Tag Archives: diy

DIY “Antiqued” Map

DIY “Antiqued” Map

For some reason, I have found myself falling absolutely in love with all things rustic, antique, and industrial.  Am I getting old?  Or maybe just (finally) gaining some maturity?  Don’t answer that.  Anywhoo, during my (waayy too many) Pinterest scouring sessions, I kept seeing these amazing antique looking maps.  I began to feel kinda like that spoiled brat girl in the Johnny Depp version of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory – “I want one, Daddy!”  The problem was the price.  As much as I was loving the maps, I was NOT loving the prices!  With three active teens and only one “real” income, we just don’t have the cash lying around for a map to hang on the wall.  So, I just figured out a way to make my own.  For about $6.  Yes!

We had a couple of large (49×37) paper maps that were once in the kids’ playroom, back when they were learning states and countries in school.  They probably came from Wal-Mart.  The problem was that they were brightly colored & I wanted more of an antique look.  So, off to Pinterest I went in search of a way to make them look more antique…on a budget….and fast.  Nothing like immediate gratification!


I found tutorials for antiquing paper with tea and/or coffee and figured I couldn’t mess that up too badly.  It was SO easy!  I just took a couple of tea bags and dropped them in 1/2 a mug of hot water.  Once the tea appeared dark enough, I removed the tea bags.  (Actually, I started out rubbing the actual tea bags across the map, but got worried that the little bag would bust and leave tea leaves all over the map.)

IMG_5034  IMG_5035

I swapped the tea bag for a cheapo sponge brush and went to town brushing on tea.  There is no real “wrong” way to do this……I don’t think….  It just depends on what look you are going for.  Once the map dried, which is quite a feat in 100 degrees with insane humidity, the brush marks were just too visible for my taste.  It also wasn’t quite as yellowed as I was wanting.  For the second coat, I decided to put the tea in a spray bottle and spritz the map until it was super wet.  Be REALLY careful trying to move a wet map!  Once the map dried the second time, it was pretty much perfect for me.  Yay!  One other note, I wouldn’t do this on a wooden table.  I did it on a glass patio table.  Your workspace WILL get WET.

Now, how was I going to hang that sucker?  Frames that large are not cheap.  I loved the old school pull-down map look of the tutorial, so I scoured the hubs’ dowel collection.  Too short.  I priced the ones I would need at Lowe’s.  Too expensive ($13!).  So, I asked the hubs about scrap wood.  He had some, but it was more cube shaped and kind of warped.  I went back to Lowe’s and saw some cute bronze café curtain rods on clearance for about $6.  Perfect!  I zipped home, grabbed my map, some clear packing tape, and scissors.  I pulled off short strips of packing tape and cut them in 1/2 so they wouldn’t show over the edge of the café rod. I seriously just stuck the tape to the back of the map & then to the back of the cafe rod.  (You could just put more of the tape on the map if you didn’t feel like dealing with cutting the tape.) Then I just hung the rod with the hangers included in the package and voila!  I have an “antiqued” map!


So far, I love it.  Eventually, I’ll do something with the blankness on the wall to the left side of the map.  Eventually.

It’s 9:30 at night and I use an old iPhone for pics.  Sorry for the quality, but you can kind of see the difference the tea made in the color of the map.


What do you think?  (Other than thinking I need to get a real camera, that is.)


Entry Progress

Entry Progress

Our entry is definitely a work in progress.  It is SMALL and weird, which makes it interesting to decorate.  Especially since I have no set “style” or “taste” in decorating.  I love pretty much everything & every color.  Ugh!  Guess I’ll just have to change it up often!

The entry is shaped like a “T”.  The front door is at the top of the “T” and off to the right, with stairs to the left and the den to the right when you walk in.  The top of the “T” is 12’3″ long, with the den side being 57″wide and the stair side being 39″ wide.  The leg of the “T” is 15’5″ long and 39.5″ wide.  So, it’s a wonky “T”.  Is “wonky” a word?

Anyway, we started with some fabulous 1986 rose colored wallpaper under the chair rail and parquet flooring.  Need a visual?  Here ya go!



Lovely, right?  Not so much.  We hopped on the DIY Wainscoting bandwagon and then put down new laminate flooring when we did the kitchen floors.  SOO much better! We’d still love to paint above the wainscoting, but with the 2 story ceiling, we know we’ll probably have to hire that done.  However, the wall facing the front door has a low ceiling, so I got to thinking.  (Which is dangerous, by the way.)  It was looking a little boring……  Oooh!  time for some STRIPES!  Yep, yep, yep!   I headed out to Lowe’s for some painter’s tape and gray paint.  I knew the stripes HAD to be gray.   I love stripes!  The color is Valspar’s Cathedral Stone.



I had painted some stripes on the wall in our powder room & learned quickly that I did NOT want narrow stripes on this wall.  Waaayyy too much work!  So, I went with 12″ stripes above the chair rail.  That gave me an odd number of stripes, which I just think looks better.  I taped it off & started painting.  Realized I needed more paint.  Ran back to Lowe’s.  Came home and finished the stripes.  I’m just good like that at planning.  🙂



57″ sounds like a lot of space until you try standing in it to take a picture. So, I had to step out onto the porch for the rest.  I added this little game table, but it was just too small.



I hit all the thrift stores in our area for a dresser, because Pinterest told me that was the way to go.  No luck.  Yet.  But, I was able to talk one of my girls out of her dresser so it’s in there now.  I changed the hardware and slapped a lamp on top of it.  It isn’t perfect, but it’s getting there.  If I don’t find a dresser/chest by Spring, I’ll just paint this one.  The idea of which is killing my husband.  “You’re going to PAINT the OAK dresser?!”  “Yes.”  He’ll come around.



The lamp has since been redone (surprise!) with some paint & a slipcover for the lampshade.  I’ll share that another day.  The dresser knobs are now a cool antiquish aqua blue.  The best part (other than the stripes) is how much storage this will give us for lightbulbs, batteries, emergency candles, etc.  (By the way, notice the new laminate floors?  Love!)

Budget Kitchen Before & After (Finally!)

Budget Kitchen Before & After (Finally!)

Oh.My.Word.  I seriously thought this kitchen redo would NEVER end.  Never.  But (for the most part) it has!  Hip, hip, hooray!!  This will be pretty much a picture post.  If you’ve been here before, you know I am NOT a photographer.  If you haven’t been here before……..um, prepare yourself.

The photos may not be much, but the results are amazing.  We did everything ourselves (except put in the gas line for the gas cooktop).  You can read more in-depth posts on the project here.  If you have any questions, please post in comments & I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Here is some lovely “Before” to get you warmed up!

kitchen before 1

Kitchen before 2

Yeah.  That’s probably enough of that.

Now, for some “Afters”!


You can see how much more room we have now!  The actual dimensions of the kitchen are 19′ 1″ x 11′ 4″. The peninsula that once held the dishwasher is gone.  We simply turned the dishwasher sideways and it is SO much better!  The ceiling fan is gone.  WHY would anyone want a CEILING FAN in a kitchen?  Over the stove?!?  I know pendant lighting & chandeliers are all the rage, but I am loving the new flourescent light.  The covered deck is off the kitchen & effectively blocks about 90% of the light that could come in the kitchen windows.  It gets DARK in here, friends.  My cute light over the sink is actually an outdoor light.  We took the cabinets to the ceiling.  SOOO much more storage!  The country blue countertops are now Uba Tuba granite & the backsplash is off-white subway tile.  Love!  The new microwave is a convection.  We swapped the drop in oven unit for a gas cooktop & separate electric convection oven.  Both from Craigslist, as was the microwave.  The flooring was worth the wait!  We searched & searched, talked & talked, and thought & thought about flooring.  One night we were out & dropped in a Home Depot we don’t normally visit.  The guy there was FABULOUS!  We talked with him for about 2 minutes & he walked us over to a pile of flooring boxes.  It was PERFECT!  And it was CHEAP!  Laminate flooring for .99/ft.  You can get it here.  You’re welcome.  At that price, we decided that if anything happened to it, we wouldn’t even cry because we could afford to replace it.


The other side.  Photo-bombed by my adorable assistant.  🙂  You can see the cabinets are to the ceiling here as well.  My fabulous husband built a deeper cabinet over the ugly-but-staying-forever fridge.  It holds my baking stones, cookie sheets, cooling racks, etc.  He also built new drawers in the lower cabinet for plastic containers and pots/pans.  It’s so much easier to reach that stuff now!


Mr. Cuteness is a little bit of an attention hog.  You’ll notice that the shelf that once circled the dining section is gone.  So are those brackets sporting heart-shaped cut-outs.  Yes, I know a lot of people like that style.  I do not.  Nor do I like country blue wallpaper with flowers.  You probably noticed the mismatched chair cushions.  We got rid of the old chairs and brought in the dining room chairs that belonged to my grandmother.  A couple of them had been in use in other rooms & I just haven’t recovered all the seats to match now that they are in the same room.  It’s coming.  As soon as I figure out what fabric I want.

So, that’s our (finally) final before & after on our budget kitchen remodel!  I have some organization and clean out to do.  Once that’s done, I’ll share pics of the inside of our cabinets, pantry, drawers & pull-out by the dishwasher.

Thanks for hanging out with us through the looonnnggg process.

52 Mantels

Summery DIY Tablecloth

Summery DIY Tablecloth

Ever had some super cute fabric that you just looved, but couldn’t figure out what in the world to with it?  I’ve had this adorable flip flop fabric forever, but just couldn’t find the perfect project for it.


As I sat looking at our boring well-used patio table, it came to me.  A tablecloth.  We eat outside A LOT during the spring and summer and for some reason I just really hate to wipe down that table.  The answer – a tablecloth.  We’ve used vinyl tablecloths some in the past, but they too have to be wiped down.  Which is what I’m trying to avoid.  Then I started using some flat sheets, folded in 1/2.  It solved the wiping down issue (throw it in the wash), but wasn’t very cute.  But NOW, I could do cute!

So, I grabbed my tape measure & zipped back out to measure the table.  (That counted as my workout for the day, because the tape measure was in the craft room on the 2nd floor.) 🙂  I measured the diameter of the table & headed back up to measure my fabric.  I had just enough.  To mark the fabric, I first folded it in half, then measured the length and found the center.  Then I stuck a safety pin through my tape measure and pinned it through the fold at the center.  That allowed me to simply move the tape in a semi-circle around the folded fabric and mark the outline of my tablecloth.


Problem.  My fabric was a little narrow.  So, I had to cut it smaller than I wanted, but I figured I could fix that with a border.  Once the fabric was marked & cut, I was ready to use some scrap fabric for the border.  All I needed was the circumference so I would know how much fabric I neeeded, right?  Umm…..I’ve been out of school for a while….and math was never my strong suit.  How do you figure the circumference??!!  No worries, all 3 of our kids received letters saying they qualified for advanced math classes this next school year.  “I’ll ask them”, said the lazy brilliant mom.  “Hey, girls!”  “Yeah?”  “What’s the formula to figure the circumference of a circle?”…….dead silence……  “Girls?”……”Hello?”…….  So, I had to start calling them by name and asking them as individuals.  “I don’t know.”  “Oh, gee, um, well, I think it’s …”  “It could be….Pie R Squared?”  Ooookaaayyyy.  Glad their daddy is a math wiz & can help with homework this year!  So, I went online & got the formula (2PIr).  Taking that number, I was able to figure the length of border fabric I needed.

**Just, please, remember to cut your border fabric LONGER than necessary.  Especially if you have my mad measuring skills!**

I wanted the border about 2 inches wide, so I cut my scrap into 2 1/2 inch strips for seam allowance.  Then, I pinned the devil out of it.  Seriously, when you are putting a straight strip of fabric on a circle, use every last pin you can find!


I pinned, and pinned, and pinned, and …… ran out of fabric.  Great.  THAT is why you cut your strips LONGER than you think you need.  So I grabbed another piece of border scrap, and cut another strip.  I just stuck it on the sewing machine to join it to the other strip & then continued pinning.  Once it was all pinned.  Aaaalllll the way around, I realized I had not hemmed it.  Which is best done BEFORE attaching the border to the circle.  So I UNpinned it.  Gggrrrrr…  Then I decided I didn’t want to hem it, because that was a pain.

Solution…………..2″ wide navy blue ribbon & fabric glue.  I had plenty.  Right?

IMG_2766  IMG_2767

Yeah, the mad measuring skills kicked in & I ended up with a frantic run to Hobby Lobby the next morning for navy ribbon.  They had one roll left.  One.  Thank you, Lord for caring about the small things.

Once all was glued on & REpinned to the circle, I ran it through on a straight stitch.  That’s pretty close to the extent of my awesome sewing abilities.  And here is how my summery tablecloth looks on our well-used table –


You’d think I would have taken the pic from an angle that did NOT include the seam, but oh well.  It’s fun & it saves me from having to wipe the table.

Now to do something with the rest of the deck!

Garage Organization


Welcome, friends!  I hope everyone had a fabulous 4th!  It’s been rainy here, so we did some inside things – including going to see Despicable Me 2.  Loved it!  It’s not as good as the first one, but you just have to love those minions!

The last few months have been project laden.  I know  you can’t really tell due to the lack of posts, but I really have been busy!  My favorite project of all is my newly painted & organized paint supply wall.  I.LOVE.IT!!

I’m the primary painter here & the paint supplies had been tossed on the old (badly slanted) wire shelves haphazardly, as well as scattered in a couple of other places for the 8 years we have lived here.  It was such a pain to try to find everything when I was ready to paint something.  Which is fairly often.  So, I decided enough was enough.

Here’s a semi-before because I forgot to take an actual before.  Sorry.



All that’s really missing is the piles of paint supplies and old, cobweb covered antlers that hubs is saving.  For some reason.


This wall is on my side of the garage & I just REALLY wanted to do something fun and funky.  Stripes kept coming to mind, so I decided to try that.  I used a tape measure and chose random stripe widths.  To keep the lines straight, I used a level and a yard stick.   We had multiple sample jars of paint from various projects, as well as old pegboard and left over adjustable shelving tracks and shelves, so I didn’t have to buy anything for this project.  Yay!!

Here is my fun, funky, organized “after”:



I still need to label the bins, but the sides are clear so I know what’s in them until I get around to doing labels.  It is SOOO much easier to locate my supplies now!  I love it!!  It makes me smile every time I pull into the garage.


Valentine’s Pennant Banner



I love pennants!  Especially strung together in a banner.  They have been quite popular for a while now, but I’ve just been to lazy to try to work them in around here.  Better late than never, right?!?

To give the whole story on this, I should backtrack to Christmas.  I decided to turn an antique mirror frame into a card holder at the front door.  The frame originally went with a dresser that belonged to my great grandmother, but we were not using it.  It fit perfectly over the chair rail in the entry, so I just added some picture hanging wire to the back and chicken wire in the mirror opening.  And there, you have it, a card holder.  Easy peasy!


Took the picture at night.  Sorry about that.

For Valentine’s Day decor, I decided to make a cute pennant banner like I’ve seen all over Pinterest.  For the pennant shape, I just googled “free pennant pattern” and found one I liked.  It looked like this (sorry I don’t remember site).

IMG_1908  IMG_1911

I used the measurement line to cut it down to the size I wanted.  Then it was just a matter of choosing my papers from what I had on hand, tracing the pattern on the back of each paper & cutting everything out.  Once it was cut, I pinned the pennants up to figure out placement and how many I would actually need.


I knew I wanted the word “love” on it & thought I had some stickers in my stash that would work.  No deal.  Oh, I have LOTS of letter stickers, just not the right size.  And I didn’t want to spend any money on this project.  I decided to just print the letters from Word in a font I liked and cut them out.  Of course, I wanted them to be black and my black ink decided to run out.  So, I printed the letters in blue & went over them with a Sharpie before cutting them out and gluing them on the pennants.  A little fuzzy yarn & it’s all done!

IMG_1953      IMG_1955

I added some pics of our girls to fill up the space.  And because they’re cute.  🙂  They have had much fun looking at pics from their younger years!

Sharing this (free) project at 52 Mantels & Little Inspiration.