Basement Freshening

1One evening after work last week, I decided to take some of my leftover, light blue paint from the dining room, and paint the basement stairs. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision that led to me painting the entire stairwell, stairs, AND the basement floor. Most of my (unfinished) basement was that sort of mint-ish green from the 50’s. It could be worse. The stairs are lined with this god-awful, brown speckled carpet runner. However, that will remain because it serves a safety purpose.

Adam in his workshop area-Jack on the table to the left.

Adam in his workshop area-Jack on the table to the left.

I have to say, painting sucks. Some people find it to be soothing, while others seem to hate it. To me-it’s a necessary evil. Paint is a relatively inexpensive fix that has the ability to completely transform a space, and when you are using leftover paint from a previous project, you are really saving yourself time and money.

Patched crack.

Patched crack.

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Ta da! Floor paint…

So what did I do to prep the space? First I moved the dreaded litter box upstairs, along with Jack’s food and water, and locked the cat door. I’m sure that he would have loved to step in wet paint and mark his palace with his autograph. No such luck, panther kitty. Next, Adam and I moved all of the STUFF to one half of the basement. I had to patch a crack in the floor prior to painting. (Well, I didn’t HAVE to, but I wanted to do this right). I already had floor paint that I had used to paint the outside step (win). So I went at it. A couple days later, we moved the STUFF to the other side and I painted that side. Now it is all back in place. The space feels fresher. On to the next project. 46

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A dedication to my late grandparents

Yay! It’s finally spring and boy am I thankful for that! The weather has been glorious, so I have been working outside in the yard. Last week I spent time “trenching” the flower beds in an attempt to get a crisper line between the grass and the garden. It is always difficult digging up grass by hand (I learned that the hard way 2 years ago when I built my patio). What a wonderful difference the technique has made. Today I did my annual mulching. It’s a fairly inexpensive way to refresh the yard and slow down the growth of weeds.

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I recently acquired my late grandparent’s bench, so, at the suggestion of a friend, I had a small plaque made to commemorate them. It’s a small gesture, but I’m glad that I did it.

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DIY Lace Jewelry Display

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DIY Jewelry Display

I really like jewelry, have a fair amount of it, and wear it on a regular basis. Some of it is currently housed in one of those great, clear organizational hanging jewelry pouches in my closet. The rest was previously in boxes in my top drawer as well as a jewelry box on my dresser. With limited space in my little cape cod, I wanted to come up with an economical solution to organize and utilize my jewelry, so I turned to the internet. There are many options out there, as you might imagine, so I combined various ideas and this was the result.

What you need:
Glue Gun 
Lace
Bulletin Board
Hook push pins (or hooks of some kind that you can attach)
Paint or Spray Paint (optional)

Supplies

Supplies

1. Gather your supplies
Locate a bulletin board. If you have one lying around, GREAT! You saved money & a step. I got mine at a craft store for under $7. Another option is to buy a sheet of cork and somehow attach it to an old frame.
“Pinhooks” were also a craft store purchase. The lace I used for this project was donated by my father who happened to have a box of old, lace curtains that were in his house when he bought it. Score!

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Bulletin board post spray-paint

2. Spray-paint the bulletin board. 

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Lace cut to size

This, of course, was an optional step, but I decided last-minute to spray-paint the board silver. I wanted it to be neutral, however, a dark color under the lace would also look really snazzy.

3. Cut the lace to size
I laid one of the old lace curtains on top of the bulletin board and cut around it, being sure to leave enough excess fabric so that I could wrap it around the back of the board tightly (Another option here would be to cut the lace so that it fits within the frame).

4. Glue gun time
Start with a hearty strip of glue that lines the border of the frame. The glue

Pull excess lace tightly around the back of the bulletin board

Pull excess lace tightly around the back of the bulletin board

will go directly on the cork. You may want to wear gloves if your fingers are sensitive to heat. Press the lace firmly to the cork, making sure to leave about 2 inches of excess lace (see photo above). Lift the lace and continue by putting beads or a strip of glue within the frame, and pressing the lace into the glue so that it sticks. Be sure to smooth the lace with your hands as you go so that you do not create unwanted folds or loose areas. Once you have securely glued the lace to the front of the bulletin board, flip it over and pull the excess lace tightly around the back. Glue again.

5. Push pin hooks in the board and hang your jewelry.
Place the push pin hooks on the board where you would like, and you are finished!
Hanging the board can be done like you would hang a painting.

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Finished Product

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Chez Mary is Christmafied

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Let’s talk blinds-DIY Privacy Liner for Bamboo Shades

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Woven Wood Shades

Background: For a while now I have been meaning to replace the blinds in my dining room and family room. My little cape code has 2 very large windows in the front (about 68″ wide), so these blinds needed to be custom ordered. I was pretty fond of my former blinds-they were cellular shades (RIP cellular shades-murdered in cold blood by a kitten)-but it was too risky to choose something so delicate a second time. So I took a

chance and went with woven wood shades (also referred to as bamboo shades). I had ordered from JustBlinds.com successfully for the kitchen in the past, so knowing that they were fairly reliable, I decided to do it again. Knowing that the blinds would be heavy and that this was a safer alternative to a dangling cord, I opted for the continuous cord loop,  with the intention to mount the cord on the side of the window frame. When the blinds arrived, I was beyond eager to hang them. Now, being that woven wood shades are more like a screen than anything, I had suspected that they might be a bit see-through, however, I didn’t expect them to be TOTALLY transparent. After some struggle of installing the wall anchors and brackets with the boyfriend, I went outside to check the status of the blinds, and was disappointed that I could see absolutely EVERYTHING going on in the house. &$*(&*(#&&$^@&*#)(*!&#*(&$*(

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Completed Privacy Liner

Action: If I were living on some extra land with little street traffic or neighbors, this really would not have been a concern. However, when living within arms-reach of the street and other houses, I felt that it is necessary to have a little bit of privacy at night. After all, not everyone needs to watch the “Mary Show” (an imaginary show starring me tripping over furniture that has always been in the same spot).

So my boyfriend willingly accompanied me to JoAnn’s the following day to pick out some basic, thin cotton fabric. He was quickly distracted by the Star Wars section, so I went on to choose some beige fabric and purchased about 8 yards. I had googled a few tutorials the day before, and I figured that if someone else had created their own privacy liner, I could. I was determined, but nervous. Custom blinds are not cheap, and I really did not want to play arts and crafts with my brand new blinds.

The Process: Roman shades, as many of you know, are fairly straight forward in terms of

The dog and another blind.

The dog and another blind.

“mechanics.” There are loops on the opposite side with a vertical string that pulls the fabric or material up as you draw the cord. In order to create the privacy liner, you must flip over the blinds, carefully untie the cords at the bottom, pull the string out of all of the loops, cut fabric to the correct size, attach the fabric (I chose hot glue but I have also read that you can sew these on or use velcro), cut slits and pull through every single loop, restring the string through each loop and tie at the bottom, then of course hang the blinds back up (this was a challenge in one of the windows because the giant, artificial Christmas tree is currently next to the window. Needless to say, the tree is now leaning).

Step by Step*:

This is the backside of the blinds-to give you an idea of how they work.

This is the backside of the blinds-to give you an idea of how they work.

1. Realize that your blinds are completely see-through ,and panic slightly because you have just made this GIANT purchase $$$.
2. Surf the internet for tutorials. Here are a couple that were very helpful!
http://jennasuedesign.blogspot.com/2013/04/diy-blackout-shade-liner-new-office.html
http://creativelittledaisy.typepad.com/creative_little_daisy/2012/02/i-lined-my-bamboo-roman-shades.html
http://theborrowedabode.com/2010/04/how-to-diy-privacy-bamboo-blinds/
3. Measure your blinds and calculate how much fabric you will need. For larger blinds like mine, you may want to do 2-3

Down position.

Down position & mess.

panels of fabric to ensure that they fold and hang properly. Before you remove your blinds from the window, make sure they are in the down position (covering the window).

4. Flip the blinds over, lay the fabric on the blinds, and cut the fabric to size. You could also just measure the area you plan to cover and cut accordingly. I chose not to cover the entire area of the blinds because I was worried the fabric would show on the edges. Plus, with the way the window is made, you would not see about 1.5 inches anyway.
5. CAREFULLY untie the string from the bottom loops of the blinds, and pull it through. Make sure it is out of the way so that you don’t trip over it, tangle it, or glue it to yourself. The loops should now be exposed and stringless.
6. Make yourself a cup of tea because untying small knots takes a special skill (I used a pin xto help ease the difficulty).
7. Decide where you would like your privacy liner to start. I started mine about 4 to 5 inches from the top of the blind because I knew that the valance would cover that section. You may want to start it a little higher for uniformity purposes. I marked where I would be attaching the fabric with little x’s so that it wasn’t crooked (this was a tip from another tutorial).

Loops/string/fabric

Loops/string/fabric

8. Begin attaching your fabric. I used dots of hot glue and started from the top (where the x’s are). Logically, you wouldn’t go too overboard with the hot glue because you want these things to operate properly. However, you also want to make sure you dot in multiple places so that the fabric does not hang down when you open the criminalthe blinds. Do not dot too close to the loops. I dotted a few in the middle and also on each edge of the fabric. Only do a little at a time since hot glue cools and hardens quickly.

9. Cut slits for the loops. *You may want to do this before you glue.* As a matter of preference, I did it after. Pull the loops through the slits. (Yay, you’re almost done). Tie the string at the bottom of the blind through the final loop. Make sure that your string has gone through EVERY loop.
10. Hang your blinds and test them out. If for some reason the fabric hangs down, you might need to add some more glue.

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The Christmas tree is crooked following the hanging of the blinds.

NOTES:

  • *I was pleasantly surprised that this worked for me but cannot guarantee that it will work for you.
  • An extra, but possibly unnecessary, step that I took was to sew the edges of the fabric after cutting to prevent fraying, then ironing the fabric so that it was flat.
  • My entire first floor looked like a messy workshop during this process. My blinds were already attached to the wall and I didn’t want to unscrew the continuous cord mount, so I worked right at the windows.
  • Be as patient as possible, work slowly to prevent mistakes, play some soothing music, and expect this to take a while.
  • You can choose a darker fabric if you are interested in making these into “black out” blinds. I personally like a bit of light to seep through.
  • You will see some light where the slits for the cord loops are. This tutorial- http://creativelittledaisy.typepad.com/creative_little_daisy/2012/02/i-lined-my-bamboo-roman-shades.html -explains a way to remedy this.
  • Choose a color fabric that makes sense. Note that from outside, your blinds aren’t going to look beautiful.
  • I will NEVER work in a blinds factory.
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Just another picture

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A Martha Stewart Halloween idea…Gone Right!

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Check out this win! I used construction paper, scissors, and tape to create my creepy mice on the stairs decoration. This was a Martha Stewart idea that was straight forward and actually worked. I free-handed the mice but if you are unable to do so, there are templates on the website. Happy Halloween!

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Boo! Happy Halloween!

I love Autumn. The colors, the smells, the tastes, the activities-everything about it! I also have always had a lot of fun with Halloween. So, lately I have been doing a little bit of crafting. I made cheesecloth ghosts and also decoupaged a box with old fashioned Halloween images. Perhaps my decorating is getting out of control. Nevertheless, I’m excited about it. Here are my indoor decorations:

Light up spider,  pumpkin thing, another ghost.

Light up spider, pumpkin thing, another ghost.

Cheesecloth ghost in the middle.

Cheesecloth ghost in the middle.

My decoupaged box in the entryway.

My decoupaged box in the entryway.

A wooden jackolantern that I made a few years ago.

A wooden jackolantern that I made a few years ago.

I cut some bats out of a random sheet of black plastic that I had lying around.

I cut some bats out of a random sheet of black plastic that I had lying around.

Okay-perhaps a little tacky, but I couldn't resist the Halloween caution tape.

Okay-perhaps a little tacky, but I couldn’t resist the Halloween caution tape.

The eyes light up and change color...boooo!

The eyes light up and change color…boooo!

The pot filled with straw stuff-actually, this would pretty much match the study year-round.

The pot filled with straw stuff-actually, this would pretty much match the study year-round.

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Artwork & Glass Ball

The dining room is continuing to come together. I am keeping my eyes peeled for a buffet or cabinet that I can paint black to match the rest of the furniture. Not only would this provide additional storage space and a place to put dishes during a party, I think it would complete the room. I hung the beautiful glass ball that my mother got me for Christmas a few years ago from the chandelier. I also hung a print that my sister Grace made on the wall. The pictures don’t do either thing justice.

thiss this

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Decoupage

10247316_10101633458283378_2078095633289696838_nI realize that this is not entirely house-related, but I must occasionally talk about my crafts. Since I was 13, I have been a huge fan of decoupaging. First introduced to me by my mom, I was fascinated by the fact that I could take a picture or magazine clipping and essentially paste and varnish it onto wood or cardboard. My latest project, of course, seen in this post is an old wine box turned Star Wars.

10253858_10101633460044848_7088156880103311298_nYes, the boyfriend has a pick up truck now so he tends to bring home even more odd items that he finds lord knows where. This particular item was claimed immediately by me since it caught my eye as being full of potential. It was a plain, wooden wine box. Now, thanks to my scissors, Mod Podge, and some patience, it is a geek box.

There you have it.

Paint, Paint, and More Paint

Blue Dining Room

Blue Dining Room

Painting is not my cup of tea, but ever since my best friend encouraged me to purchase and edging tool, it has been a heck of a lot easier. I ended up painting the kitchen nearly the same color that it was. The new color is called “whispering wheat.” Who comes up with these names? WHISPERING WHEAT. I suppose it could be worse. I hope that my walls don’t start talking after this.
Anyway, because the tile is so specific, I needed to go with something neutral, and even though it is no fun to paint something the same color, it was entirely necessary. Now that the contractor’s paint is gone, I don’t have to worry about accidentally spraying, touching, or bumping into the wall and then leaving a permanent mark behind.

Before: Brown chandelier.

Before: Brown chandelier.

After: Hammered Black

After: Hammered Black

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Jack hanging out on the floor

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This was when it was drying in the garage. It looks like a dungeon.

It took a while to choose a color for the dining room. I ended up with a light blue and it is taking time to get used to. Nevertheless, it’s a nice change and I’m happy that the contractor’s beige is gone. My “Whispering Wheat” has now been put in the kitchen, hallway, entryway, one wall of the dining room, and one wall of the living room (because the wall is continuous). I also finally painted the chandelier. I used this “hammered metal” spray-paint and it really gave a neat affect. Now I need some artwork and a small buffet. Then I think the dining room will be complete.

This is the nifty spray paint. The trigger was very easy to use.

This is the nifty spray paint. The trigger was very easy to use.

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Painting the entryway

Another picture

Another picture

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