Thrifty Artsy Girl

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Bigger Family, Bigger DIY Plans

Hey there strangers 🙂. I feel like it's been a year since I've written a post! I guess it's only been around 6 months, which is close enough 😉. Let me tell you, this pregnancy really kicked my butt. With working full time, family festivities, being sick everyday, all day, and with little to no energy left after the first two activities, I was lucky to even make a dent in the multiple projects I wanted to finish. We'll just call this break from the blog my baby sabbatical 😉. Thankfully now that the worst is over I'm slowly getting back to DIYing 😊.

After 6 months of complete and total silence I figure I should share with you all the reason I've been MIA ☺️. Here she is, our beautiful 6 pound 3 ounce bundle of joy, Brynlee Annelise. She arrived after just three hours of labor on October 25.

The similarities between my labor and deliveries with Jackson and Brynlee are crazy! Had they not changed my due date by two days with Brynlee it would have been the exact same day during my pregnancy with both babies, with my water breaking just an hour later on during the night with Brynlee. My labor was cut in half to just 3 (more painful) hours. And then to top it off when our princess finally arrived we noticed she looked exactly the same as newborn baby Jackson.

Newborn pictures of Jackson on the left and Brynlee on the right.

Jackson has turned out to be a very sweet, caring big brother. We are truly blessed. Though he has had typical tantrums and issues I'm sure all children have when they're used to being the one and only child. 

I'm not going to lie and say this newborn time has been all sunshine and daisies, quite the opposite in fact. My muffin is a colicky little thing so I spent 95% of my maternity leave on the couch nursing her since that was the one and only thing that seemed to make her happy.

Our first family of four photo taken on Halloween.

Silly me I had made tentative "big" plans of getting some projects crossed of the to do list while I had time off. I completely forgot what it was like to have a newborn, and I certainly didn't account for a colicky baby and a monster/preschooler that wanted to test me on all levels and was winning by 1,000 points.

It took me an entire month alone to put up all of our Christmas decorations because little Miss insisted on being a part of every aspect of my life.

Of course we are teaching our children how to properly use tools because we hope to make our DIY projects a family affair.

While I was spending all my time being chained to the couch, I watched more than 143 episodes of the Gilmore Girls, the Star Wars series (for the first time ever ha ha) and numerous other series and shows that I've been meaning to catch up on. I also went over my to do list, one of my projects even involves the couch I spent so much time on 😉. I can't wait to dive into that one!

 Brynlee finally seems to be getting over her colic now that I'm going back to work and she actually let me paint Jackson's new room. Baby steps literally.

Don't get me wrong though, while I love doing projects, I love raising my family even more, no matter how tedious, exhausting or frustrating. So all those long hours spent with my baby were moments I will treasure for the rest of my life. 

During this baby sabbatical even with my projects and posting on my blog suffering, I knew you all would still be here when I finally came back, hopefully eager to see what I have cooking eh hemm 😉. Soo here's my to do list in no particular order:

  • Jackson's big boy room
  • Brynlee's room
  • Entryway makeover
  • Command Center
  • Dog Kennel Project
  • Couch Project
  • Continued Kitchen Cabinet Projects
  • Dining Room Makeover
  • Finally finish the kid's Bathroom

Of course most of these projects have many tutorials that go into them so all of these will take me quiet a while to finish. I'll also have other crafty tutorials and apartment posts that I will throw in the mix since I'm always thinking up new ways to decorate our home and Cory's constantly renovating the apartments.

Well I'm off to start working on the next big thing that will be coming up on the blog soon!


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Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Nursery Fit for a Princess

So if you haven't guessed it yet by the title of this post (or if you don't follow my Instagram or facebook) then I'll just come  right out and say it: We're expecting our second little one! And it's a...

So what comes with the arrival of a new baby besides joy, new clothes and sleepless nights? Why a new bedroom of course!

Ever since I dreamed of having children I knew that if I had a girl I would go all out (well as much as I could ;) with decorating her room. With this little lady I have lots of big plans including, but not limited to, a chandelier. When Homdox contacted me with a review opportunity for one of their products I went through their site and lo and behold they had some beautiful crystal chandeliers. I couldn't believe my luck!

I chose a smaller 3 light chandelier over the bigger 5 light chandeliers they have since it's for a bedroom in lieu of the typical large dining room a chandelier goes in. When I received my happy mail we immediately set to work taking down the old, ugly construction grade brass light fixture.

I'm so glad to get rid of another piece of brass construction grade ugliness from our house.

When we opened the box for the chandelier it was very neatly packed in individual sections. Cory said he'd be able to put it up in no time so we got out the directions, which were about as helpful as Ikea directions with only numbered parts of where to put the crystals on the chandelier. We got all the pieces out and unfortunately the metal crossbar for hanging the light fixture was far too small to fit our standard electrical junction box in the ceiling. So scratch the, in no time part, of putting up the chandelier.

After we bought a crossbar that would work at our local hardware store Cory got to work. Now Cory is no stranger to putting up light fixtures since he is a landlord and owns multiple properties but he said this fixture was a first for him in regard to the wires.

The wires were all clear, in electrical speak this means there was no indication of polarity (+/-), which at the very least may shorten the bulb life. This is yet to be seen. Cory says he's never seen anything electrical period that showed no indication of polarity.

After Cory did his part I had to put all the crystals on the chandelier, which I didn't really mind although it did take a good 15 minutes. I believe for the affordable cost of $56.88, compared to hundreds that you could spend on similar looking chandeliers, that it is well worth the time and effort to assemble.

I absolutely love how beautiful this chandelier is. It really adds a touch of elegance to the room and our daughter will be able to use it for many, many years (or until we move, whichever comes first).

Now, of course I need to complete the rest of the room, which is currently my son's room. Yes, I'm sure you're thinking I'm nuts moving my son out of his room but I figured it would be the easiest to put our new baby in his room since it's already set up like a nursery complete with the crib/toddler bed and the walls are a pale green color that I chose to use for a boy or a girl when I was pregnant with my son.

I now have two bedrooms to DIY my way through by this fall...I guess I better get started! I really am a glutton for punishment of the DIY kind.

Here's a glimpse into the design palette for the baby girls room. I have quite a few projects that I will be blogging about for her room as well as Jackson's new big boy room so stay tuned ;). I'm also hoping to complete the kid's bathroom in the very near future so I can finally cross that room off the list.
Until the next time!


Disclaimer: I received the crystal chandelier complimentary from Homdox. However all opinions expressed are my own and 100% true. Please see my disclosure policy for more info.
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Monday, June 6, 2016

Wall Art for a Grand Entrance with Modern Masters Metallic Reactive Paint

When we first bought our home I was in total awe over our two story entryway complete with a gorgeous open staircase. I never thought I would be lucky enough to have such a beautiful space in my home.

As much as I love my entryway I have found it to be a very difficult space to decorate. Huge, high walls that require large pieces, which unfortunately equals large dollar amounts to acquire, have been left blank over the years because I'm a cheapskate. I have looked at some beautiful old windows and arched wood and metal wall art but I've never been willing to throw down hundreds of dollars for them.

A couple months ago me and my bestie Mel were shopping at one of my fave stores, Kirklands, and lo and behold one of the arched wood and metal wall art pieces I'd been pining over for years was sitting outside, battered, broken and majorly clearanced from $170 down to $49. This piece is ironically called the Grand Entrance plaque. The store had had it on display for years (that's when I first saw it) and it must have somehow fell, damaging it for some lucky DIYer like me to scoop up and fix ;).

Mel and I happened to see the plaque at the same time and both gravitated towards it. We both (of course) wanted it since we have very similar decor taste. I thought we were going to have to Indian leg wrestle for it but thankfully (and somewhat reluctantly) she told me I could have it ;) ;) ;).

I knew I would have to do some repair work to make my new wall art look like her gorgeous self again. I was totally ok with that and I figured I would also do a little facelift with some paint to make this piece completely unique to my home.

Enter modern masters metallic reactive paint. This paint creates a patina on virtually any surface, from canvas, to metal, to wood, making it look like naturally aged copper. I knew it would be perfect for transforming this piece into one of a kind artwork. I decided I would change the somewhat plain looking black decorative metal pieces to aged copper with a green patina.

But first things first I had to repair the broken sections. The bottom pieces were pulled apart but thankfully had nails that I could see. I pounded the bottom in with a hammer until it was as close to back to normal as I could get it.

The top was cracked on one side so I simply squirt some liquid nails in between the cracks and taped it together for 24 hours. I also hammered the top down so the seams came together and reattached the metal decorative piece that was missing a screw with a tiny screw I dug up.

After fixing up the broken spots I removed the tape from the top part and I re-stained the parts of the wood that were scuffed or missing stain so the wood looked good as new. I then started the paint process for creating the aged copper with patina look I wanted on the decorative metal pieces.

The first step is painting at least 2 coats of primer with 12 hours dry time before applying the oxidizing copper paint. Here's how the metal looked after painting the brownish primer.

Next I applied one coat of oxidizing copper paint. Here's how the plaque looked with copper colored metal.

For the next step (the fun part) I laid the plaque down in my kitchen work space and got out the oxidizing copper paint and the green patina aging solution to do the final step. I used artist paint brushes but you can use any kind of brush, a roller or even a spray gun. To make the patina look you first paint copper paint onto your surface and then while the paint is still wet you apply the patina aging solution.

Here's a pic of me applying the patina aging solution on the wet copper paint. I applied the solution quite liberally since the surface I was patina-ing was not flat and I wanted the most green to show up as possible.

I did the metal pieces in sections so the paint would not dry. Here's a pic of the first section I did already changing to green patina right after I finished putting the patina solution on the second section. I'm sure you'll notice that I did get drips on the floor, but never fear since all the different paints for this project are soap and water clean up they washed right off ;).

Here's another view of the copper metal changing to a copper with patina.

It really was a fun process watching the copper change over such a short period of time. When I was finished I wasn't completely satisfied with the amount of patina on the copper so I "spot" patina-d after I was done so I could get more of the green patina look I wanted. I took a few pictures to show how the patina showed up in the course of minutes after the aging solution was applied.

Here's a few after pictures of the plaque. I really wanted more green but after I was finished I have to say I do like how some of the copper still shows. Possibly if I had used a spray gun or if the metal surface was level I would have ended up with a completely green patina.

It was quite a feat to get Cory to put the plaque up in the entryway but he did it (while I watched ;). Here's a couple pics of how the plaque looks it her rightful place.

I couldn't be more pleased with how my Grand Entrance plaque turned out! It really has made our entryway look more grand ;). I can't wait to try my Modern Masters copper reactive paint on other pieces throughout the house including our mailbox! Pics will be sure to surface on my instagram ;).

I'm off to try to finally finish Jackson's bathroom and a couple other must do projects!


Disclaimer: I received the metallic reactive paints complimentary from Modern Masters. However all opinions expressed are my own and 100% true. Please see my disclosure policy for more info.
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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

3 Easy DIY Boxwood Wreaths for about $2 a piece

Lately I keep seeing all these simple and sweet boxwood wreaths populating front doors, walls and windows on my Instagram feed. The more I saw them, the more I wanted two or three (I'm an overachiever, what can I say?) of my own to disperse throughout my home.

Of course since I'm such an avid wreath DIYer I decided to make my own. It also helped that the previous owners of my house planted 14 boxwood bushes in the front yard ;). Score! So I already had most of my supplies for free right there.  

I did a little bit of research and found a cute blog post from Newly Woodwards that confirmed that the wreath making ideas I had brewing were spot on. It also made it so much easier since I already had everything I needed right at home!

Supplies for making a super simple boxwood wreath:

  • boxwood (bushes) sprigs
  • scissors
  • grapevine wreath
  • hot glue gun
  • ribbon for decoration

I gathered my shears and a bag and headed out to the yard to snip some boxwood sprigs. I only cut sprigs from one bush and it barely made a dent. Obviously we have some pruning to do or about 85 wreaths to make ;)...

When my bag was pretty full I headed to the backyard to make my wreaths on our patio table since it was such a nice spring day. I gathered up my glue gun and 3 wreaths that I had bought from Salvation Army for 79 cents on up to a whopping $1.49. I always scope out the wreaths when I'm at Salvo so I can add to my collection since you never know when I'll need a wreath!

After I ripped all the hard work off the wreaths that someone else had so lovingly done (I'm such a cruel, cruel girl ;) I got started. First I pulled a sprig out of the bag and inserted it under the vines on the grapevine wreath so that it lay flat against the wreath but was also snuggly in place.

I kept inserting sprigs all around the wreath, making sure they were all facing the same way.

I continued to do this until the wreath was covered up all the way around.

I prefer a cleaner looking wreath so that's where the glue gun comes in. If you are OK with the sprigs sticking out a little and not laying flat on top of each other, then you can skip this next step. When you are fairly satisfied with how much greenery is on your wreath grab your glue gun and start gluing down those stray sprigs that are sticking out all willy nilly. You can always add more sprigs until you get your desired look.

After I had glued all the stray sprigs I grabbed a spool of burlap ribbon that I had in my craft stash that had cost me around $2 and made a hanger and two bows for the larger wreaths. For the smaller wreath I used some off white satin ribbon and hung it off my upper cabinet door.

Here's a few pictures of the finished wreaths.

These wreaths bring just the right touch of greenery to my house. I really do love how each one turned out and that they were so easy and affordable to make!

Now I'm off to go work on more projects (including finishing that pesky bathroom up soon!)



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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

From Hollow Core Bore to a Beautiful Updated Door: DIY Slab Door Makeover using Trim and Paint

Let me start this post by saying how much I loathe hollow core "slab" doors. I really do. There is not one redeeming quality about them. whoever came up with this sorry excuse for a door should be shot.

Ok, maybe that's a little harsh. 

Hollow core doors are great for the budget conscious or for cheap contractors that are building construction grade homes. But really these doors only save money initially. They quickly drive down the value of your home. Especially if you've updated the rest of your house. 

They are so cheap and so ugly it's enough to drive anyone to the edge, kicking and hitting wildly in a fit of rage at those hideous veneered boards (that don't even deserve to be called a door). But then we all know you would have destroyed all of your thin doors (that can't even stand up to a punch from a hormonal teenager, much less your wild abandon) and be in a worse pickle than before, now having to buy all new doors.

Oh, sorry. I went off on a bit of a tangent there.

If you have boring, flat, hollow core slab doors you know exactly where I'm coming from, especially if you don't have loads of cash laying around to buy solid wood paneled doors. We could cry on each other's shoulders, or we could do something about these atrocities. I'm all about the doing ;).

I'm sure you've seen pictures and posts floating around the Internet of completely transformed slab doors from people like me who were almost tearing their hair out from the sheer awfulness of their flat slab doors. I of course googled and pinterested around checking out other bloggers door projects and the most inspirational for me was a video from Ron Hazelton If you haven't seen any of these dramatic door makeovers (heck, even if you have) I'm here to show you an easy (and awesome) door transformation that I did for $20 or less a door. I don't have a video to show you all but I do have tons and tons of pictures of the process.

Here's a before shot of the two doors I decided to start with first. Of course Jackson's bathroom door is one of them since it's the last step to finishing that bathroom up and the guest bedroom right next door.

So first things first I had to paint the doors and of course the trim. Painting all the woodwork and doors is a huge job to say the least. With 2700 square feet of trim, multiple closet doors and 16 slab doors in my house I have my work cut out for me. I'll be lucky if I get done with it in a year the way I am with projects. Of course that's not saying I won't try! Wish me luck ;).

Here's a pic of the in-progress painting of this small section of my house.

Painting trim is easy but tedious work. Although painting trim with carpet under it is a whole new ballgame for me so I had to come up with a way to work around getting any paint on the carpet. I came up with an easy fix using painters tape and an extra large putty/drywall knife. I took some pictures of how I got the tape to easily fit under the carpet so I could possibly save someone the trouble of figuring out how to paint trim with carpet.

Step one, I gathered my putty knife and painters tape. Step two, I placed the tape on the carpet with a little overlapping on the woodwork. Step three, I placed the putty knife at the base of the wood where it meets up with the carpet. Step four, I pushed the taped under the woodwork. Step five, I leaned back and admired my painters tape on top of the carpet and underneath the woodwork, just perfect to not get any paint on the carpet but to still manage to paint the whole piece of woodwork.

Ok, now back to those pesky slab doors. I painted the bathroom door while it was hung but took the guest bedroom door off the hinges and painted it in my pseudo work space in the kitchen on top of two sawhorses just to see which way would be easier. I found taking the door down to be the simpler way. After painting the door it was time to work my magic and transform a flat door into a masterpiece.

Supplies for making a flat door into a paneled door

  • door
  • decorative trim
  • tape measure
  • T-square or carpenters square
  • pencil (I used a dry erase marker for the first door, not the best idea)
  • miter box with saw (or just a saw if you're good like that)
  • liquid nails, or other comparable wood glue
  • tape
  • paint
  • level (not necessary but if you want to check how awesome you are at putting level panels on your doors this will reassure you ;)
  • time

First you need to measure and mark where your trim for the panels will go. I found that I didn't even use the carpenters square (Cory suggested it), just the T-square because the length of the blade was great for drawing lines and the head was perfect for keeping everything straight and right where I wanted it to be by resting it on the edge of the door.

Here's a picture of the panels drawn out. I wanted a pretty standard panel look for my doors so I used 5" in everywhere except on the bottom of the door where I did 6" up.

After you have your panels drawn out it's time to measure them to cut your trim. I bought my trim from Home Depot. They have some decorative trim pieces that come in 8 foot sections for $5 a piece. When I bought my first batch (about a year ago) they were only $4 a piece. When you snooze, you lose, I guess.

I got out my trusty miter box and saw (that you can buy at any home improvement store for under $10). The miter box makes it very easy for an amateur like myself to cut mitered cuts. It also is very convenient since I wanted to cut the trim inside while I had Jackson playing right by me. I put the miter box on my kitchen table and cut the trim at 45 degree angles. After I was done I simply wiped up the sawdust and put the miter box and saw away. No muss, no fuss.

I placed all the cut trim pieces on the door where I would be gluing them down like so. I used approximately four 8' trim pieces per door for making panels on both sides. For the smaller doors it will be less and for the four small pantry/closet doors I will only do the front of the door that faces out. So essentially I'm spending $20 or less a door. Much less than buying a solid wood paneled door from the store!

I then gathered my liquid nails, tape and a damp paper towel for any glue seepage. I put the glue on quite liberally since I really wanted the trim to stick well with no gaps. I simply placed the trim with the glue side down on my drawn out lines and taped it down for about 24 hours or so.

 Depending on if your trim is warped or not you may have to apply more tape. This is a picture of Jackson's bathroom door and it needed twice the amount of tape as the guest bedroom door. After you have removed the tape all that's left to do is paint the trim to match the door and hang the door back up.

Here's a pic of just one door done with panels, one door just painted and one door untouched. You can see the difference it makes. It looks much more refined and "finished".

And here's the finished doors complete with my "new" DIY spray painted doorknobs.

Here's a couple of close up shots of the finished door.

One more shot. I just love how these doors have turned out!!

Updating these doors has given me hope that my hollow core doors will stop bringing the value of my house down and possibly add some profit when we eventually move on to bigger and better things(sweat equity for sure!). Hope you become inspired to change your own hollow core doors into something you love!

Until the next time,


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