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Closet Makeover, Part 1

June 23, 2014 — 1 Comment

I have a great closet. I’m sure a lot of people have great closets, but the percentage of people who have great closets and live in a home built in the 1920s is a pretty small number. Amazingly, despite the time period of my house, I have this randomly huge walk-in closet. It even has a huge window in it. But sadly, this is what is looks like most of the time:

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Um, I’m disgusting obviously. I mean really, it’s gross. The closet functions as a place for my dog to sleep, my dirty laundry to go, my clothes and shoes to live, gift wrapping storage, excess decorations storage, and that doesn’t even include all the random storage up on the shelves.

I knew it needed to be cleaned out but, I also knew a fresh coat of paint was in order, so I put off the cleaning until I had the time/energy to paint as well. Two years later… I finally got around to it.

Let’s be honest, it totally sucked. First there was the emptying of the closet, then cleaning of the closet (can’t paint dusty shelves), then painting (coats upon coats upon coats), then the restocking of the closet. It was a whole weekend-long ordeal, but the final product is pretty legit so in the end it was actually worth it.

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If you couldn’t see beyond all the crap, this is what I was working with once the closet was emptied. There were a few blemishes on the walls themselves, but the real weirdness is all the shelves. There is a piece of trim 2/3 of the way up on two walls and three wooden shelves, all of which are in different stages of stain, paint, and plain.

I did two coats of primer on all the wood shelves and then two coats of white paint on the shelves and walls. It was brutal, but you know, isn’t all painting? I also rubbed on some left over stain from my threshold project to the clothes bar.

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Such an improvement!

The rest of the makeover is pretty great too, I’m still all swoony about it. I’ll post it on Friday!

A few weeks ago I solved my massive cord problem by using a standing file box. It worked out perfectly, except that the file box was bright yellow. It didn’t quite blend in.

Untitled design (1) It only took me a few weeks but I finally carved out the 7 minutes it took me to paint the file box (note the sarcasm. I’m not quite that busy, just lazy).

Actually the real reason it took me so long is because I wasn’t looking forward to taking all the cords out, painting it, letting it dry, and then putting it all back together again. Then I realized, I don’t have to do all that. Instead I just stuck a piece of cardboard under it and only painted the front and side which show.


I’m only ever in the mood to paint at night so no good pictures, but you get the idea. I used the paint from the walls because I figured it was dark enough to blend in with the wood work, plus I already had the paint. I did two quick coats and let it dry.

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I think it looks really nice. I’m sure no one will notice it, which is exactly what you want form something that is trying to hide something else.

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Also, this Bob photobomb is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

Harp Here, Harp There

May 14, 2014 — 1 Comment

Have I ever told you about my harp? You know, this one?


The harp is very old, like 1800s old. My Grandfather owned it and he gave it to me right before he died. He was a hoarder collector and I like having this as a reminder of him. It needs a lot of work though. The number one comment I get about the harp is, “Hey, your harp is missing the strings!” Yes, I’m aware, thank you. I suppose I could have it strung up but there is no way this harp will ever be able to play music because of all the other damage too it. So I mostly think of it as a sculptural piece. Anyway, the point of all this is that I moved it.

I liked it next to the TV/chairs, but I’m in a very change-it-up mood lately. Stuffs gettin’ shifted around here. So last weekend at like 1:00 am on Saturday (when I do my best work, naturally) I picked this sucker up and moved it to my dining room.

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I moved it in here for a few reasons. 1) The corner it’s in now is total dead space. There is a huge, like 2’x3′ ft huge, air return there and nothing heavy can go on it. Harps, surprisingly, aren’t that heavy (well, at least this one isn’t). 2) I have a corners problem. Corners are everywhere (you’re welcome for that very obvious bit of wisdom), and I have no idea what to do with several of mine. The harp worked in the living room corner but I think it’s better here.

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As you can see from the photo above view, the harp doesn’t interfere with the walking path, but still makes the corner interesting. The good news is my dining room is now finally coming together. I actually like the direction it’s going in, yay! Here’s other views of it for a refresher.

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You may notice the wall color looks sometimes blue, green, or grey. It’s a very nice light grey, I’m just a terrible photographer.

As for the now empty living room corner? Ah, well, I’ll leave that for another post. But I’ve got plans!

I like to think of myself as an observant person but sometimes I just miss things, like super obvious things. Take for instance the trail right behind my house. Not only is my house on an alley I’d never noticed, but it also abuts a public trail. Like a nice paved, city trail. Not my most shining moment of observation.

I’ve been regularly walking this path now, and a while back I came across these fallen branches which I thought were cool looking. I can’t really say why, I just liked them. So I dragged them back to my house. To get the full visual you have to know that I got four branches that were each about six feet long and 3-4 feet wide. It was a long walk back.

Then they promptly sat on my porch for a few weeks. This past weekend I finally got on it and finished the project. Ready for what I did? Beware it’s pretty random.

First: I hosed them down and let them dry out.


Second: I spray painted them white. It took three cans of spray paint and there are still tons of brown spots, but a girls only got so much patience, ya know? IMG_4780 IMG_4781 IMG_4784 IMG_4785 IMG_4786

Third: They dried IMG_4788 Four: I put them on top of my bookshelves (told you it was random).

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I’m kind of ‘eh’ about it. I think I like it, but also it’s weird and not super secure. Any person over 6 feet tall will definitely lose an eye and knock the whole thing over. I guess it’s a good thing I don’t have a ton of super tall friends.

Goodbye lamps

April 11, 2014 — Leave a comment

Four big windows and seven lamps. That’s my living room. During the day the four windows help light the room, at night it takes all seven lamps to light this room. That’s a lot of lamps.

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A few months ago the floor lantern (bottom left, from IKEA about six years ago) finally broke (it had been through a lot). And when I started working on managing the cords near the TV, I decided it was time to let the metal floor lamp go (bottom middle, purchased on craigslist, but it’s IKEA also) because it was cluttering up that area, and it doesn’t give off a ton of light.

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So now I’m down to five lamps, which still sounds like a lot, but it’s actually a problem since this room is so big with no overhead light. I loved the light the lantern gave off, it was perfectly diffused, and the location was perfect. Easiest solution would be to just buy the exact same lantern to replace it (it’s only $29.99!), but even though I love the light it gives off, I’m not sure it’s the coolest looking lamp… so that’s it.

Those are all the thoughts I have about lamps today. Sometimes I take away things from my design and I don’t have a plan to replace them. And I’m okay with that. I often make super rash decisions, but every once and a while I take my time to make decisions. So lamps. That’s what I choose to take my time on. Yeah, I have no idea either.

Updated Postcard Art

April 9, 2014 — 1 Comment

It’s been a year and a half since I first did my postcard wall art. The good thing is, I still love it! I even loved it enough to re-do the whole thing after I painted my dining room.


When I redid it after I repainted, I lowered all the postcards so they would line up with the doorframe. The real reason I did it was because I used the door frame as a level.

Then the other day I had a thought, I could add a whole row on top if I wanted to. So I did!

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So there it is. Not a big change, but I like it. Since I’ve decluttered the walls in this room, it makes sense for the postcard wall to be the main focus. Adding another layer of postcards just gave it an added boost of importance. Easy!

As you might remember, I have cord problems. They are everywhere, especially in my living room. I’ve been putting off dealing with them for the last oh… uh, two years. But I finally got around to dealing with some of them this weekend. And of course, it only took me 15 minutes and $1 to deal with them. Note to self: Do more projects you’ve been putting off.

The Before:

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This is the situation I’ve been dealing with around my TV. I have three lamps, a TV, DVD player, and a digital antenna plugged into two different power strips which are all jammed behind this dresser. After writing about my cord issues, so many people inspired me with ideas. This one in particular stuck with me:


My friend Katie shared it with me. I liked it a lot, but since I’m trying to avoid spending money right now I thought I’d have to wait until I had money to buy a fancy box. But then I had a brilliant idea. A few years ago I bought four standing file boxes from the dollar spot at Target. I thought they were cute and at the time I needed them to organize papers.


I currently am only using one of them and the other three were stuck in the back of my closet. So my brilliant idea was to use them for cord management.

Here’s what I did:

1) Unfolded box


2) Inserted the power strip, and then began to fold the box back together and then snipped the box where the cord interfered with the folding.


That’s it. It was super easy.

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I didn’t take a picture of the other side, but just imagine a a power strip sitting on the long side of a file box. Okay, that may be hard to imagine…

Next I started plugging everything in. I actually got rid of one of the lamps and one of the power strips so I was left with the one power strip and five cords.

Once everything was plugged in, I started to wrap the cords up. I didn’t have twist ties so I used black pony tail holders to hold them together.


Once all the cords were wrapped up, I stuffed them in the open part of the file box. At this point I realized I had no place to put the antenna box. It usually just lays around on the floor because it actually doesn’t really work. I only get three channels and those only come in sporadically so I haven’t watched live TV in two years. But it needed to go somewhere and when I noticed  it had a picture hook on the back of it, I decided I would just hang it up to get it off of the floor.


It was getting there. A few more cords wrapped and shoved in the box and voila!

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Before and After:

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Okay so the yellow file box doesn’t exactly blend in, but it is one step closer to a solution. My plan is to paint it, probably using the living room wall color, but I wanted to make sure it actually worked before I went to the trouble of painting it. I also still need to get a cord cover to cover the cords coming from beneath the TV. But starting the project has to count for something, right??

Cords, Cords, Cords

March 26, 2014 — 6 Comments

It’s 2014, and while a lot of things are wireless, that doesn’t always mean wire-less. For example, my wireless router has not one but two wires, wha??

Anyway, I have cord problems. They are everywhere. This has been an issue since the day I moved in, but it’s been over two years and they are still just hanging around unfettered.

Let’s take a visual tour of all of my cords, shall we?

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TVs inherently have a lot of cords, but there has got to be a better way to keep them right? I need to get a paintable cord cover for the cords that show between the TV and the dresser. But it’s the cords on the floor that I’m at a loss on how to control. In the pictures above the cords are for the TV, DVD player, and three lamps on two different power strips. My best thought is to duct tape them all to the back of the dresser, but then aren’t the cords just going to be all draped up to the back of the dresser? If anyone has a better idea, I’d be happy to hear it!

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Behind this vintage side table is a cord nightmare (I’m pretty sure I hid them for the first picture). The problem with old homes is they often have either not enough outlets, outlets in weird places, and/or only two prong outlets. My living room is riddled with all three. In this area of the room there is only one outlet, it’s two prong, and it’s behind a couch. So I have to use a two prong extension cord that has three prong outlets. The other issue in this living room is that there is no overhead light so I have six lamps in here. That’s a lot of cords. Here’s my issue with this area, cords don’t just willingly lie against the baseboard. They are curvy. So my only option would be to tape or staple them against the baseboards which isn’t appealing to me.

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In the other area of my living room, I’ve attempted to mask some of the cords. I wrapped a file box in fabric and set it on top of a power strip and the router. But it barely does it’s job since the phone line is on the way. Remember house phones? This house has two wall jacks. It’s so weird to me. I haven’t had a house phone, well, since I lived with my parents I guess. I need to either paint that green phone cord the color of the wall or get another cord cover. I’m also thinking that once my sofa table is built I can shove the router and power strip under the table (that wouldn’t work right now because the table is tubs).

So there are most of my cord problems. I have cord problems in other rooms, but the living room is the worst. If you have any tips for me I’d be very grateful!

A year and half ago I discovered a secret paper towel holder hiding under my kitchen cabinet. I still remember how genuinely surprised I was to find it.


How I managed to live in this house for nine months without noticing it is still beyond me.

It occurred to me the other day that this paper towel holder has a lot of potential.


At first I was thinking I would have to tape it off and paint it there, but one quick head dunk under the cabinet revealed it was easily removable. It was poorly painted to begin with and then it had a few rusted spots so I knew a few coats of spray paint would make it look much better. I used gold not because I think it’s the best color but because it’s the only spray paint I have right now. My white ran out and I have a nearly full can of black (which I was going to use), but the sprayer tip is broken 🙁

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I think it looks really nice! It took me all of five minutes (plus drying time) to do this project so if I ever buy a new can of spray paint in the future I’ll consider re-painting it. I don’t hate the gold, but I think other colors might look nice. I thought black would look cool because of the walls, or even red or something fun. I really love having an under the cabinet paper towel holder. I’m surprised it’s not a more popular thing in kitchens!

In other news, I need to clean under my cabinets because it looks disgusting under there. Who knew you had to clean under kitchen cabinets?? It’s never even occurred to me to clean under there before!

My Adjusted Plan

March 5, 2014 — Leave a comment

I have plans. Lots of plans. But life happens. Switzerland, my clumsy self, and surgery happened. And then medical bills happened. Guys, surgery is expensive. Who knew?? So what does that mean? It means readjusted house plans. I’d love to dive into a big project on my house, but medical bills have to take precedent for the near future. So what are my readjusted plans? Use what I’ve got and get creative. Last week’s project is a perfect example. I used the leftover paint from my living room to paint a ceiling.

In honor of being financially responsible and planning for the future, here are a list of potential projects I’d like to attempt in the next few months while I’m paying off my medical debt:

1) Refinish and seal the top of my campaign dresser. Let me just set the record straight, I’m not great at painting furniture. When I painted my campaign dresser I didn’t seal the top and it now has scratches and other marks on it. If I borrow a sander and use the white paint I still have to re-paint it, all I’ll need to buy is a quart of clear coat to seal it. This project should only cost me about about $14 if I can borrow a sander.

2) Re-do my Rast dresser. My Rast makeover went to hell fast. It was my first time using stain and I bought the wrong kind and used the wrong brush and didn’t sand enough. Sooo many mistakes. It honestly doesn’t bother me too much but if I’m going to borrow a sander it makes sense to fix this mess. I’d need to buy stain (about $15) and I could seal it with the same sealant from the campaign dresser.


3) Build a sofa table. It probably won’t be the cheapest project, but if I’m careful it could be a reasonable expense. I’ll need to buy lumber and brackets but I’ll have everything else I need. I just have to find the will to take on my first furniture making project. This may cost $40? I actually don’t know, I’ll have to price out lumber first.

4) Paint my closet. My closet is awesomely big for such an old home, but it needs work. I have a lot of plans for this closet in the future, but a nice coat of white paint on the walls and the shelves will be a good fresh start for this space. I have plenty of white paint so it should be a free project.


5) Paint the entryway ceiling. I love the painted ceiling in the my hallway and I’ve been wondering if painting the entryway ceiling would be cool too. I don’t think any of the colors I have now would work, so I’d probably have to buy a quart (around $10). It would be a super cheap project but I’m a little hesitant to mess with this space.


So there is my updated and cost-efficient to-do list. Now if I could just find the time…