Entryway Organization

Don’t have a mudroom or a proper entryway? No problem, you can still have a pleasing send off and greeting station with an open floor plan. Some things to consider before you start.

1. What is the feng shui situation of your current entrance?
2. Do you have kids?
3. What is your policy about shoes in the house?
4. Do your walls allow for built in storage?
5. How big is your front porch?


This was my entryway. Small – boring – and a dumping ground for shoes, backpacks and hoodies.


First I tried paint to make it more pleasing. Next some paneling. It looked better. It still needed some organization for the dumping grounds. 

Then I discovered I had a little space behind the wall – about 7 inches. Not much but enough that I could sink some sort of built-in shelving.

So I started cutting into the wall. I had to remove a few studs.

I inserted three EXPEDIT shelf units into the wall. One on each side and one for the top. I removed the end cap from the side units and put them on the ends of the top unit so that they would all match up. Does that make sense? I bolted them together to make them all one piece. I also put some corner bead around the edges to tie it into the wall. I didn’t get fancy – I was trying to spend as little money as possible. You could deck it out with some nicer trim. I think the EXPEDIT series has been discontinued. The KALLAX series is pretty similar in structure and price. People are always selling these on Facebook around the end of the school year.


As you can see, I inserted two KALLAX 2-drawer units to put keys, sunglasses, sidewalk chalk etc. in. I also inserted the TJUSIG bench with shoe storage in the middle. I lined the back with bead board and 1×5 door jamb to install hooks from Home Depot.


Then came the fun part. I wrapped some foam with fabric and tacked it onto the bench. I got the fabric on Amazon.

I installed the hooks for coats and hoodies and then put some fabric bins in the cubes.

The grass cloth bins I got on Amazon and the gray ones I got at Target.

I also put baskets at the bottom – one for gloves and one for hats.

Garage Redo Part Two – The Floor


I do not go into a great amount of detail on my website for projects. I want it to be easy to read and get straight to the point. When I am reading other blogs, I get annoyed sifting through all of the reading just to find the gist of it or the actual recipe to something that I want to make. That said, if you want more details on the steps or the “how to” part of a project – leave me a comment and I will answer your questions the best I can.

Step One: Choose a color and size of the “tile” that you want

I chose charcoal and went with 2X4 foot sections.

Step Two: Etch the concrete

As you can see, I had a lot of paint on my garage floor from all of my spray painting crafts. I used a concrete cleaner and a push broom to scrub the floor. After you have cleaned the garage floor, you can apply an etching. Just follow the directions on the container. I did this step twice because I wasn’t sure the chemicals got into every high spot of the concrete.

Step Three: Tape the tile pattern with gorilla tape


I staggered the tiles but because there were two of us working, the pattern got messed up but we left it that way.

Step Four: Apply a concrete stain with a brush or roller

I used a brush because I was worried that a roller wouldn’t saturate all the nooks and crannies of the floor. I really wanted the concrete to soak in all of the color. You can go over it again after 24 hours if you want a darker look.


Step Five: Remove the tape

This is the fun part. This step is quick and you get to see the design unfold.

Step Six: Apply a concrete sealer

I went with a low luster sealer. The higher gloss ones might protect your work better but I wanted a matte finish.

No matter what time of year it is or what the weather is like – you must wait a few days before you drive on it.


Update Kitchen and Bath Fixtures for less $

Home Depot and Lowes are usually a pretty safe bet for finding the lowest prices under one roof. Specialty shops for plumbing, flooring, paint and other materials can be quite expensive and their locations can be hard to find. My Dad and brothers are General contractors and are quite loyal to smaller local businesses but I can’t afford the price tag or the running around from shop to shop.

Then there is Amazon. Let’s face it Amazon is a game changer for both time and money. Compare this faucet at Home Depot to the one at Amazon.



Yes the brands are different but installation and quality of materials are pretty similar.

The Home Depot one comes with a side sprayer but seriously for $10 more you can also get that from Amazon delivered to you door in 2 days for free!

I purchased the Vapsint and I am very happy with it!

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Garage Redo Part One

Have you ever fallen in love with a pair of shoes or an accessory item and have found yourself buying an entire outfit to go with that one small item? I have.

Only for me it’s a pillow or a jar or some accessory that leads to revamping an entire room to go with ‘said’ item. For the garage…..it was metal school lockers. I love mud Rooms and I really wanted to put lockers in my house for each kid. I just didn’t have the space in my laundry room unless I wanted to give up precious pantry space.image

So the journey began to revamp the garage. Of course I did my research, looking at all the fabulous garages on Pinterest. I wasn’t a real fan of the glossy epoxy floors, racing stripes or neon colors. I wanted the garage to look like an extension of my home. So I thought I would do everything but the floor. Then I saw this faux tile floor and this faux brick floor. It was a hard decision but laziness and resell factors won out and I chose the tile.

To get the step by step details for the floor, click HERE


Honestly the hardest part of remodeling the garage is moving everything out and figuring out where to store it for a month. At first I worked around it. I started by texturing the walls and ceiling with joint compound. Huge mess even though I covered things with tarps. Joint compound is water soluable and fairly easy to clean up small droppings, however I had a bit more than small droppings to clean up. Then I primed with Kilz.

By then I was so sick of moving things out of my way that I decided to clear everything out of the garage. I should have done that to begin with. It made a huge difference to have an empty garage to work in.

Then it was time to paint. Originally I planned on doing something very neutral like in the white family. Something versatile that would go well with warm or cool colors or both. I was thinking of the person In the possible future who I would sell the house to. The garage is often the man’s domain so I didn’t want to deter a buyer with soft colors. I would add the bright and cute to the door or accents. But in the end, long story short, I went with a yellow. When wet this yellow looks like fresh butter….almost white. But when dry it was very different. I went with a cheaper paint – Walmart Glidden because I would be purchasing so much of it. I wouldn’t use Glidden again BTW.  I used it once long ago and hated it but I couldn’t remember why so I thought I’d give it another try. Now I remember why. The colors are not rich and lack depth. Glidden also doesn’t clean well and the texture is a bit chalky and not in a good way.


After the paint and concrete stain, I trimmed it out with plain 1X5 and 1X4 boards. I spray painted them first with Rustoleum Painters Touch white semi gloss. Then I nailed them on with a brad gun. I filled in the nail holes with putty and touched up the paint a bit.

For pops of color I painted the doors and the bike rack that my dad had made out of metal pipes many years ago.




I added a work bench that I got from Harbor Freight for $79 and some shelving from Costco. The peg boards are one 4X8 sheet cut into two smaller pieces that I got from Home Depot for $20. My dad built a bench to put the lockers on. I ended buying the lockers from Walmart for $74 each. They were clearing out the blue ones so they were much cheaper. So I went with blue.


Making Pies With Your Fall Harvest

imageAfter you have made a fresh pie with Fresh picked apples, peaches, pumpkins or squash; you will never go back to canned pie filling.

Fresh pies are so much better for your body and the taste is incredible! I used to shy away from cooking pumpkins. I don’t even like to carve them for Halloween. They are tough to cut, slimy and messy. Then my son wanted to plant a pumpkin patch one year. I think he meant to get jack o lanter pumpkin seeds but we ended up planting the small ones that you cook with by accident.
Yes his name really is Lynus. The pumpkins were so small and cute. We painted some of them for Halloween. We gave as many away as we could but there were so many that I knew I was going to have to cook them.
I decided to be lazy and just rinse off the pumpkins and put them straight in the oven. I didn’t cover them with foil or anything. When they were done, they were so soft you could cut them in half with a butter knife. The peelings just slid right off and the seeds were easily scooped out with a spoon.

Let me just say these were the best pumpkin seeds I had ever tasted. I rinsed the pulp off in a colander and put them back in the oven on a cookie sheet with some salt. They were light and crispy, not fibrous and chewy like some I have tasted. These popped in your mouth. Yum!

The meat of the pumpkin had a texture much like canned pumpkin, not stringy at all. I just scooped it into containers and put them in the freezer except for 2 cups that I wanted to use right then for pie. So delicious! I like pumpkin pie from a can but now that I have had this, Oh my goodness, I will never go back to canned! You can buy the little cooking pumpkins in the grocery store, but if they aren’t in season you can also use a butternut squash or acorn squash.

Recipe for one Pie

2 cups pumpkin
2 eggs
3/4 cup of maple syrup or sugar ( add a little maple extract if using sugar)
3/4 cup of milk or cream or yogurt
2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice (ginger, cinnamon and cloves))
1 Tablesppon of flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Blend with an Emerson blender, pour into crust, bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes. I like to top the pie with pumpkin seeds the last fifteen minutes of the baking time. Then with whipped cream when serving.

Now for the crust…. You can buy a crust of course, but if you want to make one, it’s really simple. In a food processor put a cube of butter sliced up, 1/2 t. Salt, 1 cup of flour. I use the Namaste gluten free flour but you can use any flour even blended up oats will work. Pulse blend slowly adding 1/4 cup of ice cold water and the salt. Keep pulsing until it’s a nice dough ball that pulls away from the edge of the bowl. If you use gluten free flour then you will want to decrease the water and add an egg to make it hold together better. Refrigerate the dough for a half an hour so that it will roll out nicely. If it sticks rub oil on your rolling pin. Don’t use flour. Roll it out, spray your pan, drop it in and poke some holes in it with a fork and you are ready for filling. If you are in a hurry, you can skip the refrigeration step and just press it into the pan without rolling it.

Apple Pie:
Peel and cut up two Granny Smith tart apples and one red apple of your choice into tiny pieces. Layer the pie crust with slices of butter, Apple pieces, and sugar. Sprinkle each layer with apple pie spice blend. Cover the pie with a top crust if you’d like. We top the finished pie with ice cream and caramel sauce.

Peach Pie:
I don’t care much for cooked peaches but my kids like it. Follow the same process for peaches that you would for Apple. But if you want a cold fresh peach pie like I do, cook the crust ahead of time and fill it with fresh peach slices. Mix a little jam mixed with some sweetened gelatin and pour over the top. Not too much though. Refrigerate and top with whipped cream. I don’t use any spice on this one.

If you can’t choose what type of pie you want then get out your muffin tins and let the kids make little pies of all different kinds!


Adding Magic to Your Yard


I have a confession to make, I still believe in magic. From my earliest memory, I believed in magic and I have never stopped believing.

It’s not that I am a delusional idealist, well maybe I am a little. I have experienced some hard realities in life that are neither pretty nor fun, but I also have been lucky to have seen magic happen in my life many times! If you look for it, you can see it too!

Dream, pretend, paint rocks, go on pine cone hunts, build blanket forts, have tea parties, make a tree house (or live in one), create secret passageways, treasure hunt, sleep outside once in a while, and create a fairy garden.

Gardening is one of my favorite hobbies. I have five garden beds and wouldn’t mind having a few more. I hated weeding as a kid but I love it now. It can be quite therapeutic.

Our backyard feels magical. There is something kind of wild and mysterious about it. My daughter is in love with nature and everything magical so I decided to enhance the magic by creating a fairy garden or two.


I needed a solution for a dead tree stump in our yard. There were several Pinterest posts going around at the time so we went with the mushroom painted bowls. It is a basic cheap wooden bowl painted and placed upside down onto the stump. I bought three in varying sizes. You can pick your size from Amazon here.
Surprisingly enough they still look fresh after three years and we just used plain old craft acrylic paint, not waterproof or anything. The sprinklers hit them regularly in the summer and in the winter they get buried by the snow. They still look new.


Later we added some ceramic mushroom stakes and a solar fairy that lights up at night to one of our flower beds. If you have kids, always get them involved in gardening, the benefits are endless! My kids eat more vegetables when they grow them themselves.


Next we made a miniature garden in an existing potted topiary tree for the deck. This was the most fun. Miniature gardening is becoming more and more popular with little bikes, wagons, houses and all kinds of stuff. It’s really hard to choose which things to put into your space.


And last of all we added a door to one of the trees. I love this because little kids wonder what is inside the tree. I am sure we will keep adding more and more magic to our yard. Maybe one day we will have our deck extend into the trees for a tree house!


Happy Gardening!!!

Scary Bathroom Remodel



Is there a room in your house that you rarely go into? Possibly avoid at all costs? I do! The kids bathroom! I make my oldest child clean it but I don’t even check her work because I don’t want to go in there. So gross!!!!

So when my oldest moved out, I had to clean it. She had neglected it so badly! I’m pretty sure she lied to me several times about cleaning it. I’ll spare you the details. Let’s just say I had to buy a new toilet. Not the most fun way to spend money. There are so many things I would rather spend money on than a toilet.


After a big family discussion over cards at game night on whether to get the round toilet seat or the elongated seat; I went with the cheapest one at Home Depot, Glacier Bay for $88. On the box it says that the seat is round but it is actually elongated. Perhaps the elongated one is even more elongated, I don’t know. I really didn’t care either way, I just wanted the boys to hit the target! You can get it here.

Of course I cleared it with my dad first because I know he has strong opinions about toilets and he knows a lot about them. He approved the cheap one. Yay!

I had never removed or installed a toilet before so I watched the video on the product site. My daughter was shoulder surfing at the time and watched it with me. She is 12. After the video she looked at me and said, “I think you and I could tackle this on our own.” This surprised and inspired me. So we did it and it was much easier than I thought it would be.

Backing up a bit……I figured if I was going to replace the toilet then I should replace the floor first since the toilet sits on top of the floor and we had linoleumin there that I hated. I also had a can of java gel stain that I had bought almost a year prior because of all those Java gel stain Pinterest pins. I also was looking for an excuse to do a plank wall.

So one thing led to another for an entire bathroom redo. (Now I love going in that room!)


Feng Shui Frosting

Feng Shui is like icing on a cake to any project. It’s an eastern tool to balancing your space. You simply overlay the bagua onto the floor plan of your space and check in with the elements. In this bathroom I have the shower faucet in my abundance corner. Faucets are a source of water. Water can symbolize the flow of water. I also have the drain in that same area. This can symbolize $ going down the drain but together with the faucet it symbolizes the continuous flow of abundance coming in and going out continuously. The fame area is where the window is and my son sings very loudly in the shower with the window open for all to hear. Pretty self explanatory. The toilet and sink are in the health and hygiene area as well as the bathroom rules sticker. The colorful planks on the accent wall is in the simple joy of childhood area. It’s the fun wall. Honestly I don’t plan my projects around Feng shui, I just go with a flow that feels good. Then I assess the Feng shui bagua and look for positive connections and intentions making any correction that I think are needed.

Here is a sample bagua. Of course there are many more detailed ones but if you are new to Feng shui, this is a good place to start. Most important – have fun with it. Note: the bottom of the bagua is placed over the entrance of the room’s floor plan.



LINKS below on the specifics!
How I did the vanity and mirror frame
Wall decal from Amazon
Rock Garden Shower Curtain
Plank Wall Details

Other links coming soon:
How I retextured over the Orange peel wall
Oil Rubbed Faucet Fail!
The floor

Plank Wall


I have always wanted to do a plank wall! The hardest part was choosing a color or in my case the colors. I love the weathered white plank walls and the sharp satin ones but I really couldn’t choose just one. Honestly I was too cheap to buy any paint at all, not even primer. I brought up all the left over paints from the basement and chose five colors and then painted two coats on each plank. One of the colors was a metallic copper spray paint left over from Halloween. If you look closely you can see there is only one peach plank. That’s because I only had a tiny bit left of this color in the can.

I did spend money on the boards though. I was going to use boards from my parents old fence that had been bleached out. They were really cool looking and I liked the idea of reclaiming wood and repurposing it. Turns out several of my siblings had already claimed them, or should I say reclaimed. Haha! Get it?

Ok seriously. The fence is still standing up, by the way, in my parents yard. My dad has been saying that he is going to replace the fence for years. So nobody has them yet. I’m not much waiting so I bought the tongue and groove planks from Home Depot. They are light and straight, making them much easier to install. Not to mention the tongue and groove.


I had Home Depot cut for me mainly so they would fit into my car. Turns out the guy cut them all an inch too short. Every single one. Lucky for me, the remainder of each board was actually longer so I could still use them and cut them myself.

Next I laid them on my kitchen floor and painted them. Then I took the left over paint from the other walls and added water to it. Then I rubbed it on over each color to give all the colors some cohesiveness to each other and to the bathroom as a whole. It also gives it a nice aged look.


That was before the white wash. Pretty bright huh? Next I nailed them onto the wall using a brad nailer and compressor. Honestly you could glue them on or whatever you wanted because the tongue and groove holds it in place.


For the final touch I added pegs to hang towels on. I got them from Ikea. And that was it.

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Happy Planking!

Install a new toilet in 30 minutes or less

imageThere are lots of videos out there on how to remove an old toilet and install a new one. After watching quite a few, this is the one I liked the best. It is concise and short and yet dumbed down enough for me to follow. I bought the Glacier Bay 2-piece 1.28 GPF High Efficiency Round (Not really round) Toilet for $88. Model # N2428RB/N2428T from Home Depot. The great thing about this toilet is that most of it is already put together and it includes the wax seal so that you can eliminate some of the steps from this video making it an even faster job.


Java Gel Stain love!





I was nervous to try this on my bathroom so my kid’s bathroom got to be the trial run for refinishing the vanity. General Finishes boasts that their gel stains are so easy that you don’t have to de gloss, sand, or prime before applying the stain. So I put it to the test and sure enough it looks smooth and professional and I didn’t do anything but wash the vanity. A lot of people lightly sand first and maybe that’s a good idea because I did notice the stain looked better on the areas that were not as glossy.

Step One: Wipe down the surface

Step Two: Remove doors, drawers and hinges

Step three: Lay your doors on a drop cloth

Step Four: brush the gel stain on with a sponge paint brush and wipe off with a paper towel. (You’re probably thinking a staining rag is better for this job. Trust me it’s not. I did the first door with a rag and the second with a sponge brush and paper towel and it looks much better.)

This is what one coat looks like.

This is what one coat looks like.

Step Five: let it dry for eight or more hours.

Step Six: Repeat step four if you want it darker.

Step Seven: Put everything back together and add hardware if you want.

After finishing the vanity, I decided the mirror needed a frame. I got some old boards and rabbits the under side to fit the mirror edge. I applied the stain and glued it to the mirror and wall.

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I didn't miter the corners. It's just a simple straight cut.

I didn’t miter the corners. It’s just a simple straight cut.

Some people add a matte wax or poly coat. I didn’t and it seems to be durable so far. I also bought the half pint size of the gel stain and I only used half of the can for both the mirror frame and this vanity. You can get it here

Happy gel staining!