Life’s Little Celebrations

Life's Little Celebrations Give yourself something to look forward to

Life’s Little Celebrations – Give yourself (and your loved ones) Something to Look Forward To

Isn’t Spring fantastic?  With all the snow melting, the grass starting to get green, flowers popping up, birds singing, and a new baby calf added to the herd every few days…

Well, it’s hard not to feel a little happy boost that Spring has officially begun, isn’t it?

Sure, there is mud to deal with. I made the husband bring home a few bags of mulch last week and we spread them in the rain because I couldn’t stand to clean up mud every time the dog went outside.   (I was really wishing my Spot Bot hadn’t died and I had a new Shop Amazon – Presenting the Bissell Symphony)  And my body is definitely not swimming suit ready.  But, that is vastly outweighed by the overwhelming urge to spend as much time as possible outside enjoying the weather.

Enjoy the small things.

Last weekend, my daughter suggested we roll out the fire pit and roast hot dogs and marshmallows for dinner.  That’s one of our favorite things to do as a family during warmer weather.  The kids happily rode their bikes and played wall ball with each other while the husband and I enjoyed sitting by the fire for a couple of hours.

As I sat there staring into the fire, I couldn’t help thinking how glad I was that Kaitlyn has suggested something so simple yet thoroughly enjoyable.  Then I started thinking about all of the many other small things in life we had celebrated the past week or so.  (It had been kind of a crazy one actually)

Making it through my daughter’s back to back swim meet and band concert.  Celebrated that one by letting her pick out ice cream on the way home.  My little guy’s final Utah Citizenship performance (part of months of work and many projects and tests for them) celebrated again by letting him pick out ice cream on the way home.  That one happened to fall on the same day we went before the county for approvals on our building lot (got it!  Just a few more hoops to jump through before it’s official).  In among there, I hosted our monthly Bunco group and that always feels like a party.

And you know what?  Life is so much more enjoyable when you take a minute to appreciate the small things when they happen.  Everything seems better when you purposely give yourself and your loved ones small things to look forward to.  When once in a while we make the everyday special.

So I came up with my own list of Life’s Little Celebrations:

-a warm sunny day
-school or sporting event (ice cream!)
-one of those random “National ____ Day”  Find a long list of holidays by date HERE. (I can’t believe I didn’t do anything for pie/pi day last!  It falls on March 14.  3/14 – get it?)
-accomplishments – a promotion, finishing a big project, the baby took her first step, the 4th grader memorized his multiplication tables
-because it’s been a while since you had a dinner party or lunch out
-because the kids have other plans and you and the husband have some free time to spend together
-because it’s the weekend
-because it’s Monday
-because we’re all tired and need to relax and indulge
-the first ____ of the year  (snowstorm, flower, hot dog/marshmallow roast)
-because it’s Girl Scout Cookie season
-minor holidays (St Pat’s, April Fool’s, Labor Day, etc.)
-change of seasons
-local events (strawberry picking season, hot air balloon festival, etc)
-because you missed someone’s birthday/anniversary
-the divorce is final
-your favorite author just released a new book
-that movie you’ve been dying to see finally hits the theaters

Life's Little Celebrations Take a moment to recognize and enjoy the small events in life

Ways to Celebrate the Little Things

-get outside (walk, hike, ride bikes, roast marshmallows, fly kites, blow bubbles, fire up the grill Shop Amazon – Grilling and Outdoor Cooking Products)
-take a picture
-go out to eat
-try a new restaurant
-ice cream
-wash the car (what? Are you telling me having a nice shiny car after months of snow and salt-covered roads doesn’t count as a celebration?!  Have you SEEN the line at the car wash at the first sunny day in a while?)
-plant flowers (Shop Amazon – Gardening Products)
-rent a movie (or find one on Amazon Prime Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial or Netflix)
-cook something seasonal or extra-yummy
-document it – journal it, scrapbook it, post it on Instagram
-surprise someone (treat, card, gift)
-invite people over
-family game night
-food, food, and more food (funny how so many things revolve around food, isn’t it?)

Well that’s my list.  I hope to keep adding to it, so please feel free to share your own Life’s Little Celebrations, and how you recognize the small moments.

Give yourself something to look forward to AlaynasCreations

Give yourself something to look forward to.

 

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DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget – Installing Kitchen Cabinetry

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget Before and After Photos

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget – Installing Kitchen Cabinetry

Well Hello Spring!  I’m guessing everyone was as excited as me with the official First Day of Spring this week, right?  Luckily, it really feels like spring too with almost all of the snow melted, sunny skies, birds singing, flower bulbs starting to push their way through the ground (starting to sound like  Disney movie, right?).

And this morning’s spring rainstorm.  Which means I can take a minute for blogging before heading out for my weekly volunteer session in my son’s classroom and an afternoon of crafting with a friend – yay!  (If you want to see what we’re working on be sure to check my Instagram feed.)

DIY KItchen Remodel Kitchen Cabinetry Installation

Ready for an update on our DIY Kitchen Remodel?  Last time I posted, we had just finished installing the new tile in my parent’s kitchen.

The photo above is what the kitchen looked like at the beginning of Day 9 of the remodel.  This is after:
Stage One:  Demolition
Stage Two: Texturing the Walls and Painting
Stage Three:  Installing Wood-look Tile Floors

Now we get to the part where we really start to see some progress…

Installing the Kitchen Cabinetry!

DIY Kitchen Update Reusing Kitchen Cabinets

One of the main reasons we tackled this kitchen remodel for my parents (in addition to reason #1 – they needed it!) was because they already had new-to-them cabinets so we wouldn’t have to spend a lot of the budget on the cabinetry.

The “new” cabinets came from a friend’s house.  She had moved into a new house and had the kitchen cabinets refinished only to decide soon after they were refinished that they wanted to reconfigure the entire main floor of the house.  So my mom purchased the newly refinished cabinets from her friend.  And they have been sitting in my parents’ garage ever since.

We’re talking years here people.  Like more than 5.  Possibly 10?  Multiple years storing cabinets in the garage with no real idea when they would get the chance to install them.

It was about time, right?

Pros and Cons of Using Second Hand Kitchen Cabinetry

Pro:  reusing cabinetry costs a lot less than new cabinetry.  And let’s face it, if you’re a DIY kind of person, budget is definitely a consideration.
Con:  Finding used cabinetry that will exactly fit your space is hard.  Probably into the impossible range of hard.  So you have to make concessions, plan carefully, and figure a few extra things out as you go.  And everything works just a little bit differently in real life than it does on paper.
Kitchen update moving the plumbing to make room for the new dishwasher

Like this.  We started experimenting with the placement of the lower kitchen cabinets and quickly realized that the best fit would require moving the drain for the sink 4″ to the left.  In order to do this we had to cut a hole in the wallboard in order to access the plumbing behind it.  Then we cut the drain pipe, turned the section in the wall sideways and ran it through the stud before bringing it back out of the wall again on the other side.

That brings me to the story of the mouse.  I hate mice.  They freak me out.  And in this house we’d been dealing with more than our share of those creepy little invadors – but that’s another story.

See, we cut the pipe, which not only drains the water from the sink but also has a section that runs up to a vent in the roof.  And when we cut the pipe there was a pile of what I thought was dirt or lint there in the pipe.  So I reached in (wearing my trusty work gloves, thank goodness!) to pull it out only to have the thing MOVE right before I touched it.

Of course I let out a yelp and back-pedalled fast.

The husband – a quicker thinker than myself at the time – grabbed the shop vac and sucked the (poor little?) mouse out of the pipe.  So life could go on.

He later told me that when he emptied the vacuum he found not only the dead mouse (shop vacs kill mice, didja know?  Came in handy later.) but the mouse’s half-petrified buddy which my husband had sawn in half when he cut the pipe.  And that had been the thing I was reaching to remove.

Ew, ew, EW!

Kitchen Remodel on a budget Repurposing cabinets meant we had to move the plumbing

Anyway.

So we moved the drain pipe.  Ta-da!

At this point we also patched the wall (I got really really good at that!) and added an outlet for the microwave in the corner.

More Pros and Cons of Repurposing Kitchen Cabinetry

Pro:  No lead time waiting for cabinets to be built or delivered.  You buy it, you take it home, and it’s ready to install.  No waiting
Con: You are likely to see some wear and tear on the cabinetry even before it’s installed.  In our case, we had to add an extra brace or two to the cabinet for the sink as they hadn’t been careful when removing it from the other kitchen.  There were also some holes in random places. In more extreme cases you may have to refinish the cabinetry yourself.

Every project has its own puzzles and frustrations.  One of the biggest ones for installing the repurposed kitchen cabinetry was the fact that the original kitchen had been L-shaped with an island.  My parents’ kitchen is U-shaped and my my mom likes open space (not islands).

DIY Kitchen Remodel included building our own corner cabinet

We knew before we began the project that we would have to customize something for the second corner of the kitchen.

My orginal idea had been to put the microwave above the stove.  It had previously been in residence on the countertop in the corner and I wanted to free up as much counter space as possible.  However, I just couldn’t come up with an open shelf design that would look right for it.  And my mom is only 5′ tall so there was concern about her being able to reach it.

Eventually, I landed on the solution of building a space for the microwave into the lower cabinetry in the corner.  Perfect solution.

My handy husband had no problem building an open shelving unit for the corner, taking care to match the toe kick on the existing cabinetry.  He also lined the wall in the corner with 1/4″ plywood which I later stained to match the rest of the cabinetry.

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget the Pros and Cons of second hand cabinetry

The final result – at least to this point.

All in all, installing the kitchen cabinetry took a total of two full days.  In that time we:

-laid out the final plan for the cabinetry installation
-installed the lower cabinetry
-moved some plumbing
-added outlets
-fed the water tubing for the dishwasher and refrigerator through the cabinetry between the appliances and the plumbing under the sink.  The dishwasher had orignally been located over on the wall to the left.  That was a later addition to the original kitchen.
-built a brand new shelving unit for the corner.
-added a temporary countertop
-came up with a final plan for the upper cabinetry.  The actual installation of the upper cabinetry took place the morning of Day 12.  More on what we did with those empty spaces next week – stay tuned!
-installed the dishwasher.  Well, technically the husband did this on (what are we up to now?) Day 11 while also taking care of our sick little guy.  My mom and I went to the city to select the countertops.

DIY Kitchen Remodel How to Install Kitchen Cabinets

Phew!  At almost 2 weeks without a functional kitchen we were very glad to hit this point.  With the temporary countertops in, we were able to put the stove and fridge back in place and partially use the space for meal prep while waiting for the countertops to arrive.

Next up – the big reveal on how we filled those blank spaces between the upper cabinets.  And be sure to check out the earlier stages of the remodel – demolition, wall treatments, and floors.

 

Linking to:  Home Matters Party, Creativity Unleashed Party,  Remodelaholics Anonymous, BFF Open House, Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make, Pretty Pintastic Party, Saturday Sharefest, DIY Party,

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget – Stage 3 – How to Install Tile

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget Before and After Photos

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget – How to Install Tile

We have now hit Stage 3 on our big DIY Kitchen Remodel – installing the tile!

Installing tile yourself is a great way to save money on a kitchen update.  And I have a few tips to help you learn how to install tile.

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget How to teture and repaint walls after removing wallpaper

If you remember, this is where we left my parents’ kitchen remodel last time.  At this point we had completed a few days of Stage 1 – Demolition, and Stage 2 – Texturing and Painting the walls and ceiling.

Next up – Floors!

DIY Kitchen Update Remove the old sub floor to get ready to install tile

Removing the old vinyl flooring wasn’t easy and we weren’t really happy with the state of the subflooring when we were done.  We decided to replace the top layer of subfloor with cement board – which is usually something they recommend you put down before installing tile.

DIY Kitchen Update prepping the floor for tile and look what was under the old dub floor

Look what we found when we pulled up the old subfloor.  The original parquet vinyl tiles – ha!  I had completely forgotten that was what the floor looked like when I was little.

We opted to cover it right back up again with the new cement board.

DIY Kitchen Remodel How to prep the floor for tile

In case I haven’t mentioned it before – you do have a set or two of good work gloves, don’t you?

You’ll thank me for this one, especially when moving large sheets of wood or cement board.  That cement board is not fun on your bare hands.  And if you’re lucky you can find some girlie ones like THESE! 😉  I have purple work gloves and they make me happy.

#2 on the list of useful tools of the day – a handheld drill.  I don’t know how many screws we installed in that cement board but it was a LOT.  And don’t forget a spare battery!  You don’t want to have to stop in the middle of a project just to wait for your battery to charge.

While we’re on the subject – grab yourself a pair of knee pads too.  If you’re installing tile you’re gonna spend hours on those poor knees.  We used construction knee pads, which worked just fine.  Though I did find myself wondering if a more flexible pair like THIS might have been an even better option.

DIY Kitchen Remodel Install cement board as subfloor before installing tile

So.  Cement board installed.  Time to get down to business with the tile.

DIY Kitchen Update Wood Look Tile Installation

I have been very interested in the wood look tile that is gaining in popularity lately.  We decided to try it out on this project.

I think it was a good choice.  Looks realistic, doesn’t it?

DIY Kitchen Remodel before installing the tile lay out the pattern ahead of time

I wanted a random look, but I’m too much of a perfectionist to just grab the pieces as I go.  So we laid out the tile pattern ahead of time to make sure everything looked good.

*Quick tip:  Make use of your cell phone and snap a pic of the pattern before you start.  It’s always nice to have something to refer back to if needed.

Kitchen Remodel on a Budget how to install tile yourself

The last decision we had to make before beginning to install the tile was where to start.  Our goal is to eventually continue the tile through the adjoining living room since my parents have dogs and tile is a lot easier to clean than carpet.  We decided to start with a clean line of tile in the archway between the two rooms.

Kitchen Update on a Budget how to install tile yourself

Tips for Installing Tile:

As this was our first big tile project, I will leave the step-by-step installation instructions to the experts (just check Google or Pinterest – you’ll find a lot of great ones).  I do, however, have a few tips that you may want to keep in mind.

See those little spacers?  Buy a lot of them.  Like, twice as many as you think you will need.  They’re cheap so it’s not a big deal.  We used 1/8″ size like THESE.

This would be a good time to send the kids (and dogs!) to Grandma’s for the weekend.  It was really, really hard to keep everyone (even the adults!) off the floors until they were completely dry.  Adequate, undisturbed drying time is a must.  (Any time I have to wait on a project is torture, but we have to do it right?)

Pay very close attention to keeping the edges of all the tiles level with each other.  We thought we were doing a good job of this, but later discovered a couple of places where one tile rode a little higher than its neighbors.  This may have been due to someone stepping on them wet.  Maybe not.

It’s super important that the subfloor is level and free of debris.  Double check all the edges where each piece meets the next one.  We found a couple of spots where the seams formed bumps.  We took care of this with a knife or the hammer.  In one case near the stairs, we missed a high spot and a couple of tile pieces came loose.  It was a pain-in-the-you-know-what to gouge out the dried mortar and replace those.  Save yourself the trouble.

Have a partner help with the install.  Unless you’re a pro, it’s always nice to have some extra help with the big projects.  You really do have to work in small sections at a time in order to get it done before the mortar starts to set.  It’s useful to have another set of hands for all kinds of reasons.

DIY Kitchen Remodel Tiling the Floors

Back to the actual install photos.  😉

By the time we had laid a whole line of 3-4 rows the husband who had once been skeptical about my insistance that we could handle this tile project was heard saying that we would have no problem tiling the living room when the time came.  (It’s nice to have my optimism proven right!)

DIY Kitchen Update Wood Look Tile Floors are installed and waiting for grout

And there we go.  We were very pleased with ourselves when we got to this point.  (And our knees and backs were so glad to get a break!)

DIY Kitchen Makeover I am in love with these wood look tile floors

I think I’m in love with this wood look tile.  Pretty sure I want to do something similar in the entire main living areas of our new house – whenever that may be.

DIY Kitchen Remodel Stage 3 New Tile Floors

Ta-da!

All in all, the tile took a grand total of three days to install.  One day to replace the subfloor.  One day to install the tile.  Skip a day for the mortar to cure (which happened to be the first day of school for the kids).  And one day for grout.

I don’t feel like we went any faster or slower than the average person would, so I think that’s a fairly reasonable estimate to expect if you tackle your own tile project.  And if you do – I’d love to see photos!  Always feel free to drop me a comment on here or Facebook.

Want to see the first couple of phases of the remodel?  You can check out the Before photos and the first couple days of demolition HERE or the wall treatment and paint HERE.  Or get a sneak peak into the final result when you check out the Farmhouse Barnwood Sign I made to decorate the wall above the kitchen sink.

Until next time – let’s go make something great!

*Post may contain affiliate links for your convenience.

 

 

Linking to:  Home Matters Party, Creativty Unleashed Party, Pretty Pintastic Party, BFF Open House, Remodelaholics Anonymous,

75+ Non-Candy Easter Egg Filler Ideas For All Ages

75+ Non-Candy Easter Egg Filler Ideas for All Ages75+ Non-Candy Easter Egg Filler Ideas for All Ages

How do you like your eggs?  I prefer mine covered in glitter or stuffed with chocolate 😉

The kids, well, they love their eggs filled with all kinds of fun.

I now have 13 years of Easter Egg fun under my belt so I figured it was about time to put together a giant list of non-candy Easter egg filler ideas.  (Trust me – we stuff plenty with candy, but it’s nice to have some variety, right?)

Easter Egg Hunting Fun for Kids of All Ages

For the tiny ones:

Unique ideas to stuff your Easter Eggs this year

Preschool and Elementary Aged kiddos:

  • individually packaged snacks (fruit snacks, Goldfish, etc.)
  • powdered drink mixes (the kind the come individually packaged to use in water bottles)
  • coins
  • arcade tokens
  • stickers
  • temporary tattoos
  • rubber stamps
  • jewelry
  • Silly Bandz (THESE dinosaur ones look pretty cool)
  • glow sticks
  • Play Dough and Play Dough Accessories
  • arts and crafts supplies (googly eyes, pom poms, glitter glue, etc)
  • beads (to make their own jewelry)
  • stretchy bands for the Rainbow Loom
  • Perler beads and maybe print out some pattern ideas like these Disney Princess, Star Wars, or Pokemon perler bead patterns.
  • mini pens, markers or crayons
  • bath crayons
  • jump rope
  • chinese jump rope
  • sidewalk chalk
  • bubbles
  • bouncy balls
  • Hackey Sacks
  • set of jacks
  • sunglasses
  • swim goggles (THESE are a good choice for kids)
  • hair bows, hair elastics
  • Nerf gun darts
  • card games
  • travel games (THIS is a fun one I hadn’t seen before)
  • tiny party favor items (mini yo-yo, slinkies, etc)
  • puzzles (a few pieces in each egg)
  • Lego sets (a few pieces in each egg)
  • Lego figurines (like THESE from the Lego Movie)
  • Barbie/doll accessories
  • bicycle tire lights/decorations
  • army guys (one year I found a variation of these with construction guys at the dollar store – awesome)
  • plastic farm or zoo animals, dinosaurs, bugs
  • any small toy:  I have found cars, Little People, My Little Pony and others already packaged in their own eggs.  They tend to be in larger eggs which is great because then you can save those eggs and use them again next year.  Other ideas for tiny toys include action figures, Littlest Pet Shop, Polly Pocket (they still have those right?), toy trains (one year I found a mini Easter themed Thomas the Train set).  The sky is the limit on this one.
  • trading cards (Pokemon anyone?)
  • funny socks
  • scavenger hunt clues to find a larger item (free printables can be found HERE or HERE)
  • DIY coupons (like THESE fun printables)
  • small pool toys like diving sticks or splash balls
  • dress up accessories (policeman or fireman badge, pirate eye patch, tiara, hats, clown nose, etc)

Make your Easter egg hunt extra fun this year with these easy and unique non-candy egg filler ideas

Tweens and Teens

  • powdered drink mixes (the kind the come individually packaged to use in water bottles)
  • sunglasses
  • swim goggles (my swim obessed girl prefers these Speedo Vanquisher goggles)
  • headphones
  • fingernail stuff:  small bottle nail polish, gel nails, stickers, decals
  • gift cards
  • Lego sets (a few pieces in each egg)
  • puzzles (a few pieces in each egg.  Can you imagine how many eggs you could fill with a 1000 piece puzzle?!)
  • money
  • arcade tokens
  • Nerf gun darts
  • water balloons
  • flash drive
  • keychain
  • jewelry
  • wrist watch
  • funny socks
  • travel size items:  lotion, soap, shaving cream, shampoo, hand sanitizer
  • perfume/cologne
  • lip gloss/chapstick
  • make up
  • bath bombs
  • scavenger hunt clues to find a larger item (you can find cute printables like THESE or THESE)
  • DIY coupons like THESE fun printables
  • card games
  • travel games
  • miniature flashlight
  • small sports items (golf balls, ping pong balls, mouth guards, etc)

 

So there you have it – a giant list of non-candy Easter Egg filler ideas.  If you think of any I missed please feel free to share!

 

*Post may contain affiliate links for your convenience.

 

 

Linking to: Home Matters Party, Creativity Unleashed Party, Pretty Pintastic Party, BFF Open House, Remodelaholics Anonymous, Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make,  Saturday Sharefest, DIY Party,

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget – Texturing the Walls

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget Before and After Photos

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget – Texturing the Walls

A few months ago we tackled our biggest project yet – a DIY Kitchen Remodel for my parents.  We completely re-did the entire kitchen from the ground up.  New floors, new walls color, new cabinets, new everything (except the stove).  It was quite a project.

Last week I posted the first of the series about the kitchen remodel – the demolition.  Whew – that part of the project was a lot of work!

The next step is the walls.  But first a quick recap.

The kitchen BEFORE:

Kitchen Update on a Budget

Kitchen Remodel on a Tight Budget

And at the end of the first blog post the kitchen looked like this:

Kitchen Remodel Demo Day

The demolition portion of the DIY Kitchen Remodel took the better part of three days.  In that time we cleared out all the furniture, appliances and old cabinetry and removed the wallpaper from the walls.

Those walls had held wallpaper for over 30 years, the latest edition being at least 20 years old.  Once the wallpaper was removed the walls behind it weren’t exactly in great shape.  In fact, in some places the walls were in rough enough shape I was very glad we planned to put up a tile backsplash so I didn’t have to waste a lot of time patching them up.

Kitchen Remodel at the end of Demo Day

Thankfully, the walls in the dining section of the room were in decent shape but had never been textured.  We borrowed a texturing machine from a friend for that step.

In preparation for the walls we filled any holes, caulked along any cracks in the corners (there were quite a few of those along the ceiling), and added a couple of outlets (for the dishwasher and microwave).

*When caulking anything you intend to paint double check that the caulk DOES NOT have any silicone in the ingredients even if it is labelled as paintable.  Learned that one that hard way and had to do a lot of touching up later as the tape pulled off the paint over the caulk.  Urgh.

How to Texture a Wall:

Texturing a wall isn’t hard.  In fact for small patches you can buy a spray can like THIS.  (I have used that in other rooms – works great!)

For larger jobs, first fill any nail holes and patch any dents and sand smooth.  Then take the time to cover anything that you don’t want textured (that stuff gets everywhere!).  We taped plastic over all of the light fixtures, trim, heaters, and openings for doors and windows.  We didn’t worry about the floor because we knew we were going to remove the first layer of subfloor and replace it before tiling the floor.  That’s why we chose to do the texturing at this point – fewer things to cover up and protect from overspray than at any other point in the install.

As I said, we borrowed a texture spray gun from a friend.  It looked similar to THIS ONE, which really isn’t a bad price. (I may just have to look into getting one when we build the new house.  Something to think about…)  Or if you don’t have an air compressor you could use a texture spray gun like THIS.

Once you’re all set up, simply mix the texture to the right consistency (roughly pancake batter in our case – it will depend on the texture you desire) and experiment a little bit on a scrap piece of cardboard or something.

There are a number of different texturing techniques.  We went for the simple “orange peel” look.

Top Tips for applying wall texture:

-move quickly as you don’t want it to build up on the walls.  You can always go back and apply another thin coat if needed but it’s not so easy to remove something that was put on too thickly.
-apply using a more circular motion (as much as possible – the sprayer is kind of awkward) instead of straight lines.
-try not to be a perfectionist.  Remember – no one looks at the finished project as closely as you do when you are putting it together.

Let dry completely before removing the tape and protective plastic.  In our case we applied the texture as the last thing we did on Day 3, at 8:30 PM.  *sigh*

DIY Kitchen Renovation retexturing walls after removing wallpaper

There you can see the walls with the texture applied.  Sorry I forgot to get a close-up at that stage.  Most of the photos were snapped quickly with the cell phone while everything was in process.

As you may notice from the photo, after texturing the walls we started painting.  If you’re smart about this step you can save some time by not having to tape everything for each step.

DIY Kitchen Remodel prepping the walls for new paintWe started by painting the ceiling and trim white.  I suggest satin or flat paint for the ceiling, semi-gloss or high gloss for the trim.  The glossier the trim is, the easier it is to clean later.

Then I taped off the ceiling and trim and started on the wall color.

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget How to teture and repaint walls after removing wallpaper

Kitchen Update Painting the walls and installing cement board before tiling the floor

I love how productive painting the walls feels.  Suddenly the mess of a kitchen starts to look like it’s coming together.  Amazing how a little bit of color can do that.

Well, that a good place to stop for today.  Next up – installing the tile!  (and yes we did it all ourselves – it’s easier than you think!)  Check back soon!

 

Missed the first stage of the remodel?  Check it out HERE.  Or feel free to check out some of my less intensive DIY Home Decor projects like the Farmhouse Barnwood Sign or Spring Tulip Wreath.

 

*Post may contain affiliate links.

 

Linking to:  Creativity Unleashed Party, Home Matters Party, Pretty Pintastic Party, BFF Open House, Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make Party, Merry Monday , Made By You Monday,

How to Make Your Own Spring Tulip Wreath

Make Your Own Spring Tulip Wreath

How to Make Your Own Spring Tulip Wreath

Spring is on its way (I hope, I hope, I hope) and what better way to get in the mood than by making your very own Spring Tulip Wreath?

I posted this tutorial last year right after I make this quick and easy wreath for my Mom, but the post seems to have been lost when switching blog hosts.  Just in case it looks familiar too anyone 😉

Tutorial for Spring Tulip Wreath

Making decorative items for spring is one of my favorite things to do.  There are just so many options and color combinations and ideas.   I have a soft spot for wreaths, so when my Mom asked me to put together a wreath for her similar to one she has spotted at Pier One, I was happy to accept the challenge.

Materials needed to make your own Tulip Wreath – a wreath base (grapevine in this case) and a while stack of silk flowers.

Want to know my favorite place to buy afforadable silk flowers?  The dollar store.  You can’t guarantee the selection, but often I get lucky and find some great options.

Spring Tulipe Wreath altered dollar store silk flowers

In this case, I picked up the flowers shortly after Valentines Day so they still had a selection of roses as well as other spring flowers.  I noticed that a lot of the roses were kind of tulip-looking and when I was only able to find a few bunches of tulips I decided to improvise.

It is a pretty simple to turn a silk rose into a pretty good imitation of a tulip.  I just remove a few of the petals, dicard the leaves, and cut the plastic around the base of the flower into a more compact rounded shape.

Tutorial How to Make a Spring Tulip Wreath like Pier One for Under $20

Once I had a nice stack of flowers with their stems trimmed to only a few inches long, out came the trusty glue gun.  I started glueing the flowers onto the grapevine wreath base, all facing the same direction and alternating colors and styles of flowers as I went.  I also added a few sprigs of silk grass here and there to give the wreath a little more texture.

How to Make your Own Spring Tulip Wreath AlaynasCreations

In under an hour and with less than $20 invested in materials…

Making your own Spring Tulip Wreath is easy and inexpensive using this tutorial

Ta-Da!

I’ve said it before (and will probably say it a hundred times again):  making something pretty does not have to be hard or expensive.  A little time, a little creativity, and a few tips along the way and you can make something beautiful.

I would love to hear about your favorite wreaths or other ideas for spring decorations.  Please feel free to share!

Or maybe you would like to check out some of my other DIY home decor projects like my 5 Minute Floral Arrangements, or Window Box Wall Decor.

 

Let’s go create something great, shall we?

 

*Posts may contain affiliate links.

 

Linking to:  Creativity Unleashed Party, Home Matters Party, Pretty Pintastic Party, BFF Open House, Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make Party, Homemade and Handcrafted Party, Saturday Sharefest, Merry Monday, Made By You Monday,

Spring Care Package – For St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, and April Fool’s Day

Spring Care Package includes mini packages for Easter St Patrick's and April Fool's Day

Spring Care Package:
includes Mini Care Packages for Saint Patrick’s Day, Easter, and April Fool’s Day

Hello Spring!  Well, close enough, right?  I told myself to wait until the end of February before I could think about Spring but now that it’s March… 😉

We may not see flowers popping up anytime soon (at least not here in Northern Utah) but all of the Spring holidays are certainly on their way.  I often like to get the ideas flowing by looking at some of my past holiday ideas for Spring.  And since I have yet to share the Spring Care Package I put together for my husband while he was deployed last year, let’s start there, shall we?

Spring Care Package includes mini packages for St Patricks, Easter, and April Fool's Day

Getting the timing right for sending care packages can be a tricky thing, especially if they are being sent overseas.  I found that I had to think ahead at least 3 weeks when sending packages for the last deployment.

After a look at the calendar last year, I decided to hit all three of the big Spring holidays in one box.  Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, and April Fool’s Day all got their own mini care package.

*Care Package Tip:  Use Flat Rate Boxes.

My favorite are the Regional Rate A b0xes (the catch with those is that you have to order them in sets of 10 online – but they’re free!) whose rates are based on how far away the box is being sent but still not tied to a specific weight.  The Regional Rate A boxes are only slightly smaller than Medium Flat Rate boxes, but can save up to half the cost of the Medium Flat Rate shipping costs.  The added bonus of the Flat Rate boxes of any kind is that they ship quickly, only 2-3 days in transit if shipping within the USA.

St Patrick's Day Care Package

First step for putting together a care package is decorating the box.  I always try to use patterned scrapbook paper from my stash on the flaps and something fun/funny for the bottom of the box.  In this case I had my daughter draw a picture for St Patrick’s Day with the stipulation that part of it should look like a pot of gold.  Then we added chocolate gold coins (glue dots work great for keeping them in place), placing some beneath a slit in the paper along the upper edge of the “pot” so it looked like the coins were being held inside it.

Funny St Patrick's Day Card with Golden Retriever

Isn’t she cute?
Another integral part of the care package is the card.  In this case I wanted to create a unique card for St Patrick’s Day.  I took a photo of our dog for the front of the card and added the quote “I wanted to give you a big kiss for St Patrick’s Day…”

Make Your Own Saint Patrick's Day Card

and the inside reads “but I don’t have a LICKER license.”

Contents for Saint Patrick's Day Mini Care Package

Inside the box:

Items for the St. Patrick’s Day portion of the care package included beer-flavored Jelly Bellys, a couple of pin on buttons (in case the husband needed a touch of green), Lucky Charms cereal (printable tag found HERE), and a few more chocolate gold coins (of course!).

Easter Mini Care Package

Easter Mini Care Package

I wanted the Easter portion of the care package to have it’s own container so I cut down one of the Flat Rate boxes.  Some more patterned scrapbook paper, some Easter basket “grass,”  and the quote “Some Bunny Loves You” completed the decorations for the box.

Easter Care Package or Gift Basket

Inside:  Easter candy!  Some stuffed in plastic eggs, some left in it’s own packaging.  His favorites include Robin’s Eggs, Reece’s Eggs, and Peeps.  My husband also loves chocolate-covered gummies so I was happy to run across the bunnies at World Market. (Which is also where I got the Jelly Bellys).  And of course, the kids and I each wrote a note inside some Easter themed cards I had in my stash.

Some Bunny Loves You Mini Care Package

Perfect fit!

April Fool's Day Open When Envelope for Deployment Care Package

April Fool’s Day “Open When” Envelope

April Fool’s deserves a nod, doesn’t it?  I decided to keep it simple and just put together a small “open when” envelope.  A fun meme and a box of Bean Boozled jelly beans are just the right size for the envelope.  The jelly beans are the kind where you have to guess if you’re eating a good flavor or something crazy like ear wax.

Happy Spring Care Package for Deployment

And there you have it all together in the box – a fun Spring Care Package for all the holidays.  As you can see, I added a few other things either as requests from the husband (the poster tack for hanging photos on his wall) or something I thought he could use (the coffee mug and a dish wand and soap so he could wash the mug himself as needed).  Round it out with letters from the kids and myself and the package was ready to go.

PS – I had a hard time finding stationary sets for the kids until I ran across these great Seal and Send sets (similar to THIS and THIS).

 

I hope this gave you a few new ideas for sending a little something to your loved one.  We all deserve a little happy mail…or a gift basket?  Something to think about… 😉

Searching for more Care Package/Gift Basket Ideas?  I’m developing quite the collection.  Like the Beat the Heat Care Package, Half-Way There Care Package, or Deployment Survival Kit (for the spouse at home).

 

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.

 

Linking to:  Creativity Unleashed, Home Matters Party, Pretty Pintastic Party, BFF Open House,

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget – Stage One

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget Before and After Photos

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget

*post may contain affiliate links*

This past fall we tackled our biggest project yet – a DIY Kitchen Remodel for my parents.  And whew!  That was a lot of work.

My parents built their house on their own when I was a toddler.  (Guess we know where I got the DIY gene!)  I’ve heard stories from them about moving in before it was finished.  The well running dry when my sister was a baby at the same time everyone had the flu.  How my Dad built the cabinets himself, working first on the bottom cabinets and adding the upper ones a year later.

My parents put a lot of work into the home and eventually finished the entire thing.  However, life rolls right along and often home improvement projects and updates take a back seat to other things.  This had definitely happened for my parents.  They wanted to remodel the kitchen.  In fact, they had new-to-them cabinets sitting in the garage.  And those replacement cabinets sat in that garage for years.

When we moved back home, updating the kitchen quickly became something I wanted to help my parents do.  The vinyl countertops were bubbling and lifting up.  The kitchen faucet had more than its fair share of hard water build up (and the sprayer hadn’t functioned in a long time).  The fan light no longer worked smoothly.  And then the dishwasher died.

Weeks of hand-washing dishes soon had me putting the kitchen remodel at the top of the list – as soon as my husband got home from deployment to help.  I’m ambitious and not afraid to tackle projects myself, but I knew I was going to need the extra hands, muscles and carpentry skills for this particular project.  So in that space of time after deployment but before he went back to his regular job we tackled that kitchen.

The Before:

Kitchen Remodel Before Photos

Kitchen Update on a Budget

Kitchen Update Before Photos

Kitchen Remodel on a Tight Budget

Overall the kitchen was still functional.  No truly broken cabinets.  But drawers were sagging and sticking and the lazy susans in the corner cabinets never seemed to have less than half a dozen items tipping over or fallen off in the back corner.  Let’s face it – everything was looking pretty dated.

Kitchen Update When your floor looks like this you know its time for a kitchen remodel

When the floor looks like this, it’s definitely time to replace it.

Stage One – Demolition Day

Kitchen Remodel Top Tips for Removing Wallpaper the Easy Way

The first step of any DIY home improvement project is giving yourself a blank canvas to work with.  That means ripping out the old, right?

I know a lot of the DIY shows on TV list “demo day” as one of their favorite times of the project but frankly?  I don’t believe them.  Emptying cupboards, removing all the old cabinets, pulling up the floor, and ripping down the wallpaper – it’s a LOT of hard, long, tedious work.

*Quick tip on wallpaper removal – use a steamer.

Sorry folks but there is NO “easy way” to do this.  Yes, I scoured Pinterest and tried a few of the tips and concoctions I saw recommended over and over.  When it came right down to it, the best method I found was a steamer and a paint scraper.  I didn’t go quickly, but it was effective.  Just hold the steamer above a small section of wallpaper for a few seconds to loosen the adhesive then peel the wallpaper from the wall.

I used a small handheld garment steamer (like this PurSteam Next Gen Fabric Steamer, Fast-Heat Aluminum Heating Element With Travel Pouch, 180ml Capacity Perfect for Home and Travel ) but I think a full sized steamer would have been even more effective (like the PurSteam PS-910 Heavy Duty Powerful Fabric Steamer with Fabric Brush and Garment Hanger)

Kitchen Update Step One Remove Old Flooring and Wallpaper

Kitchen Remodel Before and After

Even worse than wallpaper removal?  Taking up the old vinyl flooring.  Yuck, yuck, yuck.  That stuff did not want to come off.

How to remodel your kitchen on a budget

*Quick tip for removing vinyl flooring – Rent the machine.

I’m told there are machines you can rent to aid in removing the old floor.  I highly recommend you check into that.  We didn’t have one of those nearby so we used the brute force method.  Fun, fun.  I’m sure the machine would have saved some aching backs and blistered palms.

If you do want to go the low tech method, that little tool pictured above (similar to Warner 790 Tool 4-Inch Strip and Clean Scraper, 12-Inch Steel Soft Grip Handle) turned out to be the best one for the job.   (We tried at least 3 other tools, trust me.)  The husband could get the upper layer of the flooring off with that tool, then I went back in with a spray bottle of water and soaked the lower layer of the flooring.  After a couple of applications of water and letting it soak in for a few minutes after each application, the remnants of the flooring and the glue holding it down lifted up fairly easily.  For any of the stubborn pieces my husbands “favorite tool” the mini pry-bar (similar to Titan Tools 17005 Stainless Steel Prybar and Scraper Set – 2 Piece) did the trick.

Kitchen Remodel at the end of Demo Day

By the beginning of Day 3 on the DIY Kitchen Remodel, the kitchen looked like this.  No more demolition, time to start the actual work on the remodel.  Can you guess what we tackled next?

Kitchen Remodel Demo Day

 

Stay tuned for the next stage in the big DIY Kitchen Remodel – on a budget!  Until then, check out more home decor inspiration like my Master Bedroom Update, Laundry Room Redo, or quick and easy 5 Minute Floral Arrangements.

 

 

Linking to:  Merry Monday, Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make, Creativity Unleashed, Home Matters Party, Pretty Pintastic Party, BFF Open House,

5 Minute Floral Arrangements

DIY 5 Minute Floral Arrangement

5 Minute Floral Arrangements

Add a little life to your home decor quickly, easily, and inexpensively by making your own 5 minute floral arrangements.

Quick and Easy Floral Arrangements

When we can’t find any signs of spring outside yet, it’s ok to fake it right?

Besides, I’m not the best at keeping house plants alive. (Tell me I’m not the only one!) I can force a bulb or two (check out my current amaryllis “race” on Instagram) but if someone gives me a ficus, that poor thing is bound to die of neglect a few months down the road.  In fact, I’ve been known to purposely kill a plant or two when I got sick of watering them.  Give me automatic sprinklers any day.

When I want to add a little color or greenery to my home decor, I almost always go for the stuff I can buy at the craft store.

Containers for 5 Minute Floral Arrangements

Aren’t those containers cute?

It’s my turn to host to host Bunco in March and my mom has been itching to have some girl time out shopping together so last weekend we headed out to find some Bunco prizes at a couple of my favorite places for home decor inspiration.  Not only did we come home with a few things for the Bunco ladies, I couldn’t help but get inspired to make some quick floral arrangements for myself.

Tiny Teacup

I particularly fell in love with this tiny teacup with the ruffled saucer.

Add succulents to your home

And these succulents.  Super realistic looking right?

Succulents in home decor are everywhere the last couple of years and I have yet to hop on the band wagon.  Figured this was as good a chance as any.

5 Minute DIY Tiny Teacup Succulent Planter

Tiny teacup + succulent = perfection.

And so simple too!

Just 4 steps to Make Your Own 5 Minute Floral Arrangements

Need a tutorial?  Naw, probably not, but I was in the mood to put together a quick infographic for you anyway.  😉

Make your own 5 Minute Floral Arrangement in Just 4 Steps

  1.  find a container
  2. add floral foam (I like to use the kind you can add water to, not the styrofoam blocks).  If you cut it to fit snugly in the container there is no need to glue it in.  I love that.  In case I’m ever in the mood to change out the arrangement or use the container without the arrangement, I can just slide the foam out again.Make Your Own Tiny Teacup Planter
  3. cover foam with moss.  I do use the hot glue gun on this step to attach the moss to the foam.  Cuts down on mess later and keeps it in place so you never see the foam.DIY Tiny Teacup Planter
  4. add your floral stems

Succulent in a Tiny Teacup

See?  Cute and easy (my Big Two when it comes to crafting!)  In less than 5 mintues I had this adorable floral arrangement.

 

Teacup Succulent

I had plenty of the succulent left to work with, so I used it again in a second container.  Same process as the teacup.

5 Minute Floral Arrangement Container

Container.

Moss is a great way to hide the mechanics of a floral arrangement

Foam and moss.

5 Minute Floral Arrangement with Succulents

Succulent floral stem.

Make Your Own Succulent Planter

Less than 5 minutes people – have I mentioned that?!?

And to change it up.  I added flowers to the little blue flower pot.

Easy and Inexpensive Floral Home Decor

In under half an hour I had almost half a dozen floral arrangements (that’s right – I haven’t shown a couple of them to you yet.  Stay tuned!).  It seriously took me longer to photograph everything than to put together the 5 minute floral arrangements.  Probably spent less than $20 on all of them too.

White Spring Flowers in Small Turquoise Pot

Do I have you convinced?  You totally need to make one too, right?!

Well, go do that and report back.  I’d love to see your takes on this simple and inexpensive project.

 

Let’s go create something great.

 

Looking for more DIY inspiration for you Home Decor?  Why not try your hand at this Farmhouse Barnwood Sign for the kitchen, update your Master Bedroom or Laundry Room, or get really ambitious and Reupholster a Chair.

 

 

Linking to:  Pretty Pintastic Party, Creativity Unleashed, Home Matters Linky Party, Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make,

 

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My Husband Has Too Many Hobbies

My Top Tips to Reupholster a Chair

 Top Tips to Reupholster a Chair

My Top Tips to Reupholster a Chair

As promised (on my Master Bedroom Redo) here’s a look at my first ever attempt to reupholster a chair.  It was a lot of work, but I think in the end it was worth it.  And much less expensive than buying something brand new.  That’s what DIY is all about, right?
Thrifted Chair for Reuphostery Project

I picked up this lovely chair on a shopping trip with a friend at a Habitat for Humanity Resale Store.  We completely filled the back of the SUV on that trip – hehe!
This chair in particular cost a whopping $5.  Yup.  FIVE DOLLARS!  I figured at that price even if I messed it up I wouldn’t feel too bad.  And it obviously needed a little TLC.

Thrifted Chair to Reupholster

Then I started pricing upholstery fabric – yikes!  I mean, the cost wasn’t exactly a surprise because back when I was doing  interior design it wasn’t unusual to order $125/yard fabrics for custom chairs.  But that doesn’t work for my budget.  I eventually found a small discount fabric place not far from my home, but after a couple trips I still hadn’t found anything I loved and most were still upwards of $12/yd.  Luckily I stumbled onto a link to fabrics.com and found some great deals.

Eventually the fabric arrived and it was finally time to tackle the chair.  I did a quick review of a blog tutorial for reupholstering a chair, then grabbed the pliers and dove in.

Step one:  Remove the fabric and trim

Reupholstering a chair step one

My trusty sidekick helpfully had her nose in on the fun most of the time.

Do you know how many thousands of staples they put in one chair?  Me either but it’s a LOT.  I gave my hand a break every hour or so of work in the hope that I wouldn’t get blisters (I didn’t!).  And eventually I had it all torn apart.
Chair Reupholster one the fabric is removed
At that point I happily took a trip to the craft store to get more batting, upholstery tacks, and cording to sew the piping.
It wasn’t that long (parts of two days’ work) before I had it all finished!  The husband was actually pretty impressed.  He didn’t think I would finish the project, let alone end up with a decent-looking chair.  After all these years the husband should know better than to doubt me, right? 😉
(He didn’t admit any of this until after the chair was all put together and he had sufficiently praised my efforts  – so I forgave him.)
DIY Reupholster a Wing Back Chair

Look!  It even looks good close up! And yes, I painted the base black before attaching the fabric.  I almost forgot to do that part LOL.

Black and White Wing Chair Detail

Some of my other tips?

-Take lots and lots of photos as you pull the old fabric off.  It really helps to be able to go back and see the process in reverse, or look at a few details on how to attach the tricky pieces.

-Carefully label (number it when removed, where it went, and which side is the top!) and set aside each piece of old fabric as you remove it.  Not only will you be able to use them as patterns to cut out the new fabric, but you can also refer back to them when you are assembling the chair.

CIY Chair Reupholster
-Take your time!   This is a labor-intensive process and it takes its toll on your hands and your patience.  When my hands were cramping up or I found myself annoyed or ready to rush through a step I would stop for a few hours or the rest of the day.  The last thing I wanted was to “mess it up” and then have to see my blunder every time I looked at the chair.  So take your time and do it right (or fix it right then) as you go.

-Best paint for quick and easy refinishing?  Buy something with primer in the paint and a semi-gloss or gloss finish.

Black and White Chair Redo

The chair happily took up residence in our master bedroom.  Looks pretty good there doesn’t it?

 

If bigger DIY projects aren’t quite your style check out some of my other tutorials for Home Decor like the Farmhouse Barnwood Sign, Quote Display Board, or Swimming Subway Art.

 

Linking to:  Home Matters Party, BFF Open House, Pretty Pintastic Party, Pin Me Party, What to Do Weekends, Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make, Saturday Sharefest, Creativity Unleashed,