Entries Tagged as 'DIY projects'

Budget bathroom redo: Making progress



We’ve been making progress in our Budget Bathroom redo, hitting some snafu’s along the way including a couple of colds a fever and an ear infection, but alls good now and we’re set to go.  So far we’ve stripped the wallpaper, changed out the ugly old $9 lighting fixture that was only good if you’re putting on makeup for a Broadway play, moved the mirror and painted a bold blue color to work with the existing colors we’ve got going on in the tile.

But, let’s back up for a minute after removing the wallpaper, we decided we needed to move the mirror down a few inches . It was awkwardly placed at the old height. Call us strange but one of our criteria for mirror placement in a bathroom is to be able to see yourself while you’re trying to get dressed in the morning without standing on your tip toes.

We started by first removing the mirror, luckily this part was was super duper easy since there were only a few mirror clips holding it to the wall and no glue. A couple of turns  of the screwdriver and BAM the mirror came down in one nice lovely piece. No 7 years bad luck for this bathroom. No siree.

After that a few tiles needed to be removed to accommodate the mirror sliding down. We tried as carefully as possible to pry off a few of the tiles above the back-splash to allow room. We used the old tried and true method of sliding some putty knives between the tiles and the wall. Working them back and forth loosening each tile as we went.

It was quite a messy process removing the wall tiles. Unfortunately no matter how hard you try when removing tiles sometimes you get some damage to the drywall behind the tile. What happens is the tiles adhere to the paper backing on the drywall. When you try to pry them off the wall it sometime pulls the paper backing with it and some drywall bits. No too pretty is it?


Fortunately it’s nothing that a little patching and some future molding we’re planning on adding to the mirror won’t cure. We patched the wall with a putty knife and some drywall compound, speeding up the drying process by placing a fan on the counter top and aiming it at the wall. We’re a bit impatient some days.  Once it was dry we sanded it smooth, we knew it didn’t have to be perfect because it will be covered up again soon enough. I love patch jobs and molding. It can cure so many boo boos.

Next it was time to put our perfectly reusable mirror back on the wall.We decided to reuse it after a couple hours wasted looking at tons of medicine cabinets that neither one of us could agree on. They were either too small, too big, not pretty enough or too expensive for our bathroom project. So back on the wall our mirror went with a couple of dollops (that’s right i said dollops) of mirror mastic which is some sticky stuff. Allowing space for the molding below that we’ll use to dress it up.

Then it was on to the paint job. Yup, we’re going bold! We needed something that would go with the current tile which has gray blue undertones in the tile border. We couldn’t replace the tile now for now so we decided to embrace it.  Once the first stroke of wall color went on the wall we knew we decided right. It started to pull the whole room together.

Finally we added some casement trim to the mirror, bought at Home Depot, it’s the same stuff that would go around doors and windows. We mitered the corner at a 45 degree angle and put it up like a picture frame around the mirror.

And here’s how the mirror turned out once the molding is up…pretty impressive for a few dollars in molding and a few nails to hold it in place the mirror went from boring to interesting in no time.That’s a sneak peak of the shower curtain we found at Home Goods for around $14.00 can’t beat that.

We’ll post more as the bathroom takes shape and we add all the finishing touches for pretty pictures. For now, we’re pretty pleased with the way it’s coming along.

So for a few dollars in molding and a few nails to hold it in place the mirror went from boring to interesting in no time.

Pottery barn kids inspired; Easter yard stake tutorial



Flipping through the pottery barn kids catalog I saw these adorable little Happy Easter and Egg Hunt signs. There’s nothing like Easter decorating to say HELLO spring! I love the muted spring colors and the vintage hand painted quality. So we decided to make our own version of the inspiring Easter decoration below and sharing the step-by-step how-to for all you DIY’ers  out there that love copy catting Pottery Barn style on a craft store budget.

image via Pottery Barn

Shopping List

4 foot piece 1 x12 Pine Board

Spray Sealer

Folk Art Acrylic Craft Paint

Happy Easter Bunny sign

  • Fresh Cut Grass
  • Titanium White
  • Sunny Yellow
  • Hydrangea
  • Light Lavender
  • Baby Pink
  • Coffee Latte

Egg Hunt sign

  • Hydrangea
  • Fresh Cut Grass
  • Sunny Yellow
  • Titanium White
  • Light Lavender

We started by cutting down our piece of pine into 3 equal pieces 16 inches tall. This will leave you one extra piece left over to save for another project or to make a third sign.

Now paint the entire board Fresh Cut Grass for the Happy Easter sign and Hydrangea for the background. Once dry you’ll want to take some sand paper and rough up the fronts of the boards to expose some raw wood through the paint, giving your background that vintage feel, concentrate on the corners and outside edges where it would have naturally worn over time. Once you’re comfortable with the way it looks, wipe the whole piece down to remove any excess dust that resulted from sanding.

Then it’s time to transfer your drawing onto the boards. I used the sketch (attached at the bottom in pdf) and some carbon paper, laying the pattern onto the board then tracing over the pattern to transfer the design.

Then all that’s left is to fill in the sketch with your paint colors following the paintings as a guide, and finish with a spray coat of sealer. Here’s our finished version:


We hung ours on the wall so we added picture hardware to the back. But to use them as yard stakes you can affix stakes to the back of the board with a couple of screws.

So while Pottery Barn’s version cost $49 each for their signs we bought all our supplies for approximately $25 and still had enough wood leftover for 1 extra sign and tons of paint left over for other projects. So if you have a little time this weekend you can totally tackle this project and ring in Spring with a touch of fun!

Click link below for PDF of sketch

Easter Yard Signs sketch

Psst: If you like this project stroll on over to our tutorials page to see our other projects


The floorplan vision



We new right from the very beginning that we’d love this house for the location and the fact that it was move-in ready fitting our needs right then, but to truly make it our long-term home we’d need to expand somewhere along the way. So that’s where floorplanner.com has come in. It’s the great little online floor planning tool that’s super easy to use and really helps you see what moving a wall, adding a foot or adding a whole second story can do for your house. But, the best part about it is it’s  F.R.E.E. to use a basic account, no more graph paper and ruler for me!

I’ve been spending the past few days measuring, planning, and virtually building walls to get down on paper what our long-term vision is for this house. While a few things might change as we go along we think we’re headed in the right direction. So without further ado…

Our current floorplan…

and drum roll please…the vision of our new and improved floor plan

Some of the big changes are:

  • An addition onto back of the house where the original deck was
  • Adding some space out the side to give us a true entry way. (Right now the way you walk up to the house you’re confused as to which way to enter).
  • A dining area AND an eat-in kitchen
  • The living room moved to the back of the house
  • We’ve added another bathroom and an office
  • More counter space in the kitchen
  • And maybe most importantly (at least in my book) additional closets

So that’s the pie in the sky vision to turn our lake house into our forever house.  Now we just need to make this vision a reality. What do you think of our forever home plans?

Ballard Designs; Berry Blossom Inspired Tutorial



Did you ever see a piece of art and thought wow I want that, it’ll look perfect only to look at the price tag and groan. That’s exactly what I did when I saw these two.

I put my thinking cap on and devised a plan to create similar pieces for less. The originals are  Berry Blossom Giclees from Ballard Designs. I love the colors in these prints but with a$369 price tag for two,  I knew they weren’t an option for my budget bathroom makeover.

Below is a shot of the art I created taking inspiration from the prints above. This art project was easy to paint and will add much needed style and color to our budget bathroom reno, I love the way they turned out.

Tools and Materials

2.  8×10 open back frames

2. 8 x 10 Canvas boards

Carbon Paper

Paint Brushes

Paints (outlined below)


Step 1. Paint the entire canvas with 2 background coats of a neutral background color. Wait for the background to dry according to the directions on the tube.

Step 2. Using the sketch outline trace over outline with a piece of  graphite transfer paper onto the canvas board. Sketch outline is attached at the bottom of the post.

Step 3. Now we’re all ready to paint. I started with the dots that make up a subtle design of the swirls and leaves. I used the acrylic paint for the background because it dries quickly and allows you to start painting the main part of the picture sooner than if you were to use the water based oils that I used for the rest of the piece. The dots that make up the swirl design were painted Benjamin Moore Newburyport Blue to match my newly redecorated room. They are highlighted in blue below:

Step 4 Next up are the dots that make up the subtle leaf design. I painted them in silver acrylic paint. Those dots are highlighted in pink below.

Once all of that dries you can start the main portion of the picture. I’ve created a paint-by-number guide below and 2 paint type options.

Paint Options

I used Winsor & Newton water mixable oil paints for this project which I happened to have  on hand, but you can use any paints you like. I particularly like the idea of using those sample jars of paints  like Martha Stewart’s that Home Depot carries  you can get them in any color, they’re reasonable priced and unlike artist paints there is no mixing required.

Option #1—Artist paints ( I used Winson & Newton water mixable oil paints)

Background—Liquitex Basics, Acrylic Unbleached titanium white

Background Swirl Dots—Newburyportblue by Benjamin Moore (same color I plan to paint my room)

Background Leaf Pattern—Liquitex Metallic Silver

Winsor & Newton Oil Soluable Water paints (according to paint-by-number guide above)

  1. Mix Permanent Sap Green & Phthalo Green (Blue Shade)
  2. Mix Alizarin Crimson & Magenta
  3. Mixture number 2 plus Titanium White
  4. Dioxazine Purple & Magenta
  5. Permanent Sap Green & White
  6. Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna & Titanium White
  7. Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna
  8. Raw Sienna & Titanium White
  9. Cadmium Yellow (pale hue)
Option #2  Martha Stewart’s paint samples (no mixing option)

Background—Glass of Milk

Background Swirl Dots—Benjamin Moore Newburyport Blue (same color I plan to paint my room)

Background Leaf Pattern—Mirror by Martha Stewart Living

  1. Caper Berry
  2. Beet
  3. Larkspur
  4. Plum Wine
  5. Rhododendron Leaf
  6. Shortbread
  7. Burlap
  8. Toasted Marshmallow
  9. Burl

Tip: While the paint is still wet dry brush the area with some white paint  to add highlights.

Click link below for PDF of sketch
Sketch outline

Happy painting everyone! Please let me know if you tried this and how it turns out.

Psst: If you like this project stroll on over to our tutorials page to see our other projects

Budget bathroom redo: Wallpaper removal…check!



Our first stop in the Budget bathroom redo is the the stripping  of the wallpaper. Yup, I know exciting right. I don’t think this is a job that makes anyone go jumping out of bed, but with a some time and elbow grease think we it’ll  totally be worth it .

If you remember our wallpaper used to inspire me to burst into a chorus of U.G.L.Y you ain’t got not alibi…ala Bring It On. Here’s what our bathroom looked like with the U.G.L.Y wallpaper . See how it’s already starting to lift up in the corner? It’s begging to be stripped, right? Yeah, that’s what we thought too.

Oh wallpaper how I’ve wished for you to be gone for so long. Here’s the step by step guide on how we nixed our nasty wallpaper.

Step 1:Loosen the corner with a putty knife. Slide a putty knife under a seam in the wallpaper. Slowly loosen the wallpaper from the wall. IIf you’re wallpaper is anything like ours, it’s already peeling in some corners.

Step 2: Start a’peelin. Slowly start peeling off the top layer of the wallpaper. I’ve learned from some cleaver internet research if it peels off easily then BAM you’re golden otherwise you’re in for hours of tedious scouring, steaming and scraping. Peel the decorative backing off of the walls in the entire room.

Step 3: Scour Spritz, Spray. Start by mixing fabric softener in with Hot water. We used 1 capful to one small spritz bottle. After we peeled back the top layer we were left with the paper backing that originally held the glue. We bought one of those scoring tools and tried that a couple of times but found that just the fabric softener and water left to soak for 10 minutes did the trick. Tip, shut off the electric in the room in case any water you spray runs down your walls into the electrical boxes.

Step 4. Scrape, Scrape, Scrape. Once the Hot water and fabric softener have time to work it’s magic, scrape the paper backing with a putty knife. We’ve heard some horror stories of people not being able get the old wallpaper off the walls. Fortunately for us ours scraped right off the wall with just a little elbow grease.

Step 5.  Tidy up. We’re not kidding this is a messy job. That’s really all there is to it! With a little time and some scraping you too can bid rid of that ugly wallpaper!

Here’s a look at how the bathroom was before we took the wallpaper down.

And here is after, ALL READY FOR PAINT!

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