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Thrifty Decor Chick

Sharing simple, inexpensive ways to decorate your home.

Updated: 2018-02-20T14:29:38.247-05:00


Using a lamp shade as a light fixture


Hello there! This is a quick lighting change that makes it easy to customize the lighting in a room. I'm sharing how I adapted a drum shade to create the look of a flush mount light in our bathroom too! We have a recessed light above the tub in our bathroom, which is great. I always had plans to covert it using a light kit. Here's a night time view before I started:First I used the converter kit -- it's a simple change! You screw it into the recessed light like a light bulb, and then there's a part that hangs down so you can hang a pendant fixture on it. (You buy those separately.) Here's a look at the converter kit I used:I actually used this years and years ago over our kitchen sink. It works great and you can adjust the length of the cord easily. I'm OBSESSED with some beautiful lamp shades at IKEA called Nymo -- every single time we go in I drool over them. They're the most beautiful colors and have such pretty detail. They have a really large size that I fell in love with for our master bathroom. I ended up getting a large black one for that room, and hung it using the converter kit. It was plenty high, but I did some checking on electrical code and found out it was going to hang a little low for the measurements required above a tub. We couldn't touch it (you want to make sure you can reach for it if you're falling) but I was still wanting it to be higher just in case. So I thunk and I thunk about how I could still use the fixture without that being an issue. And I came up with a plan! I used (affiliate) my pipe cutters (I use them more than you'd think -- they're great for cutting down drapery rods!) to cut off the round part in the middle off of the shade frame: Yes, that is a cat butt you see. He's always with me:I was able to remove the center part:I had a plan to use cup hooks in the ceiling to hang the shade but couldn't get my ladder under the shade just right to reach. So I traced the shade on some paper, then marked where the cup hooks needed to be: I used painters tape to tape it to the ceiling (centered on the recessed light) and then marked where my cup hooks needed to go. I took it down and added my hooks where I marked.I was able to hang the shade directly from the ceiling so it looks like a flush mount:This way I'm using the recessed light and just hanging the shade around it, so no worries at all! I cut the wire mount out of the middle because I didn't want it in the way of the light bulb. I LOVE IT! Gah, aren't these shades so pretty?:I ended up cutting the metal down a bit more because you could see them sticking out from underneath (although we're the only ones who will see that part): It gives us the look of a flush mount light without it hanging down over the tub. It's SO pretty at night especially!:That gold inside just makes it! Because I still had the recessed light converter, I went ahead and added another shade (I already had it for my husband's office -- but he'll need a bigger one anyway) to our little hallway I showed you earlier this week:Goodness I just love these! Somebody please stop me from adding them all over my house. The price is great for the detail and size. So pretty! If you have a recessed light that is centered nicely in a spot, these are a great option to add a little detail and customization to your house too! Have any of you used these kits? Of course you can use anything as the pendant -- shades, baskets -- so many fun options! You can see how I used a lamp shade to make over our old ceiling fan here -- what a difference that made!!This content is property of Thrifty Decor Chick LLC. If you are reading this on any other site other than or one of her social media platforms, please contact her immediately (thriftydecorchick at gmail dot com). Any other use of this content is strictly forbidden. [...]

Art wall around the thermostat (and a hanging art hack)


I've had a lot of fun finding spots for our stuff in this house, especially art. Everything feels brand new in a different space! It's been fun to figure out what works where -- even though I've put way too many holes in the walls already. We have this small hallway off the kitchen that has our thermostat: That closet was absolutely packed with stuff for months after moving in -- you can see the clean, organized closet here. I had a mirror up on the wall above the thermostat but it never looked right. I knew eventually I'd do something more there. So today I did just that, and in the process I remembered a trick I wanted to show you again!I've blogged about this somewhere in the last few years, but it's a great tip worth mentioning again. Hanging art or frames with two hooks is the bane of my existence. When I turn something over and see two I feel like shaking my fists to the sky -- nooooo!I showed you my painter's tape trick for hanging larger pieces easily here. But for smaller ones like this there's an even easier tip. Especially when you realize the two hooks aren't even on the back...argh!!:It's hard to tell here but the two hooks were different distances from the top. *shakes fists in air*'s how to deal with that. Just tie a string across the two:If you're hanging more than one that needs to be at the same height, make sure your string is tied the same on each one. To make this easy I just tie it tight across the two, and then when you pull up the hooks will probably tilt in a bit like above. You may still have to make teeny tiny adjustments if you want them all exactly even (they're never totally even in this house), but it works great! These frames used to lean along the back of our son's built ins in his old room for years: I'm going to change the navy blue mats (which are just posterboard). I was going to change some of the photos too, but our son was SO tickled to see them down here I'm leaving them as is, at least for now. I'll eventually update with some more recent pics too. It's a sweet little spot! And I was happy to use what we had. It also works with the thermostat but doesn't get in the way:I was able to get them up really fast since I wasn't dealing with trying to make those uneven hooks work. 👍 Try the string trick if you've got annoying frames with two hooks. The only issue might be that they move around more than those secured by two nails. You can use the little rubber pads for cabinets on the back if that bothers you! (I don't mess with that often.)Any other good hanging tricks you want to share? Have you ever tried this little hack? Check out this post with more tips on hanging art here!SaveSaveThis content is property of Thrifty Decor Chick LLC. If you are reading this on any other site other than or one of her social media platforms, please contact her immediately (thriftydecorchick at gmail dot com). Any other use of this content is strictly forbidden. [...]

Our soothing master bedroom tour


Happy weekend friends! I finally finished up the second nightstand in our master bedroom and figured it would be a good time to share this room with you! It's nice to take photos and share these with you because I really get to see the beauty of our spaces. It's different when you're in them all day. When I was editing these photos I was thinking this sure is a pretty room! ;) If you've missed any of the room tours in the new house so far, here's a list:Powder roomMud room/laundry comboFoyerMy officeMorning room (saw a similar room called that the other day and fell in love with it!)Basement family roomKitchenOur master is almost exactly the same size as our last one, but that one was wide where this one is long. It's different for us and so far we really like it. It has a TON of windows -- which was what we fell in love with months ago. There's a lot I want to do in here but this is how it looks now!This is the room shortly before we moved in:I've been working hard on getting this room "done" (you know I'm never done). I shared the IKEA nightstand transformations a couple weeks ago -- I LOVE them!! That mirror above the bed is too small but I'm trying to use what we have for the time being. Other than drapes and the lamps I haven't bought anything for this room and I'll wait till I find just the right thing for over the bed. I've always thought that spot is hard!I may raise the headboard just a bit too -- but man that was a pain to hang and the anchors are already in the wall. So maybe I won't be moving it up. 😂I made the bed for you...mostly. ;) I have three big euro pillows but I'm tired of messing with them, so  you get the simpler look today!You can see how I made the tufted headboard here -- so many of you have done the same and I love seeing your pics!! That headboard just barely squeaked in between those windows! We had these IKEA curtains in the old house and I LOVE them because they block the light well. Someday I'd like to find something lighter maybe? I want to see how the idea I have for the tray ceiling comes together first. Whatever we use has to be able to block the morning sun -- we had the temporary pleated shades for months so it's nice to have total darkness again!These are the Salena velvet drapes by the way and I have them doubled up on the long wall:We LOVE all the windows! The evening light is my favorite in here but that natural light is great all day:You can find our light fixture (affiliate) here -- although ours was a lot less. There's a larger version with more lights as well. I loved the unique shape and the wood tone!I repeated the frames around our TV like our old bedroom, but arranged them differently. I took the photos on a trip and printed them out at home:We've had that dresser forever -- I've found all of my favorite furniture pieces on Craigslist! I keep messing with accessories on there. Another hard one. Ha! When I finally figure out what I like I'll never change it again: We didn't do hardwoods in here to keep costs down and I'm not regretting it at all. I don't know if we'll do them in here eventually or not! I'm really loving the carpet. :)If you can keep plants alive, they bring so much to a room! I don't have much luck with ferns so I hope I can keep this one thriving:I only put about ten holes in the new wall trying to get these frames symmetrical: I admire people that can go without a TV in the master. I am not one of them. We love winding down at night and watching our shows:You KNOW that that cord is driving me crazy right now. Colby has to get in the pics someway or another: Still deciding what will go on this wall. And I have a FUN plan in mind for that tray ceiling! Can't wait to tackle that!:I'm thinking a large leaning mirror would be lovely on that wall. I found one a few months ago that would have been PERFECT. I'm still kicking myself for not getting it. There you go! Hope you enjoyed the tour! I'll link the projects and items I can at the bottom of the [...]

Fun and pretty storage ideas in the master closet


Now that I'm feeling like me again (almost back to 100 percent after my back injury!), I've been BUSY around the house. I've, as I say, gotten my mojo back. But it's been a lot of little things that don't add up to one big thing. But each project, no matter how small, gives me great satisfaction. It feels so GOOD to get things done again! One spot that isn't even close to done but is coming along is my closet. We had a huge master in our old house that served us well. I always had more plans for it but it was easy to keep organized. We have his and hers closets in this house and so far I'm loving it (because mine is the bigger one 😂). I added cabinets in our old closet for our folded clothes and I loved having it put away behind doors. I want to do something similar in our new closets, but for now we're working with what we have. We didn't upgrade anything in these rooms because I wanted to see how we used the spaces before putting any money into them. Well, I lived with mine for months and living with clothes and jewelry in boxes was starting to get old. So I started with a spot to put the smaller clothing like socks and tanks. I went with this Hemnes dresser from IKEA and it fit perfectly at the end of the closet under the taller shelves. (It's on sale right now!)Then I was able to have some fun with the top of the dresser -- I was excited that I had all this space to use for the prettier items! I use trays to corral lotions, sprays and perfumes:I was thrilled to get a lamp in there! I found it on clearance at Hobby Lobby. I have a random outlet in my closet, my husband does not and he's super jealous of my lamp. :) We plan to figure something out for his too. I love having the lamp on while I'm doing laundry and going in and out putting things away. It's just cozy and pretty. I made a holder for my long necklaces at the old house (it covered the ugly utility access) but I needed something for this closet. I ended up using this tie holder -- it has nearly 30 holders and works perfectly for necklaces!I got mine from the Container Store but (affiliate link) this one has nearly as many hooks and looks similar. I love that little vintage silver tray -- it's one of my favorite Goodwill finds ever! Look at the sweet detail:I really need to clean it up but I just adore it. I've used it for years and I feel like it's more on display in here than it's ever been. :) I've been trying to figure out a good way to store my shoes for YEARS!! Argh, it's my biggest issue in the closet. I know wood shelves would be ideal, and maybe someday I'll add some just for shoes. But I've tried wire racks and I find the shoes (especially heels) just become a mess. I saw a picture of a closet with shoes neatly put away in plastic bins and fell in love with it. I figured they would be crazy expensive though --I found some plastic shoe bins at HomeGoods but they were $8 each -- so I held off. And THEN I found them at the Container Store for less than $2 each. Still more than I wanted to spend though, and THEN I saw that they sell them in bulk for less. AND THEN they were on sale beyond that, so I got 20 shoe boxes for a little more than a buck each. SCORE. So far I really like having them put away. I can fit numerous flat shoes in one so I have way more than 20 in the boxes. I ended up getting some for my husband's shoes (they are bigger) and those work great for boots:Don't look to the left or right -- just straight ahead looks super organized and cute!:By the way, my every day shoes are in the mud room -- I don't put those in the boxes. Ain't nobody got time for that. But the off season and less worn shoes are here. I have a stool to the right that I grab to get anything on the top shelves (top is for heels I don't wear as often). The little lamp is my favorite part though. I say add a lamp wherever you can! Kitchens, laundry rooms, closets...I love them anywhere!: There you go -- a start to an organized c[...]

The BEST pet stain remover


Well hello there! Thank you so very much for all of your wonderful comments on the nightstand makeover earlier this week! I'm so pleased with it. Today I'm sharing a quick post about something we've used for over a year now and LOVE. We can't live without this stuff now! This is NOT a sponsored post, I just like to share things that work. If you have animals I think you'll find it worthwhile!These are the worst pictures you'll ever see on the blog. 😂 Just putting that out there. Cause today we're talking pee and puke everybody. I can't get around not showing you so you can see how it works, so bear with me. Our little chihuahua dog absolutely HATES going out when it's really cold out. He's great most days but when it's bone-chilling he will go in and out as fast as possible. I can't blame him! This morning it was SO cold and I found this: Just a little bit o' pee. On our new carpet. Good times.Last year I found this spray on a Facebook ad of all places, and decided to try it based on the reviews. It really is a miracle solution. I've never found anything like it! You just spray the spot enough so that it's saturated:And by the next day it will be gone. (Pee is anyway.) We have used it numerous times in this house and I can't even find the spots where we sprayed. You really need to let it sit for about a day for the best results. Don't rub, don't do anything! This was just a few hours later:By tomorrow it will be gone! I'm looking at it now (in my office) and it's already less visible than this. It works on everything animal related. We haven't had to use it for #2 thank goodness, but our kitties do vomit occasionally. I've learned to leave it until it dries and then it's much easier to clean up. This was puke one of them left us on our master floor the other day:See! I told you these are the BEST photos ever!!I had already cleaned up any of the solid stuff. Again, just spray really well:It instantly starts to get after it as you can tell. I even looked at my photos to make sure I didn't add them in the wrong order. This one was taken one minute after the one before! The carpet looks different in every pic, I know -- these were taken at different times of day/light and at night. This is after a full 24 hours, and I'll spray again to get the little bit of discoloration that remains:That's pretty impressive for such a dark stain! And this is standing right up on it -- when you walk in the room you already have to look for where it was. This stuff is amazing!!I realize I should have probably waited to show you the full after, but I've been wanting to share this with you and had to take advantage of the accidents while we had them this week. ;) I'll update with final pics!It's called Furry Freshness and in my 42 years of owning animals, I've never found anything that works as well. I don't know what's in this stuff (it's non-toxic) and I don't even care. You can (affiliate) get it here:You can read all the reviews at that link as well. (I love reviews, that's why I write them.) 👍I will say it's kind of pricey -- we have the 32 ounce size. But as I said, I've never found anything that works this well. Especially since you don't have to do a thing -- just spray! And this bottle has lasted us FOREVER, even with three animals. The extra cost is worth saving our carpet and rugs. They do say that the solution can cause a smell while it cleans, but it goes away. I've never smelled that but it's something to consider! OH and you can use it on hard floors as well. Have any of you tried this solution? We LOVE it! Can't recommend it enough! Have a great weekend! SaveSaveSaveSaveThis content is property of Thrifty Decor Chick LLC. If you are reading this on any other site other than or one of her social media platforms, please contact her immediately (thriftydecorchick at gmail dot com). Any other use of this content is strictly forbidden.[...]

Finally! A beautiful nightstand makeover.


Hey there!! I'm SO excited about this project my friends! It's been so very long since I've been able to focus on a DIY anything since my back injury. And this one has been such a long time coming -- I finally finished this up with the help of Minwax. I work with throughout the year and their stain made this project shine!We've had these nightstands for years! Goodness. I mean...this is one of my biggest procrastinations ever. :) Here's a reminder of the Tarva dressers (from IKEA) I started with:These are small dressers but were the perfect size for a nightstand as well. I really wanted something with storage. 👍 When I put them together years ago I cut down the legs with my saw. It makes them the perfect height for by the bed and I just prefer the shorter look.I went back and forth on a look for these forEVER. Here's a reminder of how they looked in our old master: I replaced the wood knobs with random IKEA ones we already had -- not sure why cause it didn't do a whole lot to help it out. ;) I always knew I'd use stain somehow and add some trim. The exact details I wasn't sure of. But when we moved into this house it all fell into place. My inspiration is a project for our master I haven't even started yet -- I'll share with you (hopefully) soon!I wanted to use a deep blue color and a dark stain. I went back and forth on whether I should stain the front of the drawers or stain the trim and top. I decided on the latter mostly because the pine these are made of isn't necessarily the best. Lots of knots I didn't want to accentuate. So I started painting with no primer. I'm a total rebel! I knew I was going to have to do multiple coats no matter what. After the first coat it's important to do a light sanding to knock down the texture that pops up with paint:You'll have to do that with primer as well. No need to go crazy with it -- just a light going over is fine. Wipe it down with a rag or tack cloth before moving on to your next coat! (This pretty blue is called Gale Force.)What a difference another coat makes! The grain becomes less and less noticeable:I started on the stain while I waited on the paint to dry. I wanted to go darker this time and went for an old favorite, Jacobean by Minwax:It's just a yummy color! I used it on our hardwoods in the old house and it's a beautiful dark brown without any red tones. I use gloves and a rag to stain. Makes it super easy to apply and I find it quicker than using a brush:  It really gets the stain into the wood too -- you're really rubbing it in. I only do one coat of stain but if you want to deepen the color you can do one or two more. Do be sure to wait till it's dry in between coats or you'll have a gummy mess. Make sure your stain is dry before starting the protective coat as well. I used their fast-drying semi-gloss polyurethane because I have absolutely zero patience. 😂 Never shake your poly -- it will create bubbles and bubbles are the enemy of a beautiful, smooth finish. Always stir:Staining is my favorite because it's immediate gratification, but poly is a close second because it really brings out the beauty of the wood:You want to smooth out that finish as much as possible. It's helpful to use your light source and look at the item from the side to see what needs touching up. I find a few lighter coats work much better than one heavy-handed coat. It already looked SO good! But I knew the final addition would make it even better. I used this inexpensive lattice wood trim I've shown you a million times to trim out each drawer front. I stained the pieces first and then cut them down to the correct size:A nail gun makes for quick work (I used very short nails -- make sure they won't go through the back!) but you could absolutely use glue too!You're going to have a rough edge if you trim them out like I did. I could have mitered the edges but I'm still using my handheld saw and miter box. (You can[...]

DIY projects I'm repeating (and a few I'm NOT)


Hello there! I'm starting to feel more like myself, finally! After months of back pain and then some intense disc and nerve issues, I'm definitely on the mend and not living with pain everyday for the first time since September. I'm SO thrilled.I'm trying to ease into projects slowly. I'm still doing things like hanging curtains to get us just at ground zero as far as basic stuff I want to have done before I tackle projects. But I'm about there and getting really excited about using my tools again!I've been thinking a lot about what projects I want to repeat from our old house in this one. I've mentioned a few times that I want a simpler look and feel in this one, and I've purposely held off on doing anything up till now. (The back stuff kind of helped that along). I've already incorporated a couple things into this house -- one being a huge DIY blackboard in the mud room:And the open shelves in the kitchen of course!:If you missed the kitchen tour earlier this week check it out here!One project that will definitely show up in this house is adding wall treatments with molding -- of course! You know me, it WILL happen. I'm still a fan of board and batten and it will look fantastic in this house:I also know I'll add some planked walls (or shiplap thanks to Joanna) somewhere -- just not sure where just yet:I'll always love the crisp white look against the wall color. It makes me happy. (You can see how to add this look to your house here.)I DO know where I'll add another stained wall like this one on our old basement landing:This time it will be a little different but I'm so ready to get it started! Can't wait! I've already told you I'll be recreating our DIY built ins: I'm adding them to a wall in my office but this time I plan to go with color instead of white. I do plan to add them in our basement as well, but the design will be a lot different. When we were building I moved the light in our kitchen dining area over a bit just so I could add another window seat like this one day:I had dreamed of a window seat for most of my adult life so I was thrilled when we added it in the kitchen! The new one will be much longer and the added storage never sucks. ;) Speaking of storage -- one project I'm already piecing together in my mind is some kind of closed storage in our closets. I loved that all of our clothes were in our master closet before and that they were tucked away behind doors:This is one thing that will take some time to figure out. I want to make sure we use the space well. It will involve taking down the current wire shelving and cutting it down so it will be a big project. Those are the biggies that I know we'll repeat here -- but there are a couple you probably won't see as much of (or none). Now I never say never, so don't yell at me if I change my mind one day. 😁 One is a specific wall treatment:Goodness, I LOVE beadboard. I look a this photo and just adore it. But it doesn't seem like it would fit in this house quite as well. And man oh man, it is such a pain to paint. Easy to install -- a pain to paint! I know I said I plan to add built ins in this house, but on the flip side, I won't be adding as much. At least that's the plan now. They served us beautifully in the old house because they just felt meant to be where I added them. But in our son's room it really limited the placement of his bed and furniture. We're going for a similar look but without the permanent-ness in his new room. (Hope to work on that next month.) And we just don't need the storage like we did for his toys in the basement: We will have some in the basement but it won't span the whole wall. And overall, this house is more open so there's not as many spots that built ins would fit well. One more that may surprise you! I don't plan to add hardwoods all over the house like we did before. This is one I can see changing[...]

A tour of our (new) kitchen


Well hello! How was your weekend? It felt like spring around here so that was a bonus. I'm back today with another room reveal in the new house! If you've missed any of the room tours so far, here's a list:Powder roomMud room/laundry comboFoyerMy officeMorning room (saw a similar room called that the other day and fell in love with it!)Basement family roomI've shared bits and pieces of our kitchen but wanted to get a few projects finished up before I showed you the whole space. I laugh when friends ask what I'll do with all my time in a new house -- I have SO many projects in mind I can't even tell you. It's a blank canvas and I'm so excited! That being said, the kitchen is the most "done" by far -- I focused on it first.I've wanted these pendant lights for years and when I discovered we had an allowance for our light fixtures in the house I knew I'd skimp on most of the others. I made it work! Most of the rooms have $20 lights I'll change out eventually (or no light at all for now) just so I could get these beauties:I absolutely adore them! (I'll link to all items in the room at the bottom of the post!)Overall I wanted a lighter feel in this house -- I went a little softer with the colors compared to our old kitchen. I went back and forth on whether or not we should do the two toned cabinets (gray on bottom) like I did in our last house but ultimately decided on classic white and a light gray island. I pulled in the gray island by doing a light gray grout on the backsplash:Of course I had to add my IKEA bar over the stovetop again! I was terrified to drill into that tile! I mean, literally sweating. 😂 I figured out that I could drill into the grout instead (this doesn't hold a ton of weight) and it worked perfectly! Much easier to fix if I ever need to do so. I also added this one to the side of the island. I had one on the old island and liked that little detail:As you can see -- this room has stainless, black and brass finishes and they work together well. Don't be afraid to do the same! I showed you how I stained and treated the kitchen island here. I knew any forever kitchen of mine would have to have butcher block -- I love the warmth it brings to the space! It's the one thing that EVERY single visitor comments on (even kids, ha!). We just love it:We had a braided jute rug from the old kitchen but it was starting to wear out. AND it was too tall -- we couldn't open the trash compactor. So I was on the lookout for a new one for a couple months. I found this one on Rugs USA and loved it (I wanted some color!) but it was on backorder. Thankfully it came in a good week before they said it would:Overall it's a blue/gray, but it has tons of color in it -- navy, pink, red, orange. Love it! You can see how I hung the shelves in this post. Those are another thing I knew I'd want in this kitchen and I love them!:Overall we're thrilled with how this room functions. The best part of the kitchen is the pantry, which is still a total disaster. I left the light off in there on purpose. ;) That pantry has so much storage (will have even more when I get it organized), we keep most of our small appliances in there. I had them add an outlet and I have a plan to make that even more functional -- stay tuned! But I absolutely love that I'm able to keep the counters cleared off. I just finished decorating the upper cabinets this morning. When I built them in our last house I just had baskets up there to keep things simple. The decor may change over time but for now I'm calling this kitchen done:I'm still considering adding wood hood over the vent hood but we'll decide that in time. I quite like the way this one looks (I didn't think I'd like it this much):I hope you enjoyed the tour! A few years ago I completely transformed our old kitchen and was able to add everything I loved -- I pulled so many of those detai[...]

The best closet ever.


Well hello there! Ready for the weekend? We have some fun plans. The snow started melting today and should throughout the weekend so that's an extra bonus. We saw The Greatest Showman today and it was fantastic. We've heard so much about it and it exceeded my expectations. I mentioned earlier this week that I've been an organizing fool lately. It's been fun to figure out how our spaces work and what functions best. I purposefully waited to do this because I didn't want to put in all this work to find out later we didn't use the everything like I thought. Of course it will still change over time, but for now I'm thrilled with how it's coming together!This closet was a doozy. It's my favorite in the house. (Do normal people have a favorite closet?)When I shared our mud room/laundry a couple months ago, I told you I was most excited about the closet we added in the room. A closet JUST for cleaning crap. Hello! But it quickly became our dumping ground, which I was OK with knowing I'd get to it eventually. Here's how it looked the night I started:It held tons of stuff but wasn't functional at all. You can see one of the vacuums (I keep the other one in the basement where we have more carpet) lived outside the closet which isn't dreamy at all. 😂 There was obviously no room for it. We had quite a few things I wanted to fit in this closet:utility stuff like batteries and light bulbscleaning rags, sponges and the likecleaning suppliesvacuum, brooms, swiffers, etc. (we have a lot of these because I use one for different needs)ironing stuff -- boards, (we have large and small ones) and ironwrapping items like paper, bags, ribbon, etc.carpet cleaner machineI quickly realized not all of this was going to fit, more on that in a minute. Here's another look at what we were dealing with:Good times!!As I do anytime I start an organizing project, I took every single thing out of the closet. First goal is to purge what we don't need anymore. This is where it got hard for me. I mention the Konmari method every time I organize something, because it changed my life for the better. I've gotten VERY good at letting go of things. Very good. But I discovered I have a weird thing with cleaning supplies. I couldn't let go of them!And look how much we had!:What in the world? Here's one thing I've learned since moving in this house -- from this point on like items will live together. At the last house I had a cabinet I built in our laundry room that held all of our extra cleaning supplies and paper items. When we moved I was appalled at how many cleaning supplies we had, because they were out of site, out of mind. Keeping them down in the basement in a cabinet I rarely opened didn't work. We bought more of stuff not knowing what we had. I used to use mainly one cleaning brand exclusively around the house -- I have concentrate I would mix up. I don't know why I got away from that and we ended up with so many bottles of stuff, but I know a big part of it was not having it all in one spot. I've learned people! No more. But I stood there literally frozen in front of it all, having a hard time letting it go. I kind of smacked myself out of it (figuratively) and went back to what I learned with the Konmari method -- do I LOVE the product and (my addition) does it work well? I was able to start going through items and first decided what I didn't even like. I had a lot of carpet cleaning stuff and I've only found a couple that really work well. The rest went away. I had three cans of a cleaner that were filled in various amounts. I kept the one that was the most full and donated the rest. If I never used it -- it was in the donate pile. I was able to whittle it down to a third and stuff we actually USE. Actually a third of that is just empty bottles I plan to use for the concentrate.Another item I stru[...]

Hanging shelves in the kitchen


Hey hey! My late owl-ness has kicked in HARD on these shorter days. Goodness, I cannot get my mojo going till evening everyday, hence these posts getting later and later. It drives me crazy and it's worse than ever lately. I've been organizing like crazy when I get into gear lately! The bug has bitten me and I've gone through a bunch of stuff. I finished up the mud room closet, the area under the kitchen sink and now I'm working on getting my closet under control. I'll share those areas with you soon, but for today I wanted to show you the shelves I hung in our kitchen awhile back. We had a spot that called for an upper cabinet in our plans, and when I was looking for a place to add shelves (because I love them in a kitchen), I knew that was perfect. It's right by our fridge and I had the cabinet removed and a sconce added on the wall. The wall was bare for a couple months but I finally got these up!I knew I wasn't going to be able to get both brackets into a stud (if you're going to put any kind of weight on shelves you need to make sure they're in a stud or you use a really good anchor). I found these at the hardware store -- they hold up to 100 pounds. I knew my shelves wouldn't be close to that even with dishes, but I usually over compensate with something like this:Regular anchors are either screwed or inserted into the wall and when you add the screw they open up a bit on the other side of the drywall to hold them in place. Toggle anchors have a mechanism that actually flips open and then braces against the back of the wall. So they are your best bet for anything really heavy. I used similar anchors (made for exterior) when I hung our window boxes on the old house years ago. They stayed put forever!These are particularly great because they are self-drilling. No need to use a bit to start the hole off like usual: sourceThey were SO easy to get in the wall. That pointy end makes it quick and simple. I used my drill:I got frustrated though, because when I added the screw, it just kept turning and wouldn't tighten. Whether you're in a stud or an anchor -- your screw will get to a point where it will get tight and stop turning. That's when you know it's secure. These just kept turning. I finally read the instructions and realized you have to keep turning for the toggle to open up in the back. It takes a few seconds but eventually they will tighten up. Just a little heads up for any of you that use them. :)Someday I'd like to add thicker shelves, but for now I just used inexpensive wood. It's just thick enough that the little detail at the end of the brackets overlaps nicely: I found these shelves at the Crates and Pallets booth at the Haven Conference last year. They generously offered to send some my way when I needed them. I love that they're simple and a little more industrial than what I used in our last kitchen. As I've said a few times, I'm craving a simpler look in this house and loving it! And I think all rooms need a touch of black so I knew that would work even with the other metal tones. (They come in a variety of sizes, I used the 12 inch.)You don't have to match all your metals -- spaces are a whole lot more interesting when you don't!:I just used what we have to fill the shelves -- our everyday dishes are here and the top shelf is more for display: I haven't even begun to organize the kitchen cabinets, so what we keep on there may change with time. (As usual, I will add a list of sources at the bottom of the post!)I'll share a proper tour of the kitchen soon! Still some little tweaks I'd like to make first. But getting these up and the island counter stained and sealed has finished this space off beautifully: I stained these in the same color as the island!Our accent lighting in this room is my favorite -- I love to have the cabin[...]

My first organized closet!


Hey all! I am laughing at my post title because it sounds like I've never done this before. I mean in the NEW house. 😂 A quick post for you today about something I've been really excited to tackle. I'm a bit odd -- I LOVE to purge and organize. Purging items from our home makes me feel lighter and breezier (ha!) and organizing things soothes me. Both give me a great feeling of accomplishment. I'm not a stickler about it -- things get messed up and it's not always perfect. But knowing exactly where something needs to go is a very good thing. We've lived here about 12 weeks now and I've been looking forward to the day I could actually start organizing. That day has arrived!!My first goal when we moved in was to just get us functioning. Then it was to empty as many boxes as possible -- I got those done in the first month. Then the holidays hit so I allowed myself to enjoy those and not worry about organizing anything. But it was starting to get to all of us -- we couldn't find anything and didn't know where to put stuff when things were put away. So now that (most) of the holiday decor is down and I'm starting to recover from my back issues...the time has come! We're lucky to have a bunch of closets in this house -- it's just a matter of figuring out what we want in each one. We have a linen closet near our bedroom that has become my catch all, especially during the holidays. When we moved in I would just throw random stuff in there and it continued when at Christmas. Wrapping paper, gifts, toilet paper, photo boxes, candles, paint supplies, decorative items. You name it, we had it in here:So this is a photo I took hours before a holiday party we hosted. My husband cleaned our entire house  (I wasn't much help with my back) and at one point he said, "What if people want to look in closets?" And I (in sheer terror) said, "There's no way they'll want to look in closets...right?!" So about two hours before our guests arrived I made a sad attempt to try to make this one better. This was after I took half the crap out.This is the after -- it was a massive improvement, believe it or not:This, my friends, has been my Monica closet. (If you don't know what I'm talking about look up the Friends episode.) ;) But now it's just lovely, and I'll take you through my process. First up, I made a list of items we want to have easy access to. They were the following:light bulbspaper towelstissue boxescandlesextension cordswrapping paper (and all of the stuff that goes with it)photoscleaning suppliesbatteriestoilet paperI had a few other things on the list as well, but those were the biggies. (Towels and sheets are stored in our bathroom and closets.) I thought about how to organize items and decided I wanted our closet in the mud room to be more utility focused -- bulbs, cleaning, batteries, etc. This closet I wanted to be easy access to stuff we reach for more often. I started by completely emptying the closet. Some items had just been thrown in there -- paint supplies went in the garage:I used to keep these in the house (in a dresser), because our garage was a much longer walk before. Now it's super quick for me to run out to the garage so these will live out there. I've told you about the Konmari purge I completed a couple years ago and how it changed our lives. I had an even better perspective on it AFTER we moved. Most people purge when they're packing up, but I didn't get rid of much. (Because I had already gone through the process.)But when we moved into the house I had a whole new outlook on our stuff after living without it for two months. I got rid of a TON more and haven't missed any of it. But here's the thing...there's still one item that I obviously can't get under control. It's so random...but I couldn't believe how many[...]

Hardware and drapes for BIG windows (that don't break the bank!)


I'm already loving the difference the small changes I've made to our home have changed how the spaces look. I like how the small things layer upon each other and make each room feel cozier and more and more like we've lived here forever.One of the first things we noticed about this house when we walked through the studs months ago was the number of windows and how BIG some of them were. I'm a lover of natural light so I was really excited about that:As you can see, in our family room the windows are extra high -- they have the transom windows above so it makes them even taller than the rest of the house. LOVE them. And most of the year we can keep them open no problem -- when the leaves are on the trees we have tons of privacy, but this time of year it feels like we're living in a fish bowl. ;)Around Christmas Home Depot had a sale on their bamboo roman shades and they were such a good deal I was able to purchase for most of the house. I got them all up, but we were stumped as to what to do with these windows. They are tricky because of the transoms and the length. On the smaller ones I could have hung the blinds under the transoms, but I wasn't sure I'd even like that look and how it would cut off the window. And the big window requires a way to secure the shade in the middle (the wider ones have three brackets). The horizontal area between the windows is vinyl, not wood, so we can't secure the brackets in there. (I mean, we could, but I don't want to.)I could have looked into custom bamboo shades, but they wouldn't match the rest of the house. SO. I knew I'd have to do drapes of some kind, and figured because they were going to be so long (132 inches), I'd have to go custom. I was planning to shop for fabric but quickly realized with the number of yards I'd need, it was going to be hard to do this affordably, especially adding a liner. (I needed four panels so that they would cover the whole wall when closed.)Then I started looking online, just to see what I could find ready made. I found (affiliate) just what I wanted on Amazon -- to the rescue again!! And I was able to get them super quick, score! I found 52" by 132" lined drapes for $36 each. That's pretty darn good for such long curtains. Still an investment but I was thrilled to find them for that price. They came in a medium gray color which was exactly what I was looking for in this room. I was able to hang these myself -- it was AWESOME to get something done after weeks of not being able to do much (I have a herniated disc that is slowly but surely healing). I took it suuuuper slow but with some help from my husband, we were able to get it done. The hardest part was getting them wrinkle free, more on that in a bit!They were just a couple inches too long, so I used my hemming tape to hem them up just a bit. I've been singing the praises of this stuff for years -- if you haven't heard of it, it's fusible webbing "tape" that you use an iron on to hem just about any fabric: You just figure out where you want your hem, fold over with the tape inside and then use the iron with high steam to warm it up. It fuses the fabrics together: That little ironing board is from IKEA -- I've had one for years and LOVE it because it's small and so easy to pull out for quick stuff like this. You can see that these have just a slight sheen -- I was a little worried at first because I didn't want that look. But it's very minor and I quite like the texture of the fabric. It looks like linen.I could have left them to hang and get some of the wrinkles out, but it was driving me crazy. So I used my handheld steamer (this is the one I use). This took FOREVER. Longer than it took to hang the dang things. But it made a big difference!:Over the years I've fallen in l[...]

Our coziest room in the house!


Hello there! Thank you all so much for your kind comments about my recent injury! You have all been so kind here, via email and on social media. Good things -- I'm feeling better with every day and the pain is subsiding. I'm still a ways off from normal, but I'm thrilled that there's progress! Bad things -- results came back from my MRI and they're recommending further treatment. Not sure what that treatment is just yet. We purchased a once-in-a-lifetime kind of trip to a resort in Mexico with friends at a fundraiser last year. We've been looking forward to it for seven months...and we aren't able to go because of my back. It sucks. But I'm looking on the bright side -- I'm healing, I'm under great care and I am enjoying that at least I'm not freaking out trying to get packed up and prepped for a week away. ;) I'm going to try to enjoy an unexpected week at home to get stuff done now that I'm more mobile again. Anyway, enough of that stuff! Back to room reveals! This is one we're all obsessed with and I've been excited to share it with you. Our whole family has a thing with basements -- we just freaking love them. Anytime I find out someone has a basement I HAVE to see it. 😂 When we first looked through this house there weren't stairs down to the basement yet. We had no idea what it looked like. When they added them and we went down with our phone flashlights, were were hooked. This basement is bigger than our old one. It has tons of space for our family and lots of storage space too. It's basically my dream. ;) Soon after we moved in the La-Z-Boy sectional we ordered arrived and the room quickly came together. We LOVE it!! (The La-Z-Boy folks graciously provided this because of my involvement with the Design Dash last year.) We are still pinching ourselves are are so thankful. As always, I'll share links to all products and projects at the end of the post, as well as all of the details for the sofa. We used the rug from our old basement (yes, you can totally put a rug on top of carpet!) and I love it with the sofa!:We don't have many windows in the basement but I do love having a little natural light down here. I hung the drapes from our old bedroom and they were perfect!Other than the sofa everything is stuff we've had. It just came together beautifully. We had the big map art in our last house too and it's one of my very favorite art pieces!:This little table was a clearance find that I spruced up years ago. It's another favorite: We visited the La-Z-Boy store and I went back and forth between the Kennedy and Collins sectionals. The Collins had a hard corner which I prefer, but the arms were more traditional. The Kennedy has a rounded corner (in the back) and sleeker arms. I went with that one because the arms were more important to me visually: We love the chaise!! It's my favorite spot.The other side of the room? Wah wahhhh...not very fun just yet:I have BIG BIG plans for this wall! I'm so excited about it! Lots of building will happen, just not sure when I'll be able to start it. Could be a winter project? It's going to take me awhile though, so knowing me if I start this winter it will be done by next winter. 👍I was so excited to see the pretty handrails and details I picked for upstairs were repeated down here: I have a gallery wall in mind for that wall coming down the stairs, but want it to be simpler with the same frames in various sizes. I plan to fill it with photos of our travels. We have tons of lights down here and I love it. Two projects I have planned are adding a dimmer to all of the lights and eventually switching them out to daylight bulbs like I did before. (I'll wait till they burn out.) The window helps a ton but it's still v[...]

The biggest and best of 2017!


HELLO my friends!! I'm back! I hope your holidays were wonderful and you've had a great start to the new year. I did not plan to take this much time away, but the day after my last post, I was hit with SO much pain. Most of my life, like nothing I've ever experienced. I've been dealing with some lower/side back pain that has come and gone for the past few months. For the past five to six weeks it was back but was going down the front of one of my legs as well. I didn't realize (not having this pain before), that it was nerve pain, and pushed it way too far. So for nearly two weeks now I've been (very, very slowly) healing from what the doctor thinks was a bulging disk that resulted in nerve pain. I had an MRI last week and haven't heard back just yet, but overall I'm feeling MUCH better. I still have a week or two before I think I'll feel 100 percent again though. I am no wuss. ;) I can handle a good amount of pain -- and this brought my to my knees. I've never felt anything like it and hope to never again. When you're in that much pain, focusing on anything but what's in front of you is all you can do. And with Christmas so close, I was just focused on getting things finished up for our family. My husband has been an absolute saint!! We hosted a party a few days after Christmas and he did everything while I nursed my back and leg. I HATE not being able to do what I want to do -- it's not easy for me to slow down. This has been a lesson to listen to my body, that's for sure. And I have a whole new respect and empathy for those that deal with chronic pain. I was able to take down most of the Christmas decor yesterday, and the other day hung a few pictures. A couple days ago I was able to walk through Target for about 15 minutes without pain -- those are huge milestones for me but I'm dying to get back to my normal self! I didn't mean to take this much time away but I was thankful it happened at such a slow time for life and the blog. One of my favorite things to do about this time is look back on the year and share the rooms and projects I completed. It makes me feel super accomplished, especially lately! ;) This is a fun one because it includes some spaces from our old house and a recap of the spaces I've shared in the new one. We'll start with the old house! I made a few updates to our front living room early in the year, and for the first time in 13 years I was really loving how the room looked. It was a tricky one that was open to our foyer and had only one usable wall: I loved that sofa so much, we now have a set of them in the new family room! Our laundry room turned mud room was a process over the years, and I initially went with darker colors in here that didn't feel like the rest of the house. So one week I decided to change it up and painted for hours and hours to transform it into a space that was much more us:I also made some small tweaks to our family room. Years back we knocked down a wall to make this room bigger. After living with it for awhile I knew how I wanted to add some more seating and finishing touches:And my biggest renovation in years was the makeover of our son's bathroom -- this one was SO much work and we were all obsessed with it!: Then the big news -- we decided to move (very unexpectedly) and built our dream house. It was a WILD ride but we are so incredibly thankful! Of course the first photos of each room in our new home are the simplest you'll ever see them. It takes me awhile to decide how I want a room to look, and then add in time and resources. :) This house is just what we want, but I have tons of plans for it, because duh... it's me and tweaking with custom touches is what I love[...]

A tour of our (new!) Christmas home


Hello and welcome to a tour of our holiday home! Be sure to check out a full list to the other ladies on the tour at the end of the post! This year it's a special one because it's our first in our new house. I'm honestly a little surprised that I got as much decorating done as I did considering I just emptied the last box (the ones not still in the storage room) a few weeks ago. It has been a blast dressing up this house, I've thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope you enjoy checking out the photos! I took a ton, as always. If you have questions about an item let me know but I will link to each space/some items at the bottom of the post. I also list some sources to the family room since this is the first you'll see it! Oh and I took some of these in the evening and some during the day, so they go back and forth. You'll notice our Elf has moved in some of them. ;) I shared our front porch dressed up for Christmas here, but those pictures didn't have a cute dog in them: I have to laugh when us bloggers say we're keeping decor simple -- because sometimes it doesn't look simple at all to me. 😂 But this year I really did tone it down, just for the sake of my sanity. I'm still getting used to the house too, so I took it easy this year. So, it's simpler than what I've done in the past, but may not be simple in your terms. :)Tissue boxes count as decor in this house. ;) I had big plans for the mud room/laundry, but we're still in this settling phase where we are constantly dumping stuff in there. I'm hoping to get it better organized now that wrapping is almost done and I'm done with holiday decor. I still love our big chalkboard and use it a lot!:I splurged on those Luminara votive candles (hanging from the chandelier) at an online summer Christmas sale. They are the ones that look like real candlelight and are usually so expensive! They are SO cool. Love them.  Our great room is our absolute favorite place to be right now. It's the lights, candles, the fire and the cozy sofas...all of it makes it such a welcoming spot. We are obsessed with it!Little houses were from the Target dollar spot! Actually a lot of our holiday decor is from there. ;) I dreamt of this light for years -- we had no place for it in the old house. It was the first one I knew I wanted. It's the reason most of our rooms have no lights yet or $20 ones. ;) Totally worth it!!Back when we were building I shared my ideas for the set up for this room. Symmetry won out -- duh. ;) Did you ever have any doubt? (I really did consider other options,'s ME.) I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE it:LOVE!!These are the rooms that were decorated in the house -- we have a tree in the basement and our son has a few things up in his room, but that's it. And it's plenty. Greenery, lights, candles and a few soft items like pillows and blankets go a very long way to making your home feel festive and cozy!Here's a list of items/posts in case you're wondering! Some affiliate links included for your convenience:Front porch tour and sourcesPowder room tour and sourcesKitchen:     Round Christmas board, Target dollar spot     Island stools, Target     Our granite     How to stain and treat butcher block     Hanging rack over stovetop, IKEA     Island pendant lights, Wayfair (we did not get them here but these are the same!)     Two tier wood and metal stand, World MarketDIY chalkboard in mud room Dining area tour and sourcesStaircase tour and sources      How to make an easy DIY bowFamily room:     Dark blue chairs and small round en[...]

My bright and pretty office


Hello there! I was supposed to share our Christmas tour today but moved it to Wednesday because I ran out of daylight to take pics the other day. You'd think after nearly ten years of this gig I'd remember that little issue, but no. ;) (If you want to see the tours kicking off today, go check out the homes of my beautiful friends Chris and Beth.)So instead I'm sharing a tour of my new office today, and this room doesn't have a lick of Christmas decor in it! I wanted to add a little something festive in here, but I'm calling it pretty much done at this point. Next year for sure! I've shared a bunch of rooms in the house so far -- if you missed any you can see the porch here, the staircase, dining area, foyer, mud room/laundry and powder room here!This space its so different from the loft I used as an office in our old house, it will be fun to see how it comes together. You may remember that I have big plans for this room. The built ins will happen at some point next year. I hope! But until then, it's such a bright, pretty space that I'm really enjoying:I'll share links to some of the items and projects from this space at the end of the post, so if you're interested in something specific you may find it there. I get asked about those grids a lot! They are old window grids I found at Goodwill years back. Love them! I have plans for them when I do built something here, but for now they fill in that big wall nicely:Still not sure what light I want to use in this room. I picked out quite a few of these inexpensive "boob" lights for the house until I could figure out exactly what I wanted. I hope to find something awesome in the new year.The (affiliate link) campaign desk is from World Market and so far I really like it. It's nice an sturdy, I love that I can prop my feet up on the bar across the front and it's got plenty of work space!: My only issue with it is the drawer on the front -- it's a pain in the butt to open and close. It has pull out surfaces on either side that I haven't needed, but I can see that they might be helpful when I'm sewing or working on a craft here!The desk chair is just an extra chair from the basement, I still haven't found the perfect one. I want something that's comfy because I like to pull my feet up or sit cross-legged when I'm working. Oh and you can see how I hide my lamp cords here. It was a little more challenging with this one that I had placed in the middle of the floor, but I did OK. ;)The drapes used to hang in our family room and they look great in here! Don't look too close -- they are so wrinkled and it will probably be awhile before I get to that item on my list:This room was a disaster for a long time after we moved in so it's nice to have it cleaned out and somewhat organized. I'm glad you can't see in the drawers, ha!This dresser used to sit in our family room and I still adore it. It fits in so nicely in here! One of the most fun parts of moving into a new house (for me) has been finding spots for things from our old home:This little TV was in the loft before, but it didn't seem so small there! One thing we've noticed in this house is how small our TVs look here. It has to be the taller ceilings? Or maybe because I'm not quite done with hanging items, so the walls look more bare? I don't know but it's so teeny, it makes me laugh:I'll eventually hang art around it I'm sure. I have so many fun ideas for this space! I couldn't find a spot for this bench (that I love) and then I realized the dog didn't have a spot to sit and look outside. So being the good dog mom I am, I put it here and he sits here ALL DAY monitoring the neighborhood. 😊I've told you be[...]

How to create a pretty, simple holiday display (for cheap!)


Hey hey! Happy weekend! Any plans? We've got a busy, fun weekend ahead. This year I've reeeally cut down on the Christmas decor I put out, just because I didn't want to overwhelm the house (and me) with too much so soon after moving in. But it's surprising how so little can make the house feel so festive! One of my go-to's is the simplest decor and you can add to it as you wish to dress it up. I've had these glass candle holders for years and use them every Christmas. (Check the end of the post to see how I've dressed them up over the years.) This time my plan was to leave them bare and create a candlescape on either side of our fireplace:I used ten of the holders (five on each cabinet) and just placed them randomly (shortest in the front) on top. Then I grabbed some greenery -- years back I found the BEST faux greenery at Big Lots (they don't sell it anymore 😢) and got a bunch of it. I used wire cutters to trim it up so I could place the little bunches in random spots. I use this stuff EVERY year. It looks so real!: I just placed the greenery around and in between the glass. Simple votive holders are inside, but I later removed those because they created a shadow when lit. Just put your votives inside or use fake LED candles (on a timer or remote is even better!). Then I just added some small red bulbs scattered throughout (I'll show you that in a bit). I liked it with the bare candle holders but they were kind of disappearing even when lit. So I grabbed this wrapping paper I found at HomeGoods last year: I got it specifically because it looks like birch and I knew I could use it for something like this!Just cut the pieces to size and wrap around the OUTside. I taped them along the backs. And there you go!:Isn't that pretty? SO pretty at night. And super simple and even with wrapping the paper around the holders, it hardly took any time. I wrapped them while on the phone to change a flight, so it worked out well. ;) (If you use real candles make sure your paper doesn't hang over the edge, especially on the short ones!)I didn't want much but I wanted it to be festive -- and you can't go wrong with more candlelight!:Of course this is one of those where anything goes! Fill them up with various colored bulbs, snowflakes, ribbon, whatever! It will be beautiful, I promise:I had some LED lights strung through there at first too, but they took away from the candlelight, so I didn't think it needed them. Don't get me wrong -- I LOVE a house full of Christmas decor! I already have plans to do more next year. I'm giving myself some grace this year and yet, the places I've decorated have made a big impact so the house is certainly not lacking the Christmas spirit:Next time you're at Goodwill or the dollar store look out for these! You can use them SO many different ways! Here's my sweater wrapped version from a couple years back:These wrapped in gold and silver were a favorite! They looked so good with that mirror!:I loved the snowflake versions too: And these metal candle holder wrappers can be used any time of the year: See how fun they are to dress up? They are the little black dress of holiday decor. ;) Do you go crazy with holiday decor or keep it simple? I find it depends on how the year has gone for me. Sometimes I'm in the mood to go crazy with it, sometimes I crave a calmer house. I hope to share a holiday tour of at least our family room and kitchen next week! Stay tuned for that. In the meantime, have a GREAT weekend!!SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveThis content is property of Thrifty Decor Chick LLC. If you are reading th[...]

How to finish and protect wood counters around a sink


So you know when you have to tackle a project (DIY, work, home, whatever) and you put it off forever because you think it's going to be a big pain...and then you do it and it takes no time at all and turns out beautifully and you kick yourself for waiting that long?Yeah, I do that often. When we were picking out finishes for the kitchen I knew right away I wanted to do butcher block on the island again. I've had it in varying forms in our kitchen since 2010 and adore it. I just love the warmth the wood brings to a kitchen...and they are easier to take care of than you think.This time, though, we have a sink in the island. So I thought I may have to treat it a little differently than before. This is when I should have trusted my gut and experience a little more, because I made some choices that didn't turn out the way I hoped. With the help of my trusty Minwax products (that I LOVE), I finally got this project done the way I wanted!Our contractor suggested we use mineral oil for the wood, and even though I have never used that for my butcher (but have for cutting boards), I agreed to use that after talking to some friends who did as well. Well, it didn't work well at all. They put numerous coats on the wood and I wasn't happy with it. I'm not sure if it was just the brand or what, but one thing that bugged me is it didn't change the tone of the wood at ALL. Usually any kind of oil will deepen the wood tone at least a little. It was still very light and looked just like bare wood (I stood in front of it and asked when they were going to oil it, when they had already put on many coats). And, when we would use the sink or place a glass on the counter, it would leave a raised water mark. You don't want to deal with water issues and a protective coat should NOT allow for that.No matter how much of the oil we used, it still did it. So I had the builder sand the counter down again and then we babied it for awhile till I could decide how I wanted to finish it. We left it bare for six weeks before I finally decided on a plan and started it one night...and it hardly took any time at all.The first step was to get rid of all the water marks. I am kicking myself I didn't take a before pic, because it was looking pretty crappy. But all it took was wiping down the counter with a wet towel to "pop" all of the wood. Using water on your wood opens it up and is actually not a bad idea before staining. The water marks disappeared and everything was looking uniform again.But if you ran your hand over it, it was rough from the popping. To knock that down a bit I used very fine steel wool (grade #0000) over the whole thing:My Dad always recommends steel wool and I find it works great to smooth out the wood out a bit. Dads are always right! You don't want to sand it down big time, just a light pass. You'll feel with your hands where it's working.  There will be some residue from the steel wool, but using a wet rag would pop the wood again, so a tack cloth is helpful here. It is sticky (I absolutely hate the way it feels so I use a glove!) and grabs all the junk before you stain. You couldn't see any of this just looking at the wood!:Next up, the prep! SO important! I know I blabber on about this every time but it's good stuff. The Minwax pre-stain conditioner gives your surface a nice, neutral finish to even everything out:You can find it at any hardware store and I highly recommend it. Just wipe it on, that's it! I did a small staining project recently and was in a bit of a hurry so I didn't use it. I was shocked at the difference. One thing in particular I noted was that wherever I [...]

A tour of our dining space/eat in kitchen


Hello all! I am SO very excited to share our Christmas front porch with you today! And I'm even more excited that I'm working with IKEA over the next year as we continue to make this new home our dream home! I'm thrilled to be working with them and sharing how I used their items to decorate for the holidays.I've always wanted to have a front porch -- this is just another aspect of this house that makes me giddy. It's not a huge porch, but it's plenty big enough and I've had so much fun decorating it!With just a few IKEA products I was able to create a festive look that isn't over the top. At first I had plans to add garland everywhere -- along the door, hanging from the ceiling, around the columns -- but I soon decided to tone it down using a little greenery and a few items. It doesn't need much to shine!I dressed up the bench with two of the ANTILOGPOGA pillow covers:They are a comfy knit fabric and can work all year round -- I think they're perfect as holiday decor!I had an image in my mind of wreaths on every windows and these SMYCKA artificial wreaths are LOVELY. They look like real cedar and are so full. I also love how the size works on our windows: Aren't they pretty? They look so natural. Next year each one will have a red bow as well -- this year I'm just thrilled I got them up so soon after moving in. ;) By the way, I hung each one with a Command hook and so far so good! Because we have some room to play with, I was able to add a the FEJKA artificial tree next to the door. I just LOVE it! I decorated it with the VINTER red bell ornaments: They jingle in the wind! :) I used the sled to cover the outlet, because you know how much I dislike cords. I was going to hang that tree farm sign over the door but I happened to lean it here while decorating and we loved it! I cannot even tell you how fun it is to have a porch! Giddy. Next up, my favorite part -- the pretty lanterns. OH my goodness. They are the icing on the cake my friends! You know when you see those pictures of snow-covered porches and they have lanterns lit up on the steps? Dreamy right? I used a few of the smaller sized BORRBY lanterns combined with the larger versions as well: The taller ones are 17 inches and I love how substantial they are. They really make a statement. I didn't want to mess with lighting candles at night, so I used these awesome GODAFTON LED candles. They come individually or three sizes per set (only $10!) and you can set the timer and forget it. I'm obsessed with things on timers at Christmas -- it makes everything so easy. Our pots already have soil in them so I just tucked pieces of greenery inside, as well as some of the sparkly twigs I use on the tree inside: The greenery around the door is real. I usually use this stuff inside but I was just not in the mood for the mess this year. They get dried out SO quick inside! I absolutely adore how it hangs over the door:I shared how I made the wreath with the skates a couple weeks ago -- SO easy! I took a ton of photos because it's my first Christmas porch. ;) I'm obsessed with how it all came together! Such a warm, lovely welcome for our guests:Do you see my sweet buddy in the window?: Of course I couldn't show you our holiday porch without sharing it lit up at night! I'm SO glad I toned down my plan for this space. These small, simple additions are plenty to get us and our guests in a festive mood:Do you see our pretty Christmas tree through the window?:I hope you enjoyed the tour!We're supposed to get snow soon so you know I'll be[...]

Stuff we're loving this year (a holiday gift guide)


Well hello and welcome to this holiday week! Any fun plans?I do a round up of some of my favorite products this week every year -- because I am NOT a girl who gets up early on Black Friday to shop. Nope. I have friends that do it and love it and I'm always tempted. But my tired, full turkey belly self sees the darkness outside and says NO, let's stay in bed and shop online! So this is for those of you who are like me. And even for those of you who aren't, because these items are GOOD and are great gifts. But I think you might like them for yourself as well. :) This was one of those items I found while we were in the I dreamed of hot baths in our new house: I have always wanted one of these bamboo bath trays but our old tub was too wide. This one narrower so I was excited that we could use it! It stays on our tub at all times and I freaking LOVE it. There's a spot to hold up your book/tablet/phone, one for a candle or soap and do you see the best part? A holder for your wine glass! 😂 Amazing! It's easy to slide back and forth and as I said, it stays here all the time. It dries out easily as well. My husband has very few requests when it comes to general decor, but he loves Christmas decorations. Months ago he mentioned he wanted us to put candles in the windows at the new house and I was happy to oblige. :) We did some research and ended up buying these flameless window candles: I LOVE them. The base has a little bit of weight to it so they don't feel cheap. They come with a remote so you can turn them on with that, or you can use the timer option so they turn on at the same time every day for five hours. They also come with batteries and so far so good -- we've had them up for a couple weeks now and all are still lighting up beautifully every night. These candles are a little expensive but so far seem to be great quality -- they look SO lovely when we drive up to our house! And the timer option makes it so you set them and forget. OK, I shared this one with you a couple weeks ago but a reader just told me my favorite vacuum is on sale this week so I had to add it to the list. You can see why I love this vacuum so much at that link, and one of the reasons was the price. But this week this lightweight vacuum is only $30!!: Ahhh, get it! Go now. I just bought some as Christmas presents. :) I love this little vacuum and how powerful yet lightweight it is.I have had this little chargeable screwdriver for years and really came to appreciate it after we moved:I couldn't find my bigger drills and this was the first I found in boxes -- it was SO helpful. It still had a charge after sitting in storage for months too. It's powerful enough to put furniture together as well as hang items. You can easily change the direction as well. It is a GREAT tool idea for someone just getting into DIY -- hanging photos is the first step!I shared our foyer with you last week, and my favorite new decorating items are the tall black lanterns:I am not kidding when I say I've been looking for an affordable lantern for a very long time. I love the look of them but tall ones (this one is two feet tall) are hard to find for a decent price. A blogging friend shared them on Instagram and I loved the look of these -- so simple and pretty.  They can be used anywhere! I think these will move around a lot. And I want more too -- but I'm holding back for now as I get a feel for how I want things in the new house. This next one is thanks to my husband as well -- he found these ex[...]