Happy Adoption Day!

One year ago today we brought home this little bundle of love.

One year ago yesterday I would have been happy to never have a dog. Now I cannot believe how much richer our lives are as a result of this stinky, slobbery, shedding mutt! Happy Adoption Day Charlie!   

Yes, I’ve become that person who bakes their dog a special cake. The irony was not lost on Tony, for whom I forgot to make a special birthday dessert of any kind this year. Oops!  

  He had the whole cake in his mouth at once! I think he liked it.


And now I will overwhelm you with a bunch of blurry iPhone photos from the last year. Why? Because they’re just too precious not to share! If you’re not interested, better close this page right now. 



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It’s Always Something 

As a follow up to the electrician’s visit in August, Tony had a little work to do in his closet. His closet light was on the original Knob and Tube wiring, which all went away with the electrician. So that was issue number one. Issue two was there was no blue electrical box for the light to be installed to. It was just hanging by a wire from the ceiling. Tony’s installed those boxes before as he had the same problem in the half bath downstairs. So he went up to the attic to drill a hole in the ceiling for the box…
And it fell in. You know Chicken Little’s, “The sky is falling?”  Charlie, who was in the bedroom at the time, must have felt like that – he even had chunks of plaster in his fur! 

 All the sudden, this quick little job became much more complicated.
Luckily, Tony had already cleaned most of his clothes out of the closet, but now he was off to Home Depot for some sheetrock. He decided that since it was just his closet, and he doesn’t care, he would just put the sheetrock over the existing plaster and lathe – no easy task in and of itself. Tony and Dad had experience installing sheetrock this way when they’d tried to even out the ceiling in our bathroom. Pushing 4 inch screws through 4 layers of material and really hard wooden joists is no easy task.  

He now has a safe, working overhead light in his closet though… it just took about 10 times as long as it should have. 

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The View Out My Window

Before we taught overseas we had to take an online course about the International Baccalaureate philosophy. The first assignment was to describe what you saw out your window. There were people in the class from all over the world, so there were some pretty incredible responses to the prompt. I’ve thought about that assignment quite a bit over the years as my view has changed from town house parking lot to Caribbean cove to landscaped lawn. The view from this house had been somewhat distorted though. I have no idea how old our windows were. They had the ropes and pulleys and sash weights, which stopped being installed in houses around WWII, and some of the panes of glass were bumpy and wavy looking. According to my very brief research, US production techniques produced glass with wavy imperfections through the early 1900s. Some of our window panes had clearly been replaced over time, but quite a few had that slight wave in them.

Not, anymore. Window installation was almost three weeks ago! I’m still getting used to the new clarity of our view, but I love being able to whip those babies open on a cool evening or tilt them in to clean the outside glass. And there are no 70s era storm windows to have to deal with now. It’s glorious! 

Reading about the techniques for making old glass by hand makes me a bit sick about having replaced all that history. I love the idea of the antique glass in our windows, but the actuality was a serious problem. I mean, we do have to live here! These are some “before” photos.  

We had 16 of our 28 windows replaced, so there are several that still look like the images above, but doing two phases will allow us to pay for them all without interest. The process was incredibly easy. The workmen arrived in the morning, and Mom was there to greet them. When we got home that evening all the windows had been installed, the old ones hauled away, and there were just a couple guys finishing the caulk outside. It was a long day for them, as they pulled away from our house around 6:30pm, but the windows looked great. 

The next evening, the company’s owner came by to check on everything. We noted a few places where more caulk was needed, so he set a time to come back on Saturday to recaulk and clean the windows.  That was it! 

The more time-consuming part was getting all the curtains back up. The new windows are thicker than our old wooden ones, so the brackets for our bedroom’s rollerblinds all had to be rehung further from the glass. And when the trim pieces right next to the windows were reinstalled, they didn’t all go in quite the same way as before, so three of the roller blinds had to be recut. I had an excellent experience when I took them back to Lowe’s, and they replaced all three free of charge!

The living room curtains were trouble though. I first made them nearly two years ago, just in time for our our November 2013 housewarming party. I’d had a very specific look in mind for those four bayed windows, but I couldn’t find anything like what I was looking for. So I ordered 40 yards of the perfect fabric and the same amount of lining material, and I made them myself.  I was in such a rush though, I don’t think I ever prewashed the fabric. I also didn’t finish the bottom hem. I just pinned them with the intention of coming back to them after the party, but I never did. For the last two years they were just pinned at the bottom. 

Since the curtains were coming down anyway for the window install, I decided this would be the perfect time to wash them and then sew the bottom hem. I washed two at a time, dried them 75% as instructed by The Internet, then layed them over chairs, tables, the drying rack, etc., and spent an entire Friday night ironing all 38 feet of curtain while watching Orange is the New Black. When Tony rehung the curtains they were six inches from the floor. Seriously, Bad Word! 

I scoured Pinterest for what to do and came across a tutorial for curtain cuffs that seemed easy enough. I ordered 3 yards of coordinating fabric online and set to work sewing the cuffs. I pinned each cuff in place while the curtain was hanging, and Tony took them all down again so I could sew the cuffs on. All in all, it took about two weeks to complete this project, but now I think the curtains look even better than they did before. And I’ve been able to cross something off my To Do list that’s been there for two years!  


So, window installation is done, and everything is back to normal. Don’t worry, though. They left me several of those old wavy-glass window sashes, so be looking for more window projects in the future!


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Tony’s been wanting to insulate the attic for some time now. (Okay, not really wanting to DO it, just to enjoy the results of having it done. : ) When we would take Charlie for a walk on a snowy day last winter, our house was invariably the only one on the block with a perfectly clear roof – read: there’s little to no insulation up there. And it sure would be nice to have the job done before this winter hits. The problem has been that some of our old home’s wiring is original. Potentially 1890 original. It’s hard to know for sure. 

Original wiring for a nineteeth century home is called Knob and Tube as the insulated copper wire was run along joists and studs between porcelain knobs and through joists or studs via porcelin tubes. The research we’ve done has revealed that the wiring itself, when left alone and undisturbed by debris, is fine. However, it runs too hot to have insulation blown over it and the insulation itself can wear away at the protective coating on the copper wire. You can see that ours, up in the attic, was not in great shape.

(By the way, that railroad tie pattern is the top view of our plaster and lath ceiling. The ridges are where the plaster pushed between two pieces of wood lath. Most of it is now covered with sheetrock… we think. It’s hard to tell!)

We only have this original wiring left in our ceilings and through a few (mostly interior = no insulation) walls, but that meant Tony couldn’t insulate the attic until the wiring had been modernized. Tony’s gotten pretty good at basic electical work, but he was not going to take on this project! It was time to call in an expert. 

Unfortunately, finding an expert to do this sort of work was not an easy task. Our first bid came from a company just down the street. The guy walked around for about 20 minutes, took a cursory glance at things and quoted us $700. We though, “Sweet,” but decided it would be responsible to get a second bid. This time Tony called a company he’s called a time or two in the past. Their guy looked around for 30-45 minutes and came back saying the entire house needed to be rewired at a minimum of $9000, and that didn’t include wall or ceiling repair after the work was done. At this point we thought, “Well, *badword*!” Clearly, with such a discrepancy, a third opinion was needed as a swing vote. The company we called for that bid couldn’t even give us one. Despite my request for an electrician who was knowledgeable about Knob and Tube, that gentlemen practically ran from the house saying he’d need to check on some codes and talk to a coworker. Not promising! Finally Tony found a company out of Topeka who would come do a bid for a fee. At this point, if we could find someone who knew what they were talking about, we’d gladly pay them the $75 to come tell us whether our house was about to spontaneously combust! 

The electrician that came from Green Wave Electrical went up into the attic with Tony for a good hour and a half. He had Tony pull up nearly all the plywood flooring that was up there and he tested every wire at least once. He traced wires as they criss crossed the space, and both men were pretty sweaty by the time they came down! There was a lot to see up there as our wiring was kind of a (literal?!) hot mess with all the junction boxes and mix of both modern and original. 

He quoted us a price that was in between the previous two bids, but said it was the final price, no matter what he found once he started the job. It was more than we wanted to pay, but we’d actually found someone who knew what he was talking about! Tony told him we’d have to think about it and get back to him. I was eavesdropping though, and said, “Nope. You know what you’re doing, and that’s what it’s going to cost, we’ll make it work.” 

The work took the electrician and his apprentice an entire day. They arrived from Topeka at 7:30 am and left to go back home around 6:30 pm, but they took with them all the old knobs, tubes, and wires so there would be no confusion about which wires were live in the future. He’d told us the wiring in the first floor ceiling should be just fine. What he could see of it was in excellent shape, and since it hadn’t been damaged by debri like the attic wiring, he felt we had nothing to be concerned about (which was consistent with the research we’d done previously on Knob and Tube).

The funniest coincidence, though, came when I asked him about his British accent. It turns out he is from the same town where I studied abroad! In fact, he met his wife while she was studying there as a student at Baker University (where I went to college). She participated in the Meet-a-Family program, like I did, and his was her host family! They lived there for a number of years after they were married and have been here in Kansas for the last 5 or so. How cool is that?!

Anyway, back the attic. Since we’re talking about the wiring up there, I might as well show you some more pictures of the space. Who knows when I’ll be back up there again! 


 There’s the insulation – ready to be blown in!

Isn’t it weird how that chimney slants like that? I promise, it’s not falling over. It was built that way! 

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Painting a Ceiling Fan… on the Ceiling

The very final step in our Master Bedroom makeover was to paint the ceiling fan. In truth, I wasn’t going to paint it at all. Then Tony went back to work, and I had a couple days alone at home, and I thought – just do it! Spray painting this baby would have been the most efficient choice, but that involves removing the fan from the ceiling and dealing with the electrical. That’s Tony’s department, not mine, so completing this project in his absense meant painting the fan without removing it from the ceiling.

Step 1: Remove the fan blades. Easy Schmezy!  


Step 2:
Begin painting. A really good painter would probably prime first, but I did not. It’s not like a bunch of things are going to rubbing again the fan casing. Coat one looked absolutely awful. The important part at this stage, though, was there’s no going back!  


Step 3
: Keep painting. It took three coats to get to this point using a disposable foam paintbrush and regular latex paint. This color was actually a flat paint sample the we used for the inset paneling in the dining room a couple years ago.  Use what you have, right?!


Step 4
: Apply glaze. I wasn’t really loving the matte color – there’s something about metal that should be shiny. Then I remembered this glaze I’ve had for awhile. I got it on clearance at The Depot and used it on one other project with lackluster results. What could it hurt though, right?  

The difference was incredible! The glaze added just the right shine and texture. I applied it very lightly and went back over it several times to ensure a very sheer cover.  


Step 5
: Paint the fan blades. Our blades were white once, but even a thorough cleaning didn’t quite return them to their former glory. So, instead, I applied a very light coat of gray to the blades. It’s so light that you wouldn’t even notice it if you weren’t looking for it, but when you’re laying on the bed (which is pretty much the only time I notice the fan) the subtle color stands out from the white ceiling.  

Lucky for me, the glaze combined with the elephant ear gray color actually ended up nearly identical to a brushed metal color of spray paint that was left on my shelf. Spray painting the fan blade hardware was a snap (so much easier than painting by hand), and I had the whole fan back together and working by dinner time!  

After reinstalliing the blades and tightening all the screws back up, I went back over all the screw heads with the glaze color to dull the brassiness. Voilà!     


Step 6
: Ice your sore neck and enjoy your “new” fan! 

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Frugal Finishing Touches – Master Bedroom Part II

There are some aspects of owning an old home that are no fun whatsoever. For instance, windows. We desperately need new windows. Desperately. I went to open one not too long ago, which is an ordeal in itself. Opening a window in our house often involves assuming a wide legged, sumo wrestler type stance so one can push from their legs. (I say”often” because it does vary from day to day with the humidity!) Are you picturing this oh-so-lady-like pose? Goody. So I’ve asumed the position and start to  heave with all my might on this window rail when it pops right off. For real! That piece that holds in the glass and keeps the whole window frame together just dislodged itself. I was stunned… and horrified. All I could do was stare at it for a moment – the rail sticking up at an angle like a broken bone. Then I pushed it back down and called, “Tony!” I haven’t tried to open one since. 

We NEED new windows. 

But holy cow, expensive, right!?!

All this to say, finishing the decor in our bedroom could not be a financial priority right now, but you bet I was not going to leave it unfinished! Thank goodness I like to repurpose old junk from thrift stores! 

Picture Frames
I found a slew of old frames at our local Goodwill store for about $10 total.  (I already had the one on the left, but the other 6 totalled $10.)

I spray painted a couple and hand painted a couple. Spray painting is much easier, but I didn’t have the right colors to do them all that way.  

 The larger frames became the decor to the left of Tony’s side of the bed. A little scrapbook paper behind the glass and some vinly words affixed on the front was all it took. 

 The other frames ended up dispersed around the room.  


Can you believe how much better that little yellow frame looks now?  

Side Table

That side table above was a garage sale find years ago. I think it might have been orange when I got it? I spray painted it black back then, and it’s now finished in one of the greys that was rejected for the master bath. (One of those little samples goes a long way!) The table’s shape is a little more mid-century modern than I typically prefer, so I jazzed it up with a vintage French label on top.   

Travel Maps

We love to travel and have always wanted one of those pinboard maps that let you mark where you’ve been. I made these with pages torn from an old world atlas modpodged over double thick foam board.   

The photo wire is just twine tied onto old drawer pulls that have been painted grey. You can get screwy-things that go into the drawer pull on one side while the other end is sharp, so I used those to screw them into the wall.

I have some pictures from our Costa Rica trip all ready to hang there now!

Birds on a Wire

And, of course, there’s the wall art piece for over the bed.   

 To make it I bought an 8 foot board that measured 1in. thick by 8 in. wide. When I got it home I cut the board exactly in half so I’d have two four ft. long pieces. Each of those was painted with a thick coat of water before applying Ebony stain.  
 The water soaks into the wood and prevents the stain from completely seeping in, the result of which is a really nice aged look. I left the stained wood unsealed to keep that rustic finish. 

The two boards were attached with a scrap of 1/4 inch cabinet facing we had left over from the library project. The wood was sturdy enough to hold the two boards together without sticking too far from the wall, but to be safe we added a layer of wood glue where the two boards came together.

Then I used my machine to cut the birds from different colors of scrapbook paper. The seam where the two boards met became my “wire.”   

I used Mod Podge to attach the birds to the wood, which was surprisingly challenging. After some initial trouble, I realized the problem – usually with Mod Podge you coat the paper and the surface it’s sticking to with glue when you attach them, but I was trying to avoid any kind of finish on the wood itself (to keep the aged look). It just took a little more glue on the paper birds and a lot of careful scraping to get those birds to stick to the wood. 

Painted Ceiling Fan

The final touch was a ceiling fan makeover, but that will have to wait for another day. Now = bed time!

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Bedroom Makeover

We actually embarked upon this project only because we bought the new bed, and it just made sense to paint the walls before we put it in. As usual, everything spiraled from there! This post highlights all the changes we made. 

New Color Scheme 

Our bedroom was one place we didn’t touch a bit when we moved in. The whole upstairs was a neutral tan, and that was just fine. We had plenty of other things to worry about at that point! So, in approaching this new project, my initial thought was to carry the new Master Bath’s soft grey straight into the bedroom as well. But once I got started, I just didn’t like it out there. I laid in the room for awhile, thinking and debating until I decided it had to be blue, but not a blue I already had in the house. It should be more like the color of the bathroom vanity – that duck egg blue I see everywhere on Pinterest. Thank you Internet! It was pretty easy to find a latex equivalent for the popular Chalk Paint color. The sample was perfect, and Tony approved, so I went back to the store for a gallon. 

New Door

Tony actually installed the new pocket door in December before the family Christmas events held here, but it just recently received trim and paint.   


You’ve already seen the bed makeover. To the bed I added a new grey duvet cover that I was super excited to find! I was browsing through the bedding section at Kohl’s and found this bundle of grey fabric. It had no tags and was wrapped up with packing tape. When I got the bundle open I found a beautiful, soft, grey duvet cover and pillow shams in King Size. I took it to the Customer Service desk and waited for a long time while they tried determine a price for the set. When the lady came back with a tag that said $38, I said, “Thank you!’ The coverlet and matching pillows are actually our old Queen size duvet cover. The white throw pillow is from Ikea.  

 One of the great things about such a massive bed is there’s a ton of storage space, which we badly need. I got rid of a big dresser in this redo, which is where I stored all my winter sweaters, and we were already using a lot of under the bed storage. We had 6 tubs under our old bed, of varying sizes, and 5 of the 6 fit under just my side of the new bed. You can see one of them peeking out in the picture above, but it doesn’t bother me!

We’ve had those nightstands for years. They are bathroom cabinets from Target’s old Simply Shabby Chic brand, and I’ve always loved their delicate details and faux-glass knobs. They started white, then went black, and are now grey.   

 This chair and the shutter table have both been discussed in past posts.    


We did buy one item brand new. The dresser that used to hold the TV was too big and pretty girly, so it had to go, but I had to put something in its place.  

 After a lot of looking, I decided on this simple bookshelf from Target. It was already the grey I wanted (major plus) and it was just enough smaller than the old dresser to fit the space well. I dressed it up a little bit by stenciling the cardboard backing. It’s the stencil we used in dining room downstairs, and it adds just the right frilly flair.  


This is a quote from one of Tony’s favorite poems, Annabelle Lee by Edgar Allen Poe. It seemed like a great way to incorporate that pretty Love sign that awkwardly dangled from an existing nail over the bed before.  And anytime I can throw Tony a bone in the decor process, it’s a win! ; )

 These water colors were hanging here before, and I just put them in larger frames. Mom got the French inspired prints for me at an antique store years ago, and I’ve always loved their rich colors.  The new frames pull in the pale grey  of the bathroom and better accentuate the works themselves. 

 The one spot in the room that I was struggling with was the space over the bed. I went shopping, and really loved this printed canvas.  

The bright birds and the grey damask background were perfect, but it was far too small. After some Pinterest research, I ended up with this wooden piece which I’ll highlight more in another post. It was super easy and quick! 


Window Coverings

I really liked the look of the curtains that were in the room when we moved in, but I was horrible about tying them open, so our room always felt really dark. 

 In their place I installed cordless roller shades and placed lace sheers over the top. These had to be shortened in order to keep them inside the window trim, but we definitely wanted to keep that architecture as a focal point. Because they’re white, the room feels so much brighter, even with the shades closed!    

 Now when I look at those old pictures, I see how drab this room was. No wonder I’m so loving it’s new look!  And this means our whole master suite is completely finished. It only took two years! ; )

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Pura Vida from Costa Rica!

 The Costa Rican tourism website states:

“Costa Rica is more than a vacation destination; it is an interactive sensory experience. The country is bestowed with an intense array of biodiversity and environmental attractions – majestic volcanoes, misty cloud forests, stunning river valleys, and hundreds of beaches along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. Costa Rica carries a fascinating ecological story, woven into the history of a peaceful and family-oriented culture.”

Done. Sign me up! Actually, we just returned from a week in Costa Rica, and it did not disappoint!

First, our accomodations. This path led to the main house and the pool which were shared by Jon, Ashley, Nate, Robyn, and us.   

 One of the first things I noticed about Costa Rica (besides the oppressive heat, which I was expecting, and the steep switchbacks, which felt like coming home!) was the butterflies. They were everwhere! They started fluttering the moment we opened the door to our house and flitted over our heads in the pool. Speaking of, look at that pool!   
 We rented the house on AirBnB, which Tony and I used all through Europe last summer. We did have a few issues with this particular rental, but the property manager handled things right away and the owner refunded some of our rental cost, so we were able to just enjoy our week away.

Now on to the adventurous stuff!! We trekked over some pretty rough road (It’s hard to tell here, but Jon dubbed them moguls – quite accurately!)…

  and took a short hike…

 to a beautiful waterfall…

where we played around for a bit!  Then the boys went around to climb to the top of the falls (like manly men do)…  

 and found a secluded little pool…  

  perfect for cliff jumping!  

 We spent another day on a jungle adventure up in the mountains at Buena Vista Adventure Park. It took about an hour and a half to reach our destination, much of which was spent on dirt/rock roads winding (sometimes) slowly upward. The first part of our adventure was ziplining!  

 We all made it safely, with the help of our guides, and we each even went upside down at least once!   

After a brief snack, provided by the resort, it was off to the water slide. Unfortunately none of our photos of the slide turned out. It was just too fast for the camera to catch! It was able to catch these howler monkeys though!   

 Lunch was typical Costa Rican fare – flavorful meat, rice, beans, and veggies. It was delicous!     

  After lunch it was time to relax! A ten minute tractor ride brought us to the outdoor “spa.” Step one was a cleansing trip to the volcanic gas heated sauna. Then it was mud-bath time!  

 After a cold shower/spray down, it was nice to just sit in the thermal pools and sip a beverage!  

  It was wonderful to be up in the hills and actually be cold for a little while before returning to the coast! And I was super impressed with Buena Vista. They anticipated everything – from providing the snacks to having towels available after the waterslide to having a truck pick us up within minutes of our tractor (the one that took us the to spa) breaking down! I had no need for the backpack I brought loaded with food, water, and towels. 

Another day was spent on a catamaran out in the Pacific. We even saw some dolphins! These guys swam all around us for about 5 minutes playing and jumping. This picture’s a little blurry, but you can see the dolphin just under the surface at the bow of the boat. 

 We also did some snorkeling and SUP boarding from the catamaran when we stopped for lunch.

 Our last big adventure was a scuba diving trip! Tony went off with some French tourists while Robyn and I stayed with the instructor for a discover dive (since we’re not certified). He snapped one good picture of himself before he busted our underwater camera by going too deep!  

 The highlight of the dive was the shark! I remember my friend, Gemma, going on a shark dive on St. Martin and saying they were too fascinating to be scary when you’re underwater. Now I know what she meant! 

Now, in case you’re worried that we spent too much time being adventurous and not enough time relaxing, don’t be! We built in several days at the beach and evenings in the pool at our rental house. I even got up and did some yoga on the deck a few times. I must say, that is the way to start a morning!   

 And we ate! Boy, did we eat well! Every place we went was delicious, from the fancy resort restaurant in the next bay over to the hole-in-the-wall soda serving traditional (typical) meals. I took pictures of some of the signs to help us rememberr the places we ate.  These are just a few of them:


 Costa Rica was a great trip. The people we met were all very friendly, and we always felt safe. It was nice to share this delightful place with friends!

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Guest Blogger Post: A Guy, A Girl, and a Really NEW House 

Welcome to the Mile High City and to the home of Mike and Monica, fans of A Guy, A Girl, and A Really Old House! A few years ago, we settled in beautiful Denver to raise our family and bought a really old house. We loved our charming 1912 bungalow in the heart of Denver, despite its small footprint and “cozy” feel. It wasn’t until we were blessed with our beautiful daughter, Emily, that we realized that an 800 square foot home with a narrow, steep staircase and exposed earth in the basement was NOT going to work for growing a family.

We sold our bungalow and built a brand, spanking new house. 

The house is perfect… except that all the décor that fit the walls at the old house looks miniature on the new walls with ten-foot ceilings! Enter, Lindy.  

Lindy arrived early on a Friday morning and stayed through late Monday afternoon. During that time, we completed three big projects and started one more. I was skeptical when Lindy told me we would get through that many projects in one weekend, but she is a miracle worker, and I’m now a believer!

We started with the area near the entry from the garage. There were two things I wanted to accomplish here: We needed a place to keep our keys and I wanted an area where we could display Emily’s artwork. The space is challenging because it’s a small wall right next to the patio door. We could not use shelving or anything else that stuck out from the wall because it would obstruct the door. We looked at a couple of options, including finding something metal on which to hang magnets, but we ended up going with a couple of empty picture frames.    

 We started by using teal tempera paint to give the frames a little color. The tempera paint didn’t quite accomplish our goal as it immediately soaked into the frame. We had hoped to have a little more coverage, but the subtle teal tint that we ended up with also looks nice. We turned the large frame into a place to display artwork by hot gluing twine to the backside and adding some mini clothespins.  



The smaller frame offered a bit more of a challenge. I had hoped to include a chalkboard in our entry display so we could write notes to one another. However, we had some difficulty finding a chalkboard that would fit into the frame. All of the boards we found would either leave a gap or would need to be trimmed. Since we didn’t have access to a saw that was capable of trimming a chalkboard (we do not have the plethora of tools found in the Snethen household!), we had to come up with a different plan. We settled on using a chalkboard placemat that could be cut with scissors. We hot glued the mat into the frame and then filled in the space behind the mat with cardboard in order to create a hard surface to write on. We then added hooks at the bottom of the frame for keys and tied the eraser to the board with twine. The final touch was a place to keep the chalk. We found a drawer pull that, when placed on the frame upside down, acted as a perfect container for the chalk

We added an accent piece that we picked up ready-made from Hobby Lobby and a rustic teal picture frame. All that’s left in this area is to print some family photos and put them in the frame!


For our next project, I asked Lindy to step out of her Victorian art comfort zone and into the world of modern art. Our bedroom walls were looking quite bare, and I asked Lindy to help me create some pieces to bring some color to the room. 

 This bicycle pillow was the inspiration for the color scheme and some of the art:  


We started with the art over the bed after finding a blog (via Pinterest) that had used a piece of fabric with rectangular shapes as the starting point for a piece of wall art we liked so we hunted for some fabric to use for our project. We didn’t find anything we loved, so we decided to go with some blank canvases and see if we couldn’t replicate the fabric art by hand. 


As a newbie to freehand painting, I was a little nervous to jump in and start painting. However, once we got going, we realized that the rectangles and squares in various shades of coral, yellow, and grey looked quite nice. It definitely accomplished the original goal of bringing some color to the room!



Next, we tackled the wall across from the bed. Again, we were inspired by pinterest. We found a piece of art that consisted of nine solid canvases, each in a different color. A swirl of white paint was dripped over the top of all nine canvases so, when placed next to each other, they created one work of art. We painted each canvas and then considered how we were going to accomplish the swirl. We tossed out several ideas, but we just kept going back to the same two problems: We didn’t know what kind of paint we needed to get the swirl to look right, and we weren’t sure how to swirl the paint without creating one gigantic mess.  
We were still going back and forth about how to do the swirl when Karen, my mother in-law, suggested that we paint a bicycle on the canvases. We had considered this early on because of the bike on the original pillow, but decided against it because neither one of us felt comfortable drawing a bicycle free hand. However, it didn’t seem that the swirl was going anywhere, so we did some research on how to draw a bike. As it turns out, the basic shape of a bicycle is a combination of a few easily drawn geometric shapes. We took the plunge and tried our hands at the bike. I have to say, I LOVE the way this piece turned out! It is by far my favorite of the weekend.

Our last project was left uncompleted only because Hobby Lobby didn’t have enough canvas stretchers in stock. Our house has 22-inch square windows in both the living room and the master bedroom. I love the light and feeling of openness they create as uncovered windows for most of the day. However, there is a one to two hour window late in the afternoon when the sun blares in through those windows. I wanted a temporary, removable solution for covering the windows during those hours without installing permanent window coverings on the windows.

We decided the easiest way to accomplish this was to stretch fabric over 22 inch canvas stretchers and simply place them into the window during the hot hours of the day. This was a quick project aided by the use of a hand-held staple gun. In addition, it solved the problem with the sunshine perfectly! I especially love how the fabric still allows a glow of light to get through so the room doesn’t look dark when the frames are in place

I now have some wonderful pieces of art for my walls and our house is starting to feel a little more like home. The best part: I got to spend quality time catching up with a great friend while creating all that beautiful art. Thank you for all your help, Lindy! You are the best! Are you ready to tackle a living room and dining room, next?  


Thanks, Monica, for your guest post, and yes! I’m ready! It was such a blast to spend the long weekend with my dear friends and their precious daughter. Thanks for letting me interrupt your regular routine for a few days!! 

The best part for me, besides spending time with Mike and Mon, was when Monica said, “I could probably do some of this on my own.” DIY home decor is  super fun and totally doable! 


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Traditional Bed into Platform

While Tony’s been working on the library, I’ve had my own project going. I bought a new bed – a big one! We’ve been talking about getting a new mattress for some time now, and Tony has wanted a King size since the moment I made him give his away (It would never have fit up our townhouse stairs!) I get it – he’s tall and likes to spread out, and we now have a bedroom that can fit a larger bed. So, I planned to take half my Summer School earnings to put toward a new bedroom set, including the mattress. That left a slim budget for the actual furniture. Enter CraigsList!  


I’m telling you, this thing is massive! It was in good shape, but not fabulous shape, so I set out to paint this monstrosity. Each layer I added made a big difference, but in all I applied one coat of primer, four coats of white paint, then distressed, and topped it with two clear coats. 

Then we had a little problem. We had to get this baby upstairs! Adter some maneuvering, it was clear the only course of action was to take one of the side posts off so we could get around the curve at the bottom of the stairs. That did the trick!

The new mattress we were looking at was super tall – a pillow top, so I’d initially been searching CraigsList for a platform bed. I also had some other requirements though, which included some sort of storage built in and a footboard, and I just wasn’t finding anything that had all those things. So I figured, we’ll just convert this one to a platform!  
Tony added two more cross supports to the three that came with the bed. Then he put two pieces of plywood over the top. 


I was a little concerned about splinters when I went to make the bed, so we took an old sheet that we had used as a bedskirt on our last bed, spread it out evenly, and tucked it underneath the plywood. Then we each slid underneath and took turns with the staple gun.  

 And here’s the finished frame, all ready for the new mattress! 


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