Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dining Table Center Piece

After a long search and Pinterest hunting I have finally created a center piece that I love. In the past, I've had center pieces for the holidays but after the run of Winter holidays finished I realized I didn't have an everyday center piece. I had some ideas which involved mason jars but when I found my Target treasures I knew there was one hiding in there.

So, I came up with this:

The wooden tray and the utensil carrier were from my Target finds. The larger owl on the left was a gift from Steve's mom, the smallest owl was bought in Curacao by my sister, and the farthest owl to the right is actually a tea-light candle from Kirkland's. Can you tell I like owls? The flowers are from Hobby Lobby which I bought for 50% off $9.99 and they are stuffed inside four empty Starbuck's bottles.

All together it cost me approximately $15 (give or take a couple pennies). Simple, easy, and cheap. Can't beat that!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How to Paint a Door

One of my first big projects since starting this blog was painting the front door yellow. I was very eager and completely impatient to do this project. As I've mentioned before, I've always wanted a yellow door; therefore, the sooner it was done, the better. This caused me to rush the project a little, but in hindsight I think it was a good thing. I learned a lot. Hence, a tutorial was born.

Your supplies are important for any project. Sometimes you can get away with using cheap things and sometimes you can't. Here is what I used:

  • The roller was a cheap foam roller but I chose it for a couple reasons. 1. Foam rollers leave less brush marks. 2. Foam is easier to clean than a normal paint roller because you can squeeze the paint out (in my opinion). 3. I didn't see a difference between the cheap one and the more expensive one. This roller worked fine except half way through painting the tip broke off. This has never happened to me before, or to my mom who always uses this brand, so I think it was just a fluke. I went back to Lowes, bought a new one, and haven't had any trouble whatsoever.
  • For paint, I used Valspar Exterior Semi-Gloss and the color is Gold Tone. I have always been a fan of Valspar and find that it covers well and rolls on easy. No complaints. 
  • For the outside part of the door I used a primer first, Kilz Latex 2. I definitely needed a primer to cover over the very deep red that was originally on the door.
  • When it comes to painting, I don't consider myself a seasoned pro, this is my first house after all. So for now I use Frog Tape to tape off edges and anything else I don't want painted. I love Frog Tape!!! It works so much better than the blue painter's tape and I highly recommend it.
  • Yet, out of all these supplies the denatured alcohol is actually your most important tool here. You need this to test what type of paint is already on your door. Oil based or latex based.
Testing Your Door

It's very important to find out if oil based paint was used on the door previously. If it was and you paint over it using latex paint then it will peel off and you don't want that. Talk about wasted hours. All you have to do is put some on a cotton ball, paper towel, or whatever you wish and rub it on the door. If the paint bleeds off onto your wipe of choice, then it is latex paint. If it doesn't then you have an oil based paint. Luckily my door was red so it was pretty easy to tell if the paint came off.

Prepping Your Surface
This next step is important and I feel like many times it is often forgotten (I almost forgot myself). Clean your surface! Take a wet rag and wipe down your door before you paint, especially if you have pets. The door is dirtier than you think and you don't want to paint all that grime onto it, permanently sealing it in. I used a 30/70 mixture of water and vinegar, which I already keep in a spray bottle, and wiped it down until no more dirt showed on the rag.

Now, at this point in time you need to decide if you want to take off your hardware or tape it off. For me, taping it off was the right choice. I knew that this project wasn't going to get done in a day (or even a week) and since it was my front door I needed to have full access to it. This meant keeping the handle and deadbolt in place.  As you're taping though, keep in mind to cover all of the handle, the top, bottom, and all around.. Paint splatters and mists as you roll and you don't want any of that falling onto your handle. Trust me, I learned this the hard way. Again, use Frog Tape. It creates such crisp and clean lines.

Let's Paint!
I figured the best way to show you how to paint a door was through diagrams rather than me trying to put it all into words. Here we go:

Step 1 - Paint all the vertical aspects of the door.Go up and down with the grain of the wood (if your door even has grain). Use thin coats rather than thick because you'll get more even coverage that way.

Step 2 - Now paint the horizontal aspects of the door. Once done, run the roller over the vertical parts one more time just to give it a clean edge.

Step 3 - Now, this can also be step one if you really wanted. I've seen it done both ways and I actually did this step first on the other side of the door and saw no difference. I suppose it's preference, but go ahead and paint the indentations. I continued using the roller for these as well.

I ended up going through the steps three times till I was satisfied that everything was even, and make sure you wait enough for each coat to be fully dry. If you try painting a second coat while the first is even a little bit wet, you'll end up removing some of the paint and create uneven texture.

Finally, when you're all said and done your brush stroke pattern should look something like this:
 And again, if you have a door with wood grain you'll be able to see how you should paint. Always go with the grain.

That's all for now and good luck on all your painting endeavors!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Door Brainstorming

It's been a little while since I painted the front door yellow and I still think it's missing something. Don't get me wrong, I am so happy that I did it but it feels.......incomplete. So, with this in mind I turned to Pinterest and below are some of the ideas I found. But first, I am re-posting a picture of the door so you can have it fresh in your mind.
P.S. - Ignore the green Frog Tape. I was priming the frame outside.

Please share your thoughts. 

I like this one because it's subtle but I'm afraid that if I do this then there will be too many curtains on that wall. It would be a soft color curtain too, nothing over the top or in your face.

This option is a little more subtle and provides me the option to have a curtain without the curtain overload. I could have it over just the windows or extend it full length. Maybe have it tied of in the middle with a fun ribbon or strip of fabric.

Or, I can paint the inside panels. Too much yellow? Maybe a softer yellow or the gray wall color?

Ok, well that's all I have found for now. Which one do you like? Or, do you have another idea I have seen yet?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Welcome home!

I'm back! I had a lovely time cruising around the Caribbean with my family (14 of us in all). It was filled with fun, sun, and relaxation...all of which I sorely needed. While I'm not going to delve into details just yet, I will put together some photos and stories to share in a future post.

Today, I want to talk about what happens when you come back from vacation. For me, I actually jumped into house work (trust me, that is not the norm). Where the motivation came from I have no idea. We arrived home Saturday afternoon and on Sunday, Steve and I were out back doing yard work. I repotted my aloe plant and I also planted three orange/red amaryllis bulbs a co-worker gave me (before vacation I might add). You can't imagine how thankful I was they were still alive when I got back. It completely slipped my mind to plant them before I left, all because I didn't write it on the list. If it's not on the list then it isn't getting done (sometimes they don't get done even if they are on the list).

Again, this is still not the point of this post...I'm rambling. The purpose of this post is talk about those horrible, dreaded, hateful black ants that still haunt my dreams. All this yard work further motivated me to drive to Lowes and pick up this:

At first, I stood in the poison aisle completely lost. I had no idea what I needed to kill this buggers. I have great success with Amdro mound killer so I thought maybe this will work too. While the ants mostly live outside, they do sneak inside every once in a while but they always live on the house or around the foundation which is why I thought the home perimeter might be the one.

I started my sprinkling adventure right here, right next to that bush.

Little did I know that the bush looked like this (mind you, the picture does not do it justice).

There were HUNDREDS of ants swarming all over this poor bush. So when my hand gently grazed a leaf they immediately jumped to my arm where I had about 25 crawling up my arm. Luckily, these ants don't bite but it was gross. It really really grossed me out. I couldn't wrap my brain around the number of ants I saw and I was instantly angry. All I want is for them to die. Is that too much to ask?

So, once I shook all the ants off I continued laying poison. I poured it all in the garden bed, all around the foundation, and on top of the window sills. This marks the beginning Ant Demolition Take #1. 

Let's fast forward a day. Rain. All day. Why did this happen? Because I laid ant poison. Without fail, every time I lay or spray some kind of bug poison it rains to wash it all away. Grrrrr. Back to square one.

But that's not all that happened. Oh no. That would be too easy. The garage door opener died. I opened it up to go to work and it made this horrible noise, I thought it was going to explode. Steve comes running frantically out of the house to see what it was. And that was it. Gone. It wouldn't go back down. I left for work. Steve stayed and played around with it and determined that the motor burnt out. So, that's what I did yesterday and continuing to do today. Shopping for a new garage door opener for Steve to install (thanks Steve!)

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Well folks, it that's time....Spring Break! I won't be able to post over the next week but I promise that starting Monday 3/18 I'll be back with plenty to share.

You can look forward to a more in depth look at the process of painting the door, a peek at my to-do list, and a couple of good recipes I've recently made. So, I hope you all plan on coming back to visit once Spring Break is over; I know I'll miss you.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Greeted by sunshine

There's nothing like walking through the door and being greeted by a burst of yellow. It's so uplifting, happy, and heartwarming. 

I've always wanted a yellow door. I think they are so eye catching, so pretty, and slightly eccentric...heck! I'm all three of those so it's a match made in heaven!

The door originally was red on the outside and white on the inside. But with a little priming and a lot of coats a miracle can happen.

I just think it really makes the room pop and definitely livens up that side of the room. There really wasn't anything wrong with the white door but now after seeing it being yellow I can't imagine it being any other way. In my mind, it kind of sections off that side and makes it a room of its own. (Side Note: Do you see the Christmas wreath on the front door in the top picture and a piece of it in the right of the bottom picture? I took this picture on March 4th and it was purchased on Black Friday! My wreath still smells soooooo good and it's not dying! Might as well keep it up and enjoy it, am I right?)

Now, let's move it on outside.

I love it on the outside even more than the inside and it makes me uber-eager to paint the rest of the outside, but we don't even have colors picked yet, so, on the back burner it goes. Oh well, back to the door. Painting over this red was AWFUL! It was aggravating because it did not want to go away. It took me 5 coats (including the primer) before the red stopped showing through the yellow.

The white you see on the frame is just a primer for now. I decided to go ahead and prime because I couldn't stand looking at the red and the yellow together...blech.

Do you agree with me? These two primary colors do not belong together, especially on our front door.

Although, I am a little worried now about having it pre-primed. The other day, I remember reading that another blogger's paint peeled because they waited too long between priming and painting (for the life of me I can't remember where I read that). So, now I'm nervous. Everyone, cross your fingers for me because painting all the nooks and crannies were a pain in the rear and if I have to do it again I'm going to go bonkers!

Ok, now I need your advice. I feel like the inside is missing something and I can't put my finger on it. Do you like the door and the frame as it is, or, do I need to add something?  Here is the inside again with a couple different angles. Please comment and give me your thoughts; they'd be much appreciated!

P.S. - Don't mind the Frog Tape on the windows, I'm still priming the outside frame.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Burning thoughts of desire...

I've had only one thought on my mind for about a week and a half now.

It's like a flame of desire eating away at me.

It's something Steve originally brought up to me; I wasn't feeling it then....but....I am now because at a party two weeks ago I saw this...

I want a fire pit and I want it now! But, what do you do when you can't jump on a project right away? You turn to Pinterest! I hunted around and I was surprised that I wasn't as blown away as I usually am when I turn to Pinterest for ideas. However, this isn't necessarily a bad thing because I learned quickly what I didn't like.

Here is what I found that I liked.

This one caught my eye because it's low to ground and I like the stone. What I don't care for is the fact that it's a circle. I prefer a square fire pit. It's different and feels just a little more classy (well, in my head at least).

On to the next inspiration.

Again, this one is a circle and taller than the last but I pinned it because of the stone color. It's really pretty but it looks like it'll be more expensive than the previous fire pit. The gravel surrounding the pit is also nice, it dresses it up a little more.

Fire pit #3

The pit in this picture is very similar to the first Pinterest find but it doesn't have the wedges which I didn't even like in the first place. It's also low to the ground, so that's a plus!

One thing I know I don't want that I kept seeing on Pinterest is to have a metal bowl or something inside. From experience, these don't last very long because the bottoms rust out. Plus, I don't think they are as attractive. The pictures I pinned from Pinterest all are without a metal dish but the picture of the square pit at the beginning of the post has one.

So, to wrap it up, this is what I want in a fire pit:
  • Square shape
  • Low to the ground
  • Gravel surrounding the edge (and on the inside)
  • No metal dish on the inside

Now let's see how long it takes me to jump on this and actually put it together.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Family Room and Posting

Well, it's been a while since I've posted and I've come realize that I can't keep a regularly scheduled Saturday post. My weekends are just too unpredictable (sorry sis). I do like the idea of three posts a week though and I also seem to be doing fine with Tuesdays and Thursdays, which means that the third post will happen randomly sometime during the week. Surprise!!

Today I am going to continue the house tour but before I do how about a project update? On President's Day I began painting the front door yellow. For weeks I had different samples taped to the door and I learned quickly which one was my favorite, Valspar Gold Tone. So off to Lowes I went, picked up a quart of paint and a gallon of primer and set to work. I finished the inside of the door that day but not the outside...the door was a dark red after all. I did, however, finish the outside this past weekend. It took one coat of primer and five...FIVE coats of yellow paint. In hindsight, I should have primed more but I was anxious to see the end result. I am not showing the final reveal yet because I am still trying to paint the horrible red frame around the out side of the door. Can you picture it? Yellow door, red frame? Horrendous. Just to remind of what it looked like originally, here is a picture:

Ok, now on to the family room portion of this post.


This is the man cave/gaming room/family room. When Steve and I watch movies, we like to watch them in here because it gets the darkest out of all the rooms. Steve also likes to play his games in here while I watch my shows in the living room.

Steve picked out the paint color since this is mainly his domain. At first, he picked out a more vibrant burnt orange but it was too electric looking. Seriously, it looked like someone plugged it in so he went back and chose a more muted burnt orange.Similar to the living room, I love how it compliments the wood tones in the room. Plus I just love color. It makes me happy.

The furniture was all second hand too. His grandmother gave him the chair (practically brand new). The couch he picked up at a garage sale for $100. It's not real leather but it's in excellent condition, and he stuck a leather scented car freshener in the cushions to make it smell like leather. Sneaky little devil. The two large bookcases were also handed down by his grandma and the TV stand is the bar that was originally bought to go in the living room.

The layout that you see now was not the original layout of the room when we first moved in. At first, Steve set it up like this:

But, a good friend of his came down one weekend to visit and convinced him to rearrange the room which is how we got the layout we currently have. Thanks Trey! It was kind of funny to see two guys in there moving around the furniture and discussing layout ideas. I love how it looks now. But, I didn't mind the old layout it just wasn't always the most comfortable when we were watching TV. Another reason I love the new layout is because while I'm sitting on the couch I can reach behind me put my dishes in the sink.

Well, that's the family room! Stay tuned for more on Thursday.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Gray Outlook

Let's talk about the living room.

Like I've mentioned previously, I read a lot of blogs before we actually purchased a house. I was obsessed. I had to know what everything was going to look like, and one of the things I noticed I was drawn to was gray walls. I love the look of gray walls because they can go with any kind of style. It looks beautiful against the natural woods but still allows my modern curtains to pop.

Yet, before I actually put the room together I created a mood board. Why? Because I was buying a bunch of random things at thrift stores without giving it much thought and I wasn't sure if it was all going to work together.
The top right corner was the inspiration for this room and how I decided to put it all together. So, I created a gray background, took pictures of the items I already bought (the couch, the chair, the vase, the picture frames, the bar/vanity) and added things that I thought would compliment. I thought it would look good to put distressed white floating shelves above the bar, add a yellow lamp, some yellow curtains, and a rug. 

Is this how it actually turned out? No, but it's close. 
I ended up putting the china cabinet in the living room (it matches with the bar), moved the bar into the family room as a TV stand, replace the yellow lamp with a black one, and I am currently without a rug. Yet, even though it is not the same as my mood board it accomplished what I wanted it to do; it allowed me to see that even though I was buying things randomly, it was still all coordinating together nicely. 

As far as my purchases go, I would say 75% of the items in the room are from a thrift store or garage sale of some sort. I'm awkwardly proud of these purchases because they were a steal. Take the green chair for example. It is from Goodwill but made by Baer's. The tag on the bottom of the chair said it was shipped from the Baer's factory two days before I bought it at Goodwill. What does this mean? It was brand new and it only cost me about $130! The only items I did not buy second hand are the picture frames, the TV stand, the curtains (although, those were DIY), the little side table, the pillows, and the gray throw on the couch. 

Yet, putting this room together wasn't as easy as I'm making it sound at the moment. We hit a bump in the road when it came to painting. I bought two different gray paints and put swatches up on the wall and decided on Valspar Polished Silver. So I drove down to Lowes and bought a gallon. That is where I made the mistake. I ended up needing two gallons so I went back and picked up another but when I got  back to the house my mom noticed the label looked different. So we called Lowes and asked them about it and they told us that the formula was exactly the same just logo was different. 

Well....guess again.

If you look closely on the left near the arch and up at the top of the wall you can see the new gray.

They did change the formula and the new gallon of Valspar Polished Silver was significantly lighter than the first gallon. I was bummed. I preferred the first gallon, I like the darker gray much better than the light but I was all out (and so was Lowes) so my only choice was to repaint over everything with the new gallon. We got the majority of the walls repainted but the wall with the china cabinet has some spots that you can still see if you were looking very closely.

However, there is a silver lining in all of this. Lowes has a color satisfaction guarantee and I took advantage of it. I painted the two colors on a paper plate and brought that in along with the two empty paint cans and they gave me a full refund. I painted my living room for free!!! Can't beat that!

The lesson I learned in all of this is to take home improvement one step at a time and see where things lead. They may seem bleak at first but things will turn around and the sun will still shine.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hidden Target Treasures

Have you ever gone into a store for one specific item and walked out with an armful of completely unrelated items? Well, that's what I did this past weekend. 
I stopped at Target to pick up a highlighting kit for my hair, which they didn't even have, and came out with seven other items tallying $60+. But I'm so happy about it!!

Allow me to explain myself. Every time I go to Target I stop in their kitchen clearance section to see if they have any items on my "Kitchen Needs" list and more often than not I find a great item for super cheap. So, after striking out in the hair section I meander over and find the cute little woven basket you see in the top left corner, and I think to myself "Hey! This could make a great centerpiece!" Since I see so many Pinterest projects using Starbuck's Frappacino bottles I have been saving them for a while and I think they would fit perfectly in the four slots.

My next find was on the shelf right below and it's a Thomas O'Brien wooden tray. Not sure what I'll use it for but I couldn't pass it up. (Note: It is not normally my habit to purchase something without knowing how it can be used but my gut told me to get it and my gut has a 98.2% accuracy rate).

I then wander over to the organization clearance section because I'm also keeping my eye out for linen cubby boxes or something to help me organize my closet. I didn't find any but I did find a gray trash can which I thought would work well in my new office. After all, the Publix plastic bag that currently resides in there is looking a little worn.

Next, I look to my left and spot this cool looking piece of wood, so I head over and discover a worn, wooden, floating picture frame designed to look like an old window. Score!! This was my most expensive purchase but I couldn't believe I found this. It was a repackage and no damage at all. As I walked through the store with this in my cart I received so many compliments on it, it was like I made it my self. 

Now, I felt like I was on a roll at this point and decided to look in all the other clearance sections in the store (minus clothes....I hate clothes shopping) which is how I happened upon the three pillows. I felt like I hit the jackpot because just two days earlier as I was laying on our couch with the worst migraine ever, I thought to myself "This couch needs some pillows, it's kind of blah". Well whatdaya know....someone must have agreed with me because I was drawn straight to them.

Here's a picture of the couch with the pillows:
As for the picture frame, I was thinking of hanging it in the dining room somewhere on either of the two walls you see below. I'm leaning towards the white wall since the gray wall is shared with the living room gallery wall and it might look too busy.

I'm leaning towards the white wall since the gray wall is shared with the living room gallery wall and it might look too busy. What do you think? Below is a picture of the wall as a whole.

The best part about this story are the prices, here's the breakdown:

Trash can - $17.99 got it for $4.56 (who would even pay full price for that? Ouch...)
Woven Utensil Caddy - $15 got it for $5.24
Wooden Tray - $16 got it for $4.73
Window Frame - $34.99 got it for $24.51
Pillow (each) - $14.99 got it for $7.48

Add in my Red Card discount and a Mountain Dew (I was still battling the headache) and my total came to $64.12! If you add together all the regular prices it would have come to over $120. This has to be my most successful target trip I've ever had even if I didn't get what I was originally looking for.

So, what's the lesson in all this? Be patient and shop the clearance aisles continually. If you are hunting for something on clearance you won't find it. Instead, make a list of things that you hope to have one day, or keep track of spots in your house that you know "need" something but aren't sure what . This way, when you are shopping these aisles and you see something you like and works for something that's on your list then pick it up.

P.S. I'm still working on my home tour page. I bet you're dying to see to see the after photos.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I hope you are feeling loved, I know I am!

Instead of showing you updates on the house I decided to give you a little gift...the gift of love (go ahead and say it "Awwwww"). I made a few Valentine's prints on Photoshop that I wanted to share with you today. I've played on Photoshop a lot over the past three years but I've never actually made an art print, let alone made one from scratch. They are simple but I have to start somewhere right?

They are formatted as 4x6 prints and you can download them below:
I hung the teal print up on my gallery wall in the living room; I think it's really cute. I put the other two prints on the fridge and besides these I have no other Valentine's directions up. Looks like I have a lot of progress to make for next year.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Antsy Ideas

There are a lot of things I've been learning about making a house a home but it has become clear to me that I am not the only one. These guys have been learning a lot too.
If you can't tell they're ants...annoying, little black ants and they're EVERYWHERE! I wish I were exaggerating. I wake up in the morning, go to the bathroom to brush my teeth, and bam, there they are crawling all over the wall next to my sink. I walk over to the toilet and there they are again getting all cozy with the toilet. I saunter to the laundry room to feed the animals and now I'm no longer surprised to see them on the floor making their way along the baseboards. One even crawled across my computer screen while I was typing a post the other day.

I have spread all kinds of ant stuff in attempts to ward them off but it's pointless because I've found their real home which threw me into a pit of hopeless despair. They were living (correction...still living) in the garden amongst the roots and the rocks and there are thousands of them. Again, I wish I were exaggerating. After some research, I learned that they like to live in the roots and rocks because it's moist and cool. How do you kill them? Not sure yet, but as soon as I figure it out I'll let you know. This has become my personal mission.

I tried to take a picture of the roots but they are so tiny the ants didn't show up. This is the best shot I could get of them crawling along the outside wall.

On a different note, I have a bare wooden table sitting in my dining that is calling out for a centerpiece. I'm leaning towards something like this which I found on Pintrest.

We have wood stumps currently in the back yard from a pine tree that we recently had cut down and I also have bunch of mason jars of varied sizes. I'm not a fan of the empty look though so I'll need to do something with them on the inside, but I'm only at the brainstorm phase at this point. Please! Offer me your suggestions in the comments.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Zebras in the house!

I know, I know, it's only been a week and I'm already off my post schedule. I told you I'd try so I'm posting today and will post again tomorrow. Tomorrow's post will be about the killer ants, but for now, let's talk zebras!

My mom and I have a little baking business on the side. We do it for fun and use the profit to further expand our tools and restock ingredients. We specialize in cupcakes but we've been branching out into cakes too. Anyways, this weekend we had an order for a sweet sixteen cake. The client loves the color purple, silver, and zebra patterns!!
Well, what do you think? We made a custom cake stand for it too but I didn't get a good picture of it. The picture of the cake isn't the greatest either because I only had my phone on hand.

Making this cake was a lot of fun and extra funky!

On another note, I am in the process of putting together the house tour page so keep checking back.
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