Posted by John on May 29th, 2013
A few months ago, Lisa picked up a shelf shaped like a doll house from Home Goods. She thought it would look great in our daughter’s toddler bedroom. It was slightly damaged so she managed to swing a decent discount on it. Luckily, the damage wasn’t too severe.
The base is MDF and it looks like a couple corners had been busted up.
So, how to fix it… I thought the easiest way to repair this type of damage was just to cover it with a thin piece of wood. We popped into Michaels a little while back and grabbed some thin pieces of Birch wood. The wood was probably only about 1/8″ thick. After ripping it down to roughly the same width as the bottom block, I cut it to length and gave it some miters on the chop saw and attached it with some wood glue and brad nails. It was just easier to wrap the whole bottom section with the good wood than to just cover the busted sections.
We used some pink craft paint to color the bare wood and we were done. Quick project. Sat around much longer than it should have.
I anchored the shelf to the wall so she won’t be able to knock it over. To do that I just used a couple of 1/2″ thick pieces of plywood and screwed them into a stud on the wall and then screwed the shelf into the plywood. The plywood is the same thickness as the baseboards, so I’m able to butt up the shelf right to the wall. You can barely see the shims from one of the sides.
Our daughter has been keeping some stuffed animals and books in there. She seems to like it.
One day I’m sure we’ll either buy her or make her an actual doll house, but for now, this little shelf is pretty sweet.
Any repairs on your end?
Posted by John on May 14th, 2013
With my spring grad class finally over, I get a lot more free time back. It’s awesome. As much as I love learning, I also love… not learning. Lisa has a long laundry list of things for me to do around here, which mostly consists of finishing projects I either already started or promised to start. yay. Today we’re going to show you one of those quick projects we already managed to finish. Here’s how to hang mod podge letters the easy way.
We started out with white letters that hung above our first daughter’s crib in the nursery. When we moved her into her new toddler bedroom, we wanted to move the letters with her, but decided to dress them up a bit. Lisa traced them onto some scrap book paper from Michael’s. We used a different pattern for each letter. I think it’s the same paper as the birthday pennants she made some time ago.
With the patterns traced and cut out, she applied a liberal amount of mod podge to the face of the wooden letter and the back of the pattern paper. Then they get pressed together until dry.
Now for leveling and mounting them… When we had these letters over the crib in the nursery, we used screws and the holes in the back of the letters. It wasn’t hard to install, but it was a giant pain to get them all level, since the screws holes in the letters were all in different spots. Plus, these letters didn’t come with a template or anything. Not fun.
This time around, we skipped the screws and just used double sided command strips. How about leveling them? That part was easy too. We took the sticker off the command strip and just rested them on a level. Once we got the spacing right, we firmly pushed the letters onto the wall. They’re not going anywhere.
So much easier this time. Those command strips are pretty sweet and this isn’t even a sponsored post or anything.
Have you found easier ways to do things the second time around?
Posted in DIY Projects,Home Decor. Tagged in ,decor
Posted by John on April 21st, 2013
It’s nice to be back in the swing of things. Lisa and I are adjusting nicely to life with two kids. So far so good. The real challenge will be when they both can walk or climb. That will be an adventure.. an exhausting adventure. This weekend we started catching up on some projects that got shifted to the back burner when we started making preparations for baby #2. One of those projects is a large wooden key Lisa bought at Hobby Lobby. It’s an odd shape and doesn’t have any straight edges for a level to rest on. Plus, it needed some modifications to mount. Here’s how to hang and level odd shaped decor…
This key came with a small bracket on one end. I guess it was designed to be hung vertically. That’d be cool, but we thought it would look better if we hung it horizontally.
To modify the key to hang horizontally, I needed to add two additional brackets. I couldn’t find the exact same one that was already one there, so I just bought something similar from Lowes. I started by drawing a center line down the back of the key using a straight edge. The center line will help me align the two brackets to each other and will serve as the line which the piece will be leveled to. I then traced the outline of the bracket and the screw holes.
Since the bracket needs space for a fastener, I needed to drill out the space where the center hole is located. I also pre-drilled the holes for the two screws that keep the bracket onto the key. Then I just repeat those steps for the bracket on the other end.
To mount the key onto the wall so it’s level, I transferred the locations of the brackets to the actual level using a pencil. I also marked the center point of the level.
With the level marked up, I place it against the wall and line up the center mark of the wall with the center mark of the level. Now all you have to do is transfer the lines on the level to the wall to indicate where the brackets will be located. Don’t forget to level the actual level first (awkward sentence ay?). The wall marks for the bracket locations should be a plus sign and not just a horizontal or vertical line.
Now I just use my favorite drywall anchors and mount the key onto the wall. The key doesn’t have a straight surface on it, so I can’t really check to see if it’s level once it’s on the wall. However, the marks we made were level, so that’s good enough for me.
Cool piece. We really like it. Lisa bought it on sale too, which makes me like it all the more. So, what to take away from this post? Using a level to transfer marks from art work or decor to the wall. It’s a guaranteed way to get it level every time regardless of the shape.
Anyone else adding any new decor?
Posted in DIY Projects,Home Decor. Tagged in ,decor, how to, tips and tricks
Posted by John on February 4th, 2013
Hey there cats and kittens (bonus points if you know who says that phrase every week)!! Hope everyone got enough sleep after that thrilling Super Bowl. Wow. We had a pretty busy weekend, but still managed to knock off a few minor projects off our to-do list. Saturday we had a family party for our daughter’s 2nd birthday. We’ll be sharing some pictures later this week. More importantly though, I thought we should bring you up to speed on the whole we’re having a second baby thing.
So, we’ve known since August that we were growing our family but we put off making an announcement on the blog. We talked about taking a picture with Sherry and John from the signing, which of course we’d post, and we knew Lisa would be visibly pregnant. So, we thought that would be a fun opportunity. Since Christmas, the biggest home related decision we’ve had to make regarding the new baby is what we’re doing about the bedrooms. Do we re-use the nursery and move our daughter into a new bedroom or do we make a new nursery? You obviously know the answer to this one by now, but it took us a while to finally make that decision. It’s not easy moving your first child out of their nursery. They grow up so fast.
Anyway, that’s some background on our whole bedroom deal. Our daughter helped by jumping out of her crib fairly early thus necessitating some action.
Since we already owned a couple white Hemnes pieces, we thought it might be easier to just pickup a matching twin bed and go from there. We looked at toddler sized beds as well, but it seems like a better investment to just stick with the twin bed.
Here’s what her bedroom looks like now..
Keep in mind we still have to do a good deal more decorating. Lisa has a laundry list of ideas that we’ll work through over the next few weeks.
Posted in Home Decor,House Tour. Tagged in ,bedroom, decor, hemnes, ikea, toddler
Posted by John on January 14th, 2013
Hey guys! Slacked off the last couple days. Busier than average weekend with little project progress to show for it. Saturday we pretty much just hung out and did some necessary, yet un-blog-worthy cleaning. Anyone want to see a post on cleaning out a fridge? No? I didn’t think so. Sunday we headed up to NEPA to have a memorial mass and lunch in honor of my father’s passing. He’s been gone for five years now, which is completely crazy. Eventually I’d like to throw in some more personal posts, especially one about him. Funniest guy I ever met and missed very much. It’s tough making time for that kind of a tribute though. I’d want to do it properly and not just throw something together. Maybe later this year.
So now for something less depressing or still somewhat depressing depending upon how you look at it. Our daughter is nearly two. She’s growing up quick. Over the past several weeks it’s becoming more clear that maybe she could do with a bedroom change. We’ve transitioned her crib to a toddler bed and it’s nice, but it’s not ideal. When we painted and decorated the room, we didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl, so we kept the nursery neutral. We’d really like to get her into a room more suited to a little girl. Plus, if we get her a twin bed, we can keep her company until she falls asleep if she wakes us up crying or is reluctant to goto bed. It’s tough to do that with a toddler bed. Thus, some of the urgency.
We’re still working on the sitting room… in that we’re waiting for the electrical permit to be approved and we’ve been batting ideas back and forth. As far as the new bedroom for our daughter goes, there are a few things we’ve already decided. We’re going with a white Hemnes twin bed from Ikea… and that’s about it. We already have a small dresser from our guest room that we bought when we got married and we also just picked up a small round Hemnes nightstand. I don’t have any room pictures for you yet, it’s actually her playroom at the moment, but I do have some pics from our Pinterest account we can show you that illustrate some ideas we’re considering.
The paint: The whole room decor is Lisa’s call. As far as room color is concerned, she still wants to keep it neutral, but introduce a lot more girly features that really wouldn’t work in the nursery without a whole reboot. We’ve talked about a soft pink paint, but we both really like a greyish beige (greige?) like the photo above.
The walls: Who wants wainscoting in this room? This guy. Right now, this is the big decision for this room. Do we or don’t we. I’m not interested in spending 3 months on this room like we did the dining room, but I think I can pull something off in here relatively quick and much simpler. Lisa is not in favor of a bead board, but maybe a board and batten look. Board and batten tends to be very tall, 48″ or higher generally. I’m thinking something shorter since the room is for a little girl. Another option is the board and batten with the bead board as the panel. None of them should take very long, fingers crossed.
Built-ins: Ideally, we’d love to give this room some custom built-in shelves for all her books and displayable toys. The room has a nice double window that would look great with a cushioned seat under it. We’re a bit hesitant to add that feature until she’s old enough to truly understand gravity. Still, shelves on either side of the window would look awesome!
What do you think? What would you do? Do you go with the pink paint tones? Do you like a simple wainscoting idea? What are you up to?
Posted in Home Decor. Tagged in ,built-ins, decor, paint, wainscoting
Posted by John on December 11th, 2012
Finishing a new home seems to be a continuous series of baby steps. There have been major “ah-ha” moments, like when we finished the shed or the dining room wainscoting, but for the most part, our DIY projects have been minor in scope and fairly frequent. Our to-do list never seems to end. One of my pet peeves after having lived in our current home for a couple years now is the lack of general decor. We keep it simple. There are still a handful of rooms in the house that literally haven’t been “improved” upon since we moved in, including our master bedroom and bath (more on those very soon). Nothing on the walls, no paint yet, zip, nada. Since Lisa is in charge of what goes on the walls (she picks it, I hang it), I’ve been bugging her to come up with some more decor and interest for our spaces. This week she bought a couple floating shelves from Target. Big fan.
Even bigger fan of the hardware that came with it. I have a love/hate relationship with molly bolts… no, it’s mostly hate. I hate them. Molly bolts that come with most commercial items are almost always a crappy plastic piece that a.) spin in the drywall and never fasten down b.) refuse to accept the screws that came with them c.) pull right out of the drywall even after you’ve gotten them “right.” /end rant.
These shelves came with my favorite type of drywall fastener, the white oversized screw type (see below). You just push on them until they pierce the wall and then you just screw them down tight.
I’m also a big fan of how the shelves attach to the wall. They have a two piece metal bracket. I also fully endorse Ikea’s floating shelf brackets, same basic concept.
Once the bracket is mounted, the shelf just clips onto it.
They’ve got a sweet coved edge on three sides. We’re showing the photo above to give you an idea of how far they stick out from the wall. Not too bad.
With both shelves mounted, you can see how they add some needed Christmas cheer to our wall. We actually had to think about how far “in” the top shelf needed to be. Too close to the wall edge and a tall person could accidentally walk right into it.
It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye walking into a Target floating shelf. How many times have we heard that childhood tale?
That’s our tinsel reindeer. You’re going to be seeing a lot of him. We throw him into nearly all of our Christmas photos. He’s got a 3 year, 12 post contract. He’s pretty much the Charleston Heston of tinsel reindeer. He’s kind of a big deal around here.
How are you adding interest to your spaces?
Posted in DIY Projects,Holiday,Home Decor. Tagged in ,christmas, decor, Decorating, floating shelves, shelves
Posted by John on December 9th, 2012
So our busy schedule as of late should start to slow down some soon. I’m really looking forward to having the next several weeks off (from class)! Going to get a ton of stuff done around here including a WordPress Theme upgrade! We’re going to try to DIY it, so stay tuned. More importantly, we found some time to do some holiday decorating. Our Christmas trees are up!
This is the second or third year in a row that we’ve had an artificial tree as our main Christmas tree. It’s a nice quality pre-lit tree, which makes decorating it and taking it down loads easier. We stick with the artificial tree because of little paws and little hands. We had a real tree for the first couple years we were married. The first year we had the real tree AND Finegan, he tried to drink the tree water every chance he got. SO, add a baby to that equation and we’re going to be rocking the artificial tree for the foreseeable future. Lisa and I both grew up with real trees. You can’t beat a real tree. Love the smell and the whole picking one out experience. Looking forward to the days when we can do that again.
So, I mentioned trees, as in plural. We keep a small narrow tree in our living room so it’s visible from the road.
We have a couple personalized ornaments we’ve gotten over the years on this smaller tree.
Our main Christmas tree, which will be the one we keep our presents under and sit around on Christmas morning is in our family room.
If you look close, you may notice that only half of the tree has ornaments! There’s a good reason for that…
Yep, that’s right. We have a toddler that
likes loves to rip the ornaments right off the branches. Lisa was smart about her ornament choices though and went with shatter proof plastic globes. That way there’s no possibility any glass ends up in pieces on the floor.
We have our mantel started, but not quite ready for prime time. More Christmas decor posts coming your way soon!
So if you celebrate Christmas, do you go for the real tree experience or do you opt for the fake??
Posted in Holiday,Home Decor. Tagged in ,christmas, christmas tree, decor, holiday
Posted by Lisa on September 25th, 2012
Hey everybody! Hope you’re enjoying the cool Fall weather we’ve been having recently. It really puts me in the mood to decorate for Fall and buy more pumpkins!… and apple cider donuts!! This year we’re keeping our home’s fall themed decor simple by reusing some of the decorations we had up last year and adding a couple small yet festive new ones.
Our front door is finally finished. John just painted the sidelights to match the front door. If you recall, they were still somewhat blue-er than the gray door. The door was originally this gray color, but we attempted to paint the sidelights and the door a year ago and didn’t get the color right. Here’s the before, with the door painted the right gray color but the wrong sidelight color…
Here’s the door now, complete with a very cool blue pumpkin… If you don’t notice the color difference in the sidelights from the before and after, it’s okay, it’s pretty subtle.
We also picked up some burnt orangey mums.
On the inside of the house, we added a burlap wreath. We made the wreath ourselves from some basic craft supplies.
Our mantel looks nearly identical from last year, with the pumpkin banner and all my little pumpkins I’ve been picking up.
I also like to add some fall theme ribbon to my normal home decor to dress it up a little. See those orange ribbons around the candles? There are more than a few of those around here.
Like on my fleur de lis candles…
and our dining room lights…
We also have a couple simple items for our kitchen table.
That’s what’s in our home at the moment. I’ll admit it, I had these decorations ready to go the day after Labor Day! I’m sure I’ll be adding a few more pumpkins here and there! Fall is the best! We’re looking forward to visiting a pumpkin patch with the baby soon!
Enjoy your decorating!! Looking forward to seeing everyone’s decor.
Posted in Fall,Home Decor,Staining and Painting. Tagged in ,decor, fall, front door, mantel, mums, paint, pumpkins, sidelights, wreath
Posted by Lisa on September 17th, 2012
Hi kids! We hope you had a great weekend – we sure did. We kept the projects minimal and got to spend some great family time together. I am not sure about you guys, but the weather here has been beautiful! Fall is definitely in the air and we are so happy about it!
One of the projects I was able to was able to wrap up this weekend was a DIY Fall wreath for the inside of our front entry door. If you remember, we recently painted the inside of our front door black, and I couldn’t wait to decorate it for Fall.
This is my first attempt at making a wreath from scratch. I was able to get all the supplies from local fabric and hobby stores.
I started with a basic hay wreath.
I decided to wrap the hay wreath with this awesome burlap wired ribbon. Since it is wired, it was relatively easy to wrap around the wreath and keep it in place.
I glued the last bit of ribbon to the back of the wreath with hot glue.
I also purchased an orange and burgundy berry garland to add to the wreath. I carefully untwisted each strand so at the end, I have about ten single berry strands.
I kept the main strand that the smaller berry strands were attached to so I could use it to adhere each strand to the wreath. Catch my drift? This way I wouldn’t have to hot glue anything else, and I could always remove the berries to add something different.
After the wreath was completed, I used orange wired ribbon to hang the wreath on the door. I added a fancy silver command hook to the very top of the door (let’s hope it actually removes cleanly from the door – I wouldn’t want to have touch ups), and hung the wreath from there.
Here it is with the black door.
It’s tough taking a photo of anything against that door!! I think it’s time to read a how-to book on our SLR.
Are you adding any wreaths to your home this Fall?
Posted by John on August 27th, 2012
Hope everyone is enjoying the last few weeks of summer. While I love the fall, I’m hanging on to the warm weather like it’s my job. I’m sure I’ll get into it once it’s here, but for now it’s going to stay summer around here until the leaves change color. Last weekend we knocked out a bunch of projects and posted about two of them: the dining room wainscoting and the outside portion of the front door. Today we’re going to show you what we did to the inside of the front door…
Lisa has been looking to add some character to our vestibule and had seen other people paint their front entry door. She thought it would look pretty slick if we painted ours black. We picked up some black no-VOC paint from Sherwin Williams and knocked out both the exterior side and the interior.
Lisa was excited about this if you couldn’t tell.
We wrapped the door frame in painter’s tape and I scuffed up the existing paint with some 220 grit sandpaper.
It took us around 4 or 5 coats of the semi-gloss black to completely hide all the white. Now the door is a wood/foam core, but the outer layer is vinyl. To get the look of a solid wood door, we applied the paint with a small roller and then used a dry brush to even it out. If you brush the wet paint in certain directions, you can give the appearance of wood grain. I drew up a guide if you’re not familiar with the basic process.
Just smooth out the wet paint with a dry brush in the arrow directions shown above and you’ll get a clean, professional look.
We’re very happy with how it came out. Definitely breaks up the white trim. Amazingly difficult to take a quality photo of this door though in broad daylight.
I took a few pictures in the evening.. came out a little better.
One downside we’ve noticed is at night, whenever we glance at it, it seems like it’s open. We’ve been doing double takes.
Any door improvements you’re working on?