DIY Light – Kitchen Sconce Edition

We recently axed our top kitchen cabinets in favor of open shelving.  Oooo I could dedicate an entire post to open shelving – they look beautiful, they are practical, they make grabbing and putting dishes back so easy and they are great for getting much needed artwork into the kitchen.  I now know why so many interior designers favor open shelving – who wouldn’t??  We decided to only have one long shelf (its about 10 feet long) instead of multiple long ones.  Given that this side of the kitchen was darker (the refrigerator and the wall hides a lot of the natural light, the idea was to keep this area open, airy and 2 shelves would have just made the wall heavier.  This however left us with a huge area above the

Darlin’ Leave a Light on for Me – How to Automate Your Porch Lights

Remember that Belinda Carlisle song Leave a Light On?  Boy does that bring back memories…

“Darlin’ leave a light on for me, I’ll be there before you close the door to give you all the love that you need…”

Ok maybe you don’t – I might have just dated my musical tastes. I don’t know about you but I love having my porch lights on when I come home in the evening or just for security reasons when we’re not home or even if we are!  Thing is, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten to turn them off only to have them on the entire night and day!  In fact, truth be told, my neighbor has her porch lights on 24/7 and the little eco-monster in me just wants to help her automate her lights to save some electricity!

Realistically, who wants to remember to turn on and turn off their porch lights everyday?  I certainly don’t.  Enter the Honeywell Light Switch Programmable Timer.  There are a bunch of other brands of programmable light switches – I personally went with this one because it was only about $20 and Honeywell is a pretty reputable brand.


Keeping Our Dog Maya Occupied with Smart Dog Toys

We have an Australian Shepherd (Her name is Maya and the blog is named after her as you can tell!) and as with all Aussies, they are smart as smart can be and need to be kept entertained!  Keeping their brains working actually wears them out more than running around with them!  I know I’ll never be able to outrun Maya but I sure can outsmart her

Lighting up the hallway – DIY Globe Light

We’re on a mission, a mission to banish all boob lights from our builder grade home.  Let’s see, we have 1,2,3,4.. ok many boob lights in this house – so many that replacing them all with beautiful lights from Cedar and Moss (like this one!) would be way too expensive or it would take too long!  What’s a girl to do but to make her own DIY light!  Introducing our very own DIY Globe Light for less than $50!  Let’s get started!

We disappeared and why we’re back.

We gave you a house tour in Sept 2015 and it was only our 4th post before we disappeared.  We had to for a variety of reasons mostly existential in nature I guess.  I’m a big time blog reader and the more I read, the less I felt I could contribute to the blog space.  I mean how could I, I’m not an interior design guru, I don’t have mad construction chops – all I had was a first house that I was hoping to make into our own.  Hell, I didn’t even have an Amazon affiliate account!

But as I tried to make changes that mimicked what I saw on blogs, I found myself constantly buying things.  I found myself going through “round ups of what to buy” from every blogger everywhere.  I get it, its a money maker but I got into DIY to make things, not just buy them.  One of our first purchases for our home were some pendants from Rejuvenation.  I love them but they were expensive and I knew if I were to replace all the lights in our home, well I would either be quite broke or I’ll have to wait forever.  So I started searching on how to make my own lights.  That’s when the light bulb literally went off.  I actually started making lights that were COMPARABLE to those you find on Rejuvenation, Triple Seven Home, School House Electric.  Yes I can and I did!  Kristen told me I should sell the lights I made but I had a better idea.  Why not empower people to make their own?  I mean isn’t that what blogs and DIY is all about?  This could be where I could make a difference.  Imagine someone who goes through these amazing blogs but can’t afford a Cedar and Moss sconce, well, I can’t make ANY light, but there are some nice ones I can definitely pit together for sometimes a quarter of retail and I can’t wait to put these plans together for this little space on the internet.

Since our last house tour, we’ve made many many updates to the house.  We’ll shoot another tour soon so that you can enjoy all the before and afters that we have!  Well, this was meant to be a short hello we’re back post so I’ll let you get back to your regular scheduled program but a couple of things to look out for these next few weeks that we’re intending to blog about:

  1. DIY semi flushmount lights (we made fancy lights for our upstairs hallway!)
  2. DIY kitchen sconce
  3. Commentary on our new sofa from Article (formerly known as Bryght – not affiliated, just an honest opinion!)
  4. Living with our open kitchen shelf (and loving it!)
  5. Staining stair banisters

Talk you you all soon!


Finally a House Tour!

Kristen and I apologize for being absent from this blog.  We were in the throws of moving in and let’s just say it has been a whirl wind!  Well, we finally managed to get a video of the new digs for the internet world to see so here it is!  Hopefully this gives you a better idea of how the home is laid out and we can’t wait to update you on all the changes we intend to make to this place – after we do all the fixes we need to do!  So here’s our house… enjoy!

Planning Projects

What’s a girl to do when she’s waiting to close on the house?  Plan plan plan projects!  The house we bought is pretty move in ready but we have a long list of projects that we want to tackle – some of them DIYable, others are definitely more contractor friendly.  I’ve been keeping a list on Evernote for the past month and every time Kristen logs in, she says that the list has grown longer and that we’ll never finish all of it before we move to our next home (which will be in at least a few years).

So with this long list of projects ranging from finishing up the basement to changing (almost all!) the light fixtures to demoing walls – how do you decide what projects are worth tackling and what aren’t?  Well, Kristen and I have created a couple of quick litmus test questions to ascertain if a project is going on the “to-do” list or the “well, we may never get to that” list.

  1. Does it add value to the home?  And is this value similar to the amount spent?  Not all projects add value to homes.  Not all projects add the same amount of value you spent.  Since this isn’t going to be our forever home, we are cognizant that if we choose to do something, we do hope to get something back from it.  For example, we do intend to change out the floors because cheap laminate and carpet aren’t going to cut it for us.  Are we getting the best hardwood possible?  No, because this isn’t a neighborhood that will pay back on that.  Are we going the laminate route?  Probably not, unless it looks and feels really good.  We’ve already looked at some floors and will likely land on an engineered hardwood because its cheaper than hardwood but looks and feels better than laminate.  In our neighborhood, if we had to sell our home, I think we would at least get back what we would spend on the floors.
  2. Is this project too specific to our taste?  We all want to make a home “our own” but sometimes making it too specific could detract from your home’s value instead of adding to it.  We love the modern elements but realize that we are living in a more traditional suburb in the midwest so encasing the entire living room in glass isn’t an option.  One of the projects we have on our list is to change out some of the exterior doors (laundry door, front door, and back sliding door).  We’ve looked at some beautifully modern ones but decided that we are going with more traditional ones to maintain the traditional American look of the home.
  3. Are there cheaper ways of achieving the end result?  One of the things we want to do is replace the small half bath door with a sliding door to maximize square footage of a very small bath.  Sure we would love to have a pocket door, but that would mean cutting holes in walls and getting a contractor in.  So we decided on adding a sliding barn door instead.  Same result but way less money.

I’m sure that there are more questions to be asked for each and every project but starting out with some basic questions will help frame your perspective when approaching each project.  Happy DIYing!