We are a young couple remodeling our first house...one outdated / ugly thing at a time. This blog documents our remodel projects and ideas.


Paint Chip Business Cards {DIY}

Since I am venturing out into the world with items for sale, I probably need business cards. And since I am a DIYer, I wanted to try my hand at making my own business card. So I started brain storming ideas and landed on paint chips - they are colorful and a good representation of my business. Plus I have a ton of them laying around the house, and I can always make a trip to the store to get a few more if need be.

To make my business cards, I used Valspar 6-color chips. They are the perfect size. You will need paint chips, scrap paper, and a stapler - I forgot to mention that these are also note pads...yay for double duty items!

First, fold the smallest color over to make a flap. Then put about 8 pieces of paper under the flap:


Finally, just fold over the rest of the paint chip and tuck it under the little flap:

So easy, so fast, and so FREE!!! But you are probably saying to yourself "those don't have any info on them..." I know, that is the second part of the project - stamping the cards. And since I am a DIYer, I wanted to try my hand at making my own stamp too. Which I succeeded at. So details on a DIY stamp is coming your way.

Any business card makers out there? Or have you seen any unique ideas that you care to share?

And these are the business cards that I am using at the moment. They were inspired by EcoFest since it is all about the environment and being "green". I bet the business card design will change as my business develops...but I probably will always have the little paint chip note pads around since they are cute, and people love free items.


Built A Sewing Machine Cabinet

I have slowly started sewing more and more. And the console table that I have been using to house my sewing machine is not very practical. Yes, a console table. It is great for the length, but it is a little high and it is a lot too big for the guest bedroom. So, I decided I would build a cabinet. I have had success with a headboard and a desk, so why not a sewing cabinet?! My inspiration for the cabinet came from my friend's folding IKEA table in her kitchen. It has great storage and folding leaves, which seems perfect for this project.

First I measured my sewing machine to see how large the cabinet needed to be - about 20" deep. Then it was time to cut the plywood - two sides, the bottom, a shelf, the top, and one leaf.

Then I drilled pilot holes and drilled out enough room to counter-sink the screws.

Now it was time to assemble the box. I used a little wood glue and a few screws to hold the box together. First I installed the sides to the bottom piece. Then I installed the shelf, and then the top. So I worked from the bottom up. And here is my secret - I used a saw horse to keep the side pieces stable since I only have two arms.

Once this was built, I flipped it over to install the leaf. I hinged the leaf so it would hang to the side when not in use. This makes the foot-print of the cabinet much smaller, but I can easily raise the leaf when I am sewing.

Now the box is built! I filled the holes with wood filler and then primed and painted it.

But, I don't like the finished product. Not because of the box or construction of it...but because I am not happy with the guest room / craft room. It isn't working for me, it seems like I am working for it. So, this box might or might not stick around because a desk overhaul is in the works. And I am not using the cabinet to sew with...it has become a storage cabinet - prepare for a scary photo:

The cabinet houses paint supplies and canvas, as well as a few to-do projects on the top. I have the sewing machine on my desk. Building the cabinet was good practice, but not the right solution for my space since it isn't being used for the intended purpose. Back to the drawing board...or pinterest for inspiration.



I'm finally doing it. This dog and pony show of mine is hitting the road and hoping to make it. In English - I signed up for a booth at the upcoming EcoFest in Conway on September 10th. It is a little scary, stepping out into the big world and putting my wares out for public viewing and, hopefully, sale. But it is time. I have been hoarding items and rehabbing them with passion. Now, I am going to test the waters with the buying public.

I have lots of ideas and projects up my sleeve for EcoFest. From my repurposed business cards, to my booth decor and items, I will share it here. And in the spirit of sharing, here are some projects I've been busy with:

Plus tons more!! I have plenty of projects to talk about, I just need to put the paint brush down long enough to actually get them loaded on the ol' blog. Think I might be entering the blog-burn-out stage where I can't seem to get the posts online. Someone please light a fire under me and get me going again. Or maybe I just need another red bull!


Tripod Lamp From Music Stand - DIY

When I found a rusty music stand at a yard sale for $1, I instantly knew that it would be my new lamp. Well, I knew that I was going to try to make it a lamp. I haven't ever made a lamp...until now. And the best part is that this is an easy project and can be done quickly.

You will need a stand, and a lamp kit. (Plus a bulb if you want it to shine, and a lampshade if you choose.) And yes, that is the old range and a messy dining room. In my defense, I "lost" my camera and I don't stage photos, I just take them.

First, open the package. Ha! I'm not going to be that detailed. Really first, run the wire from the lamp kit up the center tube of the music stand.

Then you want to put on the bottom piece that holds the harp. Don't know what it is technically named, but be sure to put it on first, before you wire up the socket. Trust me on this, I wired the socket up first and had to take it apart to put the harp holder on. Lesson learned.

Now wire up the socket. Take apart the socket so you can see the two screws. Then screw one wire to each of the screws and tighten them down. My electrician hubby would probably school me on to the proper electrical current and terminals...but he wasn't home and I did it all by myself with no teaching.

It is time to see if your wiring-work is legit. Screw a bulb into the socket and plug it in - be sure to place the cover of the screws so you don't get shocked! (Again, trust me on this. First time I have ever been zapped and it made me laugh, but this is no joking matter. Hubs would have shut the job down if he knew that last piece of info.)

If you are lucky, the bulb will shine. Woot for apprentice electricians, and/or DIY divas! Anyways, now you want to glue the harp holder and socket to the top of the tripod.

After it is dry, install the harp and lampshade. Then you have your very own tripod lamp.

Total project costs - $1. I already had the shade ($2 from a thrift store, that will be recovered) and a lamp kit, from this lamp project gone wrong. One whole dollar for a room-warming, corner-brightening, rusty-goodness lamp. I love it!

Pssst - I took to Google to see just how much money I saved on this DIY. Looks like hundreds...
Tripod Metal Desk Lamp
$369.91 from Lamps Plus


Cutting Up The Hi-Macs, DIY-style

The new-to-us range that I bought from the Habitat Restore is larger than our current slide-in range, which means the counter tops have to be cut. I knew this was coming - when we had the LG hi-macs installed, they told us that the range we had was 27" and the standard size is 30" for a slide-in range. The installers said to call them back when I got a new stove and they would cut the counter tops for me. Perfect...until they quoted me $100. Yikes! It was time to cut the counter tops ourselves.

My only worry about DIY- cutting the solid surface hi-macs was the warranty. So I called Lowe's (where we bought them from) and asked about the warranty - and to my surprise, cutting the counter tops for the range wouldn't void the warranty. But, if we messed up and cut wrong, the warranty wouldn't cover it. No pressure, right?! So what does a girl do? Call her dad. And he gladly agreed to help and bring his rotozip (which is an amazing tool, and I think I need one).

Now for the fun part - actually cutting the solid surface counter tops. The tool of choice is a rotozip with a sc5 bit. First we measured and marked the cut lines. And then we measured again. And once more for good measure, pun intended. I say we, but these are obviously not my hands, they are dad's:

Then we lined up the square to use as a cut-line guide. (Actually, dad lined up the square. I was moral support.) And secured the square with tape and clamps.

The bit of the rotozip is one inch from the outside cage/protector-thing. So the square is lined up one inch away from the cut line. Look closely, you can barely see the pencil mark in the photo above. Then the rotozip can be ran along the square to ensure that the cut line is straight and staying on track. Like so:

I suggest watching the video without sound...it is loud since the rotozip is on. The rotozip will eat through the solid surface easily and spit out tons of white dust/confetti-like pieces.

Dad ran the rotozip down the length of the square. When he got to the end, we moved the square and then secured it with tape. We continued around the perimeter - he working the rotozip, and me holding the square and blowing away the white dust - until the counter tops were cut.

Then it was time to bring in the new range and watch my electrician hubby work. Side note - I just noticed that you can see the old hardwood color where he is sitting, and then the new dark walnut color in the top left. I hope no one ever pulls out the range because I didn't refinish the hardwood under the range.

After he worked his magic on the out-of-code wiring and hooked up the range, I jumped for joy and gave everyone hugs. I am so excited about the new range and love how it updates the kitchen...all for 225 bucks! Money well spent.

Here is a side-by-side of the old and new ranges:

Three cheers to the Habitat Restore! And three cheers to my dad! I'm not planning on cutting any more on the counter tops...but now I know how-to just in case. Have you cut on your counter tops? Do you need a rotozip too?


Shopping At The Restore

It is no secret that I love to hunt for treasures at any thrift store, but one of my favorites is the Habitat for Humanity Restore. You never know what you will find inside - from building supplies to home decor. So on my latest trip, I snapped a few pics with my phone to share some of the goodies.

I was first surprised at the new tile - pallets and pallets of it. All of the boxes were still wrapped in plastic. There were both 12x12 and 18x18 in brown, beige, and gray. And very reasonably priced at $9.95 a box. I don't know how much the broom cost.

Then I ran across these dog houses. I have never seen dog houses at the Restore, so I had to take a picture. They were a good size and well built. With a little paint and TLC, they would make a fine casa for a dog. I would love to paint a cute house for my puppies, but they are much too spoiled to stay outside. I didn't see a price and didn't ask.

And then I came upon a sea of school desks. Seriously, there had to be at least 50 of them stacked up. I can picture them with funky color spray painted legs and a mod-podge map top. Or a chalkboard paint top. Tons of potential...but I have no use for a kid-size school desk. Click here for a knock-off mod podge recipe.

I also found these two attic ladders. They were in perfect shape and priced to sell at $25. And I need a new ladder because ours is so womper-jawed it is scary dangerous. But I decided to momentarily pass so that I could measure the attic hole in the house. I would hate to get the wrong size and then have to reframe the attic opening. I will stick with scary-ladder before that much work.

Finally I purchased this:

I could not believe my eyes when I saw it. A white, slide-in electric range with a flat surface, priced at 225 beans...sold in an almost-instant. I first texted a pic of it to the hubby to let him know I was buying it and then to my mom to get the final seal of approval. I really wanted stainless steel (who doesn't?!) but with the white cabinets and existing white dishwasher, this was the best route to go...especially since it is worlds nicer than the old one and cost pennies compared to a brand new range.

Now we are I am the proud owner of a new-to-me range that is bigger than the old one...which means the counter tops have to be cut. Never cut on solid surface counter tops before, but sure am going to give it a go. Stay tuned! So, any great finds at a thrift store lately? Ever found an item that was too-good-to-be-true? Is your dog in need of a new casa? Or are you going to go buy one of the school desks to upcycle and relove?


Floor Plan

During some down time at the conference, I grabbed a pen and started drawing the house floor plan. I thought this would be easy to do...after all, I do live there. However, it was not easy and I actually had to draw it twice - the first time I forgot the coat closet and pantry. So, here is my horrible drawing of my floor plan:

Now you can get the flow of the house. You can see how the laundry room is like a hallway and know where the Man Cave is. That is if you can read my hand writing.

I will make time to measure and draw a proper floor plan. It will be different, I can see mistakes in my drawing. But the general flow and placement is close.


How To Paint Hardware

When we bought our house, all of the hardware was brass and gold. And being the cheap-o that I am, I had to try spray painting the hardware instead of buying new. But....I didn't take any picture of the process. What was I thinking? So, when a friend (hi Janet!) asked me to paint the knobs and hinges from her rent house, I excitedly said yes! And I remembered to take pictures this time.

First you need to remove all of the gunk and crud that has built up over time. The easiest way to do this is to soak everything in the kitchen sink in warm water with TSP. (TSP is trisodium phosphate and is a great degreaser. I bought my carton at Lowe's in the paint section.) Now go watch a movie while the TSP does all of the hard work.

After the movie, take the hardware out of the sink and quickly scrub it to make sure that it is sparkling clean. Then you want to sand everything. I used 220 grit paper and sanded and sanded and sanded. Make sure that you sand the entire surface.

Janet wanted a custom color....something like oil rubbed bronze, but not as dark, with a little tan. The best solution was mixing two different colors of spray paint. To get the color, first spray a light coat of oil rubbed bronze. Then a light coat of saddle tan. Do this 5 times. The end result is a great color.

But before painting, first it is primer time. Spray the hardware with gray primer. Use a piece of styrofoam to stick the screws in so you can paint the heads easier. Also be sure to paint the back-side of the hardware first. This way the visible front side will have the smoothest finish.

After the primer is dry, start spray painting. You can do a single color or a mix of colors...but the key is to spray multiple light coats. These knobs have 5 coats of paint. I'm not going to go in to detail about spray painting. Just keep the coats light, keep your arm moving, and keep the can about 10 inches from what you are painting.

Final step is the clear coat. Pick what ever finish of clear coat that suits your fancy. I used satin on this project. Evenly spray the top coat over the entire surface. Then let the knobs dry and fully cure before installing them.

Here is the sample card and the finished knobs. I'd say that the color is fairly close.

That sums it up. Painting hardware is easy and cheap...and it will stand up to normal wear and tear if you prep the pieces correctly. Have y'all painted any hardware? Any tips that I might have forgotten?

Psst - I will be out most of this week at a work conference. And since I'm the executive chair of the conference and running around fighting fires all day, I don't have time to do projects or write posts.


We Start 'Em Early

Umm....it is August. I totally forgot the July recap. How does time fly so quickly?

Anyways, I wanted to share two pictures of my niece, Em. (Notice the pun in the title?) While working on the new old house, she was insistent on helping. So we got her a paint brush and put her to work.

She quickly realized that what we were doing was not fun. Sure we might have laughed and joked while we worked, but it was so hot that I think we were more delusional and crazy than anything. Em must have thought we looked like we were having fun. But since we are all DIYers, she was a great help and such a trooper.

So....HAPPY 6th BIRTHDAY my little DIYer. Glad to know that you started early and I am super proud of you!


Birds Of A Feather

When my friend came over the other day with a box in her hands, I knew she had brought me something great. And it was a surprise...I had no idea she was bringing something! She told me that while going through her grandmother's things, she instantly knew that I would want what was in the box. (The entire time she is telling the story, I have no clue what it is.) So, when I opened it, there were two vintage, ugly metal peacocks inside. She was so right, I instantly fell in love with them!

One was green-ish, and the other was blue-ish. But they were both rusty in a few spots. These twins were too great to pass up. And I knew that a little spray paint would fix them right up.

I grabbed the twins in my hands and walked around the house trying to figure out where to place them. Finally I decided that they both belonged in the sun room. It is the obvious choice since Merlin (the hubby's bird) is stationed in the sun room. I can corral all of the birds into one spot - the sun room.

So I took to the yard to spray paint these peacocks white. I know, plain ol' white again. But I didn't want anything bright because I want the mustache photos to be the main attraction in the sun room.

Drying time is about 10 seconds right now because the 110 degree temps instantly bake the paint dry. The back of the can says to spray under 90 degrees...at this rate, it would be November before I could paint the peacocks. So I broke the rules and painted them anyways. And after they dried, I hung them on the wall with a single nail. And then stepped back to admire my new, free peacocks.

And guess what I found on Pinterest....the same white peacocks! Looks like I am going to have to find some more peacocks so my flock can grow!
Source - Jennifer Bell on Pinterest
Thanks to Tori, my friend that brought me the peacocks. I bet that she is going to want them back now! And thanks to my mom and dad for fueling my spray paint addiction by gifting me with a case of spray paint at Christmas...this was the last can. Good thing my birthday is next month.


My Life In Pictures

Here is what has been going on in my life lately (just DIY-related), all in pictures thanks to my iPhone.

Lots of spray painting:

And building with pallets:

With a little furniture rehabbing:

Plus a sneak peek inside a gorgeous house:

And a new toy to play with...the paint sprayer, not the bicycle:

I have been a busy bee. And there are so many great things I need to share with y'all...but first I must find the time to write a proper blog post.