One Year Update: Faux Tile Backsplash

I painted a faux back splash in my kitchen about a year ago and thought I’d give a quick update on it.

After one full year with the back splash here’s where I’m at:

  • It is still one of my absolute favorite projects, and I’m so glad Beth from Sawdust and Embryos posted an awesome faux tile tutorial I fell in faux tile love and copied it immediately.
  • It has held up so well and I didn’t even seal it. My counters go up about 3 inches on the wall which has probably helped with the not sealing, and I also tend to do most of my prep work at the part that juts out from the wall, so if you’re nervous I’d recommend a coat or two of polycrylic (not poly-A-crylic… that one can yellow!).
  • Using colors from the rest of my house was key in making this work and keeping costs down. I’m  a sucker for a yellow kitchen, and the rest of my house has grays and dark blues so it really helps tie things together (we have an open concept floor plan).

To read all about how paint a faux tile back splash, check out the original post. It’s so so easy and anyone can do it.

Here’s the before:

And here it is today, still looking fly:
kitchen-faux-tile-backsplash diy painted backsplash

This project is not difficult, just time consuming. The tape itself took about two-two and a half hours and the painting probably another three. This is not our forever home, so a bigger money kitchen reno (even a few hundred for real tile) was just not worth it… but a weekend paint job totally was! What do you think?

And if you’re in the market for a  couple more budget kitchen projects, here’s 4 more:



Quick & Easy DIY Key Hook

A little over a year ago some blog friends and I challenged each other to a “15/15 project”… we wanted to each do a 15 minute DIY that cost under $15. I chose to make a DIY key hook.For some reason I decided to super glue my hooks onto their base, instead of screwing them in, and recently one of them popped off. So I decided to revamp the whole thing a little and now it looks like this:

easy diy key hook refridgerator


Supplies for this project are super easy and still super cheap:

  • wood scrap
  • paint or spray paint
  • wall hooks (with screws this time!)
  • Velcro or magnetic strip
  • 2 shower curtain hooks
  • 2 tin containers

I used a piece of scrap wood from when I put up wainscoting in my half bath, the wall hooks are leftover from when I up-cycled some kitchen art, and I had the rest of the supplies on hand because I’m a hoarder. So even with the revamp, I spent $0. I think this whole thing could be done for under $20 though.

The first time I made this I just glued two hooks on the painted piece of wood and called it a day. Now that we’ve been living with it for a year though, I decided to beef it up a bit. I added a third hook (and screwed them all in this time) and two hanging containers. Two of the hooks are for dog supplies (collar, leash, harness), and the third is for our keys.


I apologize for the terrible pictures- it’s in an awkward spot in the kitchen and I had to use the can lights. Also, yes- the two old hooks have peeling spray paint on them and I did not bother to paint the new third hook. It’s like 30* out so I can’t spray paint, and really, this is just for keys. It took about the amount of time my pasta water took to boil, and I wanted to keep it that way. :)

The containers came from the dollar spot in Target a while ago, but they seem to always have them- I just used a power drill to drill a hole in each, then looped the shower curtain hook through the hole in and hung it on the wall hook.

I used adhesive Velcro to stick it on the fridge because that’s what I had handy, but you could use a magnetic strip if that’s easier or just screw it into a wall.


Any questions? Leave them in the comments!

Faux Moulding for Dummies

A little bit back my friend Kenz posted a tutorial about how to add faux moulding to your house, and I started looking all over my house for a spot to try this out. Then, in my last kitchen update post I started giving my basement door the stink eye and knew it was time to get my paint on.


When we first moved to the house there was no door in that frame, so we went out and grabbed one for $10 at the Habitat for Humanity Restore… and even though it was a bit knicked up $10 is a steal for a solid wood door.

I spackled and sanded & spackled and sanded to fix the issues, then gave it two coats of primer and two coats of pure white Behr paint.


But what kind of blogger would I be if all I did was paint a door white and leave it? Not a very good one. So now I’m going to teach you how to add faux moulding without doing any math. Because math is hard and makes my head hurt… unless we’re talking about money in which case I’m all over it.

ANYWAY, I had 2 inch thick Scotch Blue tape and 1 inch thick Frog tape. I put two strips of Scotch all the way around the door, then 1 strip of Frog Tape inside that. That way all my moulding would start 3 inches in from the sides and top. Then, I needed to divide the door in half so there’d be two sections of moulding. I took my level and added a strip of Frog Tape above the handle and below the handle.


Now that I had my outline I had to give myself something to paint. Here’s where it’s time to get creative. You know those free paper Ikea rulers you can get at the door? Well, I carry one around in my purse all the time. For measurement emergencies. And it just so happens to be 1 inch wide. And I just so happened to want my moulding 1 inch thick. So I taped the measuring tape next to the Frog Tape border I had up, then carefully added another strip the the other side of it. I moved around the door doing this until I had two boxes outlined:

Even though you don't need to measure anything, do be sure to check everything is level as you work your way around the door.

Even though you don’t need to measure anything, do be sure to check everything is level as you work your way around the door.


You could just stop here and start painting, but I wanted to be a little more fancy then that. I decided to use this inspiration picture (also supplied by Kenz) because I figured straight lines would be easier to work with then curves. Basically, I cut a little square out of each corner of my moulding so that it dipped in. Not so basically, it took me over an hour to do this. I had to stare at the door for a very long time to figure out how to do this because I’m an idiot and was trying to paint this inversely (as opposed to painting the whole door the color I wanted the moulding, then taping off the molding and painting the door color over it). Eventually I got it looking like this with the help of a cardboard square template:

IMG_2310I painted 2 coats of Behr Manilla Tint (the color of the kitchen) and took the tape off carefully while the paint was still wet. Voila!

ooooh! ahhhhh!

ooooh! ahhhhh!

It’s super subtle, but just gives a bit of dimension to a plain white door- without making it overpower everything else going on in the room.

Please let me know if you have any questions on this… also do be sure to check out Kenz’s post because she did it a bit different then me so maybe you’ll prefer one method over another. :)



Linking up with:

Glitter, Glue & Paint

Another swing shelf

A few weeks ago we hung a swing shelf in our bedroom, our friends Beth & Scott gave it to us when they moved and no longer needed it. Well, they gave us two others and I finally hung up a second one!

The shelf is just a piece of wood with two holes drilled through each end and rope tied through the holes. We bought hooks that get anchored into the ceiling (and can hold up to 50 pounds of weight): The hooks come in black, white, silver, and bronze and they’re under $5. Matt used a power drill to drill the spot for the anchor, then lightly tapped the anchor in with a hammer, then screwed the hook right into it. Super easy.

Here’s the area before we hung up the shelf:

We had open space above the bar cart, and I've hated staring at the phone outlet we don't use and the ugly red gas switch.

We had open space above the tea cart and I’ve hated staring at the phone outlet we don’t use and the ugly red gas switch. Also, I can’t get this picture to stop being crooked. I tried.

So then up went the shelf:



I know, it’s nothing groundbreaking, but sometimes you need things to be functional and not necessarily amazing. The whole reason we hung this shelf here is because I needed a spot the cats can’t get to so I could plant seedlings for spring.  If you follow me on instagram you’ve already seen this close up picture of what’s on the shelf:

I used wine corks and toothpicks to label what's in which pot- something I've seen all over Pinterest lately.

I used wine corks and toothpicks to label what’s in which pot- something I’ve seen all over Pinterest lately.

You know I’m forever on a budget so I actually got my seeds, pots, and potting soil at the Dollar Tree. It cost me $4 for everything, so who knows if these seeds will actually sprout- but if they don’t at least all I lost was $4!

starter herb garden

Once the seeds (hopefully) grow big and strong I’ll move them into the ground and pretty up the shelf, I’m thinking with some terrariums. And something tall, that shelf definitely needs something tall to balance it out a little better.

I wanted to get at least the basil started extra early this year because I’m hoping I’ll be able to cut it back at least once before it goes into the ground. Last year was my first year with an herb garden and I knew nothing at all and grew very little, now I’m hankering to make home made pesto and I need all the basil I can get. IMG_2249

Overall, I’m really digging the swing shelf look. It’s just a little bit more interesting then a floating shelf and I think it helps balance out all that blank space nicely.


Sharing at: Liz Marie Blog & Housewife How To’s

DIY Faux Tile Backsplash

Let’s just dive right in, because this post has A LOT of pictures and instructions. We’re focusing on the kitchen today, so let me give you a little reminder of what the kitchen looked like the very first time I saw it:

and that's only the left side. YIKES.

and that’s only the left side. YIKES.

Sorry for the terrible picture, it’s before I even started a blog.

Then within about 4 or 5 months of us living here we had transformed it to this:

a world of difference!

a world of difference!

But here’s the thing- at the time we removed the wallpaper we had not yet learned what skim coating was, so we didn’t do it. That means what you can’t see in these pictures is a whole mess of dents and dings and unevenness within our walls. So, as with everything around here, I wanted an under $50 amazing solution- which knocked out the possibility of a tile backsplash immediately.

Then last week Beth from Sawdust and Embryos posted an awesome faux tile tutorial and I instantly had to have it. I feel in faux tile love. I asked her where on earth so found painters tape thin enough to stand in for grout and she directed me here. Then I checked with my friend Kenz, who imitated another one of Beth’s faux tile tutorials and she used the same tape. So I ordered it for $10 (cost + shipping).

Next I went through all my old paint and here’s what I decided to use for my tile colors:

  • Behr Manila Tint (the color our kitchen already is)
  • Better Homes & Garden Partridge Grey (colored matched to Behr, the color of the darker stripes in the sunroom)
  • Behr Wheat Bread (living room color)
  • Behr Sand Dollar White (bathroom and master bedroom color)

I also picked up 2 Martha Stewart textured paints, a silvery gray and a black for $7 each. So my cost for this project was $25 due to all the supplies I already had on hand. But actually, I had a gift certificate to Home Depot so I only paid the $10 for the tape. :)

Here’s the breakdown of how I got such a tedious project done:

  • Thursday I put up two coats of primer
  • Friday I painted pure white (my “grout”) and taped
  • Saturday I painted in all the tiles

Enough with the words though, here’s some pictures of how it went down:

I used my laser level to make the horizontal stripes, each two inches apart. Then I randomly placed the vertical lines, only making sure none of them were even but with no real pattern in mind.

I used my laser level to make the horizontal stripes, each two inches apart. Then I randomly placed the vertical lines, only making sure none of them were even but with no real pattern in mind. Once the tape was up I got my license and used it to run over all the tape to make sure it was pressed down real well. And no, I did not do my dishes first.

I had all my paint colors out at once and painted all the colors all at once- basically I went through and did 5-6 tiles of each to get a lay of the land. Then I went through and did that 4 more times, filling in as I went and making sure I didn't paint the same color next to itself if it could be avoided.

I had all my paint colors out at once and painted all the colors all at once. I went through and did 5-6 tiles of each to get a lay of the land. Then I went through and did that 4 more times, filling in as I went and making sure I didn’t paint the same color next to itself if it could be avoided.

Here’s the awesome afters:

sink before and after

stove before and after

Basically the tile does a great job at separating the eating area of the kitchen from the prep area of the kitchen. It adds all sorts of interest without being crazy, and for re-sale's sake... if the next owner doesn't like it all they have to do is sand and repaint.

The tile does a great job at separating the eating area of the kitchen from the prep area of the kitchen. It adds all sorts of interest without being crazy, and for re-sale’s sake… if the next owner doesn’t like it all they have to do is sand and repaint.

We decided to line the backsplash up with the cabinet, and not the counter. I think no matter where we chose our starting point that it would be a bit awkward, I might actually go back at some point and add a white outline around the edge. I haven’t decided on that yet.

The tile is not completely even everywhere so my OCD mind goes a little crazy, but I found out with my laser level that my walls aren’t completely level so that’s just how it is going to be. It does an amazing job at hiding our lack of a skim coat though.

oooh! ahhh!

oooh! ahhh! The gray that looks uneven is actually textured and metallic silver, so it doesn’t photograph well. But it looks ah-mazing in person.

And once more, let’s just look at the very very before versus the now:



Love Love Love

Love Love Love

This project is not difficult, just time consuming. The tape itself took about two-two and a half hours and the painting probably another three. But the results are crazy worth it!

What do you think?





DIY ACTION SQUAD: 15/15 Challenge!

GUYS! Are you ready to be so wow’d by the DIY Action Squad that you won’t even know what to do with yourselves? I sure am. I also MIGHT be exaggerating. But seriously, we’re coming at you today with projects that can be completed in 15 minutes, for under $15. Who doesn’t love that?

Also, we invite you to link up any project you’ve done that meets that criteria too! We’d love to see what you’re up to.

PicMonkey Collage

I am trying my best to make my kitchen as organized a landing spot as possible, which started with my canister set cord storage. No matter what I try or intend, basically everything gets dropped in the kitchen and I just need to embrace it rather than try to change my habits. So I created a cute little key holder for the side of my fridge in an effort to stop me from throwing my keys on the counter next to it.

To do this project you will need:

  • scrap wood
  • leftover spray paint
  • hooks
  • velcro or magnetic strip (I used velcro, but I would have used magnetic if I had it)
  • super glue or power drill (keep reading, the drastic difference will be explained)

Because I’m a hoarder, I had all these things on hand. So my cost was $0. However, if you need to get hooks and magnets you’d still safely fall in the under $15 range.

And here’s the crazy easy step by step that anyone can do:

Step One: Cut a hole in the box…… wait, wrong process…. Let me try again:

Step One: Spray paint your sorry slab of wood and hooks. Because these parts are so small, you can totally get away with spreading out a paper bag on your basement floor and spraying them indoors, just maybe do it while your significant other is at work so he/she doesn’t catch you. I did two coats of spray primer and one coat of color- each coat took about 30 seconds and I did it the night before. So technically my 15 minutes was divided up over two days.


Step Two: I used a thin piece of leftover wainscoting to make this project, so I chose to super glue my hooks to it. But if you use a thick piece of wood I would definitely recommend screwing your hooks in for extra sturdiness.


Step Three: Add your velcro or magnetic strip to the back. Most velcro and magnetic strips are sold with adhesive backing.


Step Four: Hang it up & stop throwing your damn keys on the counter. Use your cute new hook!


We can still completely open that cabinet, the hooks only stick out about two inches.

We can still completely open that cabinet, the hooks only stick out about two inches.

Now be sure to go check out projects from KenzTracie, and Emma  & link up with us!

Next Monday we’ll each be featuring our favorites from the link up  so share as many as you’d like and come back next week!


I’m linking up with the “Make It” link party!

Another little kitchen update

In my one year later kitchen update I shared a list of things we still needed to do:

  • Paint picture frame and wooden wall outlets white
  • Sand and paint cellar door
  • Finish sanding and painting ceiling (to hide where the old lighting was)
  • Paint remaining window sill white (it’s the only one downstairs still original wood)

I’m proud to say that all but the 2nd bullet point have been completed! woo!! A week ago I painted the remaining window sill…which also helps to fulfill item number 13 on my 13 for 2013 list- even out the color palette of the house.

Literally every single bit of trim on the first floor of this house is white, but I stalled for a year and a half on making this one match because it hurts my heart a little to paint original wood. However, it hurts it a little less when it looks like this hot mess:


The arrows point to some of the zillion nail holes that I had to fill. Why were there nail holes on the bottom part of the window? The world may never know.

I filled all the holes with wood filler, lightly sanded, and wiped it down with a damp cloth. Then it took 3 coats of primer and 2 coats of pure white paint to get it looking lovely…. wood soaks up paint. I always recommend doing an extra coat of primer even if you don’t think you need it.

Drumroll for the big reveal….

It is SHOCKINGLY more bright over here with that one little update.

It is SHOCKINGLY more bright over here with that one little update.

Look, I even did my dishes for you!

Look, I even did my dishes for you!

This was a super easy update- it took about 10 minutes to paint each coat so I did all the primer on a Friday night (because my life is out of control wild) and all the top coat on a Saturday night (because again, wild and out of control lifestyle over here).

Moral of the story? If your wood looks like hell, don’t wait a year and a half wishing it would get better. Replace or redo it and move on!

How I changed my life with a wire shelf

This whole post is going to sound sarcastic but seriously, the tiniest little thing in the world got rid of a good 5 minutes of frustration that I feel everyday.

Basically, my pots and pans cabinet is a disaster because the lids are (were!!) in a complete state of chaos. Every single time I opened it they came tumbling down, or I couldn’t find the one I wanted, or I’d have to rearrange it completely because they were in the way of other things I needed. And then yesterday the heavens opened up and a light shined down and it was SOLVED.

I have had this white wire shelf sitting around in the office doing nothing since we moved here, we couldn’t find a use for it with the new desk but I did want to throw it out because, well, I don’t want to throw anything out ever. Then yesterday it suddenly dawned on me to turn that sucker on it’s side and use it to organize my lids. BAM:


holy organization, Batman!


Everything is good and right with the world now. You can go about your day.


AND ALSO, bonus, we got an awesome wall map from Matt’s parents the last time we visited them and I’m super in love with it. Right now it’s just hung on the guest room wall with push pins (gasp!) because I’m trying to figure out exactly what I want to do with it. Originally I was just going to frame it out with some trim or molding and call it a day but now I’m thinking I want to coat a board of mdf or drywall with magnetic paint, adhere the map on top of it, and then frame it out. That way, whenever Matt and I travel somewhere together we can mark it off on here without having to put a hole in it.

I am totally on board with the map fad.

I am totally on board with the map fad.

Because I’ve declared December to be the month I get all partially finished projects completed I have high hopes this map with be taken care of by January 1st.

So now I invite you to join in on a little impromptu Facebook chat- are you a 95%-er? Do you get so close to finishing a project and then get distracted by a new one and never finish? Or do you follow through like a rock star?

Barstool Update

Back in May I painted and reupholstered my kitchen barstools, which you can read more about here. Basically, I traded a kitchen table I didn’t need for two barstools then painted them white and reupholstered them to match my DIY wall art. At the time I didn’t realize how much use they’d get, so I didn’t seal then. Bad move, we use these suckers daily.

While I was working on my DIY Action Squad project, I also took the time to spray paint the stools and get some polycrylic slapped on there. They were already white, but they were stained and nicked so just two light coats of Rustoleum white spray in a satin finish was all they needed (no primer):

To protect the reupholstering I just wrapped a plastic bag around the top and tapped it to the underneath while I sprayed.


I first went to Home Depot for polcrylic, but they only had polyurethane (which would have dried with a yellow tint and isn’t a good idea for paint anyway- it’s more for protecting wood stain). So then I went to Lowe’s and got this for $18:

So far I’ve used it for 4 projects and it’s not even half empty, so it was definitely money well spent.

I put on 2 coats of polycrylic and let it cure in the basement for a day and a half. Now they’re back in their regular spot in the kitchen, ready to rock and roll:

Oh la la


Have you ever had to go back and fix a project once it was done? Any polycrylic tips or tricks you’d care to share?

Oh, and don’t forget to like Sandpaper and Glue on Facebook- there’s all sorts of extras posted there daily.

Day 17 of organizing: Kitchen Cabinets

I got two requests for this one yesterday, so here you go! And in the interest of keepin’ it real, I totally did not clean my kitchen before taking pictures. I make no apologies for that.

I absolutely love my kitchen, it’s wonderfully spacious and I have just enough room for all my things. I have a lot of kitchen things- my own, hand me downs from mom, hand me downs from nonna, and hand me downs from an aunt. Here’s some views of the “cooking” area of the kitchen (we don’t have a dining room, just a 4 person table and 2 barstools in the kitchen):

I have a crazy amount of glassware: glasses for water, martini glasses, white wine glasses, red wine glasses, margarita glasses, and martini glasses. All I bought myself were two hand painted wine glasses from Pier One, everything else was hand me down. I also have an insane amount of dishes: fancy dishes, clear glass dishes, an Ikea dish set, and plastic dishes. I bought the Ikea set and the plastic ones. Pint glasses, shot glasses, and the George Foreman were also all either hand me downs or Matt’s collection.

Here’s a few looks with the cabinets open:

So. Much. Glassware.

We have 6-7 favorite mugs we use everyday (there’s only two of us but seriously, do you think I do dishes every day?) and plastic drinking glasses that we use everyday- those are stored in here. Nicer stuff is spread out in the other cabinets.

Matt collects the Newbury Comics pint glasses, which is why we have so many. Please pardon those middle cabinets- it’s super difficult to neatly store a George Foreman and the 4 different plates that come with it. And watch out for the zombie next to the stove. He wants your brainsssss (and your splattered cooking oil)

But wait, there’s more!

I have no idea what’s shoved in the “misc. crap” cabinet, and frankly I’m afraid to open it. The miscellaneous that goes with the cutlery is twist ties, elastics, bottle openers, etc. Also, above the fridge is stored just about every jelly jar and pasta jar I’ve ever had. In my life. On top of the microwave is where I store most of my mini projects- things that need to be re-glued, hardware for projects on deck, small things that need a paint facelift.

Are there different words for flat baking pans and brownie making baking pans? I don’t know- but the flat ones are in the cabinet all the way to the right and the deep ones are in the stove drawer.

My pots and pan cabinet is a MESS. So is my plastic bag hoard.

In the spirit of keepin’ it real, here’s my cleaning supplies cabinets:


And last but not least, my happy little wheel cart on the other side of the fridge:

Let me break it down for you a bit more though….


  • Canister set command center
  • Tension rod to double cleaning supplies space (Broke Ass Home did this too, we both did it with a little nudge from Pinterest)
  • I use a partitioned jewelry tray from Homegoods in my  cutlery draw to organize elastics, twist ties, bottle openers, wine corks, etc. (like this one only Homegoods sells them covered in pretty fabric)
  • I keep all the things I use every day in the same cabinets (Batman mug, Ikea plates, plastic cups) and spread everything else around
  • Use a pretty vase (also from Homegoods) to keep my spatulas and other everyday cooking utensils organized next to the stove, as opposed to having them take up draw space.


  • Attach a towel rack to the inside of my pots and pans door so I can keep my lids organized (like this)
  • Purge things I don’t need… do I really need the glass glases I’ve never used? Can I get away with just my plastic ones?
  • Find a better way to store my plastic bags (like this)

If you’re not so fortunate as to have a heck of a lot of cabinets I recommend:

  • Only keeping dishes and glasses you use everyday in the kitchen. Store the fancy stuff in a box somewhere else, because seriously- how often do you use it? Sometimes I wonder why I have a whole china set, and I joke that it’s just in case the Queen of England ever comes over for tea.
  • Store your cleaning supplies in the room you use it most (bath stuff in the bathroom, dustpan in a hall closet, windex in an office or spare bedroom).
  • Make good use of your shelves- most cabinets have shelves with adjustable heights. It took me about 6 months to realize this, and once I did I was able to seriously move things around and make more space.
  • After you’ve lived in your home for a few months, reorganize your cabinets. This will force you to put things purposely in cabinet instead of where you just shoved them when you were unpacking boxes, it’ll also force you to look at everything and evaluate whether or not you really need it.
  • Make use of vertical wall space! Use something cute, like shutters or a magnet board to organize mail/notes/grocery lists (You can get shutters at a Restore Habitat for Humanity store, or even Craigslist sometimes, then spray paint them and voila! And instead of buying an expensive magnet board you can cover an old flat baking tray with fabric and use magnets to stick notes and lists on it!)

Hope this helps!