Side Table Makeover

I was given an old table that I decided to paint. I’ve spent most of the past year sanding, priming, and painting baseboards, trim, and doors so I really wanted to minimize the amount of time I spent on the table because I’m in need of a break from this kind of work. Because I put water-based paint over oil-based stain, I should have sanded and primed, but I didn’t. Instead, I just wiped the table off with a paper towel and slapped on some paint by Behr in the color Bit of Sugar. I put two coats on the sides and three coats on the top and then I lightly sanded with 220 grit paper to distress the table. I think it turned out great!

Here are some before and after pictures.



I put it next to a chair in our entryway and it really brightened the space.

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year!


Replacing Trim and Baseboards – An Update

As originally mentioned in my DIY – Installing Hardwood Floors post from last April, we spent most of the summer and fall replacing the trim, baseboards, and interior doors and closets in the entire house. We are not 100% finished but I wanted to go ahead and write a progress post to avoid trying to cram everything in to one post at the end.

I do plan to write in more detail how we specifically did this so anyone who is interested in doing the same will know the technique we used and read some tips that we have based on our experiences of trial and error. This will come in the spring when it is warm enough for us to resume (and finish!) our work.

As a recap, we spent the end of September through mid-December 2017 installing hardwood floors and you can read about that here.

Below is a timeline of the work we did on the trim and baseboards.

April – May 2018 (Dining Room)
We took a break between January and April 2018 and resumed our work when the weather was warm enough to work outside (cutting wood, painting, etc.). We started in the dining room by removing the chair rail and refinishing the bookshelf.  Then we removed the chair rail. The baseboards were removed the previous year before we installed the hardwood floors. We bought new trim and baseboards that has already been primed and then cut them down to size. Using several saws, paint, staples, and caulk, we installed everything in about six weeks (only working on weekends).


Top picture was taken in 2012; bottom picture in 2018

June 2018 (Entryway)
We then moved on to the entryway and took the old trim off of the front door and the side windows. This was a really easy room because the baseboards had been cut the previous year and we just needed to install them. We had to sand and prime the sills of the windows next to the door and then install the trim and paint everything.


Right picture taken in 2017; left in 2018

May – July 2018 (Hallway)

The longest portion of this project was the hallway leading back to the bedrooms. The reason it took so long is because the hallway contains 3 bedroom doors, a laundry closet, a regular closet, and a bathroom door. All of which had to be removed and replaced.

We started removing the bedroom doors in early May and then replaced them one-by-one with new doors that we had to paint (two coats of paint on each side).

Here are the old (left) and new (right) bedroom doors:

The laundry closet doors were in good shape so we just sanded, primed, and painted those instead of replacing them.

We decided to trim out all of our closets. To do that, we installed 1 by 6 inch primed casing (that we cut to the thickness of the wall) to the inside of the closet opening, filled the nail holes, and painted the wood.


After we installed the casing to the inside of the closet opening

From there, we added trim to the outside (then filled the nail holes and painted). Next was to install the new door track and the new doors. Then we had to drill holes in our lovely new floor so we could secure the closet doors at the bottom. Finally, we added a simple piece of baseboard to the top to hide the track.

When that was done, we installed baseboard like we did in the dining room and entryway.


Left picture was taken in 2012; right in 2018

August-September 2018 (Living Room)
We then moved on to the living room. This was daunting because we have a built-in bookcase and a large bay window that both had to be completely sanded and primed. I hate sanding because I have to wear a mask that fogs up my glasses and the dust gets everywhere. I also hate priming because it smells awful, it’s watery and messy, and it is hard to clean up (I just throw away the brushes instead of trying to clean them with paint thinner. No, thank you).

I started with the bookcase. I took the shelves outside to sand them, prime them, and paint them. While they were drying, I sanded, primed, and painted the inside portion of the bookcase. When everything had dried, we brought the shelves inside, installed white tracks, and installed the shelves.

Here is the before and after picture of the bookcase:
Then I started working on the bay window using the same method I used on the bookcase. The only thing left to do here is to buy a new light for the top of the window.


Top picture taken in 2011 a week after we moved in; bottom in 2018

After the window and bookcase were done, we put down baseboard and installed new trim around the other windows in the room.

August-November 2018 (Bedrooms)
During the time we were working in the living room, we also worked in the bedrooms to refinish the trim around the windows. We decided not to replace the window trim in the bedrooms because they were in good shape. So instead, I sanded, primed, and painted them. This was a pain because of how much I hate sanding and priming but also because there were 7 windows.  Which doesn’t sound like a lot but it felt like a lot.

In October, we removed the old baseboards and replaced them with new ones. We also worked on removing the closets, trimming them like we did the hallway closet, and painting new doors.

In November, we got carpet. I know a lot of people will wonder why we covered old hardwood floors with carpet and I get what you mean but we had several reasons: 1.) The hardwood floors in the bedrooms are 50 years old and in really bad shape. They’re also outdated in terms of thickness and color. We talked about refinishing them but it’s a super expensive and messy process. 2.) We didn’t want hardwood floors throughout the entire house 3.) I prefer carpet in the bedrooms. It just feels more homey/comfortable to me.

Anyway, we also primed (with some heavy-duty stuff) and painted the ceilings to cover up the ghosting that was showing.


Top picture taken in 2011 right after we moved in; bottom in 2018

What’s left to do:

  • Install closet doors in the bedrooms
  • Finish installing hardwood floors in the back hallway, the stairs down to the basement, and in the back hallway closet
  • Replace the doors of the back hallway closet
  • Install new baseboard in the back hallway
  • Replace the trim around the back door

Given everything we’ve done so far, it’s not a lot. I am going to include more before and after pictures after we are further along. Stay tuned.

New Porch Lights and Decorating for Christmas

We have disliked our front porch lights ever since we moved in 7 years ago. They have light sensors that allow them to turn off automatically once the sun starts coming up. The problem, however, is that they don’t come on automatically when the sun goes down. So, even if we leave the switch on, we have to physically be at home to “reset” the lights by turning the switch off and then on again in order for the lights to shine at night. This means there are no exterior lights on when we are away from the house. So, we bought ones that have a simple on/off switch and we can leave them on when we are away.

Here are the old lights:


And the new lights:


We are really happy with them!


I also started decorating for Christmas. I’ve seen a lot of pictures online where people clearly have spent a lot of money on making their front porches really festive by adding lanterns, lights, trees, sleighs, wreaths, and even furniture. Most of the decorations I have were given to me and I think I am reluctant to go spend money on more because we do not host anyone for the holidays. To what extent do you decorate?

I did take some time to decorate the fire place and we are going to put up a tree in a few days.


I hope everyone enjoys the month of December and is able to spend plenty of time with loved ones.

Creating an Autumn Scene in Photoshop

I’m not sure about you guys but I’ve found the Photoshop tutorials on the YouTube channel PIXimperfect super helpful. There is one tutorial that is only 1 minute long and shows how to make a picture look like it was taken during autumn. It’s really effective! I used the technique today on a couple of photos I took while we were in Savannah, Georgia a few years ago.



It’s not 100% perfect (a couple of the leaves in the street sign picture turned cyan instead of yellow and I had to do some correction) but it’s a really quick and easy way to get started.

If you’re interested in using this method on any of your photos, you can find directions here:

Of course, you could also go outside during October and take some real pictures of autumn colors like I did yesterday.


Have a great weekend!

The Project Board – A Look Back

Today marks 6 years since I started my blog. I’ve found it very helpful to keep track of how I’ve done things throughout the years like how I made curtains or a certain recipe. I don’t otherwise mark a lot of this down and it’s been helpful to be able to come back and follow a recipe that I liked a few years ago. I hope you’ve also found it helpful to read some of my blog posts and be able to come back to things you liked.

My most popular posts are:

Slide1Bathroom Before and After posted on October 14, 2012 has 7,420 views, most of which come from Pinterest.  The bathroom looks exactly the same now as it did then, except it now has a shower curtain instead of glass doors. We’re talking about replacing the baseboard next year but otherwise have no plans for changes.


DIY Curtains posted on December 12, 2012 with 4,369 views. I made the curtains to go in our bedroom as pictured right but they have since moved to our home office. I replaced them with black-out curtains because we got tired of our neighbor’s flood lights keeping us up at night. Our bedroom is currently going through some renovations and I will post pictures of that by the end of the year.  My 3rd most popular post has been the Bedroom Makeover Pictures that go along with the DIY curtains.

My personal favorites are:

Buffet1_wordsRefinished Buffet posted on July 14, 2015.  I still can’t quite believe my luck at finding this on the side of the road out with the trash. I worked really hard on this and it was worth it. People compliment it when they come over and are often surprised to hear that we didn’t buy it new. Actually, the only furniture in our house that we bought new is the couch, coffee table, and end tables in our living room. Everything else was either given, bought at Goodwill, or found on the side of the street like the buffet. I am getting to the point, though, that I’m willing to spend some money on new furniture, especially because I think new furniture would look great with the renovations we’ve made on the house recently.  There are two things I’d really like to have soon and that is a new dining room table and a big, comfy chair for our entry way.

Here is what our buffet looks like now –
Buffet_UpdateI made the tray at Board and Brush.  If you haven’t checked them out, you should.  They have locations all over the U.S.

DIY – Installing Hardwood Floors, posted on March 18, 2018.  As you can tell from the picture on the right (and from the post), we installed hardwood floors throughout our house and also replaced all of the trim and baseboards. The two of us (my husband and I) did all of the work. In the “after” picture, we still need to do some touch-ups on the bay window and put the shelves back on the bookcase behind the couch. But we think it looks a lot better than the early 1990s carpet we had before (no offense to 1990s carpet).



My Starter Story, posted on January 18, 2015.  I like this post because it bring back memories and reminds me how much progress we’ve made on the house.  After we are finished with installing the hardware floors, new baseboard, and trim, it will be fun to look at before and after pictures again.  Soon the bedrooms will have new trim, new closet doors, new interior doors, and new carpet so I’m looking forward to before and after pictures of those changes.  It’s also interesting to look back and see some of the decorative decisions we’ve made and how things have changed even since 2015.  The picture to the right is a reminder that one should always, ALWAYS spend the $3 to get a sample before deciding on a paint color.


IMG_1691Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, posted on December 2, 2012.  One of my co-workers gave me this recipe and it is one of my favorites.  It makes a few dozen so it’s easy to give them to family and friends, especially around the holidays.
Thank you to all who follow my blog!  I really appreciate it.

Chocolate Mousse Pie with Pretzel Crust

This weekend I made a pie to bring to a friend’s house. I saw a recipe for chocolate mousse pie on Pinterest that looked really good but it was vegan which makes things a bit more tricky.  So, I just searched the internet for an easier, non-vegan recipe for chocolate mousse and I search separately for a recipe for pretzel crust. Here is how I made mine:

Pretzel pie crust (recipe from Tasty)
– 5 cups of pretzels, crushed
– 1 stick (8 tablespoons) of butter, melted
– 1/3 cup brown sugar

combine pretzels, melted butter, and brown sugar in a bowl. Press mixture in to the bottom of a slightly greased pie pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or until brown. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.

Chocolate Mousse Pie Filling (recipe from Cooking Classy)
2 Tbsp salted butter, diced into 4 pieces
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (or another 1/2 cup semi-sweet if you don’t want it quite as rich)
2 cups mini marshmallows
1/3 cup milk (the recipe calls for whole or 2%. I used skim milk and it was fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
– Container of Cool Whip

Combine butter, chocolate chips, marshmallows, and milk in to large saucepan. Heat over low heat and stir regularly until everything is melted and the mixture is smooth.  Pour in to bowl and allow to cool for 45-60 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whip 1 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks to form which takes about 5 minutes.

After the whipping cream has stiffened, add it to the cooled chocolate mixture and fold until combined. Then add the mixture to the pretzel crust. Put pie in the refrigerator and allow to cool for a few hours.

After the pie has cooled, top with some Cool Whip (or make your own) and garnish with melted chocolate or chocolate shavings.

I used both bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate for the mousse and it did turn our pretty rich. This pie would also be great with a graham cracker crust.



House Update

As a recap – my husband and I began installing hardwood floors almost a year ago.  During this time, we decided we should go ahead and install new baseboards, door and window trim, and interior doors.  The reason is because we had to remove the baseboards in order to install the hardwood floors and it seemed silly to put old, worn, and scratched baseboard and trim next to brand new, shiny floors. Exhibit A below.


For contrast, we decided to go with white trim and doors.  In our opinion, it makes our house look cleaner and more modern. Additionally, it’s much easier to paint everything white than it is to try to match stain colors.

We still have to install baseboards in the bedrooms and finish installing hardwood floors in the hallway that leads to the back door.  We also need to install (and paint) new closet doors in the bedrooms and the back hallway but we are really close to being done.

Here is a sneak peek of the before and after. The closet in the hallway is not yet finished but everything else in the picture is.


What house renovation projects have you done this year? After we’re done with this, I hope we get a LONG break before we have to do anything else to the house.