It’s the Little Things

Two frames. That’s all we needed at Ikea . .  two frames. Somehow Ikea suckered us in with five ceramic vases for my roommates baby shower centerpieces, two frames, and a shoe caddy.

And a cup of coffee for Greg since today’s post discusses our inability to do anything without a cup coffee.

Just kidding, it’s about our new shoe cabinet.

Over the summer we visited our nice neighbors’ house and noticed a table in their hallway which we (ok, I) swooned over. The table completed the hall and didn’t over power it in the way I imagined it would. Greg agreed with my table lust but not to same level of enthusiasm.

Just look at the emptiness

Just look at the emptiness

Enter Ikea. We went earlier in the summer to look at shoe cabinets for the ridiculous amounts of shoes I own and needed to corral but the cabinets didn’t fit the measurement of our closet wall. Although, they did fit perfectly in our hallway table search.

We love adding storage to the house and our hall closet needed it due to keeping our hats, scarves, gloves in a yaffa block bin at on the top shelf (yes, the block is from my freshman year of college). By adding drawers in the hallway, cold days won’t involve me digging through a bin and leaving a trail on the stairs.

ikea storageIkea offered us two solutions: 6.75″ deep and 8.75″ deep. This might be one of the few times when smaller is better. For our hallway, two extra inches overpowered the space but it took an afternoon of me walking past with cardboard 8.75″ inches wide taped to the wall. Taping a piece of cardboard might sound silly but we’ve found by taping up the dimensions or depth of something, it truly helps us get a feeling for a project. By doing this, we’ve saved time and money by knowing what does/doesn’t work size wise.

Ikea storageWhich brings us back to the two frames. We went just to look at the cabinets and add one to our Christmas list. As you can clearly see from this post, we couldn’t wait for Christmas (darn you, Ikea!) Fast forward through us trying to locate the Stall cabinet and the hour spent building it to this–

ikea storageA new home for our keys and winter accessories! The depth works perfectly in the hallway, any deeper it would be intrusive. The drawers are dedicated to hats, gloves, and scarves just in time for the predicted bad winter.

ikea storage









Chalk One Up

Close your eyes and imagine a frame with potential but an ugly punctured canvas inside.  Have that image?

Good, because I’m an idiot who erased all the before and during images from this project.

A local thrift store hosts a monthly half off everything sale and for $5, we couldn’t go wrong with the frame (due to all the potential).  I knew it would make the perfect chalkboard sign for our patio and it would only take a few steps to achieve the desired results.

Chalkboards have been popping up everywhere from weddings to birthdays. Our patio’s cabinets have chalkboard contact paper on the top for when we have parties.  Why? Well, we tend to serve all drinks from the cabinet and it’s a great way to label what we are serving and where the beer is.  A framed chalkboard for above the bar has even more uses—during our Phillies Challenge (one beer/one hot dog per inning), we can keep tally on it, for Hazel’s third birthday we can write fun facts on it.  For our upcoming BBQ, it lists our libations.

DIY Chalkboard frameThe only reason I am willing to add so many chalkboard to my life is due to Chalk Ink.  Chalk Ink removes the need for old school chalk.  It works like a marker but is easily removed like old school chalk.

DIY Chalkboard frameSo let’s get started!

What you will need

  • Chalk Ink
  • Foam Core
  • Chalkboard paint or contact paper
  • Frame
  • Staple Gun
  • Spray paint

1. Remove any print/canvas that might be in your frame.

2. Spray paint it the color you desire or keep it as is (depending upon your frame).  I was aiming for a more Tuscan red but ended up with apple red.  Oh well.

3. Cut a piece of foam core to fit inside the frame.

4. Paint with chalkboard paint according to the can’s instructions.

5. Staple gun into the frame.

6. Chalk it up!

DIY Chalkboard frame

Sneak peak: Office Love

Three months ago we started my office transformation and after three intense days of “let’s just finish it” projecting, I am officially in my office. This definitely was one if the few projects when we almost call in professionals (damn you, subfloor!) but we pushed through a learned a new skill or two.

We still have a few finishing details to do before we have a big reveal and I have hundreds of photos to edits before to have a project tutorial but we wanted to give you a sneak peak.





Website Makeover

Apparently websites need makeovers and renovations too. Instead of writing our curtain tutorial, I spent last night updating the site, what do you think?

I still need to add pictures to our room makeover page but they’re on my old laptop. . . buried in our guest room under office stuff. On the bright side, we’ve hit the home stretch of the office renovation and our backyard has come a long way in the past few weeks. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s five in Friday!


What’s a Girl to Do?

Are you a to do list-aholic?  I am and it became an even worse addiction after attending project management seminar at my old job.  Seriously, the class makes your addiction even worse because they promote the use of a daily to do list!

Sure, I’ll make my daily to do list and write it on a post it note but inevitably gets lost in the desk vortex.  Over the past two months of working at a temporary desk (aka the folding table) my desk vortex transitioned into a straight up black hole.  Items start on the desk but disappear, never to been seen again.

I can’t even blame the dog since she’s not allowed upstairs.

Something needed to be done since my manager is due any minute and I received new responsibilities to handle in her absence. Let’s face it, a disappearing post it note would not serve me well in this situation.

A white board is what I needed but would not work on my wall. The next best thing (and much prettier) solution was a picture frame.

Picture frame? Yes, the glass works like a white board! I picked up a pack of thin tip dry erase markers and a frame from HomeGoods.

to do frame

Once home with all my items, I created a lined to do list template in word (attached here) and printed it.

Then I laid the frame’s glass over it to determine how to cut. Trace the shape and cut. Place everything back in the frame and start to doing!

Since my office is still scattered throughout the house, I modeled one of my to do frames with my personal laptop.  The great thing about this whiteboard, is that you can put it anywhere– buy a large one and hang it, small one in the bathroom room to remind kids to brush their teeth, whatever you desire.

to do frame-2

Apparently, all this working bored Hazel.  She believes she is too pretty to work.


Glitter in the Air

If you haven’t figured it out– I’m a total magpie, show me something sparkly or glitter and I’m a happy camper.  All winter I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect piece of art to hang over the card catalog bookcase and then I saw it on Pinterest.

A friend who shares the same magpie tendencies (just look at her shoe blog) posted this print.

glitter mat

Perfect for me, right? LaLuna Designs created the print and customized the colors. I chose the print at home option since I had a few other images to print at Kinkos.

As much as I loved it, it needed something. A plain 8×10 frame wouldn’t do. We had a larger frame with mat in our pile of random unhung art work ($2 clearance at Michael’s woohoo!) and with a slight modification, I knew it would be perfect.

Modification? A glitter mat, of course. Fortunately we still had several rolls of glitter wrapping paper left from the wedding and I grabbed one. Modifying a mat can provide a great way to change the look of an image or provide more fun to your wall.

Side note: I swear the glitter wrapping paper keeps multiplying. I don’t remember buying this many rolls.

About 10 minutes later, I completed the easiest and sparkliest project of our office renovation.  Now let’s get into how you can make your own picture mat.

gitter mat

What you will need

  • Glitter wrapping paper (or non glitter wrapping paper)
  • Mat
  • Exacto knife
  • Glue (stick or bottle)
  • Cutting mat (or something to cut on)

glitter mat-2

1.  Unroll your paper and lay upside down.  If you are using a paper with a pattern/print, please lay right side up.

2. Lay your mat right side up on top of the paper.  You do this because we are gluing the glitter paper to the bottom side of the mat.  Why? Because the bottom side does not have the beveled edge.

3. Cut around the mat with your exacto knife.  If you don’t have an exacto knife, trace around the mat with pencil and cut with scissors.

glitter mat-3

4. Get annoyed when you realized you keep writing  mat “matt”.

5. Glue the glitter paper to the back of the mat. Glitter side up, of course.

glitter mat-4glitter mat-5

6. Insert into frame.

7. Add print.

glitter mat-6

8. Hang and smile because it so fits your personality.

glitter mat-7



Faux Card Catalog Bookcase

I love libraries and can get lost in one (willingly) for hours.  There was a great feeling to thumb through a card catalog to see if they had the book you wanted to read and after finding it’s location, you’d set out on the ultimate journey– to find the book.  As libraries converted to digital card catalogs, a few savvy buyers snatched up the card catalog relics. As much as I love them, I hated their non-existent practicality.  I don’t need a piece of furniture with 30 small drawers, I need a real drawer with space to hold something wider than a CD case.  Then I stumbled on one a person converted and told Greg we could do that. Sure, he didn’t have as much faith as I did but just look at the Before/After– I think we nailed it. faux card catalog DIYThree and a half months after the chest of drawers entered our home, we finally finished converting it to a bookcase with faux card catalog front and it’s love– just look at those drawer fronts (hardware by D.Lawless Hardware).  I wanted a piece of fun furniture for my new office and something that wasn’t just a bookcase from Target.  Our completed bookcase added personality and life into the room, along with a sense of whimsy.  It reminded me of endless hours at the library and getting lost in a book. faux card catalog bookcase-6 Sure, my office isn’t anywhere near done but I have this lovely piece of furniture to highlight one of my favorite things from this year– the watercolor of my Grandmom’s house from The Art of Michelle and our engagement picture by April Ziegler Photography.  No matter what, this bookcase is a sign of progress in one of our slowest moving projects ever. faux card catalog bookcase-8 We found the ideal piece of furniture at Impact Thrift when we went for a different office furniture related purchase.  Walking around, we stumbled upon this dresser for the whopping price of $60.  Both of us loved the rounded edging but then Greg opened the bottom drawer to reveal a hidden cedar chest.

Ahhh, cedar chest!!

Ahhh, cedar chest!!

We knew we had to have it since you can’t find furniture like this anymore.  One coupon later, the chest was ours for $45.  Add $35 in hardware, $30 in paint, another $25 in wood and you have an amazing custom piece of furniture.  Now you can do it too and I’ll tell you how.

What You Will Need

Dresser Miter saw Brass Knobs
Clamps Nail gun Cup pull label holders
Circular saw Wood glue Primer
Crow bar Wood filler Paint
Rubber Mallet 4″ lattice strips Fabric
Caulk 1/4″ plywood Batting
Sander 1/2″ half round trim Foam Core

1. Find a dresser which meets your desired dimensions.  When picking a dresser, look at the drawers and determine how the height/length will work for your faux card catalog front. For example– do you want more square drawers fronts with fewer pulls or do you want it similar to mine with a more traditional size card catalog front. faux card catalog DIY 2. Buy your dresser.  We loved this chest due to the trim going around it and how the bottom drawer was a mini cedar chest. 3. We wanted to turn the top into a bookcase, to do that we removed the top two drawers.  If you don’t want to turn it into a bookcase, skip this step.  To remove the support systems, we used the crow bar to gently ease everything out.  You don’t want to go all Wreck-It Ralph on the chest because you want to maintain the integrity of the piece. faux card catalog DIY 4. Once you are finished, you will have a structure that looks like this. Wood fill and sand any holes in the bookcase area.  Repeat the wood fill/sanding any scrapes/dents/dings in the outside of the piece. faux card catalog bookcase-4 Side note: Ignore the completed drawers, my instructions differ from how we completed it.  If it wasn’t the middle of winter when starting it, we would have followed it this way. 5. As you can see from the above picture, we need to do two things– extend the bookcase ledge to meet the edge of the drawer and to create a flat surface for the shelf base. 6. We installed a piece of lumber (trimmed to fit length and width).  Cut and nail in place. faux card catalog bookcase-2 7. Then we measure the inside base to cut our piece of 1/4″ plywood.  We had extra plywood from the bathroom refresh and cut it using the circular saw. Nail in place. faux card catalog bookcase-18faux card catalog bookcase-3 8. Add trim to hide the edges of the plywood and lumber.  We wanted to add decorative trim to match the trim on the chest, so we measured the depth needed for the trim when cutting out the piece of lumber and plywood.  We nailed the trim after installing the plywood. 9. Wood fill/sand again! 10. It to start on the drawers– decided your faux drawer size.  To determine the size, I played around with paper I had and it helped me visualize what each front would look like. 11. Remove all hardware. 12. Wood fill/sand the holes. faux card catalog bookcase-22 13. Cut your faux fronts and one extra.  We used 4″ lattice which meant we just needed to cut it with the miter saw to the desired length.  The extra one will act as a template when you install the hardware.  Don’t skip it because it will save you time. faux card catalog DIY 14. After you cut the fronts, you will need to sand down the corners and edges to give it a worn look.  As you can see from the picture below, the sanded piece (bottom) looks much nicer and more finished than the raw edge (top). faux card catalog bookcase-9 faux card catalog bookcase-19 15. If you’re like me and completely excited about the project, you’ll want to see what the drawer will look like with the fronts and hardware– play around with it.  Ahhh it’s love already. faux card catalog DIY 16. Not going to lie or sugar coat it, gluing the fronts was our least favorite party of the entire project. To start draw a line down the center and find the drawer’s center point. faux card catalog bookcase-11 17. To keep everything even and straight, we propped the drawer sideways on the island.  We clamped a yard stick down the center to ensure even spacing between the “drawers”.  Then we determined the distance we wanted each “drawer”- the width of two paint stirrers.  After we determined all of this (using math to find the extra space all around and divide it evenlyish), we started gluing. 18. Apply a small amount of glue and use a level to verify straightness.  Clamp in place.  The whole reason the drawer is up like this is because we used Ms. Level on each “drawer”. faux card catalog bookcase-12 19. Over the course of several days, glue/clamp all the “drawers”. 20. Realize that you picked a very complicated project. 21. Drink a few beers and avoid the project. 22. Prime everything (two coats)!  We used BIN primer due to other bloggers loving it– be aware, it’s very runny. faux card catalog bookcase-13 23. Start painting.  We used Benjamin Moore Advance paint which is highly durable and meant for cabinets.  The only downside to the paint besides costs is the 16 hour wait time between coats. faux card catalog DIY24. Question bloggers after first coat due to it not looking good. 25. Apply the second coat.  Still question the bloggers and google the paint. 26. Apply third coat and be overly happy with how it looks.  Dance to Pharrell Williams because your happy. 27. Remember the template piece you cut in step 13?  Well, go find it because it’s time to apply hardware.  Place the hardware on the template and mark where you need to drill.  Drill your holes. faux card catalog bookcase-14 28. Mark holes on each “drawer” and start drilling. faux card catalog bookcase-15 29. Screw in your hardware.  We thought this would be a quick afternoon project– three hours later, we were still at it. faux card catalog bookcase-17 30. Time for the bookcase backing. Measure the back of the bookcase and deduct a quarter inch from the length and width. 31. Cut the foam core to that size 32. Wrap in batting and staple gun down.  Test it in the bookcase to ensure the fit. faux card catalog DIY 33. Wrap it in fabric and staple it down. faux card catalog DIY 34. Insert backing, add the drawers. faux card catalog bookcase-20 35. Sit back and realize you nailed it like the Bellas at Finals.