House For Five Feature!

Hey all!  I’m just checking in to get you headed over to House For Five

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Deme is featuring the desk and chair combo I recently finished and if you click over, I promise you’ll get stuck in her treasure of printables and DIY projects…consider this fair warning.  I’m on track to get some herbs on my kitchen window sill next week thanks to her and some gold polka dots somewhere in this house.  Her new, still in-progress kitchen reno is AmaZing and my little workspace above is envious of hers.  Let’s just suffice it to say, my blog wants to be like hers when it grows up.  :)

Have a great Tuesday!

Minty Fresh

First of all, Happy Labor Day everybody!  I love holidays like this because the main man is home from work which always makes for a much better day!

Second of all, remember a couple months back when I painted the dresser in the girls’ room?  Then you might remember reading that I was on the hunt for some new hardware for it too.  Well, I found it!  Whilst searching through the plethora of hardware that lines a whole aisle of shelving at our Hobby Lobby, my friend Jesse pulled a swirly pull out and it happened to be the only pull that could possibly fit the odd measurements of the existing hardware holes.  I wasn’t completely in love with it but I didn’t hate it either.  So, after searching around a little more, I eventually went back and grabbed three up (at 50% off).  Then I ran to our local ReStore and bought four knobs for 50 cents each.  Here are the pulls I found (top vs. the old at the bottom) getting a trial run before I took some paint to them:
hardware 001
Oddly enough, they do fit in with the dresser and the swirly routed-out areas on each side door.  Maybe it was meant to be…. 

They passed their run even being a teeninsy bit shorter than the width I needed, but a little wedging and pushing here and there and they’re now snug as bug in a floor cloth…oh, and they’re mint.  See?
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The knobs I got from ReStore were gold and the Hobby Lobby pulls were oil-rubbed bronze, so something needed to happen to get them to jive.  Well it just happens that I jump, jive, ‘n wail best to the tune of spray paint so I grabbed a can and away I went.

First, I laid all the hardware out on a piece of plywood we had leftover from an upcoming project…image_2
(Note:  I left all of the screws in the hardware so their holes didn’t get gunked up with paint.)

and gave it all a nice coat of white primer to start the transformation.
(I have a can of Rustoleum Clean Metal primer that I was planning on using for this part, but for some reason it’s not spraying so I just used a can of Valspar white primer I had on hand.  I doubt there will be much of a difference, if any at all, but I just wanted to mention it.)

After giving the primer a half hour to dry, I gave the hardware a few thin and even coats of Krylon’s Catalina Mist.

6ca73c1c103511e3a86422000a1f9839_7I have been waiting for both our Michael’s and Hobby Lobby (the only stores in our area that sell it) to restock this color to no avail.  I finally found it at a Hobby Lobby 20 minutes away – a quick stop on the way to an event and the last can…oh how happy I was.  You can buy it on Amazon but it’s something like $8 a can and I’m way too cheap for that.  I used a 40% off coupon (Hobby Lobby iPhone app y’all) and got it for under $4.  :)

Then after the mint was all nice and dry (24 hours), I gave the hardware a couple of coats of this spray lacquer:


I wanted a shiny top coat and I’ve never used this stuff so I thought I’d try it.  It worked okay.  It’s not quite as shiny as I was going for but it still looks great.  Next time I want a shiny coat I think I’ll just do a dip in a can of gloss Polycrylic…the hardware, not me.  Sheesh…

Here’s the hardware now, all up close and personal:hardware 009

And here’s a picture progression of how far the dresser and its hardware have come:dresserhardware

What do you think?  Better?  Would you have switched out the hardware or just kept and maybe painted the old?  Well, either way, I’m calling it “done” with this dresser.  As far as the girls’ room, there’s still a few things left on our to-do list like making a upholstered cushion for the window seat, whipping up a slipcover for the rocker, and maybe figuring out some way to get up a floating shelf library for all the books they repeatedly rip off their existing shelves, but that’s all being moved to a back burner because we are bound and determined to get this ottoman done and an upholstered headboard up on our bed before baby boy gets here.

I did manage to get a few shots of the girls’ room as it stands though after naptime a couple of days ago. 

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They were content to “look for the squirrels” for a minute or two…hardware 015 

but then they were done (no squirrels out fyi) and needed to get out…hardware 014

so I put them in the same crib for one last shot, thinking they’d love the company.  But, I was wrong.

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“Just one last shot girls…”

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And done. 


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In case you’re wondering, here are the links to everything that’s made this room a little haven for the two sprouts:  the curtains, the greek key design on the window seat, the mirror above the cribs, the stripes on the walls, the painted-on glass frame, the collage wall above the dresser – hung and filled, the changing pad cover, the lamps and their shades, and the long mirror and its homemade, printable artwork.  Everything has either been handed-down to us or thrifted except for the cribs – Babies ‘R Us – and the small storage ottoman – Target via Dirt Cheap.  :)

Five Faves >Blogging Tools<

I’m back with five more favorites and I’m still going to ride the blogging train with them.  In case you missed it, last time I wrote about my five favorite DIY web design blogs.  Well these, my friends, are the five (all free!) things I can’t do without as a blogger.  They’re like a hammer is to a handy man.  Check ‘um:

1.  Windows Live Writer
I use WLW to write all my posts.  I can’t say enough about it.  It’s so much better than using blogger to write because it lets you size your pictures to whatever size you want, edit them (add borders, crop, brighten, add a watermark, etc…), and what you see on your screen is what your post will look like after published.  So many times with darn blogger I’d type up a post and once I posted it, all my spacing would be off and look completely different than what I had just typed in a draft two seconds before.  Not gonna fly with a perfectionist.  Anyway, if you haven’t tried it you should.  You can download it for free from Microsoft here.

2.  Pixlr
We don’t own Photoshop or any fancy photo-editing software because we simply don’t have money to shove their way.  But that’s okay because I stumbled upon Pixlr a couple of years ago and it does almost everything that Photoshop can for your pictures and images.  Every graphic design image on this here blog – our header, our widget titles, our nav bar – was created using Pixlr.  The best part is you don’t have to download anything to use it.  Simply go to, create, save, and done!

3.  PicMonkey
I recently found about about PicMonkey and it’s ability to make creating photo collages a cinch.  Up until a few weeks ago, every collage I’ve made was constructed with a lot of tedious cutting and pasting…a huge time commitment.  I haven’t tried out their photo-editing because I’m so smitten with Pixlr but I’m sure it’s pretty good as well.  Once again, no downloading, just go to and get busy!

4.  Canon T2i
We saved for months and months before the twins were born for this camera…and then we found out our 2011 taxes owed (boo!) were the same amount as our coveted camera so we paid them and started allllll over.  But, we got there and we love this camera!  We’re big on researching big purchases before we buy, and Canon is an all-time fave with Consumer Reports so we knew we wanted a Canon.  We got great deal on this one - $600 with a free five-foot tripod and camera bag – and we have no complaints about it.  Love, love, love.  I use it for all house shots, projects shots, and we haven’t paid a pro-photographer yet to snap the girls; not that we’re outstanding photographers because we so aren’t, but we love that we could stage a photo shoot at home for free if we wanted like this one we did when they were wee babes:

5.  Gold-Striped Planner
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I had a rough time coming up with a fifth favorite.  I’d include the computer I blog with but it’s going to be celebrating it’s 10 year birthday soon, it’s missing two keys (G & B, in case you were wondering…they still work though), dented in few places, and slower than slow…it’s a wonder I blog at all with it because it literally takes ten clicks of the Chrome icon before it’ll  let me get online and thrice as long to get a post out than if we had a recent model.  But, it works and hopefully Santa will hear my plea for a new one this year. 
So back to #5 – a planner.  Not any planner though.  You know I love stripes, right?  Well, I found this one circa April at Target on clearance for $2.50 and I love it.  I’m picky with planners – they have to have a full page monthly calendar followed by pages of each week separating the days with lines so I can write down monthly things and skip over to write down daily stuff…picky, I told you.  I jot down random ideas, to-do lists…anything pertaining to the blog in it.  It keeps me organized.  Love it.

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And that’s it!  I’m linking up again with Hallie at Moxie Wife!  Go on over and read about a lot more favorites there! 

If you’re a blogger by day (or night), what are some of your favorite blogging tools?  Photo-editing tools?  Apps?  Share the goods!  :)

Saving on Fabric Softener

Hey all!  I’m just popping in on this manic Monday (yes it’s 10:12 and so far I’ve made two trips to the diaper sprayer, haven’t eaten breakfast, haven’t brushed my teeth, and am still in my night clothes) with a little tip I stumbled upon months ago involving fabric softener.  Do you use fabric softener?  I do and love it.  My mom used it on our laundry while I grew up and so it’s just become a staple in the laundry room for us.  However, if you’re like me and love the soft, aromatic goodness it breathes into your wardrobe and towels, you might be using more than you need.  I was and here’s how I found out on accident.

One day last spring I was doing laundry and realized I was down to just a couple of loads worth of softener.  I wasn’t about to pick up the twins and go out to grab some so I diluted what I had with water – 1 part water to 1 part softener – and used the same amount for each load as I normally did (the minimum fill line on our washing machine or about 3/4 cap full in case you’re curious).  Guess what?  Our laundry came out smelling just as good and was just as soft had I used the regular, non-diluted potion!  So now whenever I buy fabric softener, I refill an old softener bottle with half the new softener and half water.  So basically I get double the amount of softener. 

A few months after my discovery, I scored some of my favorite softener – Snuggle in the yellow bottle – on clearance at Wal-Mart so I scooped up four bottles.  So technically I got eight bottles considering I dilute them.  How awesome is that?!  I’ve had them for about six months now and am only on the the first half of bottle #2.

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So, if you’re a die-hard fabric softener fan like me, try diluting yours and saving some moolah!  I’ve only tried it with Snuggle so I can’t speak for other brands but if you use something else and try it, let me know how it works!

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P.S.  I might also mention that I’ve also tried vinegar as a fabric softener since I’ve heard lots of “green” talk about how it works but I found it lacking.  You not only lose the good smell but I didn’t think it softened our clothes much at all.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we have hard water but either way, not a fan of vinegar substituting the store-bought stuff.

P.P.S.  Also, we use fabric softener over dryer sheets.  I’ve heard that dryer sheets leave a film on your dryer filter over time, causing a fire hazard, and so you need to clean your filter every so often.  I’m not aware of any bad effects fabric softener has on a washer… 

And That’s A Wrap!

Let’s talk about the art of washing hands, in particular, the dispensing that makes way for the washing.  Way back when we did our little bathroom remod, I went hunting around for some new soap dispensers to complete it’s new look.  Well, I didn’t find any in my price range (the usual handful of change) so I just filled and re-filled a couple of Bath & Body Works bottles because I kinda liked the geometric structure they provided.  I always thought maybe someday I’d give those babies a little upgrade with some spray paint or studs or somethin’ but that day never came because a few weeks ago, I spied these two just chillin’ on a Target clearance end rack:   soapdisp 001

They had nice curvature and with their $3 price tag, I couldn’t resist but take them home where I spiced them up a little more.  Here’s how:
 soapdisp 011words
[A sneak peek and graphic all-in-one…fancy that.]

First, I hunted around a few stores for the perfect color of twine…tougher than it sounds.  Not all twine is equal.  I didn’t want something too brown because then it’d blend in with the walls but I didn’t want anything too light either because then it’d blend with the countertop.  In the end, I settled for something a little lighter than I wanted but I’m happy with it and can always stain it down the road. 

So, supplies for this quick project:
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Soap dispenser (or two)
Glue (I used Aleene’s non-washable fabric and craft glue)

I found this twine at Wal-Mart and got a little surprise upon taking the packaging off.  When looking at it from the top with the wrapping still on, it looked like it was a lot thicker than it actually was.  See what I mean?
 soapdisp 004
At first I was really bummed but then I just decided to work with it anyway since it was now non-returnable.  Lucky for me, it turned out perfect.

After gathering my supplies, I grabbed the loose end of twine and cut a fresh end.  Then I put a little dab of glue at the bottom edge of my dispenser and stuck the twine end to it.  Ellen did a great job cheering me on, flashing me those pearly whites every time I glanced her way.  I waited until this dried before continuing to make sure the end would stay put as I wrapped. soapdisp 005

After the end was nice and stuck on, I began wrapping my twine up and around the bottle like so: soapdisp 006
It was as simple as making a zigzag line of glue around the area I was gluing and wrapping the twine tightly over it, layer after layer.  It was a little monotonous at first but once I got my groove, it took me no time at all.

When I had wrapped all I wanted, I made sure to end right above where I started so that that side of the bottle would be considered the “backside” and faced away from any perfectionist eyes like mine.  I also wiped off any excess glue. soapdisp 007

My initial intent was actually to wrap twine up the entire bottle but once I got almost half-way up the bottle, I really liked the color-blocking/dipped/whatever-you-want-to-call-it look and it was just the right amount of texture, so I called it quits and cut the string.

We’ve got double sinks in our master bath so matching dispensers we had to have and matching they are.  Two cheers for matching and OCD!
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And speaking of OCD, it’s clear soap only to maintain the frosted glass look…very importante.  I know, you think I’m crazy.  If the shoe fits…ohp, it does.

Much better than the Bath & Body Works bottles, don’t cha think? soapdispensers

Cost breakdown:
Soap dispensers:  $6 ($3 each…thank you Target clearance)
Twine:  $3 (Wal-Mart)
Glue:  already had (Got it at JoAnn’s once upon a clock)
Total spent:  $9

I think I’m going to spray paint the nozzle gold or silver…I’m leaning towards gold…to upgrade them even more.  What do you think?  Silver or gold or just leave them white?  Speaking of, has anybody ever spray painted a nozzle like this before?  I’m a teeny bit worried the tube will scratch as it’s pumped even though I’ve given it a once-over a hundred times already and I’m pretty sure the tube and top dispenser don’t actually touch…if that makes any sense.  Either way, you know I’ll let in on that whole story once it happens.  Until then, you’ll find me smiling every time I pump to wash.  :)

Have a great rest of the weekend!