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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