Feeling Grouty


March 31, 2011
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We’ve been a little lazy here in the DIY Newlyweds household.  You might remember that earlier this month we started a bathroom tiling project.  To recap, our master bathroom tub started off looking like this:


We decided to add some shiny new glass mosaic tiles around it to make it look a little more luxurious.  First we tore down the old tiles and then we adhered the mosaic tiles:


And then we had a few weekends of nice weather where we got a little lazy and chose play time over grout time!  But not to worry, we’re back on the grouting track.  We had almost a full tub of pre-mixed grout left over from kitchen backsplash project and luckily it was still usable and the color matched our new bathtub tiles!  We loved using this grout for our kitchen because it was so easy to apply and no messy mixing was involved.  And since it's held up well in our kitchen, even near the sink where it gets wet sometimes, we knew it was a good choice for our bathroom.  Plus, since it's a little pricey, the fact that we already had it on hand was a nice bonus!

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We used the standard grouting approach of slapping the grout on the tiles (I believe that's the technical term), rubbing it into the spaces, and then wiping it off with a big sponge before it dried.

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Working in small sections, I repeated this process around the tub.

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And a couple of hours later, we had a nicely grouted tub!

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I think the tub is looking much more luxurious already!

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Of course we're not done yet though.  We still need to caulk between the tiles and tub for a nice waterproof seal.  And we still need to repaint the bathroom.  Since I knew we'd be repainting, I wasn't very careful about preventing the grout from getting on the walls as you can see.  But even though we're not done yet, I'm already happy about how the tub is looking!

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Dried Amaryllis Flower


March 28, 2011
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Remember that beautiful amaryllis flower that I was so proud of?  Here’s a reminder:


Well nothing lasts forever and a few short weeks later the amaryllis was past its prime.  The dried up flowers still looked kind of cool though, so rather than tossing them I salvaged the pretty petals for a dried flower arrangement. 

dried-amaryllis-flower

I plucked the dried petals and then twisted them together to form this cute little arrangement.  This little vase that I picked up at the Christmas Tree Shops for under a buck is the perfect size to display the dried flowers.  Since the petals shrunk as they dried, I made the arraignment look a little beefier by combining the petals from two past-due amaryllis plants.

dried-flower

I’ve been displaying this dried arrangement for a few weeks and so far it’s been holding up well.  It’s nice to extend the beauty of these pretty flowers a little longer.  Do you have any tips for lengthening the life of flowers or displaying them once they’re past their prime?

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It’s no secret that I love the Golden Girls (in fact I’ve managed to somehow mention them in my blog posts here, here, and here); its only one of the best TV shows ever after all.  Recently while I was watching a Golden Girls marathon, I got to thinking about what the Girls’ house would look like if the show took place today.  Back in the 80s and early 90s when the show aired, The Golden Girls Miami house was decorated in wicker and pastel floral prints.



If the show took place today, I’d like to think the Golden Girls living room would still have a tropical Miami vibe, but the bright colors would be focused on the accessories rather than the main furniture in the room.  Here’s my modernized take on the Golden Girls house:
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Here’s the breakdown of my Golden Girls inspired living room:

-Banana Settee & Armchair: I kept the wicker look, but modernized it with a sofa and chair made of banana bark and mahogany.
-Accent Pillows (Yellow, Blue & Pink): Instead of floral furniture, I think floral pillows are a fun updated look.
-Klubbo Coffee Table: I kept the square coffee table shape, but updated it from wicker to wood.
-Blue Vase: This vase brings in some of the traditional elements the Girls had in their living room.
-Eat, Pray, Love Book: As a substitute English teacher, Dorothy loved reading. I can picture the girls curled up on their new sofa with a good book like this.
-Glass End Table: The end table is still glass but with contemporary metal accents rather than brass.
-Sea Glass Lamp: To bring in some pastel and tropical colors, I added this sea inspired lamp.
-Lacquer Floor Vase & Willow Branches: The turquoise blue color is continued into this fun floor vase.
-Potted Plant: Plants never go out of style and this tropical beauty has a Miami vibe.
-Sea Flower Blue Print: Their art has been updated too but keeps it pretty pastel colors and continues the tropical vibe.

So what do you think of my take on The Golden Girl’s updated decor?  Can you picture Sophia, Dorothy, Rose, and Blanche hanging out in this living room?

Psstt…I’m thinking about making this a regular feature on my blog.  What old tv show houses would you like to see modernized?

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Spring Has Sprung!


March 21, 2011
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Happy Spring!  Yesterday was the official first day of Spring and it sure felt like it with the warm weather we had around my neck of the woods (nevermind that today is a rainy dreary day).  Over the weekend I started cleaning up my garden and I saw it was celebrating spring too.  My hyacinth bulbs have popped up already!  I planted these babies last year and after a cold snowy winter and an investigative puppy, I wasn't sure if these would survive until spring.  But sure enough, these pretties are getting ready too bloom:

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I've also been thinking about what kinds of flowers to plant this year.  I'd like to plant some more perennials, and had these in mind:


Hibiscus (I've had a hibiscus tree, but I'd like to plant one in bush form)
Delphinium (I planted these too late last year and they didn't come up; I'd like to try again this year)

I've also been considering some annual flowers since they tend to stay in bloom much longer:


Zinnia (I had great success with zinnias last year so they're on my list again)
Lisianthus
Stock (These were one of my wedding flowers so I'd love to grow them)
Snapdragon (Like the delphinium, I planted these too late last year so I'm going to try again)

Do you have experience with any of these flowers?  I'm still a novice gardener so any tips would be appreciated!  What flowers will you be growing this year?

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Green Room Inspiration


March 17, 2011
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Happy Saint Patrick's Day!  Today I am green with envy over some beautiful green colored rooms.  Green is one of this year's top bathroom design trends, but I think the color choice is still under used.  It's a great paint choice and comes in so many pretty shades.  It also works with so many styles; tropical, zen, cottage, and modern rooms all look great in green.  Turns out it is easy being green.  Okay enough with the terrible green jokes, here are some beautiful green rooms:

Green Bedrooms:




Green Living Rooms:





Green Kitchens:




Green Bathrooms:



Aren't these rooms pretty!  Do you have any green rooms in your home?  Hope you enjoy St. Patrick's Day and I leave you with this traditional Irish blessing today:

May the road rise to meet you, 
May the wind be always at your back, 
May the sun shine warm upon your face, 
May the rains fall soft upon your fields, 
And, until we meet again, 
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

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Target Gift Card Offer


March 10, 2011
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I usually save deal info for my Deals & Steals page, but this offer is just too good not to post about.  Today Plum District, a local deals site targeting moms and families, is offering a $20 Target gift card just for referring 4 friends to sign up for their site (no purchase is necessary!)

If you want to join in the fun, sign up for Plum District and then refer 4 friends to get a $20 Target gift card!

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2011 Bathroom Trends


March 09, 2011
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With the bathroom tiling project that's currently underway in our house, bathroom renovations are definitely on my mind so I was excited to read about the top 2011 bathroom trends.  The National Kitchen & Bath Association, an association of professional kitchen and bath designers, published a list of the top 2011 kitchen and bath trends (you can read about the top 2011 kitchen trends here).  Now, time to check out the top bathroom trends.

Quartz Countertops

Granite is still the top bathroom countertop choice, but quartz is gaining in popularity.


Green Colored Bathrooms


Green is the new "it" color for bathrooms.  Although white, off-white, beige, and brown are still the top choices, brown and beige are becoming less popular while green is increasing in popularity.


Vessel Sinks
Under mount bathroom sinks are the most popular sink choice, but vessel sinks are gaining in popularity.


Satin Nickel Faucets
Satin nickel finish faucets are a hot trend for both bathroom and kitchen faucets, out-doing their brushed nickel cousins.  Bronze, oil-rubbed bronzed, polished chrome, and polished nickel are other popular bathroom faucet choices.

Do you agree with this year's top bathroom trends?

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2011 Kitchen Trends


March 08, 2011
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I've been thinking about painting my kitchen cabinets white for months, but it turns out white cabinets aren't the hot trend anymore!  The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) has released their list of 2011 kitchen trends.  They polled over 100 designers to see what kitchen trends they were using for their customers and what they expect to be popular in 2011.

Here are the top 2011 kitchen trends:

Shaker Style Kitchen Cabinets

Traditional style kitchen cabinets are still the most popular, but Shaker style cabinets had a big rise in popularity in 2010 and are now the second most popular style.  Look for this style of kitchen cabinetry to keep gaining popularity.


Dark Kitchen Cabinet Finishes

Here I am still dreaming of a bright white kitchen, but it turns out dark natural cabinet finishes are now more  popular than medium natural, glazed, or white painted cabinet finishes.


Kitchen Wine Storage

Wine refrigerators dipped in popularity, but unchilled wine storage in the kitchen is becoming more popular.  Other built in kitchen features like tall pantries, lazy Susans, and pull-out racks are all still super popular, but declined in popularity in 2010.


French Door Refrigerators 

I haven't seen very many French door refrigerators in homes yet, but look for this to keep gaining popularity.  Among the NKBA designers, French door fridges are the most popular.


Induction Cooktops

Gas and electric cooktops are still the most popular, but induction cooktops are gaining in popularity.


LED Kitchen Lighting

Designers are choosing energy efficient LED lighting more and more over traditional incandescent lighting.


Hidden Kitchen Trash

Under cabinet and pull-out trash and recycling containers have also gained in popularity.  I'm all for this trend, my kitchen trash can is out on display and I always wish I had space in the kitchen to hide it away.

So those are the top 7 kitchen trends to watch out for in 2011, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association.  It's fun to be the one with the newest hottest trend, but when it comes to the kitchen (and the hefty price tag that usually comes with kitchen upgrades) I personally prefer a classic look that will be in style for a long time.  Do you agree with these top kitchen trends?  Do you like having the newest trend in your home or are you like me and prefer the tried and true?

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No, we don't have our hands in the air like our pup when he's been caught causing trouble.  We're just sticking our new tiles to the walls in our bathroom.


We've been on tile duty working on our latest project, adding accent tiles around our master bath.  When I last left you, we ripped down our old boring beige tiles and patched up the drywall behind them to prepare for the new tiles.  Now it's time for the fun stuff: installing the shiny new glass mosaic tiles!

The great thing about working with mosaic tiles is that little or no tile cutting is involved.  These tiles come in squares of 15 tiles by 15 tiles, attached by a net backing.  We wanted our bathtub border to be just 6 little tiles tall, instead of the 15 that come per sheet, so we simply cut the backing with a pair of scissors to get just the right amount of tiles for us.  Easy peasy and we didn't even have to borrow my Dad's tile saw!

So once our tiles were all trimmed, it was time to actually stickem' to the wall.  Back when we installed our kitchen backsplash, we learned that sometimes the easy route is the better route so we chose a pre-mixed tile adhesive.  Yes, it's pricier than old school adhesive which you have to mix yourself, but its also a heck of a lot easier.  No mixing is required, the adhesive is ready to use right out of the tub.

tile adhesive

Starting in the corner of the walls and working in small chuncks, I spread a thick layer of adhesive onto the walls using a wide putty knife and then ran across it with a notched trowel to ensure we had an even coat on the wall.  It was a lot like frosting a cake.  Once there was a nice level coat of adhesive of the wall, I placed the tiles on the wall making sure they were being placed at a level height.  You can see my trusty leveler below which I used to make sure that the tiles were being placed on a nice even line.

bathroom-tile

Then I repeated the process section by section until all of the tile went up.  As I went along, I used a big sponge to wipe off any excess adhesive that got on the front of the tiles.

tiling-bathtub

So that's where we are today and our tub is looking like this:

bathtub-tile-accent

It's looking better already, but of course we aren't done yet.  Our next step is to grout the tiles.  We might not get to grouting until next weekend, but I'll be sure to share an update as soon as it happens!

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Last week, Rob was at Lowes where he came across this cool glass mosaic tile on sale:


He loved the tiles and surprised me by bringing it home for an impromptu tiling project!  Don’t hate me, but I may just have the best husband ever!  He thought that this tile would look great around the perimeter of our soaking bathtub in our master bathroom.

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We have a pretty boring builder's grade master bath and this tile could add a little jazz to the room without spending a lot of money (which is great for resale down the line as bathrooms are always important to buyers).  I totally agreed and was right on board!

Unfortunately, we didn't snap a good "before" picture, but here's one we took several years ago when we first bought the house (notice since then we painted the top of the ledge white, but never fully repainted the room).

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So once we were both on board with re-tiling, the first step was to remove the old boring beige tiles surrounding the tub.

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Rob got fast at work using a hammer and that little chisel type tool in the photo below to take down the old tiles.

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However, as the tiles came down, parts of the drywall came with it.

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So Rob patched the drywall by first cutting out sections where it was damaged:

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And then he fixed it by cutting a square of new drywall, hammering it in, and patching it up with joint compound.

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Once the walls were patched, it was onto the fun stuff- tiling!  I'll share another update soon as we complete more of the tiling (it's still a work in progress)!

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