DIY:: window treatments

So we have some nekkid uncovered windows in our house that needed addressing. When we moved in 3.5 years ago, all the windows in the house had window treatments. We liked them enough to keep them around for the time being, but some time this past summer, I decided I’d had enough. The 2 windows that overlook our front yard were covered with red valances that while nicely made, did not match one thing in our entire house. So out they went. And the poor kitchen window has been bare for a couple years now. He was just begging for some color to spice up the room.

SO — here’s a little DIY tutorial on how we made our new window treatments! Note: there aren’t exact measurements/prices of materials here, but I hope this gives you a general idea of how easy it is to make your own (or have your husband do it for you). 


Materials we used::
3/8″ plywood
Batting (for quilting)
Staple Gun

Step 1:: Measure windows. We measured to the edges of the trim around the windows and then added 2 inches on each side so that we’d have room for the board/padding/fabric.

Step 2:: Cut plywood to desired lengths (4 pieces per cornice box) and secure with brackets. 

Step 3:: Cover each cornice box with batting. I bought several bags of batting from Michael’s (in the quilting section) and we just cut off the excess as we stapled it in place.



TIP:: Be sure to pull the batting extra taut so you don’t end up with bunches or wrinkles across the front/sides/top.

Step 4:: Determine placement of fabric based on pattern. Flip over and begin same process as when securing the batting — pull material taught and staple in place.



Yay! The finished product(s)::




pretty pumpkin projects

October is one of my favorite months… and it seems to be the case for a lot of people I know (and follow online). In honor of one of the best things about this month — PUMPKIN EVERYTHING — here are some fun decorating ideas! I’ve really been drawn to painting my pumpkins this year, but I really love the shiny thumbtacks used to create funky patterns.

Country Living

Woman’s Day

Better Homes & Gardens

Neon Fresh

Country Living

Madigan Made

Martha Stewart 


Thistlewood Farms

Country Living

Kelli Trontel

The Swede Records


how to:: wine bottle centerpieces

My mom recently sent me a photo of some wine bottles-turned-candle-holding-centerpieces and suggested that we should try making some of our own. The cost to buy them was a little much, so we decided to give it a try for the upcoming couples shower we would be hosting for my brother and his fiance. Here’s an inspiration photo I found on Pinterest:


First order of business: collecting wine bottles, which was obviously the hardest and most unpleasant part of the project. We collected a variety of colors and sizes so as to have a nice variety for the centerpieces. We planned to make 3 sets of displays, so we knew we needed 14-15 bottles. Here’s how we created our centerpieces.

wine bottles
glass scoring tool
bucket of ice water

Step 1: Soak bottles in water. We kept ours in a cooler full of water in the garage for several days and then pulled off as much of the labels as we were able to. Most of the labels came off easily, but we used goo-gone pens for the stubborn pieces.


I googled around online to find some tutorials on how to cut glass without a fancy, expensive tool. I found two different methods — one involved a $6 glass cutting tool, and the other involved nail polish remover and yarn. We tried each of them to no avail. So we combined the methods and finally had some success.

Step 2: Tape off the bottles toward the bottom with painter’s tape to create a straight line. Then, score the bottle with the glass cutting tool. Pretty firm pressure is needed in order to get a nice, solid score all the way around. Remove tape.


Next up, yarn! Why do they sell yarn in such humongous sizes? We used about 1/1000 of it for this project.


Step 3: Cut a piece and tie around each bottle, then slip it back off and dunk in a cup of nail polish remover (acetone).


Step 4: Next, time to light them on fire! The yarn should stay lit for about 30 seconds. When the fire goes out, dunk in a bucket (or sink) full of ice water. This is where we had some difficulty with about 1/2 of the bottles. Several of them just popped off immediately upon being submerged in the cold water, and other took some banging against the side of the bucket to pop off. A couple were incredibly stubborn, so Craig re-scored them and we did the process all over again.


Voila! Poppin’ bottles!


This is one of the best, most smooth cuts that we got. Some were a bit more jagged, but we had a plan to cover those up in the displays.

I first tried black stones as a base to set the candles and bottles on and to cover up the jagged edges on some of the bottles, but the rocks were way too slippery. They sure do look pretty, though, don’t they?

The second option was sand, and it was a winner. It held both the candles and bottles in place and it covered all the imperfections. I found that this worked best when the candles were thin enough to leave some breathing room inside each bottle… otherwise, the flames quickly went out. I hope you find this little “how to” helpful!


making a wooden headboard for $60

We’ve been in our house for almost 3 years now, and our most-used guest room (the other serves mostly as my jewelry storage area for Stella & Dot) has been left unfinished this entire time. We have a great king-size bed in there, but the room is not much bigger than the bed…. so it doesn’t leave much space for a bed frame. I’ve been eyeing the DIY wooden headboards for some time now, so we finally had a weekend with time to spare recently and jumped on the chance to make the guest room more complete.

I’d found several inspiration photos on Pinterest, and thanks to my favorite bloggers Young House Love and their new DIY book, we had a great starting point. Also, Craig is quite handy and loves to build things, so I gave him my general idea and let him work his magic. Here’s an inspiration photo from YHL’s book. I love the weathered and worn look of the boards.


First, we measured the width of the bed to determine how wide we wanted the headboard to stick out. We decided to keep it at the same width of the bed, given that there’s not more than a couple feet of wall space on each side. We also measured for height — it was sort of a guess, so we just measured to about where we wanted the headboard to hit on the wall and figured out how many 1×6 boards would be needed). 


With measurements complete,  Craig drew up a sketch to plan out how many boards and other materials would be needed. We planned to have wooden braces along the back for support, as well as legs to stand the headboard up (vs. hanging it on the wall because it would be so heavy).

Materials purchased:
6 – 1×6 boards
3 – 1×4 boards 
stain –Dark Walnut Wood Finish by Minwax
(Craig had plenty of screws on hand)


Next up, a trip to Home Depot!


Craig examined every board to make sure they weren’t warped or cracked (see below). I supervised and approved boards for their general appearance. 

Craig’s tailgate makes a great table for cutting wood. He trimmed each board to fit the determined width of the headboard, and I helped by standing on the them while he cut.


Once cut, he lined them up between 2 levels to make sure everything was even before securing with the smaller wooden braces.


He also added a brace connecting the 2 legs for more stability.


Then he sanded… 

Once it was smooth, we distressed the boards with bags of screws, a hammer, and anything else sharp we could find to bang against them. I’m sure our neighbors appreciated that.

And then we stained! I wanted a deep, dark stain, and this is the same one YHL used in their book (referenced above).


This is after one coat of stain was applied. We waited about 10 minutes and then wiped the boards down with a cloth to remove any excess stain. I was worried that the distressing we did wasn’t going to show up, but once the stain seeped into all the little grooves and dents, the “worn” look magically appeared! I LOVE IT!!


We left the headboard in the garage to dry for a solid week because it was raining so much that we weren’t sure how well it would dry. Last weekend, we hauled it upstairs (that sucker is heavy!) and when we set it down, realized that the top and bottom were still not completely dry. Drat!! 


It was too much work to carry the headboard upstairs, so we just put it in place and pulled the mattress away from the wall until it’s completely dry. To make it extra secure, Craig attached metal rings on the backside (1 on each end) to loop over screws in the wall.



And the finished product….
I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out — and it cost right at $60! I don’t think we would have ever found a sturdy, well-made (and not 1970s-ish) king-size headboard for anywhere close to that. I love the warmth is brings to the room, and the white/yellow/grey color scheme of the bedding really pops against it.



And for reference, a little before and after shot::

quick lamp revamp

It’s time for a little more color in our house. First victim? The silver lamp on the side table in our living room. The method? Spray paint, of course. This little guy is nice and all, but rather boring.

I started off by removing the shade, bulb, and top parts of the lamp (sorry — don’t know the technical terms for those). I used painter’s tape to cover the top of the fixture as well as the beginning of the cord, and Craig had the bright idea to put the rest of the cord in a plastic bag to protect it from the spray. Be sure to wipe down whatever you’re painting first — otherwise you may end up with lots of dust particles or dirt underneath the paint.


I spent about 30 minutes standing in front of the spray paint selection at Home Depot deciding on just the right shade of blue/green. I decided on Lagoon in a Satin finish by Rust-Oleum. Last time I spray painted something, I made the mistake of doing it inside the garage with very little ventilation… not smart. So this time, I set up my spray paint area on the tailgate of Craig’s truck. I think the lamp dried a lot more quickly this way as well.


After about 3 light coats, I took it inside the garage to cure overnight.


Here’s the finished product! I really enjoy the colorful bulb peeking out from the top of the lamp. The color is just enough to add a pop to the room without being overbearing, since the rest of the room is fairly neutral.




With that success under my belt, I’m hunting for something else to get my hands/spray paint cans on!

It’s finished! Final Basement Projects

Drumroll, please…. the basement project is officially finished!! Craig has worked so hard to complete this big project, and the end result is immensely better — even though the basement was pretty great to being with. For Craig, the most exciting part of the basement remodel was the new bar area. For me, it was opening up the room by knocking out a wall.

Before, the blank wall behind the counter had a wooden dresser mirror hung on it as a faux bar shelf. Craig started by taking that down and ripping the drywall out. He ordered custom cabinets to go on the lower half of the wall and planned to have a large mirror and glass shelves installed on the top half.

He then framed out where he wanted the mirror to go with cedar boards, and then continued to fill in the wall to the right of the mirror with cedar.



Then, the fun part…. a big cork wall! We thought we had collected a lot of corks over the years, but it turns out that we didn’t have nearly enough to finish even half of one side. So we’ve been taking cork donations from friends and family for the past month, and now we’re a little over half way done! Part of the wall on the left side is still empty, so we painted it with leftover chalkboard paint so that it’s usable until completed.


When we were in NYC this summer, we saw a cool wine rack at a restaurant and used it as inspiration for our bar. Craig drilled 3 holes in each cedar board down the center of the wall to hold a total of 6 bottles. Now we can display our favorite wine bottles… like ones with Coco’s picture on them!

Over the years, I’ve written notes on corks from special occasions in hopes that we’d be able to somehow display them one day — we have them from our anniversaries, NYE, etc. and now they are mixed into our cork wall. Can you spot any?

After a couple mishaps with the glass company, the mirror and shelves were finally installed and the bar was completed just in time for our New Year’s Eve party!




I don’t have process photos, but Craig also built a desk and a bookshelf for my Stella & Dot business.It’s still a work in progress regarding set-up, but it’s so pretty and spacious!


One of the last projects on the list was building a small table for the patio to go with the new turquoise chairs we found recently.

Craig used 4×4 posts for the legs, 2×4 boards for the frame, and 1×6 boards for the top (as well as brackets underneath to make it more sturdy). Once completed, he sanded it to remove any splinters and rough spots. We still need to stain it, but it’s a great addition to our patio!