Category: DIY

Napkin Pillow Covers


Over the weekend I stopped by World Market to check out their sales. I had a $10 off $40 coupon from the World Market Explorer program and I wanted to pick up a few things for our newly renovated family room. I found some super cute patterned cloth napkins and thought they would be just the thing to brighten up our rather drab, hand-me-down couch.

I choose these lovely patterned napkins with florals and birds (the Whippoorwill pattern). My daughter pointed at the birds and tried to bark, so I had to go for them.

There are lots of other pretty patterns though!

chevron napkin Gemma napkin vintage floral napkin

If you get a napkin with a lace trim, like the vintage floral on the right, you can just remove the trim with a seam ripper and incorporate in the place of piping on the pillow!

I love how cheap and easy it is. The napkins are perfect 20×20″ squares so you don’t have to worry about cutting. I added a zipper using this awesome tutorial from Design*sponge, but you could also create no-sew versions using this tutorial from Centsational Girl.

They go really well with the storage boxes I found on sale on the same World Market shopping trip…


…which have now found a place on the Expedit entertainment unit (now discontinued from IKEA).


And no, I haven’t really fully arranged the books and accessories yet. Chris still has to anchor the unit to the wall, and then I’ll really get my style on. In the meantime, there are a few random things (like the TV mount) sitting on the shelves.

Remember that Modern Family episode where Phil procrastinates anchoring the cabinet to the wall and then it falls during an earthquake? I feel like we might be heading for a repeat of that episode…

Fireplace Revamp


Here’s the promised post about how we took our fireplace from this:


To this:


Although we had lived with the old fireplace for a year and it had been doing just fine, we decided that since we had the flooring out and everything, we might as well reface the fireplace while we were at it.

First, Chris removed those awful builder-grade brass sconces and patched the drywall. We then painted the walls a lovely happy spring green and painted the fireplace mantel a bright white (instead of that yucky off-white color).


This already made a huge improvement in the space but after all the work we had given the rest of the room, the imitation slate tile on the fireplace was starting to look really dated and ugly. We decided to tile the fireplace surround.

So we made a quick run to Home Depot and picked up $100 worth of new tile. At first I was considering a penny or mosaic tile but Chris thought they looked too bathroom-y. We decided to go with a pretty light quartz ledgestone for the fireplace face (Desert Quartz Ledgestone, I can’t find the exact product again online but this one from Home Depot is almost an exact match) and a porcelain tile for the hearth that looks almost exactly like rough flagstone. Seriously, Chris’ Dad could hardly believe it was tile and not real stone.


Chris removed the old tile, which came off pretty easily. It had been mounted directly on the plywood and the fireplace face…which doesn’t seem very secure…that might explain why it came off so easily. Chris laid out the pattern on the floor so we were happy with the color distribution.



Chris and his dad mounted cement board onto the fireplace face and then screwed a piece of 1×4 to the cement board to act as an anchor for the top half of the tile (we didn’t want the tile sliding off before the Thinset dried!). After the top half of the fireplace was done we had to let it dry for 3 days while the Thinset cured, so Chris and his dad tiled the hearth, which was relatively simple (we’d had a bit of experience tiling the laundry room so we knew what to expect). The hearth was even easier because we didn’t have to cut any pieces to fit.


Here I am applying grout and buffing excess grout off the surface of the tile (that was kind of a chore because of the rough surface of the tile).


And then Chris finished tiling the face of the fireplace!


I love it. I think it looks so much more updated and cozy than before. Of course it will look nicer once it is styled and the surrounding carpet is in. We also need to cut some molding to cover those unsightly gaps on the bottoms of the wood pieces.

The surprising thing is that this project really didn’t take very long AT ALL. Especially compared to some of the other tedious long-term projects we’ve had going on around here. It took us two evenings, and a few days of drying time. AND it was cheap with a price point around $100. Just a little work and not a lot of money, but it makes a HUGE difference!

Sharing at HopeStudios!


Refreshing a Gilded Mirror

For our anniversary a few weeks ago, Chris and I went antiquing.  Yes, antiquing.  What, that’s not your idea of a romantic anniversary date?  For us, doing anything without the baby is a romantic date.  Gracie was with her grandparents, so we were free!  We headed over to Temecula, hit up Old Town and a few antique stores, and then spent the late afternoon wine-tasting.

We found this awesome antique gilded mirror at The Antique Barn.  The Barn is a huge antique mall with gazillions of stalls filled with treasures.  It’s pretty overwhelming unless you know what you’re looking for.  I knew we were looking for a mirror for the foyer, but I was disappointed that there were few mirrors that were interesting, in good condition, and yet also the right size for our entry.  Finally, after about an hour of poking our noses into every dusty warren, we came across this beauty.

It’s lying on my lap in this photo…so never mind those disembodied jean-clad legs sticking out.

It was perfect — the perfect size, and interesting but not too ornate.  The gilded wooden frame was in good condition, and it was just $40!  Sold.

I knew that I wanted to touch up the gilding, so after we brought it home, I ordered a Krylon Gold Leafing Pen online.  This pen was so easy to use, and the bright gold color was perfect.  It really looks like gold leaf, not paint.  And one pen was enough for me to touch up the entire mirror!

I mostly just touched up the highlights, leaving the crevices a darker, duller gold. This really helped the relief of the design to stand out more.

And there she hangs in our foyer. Obviously we still have quite a bit of work to do here. The walls and wainscoting badly need to be repainted and we need to get a sleeker, narrower console table. The one we currently have was actually a vintage sewing table that we painted and refinished. I love it but it sticks out too far into the space, creating a tripping hazard if you want to go down the hall to the right of the front door.

So there you are! An easy peasy touch-up that brings a tired-looking antique mirror back to its former glory!

This Is the Bed That Chris Made


UPDATE! Please click here for the DIY Bed Frame PLANS!

Our local IKEA has some great Saturday Shocker events, and a few weeks ago, we picked up the SULTAN king-size latex mattress for just $300, reduced from $700. I think IKEA may be discontinuing this mattress, but we were pretty happy to snatch up a king size mattress for this price.

Chris and I have found that just because a mattress is expensive, doesn’t mean it is comfortable. We tend to prefer firm foam mattresses for optimal back alignment and minimal movement transfer. Before this one, we had tried two queen memory foam mattresses. We like the memory foam, but they always tended to break down in a year or two, leaving large depressions in the foam. The latex foam mattress isn’t quite as firm at first blush, but it feels denser and you don’t sink in as far. I’m hoping it will last a little longer than the memory foam mattresses, but at $300, it’s not too bad of a risk.

Well, since we had a king-size mattress, we needed a king-size bed frame. Unfortunately, most nicer options were out of our price range, and the cheaper options (IKEA) were too cheap. So being the intrepid DIY-er that he is, Chris decided to build a bed frame for us.

The platform itself was simple — Chris just used a framing nail gun to nail a bunch of 2x4s and 2x6s together, exactly like framing a floor or wall. Then he used 2x8s to make the legs and frame. We decided to keep it simple and modern with two 2x8s butted up against each other for the legs. Chris connected them at right angles by drilling pocket screw holes using this Mini Kreg Jig Kit that we got on Amazon.

Before putting the frame together we sanded, stained and sealed the wood. We used Minwax Classic Gray for the stain, which is a beautiful weathered gray, one of Minwax’s newest colors. After it dried, we brushed polyurethane over top and let the frame off-gas in the garage for a few days. Finally, Chris brought it into the room and screwed all the wood together by using long screws (3″) drilled through the inner frame into the outer frame. He also screwed two pieces of plywood on top of the frame to form a solid base for the mattress.

If you’re planning to DIY this bed frame, remember that the structural integrity comes from the inner frame. This bed frame is probably quite a bit sturdier than it needs to be (basically it’s a floor frame) but it doesn’t creak, wiggle, or flex at all =). It will be a good thing to crouch next to in the event of an earthquake.

If you’re interested in building your own, check out the plans and dimensions!

And here it is, in all its delicious king-sized glory.

It’s not perfect. The gaps at the seams area tiny bit wider at some areas than others. But that just adds to its homemade charm, I think.

I love the weathered gray color. And we used a polyurethane with a satin finish, so it’s not too shiny.

Here’s a better look at that leg. I love how solid and rustic it feels.

It sure feels good to be up off the floor. And the clearance under the bed is just tall enough for me to fit the Dyson underneath…a nice unexpected plus…

Slowly, bit by bit, the master bedroom is starting to come together!

Pssst! If you like this, you might like the DIY Dining Table we built!

UPDATE! We built an upholstered headboard! Check it out!


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