About Me

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Some facts about us: Together since May 2004, Matt & Kristin Married in May 2009. Between the two of us, we've lived in California, Hawaii, Guam, Japan and met here, in good ol' Virginia. We adopted two mini schnauzers, Hemingway & Mya aka The Pups. We bought our first home in May of 2011 and are ridiculously excited for all the DIY projects ahead of us.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Light Fixture Update

The evolution of the eat-in kitchen light fixture.  This isn't a how-to since I didn't document as we changed up the feel in our most-used room.  But it's still an upgrade I wanted to share. 

We started with the old school, gold trim with textured glass light fixture; ancient and not our style.  I wanted it down so badly, I forgot to take a before picture.  So in a lame, I'm-too-lazy-to-put-back-up-for-a-stinkin'-picture, I held it up and snapped this quick shot.

I had found that white light bowl just lying around the house when we were moving in, so I replaced the clear textured glass with it.  It was a temporary fix until we found the perfect fixture.

Now the search...  Ikea.com is a dangerous place to browse as it will turn into hours of "must have"-ing and shopping-list-creating.

That's when I found this:
KNAPPA Pendant lamp, white Diameter: 18 " Height: 14 ¼ " Cord length: 15 ' 5 "  Diameter: 46 cm Height: 36 cm Cord length: 4.7 m
It's their KNAPPA Pendant Lamp and it was perfect for our fun eat-in-area.  I figure we're young enough that we can still toy around with things a little less than grown up, but still stylish and modern.

So here's a quick Waaaay Before:

And then a Right Before:

...and a Now:

I wasn't sure the hubs was going to be "in" on the whole flower looking light fixutre, but he actually really likes it for the space.  Score!... because I love it.

We plan on getting a smaller square table for this area since this one's just a wee-bit too big.  Don't fret, we're moving the big boy into the formal dining room once we get the smaller set.  Mismatched chairs and oversized tables are not my idea of dream kitchen area, so eventually this will be done.  Eventually, as in, when we're done with other more important upgrades, some travel plans and saving more moola.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How to Hang Shelves Without Studs

Waiting for your husband, brother, father, etc. to come over and hang a shelf or picture is silly when any girl can do it.  Any girl with the right tools that is.  Even if you have to hold your shelf up with one hand, hold your drill with the other and use your teeth to put the screw on your drill.

Who's taking the picture then?  Oh, that would be friend, Kristen (Friend: another person you shouldn't wait on to hang things) who was a little too occupied to help...

Maybe it's because Troy was on TV and who can resist staring into Brad Pitt's eyes for a couple of hours?  "Immortality! Take it! It's yours!"

Admittedly, I used to be drill-iterate.  (ha.  yes.)  But now, I give myself an A for effort on yielding a drill and attacking my own mini projects all over the place.  Do they always turn out right?  Nope.  But I'm learning.

Here's a quick 'how-to' to hang shelves without studs.  The days of "You have to find the stud in the wall to hang anything heavy" are over.  You can basically hang them where ever you want if you have the right equipment going into the job.  And you probably already have most everything.

You'll need:
  • Shelf or Shelves
  • Brackets
  • Screws
  • Drywall Anchors (about same size as screws)
  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Leveler
  • Measuring Tape

Make sure you get the right type of drywall anchors.  Ask a specialist at your local store what you will need for the size shelf you're using and also what is going on it.

  1. Find the perfect spot.
  2. Use your measuring tape and measure how wide your shelf is.  Using a pencil, take the measurement and the leveler to mark your wall where the shelf will go.   Measure the brackets accordingly and mark the walls where your screws will be going.
  3. Take your drill, using a bit that's about the size of the tip of your drywall anchor and drill a hole in each marked area for your screws.  You don't want this hole too big (that's what she said) because the anchor needs to be snug. 
  4. Once all the holes are drilled, take your wall anchor and gently tap it into each hole using your hammer.  The anchors should be flush with the wall.  Now you can place the bracket(s) on the wall and screw your screws into the wall anchor. 

Also, make sure you put your brackets on the right side up.  Don't be like me, and hang it upside down before realizing what you've done.  And then realizing when you turn it right side up, that the holes don't match up.  And then possibly falling to the ground in a temper tantrum.  That may or may not have happened. 
Don't mind the crazy hair flip, I was in work mode that day

 After that debacle, I pulled it together (with a little pep talk from my friend Kristen who ended up being a lifesaver even if she didn't lift a finger) and finished the job up nicely.  Sometimes you gotta give yourself a pat on the back even if things go wrong.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Another Fireplace Post?

Yes another one.  But it's worth sharing, I promise. 

Happy Friday by the way!  Don't you love summer?  Love it because you want to, and most of the time get to be outside and enjoy the lovely weather (when it's not scorching in the 100's).  Not to mention seeing all the new flowers come out and surprise new home owners.  I'll have to post about them later.

Anyhoo - back to the fireplace!  We were so happy that the new digs had one and we can't wait to put it to good use in the winter months.  My few, but loved, readers that continue coming back week to week have seen some pictures of it in previous posts.  Check 'em out here and here

Here's our before shot of the fireplace in the family room.

Yikes.  First we had to remove the old wire you can see to the left and right of the fireplace opening... 

...which left us with this hot mess (pun absolutely intended).  I guess it's normal for a 20 year old fireplace that has had some good lovin' over the years.  A little messy though, if you're trying to use it in the summer to house some perty candles and not just a nice coat of soot.

Grab a can of High-Heat spray paint!  Yeah yeah, spray paint again.  You know how much I loves it.  Haven't read about my obsession yet?  Check it out here and here.

 Matt went after it and in no time it was looking so fresh and so clean clean.  Is it still lame to quote Outkast? *Shrugs shoulders.  Whatevs.

This isn't the end of said fireplace.  Eventually, we'd like to reface the marble and also redo the accessories a bit.  Perhaps add a sunburst mirror that's all the rave these days...? 

Yes please....

It's a never ending process I tell ya'.

P.S. The front porch is getting revamped as we speak and hopefully I'll be posting about it next week sometime.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Let There Be Light

The master bedroom has been pretty sad with two mini touch lamps gracing our night stands.  Definitely not book-reading-in-the-bed material.  I've been searching for a pair of lamps for a few weeks now and have FINALLY hit the jackpot.

Not much to look at at first.  I paid $2 each for them at a yard sale out in Amelia.  My thoughts... white, lovely white would perfect.

I set them up on the deck and got the Krylon Spray Paint in Gloss White.  I decided not to use my primer thinking it wouldn't be too tough to coat the lamps.  Bad idea.  It took about 5 coats, almost my whole can of paint.  *Word to the wise, prime if you've got it.

 I had already bought two white Ikea Lamp Shades wishing hoping to find some lamps I could revamp.  So after painting, all I had to do was add those and voila!

I love how tall they are since our headboard is so short. I will probably add fabric to the shades to spice them up a bit. Or maybe even stencil them. Either way, I'm sure they won't stay like this for long. 

$2 for each lamp, $10 for each shade, and $4 for the can of spray paint = $14 each lamp.

Yard sales can be pretty hit and miss.  More times than less, I don't find anything at all.  But if you're passing one, just stop by.  You never know what you'll find!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

I hope everyone has been enjoying the long weekend.

I wanted to share this little DIY banner in celebration of the Fourth of July as well as a super easy dessert inspired by the red, white and blue.

For the banner I started out with 20 paint chip cards (10 Red and 10 Blue) I got at the local paint store.  Cost = $0

 I cut them into these shapes:

 Then I grabbed these items I already had at home. 
  1. Hole punch
  2. Xacto Knife
  3. Jute Twine
  4. Elmers Craft Glue
  5. White Card stock

To make the stars, I traced a circle using the bottom of a cup on the white card stock.  Then I made 5 dots at equal distances around the circle.  From there you draw lines from each point to two points on the opposite side of the circle so you will form your five triangles, and your finished star.  Use a ruler to draw the lines so you can get it perfect.  This is much better then the criss cross star you would do free hand.  Using my Xacto knife I cut out my first star and used it as the stencil for the rest of my stars.

Next, you want to use the craft glue to glue the red triangle to the blue paint chip and then the white star on top of that.  Take your hole punch and punch a hole in the top two corners of each 'flag'.

Take the twine and thread it through each hole. 

Cost = $0 since I had most of the supplies at home and the paint cards were free!
Here is the finished product. 

We also had a small get together over the weekend.  I made this super easy dessert for the first time.  It was a big hit at our bbq.

Red, White and Blue Trifle - you can find this recipe at FoodNetwork.com but I will also include below.

1 box red velvet cake mix,a bout 18 ounces
1 (16 ounce) tub whipped topping
2 pints blueberries
1 pint strawberries, tops removed

  • Bake the red velvet cake mix according to package directions and allow to cool.
  • Using a serrated knife, cut the red velvet cake into 1-inch square pieces and line the bottom of the trifle bowl with half of the cake squares.
  • Using a spatula, spread about a 2-inch layer of whipped topping on top of the cake squares
  • Layer about 1 1/2 pints of the blueberries on top of the whipped topping.
  • Layer the remaining cake pieces on top of the blueberries forming a second layer of cake.
  • Using a spatula, spread remaining whipped topping over the cake pieces.
  • Decorate the perimeter with the strawberries; placing the strawberries cut side down.  Sprinkle the remaining blueberries on top of the trifle inside the strawberry perimeter.

That's it!  Super easy and delicious!

P.S. Did I mention it was a hit?...

Enjoy the day ahead and remember what it's all about!  Be safe out there <3

Friday, July 1, 2011

Mini Update Montage

I had a few things we've done that I kept putting off doing a post on.  I didn't know if they were "full post worthy".  So I've decided to do a little mini-update-montage here.

Part 1:  Fireplace

Here it is before we moved in, before the wall paint update.

Here it is post move-in and with a lil' bit of decor.

And here it is now that that gold trim is gone.  That was my first spray paint project EVER.  The same one that I messed up on since I took a piece of the spray paint can off that I wasn't suppose to.  Read about that more here.

Sorry the picture above is a little dark.  My camera sucks isn't the best so it's hard to get pictures at night in certain lighting.

Part 2:
Pillow casin'

Here is one of the pillows on our big ol' couch in the living room (we're planning on switching up for one not so huge-mongous that'll fit the room better).

We made a trip up to Ikea a few weeks ago and snatched two reversible pillow covers for $6 each.

And voila - instant upgrade. 

Part 3:
From "What the heck?!"

 To "Not bad..."

Matt gets all the credit for this one.  And we didn't have to spend a dime.  Just a lot of weeding and reused the stones that were already there.  Can you believe this is what was hiding under all the mess?  We still need to put down a weed mat, so that the "What the heck?" never happens again.

Okey dokes, that concludes this montage session. ;) 
Hope everyone has a happy and safe 4th of July weekend!