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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer Home

This summer has been incredibly busy around here – if I’m at home we have parties and events to go to so I don’t have much time to DIY, but many weekends have been spent in my summer home:

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We have a 1979 Play-Mor camper (or travel trailer as some call it). This old guy is only 13’ long with the tongue I believe so space is a little cramped but we love it. T actually bought it a few years ago before we met but it is now as much mine as his as I’m putting my stamp on it.

Mostly we camp in the woods but we have done two campgrounds this year and we even stayed in a rustic cabin in the UP for two nights.

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T is away this weekend for a guy’s camping weekend so I’ll have some time to myself to watch girly movies, shop and get things done around the house. In addition to camping we have started spending every other weekend at his place so my house is feeling neglected. I have many house pics to share so maybe I’ll spend a good chunk of time this weekend writing posts and editing pictures.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Still Alive

I have failed at updating the blog this year. I have a ton of pictures to upload but just haven’t found the time to do so. Here are some of the things I’ve been doing (via Instagram):

Celebrated my birthday in March

Celebrated Easter with T and his family

Went to a Drive-through African Safari in OH

Attended my Grandmother’s funeral in WV and visited the old house (from the outside anyway)

Got my hair straightened (should last six months)

Went camping (first time with T and first time in a camper)

The weather in MI hasn’t been that great this spring so no outside projects yet though I do have to figure out a time to mow this week since my grass is ridiculously long due to all the rain.  Happy spring! Hopefully summer (and warmer weather) is just around the corner!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Home Entry Revamp–Part2

Yesterday I showed you the new shoe cubbies my T and his friend built for me.  Today I’m back with pictures of the finished space.  Let’s look at the before again, shall we?  I wanted to swap out the light, remove the pot lids, paint the walls, remove anything that didn’t need to be there and replace the dinky hooks….so I did.  You may be wondering why I left the skillets – I like having them hanging since storage space in my kitchen is limited and hanging them keeps them in better shape than stacking them so for now, they stay where they are. They are in easy reach to the kitchen and get used daily.

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First up – the paint. I chose a gorgeous gray by Valspar that we had color matched at Sherwin Williams in their matte paint. My T is a professional painter and he swears by SW so I figured I’d stray from my usual Glidden. Since there wasn’t much wall space that wasn’t the faux brick and the ceiling angles were weird, I requested that they paint the walls and ceiling gray and the shoe cubbies and faux brick glossy white.

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Look – even my tall winter boots fit in the cubbies with room to spare! Did I mention how in love with the cubbies I am?!? A few times? Well, I’ll say it again!  Did you notice anything in that ceiling picture? I bought a new glass pendant from Shades of Light to replace the ugly old fixture – it is the Young House Love Bubble Glass Pendant. I love the light (less than $50!) but I wasn’t thrilled with the glue traces that were on the inside of the glass when it arrived. It took quite a lot of time to get that removed but for the cost and the look of the light, I decided it was worth the extra cleaning effort.  I forgot to remove the sticker on the base when I took the pictures, but here she is cut to size to fit my space.

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The hanging rack full of pot lids was replaced with a $10 mirror from Target (on sale) and some cup hooks to hang my keys/sunglasses since every girl needs a mirror by the door for last minute hair/makeup spot checks and a place to hang her keys.

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I love that you see the reflection of the plants in the kitchen in the mirror and the touch of blue adds some nice color to the space. I chose this mirror for its size (the space is narrow but tall), the cost was perfect, the touch of blue had me at hello and the wood ties into the wood floors in the adjoining kitchen.  I chose to use simple white cup hooks for keys since I didn’t want them to stand out or compete with my gorgeous new coat hooks.

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What coat hooks? These brass beauties! I bought five of these hooks from Anthropologie for $8 each (originally $20 but on clearance). In fact, I cleaned out both Anthro stores here in Michigan to get them all.

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Finally, I swapped out my old door deadbolt with an electronic one for easier access (for me anyway) to the home. Since the exterior of this entrance is not covered, I didn’t want to have to mess with keys while trying to enter the house in the snow or rain. Perhaps some updates will be made to the entrance in the summer – we’ll see!

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That’s it! Here’s a last picture of the entire entrance, which is incredibly hard to capture on film since the space is so small. Small – but now, extremely functional!

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The hallway isn’t the only space to get a new coat of paint – I’ll be back with pictures of other revamped spaces!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Home Entry Revamp

I’m not doing so well with keeping up on the blog but I have had a lot going on inside the house lately that I am finally getting around to sharing! As I mentioned before the entry to my home is a mess. Exhibit A:

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The shoe tray I made was helping a bit with the winter shoes but I still hated the mess in the tiny dining room.  I’ve mentioned before that this house has three entrances. I’ve never used the side one since it is just a small landing with stairs that go down to the basement or up to the kitchen:

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My T. had a great idea – start using the side entrance but make built-in cubbies for my shoes on the stairwell! Genius! So we mapped out the size of the cubby we wanted and then invited his friend over to help with the construction. I wanted the cubby to be where I could just kick my shoes into it from the landing without having to do down too many stairs and we wanted one on each side.

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Adam (said friend) came over and cut out the two holes of equal size. Since there is a steel beam on the right side holding up my floor, we had to move that down down a bit. I originally wanted them symmetrical but I love the staggered look of the holes now.  To refresh your memory of my basement, the hole on the right (as you look up the stairs) is in the laundry room and the hole on the left is in the storage area.

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They then measured everything and constructed two boxes made out of higher-grade plywood. This stuff was more expensive but it looks nicer, which was a selling point to me (especially since this was all done for me with no labor costs!).

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The boxes were screwed into place…

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…and trim was attached to cover the edges.

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I’m sure you’re wondering what the other sides of the walls look like – in the laundry room, the box is actually almost exactly the same depth as the wall shelves so it isn’t in the way at all. The electrical just had to be reattached to the wall (done after this pic) . In the other room, there is about 1.5” of box that sticks out from the wall thanks to a weird double-wall I had in there. So it isn’t interfering with my wall of sports equipment at all.

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The next step was to caulk around the seams and where the boxes met the walls, fill in any nail/screw holes, prime and then paint.

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How do you like the new shoe storage? I’m in love. I’ll be back with pictures of the finished space since the walls were painted, a new light fixture hung and things moved around. The space is now easily one of my favorite spaces in the house and the built-in shoe storage is a huge selling point whenever I sell this place!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Small Kitchen Updates

This year I’m focusing some time/effort/attention to the kitchen. My kitchen is a tiny galley kitchen that needs to pack a lot of function and storage – both of which are lacking right now. One thing I’ve wanted to add to my kitchen for a year or so is a flip out tray under the sink to the faux front.

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Before we move on do you notice my new cutting board? It was a Christmas gift – you’re looking at a bamboo cutting board of Michigan, well, lower Michigan. Here’s the UP with a heart over my hometown:

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Okay back to the cabinets. I bought a kit at Lowe’s for under $20, some new cabinet pulls ($4 each for four pulls from Lowe’s since I had to replace the existing ones in order for the new one to match) and spent about 40 minutes installing two trays and the new pulls.  These trays hold my sponges, disposal cleaner, scrub pads and sink stoppers.

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That was the first easy upgrade. The second involved some $1 blue bins from Target, a drawer divider from TJMaxx and the long silverware drawer in the kitchen (to the right of the sink in the first picture above).  I was sick of my utensils getting mixed up with the smaller chip clips and measuring spoons so I used a drawer divider to break up the right side of the drawer and the small bins to corral smaller items. The bins were a great find in the Dollar Spot at Target (2 for $1).

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Finally I made some new kitchen art. I bought some (non-matching, small) antique silver utensils from my favorite antique store for $1 each with the idea of framing them in the kitchen. They were a tarnished mess:

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To clean them, I placed aluminum foil in the bottom of a large pot, placed the silver on top of the foil and then covered the silver with 1/4c baking soda, 2 teaspoons of salt and then poured a quart of boiling water over it all. You cover the pot and let the baking soda do its thing (while trying not to gag at the horrible smell). I repeated this a couple of times until the silver was sparkly and clean:

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I then used hot glue to attach the silver to a piece of framing material and popped it all into a shadowbox frame that I had lying around (from IKEA). It is fitting for a kitchen and has been hanging out on the counter for a week or so but it may find a home somewhere else. I’m just not sure what I want to do with the kitchen right now but this was a fun and easy project to add a little whimsy for a while.

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The other project that is taking up my time is the shoe issue I previously alluded to. Stay tuned for my solution!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Quick Tray Makeover

My mom bought me a tray oh at least a year ago from my favorite antique store in the U.P. I finally got around to doing something with it. The brown frame and brown decorative paper inside of it just weren’t doing it for me.

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To get started, I had to remove the handles and the back, which was held into place with small nails.

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Then I simply washed everything (frame, handles, mirror), painted the frame a very light pink (I’m trying to get out of my comfort zone of WHITE!), cut a piece of  marbled paper found at The Paper Source into the correct shape and put it all back together.

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The tray is currently residing in the china hutch in the guest bedroom next to an old bourbon glass filled with pennies (my grandfather’s) and a keepsake glass from a winery in northern Michigan (notice the Mighty Mac on the glass).

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I’m obsessed with marble paper right now and am considering buying a huge sheet to hang somewhere in my house.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Shoe Conundrum

I mentioned before that I use the backdoor to my home as my main entrance/exit since it leads out to the garage. Something I never thought about when looking at houses was whether the home had a mudroom – let me just say that it is now a requirement. Since my house doesn’t have one, I’ve set up a makeshift mudroom corner near the door in the dining room. Lately that corner has been taken over by shoes. Oh, who am I kidding, that section is taken over by shoes year-round since I love me some shoes.

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For the winter months, since I live in MI and it is generally wet or snowy outside, I decided to put together a boot tray. It all started when I saw this pretty tray at IKEA:

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I simply bought five bags of river rocks at the dollar store….

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…filled the tray with rocks and then slid the tray underneath the table next to the back door.

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Any rain or snow from the boots will drip off the boots and onto the rocks. The rocks keep the boots from staying wet since the water eventually makes its way down to the tray underneath. Easy fix! I wish that was the last of the fixes for this area but sadly it has a long way to go. All of the coats/gloves/purses/whatever else is driving me crazy in this corner so I’ll be back (hopefully soon) with a fix! Here’s a hint of where I’m heading: