Monthly Archives: August 2012

Making the Most of Small Spaces

Why, hello! It’s been a while 🙂

We’ve been busy at our house lately. And while I actually have carved out some time for some small projects, I haven’t done a good job of devoting time to logging them here.

Today’s project is a simple one. I recommend everyone go home and do this. It won’t (likely) cost a cent, and though I didn’t come up with this idea, it is a pretty smart one. (The truth is, all my smart ideas are borrowed!)

You see, I dream of living in a house with ample storage space. But, since I also have a weakness for the character of old places, I doubt those two will meet in my living space (at least not at our current price range!).

Our son Liam’s closet currently doubles as gift wrapping central supply. We’ve shoved boxes, gift bags, tissue paper, bows, and wrapping paper on top of his rotating wardrobe (did anyone ever tell you that kids grow fast?!).

The solution? Four screws and two strings.


Voila! I used to keep all of this in an old laundry bag. Now, we’re making use of pretty unusable space. Plus, I can see all my wrapping paper options at once! Genius, right?

I just estimated about how high and wide I wanted to drill my holes (some of our walls have plaster-like strength). Then, using a screw with a large, flat head, Jonathan left them “out” a few turns so that I’d have room to tie my string (any string would work as long as it can hold a little bit of weight).

That’s it!

Even though it may not solve all of our closet storage problems, this is moving us in the right direction, yeah? I mean, you can hardly see them up there!

Anyone have some smart storage solutions they want to share? I’m always looking for inspiration!




Filed under DIY projects

Playing Dress Up

There are times I feel a little overwhelmed at the amount of house project ideas I have rolling around in my head.

Such is the case these days, and I decided that it was time to take action! Today’s project is one that didn’t cost much, didn’t require many supplies, or require that I move the participating furniture from its home in order to work on it.

This is the story of a dresser that just needed a little dressing up.

I never took a straight shot of the “before” (I’m still reminding myself to do that) but if you look really closely at the right side of the picture, you can kinda see how this guy looked when we first moved in.

The quick fix: I slapped some leftover black paint on him and spray painted the handles with leftover paint from my lamp project (posts to follow someday on those projects) so he would tie in with the rest of the room’s furniture.

The problem: It was rather sloppily refinished . I learned that it’s not a good idea to paint outside when it’s chilly (because paint has difficulty curing), and I jumped the gun on actually using the dresser (i.e. before it was completely cured). Therefore, it developed some not-so-pretty chip marks on the top. See?

The solution: I got this great idea (I won’t say from where 🙂 ) to cover an ugly tabletop with wrapping paper, newspaper, etc. I thought our dresser would be an especially good candidate because the top is recessed just a hair from the edging. My plan was to decoupage some scrapbook paper to the dresser top and change out the knobs.

Wham. Bam. Easy. (No, really! This actually was pretty easy.)

I went to Hobby Lobby (love that place) and bought 5 sheets of paper (that consisted of a variety of 3 kinds of paper). At $0.60 a pop, we’re only talking 3 bucks. Cheap project, people. I already had homemade Mod Podge (mixture of 50/50 glue and water shaken well). The only other thing I had to buy, then, were some new knobs. Mind you, there was nothing really wrong with the old ones, but I was going for a nicer look than spray painted wood. At 2 bucks each (since they were 50% off), they cost me $16. That’s a grand total of $20 (and some odd change), including tax, for this whole project.

My vision included tearing and overlapping the pieces of paper (since it wasn’t going to be one solid print anyway). The most difficult part proved to be planning how I wanted everything to layer.

Anyway, I got to work, using a small foam brush to apply the decoupage to the back of the paper and securing it to the dresser top. Once all the pieces covered the entire surface, I went back with about 4 coats of decoupage (allowing time for each coat to dry) to create a protected surface.

Here’s what the finished product looked like:

I’m really happy with it! I’m still deciding if I should also give it a coat of poly-crylic or something, but I’ve made coasters with scrapbook paper and decoupage that have been water-proofed enough, so we’ll see.

Interestingly, I thought I was going to have a lot of problems with air bubbles (since I had quite a few with each coat of decoupage), but they pretty much all took care of themselves!

Don’t the knobs go nicely with it? I think it helps to give it a more antique vibe.

After 24 hours or so of drying with a fan, everything’s back in its place.

…and the updated room shot.

That’s a one day project with a small cost!

One down, only 127 to go. 🙂


Filed under DIY projects, home improvements

Challenge yourself

Hi. Today, I got a haircut. Like, a haircut. Almost all my hair is gone!

Can you say Eeekk?! I’m still not totally used to it, and I really would not have probably done it if not for the confidence and encouragement of my sweet husband.

Let me just say that some of you will read this post and think, what’s the big deal? Others of you will think,  I would never do something so bold. I guess I’m speaking to the latter.

We were out a month or two ago when I saw a girl with a cute pixie cut and commented that maybe I would want to try something like that one day. (Like, in another lifetime.) But Jonathan was like, “You should totally do it!” (Which completely threw me off guard). So I got nervous. I no longer had a reason not to. But I still debated it. A lot. I had butterflies in my stomach hours before the appointment.

I figure it’s good for me to do things periodically that make me uncomfortable. I don’t want to get too comfortable with being comfortable.

You see, right after I graduated high school, I donated my hair to Locks of Love. It was the most dramatic haircut I had ever contemplated and I was petrified. I kept thinking of reasons why I “couldn’t”. I did, though.

And you know what? It was kinda freeing.

I know it sounds silly, but I realized that maybe I was too attached to my long hair. Hair grew. I was still me, regardless of my hair.

So today, almost a decade later, I found myself in a very similar position. And I took the plunge. Again.

Now, I’m not implying that each of you reading this should go and chop your hair off…or am I ? 😉

Here’s what I am saying: challenge yourself. Do something that scares you a little. It’s good for you.


Filed under personal thoughts