Category Archives: DIY projects

Door Drama: Part Three

It’s been a long time since I wrote about any progress to our front door, and any of you who’ve kept up with this blog for a while may have thought we’d forgotten to finish our  “plan”. (I assure you, I had not!)

But…the time has finally come!

I’m really excited about this post because, not only was it a heck-of-a-lot more work than anything we’ve tackled before, it has also really helped to update the exterior of our home.

Okay, so if you’ll remember, here’s how our front entry looked June of 2012:


We painted the doorway white some time shortly after that and then attached shutters in July of 2013:

Fast forward another year, and here we are!IMG_0753


The process began months (or, really a year or two) earlier with plans for our roofed pergola. I cannot stress this step in the process enough. Sometimes it felt like we were beating a dead horse, but since we were (are) amateurs, it was critical in minimizing our stress once we entered the building phase. We talked about what each of us was envisioning. We researched ideas and sketched out our plans. We tried to anticipate what problems we could face. We priced lumber and supplies online. We talked with people in our lives who knew how to build. We made an exhaustive list for our Lowe’s trip.IMG_0967

Then, we set a date to build and recruited some help. This came in the form of my brother-in-law who helped with the manual labor (my dad threw out his back days earlier but still graciously managed to come and help out for a while), my in-laws who brought lunch and helped with just about anything else we needed, and my mom who kept the chilluns so we could actually focus and get stuff done. The hubs and I were talking about how DIYers get all the glory for rolling up their sleeves and getting dirty, but (in our experience) it takes a village to get the job done. We’re so grateful to everyone who helped us out!

The first step was to tear out the old awning, see what was left underneath, and power wash the area before we built over it again.IMG_0696

As in true DIY form, we did experience a few hiccups in our plan. The biggest one was the way we attached our posts to the concrete slab. We unsuccessfully tried a couple of frustrating methods before using L brackets and bits designed to drill into concrete.IMG_0721

The second most frustrating step was the way our corrugated steel bowed. IMG_0730

Even when we drilled it to the pergola while pulling it taut, the front bowed. We remedying it by attaching 1×2 pieces in between each rafter. In the end, we like the look better than without it.IMG_0755



One of the hardest parts about the project both in planning and in execution was building around that little corner. It was a pain because that affected the 3 inch slope on the last rafter. Let me tell you, math is an important skill in building!IMG_0751

Because we used pressure treated wood, we have to wait a while until we can stain it. But the plan is to stain it the same color as the shutters and then paint the concrete gray.

August 2011:DSCN0512


July 2014:


We had many moments of frustration, but we knew that we’d feel pride once we were finished. And we do. One of the areas where I feel most accomplished is in anticipating the cost and sticking to our budget. We built this puppy (including the painting and staining that have yet to be completed) for right around $250. IMG_0755



One thing is for sure: it was a learning experience. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s still standing! 🙂


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DIY Scrapbook Paper Wreath

As much as I have enjoyed the winter wreath that graced our door the last 5 months, the warming weather reminded me that is was time for something springier.





The problem was, there are a lot of [spring time] wreaths I’m not crazy about. So when I came across this one, I thought I’d try it out. I bought a metal wreath (at Hobby Lobby for 2 or 3 bucks), 5 sheets of scrapbook paper (at 50 cents per sheet), and 1 piece of felt (to make the flowers). We’re not talking much money here. At that cost, I figured it was worth the experiment, even if it didn’t go well.


I cut a leaf template from a piece of cardboard (a toothpaste box, if you must know) and then traced it about 60 times on to the scrapbook sheets. Then, I overlapped them all the way around with hot glue until the metal was completely covered. It looked alright, but pretty boring and flat.


The one that inspired me used scalloped scissors. I didn’t have any–neither did my neighbor–and I didn’t want to buy any, so I folded each piece in half to create some dimension. I grouped them in pairs and fanned them on top of the existing leaves.


Muuuuch better.


I played around with a couple of ideas for flowers. These are made from circles cut from felt (about the size of a quarter), then cut in half and hot glued into funnel shapes. I think I need a few more on there (maybe a total of 5). One day, I’ll get to that. In the mean time, I’m pretty happy with it.  The purple is nice, but I think yellow would’ve been really cute, too. Overall, worth my effort, I think!


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Mud Room Space

As promised, I’m back with the improvements we’ve made to our den by the back door! For Christmas, we received a hat rack and shoe bench we’d been eyeing at IKEA from Jonathan’s parents.

If you’ll remember, here’s how sad our entryway was before:


Needless to say, it didn’t take long before we were assembling those babies! And here’s how she looks:


*Note the increasingly permanent set up for our modem and router on Jonathan’s box drum


DSCN0884I’m so pleased with how it has matured the space. We really thought about making our own coat rack from a pallet, and I’m glad we didn’t. This will be something that will last us (maybe even go with us to our next house).


One thing is  for sure, this room has come a long way since we moved in 2.5 years ago!

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Homemade Kid Clothes

My kids are incredibly blessed to have such talented grandmothers. Since Christmas, Liam and Ellis have been enjoying several things made for them.

DSC01511First is oh-so-cute tutu that Omi made for the girl. (not pictured: matching cousin Genevieve)

m c 2

Ellis was also fortunate enough to receive such a fun little skirt from her Mimi (not pictured: matching cousins Sierra and Lily)


The boy was so excited to get his very own Batman cape (made by Omi) and matching mask (made by his wonderful aunt Merrill). Batman doesn’t smile when he’s got so much crime to fight, of course.

christmas card 4Luckily for us, it’s  become a tradition for my  mom to make matching Christmas jammies for all of  her grandchildren. Currently, there are 8 kids (the 3 not pictured-Maggie, Ben, and Tobias- are in Burundi).

With talent like that from both lines, I think it’s safe to say it runs in the family! Thank you, Omi and Mimi!

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Filed under DIY projects, Ellis Rose, holidays, Liam Knox

DIY Bookcase Makeover


See that little black bookcase? It’s been with me since my college days. Someone painted it before I inherited it, and even though you can’t tell in these pictures, it was quite chipped and worn. It also didn’t match the room’s color palate in the slightest.

DSCN0743However, it is solid wood and a great size for storing toys, so rather than replacing it with something new, it remained on my DIY To-Do list.

Like I said, I knew for a while that I wanted to update this little puppy but wasn’t totally sure what direction I wanted to go in. After perusing Pinterest one day, I pieced some ideas together and was inspired. Once that hit me, I couldn’t wait to get started! In fact, because it warmed up a bit last week,  I decided to seize the opportunity. Forget the fact that it was the week before Christmas and already a little nuts around here!

Here she is, sittin’ pretty today!


The run-down:
Step 1: Sand the paint and rough edges until smooth.

Step 2: Paint one coat of primer.

Step 3: Apply four thin, even coats of paint (This happened to be a quart of paint I got at the Habitat ReStore for a buck when we first moved into this house. Little did I know it would go so well with all the furniture we now have in the room. SCORE!)

Step 4: Allow to cure for a few days.

Step 5: Stamp with orange and turquoise paint using a toilet paper roll. Isn’t it cute?!

I’m really pleased with how it turned out. I chose orange to tie the color from the pillows to the other side of the room. The splash of turquoise is the same paint used on the little side table.

DSCN0879I decided to fill in the turquoise circles because they didn’t make quite as bold a statement as I was envisioning.

DSCN0877I love how the circle pattern is repeated in the curtains and the throw pillows. (Anybody else wondering when I started thinking in designer terms?!)

Anyway, the whole project cost me just $3–for the sample container of orange pain (Behr’s Citrus Blast) since I already owned the off-white and turquoise paints and the primer.

DSCN0876There are still some finishing touches I’d like to do (for example, I’m scouting out more/different baskets for storage), but I’m really happy with where it’s at. Much improved, I’d say!

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DIY Pillow Covers: Remade

How’s your Friday? Mine’s going quite well. Thanks for asking. That’s because both of my children are napping…at the same time! It’s almost like the old days when I had a nap time every day to get things  done!

I’ve had project brain lately (I was actually starting to wonder if it was ever going to return!) but no down time to accomplish things on my mental to-do list. I was going a little crazy not being able to do anything.

Until this afternoon (I had time, that is. The verdict is still out on my craziness 😉 )

This is just a little thing, but I’m hoping it will be the start of some beautiful projects completed.

To those of you  who have followed this blog since its inception, you may remember the decorative pillow cases I made a couple of years ago. Well, one of them was getting a little worn and dirty.


As it happens, I was going through my craft supply box the other night and realized that I kept the fabric from my table runner/body pillow cover. The light bulb came on. Are you guys connecting the dots too?


I just cut it up and sewed the edges together. Piece of cake!




All in a nap’s time, ladies and gentlemen!

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Deck the Halls

…or in this case, the front door.

As much as I have a passion for waiting to get in the Christmas spirit until after Thanksgiving, I may have made an exception for a “wreath” on our door. (It’s really more wintery than Christmas-y, though, so I think I’m alright) The truth is, completing any projects around here–and then blogging about them–is hard enough as it is these days, so I had to move when the Spirit hit me!

Here’s a simple idea that doesn’t cost much (my specialty!) or take much time:
DSCN0808I wish I could say I came up with this concept on my own. But, I didn’t. Pinterest.

All I did was collect some pine cones. Ahem…a year ago…okay…my mom collected them. Hey, I said it’s hard to do more than keep my kids alive!

Then, I found some ribbon at Hobby Lobby for 1/2 off (which is pretty much every other week).

DSCN0811Next, I cut the ribbon in about 12-18 inch strips and tied one end to the knot on the end of my pine cone.

DSCN0803I used a little hot glue to secure the knot to the pine cone.

DSCN0804I repeated those steps about 8 times or so, and then tied all the ribbon ends together. I hung it on the front door using one of those handy-dandy Command Hooks.

DSCN0806And, voila!

DSCN0809Now, the burning question is Should it hang higher (as seen above) or lower?

DSCN0814I realize that most of you don’t notice the difference and no one probably cares, but I need opinions, people!

Anyway, I like it. It only took about 15 minutes to make (that is, once I finally got all the supplies) and I think it adds some cheer during this gloomy time of year (yes, I am aware that I rhymed, Jonathan). 🙂



Filed under DIY projects, holidays