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Monthly Archives: October 2011

The wallpaper came a-tumbling down

I"ll just call this one a learning experience.

As quickly as it went up, the wallpaper came down. Well, not as quickly, but just as painstakingly long. 1.5 days to go up and 1.5 days to come down. The porn room was a great idea, but the room was too little. PLUS the color photos that I chose had an orange-red 70s style tint, which once completed left me totally limited as to what accessories could be put into the room. I couldn’t take it, no one puts baby in a corner, so I had to take it down. The room is *good now. I’ve done a significant amount of work in it, but it is still a bit “uuuh” ::shrug::. I painted the wall blue, which I like but the painting I put on it makes it feel a little “hotel sterile.” I am comfortable with it now because the “mystery room” is code for “room in waiting.” And what THAT means is that it will probably be a nursery in the next two years so I didn’t want to waste significant time and $$ on a room that will be covered with baby zoo animals and primary colors. My update is an improvement, but it’s not the fun room it could be if it weren’t already taken by someone who doesn’t yet exist.

Even with a darker paint, the room still looks brighter than it did with the light colored book pages. It's all about the *Oomf!*

Porn Room


It's fun and a little racy.

I have a room in my house that I didn’t really know what to do with. I didn’t want a permanent guest room and it was too far away from family areas for an office. So at this point I have decided to call it my porn room, but I’m sure it’s not what you’re thinking.

You see I use to have this book and I loved the pictures. I suppose they were sexy, but I just thought they were fun and light. But now, of course, I don’t really have the lifestyle any longer that calls for fun coffee table books and it’s not like I am going to just pull it out of the bookcase to casually thumb through it. So I decided that maybe I would just use it for the “mystery room.”

This works much better than I expected.


I picked-up some border adhesive because I didn’t think I would need that much (as of now I have to stop because I ran out.). But I got 3/4 of the wall finished before it was empty.

The pictures I chose were the ones that showed the very least. Most of them actually don’t show anything at all, but they’re silly and of course suggestive. You can do this same thing also, but obviously you don’t have to use a pin-up book. A bunch of Dr. Seuss books could wallpaper a wall in a toy room, or even a stack of regular old novels could cover a wall in an office.

I was concerned that the paper would wrinkle because I wasn’t using actual wallpaper.

It's coming along!

I did a couple test pages and left them for a few hours. Even though the pages wrinkled a bit as I was applying them to the wall, they straightened themselves out as they dried to the wall. At this point here is the wall.

It’s hard to tell with the lighting in the picture, but the wall is a bright apricot color. Even though the wall is pretty garish, I originally did it to tone down the color intensity, and it actually worked. Here are a few close-ups of the pictures that I pasted up.



























As you can see, there’s nothing here that would assault most peoples’ sensibilities. But again, you can do this with any book or pages, just make sure you aren’t going to want it back in book form in the next couple of years, because once you put it up there, you’ve sealed the deal (no pun intended….OK maybe it was a little intended).

Mandatory Mailbox Upgrade

Mailbox by the front door.

I got a sweet, little sticky note from our mail lady last week that read “You need to move your mailbox!” As specific as that was, I figured she meant that the previous owners had their mailbox near the front door which caused the postal worker to get out of her car and bring the mail to the door. So mark that as another pain-in-the-ass task on my ever growing list.

So I pulled the mailbox out of the ground and unscrewed the old box from the

Removing the old mailbox.

stand. Then I took off the numbers that seem almost hidden on the stalk (I just made that up, but what else would you call the post rising above the mailbox?).


Then I had nothing left on the mailbox stand and I got to thinking “Boy this sure is plain, and I have a whole lot of spray paint laying around. So I did the only thing a girl could do!



She sure looks sad. A little makeover may cheer her up!



Before I started painting away, I did a little research on mailbox stipulations. The graph below shows the size and placement, but what about the color?!

Legal-type stuff.






I did find some information that said a mailbox, mailbox post (and stalk) could be any color you want. AND I also learned the mailbox flag doesn’t have to be red. It just can’t be any shade of yellow, green, blue or brown- which is pretty much saying it has to be red. Orange and purple are apparently also permissible.

I had bought a grey mailbox for about $15 and assembled it in about 5 minutes. I painted my stand, nailed the numbers on the stalk and screwed on my new mailbox. I eyeballed my neighbors mailboxes and dug a hole to match their height and distance from the road. And voila, my new mailbox!

Now she's the belle of the boxes!

Bins and Found Storage

I love being organized, but sometimes it’s much easier to throw everything in a bin. Honestly, I am a very patient person, but even I will lose it when I attempt to make rhyme or reason out of a pile of stuffed animals. So for the stuff you really don’t care about, there is no shame in tossing it in a bin and forgetting about it.

My secret caffeine addiction. Now the world knows what I am hiding.

My little bins are colorful and fun. If I am going to be lazy about storage then I may as well semi-enjoy the way it looks. This is an amazing storage area that I have, but I know most kitchens don’t come with such deep cupboards. The good news is that bins come in all shapes and sizes. You may have to make a trip to Target or (God forbid) Wal-Mart, but they have thin, short, wide containers that can fit any space. I hate to ever advocate spending money, but if spending money saves sanity then by all means shell-out that $12 for 40 gallon storage bin.

My cabinets just so happen to fit oval bins that I originally bought as coolers for my daughter’s birthday party this summer, so I didn’t have to spend any extra money. I used what I had and you can do the same! Whether it’s washing out an empty butter container to hold hair ties or wrapping some decorative paper around a baby formula canister to house pencils (seriously, ask my coworkers and they will confirm that I have one on my desk) low-cost storage is all around, it’s just a matter of taking items out of context and thinking of them as multi-purpose tools.

And don’t even get me started on all of the things that you can do with a flatware divider! You could use it to keep jewelry organized in a bathroom drawer or hang it on the wall by the door to hold keys, cell phones and other easy to lose items. The possibilities for all of these random plastic do-dads are limitless.


Dressed-down Windows

Nothing improves the look of a room like light. Allowing light to enter can turn the darkest den into a welcoming study, or a moody 17-year-old’s room into…well, a BRIGHTER, moody 17-year-old’s room. Either way, the point is that light transforms space, but it’s hard for us to think outside the box when it comes to window treatments. Drapes, valances, shades– all of our go-to window decor blocks that precious element; however, there is a way around it. (Of course there’s a way around it, did you think I would drone on about a problem and not have a viable solution? Well I would, but not this time.).


Hooray for Window Film! I know what you’re thinking, but this isn’t your

How freakin' fun is that?

grandma’s window film– this is modern, easy to adhere and (if you so desire) colorful. It allows valuable light to come in without leaving your window naked and sad.


Because this is such a simple look AND it’s so easy to pull off, it’s really easy to get carried-away… but please don’t. Fun and novel ideas only work when they aren’t overused. If you see a cool window film on the front door and then another neat one on the kitchen window, that’s acceptable because there is enough space to balance it out. But when you have it on the front door, the kitchen windows, in both bathrooms and throughout the living room, it’s pretty clear that you had one (and only one) awesome idea that you repeated ad nauseam.

If you are going to repeat this trend in your house, feel free to mix it up a bit! I plan to use a film on a tiny window by my front door because the window is

Fancy Schmancy.

so little that any other treatment would swallow it whole. I can’t say I plan to use something as garish as this one on the right, but I guarantee that when executed correctly this film could look killer!



I also plan to put one in my upstairs bathroom. The bathroom has only one window and I am sure not covering it up with fabric. Plus, there’s something about a permanent fabric in the bathroom that always grossed me out. Maybe because we wash our towels and bathmats regularly, but rarely do we launder our curtains (Am I right? Or am I the only gross one here?).

Pretty and Private.


In the bathroom I plan to use something a little toned-down such as this one to the left. If my bathroom was going to be white then maybe I’d rethink that decision, but I’m planning on some bright orange action on the walls, so I better play it safe with everything else.


Whether you use this or not, it’s always an easy, cheap and temporary option for keeping light in and voyeurs out.

Toile (twäl) on my Wall.

I just got home from Douglas & Son in Kalamazoo. They are having a sale with 10% off paint and wallpaper. PLUS wallpaper usually has a 10%-20% discount as it is. The women there are so helpful and energetic; it’s like they couldn’t wait to hear about my ideas for my room. Well, now that I’m home I am second guessing my choices. OF COURSE I had to fall for an expensive wallpaper that has to be shipped over from Europe and costs about $100 a roll (and that’s WITH the discounts). I was almost OK with spending that much money, but I wanted to show the other bedroom inhabitant (Kyle) a sample to see what he thinks.

To his credit he did preface his statement with “You know everything that you do that I doubt in the beginning I end up liking,” And he went on to say “but I’ve never been a big wallpaper fan and I think we should just paint.” Absolutely not the news I wanted to hear. Again, if he would have said “Awesome! Let’s do it.” (He would never actually say that, it’d be more like “Cool, O.K.”…but I digress) that would justify the huge expense. OR if he would say that he didn’t like it and it only cost $30 then I’d say “Whatever, we can try it and if we don’t like it we can tear it down.”

But it’s expensive and a risk. I was suppose to call the store tomorrow and give them a definitive answer, now I think I will be telling them that I have to drag in my nay-saying boyfriend to see the wallpaper first hand. I want him to enjoy the room too, but if he knows that he always ends up liking the things that I choose, then why couldn’t he have just lied and pretended it was great? If I end up painting this room, I will be sorely disappointed.



Definition: Toile  is a type of pattern consisting of a usually light background on which a  repeated pattern depicting a fairly complex scene, generally of a pastoral theme such as (for example) a couple having a picnic by a lake.



Toiles also often consist of an arrangement of flowers. The pattern portion consists of a single color, most often black, dark red, or blue.


Here some examples of toile wallpaper and a couple rooms that use it. None of these are my exact pattern or color (mine is lavender), but the patterns are all very similar, especially from far away.






As you can see it’s very easy to go overboard with toile, my plan was to do one wall. Scratch that, my plan IS to do one wall.


All Wrapped Up (and no place to go)

I have been organizing like nuts! All of the little boxes and caddies that fit so perfectly in the old house don’t seem fit for the new house. I decided to go old school on rearranging my little ditties (at least for the time being). By “old school” I mean using shelves and drawers without spacers or pretty boxes. Coming from ME, captain organizer and master/commander of backup plans, this is pretty radical… but I digress.

Now that I have said “no” to all of my containers, there isn’t much left to give my spaces spunk. 

So I decided to take it back even OLDER school (yeah, I make up things like that all of time time.). Shelf liner. I know everyone knows what it is, but many people don’t use it. I only used it in the kitchen for the longest time because, honestly, it’s $2 for maybe 3 yards of the cushy stuff and it’s hard to find any cute prints that aren’t cushy.

O.K., so I haven't TOTALLY given up containers, but these bath toys aren't going to contain themselves.

But I found a way around it– wrapping paper. I’m sure you have heard before, “High quality wrapping paper makes great shelf liner.” But if you’re going to buy high quality wrapping paper then you might as well just shell out that same amount for cushy shelf paper. The thing of it is though, it doesn’t have to be high quality.

We all know about Target. (Right?) You know the trap they set for you right when you walk in and you can get a pair of Valentine’s Day socks or a lunchbox for only $1? Well you can usually get wrapping paper there too. $1 for about 10 feet of wrapping paper is killer, and you can use it on more than one room. OR even better, you have enough money to buy more than one design and switch it up in every room.

Glossy is of course the best because items can slide over it easier without snagging, because, what good is a bargain if it doesn’t work well?

So far I have no complaints. And for everyone who has received a gift from me in the past couple weeks; I didn’t just give you: (1) a tea set (2) an autographed baseball (3) a crazy, unknown item at Bed Bath and Beyond that was on your registry to I just bought it; I ALSO got you shelf paper, so (1) Congratulations (2) I’m thinking of you (3) Have fun on your honeymoon.

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