The fall is such a time for Transition – even more so than the new year or the first day of summer vacation. The kids have gone back to school, there is a touch of crispness in the air (love that!), and the pace is picking up from the less regimented days of summer. And biggest transition of all – we decided to buy an old house in our hometown and fix it up ourselves.
It’s no secret that we have been living in my parents’ basement for MUCH longer than we had planned (after our move back to Utah from North Carolina). It’s a seller’s market in our hometown, with high prices and very few houses on the market. So our goal was (and is) to build our own home on family land. But that’s a huge process and things get stalled, and well… it’s taking forever.
So my brother (a realtor) found us this amazing deal on a 1960s brick house. I took a walk through it with him and we knew we had to put an offer in on it before they put it on the market. Not because I loved it (1960s brick house – boring!), but because it was a great deal and we are in a place where we need to see some progress on this home ownership stuff. My husband teases me that while I went through the motions of taking him to see the house and getting his opinion, I had already made up my mind we were going to buy it. (And maybe that’s partially true, but mostly just because I know him so well and knew he would agree with me 😉 )
Let’s face it – we’ve all watched a few episodes of Fixer Upper and wondered what it would be like to go through the process ourselves (and man – anyone else insanely jealous of those amazing house prices they are always finding in Waco?!). In fact, I’ve watched more than my share of Fixer Upper since we decided to take on the project. It’s great for inspiration and ideas, as well as keeping me motivated knowing that everyone hits snags and problems.
When Joanna Gaines asks “do you have the courage to take on a fixer upper?” my 10 year old has taken to responding “yes, yes we do!”
So to start us off, why don’t I show you what the house looked like when we bought it.
No, wait – that was the photo I took the day we closed on the house. We had them redo the shingles on the roof before we bought the house, so when we first saw the house it looked like this. Yep, they missed that corner section there at the end of the porch. Add it to the DIY home remodel To Do List.
This is the view of the living room from the entry. That big ‘ole fireplace it about 12’ wide and made up entirely of someone’s rock collection. Really – someone took a long time collecting giant chunks of petrified wood, volcanic rock, crystals, and all kinds of interesting things I don’t know the names of. Interesting, but it sure is ugly isn’t it?
Past the living room is the kitchen/breakfast area. Not a bad size, just completely outdated. And have I mentioned the sloping floors yet? We spent a “fun” 10 minutes letting a roll of duct tape make it’s way from the sliding door to the other wall, over and over again. The sloping is the worst in the kitchen, but there are floor issues in most of the other rooms too.
Down the hallway we find the bedrooms. This one will be Kaitlyn’s. Every room of the house has different (nasty) carpet, but the winner of the Ugly Carpet Award goes to this room. Does anyone else see the resemblence to a sweater Bill Cosby used to wear?
And yes, that’s fake wood paneling on all the walls. Both this room and the master were lucky enough to retain that on their walls.
Tyler’s room. Built-in toy box in the closet and real wood paneling in here. Jackpot.
Ok that was sarcasm. The toy box takes up too much space and he’s too old for it, but we can pretend the wood paneling is just as good as shiplap, right?
The master bedroom is slightly larger than the other two. Standard closet space, faux wood paneling, beeeee-utiful red carpet. And its own tiny bathroom.
People, photos just don’t do it justice. That toilet is even more squished into the corner than it looks. We’ll see if my ideas for making the space feel more open actually work.
I’ll spare you the close up of the nastiness in all the rooms, but just so you have an idea this one is the sink in the master bath. Obviously all fixtures, appliances, cabinets, etc, etc are being replaced.
The backyard has a mess all its own. Overgrown lawn, random junk, and our very own falling-down chicken coop. The larger barn is in the pasture behind our property, along with a lot of other things that aren’t pleasant to look at. I think we’ll be putting up a privacy fence when we get the chance.
Sandbags that have probably been there since the river flooded years ago (and hasn’t happened since so I’m sure they fixed the problem), a smoker someone built out of old metal 50-gal drums, and cords from a couple of old satellite TV dishes running all over the place – those are the issues. On the plus side, that’s a good-sized covered back porch and since it’s right off the kitchen I’m sure we’ll use it a lot.
The house is sturdy, has decently sized rooms and yard, and we couldn’t have done better on the price in this area. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us as we tackle this DIY Home Remodel. Wish us luck!
And definitely stay tuned – we’ve had 3 months to work on the house since these photos were taken and I can’t wait to share some updates!
*For more in-the-minute photos, follow along on Instagram! I’ve given this project the title #CaldwellsVStheSinkingHouse
*Want to see some of the DIY remodel projects we’ve tackled in the past? Check out the Kitchen Remodel on a Budget (in my parents’ house) – Before photos and demolition, texturing the walls, installing the tile, and installing the cabinetry.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
So. Cement board installed. Time to get down to business with the tile.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!)
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!)
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.
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!
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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.
And at the end of the first blog post the kitchen looked like this:
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.
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.
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.
-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*
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.
We 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.
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!
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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 😉
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.
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.
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.
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.
In under an hour and with less than $20 invested in materials…
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!
Let’s go create something great, shall we?
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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,
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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.
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.
When the floor looks like this, it’s definitely time to replace it.
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.
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)
Even worse than wallpaper removal? Taking up the old vinyl flooring. Yuck, yuck, yuck. That stuff did not want to come off.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
My trusty sidekick helpfully had her nose in on the fun most of the time.
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.
-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.
-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.
The chair happily took up residence in our master bedroom. Looks pretty good there doesn’t it?
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It has been a snow-filled couple of weeks here and we’re almost to the end of January. That must mean Valentine’s Day is on the horizon.
Has anyone come up with good gift ideas yet?
The husband and I decided to forego gifts this year and spend the money on something to do together. I ran across this great cooking class for couples on the 14th – five courses of fancy food, plus chocolates and flowers. It sounded great. Sadly, it was sold out.
I may have thrown a little temper tantrum because I really wanted to go. And because now I have to come up with Plan B.
But. At least the kids’ gifts were easy. The little guy’s teacher and classmate Valentine’s gifts came together no problem as well. Want to see?
My little guy has a planner that he brings home every day in which his teacher has him write anything he needs to do for homework, reminders, and so on. Every day they also have a motivational quote.
I thought it would be fun to give her a way to display some of those quotes thus – the Quote Clipboard.
The base for the quote clipboard is just a 12″ x 12″ piece of wood that I stained and coated with poly. (Link to my favorite poly)
To make it stand up, I drilled a hole on the back and inserted a 3″ dowel. Silly me left the stain down at the shop, so I ended up painting the dowel black. In a perfect world, the dowel gets its own coat of stain too.
You could glue the dowel in, but I left it loose and just taped it to the back of the board so it would be easier to gift wrap.
Adding a clip to the front completes the assembly process.
See? Totally easy.
I have a whole box of clips but I know that they can be hard to find. So (nice person that I am!) I’ll save you the trouble of hunting them down – the clips are generally referred to as Bulldog Clips and can be purchased HERE.
Tyler helped me select three of his teacher’s most-used quotes from his planner and we found a few new ones for her as well. The top row of quotes in the photo came from HERE.
I loved the rainbow colors on the printables, so I used a similar style on our quotes (bottom row).
Not bad, if I do say so myself.
I like my kids to be involved in the process when they give gifts. So after a quick review of my Pinterest Boards I gave my little guy a short list of ideas he could give to his classmates. He chose bouncy balls. Nice.
It was a simple matter to come up with a “punny” saying for the tag. It reads: “I have a BALL with you Valentine.”
As luck would have it, we had these bags leftover from some of my husband’s pre-Christmas baking. Easy peasy.
Tyler stuffed the bouncy balls into the bags and I stapled on the tags. Teamwork, people. Teamwork.
Now we’re all set for Valentines – more than two full weeks ahead of schedule! (I get a high five for that, right?)
Now back to figuring out what to do with the husband on Valentine’s Day. Any suggestions?! Please?
If you are still in search of more Valentine’s gift ideas feel free to check out my Pinterest Board or some of my ideas from previous years like my Crazy Cool Valentines last year or Teacher Gifts in a Cup.
And as always, if you make your own DIY Quote Clipboard or anything else you see on the blog – pease share!
A farmhouse style sign is easy and inexpensive to DIY with this quick tutorial.
Welcome to 2017! Feels like I’m a bit late in saying that but better late than never, right?
Staying true to the spirit of the new year, I took a look at the things I wanted to accomplish this year. Near the top of the list was the goal to polish up the blog a bit. (What? You thought I was going to say “get in shape?” Yep that’s on the list too!) I spent the last couple of weeks switching website hosts, reading up on SEO and optimizing images, redesigning the look of the blog, etc., etc. It’s still a work in progress, but not a bad start, right? I’m sure you will notice changes here and there for the next few weeks. (Comments or suggestions, please share!)
Now that everything is up and running (and only a few of my Pinterest links to older posts are showing errors! I think that was the hardest part – but we can’t have Pins not leading to the right places now can we?!) I can get back to posting on a regular basis. Three cheers for that!
Now on to the show and tell!
One of my biggest projects last year was a complete remodel of my parent’s kitchen. Huge project, lots of work, and fodder for many blog posts. Today I’m excited to show off one of the final touches on the kitchen – the farmhouse style barnwood sign I made for the wall above the sink.
The inspiration for this sign struck when my mom and I were shopping for countertops. We had a few minutes before our next appointment with a granite showroom so we popped into a restaurant supply store where a reclaimed wood sign caught our eye. We fell in love with the unique shape and currugated metal letters and knew right then we wanted to incorporate that idea into the kitchen somehow.
As the remodel continued, we found a quote that my mom really liked for the room. I purchased some currugated metal letters from Hobby Lobby (love that place!). However, it wasn’t until the big projects were complete that I was able to take the time to create the barnwood sign.
The first thing I did was make a template out of newspaper. This was my first attempt with this unique shape so I took a little extra time to get it right. I even taped the newspaper template to the wall above the sink and left it there for a day to make sure I was happy with the size and the shape.
Living on a farm, we have old wood laying around so it was an easy matter to just grab a few pieces. You could also use pallet wood or any other type of reclaimed wood for this project. Or buy new wood and distress it.
Lay the pieces side by side and place the template over them. Trace template onto wood and cut.
Lay wood pieces upside down in desired shape and attach to each other using a couple of smaller pieces of wood.
I love the richer look adding stain gives to the old wood. If you want to leave it unstained and go with the grey and weathered look, that’s great too.
I used my Silhouette machine to create a stencil out of vinyl. You could also use letter stencils from the craft store or simply free-hand your painted design.
Because I was using the “white space” of the vinyl as the stencil I was able to use the vinyl letters themselves on the template to get a better idea of how I wanted to lay out the quote. I’m kind of an “eye it and run with it” person when it comes to this kind of thing but since the template was there I did that extra step. The most important thing is to make sure that your lettering is centered and straight.
Paint inside stencil, remembering to dab or “stipple” with your brush. A foam brush and acrylic craft paint work great.
The currugated letters already had hooks on the back. I just added screws directly into the wood and hung the letters from the screws.
As always, I would love to know if you make your own sign. Now go. Create something.
I’m not ready to let go of fall yet – tell me I’m not the only one!? Earlier this week we saw our first real snowstorm of the year. The flakes started lazily falling as the sun set and the next morning we woke up to find everything coated in white. The snow continued to fall slowly all that day (which had me both admiring the beauty and annoyed that I was painting laundry drying racks instead of sipping hot chocolate) and the kids were so so so excited to play in it. But I’m really just not ready – and I don’t just mean because we were left scrambling to find appropriate outdoor clothing and wondering where we stored the sleds. I’m not ready for the Christmas tunes or the snow boots or the mornings spent trying to clear off and warm up the car. Thanksgiving needs some attention too, doesn’t it? Plus, I still have projects that need to be done that would be better off not complicated by freezing temperatures and tramping through slush on the ground. So in a last ditch effort not to let go of the colorful leaves and the pumpkin flavored desserts I want to share one more fall decorating project – my wall-mounted Window Box.
The window box was an idea a friend and I put together years ago and I have really enjoyed having it around. The base is simply a piece of framed bead board with a box made of 1/4″ material (probably MDF but I forget what we used specifically – anything would work) mounted to the bead board.
I think my friend put some grasses in her window box and keeps it like that year-round but I like to change up my window box for the seasons. I’m pretty sure by now you all know how much I like versatility in my craft projects, right? (like my double-sided fall decorations HERE and HERE)
I just place a block of floral foam in the bottom of the box then add in whatever suits the season. For fall I found some great red, orange, yellow and brown flowers, leaves, and berries, added in a few gourds, and filled it out with a few sprigs of silk grass. Total cost for the project was probably under $20. When December hits I can simply pull out the floral arrangement all in one piece (foam and all), put it in a tote to store for next year, then plunk in some greenery and red berries for Christmas.
I think I’ve had this window box for over 10 years now and it’s still one of my favorite craft projects. Do you have any favorite craft projects/decorations you would like to share? I’m always looking for new ideas!
Phew! Birthday month is over and what a busy, fun October is was! But before I put it completely behind me and dive headfirst into all things Christmas I wanted to share a little bit more about how we made these adorable Cupcake Ruffled Aprons for Kaitlyn’s Cupcake Wars Birthday Party (which was a total blast! You can check out the rest of the party details HERE).
We started off with an inexpensive white apron from the craft store. This not only made the whole sewing process easier and faster, but with a 40% off coupon on a pack of three it was probably less expensive than buying the fabric and sewing it ourselves. Then I took my time wandering around the fabric section and selected some fabric that went with our party theme and colors. I ended up with a yard of the striped fabric and 1/2 yard of the other four fabrics. This was more than enough fabric for all four aprons. If you are only sewing one apron you would need 1/4 to 1/3 yard in each of three different fabrics.
Isn’t the glitter in the fabric pretty? I thought it was perfect for preteen girly girls.
On to the sewing process! We decided that 4″ was a good length for the ruffles so I cut the fabric into strips 4 1/2″ wide, three strips per apron (one of each color). One strip turned out to be the perfect length to go across the apron when ruffled so no piecing was needed for that. I simply ironed the bottom of each strip 1/4″ for the hem, turned it another 1/4″ and ironed it again, then gave it to Kaitlyn who sewed the hems herself. (Did I mention she is 12? She loves this crafting stuff) We did the same method for hemming the edges of each strip and since the top of each ruffle wasn’t going to be seen we simply zig zagged along the top edge of each fabric strip. Once all the edges were taking care of, we sewed on a couple of gathering threads along the top of each strip (about 1/2″ down from the top) and gathered the fabric.
In order to sew the ruffles on straight, I drew a line with a pencil 3 1/2″ from the bottom of the apron, a second line 3 1/2″ above the first, and the third line 3 1/2″ above the second line. This allows the ruffles to overlap each other. Experiment a little bit with yours to make sure that the spacing allows enough overlap so that your upper edge with the gathering threads is fully covered.
The guide lines need to be drawn on both the front and the back of the apron. You use the lines on the front of the apron when you are pinning the ruffles on to keep it straight. We found that it was easier to sew the ruffles on with the BACK of the apron on top as it goes through the machine, which is why you need to draw a second set of lines on the back of the apron.
Start with the bottom ruffle and pin it on the apron (keeping the pins pretty close together so the ruffles won’t move) then sew it on. Repeat with the second and third ruffles.
In order to cover up the top of the final ruffle, we decided to add another strip of fabric as a sort of belt or waistline. So, cut a strip out of one of your fabrics – 2″ high, by the width of your apron (plus 1/2″ for hem allowances). I folded over the sides 1/4″ (this gives you a nice clean edge on both sides without hemming) and ironed it down. I also ironed a 1/4″ hem along one side of the fabric strip (let’s call it the top). Using the second (unironed) side of the fabric strip, we sewed it up-side down on top of the top ruffle. This allowed us to then fold it over, right-side-up, along the seam and iron it flat. It is then a simple matter to top-stich along all four sides of the fabric strip to form your belt.
The final touch was the cupcake applique. Kaitlyn did the entire applique herself, so trust me it’s easy (as long as you get the fusing on the correct BACK side of the fabric). We just printed off some cupcake clip art to use as a pattern and traced the outline of it onto the backing of the Iron-On Adhesive (we used an adhesive product similar to THIS). If you are unfamiliar with the use of iron-on adhesives, they are pretty easy to use. You just iron the adhesive onto the back of your fabric (holding the iron on for the number of seconds specified in the directions), peel off the backing paper, then iron your applique directly onto your project. The key to this process is that after you trace your stencil onto the backing paper, roughly cut around it leaving just a little space outside the lines of your stencil. Once you iron the adhesive to your applique fabric, cut along the lines of the stencil before removing the backing paper. This gives you a cleaner line along the edges of the stencil than trying to cut the fabric to match the shape of your adhesive. As you can see, we cut two different pieces for the applique using one fabric for the top of the cupcake and another fabric for the bottom. Then just placed them on the apron and ironed both pieces on at once.
Finish it all off by top-stitching around the edges of the applique.
Then have your adorable, newly-minted 12 year old proudly model her creation! 😉
And there are the happy bakers at Kaitlyn’s Cupcake Wars Birthday Party.
As always, if you are inspired by this project and use it to create something of your own I would LOVE to hear about it! (and see photos!)