Four Years In

This past Sunday marked my 4 year “blogiversary.” I can’t believe the leaps and bounds this little journal has hopped in the past few years– from less than a hundred views per month to over 10,000 regularly. Wow!

diy blogger

I’ve had a lot of fun chronicling our home and watching it change and grow on in these posts. And I’ve had some amazing opportunities too… working with some of my favorite companies like Minwax and Gorilla Glue. Being featured in This Old House magazine. Attending a HGTV Magazine party last summer (and again in a few weeks). Meeting some of my favorite people, fellow bloggers that love all the same stuff as I do.

home made stretched canvas art

Life has changed drastically in the past four years too- I got engaged, then married. We added a fourth pet (and had 3 foster dogs along the way too). I have 2 new nephews, and I’ve lost some friends and family members along the way too. I went from working 32 hours a week to over 50, which is both good and bad.

take your pleasure seriously charles eames quote

All this to say… in case you haven’t noticed yet… things need to slow down here on the ol’ blog. There’s so much more to focus on in my life, and this will never be a full time career (nor did I ever intend it to be). I went from posting 5 days a week, to 3, to 2, to one, to now maybe once every other week. And it’s not that nothing’s happening around the house, in fact so much is happening. But between the doing, and the pausing to take pictures, and the editing the pictures, and the writing the posts, and the running of the social media, and the unstoppable desire to refresh my stats— oof. It’s got to give a little.

I’m still going to check in once or twice a month for sure, and I have hundreds of posts in the archives to dig through. I’m so happy so many of you have stopped by, and continue to stop by. So I’ll catch ya at the next check in… and if you want to be notified when that is just follow along via Bloglovin or pop your email in the box on the right hand side of this page. I’m also mildly obsessed with Instagram, so you’ll always find that regularly updated. :)

xo. Stephanie.

Freak Accident Update

The past few weeks have been a little insane around here. I alluded to some house trouble in my last post (here), then a few days after it all went down we left for vacation, then we came back from vacation and are back to working with the insurance company to get our house back in order.

To better explain what happened- basically, a distracted driver hit a telephone pole outside our house so hard that it caused a surge of electricity into our home. It knocked out half our power, fried some of our electronics, then made it’s way into our ground wire. The ground wire was connected to our plumbing, and the surge burned a whole in our pipes which then flooded our basement. WHEW! It was an intense few hours while we waited for the water to be shut off to our house. Luckily, we live on a hill and have a drainage pipe in our basement we were able to open up pretty quickly so we ended up with about 5 inches of water at the highest point (and had we not had the pipe, there would have easily been over a foot). Also, the driver walked away perfectly fine (though I suspect the car is totaled)

We filled our dry vac 4 times once power was restored.

Also luckily, everyone we have been working with on this has been amazing. The night of the accident we had 2 firemen, 2 water department employees, and our plumber all in our house. The next day a clean up crew, electrician, and construction crew all came. Within 48 hours we had electricity and water restored.

You may wonder why we needed a construction crew. Wellllll…. the pipe burst outside the house, underground on our front lawn. So a regular plumber could not repair it. Our front lawn got dug up to replace the pipes.

water being restored

What you’re seeing above is a bulldozer thing digging up the lawn, one crew member in the hole repairing the outside pipes, one crew member in our house jack hammering through our sub-floor to get to more pipes, and the spot where the pipes busted.

This has been an insane mess.

On Monday this week, the insurance company came out (Liberty Mutual) and I have to say- they have been so amazing to work with. I have uploaded about a million pictures to the claim site, as well as the police report for the incident and all of my invoices. Because the cause of the flooding was so complicated, I also had my electrician write a statement explaining what happened and I uploaded that as well. Having done all that in advance really helped the process go smoothly and the adjuster was able to assess the damage and start the process of reimbursing our money right away.

So! The good news– we have some really nice electronics that were all ok because they were on high end surge protector power strips. All those power strips took the brunt of the surge and burned out, but have now been replaced. Our computer has now been replaced and the data transfer from the fried computer was successful. We have a new stove arriving on Friday. And we bought a new rug last night.

PhotoGrid_1436335142507

Still to come: all of our basement walls need to be redone. We have 3 built in closets that need to be sanded and retextured and all of our wood work (which includes paneling, chair rail, casings, and molding) needs to be sanded down and restained.  Stay tuned!

… I think that’s a long enough post for now. :)

Goings On & Freak Accidents

I meant to have a much better blog post this week, but I think when you see what I’m working with over here you’ll understand… either way, I thought I’d hop on and share a few things. Let’s start with the freak accident and work our way to the good stuff:

  • Tuesday night there was a crazy car accident outside my house (no one was hurt), and long story short it caused a huge surge of power to hit my house that temporarily blew out our electricity and also flooded our basement. Electricity is now restored but the surge fried our stove and my husband’s desktop computer as well as a few surge protector power strips (thank goodness we had them, or the damage would have been much worse!). Our (finished) basement currently  has 14 industrial fans in it drying out the flood (for the next 3 days) and our water should be fully restored today- it was damaged outside of the house so our lawn had to be bulldozed to access the pipes and a section of our basement got jackhammered as well. The whole thing is a mess and once insurance is settled I’ll share more. But yeah, it’s been a long few days. If you follow along on Instagram you’ve seen a few peeks of it all.

industrial fans to dry out a flooded basement

  • Before this whole mess went down, I spent my Saturday painting my heart out at my friend Nate’s house. He recently bought 100+ year old country style home and I’ve basically insisted that he let me help with it’s updates because I’m obsessed. When we went to see it he mentioned he needed to paint all window sashes white and I casuallyyyyyy recommended maybe he do them black because I would die if they weren’t black they’re so perfect for it and I’ll even do it myself pleaseeeee. I’m a woman of my word, so I spent 6+ hours painting and it was glorious.

black window sashes with white molding moulding and light walls- country kitchen farm home

The kitchen has these 3 windows, 3 more on a perpendicular wall, and I painted 2 doors that lead to the sunroom to match as well. I’m also on team yellow walls, but not necessarily that particular yellow.

Also, look at this perfectly aged and chippy coat closet door at the house’s entrance. UGHHHH. I don’t even really like the country style but it’s so perfect here that it makes my bat my eyes and grow wide. I’m 97% sure Nate doesn’t look at this blog, but if you do- do not get rid of this door! It’s what dreams are made of! And the brick floor? I’m dying.

chippy aged wood coat closet door and brick entryway floor

  • And to end this post on a super high note…. my husband and I will soon be headed to the Bahamas with a few of our friends! I can not freaking wait, after dealing with all this house stuff it’s just what we need. We’re going to an all inclusive resort and the whole thing is paid for so I’m excited to just show up, get a drank, and sit on the water. Oh, and we’re also going to go swimming with these cuties:

swimming pigs of exumas bahamas

Hopefully our house will be in good working order before we leave!! If not, I guess we can just go snorkeling in the basement… :( womp womp.

Composting Made Easy

Last year I came up with an ugly, albeit easy and maintainable, composting plan. You can read all about my super simple and very free compost system here – it consists of two garbage cans and a giant stick.

I’m happy to report that a year later we’re still using the same system and it’s working out great. I even got to use some of last year’s compost in this year’s garden (which was very rewarding and satisfying).

Composting is so easy and not at all intimidating, and you don’t need a lot of space to make it happen. I put together a board on Hometalk that’s got all aspects of it covered:

  • kitchen counter composting (for those with no space at all!)
  • what to compost and what not to compost
  • how to build a compost bin out of trash barrels, pallets, hay bales, or lumber (there’s so many options!)
  • how to build a lasagna style composting flower bed (I did this method for my garden bed 2 years ago and it’s still working out awesome- my flowers came in great this year!!)
  • and lots more

Check it out here:

easy composting options for big and small spaces

And for quick reference, I love this printable list of what to compost (download it here) – we kept it on our fridge last year as we were learning and it was a big help:

what to compost - printable list

Tie Dye Onesies- An Awesome Baby Shower Activity

This weekend I hosted a “drizzle” for my sister-in-law in my backyard and we had a blast. It’s her and my brother’s second baby boy so we just had myself, parents, and grandparents over to celebrate and restock their diaper supply (no need for a full “shower”).

Even though there were just about a dozen of us I also really wanted a fun activity, so I hooked up with Tulip and their #TyeDyeYourSummer campaign to make tie dyed ones for my nephew-on-the-way. You guys, we had SO MUCH FUN. My 80+ year old grandmothers making their great grandchild onesies in my yard was so lovely and adorable.

tie dye onesie station- baby shower party activity idea

This kit is super easy, it comes with 18 colors in squirt bottles (just add water), elastics to make your pattern with, plastic gloves, and even a tablecloth. It’s a party in a box! I laid everything out on a few different tables and wrote steps on some white tiles (you can use dry erase markers on ceramic tiles- I do it all the time at parties to label food and write out directions), the kit comes with instructions on how to make specific patterns so I laid that out on the table too.

I got 2 different size white onesie packs, a white 3T shirt for my nephew, and Tulip sent a bunch of large white t-shirts for everyone else.

tie dye onesie baby shower activity

Everyone just kind of did their own thing, and most of the onesies came out super adorable. Others though, not so much. Careful with the red dye, haha.

tie dye onesie oopsPoor mom, she just wanted to make a heart for her new grandson.

The tie dye needs to set for 6-8 hours so we all just put our creations in a plastic tub I had then went off and ate a bunch of cake and ice cream. I ended up leaving it overnight and the next morning just rinsed them off in the tub then threw them in the washer on hot to set.

My nephew’s going to be the cutuest little hippie baby that ever lived.

one step tie dye kit

…but I’m not biased or anything. ;)

Thanks Tulip for sending me the one step tie dye kit! We had so much fun, and everyone loved it! *Even though the kit was sent to me, I was not paid for this post and all opinions/ideas/adorable onesies are my own.

Stalk Tulip all over the web for so many fun ideas and projects:

Facebook //  Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest // Tumblr // Google+ // YouTube

ilovetocreate tulip tie dye

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Looking for more baby shower ideas? Check out my the owl themed and jungle themed parties I threw:

owl themed baby showermonkey decorated cupcakes

DIY Stretched Fabric Canvas (with a shower curtain!)

I am slowlyyyy working on updating my living room to be a bit lighter, brighter, and (gulp) more colorful. It started with  painting over my Sharpie Stencil Wall, which was a little painful to do but necessary for the vision I’ve got for my living room. Even though that wall took a lot of hours to complete, it cost under $5 so it wasn’t too big of a hit.

For reference, here’s a semi-recent picture of my living room:

neutral gray living roomI painted over the faux stencil wall with one coat of primer, then 2 coats of Behr’s White Truffle- which is the same color as our entryway, stairway, and split level landing. That black bench is gone now due to a little puppy rambunctiousness that was totally adorable and worth it. (RIP bench, gone but not forgotten.)

Once the wall was painted, it came time to make some GIGANTIC art to cover that new blank wall with! I order THIS shower curtain and it is awesome. I washed (cold water!) and dried it, then ironed it forever.

Next was the fun part- I laid the shower curtain out on the floor and measured out a frame of 1×2’s. Since this piece is so big, I used my Kreg Jig pocket hole maker to make a square frame with several braces in the middle. Here’s what it looked like while I was dry fitting it all together:

sry fit the 1x2 frame for a DIY canvas

And in case you’re nervous about making pocket holes, here’s a quick one handed video I shot of me using it. It’s a piece of cake!! I used a little wood glue at the joints as well, just in case.

After the frame was built, I stretched the fabric over it and stapled it in place. I put two staples on each side just to hold it in place, then my husband pulled from one side while I stretched and stapled the other (having two people just helps make sure everything stays center and also really tight).

A million staples later and it was done. And, because it’s just some 1×2’s and a shower curtain it’s super lightweight- I used one anchor screw to hang it and that’s it.

Here’s a view from the back once it was built and the fabric was stapled on:

add support pieces into your DIY large scale frame

Once on the wall it looked great, but not me yet. It needed some BAZAM. Which in my world, means it needed some gold. I’m not patient enough to go to the store and get fabric medium, so I just grabbed some gold craft paint, mixed it with a little water to thin it out, then painted in the top of the curtain and a few other spots. Much better!

tutorial on extra large DIY art from a shower curtain

The shower curtain was about $50 and the 1×2’s were about $10, so for $60 I have a really cool piece of art that’s bigger than me! For reference, I am 5 feet tall. :)

home made stretched canvas art

To orient a bit in the house, this is a shared freestanding wall for the kitchen and living room. You can enter the living room from both the left and right sides of it, as well as from the stairs that lead to our second level.

In real life, this area looks like this:

how to turn a large cotton shower curtain into DIY wall art

Hellooooo eye sore cat tree! I’ve accepted you in my life, but I’m not happy about it.

As of today, the living room is looking like this:

unique living room wall decor ideas

I think I’m going to be painting the chairs white, but I kind of like the zebra pattern against the wave pattern so I may not reupholster them. I’m also going to redo the black coffee table and its’ two matching end tables…. wait till you see what I have in mind!

DIY stretched fabric canvas wall art from a cotton shower curtain

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Interested in making custom art? Here’s some more ideas you might like:
wood shim wall art pennant

DIY Glazed Sunburst Mirror

minwax frog tape wall art DIY

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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