Friday, June 22, 2012

Bathroom Towels

Bathroom towel racks drive me nuts.


Is it just me?  I love having the towel rings next to sinks because it's pretty easy to just throw a tea towel over them and have it look nice enough...but towel bars?  The towels are always a mess and look horrible.  We had only a towel bar in my downstairs half bath, so I took it out and and bought a ring!   

When we have the bars, but I put "decorative" towels on them.  By now, my family knows they are not to be used!  This probably drives THEM nuts, but hey, a happy mom and wife, means a happy life, right?  :) 

My "recipe" is always two bigger towels, with two tea towels over them, neatly folded and then I tie the tea towels with some sheer, coordinating ribbon to finish it off.

(and yes, that shiny brass scares me too!  I picked out a gorgeous neutral beige to paint this bathroom with, and when I actually get around to painting it, I'll take down all of the shiny and give it a coat of my BFF, Rustoleum's Universal Oil Rubbed Bronze.  Yessiree...  I lovvve my master bathroom, but who picks yellow paint with shiny gold/brass hardware?  It clashes to me!  Plus our bathtub has white tile with a line of beige tile...Beige or a better coordinating color at least is the way to go with paint in here!)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Quick Project

I'm pretty happy with how this quick project turned out.  I had two old Americana themed pictures, that just didn't fit in the new house.  Frames can be expensive, so I took the pictures apart, and spray painted the frames for different projects.  One frame went in the living room as a chalkboard, the other, I painted the frame oil rubbed bronze.

I had three snapshots I'd taken of my kids in a shelf that had frames.  It used to be in our entry way, but I was putting it in our master bathroom for hanging towels here in the new house.

I didn't want to just put the pictures in a box, so I took an old book (we had two copies of Great Expectations, so I used that...), and just sat and ripped up the pages.  My four year old helped and thought it was great fun to be allowed to tear a book.

Once I got enough little ripped up slivers of paper, I started gluing them on to the old picture that was in the frame.  No rhyme or reason.  Then I took a bit of scrapbook paper left over from this project, bonus that it matches and ties in with that project as well since some of it is in the same room!  I cut that in a rectangle that would fit all three pictures, and glued that in the center.

Cheap (I had everything on hand so it didn't cost me anything), and EASY custom wall decor!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Above Cabinet Decorating

Since I married my husband, I've always had an Americana theme going on in my kitchen. It was easy to throw together, and I was a military wife, so I had to show my pride for America, right?

When we moved, I decided it had to go.  I still have pride for my country and my Sailor, but my kitchen was now part of an open floor plan and needed to flow with the rest of my decor a little better.

Problem, lots of Americana decor, and not a lot of extra cash flow to go out and change everything.  It's so much easier to collect things over the years!

Not to worry, though...

A little spray paint, and some creative thinking, to the rescue!  I gathered up all of my Americana decor, and some other random items I had hanging around with no place to "belong."  I shopped my house.

A little Oil Rubbed Bronze here, a little flat Black Rustoleum there...  and we have a whole new look!  The only thing I went out and bought was the letter "M" (I seem to have developed a "thing" for them...I'm trying not to buy any more).  Luckily I already had the spray paint on hand.

I had some chalk board paint in my stash, and I planned to paint a serving dish to prop up.  Unfortunately the space above my cabinets is a little height challenged and the platter I had on hand wasn't going to work... I had to improvise.  I didn't want to go shopping, and it was the middle of the night, anyway.  I do my best work at night, don't you?  A quick look around the garage landed my eye on...

The lid from an old tin of popcorn!  Yep!  I gave it a coat of flat black paint, and then two coats of chalkboard paint. If you're really paying attention, you can sort of maybe tell it's a lid...but who is going to be staring at the top of my cabinets, anyway?

I tried to follow some Thrifty Decor Chick advice (I heart her!)... I'm not quite sure if I got it right.  It was a liiiitle too empty here.

I used some more advice from Thrifty Decor Chick to prop things up a little!  Except I didn't use books because I like to read my books!  Plus, all of our "extra" books in boxes down in our unfinished basement.  And it was the middle of the night.  That's when the centipedes come out!!  I wanted to stay upstairs, haha.  So, I improvised and I used old dvd cases!!  I had just transferred our dvd's into binders, so I had a ton of those handy...sitting in a box, waiting to go down into the basement.  ;)

You can't even tell they're sitting on dvd cases unless you stand on something to look up there.

Yeah, we reallyyyy like bread.

Yeah for dvd cases!

Adding in a little more here and there...  I painted that little basket holding flowers with some ORB!  It was red, white, and blue, before! 

Our unity candles from when we got married...  the candle holder was shiny BRASS...but I didn't mind giving that a coat of ORB either.

And I finally feel DONE.  I'm not sure if it looks a little does to me, a little, but I like it!

I couldn't decide what to write on my chalkboard, but finally settled on Bon Appetit!  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Art on a Budget with Scrapbook Paper

I was SO tired of empty walls I just couldn't take it any more.  I had seen a few ideas on Pinterest, that involved floral foam or scrap wood and scrapbook paper and decided it was worth a shot for some cheap art since I wasn't finding anything I liked that was super expensive.  I picked up several sheets of scrapbook paper in color schemes I was thinking of going with, that matches what I already had and our paint colors. 

I originally was going to use the floral foam, but it was pretty expensive at the craft store I was at.  I walked around a bit and found some Elmer's foam board for $1 a sheet.  Poster board sized and I was able to get two 12x12" and several smaller sized pieces out of one sheet.  I think I bought four sheets and it was plenty, I still have some left over.

I used a glue stick to put the paper on, and then cut around it with a razor knife.  I probably should have used spray adhesive, I think it might have worked a little better, but the glue stick is holding up just fine for me.  They have bubbled a little in some places, but I can tell it's just where I didn't put the glue, if I do this again I will make sure the entire surface of the foam board has glue before I put down the paper.  I don't mind the bubbling though because to make it's just that much more more texture and character.  

I sanded the edges smooth since they were a little rough from the razor cuts, and used a foam brush to put on a little black paint around the sides to hide the foam board look.  I brushed a little on the edges of the paper too, to give it an aged, inked look.  I'm not a scrapbooker so I don't have any ink pads laying around for distressing things.  

I did this for five rooms!  I don't think I spent $10 on everything total, but I did already have the paint on hand.

I already shared my living room photo collage, you can see smaller versions of this in that...I did them all on the same night.

For the brown floral paper, sitting on the shelf, I did apply a coat of clear gloss spray paint since those are in a bath room.  They are directly across from my shower, and I do take HOT showers, and they are holding up perfectly well.  It made me think I should have coated the rest of the "art" with clear gloss as well, but I didn't want them to be so shiny.

Oh, to hang up the smaller ones, I used that smooshy putty stuff to hang them up...but it didn't work on the 12x12" squares, they just kept falling down, so I super glued soda can tabs to the back and hung them up with nails.

I will probably replace some of these as I find more substantial artwork to fit in these spaces, but for now, at least I'm not staring at blank walls! :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Gift for a Bzzy Teacher

We wanted to give my daughter's teacher a gift at the end of the school year.  A token of appreciate for all the hard work she put in and all the time spent helping our children learn and grow!

Being on a budget, we decided to make something!  My mother in law graciously gave us the stamps to include with the gift.  She was a teacher herself and mentioned that she thought they would make a great gift.  How thoughtful of her!  :o)

We decided to make a little classroom decoration.  My daughter's teacher is "Mrs. B" and as a play on that, has her classroom decorated with lots bees! 

We started by fishng the letters M, R, and S out of a mixed bag of small wooden letters.  We used a foam brush to paint them a bright yellow.  The letters were from Walmart, and cost less than $2 for the whole bag.  We have PLENTY of letters left for more crafts or just to play with.

I had originally wanted the letter to be a little larger, but this .97 letter was all that Walmart had.  I swear they used to have more size variety, but with two days left til the end of the school year I wasn't about to go running all over town to find the size I wanted.  This had to do, and it worked out perfectly, I think!

I gave it a quick coat of black spray paint, just the cheap .99 stuff.

One the paint dried, I gave it a coat of Krylon's Chalkboard paint.  LOVE chalkboard paint!  It gave it a great texture, and if teacher wants to write anything on it, she can...bonus!  I knew I wanted to coat the letter with this paint, which is why I originally wanted a larger letter. 

My daughter signed the back with love, and I wrote the year and grade.

We added some little bee stickers we found in the scrapbooking section to finish it off! 

You could easily change the colors and stickers around to find a theme your child's teacher might like. 

And of course, no thank you gift is complete without a hand written note of appreciation!  Ava was so proud to have helped make this gift for her teacher! 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Stanley Steemer Gets Carpets Cleaner!

Look how pretty my carpets look thanks to Stanley Steemer!

They needed to be cleaned badly, and I'm so impressed with the great job they did!  Especially in (what is supposed to be) the dining room, our pets really did a number in there.

Free Father's Day Card Offer!

Check out this sweet video from Shutterfly.  Be sure to watch all the way to end for a free Father's Day card offer! 

4 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Backyard & Get Into The Summer Groove

The weather is warming up, love is in the air, literally (Venus is transiting the sun)…and the thing on everyone's mind is spending time outdoors.

Now, what's the state of your backyard?

If it's anything like mine, it's time for a friendly reminder about how easy it is to makeover your outdoor space using craigslist. What does your heart, or garden, desire? Here are some ideas...

4 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Backyard & Get Into The Summer Groove

1. Clean up.
Hire a guy to power wash your deck or patio ( and team to clean your gutters and windows (

2. Grow baby grow.
Have garden mulch delivered to your backyard (, get worms for your garden or compost (, and score a free planter box ( and trade seeds and plants (

3. Decorate.
Replace your rusty patio chairs with a lovely teak furniture set (, create your own stepping-stone path (, and set the nighttime mood with an outdoor fireplace (

4. Get your grill on.
Find yourself a mint condition weber grill (, grill accessories—hat, mitt, apron—with your favorite sports team logo (, and tips to make the perfect hamburger (

*It's very important to take the same common sense precautions online as you would offline. Read all of the craigslist safety tips ( and familiarize yourself with common online scams (

Happy Summer,

Beth Cook
Best Public Relations

Thanks, Beth, for all the great tips and ideas!  I've been browing Craigslist a LOT in the past week or so looking for inexpensive ways to dress up our back patio and our front porch.  Have you ever found an amazing deal on Craigslist?