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If you asked me what I thought was the biggest way to impact a room’s look, I’d say one word: paint!  Painting is fairly easy to do, inexpensive, and comes in so many choices, so it can really transform a room’s look.  Of course, if you’ve ever spent time debating paint colors and trying to pick one out, you know that it can be a nail biting experience some times.  One cool tool to make things easier and find color inspiration is Glidden's My Colortopia Show Your Colors Gallery. The gallery has user submitted before-and-after painting projects to really demonstrate how paint can transform a room’s look.

One of my projects is even in the gallery!  The very first project we took on when moving into our house was repainting our powder room.  The previous owner had painted the bathroom a bright electric blue color and to make matters even worse, the walls, ceiling, and back of the door were all painted the same terrible color.  You know, so the room really felt like it was about to close in on you!  We repainted the room ASAP, but interestingly enough we stayed in the blue family- this time it was just a much softer and more elegant shade of blue.

bathroom-before-and-after

You don’t have to go far to see all of the before-and-after projects featured on Show Your Colors, just check out the widget below!  It’s full of great paint transformations and inspiring projects.  Scroll through the photos below to see the projects.  You can even submit your own photos. 



Have you done any painting projects recently?  Do you have a go-to paint color or palette of colors you like to use?

Note: I have been sponsored by Glidden brand paint to write this post but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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2013 Ikea Catalog


September 24, 2012
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The mail is always a big deal in our house.  There’s no good reason for this because most days the mail is just a junk pile of things I don’t need, like credit card applications or cash-for-gold fliers.  But getting the mail is fun anyway because every once in a while I’ll receive something good like a party invitation, Better Homes & Gardens, or best of all- a package I forgot that I ordered.  And once a year, something very exciting comes- the Ikea catalog!

For about the last 15 years, I’ve gotten a strange amount of enjoyment from flipping through a brand new Ikea catalog.  15 years ago, before high speed internet and certainly home decorating blogs, the Ikea catalog was my only source of decorating inspiration. Well, that and episodes of the Christopher Lowell Show (anyone remember that show?)  I was very young back then, but I’ve always loved decorating shows & catalogs!

2013-ikea-catalog

That’s a very long way of telling you that I like mail, I was a weird kid, and the 2013 Ikea catalog came in the mail recently.  So as I like to do each year (you can see my 2012 and 2011 recaps here), I like to share some of my favorite finds from the catalog.  Here’s what I liked this year:

The MALM occasional table. For $129, I think this is a great looking table that’s very versatile.  I can picture it in an entry way or family room as a little office or homework space. Page 41.

ikea-desk

HYLLIS shelving unit for just $14.99.  What a deal and a steal for galvanized steel (sorry, I can’t resist a rhyme once in a while and we’ve already covered the fact that I’m weird).  But seriously, what a great price for a shelving unit.  I can picture it in a pantry, garage, or basement- maybe even as a baker’s rack in the kitchen.  Plus, the description says it’s indoor/outdoor and I think it would look even cuter on a patio full with flower pots.  Page 51.

ikea-shelves

Hello, gorgeous upholstered bed, BEKKESTUA.  If you get just the headboard, it’s $250.  Not bad, right?  Page 62.

ikea-bed

Speaking of the bedroom, I’m in love with the turquoise-blue Malin duvet set.  It’s shown in the catalog on page 79, but I couldn’t find the product description in there, but it’s on their website and available in different sizes from $19.99-$39.99.

ikea-bedding

This map pillow, the BENZY LAND cushion, also caught my eye and is listed as $12.99 on page 138.  No surprise that I like this pillow, after all I sewed my own nautical map pillow, have a big map featured over my new office/craft desk, and made a map photo frame (recently featured on SmarterTravel.com woot!).  So yeah, I kind of have a thing for maps.

ikea-pillow

It was also interesting to see that this year’s catalog had, dare I say it, a more blog-like feel to it.  Scattered throughout it were their own Ikea hack suggestions as to how their products could be DIY modified or spruced up.  Anyone else notice that?

So those are my picks for the 2013 Ikea catalog.  Any other member of the Ikea fan club out there?  What did you think of this year’s catalog?

By the way, Ikea (or anyone else for that matter) did not ask me or sponsor me to write this blog post.  They have no idea who I am, except maybe as the weird lady that comes into the store every once in a while.  Point is, they had nothing to do with this blog post.

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Who doesn't love a sweet delicious clementine? They're one of my favorite fruits and lucky for me they also come in cute wooden boxes.  I held onto one of these boxes and decided it would make a cool pantry storage container.

clementine-box-project

I decided to paint it and started off pulling out some excess staples leftover from where the plastic tip used to attach to the box. This box has a pretty smooth finish, but if I had kids, and knew little hands would be reaching in there, I would have also sanded down the edges to prevent splinters.

I got to work by giving the box a coat of spray paint white primer. Usually I'm lazy and skip the primer step, but since the box is made of porous untreated wood I figured the primer is necessary. After the primer dried, I picked a cherry red spray paint color that I already had on hand (you might remember it from such projects as our painted planters or painted sea shell).

In hindsight, I would have rather used a flat finish instead of glossy, but I already had this on hand and the box is going into the pantry, so I'm ok with the glossy for this free and usually hidden behind closed doors project.

But I did think the painted clementine box needed a little something extra, so I decided to add a chalkboard label. I measured around the side of the box and marked off the area the label should go in pencil. Then I taped it off and started having some fun with my new friend, chalkboard spray paint.

painting-storage-box
A couple of coats later, and after waiting the recommended drying time, bada bing, bada boom, I had a new pantry storage container made from and old clementine box.

diy-clementine-storage-box-project


It holds my baking supplies and is a cheerful treat for the pantry. Not bad for a free project from an old box, right?

free-pantry-storage-box-idea

I will be holing onto more clementine boxes as they come into season this year. Maybe next time I'll paint a design onto the box. Now, orange you glad I showed you this project??? Hahaha!

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I’ve been holding out on you guys.  A while back I completed what can only be described as my FAVORITE DIY PROJECT EVER!  I took some time to tweak it and take some nice photos of it, but I’m finally ready to share it and I couldn’t be more EXCITED!  Can you sense my enthusiasm yet???

Get ready…It’s a DIY office/craft room desk makeover!  Before we get to the awesome (if I do say so myself) after photos, I must share the embarrassing before pictures.  You see, my husband is a truly wonderful man and has brought so many fantastic things into our marriage.  BUT, he also brought his computer desk from college into our home!

old-computer-desk-hutch-makeover

This style of computer desks was quite popular not that long ago and could be found in homes everywhere.  And while my husband was very fond of it and describes it as “functional” and “homey,” I was not as thrilled by it. 

This desk lived in the corner of a spare bedroom when we first moved in and I would use it occasionally (Hubby got a larger and nicer desk for his office), but I quickly decided it needed an update and one day I doodled a little sketch on a post-it note of how I could fix up this desk.



Although I didn’t stick to this plan exactly, the basics remain the same- a coat of paint and some new shelving to completely transform it.

I started off by removing the top hutch portion of the desk.  It was fairly easy to take apart and I covered up the holes from where the desk and hutch were attached with some spackle before painting.

desk-makeover-progress

Then, I sanded the desk down manually (it’s made of particle board so I didn’t want to go crazy and sand off too much with a power sander).  I know there are lots of tutorials online for painting furniture, but since this is a particle board desk and not an expensive antique, I just used whatever supplies I happened to have on hand.  I think I used a can of spray paint white primer to give the desk a base, then painted it with regular latex wall paint I had left over, and then finished it with a  coat of protective spray paint. 

So are you ready to see the after photos?!

diy-craft-desk-makeover

Boom!  If I can pat myself on the back, I must say that’s quite a transformation!  Here’s a good before and after shot to give you the full picture:

computer-desk-makeover-before-after

I’m now able to plop my laptop down and use this desk as my office, or I can add my sewing machine and use it as a sewing or craft space.

Above the desk, I hung two shelves I had purchased at a garage sale.  They were originally red, but I painted them white too.  I used some empty food jars to store some paint brushes and pencils.  The letters are our initials and are from The Christmas Tree Shop.  I absolutely love the map too, it is another garage sale find.  I plan on adding pins to the map marking the places we’ve traveled.

craft-room-map-art

The desk isn’t very large so I try not to keep a lot on it.  Just a lamp (also from a yard sale) and a couple of framed photos.

diy-craft-room-makeover

When I’m not using the sewing machine, I keep a little decorative box on top of the desk.  It’s filled with old birthday/holiday cards, party invitations, and other little keepsakes I like to hold onto.  I haven’t gotten a nice chair for the desk, so I’ve been using a dining room chair in the meanwhile.

diy-desk-makeover

Just for fun, here’s another before-and-after shot:

diy-craft-desk-before-after-makeover

I couldn’t be more pleased!  This is probably the most fun and satisfying makeover project I’ve done to date.  I’m really thrilled with how this desk turned out and that I have a new office and craft space.  I’m so happy we were able to keep the desk and transform it into something that works better for us without too much difficulty and at almost no cost (about $8 spent on the map, shelves, and decorative letters, everything else we already owned).

What do you think of this transformation?  Have you created a craft or office space in your home?  Or have a spouse that has also brought some questionable furniture into the house?


I'm entering this project into the Creating with the Stars contest from East Coast Creative!



I'm linking up this project to House of Hepworths, Miss Mustard SeedFinding Fabulous, Beneath My Heart, Thrifty Decor Chick.

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Uninvited Guests


September 06, 2012
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In early summer, we had some uninvited guests move into our home- starling birds.  I previously shared how these birds built a nest in our stove exhaust vent (I originally thought it was my dryer vent).  Turns out starlings are pretty crafty and can sneak into vents even if they have covers.  But although the birds weren’t invited, we left them alone as they laid eggs and hatched their youngins’.  They might have been uninvited guests but I believe in good hospitality!



A short while later we could hear that the little baby birds had hatched.  We kept an eye on their parents as they flew in and out of the vent bringing them worms, Big Macs, or whatever birds like to eat.  But then it started to sound like the baby birds were getting closer and closer.  So close that it sounded like they were in our kitchen.  At first I thought my husband was crazy for suggesting that it sounded like they were behind our microwave (which connects to the exhaust vent), but by the next morning I agreed that it sounded like they were behind it.

So the microwave came down so we could get to the exhaust vent behind it.  And by “we” I really mean my husband took it down while I stood across the room in the corner hoping a flock of birds wasn’t going to fly out and attack me.



Behind the microwave was a metal panel with two small vent openings.  We could tell through the little openings that the birdies were really behind there. 



Hubby took down the metal panel so we could better access the birds.  Contrary to my fears, the birds didn’t just take off and fly around our house pecking at us as soon as the panel was removed.  Actually, Hubby had to reach into the vent to pull them out individually (wearing his Phillies gardening gloves of course).



He took them out one by one and placed them near a bush on our backyard.  They were actually pretty calm and didn’t put up a fight, I’m sure they were tired of being stuck in a dark spooky vent.  In total, there were four birds in the vent.  One flew away as soon as it got outside, but the other three didn’t know how to fly yet and hopped around our backyard for the next few days until they learned how to.



They hung out behind a big bush for a while and eventually worked their way over to our patio, cutely snuggling together.



After doing some research online, I learned that it was best to leave displaced baby birds alone and their parents would hear their chirps and find them.  Sure enough their parents showed up after a short while and continued to feed them and care for them for a few days as they hopped around our backyard before learning to fly and getting on their way.

I’m happy all of the little guys got out safely and it worked out well for them, but it was sure a hassle to remove the microwave and reinstall it.  Since the existing flaps on the vent didn’t stop the birds, we bought a vent cover from the Home Depot (also available on Amazon) to avoid future infestations of the avian kind.  To tell you the truth we didn’t get around to putting this cover up yet, as the birds didn’t come back for a second round, but we will definitely put it up soon so we don’t get another nest of birds next spring.bird-vent-guard
Have you ever had birds or other creatures pack their bags and move in without your invitation?  Any other tips for keeping these guests away?

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Back in Business


September 04, 2012
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I'm bacccckkkkk!  I was taking a blogging break for the summer, but now it's after Labor Day which means my white pants are packed away and I'm back in the swing of blogging things!

It was nice to take a break away from blogging and have one less thing on my plate, but I've been really itching to get back to it!  Now I feel refreshed, inspired, and have a great backlog of projects to share from over the past few months.

So what have I been up to?  At the start of summer, I put together my Summer Fun List - 2012 Edition with all of the just-for-fun things I wanted to accomplish.  Here's a reminder of my summer fun intentions:

summer-fun-list

I'm happy to report that I've managed to get almost everything on the list checked off (except for: pie - I ate pie, but didn't bake one; bike rides - my lazy summer included lazy legs; road trip- we traveled but I wouldn't classify anything as a road trip;  baseball - we watched Phillies games on TV, but didn't make it to the ballpark this season).

But pretty much everything on the list was accomplished (tough, I know, when "ice cream" is on my
to-do list!)  Here are some snapshots of just what it was that I was up to:



Ah, I love looking at all those summer snapshots at once, it reminds me of all the wonderful summer memories that took place this year and that I’m a very lucky girl!  I just made that photo my computer desktop background so I can savor the memories a little more. 

But I did plenty of things around the house too, and made sure to take photos so I can share them now post-hiatus.  To give you a sneak peek, my summer house accomplishments include: an update to our staircase, new lighting fixtures, outdoor updates, a fun new chalkboard, and tasty new recipes.  I'll be sharing each of these things soon and I'm going to get back to posting regularly, but I'd love to see what you guys have been up to too.  So if you have a project you'd like to share, please email me and I'd love to feature it!

How was your summer?  What did you check off your fun-to-do-list or productive-to-do-list?  Anyone miss me?  Please someone who's not related to me tell me that you noticed I was gone!

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