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Category Archives: DIY

Finally a Pretty, Purple Room

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Over Kiki’s spring break, two weeks ago, Kiki and I worked on her room.  We took her brown, nature room to a pretty, feminine lavender.  You can read the in’s and out’s and more about painting and the first stages of decorating Kiki’s room on her blog.

We put some of the paper color swatches up on the wall…


We decided our top three and went to the store and got three tester cans. We always get tester cans because you never really know what the paint will really look like on the wall from the paper swatch. It was a good thing we tested because two of our favorite swatches turned out really different on the wall then what we thought from the paper swatch.  We decided from the three testers that we like African Violet by Benjamin Moore the best.

We used frog tape around the baseboard, prepped the walls and primed the walls with Kilz. Then we started painting the walls.



We then painted the baseboards with a fresh coat of glossy “White Dove” paint; when they were dry we reassembled Kiki’s room


We taped out on the floor where her futon from school could fit.


Here is her new bedside table that we fixed up from Home Goods. The basket hides her power strip and all her charging cords.


The other side of the room…


Kiki also decided to donate a lot of the books off her book shelf so there was more room to style it, and she made some bookends for her Harry Potter books.



So there is the first stage of redecorating Kiki’s bedroom. We have plans for the art on her walls and she has a whole list of what is next to do for stage two after she moves home from school. Her room is certainly coming along, it’s really nice to have the new look in there. It’s soothing in a different way from before. It’s pretty and feminine without being really girlie. It’s purple without being PURPLE! We’re really pleased with how the room is coming together.


* P.S. We painted while the “landlords” were in Florida, and they came back this past weekend. I think they approve….



It’s Pinterest Challenge Time!


Get your thinking cap on and start browsing your Pinterest page for inspiration for a Pinterest project you want to get made or done! Maybe you want to finally make that t-shirt necklace you’ve been eyeing like my sister Kiki, or make a lampshade, or sew something, or cook something, or organize something…

The Pinterest challenge was started by Katie Bower of Bower Power and Sherry Petersik of Young House Love, to get them to stop just pinning awesome projects and start doing them. This time they have linked up with two other lovely bloggers: Megan from The Remodeled Life and Michelle from Decor & The Dog.

The deal is you have a week to take something that you pinned and put your own spin on it.  If you blog about the challenge be sure to follow the rules laid out by the host ladies.  Remember, your project has to be done by next Wednesday Morning, the 27th of February, 2013.

         Image      Giam Yoga Mat

Bee and I have been taking a yoga class on Sunday mornings and both of us just roll our mats and stick them under our arms like the rookie, cheap-o’s we are. Last week after class we discussed how we wish we had a yoga bag or a strap that would hold our mat. So, for the Pinterest challenge Beebop suggested that we actually pin some ideas of yoga mat straps and bags and get them made. Kind-of a “Dude get on that!”  like Sherry from Young House Love. I started to pin some ideas, and then Bb and I are going to look them over and discuss which ones we like the best and want to make. They may be the same, they may be different, guess we shall see what we end up with next week!


A Screen for Laura

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Our friend Laura lives in a newer apartment building in Chicago; her bedroom has a large opening from her bedroom into the kitchen/living space that makes it “up-to-code” because it replaces the fact that her bedroom doesn’t have a window. Not that you could climb out an opening at the top of your wall in case of emergency without a ladder…


Beebop and I offered to build a screen to go in the hole in the wall and block the light and sound that carries easily into Laura’s room from the living room and kitchen. Laura’s roommate liked the idea because in the mornings, when Laura isn’t up, but roommate is getting ready to go to work, she has to try and be really quiet in the kitchen to not wake Laura. Also, Laura and her roommate are kind enough to host our friend group at least once a month at their apartment, where we all usually end up sleeping over in the living room. Bb and I thought it would be a nice “thanks for letting us crash here” gesture to fix this little annoyance for them.

We measured the space and came up with a plan. Two rectangles attached together in the middle, either to be able to fold them to balance on the wall or two pieces to make them easy to move. The next week we went to Hancock Fabrics with Laura and she picked out a fabric for the screen. Then Bb and I went to Home Depot and got the supplies we needed to build two simple rectangle out of wood for the screen. Why two? easier to move in a car, easier to get up into the wall, and in case our measurements were off we could manipulate two pieces more than one long piece. We had decided that instead of hinging the screen we would use mending plates to attach the two pieces together, and use L brackets to hold the screen to the wall so we picked those up at the store too.


Beebop screwed the pieces together at the ends.


We bought a piece of slab foam when we bought the fabric to cover the screen with. It was too long and just slightly too wide for the rectangle we were building, I trimmed down the foam while Beebop put together the wood rectangle.



We used the extra foam to pad the other side of the screen in combo with batting.



I don’t have a picture of us covering the screen with fabric. We were a little busy. We stapled the fabric along the bottom and stretched it over the top, stapled it on the bottom again and then stapled down the sides. We folded the corners like a present and stapled them flat.

We loaded the two screen pieces in the back of my car then drove our screen downtown with us. The tricky part was getting the screen up in the hole in the wall. When we measured the wall we didn’t account for the slight slope in the ceiling and the fact that a rectangle doesn’tt fit in a slope. Wah-Wah.


So we came up with a Plan B, which I think turned out to be better option than Plan A. We decided to bump the screen down to sit on top of the upper kitchen cabinets and then we screwed the screens into the top of the cabinets with the L brackets. Because the cabinets are slightly lower than the wall hole the other side of the screen will be supported by the lip of the wall cutout.  Plan B is much sturdier than Plan A.


We, well mainly Beebop, climbed up on the counter to screw the screen into the cabinets, while on the other side we had our friends assist by making sure the screen didn’t come crashing down on the other side of the wall we weren’t working on. Which was smart, because at one point the screen did tip their way.


On the kitchen side, Beebop was being convinced to step down and let Gorman finish up. As he said, “I don’t doubt that you can do it. I know you can do it. But I’m taller than you and I don’t have to stand on my tippy toes to screw the L brackets down. Again, I believe you can, it would just be easier for me to do it, not because I’m better, because I’m taller.” He really didn’t want to sound sexist in suggesting that he do it instead of Bb, he did make a good point, he is 6’3″ and Bee is 5’2″ so…… yeah…. he made a good point.


We all hands on deck and got the screen screwed down into the cabinets. I need some better after pics, this is what I get for using my phone at night. The gap is good to have because it allows the air to move between the rooms and when Laura shuts and closes the door it allows the air to move without sucking the screen out of place, which happened when it was just balanced up in the hole. You can see the slight slant in the ceiling, where the light is visible from in Laura’s room along the top. It’s not noticeable till a rectangle doesn’t fit along it.


The screen isn’t maroon, it’s a purpley-grey. I chalk it up to bad lighting plus phone-camera pic. Here is a view of the screen from the bedroom.


Laura was pretty excited about how much darker her bedroom was with the screen, as for noise, it’s hard to tell when a whole bunch of people are talking in the kitchen and fake “testing” the noise absorption by yelling. I’ll have to ask her how her mornings have been with roommate getting up and being in the kitchen, really how it is with normal everyday noises.

Anyone ever have a moment where you ask “What was this builder thinking?” and have to come up with a fix? The opening seems like a good idea until you’re living with it as Laura can attest too.

A big shout out to our friends for being awesome, being classy, and helping us out with installation.


Desk Makeover

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Our client for this project was a six year old, Little M. Little M’s mom picked up this wood desk at an estate sale. It was painted a light blue with a white drawer tower and a veneer top. It was in good shape it just needed some T.L.C. A fresh coat of paint and some new drawer knobs would give this desk a new look.



M’s room is bright pink and Beebop suggested that we paint the desk a turquoise or a yellow. She gathered some inspiration from Pinterest.

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From House of Turquoise


 Project Nursery

M and her Mom decided to go with the Turquoise and picked the color of her desk at the paint store, Poolside Blue.


It’s bright but M’s room is a bright and saturated pink, the desk needed to be a saturated color too. When we held up the muted turquoise on the swatch against her wall color it was just kind of blah in M’s room. So we set up on top of a tarp and we got to work sanding down the desk to prep for paint.



Took it apart, and got to work painting it. Because the original paint job was sanding off unevenly we primed it first with Kilz no V.O.C. paint.


After priming the desk and letting it dry over night we painted the main desk with an enamel style paint in the turquoise with foam rollers for a smooth finish.


The drawers were painted white to pop against the turquoise.


M’s mom picked up some new drawer hardware from Anthropologie that was a pretty close match to the color we painted the desk.


The drawers are white, the room is just a bright, saturated pink that is reflecting in the white of the drawers. Two turquoise handles and one white. Here is the desk all put back together and in Little M’s room.




DIY Lampshade Makeover

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lampshade copy

I have been lukewarm about the lampshade in my bedroom for awhile. It has gotten pretty dinged up moving to and from college a couple times; the plain white shade with the dents is not my jam.


Before following through on the bamboo covered shade I had considered some other options before now.

lamp4   IMG_2781-2

There’s this sweet little shade that had a Sharpie taken to it over at a little glass box, or this Anthropologie inspired DIY ruffled burlap shade how-to on Tatertots & Jello

A couple nights ago I was on Pinterest and came across a tutorial on House of Fifty by Janell Beals. I was clicking around, browsing through some of her projects when I came across this post where Janell covered a basic, drum shade with bamboo she had spray painted white.


Her tutorial seemed really doable and the texture of the bamboo on the lamp shade is really beautiful. You can see her finished shade on the pendant in the room here.

When I was out running some errands, I stopped by Michael’s craft store to pick up a bundle of bamboo. Once I read House of Fifty’s tutorial I wanted to just follow through on it.


I laid out my pieces on the floor. I didn’t want to cut ones that were too big, or bowed. After I measured how wide I needed my bamboo pieces to be I started by cutting them to size with a saw. The saw was not my friend. I figured if bamboo is about the size of the branches on the bushes in my yard I could use garden clippers to trim the stalks.


I cut a whole bunch of the bamboo stems, until I couldn’t cut anymore. I ran out 😦  I got as far as I could with the bamboo I had. I laid out all the pieces I cut to make sure the pieces fit together, which didn’t really help in the long run because gluing them to the lamp was different from having them laid out on a flat surface. Laying them out did help me see the different widths of stalks, or if one had a curve in part of it. It looked like House of Fifty’s bamboo was a little more uniform in shape and size which would make it a bit easier to glue all the pieces in a row next to each other, but I’m not sure where she found her’s, and I was working with what I could find in stores.


So, this is how far I got.


I sent my mother to grab another bundle of bamboo on her way home from work for me so I could finish my shade. So after round two of clipping bamboo and hot-gluing it onto the shade here is what we have:



Here is how the finished shade and lamp base look.


After seeing it on the lamp base I’m not sold. I really like the texture that the bamboo brings to the room. I don’t believe that painting it white would save this pairing either. I think the cool, modern, sleek feel of the lamp base doesn’t jive with bamboo lamp shade. I’m might look into getting a new lamp base from Target or some other store.


Industrial Clamp Lights

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For Daniel’s room makeover I knew it was going to be a tight  fit for a lamp and side table with his bed right next to the door. I didn’t want to put a lamp next to his bed  because he would either have to crawl across his bed if it was by the window to switch on a light or it would be right next to the door and it would only take one time of bustin’ into the room to knock a lamp off a table, or to knock over a floor lamp. Also, Daniel’s bed is one of those lower, almost platform beds and so regular bedside table would tower above the bed.

I wanted to make sure that whatever lighting we found fit in with the masculine, quirky study. I had in mind an industrial looking light that was wall mounted. When it came down to the bed being on the same wall as the door I really just had in mind  this really simple lighting update that Jenny Komenda did over on her blog Little Green Notebook. She bought basic, outdoor clamp lights that she then spray painted a pretty icy blue color which gave them a cool vintage look. She then hung them outside on her balcony to light up her balcony and yard. To read up more on how she did her light makeover you can head over to her blog to read all about it.



I knew it would be an inexpensive light fixture that would fit his bed and look great in the room.

I bought two regular clamp lights from Lowe’s and I had some white glossy spray paint on hand that I planned to use. We picked up a small piece of wood and some L brackets to attach the lights to the wall with.


So I brought home the lights, took off the “shade” part and spray painted the metal “shade” part with some white spray paint I had.



I think spray painting them white definitely gave them a vintage lamp vibe, while still being cool and industrial looking. Here’s the after shot with the lamps clipped onto the piece of wood that is attached to the wall with the L brackets.


Sorry, that picture is really terrible.


The lights work really well in the room, they don’t take up space in the danger zone behind the door and they add an industrial feel to the room. They really look great for how inexpensive and simple a project it was to do. I haven’t touched base with Daniel to see how they worked for him when he was home over winter break. Though I did notice that he had tilted them at different angles than they are in the pictures when I was over at the house.



January Cure Day 5/6

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Day 5: Tuesday, January 8
Assignment: Select a good project from your list to complete this month AND take a few “Before” photos

Project: Stuff up on the walls in my room. I need to hang art on my walls, shelves, and DIY a jewelry organizer and then hang it.


Last spring I painted my room grey. I started to strip the old floral wallpaper off the walls and then some professionals finished it up. Then my family and I painted the walls a beautiful shade of grey. The curtains are from Target. A new light from Crate and Barrel got hung up last spring. Beebop and I recovered a first attempt of a padded headboard that we made last summer for my Mom that she never ended up using. I bought a whole bunch of new furniture from Ikea, the Hemnes collection (dresser, nightstand and bookcase).  I got a new rug from Pottery Barn this winter. A whole new room from what it was a year ago. But there’s one thing left, the walls are mostly bare. It’s kind of sad.


Listing it out like that makes it seem like a lot, but it’s not. I have a whole lot of art sitting on the floor in my room. Before, when my room was wallpapered, I had a lot of art and things hanging on my walls but it all came down to strip the wallpaper and paint and none of it has gone back up. The only thing I have “hung back up” on the wall from before, is the large floor mirror which gets anchored to the wall. I have also hung a crib box spring that I spray painted glossy black and hung up on the wall at the end of the summer.


I have some art leaning against the wall where I want it to go, I just need to get it up on the wall. I also want to get a picture ledge/ floating shelf to put pictures on.

artwork1912  picture-ledge                              1.                                                                                             2.

I decided to get a ledge instead of creating a collage wall and putting a whole bunch of nail holes in the wall, I would create a leaning collage of pictures. Then, when my fancy to change up the art happens I wouldn’t have to Spackle and paint a whole bunch of nail holes. The art needs to bring some color and texture and bring some variety to the room.

Oh, I need to buy frames for some art that I got at The Renegade Craft Fair this September. I also need to figure out a picture to put into a frame that I have on my bookcase. Which ties into Day 6 of the January Cure. We have an Ikea trip coming up in the near-future so I was planning to pick up some frames then. I also saw some frames I liked at World Market today.



Today I had the day off of work, and I used that time to do a whole bunch of errands. I bought some little hooks from World Market to hang my necklaces on.


I’m thinking I’m going to spray paint them a color… I’m not sold on the finish they are right now. And I think then I’m going to mount them on a thin piece of wood, to kind of beef up the hooks off the wall, and then I just have to attach the wood to the wall with some anchors. So part of a project checked off. Now to figure out the rest of it. But I have a few days to figure it out before Monday’s January Cure of “Work on Your Goal Project.”

I ordered, because they were out, a square wall shelf from The Container Store. I want to hang it next to the crib frame, below the art that is leaning against the wall there right now. I think the square shapes will tie in nicely together. I also re-looked at the picture ledges I saw at the container store and decided they weren’t what I exactly what I wanted. They are the right size, but I don’t like how they attached to the wall. So I have to look into other places for those.

Have you joined the January Cure officially or unofficially? Have you been inspired to organize some of the projects in your life?