Make Gift Wrap from Old Books

We made several sheets of this gift wrap for the holidays and it was a hit, so here’s a quick how-to tutorial. Change the color scheme and it can work for any occasion throughout the year. GiftWrap_Box

Project: Sew pages of a book together with contrasting top-stitch thread and roll on ink with a brayer to create unique, recycled gift wrap. We used an old encyclopedia and pulled out pages that related to people’s interests – the music section for our musician friend, printing press section for our graphic designer friend, and the biography section for our literate friend. Continue reading

Make a Home Office Pendant Light

I needed a light for my workspace. I wanted to find a really awesome Pendant Light. I poked around online and found some that were amazing, but a little too expensive for me to handle. I had a very basic $17.00 IKEA pendant light left over from my kitchen update. $17-40.00 was more like my budget. But, it was so small and lacked any funk at all. Plus it looked like it belonged in a kitchen.

Original Ikea Pendant Light

I was hoping to snag an inexpensive, awesome, retro light from Second Use Building Materials or RE Store. Continue reading

Modernized Armoire


I have a cottage style home which means very little storage space. I purchased an armoire from a friend several years ago with the idea that one day I’d paint, stain, or at least change the door handles.

I wanted to modernize the whole room. It currently serves as a makeshift office, spare bedroom and a lazy catch-all storage space. The thought was to get rid of a lot of useless stuff and shift the room toward a contemporary office space that could quickly convert into a bedroom when guests arrive.

Continue reading

Gone Fishing

We are having a hard time keeping up our regular posting schedule during the summer. There is family, vacations, soccer, swimming, popsicles, raspberries, awesome weather and heck, we are in the pacific northwest…we gotta get out there when the getting is good! We’ll be back to our old selves when school swings back into session in September.

We hope you are having a good summer, too.

Have Color Palette will Travel – Steal this Idea!

This simple tip saves a ton of time in the long run.

My kitchen color palette is portable and ready to go!

Keep your overall paint color palette handy and top of mind.  Grab a couple extra paint stir sticks the next time you are at your local hardware or paint store. Use one stir stick per paint color/finish.

You’ll have your full color palette handy and ready to travel with you as you find and select future paint colors, rugs, flooring, furniture, towels, shower curtain, bedding etc. You see where I’m going here, right?

If you are really disciplined you could write your color formula, paint store name and phone number on the sticks, as well. I’m not that far gone (yet), but I know there are those of you out there so, knock yourself out! :)

Pesky Projects? Steal this idea.

You know how annoying all those pesky little projects are that remain on your “To-Do” list forever ’cause you really don’t want to do them anyway? Yes, they drive you crazy.

Here’s the solution. You and each of your friends (I have two) make a list of little things you’ve been wanting to get done. Then you help each other get them done in a swift and fun manner. POOF! Your To-Do list shrinks to near nothing in a day (or two).

Below is my CHECKED OFF, completed and mostly done pesky list.

1. Base Shoe:  Size, Cut and Install. I tore out all my base shoe moulding before I got my new kitchen floor installed. I got some new moulding and already had it painted and ready. I just didn’t install it….for 4 months. Once we sized and cut it the install took only about 1 hour. Heidi’s husband dared to lend us his nail gun and compressor. It worked great and wasn’t that scary to use. Really gratifying. After that came the thankless, but meditative job of caulking the edges, spackling the nail holes and paint touch up. CHECK!

Nail gun to attach base shoe to moulding

Base shoe - Before & After

New toe kick with base shoe attached.

2. Toe Kick:  Prime, Paint and Install Toe Kick, then Install Base Shoe. I had torn out the toe kicks below my existing cabinets when I got my Marmoleum floor installed, but hadn’t painted them yet to match the cabinets. CHECK!

3. Door Air Seal:  A cold draft came whistling up from my basement. The floor near the door was perpetually freezing cold. We installed a simple little hardware strip to reduce basement cold air draft. I had the strip for about 3 months, but hadn’t installed it. CHECK!

Door Air Seal – Blocks air when it is down, lifts to allow door to freely open.

4. Marmoleum Care:  I had the Marmoleum flooring installed almost 6 months ago. I purchased the flooring from Greenhome Solutions in the Freemont neighborhood. Cameron and Tess were great! I promised them I would clean the floor followed by the finish/seal right after install. I even purchased the special Forbo Marmoleum cleaning  products for the task before the install. I had the product. I just wasn’t excited about cleaning and sealing it – yuck. (Monica wasn’t too excited about reading the 3pt type directions on the back of the bottle.)  CHECK!

5. Chair Slides:  I got a new kitchen floor installed and I certainly didn’t want it getting all scratched up. I’d been gingerly moving my chairs by lifting and shifting them. No, no, no sliding. We finally searched out some test slide protector options. STILL ON THE LIST. RRrrrrrrr….nothing has worked, yet. I’ll find something. AND if you’ve had success with a particular product, please do not hesitate to pass it on.

You'd think one of these chair slides gizmos would work, but no.

6. Finish Trim:  I had a flip-up counter top installed by 4 Evergreen Fabricators. Travis ( did a fabulous job and had to do some tricky figuring-out with the install. He stuck with it and got it right. My counter top can fold down and away when not in use.

Perfect for my limited counter top kitchen. Can’t claim the idea, though. Our friend, Anita, had something similar installed in her kitchen. She tipped us off on the correct brackets to use. The counter top material, install and special flip-up was more expensive than I anticipated so to save some money I decided to finish the edges off myself. That was almost 4 months ago, now. This annoying little project consisted of miter cutting screen molding to wrap and hide the exposed edge of the plywood mount, sanding and painting it all to match the cabinet. CHECK!

Installing the last little trim piece on the exposed edge of the plywood mount.

Trim, completed!

Thanks Heidi and Monica. My list would still be pesky without you! Now on to your houses. Let’s get it done!