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My Crafty Little Mirror

I recently found a picture on Pinterest that I really liked and wanted to copy for my entryway.

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I loved the letter etched into the mirror, and the whole little setup. Today I found an ugly oval mirror at Goodwill for $7 and thought I’d try to copy the look from Pinterest.

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This mirror looks gold in the picture, but it was actually more of a dull/dirty tan. I already had some Armor Etch from a project years ago, and I used my Cricut to cut out a fancy C with vinyl. I stuck the vinyl stencil on the mirror, then just painted the Armor Etch on it and washed it off after five minutes. Once my letter was all set, I decided to change the color of the frame.

I’ve been looking at a lot of projects involving Rub ‘n Buff lately, and I thought I’d try it out on this mirror. I bought the silver leaf color and just rubbed it on with a rag. It took maybe ten minutes, and I touched up the darker areas with a silver Sharpie paint pen that I already had at home.

Here’s what it looks like now!

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Just ignore those fingerprints, thanks.

I’m so happy with it! It actually doesn’t look much like my inspiration picture at all. I still want to put the little shelf under it, but I was so pleased with the mirror I decided to call it a day.

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I just love it!

And guess what else I did today…I finished painting my kitchen cabinet doors!! It’s a miracle – it’s finally done. Now I only have to convince Kurtis to hang them, and the kitchen is pretty much complete for now!

 

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Super Cheap Headboard

We recently bought a queen-sized bed frame and mattress from Amazon. We wanted a guest room for people to stay in, and we needed it before Thanksgiving. I bought the cheapest bed with the best reviews, because it’s not like anyone is going to be living in that room. It just needs to work for a few nights. I spent less than $300 on the whole shebang and got free shipping with my Amazon Prime membership. The bed was delivered to my door! I’ll buy all my furniture online from now on, because that was awesome.

I found a complete bedding set at Ross for $35. And just to make sure my in-laws wouldn’t break their backs or anything, I slept on the bed last night. It was surprisingly comfy! It’s not as nice as my mattress, which is like a cloud, but mine also cost a whole lot more than $200. This mattress was more than $200 worth of comfortable, but we’ll confirm that report after my in-laws spend three nights on it over Thanksgiving. Even if they don’t like it, I won’t believe them because I tried it.

Anyway, our pretty little bed looked sad against the wall with no headboard.

ImageI am obviously not an interior designer. I can’t even get the bedding straight. And I don’t know what to do with throw pillows.

So, I wanted to make a headboard, but it had to be cheap because that’s the goal for everything except vacations. I started with some PVC pipe from Lowe’s. I paid $10 for two pieces and four joints. Two elbows (or “curves” if you’re me and don’t know the proper names) and two tees (or “triples” as I like to call them…but Kurtis immediately corrected me). We measured and cut the pipes – two pieces that were 64″ long, two that were 26″ long, and two that were 20″ long. Then we pieced them together with the joints.

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Ta da! Instant headboard frame. I then found a cardboard box that was about the size of the opening. Luckily I can get an unlimited supply of boxes from work, and I just happened to have one the right size. I cut it open and laid it out.

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I bought three yards of fabric and cried until the poor lady at JoAnn let me use my 60% off coupon, even though the fabric was already on sale. So – $10 total for the fabric! I probably could have gotten away with using only two yards, but that’s not worth crying about. Go big or go home.

Here’s where things really start to get sketchy. I was anti-sewing for this particular project. My sewing machine and I are totally not getting along and I get in a fight with it every time I use it. I tried to make a curtain a couple weeks ago and it took me probably three hours. I can’t handle that kind of time commitment right now.

I tried stapling the fabric to the cardboard, but the staples went all the way through and poked out the other side. I’d rather my guests not get stabbed in the head (you’re welcome, Ken and Kathy) so I took them out. Kurtis had this brilliant idea to use duct tape, and I went with it. That’s how much I didn’t want to sew.

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I laid the fabric on the floor and put the cardboard on top of it. I taped the bottom of the fabric to the cardboard, then placed the pipe frame over the top.

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I am the world’s worst photographer.

I pulled the top of the fabric over the top of the frame, then taped it to the cardboard.

Then, I folded the sides of the fabric back like a present, and taped them down. This is where I really made sure the fabric was tight.

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Then I grabbed some nailhead trim from JoAnn. Again, I used my coupon so it was only $9. I poked the nailheads through and since they didn’t have anything to attach to, I stuck a piece of eraser through the back like an earring. Yeah…it’s a little on the ghetto side.

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You can see in this picture that the fabric is kind of a brown floral. It matches the bedding well, and it’ll be easy to switch out if I want to.

Here’s the finished product:

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I’m not saying it’s the greatest thing in the world, but I do like it better than nothing at all behind the bed. And for only $30 and about half an hour of time, I can trash the whole thing later if I want.

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The kitchen is coming along!

I have been spending the last few months trying to get my kitchen cabinets painted. It is taking FOREVER and I got tired of it pretty quick. So I decided to start another project! Then another one! A week and a half ago, Kurtis and I decided to tackle the countertops. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we decided to go with the Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformations kit.

Here is the before picture of the kitchen:

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Wood cabinets, old appliances, cream colored countertops, pink backsplash with random black tiles mixed in. Not my favorite.

I started painting the cabinets, and we put in new appliances so it was starting to look a lot better.

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This is after we sanded down the countertops in preparation for the Transformations kit:

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After that, we painted on the black goo. Then we used the little sprayer that came with the kit to launch tiny color chips all over our entire kitchen. They immediately spread to every inch of the house. We will never get them all out.

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Notice the piles of chips all over the floor. Marbles made sure they were spread throughout the house because we obviously liked them so much. Here’s a tip: put your dog in his kennel when you’re doing messy household projects. I’d recommend the same for small children.

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After we finished spraying chips everywhere but on the countertops, we sanded them down and them painted a clear coat on top.  And it looks beautiful!

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That whole project took two days to complete, because of drying times. Then we had to let it cure for one week. It’s not perfect, but it looks so much better! I’m really happy with the result, considering we spent only $165 and we’ll get an 11% rebate from Menard’s.

The only thing I didn’t love about the kit was that the box said it would cover 50 square feet. Our countertops are 34 square feet, and we used all of the goo and clear coat. It worked for us, but I wouldn’t have been happy if I had run out! The only thing we had left over was one hundred million color chips.

This weekend was spent replacing that nasty old backsplash with something much prettier. Kurtis took off all the old tiles, then I put the new ones on almost by myself. Which means basically anyone can do this!

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The tiles were tricky to cut at first. It took some practice with different tools to find the right one, since we definitely didn’t want to buy a wet saw. I used a little handheld rotary tool with a diamond blade, and it worked like a charm after a few practice cuts.

The tiles were pretty cheap – only $5 for each pack at Lowe’s, which covered about one square foot. We used 19 of them. The tiles and all the supplies cost less than $150. The tiles are attached by mesh on the back side, so lining them up and sticking them on the wall wasn’t hard at all!

All I have left to do is caulk the edges, which I’ll probably do tonight. That’ll help clean up some of the rough spots on the countertops. I’ll take a picture of the whole kitchen as soon as I finally finish painting the cabinets. We’re hosting Thanksgiving in three weeks, so I’m on a time limit!

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Slowly but surely…

People have been asking if I’m still doing work on the house. The answer is…yes, but it’s coming along verrrrry slowly. This new job that I have keeps me pretty busy. Plus school started last month and I spend at least 20 minutes a week on that. And there are Rockies games to attend, OU football to watch, restaurants to eat at, new cities to explore, laundry to do, and Marbles to play with. So I am definitely making progress on the house, but it’s taking forever to do anything noticeable. I told someone the other day that I should have waited until I had like 20 finished projects before I started posting anything, so everyone wouldn’t realize how slow I am.

But we have completed some little projects!

1. Today I finished painting the cabinets!!! This is big! They are now white, and they look so pretty! One thing though…I haven’t painted the cabinet doors yet. So really, I’m only like halfway done with that. But I’m still happy! Here is a before picture:

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And this is during the halfway point of painting:

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We had to sand every inch of this, then wipe it down, then I had to paint a coat of Kilz on it. After that, I painted two coats of semi-gloss ultra white paint. (Can you tell how far I can reach?) It looks really nice, but it also has the unfortunate effect of making the rest of the kitchen look awful and dingy. I was initially excited because the inside of the cabinets were white instead of wood, but looking at them now…they are very off-white. I don’t think I can bring myself to paint them yet. I still have to convince myself to paint the doors!

Here is a picture of a cabinet door that stubbornly refused to come off. The top part has a coat of Kilz, and the bottom part has the first coat of paint.

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And here we are after another coat of paint!

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It’s looking nice! After each coat of primer/paint, I used a foam roller brush to even out the paint and get rid of paint strokes. It worked like a charm!

2. We now have appliances! The stove is in, and I love it! I didn’t take a picture because it’s a stove and you all know what that looks like. The dishwasher is also in, and the fridge!

3. The fridge was its own project. We upgraded from a regular one to a side-by-side. Kurtis had to figure out how to hook the water up, because our previous fridge didn’t have an ice maker! Go Kurtis! THEN we realized the fridge was too big for its hole! It’s surrounded by cabinets, so we ended up sawing the end of the cabinet off, and now the fridge fits perfectly!

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This little part of the cabinet jutted out about 1.5 inches, so we just got rid of it. The fridge barely fits, but it works!

4. We purchased the tiles for our backspash! I know, I know, how could we possibly get rid of the ones we had? (See first picture above.) Well, we can’t wait to get those stupid tiles out. And of course, we got our new ones with a 10% discount and used a gift card (thanks, Kathy!) to buy them. So they were practically free!

Now I just have to paint the cabinet doors, mount them, install the microwave, replace the hideous tiles, redo our countertops, replace the linoleum, replace the sink, and I’m finished! With the kitchen, anyway.

At the rate I’m going, that should only take about ten years.

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Finally moved!

We are officially and completely out of our apartment. Our move was spread out over three weeks – from the time we bought the house to when the lease ended for our apartment. I don’t know which is worse – having to pack up an entire house and move across the country in two days, or moving two miles away over three weeks. It felt like it would never end!

Our house is a total mess right now. Most of our big appliances are in the living room, so we can’t function in there yet. We can’t put anything up in the kitchen because we’re starting to paint the cabinets (yay!). Boxes are everywhere. School has started and work is busy, and it’s really hard to get anything done when you’re still moving! Maybe things will finally move along now that we’re finished.

We’ve already sanded down all of our kitchen cabinets. My goal for today is to get some primer on them, and maybe tomorrow I can start painting! Meanwhile, Kurtis is hunting. What a rough life he has! I’m just enjoying that for the first time in my working life, I don’t have to go in on a holiday!

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Dining room makeover

I had big ideas for our dining room. We’re trying to get all the walls painted before we move in, and the dining room couldn’t really be painted without doing the whole project I had planned. So, I started my first real DIY project. I had high hopes but low expectations, if that makes sense. The image in my head was awesome, but I was pretty sure it was going to end up like one of those “Nailed It” pictures on Pinterest. Like this, but imagine a whole house:

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Anyway, this is what our living room looked like before I decided to change it up:

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I had already put tape around the windows and tried out my paint sample when I took these pictures, but the Before wall was a light tan/yellowish. Just not fancy enough. So…I did a lot of work and here’s the AFTER:

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This process was a little tricky, but totally worth it. I found some tutorials online but I ignored them and did my own thing. We bought a $3 miter saw from a pawn shop and I cut out 57 (FIFTY-SEVEN) pieces of trim.

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I painted the walls, then the trim, then used Liquid Nails and real nails to put them up, and painted some more! Just so you know I really did this (and not Kurtis…although he was a slightly helpful assistant), here’s proof:

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As you can see, Marbles was also very helpful.

This whole project cost about $100, but took a few solid days to finish. I am super happy with the results! I probably could have made the extra effort to take a picture without a Cheeto bag and plastic on the floor, but I’m not a professional photographer or anything.

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Sweet deals: appliances

Since we signed our contract, we’ve been on the hunt for great deals on appliances. We knew we’d need a new washer and dryer, and that we’d need to replace the fridge, dishwasher, stove, and microwave in the kitchen. We’ve gone to Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Menard’s in both Cheyenne and Fort Collins to find items on sale. We’ve gone to these stores a few times a week to keep an eye on clearance items. We found out that Lowe’s cuts clearance items by 10% each Friday, and sometimes just talking to the employees will result in an even better discount.

Our first excellent deal was this washer at Lowe’s in Cheyenne:

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It’s a Samsung High Efficiency Front-Load washer that was priced at $719 at the time we went to the store. This was a 10% discount from the normal price of $799. We found one in the back of the store that had a hose replaced because of a leak. The hose was exterior, and there was absolutely nothing wrong with the washer itself. The washer was tagged at over $400 because of this tiny repair (which was already done), but we chatted with an employee long enough that he decided to add a few more discounts. We ended up buying this washer for $295! We saved 67% ($504)! Bonus: they delivered this for free the day after we closed!

Our next two deals were at the Lowe’s in Fort Collins:

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This KitchenAid dishwasher was special ordered by a customer that decided she didn’t like it, and returned it to the store. Since the store doesn’t normally carry this item, it was placed on clearance. The tag said it was discounted from $576, although it’s online right now for $679. There is absolutely no damage to this dishwasher, but we got it for $288! So that’s a 50% ($288) savings, or 58% ($391) according to the website.

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We have an over-the-stove microwave that needed to be replaced. This Whirlpool was on clearance because of a small dent in the top of the microwave. Since this will be installed in the cabinetry, the dent won’t even show. This is normally a $199 microwave, but the tag said it was on sale for $159. We asked the employee if we could have an additional discount, and he brought the price down to $119. All we did was ask! We saved 40% ($80) on this microwave!

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We bought this stove at Home Depot. It’s a ceramic top GE stove that normally costs $549. It was on clearance for $497, and there was an additional 20% off all clearance items. So we bought this for $398. We saved $151! I’m really excited about the flat ceramic top because it’ll be so much easier to keep clean, and it will blend in nicely with the countertops when we give them a makeover.

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Here’s our fridge, which normally costs $999. We paid $640 because it had a couple little dents. As Kurtis keeps saying, they’re nothing that won’t be covered by magnets! So we saved 36% ($359)! And we have the ice dispenser, which I totally wanted. Because making ice is hard.

Finding these deals takes time and patience, but it’s been worth our time since we’re on a budget!

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The deal is done

We bought our house today! We signed our names ten thousand times. Nothing is crazier than someone showing you a piece of paper that says you won’t be out of debt until 2044. That’s like, crazy future.

We had a couple friends over for dinner. We ate on our card table and ordered pizza. We also got cheesecake, but we forgot to bring forks so we ate with our fingers. It was fun, and I’m excited that we’re finally homeowners!

Tomorrow, the painting begins!

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Already making money!

Our realtor let us explore the house today for the last time before we close on Monday. She may have let us copy the key, so we may get to spend the next day and a half cleaning before we actually close. (For some reason, I don’t think the sellers would be upset about that.) She also told us that the housing costs have increased pretty significantly in the last few weeks. So, she said she could sell our house today for $9,000 more than we bought it for! Whoa, big money! After a half second conversation about whether we should just sell it now for a profit, we decided to stick with it. 🙂

Pretty soon I’m going to post about some really awesome deals we’ve found on appliances. I know…exciting!

P.S. I’m thinking about trying a product on our countertops but I’m a little scared. Our countertops are laminate and kind of an off-white color. They’re not pretty. I wanted to replace them, but that costs a million dollars. We even thought about just replacing the laminate and getting a new color, and while that’s much cheaper, it sounds really hard. The edges are curved and I’m not sure how we’d handle putting new laminate on there. But today when we were in Menard’s, I found this: rustoleum

It sounds a little complicated, but totally doable! And for only $165 for our WHOLE kitchen, it would save a ton of money! I’ll have to do some more research, but for now I’m leaning towards trying this out.

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About the house

Here’s a little about our new (to us) house:

  • Built in 1952
  • 2,000 square feet (half main floor, half basement)
  • Two bedrooms, one bathroom, kitchen, dining area, and living room upstairs
  • Two bedrooms, one bathroom, living area, and laundry room downstairs
  • Hardwood floors upstairs
  • Carpet downstairs
  • Attached one-car garage
  • Well irrigated (as long as the well works)

So, with it being an older home, there were several repairs that already had to be made. Those were completed yesterday and we didn’t hear any bad news back! With any luck, the electric is now much less likely to electrocute us, and the plumbing won’t flood our basement anytime soon.

We know there are lots of updates that need to be made, especially since we plan on selling this house (hopefully for a decent profit) in just a few years. Here’s a short list of things we need to do:

  • Paint basically every surface of the house
  • Update all appliances
  • Change the basement windows to egress windows (which will cost about $5000, but should add twice that amount to the value by officially making this a four-bedroom house)
  • Clean or replace all carpet
  • Change or add almost all light fixtures
  • Paint outside trim
  • Make grass grow in the yard (not exactly easy in Wyoming, but we’re hoping the well will help!)

There are a million other projects we want to do, but those are some of the most important that will add value to our house. 

Here are a few of my favorite photos of our lovely house:

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Our front door

 

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The living room (with complementary green curtains…)

 

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Here’s our kitchen (and realtor)…lots of updates to do here!

 

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Our basement looks a little dismal but it’s about 90% finished, unlike all the other houses we saw in our price range. Some fresh carpet and paint will do a lot of good!

 

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The basement bathroom is seriously painted black. And I think they used tile glue to create texture on the walls.

 

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Something may have died here – I’m not sure. I don’t really know where to start in this laundry room! Bleach?

 

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Our garage needs some serious help.

 

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Marbles can’t wait to have his own backyard! We just need some grass and a repaired fence.

 

So there’s your introduction to our house! We’ll have plenty more pictures once we actually close. It looks a little rough right now, but we think we can fix it up!