Monthly Archives: September 2011


When I first started blogging, I thought maybe it would be fun to document and show off all the home decor and crafty projects I ‘d be doing anyway. I had no idea that my little project-completing engine would be hurled into overdrive. I’m so motivated by the desire to always have more new and interesting projects to share with y’all! I’m awestruck when I think about how many projects I’ve tackled just since I started blogging.

Can you believe that this was my entryway for the first year that we lived in this house?

And just look at it now (sporting a new bench and shelf)…

I took the porch from this…

To this (after I added a mailbox,painted the door, added plants, brought in art, stripped the original hardware, and finally spray painted the deadbolt to match the knob and lockplate)…

In the living room, I made a zebra-print floorcloth, constructed a shelf out of a floorboard I found on the side of the road, brought in a vintage quilt, made a pouf, and am almost done reupholstering the wing chairs. (not to mention some smaller projects, like a throw pillow, some wall art, and patterned coasters)



The dining room isn’t quite as dramatic, probably because I’d already brought in the dropcloth slipcovered sofa, leaning bookshelf, blue painted dresser, and floating wall shelves before I started blogging. But even with all that work already done I’ve tweaked it by switching out the coffee table and painting it mustard yellow, creating a set of eclectic dining chairs, and swapping the tablecloth for a fringed burlap runner.



There are lots of smaller projects in here as well, like the paper garland on the dresser, the fabric flower pillow I made using a brooch that I wore with my wedding dress, and the acorn silhouette I made just last week.

The kitchen is woefully stagnant. Nothing has changed at all, but I’ve got big plans for this space, like painting over the fleshy beige, adding some upper cabinets on either side of the stove, and opening up that awkward pass-through to create a casual eating area. I just gotta save up some moolah, which isn’t easy when I’m always blowing through my monthly home improvement budget to fund more projects to blog about.

The laundry room was so sad before I started blogging that I didn’t even include it in the original house tour. But Nick and I painted it blue and switched out those awkward cabinets for some open shelving that spans the full width of the space, adding tons of personality and function.



Upstairs, in the master bedroom, we got new bedding, reupholstered the hope chest, painted the armoire and chest of drawers, made a little chalkboard message area, put curtains on the fifty billion windows, added flair with some homemade throw pillows, and brought in some art.



Even the rooms we’re not really focusing on got a little love, like new hardware in the guest room



Some fabric organization in the office…



And a new shower curtain (with ribbon detail), bath mat, and art wall in the downstairs bath



I’ve been a busy lady these last seven months! I just can’t believe how quickly things have changed. The whole house just has so much more personality now. A few years ago, I couldn’t have cared less about home decor. But something about having a house awakened the creative bug in me and I’ve had so much fun discovering and refining my personal style (luckily I had a rental house to practice on first-imagine lime green bedroom walls and all my stuff from college. I’m glad those days are behind me). I’m sooooo excited to see what the house looks like six months from now. Maybe I’ll finally have saved up enough dough for some upgrades in the kitchen? Or be decorating a nursery (for the child I have yet to conceive)? Only time will tell, but you can bet I’ll be blogging about it.

P.S. check out the house tour page for more pics of each room!

Five Home Decor Standbys

Behold, my top five types of accessories that I use over and over again, in every room of my house.


They’re cheap and plentiful at libraries and thrift stores. I look for hardbacks with colorful covers hiding under the dust jackets, then stack them up wherever my heart desires.


I look for them at Goodwill, discount/dollar stores, and on sale at Hobby Lobby, then use them to corral random crap and add some natural texture to the room.


I get a lot of my random little whatnots from thrift stores. You’d be surprised at some of the awesome little knicknacks hiding amongst those shelves. And a lot of things that aren’t obviously awesome can be made so by a coat of paint. I had to talk myself out of buying a solid wood 12-inch tall pineapple finial for $8 today. I was envisioning it painted glossy white, and I’m still thinking about going back for it tomorrow…”Found objects” from places like Pottery Barn are such a rip off. Go out and find stuff yourself and save a lot of moolah. When it comes to which whatnots catch my fancy, I’m particularly into anything anything silver, white, or glass. Extra points if it reminds me of something meaningful.

Framed Photos

Framed photos just add so much personality and a sense of home. I get my frames from Ikea, thrift stores, and dollar/discount stores, and my photos from either Snapfish (for pics I’ve taken myself or snagged from friends) or through the professional photographers at friends’ weddings. I was in four weddings in one year, including my own, so Nick and I are lucky enough to have kind of a lot of professionally taken photos of us together. Tip: if you’re going to be standing in a wedding, go out of your way to be helpful and friendly to the (probably stressed) photographer. I bet you ten dollars you’ll be rewarded with a few really nice pics of yourself (and your date).

And finally…

Throw Pillows

I usually make them myself, but I do buy them occasionally if they’re under twenty bucks or so. I love throw pillows for the pop of color and pattern they add to space with minimal commitment, plus they’re so comfy!

Six months ago, I would have put plants on this list, but I’ve given up on keeping them alive. There are only two plants left inside of the probably dozen that I’ve had in the last year: rosemary and aloe. I rarely water either and they seem to like it that way.

What are your accessorizing standbys? Large statement pieces? Candles? Mirrors? Plants?

DIY Wine Cork Bathmat

297 corks

4 hot glue gun burns

one laceration

a whole lotta hot glue

Y’all, I finally made the wine cork bath mat that I’ve been talking about for months. My friend Jen works at a fancy schmancy restaurant in New Orleans (where they apparently pop a lotta bottles of wine) and gave me a HUGE paper bag full of corks last time I saw her. Seeing as I’ve only managed to accrue about six corks on my own in the months I’ve been collecting them, Jen’s donation was a major boon to the project.

I gathered my supplies: a gripping rug pad, my bag of corks, my hot glue gun, and glue sticks.

I’d been cooped up inside all day working on the wing chairs, so I chose to tackle this project on the porch. I needed some fresh air.

Look at all those corks!

I started at one end of the rug pad and just started testing out different ways to arrange the corks.

Once I was happy with the look, I glued it down cork by cork, then starting laying out the next row.

Then another. I didn’t have a set pattern, I just sort of winged it as I went.

And another, and another, and another…this was sort of a repetitive project. Dachshund present for scale.

You know what’s kind of crazy? Every row came out to be exactly 21 corks, no matter how I arranged it. Except for one that was a little wonky-that one only had 20.

Eventually I got tired of the definitely-not-fall temperature outside and moved the whole operation to the living room. But it looks like my hot glue was bleeding through the rug pad and onto the porch floor. I had to pull pretty hard to get it up, and a little bit of the rug pad was left behind. Inside I worked on a piece of cardboard and reached under the rug to loosen it every row or two, before the glue could completely dry.

And about an hour later, ta-da! I ran out of corks before I got to the end of the 2×3 rug pad. Can you believe it? 300 corks and still not enough.

I walked away for a little while midway through this project and by the time I came back Pistachio had dislodged four of the wine corks for her personal pleasure. Looks like this thing needed some cat-proofing. I went back over the entire rug and glued each cork to the ones around it. You may want to do this even if you don’t have pets, as it made the whole thing a lot more sturdy.

You’ve been foiled, Hitler cat.

There were a few gaps, so I used a sharp knife to slice a few corks up into smaller pieces to jam in wherever needed.

If you know me well you will not be at all surprised to hear that I thought I didn’t need a cutting board to cut my corks, I could just carefully hold them as I sliced. Then I sliced my thumb. I took a picture, but my friend Lauren told me people might not like to see a picture of my bloody thumb. So just imagine. And don’t worry, I’m fine.

l wasn’t a big fan of the pieces-jammed-in look, so I used them sparingly and only when really needed. But now that I have the rug in my bathroom I notice that I can’t even find the spots where I filled holes, but the remaining empty spaces are glaringly obvious to me. So I’ll probably be going back and stuffing some more little cork pieces in there.

I cut off the excess rug pad and carefully moved the rug to the bathroom. It’s very stiff and really doesn’t transport very well. It kind of snapped in half while I was carrying it, but when I laid it down flat it looked perfectly fine.

See how obvious the empty areas are? I’m definitely going to go back and fill them in.

I’m muy happy with how it looks in the room.

Next up: ruffling up a little more ribbon and permanently attaching it to the shower curtain, since it’s all still held on with pins (read about that project here). Also, replacing those towels with something more colorful to contrast the all black and white space. I got those towels from my wedding registry. At the time Nick and I were in a rental house and had no idea what the bathroom situation would be once we got our own place, so it seemed smart to go neutral. I’m really glad I did that because our upstairs bathroom A) is tiny and B) has red walls, so towels with a lot of color or pattern would probably just be too much in there. Since this bathroom is bigger and a lot more neutral, I can have a little more fun with it. Plus, since this is a guest bathroom slash someday maybe kids’ bathroom, it’s nice to bring in a little more punch and personality.

How adorable are these (from Anthro)?


But of course they’re pricey. Maybe I could just get the hand towels ($18 each) and then get some more reasonably priced bath towels that coordinate? Simple, clean, white bath towels are always a good bet and easy to come by. Fun, poppy hand towels and clean white bath towels and wash cloths? What do you think?

Wing Chair Reupholstery Update

I spent the majority of this weekend toiling away at reupholstering my wing chairs. They’re still not done, but the end is now in sight. Here’s where we stand:

Looking pretty good, if I do say so myself. The cushion cover on the chair on the left is about 75% done. It still doesn’t have a bottom or a zipper on the back.

And both chairs are still missing the little pieces that hide the mess at the front of the arms. The covers require piping, and all my piping efforts have thus far been devoted to the cushion covers.

Speaking of piping, I taught myself how to make it and to attach it to fabric. Here’s the bottom piece of that half-finished cushion cover.

I had a lot of trouble attaching the back piece on chair #1, and a few weeks later it’s falling apart. Looks like I’m going to have to re-strategize. I’m thinking of cutting a piece of cardboard to match the curve of the chair, gluing the fabric over it, then stapling it to the chair from underneath.

I left the back of chair #2 open for now until I’m sure about my cardboard plan.

Both chairs still need to have their bottoms covered up, which is the very last step after every other piece that wraps under the chair has been stapled. I’ll just use some scrap muslin for this after I’ve got the back situation sorted out.

Looking at the chairs now compared to how they were before inspires me so much to keep going. I feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Wow, I really haven’t rearranged my shelf much in the last three and a half months since this photo was taken. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, I always say. Those mauve velvet chairs, on the other hand, were definitely in need of some TLC and I’m sooo happy to finally be seeing a change. I don’t usually do well with large projects that can’t be completed in a day or two, so I’m kind of impressed with myself for coming back to these babies weekend after weekend and little by little getting it done. The only major hurdle left: teaching myself to sew a zipper. I’m shaking in my skinny jeans just thinking about it.

Spray Paint Acorn Silhouette

I’ve been just itching for another spray paint project ever since my little deadbolt makeover went so swimmingly last week. I think it’s because A) I’m absolutely in love with the sparkly antique bronze color, and B) I cannot believe that I might actually not hate spray paint and want to test the boundaries of this new relationship. I racked my brain for something I could paint that was small-ish and not too risky.

On Friday, I got the idea to use a stencil to make a spray paint silhouette! And since I’ve been thinking I should probably come to terms with the fact that summer is nearly over (even though we’re still seeing 90 degree temps here in southern Louisiana), I decided to go seasonal. We have about a million acorns dropping on our roof and yard right now courtesy of the lovely old oak tree out front, so an acorn it was.

I googled around for an image to use as a template for cutting my silhouette.


I printed it on cardstock and cut it out, then took a scrap piece of wood and painted it using some mistint paint I got for a dollar at Home Depot.

With my board painted and my stencil cut out, I gathered the rest of my supplies and got down to business.

I covered the back of the stencil with spray adhesive and let it sit while I shook up my can of spray paint. Letting the adhesive cure for a few minutes before pressing the stencil to the board makes it easier to remove later.

Then I just pressed it on there, trying to get it as centered as possible without getting all neurotic and breaking out a ruler. I took extra care to press firmly along all the inside edges.

I really liked the way that my clipart silhouette had some texture drawn onto the upper part of the acorn and wanted to recreate it, so I got the idea to use candle wax to draw little rounded v shapes in rows. I figured that the spray paint wouldn’t adhere to the wax and after everything was dry I could just wipe it off, leaving adorable little rows of negative space. It was kind of hard to see what I was doing with the wax (which was just a big piece that I broke off of a seen-better-days pillar candle), but I found that if I looked at it just the right way I could see what I’d drawn. You can see it if you look closely at the photo below.

After I’d finished filling in the textured area of the acorn, I covered the ends of the stencil with painter’s tape and got to spraying. I was crazy nervous and having traumatic flashbacks to all of the times spray paint has failed me, but I took it slow and just did one thin coat at a time until I was happy with the look.

Then I carefully lifted the stencil.

Hmmmm. I wasn’t thrilled with the way that the line between the top and the bottom part of the acorn came out, but I figured I could always touch it up with a small paintbrush later. I started using first my fingers, then a balled up wad of painter’s tape to rub off the wax on the top part.

Epic fail. It looked terrible. My negative space was not at all adorable. I hated the way that my little rounded v’s looked so sloppy. I don’t know if it’s because writing with wax doesn’t exactly produce neat lines, or if it’s because the spray paint adhered better than I expected, but my acorn was looking like a hot mess. I gave up in disgust and went inside.

The next day, I decided to give it another shot. I sanded down some of that texture and slapped on another two coats of my mistint paint to cover up the ugly acorn. Then, I cut the middle divider out of my stencil (I decided it was dumb) and repeated the whole adhere-spray-peel process, this time in a cardboard box. I guess I was feeling nicer to the grass on day two.

And voila! I was waaaaaay happier with the outcome the second time around. The paint barely had time to dry before I found it a new home on the bookshelf in our dining room sitting area.

Love! Up close you can see that it’s far from perfect, but I’m okay with that.



If it hadn’t been for me trying to get all fancy with my wax trick, this project probably would have taken under an hour from start to finish. And since I already had all of the supplies on hand, it didn’t cost me a dime (which took some of the sting out of my first failed attempt). I really love the way it looks resting on my shelf, but if I ever decide to hang it on the wall all I need to do is staple some twine or wire onto the back, or pick up one of those keyhole hanger things from the hardware store for about a buck. I’ve got one more board lying around that’s about the same size as this one and I’m thinking of doing another spray paint silhouette for the holidays-what do you think I should do? I experimented with making a stencil that said “Merry Christmas” but the letters were just too hard to cut out neatly. I would love love love to do a reindeer but I think the antlers may be troublesome. Maybe I should do a Christmas tree?

Things I Love

It’s the weekend, people! My dear husband is flying to West Virginia today to see the Tigers play the Mountaineers, so I’m planning to spend the next few days reacquainting myself with the half-finished wing chairs in one final push to get it done.

I’ve been dreaming of this project for more than a year and I feel like I’m soooo close to getting it done. I really think I’m going to love it. Here’s some other stuff I’m loving this weekend:

My new shelf.

This Emerson quote. (via pinterest) I’m thinking about putting it on a wall somewhere.

My new earrings.

Vintage silver. (via pinterest)

I’m actually thinking of hanging a bunch of silver platters on a wall like this, maybe mixed in with white plates and platters as well. I’ve been hunting for interesting white and silver dishes every time I hit up the thrift store.

Other tidbits worth mentioning:

  • I love my library. That book sale I mentioned a few weeks ago is still going on, and all books are now ten cents each. You could recreate one of those Pottery Barn book bundles (sold out, but originally about $40) for under a dollar!
  • Pistachio has had some trouble adjusting to life as a middle child, and expressed her feelings the best way she knows how: by peeing on our bed. While we were in it. Not fun. Anyway, we got some of this stuff and it’s worked wonders. No more washing my duvet three times a week!
  • I got a new camera! The wide-angle kodak my mom handed down to me is great for taking whole-room pictures, but it’s a little finicky and didn’t always want to cooperate when I needed to snap a quick shot mid-project. So I got this little lady for about $60 on eBay and I’m thrilled! It’s perfect for 98% of the pictures I want slash need to take and I’ve still got the wide angle camera for the other 2%. They’re like my photography dream-team.
So that’s what’s tickling my fancy as we head into the weekend. I’ll be spending the next two days sewing, stapling, and looking for my husband on TV. Tres exciting.

A Little Front Door Upgrade

I take back everything I’ve ever said about spray paint, which, in case you didn’t know, is that I hate it. Turns out I only hate using spray paint on furniture. For smaller stuff it’s awesome. But let’s back up a bit. I spent a whole week back in May working on my front porch (click to read about how I added a mailbox, painted the door, added plants, brought in art, and stripped the original hardware). This is what the area surrounding the door looked like when I was done.

And here’s the state of things four months later:

The ferns are still alive, everything’s covered in a thin layer of dirt, and I added a little chair I got for $5 at the thrift store.

I had big plans to replace the caning on this chair, but after doing some research I decided it would be more difficult than I’d thought. So I used some gardening books I picked up at an estate sale to cover up the hole and set it out here on the porch. It’s right in front of the only electrical outlet, so it makes a perfect spot to set a small radio or table fan (if I had either of those things). You can see up close how sad the seat really would be without those books.

But back to the door. Back in May I polished the original brass hardware to a lovely pinkish-golden hue, but it’s since darkened to a more reasonable antiqued tone (which I actually find delightful).

But that yellow brass deadbolt is sticking out like a rival fan at an LSU football game. Makes me wanna yell tiger bait.

Enter, the DIY standby I love to hate…spray paint.

Rustoleum metallic spray paint in antique bronze. Only six bucks at Lowe’s and perfect for this project. Would you believe that I bought this can of spray paint back in mid-August and only just now got around to using it this past weekend? It took me a while to work up the courage to trust spray paint with my heart after being burned so many, many times.

I started by taping around the edges of the deadbolt.

Then got a little paranoid and covered the surrounded 12-18 inches with sales fliers.

I had such a hard time getting the papers to stay up there! My tape just wasn’t sticking well at all. Maybe it was the Louisiana humidity? Protecting the door was may more work than the actual spray painting itself, which was waaaaaay easier than I thought. All I did was follow the directions. Shake for a full minute, spray lightly from a foot or so away, repeat. Maybe it’s because the area I was painting was so small, or maybe it’s because I was really careful to follow the directions precisely this time, but after three quick coats I had this:

I was so excited! I mean, that perfectly even finish isn’t fooling anybody right next to the authentic antique brass knob and lockplate, but at least it doesn’t scream, “Hey, look at me, I’m new-ish and awkward!” I was so excited about it I decided to shake out the rug, sweep the floor, and generally clean up the porch a bit.

So, consider my position on spray paint revised. It’s incredibly helpful for the small stuff. For anything bigger than my hand I still prefer a paintbrush. I’ve got pretty much an entire can of antique brass spray paint leftover. What do you think I should spray next? Thrift store tchotchkes? Every other little bit of shiny yellow brass I can find? My cat?

ps…it’s worth mentioning that I stuck a spare key in the deadbolt to keep it from gobbing up the lock mechanism, but after the first coat I noticed that the key blocked the paint from going on evenly, so after that I took it out and stuck it in between coats. It’s been almost a week and the lock works just fine. 

Entryway Shelf + Hooks

I was so proud of myself for building that shelf (see how I did it here, if you missed yesterday’s post). Next up was getting it on the wall. I was so excited to replace the dinky little peg rail we’ve had in our entryway since we moved in over a year ago.

First I painted everything except the front and the back. Top, bottom, and sides each got two coats of Valspar’s off-the-shelf white semi-gloss. The front of the shelf got no paint for now, but it did get three big ol’ pilot holes drilled, plus a series of smaller pilot holes for the hooks (more on those later). Then, I used a studfinder to locate a horizontal stud and had the stud who lives with me hold the shelf up against the wall with a level balanced on top.

Since I’d countersunk my screws on the back, the shelf sat nice and flush against the wall. It’s so nerdy but I’m so proud of that little DIY detail. I am not at all detail-oriented so the fact that I took the time to do that delights me to no end.

Here’s how we hung it on the wall: Once Nick had everything level, centered, and lined up with the stud (which we just marked with two lines near the edges of the shelf), I stepped in and drilled each pilot hole a little bit deeper, making sure my drill bit got into the wall behind the shelf. Then, I used a pencil to draw a line on the wall across the bottom of the shelf (so we could get it back exactly how it was), took the shelf down, and drilled the holes even deeper. My drill bit only went like 1.5″ deep, so getting the shelf out of the way helped me drill further into the stud. With all three pilot holes sufficiently deep, Nick held the shelf back on the wall, carefully lined up the bottom edge with the line I’d drawn, and then held it steady while I used some 2″ screws to fasten it to the wall.

We are in no way DIY experts, so there are probably way more efficient slash effective ways to hang a shelf, but since we have absolutely no idea what we’re doing we just sort of stumble along and hope for the best. Right or wrong, we were mega proud to discover that things actually seemed pretty sturdy.

I covered up those screws with some more spackle, once again insanely impressed with my countersinking skills.

Do you see all those vertical pencil lines drawn on the board? That’s how I marked for my hooks. I outsourced the math to Nicholas, who told me to space my 10 hooks 4.5″ apart. I ran a horizontal line down the board (not exactly centered, because I didn’t think that mattered much), then marked a vertical line every 4.5 inches (one for each of my ten hooks). The holes in my hooks (bought on sale at Hobby Lobby for $2 each) were 3/4 of an inch apart, so I made a little dot to mark the spot for my pilot hole 3/8″ to the right and left of each of my vertical lines.

I slapped two coats of paint on that baby and started getting excited. I used a toothpick to clear the paint from my twenty little pilot holes after each coat.

My hooks didn’t come with hardware, so while the paint dried I brought one of them to my local hardware store and asked someone to help me find 1″ long black screws to fit it. $2 and a few turns of the screwdriver later we were in business.

I spent about 30 seconds fretting about the hooks being perfectly straight before deciding to just ignore it and start decorating.

OMG. It’s everything I hoped and dreamed it would be. That long and narrow basket was only $15 on sale at Hobby Lobby (seriously, that store should start paying me for how often I write about stuff I bought there). It’s perfect for holding Juliet’s leash and whatever else I want to store out of sight near the door. And those ten double hooks are so luxurious compared to the seven single pegs we were dealing with before. Between the storage ottoman, the hooks, and the shelf, we’ve definitely crammed a ton of useful storage into this one little wall in our living room. It’s almost like having a real foyer or mudroom!

Here’s the whole operation from another angle, so you can see how much it really is just snuck into the back of the living room.

I’ve got a little magazine basket to the left of the bench, but it pretty much stays empty because I hate the way that magazines fold up into themselves when stored on their sides. I feel like the bench looks kind of lonely by itself, though, because it’s bit too narrow for the wall. I’m thinking about adding something a little whimsical to greet folks coming through the front door, like maybe this little guy from Z Gallerie:

Z Gallerie

Or maybe even a big ol’ plant, if I can manage to keep anything alive. I’m not quite ready to venture into the realm of fake plants but my, is it tempting. I’m sure in reality I’ll just leave it as is until something at a thrift store or estate sale just speaks to me and tells ms it absolutely needs to live in my entryway. And I’ll know in my heart of hearts that that little tchotchke was meant to be with me.

By request, here’s a price breakdown:

  • two pine shelf brackets, $6.18 each
  • one 1x12x4 board, $6.22
  • one 1x10x4 board, already owned, but it would have been $5.98
  • paint, already owned, but a quart would run you about $13
  • screws, about $2
  • spackle, already owned, but would cost about $8
  • 10 hooks on sale for $2 each, $20
  • basket, $15 on sale
  • framed print, wine bottle with dried branch, and silver bowl, already owned
  • Cost to build shelf: about $20 (would have been $26 if I didn’t have that 1×10 already)
  • Cost to add extra function with hooks and basket: $35 (both on sale and still the most expensive part of the project, so if you’re trying this yourself be sure to shop around for the best deal you can find)
  • My total cost: about $55
Not too shabby. Of course, it helps that I had things like paint, brushes, spackle, etc. on hand. If this is one of your first ever DIY projects and you’re starting from scratch, you can expect to spend close to $100 total (assuming you don’t have to buy tools like a drill, level, and screwdrivers, which can up the cost substantially). The great thing about projects like this is that once you’ve got some basic tools and supplies on hand they will last you forever and you can really build almost anything you want. It’s kind of like stocking a kitchen with the right tools and ingredients to be able to make a wide variety of dishes. Except I have never been nearly as terrified of my mixer as I am of my circular saw. 

How to Build a Simple Shelf

It’s amazing that when I go googling around for this sort of thing, I can’t find a tutorial for building a plain, simple shelf. I guess maybe it’s just one of those things you should be able to figure out on your own. Well, let me just tell you people, it took me about six months to figure it out. But I’m here to make sure that the next person who googles “how to build simple shelf” doesn’t come up empty-handed.

I got myself some of these shelf brackets at Lowe’s (about $6 each for the 9×11 variety).


Then some boards-a 1″x10″x4′ and a 1×12″x4. Actually this is what I would have done in a perfect world, but I was trying to make use of some boards I already had lying around so the dimensions are slightly different. Ignore that.

My brackets had some little holes on the back for hanging. If you want to you can just use one board, attach it to the top of your brackets, and hang the whole operation on the wall using those little holes. But I wanted my shelf to double as a place to mount hooks, so I used two boards (one behind the brackets and one on top of them).

I started by tracing in pencil where the brackets would go and marking what I thought would be the best spots for screws (I had to avoid the metal hanging apparatus and the skinny areas near the tips of the brackets). Then I used my drill to make some pilot holes on the boards. Ignore that pilot hole all the way in the top left. That one would’ve gone straight into the hangy-thing.

I used a clamp to hold the bracket in place on the board, then drilled a hole through the board and into the bracket.

I got fancy here and tried something I’d never done before-countersinking my screws. All that means is that after I drilled my pilot hole, I broke out the big ol’ 1/4″ drill bit and used it to drill just a little ways into the hole, making room for the head of the screw to sit down in the wood instead of sticking out of the top.

I repeated the process at the other end of the board, then flipped things over to attach the second board, the one that would actually work as a shelf, to the tops of the brackets in the same way.

I’m not really so great with attention to detail and am not skilled in the finer points of craftsladyship, so this shelf is sorely lacking in departments like having edges that line up nicely. If I didn’t hate using a saw more than pulling my own teeth out with a pair of pliers I would have just trimmed things down to line up properly. And if I had a power sander I would have spent however long it took to get everything nice and flush. But, hating saws and lacking a power sander, I settled for what seemed like a reasonable solution: spackle.

I used some spackle to create (irregular) curves where there had been harsh corners, and to give the illusion of solid wood where there were glaring gaps. While I was at it, I covered up those screws sitting in their cozy little holes. God bless spackle.

And with that, this lady is ready for paint. So, party people, who’s been reading closely lately? Can you guess where this soon-to-be-lovely shelf is going to go? It may not look like much now, but you just wait. I’ve got a vision.

Ribbon, Meet Curtain, Part 1

Remember all that ribbon I sewed last week?

I said that I wanted to use it to embellish my shower curtain, and I meant it.

After agonizing over how exactly to place the strips of ribbon, I just jumped in and pinned one along the width of the curtain at the same height as the edge of the tub, about 12″ from the floor. I made an educated guess and pinned the second strip 4″ below, then a third strip 4″ above. I figured I’d just pin the first little section of each to see how it looked, and then move them up or down as needed.

Well, it was my lucky day, because I thought it looked delightful just the way it was. No repinning necessary. It was a real pain to pin the ribbon in a straight line on the flowing fabric, especially since Pistachio kept walking along the edge of the tub and then hurling herself at me through the curtain. I didn’t know what to do, though, because the curtain is kind of a pain to take down and put back up. Then, eureka (!), I got the idea to bring in a folding table to work on.

Genius. This made it soooo much easier. I was on a bit of a high, thinking about how smart I was as I pinned. Which took some of the sting out of this:

Do you see what’s wrong?

I had pinned the first ribbon all the way across at the very beginning, so I knew it was too short, but the voice of denial said maybe the other two would be too long and it would all work out. Wrong. Can I just say, though, that I’m completely amazed that all three ribbons are exactly the same length? Apparently I’m incredibly skilled at haphazardly folding ribbon in a consistent manner.

I decided to keep on keepin’ on with the denial and just ignore the problem for now. I’d like to take a few days to live with the ribbon anyway, just to make sure it’s what I really want. And if I still love it in a few days, maybe I’ll pick up some more ribbon to fill in the ends? The gathered fabric and the pleated ribbon would both hide the seams pretty well I think.

So far I think it’s adorable. I’m kind of loving the idea of a black + white + yellow bath. That tan bath mat is getting switched out soon for a DIY mat made of wine corks, and I’m getting inspired to switch out the hand towels for a graphic and colorful floral, perhaps? It’ll probably be quite a while before all of this comes together and that’s okay with me.