Thanksgiving Week

Just popping in to say happy Thanksgiving week, cya next week.

I have lots to show you (I used my jigsaw! I now want to jigsaw all the things!) but it’ll have to wait because I need to make lasagna, pumpkin sausage wontons, and better then pumpkin pie cake. Then I need to scrub the floors, surfaces, and anything else my grandmother can run a finger along and find dust ;). OH yeah, and I sort of need to work my two jobs as well.

Including me there will be 14 people and 4 four-legged family members at my house on Thanksgiving! Wo hoo!



Painting Tile!

Today’s bathroom post is all about my absolute favorite part of the upgrade:

paint tile, how to paint tile

I have hated our bathroom tile for 2 years. It was a fiery hate. But I was so, so scared to paint it because I didn’t want to make things worse. The biggest factor in my decision to finally take the plunge: the shower is not tiled, only the walls outside of it. So none of the painted tile will ever get wet.

There are about a million tutorials to painting tile, but here’s what I did:

  • Spackled all the areas where the grout and/or tile was cracked (our grout was only about 1/8 inch thick, had it been thicker I probably would have opted to touch up with actual grout instead of spackle)
  • Sand the spackle and paint drips, no need to sand all the tile
  • Scrub clean with CLR, wipe with damp towel, dry with a dry tile
  • Use a small foam roller to roll on 2 coats of Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3 primer (it notes on the container that it’s good for slick surfaces). Let each coat dry thoroughly before applying the next.

Tip: On the first coat, I cut in with a brush and then just rolled on the paint, like you would in any other room. For the second coat I loaded up my brush with paint and literally shoved the paint into the grout, then rolled it smooth. Work in small sections and take your time.

  • Use a small foam roller to roll on 2 coats of Sherwin Williams Super Paint + Primer. Follow the same process as above: let dry completely between coats, focus on shoving paint into the grout
I am not affiliated with any of these products, I just used them and they were awesome.

I am not affiliated with any of these products, I just used them and they were awesome.

The paint will all dry to the touch within an hour or two of being done, but you should really be very careful and go easy on it for about a week so it has time to fully harden.

The absolute most difficult part was getting coverage on the grout, I destroyed my brush doing this so don’t use a brush you ever want to use again.

I am debating whether to go over it with a coat of poly, because I’m so so nervous that it’ll chip. So far my verdict is to at least poly the toilet paper roller because it gets touched a lot, but to leave the rest of the wall unless it looks like it really needs it. What do you think?

painted tile

I’m also debating whether or not to paint that wood trim white. The first level of our house has all white trim and the second level has all wood toned, so it could go either way.

I’m extremely glad I decided to go for it and paint. The flaws in the tile are gone, the weird places where they tiled brown tiles on top of  beige tiles (??!!) blend a bit more now that it’s all one color, and it is endlessly brighter in there.

painted bathroom tile how to



Bathroom Vanity

You guys. My bathroom is like 80% done and it looks FREAKING AMAZING. I am so pumped about it I can’t even wait until it’s completely finished to show it to you.

geometric walls, white and navy bathroom

There’s still a lot of final touches to take care of, but MAN, it is excellent in here.

BOOM! WHITE TILE! GEOMETRIC WALLS! AHHHH! I still need to get new bath rugs, vanity accessories, and recolor the floor grout but it is going to be fabulous in there.

But here’s the down side, I have no idea how to install a vanity because here’s how it went for us, and if you’re following along on Instagram then you go to see this as a play by play:

  • Get super excited that dad is over for the weekend to install TWO new vanities
  • Unhook sink pipes…. but uh, wait, they aren’t supposed to crumble like putty in your hands, right?
  • Go to the hardware store (TWICE) to buy all new pipes because your old ones are corroded and attempt to assemble them for hours
  • Finally get pipes assembled and move in vanity but WAIT the walls are uneven and off level and not at 90 degree angles. Use shims to slightly suspend vanity from floor so it’s level and screw it into the wall. Pretend you don’t care that the previous owners didn’t tile the floor all the way to the wall and now you can see plywood sub-floor under the vanity
  • Place sink on top and discover you bought the wrong damn size sink. Go to the hardware store A THIRD TIME to exchange sinks
  • Break for lunch because it’s been like 6 damn hours and you are going to kill everyone
  • Finish installing sink and vanity through blind luck and prayer only to have it leak slowly for 5 days while you try various methods of getting it to stop
  • After approximately one week the leaks have stopped and the vanity is attached and all is good with the world again.


Also, I must give credit where credit is due. I quickly saw how downhill this project was going and stepped right back to let my dad handle it. The same thing with the pipes– the leaks were making Matt twitch and he really mentally needed to be the one who defeated them.

And now here’s where I need your help- I’ve got 2 problem areas where the previous owners took shortcuts (per usual):

a 4-inch space to the left of the vanity and an untiled underneath the vanity area

a 4-inch space to the left of the vanity and an untiled underneath the vanity area

The left side of the vanity stops about 4 inches before the wall, so it’s too small and narrow to put in any kind of shelving. My first thought was to just roll up a bunch of towels and stack them in there, but maybe that will look insane? My second thought is to install a board, paint it white, and call it a day.

Problem area numero dos is under the vanity, but I think that’ll be solved by getting a large bath rug and just scooting in partially under there. Unless you’ve got some other thoughts?

But let’s not leave it on a negative note- here’s a before and after to show how far this room has come:

PicMonkey Collage

Make no mistake, that brown tile looked nowhere near as good in person as it does in that picture. It was cracked, the grout was perma-dingy, and it made the room extremely dark.

Stay tuned for  with how-tos on things that did not go terribly at all: painting the walls and tile! And one final wrap up post with glamour shots for the room too. 😉



Bathroom Prep Work

About a zillion years ago I mentioned we were going to be redoing both our bathrooms, and we’ve finally got going on it. Upstairs, after much to-do, and my handy dad, our new vanity is installed. Unfortunately downstairs is looking a hot mess:

How's THAT for a pinnable image!

How’s THAT for a pinnable image!

So before I rehash the disaster that was installing vanities, I just want to bullet off some bathroom redo prep work steps first:

  • A while ago Matt thought he took care of the mold on the bathroom ceiling. Unfortunately it came back with a vengeance, we think because we just used regular ceiling paint and also because we kept the door closed 95% of the time (trapping moisture in). This time around I bleached and scraped, then painted it with mold & mildew resistant paint. And, because we’ve got a new vanity that has actual doors on it, we can keep the bathroom door open.
  • Next up, I removed the handle bar next to the toilet (maybe there was an elderly person living her at one point), and spackled the 6 screw holes it left in the tile. I also spackled and sanded a bunch of other spots in the tile, instead of re-grouting them, because I’m going to paint the tile anyway. The grout is like 1/8 an inch thick, which obviously is not very thick at all, so I think it just really wore away over time.
  • Our bathroom tub was nasty, partly because it was that way when we moved in and partly because I may or may not wash paintbrushes in it. So I got some rubbing alcohol at the dollar store, soaked some cotton balls in it, and let it chill out on some of the paint stains. That REALLY did the trick to get rid of most of it, and I wish I had known that before I spent hours of my life scrubbing it with at least a dozen other things.

I feel like prep work is initially the least rewarding, but in the long run really makes the final touch of the room.

I’ll share more on the vanities and updates next week, but if you’re following along on Instagram you’ve already gotten a bunch of sneak peaks:




More Master Bedroom Updates

I’ve been plugging along with the master bedroom updates, making lots of tiny changes in hopes that together they’ll add up to a much warmer, calmer room. In addition to staining the swing shelf we finally have a set of matching nightstands and a little Ikea sheepskin on either side of the bed for when we step out of it.

Matt has never had a nightstand and mine was all sorts of busted up- our bed is a Malm from Ikea but after 4 or 5 moves the nightstand that attached to it had just had enough. I searched all over the internet and ended up with tried and true Target, with 20% off, and I am IN LOVE with these guys:

target nightstand, nightstand, metal nightstand

mixed media top and metal legs, took about 30 minutes to assemble both, and a little drawer for each of us. Perfection.

I can’t show you a wide shot of the room yet because it’s still in progress, but things are definitely looking so much better- nightstands and the little rugs made a huge, huge difference:

IMG_2819The rugs are so super slippery so I tried a few things (putting a shelf liner underneath, putting a few thin lines of caulk on the bottom), but nothing working. So now I just tuck it under the nightstand.

Here’s a source list for this little section of the room:

  • Nightstand, Slipper Chair, Floor lamp: Target
  • Rug: Ikea
  • Blanket: Marshall’s
  • Gold Basket: Bath & Body Works
  • Candle: Souvenir from New Mexico

What are your go-to’s to update a room on the cheap?


Adventures in Staining

When we last left my swing shelf it was hanging gloriously in the master bedroom, but it was unfinished and now that I’ve decided (ahem, on a whim) to update that room it was time for the shelf to get a little attention.

Here’s what it was before:

swing shelf, hanging shelf, suspended shelf

A piece of wood with 2 holes drilled through each end and rope tied through the holes. Read the how-to on hanging it here.

Somehow I’ve lived in this house doing projects for 2 years and I’ve never stained anything, so here’s what I learned:

  • Stain is much more watery then paint, so choose a brush you can control and make long swipes with it
  • Paint thin thin thin coats, or it will bubble and you will panic.
  • Stain has a stank on it, so don’t be a fool and do your staining either outside or in a garage and then leave it there to dry a day or two. I was a fool, and then I got a real big headache and my house stunk.
  • Paintbrushes covered in stain are extremely difficult to clean. Mine is currently soaking in a cup of water on the kitchen counter.

Here’s an in progress shot so you can see the difference it made:

dark walnut stain, miniwax

And here’s the shelf now (I apologize for the grainy pictures, daylight savings time is making it difficult to get a good shot because I’m basically at work during all hours of sunlight.):

stained shelf

I’ve changed up the display a little- including keeping that teeny tiny succulent alive for like 3 whole months- and the stain makes a huge difference.

dat bottom. owwww.

dat bottom. owwww.

I used Miniwax brand stain in dark walnut with a poly built right in, and I would absolutely recommend it.

And, just because it’s too small a project to have its’ own post, I also painted a skull for the bedroom. Yup, a skull. I like how they look. Anyway, you can get a styrofoam skull for super super cheap after Halloween. I first spray painted it white with Kilz primer (which I sneak peeked on instagram), then I painted it black, then I painted gold craft paint as the final coat. I did a black coat because it darkened the gold a bit and shows through on a few spots. Mr. Skullface now lives on our bedroom tv stand as another part of our master bedroom facelift:

gold skull

The bookshelf might be on my list of updates for this room too, I haven’t decided yet. I think I’m kind of over the circle stamps.

So there you go- 2 of many tiny updates that will hopefully make the whole room look refreshed 🙂




What’s Up Next

I bet you’re thinking that because I posted my tip series  throughout October that I stockpiled sooo many DIY’s.


I totally didn’t.

I was having wayyyyy to much fun carving pumpkins and dressing up like a hamburger.

Alan (the Hangover), Jayne (Firefly), Hamburger, Sherlock Holmes, Mia Wallace (Pulp Fiction), & Orange is the New Black

Alan (the Hangover), Jayne (Firefly), Hamburger, Sherlock Holmes, Mia Wallace (Pulp Fiction), & Orange is the New Black

We also explored Spooky Hollow, NY for a bit… which involved some spontaneous tree climbing.



And lest we forget, Matt turned 30 and we had a masquerade party.

But then all of the sudden November hit and I was somehow pushed into overdrive.

  • I bleached and scraped mold off the upstairs bathroom ceiling and gave it 2 coats of mold & mildew resistant paint
  • I sold the art in the master bedroom and ordered new art and basically then started facelifting the whole room
  • I have plans to redo the guest room into a more usable space because I’ve started to teaching pretty regularly each semester and need a place to work,
  • And oh my lord there are so many leaves to rake up.

Hang tight for excitement to come though, because this weekend we’re calling in the big guns (my dad!) and getting the new bathroom vanities installed! woot woooooo!