Welcome to my Home!

Thanks for stopping by! I'm so glad you're here and hope you take the time to look around. There's going to be a lot of before and afters, ideas, inspiration, tips, tutorials, and whatever else I come upon during my journey of home renovation and decoration. We'll see where it takes us!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kids Birthday Celebrations

We had some serious birthday fun this month!  Four birthdays in nine days can get pretty crazy.
Thank goodness for Pinterest or i never would've come up with ideas for easy celebrating.  Check out here where I came up with some of these ideas.

My little guy loved his Dump Truck Cake.  Best of all you don't have to be perfect for this to look really cute. I personally thought the gummy worms were a nice touch : )
I don't know what the blue icing has to do with dirt or trucks, other than the fact that's what the Birthday Boy wanted on his cake.

Each of the kids got their own dump truck to shovel cake into and eat out of.

Everyone woke up to a decorated door on their birthday morning.  I also wrote a little birthday message to each child on their bathroom mirror.  

The kids loved making some really easy and cheap decorations to keep up for the month of September.  Crepe paper banners strung up in the dining room made every day feel special.

Can I get an "Amen"? I found this cute printable here.

The boys were more than thrilled with their cake.  Yes, there really is a whole cake under all that candy!

Yet another super cute, free printable from eighteen25.

We ate entirely too many treats between all the celebrations! (and loved every minute of it!)

I tried to simplify when I could.  I bought one big roll of plain paper and then assigned everyone a color ribbon and hand stamped their names on the packages. 

Super Mom I am not! I admit I breathed a sigh of relief when my daughter begged for a store-bought cake.
We had a blast and are just now coming off the sugar rush.  Just in time to gear up for Halloween!
Tip Junkie handmade projects
home stories a2z

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Removing your Sink {DIY}

 Within 24 hours I will have a new countertop, for which, I can't tell you how excited I am!  So... to avoid paying the installers $800 we will remove the sink and old countertop ourselves.

 Here's the step by step if you ever find yourself in the position of pulling out your sink.
(I warn you... there are no pretty pictures here!)

First things first: gather your tools.  Pliers, a flat head and phillips screwdriver or driver attachments, garbage disposal key, utility knife, and small pry bar.  The garbage disposal key should be near your garbage disposal or wherever you might keep your important manuals.  Ours was in a drawer next to the sink.  It's a good idea to actually use some gorilla or duct tape and keep it affixed to the disposal.  

 Clear out the underneath of your sink cabinet as well as the top of your sink area.  No need to remove cabinet doors, mine are just off because we are in the process of painting them. Unplug or shut of the power to the garbage disposal.

Find your water shut off valves under the sink.  There should be a hot and a cold knob. Turn clockwise (righty tighty) to stop water flow to faucet.

Turn on faucet to verify that the water is really off.

Using your pliers disconnect the water supply line from the water pipe. 

Unscrew the plasic ring to disconnect the drain pipe from the garbage disposal.

Using a flat head screw driver loosen the screws holding the clamps for the connection to the dishwasher.  Remove this tube from the garbage disposal. {ewww!}

Using the garbage disposal key, place it into the horizontal hole and give a strong pull. Be sure to support the disposal with your other hand as will simply fall out of the support ring.  Set the disposal in the bottom of the cabinet until you are ready to reinstall.

Loosen the plastic ring to disconnect the drain tube from the "non-disposal" side of your sink.

Using a utility knife cut the silicone adhesive that is adhering the sink to the countertop.

Most sinks have clamps holding them tight to the countertop.  Locate these clamps, loosen the screws and remove the clamps.  My double sided sink had six clamps.

I was by myself while removing the sink so I found it helpful to lay inside the cabinet and push upwards on the bottom of the sink to pop it loose from the countertop.  You can also use a crow bar to help loosen from above. Once it popped loose I was able to (stand up) grab hold of the faucet and carefully lift the sink out of the hole.  Place the sink on an old towel until you are ready to reinstall (if that is what you plan to do).  Otherwise consider dropping it off at your local ReStore for someone else to use.  I also noticed that my sink had a recycle symbol on the bottom noting that it was safe to recycle.  Never would've thought of that.  

Here we go! Ready to remove the old countertop.  Tommorow night I'll be reinstalling the sink : )

Can't wait to see my kitchen transform.  The cabinets are coming along, new flooring in the future, and countertops tomorrow!

Ready to Reinstall?? Go here for the DIY!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Holy Wow! Vinegar can do THAT?! {Tips}

Do you ever start a project and then get pulled away by one thing or another (homework help, burning dinner, or children falling out of trees?).  Yeah, I'm sure no one ever has this problem{enter sarcasm here}! Well, of course that happened to me the other night.  By the time I came back to my painting project - what did I find?  My VERY favorite paintbrush completely encased in dried latex paint.  I had (what felt like) miles of cabinets yet to paint, a sleeping toddler, an opportunity to paint... yet my favorite brush was in no condition to do so.

Somewhere in the depths of my brain I seemed to remember hearing that vinegar could clean dried out paintbrushes.  Knowing that I didn't have much to lose I dropped it into a glass full of my cleaning solution (1/2 vinegar, 1/2 water).  I came back in about a half and hour and Lo and Behold {yes! I was pretty sure I could hear angels singing!} the paint was softening.  A little work on it under some running water and the brush was good as new!

I can only imagine how well this would've worked if I had used 100% vinegar.  I looked around on line and found that many places suggest you actually heat the vinegar a bit and let the brush soak for hours.

photo via: www.tastyexploration.com
I have long been a proponent of cleaning with vinegar ever since I learned that vinegar kills 99% of bacteria, 82% of mold, and 80% of viruses.  We all know it's environmentally healthier and is SO much cheaper than buying all sorts of glass cleaners, anti-bacterial sprays, etc.

Here are some other tricks you do with Vingear:
  • Remove mold and mildew in showers and tubs by scrubbing with vinegar
  • Remove stains from linoleum by pouring vinegar on and leaving for 10-15 minutes
  • Clean toilets and disinfect cutting boards
  • Get rid of lime and calcium build up on fixtures by soaking in vinegar for a few hours and then scrubbing with a toothbrush.
  • Deodorize your garbage disposal, microwave, and fridge.

Anyway, I was so excited I had to share!  Have a great week!
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Friday, September 23, 2011

Learning to Tile at the Do-It-Herself Workshops

With the kitchen remodel we quickly realized that it was going to be necessary to retile the backsplash.  I won't torture you with more awful pictures of the tile our home came with (unless you are really curious!).  Of course we don't have a clue when it comes to tiling.  Up til now my solution has simply to cover up the tiles I don't like (that will have to be a future post!).

 Last night I took advantage of series of classes by Home Depot called the Do-It-Herself Workshop.  They offer a variety of classes such as Cabinets, Flooring, Garden, Room Inspiration, Martha Stewart Living, Bathrooms, buying countertops, installing crown moulding, and Tiling.
photo courtesy of Home Depot
Honestly the timing couldn't be more perfect.  I have the old backsplash ripped off (OK... there might be just a couple of gaping holes a little damage that still needs to be repaired) and the new countertop is going in this week {squeal}. I can't wait!

I wasn't sure what to expect walking in to it, but it there were more people than I expected- about 20 women and two men.  The instructor wasn't up to par I would say.  I found myself wishing that his "assistants" would just step in and teach the class since they seemed to be much more knowledgable about the actual process of laying tile.

I got plenty of time to berate them with questions, as did the others in the class that were interested in their specific project (bathrooms, floors, backsplash).  Overall I did walk out of the class feeling more comfortable working with mastic and grout.  I know what types of materials I will need to install tile, the different types of tiles available and what type of grout to use with each.  I also got some hands on time cutting tile and grouting.

I was pretty excited to hear about a "newer" product that is available, called Simple Mat.

Rumor has it that this sweet stuff can take the place of the mastic, or adhesive.  This $20 box covers about 100 square feet, and although it is more expensive than putting the adhesive down it's not messy at all and seems like it would be a lot easier.  Basically you peel and stick these adhesive sheets to your backsplash (or bathroom wall), pop your tiles on and then grout away.  I'm super excited to give these a try!

After class I snuck across the street to Lowe's to snap some pictures of the tile backsplash I want to install.  So far it's the only one that I have found that I think I'm comfortable with.  There are a lot of options out there but I'm' having a tough time coming up with the best fit for our "cottage" kitchen.  

This style uses the most affordable 4"x4" white tiles.  Works for me!  
See how the tiles are staggered on the upper part? I like that! 

My only change might be to use glass tiles as the accent strips.  I'll look for a java color that will work with my countertop.  

All in all, the class was pretty good... but I still feel like I have a long way to go.  The most intimidating part now is laying out the pattern.  

For now though I will try and get those cabinets finished before the countertop comes (Wednesday!!) .

Thursday, September 22, 2011

September Porch {Decorate}

As busy as I've been inside trying to get the kitchen painted, you all know I got sidetracked a bit cleaning up my new rocker.  She was definitely a trash to treasure project! I was feelin' pretty crafty getting my "no-sew" skills on with the cushion.  So finally here is my front porch.  I think I got it spruced up just in time to decorate for Halloween!

Here's a whole porch shot- That would be my little guy trying to scare away the ginormous spider that lived in the corner of the porch.  I think he was doing a pretty good job looking fierce! Although you can't see the front door, you aren't missing anything. There was nothing on it!

Yes, I know... you are overwhelmed with the color and creativity! Ha!

Some of the changes I made weren't just to take the front porch from Summer to Fall, but to update some features of our new home that simply weren't working for me. Take a look at our doorbell... I mean for real! Would you want to come ring my doorbell if it looked like this?? {ICK!} It's part of our whole house intercom system (which apparently was quite popular 20 years ago).  

First order of business was to break out my trusty auto body spray primer, fine grit sandpaper, and Oil Rubbed Bronze Rustoleum spray paint.  Sand, prime, and paint... and the doorbell at least won't scare visitors away anymore!

Ahhhh..... so much better!

I picked up the "Fleurs" hanger at a garage sale for free (yes! same place I got that free drop cloth I mentioned when I re-covered my chair cushion)

I used one of my 3M hooks that are removable.  It was originally brushed nickle, but a hit of ORB spray helped pull the look together.

Any idea what to do about the glass block, short of ripping it out? It's not my favorite look, but I'm not sure what to do with  it!

I was  bit delayed in getting this post out because I was looking for a pot for the orangey colored mums.  I happened onto a pedestal pot at the dollar tree on clearance.  I snatched it up for $1.50 and hit it with some spray paint.  Problem solved!

Stick bundles in a basket. I love this simple kind of decorating.  I plan on adding more through the fall.

I've already got some things ready for Halloween, I won't put those up until the first week of October.  For now we dedicate September to all the kids birthdays! : ) 

Monday, September 19, 2011

No Sew Custom Pillow {DIY}

I just added a new wicker rocker to my front porch.  You can check out that transformation here.  I was lucky to have the custom made cushion that came with this antique piece.    My problem was the fabric was a no-go with the turquoise and I have ZERO sewing skills.  I mean, I'm not even sure I'd even know how to turn on a sewing machine!

So... when I stumbled across this post by Beth at Home Stories A2Z I knew there was hope!  She used drop cloth canvas, hemming tape, and fabric glue to create this and other adorable pillows.

She gives a great tutorial on using Scrapblog to create the adorable graphics as well!  

I actually had the supplies I needed stashed away in various places in the house.  I pulled out the drop cloth canvas I got for FREE (yes!) at a garage sale, my Heat n Bond, and my iron.  Instead of using fabric glue, which I didn't have, I improvised and used my glue gun.  Here's what I came up with~

I figured there had to be way to use this technique on a custom shaped pillow.  This particular pillow had all sorts of curves.  Here's a tutorial for those of you that are curious how I did it~
Start with your supplies~

Drop Cloth Canvas
Heat-n-Bond (hemming tape, stitch witchery, or the like)
Glue Gun (not shown)
Acrylic Paints
Sponge Brush
Painters Tape
Pillow that you would like to cover

Trace your pillow onto your drop cloth.  Be sure to trace it onto the side that will be flipped to the inside when you are done (not like I did!).  I'm sure you can use some sort of sewing marker that dissapears... but I didn't have anything like that.  Do this to two pieces of canvas.  

Add two inches to your custom shape.

Cut out your shapes.

Cut your Heat n Bond 

I cut mine in fairly thick strips because I was concerned about it holding up on a thick fabric like the dropcloth.  I followed the curved lines of the cushion.  Leave one side open so that you can slide in your pillow.

Follow the directions on your Heat n Bond package to adhere the two pieces together.  Flip your pillow inside out creating a pocket for your cushion.
  Slide your cushion in.

Sorry, I don't have any pictures of this next step.  What you will do is turn the edges in towards the inside of your pillow leaving a clean seam on the outside.  Run a line of hot glue just a couple of inches long and press this seam together.  Hold for a minute or so until the glue sets.  Be sure to just work with a small section at a time.  Work your way across the open seam until you have secured the pillow inside.  That's it!

The blank canvas wasn't doing much for me so I added some stripping to it using some acrylic paints I had on hand.  

Just measure... (my center line was 1" wide, and each blue stripe was 1/8" wide)


and paint.

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  I'm sure it could've been better if done with a sewing machine, but for those of us who can't sew~ this works out just fine!
Todays Creative Blog

Tip Junkie handmade projects
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