Monthly Archives: January 2012

Pinspiration Monday: Paint it black

So I did something a little crazy over the weekend…And it’s all because of this lovely inspiration image I snagged off of Pinterest:

Source: Live Creating Yourself

Yup. That’s right. I painted a wall in our home black. We aren’t talking a charcoaly, deep gray. No, I’m talking blackety black black.

But before we get to that, I must show you the evolution of this event. So I typically try very hard to avoid shooting pictures of the back half of my studio. The elliptical machine killed any chance that this spot in the room could look chic, stylish and cozy. Thus, for the past seven months I’ve been scheming some way to get it out of the room.

I finally came up with a feasible solution for putting it in the basement, and my sweet fiance went along with it. A day or so later, he had his best friend come over and the two of them wrestled it down a flight of stairs, out the front door, down a grassy hill and in through the basement (there was no way to fit it around the doorway to the basement, so they had to go around the house to the back door). Once the dust had settled, I was finally left with the space I needed to rework the studio into a stylish place that bolstered my creative juices.

This also meant that I finally had space for the twin bed I always wanted in the room – I just think having room for guests makes a home feel so much more welcoming. Plus the room was full of hard, wooden furniture so a little softening up with blankets and pillows and a cushy zenhaven mattress to flop onto was just the ticket. Here’s the space after my parents brought us their extra twin bed – Things were really starting to come together.

But I just could not get that image of the black feature wall out of my head! I know many of you may be floored by this (nearly everyone who takes our house tour says the color in the studio is their favorite overall), but I’ve never been in LOOOOVVEEE with our “Teal Zeal” walls. They just seem so dark and saturated. It needed to be toned down a bit. Although this may sound crazy, I thought incorporating a black feature wall might very well provide the needed contrast.

One trip to Lowe’s later and we were ready to go – I went with Olympic’s “Black Magic.”

After pulling everything away from the wall and taking down the art from my faux gallery wall (another thing I never really was in loooooveeee with), I got down to business. I ended up taking this on by myself since the space was sort of constricted (not conducive to two people wrestling with paint brushes and rollers), and also because it was just one wall. After painting the majority of our kitchen by myself a couple of weeks ago, one wall with no windows and doors to edge around seemed like a piece of cake.

And it was! No more than two hours later (including 30 minutes of lazy time watching it dry before adding the second and final coat), I was done.

And you know that I couldn’t wait very long before I started styling it…Too impatient for that. After about 15 minutes, I grabbed my hammer and nails and got to work adding the art. This was really the part that I had been waiting for. If you noticed my caption on the Pinterest image at the beginning of this post, I talked about how any art on a black wall would pop. So I went with bold colors and patterns that would brighten up that rich black and turn it into the perfect stage for art magic.

Here’s the final product…

I wanted something that would really make a bold statement above the bed, so I rehung the wrapped canvas art (read all about that here – One of my most-read posts thanks to

Here’s that bookshelf we bought from Ikea last weekend – I finally had a chance to put it together and style it up with some colorful books and accessories.

As for the art over the desk, I used the free printed phrase I tucked inside one of my new Ribba frames from Ikea, and for the extra Ribba frame I just put in a piece of scrapbook paper I had on hand. Not sure if it’s there to stay, but I love how it brings over a bit of the teal color from the rest of the walls.

Over all, I am really glad I went with my gut and painted the wall black. I think it transformed the room into a bold, second-floor show-stopper. When dealing with a studio space, I think the traditional conventions of interior design don’t really matter. Do what will inspire you and, if that’s painting a wall black to give your art a special and unique backdrop, then I say go for it – I’m really glad that I did anyway.

Here’s a side-by-side (or above-by-below) “Before and After” shot to show you how far we’ve come in the room.

What bold colors have you been brave enough to try in your house? Did you regret it or jump for joy that it actually worked out??

Hope you have a great start to your week!

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A little place called Ikea


Okay, now that that’s out of my system…I am truly astounded at my level of restraint while trekking the winding aisles of our closest Ikea (in Woodbridge, VA). We are about halfway between the Ikea in northern Virginia and the one in Charlotte, North Carolina, but decided on the one in-state since it was about 20 miles closer. In retrospect, I see why a lot of people in our area decide to add on the 20 miles and go to the one in NC instead. It was c-r-o-w-d-e-d in Woodbridge.

While we shopped, I was so focused on looking at every square inch that I didn’t really notice the crush of people. But the involuntary sigh of relief when we finally made it back to the car with our purchases and subsequent relaxation of muscles I didn’t even realize were tense, made me realize just how rushed and pushed I felt amongst the crowd. We are staying the night in Charlotte before flying out for our honeymoon in April, so I think we will check out the less-crowded Ikea experience while in town.

Unfortunately, I was a bit distracted during our first Ikea experience and didn’t take a single photo in the store. But I did manage to snap a shot of our pile o’ purchases at 7 p.m. when we got back in town. Since that fateful Saturday, I have spent every available moment infusing our home with Ikea-ness. Here’s a quick play-by-play of the things I’ve managed to hang, lay, fill and hem.

1. Tall, thin mesh wire shelving unit: Sorry…I don’t know all of the official Swedish Ikea lingo. This piece has not been put together yet as we are waiting for a certain space to get a partial overhaul (::ahem::studio::ahem::), but you know I’ll be spilling the beans once we get to that. P.S. This fabulous shelving unit (to be unveiled in full later on) was only $14.99 – Blown.Away.

2. HUGE Ribba frame: I was pretty darn excited to get to the framing section. I am constantly seeing Ribba frames pop up in design blogs, so much so that even before my maiden voyage to Ikea the word “Ribba frame” was part of my normal vocabulary. Now I see why. This massive frame (don’t know the dimensions off the top of my head but it’s higher than my hip bone when I stand it up next to me) was only $24.99 – I’m pretty sure something like this, with its natural wood finish, would cost at least twice as much at a place like Target or Michael’s. I haven’t filled it yet, but I think that it’s going to be home to part 2 of an art project I attempted in our living room several months ago. To be continued…

3. Gray and white patterned rug: This little lady is nearly 5 ft. x 8 ft. and was only $20 – John actually bought this for me for our anniversary (Thanks, babe!). We decided to lay it beneath our dining room table despite a bit of hesitation on my part in regards to putting a nice rug under the table where we eat every day. But honestly, at $20 who really cares if our spaghetti dinner gets spilled on it? Plus we’ve got our newly organized arsenal of cleaning products within easy reach – I think it’ll survive…It adds so much warmth to the space and is super cozy to nestle bare toes into while eating breakfast in the morning.

This calls for a side-by-side comparison “Before and After” shot – See how much more oomph it gives the space?

4. Metal rod and hooks for kitchen utensils: After seeing just how awesome these systems work in my friend, Bonnie’s house (as seen in this house tour of yore) I couldn’t wait to snag some for our house. We don’t really have much wall space in our kitchen, but I figured we could fit one of the rods under the cabinet by the stove. It worked out really well and I was excited to clear up just a little more cabinet space. As you’ll soon see, it looks like we should have picked up another 5-pack of the hooks, but it’s on my list of things to grab in NC before our honeymoon.

5. Two plastic containers: Everyone could use a couple of these in their kitchen. We used ours for cereal but they would also be great for pasta, pretzels, chips, even things like flour or sugar. In fact, I think I might pick up another armload on our next trip.

6. Two more Ribba frames: My other two Ribba frame purchases were of the smaller, white finish variety. This purchase was inspired by the image below of a white frame with a graphic phrase in it:

(source information for photo is at the bottom of this post)

To make my own version, I simply typed up a little happy phrase in Word and printed it out in yellow ink. I filled my first Ribba frame with the print and plan on hanging it in our soon-to-be-revamped studio. The second Ribba frame hasn’t gotten filled yet – I’m waiting on a little more inspiration to hit me, but you’ll hear alllllllll about that when I do.

7. Scarf organizer: This was a quick impulse purchase, but I’m glad that I did. It’s handy for storing my scarves, but it could also be used as an Advent calendar (as seen here), or for organizing thin tank tops. Heck, you could even dry your socks on it! I have seen a version of this on Pinterest made using a hanger, some ribbon and plastic shower curtain hooks, but I doubt that I could have made a DIYed version for less than the Ikea one, which cost only $7.99.

8. Curtains: These gorgeous, super heavy and modern grommet-topped curtains are my favorite purchase of the day – I cringe to think back on how I actually walked away from them initially. As a first-time customer, I was really thrown off that all of the curtains were 98 inches long – Way too long for our windows. So I sadly pushed our cart away…But twenty minutes later, as we were heading through the self-serve furniture section on our way to the cash registers, I stopped and said I was going back in. John ended up staying behind because, in his words, turning around and going back in was like going against the flow – A big Ikea-one-way-aisle “no no.” But I was determined. So I raced back to where I thought they were and ended up twisting down a few extra aisles until I found them again. Angels sang. At $35.99 for two panels, I knew I couldn’t pass up the deal. And miracle of all miracles, I managed to find my way back to John and the cart with curtains in hand.

Apparently, all Ikea curtains are made in lengthy lengths and customers are instructed to use the hem tape (included) to customize the panels for their windows. SO COOL. I have since done my little nip/tuck on the curtains and proceeded to hang them in our living room – They have brought so much added light and style to the room that I didn’t even realize it needed.

It’s hard to see the subtle pattern in the above photos with all of that bleachy light streaming in, so maybe these detail shots will help. I am loving the retro vibe of the lines.

Oh, and want to see what they looked like before? I am going to take you WAYYYYY back to when we still had John’s bachelor-days couch upstairs…These photos were taken in the evening so there’s not nearly as much light to contend with, but take my word that these drab, tabbed, tan curtains weren’t doing anything for the space whether there was light behind them or not.

And now today…ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh 🙂

Yeah, this calls for another side-by-side comparison. The difference is awesome.

Welp, there you have it, folks! A 1,469 word rant about all the exciting things we picked up on our first trip to Ikea. I didn’t even get to tell you all about the icy road conditions, the 5 (yes, FIVE) falcons we saw on the highway perched in trees, the delicious and inexpensive lunch we had in the Ikea cafeteria, or the vintage Land Cruiser John insisted we stop and inspect on the drive home, but that’s okay. Maybe another time…

Please tell us about your happy (or maybe not-so-happy) experiences with Ikea! Is there a specific product you swear by? If you have an Ikea couch, how does it live up? After seeing the Ikea couches in person, we are slightly regretting not going with that in the first place during “Couch Decision 2011.” Oh well!

(Photo credit for Ikea logo: here; Office with graphic art: here)

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File Box Bathroom Appliance Storage

File Box Bathroom Appliance Storage

Okay, confession time. I’m not exactly sure what made me this way, but I have always been super hesitant to put my still-hot straightener and hairdryer away thinking they will start a fire. Yes, I know that’s a long shot, but I have been known to turn the car around on my way to work to make sure I set the hair dryer just so and away from anything flammable. In short, I really needed to rethink my bathroom appliance storage solution.

For the longest time, that meant putting my hair appliances on the bathroom counter, knowing that the surface wouldn’t catch fire. While this helped me avoid anxiety, it didn’t really look good. In a rare lightbulb moment, I decided to hang a metal (read: not flammable) desktop file box on the wall to store my cooling hairdryer and straightener. It worked perfectly and I lived with it for about four months, but then I finally fessed up to what I had been thinking all along: It looked like a hanging file basket screwed into the wall. Not good.

File Box Bathroom Appliance Storage

So I finally decided to relegate the box to a new spot in the bathroom, making it more about the function than the particular (lack of) aesthetic appeal. I still think that the file box is the perfect solution because, again, it’s not flammable and it keeps things within easy reach, so I simply compromised in the “looks” department by hanging it in a less conspicuous location.

To do so, I picked up a package of 3M Command hooks, figuring I could slip the metal loop through the criss-cross caging on my file box. I discovered that the hooks were a bit too large, but it was nothing a pair of wire cutters couldn’t fix. I simply snipped a few of the wires, thereby making a larger hole for the hooks to slip through.

Next, I measured the distance between the two holes and put pencil marks on the side of the vanity. Using those marks, I exposed the 3M tape on the back of the hooks and got those suckers good and stuck to the surface. The last step was to slip the file box in place over the hooks and fill ‘er up.

File Box Bathroom Appliance Storage

File Box Bathroom Appliance Storage

It’s out-of-the-way so the room is still stylish, but convenient enough for me to grab what I need in the morning. From the doorway, you can’t even tell that it’s there. So I’m curious: how do you guys store your hair appliances? I know there are so many other creative ideas out there and I’d love to hear about them!

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Pinspiration Monday: Shoe rack turned cleaning supply storage

We are back this week with another Pinterest-inspired project! Last week’s Monday feature was interrupted in the spirit of more kitchen cabinet painting how-to’s, but things were finally calm at our house by the weekend and I was able to take care of a little something I originally spotted on Pinterest three weeks ago…

Behold the latest genius pin idea:

What could possibly be more simple than a shoe rack used to hold cleaning supplies? This project cost me under $10 and took about five minutes to complete. It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s definitely handy and it makes for a much more organized collection of cleaners and rags.

So this was what our under-the-sink area looked like before:

A mess of assorted cleaning products – From upholstery and carpet cleaners, oven cleaner spray and air fresheners, to Clorox wipes and empty spray bottles. Those moments when we needed a certain cleaning product and we needed it fast (like when Rocky’s tail spilled red wine on the white rug) had, up until this point, been fraught with anxiety and the tossing of other cleaners out of the way to get at the one we really needed. According to our friend James Frazer-Mann at Vale Carpet Cleaning, this was not a good system. But I didn’t know of any other way to do it.

Until I saw that little pin…

Off to Target we went, where I picked up this plastic shoe rack with over-the-door hardware for $8.99.

There was a nicer, more stylish version made from a tan colored canvas, but it cost about twice as much and I just didn’t think it was worth it. The white plastic of the one I picked up blends in with the back of the white door, which is a good thing – I don’t really want to draw attention to my cleaning products. Speaking of doors, where did we put it? The back of the laundry room door, of course. The laundry room is a mere five steps from the sink area in the kitchen and already houses other major household supplies, like everyday hardware and tools, trash can, camping/gardening supplies, etc. It seemed fitting.

Two minutes later, we were ready to fill ‘er up!

I thought about organizing everything by type (i.e. all the air fresheners together, all the extra soaps together, etc.), but decided to just see how we live with it. We’ll see! Who knows, it could be labeled and sorted in a matter of weeks. For now, I’m just happy to have everything in a convenient, reachable location. I was even able to stow away a few cleaning rags with plenty of extra “pouches” to spare should we stock up on more products in the future.

I ran into only two issues in the course of this project:

  1. Big Windex spray bottles don’t really fit in the pouches…They had to be relegated back to the sink area, but I figured having just a few bottles under there would be okay.
  2. The hanging plastic, once filled and weighed down with bottles, now tends to bang against the back of the door when I close it too hard. I THINK I can fix this by putting some heavy-duty 3M tape on the bottom corners thereby sticking the rack to the door, but we’ll see…

Here’s what the under-the-sink area looks like today:

Much less chaotic. I actually relish the idea of a spill now because our system for executing clean up it will be done with military precision. Bring it on spills!!!

Before I leave you to the rest of your Monday, I wanted to give you a sneak peak at our Ikea haul from the weekend – We had a great adventure and I can’t wait to spill the beans on our many purchases. I am already dreaming about what I’ll get the next time we go.

Hope you have a great start to your week!

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The beginning of a journey

Confession time this Friday morning…

But first, a little week’s end wrap up: After working our tails off for a full week of daily sanding/priming/painting/styling in our now-finished kitchen, I decided that John and I deserved a break from household projects. Don’t worry – I was pretty busy the weekends before the kitchen overhaul, so I have plenty of fun and handy projects saved up to spout off about beginning next week. But for now, we are going to bask in a little project-free time. Today is actually our anniversary so, to celebrate, we are heading out of town tomorrow to our nearest Ikea for a little retail therapy. This will be my maiden voyage to the wonder that is Ikea, so I’m pretty pumped about hitting the road first thing in the morning – It’s about a three-hour drive, so it’ll be an all-day-palooza. Can’t wait!

But back to the confession…As we ease down from our big kitchen reveal I wanted to let you guys in on a little “W” household struggle: Food. Neither John nor I have had a great relationship with food in the last several years (yes, I said “years”). It’s finally gotten to the point that we know we need to make a change. After a heated discussion over the merits of going vegan or completely cutting our dairy (I think it’s safe to say that we are both lactose intolerant), we finally settled on the idea of looking into a gluten-free diet – We are at least going to try it out to see if it makes us feel any better.

John has been an awesome research hound over the past several days – So much so, that he’s probably much better equipped to write this post…But we are both pretty excited to try this diet out. The problem is that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. What even is gluten? I’ve been doing a little research here and there (namely, Googling the word “Gluten” and seeing what I see), but I know myself and the only way I’m really going to get into it is to see the food I will be able to eat. A “bad relationship with food” doesn’t mean that we don’t LOVE to eat – We do. But food just doesn’t love us…

Enter this cookbook:

Before even Googling “Gluten” and “Gluten-free diet,” I started out on Amazon. I needed some visuals to get me excited and amped. The options were wide-spread, but I decided on Kelli and Peter Bronski’s Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking  because of the amount of recipes included (250+) and because of the sheer variety of meals you can make. From several different types of pizza, muffins, bread, etc. and a list of food genres to blow you away (i.e. Italian, Tai, Indian, Asian, Mexican, American, etc.) I was sold. It didn’t hurt that there were a lot of used copies for sale – I was able to snag my book for only $2.99 after picking a “Like New” used copy and redeeming some credit card points I had saved up.

I did the whole, “Look Inside” thing that Amazon so kindly provides and was amazed by the first few recipes for muffins (this sounds kind of like a commercial for both Amazon and the cookbook – It’s unintended though. They have no idea I’m bragging about this!). The muffins don’t seem that hard to make and sound oh-so-yummy. Check this one out:

Banana Nut Muffins

(makes 16 muffins)

4 bananas, peeled

1 egg

2/3 cup sugar

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter, melted

1 teaspoon gluten-free (GF) vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups Artisan GF Flour Mix (I’ll give you that recipe in a moment)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 1/2 teaspoons GF baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup walnuts or pecans

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 16 cups of two 12-cup muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. Place paper liners in the greased muffin cups, if desired. (Liners are not strictly needed – the muffins should pop out of the tin, but the liners make it easier.)
  2. Mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl until mostly smooth with a few large lumps. (A stand mixer is ideal for this job, using the paddle attachment.)
  3. Mix in the egg, sugar, melted butter, and vanilla. Add the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon and mix until incorporated. Make sure to scrape down the side of the mixing bowl while mixing to ensure that the batter is thoroughly mixed. Fold in the nuts.
  4. Scoop the batter into the muffin cups, filling each three-quarters full. (A cookie scoop or ice cream scoop works very well to transfer the batter.)
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the muffins spring back when lightly pressed. The muffins should be golden brown on top.
  6. Let the muffins cool in the tins for 10 minutes. Remove and serve.

Um, hello? YUMM!!! I can’t wait to try that recipe out. I have visions of us baking a double batch on Sundays so that we have a healthy, gluten-free on-the-go breakfast that we can grab on our way out the door. So often, I find myself eating things that I know won’t make me feel that great (even something as rich as strawberry jam and butter on toast is too much for my sensitive stomach), so a premade, from-scratch banana nut muffin sounds like a great alternative to me. I Google searched “Gluten-free banana nut muffin for a visual:

Well those are actually “grain-free” – Is there a difference between that and “Gluten-free?” Do you see just how clueless I am about this stuff??! (for the recipe to go along with the photo above, click here.)

According to the little that I was able to read of the book from Amazon, it looks like the first thing you need to start out with is a pre-mixed custom flour mix. It’s mentioned in the banana nut muffin recipe I shared and I promised the low-down on that, so here it is:

Artisan Gluten-Free Flour Mix

(makes about 3 cups)

1 1/4 cups brown rice flour

3/4 cup sorghum flour

2/3 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup potato starch

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon potato flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

  1. Combine all ingredients and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Sounds easy enough for us to handle! They also provide a doubled recipe because apparently you’ll use this mixture a lot in making the recipes they provide. We’ll try it out and let you know our experience.

Have any of you ventured into the land of Gluten-free eating? I’d love some help/suggestions/recipes/encouragement as we make this lifestyle change. I’ve already made myself a “Gluten-Free Eatings” Pinterest board to boost my inspiration. Wish us luck!

P.S. Also found out that the Bronski’s have a blog – No Gluten No Problem. Hoping this could be a great resource in the future…

(Photo credit for gluten-free logo: here; grain-free banana nut muffins: here)

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Have you joined Pinterest yet?

(This is a companion post to go along with my blogging with Breathe magazine today, all about how Pinterest can help you plan and organize your next project. See that post by clicking here. I also thought it was worth posting a how-to on DG-DIY to help any of you who still are a bit confused by the world of Pinterest. This tutorial is all about the ways it has transformed my way of documenting and cataloging the daily inspiration I find online. Enjoy!)
  1. Do you find yourself copying and pasting images you’ve found online that interest or inspire you into Microsoft Word documents?
  2. Are you printing pages and pages from online articles that you want to keep handy?
  3. Despite a labeled and color coded filing system to keep track of inspiring images, do you still find yourself lost in all of that paper?
If you answered “Yes” to even one of those questions, then I have the solution for you.

For those of you unfamiliar with this mecca of virtual inspiration, I am here to help. Even though it sounds impossible, Pinterest has the power to sort, share and log any photo, recipe, article or blog you’ve ever seen and wanted to keep handy. All it takes is one click of your mouse and you have made sure that you will never lose or forget that tidbit of virtual inspiration.

Allow me to explain.

First, you need to join Pinterest (request an invite here) and then download the “Pin It” button to your internet browser. You can find full instructions for doing so on their website or by clicking here. Once you’ve got that, you are ready to start pinning.

Now let’s say you are clicking through the projects published and listed on and you see one that interests you. Instead of having to bookmark or print the information, simply click the “Pin It” button that you installed and the website you are looking at will instantly change from it’s normal look…

…into something like this:

See how the photos from the website are now lined up and ready for easy “grabbing”?? Click on the photo you want to keep and it will be saved to your Pinterest account. This is what we call a “pin.” Trust me, it will make a whole lot more sense when you try it out yourself.

Now for the Pinterest website. Here is what my Pinterest home page looks like and where all of those pins end up:

The left-hand sidebar features a constantly-updating list of people who are “repinning” and “liking” the pins on your Pinterest boards, also know as your “Recent activity.” You’ll also see a little tab when a new pin is recently added (pointed to in the screen shot below).

Those photos you saw on my homepage are all of the most recent pins from those you follow – It will also show all of the pins that you have pinned or “repinned,” mixed in chronologically. Now if you are thinking to yourself “What the heck does it mean to ‘repin’ something?” don’t worry…This is, in my opinion, the simplest concept to grasp on Pinterest. If you decide to do nothing else, repinning is the easiest tool you could use.

Here’s how it works – The screen shot below illustrates what you will see when you click on one of those photos/pins you saw on my homepage. It brings the photo up in a bigger size, lists who pinned it, when, etc. As you can see, the “repin” button is pointed out for you – I went ahead and clicked on it because the open shelving and marble backsplash are to-die-for.

When I clicked on that little “repin” button, the box shown below popped up. It is asking me to choose which board to pin it to (we’ll go over boards in a moment) and to create my own caption for it. I clicked on the dropdown and decided to pin this particular photo to my “Crafts and Projects” board. I left the caption that had been typed up by the original pinner as-is because it was exactly what I wanted to point out. But if I wanted to pin it because of the white trim around the window, I could have typed something like “love the white paint on the trim.”

After I click on the red box that says “Pin it,” the inspiration photo is immediately dropped to the board I sent it to. Now you might be wondering about boards…Once your account is set up, you will be able to create multiple boards – For instance, I have a board for recipes that I titled “Yummm” and one for “Crafts and Projects.” Here is the page listing all of my many boards:

And here is a close-up of four of them (I even have a board for things that inspire the blog posts and magazine articles I write for Breathe!):

You can click on any of the board icons to reveal the entire collection of pins within each. Here is what I have pinned on my “Crafts and Projects” board:

And a few close-ups to show you the pins that I can’t wait to try out:

Source: K.Night Moves

Source: Before I spend it

Source: Armelle Blog

The thing that makes these pins so handy and useful is the interaction. Sure, it’s great to have the photos to kick start your next project, but what if you want the full instructions that go along with the project photo? When you click on a pin’s photo, you are automatically redirected to the source website for the image. So if I wanted to know the designer for that teal mirror, all I need to do is click on the image. Or if I want to know the tutorial for how to make that adorable fabric and felt wreath, I just click on the image and I’m there! (If you are interested in doing any of the three projects I listed above, I put the source link below the screenshot – Or click over to my Pinterest and repin the projects to one of YOUR boards!)

This interactivity with the photos-that-aren’t-just-photos is what makes Pinterest so incredibly helpful when you want to bookmark a project or recipe found online.

For a whole lot more on how I have come to use Pinterest, click over to my post today on Breathe Magazine’s blog – There you’ll find how my pins dress me in the morning, feed me in the evenings and decorate my house in personal and unique ways.

Happy pinning!

P.S. Found this and just had to share…Too funny and SO TRUE!!

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Kitchen Overhaul Day 9: Finishing Touches/Final Reveal

Remember when our kitchen was a light peach color? Not just any peach color…A color that clashed badly with our nice, warm tan walls and white appliances. Well that is NO MORE!!!

Behold our new kitchen…

Warm, rich brown paint now coats the kitchen cabinets in a swanky semi-gloss finish. Brand new brushed nickel hardware in a modern style bring boring doors and drawers into the 21st century.

And our to-do list? CONQUERED!! Ahead of schedule to boot.

But let’s go back to Sunday afternoon…We had finished both topcoats on the kitchen cabinet doors and were able to wash that roller and brush for the very last time for this project.

The last step? New hardware.

Enter my dad. He is a professional wood craftsman so I knew I was going to beg him for a little help and expertise. As always, he came through like the hero he is and he and John knocked out the hardware install in no more than an hour. For 19 doors and 6 drawers, that is no small feat!

The process is a bit beyond me since I had little to do with it (mom and I sat in the living room and played with Rocky while the boys worked in the kitchen). But I did help with set up. Fist, I dumped out the bag of metal hardware that had been sitting in our pantry since April waiting for this moment. After spreading everything out on the counters for easy grabbing, we were ready for drilling.

Dad made this handy template from scrap wood to help with the measuring.

Since we already had one vacant hole to begin with where the original single “arm” hardware used to be, Dad was able to slip a screw through one hole in his template and then slip the end of said screw through the hole in the door. Then lining up the edge of the wooden template with the edge of the door, he drilled through the second hole in the template and then kept going, drilling through the door.

Here are the doors before drilling with the one hole exposed:

And here they are after drilling – It was just a matter of screwing the metal pulls into the door from the back and then it was all done.

If you haven’t already noticed, we had to do some quick problem solving when it came to the drawers…

As you can see in the photo above the drawer pulls are centered horizontally, but not vertically. The reason was the set up of the drawer construction. You can see below how the drawer front is attached to a box to create the front section of the drawer. If we were to center the pulls both horizontally and vertically, the thickness of the wood to drill through would have been too long for the hardware’s screws. So we simply moved the pull up until we would only be drilling through the thin drawer front.

See how it is twice as thick when you factor in the drawer box with the drawer front when looking at it from above?

But honestly, I sort of like the unique look of the high drawer pull placement! It is consistent with the cabinet door pulls being pushed to the edge, and it just looks a little more modern. Oh and remember the poll I put up a few months ago about going “all horizontal” or “both horizontal and vertical” with the hardware? Simplicity won the competition and we went with “both horizontal and vertical” so that we wouldn’t have to redrill all new holes in the doors. Good thing, because that was the dominant opinion of our readers too – By almost 83%!

Now for more “After” photos…

Did you happen to notice our new kitchen window “curtains”?

I hate to sew (don’t have a machine to call my own anyway), so I was hoping to find some kind of no-sew solution. John and I went to Target over the weekend to pick up a few things and, after finding nothing worth buying in the premade curtain aisle, it suddenly hit me that a pretty kitchen towel could be just the ticket. I needed something about 18 inches long and these two 16-inch clearance towels coupled with once inch curtain rings were my perfect alternative to sewing or hemming something up.

Bonus: They are super durable and easily-washable – What could possibly be better to hang in a kitchen window above a sink than a pair of towels? I’m in love. Now to keep John from using them as actual hand towels after washing the dishes…

This project has been a doozy to say the least. But we are both so in love with the finished product that I think we’d consider doing it again if our next home calls for it. Since we grossly overbought when it came to paint, we’ll certainly have enough to paint another kitchen on down the line.

Speaking of buying…Here’s a quick breakdown of the cost for our kitchen cabinet overhaul:

  • 30 contemporary brushed nickel drawer/door pulls: $45.99
  • 4 packages of tack cloths (2 pack each): $1.99 each
  • 3 mini plastic paint roller trays: $2.82 each
  • 1 mini paint roller handle + 1 4-inch roller: $4.73
  • 1 4-inch paint roller refill (2 pack): $4.45
  • 2 1-gallon cans of Kilz2 Latex primer: $15.18 each
  • 2 1-gallon cans of Valspar paint in “Mudslide”: $31.33 each
  • 2 tubes of woodfiller: $2.83 each
  • Mouse hand sander: $0 (already had it)
  • 2 packages of Mouse sanding pads in 120 grit (4 pack each): $4.73 each
  • Angled paint brush: $0 (already had)
  • TOTAL: $179.73

But hold the presses before you take in that number. Since we ended up returning or not using a few items from the list, we can deduct some of those digits from the final total:

  • 30 25 contemporary brushed nickel drawer/door pulls: $38.33
  • 4 packages 1 package of tack cloths (2 pack): $1.99
  • 3 2 mini plastic paint roller trays: $2.82 each
  • 1 mini paint roller handle + 1 4-inch roller: $4.73
  • 1 4-inch paint roller refill (2 pack): $4.45
  • 2 gallons 1/4 gallon of Kilz2 Latex primer: $3.80
  • 2 gallons 1/2 gallon of Valspar paint in “Mudslide”: $15.65
  • 2 tubes about a tablespoon of woodfiller: approx. 28 cents-worth
  • Mouse hand sander: $0 (already had it)
  • 2 packages of Mouse sanding pads in 120 grit (4 pack each): $4.73 each
  • Angled paint brush: $0 (already had)
  • FINAL TOTAL: $79.88

Woa. That’s about $100 from what I thought that total was going to be!!! Especially when you think that it would have cost at the very least $600 to have it done professionally…I have stumped even myself today, folks.

Next on the list: new modern bar stools, a faux backsplash treatment and wallpapering the inside of the open shelving to make it look more intentional. Stay tuned for those updates this spring!!!

For now, we are going to go do our happy dance in the new kitchen…

(If you want to tackle this project but missed the lead-up posts on how to sand, prime and paint topcoats, check those out here, here and here. And always feel free to email us if you have questions at


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Kitchen Overhaul Days 3-8: Topcoats

We are in the homestretch now, folks!! Last week I explained the sanding and priming processes – Today I am divulging anything and everything involved with painting the last two topcoats on our kitchen doors and the cabinet framework. When last I left you, I gave this tiny sneak peak of our final cabinet color – A deep, chocolatey brown from Valspar called “Mudslide”. At that point I had only managed to finish the island, but you’ll see a whole lot more of the color everywhere else today.

As I said last week, John and I came up with a manageable schedule of painting the topcoats for an hour each weeknight to make sure we stayed on track to finish by the weekend. We decided to focus on getting the doors done since that was something John and I could do together (the framework is all sorts of tight spots that is just easier for me to take care of on my own). If you remember, we had all of the cabinet doors arranged in two neat rows in the garage for easy maneuvering.

Our process? First, we unscrewed all of the hinges and hardware, keeping them within identifiable reach so as not to confuse which hardware went with which door. Then, using the angled brush, I put a thin coat of paint into the contours and grooves of the door face. I also did a quick sweep of the sides where the roller couldn’t reach (all illustrated in the photo below). Then John would follow behind me with the roller, making sure to even out all of my streaky brush strokes and coating the rest of the door with a thin topcoat of the brown.

We managed to finish two topcoats on the back of the cabinet doors and flipped them over to start working on the fronts, but then something pretty huge rang a bell in our minds and this had to happen:

All of the doors in their nice happy rows in the garage had to be carted upstairs to take up space on the kitchen floor.

The problem was the weather. As gathered from the side of the paint can, the acceptable temperatures to work with the paint was between 50 and 90 degrees. While the past weekend and beginning of the week itself were unseasonably warm for January in Virginia, the temperature was creeping closer and closer to unacceptable during the day and definitely freezing at night. So we had no choice but to lug everything back up to the kitchen where the wood could soak in all of our indoor insulated heat.

The other problem was that I couldn’t just bring them upstairs and start working right away because the wood was still icy cold. There was no hope for the paint to adhere correctly to the surface, so instead I had to focus on something else: the frame. (Sorry for the awful lighting – I was working on this from about 6:00pm to 7:45p.m. on a Thursday night)

Although our carefully-thought out process had a giant hiccup to deal with, it was nice to get the framework painted – You can see that it made a pretty big difference to the look of the room.

We had finally reached the end of the week and it was time for one last coat on the frame. Here’s what the dried final coat looked like on Saturday morning:

The last step in the painting process was the topcoat on the front of the cabinet doors. It had been two days since we brought the doors up from the drafty garage and they were sufficiently warmed up for paint. I thought it might be a bit easier to work on painting the doors screwed back into the frame, so John helped me put everything back in place. It gave the kitchen a sort of two-tone look.

Time to repeat our door painting process! Again using the angled brush, I painted into the grooves and then the paint roller came in to even everything out.

I’ll spare you the tedious process and just show you the “After” product of the first coat – I left all of the doors open to dry in case paint had crept inside to avoid sticky doors:

While the paint on the doors was drying, we decided to take care of a little detail we had not factored into our work schedule: The back of the drawer fronts.

At one point after having discovered this extra step, I tried to tackle the painting with the drawer fronts still attached. But as you can see, it wasn’t looking very clean or professional. So off came all of the drawer fronts. A quick roll of paint later and they were looking much better.

The last step of the day was to finish the FINAL AND LAST topcoat on the cabinet doors!!! I can’t begin to tell you just have elated I was when I finally got to put that brush and roller down for the last time…

Unfortunately, I’m going to make all of you wait until Wednesday for the final reveal…This post is too overloaded with photos and descriptions for me to throw in our slew of “After” pictures, but I will leave you with this tiny snippet of the final result:

See you back here on Wednesday for an earlier-than-planned reveal, complete with new hardware installed, a crafty and inexpensive alternative to fabric window curtains and a little problem-solving where the drawers are concerned.

Oh, and Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!! Hope it’s an inspiring one for you.

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Published in Breathe Magazine


I rarely post on Saturdays, but I just had to share. My very first DIY spread in Breathe Magazine has hit stands and I thought you all might like to take a look! As readers of DG-DIY, you may very well recognize some of the projects I mention.

If you have trouble reading it from the image, scoot on over to their website where the article is featured in full digitally. But don’t just look at my stuff – Be sure to browse the rest of the magazine too. Tons of awesome features and information.  Fabulous photos to peruse too…

Thanks for supporting my newest venture!!

(P.S. If you missed my blog posts for Breathe, check those out herehere and here.)

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Kitchen Overhaul Day 2: Priming

On to the second day of our week-long kitchen transformation! (If you missed my rehash of the first day’s work, check that out here)

We dedicated this day (i.e. last Sunday) solely to the priming phase of the project. Since John had so nicely taken care of the sanding the day before, the primer was the last step to readying our wooden cabinets for the dark brown topcoats.

I mentioned in a quick sidenote in the last post that we removed one of the drawer fronts to take with us to Lowe’s – My intention in doing this was to give their experts in the paint department something to look at and feel in order to give us the best possible recommendations for primer and paint type (and also to see if our stained wood cabinets really needed to be sanded and primed first – They did). I would definitely suggest doing this since it’s a good way to guarantee you buy the right products the first time and don’t need to redo anything.

We ended up with two gallons of Kilz 2 Latex primer/sealer/stainblocker. I L-O-V-E that it’s water-based too since it made for a much easier cleanup (oil-based would have necessitated the purchase of turpentine – Yuck). Word of advice so you can learn from our mistake though – Unless you have a MASSIVE kitchen, you probably won’t need two gallons of primer. It helps that you only need to paint on one coat of the stuff, but we barely put a dent in even one gallon. So if you are tackling a medium-sized kitchen like ours, I’d say just grab one can.

We also bought a few disposable paint trays and one brand new four-inch roller. You’ll also need an angled paint brush in order to get into all the tight spots and grooves, but we had a few at home so we didn’t get a new one while at the store. Although, another word of advice, if you decide to do this project you’re going to use that angled brush A LOT. I wish I had bought a new one while we were at Lowe’s because the one we had at home is now looking pretty worn out and we still have two topcoats to go on the frame and the front of the cabinet doors.

To get back to Sunday’s process, this was the state of the kitchen when we began that morning:

While John got a much-deserved break with a beverage and a couple of guy friends the day before, I took care of putting the kitchen back together. If you remember from Monday’s post, we took everything out of the cabinets to avoid things getting dusted with sanding debris. That few hours between moving everything out, sanding and moving everything back was really the only time our kitchen wasn’t in working order. While nothing is hidden behind doors and LOOKS like a chaotic mess (see photo above again for reference), everything was in place and in working order. So don’t worry about having to eat out of pizza boxes throughout your cabinet-painting project (unless you want to).

Oh and I mentioned getting the chance to put nice cabinet liner paper on the shelves since we had cleared them all off. Glad to have something waterproof, pretty and green to set things on now instead of a bare wooden shelf:

Anyway, at this point we were ready for primer. John decided to head out to meet his dad for coffee (good idea since I was starting to feel a little crabby and overwhelmed at this point), so I quietly got to work alone. It ended up going fairly quickly though. Working by myself, I was able to finish priming the frame in an hour and a half.

Here’s a quick look at the difference the primer made:

I’m sure you can see this, but the drawer on the right has been primed, whereas the one on the left has not. It really just evened out the tone of the wood now exposed by the work of John and his sander. Here’s a closeup of the difference:

And now here they are again, both primed (and wet, as seen on the far left in that glare):

I also took a couple of progress shots while I was working on the last phase of the framing – The island (the primer begins to the left):

After I finished priming the surfaces in the kitchen (and after John got home to help me), we started working on the kitchen cabinet doors. As I mentioned in Monday’s post, after unscrewing them from the frame we took them down to the basement where we have been working on them all week. I will give you all the detail you need on that process come Monday morning when I rehash days 3 through 7.

Here are the doors with the right row primed:

And now BOTH rows have been primed:

At this point, we both called it a day and took some much-needed relax time. Since then, John and I have spent no more than an hour (our agreed-upon schedule so that we didn’t run ourselves into the ground) putting a coat of primer on the other side of the doors and finishing the two final topcoats on both sides of the doors. It’s been an adventure, I’ll tell you that much. We manage to have fun with it though by listening to cheesy country music on John’s stereo in the garage while we work (um, hello. Has anyone heard that God-awful “Red Solo Cup” song? John unfortunately loves it).

Oh and here’s the schedule John so nicely put together to keep us on track – As you can see, we’ve already gone a little out of order and we’ve also knocked off a few extra lines since I took this photo, but we are still on par to finish by Sunday!

We’ll give you the full run-down on that with photos on Monday. And then HOPEFULLY we’ll be able to share the final reveal of the cabinets with you on Wednesday and Friday of next week. I know you guys are anxious to see the reveal and so are we!!

Have a great weekend!! Do something fun and think about us while we break our backs (figuratively) trying to knock this project out once and for all…

Psstttt…Check out this sneak peek of the final color of the cabinets! I finished the island during the week and snapped a photo this morning. It’s a little darker in person, but thought you might like to glimpse what the finished product will look like!

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