From Candles to Cacti…

I have a tealight holder that I got years ago that looks similar to this…

I hate it. Can’t even give the thing away, no one wants it. They aren’t really in style anymore. What was I going to do with this thing? I hate it…

Until now.

It hit me!

Succulent tree! 

And voila!

I found the mini terra-cotta planters at Dollar Tree – 3/$1 and the succulents are from Home Depot.

Looks great! Now I just need to find a place for it.


[CHALK] it up to [PAINT]

I have never used furniture chalk paint before. The expense to purchase a can is beyond ridiculous and I’m not insane enough to purchase any (so sorry if you are).

I have a few gallons of interior “oops” paint that I picked up really cheap from various hardware stores in rad colors like turquoise and sea foam green. When I purchased them I didn’t have any ideas for them but they were super cool colors that I figured I’d someday find use for. I used the green shade in my kids bathroom and it looks great! 

Here, you have to see it…

Moving on…

Turquoise has been hanging out on the shelf for months. When I scored a $20 desk at Goodwill, the first thing I thought of was that turquoise gallon at home on the shelf. The desk was either going to look super cool when I was finished slapping turquoise all over it, or, it’d look like shit. But, what the hell, the paint was $9 and the desk was $20. If it all went south, I wasn’t out much.

I searched Pinterest for a recipe for diy chalk paint. This is the recipe I settled on (and also the recipe I will be using for future projects). It worked beautifully.

I started by lightly sanding the desk. I know most chalk paint doesn’t usually require you to sand your project first but I wanted to be sure all of the gunk was removed before applying paint. That, and I didn’t want to do this project a second time because the first job didn’t hold up.

I removed the dust with a dry cloth then went over the desk with a damp cloth and let it dry, then I started to apply the paint. I used a brush, the Wooster Shortcut that I use on all of my paint projects. It is truly the best on the market (non compensated opinion).

I brushed on a thin first coat and let it dry. It dries very quickly. I then went back through and spot painted, only covering the places I wanted to stay completely painted, and left the spots with wood showing through so I could sand the paint off and create a distressed effect.

After I had the application I wanted, I took very fine sand paper and went over the entire desk (by hand). Very lightly on the turquoise color just to remove some of the grit on the surface from the baking soda in the paint mixture and harder on the parts I want to distress.

I did not do a top coat. I reinstalled all of the hardware, and reassembled the desk and called her done. It was a bit difficult to sand the paint down to the wood so I am pretty sure this will be durable as is. 

I have heard of Vaseline being applied to your project before painting on the spots you want to distress, but I haven’t quite wrapped my head around that technique. I hate the feel of Vaseline and I don’t want it hanging out on my furniture. Does it clean off of the project completely? If so, how? If you have used Vaseline to distress, I would love to hear from you. I would also love to hear what method you use to distress projects easily without the use of (nasty) Vaseline.

I refinished an ugly dining chair I already had to match to use with this desk. I used a canvas tote to cover a chair cushion and attached it to hide the few little holes in the black fabric of the chairs seat (I didn’t want to go through a reupholstering project too). I like the dimension the black and the decorated cushion add to the overall look. 

*Tutorial to cover a cushion or pillow with a canvas tote here: Canvas Tote Covered Pillow

Without further ado, here is the finished project:

I love this so much, I am shopping my house for other items to paint turquoise! Remember the sofa table mentioned in the Halloween Home Tour??? 


Stay tuned, folks… 


|My “Joanna Gaines” Project|

Most everyone watches (and loves) the show Fixer Upper on HGTV starring Chip and Joanna Gaines; I’m no exception, love them. Once I saw the episode with the coffee bar, I knew I needed one. Next to Chip and Joanna, I’m coffee’s biggest fan. Here is the inspiration pic from the episode:  

Looks easy enough. I have a wall between the kitchen and nook area that is perfect for this nifty project. 

First task, chalkboard paint. I used a tape measure and just guesstimated how wide I wanted this to be on the wall avoiding the switch plate side of the wall. Two top marks, two bottom marks then connected them using a level to make a rectangle. I taped the exterior of the rectangle with painters tape and used a foam roller to paint in the rectangle with chalkboard paint. About three coats was all it took. Then I removed the painters tape.   I decided to use galvanized plumbing and stained 2 X 10 boards for my shelves (thank you Pinterest). I found my plumbing at Home Depot. It is a bit costly but looks fantastic. The floor flanges were almost $5 each and I needed 4. These are anchored to the wall on the studs. Not all of the holes hit the stud so the others are anchored with plastic wall anchors from Home Depot.

Once the flanges were installed, I screwed in the threaded straight galvanized pieces that will hold the resting shelf. These arms are capped with a galvanized threaded plumbing cap. 

(I guesstimated on my shelving height so there is no rhyme or reason to where they were positioned, I just eyeballed what height I thought would work best. My shelves are spaced just under 2 feet apart. I placed the flanges 12 inches inward from the outer edge of the chalkboard. My top shelf is 24 inches from the ceiling. The bottom of my bottom shelf measures just under 3 feet from the bottom of the chalkboard.)  I cut my 2 X 10 boards the exact length of the width of the chalkboard and stained them with Rustoleum Honey stain. I cut 1 1/2 inch trim to frame the outside of the chalkboard and tacked it up with my brad  tack nailer after staining.

For the base, I found an old record cabinet at Goodwill for $50. I lightly sanded it and painted it black. I had a small plastic Home Depot container laying around that I decided to utilize as a trash chute. I cut it in half and threw the bottom away then spray painted the top chute piece I saved with black spray paint. I traced the top rim on my bar top and used a jig saw to cut out the hole then set the plastic chute in the hole to line it. I placed an ice cream bucket underneath the chute on the top shelf to act as my trash receptacle.  The record cabinet is perfect for this project. I has sliding shelves and drawers, plenty of storage and a built in plug in in the back!  Next, I installed staggered cup hangers under the bottom shelf and installed pipe brackets over all 4 shelf arms to attach the shelf board to the pipe in order to prevent shelf lift and accidents (these pieces all had to be spray painted black because the brackets only come in silver and the cup hangers I had were gold).  I free handed the chalk graphics using my inspiration picture as my guide and then I started stocking shelves.

Here is the final result. I am no Joanna Gaines, but I love the finished project.  

What’s your “Joanna Gaines project”?

Storage Wars!

Our 4 bedroom home offered this coat closet:  

Now, to me, a 4 bedroom home means that at LEAST 4 people are going to live in the home, so we will need to fit an average of 15 pairs of shoes and 12 jackets/coats (not counting the room needed to stash the belongings of visiting guests). In other words, this builder failed. This size coat closet belongs in an efficiency apartment. Obviously, we need more storage. So, though I was not thrilled, using the space on the adjoining exterior wall was my only option.

The idea was to build something to hold coats, shoes and other necessary accessories; scarves, hat, gloves.

I decided on a simple design with minimal materials.

1×6 board

1×4 board

Precut wood slats from Home Depot

Wood filler


Brad nailer 

1.5 inch screws

Coat hooks

Wire baskets

I cut a 1×6 board according to my wall measurement and attached the board to the wall studs. This board will hold my coat hooks. There was no rhyme nor reason at what height I placed this, it was more of a “what height would work best for the kids” and up it went. 52″ from the floor to the bottom of the 1×6 is what the measurement ended up being. 
My wire baskets measure 14″ high so I left a 16″ gap between the 1×6 and top 1×4 board that the baskets will hang from. The 1×4, once cut to size, was also attached to studs.

The precut slats I hung starting at the end opposite of the existing closet where the walls come together. Once installed the full length of the rack, I measure the area between, divided it in half and that is where I racked up another length of slats. I repeated this method on each side of the middle slats to place two more lined sets of slats.

I used wood filler to cover the screws, and the seams between the precut slats. I then painted the wood and the wall between with the same color of paint that was used on the trim. Luckily, there was plenty left in the can that was left in the basement when we moved it.

Next, I installed the coat hooks using a measuring method similar to the slat install method. I install both end hooks, then the middle and work my way out. It’s easier to me doing it that way.

The basket hooks were hung by simply dividing the top board into 3 and tacking a hook on each mark.

The 4 compartment unit that I am using for shoes is from the Better Homes and Garden collection at Walmart. I inserted black fabric bins for the kids to hold their shoes in. Each kid has two coat hooks; one for coat, 1 for book bag; and each kid has their own basket and shoe box (my teenage daughter has 2 shoe boxes).

I have since painted the wall, so here is what the result looks like currently:

  We love it. It certainly makes more sense than what we were given!

What builder “boo boo” was your home designed with?

Thanks for reading! 

Happy FRIDAY!!! Woohoo!!

…Major Cover Up

Whenever I look to change something in my home, my ultimate goal is to design something that isn’t permanent in case the next homeowner isn’t a fan. We relocate every few years so we aren’t in one place for long and I’m always afraid people will hate my design ideas and I want the change to be quick and easy to make my home appeal to them.

This weeks project was our fireplace mantel. I wanted something more rustic than what we have. I have completely transformed the entire fireplace wall since we bought the house but I wasn’t 100% satisfied with the full result. 

Here is what the place looked like when we moved in: Cookie cutter, builder grade, drab and boring.

This is what I turned it into: Much better. But, I still longed for another rustic element, like a large, bulky, rustic, distressed mantel. 

So, I went to the drawing board and decided to make a sleeve of sorts that just slips over my existing mantel that can be removed without effort.

I made the box out of:

– 1×6 boards

– 1×4 board

– 1/4″ round trim piece

The piece is held together with wood glue and brad tacks. 

I cut the two 1×6 side pieces the exact length that my mantel sides measured. My 1×6 front piece was cut 1 1/2 inches longer than my front mantel measurement so that the end pieces cut edge was covered and not visible from the front. I glued and nailed these piece together. My 1×4 board was cut the same length as the mantel and that is the underside of my box to cover the gap underneath. Also glued and tacked in. The 1/4″ round is what holds the mantel cover over the existing mantel. They simply slide over the top of the existing mantel and hold on the decorative rustic piece.   

 (Yes, that is MY toolbox…no, my husband is not allowed to use it…)

I distressed the wood pieces by beating them with a hammer, scraping out chunks with a chisel, tapped a screw end to make worm holes, tapped screw head and thread marks into the wood and then stained with Rustoleum “Honey” stain.  Then, mantel cover just slides over existing mantel. Perfect fit.

   Finished look:

   Now, if the next homeowner hates it, they can simply slide it off and trash it. That’s my kind of DIY.

Design time: 10 minutes

Build time: 20 minutes

Cost: $20 

Happy Tuesday!!

Thanks for reading.


Can I “Cut In”?

Why, yes. Yes I can.

I have never met a single person that actually “likes” to paint. Just because I do it, does not mean that I enjoy it. I don’t. I hate painting. Not really the painting itself, but all the work that revolves around all the painting. First you have to tear apart the entire room and move stuff all over the house – besides children, it is the fastest way to mess up the entire house to improve one room.

Then, you have the mess of the painting process and the clean up and redecorating, etc. I’m tired/stressed just thinking about it. But, the hard work of a couple days of work and chaos, really does make it all worth it to enjoy the beauty for months afterward.

I have been painting interiors of homes for over 10 years. I didn’t start off doing a professional job, obviously, my technique has improved over the years just by practice. However, I remember the day when my technique improved DRASTICALLY because of one element; the MOST important detail that turns a paint job into a GREAT paint job…


Yes, the brush you use makes all the difference!

I use to buy the cheapest brushes possible so I could just throw them away and not have to bother cleaning them…


…I do not know what provoked me to buy the $5 brush rather than the $.99 brush but I am guessing it was because I was brush shopping at Home Depot and not Walmart. And, because I had never seen a brush with a rubber nub handle, so I had to try it out! Well worth the $5 price tag – this thrifter says so.

(insert GREAT brush reveal)!!

**NOTE** I receive no compensation from any companies or retailers mentioned. I am just passing along my opinions/findings/research to save you time and money.


Now, I used to laugh at other bloggers who said the brush really matters, but like the other million, I agree. THE BRUSH MATTERS. I will never paint with any other brush and the cut in is AMAZING! (What is a “cut in”? To cut in is to paint in the edges where a roller will not fit, i.e, by the ceiling, two adjoining walls, along trim and baseboards, etc.) In fact, I have gotten such great results with this brush, I do not tape. Anything. At all. All of my painting is done by hand, tape free. Why? Because the BRUSH made all the difference. The short handle makes the brush easy to maneuver without a large handle sticking up in the way. I often times find that my hand is cupped over the nub when painting as that is a more comfortable hold for me. The rubber makes the brush easy to grip and allows the handle to flex with the movement of your hand while painting strokes. The bristles are high quality and tightly bound. The entire brush and design, is very well made.

NOTE: Lowe’s sells a similar brush made by Blue Hawk (shown below) that I buy if I am not near Home Depot, but the quality is not as good as the Wooster brand brush. The brush strands are not as tight and they come out with the paint while cutting in so I have to keep picking brush strands out of my paint. It is a pain in the a$$, but it is still better than using the cheapy brushes that lose their strands and still provide a cheap looking paint job.


So yes, yes I can “cut in.” Almost perfectly (since January 19, 2012 – the first job I used the Wooster brush on – see pic below). Thanks to a little help from my friends, Wooster and Blue Hawk.


What painting tips have you found helpful? Or, any painting issues you need help with?

(TIP: Put a rubber band across the top of your paint can to wipe excess paint off of your brush before application. On small cans, the band wraps all the way around. On gallons, I wrap my band over the top and around the side to be held in place by the handle rivets.)