How to Turn your Closet into an Office

I am super excited about today’s post.  I recently gave the guest room a bit of a facelift with some paint and art. My next step was to turn the office into a built in workspace… on a budget of $0. :: Challenge Accepted ::

Here’s the before:

closet to built in office

 

And the glorious after:

DIY closet office

And here’s a little instagram recap of how it all went down:

how to make a built in desk

This project was actually much easier then I expected it to be, and I am very serious when I say if you have the right tools literally anyone can do this. I used a power drill, jigsaw, and palm sander and didn’t have any problems. And it is a one person job if you want or need it to be. In more detail:

  • Remove the closet doors, the track, and the clothes rack. This took about 15 minutes, and I used a power drill on the track because the screws were really in there.
  • The doors I had were only sort of hollow, they had what look like 2×2′s running in a zig zag in them so they were pretty sturdy. Using my jigsaw I cut one door down into cleats and the other into the length of the desk. I was lucky that even though the front of the doors had been painted white, the backside was still stained wood.
  • The stain color that was already on the doors was extremely orange-y and had a few old paint marks on it, so I used my palm sander and 60 grit paper to dull it up. Then with a sanding block, I used 100 grit then 120 grit paper. I didn’t get it down to completely raw wood, but it turned out fine.
  • I used a “stain and finish” on the door that became the desktop, in two thin coats, then let it dry for 24 hours. While drying, I installed the cleats. To figure out the height of the cleats I just measured the height of my husband’s desk, then mimicked it. I used wood glue on the cleats, then a power drill and wood screws to secure them to studs in the wall. One long cleat along the back wall, then smaller ones on the side. I would have done long ones on the side of the wall too, but there was only one stud on each side.
  • I painted the wall with 1 coat of primer to seal in all the discoloration, then 1 coat of Sherwin Williams paint + primer (non tinted, just pure white)
  • Using a rubber mallet, I tapped the desktop into place. It left a few small marks on the walls, but nothing big and easily touched up. Then, for a more finished look, I caulked all the cleats (for the top shelf that was already there and the desktop)

Whew! That’s a lot of words. Here’s some glamor shots:

multi purpose room

desktop left

That cat picture is a card from one of my friends. On the front it says “Taco knows how long it’s been since you washed that bra you’re wearing” and on the inside it says “You disgust Taco.” :) don't quit your daydream

The quote on is one I first read at The Lettered Cottage and just felt it was perfect so I stenciled it directly on the wall.

built in desk

The bulletin board is spray painted and you can read about the chair redo here.

desktop

 

This desktop makes me infinitely happy. All the plugs/cords/electronic accessories are stored in those cute Liberty of London for Target canisters.

DIY closet turned office

The top shelf is where all the pictures and books from the bookcase are now, and the bookcase is no longer in the room (which free up A LOT of space, because this is not a big room).

DIY closet office

 

Come back Friday for some extra info on how I graffiti’d that quote on the wall & painted the bulletin board, as well as a source list on everything else!!

 

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Be sure to follow along in between posts!

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.

diy-key-hook

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!

Brown Sugar Meatloaf Recipe

It has been a long, long time since I’ve posted a recipe (you can see all of them here)- but I’ve been trying a whole lot of them so I really need to keep up. As usual, I do my recipe hunting on Pinterest and then adapt them to fit with the ingredients we like and have on hand… these generally means I eliminate all onions and add in all the Adobo!

I’m pretty sure I have never, in my life, eaten meatloaf. There’s just something about a slab of meat just sitting in front of me that makes the corners of my mouth curl. But I asked Matt to figure out something for dinner that didn’t involve a stop at the store and this is what he found.

brown-sugar-meatloaf-recipe

Image taken from the original recipe (here) and altered, because this food is very difficult to take a non-gross picture of.

Here’s my version of the recipe…

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 & 1/4 cup bbq sauce (separated to be used in different steps)
  • 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 3/4 cup milk (I use 2%)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Adobo seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup saltine crumbs, finely crushed

How to:

  • Preheat oven to 350* and lightly grease a 5×9 pan
  • In a bowl, mix all ingredients except the brown sugar and bbq sauce
  • Pack the brown sugar on the bottom then spread 1/2 cup of bbq sauce over it
  • Heap the mixture over the bbq sauce, then spread the 1/4 cup additional bbq sauce on top
  • Bake for an hour

 

You may want to use less BBQ sauce if you prefer your meatloaf dry, but I have a serious addiction to BBQ sauce so I loaded it on. Eaten in a sandwich this was DELICIOUS.

What recipes have you been trying lately?

Oil Pulling – One Week In

One of my friends posted [this article] on Facebook and after I read it I ended up in a Google rabbit hole. For hours. It all seemed so fascinating. In a nutshell, oil pulling is swishing coconut  oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes a day and it is supposed to do amazing things. Amazing things includes helping with skin and allergy issues, whitening teeth, strengthening gums, etc.

My sinuses are AWFUL (I’m also about 2 months into allergy shots- but that’s a whole other post), my psoriasis is on my scalp which sucks because when I have outbreaks I can’t wear black, and I have permanent teeth stains from medications when I was young that even $500 professional whitening couldn’t fix compounded with my serious morning tea habit.

I just so happened to be in the midst of a particularly itchy psoriasis outbreak (damn you, harsh New England winter!) so I decided I might as well give it a try. I figured it would either help or do nothing, but it doesn’t really seem to have any negative results.oil pulling how to introduction to oil pulling

 

[This] is the coconut oil I bought and it seems like it’s enough to last an extremely long time. I just spit it out into an old jelly jar when I’m done swishing (I’m a jar hoarder) and I store both under the sink with a tablespoon.

This is how my first week went down:

  • Day 1I had no idea that coconut oil was a solid at under 76 degrees and a liquid at over 76 degrees. And man is it solid! It was like scraping wax, and you need a whole tablespoon (at least!). The first 30 seconds were utterly disgusting. Then my 98.6 degree mouth liquefied the coconut wax slices and I happily swished for about 15 minutes before I couldn’t take it anymore. Be sure to spit it out into a jar or trash can, because it can re-solidify and clog your drains.
  • Day 2The first 30 seconds are still god awful, but now that I know that will end it’s more bearable. One of my friends recommended warming the oil up first, but honestly I’m too lazy for that. Lasted 18 minutes this time. It’s really hard to resist the urge to swallow (stop giggling!), so that seems to be what my biggest obstacle is.
  • Day 3My teeth are maybe a little whiter, but I just wrapped up using another whitening product so I didn’t expect much on that front. My head is still super itchy so whichever article told me their psoriasis drastically improved in the first 2 days is full of crap.
  • Day 4 Still have the scalp psoriasis but I think my skin is clearing up a bit, particularly by my chin which is always a problem area. I’ve also learned to let the coconut oil sit on my tongue for about a minute before I start swishing so it breaks down a bit more. 20 minutes isn’t really a problem and wanting to swallow isn’t anymore either.
  • Days 5&6: I had a serious head cold and couldn’t breathe through my nose, so no oil pulling these days
  • Day 7: I feel like I’ve gotten into a real groove- I put a whole tablespoon on my tongue and let it dissolve for 30-45 seconds before I start swishing. I don’t feel like it has a taste, 20 minutes is no problem because that’s about how long it takes me to get situated when I get out of the shower, and it leaves my mouth feeling clean. Also, my scalp is starting to feel better.

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TL;DR version: Definitely worth sticking with it, my skin is noticeably clearer and I do think my psoriasis is a little better. I’ll give another update in a month!

Have you heard of oil pulling? Tried it? What’s your experience?

Super Basic House Hunting Tips

Let’s have a discussion about house hunting today! I was one of the first of my friends to buy a house, and lots more are either new home owners or are looking to be in the next few years. Because I’ve been in my house for a bit, and I’m clearly into houses, I get asked often about things to look for when you’re house hunting.

Here’s my (unofficial, personal experience based) 2 cents of things to think about when you’re looking at houses/house listings:

  • You might have no idea at all how much money a bank will be willing to loan you. The basic rule of thumb (if you have good credit), is that the bank will lend you 4x the amount of your yearly income. You then need to decide what that would mean monthly for you and if you can take that on… just because they’ll give you a certain amount of money doesn’t mean you should take it all. My bank said they’d give us somewhere around $175000, but my comfort level was $150000ish. THIS INFOGRAPHIC is super handy in learning the basics.
  • Does the listing have pictures of each room? Especially the kitchen and bathroom(s). If not, those are probably rooms that need upgrades. You may not want to bother even looking at houses that don’t have posted pictures of the living room and bathroom(s). And when you do go to it anyway because you’re just in love with the pictures you can see you have to make a choice: continue the tour as a learning experience, or get out and move on to the next one!

plot-twist-quote-home

  • How old is the roof? How about the windows? Those are big money investments if you need to update them yourself within the first few years of home ownership, and you should take that into consideration.
  • Bring a notepad and a camera (not a camera phone!) with you to each house. If you’re viewing several houses in one day, your first picture of each should be of the outside so when you upload them later you know where one house starts and another begins. You might think you’ll remember, but trust me, you won’t. Use THIS CHECKLIST to keep you on track while you look around.

decide-you-want-it-quote-bill-cosby

  •  Trust your gut, and find a realtor you can trust too. You are trusting this person with over $100,000 of your money…15-30 years of your financial life. That’s a big deal. Don’t go for a realtor who’s shoving you from house to house and speaking like a commercial- go for the one that will show you a house knowing you’ll never ever buy it just so you can learn for yourself that she knows what she’s doing. (Thanks RaeDeane!)
  • You’re going to be excited about lots of houses, it’s all new and you’re ready to go- but you will get a feeling when you walk into your house.  The first house we put an offer on was actually the first house we ever viewed… it was clean, organized, and didn’t need lots of repairs and so I thought “this will do” and we made an offer. The second house was just enough of a fixer upper to make me happy and the layout was ok, so I thought “this will do” and we made an offer. My actual house, offer #3… I walked in the door and wanted it. It was always going to be my house.

motivation-quote-greatness

  • When we finally got to the inspection on our house I followed the inspector around and wrote down pretty much everything he said. Your inspector will give you a report… but it’ll be in “inspector” language. Your notes should have what room you were in when he said what, and what the answer to your clarifying question was. Ask so many questions! When my inspection was over and I was 100% overwhelmed my last question was the most important: If I was your daughter, would you tell me to buy this house?
  • Read the inspection report even though you may not understand it- research the things you don’t understand. Learn what is going on in your house and make a prioritized list of how you would fix it and how much it might cost- then, and only then, should you sign anything. I also sent the report to my dad and Matt’s dad and got their 2 cents as well… that way I had read it, Matt had read it, and 2 house owning dads had read it. Between the four of us, no stone was left unturned.

What’s your experience? Any tips? Questions? Let’s talk!

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PS- Already in your new home? Check out my 31 day series on tips for new homeowners!

Owl Theme Baby Shower

This past weekend I helped my sister-in-law  and one of her friends throw an owl theme baby shower…

owl themed baby shower

We went with an owl theme based on what we could see from her nursery, and for my crafts I kept it real simple and cheap by buying patterned scrapbook paper and cutting it into a bunch of cute things with my Silhouette Cameo:

paper owl decoration

I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out a bunch of different paper owls that we hung up everywhere- painter’s tape on the backs of ones stuck to the walls and clothes pins for ones hanging off the blinds.

Each week Silhouette has a free downloaded cut shape, and last week it was feathers so I used the same scrapbook paper to cut out a bunch. Each guest wrote their best guess and put it into an  (owl paper wrapped) shoebox. The winner will get a prize in the mail!

Each week Silhouette has a free downloadable cut shape, and last week it was feathers so I used the same scrapbook paper to cut out a bunch. Each guest wrote their best guess and put it into an owl paper wrapped shoebox. The winner will get a prize in the mail! (“Day” is emphasized because that is the baby’s last name.)

I used  owl patterned scrapbook paper to make this adorable banner, which we hung on shelves leaned to the wall (it was too heavy to hang directly on the wall with tape).

I used more of the owl patterned scrapbook paper to make this adorable banner, which we hung on shelves leaned to the wall (it was too heavy to hang directly on the wall with tape).

I also went ahead and made these owl cupcakes I have had pinned FOREVER:

owl decorated cupcakes

Chocolate cupcake mix, oreos, and m&m’s. I made 24, so I bought 2 packages of oreos just to make sure I had enough “eyes”

My sister in law’s mom is also quite the crafter and she made this AMAZING owl out of diapers, a receiving blanket, and a few other odds and ends. The “log” helped him stand up straight:

so cute!! I love the flower eyes.

So cute!! I love the flower eyes.

She also made these great favors, filled with socks and candy for each guest:

owl-favor-bags

So I think it’s safe to say we were pretty owl-d out, but it was all really cute and the mom-to-be loved it :).

I freaking love theme parties!!

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Want to Check Out More Silhouette Projects?

My Silhouette Challenge friends and I are all sharing projects on our blogs today, so peruse the projects below for a wealth of Silhouette inspiration!

The Great Lamp Rescue Barnyard Animal Paper Garland & Party Details Sweet and Simple Easter Bunny Card Owl Theme Baby Shower Ombre Paint Chip Earrings & Free Cut File Spring is Blooming Drop It (Like It's Hot) Hexagon Tray Spruce Up Your RECIPE BOOK Gift Card Giving Free Cut Files Custom outlines for stamps Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Juice Boxes Wine Themed Bridal Shower Learn How To Make A Sewn Paper Garland! Moroccan Thank You Card 3D Flower Spring Wreath For the Love of Paper: Cutting Embellishments Create Your Own St. Patrick's Day Cupcake Wrappers and Toppers Swimming Word Art St. Patrick's Day Lime White Chocolate Chips Cupcakes + Freebie You're invited to a dog party! I'm so Lucky! Spring Wreath with SIlhouette Cut Flowers Tiny Princesses Paper Dolls Colorful Quote with your Silhouette Get Well Bouquet with Persimmon Roses Greeting Card Holder Baby Shower Invitations How-To Create a Custom Pillowbox on Your Silhouette Machine + Free Cut File! Quality Time Jar Matchbox Cover with {FREE CUT FILE} DIY Baby Girl Shower Invitation Candy Alphabet Travel Game Paper Garland Pretty Paper Roses DIY Geometric Heart Journal Hand Made Decorations for a Pirate Party Wedding Shower Gift Heart Map Decoupaged Letters (A scanner + A Silhouette = Spectacular results!) Easter Pop-up Box Card with Sweet Sorbet Designer Paper from Stampin' Up! Better World Greeting Cards Star Wars Silhouette Canvas Monogrammed Gifts Make Printable Gift Wrap with your Silhouette Software Free Printable: Blank Banner with free Silhouette Cut File

1. McCall Manor // 2. The Turquoise Home // 3. Creative Savings // 4. Sandpaper and Glue // 5. The Thinking Closet // 6. Sowdering About in Seattle // 7. Persia Lou // 8. From Wine to Whine // 9. Dream a Little Bigger // 10. Please Excuse My Craftermath… // 11. Play. Party. Pin. // 12. Everyday Paper // 13. Practically Functional // 14. A Tossed Salad Life // 15. My Favorite Finds // 16. The House on Hillbrook // 17. Adventures in All Things Food // 18. A Glimpse Into Barb’s Life // 19. TitiCrafty // 20. The Experimental Home // 21. feto soap blog // 22. Creative Ramblings // 23. The Stamp Doc // 24. Ginger Snap Crafts // 25. Simply Kelly Designs // 26. Whats Next Ma // 27. unOriginal Mom // 28. Bringing Creativity 2 Life // 29. Cutesy Crafts // 30. My Paper Craze // 31. Create & Babble // 32. Grey Luster Girl // 33. The Sensory Emporium // 34. Lil’ Mrs. Tori // 35. Black and White Obsession // 36. Mama Sonshine // 37. Weekend Craft // 38. Creative Carnival // 39. Peace, Love and Joyce // 40. Tried & True // 41. The Frill of Life // 42. Dragonfly & Lily Pads // 43. Get Silvered // 44. Minted Strawberry

Two New Pages!!

Hi all! Just popping in quickly today to highlight two new pages in my menu bar.

Long time readers will know that one of them pops up every year around this time- my family’s annual Walk for TISH. Hop on over to read about who Tish is, why we walk, and how to donate. And if you can’t donate- kind words and encouragement are equally appreciated!

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AND, the other new page is a long time coming. A house tour, with project and paint color info for each and every room! I’m slowly working on updating the pictures, so bear (bare?) with me there.. and if you have any comments/feedback just leave them on the tour page! I’d love to hear from you!

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2013 Round Up

This year my blog traffic has more then tripled (hello new readers! welcome!), so I thought I’d do a quick round up post with some highlights from the year.

In no particular order, here are some of my favorite posts from 2013:

faux tile backsplash

hot-chocolate-cookies

 

If you scroll around on the right hand side of the page you’ll see links to my all-time most viewed pages, as well as a categorized page for each room of the house!

Thank you all so much for stopping by :)

Crickets

Hello all! No posts last week, and there won’t be any posts this week either– it’s the holiday’s ya’all, and I have a lot of freaking traveling around to do.

Also, Matt & I got hit with the flu last Monday and are still recovering. But I’m off medicine finally and it’s time to get back to work.

 

Happy whatever-you-celebrate and see ya in 2014!

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DIY Copycat: Homemade Vanilla Extract

A few days ago Morgan @ Pepper Design Blog posted a how-to for homemade vanilla extract and I immediately knew it would be so perfect  as a  Christmas gift for a few people on my list. I’m not much into the zillions of gift guides happening in blogland right now, but this was the one. So thanks Morgan- you totally helped me cross a solid dozen people off my list.

IMG_2865

The reason this stood out to me was because the only thing I needed to buy was the vanilla stalks- I had the bottles, the corks, the liquor, the and label ties already on hand (because I’m a hoarder). And she had already made a label template that I could just alter and print.

Here’s the easiest how-to ever on making a dozen Christmas gifts in  15 minutes:

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And just to clarify what happens to those vanilla bean stalks:

IMG_2859

Next I added the rum (we had Captain Morgan’s and Bacardi that people left here when we hosted Matt’s 30th bday party), topped with a wine cork, and tied on the label. Done!

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If you need to buy bottles, or are wondering where to get vanilla, check out the post I copycatted from here. She’s got links to both. I used 1 stalk per 4oz jar, and I had a few 8oz jelly jars in my stash too so I put 2 stalks in each of those and will gift them to the hardcore bakers on my list (and, ahem, keep one for myself).

It’s important to note that these need to steep for at least a month, so you’ll notice my labels state “use after January 2014″…. actualllllllllly I just noticed on the label in the picture it says “use after January 2013″ because I am a doof. Soooo… I made a new label just now:

vanilla label

Feel free to save and use it! Here’s a blank one:

vanilla label- blank

  • Right click over the image and save to your computer
  • Optional: Load the saved image into PicMonkey.com (or Paint if you don’t want a fancy font) then add text with your name, then and save it again.
  • Once saved, insert it into a Word document and copy and paste it to fill the page
  • Print & cut out!

 

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Linking up with: Decor and the Dog, Maybe Matilda, Newlywoodwards and Primitive and Proper!