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DIY Storage/Entertainment Center

This was such a fun project!!

I had this idea in my head of what I wanted for playroom storage and a little entertainment center. After shopping around, looking at cube storage and different shelving ideas... I finally realized I wanted storage that actually HID all of the toys, and could still double as our entertainment center.

Since it's me, and I don't seem to like the 'easy road'... I decided to take my idea- and bring it to life myself!
I was going to have to piece this thing together, and create exactly what I wanted on my own! 
...the challenge, and the creativity behind it, was pretty exciting.

So I knew I wanted to use kitchen upper cupboards, since the size was perfect for what I was looking for. I started by looking around on craigslist and local donation warehouses for old ones I could refinish... no such luck. They had some, but they were pricier than I wanted. 
So my best option was to buy 3 new, double, unfinished oak cupboards from Menards, each being $85.

I used my Wagner Flexio paint sprayer and primed, and painted them white.
(1 coat of primer, 3 coats of white)

Then I started working on the "counter".
I bought 2 unfinished pine boards and stained them using my dark walnut stain.
I did one coat of stain, and then used a water based varnish to seal them.

To get the cupboards in place on the wall I had to remove the baseboard trim from that part of the wall.
Then we made rectangle "bases" out of scrap 2x4's so the cupboards would be lifted up enough to trim them out and give them more of a built-in look.
2x4 rectangle bases

Once we had the bases done, we just set the cupboards on them and got the them all in place on the wall. We screwed them to the wall, then I worked on caulking all of the cracks & seams, while Aaron cut the trim pieces to trim it all out.

Once we had that all in place and trimmed out- it was time to figure out how we would get our pine boards secured on top.
We decided to just use smaller nails and a regular old hammer, and hammered them down in place. The nails are almost impossible to see... you really have to look to try and find them.

And there you have it!
The finished product!

SO MUCH STORAGE!!!! I'm one happy mom!!

The plan is to buy a bigger tv in the near future- but for now this little guy works just fine!
I've done a lot of projects that have been super rewarding, but this one might take the cake!
It was so much fun to take a totally dreamed up idea in my head, and actually bring it to life... and have it turn out EXACTLY how I wanted!

Goes to show- most things you want to do, can be done.
You just need the motivation and creativity to do it!

DIY Scrabble Wall Tiles

DIY Scrabble wall tiles

Usually I drag these "how to" posts on and on... so I'll do my best to keep this short!
It really is a simple project- but it did take awhile (hand painting all of the letters took time, and resulted in a sore neck...)

1. Pick out your words.
I used these tiles in our playroom- so I wanted playroom related words. 
The list of possible options is really endless... especially when you could use different words for different rooms.

2. Get your "tiles".
I used a scrap piece of wood (some sort of pressed, smooth plywood) that I found hiding in a corner out in the back of my Dad's shed. It was a really light colored wood, so I knew I would be staining it. The board was about 12" wide & 72" long. With the help of my wonderful father, we ripped the board down, and sawed away until I had 11 "tiles"- each measuring exactly 6"x6". 
I sanded the tiles down- since it was a scrap piece of wood it needed some TLC before staining.

3. Stain tiles.
Depending on what sort of tiles you have, or what color you want- you may not need to do this step!
I chose to use my dark walnut stain- since our walls in the playroom are lighter, I wanted the tiles to contrast and stand out more. I sealed the stain with one coat of water based varnish.

4. Stencil Letters & Numbers.
There are lots of different ways to go about this step. I chose to cut out the letters with a specific font- using my Mom's "silhouette" cutter. Then, taking the letter cut-outs, I traced them using a fine point sharpie. The black ink hardly showed up on the dark wood, so it worked perfectly for my tiles.
Then it was time to paint.
I used white acrylic paint, and a small craft paint brush and got to work.
I ended up doing 3 coats of white paint for the letters.

DIY scrabble wall tiles

5. Decorate Your Wall!
DIY scrabble wall tiles
I used these command strips to hang them on the wall.
(they're like velcro and worked great!)

DIY scrabble wall tiles
I laid out all of my letters first to see how big I wanted it all to be once said & done.
Once I had it how I wanted, I made sure to measure the distance (which for me was 2 1/2") between each tile. 
Then it was time to get them on the wall!

DIY scrabble wall tiles


THAT much closer to finally having this playroom FINISHED!!!

Same Blog- New Name!

Things are slightly different around here!
New name- but the same blog!
I need to get back to my scrabble tile project & check on the crazy sounds coming from our back yard as my husband attempts to put together some bases for our playroom storage/entertainment center!

Enjoy your Friday!!

Apricot Lemon Glazed Chicken

This is a favorite in our house! 
Super easy, healthy, and tastes delicious!!
I LOVE this recipe because it takes under 20 minutes to make!! There's also not a whole lot that goes into preparing it- so it's easy to make this, and at the same time be chasing around my 1 year old :)
You can't say that about many other meals!

What You Need:
(We choose to alway use organic ingredients)

2 chicken breast
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt (I use "Real Salt" Sea Salt)
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup apricot spread

What to Do:

1. Combine your curry powder, salt, and pepper in a small dish. Rub over chicken breast.

2. Grill chicken breast on medium-high heat.

3. WHILE the chicken breast is grilling, combine lemon juice, water and apricot spread in a small pan over medium heat. This will be your delicious glaze :) You want it to simmer- so it thickens up. Once it is at a good "sauce" consistency, turn the heat down to low to make sure it doesn't get too thick. This usually only takes about 5-10 minutes.

4. Once the chicken breast is done grilling, we always put it over some leafy greens (spinach, mixed greens...etc.)! Then drizzle the glaze over the chicken and the greens. The combination of the chicken breast, the glaze, and the greens is delicious!

There you go! 
Hope you Enjoy!
We were obviously really craving the "greens" this night- since the additional
side was peas. :)

White Trim Transformation!

Wow. What a project.
I knew it would be a lot of work- and was it ever!
I also knew I would love the end result- but I don't think I realized how MUCH I would love it!

A couple gallons of white paint has literally transformed the entire look and feel of our upstairs!

Here's a quick break down of 
I started with the trim and door frames, then I painted the doors.

For the Trim:
I decided to paint the trim in place on the walls. In my opinion- after doing it both on and off the walls- I MUCH prefer painting the trim ON the walls.
I tape off basically anywhere I don't want white paint: so above the trim to protect the painted wall and below the trim to protect the floor. I never totally trust painters tape- so I always plan on going back afterwords and doing touch ups anywhere the white paint has seeped under the tape.
Since I was painting over lighter colored trim I used 2 thin coats of primer- making sure it was fully dry between coats.
Then I painted 3 coats of white paint, again making sure the paint was dry between coats (following the dry times according to the can).
This is the white paint that I use.
Even though it says "paint & primer in one"...I always
choose to use an actual primer before painting still. Call me old school I guess.
Once my trim was beautiful and dry, it was finally my favorite part of any painting process:
I always use a box cutter to cut the tape first- so it peels off nicely without peeling away any new paint.

Now Onto Doors:

The doors...the hard part...but also probably the most rewarding part.
So here's how I did it...
We removed all of the doors and the hardware.
I opted to do all of the work out at my parent's house in my Dad's shed. Set up is always the most tedious part, so I was super glad to have my Dad's help! Here was our handy-dandy set up:
He had small wooden blocks holding the doors up off of the ground. He also had the doors braced to the wall (nailed at the top with small nails)- so I could work on both sides of the doors- which DRAMATICALLY cut down the time this project took. Otherwise I would have spent far too long waiting for each side to dry before working on the other. Did I already mention how glad I was to have my Dad helping me...?
Once we had all of the doors in place- it was time to sand. I used my electric hand sander and medium grit sand paper to rough up the doors. It didn't take long- a couple passes on each side of the door and that was enough (thank God because you don't ever realize how much work sanding is until you've been working at it for an hour...hello newly toned arms).

After what seemed like forever- I was finally done with the sanding. I used the brush accessory on the vacuum and vacuumed the doors REALLY good. I also went over them with a clean cloth to make sure there was no left over sanding dust! 
Then it was time to paint!! 

I was finally going to get to use my Wagner Flexio 570 spray painter!! EEEEEEKKKKK!
 I was so excited! 
Again, I was glad to have my Dad helping me because there are a lot of controls and settings...
We practiced with the primer on an old scrap piece of wood before we moved to the doors.
My dad did all of the priming, and I did all of the white paint.
1 coat of primer was all that it needed!
We primed sometime late afternoon and ended up letting them dry over night. The following morning right away I got to work on the white paint.
According to the can of white paint, it needs a minimum of 4 hours to dry between coats. So once it had been 4 hours, I got to work on the second coat. 

With the Wagner sprayer it saved SO much time! It covered the doors flawlessly (once we got the hang of it, which didn't take long). 
After each coat we made sure to take EVERYTHING apart on the sprayer and really wash it good! So in my opinion- even with the added clean up, using the sprayer was MORE THAN WORTH IT!!!

NOW.... with the paint sprayer- there was a lot of overspray. You can definitely change that with the settings you use- but we were most happy with the finish that just happened to result in the most amount of overspray. THAT, is why I ended up donning one of my Dad's old work shirts to cover my arms and chest, his old work hat to keep my hair from turning white, and of course a make shift mask over my face. My legs were definitely speckled white, and my black flip flops now have a speckled white finish to them. Good thing they were about $2 from Old Navy. 
So long story short- if you're going to use a paint sprayer- there will be overspray. Dress accordingly and cover any surrounding areas you don't want painted!!! 
These pictures are after the 2 coats of white paint

The sprayer gave us such a flawless, factory finish. We absolutely LOVE how they turned out!

I also spray painted all of the ugly, old, shiny brass hardware... as well as all of the screws for the hinges and door knobs. THE ONLY hardware I am buying new are the door strike plates- I figure with the constant use of the doors, the spray paint would get worn on those FAST. I ordered them from Home Depot- with 2 each in a pack, for about $2.60/pack. Well worth it in my book.

I used Rustoleums Oil Rubbed Bronze on the hardware. I did 3 coats of the oil rubbed bronze- making sure to follow the dry times between coats. I then finished them off with a clear coat protective enamel in a glossy finish to make sure they withstand the tests of time (hopefully, anyway). It helped to be able to stand the handles upright in an old piece of styrofoam... that way I could get the handles at all angles.

Once the doors were all painted we left them for a couple days to dry and cure. I really want this paint to hold up, so I figured the longer they can cure before being used- the better!

This project took a lot of time, but we are SO happy with the end result! 
It gave our home an entirely different feel, totally updated it...
and we love it!!

October Living

A breath of cool, fresh air.
Beautiful bright red trees.
All things pumpkin and apple crisp.
Coffee and blankets.


Now that I have you fooled into thinking my fall is relaxing, beautiful and calm... let me dive into our present day life!

It consists of this:

A 1 year old who never, ever, ever sits still (unless Sesame St. is on), a husband who is always eager to get out in the woods and go hunting... and me, the mom who is not only chasing around the 1 year old, but tackling what seems like a million unfinished projects around the house. 

I have learned that a project that would have normally taken me a day to start and finish... now takes me about a month, due to the fact that I have a child who steals all of my time and energy. Working during nap time is a lot different than having an entire day to work with.
(and I'm not going to lie- some days instead of working during that 2-3 hour nap time... I kick my feet up and relax)

I'm still working on finishing up painting all of our upstairs doors and trim white, as well as updating all of the ugly old brass hardware that came with it... that is about 99% done.
See sneak-peak pics below :)


At the same time, I'm working on finishing up our playroom remodel- this is stealing the majority of my time and energy (it consisted of painting the walls, painting the trim, painting the doors, replacing carpet, new decor, and a DIY storage/entertainment center).

When I'm not working on one of those two things- I'm working on a DIY scrabble wall tile project for the playroom. 

As eager as I am to finish these projects- I most definitely make time to soak up the beautiful fall weather that has been gracing us lately here in Wisconsin! 
I think Gavin and I are outside almost every minute possible- because before you know it we are stuck in knee-deep snow, and below freezing temperatures (wait...why do I live here?!).

We're enjoying touring around all of the local farms and orchards...

I'm enjoying my beautiful front porch mums...

We're looking forward to Gavin's second Halloween- this year he has a costume ;)
As well as carving some pumpkins for the front porch!

I'm also going to be enjoying my 24th birthday here in a couple weeks! Another reason October is my favorite month :)

Here's hoping all of you are enjoying your October!

P.S... can't wait to share all of the FINISHED house projects with you!
...hopefully within the next few weeks!

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