Master Bedroom Refresh

Master bedroom mood board

I’m feeling a lot better and dove head-first into a new project.  As part of the Cozy Minimalist course with the Nester that I’m taking, I had to choose a room for my project.  I got that assignment while laying on my bed in this:

Master bedroom before

And I thought, “This is the room I hate most in my house.”  I thought this room was off limits, because to do anything in here I needed to move our doorway first.  Why paint when you’re going to mess up the drywall, right?  Then I thought I’d better scrape down the popcorn ceiling and get a drywall guy over here to skim coat it so that the mess of that didn’t ruin my newly painted walls, but that was going to cost $$$.  And then we needed our plumbing fixed so we could put up the walls that will be there forever….which would be about $9,000, and 5 years of saving.  So I sat in this horrible space in my own mess and felt sorry for myself.

Then I thought, why not?  This has to get better or I’m going to go crazy. If nothing else I could clean.  So I picked my bedroom as my project room.  Our first official assignment was to quiet the room.

Master bedroom quiet

It only took me a couple of hours.  Seriously?  What was I waiting for?

With the walls all cleared off like that, I thought about painting.  It wouldn’t be too much trouble, really.  And if I have to wait 5 years on all that other stuff, why not? I used the leftover paint from my son’s room.

master bedroom painted

After the walls were done, we ripped out the carpet and painted the trim too.  I mean, at this point it was super easy to do it with hardly any furniture in there and all. While I was waiting for the trim coats to dry, I  decided to paint my nightstand.  It’s the same paint….and the brush was already wet.

painted nightstand

I left the top the original finish and used gold leaf rub and buff to brighten up the drawer pulls.

Here it is partway done.  You can see Darren’s nightstand in it’s original state behind it for comparison.

nightstand in progress

I’ve been tired of my footboard for awhile, so Darren found a set of bed rails in the basement and switched our bed to that.  Our headboard will still work with this system.  I have plans to update the headboard a bit, and now it makes sense to get a bench at the foot of the bed for putting on shoes and storing extra bedding.  I’ll also need to make a bed skirt.

master bedroom painted floor

Then, the room looked so good, I went to work on that horrible sub floor. There were chunks out of it, staples everywhere and bits of the carpet pad had adhered to it.  It looked like camo flocking.  I did my best with a paint scraper, pliers, wall spackle to fill in  the missing chunks, and then painted it.  I could load up the roller with paint and fill in all the little holes and cracks since gravity wouldn’t make drips on the floor like it would on walls.

new mirror

While I was running my errands I slipped into Old Time Pottery just to see how much mirrors would be.  I’d like to hang some over our newly painted nightstands, to bounce around light.  They had these gorgeous mirrors, but the frames were scratched up.  On a whim I went to customer service and asked if they gave discounts on damaged merchandise and they gave me 25% off on the spot.

flower light

We’ve wanted to get rid of the ceiling fan for 3 years and this seemed like a good time to shop for one.  I found this blog post with ideas.  It was several years old, but #3 caught my eye.  When I clicked over it was on sale 50% off with free shipping and free returns.  Sold.

jute rug

I like to put rugs down when I paint sub floor, but my budget for this project is super tight.  After buying the light and the mirrors, I was feeling a touch of buyers guilt. I checked, but even with the 75% off sale I couldn’t make a decision. Then I checked craigslist and found a 9×12 jute rug for half of the lowest price I could find anywhere online.

We are planning a garage sale next week and I hope to raise the cash to buy the rest of the items from the mood board above (I’m basically going to give my life savings to Ikea.)  If you don’t hear from me for awhile, I’m cleaning out my garage.  If you thought the before picture of my bedroom was bad…..the garage is much, much worse.

Print Friendly
Posted in Decorating, Frugal Living | 7 Comments

Plywood Countertops Revisited

Kitchen after

It’s been a few months since we finished our plywood countertops, and they aren’t as awesome as I was hoping.  You can see the planning stages here and the finished product here.  The marine poly has scrubbed off in places.  It’s not flaky or chipped so you would notice, but it’s wearing through in places (probably from lots of washing) where we are seeing bare wood and water is getting in.  The seams are the worst.  I might have been better off if I had caulked the seams with paintable caulk instead of using wood putty…..but in any rate, it’s a mess.

I’ve heard of wood countertops working for other families, but not for any families with 6 kids and a kitchen that sees as much action and messes as ours does.

I signed up for the Nester’s Cozy Minimalist class (love it so far and the first class isn’t even until tomorrow) and another student recommended this:


It’s a pvc adhesive film that is super durable and looks like real stone.  Some people have to touch it to believe it isn’t real.  This would seal up our wood and help our temporary countertops last as long as we need them to, probably more than 10 years.

There are some good youtube videos showing how to use it.  Would you ever do something like this?

Print Friendly
Posted in Decorating | 11 Comments

Are you Spring Nesting?

Friends, I’m a mess.  I caught a cold on the 2nd day of Caleb’s room redo and have been laying around like a unmotivated college student ever since.  I breezed through illness season this year because of the new vitamins I’ve been taking, but finally dropped.  Stress + sick kids + no sleep = Sick Mama.

All this time lying around (I used both lying and laying in this post because I can’t remember which is correct to save my life and I’m too lazy to Google it) has been well spent watching Hawaii 5-0 reruns on Netflix while researching home sprucing ideas on multiple open tabs.

These will be making an appearance in our home soon:

hexago smart tiles

I’m also looking into options for this fireplace:


I can leave it as is and replace the candles and picture with a huge green plant likely from IKEA (fake but realistic looking) and the smaller cubby with white sticks and make teepee sticks to cover the gas logs for summer.






OR I could lightly whitewash it…a cheap but fairly permanent option:



If I use latex paint I could remove it later with Peel Away.  Heat would ruin it though, so I’d need to keep it away from the fire box area.  I could use Milk paint instead, but it will become one with the brick and not be removable at all.  On the other hand, it’s heat proof and I could move right into the firebox with it.

This room is really dark and I’d love to brighten it up and (remove the soot marks–already tried scrubbing those off and it didn’t work.)  What would you do?

Print Friendly
Posted in Decorating | 9 Comments

Caleb’s Bedroom Budget Details

Desk Wide shot
I’ll be honest.  I didn’t have a set amount to spend on Caleb’s room. The goal was just to do it as cheaply as possible without so much DIY that it would get overwhelming. I was dealing with cash, so before I made a purchase I really weighed whether this was the best use for the money.  There were several times I was standing there hemming and hawing about whether I should buy something or not (desk, bird pillow), and I told myself, “It’s for your son….just do it.” I can be really cheap at times, then at other times just spend the money thinking I’ll be happy I did later.  (Which isn’t always the case.)

I haven’t added it all up before I do it live right here….I’m a little scared to see the total. What’s a good room makeover budget anyway?  The little things add up quickly for sure. I could have easily spent an extra $1,000 if we had done the hardwood floors and removed the ceiling texture….so I’m calling this a win for now :).

Item Store Details $
Duvet fill Target Twin Down alternative 20.00
Curtain Rods Target 2 brushed nickel café rods 7.18
Paint for walls Home Depot Behr Sterling (2 gallons) eggshell 58.12
Floor Paint Home Depot Behr Anonymous (1 gallon) 27.98
Grass Plant and pot Ikea Fejka and Socker 4.78
Gray textured pillow cover Ikea Gullklocka 7.00
Stripe Pillow Cover Ikea Vargyllen 5.00
Bird Pillow Ikea (Already stuffed–not online) 5.00
Black Frames Ikea 7 Nyttja 14.00
Black Box with lid Ikea Kassett set of 2 6.99
Desk Lamp Ikea Barometer 29.99
Trundle Mattress Ikea Moshult 79.99
Floating Shelves Ikea Lack black brown 39.98
Desk Ikea Micke Black brown 69.99
Desk Chair Ikea Snille 19.99
Area Rug Keno ACR177 Rug 229.20
Total 625.19
Stuff I had from before
Duvet Cover Target Clearance/Discontinued 15.00
Supplies for lego desk Home Depot saw horse brackets 14.00
2x4s * 2 6.00
Hollow core door 27.00
Pillow inserts Cargo Largo 2* Pottery Barn 20×20 feather inserts 10.00
Total 687.19

There was some additional expense for printing the pages at home.  Ink and paper are not free, but I’ve never figured out what it costs to print a page.  (Some things I’d rather not know so I can happily print in ignorant bliss.)  We do have a printer with the cheap refillable Costco cartridges.

I also plan to go back to Ikea and grab him a Trysil nightstand for $39.99.


And a Svarta trundle bed for $79.99.  We often have extra guests and the kids have been dragging our extra mattress from bedroom to bedroom.  It will be nice to have one just for this space.


Caleb's desk Micke

After I finished building his desk, I turned the page and found the instructions for building it the other way, you know, so the cord hole would be right by the outlet, forehead smack! I think I’ll move the lamp to the nightstand anyway, so it won’t be a big deal. It still would have been handy for his laptop though.

Bird pillow


Here’s a closeup of the bird pillow that makes me giggle. Caleb smiled when he saw it. I like it when he smiles, dimples everywhere.

Caleb's pillow detail

Here are all the textures of pillows together.  I almost didn’t buy the bumpled gray one, but then I remembered “texture” being one of the things to add interest to the room. I’m glad I got it.  To be honest I almost didn’t buy any of them, but I already had the pillow forms at home and Darren was making comments about putting them in the yard sale. These were Potty Barn brand feather inserts that I got for a steal. It seemed right to give them a useful purpose.

Lego Wall

This is the beginning of his lego wall.  He spent a long time getting his collection all sorted out into the bins (which are $8 for a 4 pack and can be ordered online from Home Depot.)  The rails they hang on are bright yellow, but you can’t see them when the bins are put away.

The floating shelves are to store his finished creations until he’s ready to make something new. (He used to store these treasures on the floor, ouch!) He also has some airplane and car models for the top shelf.  The black boxes hold his lego manuals, Boy Scout guides, and his favorite drawings.

Beneath My Heart Sawhorse Table

I’m going to make this work table for him to put under the bins and have all the parts with one change. My table top is a hollow core door that I’ll paint with the leftover floor paint.

Calebs wall art


These are 3 of the pictures from here. (The ones on either side of his window are from here too.  I love putting up scripture for him to look at and be inspired by.) I’m going to grab another frame and put a fourth one up to fill the space out better.  He has a poster sized map of South Dakota that he bought on vacation with my parents. I’m going to grab a matching frame for it and put it somewhere too.  It means a lot to him. The stick of bamboo in the corner was Caleb’s first addition to the room.  I’m not sure what it is about boys and sticks.

If you’re wondering where all the rest of his stuff is, it’s in his closet.  His closet is 6 x 13 with tons of shelves which is handy for keeping his room clutter free.  His dresser is in there with his toy shelf.  That room is in desperate need of tidying up, a task for another day.

Just to prove I’m human, when I spend two days working on a big project, my kitchen looks like this:

messy kitchen

Thank goodness for 2 dishwashers…..

Print Friendly
Posted in Decorating, Family, Frugal Living | Leave a comment

Moving Caleb In

I couldn’t wait to see what the room looked like with the curtains and rug in place.  I used a pair of $3 cafe rods from target since the curtains were just for decoration and not to cover the window.  The curtains were leftover from our other house. I made them from sewing strips of sheets together and had always intended to make 2….but that was a LOT of work.  4 years later I cut that thing in half so I could put it on either side of the window.  Tab tops aren’t as popular now, so it was easy to stitch the tabs to the back for hidden hangers.

Striped curtainsHe also has a roller shade for privacy. One of the trips to the hardware store was to have it cut to fit the window.  That trip I also grabbed some white outlets to replace the almond colored ones shown here.

curtains and rug

I love how it looks with the rug!  I’m wishing I had ordered the larger rug….but once the furniture goes in, it should be ok.


The bed :).  I wanted to stain it dark (Java), but that would take a lot of time from the 24 hour makeover.  Maybe later.  We have plans for a trundle and a velcro bedskirt. I think all that stuff will minimize the gap between the rug and the bed.


My pile from Ikea.  I LOVE building Ikea furniture.  (I’m not being sarcastic.) The duvet cover came from Target’s clearance rack, not Ikea.  I bought it a long time ago knowing I wanted to do gray and white in his room.


Oh the bed!  I love how the duvet covers looks with everything.  The pillows were an impulse buy at Ikea ($5-7 each.) The gray one has lots of texture. The bird one makes me giggle.


He finally gets a big boy desk :).  His old desk was a $5 garage sale find for 1st graders that I spray painted. This one is an Ikea Micke.  It was still cheap, but definitely an upgrade. It took me awhile to make a decision on this desk because there’s no drawer stack.  There are two really wide drawers right under the work surface though and

That’s as far as I’ve gotten today.  Caleb is working on sorting his Legos and I’m trying to talk Darren into hanging the Lack shelves.  I started to do it myself, but the instructions recommended finding a stud.  I found Darren :).

I also have lots of scripture printables from this blogger. I printed them at home on card stock and put them in $2 Ikea frames.  I plan to finish hanging all of that stuff tomorrow.

Just for fun here’s a before and a “so far” after:

Calebs room before and after

Print Friendly
Posted in Decorating | 3 Comments

I can hardly move….

Sunday night we started by removing everything out of Caleb’s room.  It’s so refreshing to start clean!  (He’s still sorting what to keep and what to get rid of so his space stays organized.)


Then we ripped up that 45 year old red shag carpet, and peeled the wall paper.  He liked the wallpaper and it was in excellent condition, but I had an older boy, calmer environment in mind.  And the shag was starting to disintegrate.  It was high quality stuff with a nice jute backing, but every time we vacuumed it filled the tank with red yarn.

DSC_0014-2Then there was significant damage to repair from the professionals jacking our foundation.  None of the doors shut anymore and there was a lot of cracking and buckling.  Darren doesn’t like how I fix cracks (I just slap it together) so he nominated himself for that job.



He pulled off the entire door unit, casing and all.  The wall will have to be recut and the header straightened so the doors will shut again.  The lazy way to fix that is to just trim the door…..but we decided to do it right.

Caleb's room sundry

I carried all the stuff we had already purchased into the room, so I could see it in that light and pick paint colors.  I always use Behr paint.  I’ve tried more expensive stuff, but liked Behr’s performance better.  I chose “Sterling” for the walls, and “Anonymous” (in porch paint) for the floor.  My mom got that amazing paint fan in 2006 when they did a massive home remodel, and it’s still really handy.

DSC_0005I started by painting the trim, since we were still waiting on the crack patches to dry.  (The fan sped that up nicely.)  It took 3 coats of paint (with primer in it) to cover up the wood stain.

Caleb and Dub Painting


Then I cut in with a brush while Caleb and Dub rolled.  Neither of them were awesome painters, but I never even tried to paint until I was 24 and owned my own home.  It was no big deal to go back over the bare spots when they were worn out and in the other room.  We kept baby wipes handy for quick wiping their mess ups off the trim.   They did save me a lot of work.

Dub Painting

Caleb painting

By evening I was ready to paint the floor.  We had already pull up all the staples and pounded in nails so they were flush.  I didn’t do any sanding, just vacuumed it really well.  We used porch paint, and I globbed it on thick.  The nice thing about painting floors is no drips!



This is just the plywood subfloor painted.  We’d love to do hardwood at some point, but painting the subfloor is perfect for our budget right now, and the area rug hides most of the seams.  At this point, I’m exhausted.  I’ve been to the hardware store 4 times!  I was hoping to be done and moved in, but the crack patching took a whole day longer than I had anticipated.  Now it’s time to let the floor cure, and plan a trip to IKEA ;).

Print Friendly
Posted in Decorating | 2 Comments

24 Hour Room Makeover

Whoops!  Where did last week go?  I had good intentions to write all week, but I spent it doing stuff instead.  What stuff, you ask?

Ikea applaro-drop-leaf-table-outdoor-brown__0131142_PE285689_S4

This month is all about focusing on our homes, and I got a little email from Ikea letting me know that the Applaro outdoor dining table I’ve had my eye on is on sale this month.  It looks like it will seat all 8 of us for just $100.  Last year we ate out a lot, but crouched around our furniture-less deck on lawn chairs.  I’ve been hoping for a dining table deal all year.   I didn’t have $100 in that fund, so I gathered up a bunch of our clutter and took it over to a garage sale my Mom was having with her friend.  They were really hospital to let us join in.  I made just enough to buy the table plus tax…..I hope to go get it tomorrow :).

Then we had a little bout of stomach flu.  My son woke us up Tuesday morning and said, I have good news and bad news….I threw up, but I saved the bed.  My brain doesn’t work quickly at 3am, but it didn’t take me long to figure out he meant the 45 year old red shag carpet was toast.


So I spent the week planning a 24 hour bedroom makeover, that we’re doing today (since the kids are off school and we have extra hands.)  The first thing I did was check and see if they had a rug to fit our theme:  Gray, black, white, with an arrow theme.  This one was 70% off and I ordered it with part of the remodel funds we gathered during the spending freeze. (I ordered it Tuesday and it was in my house by Friday!)

When we did Heather’s room, I figured out that even cheap $1 a square foot flooring can add up quickly when you add the necessary underlayment ($500 later!)  So our plan is to just paint his plywood subfloor and throw the rug on top.  There will be about 2 feet around the edges that the rug doesn’t cover….it should be awesome.

Here’s his room before:

Caleb's room before


I’d better go get busy!


Print Friendly
Posted in Decorating | 3 Comments

Are You Spring Cleaning With Toxins?

cleaning supplies

Every day I hear about a friend with cancer.  I don’t know if cancer is really on the rise, or if social media means I just find out about it more.  These aren’t strangers though.  These are my friends: some young, some old, some live near me, some are across the country.  The cancer part of our prayer list is really long.

I hate cancer.   No one knows the cause of an individual illess, unless there was a big environmental problem such as smoking or prolonged asbestos exposure that is glaring.

Baby after bath

On the other hand there are chemicals that are KNOWN to cause cancer used in common every day products like baby shampoo, laundry soap, hand sanitizer, and air freshener.  We might not be able to avoid all risk factors leading to cancer, but we can do something about THIS.

Don’t be mislead.  Just making your own cleaning products will not keep you safe. If your recipe contains ammonia or bleach, it’s not safe.  Plus, many recipes such as homemade laundry detergent, are a combinations of purchased ingredients. Does the soap base for your homemade detergent have SLS, SLES, parabens or 1,4 Dioxine in it?  If it does, it’s not safe.

I made a video for you that scratches the surface of what you should look out for.  Below I’ve added a lot of links below to source the information that’s in the video.  If you want to do your own research, it’s a starting point.


Click here to register for the Free Webinar where I’ll reveal the Budget Friendly Products I recommend.

More Resources

 What to look for in laundry detergents

Tide to reduce not eliminate 1,4 Dioxane

More on Tide and here

More on Laundry

Baby Shampoo


Breast Cancer and Triclosan

Dishwashing Products to Avoid

Is Ajax hand dishwashing detergent safe?

National Cancer Institute Speaks out about Formaldehyde’s list of known cancer causing agents

How Toxic are Your Cleaning Supplies?

What’s so Dangerous about Bleach?

More on Bleach

Even more on bleach

Clorox corporate’s defense of bleach

6 Common Household Products known to cause cancer

5 Household products that increase your risk of  breast cancer

More on Breast Cancer prevention

Why you should avoid Ammonia

More on Ammonia





Print Friendly
Posted in Cleaning and Laundry, Family, Frugal Living | Tagged 1 4 dioxide, ammonia, bleach, cancer, dioxin, fermaldehyde, household cleaners, paraben, sodium laurel sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, toxins | 7 Comments

Two Bloggers Who Shop the House

Happy March!  As snow and rain fight to the death against warm and sunshine, I’m turning my heart towards home.  This month I’d like to look at frugal solutions for decorating, cleaning and organizing, and  finish some projects I’ve started!

It’s easy to look at decorating blogs and make money related excuses for ourself:  “My house would look nice too, but I don’t have the money.” Money helps, but it’s not the only way.  In fact, several of my favorite bloggers often “Shop the House.” By rearranging the stuff they already have, they can get unlimited fresh new looks.

Plus, If you have to choose, crisp tidy houses with yummy food and good company beats trendy any day.

The Nester

It’s hard to pick favorites, but if I could only read one blog, it would be The Nesting Place.  I love how she gives permission to be imperfect, never spends a ton of money and still comes out with something beautiful.  She has a whole category of posts on “Shop the House.”


Melissa, from The inspired Room, has a lot of great ideas for freshening up a house.  This post in particular  will help us get ready for spring.  Her tip for shopping the house:  “Sometimes livening up your room for Spring is as easy as bringing in a few accessories from other rooms of the house. Change up your nightstand accessories by stacking up a few pretty books, a clock that you usually have in the living room, a vase from the kitchen, or whatever inspires you from around the home! I like to call it “puttering” and it’s definitely a seasonal activity for me at my house!”

So what about you?  Name one object that you can move to a different room for a fresh look.  I’m thinking about moving a sofa to our kitchen…..but might start smaller first, lol.



Print Friendly
Posted in Decorating, Frugal Living | Leave a comment

Inflation Vs Market Swing

I’ve been arguing for years that food isn’t as affected by inflation as it is the commodity market swing.  I saw this poster on facebook this week and I think it proves my point:

1958 Cost of living

For simplicity’s sake, let’s pretend inflation has driven everything 10x’s higher.  By moving the decimal point on place to the right you would see that:

A new house = $119, 750

The average income = $46,500

A new car = $21,550

Rent = $950

Tuition to Harvard = $10,000 (Nope, it’s $43,938 source)

A movie ticket = $10

Gasoline = $2.40

Postage = $.40

These numbers are rough, but fairly close. (Except the tuition thing, and gasoline is a commodity so the fact that it worked in this formula is coincidence.)

But apply the same formula to food:

Sugar $8.90 for 10 lbs —  um, no.  It’s closer to $3

Vitamin D milk $10 a gallon — nope, $4

Coffee $9.30 a lb — We don’t drink coffee, so I’m not sure but amazon sells Folgers for $7 a lb

Bacon $6.20 a lb — nope, $3

Eggs $2.80 a dozen — sometimes, but they go on sale for $1

Hamburger $5.70 a lb — closer to $3

Fresh baked bread $1.90 — nope more like $5

Think about it.  We have way more spending power when it comes to food, than our 1957 counterparts did.  Then why were they able to easily maintain a single income family and still feed their families well?

I think it comes down to two things:

1.  Thrift and home economics were valued by society.  Think Leave it to Beaver. Today these qualities are portrayed negatively by mass media. And why not?  The less thrifty they make us, the more money they can get from us.

2.  They used more pure commodity ingredients such as eggs, milk and flour.  With both spouses working and a plethora of kid actives, we tend to gravitate more towards pre-made ingredients and convenience foods just to survive.

What do you think?




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Print Friendly
Posted in Frugal Living | Tagged commodities, food prices, inflation | 5 Comments