"The Butcher", aka Cameron, doesn't really live up to his last name. There is no meat cutting or anything that has to do with blood or slaughtering in his life, but we always thought it would be the best ongoing laugh if he ever became a surgeon. "The Baker", aka Ashley (me!), thinks she can bake, but for some unexplainable reason, her cupcake business just didn't quite take-off. We'll blame that on the mass amounts of people following the same dream. Together, Cameron and Ashley have bought their first home. A home of our dreams? Well, it isn't a dump by any means, but it definitely needs some taste. Although, individually, Cameron and Ashley could strip any screw they come in contact with, together, they can actually accomplish big projects with the right direction, some creativity, and a fair share of bickering.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

DIY Front Door Rustic Decor

Moving on to another rustic-like DIY project.  Some Pinterest ideas inspired me to jazz up my front door in the non-holiday months, so I kind of just went with my own ideas and it turned out so cute!!

What you need:
~Cardboard letter (got mine from Hobby Lobby)
~Hot glue gun
~Sharp scissors
~Empty picture frame
~Burlap or ribbon

First, I worked on wrapping my 'B' with twine.  This isn't as easy as it may appear at first, and I think depending on the letter you choose, you may have to use your own creativity at times to make it all come together.  But, I first wrapped the straight areas first, using hot glue to secure the beginning and then more to secure where I ended.

As I got to the rounded edges, the twine wasn't wrapped completely around. This is where you kind of have to be daring and creative. I was kind of lucky because it came out exactly how I pictured.

I then trimmed some of those loose twine hairs.  After the more difficult part is over, all you gotta do is glue the letter to the frame of your choice. I got my rustic frame from Hobby Lobby. At 40% off it was only $8!!  After gluing my letter to the frame, I wasn't decided whether or not to add more to my decor.  I bought twigs and ribbon, but decided to leave it as-is.  Rather then using satin ribbon to hang my frame with, I picked burlap (since I had left over from my last craft) and created a side knot with it.

I wasn't a fan of the frame sliding around and not staying centered as the door opened and closed (or should I say SLAMMED!), so I put those wall hook sticks on the 2 lower corners so that it stays put.  LOVE my new front door decor... simple, but very inviting =).

DIY Burlap "FAMILY" Banner

A theme to many weddings, bridal showers, nurseries, or professional portraits that has become ever-so-popular is "rustic".  Everywhere I look, I see brides wearing cowboy boots, babies rooms decked out in old wood, and I see these cute little burlap banners that make awesome props to professional photos for families or engagement settings.  It is a VERY easy project...

Here's what you need:
~Burlap: get it from a fabric store (comes in different shades)
~Thick Sharpie
~Sharp scissors
~Large triangular stencil (homemade mine)
~Large alphabet stencil
~Hot glue gun

First, take your triangle stencil to trace and cut out your banner pieces.  In this case I needed 6, but of course cut as many as you need to spell out what you would like.  "LOVE" is a popular one for engagement photos. As you trace the triangle, be careful as not to press hard and not to drag the pen/marker.  Burlap stretches very easily, so pressing too hard makes for imperfect lines.

Next, stencil out your letters on each of the banner pieces and fill in the letters with a sharpie (can be any color, but I think black, brown, or red works best).

Then, lay out the twine over the top of your banner triangles (letters face down).  Place a line of glue about a half inch from the top of the triangle and fold over.  Yes, your fingers may get a little hot since burlap isn't the thickest material, but you'll be fine... I promise!!!

Finally, add a little touch by gluing some cute bows on the ends.

Originally, I used my banner for a family photo shoot:

And then decided that it would look so cute on my fireplace while not in use:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Simple Necklace Hooks

If you are like me and you love long and over sized necklaces, finding a perfect way to store them can be very frustrating.  Before being married and having to share a bedroom space, I would find the most feminine hooks and such to hang my necklaces and jewelery all over my bedroom and bathroom.  Well, now that I don't want to overload my husband with hot pink, polka dots, and flowers, I was forced to shove all of my jewelry in a jewelry box, which then made for a huge challenge of untangling them every time I reached in to grab one to wear for the day.

I went through many websites, Pinterest being my most fav, looking at different ways to hang my necklaces, but in a more husband friendly way.  Found lots of cute ways, but some more juvenile or more girly then I wanted.  I really enjoyed the romantic theme I have been going with in our room reno, so I was hoping something would portray that.  Well, I decided to head to one of my new favorite stores, Hobby Lobby, to get some inspiration.  I came across their "hook and knob" aisle and I found so many beautiful items.  And to top it off, everything was 50% off!!  I snagged these 2 hooks for $1.50 each and knew exactly where I was going to put them.

This is in our on suite bathroom, next to my sink (I would DIE without having a his and hers sink).  And, yes, I NEED a window covering here.  The shower is directly across and I hope the neighbors aren't getting a free show every morning =).

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Refinishing Our Kitchen Cabinets, Oak to White

I never knew how big of a project this was going to be and when the Home Depot man in the painting department convinced me that this was only going to be a weekend project, I should have not been so gullible.  Sure... this can be done in a weekend if I didn't like to sleep, had the ability to work non-stop, and I had 6 more hands!!  But, this isn't the case and in the end it took about 6 solid weekends.  There was a point half way through where I just thought the end of this project was never going to be reached and I seriously had to fight the urge to take a sledge hammer and just beat these cabinets down until I did enough damage and Cameron would be forced to purchase all new ones!!  Thank goodness we don't own a tool stronger then a hammer =).

We decided to test out the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations kits that can be found at Home Depot.  I heard good reviews online and the process appeared pretty simple and inexpensive.

I think the entire kit cost around $75.

I picked up some other tools and paint brushes and began our project.  The easiest step: tape around the frame, take down kitchen cabinets, remove hinges, and number your doors!!  This is a very important step because so many doors look similar, but they aren't.  During the whole process, the numbered tape fell off a couple times and it really made some steps more frustrating. So, my advice is, really keep an eye on this part throughout the entire process.

If you are keeping the hinges (which we ended up swapping out), keep them numbered as well.

The next step: Cleaning and Deglossing.  The kit recommends cleaning the doors and frame with hot soapy water first and I would definitely do this.  I didn't realize how gross these cabinets were and I am glad I didn't skip this minor step.  After that, the deglossing begins.  Learn from my mistake... degloss the crap out of your frame and doors!!!! Use your husband way more then I did because you need that extra strength of scrubbing.  This step is supposed to replace the sanding part when refinishing your cabinets, but I definitely think it is not as effective.  Now that it is all finished, I would have felt much better with doing the extra work of actually sanding everything rather then relying on this simple deglosser. 

I am not a fan of latex (gloves that is=), but this stuff really stings when it gets on your skin.

Left door: before deglosser, right door: after deglosser
Only noticeable difference is the shine and the before door is much more vibrant in color.

***Warning!!  Small animals may go missing during this process!

The next step is to apply the bond coat, which is your base color.  I definitely have an opinion or 2 about this process.  Whatever you do, don't believe that you will only need 2 coats!!!  All the reviews I have read online claim that the kit did not supply enough paint; everyone needed 3-5 coats!!!  I think by choosing the pure white, I got lucky.  The kit includes 2 small cans of paint that must be tinted before purchase, but Rust-Oleum DOES NOT sell this paint separate from the box, so depending on the color you choose, if you need more paint, you may need to purchase an entire kit just for more paint.  We, on the other hand, picked a color that Home Depot could match perfectly using Behr paint.  Phew!!  That was a relief!!  So, we purchased an additional 2 quarts, making it a total of 4 quarts of paint needed to cover my tiny little kitchen.  In the end, I had to apply 4 coats of pure white paint!! And, I really could have used a 5th, but I was so over it by then.  This took up so much time since the drying time between each coat is 3-4 hours and after the 3rd week, I wanted nothing more then to be finished. 

First Coat

Oh, and I really didn't see the need to empty the cabinets

After days and days and days of applying the bond coat, it was finally time for the top coat.  This is a clear coating to protect the paint from chipping, wear, etc.  This step can ruin your project if you aren't very attentive.  If you layer up a little too much, or leave a thick buildup in any corners, the coat will turn yellow making it look really nasty!! After you apply this, allow a good 7 days for it to totally dry.  Since I just really wanted my kitchen back, eager to get it complete, I put them up earlier then 7 days and I experienced LOTS of chipping, which then put more fuel to my fire in wanting to destroy the heck out of my kitchen! 

So, all was finished and all we had left was the simple steps of putting on new hinges and hardware, right?  UhhhhHahahahahaha!!  After discovering that each hinge needs to be a certain inch from the top, we started to get somewhere.  Some doors were still as stubborn as ever, but with loosening screws here and tightening them there, we got them all to close!!  

Our final step was putting on pulls and knobs to match the hinges.  I think this made a huge difference and really made the cabinets look transformed.

With the kit, supplies, extra paint, hinges, and hardware, this project cost a little over $200.  Am I happy with the end results?  Well, I'm pleased with how it turned out.  Not overjoyed. I never want to compare my project to a professionals, but for the price I paid, I believe I got what I paid for and I definitely love the look of them now then as before.  I really am proud that my marriage actually survived this challenge... I have never been so frustrated with mine and Cameron's cluelessness (you know you like that word!) ever before! I would say it is easier to just do this project solo, but it is too exhausting to succeed at that.  It will all be okay as long as you know going into this project that there will be tons of stress, arguments, and even some tears of frustration, and you will come out alive!  

We are hoping for beautiful granite counter tops, an under mount stainless steel sink, textured backsplash, and hardwood floors in the near future.... stay tuned for an even bigger transformation!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fullfilling our Boys' Dream of a Spiderman Room

It was a daring move to start having our 2 boys, ages 4 1/2 and 3, share a room.  They had absolutely no objections to gaining a new bedtime buddy and now a year later, they are inseparable.  Since moving into our new home, we wanted to do something fun and different to their new bedroom that they share.  We did a sports theme for a moment in our old rental, but that didn't really excite them.  As they got a little older, Jack and Max really fell in love with Spiderman!!!  Cameron was very excited that Diego and Mickey Mouse were a thing of the past, and geared up to create a Spidey room that we hope they will adore for years to come. 

First, we researched different wall murals and kind of came up with our own, but really just winging it at the beginning.  We decided to purchase 3 paint colors; a white for the clouds, a grayish blue for the sky (also a building color), and another blue for some buildings.

 Cameron can be pretty good at drawing, so I fully trusted that he could free hand these clouds and buildings. I was pleasantly surprised after we got the blue sky and clouds up.  BTW, I realized we didn't need to paint the entire wall the blueish gray because the clouds take up a good portion, but remember, we didn't have a set plan before beginning.

We then purchased a Spiderman decal from Potterybarn Kids (didn't want to attempt to paint this one ourselves!).  It came in 3 different pieces and as you peel it off, ripping can easily occur.  We got it up as best we could and the boys LOVED it!!

Next, we wanted to paint some buildings.  We didn't want to make it realistic looking and decided to do more of a silhouette.  We did use painter's tape so that we had even lines, but realized how not-so-perfect this can come out and I ended up doing lots of retouches after it all was dry and tape was pulled off.  With a little work, it turned out pretty good.

I really enjoy having somewhere to hang the kids artwork and such, so I tried to think of a way to create this using Spiderman.  So, we came up with this... 

Using hook screws (okay, so I don't know the correct terminology for these little guys) and clothesline, we made Spiderman come to life making a web and at the same time, hanging artwork from it.

Started by drilling a small hole on 2 ends of the wall.
Then, screwing those hook screws into the drilled holes.
We took the clothesline, brought it through the hook, and then wrapped it around itself to make it look more realistic.

I then can't explain well what we did next.  We tried to make a web as best we could by placing hook screws at different points on the wall.  We then pulled the line through each hook and knotting and cutting when we needed to.  This is how that all ended up...

And, the finished product...

We got the boys each a Spiderman quilt along with red sheets, which compliments this wall pretty well.  Their new set of bunk beds are up and set up on the wall opposite of Spidey so nothing is blocking our masterpiece except for a low dresser and a toy organizer.  This took some time and patience, but I think Cameron and I are pretty proud of the results!!