How to Plan for a Home DIY Project

Spring Break for our kids is in just a few weeks. Because of Ken’s job, this means that he will have some more free time on his hands than he usually does. So what are we doing for Spring Break? The beach? Lake? Stay-cation? Not quite.

We are diving head first into some home renovation projects. Some indoors and some outdoors. These are not projects that we have any kind of experience with. None. Zilch. This could be disastrous amazing! So if we have no experience with these types of projects, how do we expect to have a good outcome? Here are a few tips for you:

  • Research. ReSEARCH. REsearch. Easy to say, but how? We are researching in these ways: YouTube, Pinterest, Blogs, Books, and Friends. Search for the type of project you are doing, and endless results should come up. This is not a “one and done” type of research. We’re piecing together tips and instructions from different sources that will work best for our house and our taste.
  • Measuring. Know exactly how much of each material you will need. Guessing is going to add to your frustration when you either have to go back for more or you buy too much. Frustrations = Stress = Bad Experience.
  • Pricing. This could go along with research, but it’s important enough to stand on it’s own. Know ahead of time how much you’re going to spend on materials. Simply deciding to walk into a store and buy what you find isn’t the best way to do things. You should shop around, price materials, and discover all of the options that are available to you.
  • Gather and prep your materials. I like to think of this as making a recipe for dinner. You’re going to make sure you have all of the ingredients before you start cooking it. Make sure you have all of your “ingredients” before you start your project. If some items can be prepped ahead of time, like priming something, go ahead and do it before the day you plan to do the project.
  • Make sure you have the tools you need. If you need a tool such as a saw or nail gun that you don’t have, make arrangements to buy it, borrow it, or rent it before the day of the project. You don’t want to spend time on the day you start your project to track one down. Tool rental places may have rented all of them out, friends may not be reachable, and impulsively buying a tool that you need will likely lead to overspending.

When you take the time to plan ahead and prepare yourself with knowledge and materials, your project is going to go a lot smoother than if you don’t.

Maybe next year on Spring Break we’ll actually take a break. 😉


    Use a Screen Door for an Organizer, Room Divider, or Craft Show Display

    I wanted to share this screen door that we use a lot. Over time this has evolved into something that I’ve changed to be functional and beautiful.

    I currently use something similar in my antiques booth to display items on, but here you can see that you can create a home organizational piece with a screen door.

    Start by finding a screen door. You can either repurpose an old one or buy a new one from a home improvement store. I bought this one from Home Depot for around $20. Either paint or stain the door the color that you want. Staple chicken wire to the back of it. Make sure that you purchase a roll of chicken wire that is at least as wide as the door. At this point you can decide if you only want chicken wire on it, or if you want to back the chicken wire with something. For the one in my antiques booth I put some burlap fabric behind the chicken wire. On this one I used an old lace curtain that I purchased at a thrift store.

    The final steps in this project are to make the door stand up. Screw some decorative wood corner pieces (Home Depot, trim department) onto the front and some metal L-brackets on to the back.

    Diesel, our maltese, really thinks that you should give it a go and let us know if you like it!


    UPDATE: Thank you for all of the interest in the desk and screen door, both have sold. 
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    Painted Desk Makeover!

    Hey Y’all!
    Just a quick post today to show-off a project that I just finished. I haven’t painted much furniture this winter, or as I like to call it, “The Long Unmotivating Season of Gray and Cold.” Who wants to paint furniture on days where naps, coffee, and books are so much more enticing?


    I picked up this dainty desk at an estate sale. At first glance I thought I’d have to repair the legs. It turns out the hardware was only loose, and it just needed a little tightening. I wasn’t so lucky with the packing tape removal. I’m guessing that the drawers had been taped shut at some point to keep them from opening during a move. Unfortunately, I think the tape had been left on for at least ten years. Long enough to get good and petrified! Hours of tape removal, y’all. Hours.

    I don’t know why kids feel inclined to carve into wood. This one had “I love Renee” carved into the side. I can only get so irritated, though. My own Samantha carved “I love you” into some end tables. It was the first thing she learned to write and she wrote it everywhere. Who can get mad at “I love you”?! I mean, PRESH!!! That girl is full of love.

    Found some fab knobs. You can find them here:
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    Dug up some paint from my stash in the garage. Mixed up some of my special recipe chalky-like paint.

    And voila! Shabby chic. Dainty. Feminine. Perfection. Love.

    On another topic, happiness is finding a bag of jelly beans that you forgot you had. True Story!

    Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new. 2 Cor. 5:17


    Putting Together an Entry Table

    Recently a large portion of our home got a fresh coat of paint. We’ve all heard it before, but honestly, it’s true; Paint changes everything. And since the walls looked so fresh and clean, I procrastinated a bit to put things back together once the paint was dry. After all, I spackled all of the holes. Why make new ones?

    But then the bare walls got boring. So, hello hammer.

    First up was to put an entry table space together. There’s not usually a spot on the wall that says, “Put your entry table here. X” We’re lucky enough to have a large entry area, so I took a couple of things into consideration. First, I made sure that the front door had enough space to swing completely open. We have a constant parade of furniture in and out of the front door, so I needed to make sure that nothing would be in the way. Next, I have this  thing  obsession about symmetry, so I had to make sure that the table would be centered in the space.

    Once I had the spot where I wanted my table, I could start hanging things on the wall above it. TI knew that I was using this mason jar lamp, so I checked was to make sure the “Family” sign was hung high enough that the lamp wouldn’t block it. Of course, I used my level to make sure it was!

    Ignore the stool. I’m a shorty.

    By the way, if you haven’t heard of this trick to hang pictures using tape, you should really try it. Tape in between the hold of your picture. Then use the tape on the wall to measure the distance between your nails.

    The entry in our house is two stories, so the scale of this arrangement was important to me. I didn’t want to make anything too low or small and have it seem puny in the space. I added another picture to heighten the display. It goes with my “family” theme that I have going on. There are four of us and there are four birds. Awwww, so cute!

    Finally, I set some items on the tabletop to complete the look: a tray to place keys and sunglasses on, a lamp to provide a little light at night, and some other decorative items.

    I recently created a different display on the table to use for one of my Etsy listings. I think this turned out beautiful and functional. I love functional. This reclaimed window frame organizer is currently for sale in my Etsy shop.
    I got this perfect “Family” sign from Amazon. The quote is exactly what I was looking for.

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    Christmas Scenes in Glass Canister Jars

    Hi All!

    I wanted to share an easy Christmas decoration idea with you — Glass canister jars with Christmas scenes inside of them. These were simple and affordable to put together.

    I bought all of my supplies at Walmart. Walmart zaps the life out of me, but it is the absolute cheapest place to buy everything you need for this project. I bought three glass canisters. The largest 2 gallon size is $9.97 and the smallest is $4.97. If you bought these at a big box craft store they would be twice as expensive, even with a coupon.

    You’ll also need:

    • some Epsom salts, which you can find in the pharmacy or garden department.
    • Bottle brush Christmas trees, which you can find in the Christmas department with the village stuff. Trust me — the best price was at Walmart. $7 or $8 for a large pack, I think. Hobby Lobby & Michaels both scalped me for a lot more when I bought some there.
    • Toy cars or trucks
    • twine

    Pour some Epsom salts into the bottom. Settle some trees wherever you like them. Take some of the smaller trees and attach them to the trucks with some twine. I didn’t glue anything down so that I could reuse it. If you don’t have any trees that are small enough, use some wire cutters to cut the tops off of some bigger trees to the size that you need.

    My kids love looking at this!

    Merry Christmas!

    How to Paint Your Doorknobs

    I’m so glad I painted our doorknobs! If you’ve been following The Great Door Painting Project (here and here), then you know that this has been an enormous transformation. The good news is that painting the doorknobs was the easiest part. Even if you aren’t painting your doors, painting your doorknobs is an easy way to update your home.

    This is a job that even a beginner can do. There will be two screws on one side of the doorknob. Unscrew them and twist each side of the doorknob in opposite directions while pulling apart.

    Find away to support your doorknobs before you paint them. I used a block of Styrofoam and set it inside of a cardboard box. I have seen some other methods, which I pinned onto my Pinterest board on doors. Don’t forget to paint the heads of your screws!

    This is my favorite spray paint for hardware. Rust-Oleum makes several different metal finishes in their line of “Forged Hammered Paint & Primer in One.” I have used this to paint the hardware and hinges on furniture as well. It doesn’t scream “I’m spray-painted! I’m cheap!” My favorite part of this spray paint is that it gives a slight texture and variation in color. You can order it from and have it delivered right to your door(knobs). hee, hee!
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    I recommend using this is short bursts to give the most natural finish. The more coats you use, the more variation in color and texture you will achieve. Just like I mentioned when you paint doors, your painted doorknobs will need several days to dry rock hard. Even if they are dry to the touch, wait before you reinstall them. I felt like mine were completely hard after 4 days.

    Super easy. Give it a try!

    Once You Go Black: The Dirty Details on Painting Doors

    A few days ago I posted some before & after pictures of my painted black doors. I love how it looks. It’s completely changed the feel of the rooms. Despite how much I grumbled about it, I’m glad I did it.

    I’ve gotten mostly positive feedback. It was a little funny when my mom commented, “What made you decide to do that? Well, it does take a little getting used to.” Translation: Why in tarnation would you paint your white doors black?? LOL, my mom rocks.

    Now I’d like to share some things that I did or thought of while painting. I was completely wrong in estimating how long it would take and how hard it would be, but there were a couple of little things that I did that did cut down on the time and make it easier.

    • Research. Check out my Pinterest board on doors. I read a lot on how to paint a door. You might think that sounds silly, but there are specific ways to paint a door. Read on.
    • Doors should be painted with semi-gloss paint, similar to your baseboards and millwork.
    • The more sheen (shine) there is to paint, the more it shows brush marks. Semi-gloss has a lot  of sheen. Hence, there is a specific order on how to paint a door.
    • More sheen also means that if you use a roller for any of it, you need a large nap, at least 3/8″ or more. Otherwise, you’re going to see roller marks. It will drive you nuts once it dries.
    • Consider: Do you want to paint the entire door, or just the side that shows in the hallway? My thought was, “I want a black door, not a white door that has a black side.” So I painted the entire door.
    • Consider: Do you want to take the doors off of the hinges or leave them on? Taking the doors off of the hinges will greatly increase your workload for two reasons. One, You’ll most likely need two people to put the doors off and on the hinges. Two, you can only paint one side at a time.
    • If you’re leaving the doors on the hinges, prepping them will add some time.
    If you leave the door on the hinges, be sure to tape them. Use an Xacto knife to trim the tape.
    Prepping keeps it from looking sloppy.
    Be sure to protect your floors. I taped down trash bags.
    Drips don’t leak through the plastic. You can tape onto any surface, including carpet.
    Paint can leak through canvas drop cloths or cardboard.

    • Each side of the door will need about 3 coats, even with primer.
    • Consider: Do you want to take the doorknobs off or leave them on? Taking them off adds time, but prepping (taping) and carefully painting around them adds time, too. I recommend taking them off. It’s not hard. I ended up painting all of my doorknobs and I’ll post about that soon.
    • Consider: It will take several days for the paint to cure and completely harden. Even if they are dry to the touch, they won’t be completely hardened for a few days. Ladies, think “nail polish.” Even if your nails feel dry on top, you know that it takes a few minutes for them to get rock hard.
    • Consider: Do you want to use a primer or a paint that has a primer already in it?

    Okay, now there are some things that I would’ve done differently if I could do it all over again:

    1. I really hate to say this (hangs head), but I believe it would’ve made a huge difference. 😦 I wouldn’t have used Behr paint. I use Behr a lot for painting furniture. It is my go-to base for my homemade “chalk” paint colors. But, I never, ever, ever use it to paint walls. Ever. I always use Benjamin Moore paints. People often assume that Ben Moore paints are super expensive. They’re not. In fact, the gallon of Behr that I bought was more expensive than the last gallon of Ben Moore that I bought. Ben Moore paints are superior quality. It covers better. The color is better quality. It is better paint, hands down.
    2. Instead of a jet black color, I would have used a dark gray. I’m crushing on Dragon’s Breath by Benjamin Moore.

    I hope this helps you! The biggest pains (literally) for me were my knee and hand. It is a lot of up & down, and my hand was killing me from holding onto the brush for so long. (sooooo.long.)


    How to Fill-In the Gaps on Your Christmas Tree


    I’ve had years when we had 4 live trees in the house. One year we had a tree that was 12 feet tall. We’ve had themed trees decorated only in peppermint ornaments. Once we even had a white and blue police themed tree with flashing blue running lights. We’ve gone to tree farms and cut them down. We’ve had artificial, table top, large real, and just plain ridiculous. All in the same year.

    But the past few years when we get out all of the bins of Christmas decorations, all I can think about is how long it’s going to take me to put it all away when the Christmas season is over. Lame, yes. Maybe even a bit on the scrooge-y side. Hey, don’t judge.

    This year we picked up a tree from Home Depot. It took less than 2 minutes to pick it out. Here was my check list: Tree? Yes. Green? Yes. Will it fit in our tree stand? (Oh, honey, that is another story for another time.) Yes. Perfect.

    However, you know when you go some big box store to get a tree, the branches are all tied up in mesh. They cut open the mesh, and you can all “ooooh” when the branches spring down. But in reality it takes a few hours for the branches to “fall.” As it turns out, our tree is a little uneven this year with some gaps in it. But you know, no one is actually driving their Christmas tree back up to Home Depot and asking to exchange it. Wait a minute, are you? :-/

    Should I have taken more than 2 minutes to pick it out? Yes, probably. Is it a big deal? Not for me. Can I fix it? Yep.

    Should you find yourself in a similar situation, head on over to your local craft store. In the floral department you will find all kinds of floral stems. You are going to want to look in the section with long stems. Stay away from the short floral picks for this project.

    Find something that will make your tree wonderful and fabulous. Don’t try to match the branches. Find something feathery or glittery or totally unexpected. I went with gold because I have mostly gold ornaments. I also wanted something with texture similar to pine needles.

    You can fill in the holes by simply poking the stems into the tree. I also evened out our tree (it was a bit lopsided as well) by pulling some of the stems further out on one side, and pushing them further in on the other side.

    And just because I love my new Shiny Brite by Christopher Radko ornaments from Home Goods:

    Our tree isn’t perfect. It isn’t huge. But once you put lights and ornaments on it, any tree becomes magical.

    Painted Black Doors

    I couldn’t decide to pull the trigger on painting the doors in our house black. I’m not really into doing anything trendy. Read: All of you who painted chevron stripes on your walls will be repainting in a year or two. But the more that I saw pictures of doors painted black, the more I decided that it was something that could actually last a while. When I decided to go ahead and do it, my thought was, “It’s paint. We can always paint them back to white.”

    I did a lot of research before I started. Check out my whole Pinterest board on doors, and you can see some of the blogs that I read on how to paint a door. One of the blogs I read said something like, “This was so easy that I decided to go ahead and paint all of the basement doors, too.” Yeah, in that case, I’m in!

    Y’all. I’m all about telling you when things are easy. I’m all about empowering you to do projects. But I’m not going to lie, this was no cake walk. I may or may not said a few curse words in my head  the whole time a few times. I don’t know for sure, but I’d be willing to bet that if you hired a bunch of painters to come to your home, and they needed to also paint a few of your doors from white to black, that they’d make the new guy that they all hate paint the doors.

    So I may have once thought, “It’s paint. We can always paint them back to white.” But make no mistake, I will move before I paint those doors back to white. I originally thought I’d do one blog post on the whole thing, but I’m going to break it up into three: 1. Before & After pictures so you can decide if you want to do it, too. 2. What I did while painting the doors, that you might want to try. 3. How I painted the doorknobs from gold to antiqued pewter.

    Here’s a before and after of the hallway. The walls are Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore. The color I used for the doors is Black Suede by Behr.

    and here’s a before and after of the front door:

    I’d love some feedback! Please leave me a comment below and let me know what you think. I’ll be posting soon with the how to’s and what-nots.


    Distressed White China Cabinet with Homemade "Chalk" Paint

    Deadlines. Due dates. Time Frames. I work well under pressure. I know this about myself, so I’ve given myself unmovable deadlines to make sure I get stuff done.

    This fall I didn’t participate in any antique fairs. The kids’ sports schedules and Ken’s work schedule were a little chaotic, and I didn’t think that fairs were going to be doable this season. However I had a lot of inventory to get rid of. So I decided to throw a “Yard Market”, which is just fancy-talk for yard sale but with some above average inventory that you don’t usually find at yard sales.

    I advertised and my reason for doing that was because once I told the world I was having a “Yard Market,” then I had to do it. All was going well and smoothly, but I had one large piece that I still hadn’t tackled yet. I needed some help from Ken for this one.

    This china cabinet belonged to a family member that had tried a few times to sell it. As it was, it was average. As you can see it was dated 90’s oak, which isn’t in demand at all right now. I asked them if they would trust me to paint it and sell it for them, rather than just giving it away.

    It was an enormous job, from the inside out. Everything from the light fixture to the hardware got a new look. The glass even got some attention. There is no way I could’ve done this piece as quickly as I did without Ken’s help. We pulled an all-nighter!

    As fate would have it, a friend from college was looking for a distressed white china cabinet. So this actually sold before the Yard Market even started. (Win-Win!) Here’s a picture of it in her home:

    Hope you love it!