Summer Home Improvement Updates

Looking back a year, did I think I would ever get excited about new appliances or home updates? Um, no. Not really. But now, with a house and baby on the way? Yep, you bet. 

If you’re a home owner (and a slight clean/organizational/type A freak like me), you’ll probably appreciate this post. If not, my apologies.

1. Patio & Fence

I like how I am nonchalantly mentioning these two projects like they’re as simple as dusting off a table or something, but these were huge, labor intensive projects.

I will say I am very fortunate to have an extremely handy husband with pretty awesome carpentry skills, brick laying skills, plumbing and electrical skills, and more. Where did he learn all of those things? I have no idea. He just knows. And he has the ambition and energy to do it for our home – which I am forever grateful for.

The Fence

Hubbs dug each of these 39 fence post holes (3 feet deep, ya’ll) BY HAND. Ouch. Why? Because we unfortunately have a lot of cable and other wires running underneath our yard. Better safe than sorry ($$$). He also hung each support board and picket by hand, and designed the little drop off in height in the center of the fence so we can still enjoy the pond view in our back yard. He did an awesome job and I am super proud of him. Now our little four-legged tyrants can run around freely and our children won’t fall into the water.

Ignore the patchy grass situation – when you do yard projects, this happens. It will grow back. 🙂

DIY Fence

fenced in backyard

The first photo shows the 6 ft fence and the second shows part of the 4ft area where we dropped it down to see the pond. There is usually a fountain on but this is early morning. 🙂

Oh, and that’s my first garden tomato on the table. I am so professional at photography.

Fence

The Patio

We knew we wanted a patio someday but we really didn’t think we could afford to have concrete poured this year with a baby on the way and a fence to build. But then Hubbs hit the jackpot at work and got a whole bunch of antique brick pavers from old Chicago roads – FO’ FREE! So, much to his dismay (laying brick sucks), he tackled this long, torturous project. I will spare you the list of steps we had to take, but it took a good few months of him working almost every weeknight and all day weekend-days on it to be complete. Bravo, Hubbs. You da man. 

I consider the outdoor space to be his man cave for now. He’s proud, and he should be.

brick paver patio

He hammered in each of the hundreds of bricks. I love the imperfections of each brick. Looks so cool.

Brick paver patio

There were plants (lilies and hostas) between each stepping stone, but the rabbits literally ate ALL OF THEM.

flag pallet

2. A New Refrigerator

When we moved into our house a little over a year ago, we were lucky that all appliances came with it. Well, we just replaced the last appliance (LOL, joke’s on us). The stove was replaced before we even moved in because the original one was from a horror movie. The dishwasher broke about two months ago. And the fridge that was in our kitchen is now in the garage. For beverage and extra storage purposes.

The old one was one of those two-skinny-side-by-side kinds. If you know what I mean. They hold almost NO food, let alone any freezer space. The ice and water makers did not work but took up a ton of space. With more than two people in a family it just wasn’t going to work. They’re just a bad design.

I plan on nursing and pumping when the baby is born and we were at a loss when thinking about where we’d store any breastmilk whatsoever. So, we thought long and hard about investing in a nice fridge and bit the bullet during the 4th of July sale at our second home – Home Depot.

This thing is the bomb. So much space. So much room to store breastmilk flat in the drawer. And we now have filtered water and ice! Wahoo. You don’t realize you miss having an ice maker until you don’t anymore, trust me. 

samsung refrigerator

3. A New Vacuum

When you’re basically 9 months pregnant and your house is primarily carpeted, lugging a giant vacuum up and down the stairs (and God forbid vacuuming those stupid stairs) is a legit nightmare. Ever worked out hard and been out of breath? Try walking up the stairs with a heavy-ish appliance with 25 extra pounds chilling on your belly, all while your lungs are crowded. Just sayin’.

Anyway, please stop what you are doing, go to Target, Sam’s Club, or Amazon.com and purchase this vacuum cleaner – The Shark Rocket. Then come back and we can discuss.

This is the most amazing vacuum ever. Yes, I am officially old. I am excited about a vacuum. But you need to try this out and you’ll see exactly why. I won’t even go into too much detail – read the Amazon reviews.

It only weights like 5 pounds. The stick removes and it becomes a hand vac. I was able to vacuum my furniture, stairs, hard floors, carpeted floors, and more. The canister is easy to empty and this thing picks up everything. It’s fabulous. And we have two shedaholic dogs. This is great for pet hair.

Shark Rocket

So, we’ve been busy this summer, as you can see. And those are only a few of the projects we’ve tackled. Think we’re trying to cram everything in before baby comes? YES, YES WE ARE!

FOUR MORE WEEKS TO GO. HOLY MOLY. We’re ready for you, baby girl.

And here’s a bump pic for ya.

35 weeks pregnant

bandana wreath

DIY American Flag Bandana Wreath

Hello there! Hope ya’ll had a lovely Memorial Day weekend. I know I did. I had time to make this cute wreath (while my husband slaved away in the backyard doing massive amounts of manual labor AKA building a fence).

Since it’s summer and summer screams “MERICA!” (does it? I think so), I think this is perfect for the front door.

Supplies you’ll need:

  • 18″ wire wreath
  • 18 bandanas: 6 red, 6 white, 6 blue
  • some fabric scissors
  • star buttons
  • hot glue

My star buttons are lost in the mail right now, but I will be gluing some adorable wooden star buttons on the blue section of the wreath once they come in. 😉

Here’s how ya do it:

  1. Cut each bandana in half, along the fold, so you’ll have 12 of each color.
  2. Throwback to the 90’s and make a topsy tail out of all the pieces. AKA, make a U shape underneath the wreath, with the solid part on the outside. Wrap each end (2) on top of the wreath and through the loop.
  3. Alternate the red and white pieces, keeping them SUPER tight to each other.
  4. Once you’re done with the red and white bandanas, add all of the blue ones.
  5. Hot glue on some wooden star buttons to the blue parts. I got mine on Amazon, but they aren’t here yet.
  6. ENJOY! YAY, AMERICA!

wreath

bandana wreath

bandana wreath

bandana wreath

bandana wreath

Easy peasy, and oh so cute (and cheap). You could use this technique with different types of fabric and buttons/flowers/bows.

DIY farmhouse bed

FINISHED DIY farmhouse bed

So, in part 1 of how to build a farmhouse bed, I talked about the process of how we built the bed and assembled it. We just had our new mattress delivered today and now the bedroom is finally put back together (mostly). Thankfully, because I was starting to freak the eff out about the mess. No surprise there.

Here are some finished photos after I threw my back out making the bed!

DIY farmhouse bed

The bedding is from Wayfair. Pillows are a mixture of DIY and Wayfair as well.

DIY farmhouse bed

Curtains are from Home Goods. They really brighten up the room and make it so cozy and clean feeling. I like white, can you tell?

DSCN0116

W00, that’s bright. I can’t remember where we got the antiqued whitewashed nightstands… somewhere online… Maybe Wayfair? Overstock?

Rustic vanity

This is where the magic happens… to my face. The teal vanity is from a shop near us who restores and repurposes old furniture. It’s Duck Egg Blue by Annie Sloan, for reference.

The chair is from Home Goods, and the white drawers are from Michael’s (I store hair products and extra makeup in there). I love how the vanity color ties into the bedding.

DIT farmhouse bed

Ignore the cords – I don’t really want to drill into the wall to hide them. Sue me.

I actually repainted an ugly old wood dresser a year or so ago and now it is white and beautiful. And my love for white furniture continues.

Not pictured are the master bathroom and closet because I thought I would spare you the eyesore.

We will also be replacing the carpet with artificial wood flooring sometime in the near future. But there are many more projects in the works before that, which you will soon see. 😉 MUAHAHA.

 

baby clothing dividers

DIY closet dividers for baby clothes

If you are a mommy or know a mommy, you are aware that the tiny little (and oh so adorable) baby clothes can easily get mixed together and unorganized… which for my OCD mind is not ok. To avoid missing any crazy cute outfits before baby girl grows out of a certain size, I created these cute little closet dividers that I’ll be hanging in between the sizes. They were easy peasy. I got everything at Michael’s. Here’s what you’ll need…

  • 7 wooden door hangers (found mine in the kid’s coloring section for $1 each)
  • Glue
  • Scrapbook paper
  • A sharpie
  • Some kind of ribbon if you’d like

I found a book of scrapbook paper in the center aisle with a ton of different patterns for only $5. Or you could buy some paper individually – whatever you prefer.

DSCN0110

Clothing dividers

LOL at the images on these… But they were $1, so…

baby clothing dividers

Cut two patterns from one sheet, glue onto the wood door hangers.

baby clothing dividers

baby clothing dividers

I let them dry, then I used a sharpie to write the sizes on them. I then tied some lace ribbon at the top. I did this so I could hang them in the closet so I could read them, versus seeing the wooden edges and not knowing what the heck size I’m in. But you could just cut a slit at the top of the hole and hang them in your closet sideways, too!

baby clothing dividers

baby clothing dividers

Easy and cute. 🙂

XO

 

Building a farmhouse bed from scratch

Click here to see the finished product post!

I am 23 weeks pregnant with our baby girl, meaning sleeping is becoming increasingly more uncomfortable to say the least.

Add in two dogs who insist on sleeping in bed with us (the beagle actually sleeps under the covers. Have mercy.), and there is no more room for a bigger belly and more pillows to support me.

Therefore, after lots of discussion, my husband and I decided to upgrade our queen to a king sized bed. We shopped around and did our research and we landed on a Sleep Number iLE, which was on super sale… although still overpriced. But, I digress.

The mattress gets delivered this week and we didn’t order a box spring, so we needed a bed ASAP!

We shopped around at four furniture store showrooms plus several online stores, and the prices for a king platform bed was just stupid after we just spent so much on a mattress.

My husband is super duper handy, and he offered (well, more like I begged) to build us a farmhouse bed based on my obsession with the Ana White online plans. We read through all of the comments and users’ submissions (there are a ton), learning different ways to tweak the plans. Afterwards we felt we were pretty prepared to tackle it. AKA he was pretty prepared to tackle it because I just did the painting and moral supporting. Just being honest.

Price

For reference, the beds we were looking at ranged from $800 for particle board beds, to $2,000+ for ‘solid wood’ beds. Of course there were a lot more expensive beds available, but not in our price range.

We purchased all of the materials for our bed for about $200. Quite a bit of savings AND it’s completely solid wood and made with love. Can’t beat it, people. The total time it took to build was about 15-20 hours.

We switched up the Ana White plans quite a bit because she built hers backwards – meaning she used the width as her length and vice versa.

Shopping list

For the headboard and footboard: 
5 – 1x8x8
2 – 4x4x8 posts
2 – 1x3x8
8 – 1x4x8
2 – 2x4x8
2 – 2x6x8

2 inch screws
3 inch screws
4 inch screws
Wood glue
Wood filler
120 grit sandpaper
Nail gun + nails (recommended)
Paint primer (we used white Zinsser primer)
Paint of your choice (we used a white semi-gloss)

Paint brush/ paint rollers

For the side rails:
2 – 2x10x8 (or however wide you’d like)

For the frame:
6 – 2×6 for joists
12 – Joist hangers
2 – 2″ plywood slabs

The building process

Please excuse my crappy iPhone photos and super messy & dirty basement/garage/bedroom. Haha!

But really, sorry. 

shopping

We pretty much followed the Ana White instructions or the headboard and footboard construction, size wise… but tweaked the width to our bed (again, she based her sizing on the bed laying sideways).

We used a nail gun and wood glue between pieces to make sure they will hold up well, but if you just use a drill or nails then you should be fine, too. It will just take a lot longer. We also used a huge saw to help cut all the boards to the correct length, so my husband breezed through the assembly of the head and footboard in about two hours or so.

nail gun wood glue

footboard

finished raw headboard

Fill in any gaps or holes with wood filler and sand.

wood filler on footboard

We then moved all the pieces to the garage and sanded the rough edges that we thought needed it.

Then it’s time to prime that sucker! Be smarter than I was… Use a roller. I painted everything with the primer using a brush and it took forever/broke my hand. I used a small roller for the paint and a brush for the tight spots and it turned out great. One coat of primer and two thin coats of paint worked perfectly for us!

We used a white semi-gloss paint because it really brightens up a space – I hate dark wood. But it would look pretty in many different finishes or colors!

prime wood

paint footboardpaint

I love that you can see the panels! Yay farmhouse-esque.

We thought about distressing the wood with a sanding block, but once we started it on the headboard I didn’t like the way it was looking. So we are leaving it as-is and I love it!

Assembly

This is the hard part… Not only are these pieces SUPER heavy, but it can be tedious. It took about three hours to assemble once we had all the pieces in our bedroom. We used joists and joist hangers so it can be disassembled and reassembled if we need to (dear God, I hope we won’t need to for a LOOOONGGG time).

The below photo is my husband attaching the side rails to the footboard. He used a ton of screws for this to make sure it was secure, but there was a bit of a gap between the top wood pile and the footboard, so we used some small pieces of wood for extra support. You’ll see in the photo 2 down…

attach rails

Footboard with support

^ See, support. He jammed those suckers in there with a hammer and then screwed them in. Careful not to use too long of screws so you won’t hurt your beautiful footboard!

We will be patching and painting all the huge screw holes that you can see in the coming days.

Then, attach to headboard. This took both of us to make sure it was aligned correctly and nice and tight.

attach frame to headboard

frame attached

You can leave it like this if you are using your own frame and boxspring if you want. If not, like us, you’ll need to add support and a platform for your mattress.

Attach all the joist hangers… like so… on both sides. Then, add the joists.

bed frame with joist holders

Joists 2Joists

There shouldn’t be any holes on the outer panels from your joists. It should appear seamless on the outside.

Then you’ll need to add the platform! We used plywood, which was a little more expensive and heavy, but we wanted it to last… Cut it to the size as needed and screw a bazillion screws into the joists.

Plywood

Ta-da!!!! You are done. Go get a glass of wine or five and celebrate.

Or, if you are pregnant, go take a nice sip of H2O…

I will post pretty, finished photos (with good lighting) of the bed & bedroom once our mattress arrives.

Good luck and I hope this helps you out. Again, for exact cutting sizes, refer to Ana White’s tutorial. Lay it all out on paper before you go shopping and start building so you don’t end up with the wrong sized bed!

If you’re willing to tackle this project, you’ll save a whole bunch of money and have a beautiful product at the end.

Here is an awkward photo of our queen-sized mattress on this huge bed…

queen bed

See ya next time!