April 30, 2013

Decorating Tips: How to Combine Pattern

If you saw my DIY glue pillows yesterday, you may have noticed that they were kinda colorful. I know this shocked quite a few of you, as this is a total departure from my usual beige-obsessionI've come to a realization. I need a pop of color or two. I think I've avoided color in our house for so long because I just didn't know how to make it look good. I'm learning as I go, and sometimes I need a minimum of ten decorating failures before I succeed. As time has passed I've slowly learned to incorporate color into my decor. Slowly.

And my fevah for color only grows stronger. 
My prescription for cowbell just isn't helping.

I've been experimenting over the past month with how to make multiple colors/patterns work with our house. I've been playing around with fabrics and I've been doing lots of researching online. I thought I would share my findings with you because I happened across some really helpful nuggets of info along the way and I know you will enjoy them, too. 

How To Combine Pattern: A DIY guide to decorating with color & pattern


Here's the deal.
I went to the nearest fabric store and took pictures of different fabrics so that I would have some examples to show you. I think I took pictures of 50 bolts of fabric. And I think the employees thought I was some sort of crazy fabric paparazzo.

April 29, 2013

How To Make A Pillow With Glue


You guys know I have never been able to master my sewing machine. And not for lack of trying. (Okay, fine, I didn't try very hard and pretty much gave up at the first sign of difficulty.) But, since I know I'm not alone in this struggle, I decided to share how I make most of my pillows...without a sewing machine. 
It's a beautiful thing.

How to make a pillow with glue! A really easy no-sew pillow tutorial!


A little while ago, I came across some fabric glue called Unique Stitch and decided to give it a try, figuring nothing could be worse than fumbling around with a bobbin for an hour.

How To Make a Pillow With Glue - a really easy no-sew pillow tutorial


And as it turns out, this stuff is great. I've tried fabric glue before, but it never delivered and usually left me wanting my $5 back. This stuff is different. It totally delivered. You can even wash your pillow covers after using this stuff on them, and it still holds strong. It takes a little longer to dry than some of the other fabric glues, but the end result is much better. You can find Unique Stitch at most craft stores or online here (amazon affiliate link).

I ended up making a bunch of different pillows, some for the guest bedroom I'll share next week, and some for the living room. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out.
Cost me about $3 a pillow.
One million dollars saved.

How to make a pillow with glue! A really easy no-sew pillow tutorial!




So, here's a quick pillow tutorial.

How To Make a Pillow With Glue - a really easy no-sew pillow tutorial

You need fabric. I was able to get 2 pillows out of 1 yard of fabric, so buy accordingly.
You also need scissors and of course, the fabric glue.

To make an envelope pillow, you need to cut 3 pieces of fabric. I cut one 20x20 inch piece and two 20x15 inch pieces.
The two 20x15 inch panels combine to make the backside of the pillow, overlapping slightly in the center, with an opening in the center (where the green arrows are) that the pillow goes into. 

Here's a diagram to show you how it works.


How To Make a Pillow With Glue - a really easy no-sew pillow tutorial


To assemble your pillow, place the two 20x15 panels on top of the 20x20, matching up the numbers in the diagram. 
The black arrows show you where to glue the fabric to attach the panels to one another. 
I chose to run a strip of glue along the edge on the two 20x15 panels where the green arrows are and fold the fabric over so that they look finished and so that I didn't have any raw edges of my fabric showing. Also, since you are assembling this pillow inside out, lay the fabric with the print facing inward.

When the pillow is assembled, the two 20x15 panels end up where the pillow opens in the back, slightly overlapping.  This is what the back of your pillow will look like. 

How To Make a Pillow With Glue - a really easy no-sew pillow tutorial

(It functions just like a standard sham pillowcase, and you can remove it to wash it.)

Once you've glued your pillow cover together, allow it to dry overnight. Once it's dry, you can turn your pillow cover right-side-out and stuff your pillow in the opening. I like to use down alternative pillow inserts because they fill the covers out really nicely.

How To Make a Pillow With Glue - a really easy no-sew pillow tutorial

And that's all there is to it!
Thanks for being here!
'Til next time,








Want more? For more budget decorating ideas, check out my top 50 here.

April 23, 2013

Our House Tour


 I've decided to put everything in one place and organize my projects room by room! Hopefully, this will help you find what you're looking for or even show you some stuff you may have missed along the way!

Welcome to our house tour!!


As I mentioned here, we bought this house a year after we got married. We were looking for a new house, but one fateful day while driving around we came across a hot mess of a 1970's fixer-upper. I knew it was going to be our house from the first moment I laid eyes on it. It wasn't much to look at, but all I saw was a smorgasbord of potential. It was a lot of house for a great price, and it had so much character just waiting to be unleashed.


Over the course of the next 3 years, we transformed our house from drab to fab! 



10 inspiring DIY room makeovers done on a small budget! So many great ideas! Check out the before and afters!



It was a ton of work, but we did 100% of it ourselves. I had never even held a paintbrush before we bought this house, but I decided to teach myself as I went. There were tons of mess-ups along the way...mistakes, failures, and general debauchery. But, over time, this house has become a home that I truly love.

Most of our journey has been documented in this blog, and the house has come a really long way since we first began. Below, you will find links to the posts about each room. Feel free to dig around, and see how each room has evolved over time. 
Enjoy!



Inspiring DIY room makeovers done on a small budget! So many great ideas! Check out the before and afters!


Posts about our kitchen:


Inspiring DIY room makeovers done on a small budget! So many great ideas! Check out the before and afters!


Posts about our master bedroom:

Inspiring DIY room makeovers done on a small budget! So many great ideas! Check out the before and afters!


Posts about our office:

Inspiring DIY room makeovers done on a small budget! So many great ideas! Check out the before and afters!


Posts about our guest bathroom:


Posts about our master bathroom:

Inspiring DIY room makeovers done on a small budget! So many great ideas! Check out the before and afters!


Post about the guest bedroom:

Inspiring DIY room makeovers done on a small budget! So many great ideas! Check out the before and afters!

Posts about our living room, dining room, and entryway:


Thank you for stopping by to check out our home. 

If you'd like to see more, please check out the projects page.

Don't forget to pin this page so you'll be able to find it when you need it



10 inspiring DIY room makeovers done on a small budget! So many great ideas! Check out the before and afters!




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April 16, 2013

How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets in 10 Easy Steps

After getting over a hundred emails over the course of the past year from readers asking how to paint cabinetry,
(I'm apparently not alone in my old-house-situation!)
 I decided to put together a really simple tutorial to help you with one of the most frequently asked questions I receive:

How on earth do I paint my cabinets???

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!


Painting your cabinetry will take you some time, but it's a lot easier than you might think, and if I can do it, so can you.
(This tutorial also works for bathroom cabinetry, as it's the exact same process I used in two of our bathrooms, here and here.)


How to paint your kitchen cabinets in 10 easy steps

Before we get started, let me just show you just how great our new paint and hardware looks!

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!

 As you may remember from this post (where I painted the insides of my cabinets with chalkboard paint), I mentioned that I had just re-painted my cabinets. That was true. When we first moved into this house, the kitchen cabinets had already been painted. It was the worst paint job ever. EVAH. There were heavy brushstrokes everywhere and the spraypainted hinges and hardware were rusty and gross. It was a mess.

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!

It was not a good example of spray paint usage. And that's coming from a gal who is obsessed with spray paint.
It drove me nuts. 
After painting all of the insides of my cabinets, I was just worn out. So, rather than paint the exteriors the correct way, I just slopped some more paint up over the old paint. I basically just made the horrible paint job from the previous owners worse.

So, what's a girl to do?
I completely ignored the kitchen cabinets for the next 6 months while I worked on other things in our little kitchen like the dirty grout and the gross tile countertop. Then when I was feeling up to it again, I decided I was going to paint the cabinets the right way. I also decided that a great motivator would be to reward myself with brand new fancy hardware for the cabinets when I was done.

So, you may be asking...but, Virginia, my cabinets aren't painted. They're just wood. How does this help me? Well, because after painting countless pieces of old furniture, I can promise you that the process is very similar whether you are painting over old paint or old wood. And I will coach you through the process of painting your cabinets, whether you have cabinets that are covered in paint or just normal wood. Promise.

So, let's get started.
I've narrowed my tutorial down to 10 easy steps.

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!


Step #1: Assemble your supplies and set up a workstation.

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!


You really don't need much to paint your cabinets. I've seen tons of tutorials that talk about paint thinners and paint sprayers, and they're great. BUT, if you're just a normal person like me who doesn't own expensive equipment, meanwhile trying to not break the bank, but still wanting a great result while doing it yourself, then you can take a much simpler approach.

You'll need the following:
Semi-gloss paint (I used Glidden.)
Primer (This one has great adhesion.)
Angled paintbrush( The Wooster is my go-to brush. I've used it all over my house, and it saves me so much time.)
Mini foam roller (I use this one and LOVE it.)
Sandpaper (I like these little multipacks.)
Drill
Wood filler (I use this one.)
Caulk (This is the one I usually use...it's affordable and does the job.)
*All above links take you to my Amazon affiliate store.

Also, set up a workspace. I did all of this right on my kitchen floor. I just laid out my favorite blanket that I always sit on while I work (it's comfy and washable) and got to it. You'll probably wanna use a dropcloth, but I'm just a weirdo who enjoys her hiney cushioned while she works.
Also, make sure all your stuff (food, dishes, etc.) is out of the way so that you don't get dust in everything.

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!

Feel free to peruse your eyeballs over that. I realize it's a true delight for the senses.

#2. Remove all of the cabinet doors & hardware.

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!

Take all of the doors off the cabinet frame, take the drawers out, and remove all of the hinges and hardware from the doors. That pic was snapped about halfway through the removal process.
Now, since I had already painted and labeled my doors with chalkboard paint (seen below)...

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!

I didn't need to worry about labeling the doors so that I wouldn't get them confused after I took them off. A good tip (for those of you without a crazy chalkboard obsession) is to put a little piece of masking tape on the back of your cabinets that reminds you where they go.

#3. Sand Door & Frame.

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!


This is an important step in the cabinet painting process. It's also the step that makes this tutorial apply to most everyone, regardless of your current cabinet situation. Whether you have layers of goopy old paint on your cabinets or if you just have some sort of polyurethane finish (the shiny stuff) over your wood surface, sanding is what you use to remove it and prep the surface for paint. You could also use thinners and other harsh chemicals, but I really hate that stuff and prefer to sand. I think it's a lot easier, and when you use that stuff you still have to sand when you're done. 
I use 2 types of sandpaper for this step. A high/medium grit (depending on how much gunk you need to remove, get a high grit for lots of goop or a medium grit for medium goop) and a fine grit.
Start with the high/medium grit and just sand everything off. I used a junky electric sander to get the large surfaces and then just got in the little crevices and corners by hand.
Once you've gotten most of the goop off, sand them with a finer grit sandpaper to get rid of any splinters or really rough spots.
NOTE: You shouldn't have to completely remove your paint or clear coat. The goal is to have a fairly raw surface for your new coat of paint to adhere to.
All of this sanding will make your paint adhere better and will give it a nice smooth finish.

#4. Fill Any Holes or Dents with Wood Filler

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!

I used Elmer's wood filler to fill in the holes where the old hardware was attached because I wanted my new hardware higher up.  You'll also want to use wood filler on any dings, dents, and scratches.
Apply a small amount, level it off (I'm basically a caveman and just used a butter knife), and let it dry for an hour or so.

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!

Once the wood filler is completely dry, sand it down level to the surface with a fine grit sandpaper.

#5. If needed, drill necessary holes for your new hardware.

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!

Funny story....I was a total weakling and no matter how hard I pushed, I couldn't get the dang drill through the wood. Jesse actually drilled all of the holes for the new hardware. I made him take a pic of me pretending to be the best driller on the planet, and because it's so ridiculous and makes me laugh....I'll divulge my shameful secret. 

I called Jesse at work, moody and frustrated telling him how I just couldn't figure out the dang drill.
He came home, tried it, and did it in about 2 seconds. But, then began laughing and admitted that the drill bit was pretty much worthless and as dull as a watermelon. 
And then to punish him for owning a worthless drill bit, I made him take my picture.
Because boys hate taking pictures.

 If you're a normal person with a normal drill bit, you should be able to do this on your own. But, if you're like me and have a worthless drill bit, just make your beefy-armed husband do it and then take a fake photo and pretend you did it. :)

Moving on!!

#6. Caulk.

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!

Caulk is such a magical little substance. I used it all over the place on these junky old cabinets. Before you paint, caulk between every gap or seam you can find. It will give you the absolute best end result because it makes everything look totally seamless and perfect.

#7. Prime.

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!

Priming your cabinets is really important when it comes to the durability of your paint job. Whether you have unpainted cabinets or already painted cabinets, this will cover up any stains, make your new paint adhere like superglue, and give you a durable result. Prime everything...doors, drawers, and cabinet frame.
Make sure you follow the exact same steps while priming that I'm about to show you below in step #8. Both your primer and your paint should be applied the same exact way. But, as far as the order goes...prime first, let dry, then paint.

#8. Paint.

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!

My favorite paint for cabinetry is called Silky White. It's actually Behr Silky White, but I get it mixed in Glidden because it's cheaper. In my experience, for $5 less per quart, there is not a very noticeable difference. 
And I like saving dollars.
 I was able to do all of my cabinetry with 2 quarts of paint. If you've primed your cabinets, your paint should cover pretty easily. I only needed 2 coats of paint on everything.

Now, this is an important part of step #8. 
How you apply your paint is super important in determining how your finished result will look. You want it to look professional, and without any brushstrokes. Most pros use a paint sprayer to accomplish this. But, if you're like me and don't own fancy equipment, you can achieve a brushstroke-free finish without one. 
You'll need 2 things, an angled paintbrush (The one I recommended in the supply list is a lifesaver on this project) and a mini foam roller.
Working in small sections, brush on your paint with the angled paintbrush.  

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!

And while the paint is still super wet, go back over all your paint, pressing lightly with your mini foam roller. It's like magic.

I find these little guys at Home Depot for less than $2. I use them on everything...cabinetry, trim, furniture. Love 'em.

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!

Just remember to work in small sections, going over your brushstrokes as you go with the foam roller.
It will provide you with a flawless finish.

#9. Sand the final coat of paint and finish with Polycrylic.**

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!

**I've had a few questions about this step, so let me clarify. I used a satin finish paint on my cabinets because of what poor condition the wood was in. Satin paint has less sheen than semi-gloss (what you would normally use) and therefore shows less imperfections. Sanding a satin finish just smooths it out and creates a nice finish. If you use a semi-gloss (which would work best if your cabinets are in good shape), you shouldn't sand the final coat.***

Once you've painted your two coats and allowed them to dry overnight, use a really fine grit sandpaper to give everything a really light final sanding. Get the finest grit you can find...the sandpaper package should say something like 'final finish' on it. After you've sanded the final coat of paint, if you want your finish to last a long time, I recommend coating with a satin polycrylic. 

#10. Attach Doors & Hardware
This is the final step, and my absolute favorite out of all the steps. It's time to put the doors back on the frame and attach the new hardware! 

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!

After spending a good few days on finally painting the cabinets the right way, putting brand new hardware on them was like the pot of gold at the end of a really labor-intensive-rainbow.
Or something.



Ever since we moved into this house 3 years ago, I've been hoping to upgrade our kitchen with nice high-end hardware. It's like jewelry for cabinets....and frankly, I am a true jewelry luvah. I looked all over the place trying to find affordable, high-quality options and there were very few. 
And then I came across D. Lawless hardware
Not only did they have all of the high-end hardware styles that I get all googly-eyed over, but their prices were absolutely amazing. I was so blessed to contact them and have them offer to furnish our kitchen with new hardware, but even if they hadn't, I honestly think I would have shopped there anyways. 

For all of our drawers, I chose a classic satin nickel cup pull.

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!


and for all of the cabinets, I chose a classic Stainless Steel Bar Pull. Can you believe D. Lawless Hardware sells these for about $2 each? (Use code 'livelove' to save 10% on your hardware purchase at D. Lawless Hardware.) I've been obsessed with these super long bar pulls forever, and seeing them in my own kitchen totally makes me do a little hammer dance.

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!

To replace our awful, goopy, cringe-worthy spray paint hinges, I chose the Satin Nickel hinges.

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!

Never in my wildest dream would I have thought that I would ever be so happy over a little hinge. 
But when you see the crazy difference it made, maybe you'll understand my hinge-glow.

Also, this is a perfect before/after picture for you to see how drastic the difference is between the awful paint and my new good paint.
Painting things the right way makes a massive difference.

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!

I mean seriously.

Now, it's time to check out the difference all of this hard work made in the kitchen.

 10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!

10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!

Basically, painting your kitchen cabinets isn't really that hard. It takes some time and effort, but the process is actually rather simple. 
And it's so worth it.

And when you're done, you'll totally feel like this:


That's supposed to be a smile. 

That's all for today!
 Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below. I'll try to answer them as best I can!

For related posts check out the following:


10 steps to paint your kitchen cabinets the easy way - an easy tutorial anyone can use!




That's all for today! 'Til next time!
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