Posts Tagged "home and garden"

$6 Countertop Makeover

Posted by on Jun 5, 2012 in Feature, My Grown-up House | 1 comment

As a renter, I often look around at things in my house and long to be able to change them as I wish. I wish I could paint the rooms all kinds of different colors or cover the cabinets in chalkboard paint, but I can’t. Another thing I thought I couldn’t change was the ugly stained countertops in my bathroom.

Bathroom counter before

I guess it’s not that bad, but as you can see, it’s chipped and a little scratched and stains really easily. I thought it was something I had to live with until I found out that they make Con-tact paper that looks like granite! How freaking awesome is that!? And they carry it at my local Wal-Mart. So, the next time I went grocery shopping, I picked up a roll for less than $6.00.

I have always loved contact paper. I remember covering all sorts of things in it when I was a kid, but I was very worried that the contact paper would look really trashy on the countertop. But when I spread it out, I decided that it looks just as good as the faux granite formica countertops. So, I recruited my sticker-master husband to install it for me. And just look at what an awesome job he did!


It really does look amazing, sooo much better than it did before.


In this close-up, you can see the overlaps, but it’s hardly noticeable unless you’re really looking for it. The best part is that our new countertop is totally removable so when we move, we can just peel it off.


I was also concerned with the Con-tact paper’s durability. So far, it’s held up great. I had to staple the bottom to keep it from peeling off the rough wood underneath, but we’ve been using the sink for 2 weeks now without any peeling. And if it does end up getting worn out, I still have plenty left over so we can cover it again.

I had so much left over, in fact, that I decided the countertop in Lex’s room could use a facelift, too.


The color of it looks really great in there, too. I love that there’s finally a nicer contrast than white and off-white now.


And I did this one all by myself! Ok, so there were a few more air bubbles, and maybe a wrinkle or two, but it still looks good.

And that’s it! New-looking countertops in two rooms for less than $6.

Now I can’t wait to get my hands on some chalkboard Con-tact paper

Update 9/20/12: It’s been over 3 months now, and the Con-tact paper is still going strong. The only issue is that someone got something on it that took the print off of the paper, leaving a white spot. I think it was acetone, so you’ll want to be careful with the type of cleaners you use. I’ve been using Clorox wipes or all-purpose spray. Other than that, it’s been great!

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Learning How to Be an Adult

Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Blog | 2 comments

I think I’ve said before how I feel like I’m just now, in my mid-twenties, feeling all grown up. And I think what really triggered it was becoming a mother. When you become a mother, you have to put someone else’s needs in front of your own. Although I was technically an adult before, I still had selfish childish tendencies. I was still a bit of a slob and didn’t think about how what I did effected others as much. I’m sure my husband would agree. 😛

Now that I have a little person looking to me to take care of him and to teach him about the world, I feel like I’ve really got to get myself together. It’s part of the reason I was inspired to get my weight under control. It’s also why it’s becoming more and more important to me to have a tidy, nice-looking home. I really want to set a good example for him and to teach him what I’ve learned.

Growing up, my parents definitely emphasized picking up after yourself and not letting the house become a total disaster. However, because both of them worked full time, often times with different schedules, most of the housework seemed to take place on the weekends. Every Saturday, we’d all clean the house from top to bottom. And it would look lovely all day Sunday. But then the week began again and we’d quickly mess everything up again. I know this had to drive my mom crazy. We all took turns doing the dishes, but that doesn’t mean they got done every day. Us girls especially would wait until we absolutely had to finally do the dishes and gripe about it the whole time.

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Nature Boy

Posted by on Apr 23, 2012 in Feature | 0 comments

My son absolutely loves being outside. I think that he would spend all day outside if I’d let him. If he sees someone go out, he pitches a huge fit if he’s not going with them. And when I pick him up and bring him inside because I’m tired of being outside, he throws a fit and it takes several minutes to calm him down. I guess there are worse things your kid could throw fits about.

When we went out to do our Totoro photo shoot, he of course had to go around the whole house and check everything out. I wanted to share some photos with you.


There was a boy…a very strange, enchanted boy…

Lex by fire hydrant

They say he wandered very far, very far over land and sea…

We saw many lovely things in our backyard, including  a bunny that bolted away as soon as he saw us and a mama robin feeding her babies. Lex was enthralled.

Bird and its nest

We also helped Totoro defend our “forest.”


Then, we explored the flower bed.


And found some lovely roses.

fuchsia rose

And some echinacea just starting to blossom.


I feel so lucky to have such a great backyard. I’ve got a wonderful flower bed that a previous resident planted with love. It’s full of perennials that bloom without any effort from me. The installation of irrigation systems eau claire contributes to a vibrant, healthy and clean backyard. For more details about their services, visit

It makes me happy that my boy loves nature so, and if that means I have to spend more time outdoors, so be it!

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Spring Cleaning {Part 3}

Posted by on Mar 26, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Happy Monday! This weekend was both busy and not for me. Kind of weird. Lex and I got to go to our baby cousin Harper’s first birthday party on Saturday, which was very fun. Then we spent yesterday trying to get some chores done but mostly napping or playing or snuggling. Can’t really complain too much. 🙂

Here’s the third part of my spring cleaning series. My closet is a lot like anyone else’s closet, I’m sure. If you’re like us, then you throw everything in there that you don’t want guests to see or that you don’t fee like hanging up or putting in its proper place. You say to yourself  that you’ll get to it later, but then 3 months go by and it’s still a huge mess. Yeah. So here’s my closet before.

There’s all kinds of things in there, including shoes that I’ve had since high school and early college. So, I did a purge (actually my second purge in a couple months) and got rid of all the shoes except the ones I actually wear or love along with some clothes I’ve never seen my husband wear and clothes I’ve gotten too small for (yay). I also got rid of all the purses that I’m never going to use again (I’m more of a purse lady than a shoe lady), which left a lot of room in my closet. Check out the after.

I used some cardboard boxes that I got from work for free to store extra bags and seasonal clothing. I plan on covering them up to make them prettier at some point.

Here’s a better view of the top shelf. There’s lots of room up there that I wasn’t utilizing, and there’s still room to grow. If there’s one thing this house does not have an issue with, it’s storage space. Unfortunately it encourages my pack rat tendencies. 🙂

I love this hanging shelf I got at Wal-Mart years ago. It can hold folded clothes as well, but I use it for accessories like scarves, handbags and belts.

I also added some removable wall hooks to hang frequently used bags in sight. Before, we had to dig down in the depths of the closet to find these.

Below my hanging shelf is the perfect place to store my suitcases and my giant bag full of reusable shopping bags. I may or may not have a reusable shopping bag addiction. If you are looking for addiction treatment programs, visit for more information.

Phew! It feels good to have the closet all neat and tidy. I just hope it stays that way for more than a week. Still lots of other things left to organize, and I’m slowly but surely making my way through. Onward!

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My First Adventure in Carpentry

Posted by on Mar 15, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

So for about a year now I’ve been a huge fan of Ana White, Homemaker. She’s an amazing woman living in Alaska in a house she and her husband built themselves filled with furniture that she has built herself. She has a glorious website that you really need to check out if you’re a DIY fan like me.

I decided that this year when I got my tax refund I would finally get around to building my first project based on her plans. So I went on a hardware store shopping spree and got everything I needed to make these lovely cubbies. 

2x4 Console Cubby Shelves

I already had my circular saw and a drill so I didn’t have to spend a lot. So, with no more excuses holding me back, I endeavored to make my cubbie dream come true! I measured (twice!) and cut. Let me walk you through what happened next in my head.

Hmm….that first board was a little off at the end. Looks like I veered to the left a little too much. Oh well, I’m sure the next one will be better. Crap! The same thing happened again! I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it by the next one. Dang it! Ok, it’s got to be the saw. And wow, a lot of wood is being lost where the saw went through. I guess I’ll just cut them all and sand them level afterwards and make sure they’re the same height. It’ll be ok if it’s a little shorter than it’s supposed to be if they’re all the same, right?

Well that was kind of dumb. What I really should have done is taken advantage of the free cutting service they have at the hardware store. Then I wouldn’t have had to be worried about cutting my hands off, and I would have gotten nice, clean, exact cuts. But I wanted to feel like a real builder and cut all the pieces myself.

See how wonky my little boards are? 🙁 And I’m not sure that the friction of the blade cutting through the wood is supposed to kind of burn it like that. I tried sanding them down (by hand) but it turned out to be very impractical. Also, it turned out that if I wanted to level them all out, there was about an inch (!) discrepancy between the shortest and the longest board. Needless to say I am feeling a bit discouraged.

I’ve decided that I need to go back to the hardware store and buy two more 1″x12″x8′ boards and have them cut down at the store into what will become the small shelves. I’m still hoping I can find a way to salvage the longer boards, though they really aren’t much better.

Luckily I decided all this before cutting the trim pieces, so I don’t have to replace them. I still need to figure out how to fix my saw before moving on to that part, and I’m planning a tutorial for that once I do!

Well, it’s like they say, if you fall down, you just have to get back up on the (saw)horse. Sorry. I couldn’t resist. 🙂

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