A budget-friendly DIY & lifestyle blog

Friday, May 31, 2013

Weekend Warrior: The To-Do List // June 1

With only four weeks until Josh leaves for Alaska, we're channeling our inner beast modes by kicking some ass and taking names. We're hoping to knock out our ridiculously long to-do list well before he leaves so we can spend some good ol' fashioned quality time together.  That means the next few weekends are going to be jam packed.

Here's what's in store for us this weekend:
  • Electrify the shed
  • Finish electrical in mudroom/nook
  • Finish installing the bathroom wall treatment
  • Caulk and paint the bathroom wall treatment
  • Find/create lighting for mudroom/nook
  • Build bench and bookcase in the nook
  • More yard work
  • Build raised garden bed
I wish we could get more done inside, but we're waiting to wrap up a few items with the electrical before we can get it inspected.  After all that, the finish line will be in sight...Wish us luck!


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Houzz: How to Repair A Broken Glass Door Pane

If you're keeping up with me on Instagram you might have caught this photo back in February.  In the words of my favorite uber-dork...."Did I do that?"  Seriously, ever since I saw the throwback reference on New Girl I can't stop snorting laughing.

So you know when everything in your being tells you not to do something and you ignore your smarter self and do it anyway?  Like car surfing or drinking that outdated milk?  That's exactly what happened here.  Apparently I was in a "I also like to live dangerously" kind of mood when I was cleaning up our mudroom and leaned an old window against the door.  It was safely leaning on the wood parts, until I nudged it out of the way and CRASH! - broken glass.

After cleaning up and removing the remaining glass shards from the door, we used painters tape to close up the opening.  Then it stayed that way for months....I just couldn't find a glass company in our area.  I finally tracked down Thorseness Glass in Astoria and bought a replacement piece of safety glass for only $7.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

DIY // How To Install or Replace a Bathroom Vanity Light

Whether it's task-focused, mood-setting or just for style points, lighting is one of the most important details in a room.  With only a single light source, a hideous ceiling mount light/fan combo, our bathroom's lighting left much to be desired.  Not to mention, the light and the fan were wired to the same on/off switch so if the light is on, the noisy fan is on.  Which is perfectly fine if you're using it to drown out the noise during an intense bathroom sesh but, aside from that, just an insane waste of energy.

When we first started renovating the mudroom we removed the back wall which gave us access to the framing and backside of the bathroom wall.  A perfect opportunity to install a vanity light, right?  Unfortunately, an utter communication breakdown shattered those dreams as Josh replaced the drywall before we could install the wiring. And then the clouds parted, the sun shone down and the design gods answered my prayers. The drywall had to come back down which meant we once again had access to the inner workings of the wall.  The bathroom light installation project was on!

Based on budget alone, Josh quickly shut down all the gorgeous options from yesterday's Schoolhouse Electric post.  Back to the drawing board, I set out to find something that was a win-win for us both - an attractive fixture for less than $50. The Portfolio vanity 2-light bar from Lowe's was a great fit.  It could be customized with any type of shade and was just over $30, plus it was very similar in finish and style to our Moen Glenshire pivoting mirror.  With the vanity light in our possession, installation was the next step.

Here's what the job required:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

7 Perfect Vanity Fixtures from Schoolhouse Electric

Have I mentioned how much I love Schoolhouse Electric? When my dreams to install a vanity light in the bathroom were restored (more on that tomorrow) I hightailed it to my favorite lighting store to track down the perfect vanity light - online, of course.  I love the classic-with-a-modern-spin selection of period lighting that Schoolhouse Electric offers and my green side loves that SE is headquartered just down the road in Portland, Oregon.  To say that I found a wall sconce that would work for our vanity is a definite understatement...


Friday, May 17, 2013

5 Vintage Inspired Pendant Lights {Almost} Perfect For Our Mudroom

The lighting choices from yesterday had me drooling, but sadly none will work for our space because of our dang sloped ceilings.  We need something that can be mounted at an angle but will hang vertically - so a pendant light with a flexible cord that we can shorten is probably our only option. 

Remember when we installed pendant lights above our sink by using an inexpensive kit from Westinghouse and glass shades from Goodwill?  Those turned out great - although I think I'm going to replace the glass shades with these or these from Schoolhouse Electric which will give them a more modern feel and the bulbs might actually fit!

As for the mudroom pendant light, we just might end up making our own again if we can't find an option that looks good and fits within our budget, but until we make that final decision I thought I'd share a few gorgeous options that I found while hanging out on the internet.  The combination of vintage design, warm edison light bulbs and dark hardware gets me all hot and bothered - hope it tickles your fancy, as well.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

DIY Problems - 7 Lighting Options for Low & Shallow Ceilings

Can a DIY project ever go smoothly, asks the frustrated DIY'er.  We're smack dab in the middle of renovating our mudroom/breakfast nook and things were going very smoothly until the hubs went to install the wiring and housings for our new recessed lights in the mudroom.  Unfortunately for us, our dang ceilings in this room, which is a stark contrast to our 9 foot ceilings elsewhere, are low (slanted, in fact) and shallow.  With their pivoting lights and extremely low-profile gimbal recessed lights solve the height and slant problems but most likely will not work for the shallow issue - there's only 3 1/2 inches from the ceiling to the roof.  I'd love to share a photo with you of exactly what I'm talking about but I can't!  It's a surprise...but you'll get to see the entire process soon enough.  Until then, you'll just have to be content with my horrible descriptions.

Instead of installing three recessed lights - which would illuminate the corner bench area, the entry and the laundry closet - we have to figure out another plan.  The corner bench area is easy - I'm going to track down some killer sconce lights like this Princeton Junior sconce or this Satellite Wall sconce, both by Schoolhouse Electric, but the two overhead lights are a whole 'nother story.  Two recessed lights will now become one mounted light. 

Like I mentioned before, we're leaning towards this gorgeous Eldridge Rectangular Chandelier from Ballard Designs for our nook area which will be open and visible to the mudroom.  So, something that coordinates without overly competing would be ideal, plus we need something like a short pendant style so that can be mounted but will hang straight.  While I'm on the hunt for our perfect light, I thought I'd share these perfect options (just not perfect for our specific space) that could pair nicely with the Eldridge light.

{1}  The Franklin 2.25" Light $127 as shown from Schoolhouse Electric - it's simple, clean and has that same vintage-modern vibe that the Ballard Designs light has.

{2}  Another option would be something similar to this Single-Light Sebring Outdoor Ceiling - $114.  Although it's an outdoor light, I like the industrial style of it plus it's a DIY project in the making.

{3}  Pottery Barn's Fisherman's Flushmount Light is very similar to the option above and is a little more expensive at $199.

{4}  Another option that caught my eye at Pottery Barn is the Julian Flushmount light.  It's also listed for $199 and is a more elegant twist on the boob light.

{5}  A less desirable option but something that would definitely work for a low ceiling would be something like this Saturn Small flush mount light from Lithonia Lighting. 

{6}  Track lighting might be the way to go to avoid flush mounts altogether but once again, height may be  an issue depending on the lights you choose.  I love the style of the Pottery Barn lighting track.

{7}  Ikea has an inexpensive track lighting option, the KRĂ„MARE Ceiling Track, but a little hacking would be involved, i.e. spray paint, to get a similar finish as the Eldridge. At only $24.99 including three lights, it might be a great option although not exactly the perfect pairing with the Eldridge.

The clock is ticking so I better stop because as much as I love finding lighting options - I really just need to find lighting options that will actually work for us.  So.....the pendant lighting search begins!  Think happy, budget-friendly thoughts.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Houzz: Get Grout Magically Clean

Do you have dirty, grimy grout that you just can't seem to get clean?  Well, have I got the solution for you!  (Sounds like an infomercial, right?)

Seriously, though.  Tile — whether it's used as flooring, in the kitchen as a backsplash or for counters, or in the bathroom — has one great downfall: grout. Since grout is porous in nature, unsealed grout absorbs all kinds of stains, from mildew to coffee and everything in between. To say it's a headache to keep grout clean is an understatement.

We inherited marble tile counters when we purchased our home. It's pretty clear that the grout was never properly sealed, so it soaks up stains like crazy. It makes our kitchen feel gross and grimy, even if it was just cleaned. While I'd love to replace the counters with a solid surface like quartz, it's just not in our budget — plus, we just can't justify getting rid of something that's perfectly fine otherwise.  So instead, I've come up with a fool-proof method to get grout sparkling clean and all it takes is a few items and a lot of elbow grease.

Check out the full post over at Houzz to learn the easy method for yourself and be on your way to clean grout....finally!

So what about you guys?  Have any easy methods to get those tough to clean areas sparkling?  I'd love to hear about them in the comments section!

Disclaimer:  As a Contributor for Houzz, I have been compensated for any Ideabooks featured on Houzz, although I am not compensated for sharing Houzz Ideabooks on Revamp Homegoods.  All opinions expressed here are that of the writer and are in no way influenced by Houzz.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Why "You Are Just Like Your Mom" Makes Me Smile

My mom is one of my most favorite people and I strive to be more like her every day.  She's been an amazing role model, incredibly supportive and I hope to be as great and patient (eek!) of a parent as she is.  I lucked out and that's why I'm much more likely to smile and say thank you if someone were to say, "you're just like your Mom."  While there are a few ways that I AM just like her there are also quite a few that I wish I was more like.  Here's a sampling of the good, the bad, and the better qualities that my Mom rocks.

Me and my Mom circa 1982.


The Good

1)  Inquisitive - Mom and her 20 questions is a running joke in our family.  I can't even describe the barrage we'd be hit with as soon as she got home from work.  It used to drive me crazy and now I do the exact same thing to my little one.  I know now that she's ACTUALLY interested in our lives and loves us and that's the same way I feel about Luke.  So, my apologies, Luke - it's only going to get worse and my apologies, Mom, - ask away.

2)  DIY - Mom may not think she's a DIY-type of person, but she is.  I remember the time that she built us a bed.  A wobbly and ill-built bed, mind you, but she still built it herself.  She also built her own stair stepper back in the 90s.  It was a beast and once you moved it where you wanted it - you were too tired to work out.  Those sissy electrical machines we have now have nothing on it.  So, Mom - I hate to break it to you but you are definitely a DIY-type...so best get to building that addition!

3)  Observant - Although I tend to share my opinion more times than I should, like Mom, I do love to observe people while they're spewing nonsense...all the while thinking "you are ridiculous."

4)  Creative - I don't know how many times Mom (or myself) have come up with the most amazing invention or money making idea only to have someone else beat us to it.  We may be unmotivated to bring our idea to fruition, but damnit what a great idea it was!

5)  Bookworm - Just like my Mom, I love books and I love to read.  Although she's more of a kindle fanatic and I lean towards the classic - we still love to lose ourselves in a story.  This tops my list of things I hope to pass along to my children, well, below working hard, being kind, and being ridiculously weird, of course.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Greenthumb: A Sunny Garden Bed

There are many places that need attention in our yard - our perimeter is nearly a blank canvas, aside from the shade garden that we planted this past weekend.  I'd love to plant large flowering shrubs and evergreen perennials all around it, but I'd also really not like to spend a million dollars in the process.  I'm pretty much a newbie when it comes to landscape design and I tend to fly by the seat of my pants rather than plan anything out so spending more than I'd like is always a problem.  Sticking to an actual garden plan like these would be helpful, but I'm just not organized enough to remember to bring the plan to the nursery with me.  So, I buy what I like and what I think will work which is exactly what I did for this sunny garden bed on the west side of our yard.

Once again, Josh helped by clearing out the flower bed from grass, weeds and bamboo while I lounged around soaking in some much needed vitamin D.  After he was finished, I laid out the plants where I thought they'd look best and started planting.  There were already two clematis plants growing, which I planted last year so I worked around those.  I thought I had killed the clematis when I forgot to water them for two weeks last summer, but I was happily surprised when I saw them full of life.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Greenthumb: A Tranquil Shade Garden

The space on the south side of our backyard is heavily shaded, which is to the left of the photo below.  With cover from our cedar, lilac and mystery trees plus the large boxwood and laurel hedges -  it's no surprise.  We've done little in this area and have let things pretty much grow wild which means that the pesky bamboo was taking over and it looked awful.

A Before photo from back in September before the out of control growth!


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Greenthumb: Whipping The Yard Into Shape

We've seen our fair share of rainy days this year.  For months, I've sat staring out the windows, longingly - dreaming of all the ways our yard could be better this spring/summer.  Either I've been gone for a track meet or the weather has been too awful to actually get any work done outside - until this weekend, that is.  With temperatures in the 80s (that's like 120 degrees for us Washington coast peeps) and a free weekend, I was raring to throw off my layers and get the yard ready for bikini season.

With both of our schedules being so busy lately we've been slacking on the ol' lawn mowing.  The yard is pretty much dormant during the rainy season with little to no growth but with the first hint of sun the grass grows 2 feet.  So if we're not on top of it then we're dealing with a damn jungle.  Unfortunately, our lawn mower seized up partway through the process - with only one tiny strip left to mow.  At least I was able to get all of the main sections mowed so it looks much better.

Speaking of grass...remember that meandering pathway that we put in?  The one we took special care to layer with landscaping fabric to keep out those pesky weeds?  Yeah, well, this is how it looks now.  The weed barrier that I used was pretty much an utter failure - the grass grew right up through it.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Homemade Cleaning Products - Update

It's been a good amount of time since we made the switch from store-bought, chemical-laden cleaning products to homemade all-natural ones, so I thought I'd share how it's going.


Powdered Laundry Detergent - I love it!  Our clothes come out clean and fresh although not as sparkling white as they did with the store-bought stuff.  I'm a little sensitive to the Fels-Naptha soap but once the clothes are washed and dried the smell is almost non-existent.

Liquid Laundry Detergent - I like the liquid version of the laundry detergent best.  I feel like the clothes get a little bit cleaner and it makes a whole lot more at a time.  Plus, I can add essential oils to change the scent.  I definitely think the store bought stuff works the best, but I'll choose slightly less white over harmful chemicals every day.  I do add oxygenated bleach (OxyClean) to my white loads to give it a whitening boost which seems to help.

All-Purpose Cleaner - This stuff is amazing.  I love the scent of the Dr. Brommer's castile soap and it cleans like a champ.  I use it in the kitchen and bathroom and it powers through all the dirt and grime and wipes away clean.

I still have yet to make a carpet cleaner and a few other cleaners but those are definitely on the list!  What all-natural methods do you guys use to get the house spic and span?

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