Things I Didn’t DIY

A few months ago I re-purposed an old kitchen cabinet into a free standing kitchen cabinet for my friend’s mom (here). When I staged it in my sunroom I loooooved it and immediately wanted to make my own.

I had grand plans to build it completely from scratch. And I know that I’m capable of doing that. But then I walked into Homegoods and there was this perfectly sized, great stain colored cabinet sitting on a platform. Ready to come home and work for me. Soooo I just bought it, put it in the corner, and called it a day:

sunroom - mudroom- bar storage and seating - gray and yellow

I love to DIY, and I really want to get into building more, but man… what’s the point in saving all this money by doing stuff on my own if when I see something I like I can’t just throw down some dollars and walk away done? AmIRight?

striped wall room with painted furniture

ALSO, hands down the best thing I ever did for that room was pretend that floors weren’t green. I love the stripes (how to is here) and those chairs aren’t perfect for the space but they’ll do for now (how to on those is here). The little table is from Target.

Even though we call this room the sunroom, it’s kind of an everything room for us. It’s where we enter and leave the house, it’s how we get into the yard, and it’s where we entertain when we have lots of people over because it’s completely open to the kitchen).

open concept split level ranch house floor plan - sunroom mudroom to kitchen

Andddd speaking of the kitchen, I sold the country style chairs that came with that table and bought these awesome Eames knockoff ones. We’ve had them for several months and they are perfect- just the right amount of give when you lean back and a nice low profile.

eames knockoff white kitchen chairs

And again, I just threw down the money and bought what I wanted instead of hunting down old chairs to fix up. #SorryNotSorry. This room is full of DIYs anyway though- check out that upcycled wall art HERE and the painted faux tile backsplash HERE, as well as the faux door molding HERE. That little tray the pet water bowls are on is also just some painted and sealed scrap wood. Whew!

So what do you think? How do you decide when to buy vs. when to DIY?


Purging the Kitchen

January just seems to bring out the organization in everyone, and for me it’s no different. I’ve started the year by purging my kitchen– man, have I accumulated a lot of kitchen crap. My stuff, my mom’s old stuff, my Nonna’s old stuff, my great aunt’s old stuff. Stuff stuff stuff. There’s no need.

purge your kitchen, kitchen organization

In case you’re in the purging mood, here’s a solid list of nonsense you probably have in your kitchen too that you totally don’t need and should donate/trash/free yourself from:

1. Shot glasses. There are two grown adults in my house. There is no point in time where we will ever need to take shots with 45 of our closest friends, therefore we do not need to own 45 shot glasses.

I apologize to any of you that gifted us any of these shot glasses... but they've got to go.

I apologize to any of you that gifted us any of these shot glasses… but they’ve got to go.

2. Drinking glasses. There are white wine glasses, red wine glasses, margarita glasses, martini glasses, beer glasses, regular drinking glasses… the list goes on.. Goodbye to the 12 super huge drinking glasses my mom passed down to me 3 years ago and I’ve never touched!

I don't even have an even number of these.

I don’t even have an even number of these.

3. Chipped dishes. I have 5 separate dish sets: the green Ikea one that everyone has, the plastic ones to go with my plastic cups, the clear glass ones passed down from my great aunt, the fancy holiday ones also passed down from my great aunt, and the amber set I bought on auction because it was like $4. It’s safe to say that I can throw out the chipped ones and still have enough. And I’m going to bet you’re probably in the same boat.

This is what was left AFTER I threw out the chipped ones. I think we're going to be ok.

This is what was left AFTER I threw out the chipped ones. I think we’re going to be ok.

And switching gears a bit, let’s take a look at the baking cabinet.

  1.  Expired flavor packets. Perhaps 3 Thanskgivings ago I bought too many McCormick packets for brown gravy. And I don’t even like brown gravy. And apparently those packets expire. Trash!
  2. Expired spices. From that one time I bought cumin for that 1 recipe and I don’t even remember what that recipe was. Apparently spices have a shelf life too. Goodbye old spices!
  3. Balsamic Vinegar. I’m pretty sure you can’t keep the same bottle for 5 years after it’s been opened (can you tell we don’t use a lot of it??) Plus, we were gifted a new bottle for Christmas. Goodbye old vinegar!

And finally, the dreaded fridge.

  1. Scary Food Storage Container. Oh, old container, I don’t even know what’s in you. And I’m afraid to find out. So you’re just going right into the trash without ever being opened.
  2. Condiments. Ketchup, mustard, mayo, dressing… all of which we almost exclusively use only in the summer. Goodbye stinky old condiments!
  3. Red Sauce. There’s 2 of us, we never finish a whole jar of sauce before it kicks the bucket, but I always hope we might, so I save it. (PS- in an effort to not be so wasteful on this front I’ve started buying the smaller cans of sauce and doctoring them up myself.)

Are you in the purging mood? What’s some junk you’ve been hanging on to for no reason? 🙂

Upcycled Kitchen Cabinet – A Furniture Repurpose

A few months ago one of my friends asked if I could make a jelly cabinet for her mom. So I said “YEAH! … what’s a jelly cabinet?”

Apparently it’s just a storage cabinet you keep in the kitchen, but really you can put anything in it. She sent me a picture of what she had, and it looked a lot like a regular kitchen cabinet so the idea to just repurpose an old cabinet popped in my head.

For $20 at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore I picked up this hot mess:

kitchen cabinet repurpose - before

Zsa Zsa wasn’t totally on board, but it had good bones. I used a hammer and a pry bar to rip off that bit of trim at the bottom, then a palm sander to smooth it down and get some of the paint off.

That big gap at the top part really stood out (it’s where crown would have gone when it was an upper cabinet), so I flipped the cabinet over- having the gap at the bottom made a lot more sense. .

The sides where the biggest challenge though- they needed to be built out to line up with the facing and to hide the original purpose of the piece.

kitchen cabinet redo - meter 1x2 sides

I cut down some 1×2’s at a 45 degree angle and framed out the sides. To attach, I used both Gorilla Glue and finishing nails (the black stick next to the nails is called a puncher, it helped me to bury the nails).

I used wood filler to make my joints a little more seamless, and because I knew I was going to paint this piece I caulked all the seams between the 1×2’s and cabinet as well.

repuposed kitchen cabinet after

To lift the cabinet up and get it looking more like a freestanding piece, I just screwed in some heavy duty top plates and pre-drilled legs.

After 3 coats of black paint, a little charcoal gray on the inset of the door, and several coats of wax- I think she’s looking pretty darn good.

diy storage cabinet from old upper kitchen cabinet

It’ll be off to it’s new home in a few weeks, but I staged it in my sunroom in the meantime. And you know what? I freaking love it there. Looks like I’ve got my next project lined up. I think I’m going to try to build my from scratch though. 😉

upcycled cabinet inside - storage solution

My quality control inspectors decided it was good and sturdy, and super useful for extra storage as well.

Here’s the side by side:

kitchen cabinet redo - upcycle before and after

I know the whole mitered side thing seems intimidating, but I promise it’s very doable and it’s the hardest part of this whole project. For just about $50 this is a good, long lasting piece that looks pretty timeless as well.

What do you think? Don’t you want one now too?!


14 Amazing DIY Backsplashes

Last week Hometalk emailed me that they loved my DIY painted faux tile backsplash and they wanted me to curate a board full of other inventive and DIY backsplash ideas, and I was super excited to do so. There are a zillion unique options out there, at a huge mixed range of prices, and even options for renters too!

14 amazing DIY backsplash ideas 1



There’s 14 great ideas all clipped here, but I thought I’d highlight my top 3 here on the ol’ blog.

1. Engineer Your Space created a backsplash with fabric stapled to a piece of plywood, then placed a piece of tempered glass in front of it for safety and protection (this idea looks to be about $100-$150…. so it’d be a great idea for a renter who can’t actually add a real backsplash). Read more about it here.

fabric and tempered glass backsplash


2. Sara at House Bella added whitewash wood paneling to her whole kitchen and it looks so, so neat.  She installed the paneling both as a backsplash and counter front update for less then $100… so I bet supplies enough for just a backsplash would be awesomely inexpensive. Read more about it here.

diy backsplash inexpensive whitewash wood paneling

3.  Betty from Oh Everything Handmade added these gorgeous clay tiles to her kitchen and gives a great detailed tutorial on it. I love the design of them, so different from the subway tile we all see (and love) everywhere! Tile is obviously the most expensive of your options, but if you’re in a home you plan to be in for a bit, or a home you plan to flip, I think it’s totally worth it. Read the how to here.

clay tile how to install








Head on over to my my Hometalk board to scope out all the rest! There’s some awesome stainless steel and glass options, and of course some reclaimed pallet back splashes on there too.

What kind of backsplash do you have? And if you could have any kind, what would you install or create?




Lots of little updates

Today I’m sharing a few little things I’ve updated around the house. Things were feeling ultra neutral-y and not as unique as I wanted it to be, so these small changes really helped. Prepare yourself for lots of pictures….

First up, some decorative pillow I originally bought for the living room but ended up in the guest room:

nate berkus decorative pillows

They’re Nate Berkus for Target and they are pretty awesome… I bet they could easily be recreated with a drop cloth and some DIY leather tassels, but I didn’t have any inserts or fabric so I just bought them (the cost would have evened out).

guest room wide

The whole room is very bright and airy, which I really like since my built in closet office is opposite the bed with all my craft supplies.

Next is a little art update in the kitchen:

kitchen art with Silhouette DIY

A looooong time ago I updated this whole piece after I found it decrepit in the basement (see it here). More recently I switched out the art and pictures, added the day of the dead statue Matt picked up on a vacation, and used my Silhouette to add Mr Skull Chef to the mirror.

He originally didn’t look like that AT ALL, but I accidentally put the vinyl on crooked and had to recreate it by hand. It also used to have a quote with it (Many have eaten here, few have died). Oh well. If you’d like the original file send me an email, I’m happy to share (sandpaperandglue @ gmail . com)

kitchen wide


The  kitchen chairs are on my hit list because I desperately want 4 of these chairs instead, but they’re in perfectly good condition and I can’t sell them for enough to cover the costs so for now they’ll have to do. Otherwise, I’m pretty in love with our kitchen- honey oak and all.

Third on the list of ch-ch-ch-changes in our front entrance:

white and gray front entrance

I got rid of the chalkboard wall that used to be there (see here for the how to) and added the vignette that’s in it’s place with stuff I already had around the house. Then I decided to disguise the thermostat with some mirrors and an empty frame and pop the shark jaw bone onto the mirror. We actually don’t use the front door to our house at all, which is why there’s a litter box tucked in the corner there…. it’s a very out of the way spot.

how to hide cover disguise a thermostat

The mirrors and frame were from a gallery wall I took down, and I painted the thermostat with some gray craft paint I had on hand (no primer, just 2 coats of paint).

And attached to the front entrance is our living room, with it’s AWESOME AND AMAZING brand new 7×10 rug that I got from just $90 at Bed, Bath, and Beyond (this is my first rug! I am so excited!):

neutral gray living room

I have been crazy hesitant to invest in a rug because of our 3 cats, but we added  cardboard scratchers under each of the chairs and the cat tree along the back wall and they’ve been totally fine with it. You can see here we also have some double sided tape on the side of the couch. These are all things maybe I could have removed for the sake of staging a picture- but you know what, this is real life with 4 animals. And I think it still looks darn good :).

gray and white living room with zebra print

That empty slice of wall on the left used to have the gallery wall, but I’m on the hunt for something large and simple to replace it with. The black tufted bench is actually in rough shape (cat scratches, of course) so I have plans to reupholster it, I’m thinking with some white faux fur to break up all the black.


And that’s everything! What do you think? What’s your favorite update? Mine is 100% the living room rug- it looks SO much more grounded now.

Have you been doing any little updates in your houses? Tell me all about them. 🙂


Want to read more? Here’s some other projects seen in this post:

DIY wood slice art || silver spraypainted and glazed end table || DIY faux tile backsplash

sharpie stencil wall || DIY sunburst mirror || painted faux door moulding

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!