn't a DIY and after watching this happen I'm not sure anyone COULD DIY something like this!  However, this was a DIY price!

All split-levels seem to have the same front porch, the same sharp turn to the front porch stairs, the same everything!!  Stop making these this way America!  Okay anyway...  Our split-level had HORRID stairs.  Seriously I'm surprised we haven't had a lawsuit yet with the cracks and gouges that we were left to deal with!

Well for whatever reason, our front stairs had this enormous crack in the middle (I wish I had taken a picture over it).  It was as if portal to 'the unwelcome beyond' (teachers have to remain kid friendly:) had been opened in front of our house...  And as a side note, if there were a portal to that place somewhere on Earth, the surrounding streets would probably be lined with split-levels.

After just one visit, my grandfather offered to help us pour some new steps (he owned a cement business as a younger man). And finally after years of him offering, we took him up on it.  Now my grandpa is 72.  He still gets on his roof (even though he shouldn't) and he still mows his own lawn (even though he shouldn't).  And he poured us the most beautiful set of stairs we could have ever imagined!  "In fact,"  he bragged, "I was the only one in Omaha who could pour these suckers this way, with a nice curve like that."  And I believe him.

Thank you grandpa!

DIY Wall Sconces

DIY Sconces
I was itching for a project this weekend so I finally decided to tackle DIY sconces.  I have seen several of these around and I have had supplies to build some for the better part of a year now.  I am a little embarrassed to say that one of the things that inspired me to build these was the movie Breaking Dawn.   I know...I know...Don't judge me.  Anyway, the scene in which they show the cottage in the woods is my favorite!  I have literally watched that movie just to see that scene.  I LOVE that cottage!  And part of the reason is because it is so overstuffed with things and candles that I'm not sure how people or the following activities in the movie (haha) fit.  

Anyway, one of the things I love about that house is the sconces all over the walls and in the halls... and since I don't have the money or the patience to install real electric sconces, I will settle for the next best thing!  DIY mason jar sconces.  I lined my hallway with these and I also lined the hall that holds the stairs which run from my basement landing to my front door landing and I LOVE it!!  So much love in this house right now!!  
So anyway, I started by wrapping 19 gauge wire around my mason jars and attaching a handle.  I purchased this junk at Menards for three dollars.

Then I cut some wood ( I found a 1x6 in the garage.  Score!).  I cut it 6 pieces at 6 inches each.  Then I painted it dark brown with some old paint I found in the garage (Another Score!)  Then I coated the edges in Vaseline and slapped another coat of white on those bad boys.

Then I sanded them with some scraps of sand paper in the garage (all kinds of grits; I only had little pieces of each to work with).

Next I wrapped jute around the top hook of these cheap hooks I also purchased at Menards.  They were 2.99 each and I purchased six. I used a dab of hot glue at each end to adhere it to the metal.  The reason I added this was because I needed something to keep the handle on the mason jar as far toward the edge of the hook as possible so that the mason jar would sit level rather than tip.  Plus it turned out super cute. 

Last my handy dandy Dan screwed those hooks onto the blocks of wood and I hammered a picture hanger onto the back.  And presto!  I now feel like my house has enough candles in it for serious power outage! :)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fall Mantel

Fall Mantel
You can never start too early!
I purchased everything at Hobby Lobby, aside from the doily.  I printed the banners on scrapbook paper and hot glued them to a bit of twine using just a Word document.  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

DIY Barn Wood TV Frame

Barn Wood TV Frame
I love having my tv above my fireplace, but I hate that it takes the place of a potential piece of I did a little research and decided that we were going to create a barn wood picture frame for our tv to make it more appealing. 

We used rough cut cedar because it looked rough and worn in texture.  The color, though was a redish pine look- which does not scream barn wood.  So we bought gray and brown stain from Walmart and we used both colors, making streaks of one and then another and blending.  It turned out looking almost identical to barn wood!
Here is a link to my shanty tutorial:
After we finished creating it, we just slid it over the tv.  It fits snugly and we haven't had any problems with it coming off.   Overall it was around 30 dollars.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Kitchen Update

New Rug
We bought a new rug!  I've been looking for a striped rug for months!  Finally found one at TJ Maxx for under 20 dollars!

Inexpensive Curb Appeal

 Adding Some Inexpensive Curb Appeal

Front door make over
This was my front door:

It was pretty unwelcoming and just plain gross!
Now, I'd love a new door, but I can't afford one at the moment.  So... I decided to make do with what I've got (I say that a lot) and I have to say, now I rather like my front door. (But as soon as my piggy bank is full, I'm trashing it and getting a new one :)

The first thing I did was remove that HIDEOUS white screen door.  It was hard to convince my energy conscious husband, but I finally did.  Next I painted that side panel white...But I was still bored...
So I decided to go for it and paint the door black.  Now I love it!  I also added topiary plants I made from foam and peat moss- just hot glued it straight to the foam spheres and stuck those puppies in dirt filled planters.  I have kept them out all winter and they are still green.  In addition, I repainted the 70s railing black and scrubbed as much of the rust from the porch as possible!  Oh and we also changed out the porch light to something more cottage-y.

The topiary spheres are from hobby lobby as is the peat moss.  The planters are from Walmart- they were on clearance for 10 bucks a piece.  Score!  The rug is an indoor rug from TJ Maxx (does anyone else find all outdoor rugs ugly?) and my sconces are from Menards- It was two in a box for 30 bucks!!  That's a steal for this style of light!

Garage Door Hardware

So I saw online that you could buy kits at the hardware store to add onto your existing garage door to make it look like a carriage house.  So I searched all over town and finally found the kit for 30 dollars at Lowes.  And let me say I LOVE the outcome!  I feel like it has given my garage and my house a little more character.
We also added two sconces on either side of the garage door.  The house originally didn't have any there.  It really dresses up the front!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

DIY Shutters

DIY Shutters
Shutters are not just for the wealthy anymore!

The outside of my home is the ugliest part- little by little, though, I am growing to like certain things about it.  Like my primitive black shutters!  One thing I do like about my house is that it is tan and red- I know these are becoming outdated, but when paired with black, I find myself actually admiring it.  ...Did I just say that?  Well here are my shutters:

These are just two 1 inch thick pine boards that are held together by a couple of 2x2s and a few screws.  Primed and painted black.  Super inexpensive, super easy, and super fast!

DIY Living Room Shelves

DIY Living Room Shelves
A poor woman's alternative to built-ins
Okay, so I LOVE the look of built-ins, BUT I can't afford all of the wood needed to create actual built-ins so I decided I would fake it.  Plus I wanted to incorporate lots of books and 'junk' everywhere in my living room for cottage purposes.  :)

So I drove my car to the hardware store and bought me 22 dollars worth of lumber.  I used pieces of pine that were 1 inch thick.  For the top of the shelf, I used a 6 inch boards and for the facing I used 3 inch boards. I also bought L brackets to screw the shelves to my walls.

Again I am horrible and I didn't take any process pictures- I just get so excited!  But it was very simple.  We didn't angle the corners at all so the boards are literally just screwed together, each 90 degree angle butting up together.  It did look very primitive, but again, I am going for shabby cottage, so it all worked out.

For this project, I wanted the paint to look like the fire place, but I didn't want to take the time to paint the first coat of brown (remember how lazy I am?)  

So Instead I bought Rustoleum spray paint in Espresso.  It literally took me 5 minutes to spray down every shelf.  I let that dry for a few, rubbed the edges with Vaseline, and coated it with whatever extra white paint I could find in the garage ( I think it was trim paint for bathrooms).  Anyway, it beaded similarly to the fireplace and I didn't have to to a lick of sanding.  Oh happy day!

Well here is the final outcome:

I didn't have a lot of junk to pile on the shelves, so for now I gathered all the spare picture frames I had (most are from TJ Maxx) and then I went to the thrift shop (got twenty dollars in my pocket) and started buying books based on their jacket color.  I know, I am a horrible person to do that to books, but I love it!  Being horrible that is...  And then some books, I just covered in some spare scrap paper I had lying around to add some more bulk (thrift store books are expensive!).

DIY Recovered Chair

DIY Recovered Chair
I have so many new projects to post and I don't know where to begin!  I found these chairs on Craigslist for 15 dollars for the pair and I immediately loved them.  However...I don't really have room for extra chairs in my teeny tiny cracker box of a house.  But I will get to that later.

Anyway this is the chair I found:
 The first thing I did was find a place where I could pry the fabric apart using my handy-dandy screw driver....You thought I was going to say notebook, didn't you?
 Then I took most of the fabric off.  I LOATHE reupholstering so I was lazy and I only took half the fabric off.  I figured I'd just cover the rest up by stretching and stapling. 
 Then I lightly sanded the existing finished and slathered on white paint.  I planned on making it shabby so I didn't worry about too much prep work.  (I love this trend because it makes my laziness okay!)

Then I sanded in all the cracks. hehe.

 Then I recovered the chairs with a clearance fabric I bought.  Basically I stretched and stapled the fabric to the bottom and then to create the back piece  All , I followed, in reverse, the way I had to take it apart.  I am horrible about taking process pictures, but I promise I'll get better.  Besides, it wasn't a very poetic process.  It was make the makeshift half-assery that makes all of my projects doable for me.  The final pieces were hot glued for goodness sake.  :)  All in all it cost me about 40 dollars.  Tada:
I ended up keeping these in that awkward space between my living room and dining room and I pull them out when we have guests over for dinner.  It is nice not to have to bring up camp chairs!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Spring is in the Air

Did up the entry for spring :) 

Craft Night!

After being up until 3 in the morning, my friend and I have decided we are official HCC. Hard. Core. Crafters.
I created this wreath for under 15 bucks!  Used a stick wreath from Walmart ($5), glued on a sprig of flowers also from WM ($8), a wood H covered in a sheet of scrap book paper from Hobby Lobby ($2) and a burlap bow.