Bathroom Makeover

I finally found some towels that go with my shower curtain, so I decided to go all out and clean, organize and decorate my bathroom. Its still not quite done, but it makes me happy every time I walk past it.  Now you know what makeover means, right? Before and afters! Warning: the before pictures are a little bit scary. Also, I feel like I should get some ovaries of steel badge or something for showing off my dirty bathroom to the internet.

dirty sinkMessy people? Who? Us? This is, well, bad. It also happens to be the way our bathroom has looked since we moved in. I should have made this clear awhile ago, Im a slob and a procrastinator. Im working on both issues. Hell, part of the reason I started a blog was to force me to work on both issues. But here it is. This is me. A work in progress.

before drawers

The drawers arent in terrible shape, but I was on a roll, so I straightened these up to.

undersink before

Poorly stitched together under sink picture. Mess, mess, mess, mess, mess!

medicine cab beforeNot the worst Ive ever seen, but theres room for improvement.

before picsAnd heres a not quite panorama of the rest of the bathroom. Okay, done with the gross befores, lets move on to the afters.

bathroom-makeover1
This is my view every time I walk down the hall, not too shabby.

My sink and counter area are clean and organized. Im still planning on hanging that basket that contains the electric razor on the wall right under the medicine cabinet, and Id like to switch out my current containers for prettier ones, but for now Im just happy that its clean and de-cluttered. Now whats under that sink.

Like I said before, they werent really in terrible shape before, but I still thought I could improve them. Drawer 1:  I reorganized my make up and moved my brushes to the front of the drawer so that they would be easier to access, which just reminds me of how badly I need to clean them. Oh and do you like my nail clipper collection, were up to 4 so far, but I havent organized the whole house yet. I expect to find one or two more. Drawer 2: Those plastic drawers hold hair ties, bobby pins, clips, curlers and emery boards. They were already super organized, so I didnt touch them. I removed the washcloths from the basket they were in, because it was unnecessary and I wanted to use it for something else. That first square container hold my face stuff. Lotion, sunscreen, etc. The second one holds allergy related things: Breathe right strips, menthol inhaler, saline spray, etc. That dove bar is for washing my makeup brushes whenever I finally get around to it, and the stuff towards the back of the drawer are things that wouldnt fit in the two square containers, more face and allergy stuff. Drawer 3: Didnt change much. I moved the brush that I never use down with the hair heating tools that I never use. I also threw my husbands straight razor down there, because he never uses that either. So its pretty much just the stuff we dont use drawer.

The under sink after is one of my favorites, because I organized the crap out of it. Pic 1: Ive had this under sink shelf thing for awhile, and it was sitting in the utility room unused so I busted it out. Lotions and hair products up front, and if youll look to pic 4 (lower right) I have a basket of extras in the back. Things like extra blades for razors, face wash refill, extra contact solution, etc. The drawer pulls out and has a divider (pic 3). Ive got icy hot patches and large band aids on one side and and assortment of things on the other. That apple cider vinegar is for my hair, it does wonders for getting hard water residue out. Pic 2 aka, the right side of the under sink area: From front to back extra TP, feminine products, dog shampoo, lotion and ear cleaner, bathroom cleaning products, peroxide and Epsom salt.

Medicine cabinet after. Pretty self explanatory but Ill explain it anyway. OTC painkillers, thermometer and neosporin up top, ear cleaners, allergy and cold medicine, deodorants and a container full of eye drops in the middle. floss picks, dry mouth mouth wash, contact solution, shaving cream and his mouth wash on the bottom shelf.

I finally bit the bullet and hung up some art. It makes the room look a million times better. The only reason I hesitated in the first place is because I dont want moisture to ruin anything, but its super dry here, and we always run the fan while showering, and I open the window on sunny days, so I decided to take my chances. The whale vs. squid over the toilet was a birthday present from my super talented BFF, Stacy Nguyen, and the two water colors are greeting cards that I bought at the Monterey Bay Aquarium by artist Cheryl Kampe. And dont worry, my pictures arent crooked, this picture was just taken at an odd angle. Oh, and look at those towels! Arent they the perfect colors? Not caring too much for the seashell on the toilet, it looks kind of sad and lonely, but Ill find it a friend or two eventually.

Heres how the darker teal /navy/green towels look up next to the shower curtain. Im liking it. And when you put those towels through the dryer they make the prettiest lint seriously, I almost felt bad throwing it away. And just ignore my microfiber hair towel hanging there, unless you have frizzy and/or curly hair, in which case, go out and buy one RIGHT NOW!

Maybe Ill do this thorough clean, organize and decorate all in one day thing with another room tomorrow, because just about every room in my house could use this kind of treatment. Bedroom next? Or maybe just the closet

P.S. I have 1 more card to receive to complete series A of Joe Sorrens trading cards sets, and when I receive it I have a fun (for me at least) framing project planned.

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DIY $3 Throw Pillow Insert

DIY throw pillow from $3 standard sized pillow

I tend to find throw pillow inserts a little bit overpriced for what they are just smaller square pillows. So when I found this $3 standard sized pillow at Big Lots (I hear you can find cheap ones at Walmart too) the other day, I decided that I was going to DIY my own throw pillow insert.

standard pillow

Step one: Measure shortest side of the pillow. If youre making a square pillow, this is going to be the length of the other seams.

Step two: Cut off one of the short end seams (if there is a serged seam, cut off that one).

measuring and cutting pillow

Step three: Pull out all the stuffing and put it somewhere safe for later use.

Step four: Turn pillow inside out and iron out the wrinkles. Make sure the seams are ironed flat.

emptied pillow with iron

Step 5: Measure up the long side of the pillow. If you want a square pillow use the measurement that you got in the first step. Add an inch or two for seam allowance. Tip: When measuring, dont measure from the end of the fabric, measure from the seam instead.

measuring pillow

Step 6: Mark your measurement (I used a silver sharpie, because no one is going to see it once it has a cover) and cut carefully along that line insuring that both sides of the pillowcase are lined up. Use pins to keep the fabric from slipping around if you need to.

cut pillow case

Now get out your sewing machine, and (optional) canine helper.

zuko with sewing machine

Step seven: With your pillow still turned inside out, pin the pillow about half way across, and then sew a seam halfway across the open top. Use a small stitch size.

pinned fabric

Step eight: With the top seam half way sewn, turn your pillow right side out, the excess seam allowance should fold in on its own. Now get out the reserved stuffing and start stuffing.

stuffing pillow

Step nine: Your pillow should look lumpy. Youre going to want to push the stuffing down as far as you can so that you have room to sew the top opening.

Lumpy Pillow

Step ten: zig zag stitch the opening, ensuring that the seam allowance in flipped inward.

zig zag setting

This is what the finished seam should look like. Its not the prettiest, but it wont be seen once you put a cover on it.

Finsished Seam

Final Step: Punch the crap out of your pillow, massaging the stuffing into the corners. Punch it, poke it, roll around on it, beat it against the floor, just keep going until the stuffing is evenly distributed. You could avoid this step to some degree if you have a serger or if you want to insert  a zipper in the seam, like they have on some premade throw pillow inserts.

zipper

And heres the finished product

finished pillow

Not too bad, right? Here it is beside one that I bought a few years ago.

two pillows

I think I like mine better, and I can guarantee you it was at least half the price. Now, to cover these suckers

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Weekend Finds aka Things that will be keeping me busy this Week

I went shopping on Saturday, and came home with a few things to keep me busy working on home projects this week.

This first one wont keep me busy, it just makes me happy.

I was kind of concerned that I wouldnt find a bathmat to go with my shower curtain after I passed on these two at Home Goods when I was in Phoenix.

I get panicky about spending money, and at $20 and $15 respectively, these kind of triggered my cheap ass to have a panic attack, so I left them on the shelf. Luckily a trip to Big Lots landed me this $7 bathmat that matches my shower curtain perfectly if I do say so myself.

bathmat and shower curtain

Now all I need to do is find some complementary towels and a few accessories (and clean and organize the space) and it will be perfect. Im still considering those Nate Berkus towels, btw, Im just hoping that I can catch them on sale. Again spending money makes me anxious.

Also found at big lots, this pillow. This $3 dollar pillow. Do you know how much throw pillow inserts cost? Well, theyre almost always more than $3 dollars. Do you know how easy it is to turn a standard sized pillow into a throw pillow insert? Super easy, and Ill be showing you how later this week.

pillow in progress

a sneak peek of the pillow in progress.

starfish drawer pull

Starfish drawer pulls to replace the boring ones that we have (Hobby Lobby  $2.50 each/ 50% off sale) . I had to get 2 regular stars, because we needed 12 knobs, and they only had 10 of these. Somebodies underwear drawer is going to be star spangled instead of nautical .

Chair foam

The biggest and bestest finds of the weekend were probably these two 4x22x22 foam squares. Ive had this wooden chair frame for over two years, and have always avoided buying foam for it because its so expensive. But I finally found foam for a decent price this weekend. Hobby Lobby (its the only craft store we have) normally sells them for $16.99, but they were on sale for 30% off and the cashier let me use my 40% off coupon instead of the sale price for one of them.  $22 for both not too bad. Im waiting on another 40% off coupon or a sale to buy the fabric. I also need to study every tutorial I can find on making box cushions, because I have a feeling there will be a significant amount of  cursing, throwing things, and maybe even some tears involved. I also need to go buy an electric bread knife to cut these things down to size.

That wood frame needs some lovin too, which may be another post in itself.

Now that you know what Im up to this week, what projects do you have in the works? Also, if you know how, can you come make two box cushion covers for me?

 

 

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Playing with Color Palette Generators for Decorating

Ive been thinking a lot about what colors I want to use in my house. For now Im just focusing on the living room. I currently have a dark grey couch in there, a black entertainment center, white walls and milk chocolate colored carpet Not a super interesting/fun combination. I do however have a pillow (that I made, and plan on making another with the same fabric) and two lamps that I know I want to use in that room, so I thought it would be fun to run the colors through a few color palette generators to get a better idea of what other colors might work in the room.

Pillow and lamp

On the left is the image of the pillow fabric, and on the right is one of the yellow lamps that I plan on rewiring on a background similar to the color of our sofa.

I can tell you right now that none of the pallet generators came up with a scheme I absolutely loved, but I did get some useful ideas to work with.

    css drive color palette

 CSS Drive Colors Pallet Generator

pictaculous color generator

Pictaculous

patorjk color palettepatorjk: image to color palette generator

Kuler color palette generator

Kuler from Adobe. Go to Create>From an Image

genopal pic 2 color palette generatorGenopal Pic2Color

colr color palette generator

colr.org

colorhunter color palette generator

Color Hunter

big huge labs color palette generatorBig Huge Labs Color Palette Generator

aminus3 and degraeve palettesleft: Aminus 3 Color Scheme Generator right: DeGraeve Color Palette Generator

palette that I created in photoshop

and finally, I made this one in photoshop using the eyedropper tool, and I only noticed after the fact that it looked very similar to the adjusted Kuler palette.

Obviously I plan on using more than five colors in my living room, but I actually found the color palette generators pretty helpful in getting an idea of what to look for in textiles and accessories (and maybe even a no damage wallpaper).

What do you think of the color generators? What about my photoshop made color palette? Are there any colors you think I should add or ditch?

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Tiny Dining Room vs. Big Dining Table

If you recall from my very first post, I posted the layout of our house, and I made a few notes on it about the dining room.

floor planIt only made sense for the dining room to be connected to the kitchen, rather than out in the carpeted living/dining room. Unfortunately, as you can see, the dimensions of the dining room are already pretty small, but its made even smaller by that breakfast bar (that is way too tall to be an actual breakfast bar) jutting out into it. This is our current set up.

our dining room now

Our dining set is a bit on the big side (48 wide 30 tall, and those chairs are pretty bulky), and thats without the extra leaf and 2 additional chairs. We did discover that with this configuration it is possible for 4 people to somewhat comfortably eat a meal together, but Im not a fan of the way it looks, and I dont like that the person sitting on the far side of the table closest to the wall is kind of trapped there, until the person sitting next to them gets up. Well be keeping this dining set regardless of whether or not we continue to use it in this house. Its too nice, and we got it at too good of a price for me to be willing to part with it. I have a few ideas for what we could do.

As far as keeping the table and chairs, we could just remove one chair so theres a little more room. Its typically just the two of us, and we usually eat dinner on the couch anyway, but I would like to be able to have people over for dinner sometimes. We could move the table out into the giant living room/office when we want to be able to seat more people, but the thought of having to do that really annoys me for some reason.

Now, if we opted to put the whole thing in storage and start over fresh I have a few ideas and because I cant stand the thought of buying a crappier, smaller dining set for more than we paid for this one, most of my ideas are at least partially DIY.

Im going to go ahead and backtrack now. When I said that the idea of pulling the table into the living room annoys me, I only meant if its normally residing in out dining room. If we had a more suitable table for our dinging room, I wouldnt mind pulling the big one out for dinner parties or holidays. Is that weird?

At this point I think everybody already knows that Im more than a little bit in love with hair pin legs. So it should come as no surprise that Im a big fan of these two tables.

hair pin round table

Kate, of For Me, For you, made this round dining table with a premade table top, some stain and 4 hairpin legs. I can do that! Too bad I cant also score those sweet chairs on craigslist. [instructions] She also made a desk using hairpin legs, which I think might also make a really nice dining table.

square hairpin table

Same idea, different shape. This one was made by web designer Ashli Nixon. She also made (and by made I mean painted) that striped rug. Check out her website for more details.

pipe table

Ive also considered doing pipe legs like Mark of marybicycles. Obviously I would do this on a smaller scale, probably a square table instead of rectangular, but its the same basic idea. [instructions]

Other than that, the only thing Ive come across that seems doable is readymade unfinished furniture. Like this. And I havent even started thinking about chairs yet

What do you think? How do I make my tiny dining room both functional and stylish?

 

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Wall Mounted TV with Hidden Cords

Over the weekend we mounted our TV, and sunk the wires into the wall. This isnt really going to be a tutorial, because we used kits (will provide links) for both projects, but I did take some process shots.

tv before

This is the before shot. I actually didnt mind it like this (aside from the fact that it was a little messy that day), but my husband really likes mounted TVs, and since I dont really have much of an opinion on the subject, mounted TV it was. My only requirement was that he sink the wires into the wall, because I didnt want to have a bunch of ugly wires hanging down below the TV like we did in our last place.

attaching wall mount

We used this mounting system, which comes with full instructions. It  mounts very close to the wall, and we ended up deciding not to use the safety straps after my husband poked himself in the eye with a wire hanger trying to get the TV off the wall.

(Insert picture that I forgot to take of the TV mounted on the wall before we sunk the wires whoops. Im slacking guys. Sorry)

We used this kit to hide the wires in the wall. Now we may actually be violating the terms of our lease my doing this, Im not sure. It does require cutting two sizable circles out of the drywall we should be able to patch them back in and paint over them when we move out, but if you arent willing to take that risk, then Ill be giving you some alternatives at the end of this post.

holes in the wall

So, like I said, the kit comes with a circular drywall cutting tool. You cut two holes, one hole behind where the TV will be, and another down by where your outlets/dvd players/gaming consoles/etc are. In our case the lower hole will be covered by our media console thingy (technical term).

wires coming out of top hole wire coming out of bottom hole

The kit comes with a hook to help pull the wires through the wall, and these white plastic covers to make things a little prettier. The top one even has an electrical outlet in it that you can plug the TV into.

behind the tv

This picture shows that when they say flat mount, they arent kidding. This thing is practically one with the wall.

tv mounted

and the after. Look Ma, no ugly cords. I know that the TV isnt centered over the media console, were actually planning on moving the console over so that the right side lines up with the right edge of the TV, and then maybe mounting some shelves or hanging some art on the left side. Looking at this, Im even kind of tempted to do another IKEA leg makeover but thats for another day.

As promised here are a few alternatives for those of you who dont want to cut circles out of your drywall.

1. You could just leave your TV on a media stand. Really, it looks fine, and its a lot less effort.

2.  You can get a wire cover like this.

wire cover

3. You could try to prettify them like Jen of InsideWays did. [tutorial]

prettywires

And a few ideas that I dont have pictures of, but I still think might work:

– you could wallpaper a piece of plywood, cut out a hole for the TV mounting device, attach the plywood to the wall, and have the wires run underneath it.

– you could try strategically leaning or hanging framed art work around and under your TV to conceal the cords.

If you have any other ideas about how to hide not so attractive TV cords, please share them in the comments.

 

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