Master Bathroom plans

Want to see which fabric I picked for my next DIY project? Check back next week for a full rundown and complete details on how I added the finishing touches to my master bathroom.


$10 DIY Tomato Cage Holiday Tree !

You have to love the internet!  How would life be with out pinterest and a facebook full of minifeeds with crafty friends and mothers!? I have to thank a DIY champion and sorority sister for this idea.  She really hit hers out of the park.  My quick rendition was simply that- QUICK!

I had been on the hunt for a reasonably priced 3′ – 5′ tree for the front porch.  I made mention before that this is only our second holiday season decorating together.  That means that we slowly making a holiday decoration collection.

Last year I promised post season I would pick up mark downs.   And of course I forget.  Desperate to add a tiny bit of cheer to the front of our home- I scoured the internet (aka-  I did not have the urge to spend $65.00 on the tree I thought would be the best fit.  So I promised myself once again- I would buy one post season.

Then I saw this great suggestion- and there are several ways to make it your own.   Although mine is a bit simple- you can surely dress it up here’s what you need :

  1.  a tomato cage (We had ours from the summer stacked in the back yard)
  2. tree trimmings OR faux garland (I got 6 15′ strands at the Dollar Tree for $1.00 each)
  3. your favorite decorations (this year, I got that at the dollar tree as well!)

Thats it!  My garland was on a wired string- so I didn’t even need glue or ties to adhere it to the tomato cage frame.  Now I can choose to reuse the tomato cage or garland for other projects if I choose.

image image imageimage

Xmas Kraft DIY

Last Saturday Rachel my fellow 5andwhiner and DIY master, got the great idea to make a craft for the holidays.  I choose something that neither of us had in our homes and would come in handy.  A holiday card holder, I mean lets face it there’s only so much room and so many magnets for the fridge.  This craft also only cost us about $15 each since we split alot of the supplies.   So after a somewhat exhausting trip multiple stores we had all the supplies to get us started.  Below is a list of items you will need to get started.


-Chicken wire (we chose the hexagon wire)

-Staple Gun

-Inexpensive frame any size (we picked ours up at Goodwill)

-Tiny flag banner (optional)

-Black acrylic paint

-Pack of varying mini clips

-Artificial wreath


Gallery – Wall to be!

I lust all pins about gallery walls and it has been my dream to create one in our home for over a year now.  We painted our living room colors that we love- and well, that was it.  We never completed the room by adding art to the walls that represent who we are.  I have slowing been collecting pieces.  Pictures, posters, and custom to help us remember all of the states, cities, and countries we have lived between the two of us.  Hometowns, college towns, Maryland, Chicago, Germany, Slovakia, Mexico- between us the list is long!

My fear was less about the project itself and more about the results, or my vision.  I was afraid there would be no sense, no flow, that the pieces wouldn’t fit together.  At the same time- I wish to be a bit eclectic.  Looming over my head is the thought that there is a difference between being eclectic and just completely random.   With my honey by my side– I am pretty happy with the outcome 🙂

We need just a few more pieces to complete the collection:  Art that represents Michael’s home Bedford, PA.  Art that represents my home Lancaster, PA.   We need to print a few of Michael’s photo’s from his stay in Mexico.  Lastly I need a real diploma frame.  Once I  collect these few items, a new coffee table is all I need to FINALLY have one room in our home complete – from thought to finish.


Practice your layout on the floor


This is wall 2 in the making. I plan to paint “Not All Who Wander Are Lost” in black script on the piece of reclaimed wood.


Use templates that are the exact same shape and size to help with the spacing on the wall itself.


My man in action!


Trying as hard as possible to straighten these things out!


Chicago, Germany, Slovakia, Ny, Pittsburgh, Baltimore 🙂


All done for now!

Faux Succulent Wreath 

I’ve been dying to make a succulent wreath for some time now, but then I came back to reality and remembered I don’t have a green thumb. Plants beware, I’m a killer.  

Fast forward to this past week, when I was walking around the Dollar Tree and spotted the cuttest little selection of fake succulents. Jackpot.  I filled my box with 14 succulents and headed for the register. 

My next stop was Michaels where I picked up the remaining supplies and a few other items for a little project I’m working on in the nursery ( stay tuned for that baby…see what i did there !?) I bought a 12″ wreath form and one bunch of Spanish moss. 


After laying out all of my materials, my first step was to remove the succulents from the pots. They were simply hot glued into the styrofoam base so with one twist, the succulent was free.  I didn’t take the time to clean off the small pieces of styrofoam because I knew it would be hidden once the wreath was formed.  But, if you feel more comfortable cleaning each succulent, go for it!

With the succulents ready, I started to organize them on the wreath. I didn’t have any particular layout in mind…just went with what I thought looked the best.  I then attached them to the wreath with my hot glue gun and before nap time was over, my wreath was completed.  Woot!!! #mommywin 

 Wreath: $2.99 (originally $4.99 but I used a 40% off coupon)

Succulents: $14.00 (14 succulents at $1.00 each)

Spanish moss: $2.99 

Hot glue: free 🙂 

Total: $19.98 

Time: 20 minutes 

I’m so happy with the finished project! I love the simple design and succulents can rest assure that these will be well cared for! 

DIY Pallet Patio Furniture

I once saw a wine rack made of old refurb pallets selling for upwards of 60 bones!  Ever since – I have had a desire to try a Pallet upcycle project.  Pinterest of course encouraged me that I too can certainly do it!

The problem is – once you want a pallet- where do you find it?  And of course-  I decided the ‘easiest’ project would be one that required TWO pallets.  Luckily I ended up with 3 pallets (I really love working in Property Management, you seem to stumble over many things you might need).  I am glad I did because they were all a variety of conditions and heights.  For this project they needed to be the exact same height, so having a few pallets to work with allowed me options for finding the right fit.

The project took about one entire day.

I (we) used 3 cement stepping blocks at $3.30 each.  A quarter can of left over white ceiling paint.  A drill with a sanding bit, a reciprocating saw, and drill with about 10 screws .  The only thing we did not already have was the cement blocks, so in the end it cost no more than $10.00!

  • I will say it was a lot harder than I expected and the project I thought would be my own quickly became Michael’s project as well.
  • We had to do a decent amount of demo to the old pallets.  This part is quit hard considering they are full of old rusty nails and the damaged wood.

    Why did I think the pallets were just going to stand up next to each other and be perfectly the same size?

  • Michael cut the pallets to the same height of 40″ and removed all the old nails.
  • I spent 2 hours or so sanding down the old pallet wood to avoid splinters as we worked.  We did need to use a palm sander to get in between the pallet as well.
  • I did buy spray paint and spray primer – but it was a waste.  Eventually we went to the basement to unload something we had stowed away from past projects.  We spent a couple more hours painting away.  This is also tough because you can see inside the pallets.  So we had to paint every single surface.
  • After the paint dried we stood up our pallets, Michael drilled a few holes and secured the two pallets together and we set the stepping stones on top.

Here she is … I LOVE IT!



Green Thumb: Mason Jar Herb Planters

Spring is slowly but surely creeping around the corner.  (I say that despite the fact that I bought a new down coat yesterday- because I was cold, not because of the price).   The one thing I am most excited about when it comes to warm weather is building our garden.  Although Mike is the brains in the backyard – last year I made a request that I am thrilled about- Mason Jar Herb Planters.

I saw them all over pinterest and thought it was a cool look and a reasonable project.

You may know by now that I love to cook – and having fresh herbs outside your door makes a world of difference in your summer dishes.

We decided to go with some of our fav’s:  Basil, Parsley, Lavender, Oregano, Thyme, and Chives.

IMG_3513It is very simple.

  • We bought Ball Wide Mouth 1/2 Gallon Canning Jars.
  • Flip the Jar upside down and use a diamond drill bit to cut 3 pencil size holes for maximum drainage (Wear protective eye-wear!) .
  • Add a variety of stones.  Do not go crazy on how nice the stones look – eventually the soil will cover them to the point where you can not see them.  These stones will allow for water to trickle through the bottom of the feeder.  This way your plants do not drown.
  • Add potting soil.
  • Add seedlings of your choice!


We also bought pipe clamps and drilled them into our fence.  This way they are out of the way of the dog, they reach a sunny place in the yard, but they are not permanently fixed if we need to move them to shade.



This year we have started early enough to attempt planting straight from the seed!

Wish us luck!


How To: DIY Hemp Lamp

I have made several references to the big project of the foyer renovation that Micheal and I have worked on.  I am the worst because I have yet to post my final reveal.  The project was big, and tough, and there was a lot to learn.  I want to be sure to help future step painter’s to see possible pit falls in their big project- AHEAD of time!  As I am working to write that post, I remembered one simple project that made a huge impact in our foyer.  Our DIY Hanging Hemp Lamp.

On my tour of Katie’s new home I saw some of her own DIY hall lights.  Although in the end I decided on a different DIY lamp style – it was the inspiration that I needed!  With so many choices on the market, and none of which I loved enough to pay full price … a DIY was the solution to my problem.

After a short time hunting I found this tutorial on Pinterest.   Here is how it came out:






The author states that you will need:  A deflatable ball, two bottles of tacky glue, a spool of hemp, and a hanging light cord.  All of which will total about $30.00 !

You will also need: Electric tape, Electrical Wire Covers, A tire Pin (if you wish to reuse the ball), a cheap plastic table cloth or wax paper to cover your work space, and an attractive light bulb.   Something to rest it on when it is drying.

Shopping was not simple.  It took a bit more of my own creativity and problem solving than I anticipated.

Here’s what:

THE BALL: FYI – those big bins of balls that are ALWAYS at then end of an aisle … are not as easy to find in the winter months!  After several failed attempts at several Targets and other stores we did find them at a local Walmart (for less than $3.00).  Once we found the ball bin we chose a diameter of about 14″.  We then went to the craft aisle where the hemp and glue were nearly side by side.

THE HEMP: Hemp comes in several thicknesses, your choice is a matter of preference.   I chose what looked like the middle of the road on the thought that too thin and the project would require too much hemp, too thick it might require too much glue.


Disclaimer: Skip the wine, your hands will be too sticky !

Obviously Ella my pup jumped on the ball and deflated it just minutes after we got home.  So off we went to grab ball #2.

The Bulb: Well, I learned you don’t just walk into Lowe’s and find those really cool clear light bulbs that you can see the filament thread, and that filament thread just happens to look old-school and awesome.  In the end I found something clear and round.  We decided LED was the best choice.  the bulb is not dreamy – but who’s going to look when the lights are glaring anyway?


We ended up with something similar to this. Although it is clear – not opaque.


Hanging Wire: We also needed the perfect hanging wire, ceiling plate, and a light bulb worth featuring.   We found these things at Lowes.   The wires that they had to choose from were not as attractive as what the blogger I chose to follow had found for her project.  We ended up finding a Portfolio “Polished Nickel” Recessed Light conversion  kit.


conversion kit

This was perfect for our project. The kit is designed for the consumer to buy the pendant separately. Buying the kit only = $20.00 !

Now it is time to get to work.  Here is how we did it:

  • Prepare your work space:  You will need something to cover your work space.  Michael suggests something that will repel the glue as opposed to absorb it. You also need:
    • The ball
    • The glue (You will use both bottles)
    • The hemp,
    • A large bowl
    • Approximately 2 cups of warm water
    • A sharpie
    • An object that is about 5″ around
    • A creative idea to set the ball down on.  The white thing you see in the picture is a cone piece from the hardware store.  I have no idea what it is or why it was in our home – but it was the perfect fit.  I would suggest maybe a bowl or a roll of duct tape wrapped in plastic wrap.
  • Draw a 5″ circle around the bottom. This is the hole you will leave to insert the bulb.  I used the strange white cone to measure our opening.
  • Mix the water and the glue in the bowl.  It will be too thick and will not stretch far enough other wise.  It was almost equal parts water to glue.
  • Dredge the hemp in the water.  I wish I would have unraveled the hemp spool and sat it nicely in the the glue mixture.  Instead we tried some whacky form of unraveling, dredging, and spinning the ball all at one time.  This became messy, FAST.
  • Spin the hemp around the ball.  I have NO idea how you would do this with one person.  Michael held the ball and spun it, and I maneuvered the hemp.  There is not method to this madness.  Just try to cover large holes.  Be sure to leave your opening- OPEN!

That’s it!  Now leave it out of sight of THREE DAYS.

I would suggest covering your drying base with plastic wrap and maybe even spritzing it with nonstick cooking spray.  When we eventually pulled the ball from the base the glue had dried entirely to the base.  We slightly hurt the circle shape of the opening in doing so.

Deflate the ball.  You will need to flake dried glue out of the openings.

I am lucky.  Michael knows how to wire things.  He cut the end of the recessed fixture at the end of the light wire.   Measured the length. Wired the wires.  That is it!







I LOVE it! What do you think?

How To: DIY Chalkboard

I have always lusted after homes with chalkboard art, bars with chalkboard menus, and parties that label all things with chalkboard.  During our renovation of the foyer, we took down a long coat rack leaving me with a large open space.  My original idea was a mirror.  I was only able to find very expensive vintage mirrors, very cheap oddly shaped, or poor kept mirrors.

All along Michael had nagged and reminded that we have an old dresser mirror stowed away in the house somewhere.  Why he does not understand the concept of fung shui- I will never comprehend.  He would go with out any furniture (and DID) if it weren’t for me!

Suddenly I realized, it is finally time for my very own chalkboard!  Now I had to convince Michael to build and paint it for me.  (Note; I looked to purchase one at a flea market and they retail used for over a $100 for half the dimensions that I was hoping for!)  Now Michael chimed in again about the old mirror… and this time it worked!

We had an old dresser with a mirror that did not stay put and really did not fit into the room at all.  It is laminate which is not my favorite thing in the world, but the color was exactly what I had planned to try and create with much time and stain.  After all the hours put into staining the steps, the laminate began to look just fine to me.   We put our heads together and realized we could remove the mirror, flip it over, and paint the underside – that way if we wanted to use the mirror down the road it would be reversible!

We bought a can of Rust-Oleum Flat Black Chalkboard paint(small, about 30oz) for $6 or $7 dollars.  I wish I would have advised Michael to tape off the mirror, because our brilliant reverse plan will now involve paint stripper.  Otherwise we did 3 coats with a traditional roller brush, letting each coat dry entirely.  I spoke with an acquittance who did a similar project over wood.  She had some chipping when she started to draw.  I would suggest MORE coats than less.


A tip that I stumbled upon while looking for art inspiration advised that I first season the chalkboard before using.  I am so glad I found this pointer!  Chalkboard paint can create dimples on the surface.  The dimples will collect any chalk dust from first contact and it will not go away.  The blog suggested one go-around with seasoning… I did it about eight times with white chalk, green, blue, and purple.  I wanted to fill the dimples and ensure they looked gray rather than bright white.  To season the chalkboard, simply hold your chalk vertically and rub it first from top to bottom on the board.  Then a second layer drawing from left to right.   Cover the entire surface this way.  I periodically erased and started again with different colors.


I forgot to take a picture of this step, so here is a borrowed image from the blogger that I read the tip from!


Now I can start the art!


I use a 3ft level to draw a grid on the board ( I hope to one day get one that reaches the entirety of the chalkboard.)




It does not have to be perfect, just a frame of reference !




I make small marks to identify the center of the board. I make small marks to remind me the height or width of a particular picture or letter.




I keep paper towels and q-tips handy to erase as I go! I also plan to buy a ruler to help perfect my lettering.

A few personal preferences:

I never use water to erase.  I like the ghosty look of ‘pictures of the past’ as a foundation of my drawings.  You certainly can erase with water without damaging your new chalk board if you need a fresh look as well!  For instance, if you decided to have a sidewalk sale, you would really want your sign to stick out … now would be a great time to erase with water to allow your new lettering to POP on a flat black background.

Also, I prefer to use traditional chalk (Crayola brand so far has trumped the target store brand chalk I also bought).  Some choose to use washable chalk pens.  These make for a beautiful precise finish.  I am currently enjoying the challenge of finding new techniques to hold or sharpen my chalk for different desired outcomes.    Every board has a different purpose,  a different audience, and each artist uses a different medium – so do what makes you the happiest.

Each board has taken me some time to complete.  One took 20 minutes, another took several hours.  My goal is to update the board monthly.  Pinterest has shared so many great ideas!  I have noticed I have progressed each months with my art skills and techniques.  If I learn to work faster, I might change it more often!  It has become a great escape and stress reliever to sit in quiet or with calming music and complete a master piece that makes me feel proud and my home feel more homey!

In order of my first to my most recent… here is how this project has added to our home:





Steeler’s Play Offs!



To help us get through a cold January !



In honor of Valentines Day !



Party Like a Rock Star- DIY Party Decorations

Whoooo-hooo!  The holidays are behind us and I can breath!  Now it is time to clean up, pack up the decorations, and start on some winter projects (like organizing the basement and pulling things out of storage- wahhhh!)

Any how- Two weeks ago I mentioned getting very excited for my 2nd (big deal) NYE party!  It certainly was a grand old time.  There are a few things I will dump next year, and a few things I will absolutely keep.  Here are a few ideas and pointers for your next party (whether it be NYE, a birthday, engagement, or milestone celebration).

Here is a bit of an album I collected from the evening.  You can see everything from favors, table settings, and easy wall hangings.  Read each image to learn an idea or tip.


I stuffed “Midnight Kisses” Favor bags with chap stick and gold wrapped Hershey kisses. The chap stick labels say “Pucker Up! First Kiss 2015”. Thank you oriental trading for this cheap trick!


Tip: although I set these in a central location – a few cocktails can alter your priorities! It is important as a host to draw attention to the gift or you may end up with many (or ALL) left behind 😦 Don’t worry, I have been forcing them upon all of my friends just days after


This project I had ambiguously made reference to in my past fitness posts with my ‘need’ for tasting wine. I had flat black spray paint at home for other past and future projects. The gold twigs are left from my holiday mantel decor (and come from the dollar store). The numbers were simply cut outs i made from printing the numbers backwards on the reverse side! Cute and simple! Psst – I taped the numbers on, now they are removed and the wine bottles will work as generic decor for my home or future parties! Gold tulle is a cheap way to dress up a plastic table cloth. Eventually the table is covered with plates of food, and the sparkly gold will fill in between.



Good news; those tissue paper tassels are easy and cheap and reusable. Bad news; they are kind of annoying to make. I would do it again, if I plan WAY in advance, and I would probably hire my friends to help in one evening and pay them in wine. Another perk is that I almost always decorate with GOLD. Next time I will only need to make accent color poms to add to the mix.


Free Internet Print Out – plus adhesive spray- plus glitter-plus two dollar frame. I will do this for EVERY party. So cute, SO easy.


And another …


Here is the brown paper table I mentioned … Pre Charcuterie and Cheese … That “2015” banner was only $6 and so I suppose it was an okay purchase. Although you can not purchase the individual numbers and so now it goes straight to the garbage. Next year I will go for a generic “Happy New Year” sign.


This was part of the cocktail table. I am happy with it because the “Cheers” sign was roll over from the previous year, as were the glitter stir sticks. Things that can travel from year to year are SO worth the effort. I also have half of the personalized champagne glasses remaining. They are stored away for the next fancy party. The center is a bowl of GOLD candy which we bought for .15 cents a piece at party city. (PS even the large circle confetti gets stored away for the coming years parties).


There is the brown paper banner I mentioned in a past post. Michael and I got it going so that people would get the gist. I used painters tape to make the black strips just so that i would look more like a decoration rather than an after thought. Spinning “New Year” banner posted on the left and right – you guessed it, from last year!


Although I forgot the favors, I was sure to hand out all the party hats, blowers, and poppers 15 minutes to midnight! Thankfully Mike was smart enough to set a timer so that we would not forget! Note; I would refrain from purchasing the poppers where you pull the string. They are full of colored paper. A strand had gotten wet and landed on our tan couch and left a color stain. Next year I will get something entirely different.


I set up all of the midnight “toys” before hand so that they look like additional decor. Again, only the glasses state the actual year. (I am keeping one pair of these glasses each year as a keep sake. One day I will find a project out of them). Things that did not get used, will be used down the road. Hats, masks, and beads are absolutely re-usable!

Below are a few snaps from a friend and guest at the party:


You can kind of see the results of the ‘help yourself’ table. Although the clean up was incredibly easy, next year I will still use brown paper to save the cloth, but also use plates for appearance sake. The table got very greasy.


This activity turned out great! People had a blast writing very funny resolutions. And some were true, sweet, and pleasant to read! I even rolled it up to save for next year to bring back the memories!

image image image imageA couple of things:

– ALL TABLE CLOTHS CAN BE KEPT!  (are you sensing my theme here? re-use it!)  Just wipe them down with Clorox wipes and fold them up.  I store a stack in a gallon zip lock bag.  I have 6 stowed away to pull out whenever needed.

– The glitter for the cocktail -to me- was SO fun.   You can see the pink drink container in a few pictures.  Just a tiny dash will do and it shimmers all night long.  It is a tiny detail that will travel from party to party for me.  It is called “Disco Dust” and you can get it on Amazon.

-Gluing ALL of the champagne glasses together was foolish.  I should have prepared only half of them.  I now have to store them fully erect, and they take up an extreme amount of space.

-Mostly my pinterest menu was a fail.   I ended up throwing most of it out because I couldn’t stand watching them melt away on the table.  I also created each dish on a post-flu palette.  I don’t think anything tasted that great.  Not to mention my friends are seasoned guests and all came with food in hand.  Next year, I will do a smaller cheese plate and await whatever yummy dishes come along!  This will save time and money!

– Reminder: push your favors on your friends!  Or else EVERYONE will be having too much fun to notice.

– Chalk board art is very very time consuming.  I am just saying.  (More to come on this in future posts)…

Finally, Do not buy “Werthers” butterscotch candies (even if they do come in a gold wrapper) because your friends will make fun of you.

The party was a blast, and although there were a few lessons learned – there will be many more parties to apply my new knowledge.  Please comment below if you need links to tutorials or more details on my projects!  People will look forward to going to your parties when they know you go out of your way to make it special just for them!  Get creative!  Share ideas! and RE-USE RE-USE RE-USE!