Updating a Bedroom with a Geometric Accent Wall!

A friend of a friend reached out to me a couple weeks ago to ask if she could hire us to install a geometric accent wall in her main bedroom. They had already painted the walls in Sherwin Williams Peppercorn (a gorgeous moody gray!) but felt like the room needed a little something extra. She sent me an inspiration picture and after talking it over with Justin, we decided this sounded like a fun project to tackle together and agreed to do it.

This project took less than 24 hours, cost about $70 in materials, and was pretty easy to do. In other words, a quick, low-cost, relatively easy DIY project that was perfect for a Saturday!

Materials

1 1/2″ primed pine (we used 10 8′ boards)

painters tape

-miter saw

-nail gun + nails (we used 1 1/2″ nails)

spackling

combination square

-220 grit and 440 grit sandpaper

-six inch foam roller

-sawhorses

-paint

-optional: square layout tool; stud finder

On Friday afternoon, Justin and I went over to map out the pattern using painters tape (I chose tape with a width of 1.41″ so it would closely mimic the size of the 1.5″ trim). This served two purposes: it gave the homeowners a chance to make sure they liked the pattern and also helped us know exactly how much trim we need to complete the project.

We chose to use this 1 1/2″ primed pine, which comes in 8 foot lengths, so we created the pattern in a way that ensured no section was longer than 8 feet. We wanted to keep things as simple as possible by sticking to 90, 60, and 30 degree angles and we used this square layout tool to help place the first few pieces. While this tool was helpful in giving us a starting point for placing trim at the correct angle, once the first few pieces were taped down we saved some time and effort and eyeballed the rest of the trim placement. If you want to make your pattern super precise you can absolutely measure the angles for each taped piece but since this was just a guideline for us, we weren’t worried about precision.

We used an 8 foot piece as a guide for figuring out where we wanted each piece of trim to go, then placed the tape right along the side of the board for a nice straight line.

We started on the far right side of the room and created a triangle using the top right corner of the wall as the 90 degree angle, then built out the pattern from there.

Once the whole pattern was up on the wall, we got the homeowners’ approval and made a couple changes at their request. I wanted them to sit with it overnight so they had a chance to make sure they were totally happy with the pattern before we started since tape is way easier to change than installed trim.

At home that night, I used a six inch foam roller to paint two coats of Sherwin Williams Peppercorn in eggshell finish on the trim pieces and let them cure overnight.

On Saturday morning we loaded everything up and headed over to their house to install. We began with the long piece of trim stretching from the right corner of the wall to the baseboards. We knew this piece of trim would create a right triangle with the right wall and baseboard which made figuring out the angles pretty easy. I made a lovely diagram to help you visualize what I’m talking about 😉

We knew the length of this trim was just shy of 8 feet, so Justin used his miter saw to trim what would be the “top” end at a 30 degree angle and the “bottom” end to a 60 degree angle, making sure the angles were pointed in the correct directions to line up with the wall and baseboard.

The tape was just a guideline so we were not stressed about lining things up exactly. Once both ends of the trim were cut to the correct angle, we just placed the trim flush against both the corner of the walls and the baseboard and Justin used his nail gun to attach it to the wall. It didn’t end up exactly where our taped line was, but it was pretty close!

We wanted as few nail holes as possible, so I used a stud finder to locate all the studs in the wall and placed a small piece of tape over each one so Justin could nail directly into studs for a secure hold with minimal nails.

We decided to install all the longest boards first and then go back and fill in with the shorter pieces of trim. We worked our way across the wall from right to left, building off of each board we installed. The picture below gives you a good idea of the “in progress” part – we removed the corresponding piece of tape prior to installing each piece of trim and rolled back the intersecting pieces so that they wouldn’t get in the way of install.

Installation wasn’t hard once you understood the general math we were working with. I’ll walk you through our process as we installed trim where the far right green tape is marking in the picture below.

We had already installed the longer trim it would intersect with, and that installed trim made a triangle with the wall and taped line as shown in my lovely drawing below.

We knew we had cut the top angle of the long trim at 30 degrees. We wanted the short trim piece to intersect with the long trim piece at a 90 degree angle. That left one angle, “x”, to figure out. The sum of the angles of a triangle is 180 degrees. 90+30=120, meaning the last angle would be 60 degrees. (It’s worth noting that we didn’t actually do calculations every time – we used 30, 60, and 90 degree angles for the entire wall so determining angles was easy!)

Justin used his miter saw to cut one end of a piece of trim to 60 degrees, intentionally keeping it longer than we needed.

He brought the trim back inside, placed the angled cut flush against the wall, and then used the combination square to ensure the new trim was intersecting the installed trim at a perfect 90 degree angle.

Once the trim was at the correct angle, he marked it right where it intersected the installed trim and cut it right on that line.

Once the length was cut at a straight angle, it fit perfectly in the intended space and Justin nailed it into the wall. That’s the general process we used with each piece of trim, although sometimes instead of a wall being one side of the ‘triangle,’ it was the ceiling or baseboard or another piece of trim.

While Justin focused on cutting down and installing the trim pieces, I visually checked each piece prior to install to make sure the pattern continued to look uniform.

I also followed behind him to fill in all the nail holes using this spackling.

I like using this product because it goes on pink and turns white as it dries. Usually I’ll just lightly sand it with my finger, but this time I put the spackling on a little thicker than normal. I waited until it was completely dry, then lightly sanded it smooth, first with a 220 grit sandpaper and then with a 440 grit sandpaper. I used a little piece of painters tape to create a shelf underneath each patched hole prior to sanding so the tape would catch a good amount of the dust from sanding.

I had thought we’d need to caulk each piece, but we ended up really liking the crisp lines that the trim created on the wall. Plus, the fact that Justin was nailing into studs as often as possible meant there was a nice tight fit with almost no gaps. I did caulk a couple places between the trim and the far walls where there was a little bit more of a gap. After all the holes were sanded and the caulk dried, I used my foam roller to do a quick once over on the whole thing.

And with that – we were done!

The new bed the homeowners chose was really heavy, so we offered to help them put it together before we left. It looks so awesome up against the wall!

We started taping out the pattern around 5:00 pm on Friday, and we were totally finished with the wall by 2:30 pm on Saturday. Quick, easy, low-cost, but big impact – I’m so glad we decided to take on this project!

Sources:

Wall Color: Sherwin Williams Peppercorn

Ceiling Color: Sherwin Williams Alabaster

Bed: Restoration Hardware

Easy, Collected Gallery Walls

I’ve been working on some smaller projects around the house lately, one of which was finally getting some art up on the main floor walls. Once everything had a fresh coat of paint (Sherwin Williams Alabaster), it was time to add some personality back in! There were two areas that I wanted to include artwork in the form of gallery walls. One was a wall in between the living room and kitchen, and the other was actually two walls that frame our spiral staircase into the basement.

Sometimes when I group frames together, I want them to be the same size, color, or material; however, for both of these spaces I wanted a more collected look since I would be using a mixture of new and old photos. I picked up large frames, small frames, frames in non-standard sizes, gold frames, silver frames, wooden frames – anything that was in good condition and a size and shape I liked. I chose to thrift instead of buy new because it would not only give me more of the unique, collected look I was going for, but also cost a fraction of the price of new frames. Most of the frames I bought fell somewhere between 50 cents to three dollars a piece. Here’s one thrift store haul where I got all these frames for $16 total.

To give you context, the one single frame I had to buy brand new (for the unusually sized caricature picture) was $25! Thrifting is the way to go!

Once I had collected around 30 frames, I laid them all out on my dining room table to get a feel for how everything looked together. This also gave me a good idea of which ones I wanted to change the color of, either because the metal was rusting and dingy, or on the opposite end, was really shiny and cheap-looking, or because the frame was wooden and didn’t fit the vibe I was going for. (Check out the frame that came complete with a hand-drawn cow, haha!)

Some frames got a couple light coats of spray paint (either this black one or this gold one). Tip: I like to save used paint trays from previous projects because they make perfect little backdrops for spray painting small items!

I also used Rub n Buff in antique gold to update a few frames. For these, I placed the frame on a cardboard cereal box I pulled from my recycling bin to protect the counter. Then I squeezed a small mount of rub n buff onto a cheap makeup brush (I got one for like $2 at Target) and dabbed it onto the frame, buffing softly over and over until I achieved the look I wanted. In the picture below, the left and bottom side of the frame have been finished and the top and right side haven’t been done yet. See the difference? It took away the cheap-looking shine and gave it a more antique gold look.

Once the frames were all ready, it was time to choose what to hang!

The wall in between the kitchen and living room houses used to be such an eyesore. It had our thermostat, an unused humidifier control, and lots of toddler scribbles on the wall.

A fresh coat of paint and removing the old humidifier control helped significantly, but I was eager to get some other things up on the wall to distract from that device sticking out like a sore thumb!

For this particular gallery wall, I wanted to gather mementos and photographs that are extra special for our family. I chose a few items from travels, a wallpaper label that was discovered in a renovation of my grandparent’s farmhouse, two recipes, one in my grandma’s handwriting and one in Justin’s grandma’s, a picture of my dad, brother, and me from childhood at a place special to our family history, and a photo of my maternal grandfather with his parents at their home in Puerto Rico.

I’ll often map out where I want everything to go before hanging anything, but for this wall, I just went one frame at a time and went based on what placement felt right.

Before hanging, I removed any of the little collapsible stands behind the frames. These aren’t necessary to have when the picture is being hung, and will often prevent the frame from lying flush against the wall. I used a pair of vice grip pliers to pull them off. Sometimes on older frames, I could just use my hand to pull the stand and the whole thing would come off, other times, I had to use the pliers to pull off the metal hinge as well.

To hang the pictures, I used picture hanging command strips. I like these because it’s a way to hang lots of pictures without adding lots of nail holes. I’m happy with how this wall turned out and I love that it helps camouflage the thermostat!

For the walls around the staircase, I wanted a mixed metal look and chose gold, silver, and black frames. To keep a cohesive look, I went with all black and white photos and specifically chose a mix of professional family photos and more casual candid shots from our life.

I also included pictures of our grandparents, special handwritten notes, and a caricature of Justin and me from a work holiday party a couple years ago.

I love the mix of old and new, traditional and modern, formal and casual. It really feels so representative of our family and each one is special to us! I decided to have the frames loosely follow the curve of the staircase and I plan to add to it over the years so it continues to reflect our family.

I’m really happy with the way both gallery walls have not only added interest to our plain white walls, but they have added so much personality. Our family is so well represented – our history, our ancestors, and the ordinary, and everyday moments that make up our lives. It is a small change that made a huge difference in making this home really feel like ours.

Our DIY Play Kitchen!

Tomorrow is Christmas and we finished up kids’ gift just in time: a play kitchen built from scratch!

Originally I hoped to re-purpose an old TV entertainment center, but after spending hours scouring Facebook marketplace and multiple thrift stores around town, I came up empty. With only two weeks left before Christmas, I was too crunched for time to keep searching. So instead, we decided to build one!

My brainstorming session started with a Pinterest search, where I found this play kitchen from West Elm. I fell in love with the look, but definitely not with the price. I knew Justin and I could come up with something similar for a lot less than $600.

So with that as a starting block, here’s where we ended up!

I’m so incredibly pleased with how this turned out and I can’t wait for our kids to see it tomorrow morning!

If you’re interested in how we created this play kitchen from scratch in just under two weeks, buckle up, because I’ve got all the details below. 😉

How We Created Our DIY Play Kitchen

Materials

-5/8″ width plywood

-1/2″ width plywood

-2″ dowel rod

-3 door handles

-1×3″ board

-6 small door hinges

-5/8″ edge banding

-wood stain

-3 wooden knobs

-3/4″ drain pipe

-8×8 nonstick cake pan

-plastic/plexiglass

-1 small knob

-wood glue

-gorilla glue

-wood stain

-white paint

-black spray paint

Tools we used included: miter saw, nail gun, circular saw, drill press, jig saw, and kreg jig. We also used a few pieces of scrap wood throughout the project.

We started out with a simple outline I drew up. The nice thing about building from scratch is that I could choose exactly the dimensions that would work for our space. I decided on 36″ high and 48″ wide (divided equally to make the fridge, stove, and sink each 16″ wide).

I highly highly recommend sketching up as much as you can beforehand; it helps you visualize what steps you need to take to make everything and also what materials you’re going to need. Below you can see how I sketched out the frame and all the shelves and marked where all the kreg jigs (KJ) would go. On the right you can see where I calculated how many pieces of each length of board I would need. This didn’t take long to sketch up, but was really helpful in calculating materials and forming a plan of attack.

We started with a sheet of plywood in a 5/8″ width. The sheets are 4’x 8′ and because of my sketches and planning, I knew that we could make the entire frame out of one sheet. Justin set up a guide using a long piece of oak to make a super straight cut and piled a few pieces of old laminate and scrap wood to add weight to make sure the plywood didn’t bow at all.

He used a circular saw to the sheet of plywood into three equal strips – because the width of the saw blade takes away a fraction with each pass, these strips ended up being just under 16″ wide. Then he used his miter saw to cut each strip into the lengths we needed.

Justin started out by building the frame of each section, using kreg jigs to connect each of the pieces together. He also used wood glue and clamps in a few places to make the frame extra secure. (Also, I always feel like I need to preface pictures in our garage by saying we’re not really Nascar fans haha. That sign is leftover from the previous owners and we just never took it down).

After the frame was finished, Justin cut down an old piece of 1/4″ thick plywood to create the backing.

He attached this plywood to the back of the frame with a nail gun. (Can we take a moment to appreciate the outfit? 😉 It was COLD in that barn!)

Justin also cut down a scrap 1×3 and attached it underneath the “countertop” in the sink and oven sections using another kreg jig. I needed this piece so I had a space to attach oven knobs, and it just visually made sense to also have one in the sink section as well.

Next up was the shelves! Originally we thought we’d atttach these with more kreg jigs, but instead Justin just cut each shelf down to size and attached them with a nail gun.

Notice that he specifically cut the shelves so that they stopped short of the front edge – this is to accommodate the width of the door so the doors could be inset (flush with the sides).

After all the shelves were in place, we moved on to the legs. Justin bought a 2″ diameter dowel rod and cut it down into four 4″ long pieces. He measured out the center of each dowel rod and used a drill press to predrill a hole in the center of each one.

We marked out where each leg was going to go and Justin predrilled a hole in where each one was going to go.

It’s possibly overkill, but we used 3″ screws to attach the legs. We wanted them to be very secure and this definitely did the trick!

For the doors, Justin used a 1/2″ sheet of plywood to cut each size we needed. Because that width is hard to attach hinges to, he cut down a piece of scrap wood and screwed a small block to the door so he had a place to attach the hinge. If you want to avoid this extra step, you can just use a wider board to make the door.

With the frame, shelves, legs, and doors in place, it was my turn! I used my favorite Kilz primer on the doors and then painted two coats of Sherwin Williams Dot to Dot in Satin. I had this paint leftover from a previous project and it worked perfectly!

Next up was to put edge banding on all the front-facing plywood boards. I appreciate the lightweight nature and inexpensive cost of plywood, but not the look haha! I bought this 5/8″ edge banding to create the look of a solid piece of wood. It comes with a dried adhesive on the back that is heat activated. I heated up an iron to the “cotton” setting (a fairly high heat), held my edge banding in place against the side of the plywood, and ran the iron over it to activate the glue. I worked in roughly 4-6 inch sections and ran the iron back and forth over each section for about 20 seconds or so. It was a slower process, but look at the difference it made on the left vs. right!

The best part of this edge banding is it is paintable and stainable, so I could give it the same look as the rest of the plywood. I tested out some stains that we already had and quickly settled on this one.

On a trip to my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore, I hit the jackpot with some inexpensive finds to complete the kitchen. I found some simple rounded silver handles for 50 cents each that were perfect for the doors, some wooden knobs that I thought would make cute oven knobs (pack of 5 knobs for $2!), and a drain hose ($6) and knob (50 cents) for the faucet. For less than $10, it was such a great score!

I spray painted the wooden knobs and settled on three for the front of the oven. I measured out and drilled three holes in the front and LOVE how they turned out.

To create the look of an oven, I made a 10″ x 7.5″ rounded template on piece of paper and traced it on the back of the oven door. Justin then used a jigsaw to cut out a hole and sanded down the edges.

I then took the plastic inserts from from a large Ikea frame I had (I don’t like the shine it creates on my pictures!) and cut down two pieces to 12″ x 9.5″ to have some overlap. These cut easily with scissors, but I would recommend trying out a small test piece first because there’s a learning curve to how you need to hold the plastic and cut in order to not have a chipped edge.

I spray painted one piece black and left the other clear. I used gorilla glue to glue the black one down first (keeping the spray painted side facing away from the hole of the oven door). Then I glued the clear piece on top of the spray painted side to keep the paint from getting scratched during playtime.

Next up was the burners! I took a long piece of scrap shiplap that we trimmed off when working on our office project and cut it down into 16 pieces just short of 3 inches each. I spray painted each strip black and after they dried, I squeezed a very thin line of wood glue onto the back of each one.

I created a little asterisk pattern with these strips to create two little burners. I think they turned out so cute!

Last up was the sink area! Originally, I bought a small plastic tub that I was going to create a sink but I didn’t realize it had a small lip that would prevent it from laying flush. So we quick did a curbside pickup for a little 8×8 cake pan from Target to use instead. We traced an outline right on the countertop (the smaller one is from the first plastic tub we didn’t use, the larger one is from the cake pan we did use).

Justin used his jigsaw to cut out this hole and the cake pan fit in perfectly!

To create the faucet, we used this 3/4″ drain pipe tube that I found at the ReStore. Can you see how one end is already perfectly formed like a faucet?

I used painters tape to mark where to cut the hose at and used a utility knife to create a clean cut.

We marked where we wanted the faucet and Justin used a 1″ drill bit to create a hole.

This next part felt very MacGyver-y. We cut the tube to length so about 2 inches would stick out in the bottom sink cabinet. We then spliced the part that would be under the counter into four pieces.

Justin screwed each spliced section up into the bottom part of the cabinet so that the faucet couldn’t be pulled out the top. We also stuck a small piece of scrap wood in the tube to help keep its upright shape.

Then he screwed a scrap piece of wood under all the spliced sections – the purpose of this was to keep the faucet from being pushed down into the hole.

It might not look pretty, but will keep the faucet in place securely now. It can’t be pushed down or pulled up!

Lastly, I spray painted the little gold knob that I bought for 50 cents black and we drilled through the tube (and wood inside) to screw it in place and create a little faucet handle.

All in all, I’m VERY pleased with how this project turned out! And because we thrifted a ton of materials and already had lots of things like the stain, paint, screws, scrap wood, etc, the project ended up costing us around $80.

The kitchen has already been tested out and if Justin is any indication, the kids will have fun with this tomorrow morning. 😉

Sources

(Note: Most of what I used was thrifted or scrap material, but here’s what I used that I have sources for!)

-Paint: Sherwin Williams Dot to Dot in Satin

Black Spray Paint

Cake Pan (for sink)

edge banding (affiliate link)

wood stain

-the plastic inserts came from these Ikea frames

A Look Back on our Home

It’s moving week!

Justin and I officially close on our new home on Friday afternoon and Saturday is moving day! I can’t believe that it’s finally here. I shared in a previous post that we were not initially planning to look for another house until the fall, but we found our dream property and we jumped on it. We did a 60 day closing since it was a sudden-ish decision and this gave us some extra time to prepare (and the sellers extra time to move out) so it’s been a bit of a long process. Now that we’re down to the final few days, both Justin and I are getting super excited!

While we’re thrilled for this new adventure and truly looking forward to settling in to our new home and starting the next chapter of our family’s life there, it is bittersweet to be leaving our current home. We bought this home when we moved to Indiana 3 years ago and we put a ton of hard work into it. Justin ripped up old carpeting and tile by himself. We recruited family to come help us tear down old wallpaper, repair holes in the walls, and repaint every single wall. I painted all the trim and doors. We replaced some light fixtures and we had new laminate flooring and carpet installed. Our friends Jeremy and Bethany came for a weekend to help us install a new subway tile backsplash in our kitchen. Cabinets got painted, flowers got planted, a house became our home. We love this place and truly made it our own over these past 3 years. We love our neighbors, we love our location. We love the memories we’ve made here. We are going to miss this place.

I thought it would be fitting to share some before-and-after pictures today as a little tribute to this sweet little home of ours. It’s the first home Justin and I bought. It’s where we mourned the loss of our first baby and joyfully brought LJ home a little over a year later. It’s where we hosted fun backyard parties, where we shared our dreams for our family’s future. We’ll always remember it fondly and I am thankful we’ll take the pictures and memories with us.

Entryway

Foyer After

I love that Scout made a cameo in the “after” shot because that little landing has been his favorite spot in this house. He spends most of his day perched there. We think he likes it because he can see out the front door and windows and also keep track of us in the living room and TV/playroom. As you can see, we changed out all flooring, painted the walls, and also painted the railing. We also changed the light fixture although it’s not visible in the picture.

Living Room

Living Room Before

Living Room After

Living Room After2.jpg

The most dramatic changes in this room was paint and flooring. This was really the first room we tackled when we moved in. Justin ripped up all that old carpet and we had new laminate flooring installed.

TV Room/Playroom

Den Before.jpg

TV Playroom After 1TV Playroom After 2

The previous owners used this space off the front door as an office. We initially thought we’d use this space as a dining room, but then we decided we’d get way more use out of it as a cozy den and it became a TV room (and then also a playroom when LJ came along – check out pics of this space on a typical day here). This became our favorite place to hang out as a family! Justin ripped up the hallway tile and laminate flooring here too and we had the same laminate installed as in the living room to make the first floor feel less broken up.

Den looking out.jpg

Half Bath

Half Bath Before

Half Bath After

The first floor half bath was the only room in the house that had floor-to-ceiling wallpaper (and toilet humor-themed wallpaper at that) and I was all too happy to see it go. I chose a dark color for the walls of this small space and I love how it turned out!

Dining Room/Kitchen

Dining Room Before

Dining Room After.jpg

In my opinion, this space was the most dramatic transformation. The tile was in good shape so we left it but pretty much everything else changed. New paint on the walls, painted cabinets, new dining light fixture, new backsplash, new appliances – we loved how this room turned out!

Kitchen 2.jpg

Laundry Room

Rounding out the first floor is the little laundry room off the kitchen. This wasn’t a big space, but painted walls and cabinets with a little bit of decor made a big difference!

Hallway Nook

20160328_163501

0426191413a

Our home is 3 bedrooms but when we moved in we knew we wanted to keep a guest room available for family and hoped to soon convert the other room to a nursery so I needed to get creative with finding space for a little home office. At the top of our staircase there is a fairly large landing with just enough space for a small bookcase and desk and it worked out perfectly for an office! The bookcase faced the stairway and the desk fit perfectly in the little nook – it was such a cozy place to light a candle and get some work done.

Master Bedroom

We rearranged the layout from how the previous owners had done things and I think it helped open up the room and make it seem much larger. Painted trim and walls gave it a fresh, relaxing facelift!

Master Bathroom

The “before” picture on the left isn’t great, but it gives you a small idea of our little updates. We didn’t do much in this room – took down the wallpaper border, fresh cost of paint, painted trim, and hung new towel rods.

Guest Room

Guest Room BeforeGuest Room After

We took down that border wall paper and those shelves, which were a HUGE pain because they were all anchored into the wall. There was a ton of patchwork involved but after a fresh coat of paint the room was refreshed! We kept it pretty simple in here, just enough to make a cozy space for guests to stay.

Hallway/Guest Bathroom

Guest Bath After

The hallway bath was mostly used as a guest bathroom since we just bathed LJ in ours. We painted the walls and cabinet (I actually love how the dark cabinet turned out!), added vanity fixtures, and took down the old shower door and exchanged it for a curtain rod.

Nursery

Nursery Before.jpg

Nursery After

My favorite room in the whole house! It was used by the previous owners as an office and we didn’t do much with it for a while. Then, when I found out I was pregnant, we started dreaming of a nursery. I would spend time praying in the room for the baby we would soon welcome into our home. Sadly, that pregnancy was ectopic and we did not get to meet that baby (read more of the story here). I shut the door and stopped dreaming to deal with my grief. Then slowly, I started going in there again. I painted the room before I was pregnant again, believing that someday a baby would need this room. I got this sign off Etsy as the first piece of nursery decor and when I got the glorious positive pregnancy test a few months later, I immediately hung it up by the door. This room has seen tears, rejoicing, preparations, and so many snuggles. I’m so thankful for this room!

And that’s our home. It’s been so good to us and we’re so thankful to have called this place home for 3 years. Now on to the next adventure!

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes

Hi there!

Now that it finally feels like spring is here to STAY (mid-May and we’re just now getting to the point where we go a whole week without a night with temps below freezing!) I’ve got a fun DIY project to share!

Since Justin and I love being outdoors as much as possible and we hang out on our back deck frequently, I wanted to liven up the space with some flowers. That being said, I didn’t want to take away valuable floor space with potted plants (and, to be honest, I also don’t trust our puppies to leave potted plants alone just yet!) After brainstorming with Justin about ways to tweak window boxes to fit our needs, we decided it would just be easier (and cheaper) to just make something ourselves. I present to you:

DIY Pallet Flower BoxesNow, the directions might look a bit intimidating. Hopefully the pictures do a good job of conveying how simple this project really was! It fits right in with my requirements of easy, inexpensive, and functional!

DIY Pallet Window/Flower Box instructions

1- Get a pallet! We asked around at local businesses — several were more than willing to get rid of old pallets they had lying around. We also found some at the dumpster near Justin’s school.

2- Select the side of the pallet that you’d like to use. We actually decided to make two boxes so we used both ends of the pallet. Saw the end off to the size you want the box to be. For this step, Justin used a hand saw.DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com3- Using the remaining pallet (not the part you’re using as your flower box), remove one long board. Justin essentially just used a hammer to knock off a board running lengthwise. This will eventually form the bottom of the flower box.

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com4-Before nailing the bottom board onto the flower box, seal all the wood with a sealant.  Justin went out to Lowe’s and bought a $4 aerosol can of exterior weatherproof sealant. He sprayed down every surface of the box and let it dry (he let it dry overnight but yours could be ready much sooner depending on temperature).

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com5- Once the sealant has totally dried, attach the long board you removed from the excess pallet to the bottom of your flower box. Justin used nails, but you could use screws if you’d like. He used two nails on each end and also at the post in the middle so there for a total of six nails attaching the bottom board.

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.comSidenote: If you’re concerned about everything lining up just right, consider taking a piece of sandpaper and running it along all the edges. We knew it was going to be outside and I was okay with a more “rustic” look so we didn’t sand it down.

6- Next, take a mesh lining (we used a cheap package of $4 fiberglass screening found at Lowe’s) and cut it to fit the inside of the box. This is to keep the potting soil from falling out of the cracks once you fill the box.

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com7- Fit the mesh inside the box. At this point, you could actually attach the mesh to the box (with a staple gun or something of the like) but we did not. Once the potting soil is in the box, it will hold the mesh in place.

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.comThe rest of the directions will vary depending on how/where you want to hang your pallet box. We hung it from our deck railing so we needed to find sturdy hooks to hang the boxes. Since we couldn’t find any that worked, we made them!

8- We bought a $3 pack of L-shaped corner braces at Lowe’s (ours measured 2 1/2″x 5/8″) seen below.

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com9- The next part is complicated. Justin measured our railing to see how wide the hook needed to be to fit over the rail and marked that spot on the corner brace.

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.comSee the little black mark? From the corner to the black mark is how wide our railing is. Justin needed to bend the remaining part of the brace to parallel the part sticking up in order to form a “hook.”

10- After carefully measuring, Justin then put the brace in a vice and gently hammered the brace until it was bent at the place he had marked.

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.comThe picture is hard to see, but the black mark is at the very top of the vice. Justin hammered down the part sticking up to parallel the part sticking towards the camera.

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.comFinished product!

11- Attach the hook to the pallet box. We used two hooks of the pallet box. Justin used 1/4″ screws to attach the hooks.

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.comEh-hem. Please excuse the puppy photobomb.

12- At this point, all that was left to do was hang it up on the railing and add some potting soil and flowers and voila!

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.comI used a bunch of random flowers found at my local farmer’s market — I love all the vibrant colors! I’m hoping they continue to grow and fill out the box. And yes, I know our view is the best thing ever.

And that’s it! This project cost less than $15 (most of the nails and screws we already had) which was significantly less than window boxes we looked at and (in my opinion) much prettier than store-bought versions anyways! It was really pretty simple to put together and the fact that we were going for a “rustic” look made our margin for error much wider. 😉

I cannot end this post without giving a HUGE thank you to my super talented handy-man of a hubby! This project would not have happened without him — he did the bulk of the work and I’m so so pleased with how it turned out!

Have a great Tuesday!

 

Nail Polish Organization

Hello hello!

This past weekend Justin and I drove 6 hours to Pennsylvania to visit his extended family on his mom’s side. It was SO good to see everyone — all but one cousin was able to make it and we had a great time catching up with family. Since we didn’t have school today due to MLK, Jr. Day, we were able to take it slow coming home. It’s good to be back!

Nail Polish Organization

I never miss an opportunity to organize and today was no exception. I have been in desperate need of repainting my toenails (why is that so difficult to keep up with in the winter??) and I figured no better time than a lazy day off work to do them so I pulled out my nail polish tin.

simplifythechaos.comI bought this tin at Wal-Mart in college on clearance for 75 cents. At the time, it was perfect for my needs and I could fit everything in there. It has served me well! However, as my nail polish collection has grown, this tin has become more and more unorganized. Looking for a particular color takes a while, and if I’m looking for inspiration and want to just browse my colors, it takes waaaaay too long!

I decided it was time to say farewell to the tin and come up with something else. I still wanted something that would still be a space-saver, but also maybe display my polishes a little better.

simplifythechaos.comI had an old hurricane glass jar from Michael’s that I had been using as a candle holder for a while. I got tired of that look so I decided to switch it up and use it as my new nail polish storage!

I really like that this is a colorful display and I’m able to see all of my polishes easily. I also think it’s a pretty cute addition to my dresser. I can see that maybe someday I’ll get annoyed with digging all the way to the bottom for polishes and I may need to come up with a different option, but for now, I love it!

simplifythechaos.comNow my nails are done and it’s time for me to snuggle up with my hubby and puppy and watch The Bachelor 🙂

Have a great week!

Simple, Inexpensive Christmas Decorations

Christmas is in full swing at my house! Whoo hoo!

Today I want to share two simple Christmas decorating ideas. Both are so easy and take no more than 10 minutes each. And both are for common areas in your house — kitchen and bathroom! (Although you could really put them anywhere.)

I shared in an earlier post about my Halloween decoration using candy corn, candles, mason jars, and ribbons. To change this to a Christmas decoration, I dumped out the candy corn and took off the ribbon. I kept the cream candles inside the mason jars since they all had plenty of life left in them. I took some of my $2 garland (thrift store!!) and wrapped it around the jars.

20131127_142702I wanted to add cranberries (real or fake) but I ended up buying a couple bags of Cherry Sours at Kroger. They were $1 a bag — way cheaper option and they are super similar in appearance!

I dumped a handful of sours in each jar and made sure they all looked equal. I also added two pine cones for extra festivity.

20131201_185401While I was pleased with the way it looked on my bathroom counter, something still felt missing. I also didn’t like that there was an outlet right behind the jars. I got out my little chalkboard from another fall decoration and searched Pinterest until I found a cute, simple chalkboard saying that inspired me.20131201_192046Ta-Da! Quick and easy but oh so festive. Just the way I like it!

The other decoration was a simple kitchen centerpiece. I have a store-bought, large centerpiece for holiday gatherings, but I wanted a simpler one for everyday use. I got our trifle bowl out and emptied another bag of Cherry Sours into it. I put another cream candle in the middle and surrounded it with pine cones.  The candle looked a bit too short for this, so I decided to heighten it. Rather than buy a new candle, I set three wine corks on end in the center of the bowl.

20131201_190225

This gave the candle a lot more height and I didn’t have to spend money on a new, taller candle! The pine cones and sours hid the wine corks well. I set the candle on top, set the whole bowl on top of a simple green placemat and voila!

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A very simple and festive centerpiece! I like that it is small so it doesn’t take up a lot of space on my table. Success!

I love that both of these took less than 10 minutes and it was super inexpensive since I had most of the items already.

Happy Hump Day! One day closer to Christmas! 🙂

***

I was in such a Christmas-y mood that I chose a holiday-inspired outfit for school today.

Cardigan: Express

Button-Down: Express

Pin-striped pants: Express

Pumps: Maurices

Necklace: Maurices

Ornament Overload

When I walked into the kitchen this morning, my husband already had the curtains open to our back deck and I stopped dead in my tracks. The sunrise was absolutely mind blowing! Here’s an (unedited) picture I took:

How can your day not be good when you see this first thing? Such a beautiful beginning!

Christmas Ornaments

Ho ho ho! Our halls are decked! The tree is lit! And most importantly, the mistletoe is hung 🙂

I spent nearly all day Saturday packing up most of my fall decorations (I left a few out for our Thanksgiving meal) and pulled out my three huge tubs full of Christmas decorations. I blasted some Christmas music and got to work!

Since Justin and I are going to be traveling during our entire Christmas break, our tree is pathetically small. We just have a 3′ fake tree that I got for $7 from a yard sale. Needless to say, we didn’t hang many ornaments before the tree was full. I get ornaments on sale after Christmas and I had a ton left that didn’t fit on the tree. I still wanted to use them so I got creative with places to hang them!

First up was the banister by our staircase. Since we have a split level, the top banister is actually a “wall” in our living room. I wrapped it in fake garland (which I got for $2 from a thrift store!) and used fishing line to hang the ornaments in between each post. I hung them at different heights and alternated different patterns/textures. It was simple and I really like the way it turned out!

  

Next up was a decorative window that I have hung over a couch. The window is plain white so I used my neon-bright ornaments to pops of color. Again, I hung them with fishing line and lightly taped the fishing line to the top of the window so it was out of sight. Took about 15 minutes and was super easy. I love the result!

Lastly, I took silver and dark bluish-grey ornaments and hung them in a “pyramid” in my bathroom using fishing line. We just have a simple paper shade covering that window so the ornaments dressed it up nicely. The ornaments matched my color scheme perfectly so it was a subtle Christmas touch. I added a strand of the $2 fake garland to complete the look.

All three ideas were very easy and extremely inexpensive. It took about an hour total and cost under $20 (I cannot stress enough the importance of planning ahead and buying Christmas stuff after Christmas! Saves you SO much money!) I love the simplicity of each decoration but they come together to give the house a nice festive feel. Yay!

***

Today I rolled out of bed tired and groggy but I decided to “dress for success” to wake me up and get me in the work mindset. Only one more workday until break!

Jacket: Frenchi

Tank: Express

Skirt: New York & Co.

Tights: Express

Pumps: Maurices

Bracelet set: Express

Earrings: Lia Sophia

Belt: Outlooks (came attached to a pair of capris)