When you live in a small house, every nook, cranny, and surface is valuable. If you don't want to build on an addition to increase your living space, maximizing the space you have is a must!
Our kitchen is tiny. We have one short strip of cabinets and countertop, most of which is taken up by our sink and stove. We've found it challenging to pull meals together with the limited space, and we certainly can't both be working in the kitchen at the same time.
One day it occurred to me that our stove top area had potential to be a work surface. So I made it into one! Here's how.
What you'll need:
I'll start by offering this disclaimer: This is NOT a cutting board! If you're interested in making this a cutting board work surface, research the correct wood types for that type of work.
OK, now back to business. After measuring your stove top and deciding how much you want the work surface to overlap your countertop, use your tape measurer and pencil to mark where you need to make your cuts on the edge glued board. I chose to have my work surface run the full depth of the stove top and overlap my countertop two inches on each side.
When marking your cuts, make two marks. One for the actual cut and another one inch in from the cut mark (or whatever the width is of the inner piece of your circular saw to the left of the blade). You'll be using the saw guide, so you need to account for the inner piece of your circular saw since the saw blade is not flush to the guide.
Once you have your marks in place, snap your saw guide onto the edge glued board, lined up with the mark to the left of your cut mark. I used a framing square to ensure my saw guide was straight, which I encourage you to do as well.
After the guide was in place, I made my cuts! I included a picture of the saw blade I used. It was pure magic. Cut through the wood like butter! I had been using two other blades that kept binding, but this one pulled through.
When I had the edge glued board cut, I moved on to the pieces that would act as "feet" for the bottom of the work surface. I added these because I didn't want the work surface to slide back and forth across the stove top. I wanted the bottom boards to catch against the edges of my countertop.
I placed the feet around 2 1/4 inches in from the outer edges of the work surface. I secured them to the bottom with wood glue and brad nails.
The final steps were to sand and stain! I lightly sanded the entire edge glued board and feet before staining. I also like to wipe down the wood with a damp cloth. I once heard this helps the stain soak in more effectively.
After applying two coats of stain and letting it dry for a few days, the work surface was ready for duty!
Now that I have this, I can't imagine what life was like before! It is so nice to have 34 more inches of usable space in our kitchen. Doesn't sound like a lot, but it has been a game changer.
I’m a big picture person. When it comes to envisioning a space, pulling everything together, and setting the wheels in motion, I’m your girl. But when it comes to the finishing work, the small steps needed to complete a project, I’m the biggest procrastinator! I want to see the big parts of a project DONE. I don’t have patience for the little things.
Case in point – our bathroom. Our beautiful bathroom that we completely gutted and redid just a little over a year and a half ago. Although at first glance it was wonderful and shiny and new, there were still things to do. Like trimming the tub/shower tile out with bullnose tile. And finding a solution to disguise the water marks that were appearing on our deep blue paint under our hanging bath towels and around the sink. Oh, and fixing the vanity drawer knob that fell off months ago.
I finally decided that I was not allowed to start another project until I finished the little things still looming over me in our house. Such a painful decision, but I didn’t want to be the girl who had a hundred partially finished projects to her name. I want to be the girl that gets it DONE!
We got moving on all of the lingering projects in the bathroom. Bullnose tile is ordered. Vanity drawer knob is fixed. And we found a solution to make visible water marks on our walls a thing of the past. In this post, I’ll show you how we installed wood planks in our bathroom to act as a rustic feature on the wall underneath our hanging bath towels and a backsplash for our sink.
What you’ll need:
You’ll start by measuring the surface area you want to cover to purchase the amount of wood planks you need. We bought over because we knew there would be a boo-boo here and there!
We had floor molding that needed to be removed from the area before we could start, so Joel took care of that with a screwdriver and hammer.
Next, you’ll plan how you want your planks to look. We started with a full plank in the bottom left corner of the wall, measured the gap left between the full plank and the tub, and cut a piece to fit that area. We used the rest of the plank we cut to start the next row, continuing to rotate full planks with cut planks to create a non-uniform look.
If we experienced any issues fitting the boards flush with the wall or each other, we either sanded them down just a tad or tapped them in with a hammer.
To secure the boards, we used an air brad nailer with 1 ¼ inch nails. This nail size worked well because the planks were less than 1/2 inch thick.
The circular saw blade we used worked perfectly, because again, the planks were pretty thin.
We chose to do the wall first because we could usually use at least one full plank in each row, which made it easier, and we didn’t exactly know what we were getting ourselves into! It was good practice for us. Around the sink was a little more intricate. Every piece needed cut, measuring had to be precise, and we had both a corner AND an outlet to figure in.
With come creative thinking and teamwork we figured it out and I’m so proud of Joel for his work around the outlet!
To finish everything off, I coated all planks with three layers of polyurethane to prevent any water damage. I chose a satin finish because I’m not a huge fan of high gloss and I wanted the planks to maintain their rustic look. I may eventually use some clear caulk around the edges to further protect the wood.
Here it is, in all its glory! Very proud of us because this is the first woodworking project we’ve attempted together and it went so well. It really was an easy project that made a huge difference in our bathroom. We both absolutely love how it turned out. Once the bullnose tile is installed (I won’t do a tutorial on that because I already did one on tiling here) the bathroom will be DONE and then I can pick something new to work on!
I've been obsessing over kraft paper scroll signs for a year or two now. I don't know why it never occurred to me to make one until this year...I continue to see them in the homes of some of my favorite home décor bloggers and just had to at least give it a try. I'm really glad I did.
Here's what you'll need:
First you'll want to measure the wall space where the scroll will hang. Figure for an extra two inches on both the top and the bottom where the paper will be rolled. I had 30 inches of wall space to work with: two inches for the top roll, 26 inches for the hand lettering area and two inches for the bottom roll.
Unroll a section of your paper, allowing the free end to roll up as desired. Measure and mark the area you will do hand lettering on.
Secure the free end of the paper with clothespins.
Determine how much rolled paper you want at the other end of the scroll and cut free from the whole roll of kraft paper. Secure this end with clothespins as well.
Once I had everything measured and the ends secured, I started hand lettering! I used my pencil to trace out the saying I chose. For the angled lettering, I used my tape measurer as a guide.
I'm really cheap, so I just used paint I already had. I wanted to do black lettering, so chose to use some leftover chalk board paint that seems to be a bottomless can!
I used a small paint brush to trace over my pencil lines. I mixed fonts and strokes to give it a playful look (and to disguise any mistakes I made!).
After the paint dried, I placed some glue under the rolled up paper to secure. I also added some staples later on to add extra reinforcement, because - gravity.
Next came the wrapping paper roll to hang the scroll from.
I tied my string to a pencil and looped it through the paper roll. I then inserted the paper roll into the top roll of the scroll.
Once the paper roll was through, I pulled the string to my desired length and tied/knotted the ends.
Here she is, in all of her glory! For being a beginner in hand lettering, I have to say I was pretty proud of myself. And just to give you an idea of what I was working from, here's the image that inspired me!
I went all out this year when it came to Christmas décor. I decked our halls inside and out in a day. I couldn't stop myself. I was that pumped to transition into the most wonderful time of the year! I felt a little silly though, because it was an abnormal 60 degree November day here in Iowa!
I splurged a little bit this season and purchased a few new items to add to the decorations we've had for years. Much of what we have we 1) bought when we got married, 2) inherited when we bought our first home, or 3) inherited when we bought our second home! A lot of really great pieces, but many had seen better days...
Although I bought some new items, some assembly was required. I rarely buy a completely ready-to-use piece. I normally buy the elements to make a ready-to-use piece.
Here are just a few of the items I made or curated to make our home feel magical this holiday season!
DIY Christmas Wreath
I forgot how expensive pre-made wreaths are - $50-$100 plus! I was not willing to pay that much because I wanted a wreath for both our front and back door. I ran across some plain wreaths that were in the $10-$20 range, and they were 50% off. More my style. I then browsed a Christmas accessory isle that had small, festive items that could easily be clipped into or twisted into a wreath. Three small accessories was all I needed to create a simple yet elegant wreath. After discounts, this wreath cost me under $10 to make! I plan to carry this wreath into other seasons by simply swapping out the accessories.
I don't want to be misleading - I did not make these stockings, I just added the letters! Stockings are another item that can be pretty pricey. I found these stockings at the dollar store. I picked up a single piece of gold, glittery scrapbook paper for the lettering. Using a Sharpie, I drew out the letters on the back of the scrapbook paper. I'm getting better at hand lettering, you could certainly use stencils if needed. I then cut out the letters and glued them to the stockings! Easy as that. And by the way, we don't have kids...these stockings are for...OUR DOGS - Homer and Madison!! You could say we love them a little bit.
I absolutely LOVE to shop my house. I shop my house before stepping a foot out the door to go to a store. I believe that if you can take a moment to look at what you have with fresh eyes, there are so many possibilities!
The space above and the vignettes below are mostly pulled together from items I had. The only new items are the Poinsettia floral bouquets and the red/gold ornaments.
I upcycled this sled last Christmas. See how here.
I also tried incorporating natural items from our property, like the branches and sticks in this planter.
I have been seeing cute little pumpkins made from cloth everywhere this season. I decided not to purchase any because I knew there had to be a DIY option. After some planning on my own and Pinterest searching, I compiled my ideas and created my own version of a no sew cloth pumpkin!
What you'll need:
Start by cutting the sleeve off your chosen sweater or t-shirt.
Flip the sleeve inside out and secure a rubber band at one end.
Flip the sleeve right side out and pour rice into the open end of the sleeve. Keep adding rice until you reach the desired shape of your pumpkin. (Good luck not spilling!)
Once you're pleased with how your pumpkin is shaping up, twist the cloth at the top of the pumpkin and secure with another rubber band.
Next, you'll start creating the stem. Starting at the bottom of the rubber band you just put on, start winding twine around the rubber band and fabric, twisting the cloth as you wrap the twine tightly around it.
Once you get to the top of the stem, wind the twine back down to the bottom and secure the end with all purpose glue.
The last thing you'll do is trim the extra fabric from the top of the stem.
I used a men's sweater, a women's sweater and a men's t-shirt (all pulled from our closets) for my pumpkins. The different sizes and fabrics of the clothing pieces created three unique shapes that I liked equally!
The rice gives these pumpkins nice weight and allows you to shift their shapes so you can style these a little easier than if you were to use Fiberfill for stuffing (which is a technique I ran across a lot for these).
It literally took me minutes to pull these together and I loved that this project allowed me to repurpose a few pieces of old clothing!
I'm preparing myself for the day frost kills off my flowers and garden, which will be sooner than I think, and a sad day...So to fill the space my outdoor plants took up in my heart this year, I'm attempting to hoard a few house plants to hold me over until next Spring.
I've always wanted to start a terrarium, so gave it a shot. It was super simple and turned out so pretty. I now understand why they're such a popular way to grow and display plants.
Here's what you'll need:
Start by cleaning the inside of your terrarium.
Next you need to establish your drainage layer, filling the bottom with small rocks. I laid down a little over an inch of rock.
I then put in a thin layer of activated charcoal. This helps ensure excess water doesn't stay in the soil and cause root rot.
Once I had the drainage layer in place, I started adding potting soil. I put a think layer in, a little over 3 inches, expecting it to settle as I began to water the plants. I also wanted enough dirt to place the plants into!
The final step was adding the plants! I selected four small plants of different varieties from Treasures on Main in Westby, Wisconsin. Three will be a little taller, one is more of a ground cover.
There are so many things you can do with terrariums. A quick search on Pinterest will reveal image after image of cool ideas! Get creative! I plan to add some colored rocks and small figurines to mine once I see how the plants grow in.
Over the summer months we completed a really fun project at our family cabin - a fishing pole photo display showcasing the Miller side (my mom's side) of our family.
Here's what you'll need:
We started by marking out where we wanted to secure the pole on the wall. We used one screw between the handle and reel, and one screw at the tip of the pole after determining how far we wanted the pole to bend above the doorway.
From there, we added fishing line by tying it to the loops located on the pole itself. We cut the lines to various lengths depending on where we wanted the fishing lures and photo frames to fall.
Once the line was in place, we started attaching the fishing lures and photo frames. The fishing lures have small hooks that pop out of the top, so we were able to easily secure them to the lines. To make sure the photo frames stayed on the line, we placed one thin poster mounting square on the back of each photo - pinching the fishing line between the mounting square and the back of the frame - so they dangle freely vs. being stuck to the wall.
Here are some close ups of this project:
And here's my cute grandma with the finished project. We have her to thank for so many good memories at the cabin!
I'm sharing this here because it's something I didn't know about and I think it might be helpful for someone with a small pet needing fixed!
We recently got a new puppy, Homer. He is a year old, but was not fixed when we adopted him from the Cedar Bend Humane Society. Part of the deal before he "officially" became ours is that he needed to be neutered.
We took him in just a few days ago, and let me tell you, it was an emotional day for me. I have a tendency to jump to the worst conclusion and was so afraid something bad might happen to him during surgery. I've become quite attached to Homer in a short time and just couldn't imaging our life without him if something happened.
Good news though...he lived! No issues, went perfectly fine (as I should have known it would).
The humane society didn't have a cone for us to use, so we had to pick something up from the pet store. We opted for the inflatable "doughnut" type contraption vs. the traditional cone. Long story short, it didn't work.
Overnight, he found his way around the doughnut and was licking his incision site, which was a BIG problem.
At 6 a.m., Joel and I were up brainstorming ideas about what to do since neither of us could stay home from work to monitor his activity. No pet stores opened before 9 a.m., so we had to get creative while very not awake. Eventually, we ended up deciding that a baby onesie and safety pins was the answer.
Joel made a quick run to WalMart (the only place open at the time) and purchased baby onsies, safety pins, and male puppy diapers.
We put a diaper on him first (since we were leaving him free, out of his crate for the first time, and didn't want him to potty in the onesie). Then the onesie, with the shoulders and bottom snaps secured with safety pins.
This method has worked GREAT. We put everything on him before work and bed, letting him run around "naked" when we're able to monitor him. It offers full protection and appears to be more comfortable for him than a cone.
I highly recommend this DIY method for small pets (cats and dogs) that have just been fixed over use of a "doughnut" or cone - both for the comfort of the pet and because the cuteness factor is off the charts!
My Fall decorating routine is in full swing. Once September 1st hit and the temperatures started to dip, I was in the mood!
When the mood struck, I also happened to be cleaning out our basement. It was great timing because I was able to "shop our house" for some décor pieces that I could use this Fall.
I felt particularly inspired by these finds:
The frame and piece of driftwood were something I had hanging on the porch of our last house. The frame used to have a screen inside it, but it had come undone after being haphazardly shoved in the corner of the basement...which actually worked in my favor for this project. The baskets were finds I picked up at Gooselake Creations, but hadn't found the right spot for them yet.
I played around with different ideas and really thought it would be neat to make a "3D" piece of art using the items mentioned above and some artificial flowers.
Our dog, Homer, loved my vision and was interested in helping!
We had a large frame hanging in our entertainment center area already (see below), so I was able to utilize the existing nails for the frame. Because the baskets had some weight to them, I chose to nail them into the wall.
A surprise I wasn't expecting was the outlet we added during our renovation in case we ever mount a TV to the wall. With the open frame, the outlet was not aesthetically pleasing! I chose to cover that with a piece of burlap. The burlap is optional if you do this project, it was a necessity for me!
Once I had everything in place, I started arranging the flowers I purchased inside the baskets. I found some beautiful mums in cream, burgundy, orange, and yellow at Dollar Tree (one of my favorite places for artificial flowers).
This project was as simple as that! See below for the finished product:
I really enjoy looking at homes when I'm driving to wherever I'm going. I like to look at the exterior styles, love when I can catch a glimpse of the inside (not in a creepy way, I promise), and am always looking at outdoor decor. There are just so many ideas out there to draw inspiration from!
I'm a big fan of porches. I recently drove by a home that had colorful pennant banners hanging from the ceiling of their large, wraparound porch. It looked so adorable, I couldn't get it out of my head...
We're tight with our budget right now, so I wanted to find a cheap option to execute this idea ASAP. Without any luck finding pre-made banners at discount stores, I decided to make my own with two items I already had at home: twine and burlap.
Here are all the supplies you'll need:
I knew I had two, eight foot strands of twine to fill with pennants, so I cut quite a few to start and then started laying them out along the twine I had measured out.
Once I had all of the pennants cut, I started weaving the twine through the top of the pennants:
After I had all of the pennants on the twine, I put a dot of all-purpose glue where the twine and burlap intersected.
When the glue was applied to every pennant, I hung the banners up to dry:
And here's the final product on our front porch:
I think these turned out so cute and because they are plain burlap, they will definitely look good with my Fall decor, but will also look good during other seasons throughout the year! They would also work well indoors.