Sunday, December 28, 2014

My Naked Restroom Window

I hope everyone had a great Christmas!  I hope you had a day off from work and a chance to spend time with your family and friends!

Last week, I showed you how I installed shelves in my restroom for more storage.  Today, I want to show you the before and after of my restroom window.  It's nothing major, really.  It's just that my window was naked..and had nipples.  I bet you don't hear or read that sentence everyday do you?  Well, this is what I mean:

I didn't have any blinds because I thought the frosted glass gave me enough privacy to hide the details of bathroom behavior from my neighbors or any other looky-loos.  I was wrong.  There was one day this Fall when I decided to take "before" shots of my restroom to mark the end of the first part of my bathroom makeover and the start of my second phase.  While looking back at those pictures a couple of weeks ago, I noticed this:

Sorry for the very,very yellow picture!  I had to turn my hallway light off to show you guys a better picture through my window.  Still working on being an average photographer!
I can see the fence between the side of my house and my neighbors driveway!  That would mean that if I were standing outside I could also see what was on the inside, right?  I went outside to test my theory and what do you know?  I could see the the outlines of everything in my restroom!  I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm all about being a free spirit and being happy in your own skin, but I'm not really comfortable with my neighbors seeing my silhouette every time I use the restroom, especially when getting out of the shower.  I quickly fixed the problem by adding blinds I purchased from my local hardware store.

Another issue I had with my window area was that there were 2 old posts attached to the wall from the old towel rod.  I didn't realize what these little nipple-looking things were when I first painted the restroom so I just painted over them last summer.

Yep, I saw 2 small things sticking out of my wall, and I just ignored them for the sake of getting 'er done.  I hang my head in shame.  I really do.  Anyways, back to the towel rod posts.  This is what it looked like when I popped those nips out of the wall by force with a screw driver and hammer.

After some spackling and paint, this is what the restroom window looks like for now!

Now, my neighbors can't see through my bathroom window!  Yay!

This restroom remodel has happened in many tiny phases.  I constantly feel like I need time to figure out what I want this restroom to look like while working with what I've got.  Do you remodel in phases or do you do it in 1 sweep?
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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Pinterest Did it Again! (DIY Rustic Bathroom Shelves)

Lately, I've been trying to organize my main bathroom and make it pretty for myself and my guests.  When I first got my house, I knew I had to work on the main bathroom immediately and make sure it was useable because it was the only bathroom with a shower.  I had the contractors re-tile the bathroom floor and the shower.  I re-painted the cabinets and replaced the light fixtures, but that was it.  I neglected to add any decor or personal touches to the bathroom since moving in.  Now that most of my main living quarters have been furnished, I wanted to bring my attention back to the bathroom.  After all, it's the space my guests are most likely to see (aside from my living room and kitchen, of course).

This is what the entrance of my main bathroom looked like:

I got the Ikea cart a couple of months ago to help me with my restroom organization...HAHA, but as you can see, there is a lot of vertical space I wasn't using.  I needed shelves!  

I went on Pinterest and found a lot of different pictures for inspiration, but I ultimately chose to make shelves like the ones created by Craftsman Drive & Liz Marie Blog.  The project was actually very simple and would be a good starter weekend project if you were looking to add more shelving to any part of your house.  

These are the supplies I used:

I got all of my supplies from Home Depot, but I'm 99.999% sure all of these supplies are available at any big box hardware store.

Sanding block
Shelf Brackets
1x8" wood (cut down to 24" pieces)
Minwax Wood Finish in Espresso
#6 3/4" screws
2 Foam Brushes

I started by sanding the edges of the shelves with a sanding block.  I didn't want any obviously sharp edges.  I wanted these shelves to look more rustic and slightly used!  Then, I used a foam brush to apply the stain in small sections and made sure to quickly wipe off any excess stain so that I would have an even finish.  I let the shelves dry and sit for an hour, then I applied a second coat.  I let the second coat dry overnight.

While the stain was drying, I spray painted my shelf brackets a darker gray color and let them dry overnight.

The next day, I applied Minwax Polycrylic to protect my surface and seal everything in.

I let the protective finish dry overnight.

The installation process for these shelves was actually the trickiest.  Since I was installing 2 rows of shelves, I wanted the brackets to perfectly line up with one another but also be evenly spaced out.  I figured the easiest way to do this was do lightly draw 2 evenly spaced vertical lines using my level.  This way I would have a guide for where my shelf brackets should be installed.  I also made sure to draw 2 horizontal lines 16 inches apart to mark my shelf placement.

After attaching the brackets, I attached the shelves to the brackets using 3/4" screws.  I used a damp cloth to wipe off any visible pencil marks.  That's it!

These shelves were so easy!  If you are looking to add some simple, rustic shelves to your home, I definitely recommend trying this.  The best part?  The entire project cost me less than $20!

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Reasons to Prepare a Piece of Furniture for Latex Paint and Spray Paint

I am in the middle of re-painting the first piece of furniture I ever spray-painted - a small side table.  While sanding this baby down, I realized that there were so many lessons I learned from this one huge mess of a "painting" mistake.

A little background:  I bought this little side table off of Amazon or Overstock about 5 years ago.  It was originally all black and after having the piece for about a year, I decided to spray-paint it a cream color in a semi-gloss finish.  I did not sand, clean, or prime the piece.

As I have said before, I always recommend sanding, cleaning, and priming a piece of furniture before painting with latex paint or spray-painting because you want the paint to "stick" to your piece of furniture.  Some of you may be thinking "it's paint, paint sticks to everything".  I know because that is what I thought when I spray-painted this piece.  HOWEVER, the pictures below will show you that paint doesn't stick on everything.

Notice in the picture above how the inside of the leg is still black and how there are black blotchy spots along the front of the table.  I can guarantee you that I sprayed the inside of this leg about 5 times, but the color just never adhered to the actual table.  

Yep...more blotchy spots...allll along the front of this table....

...even on the top, left corner of the table.

What can I say?  I am really, really embarrassed by how this table looks, but it was the first piece I ever painted.  The funny thing is I've lived with the table looking like this for the last 4 years...I have no excuse, it just has never been very high on my list of priorities!  

Looking at the side of the table today, I realized that there were also a bunch of drip marks that looked especially bad in daylight.

Again, I have no excuse for why I allowed the piece to look this bad.  The good thing about having a horrible first painting experience like this is that I now know why I need to sand, clean, and prime a piece before painting with latex paint or spray painting.

Before painting a piece of furniture, I always like to start out by sanding with 120 grit sand paper to smooth out the surface.  This is what I started doing to this table today!

I didn't sand the side table down to the original black finish, but I did make sure to sand off all the semi-glossy finish of the spray paint.  I also paid extra attention to the side of the table to smooth out the drip marks!  After sanding the piece, I wiped it down with a damp cloth to get rid of any dust.  

Throughout this next week, I plan on priming and then painting the table with a small sample-sized pot of paint I grabbed from Lowes.  I can't wait to show you guys the before and after for this table!  If you guys didn't see a reason to sand, clean, and prime a piece of furniture before painting it with latex paint or spray-painting it, please refer to the pictures above!  

Also, as I've mentioned in my previous furniture painting post, I like to use Kilz Premium Primer because it is the only one I've tried and it has yet to fail me.  Another primer that I have read many good things about in blogs is Zinsser 1-2-3 water-based primer, which I assume works the same as the Kilz Primer.

I hope this post helps you in your furniture painting adventures!  Hopefully you won't have a horrible first time experience like I did and if you do, don't worry it's just paint!
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Sunday, December 7, 2014

My Favorite Planner Accessories!

I have a little secret to tell you.  Think of it as me sharing something personal with you.  You can probably tell from the title of this post, but I'm obsessed with planners/agendas.  I love using my planner.  I've used one for the last 4 years to manage my daily to-do's and bills.  I also love looking at other peoples' planner pictures on instagram and blogs, which is why I wanted to share my favorite planner accessories with you.  Total planner-nerd, I know.

I have 2 planners.  My Filofax is for my home/blog/bills and the Mead, Cambridge Edition planner is for work-related tasks.

I like using my personal-sized Filofax for the bulk of my daily planning because the planner is bound by "binder-like" rings.  Pages can be moved from one part of the binder to another and there is a lot of flexibility when it comes to how and where you want to place something in your planner.  

It is essential for a Filofax owner to have some sort of hole-puncher.  My favorite hole-puncher is the 1/4" Crop-A-Dile Power Punch.  This hole puncher is seriously heavy duty.  I can punch 20 pages without a problem.  It never jams on me and I never feel like I have to work very hard to get perfect holes!  This hole puncher is also adjustable so that your holes can be placed closer to or farther away from the edges of your paper.

The other planner accessory I love is washi tape.  I know this isn't a necessity for a functioning planner, but it can make planning so much more fun and my monthly and weekly pages look a lot more cheerful and happy (even with all the things I need to do).  I mean, why not make planning and to-do lists more fun with colorful tape?

I feel like the types of pens you use can also add to your planner experience.  (That sentence would sound ridiculous if I didn't love planners)  My favorite pens are the Staedtler Triplus Fineliner with the porous points and Stabilo Point 88 pens.  These pens don't bleed through my planner pages, write smoothly, and are available in awesome colors!  Having different colored pens allows me to color code my planner and they're great to doodle with.

Lastly, when I want to decorate my planner or ensure that somethings really stand out, I use stickers!  Yep, stickers.  Alphabet stickers that I've bought from Target and Michaels.    

What more can I say about stickers?  They make everything fun!

There you have it.  Now you know that I'm a secret planner-nerd!  I would love to see pictures of your planners if you want to leave a link and I would definitely love sharing more of my planner pages if any of you are interested!

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Friday, November 28, 2014

Dining Room Hutch Before & After

I finally finished painting my hutch!  Come on and say it with me...Hip Hip Hooray!  Hip Hip Hooray!!

This hutch was a hand-me-down from the same friend who gave me this side table:

I madeover the side table back in April, but held off on starting the hutch because the thought of sanding and prepping a piece this large was just too overwhelming for me.  After re-painting my vanity with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and seeing how easy the process was, I knew I wanted to re-do my hutch using Chalk Paint too!

This is what the hutch looked like before I put any paint on it:

I don't have a "before" picture of the top piece of the hutch, but you basically get the idea of how dark the wood was.  Overall, the piece was in pretty good condition.  There were only a few dings on the edges of the hutch, but that's to be expected for a piece that's over 20 years old!

Before I applied any paint, I made sure to remove as much of the hardware as I could.  I used goo gone to remove any sticky residue, then wiped down the hutch with a 1:1 alcohol:water mixture to remove any dust and residual dirt.

I started painting in the garage, but when it started raining, we moved the piece into the house and I painted the hutch in my dining room.  If you have ever used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint before, you would know that it is a water-based paint and it doesn't have the typical "paint smell" you would expect from latex paints.

This is a picture of the hutch in progress:

3 coats of paint and 2 coats of wax later...

Here's a close up of the distressing details on the hutch:

The handles were originally more of a brass-y finish, but I dry-brushed Rub 'n Buff in Gold Leaf to get the finish that you see in the pictures above.

Here are some more shots:

I know, I know...I hate my ceiling fan too, but this room is a work in progress...

And just because I started decorating my Christmas tree, I wanted to include those pictures know, just for funsies!

Isn't she gorgeous?  I love this hutch to pieces and, again, I am so thankful to my friend Ben and his family for thinking of me when they wanted to get rid of their hutch and side table.  I feel like this piece adds so much character to an otherwise bare dining room!  Let me know what you think!

This post is linked up to:  A Bowl Full of Lemons Blog, One Project at a Time: 12/2/2014
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Sunday, November 23, 2014

My Favorite Design Rule to Break contacted me a few months ago to see if I was interested in creating a post about breaking design rules.  Naturally, I said yes because I'd like to believe that I don't strictly follow any design rules and I really like creating mood boards for rooms that I would create if I had a ba-jillion dollars (is that a real number?) and unlimited space!  

Before I show you what I came up with, I want to keep it real and say that Modani is not paying me for this post or any of my opinions.

Modani sent me this graphic as a starting point for rules that they have mentioned on their blog and I must have to agree that the #1 design rule that I love to break is sticking to one style!

I like putting my spaces together organically and accumulating pieces of furniture and decor over time.  I choose pieces that I like and pieces that have character.  I try not to rush into decorating spaces and buying pieces from one place because I don't want my house to look like it came out of so-and-so magazine or look like so-and-so's house.  I want the decor in my home to reflect me and my style.  Isn't that what styling and decorating a home is all about anyways?

Since the holiday season has started and Thanksgiving is only a few days away, I wanted to put together a dining room.

This dining room has traditional and contemporary pieces.  For the most part, the color palette is simple, but the bright kilim rug adds pops of color and breaks up the simplicity of the room.  As far as the hutch goes, I would decorate it with brighter accessories to accentuate the colors of the rug.  I also added gold accents because I looovveee goooolllldddd...Austin Powers anyone?  This dining room incorporates pieces that reflect different design styles but I love that it all goes together and works for me and my personality.  

The next time you put a room together, I recommend not worrying about the "style" of the piece.  Instead, ask yourself if you like the piece and then ask yourself if the piece is "you".  If the answer to both questions is yes, then add it to your collection! What is your favorite design rule to break?

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Monday, November 17, 2014

What Are You Thankful For? Part 2

Well folks, this is going to be my second post of things I'm thankful for.  Thanksgiving is only a week and a half away! Time is flying by so quickly and I feel like I should start decorating for Christmas now because it'll be here before we know it.  But before Christmas comes, I just wanted to take a little more time to reflect on some of the little things I'm thankful for.

I'm thankful for...

1.  My drive and motivation.  I'm not sure where I get it or where the energy comes from, but I'm so thankful that I always feel like I "have to" succeed.  Yes, this can be tiring sometimes and can also be a self-defeating trait of mine, but I'm so thankful that I have that innate drive to constantly want to be and do better.

2.  My closest friends.  They are real and they are honest.  They are a huge part of my support system and I'm so glad to have met each and everyone of them in the last 7-8 years of my life.

3.  Weekends.  I'm not off of work every weekend, but on the weekends that I'm off I am able to relax and re-charge for the next work-week.  I don't have to worry about time constraints on weekends.  I can spend time with my dogs and my boyfriend without having to worry about work obligations or any deadlines.  I looooovvvveee weekends!

4.  Bloggers and blogs!   I am thankful that blogs exist and there are awesome bloggers out there who are willing to share their passion, thoughts, and pictures.  Reading DIY and home improvement blogs inspired me to attempt the DIY projects I've done on my own house.  Reading A Beautiful Mess's blog post about photography and another about blogging inspired me to start my own blog.

What are you thankful for?  I would love to know!
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Friday, November 14, 2014

A Quick DIY Recipe Binder

What do I do when I have a day-off from work and I happen to have a terrible migraine?  I lay on my couch, in the dark, and organize my recipe binder, of course!  This is how I quickly put my binder together. 

My recipe binder is a regular A5-sized binder I got from Staples.

I thought about making my own recipe binder cover, but...nah...I mean, I had a migraine, remember?  I had a lot of time to search the web for free, printable recipe binder covers, so I used this one from Paging Supermom.  

I also thought these sites had cool recipe covers too:
Prudent Baby (I used this as my old recipe binder cover)

Although I don't have that many recipes, I organize them into specific sections in this binder so that they are easy to find when I want to reference them.  I also keep my take-out menus in the back pocket of the binder.  This thing is like my "one-stop shop" for food, which is why I love it!

I have my recipe binder divided into 5 different sections:
  • Main Dishes
  • Sides
  • Desserts
  • Slow cooker meals
  • Soups/Salads

I made my own dividers by cutting decorative card stock down to size and using Semikolon sticky tabs as my divider labels.  I laminated the dividers to make sure that they would be easier to clean if I ever spilled anything on them.  

I also use page protectors for each recipe so that I can wipe off any spills.  I don't want to have to re-print a recipe every time one gets dirty or wet.

Most of the recipes in this binder are ones I've found online.  I also have a couple of cookbooks with recipes I really like, but I don't see the point in typing those recipes and placing them in this binder.  To me, the purpose of this binder wasn't to put ALL of my favorite recipes into one spot.  I just wanted to organize my "loose" recipes (recipes I printed from the world wide web) and take-out menus so that I didn't have to go on a hunt every time I wanted to make a certain dish.

If you have a little bit of time in your day and you have recipes in a drawer in your kitchen, I encourage you to put a binder together too!  This project was really simple and quick.  It also didn't cost me a single penny because I already had everything I needed.  With the holidays rolling around, this would also be an awesome way to plan and organize your holiday dinner recipes!  Through my search today, I also found a lot of inspirational recipe binder pictures on Pinterest that would be cool to check out.  Let me know if you put one together!

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Sunday, November 9, 2014

What Are You Thankful For?!

Oh!  Well, hello November! Where did you come from?

I feel like November just popped up out of nowhere!  With Thanksgiving coming in less than 3 weeks, I wanted to start a mini series of posts about what I'm thankful for.  With a full-time job, a new (to me) house, multiple dogs, and a blog, it's easy for me to lose sight of what I have.  I don't take enough time out of my everyday to reflect and appreciate my life for what it is.  This is also a way for me to share a little more of me with you!

I'm Thankful for...

1.  My 9-5.  I often end up working more than 40 hours a week and my "9-5" isn't always 9 a.m. to 5 p.m..  Sometimes I work from 12:45 p.m. -9:15 p.m. and there was this one time when I worked 22. hours. straight.  I am a health-professional in a retail setting.  I get to deal with insurance issues, angry guests, complaints, addicts...the list goes on and on, but still, I am grateful to have a job.  My job has allowed me to buy every materialistic thing I have.  My job allows me to have a hobby like Life on Elizabeth.  My job allows me to go on vacations.  My job allows me to buy food and pay bills.  So even with all the hectic things that may go on in a pharmacy on a daily basis, I am so very grateful for my job.

2.  My family.  Even though all of my family members live more than a few hours away from me, we are all still very close.  My 2 younger sisters just "get" me.  Their love is truly unconditional and I know they always have my back.  We look out for one another and provide each other with the support and feedback that we all need.

3.  Healthy dogs.  My dogs and I have made numerous vet visits this year for surgeries, allergies, and check-ups.  I am happy and grateful that every member of my pack of 4 is healthy!

4.  Where I live.  For those of you who know where I live, you may be appalled that I actually appreciate the city that I live in, but I do.  I love that I'm not constantly surrounded by the hustle and bustle of typical city-life.  I rarely have to fight traffic, I am not surrounded by high-risers, and I don't have to go on the freeway to commute to work.  These are all little things, but it's always the little things that count.  Right?

5.  My planners.  My planners help keep me on-track and sane.  I use one planner to organize my finances and another planner to organize events, appointments, and blog ideas.  Without my 2 simple planners, I'd totally be lost.  So for that, I am grateful!

That's my list for this week!  What are you grateful for?  Let me know!
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Saturday, November 8, 2014

DIY Water Color Monogram

I just got home from a baby shower!  The parents-to-be are my closest friends and they are having a little, baby boy.  As a part of their gift, I made this framed monogram with water color details:

These are the supplies you will need:

  • 2 pieces of water color paper
  • Water color pencils or water color paint
  • Paint brush
  • X-acto knife
  • Scissors
  • Picture frame
  • Printer (not required, but recommended)

Here's how I made it:

For starters, I used my water color pencils to color random bold stripes onto my paper.

If you are using regular water color paints, then you can go ahead and directly paint random stripes onto your paper.  Be creative with your patterns!  You can even paint a little picture if you want.

Since I was using water color pencils, I had to use a wet brush to "paint" my stripes.

After painting my stripes, I cut the paper down to size so that it would fit into the 10x8" frame I had bought.  I also made sure to cut my other piece of paper down to size at this point too.

For the cutout of your letter, I recommend printing an outline of the letter in the font you wish to use. For my gift, I knew I wanted to use a capital letter so I spent time looking for the right font and determining the right size.  The font and size are up to you, but my only recommendations are to use fonts that are bold and large enough so that the colors can peek through.  I also recommend printing only the outline of the letter so that you don't waste ink!

I cut the letter "E" with a regular pair of scissors and taped it face-down onto the backside of the other piece of water color paper.

I then used my X-acto knife and a ruler to trace the edges of the letter.  I decided to cut from the backside of the paper because I wanted the front to have crisp, clean edges.  Also, it would be best to have the sharpest X-acto knife possible.  Having a sharp knife gives you better control and also ensures that your lines are clean.

Please don't cut on your wood floors!  This picture is only for demonstration purposes!

After a few minutes of cutting, I ended up with this:

Once you are done cutting out your letter, you can assemble the sheets in the frame to look like this:


That was simple, right?  This monogram isn't only a cute baby shower gift.  You can also make a more fancy, schmancy one by applying gold leaf instead of using water colors and gifting this to an adult.  I definitely want to make a "W" for myself!  Let me know if you try this.  It would be awesome to see yours if you did!

This post is linked up to: DIY Show off
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