Closet turned mudroom

This is a project I’ve wanted to do for a long time. We have a closet in the garage entry way that has always simply stored junk. It used to be the home of our cat’s litterbox, and after that it just stored whatever it was that we didn’t have a place for elsewhere.

One day I was flipping through a magazine that my mom had on her coffee table that showed a lady who had converted a closet much like ours into a mudroom. Brilliant! I immediately knew that’s what I wanted to do.

With kids coming in and out with muddy and wet boots (especially during the winter months), I wanted a place where they could sit and take off and store boots, shoes, gloves, coats, etc.

Transformed Closet to Mudroom

Here is the transformed space.

We held off for awhile because originally I wanted to have bead board lining the mudroom but it was just going to end up costing too much. I finally decided that painting the inner walls with a paint color we already had on hand was the way to go. I really like the way it turned out.

It’s super simple too. We just removed the closet doors, painted the interior, put in a bench and installed a couple of hooks.

To add some light we got some of those puck lights that plug into an outlet and stuck them on the bottom of the top shelf. Then we put one single piece of molding across so that the lights weren’t visible.

I will be following this post within the next few weeks with a few other DIY projects that were included in this project.

I’ll show you how I made this:

"LOVE" Hook Rack

Decorative “LOVE” hook rack/ wall hanging.

And these:

Rust Shoe Baskets

Rustic shoe baskets.

Here is the view of our new mudroom from the hallway:

DIY Mudroom

The transformation makes a much more spacious entry way from the garage and creates a much more practical place for children to remove shoes before they walk all over my hardwoods!

More to come in the next few weeks!




The art of upcycling

I’ve been busy keeping my Etsy shop stocked over the last month and have been having so much fun finding new treasures to rescue, upcycle and sell. And with all of these projects I have forgotten 99% of the time to take before and after photos. The following item is the 1%.

I thought I’d write a post that explains what I look for in an item, and how I transform it from a piece of junk on its way to the dumpster, to become something that others want to actually have and display in their home. It’s really neat to give an item a complete make-over and a second chance. There is so much potential in many of these forgotten pieces. It takes vision, creativity and time, but the end product is worth it.

The item I’ve chosen to use as an example is this old sewing/craft box:

craftbox insideboxI found it for $1.49. I liked that it was made of solid wood. I also liked the general shape of it. What I didn’t like was the nasty mustard yellow felt lining that had seen better days, The chips on each corner of the bottom drawer, the scuffs/dings/scratches, and the awful pin cushion fabric. But all the things I didn’t like about it could be changed. The doors on top still functioned just fine, the pulls were intact, the lines were cute, and the solid wood was a huge plus. I knew when painted it would feel higher quality.

I wanted to get rid of the yellow felt and replace it with something else. I also wanted to cover the old fabric with something cuter, and I wanted to paint the entire box a different color to give it new life. All of these things were totally doable and didn’t take much time.

It was easy to rip off the top pin cushions. They were just hot glued on so they peeled off. I just covered those and used a stapler underneath to secure the new fabric.

While I had the pin cushions off, I painted the entire box and Aqua color (acrylic paint), distressed it and waxed it with a protective coat with Annie Sloan’s clear wax.

After that I attempted to get rid of the felt. The yellow felt peeled right off. I measured those areas and cut scrap paper to size, then glued them back in.

The scrapbook paper made a huge difference!

The scrapbook paper made a huge difference!

Upcycled Sewing Box

Ahh… much better!

Since I already made this look shabby, it was no big deal that there were chips in the drawer.

I just distressed these areas to make it look more intentional. It still functions the way it needs to.

I just distressed these areas to make it look more intentional. It still functions the way it needs to.

Projects like these are rewarding because the material cost is very low. In this case I used 1/2 small bottle of aqua acrylic paint, 2 scraps of fabric and some scrapbook paper. Since I already had the vision, it only took about 2 hours to complete the project and it was fun to do!

Here are some other projects I’ve done recently that don’t have before pictures but hopefully they can still be inspiring:

Owl bookends made out of 2 secondhand mini wall shelves.

Owl bookends made out of 2 secondhand mini wall shelves.

Earring organizer made out of a vintage weather barometer, some chicken wire, and scrapbook paper.

Earring organizer made out of a vintage weather barometer, some chicken wire, and scrapbook paper.

Cake stand made from a secondhand candle holder, plate and glass dome.

Cake stand made from a secondhand candle holder, plate and glass dome.

As always, if you want to support our upcoming adoption efforts or get ideas for more DIY projects, please visit my Etsy shop to see more items I’ve created from secondhand pieces.

DIY chevron picture frame

I saw this frame on the Anthropologie website and loved it:

Anthropologie Chevron Frame

Distressed Anthropologie frame with chevron pattern. $28.00

I thought about what I had around the house that I could use to create something similar. First, I found a picture frame that I wasn’t using that had a nice smooth surface to it. I bought it at the Goodwill a long time ago but never found a place for it. I figured that with some masking tape, acrylic paint, and a spouncer stencil sponge I may be able to create something similar.

DIY Chevron painted frame

You can get both of these at Michaels or Hobby Lobby.

I took my frame and some masking tape and just eyed a chevron pattern with the masking tape.

DIY chevron painted frame

I thought this would be a lot more challenging than it actually was. The larger the pattern, the easier it will be for you.

The nice thing about using the masking tape is it’s pretty forgiving and you can redo it pretty easily. I wasn’t concerned about making it perfect because I wanted the final product to be somewhat imperfect and distressed looking.

DIY Chevron painted frame

With my spouncer and paint, I sponged the paint over the exposed frame.

I didn’t want it to be opaque in all areas because I wanted the illusion that the paint was wearing off in some placed.

There is a lot that you can do with this. You could paint the entire frame first, then tape it after it’s completely dry and sponge stripes on top, or you could alternate colors in each row. I just chose to do one color on top of my unpainted frame.

DIY chevron painted frame

Once you’re done painting you can slowly begin to remove all the tape.

You can see that there are spots where the paint leaked under. Once it dried a little I went back and pushed those spots back with my fingernail. That seemed to work nicely.

DIY painted chevron frame

Here’s the finished product.

Clearly it’s different from the Anthropologie frame, but I’m pleased with how it turned out.

And if you want a similar print to fill your frame as the one in the Anthro picture, you can find some cute scrapbook paper to use in place of a print.

Happy crafting!

DIY painted end table

Vintage-looking painted furniture is really popular right now and that’s really good news for thrift store shoppers because this look can easily be achieved at a very low cost.

My parents receive the Ethan Allen catalog and my mom pointed out that they’re featuring a lot of this style on their website and in their mailers. I went onto their website just to get an idea of what they are charging.

Ethan Allen Table

This adorable end table from Ethan Allen is priced at $499 on their website.

I see furniture with this “bone structure” all the time at thrift stores. The problem is that they are usually in hideous condition with brassy gold hardware. But don’t let that get in your way. It is pretty easy to take one of these pieces and transform it into something lovely for your living room.

DIY Painted Table Before

Behold my next project.

I found this gem for only $9.99 at the thrift store. I was shocked that they were selling it for so cheap because it doesn’t wobble and is very sturdy (which is the most important thing). It had a lot of cosmetic issues though. Lots of scratches and dings and places where the finish was coming off. I didn’t care about any of those things though because I knew I would be painting it.

The first thing I did was take off the brassy hardware and use a medium sand paper block to sand the entire surface. Then I put on several coats of primer. Primer is something we always have around because we use it for some many things. I love how fast it dries so you can usually put on several coats of it in a shorter time frame.

I have some metallic brushed nickel spray that I’ve used for other projects so instead of finding new hardware I just sprayed the old one, especially since it’s purely decorative anyway. And this is what I had by the end of the day:

End table after

This entire project cost me $10 since I already had the paint and metallic spray.

I purchased the table around 10am, was home and sanding it around 10:30, had 2-3 coats of primer on it by 11:30 when I had to go pick up my daughter from preschool. I finished the final coats during her nap time. While I waited for the paint to dry I did a few coats of metallic spray on the hardware. By 3pm the project was finished and by that evening it was displayed in my living room.

Skeptical about spraying your hardware? Take a look at how this turned out:

DIY end table hardware

Looks pretty good, huh?

Anyone can do this. It will save you tons of money and make your house look beautiful! Most people won’t even know that you did it yourself. Colored paint is really in right now, but because my living room doesn’t get as much light, I wanted white pieces to brighten it up, plus I already had white paint so that kind of made my decision for me. Be creative though, there is no limit to what you can do with this.

DIY first birthday party

When my daughter turned 1, I pulled out all the stops. Since I went to school and worked as a graphic designer for several years, I have to design everything myself. I feel like it goes against everything I know to buy cards or invitations from a different source. Fortunately it’s something I love to do anyway so I usually jump at the chance to design things in my free time. I have an excellent local printer that I used when I did my wedding invitation business. They still give me amazing deals, and it’s worth it for them to print and cut everything to size.

My daughter’s first birthday theme was ladybugs. We called her “Bug” and I love red, black and white together. They are classic colors that will always look good together. The first thing I designed was her invitations.

Front of Birthday Card

There’s so much you can do with polka dots. I loved that I could use this design element in all of her birthday decor.

Inside Birthday Invitation

The inside of her birthday invitation. I made a cut at the bottom of the outside to resemble ladybug wings and let the black and white polka dots underneath, peek through.

I splurged a little bit on her birthday party because when you save in other areas you can do that occasionally. And since it was the big “1”, I felt it was warranted.

Ladybug smash cake

I made bookmarks with a list of my daughter’s milestones to stick into party boxes. With one of them, I cut off the top part to stick into her smash cake.

Ladybug Gift Boxes

You can see the bookmarks poking out of the gift boxes.

This party was only for family members, (you may think it’s insane to go to this much work for just a family party; but if it’s not labor intensive, I want no part of it) so silly things like a list of milestones actually made sense. If it had been for friends, I probably wouldn’t have done that because they probably wouldn’t have cared to have a keepsake like that.

DIY ladybug cupcakes

DIY ladybug cupcakes. You don’t need to know much about cake decorating to do these. I made some red frosting, then used one of those spray frostings to do the piping and antennae. Then I bought some plain white M&Ms at Michaels and dotted the eyes with a toothpick and some of the remaining black frosting.

These cupcakes were so easy to make and fun too. I had them resting on leaves just for fun.

Ladybug Napkins

I splurged on some cute themed napkins. I think it was worth it.

This is the way the table looked with everything on it:

Ladybug Birthday Party

Ready for a family party!

You’ll notice a few extra touches as well. I purchased ladybug party cups online from Amazon. I also bought the red balloons with the black polka-dots online and mixed them in with some solid black ones. And I couldn’t resist getting some black and red M&Ms since I already had a bunch of white ones left over from the ladybug eyes. The black and polka dot tissue paper is from Hobby Lobby (always use a coupon if you have the app or get the newspaper).

It was a really fun day for everyone.

My happy 1 year old.

My happy 1 year old.

DIY kids’ bathroom makeover

I promised to post pictures of my daughter’s bathroom makeover that I did about a year ago. I used the same technique that I did in our kitchen.

I was really proud of myself because I did this whole project while my husband was on a week long business trip. I painted the walls, sanded and painted the cabinets, attached the hardware, and put the new towel rods and art work up myself. Usually I have him do these things because he does them so much faster than I do, but this time I was up for the challenge and thought it would be fun to surprise him when he got home.

Bathroom Before

This is how our guest bathroom upstairs looked for a long time (only we did eventually put up a shower curtain and towels, don’t worry!).

It’s really hard to photograph this bathroom due to the shape of it. This is the best angle I could get to capture most of the bathroom.

My mom was here helping with my daughter that week so she was able to entertain her during the times that I was working on the bathroom.

Bathroom After Makeover

Bathroom after makeover. Here is the best shot I could get of the majority of the bathroom. Again it’s super hard to photograph, especially when you don’t have a fancy camera.

I used the same hardware and paint that we used on the cabinets downstairs. And with this project I had gift cards to Target so I kind of cheated. Most of the items I purchased were from there. The project ended up being really cheap because of the gift cards and because we already had tons of left over white paint and sandpaper from doing our kitchen project. If I hadn’t had gift cards I would’ve probably tried to get a little more creative with the artwork.

I probably would’ve also gotten more items from the thrift store. But if you have gift cards, might as well use them, right?

DIY Playroom

When we first moved into our house, we didn’t know what to do with all the space we had. Our house had a finished basement with 2 bedrooms in it, and there were already 4 bedrooms upstairs. At the time it was just my husband and our 2 cats and we’d just moved from a small 1100 sq ft home in the Northwest so we didn’t have any furniture in 75% of our home for about 3 years.

We had our daughter in 2009 and a year after that I found myself envisioning one of the upstairs bedrooms as a playroom where she could keep the majority of her toys and have a space of her own. One time when Hubby was on a business trip and our daughter was still napping several times a day I decided to transform it on my own.

I ended up getting several small sample cans from Lowes to use for the mural I wanted to make on her wall. I painted the solid color first and after that dried I sketched the mural by hand with a pencil.

With the sample paints I began to fill it in during nap times.

Playroom Mural

I love owls and trees so this is what I came up with.

I bought those plastic file holders that attach to a wall and covered them with fabric (hot glued) to make book holders.

DIY Bookholders

DIY wall bookholders. Plastic file holders from Office Depot and fabric from Hobby Lobby.

I also made some some tissue poms out of tissue paper and some string to hang across the bay window in the colors of her playroom.

DIY Tissue Poms

DIY tissue poms. Just fold several pieces of  tissue paper accordian style, staple in the middle and then gently fan out in both directions. Gently fluff.

Using my limited hand sewing skills I made a few pillows. The first was this rectangular pillow made out of the same fabric as one of the book holders on her wall:

DIY Throw Pillow

DIY hand-sewn pillow. I cheated and hot glued the ribbon and the button. Don’t tell!

I also made a small square brown and white polka-dot pillow. You can kind of see it in front of the big orange one in the first picture.

Then I stenciled on opposite wall “A Wise Old Owl” and posted the lyrics to the song underneath as well as a cute owl statue I found at Hobby Lobby that was on sale.

Wise Old OwlThere you have it. We’ve since moved the bed that was in there so there is more space for her toys. It’s wonderful having a separate room where most of them can stay out of our way.