Category Archives: Makeover

Jewelry Box Makeover

Jewelry box makeover with spray paint

I’ve had this jewelry box forever. I think Cody bought it for me for our first Christmas together way back in high school. It does the trick, but it’s not really my style so I thought I’d give it a quick makeover with some spray paint.

Jelwery box makeover Before

The first step is to prep the wood for paint with a degreaser. I used Mostenboker’s Lift Off All Surface Paint Prep. You can buy this at any home improvement store. Just spray it on, wait a few minutes, then wipe it off. It’s that easy.

All surface paint prep

Next, remove any glass and hardware you wish not to be painted and cover any surfaces that you don’t want painted. I stuffed newspaper in the door area to keep paint out.

Jewelry box makeover paint prep

The paint color is Valspar Exotic Sea in gloss.

Valspar exotic Sea

When spray painting, less paint is always better than too much. Spray light sweeping coats. Here’s how it looked after 1 coat. jewelry box makeover teal

And here it is after 2 coats of paint and with the glass and drawers replaced. I’m pretty happy with the upgrade. At least is doesn’t look like my grandma’s jewelry box anymore. Oh, and I already had the spray paint on hand, so it cost me nada!

Jewelry Box Makeover- Spray painted teal

Chalkboard labels on baskets: 5 minute Makeover

How to add chalkboard lables to baskets

Have you  noticed that chalkboards are everywhere these days? They’re on kitchen walls, in dining rooms, and most defiantly on baskets. Chalkboards are great because they allow to not only label things (something I’m a little obsessed with) but also they add a rugged chicness to accessories and rooms. We love this basket in out living room that helps coral all the kid’s toys,

toy basket with chalkboard We had already place 3 similar baskets under Sophie’s bed to hold excess toys, but I wanted to dress them up a little with labels, so I came up with the idea to add mini chalkboards to them. The chalkboards were actually more difficult to find than I would have thought (although I did find these on Amazon), so I eventually went with slate coasters that I found at Michaels  for $2.99 for 4!

Baskets under bed to hold toys

These came together in a snap. All I did was hot glue the coasters onto the baskets. Leave the baskets laying down until the glue dries so that the chalkboards don’t slide. Once the glue was dry I labeled them. You could obviously just write on them with chalk, but a) the kids would have wiped the chalk off in two minutes flat and b) I knew the contents of the baskets wouldn’t be changing for a while, so I used a white paint pen to simulate the chalk look but make it kid proof. If you ever want to change the label just wipe the board clean with acetone or paint thinner. Glue chalkboards to baskets to lable toys

Didn’t they come out cute? And even better…Sophie immediately told us what each one said!

Organizing a Girls Closet with a Dress-up Bar

Sophie’s closet was in desperate need of reorganizing. It actually had a nice shelving unit and some containers in it already, but they just weren’t cutting it. The closet door rarely closed due to all the stuff falling off the shelves or that were piled on the floor.

girls Closet before organization

Also, I really wanted to make her a little area to organize all her dress-up accessories. The girl has 7 different dresses and 9 pairs of dress-up shoes along with gloves, necklaces, hats, and tiaras. Everyday she wants to wear a different dress which means she’s constantly asking for our help to get them down from her closet. I have seen some really cute furniture makeovers involving the creation of a dress-up nook, but I didn’t want anymore furniture in her room. The solution: a $5 tension rod from Target placed sideways in the closet.

tension rod used to create a dress-up bar for a girls closet

Now all of her dresses are low enough she can get them (and put them back) herself. To make way for the new rod we raised the original hanging rod up about a foot. I always thought there was too much space between the top shelf and ceiling anyways. Now I have just enough room to store some bins on the top shelf which  made for plenty of room below. I added some new teal bins with labels to the shelves to help corral clutter.

organized girls closet

The back of the door got some love too. I made her a new bow holder that matches the room’s color scheme and added some command hooks to hold bags. I seriously can’t believe I haven’t bought these hooks earlier. They are amazing!

Use command hooks to hold bags in a girls closet

And here is the before and after shot: Organizing a girls closet before and after with a dress-up bar

So much neater and the best part is Sophie has been helping keep it clean!

Dressing up candles with ribbon: 5 minute makeover

Tutorial: dressing up a plain candle with ribbon

I’ve had these candle wall sconces literally since high school, and they found there way into Sophie’s room (with the help of some black spray paint) mostly because we needed something for either side of her windows. After we put them up I went in search of some white candles for them and boy was I surprised at the price of candle these days! Pillar candles even at Target were going for $5-$10 and I needed four of them.  Needless to say I was not committed to spending even $20 on candles for a little girl’s room. Eventually I found these plain white ones at the Dollar Store for, well you guessed it $1 a piece.

White candles in a black wall sconce

The candles got the job done but they are rather plain. I decided to use some ribbon I had left over from the bow holder project to fancy them up a bit. All I did was cut the ribbon to wrap around the candle and attach the ribbon in the back with hot glue. I only ran a small line of glue down the back because I didn’t want it to leak through the ribbon.

Add ribbon to a plain white candle

A voila! That’s it. Wasn’t that easy? I love how it adds a little more personality to the walls.

Black and white striped ribbon candle

Master Bathroom Remodel: Black and White with Vintage Charm

Our master bathroom had been added on in the 90’s, so it wasn’t quite as outdated as our hall bath, but it still came equipped with an awkward layout and a brass fiberglass shower. One of our major goals in this remodel was to make the shower larger. The fiberglass drop in shower was small and did not use all the space in the back corner. Because the corner was oddly shaped we couldn’t  just buy a new larger drop in, instead we had to build a custom shower stall from scratch.

Master bathroom before As for the design itself, we wanted a classic black and white color scheme with vintage charm. We knew we wanted white subway tile and a glass mosaic accent  tile as well as black cabinets. We also wanted updated brush nickle hardware and a frame-less glass shower door. Here is the original project board I designed.

master bath project board

Oh and did I mention we wanted to do all of this on a small budget? In the end we spent $3200 on this remodel. See below for  a breakdown of the budget.

Here are some pictures of the progress. The shower stall took the majority of the work. I think it took us about a month to finish it. First we ripped out the old shower then framed out the new stall walls.  Up went the cement backer board, then we prepped the floor for the new custom shower pan.

Custom shower pan

Here’s the new shower pan with the concrete poured.

custom shower pan

And with the new custom marble tiled floor. Hexagon mosaic marble floor

This gives you an idea of what the whole project entailed. We didn’t have a bathroom for about 2 months.

Gutted bathroom remodel

And the reveal!

Master bathroom remodel black and white

The wall color is amazing! It’s Olympic Sweet Illusion. It looked white on the chip but is undeniably blue on the wall. I wanted something soft to juxtaposition all the black and white and this color is truly ethereal.

Master bathroom remodel black and white

The frameless glass door almost didn’t happen. They were so much more expensive than we had imagined (think $700), then luckily we found this one on Overstock for $429. It’s a DreamLine Unidoor. I was a little skeptical at first about the quality, but it wound up being even nicer than most of the $700 ones we had looked at. The only caveat was that we couldn’t get a brush nickle handle, but for an almost $300 savings who care?

custom shower stall with subway tile and glass mosaic

The only real argument we got in over this bathroom was the tile. I was all set to put in a classic black and white floor (which is also very budget conscious) when Cody vetoed the idea. For a while we couldn’t decide at all what to do until we saw this floor tile at the Tile Shop. Its Hampton Carrara Polished 4 x 12 (13.99 sq ft). We loved that it looked like over-sized subway tile. The shower floor in Hampton Carrara 1 in hex (15.99 sq ft) surrounded by Black Pearl (6.99 sq ft) These tiles almost blew our budget. large rectabgular carra marble floor tiles

Because the floors were so expensive we decided to save money on the walls and go with subway tile. Cody was originally against this idea because of how much work subway tile is, but in the end the budget won. The subway tile (4.82 sq ft) and the glass accent tile (9.98 sq ft) are both from Lowe’s. We also updated all the fixtures with brushed nickle, also all from Lowe’s. brushed nickle faucet with glass moasic backsplash

Here’s a close-up of the accent tile. We knew we wanted glass tile and this one won us over with its subtle blues and marbles mixed in. glass mosaic accent tile with subway tile

We saved a lot of money by keeping the original tub and cabinets which were in great shape. We gave them a new black finish with acrylic black paint and added new hardware. The vanity got a new cultured white marble top as well as a new faucet. Vanity painted black with white marble vanity top

And I do love a good before and after…..

master bathroom before and after

Budget Breakdown

Building Materials:  469.03

Tile: 1587.16

Lighting: 84.97

Paint: 44.72

Faucets: 377.94

Vanity top: 138.00

Mirror: 69.99

Shower door: 428.56

Grand Total: 3200.37

Linked up with:

I was featured on Remodelaholic

Recover a vanity stool: 5 minute makeover

Tutorial: How to recover a vanity stool Sophie has an adorable white vanity in her bedroom, but I thought I could jazz up the stool a little by padding it and covering it in a coordinating fabric. This is a super easy, quick, and cheap project. I paid $1.80 for the black and white polka dot fabric ( and I have some left over) and $4.99 for the trim (a bit of a splurge but it was so cute!) Everything else I had on hand.

white vanity stool


  • Batting
  • Fabric (I got by with a 1/4 yd)
  • Trim (it took my about 1 1/4 yard)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Spray adhesive
  • staple gun
  • scissors

Material to recover white vanity stool

First, cut the batting to size, so there is just enough to tuck under the lip of the stool. Then, attach the batting to the top using the spray adhesive. I layered 4 pieces of batting to make it cushier.

Pad top of white vanity stool

Place the fabric over the batting then flip the stool over. Holding the fabric tight secure the fabric and batting to the bottom of the stool using a staple gun.

Staple fabric and padding to the bottom of vanity stool

Make sure the fabric stays tight as you staple all four side. DO the corners last. Sometimes it pays to have an extra set of hands, especially if they are really cute.

Recover white vanity stool

Once you have the corners down, trim an excess fabric and padding. I used an exacto knife to get a really close cut.

Fabric covered vanity stool Finally, attach your trim. I knew my trim hung a little so I didn’t have to worry so much about the excess padding sticking out. I attached the trim using a hot glue gun.

recovered white and black vanity stool with polka dots Isn’t it cute? Sophie wasn’t home when we did this project, but it was the first thing she noticed when she walked into her room that afternoon.


Sophie’s Big Girl Room

We started working on Sophie’s big girl room as soon as we found out we were pregnant with baby #2. At the time this room was being used for storage but was in fairly good shape. It already had new windows and door, so all it needed was some new carpet. We picked out this medium grey Karistan carpet from The Dump and installed it ourselves. The starting off point for the design was the wall color (Valspar Crystal Aqua). I really wanted a room with Tiffany box blue walls. I decided to tone it down with black and white with a subtle Paris theme. I say subtle because if you Google “Paris Theme Room” you’ll find an assortment of rooms with flocking on every available surface; that’s not what I wanted. The other struggle I had was keeping the room feeling young and fun. I didn’t want it to feel babyish, but I also didn’t want to lose focus of the fact that it was for a 2 year old. When dealing with a French style it can be easy to make it too sophisticated. Here is the original project board I created for the room.

Project board for a back, white, and teal paris themed girl's room

The next thing I picked was the artwork which is my favorite part of the room which I feel really ties in everything we were going for (Paris themed, color, young and youthful).

il_570xN.162636589 Paris themed artwork for girl

Aren’t these amazing? They’re from Remarkable Bird on Etsy. $25 a print. Not only did Sophie have a blonde bob at the time, but we also have a poodle (although not a white one). Next we picked out the furniture. The bed is Leirvik from Ikea only $89.99 and the dresser is the Hemnes 8 drawer dresser also from Ikea for $299.00. We have 3 of the Hemnes dressers now and we love them all! The mirror side table and lamp are front Target. I had a really hard time deciding on curtains. There were a lot of flocked options available but most of them seemed really stuffy, then I found these ones by Xhileration at Target. They are actually a repeating chandelier pattern which felt so much younger than the other options. The  vanity was a Christmas gift from Nana and Poppy and the toy chest came from Amazon.

Teal, Black, and White Paris Girl's Room

The letter above her bed are from Michael’s. They came just plain white and I traced them onto scrapbook paper, cut them out, then Modge Podge them to the letters. I think this is Sophie’s favorite thing in her room.

black and white scrapbook letters for girl's room

This pillow was also a fun Etsy find from Giggles and Toots.

je t'aime teal pillow

The dresser area still needs some more work. I’m think a tray and some more pictures frames. Maybe also a lamp.

Teal, Black, and White girl's room

The floating shelf is Lack from Ikea and holds coloring books, crayons, and DVDs. The table and chairs were a gift from Nana and Poppy and host many a Tea party. The banner above the shelves I made out of left over scrapbook paper.

Teal Black and White Paris girl's room

The book shelves are a personal favorite of mine. We made these out of pallets my sister-in-law found. When you tear apart pallets they already look like this then all you have to do is add a bottom to the shelf to hold the books. I sanded them down really good and add a black stain. I choose stain instead of paint because I wanted them to retain their rustic charm.  I created a stencil of the fleur de lis and the words in MS word, printed them out, and then dry brushed them on. For more on creating your own stencil and dry brushing see the Burlap Art post.


Embellishing Plain Curtain Panels with Greek Key Fabric Tape or Trim

You’d have to be blind to not notice all the Greek key popping up in home decor lately. A quick google shopping search found these lovely items:

Greek Key Dhurrie Rug from Shades of Light starting at $79
Uttermost Greek Key lamp $249
Uttermost Greek Key lamp $249
Trina Turk Lime Greek Key Embroidered Pillow from Rosenberry Rooms $110
Trina Turk Lime Greek Key Embroidered Pillow from Rosenberry Rooms $110
Classic Greek Key Sheet Set from William Sonoma $359
Classic Greek Key Sheet Set from William Sonoma $359


I decided it was time to add Greek key to our house but I wanted something a little more economical, so in came our cheap plain curtains. I bought these curtain from Jcpenny’s years ago. They’re cream colored 95 in grommet top panels. I like them but after we installed the white wood blinds in the window I noticed that the curtain really began to fade into the walls. I decided to add some Greek Key trim to update the panels and give them a little more weight in the room. I decided on the Greek Key Jacquard Ribbon (60mm) in Denim Blue and Ivory from M&J Trimming. At 9.98/yd this wasn’t the most economical choice of trim but I loved the colors (they have 28 of them), I loved how wide it was, and I scored free shipping. I needed 5 yards to do two panels, but I figured that $50 was still less than buying new panels. If you are looking for something more economical though check your local fabric store. I found some pretty nice trim at Joann’s starting at $1.99 a yard.


60 mm Greek Key Jacquard Ribbon trim in Denim Blue and Ivory.
60 mm Greek Key Jacquard Ribbon trim in Denim Blue and Ivory.


  1. Plain curtain panels
  2. trim or ribbon
  3. stitch witchery ( I used the extra heavy made for trim)
  4. Iron
  5. Damp cloth


First, iron your panels if you havn’t done so already. Next, lay the panel out on a ironing board right side up. Roll it the stitch witchery where you want to add the trim. I added two row of the stitch witchery since my trim was so wide.


Now, place the trim on top of the stitch witchery where you want it to remain. Place a damp cloth over the trim and place an iron set on its hottest setting on top. Leave the iron in place for 10 seconds making sure not to move it. Continue placing the iron on top of the trim until you reach the end of your panel. Once I got to the end of my panel I wrapped the trim around the bottom and secured it to the back side with more stitch witchery to give it a clean finish.


Finally, flip the panel over and re-steam the back of the trim with the iron and damp cloth the same way you did the front. And Voila! You’re done! Wasn’t that easy?

Stitch witchery is a no sew option for embellishing plain curtain panels with trim or ribbon.
Stitch witchery is a no sew option for embellishing plain curtain panels with trim or ribbon.

I love how just a little bit of trim adds so much more weight to the curtain and the denim blue picks up on the blue accent wall that is perpendicular to this seating area. And since Greek key is all the rage right now I feel like it updates the space a little as well.

Ruffled Lamp Shade Tutorial

DIY ruffled lamp shade made from burlap
DIY ruffled lamp shade made from burlap

These lamps which sit on the credenza in living room were just recently moved out of our bedroom to make room for the larger teal lamps with the sisal shades. The old shades were broken so we bought these new ones from Lowe’s. I likes them at first but the longer I lived with them the more I just felt that they weren’t working in the room. Then I was inspired by this lampshade from Mama says Sew: IMG_2763-1

Here’s the materials you’ll need:

  1. Lampshade
  2. Burlap (I used 1.5 yards to do 2 shades but it will depend on the size of your shade)
  3. Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  4. Scissors
  5. Tape measure
  6. Spray Adhesive
  7. Iron and Ironing board
Materials: Lampshade, burlap, hot glue gun, scissors, and spray adhesive.
Materials: Lampshade, burlap, hot glue gun, scissors, and spray adhesive.

First, cut a piece of burlap to size to cover your entire shade.  Spray the shade with the adhesive to get the burlap to stick then while pulling the burlap tautly hot glue the fabric on the top and bottom to the back side of the shade. Don’t worry if it looks messy,


Second, cut the ruffles to size. This again will depend on the size of your lampshade. My shade was 7 in high so I cut the strip to 10 in. Next, decide how far you want the ruffles to stick off the shade and double that. I wanted by ruffles to stick off 1 in so I cut the strips of burlap to 2 in x 10 in. Don’t worry about precision while cutting them. Now, setting your iron on the wool setting, fold each strip in half and iron it flat.



Once your piece have all been ironed in half you can begin to attach them to the shade. Apply a squiggly line if hot glue to the shade and attach the folded end of the strips. Try to keep the burlpa perpendicular to the shade to get the best look. Make sure to hold the strip in the glue for a minute before moving on, so that you don’t undo what you already did. I found it easiest to attach them about an inch apart then go back and fill in the gaps. The hardest part is trying to keep your lines random. After doing about 1/4th of the shade I was ready to give up. It’s pretty tedious work and I didn’t think it looked right, but don’t give up! The more ruffles I attached the better it looked! Also, take a step back from it. When you’re an inch away from the shade it’s pretty easy to become obsessed with all the imperfections, but a step back magically washes them all away.


If you have any strip overhanging the shade when you are done, simply use the scissors to trim the top and bottom to get a nice even finish.


I have to say, I’m pretty happy with the finished product!Oh and did I mention that the total cost for both shades was $6.29?! Can’t beat that. Now I just have to get on finishing the second shade. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Beefing up plain bookshelves and bookshelf styling

[pinterest] Cody made these simple bookshelves and entertainment center not long after we moved in 6 years ago. They’re easy peasy to make: just cut pine boards to length and screw them together. Add some stain and you’re done.These were custom made to fit our wall and TV, so I was quite fond of them, but lately I got to thinking they looked a little puny and a little dark.

Before: Cheap, dark, and simple bookshelves
Before: Cheap, dark, and simple bookshelves

We beefed them up by facing all the fronts of the shelves with shelving quality pine boards then added a large baseboard molding to the bottom which also conveniently keeps DVDs from getting pushed under them (see above). If you are painting over a dark stained wood I recommend to give the shelves a light sanding first to remove any finish then prime. Do not skip the priming. We did and it took nearly 8 coats of paint to cover the stain. Apply the paint with a foam roller to get a super smooth finish. We used Olympic Premium Exterior Semi-gloss in Delicate White.

After: Shelves have been beefed up with pine facing and baseboard molding and lightened with white paint.
After: Shelves have been beefed up with pine facing and baseboard molding and lightened with white paint.

I love how much more presence the shelves have in the room. Next up was re-styling the book shelves. I originally had the books arranged by color but I decided to re-order them by theme. I knew I wanted to not only include my book collection but also our knickknacks that we have collected on our travels. I was feeling a little overwhelmed until I found this post from The Art of Doing Stuff on 7 ways to stack books.

Honestly, it did take me most of the day to re-sort the books and then play with the displays. I started by making 10 stacks of books (since I have 10 shelves). I stacked them based on theme. Then depending on how many books were in each stack I arranged them in different ways on each shelf. I did one shelf, stood back, studied it for a while, redid it, then moved on to the next shelf. As you are going you want to make sure each shelf balances the next. You may want to consider which books you want easy access to such as albums, children’s books, and reference books and make sure they are at a level you can reach. Once I had all of the books placed, I began placing the frames and knickknacks. This again required re-shuffling of books, a lot of observation, and trying again. If you have children or pets consider which items can take a beating and be placed low and which ones are priceless and need to be placed high. If a shelf isn’t really working for just leave it for a while. I find the more you live with it you’ll either come to love it or will be struck by inspiration for a better idea. Here is a close-up of each of our shelves.

Different ways to style of bookshelf
Different ways to style of bookshelf
More ways to style a book shelf
More ways to style a book shelf

Keep in mind that this is not a place where perfection is necessary or ever wanted as your book and knickknack collection will mostly likely grow over the years, so the shelves will be a contrast work in progress!

Do you have bookshelves in your house? Do you style them or just try to cram as much stuff on them as possible? If you style them, how often do you find you have to re-work them?