Living Pretty with your Pets feature

Hi all! Today I’m over at Cuckoo 4 Design guest posting all about my brood of pets, hop on over and check it out here.

three cats and a dog petsIf you’re here from Julia’s blog- welcome! You may want to check out my DIY Hidden Litter Box or Raised Pet Food Stand.

And don’t worry you’ll get used to seeing my animals pop up in just about every post ;)

striped wall room with painted furnitureThings I Didn’t DIY 

upcycled cabinet inside

Upcycled Kitchen Cabinet

tree stump end tablesTree Stump/Log End Tables

Happy Weekend!!

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The Fab Furniture Flippin’ Contest: DIY HIDDEN LITTERBOX

This month I’m participating in a little DIY challenge called The Fab Furniture Flippin Contest and the theme is inspired by mom (because it’s Mother’s Day month!). Two of the lovely contest organizers have posts with more info and inspiration: Evey from Sweet Song Bird has one here and Stacy from Anastasia Vintage has one here.

FFFC post graphic final (png)Sooo here’s the thing. When I think of home decor, my mom’s house doesn’t exactly come to the forefront. I actually constantly rag on her for her house. Because it is SO. BEIGE. EVERYTHING BEIGE. ALL THE TIME BEIGE. Whew. She finds it calming. I find it incredibly stressful. Can you tell?

She’s also seriously against any kind of clutter. There are no tchotchkes. There are no knick knacks. Everything has a purpose. Sometimes when I go over to her house I swap around the pillows and move the table runner just to mess with her. SO. When thinking of an “inspired by mom” project I decided to alter a piece of furniture that I think can work a little harder for me, something that’ll hide an unsightly element of the house and clear up some floor clutter.

In 2012 I bought this dark wooden end table at the Habitat for Humanity restore (also in 2012, I had terrible photography skills):

dark wood end table - before picture

Then I spray painted it silver, glazed it with black, and swapped out the hardware (here):

dark brown end table - after - silver with black glaze

For while this held vases and vase fillers and candles and a whole bunch of other nonsense. And in the “inspired by mom” spirit, I donated 90% of that crap and cleared out the drawers.

THEN I got to work… hollowing out the drawers and cutting out the side and turning this fab piece of furniture into a DIY HIDDEN LITTERBOX :).

Hollowing out the drawers was easy, a few knocks with the hammer took care of it because the pieces were dovetailed together without much glue. Then I used the bottom of one of the drawers as a base and Gorilla Glue’d both drawer fronts on it. Once it was dried it was all one piece; I screwed it into the frame of the end table from the inside:

updated knobs on an old side table - fake drawer fronts

Next I had to hollow out the inside of the frame. Holy moly I did not have the right tools for this. I had a jigsaw, coping saw, and a hand saw and I Tim Gunn’d it (MAKE. IT. WORK.). I removed all the screws I could find, then used the coping saw to remove the middle divider between the draws. The ledges on the sides were a bit more complicated, and the hand saw worked for that part. I didn’t use the jigsaw at all for this part because it didn’t really fit.

Once the inside was hollowed out, I next cut a hole in the side (where the cats will enter to do their business). For this I needed a scroll saw. I don’t have a scroll saw though, so I used a jigsaw and hand saw and ripped all my hair out and then I finally got it.

Tip: to use a jigsaw when the point of entry isn’t the edge of your piece, just drill in a few large holes with a large drill or spade bit, then fit the blade of the jigsaw in the hole to start cutting.

disguised litter box in a repurposed end table

The bottom inside of the end table has a particle board piece underneath a frame of 1×2’s, so I caulked the seams where they met just to make sure no litter gets caught under there.

Then I bought a tupperware bin, filled it with litter, and popped it in:

secret litter box in an old end tableI used the cover of the container as an extra tray at the bottom and scooted the actual container all the way to the back, so the cats can walk in to the piece of furniture then step into the litter box (which will help stop litter from getting on the floor outside of it) Awesome! No more unsightly litter box hanging out in our living room! I think mom’d be proud :)

DIY Hidden Litter Box from SandpaperAndGlue.com

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So what do you think of my updates? A prize package from CeCe Caldwell’s Paints is up for grabs and I’ve got my fingers crossed!!

Also, if YOU are a blogger interested in participating in an upcoming challenege just email Stacy (info@anastasiavintage.com) or Evey (info@eveyscreations.com)!

Patio Dreams & Plans

Earlier in the week I talked about our front door spruce up and adding some flowers around the house, so today I wanted to do a little more outdoorsy talk.

A lot of the flowers I bought already (particularly the daisies) will go into the ground after memorial day, leaving room for a few container herbs to go on the front steps. I like to keep onion grass and basil there, close by, because I use them constantly when cooking.

As for the backyard though, it’s a never-ending mess of projects. Over the years I’ve added a garden bed wall (here) to our dining area and plants are justtttt starting to settle and spread there. I bought 2 shrubs (rhododendron) that I added in the bed last weekend. I’ve also made a compost bin system (here) and a small vegetable/herb garden (here)- but none of that is particularly pretty.

backyard before 2015Our yard is 2 levels because we’re on a hill, and the previous owners left us a bit of a mess to deal with… it looks way nicer in pictures then it does in real life. Because you’re being fooled into thinking we have grass. We do not have grass. We have awful cheap turf. Also not awesome:

  • There’s a random too-wide-to-be-a-walkway cement paver situation next to the second section of turf. But if we removed that….
  • we’d have to spruce up the vast wasteland of sand directly next to it because there used to be an above ground pool that we took apart and sold. This area serves as a fire pit now but could use some love.
  • On the second level, where our patio table is, there’s just dirt because it’s too shady for grass. I have no idea what to do here. Giant pavers? Gravel (will that hurt my dogs’ paws?)? Mulch? I don’t know
  • The dirt section in front of that (by the swing chair) will someday be filled with ivy ground cover, but it’s slow goin’

So you can see we sort of have a few “patio” areas. The dirt pile our actual patio set is on, plus the fire pit area, and even the cement “basketball court” section. The bummer with outdoor stuff is that none of it is really instant- it takes time for things to grow (like the ivy! come on ivy, growwww!). So, while I wait, I’m dreaming. I created a Patio Dreams Board on Wayfair full of stuff that would make this area much more awesome.

wayfair birdbath double seating flower planter and string lightsbird bath | bench seat| flower pot | string lights
I think matching flower pots, and string lights, and nice seating go such a long way, don’t you? What’s on your patio wish list?

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I partnered with Wayfair for this conversation, but I am a real customer of theirs already and they have EVERYTHING for every area of your house. Check it out!!

Front Door Spruce Up

The nice weather has finally, finally, finally hit Massachusetts and that means it’s time to move onto some outdoor work — especially because I’m hosting an outdoor drizzle for my sister-in-law next month. (Have you heard of drizzles? It’s baby number 2 so they don’t need a whole shower, just a little somethin-somethin ;) ).

ANYWAY. Painting our front doors has been on my list since we moved into the house. We have a side door (that we use 100% of the time) and a front door that we never use. Both of the doors are super cheap and not that great looking. They’re also some kind of metal so I’ve held off on painting them because I wasn’t sure they would hold paint well.

I decided to join forces with Modern Masters to work on some front door curb appeal, and I’m really happy about how things have turned out. Modern Masters has a paint specifically designed for front doors- it’s fade resistant and really durable. They also have a front door app to help you pick the color, basically you take a picture of your front door and then you can digitally “try on” all the colors.”

Originally I was going to play it safe with a white or black front door because our house is a light sage green. Then I said, NO! LET’S BE BOLD! and thought I’d go with coral or yellow. And then I reeled myself in and settled on a nice deep blue called Peaceful from the Front Door Paint line. It was quite a ride, I used the app and it really helped (search Front Door Paint in the Apple or Google play store and it’ll pop right up!).

Here’s my sad dingy doors and weather beaten exterior before I got to work:

front door before - sage green house old white doorsAnd let’s just reality check for a minute- neither of these entrances are ever going to be gorgeous unless they get ripped up and redone. BUT they can definitely look better than this with paint and flowers.

gray tinted zinsser primer- modern masters front door paint

I used gray tinted primer- gray because I was painting a dark color and it helps you get better coverage, and primer in general because the door is metal and I wanted to give the color something to stick to. Just one coat of primer was fine.

I painted only the outside of the side door because my dog jumps all over the inside of it when we get home and I was afraid he’d just scratch up any paint I put on (does anyone have input or thoughts on this? do you think it would be ok?). Then I painted both the inside and outside of the front door. After 2 coats of Peaceful went on I took and artist brush from the dollar store and did two coats of pure white paint around the window molding. No need to tape off the windows- just use a razor when it dries and scrape off any paint that got on the glass.

Once everything was painted and dried it was time to beautify the rest of the area. I picked up the leaves (yes, they fell last November and yes they were still everywhere), swept, cleaned, and added a bajillion plants.

navy and white front door on a light green house

ranch house curb appeal with front door paint and summer flowersThe plants are all spillers and spreaders, so in a few weeks once they’re settled in it’s going to look awesome. The in-the-ground plants are justtttttt starting to pop up, so I’ll update next month with how it’s all coming together. I’m lovinggggggg it so far though and I can’t wait to get to the rest of the outdoor space!

And just because, here’s a picture with the door open to the sunroom, which is generally how it is when we’re throwing a par-tay and want people to just come on in:

navy door gray and white sunroom bright light summer room

How are you sprucing your house up for summer?

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Modern Masters provided the paint for this project, but I was not otherwise compensated and all thoughts and lovely potted plants are my own. Find their front door paint at selected Lowe’s and Ace Hardwares as well as online via Amazon, HomeDepot.com or the Modern Masters online shop.

Last Minute Mother’s Day Presents

You guys, I’m totally slacking on Mother’s Day this year. My grandmothers are going to be getting chocolate (hey Nonna- don’t read this post until Monday! oh, you already did? I hope you like the chocolate!) and my mom’s going to get coffee (that was her response when I asked via text what she wanted- hi mom! I’ll pick it up on the way to your house and maybe get a gift bag too!).

Look, I understand that mother’s day (and father’s day) are super nice and important and some years I do good things like get them jewelry or take them out somewhere…. but some years I have 1.5 full time jobs and 4 blog posts with due dates and I just got back from a conference and whoops I tore my living room apart for another redo and I’m so tired all the darn time. Ahem. That may be just this year.

But even though I’m a totally awful child this month, doesn’t mean you have to be too! You can still totally rock this thing!

  • Rebecca at Cre8tive Compass has a round up of 12 super easy last minute mother’s day gifts HERE.last minute DIY craft mothers day gifts
  • Michelle has another 16 HERE (and a free printable, just buy a frame and call it a d-a-y!)

mothers day gifts with Silhouette Cameo free printable..Or you know, buy them a bottle of wine and a spa gift certificate then tie a bow on it all.

Tell me, what are YOU getting your favorite ladies this year? And while we’re on it…. what are you getting your favorite men next month? I apparently could use a head start on ideas.

Quick SNAP! Recap

Last week I went to a 3 day blogging conference in Salt Lake City called Snap! and had an awesome/overwhelming experience. It was so good to be surrounded by people who totally get this whole blogging thing, and my intense love for all things DIY- but also WOW that’s a lot of excited women in one place.

The first thing I did when I got there was tour their local Ronald McDonald House Charity, which was amazing and eye opening. They have the ability to house over 70 families while children are awaiting and receiving treatments at the hospital nearby. 70! It’s a great charity and I 100% plan on looking up how I can be a part of my local RMHC, even if it’s just donating little things for family welcome bags.

IMG950071

After the tour, I tried to really hard balance out classes on behind the scenes stuff and classes on fun stuff, and I think that really helped me get the most out of the conference. I learned a lot about branding myself- and branding is something I really need help with. I’m such an introvert that I didn’t even notice how little I allow myself to show up in the blog. There’s tons of my stuff but barely any shots of me actually working on things. I’m going to try to correct that a bit (do you even care? or notice? hmm).

Screen shot 2015-04-27 at 11.42.17 AMPerhaps the reason I don’t share more of me is because when I try to I end up taking a selfie in a fancy bathroom with kind of an angry face going on? Whoops.

ANYWAY! CLASSES! I went to them.

Snap Collage

I learned how to tile and grout (including how to use a wet saw which is totally not scary at all). I attempted to hand letter and watercolor. I helped build a craft table. It was all really fun and inspiring. I came home with so many ideas that even though I laid down to bed at 11pm last night, I didn’t fall asleep until at least 3am. My head is swirling.

Snap friends collage

My favorite part though, was meeting a zillion friends in real life. Pictured above, left to right, is Kelly (Simply Kelly Designs), Michelle (Weekend Craft), Candace (Lucky Scarf), then me anchoring each picture, my roommate Vanessa (Tried & True), Stacey (Glued to my Crafts), and Michelle again. I hung out with Sarah (Sarah’s Big Idea) a bunch as well (which was super cool because she’s a power tool badass), then I also spent 2 extra days at Kenz’s (Interiors By Kenz) house after the conference was over to hang with her lovely family.

Whew! I have today off from work to “relax” and “get settled,” which I think is just going to turn into me starting 5 different projects and pretending I don’t have an entire suitcase of laundry to get through. :)

April Features & Round Ups

This week I am headed to Snap (eek! ahh!) so while I’m busy packing and panicking, I thought I’d share some great round up posts from around the web that each have a little bit from me included:

1. Candace from Lucky Scarf included my conference checklist post in her Conference Prep 101 round up HERE. If you’re planning on going to Snap or Haven, hop over and check it out for great tips:

conference-prep-720x720

2. Sarah from Creative Ramblings included a mother’s day present I made last year in a post chock full of succulent planting ideas HERE. Succulents are still totally a thing, and I don’t see them going away for quite a while!

succulents in old jars

3. Anne from Wit, Wisdom, and Food included my DIY Sharpie Stencil Wall in her round up of awesome wall treatments HERE. That’s still one of my most popular projects, and surprisingly it’s actually on my list of things to redo!

sharpie wall

Enjoy!