Preparing for Holiday Houseguests

by Dinah Wulf

Holiday Guest Preparation (2)

Thank you to BISSELL for sponsoring today’s post, Cleaning and Preparing for Holiday Guests.

The holidays are approaching quickly! That means I have seven of my family members flying in to stay with us SOON! I admit; I have been prepping for a while. With decorating, cleaning, grocery shopping and preparing, it never seems to end.  I decorated the house more than I usually do as well.

Holiday Guest Preparation (1)

Since there will be ten of us staying at our house, I wanted to make sure everything was SUPER clean. I changed all the sheets, cleaned all the floors, and scrubbed our three bathrooms and toilets. You get the picture. My MAIN concern however was my daughter’s carpet in her bedroom because two of her cousins will have to sleep on the floor. I thoroughly vacuumed and swept, and cleaned the hardwood. There were some stains on the carpet, so I thought I would do a deep clean with my BISSELL Upright Deep Cleaning Machine and use the Scotchgard Protector Carpet Cleaning Solution for the first time.

Preparing for Holiday Houseguests

I started by vacuuming and getting the loose dirt and debris. Then, I used a pretreatment formula on some of the stains as well.

Cleaning and Preparing for Holiday Guests

Since it was my first time using the machine, I followed the quick step guide as I went along. I am no stranger to carpet steam cleaners, and I had to mention that the tank for this cleaner is the perfect size. It fits beautifully under our small bathroom sink. I’ve had issue before with other steam cleaners where you had to inconveniently and awkwardly fill the tank in the tub.

A Season for Scotchgard Protector (1)

Holy moly! I thought I was clean but this was ridiculous!

Apparently I need to a) learn how to vacuum better, or b) buy a new vacuum, because not only did the BISSELL Upright Deep Cleaning Machine and Scotchgard Protector Carpet Cleaning Solution clean my carpet brilliantly, but I picked up so much loose dirt and dog hair. I would show you a picture but it is too embarrassing!!! The machine was easy to clean after I used it as well.

Here are a couple after photos.

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It looks brand new! I also did the large area rug in our Master bedroom as well.

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I highly recommend trying it out. I feel so much better about the kids playing and sleeping on this carpet now!

More About the BISSELL Deep Cleaning Formulas with Scotchgard Protector

I tried and recommend:

BISSELL ProHeat 2X® Premier 47A23 Upright Deep Cleaner

BISSELL Scotchgard ™ Protector solutions

Scotchgard Protector works by placing a barrier on the surface of fibers to protect against future stains.  Even if your carpets weren’t treated from the start, you can help build in some protection using BISSELL deep cleaning formulas with Scotchgard Protector.

BISSELL upright carpet cleaning formulas that include Scotchgard Protector have the substance formulated in, so as you clean your carpet you can also protect it from becoming stained in the future. This stain-protecting substance pushes liquids away from the base of carpet fibers. This means that when you have a spill, the liquid will stay at the surface longer so you have time to clean it up before the carpet is seriously damaged.

Here’s a coupon code to receive a discount off Scotchgard Protector formulas (expires 7/31/15).

BISSELL Coupon

Thank you to BISSELL for sponsoring today’s post!

DIY Wreath Hanger Tutorial

by Dinah Wulf

Repurposed Wire Hanger

I was decorating the house the other day and I needed a simple way to hang a wreath on the mirror over my mantel. I had a regular wreath hanger you can buy at the store, but it was too long. It hung too far down the mirror. Like a dork, I attempted to tape it up and they fell…duh! But you know, I was decorating all day and I wanted quick fix.  So, I sat and stared at it for a minute or two. I grabbed a wire hanger and made a quick DIY wreath hanger. I just thought I would share this super easy tip with you!

All you need is:

  • Wire hanger
  • Wire cutter

 

Step One:

Cut the top of the hanger as shown with a pair of wire cutters.

Repurposed Wire Hanger Idea

Step Two:

Straighten the hanger as best as possible into a straight line. It doesn’t have to be perfect.  Grab the middle and fold it in half.

Step three:

Make an “S” shape, squaring out the back so that the curved part is the hanger, and the ends of the hanger are the back.

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Repurposed Wire Hanger (1)

Hang your wreath! That’s it! It was so quick and easy and I didn’t have to spend a dime.

DIY Wreath Hanger Tutorial

Need some Christmas projects to inspire you?

Playhouse DIY Mini Makeover

by Dinah Wulf

Playhouse DIY Mini Makeover

I am proud to be a 3M- sponsored blogger, and, as part of my responsibilities, I get the opportunity to evaluate products from 3M DIY. Opinions are my own and additional product used in the project were selected by me.

My daughter has a large playhouse on the side of our home that needed a little TLC.  I didn’t want to spend too much time and money on this project, so I decided on giving it a mini makeover to make it a little more appealing and inviting. With a little imagination and some thrift store finds, I was able to complete this project over a weekend. First, here are the three key materials I used for this Playhouse DIY Mini Makeover. They were honestly lifesavers and helped make this project so quick and easy!

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Materials:

  • Hose, soap, and Water
  • Exterior Paint
  • Paint Brushes
  • Small Wooden Flower Boxes
  • Mailbox (reimagined)
    • Thrift store find
    • Wooden letters
    • Paint
    • Paintbrush
    • Metal ribbon
    • Scissors
    • Glue
  • ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape
  • ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape Exterior Surfaces
  • Scotch® Extreme Mounting Tape

The first thing I did was power wash the house. I had to scrub it down with soap and water.  I cleaned it as best I could, however was unable to remove all the chalk paint that was an unfortunate mishap from a previous playdate!

Once the playhouse was dry, I taped off the windows and trim with ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape Exterior Surfaces.

I hand painted all the window and door trim with white exterior paint.

Scotch Blue Tape

For the flower boxes and mailbox, I used Scotch® Extreme Mounting Tape. This worked PERFECTLY! Let me tell you 3 main reasons why:

  1. It’s all weather and works for outdoor use.
  2. My flower boxes and mailbox are all light weight. For every two inches of tape, it holds one pound.
  3. The mounting tape allowed me to mount all of it without having to use nails through the very thin playhouse walls.

For the flower boxes, I found premade boxes at the craft store, which I painted white.

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Artificial flowers worked well inside because a) the don’t weigh down the boxes, and b) they are easy to rinse off and clean…oh! AND they are pretty too!

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For the mailbox, I found this for a few dollars at Goodwill.

Thirft store transformation

I painted part of it white, and added “MAIL” in wooden letters.

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I found metal ribbon trim, removed the old trim and replaced it with the new trim. I attached it with industrial strength glue and used ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape to hold it in place overnight.

Playhouse Mailbox DIY (3)

Once the glue was dry, I used Scotch® Extreme Mounting Tape.

Outdoor Mounting Strips 3M

It attached to the house with ease.

Playhouse Mailbox DIY (1)

Here are a few before and after photos! I loved the way it turned out!

 

Playhouse Before and After Photos (2)

Playhouse Before and After Photos (3)

Playhouse DIY Mini Makeover

Thank you to 3M DIY for sponsoring this post!

 

Many, Many, Many More DIY Inspired Ideas!

My MyFixItUpLife Interview: Design for Poop?

by Dinah Wulf

MyFixItUpLife

Who knew I could talk about poop for 20 minutes? Yes. Poop. I had the honor of being interviewed by Mark from MyFixItUpLife.  I was so nervous about this at first, but after we started I felt so comfortable and it came pretty easy to me…thanks goodness!

The hosts, Mark and his wife, Theresa have a weekly radio talk show and a daily YouTube show. They are licensed contractors; contribute to DIY Network, Food Network, This Old House, Men’s Health, Old House Journal, Extreme How-To, and more.

Joining me on the panel was Jeanine Hays from AphroChic. She and her husband, Bryan are experts at design that embraces culture and the unique admixture of the traditional and the contemporary that helps to define us all. Jeanine and Bryan have been featured on Good Morning America, and in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Washington Post, Elle Decor, EBONY and more.

Also on the panel, is HGTV designer Genevieve Gorder!!! I LOVE her! I recall recording every single episode of Dear Genevieve a few years ago. Genevieve designs for her new series Genevieve’s Renovation. You can also catch her on Dear Genevieve, HGTV Star, A Hero’s Welcome Home, and hosting HGTV’s White House Christmas Specials.

In this interview, we’re tackling the much under-talked about design dilemma: How do you design for litter boxes and diaper pails? We’re asking the question: When it comes to litter boxes and diaper pails, where do you put the poop without compromising design?

So, without further ado…let’s talk poop…

You can also catch this interview on Google+ and BlogTalk Radio.

Check out MyFixItUpLife on YouTube and the MyFixItUpLife blog for more ideas and inspiration. Thank you to Mark and Theresa for having me and thank YOU for watching!

Camping Ideas and Tips

by Dinah Wulf

Happy Friday! With summertime well underway, I thought I’d put together a list of helpful checklists, camping ideas and tips, DIY hacks and ideas, games, crafts, and tasty treats from some fabulous fellow Bloggers.

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Here we go!

 

Check Lists and Camping Tips: Checklists, tips, and tricks to help prepare you for a successful and safe family vacation.

 

DIY: Budget-friendly upcycled ideas for outdoor lighting.

 

Games/Activities: Fun games and activities the whole family can enjoy outdoors.

 

Craft Ideas: Craft ideas to keep the kiddos busy and spark their creativity.

 

Tasty Treats: Easy to make finger foods to help make your trip extra special.

Tips for Painting a Wall from Dark to Light

by Dinah Wulf

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I am so honored to be sponsored by 3M DIY today! As you may know, I spend so much time in my craft room. It’s painted a beautiful dark blue, which I love, however I felt that it was too dark with all four walls painted blue.  I decided to paint one of the walls a bright white to help enhance the natural light. Here are my Tips for Painting a Wall from Dark to Light.

Here is a photo of my craft room wall before.

Tips for painting a wall dark to light

Materials:

Instructions:

Prepare your surface. First remove all hardware. Using sand paper, sand any bumps or blemishes.

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3M offers a variety of Painter’s tape to help you with any DIY Project. I chose to use the Safe-Release tape. After you apply your tape to the area that you would like protected, use your fingers to press down and smooth over the tape to prevent bleeding.

 

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Protect your floor with a drop cloth. I have the Scotch Blue Heavy Duty Non-Slip Drop that is durable, light weight, and easy to clean so that you can reuse it.

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Once you have prepared your wall and workspace, you are ready to paint. I chose an interior latex high hiding primer. It’s great for changing drastic dark colors to lighter colors.

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Using an angled paint brush, I started by priming the edges first as shown. An angled brush will help maintain smooth lines.

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Next, I primed the rest of the wall using a short roller brush. Depending on the area you are painting, you may opt for a longer roller.

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I primed the entire area in two coats, allowing it to dry for two hours in between coats. This is a photo of my second coat.

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Next, Paint your wall with the desired lighter color. I chose a bright white. I was able to only use one coat of paint. Once the paint is dry, remove the painter’s tape. Look at how clean my lines were!

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Here is another AFTER photo! I love how it turned out. The natural light in my craft room is so much better.

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I am proud to be a 3M- sponsored blogger, and, as part of my responsibilities, I get the opportunity to evaluate new products from 3M DIY. Opinions are my own and additional product used in the project were selected by me. You can also visit 3M DIY on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook!

Guest Room Etiquette and Preparation for Visitors

by Dinah Wulf

Having overnight visitors in your home can be both stressful and exciting. There are three things to keep in mind for proper etiquette and preparation; preparing the room, providing necessities, and adding special touches. With these three Guest Room Etiquette and Preparation for Visitors tips in mind, you are sure to have a fun and stress free visit.

Prepare your guest room by making sure it is clean and has typical hotel-like conveniences. The less clutter the better, keeping the décor to a minimal. Make sure the sheets and pillows are clean and smell fresh. Low lighting is best for a comfortable spa-like feel. Create storage space and clear dresser tops and drawers for your guest’s toiletries and other belongings. Add a bench or stool at the foot of the bed to hold a suitcase or to create an area to remove shoes or to change. I made this one! Be sure to have an accessible outlet for your guests to charge their cell phones or laptops.

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Provide some necessities that your guests may have forgotten. Clear out a top dresser drawer or nightstand drawer and add paper, pens, and other desk supplies for your guests to use freely. Make sure there are extra hangers in the closet and room for your guests to hang their clothes. During colder seasons make sure to provide extra blankets and pillows. They can easily be stored at the top shelf of a closet or under the bed. If you have an accessible bathroom for your guests make sure there are extra bath towels, hand towels, and washcloths.

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You can also provide a hairdryer, extra toilet paper, extra toothpaste or toothbrushes, Q-tips, razors, soap, and shampoo as well.

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It’s the extra added touches that make the bests hosts/hostesses. Make your guests feel pampered by providing a few unexpected goodies. Fresh flowers on a nightstand next to some night stand essentials like candy, an alarm clock, reading light, and tissues is a nice touch. Consider leaving books and magazines for light reading or maps with marked local restaurants or rental car services.

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Go the extra mile and write down suggestions for local activities, flea markets, festivals, or concerts. On top of the dresser create a small area for bottled water and easy to grab snacks like granola bars, candies, gum, or peanuts.

These small considerations and thoughtful touches go a long way. With these three ideas in mind, your guests are sure to feel a warm welcomed in your home. In case you missed it, here’s is my guestroom paint makeover as well as an upcycled headboard I made from a painting.

How to Decorate with Ribbon

by Dinah Wulf

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Adding special personal touches and details to your décor is what sets it apart from the rest. Decorating with ribbon is a great way to achieve that uniqueness. There are so many beautiful textures, colors, and patterns of ribbon available to make it easy for you to choose a style to fit your décor to add a little decorative adornment. You can add personality and style by simply adding ribbon to gifts and home décor like cards, artwork, pillows, and even furniture. Here are some Tips and Inspiration for How to Decorate with Ribbon.

First, decide on a project. Ribbon can be used for projects both large and small. You can embellish a small item as a gift like a homemade card, a cloth napkin, or piece of framed artwork. Ribbon is a great way to add continuity and design to a room if you would like to introduce a specific color or pattern to your décor. Large projects would include adding accents to curtains, trim around tables, or pizazz to upholstered chairs. Start with one small room like a bathroom or guest room to experiment. Bright and colorful patterned ribbon is great for accenting kid’s rooms.

Here’s a before and after of a lampshade for a little girls room.

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Next, measure how much ribbon you need. Ribbon comes in both spools or by the yard. For large projects, take your measurements before you go to the store and only buy what you need. Consider using fabric scraps to embellish jewelry boxes, lamp shades, and other small projects. I added trim to a forty-two inch pedestal table using less than one spool of ribbon. Left over ribbon can be used to decorate a matching vase and votive candles for the table top.

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Lastly, select your materials and method of attachment. There are several options in attaching ribbon to your projects. Besides sewing it to fabric, glue, fusible web or double sided tape made especially for fabric works well too. Fusible web is used by heating it with an iron. It is permanent and washable. Similar to tape, it comes in rolls, in various widths, and can be found in light, medium, and heavy weights. If you are attaching ribbon to fabric, make sure it is clean and washed prior to application.

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As you can see, ribbon is not just for wrapping pretty gift packages; rather it is much more versatile. Crafting and decorating with ribbon elevates an ordinary piece and turns it into a custom one of a kind upcycled treasure.

How to Repair a Broken Mirror Frame

by Dinah Wulf

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Five months ago I got an amazing deal on two mirrors at Home Goods.  They were in the clearance section because they were damaged.  One frame retailed for $120 and I got it for $8 and the other retailed for $80 and I got it for $12. I made over the former into a two toned metallic mirror that I hang in my stairway. The latter, was little bit harder, hence me procrastinating doing this project!  I kinda-sorta figured it out. I say “kinda-sorta” because it’s not perfect by any means!  So without further ado, here is how to repair a broken mirror frame (more or less…ha!)

Materials:

  • Broken frame
  • Glue
  • Clamp
  • Bondo body filler
  • Sand paper
  • Newspaper
  • Painter’s tape
  • Primer
  • Spray paint

Here is the mirror BEFORE… great deal for $12, right?

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Here is a close up of the damage.

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I used a clamp to hold it together and put some glue in the damaged area in hopes it would help hold it together.  I let it dry completely.

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Next I added Bondo body filler, to shape and mold the missing frame.

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Once it is dry, use sand paper to sand it down and shape it.  This was the hardest part.  Mine isn’t perfect, but it looks much better.

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Next I covered the mirror with newspaper and painter’s tape.

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I first decided to prime it because of the dark color and the imperfections.

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Lastly, after about a half hour of drying time I spray painted it gold.  I used about three coats allowing five minutes to dry in between coats.

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Much better! Here are a couple AFTER photos. I think I’m going to hang it in my master bedroom… but the light is better in here for a photo ;)

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The Right Height to Hang Shelves

by Dinah Wulf

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Since we have painted and upgraded the house a little, I have been very careful with making the right choices for hanging things on my walls.   In case you are wondering, yes those are some of my Halloween decorations above, not my everyday decorations…ha! I did an online search for guidelines for the right height to hang shelves the other day.  In my research I found the eHow gave me the best advice.  I thought it was valuable so I thought I’d pass it on!

General Guidelines I learned:

  1. For hanging shelves above a couch, measure 10” above the back of the couch.
  2. For hanging shelves on a hallway wall, measure up from the floor 5-6 feet.
  3. For hanging shelves on a dining room or living room wall, measure up from the floor 4-4.5 feet.

What You Will Need:

  • Level
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil

I started by measuring the width of the wall space and the width of the shelf.  I wanted it centered so I subtracted the shelf width (from the screw holes) from the wall width and divided by 2.  The remainder is the distance between the ends the shelf and the wall. I also measured 4.5 feet from the floor.

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With the help of my husband, I had him hold the shelf in place while I used a free level app on my iPhone to make sure the shelf was straight. I used a pencil to mark where the screws should be placed and screwed in the first (bottom) shelf.

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For the second shelf, I had in mind what knick knacks I wanted to put on top of it, and decided on placing it 16 inches above the second shelf. Again, I used the level to make sure it was straight.

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Take-Aways:

  • Download a free level app; it’ll make your project much easier.
  • In my opinion, the general measurement guidelines above were perfect!

DIY Repairs: Yes You Can!

by Dinah Wulf

DIY Repairs Guest Post Written By: Liz Becker

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By now you know all about the concept of one man’s trash being another man’s treasure. It applies to everything from the slightly (or maybe even very) banged up stuff you find on curbs and in thrift shops. It applies even to things like wood pallets. If you know what you’re doing, you can even use this philosophy on your own appliances.

For example: that antique refrigerator that you love? You inherited it from a grandparent. It adds so much character to your kitchen…but lately it’s been misbehaving and you’re worried that you might have to toss it and go with something mass produced.

Wait!

Instead of sending it to fridge heaven, why not repair it? With the right tools and guidance you can do everything from giving the thing a thorough cleaning to installing the specialty coils you need to keep the machine running properly in spite of its age.

Before you throw out anything of character, do the following things:

1. Give it a thorough cleaning and scrubbing. Continuing with our refrigerator example, defrost the freezer and scrub down the inside and the outside. That wall of ice that builds up in the freezer? It can cause both the freezer and the refrigerator to malfunction. It can freeze the machine’s motor in place.

2. Take off the “casings” of your fridge and freezer. Make sure, obviously, that the machine is unplugged and then unscrew the linings from the machine’s frame. Unscrew any Styrofoam that might be covering the fan. Clean both sides of these linings and the Styrofoam and let it dry completely. While it dries, thoroughly inspect every piece that has been exposed to make sure that there is no ice, mold or other buildup in the workings of the machine.

3. If you do find ice, you can use hot water to help melt it safely. Then let everything dry.

4. While you’re waiting for the inside of the machine to dry, inspect the back. Make sure that the refrigerator coil is clean and intact. Inspect every inch for wear and tear and make sure that its connections are installed correctly. If it looks old or like it might be wearing down, you can order new specialty coils to replace it.

5. Scrub the drain pan clean before you put everything back together.

IMPORTANT: Do not mess with the Freon yourself unless you are actually trained to do so. No, seriously, just don’t. Yes it will be tempting to tinker with it but resist that temptation. You don’t want to accidentally render the entire machine useless (and potentially hurt yourself too). If your fridge’s Freon is the problem, hire a professional repair person to fix the machine and return it to working order.

You can use the DIY repair approach with most things in your home: your air conditioner, your stove or oven, etc. Be careful with heating machines, though—you don’t want to accidentally set anything on fire!

DIY Repairs Guest Post Written By: Liz Becker

Photo Source

Creating a Spa-like Zen in Your Bathroom

by Dinah Wulf

This article, Creating a Spa-like Zen in Your Bathroom is sponsored by hello. All opinions are 100% my own.

Having a clean, organized, and spa-like bathroom is really important to me.  This is because: 1) there is a peace to my morning routine that I love because my husband and I start our day talking while we get ready, and 2) I’m in there a lot because I LOVE to indulge in bubble baths.  Besides craft time in my craft room, a bubble bath in the tub is my ultimate sanctuary.  There are five things that I do to achieve this Zen-like feel.

Lots of Candles

Nothing says “spa” like several candles.  Surround your tub with different sizes and heights.

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Use White Towels

Every spa I’ve been to uses white towels.  They represent cleanliness and purity.

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Oral Care Products I Like and Support

Hello is the first line of seriously friendly oral care. I personally endorse hello because they are Earth-Friendly Products.  All the products are made in the USA using naturally derived ingredients wherever possible, while delivering the experience people want. Their products are never tested on animals.  Also, the toothbrushes are made with 50% recycled materials.

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Decorate with Shells and Other Natural Elements

Shells and other natural elements remind me of being at a tropical getaway.

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Hang Serene Artwork

Speaking of a tropical getaway, hang serene photos or artwork in your bathroom to help you relax.  I bought these in Hawaii from a local Photographer.

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Hello on Facebook

Take $1.00 off any hello toothpaste, mouthwash or breath spray. To access the coupon, “like” hello on Facebook and then click on the “coupons” box under the “like” button. Coupons are limited to one per person.

I wanted to give a big THANK YOU to hello for sponsoring this post!

How to Paint Stripes on a Wall

by Dinah Wulf

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I’ve wanted to paint stripes on, my daughter, Mia’s wall for the longest time. Thanks to 3MDIY.com, who sponsored this post, I was able to do so! 

Initially, I was worried about bleeding, because I have painted many walls in the past and have had issues.  Believe it or not, I managed to paint PERFECT stripes with ZERO bleeding! Woo hoo! With that said, here is my tutorial on how to paint stripes on a wall.

Before we start, here is a 90 second video I did for 3 awesome tips for painting perfect wall stripes.

Materials:

For Holes:

  • 3M Sandblaster
  • 3M Patch Plus Primer
  • Putty knife

To Paint:

  • Paint
  • Paint brush
  • Paint roller
  • Paint pan
  • Step Stool
  • ScotchBlue heavy duty non-slip drop

For Stripes:

  • ScotchBlue™™ Painter’s Tape
  • Pencil
  • Yardstick
  • Level
  • Credit Card

Protective Gear:

  • Safety glasses
  • 3M face mask

Here is Mia’s wall BEFORE.

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Instructions:

First, patch any holes using 3M Patch Plus Primerand a putty knife.  Sand the hole smooth with sand paper.  Next, using a yardstick and pencil measure the distance between stripe width across the wall.  My stripes were 13” apart on an 8’ wall.

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Use a level and a straight edge to ensure straight lines.

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Apply the ScotchBlue™™ Painter’s Tapeand create your lines, using your pencil marks as a guide.

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Use a credit card or a clean putty knife and apply pressure to the painter’s tape to ensure the tape is flush to the wall to prevent bleeding.

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Tip: When painting stripes, I marked arrows with a pencil to ensure there were no mistakes on which stripe to paint.  This helps especially if other people are helping you.

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Use a paint brush to paint the exterior of the stripes. Use a paint roller to fill in the middle of thick or wide strips.

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Peel off your painter’s tape and see perfect stripes!

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Here are a couple AFTER photos.

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This post is a collaboration with 3M DIY. To keep up-to-date on projects, products and sampling visit 3MDIY.com.  Connect with 3MDIY on 3M DIY Facebook Page and 3M DIY Twitter Page!

Choosing the Right Paint Color

by Dinah Wulf

Painting A Room DIY Inspired (6) (560x420)

Having the right furniture in a room is a big step in the overall feel of a room.  Is the furniture warm, comfortable and inviting or is it contemporary and rigid and sterile?  Either way, what you put in the room makes up part of the way that you connect emotionally to a room and whether you like spending time in that space or not.  But the furniture and pieces that you fill a room with is only part of the overall experience.  What you put on the walls and ceiling is just as important.  Here are some tips of choosing the right paint color.

Why go with a boring off white or eggshell when you can put some real color on those walls, and what about the ceiling?  The ceiling doesn’t have to be plain white; plain white is well… just plain boring.  So when you decide to use some color, how can you decide which color or colors to use?  Of course it is all up to personal taste and just how adventurous you are, but there are some ways you can narrow down the search.  To pick out the right color, you just have to get into the right state of mind.

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  1.  Pick out a color from a piece in the room.  This can be a pillow or a piece of living room furniture or even a piece of art that will become the focal point of the room.  Once you narrow the color down, find the appropriate pallet to work with for accent and complimentary colors.  Nobody ever said all four walls had to be the same color.  A quick trip to the paint store or the home improvement store will help you with that part.
  1. What is the room going to be used for?  Is it a bedroom or a game room?  Knowing how the space will be used is a great way to narrow down your search.  For a bedroom you are going to want relaxing, muted colors that bring about a sense of calm and relaxation.  Of course calm and relaxing isn’t how everybody wants their bedroom to feel and it is always up to individual tastes as to what they want the room to feel like. 
  1. Ask for some ideas.  I know, doing any project can be stressful and sometimes bringing in the opinions of the significant other is a dangerous game, but they may have some real insight and opinions that should be discussed ahead of time. Ask like I did last week when I needed help deciding what to do with my thrift store finds!
  1. Try it out.  Get a sample can and put it up on the wall.  Live with it for a few days and see how it feels. 

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Picking out the right color is one of the aspects of finishing a room that many people struggle with, but there is one thing to keep in mind…you can always change it.  That’s what is so great about painting a room.  But, most of us want to find that perfect color, that perfect design that can be enjoyed for years to come.  Yes, painting a room is one of the simpler ways to change its look, but it still involves a fair amount of work. 

How to Make a Photo Strip Collage

by Dinah Wulf

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Last year, my 2 year old daughter was messing around with my iPhone.  She took several pictures of herself making goofy faces without even knowing it.  These pictures turned out so cute that I ended up making a photo strip collage of them and using it as my Facebook profile picture.  My husband thought this was the best picture ever and kept it as his computer desktop picture for months.  He said it always makes him smile.  With his birthday that just past in May, I decided to print the photo on canvas and give it to him as a birthday present.  Since doing this, I thought I’d share how to make a photo strip collage.

I used a free website called iPiccy to make the collage.  First, go to www.ipiccy.com and click “start editing”.

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Next click “upload photo” and load all the photos you would like to use for your collage.

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Once your files are uploaded, click “photo collage”.

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Choose the basic nine panel collage on the left.  You can play around with the roundness, color, spacing, and proportions.  You can also center your photos.  I used the auto-fill feature on the top menu.  Finally, click “done” and save your file.

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I asked one of my oldest and dearest friends and owner of (Custom Consepts, LLC) to print a 20X20 sized photo on canvas for me.

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I had to order custom framing so I went over to Michael’s with my coupon and had it done!  Here it is!  My husband loved it.

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Here are a couple photos of Mia (my little goofball) now…including a few of her many faces!

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Etched Glass Laundry Detergent Container

by Dinah Wulf

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I’ve always thought that all rooms in the house should be beautiful and well organized.  This includes rooms like the laundry room. Being a busy work from home mom, it’s important to me to love my home because I’m here so much! Today I wanted to share a tutorial on how to make a pretty etched glass laundry detergent container as well as 3 tips to help save you time in the laundry room. 

Here is what you’ll need to make your laundry detergent container:

  • Glass container with a lid
  • Glass etching cream
  • Adhesive stencils
  • Paint Brush
  • Tide Liquid HE

Instructions:

Step One: Make sure your glass container is clean and dry.  Apply the adhesive stencil to the glass. 

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Step Two: Using a paint brush, generously apply the glass etching cream and leave it on for 5-10 minutes. 

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Step Three: Rinse the cream off with water and remove the stencil.  Fill your container with Tide Liquid HE.

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Although laundry is a chore, added touches like a pretty etched glass container or a well-organized laundry room makes it seem a little less like a boring routine.  Here are 3 tips that I use to save time in the laundry room and make this task a little less mundane.

Tip #1: Sort as you go. Sorting is my least favorite thing to do when it comes doing laundry.  I use a hamper that has three compartments.  I separate my laundry by lights, darks, and delicates.  It makes it easy to just grab each bag to throw in the washer without having to sort it first.

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Tip #2: Separate small items.  I use a mesh bag for all small undergarments.  Also, sock clips come in handy so that you don’t lose pairs.  You can keep a container of clips near your washer for easy access.

Tip #3: Organize your laundry space.  Have your Tide Liquid HE, dryer sheets, and mini trash can within arms-reach.  That way, you can quickly add your detergent, throw in a dryer sheet, or clean out the lint trap with ease.

Hopefully this quick etched glass craft and my three laundry tips will help make your laundry time fast and fun!

This is a collaboration between Tide Original Liquid HE and the AOL Lifestyle Curator Network. Compensation was provided by Tide Original Liquid HE via AOL Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Tide Original Liquid HE.

Patio Table and Chair Update

by Dinah Wulf

Table and Chairs 004 - Copy (560x357)

One of my best friends (the same one who challenged me with the coin wrappers!) and fellow avid yard saler found this old set of metal patio table and chairs for $25! It needed some TLC but was sturdy and had strong bones.  Her husband spent the day bring it some new life. A metal patio table and chair update is a weekend project that anyone can do.

My husband and I have refurbished outdoor metal before and it makes QUITE a difference.  Here is simple tutorial on How to Paint Metal.

Here is the table before.

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Here is a close up. You can see the rust and discoloration.  The old paint was pretty much completely chipped off.  The arms took most of the beating.

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Materials:

  • Wire metal brush
  • Spray Primer
  • Rust-oleum Spray Paint
  • Old blanket
  • Drop cloth

Using the wire brush, gently scrub off any rust or paint.  This is an important step. To remove the paint chips and rust debris after scrubbing, you can hose it off and wipe it dry with a clean cloth.  To pant, use an all in one primer that stops rust for metal.  For a large project like this one, you may need three to four cans. Follow the instructions on the can for drying times.  Make sure you spray in a well-ventilated area.  Once the primer was dry, paint the table and chairs with two coats of spray paint made for outdoor metal.  Allow it to dry completely before handling it.

Here are a couple after photos.  It looks brand new!

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Four Budget Kitchen Renovation Ideas

by Dinah Wulf

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When it comes to renovating a home, everyone can agree that the kitchen is one of the most important places to begin, but it can also be one of the most expensive rooms to decorate. Still, not only will an upgraded kitchen make you feel more at home, but it’s one of the things that will boost the resell value of your home the most.  That doesn’t mean you have to spend a ton of money, however – there are a lot of inexpensive upgrades you can employ in your kitchen. Here are some great budget kitchen renovation ideas to consider.

Clean Up and Create a Plan

After you’ve cleaned up your kitchen and moved everything into a local storage unit, do a little bit of research and study the design trends.  Having a plan for your new kitchen will save you not only money but also a lot of headache since you’re no longer trying to do it on the fly. This is also a great time to see if there’s anything from your kitchen you no longer need.  Selling it could bring you quite a bit of money you can use toward the kitchen upgrades.

Look at the Layout

With the kitchen cleared out, look at the layout of it.  This is the time to decide if you really need to change the foundation of the room or if it will work as it is.  Most times kitchens have been designed a particular way because of mobility or functionality and you’ll find you probably don’t need to rip up the counters.  It could just be a matter of changing around the appliances and if that’s the case, you’ve just saved yourself hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

Energy Efficiency is a MUST

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If you’ve decided to upgrade your appliances, make sure that they’re being replaced with energy efficient models.  Not only are these kinds of upgrades usually available for tax credits for the next tax year, but they’ll also save you a lot of money in utilities each month, helping you pay off other bills and debts.  Plus, those homes that have energy efficient kitchen appliances have a much higher resell value than those without and that’s a trend that isn’t looking to go away anytime soon.

Look for Alternatives

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Before you drop a ton of money on new counter tops, consider if you can get a cheaper alternative.  There are a lot of laminate versions of your favorite counter top designs nowadays and they mimic the look of concrete and stone quite nicely.  Most people won’t be able to really tell the difference and it will save you a lot of money. 

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Rather than spending the cash to install new cabinetry, consider just painting the ones you have and adding new handles and hardware.  If the wood is looking worse for wear, a simple coat of wood stain will fix that right up and shiny new hardware can go a long way to making your kitchen look fresh and new.  If you do want to install new cabinets, considering forgoing the custom made models and instead search for base models that will fit well into your kitchen.  Check places like Habitat for Humanity Restore that offer a wide range of different cabinet options, most of which look just as nicely as those custom-made ones.  And they’ll end up saving you quite a bit of money.

It’s no secret that kitchens are one of the most valuable places to renovate inside a home simply because of the incredible resell value they hold, providing you with a potentially huge financial sum if you decide to sell.  But it doesn’t need to be an expensive upgrade to get all the benefits.  With just a few tweaks, you can save a lot of money and increase the value of your home while still having an amazingly renovated kitchen.

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