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    Hey there! I'm Amanda and I'll be your co-pilot today. Along with my handy husband, Ben, we're remodeling our second house. We're avid DIY-ers, tackling large and small projects while raising two rambunctious boys. Thanks for following along on this wild journey!
    Photo by Jana Graham Photography

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    Thankful for some late blooming lilacs and a neighbor willing to let me take a few. Oh, and my cute little @fab vase that arrived today. Montana is indeed Big Sky Country. Beautiful, bright blue with fluffy clouds today. Wanna see what a less than $100 room spruce looks like? Click the link in profile to see the few cheap (and free!) ways I updated this space.

Jute Herringbone

Right around this time last year, I switched rugs around.  Originally, this grid rug was in the family room, but we moved it to the dining room.

Faux-Marble-Table-Top-in-Family-Room

A large-scale floral rug took its place, but felt off.  Especially after I added a large stump coffee table to our family room.

Stump-Coffee-Table-in-Family-Room

At some point, I’d had enough of it and pulled it out, exposing the bare wood floors.  I searched for a replacement, spending more time than necessary internally debating before settling on a replacement.

Glass-Lamp-on-Bar-in-Family-Room

Preferable something neutral, but with a pattern for interest.  West Elm’s Jute Herringbone rug has long been a favorite and their current rug sale pushed me off the fence.

After a short delay in Texas, the new rug safely arrived on Monday.  As soon as the UPS guy left, I moved the furniture out-of-the-way, vacuumed the wood, and unrolled the carpet.

West-Elm-Rug-In-Family-Room-by-Fireplace

Mark this as the first step toward real, grown up furniture.

West-Elm-Rug-in-Family-Room-Toward-Fireplace

Pairing the jute with chenille feels soft underfoot, and reduces shedding.

West-Elm-Rug-in-Family-Room-Overall

After deciding on this rug, I deliberated colors.  Natural and ivory or natural and platinum.

West-Elm-Rug-Stump-Table-Detail

Getting the rug flat under the heavy coffee table took two people.  While Ben lifted, I tugged the rug straight.

West-Elm-Rug-in-Family-Room-Toward-Door

With spring right around the corner, I plan to add more green to the room.  One can never have too much green.

West-Elm-Rug-in-Family-Room-Detail

If I were brave enough, and didn’t have more house to remodel, I’d love to have a colorful velvet sofa.  The Paidge has clean lines and their Moss velvet is beautiful.

West-Elm-Paidge-Sofa

That’s a grown up purchase for another time, leaving me plenty of time to debate and change my mind.

SnapPower

Outlet covers always seem like an afterthought.  I know they’re not something I put effort into making look good.  They’re utilitarian and not usually something we want to draw attention toward.  For that reason, we’ve always used standard white covers and switch plates.  Until now.  I know this looks like a standard cover.

SnapPower-Outlet-Covers-by-Back-Door

But, take a closer look.  That little dot is actually a light sensor.

SnapPower-Outlet-Covers-by-Back-Door-Close

Which automatically turns into a night light when dark.

SnapPower-Outlet-Cover-in-Family-Room-at-Night

The company behind this genius, SnapPower, have made a safe, convenient, unobtrusive version of a nightlight: the SnapRays Guidelight.

SnapPower-Screen

No ugly plug-in and it frees up another outlet.  Three small LED lights at the bottom of each plate are energy efficient.  Prongs on the back rest against the outlet, drawing power without using batteries or wires.

SnapPower-Outlet-Covers

It’s literally as simple as removing the old cover and popping on the new one.  Currently, we have one by the back door, another in the hall, and a third near the top of the stairs.  Our hall outlet is always in a shadowed area, so during the day it has a dim light on.  It gets brighter at night when completely dark.

SnapPower-Outlet-Cover-in-Hall

I should add another to the main bathroom to help the boys at night.  I’m surprised by how bright these are.  The night photo is an accurate display of the light given off.

Disclaimer:  I was given a few SnapRays Guidelight outlet covers to use in our home and review.  All opinions are my own.  We choose products that we use or would like to try and are relevent to our DIY/home improvement content.  Thank you SnapPower for the lovely night lights!

Apartment-Therapy-Dark-Division-Winner

In other fun news, our master bathroom was chosen as the dark division finalist in Apartment Therapy’s Room for Color contest.  We’re so excited and honored!

Last note, the Minted giveaway is now closed and an email has been sent to the winner.  Have a great weekend, everyone!  We’re hoping to install a few more windows and get ready for the steel siding.  Almost done with the exterior.  Can’t wait to wrap it up to show you!

Light Bar

Several years ago, I bought this lamp for 10 dollars at a vintage shop.  The broken, ribbed blue shade wasn’t looking so great, but the base was ace.  Now you can have ‘The Sign’ stuck in your head.

White Glass Lamp Before

I recovered the shade with navy linen and put it in the boys’ updated room and called it done.

And it never gets used.  We read bedtime stories in the living room, then brush teeth and tuck the boys in.  Essentially, it was a decoration.  One that could be used in another room.  Our family room is a tough space to light because there aren’t floor outlets so cords are a tripping hazard.  The only place to have a plug-in lamp is on the bar.

Stump-Coffee-Table-in-Family-Room

Oddly enough, I’ve been pining over this lamp from Schoolhouse Electric and recently realized how similar the base is.  Even if it is the shorter cousin with more junk in the trunk.  Because it’s all about that base, ’bout that base.  Oh jeez, I need to take a break from pop radio.

So, I took matters into my own hands and made a few quick changes.  A new shade from Target + a stained round wooden base from Hobby Lobby + a little spray paint = Schoolhouse look-alike.

Glass-Lamp-Wood-Base

To get the base right, I stained it with Minwax Special Walnut.  The bottom of the lamp is open and hollow, so I essentially made a large toggle bolt to hold the wood in place, but not permanently attached.  I started by drilling holes in the center of the round and a piece of paint stick.  Gluing a nut to the top of the paint stick made up my toggle.

Glass-Lamp-Base-Toggle

After putting the bolt in and tightening it halfway, I slipped the wood strip inside and cranked the bolt.

Glass-Lamp-Base-Attachment

Keeping a little pressure against the wood will allow the bolt to snug up.

Glass-Base-Wood-Round

To give the neck a little spruce, I sprayed it with Rustoleum Dark Walnut paint.  Add a new shade and it’s finito.

Glass-Lamp-on-Bar-Detail-Vertical

Not a bad knock off for less than $20, including the price for the base.  Adding a wood base and new shade to any gourd lamp could give a similar look.

Glass-Lamp-on-Bar-in-Family-Room-2

Now it sheds light on the bar area and adds some height.

Glass-Lamp-on-Bar-Detail

Honestly, I’m stupidly excited about the new look.  Schoolhouse has some amazing pieces.  Sadly, I have a hard time justifying that cost for a lamp.

Glass-Lamp-on-Bar-in-Family-Room

Sometimes though, I get lucky and find similar items.  Like this wool blanket that is a dead ringer for their Kelly Green Throw.  That my friends, is why I love thrifting.

Green = Green: Free Stump Coffee Table

You may be right!  I may be crazy.  But it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for.  To quote my longtime BFF (not really) Billy Joel.

Often times, I’m not actively searching for specific items.  However, if I see something that I can’t stop thinking about, I feel compelled to get it.  Such is the case of this giant slice of starting to rot cottonwood.

Stump-Coffee-Table-Sanded

At 43 inches in diameter and 12 inches tall, this thing is massive, not to mention heavy.  Ben thought I was crazy, but loaded the beast up for me.

The affair started innocently, as I drove past the chopped up remains of a 25 foot tall dead trunk.  After a few days, I decided to ask by leaving a note with my name and number.  Instead of being the crazy woman knocking on the door, demanding a piece of wood.  A few hours later, a sweet gal called me back saying I could definitely take what I wanted.  Sa-weet.  I dropped by to pick out the piece and chatted for another one and a half hours.  I guess she didn’t think I was crazy.

Back to the wood.  This old cottonwood had died years ago.  The stump finally fell over.  Which means this thing has real character.  After a thorough sanding to get the surface splinter free and as flat as possible, I dug sawdust out of the bug trails.

Stump-Coffee-Table-Bug-Trails

To get all dust and debris off and out of cracks, I lugged out the air compressor and a spray gun.  Worked like a charm to get the gunk out.  Then I gave the sides one coat of polycrylic.  For added smoothness, I applied three coats to the top, sanding between layers.  Sanding between coats is always important, but even more so on an unfinished piece of wood.

At 12 inches tall and somewhat uneven (notice a raised chunk toward the front in the photo below), I attached three steel casters.  Not only do the casters add a few inches in height, it makes this two hundred pound slab mobile.

Stump-Coffee-Table-Three-Casters

I bought four, but after talking it over with Ben and looking at the base, three worked better.  Despite an uneven base, after flipping it over, the top was almost perfectly level.  As the old saying goes, “Almost only counts in horseshoes and casters.”  Under $6.00 each at Home Depot, these 300 pound rated wheels are heavy-duty.

Stump-Coffee-Table-Casters-at-Home-Depot

Four 2 1/2 inch long screws and washers keep the wheels in place.

Stump-Coffee-Table-Casters-Attached

With the piece sanded, clean, sealed, and wheeled, all we had left was to bring it inside.  Basically I made a heaftier version of this stump and put it inside my house.  Feast your eyes on our new, rustic meets industrial coffee table.

Stump-Coffee-Table-in-Family-Room-Toward-Doors

Adding the heavy (both in weight and appearance) table has helped ground the room.

Stump-Coffee-Table-in-Family-Room

I’m keeping the old table.  Because I love it and it could work well in our bedroom seating area.

Faux-Marble-Table-Top-in-Family-Room

This hulking piece was fun to work on and now has a fun story.

Stump-Coffee-Table-in-Family-Room-Toward-Fireplace

And character in spades.

Stump-Coffee-Table-in-Family-Room-Toward-Stairs

One side has a giant crack along with a woodpecker hole.

Stump-Coffee-Table-in-Family-Room-Toward-Cabinets

Stump-Coffee-Table-Cracked-Side-Detail

Some of the chainsaw marks are still noticeable on the top.

Stump-Coffee-Table-Top-Detail

Despite several rounds of sanding with 50 grit paper, the top isn’t completely smooth.  I mean, you won’t get slivers if you run our hand across the top.  Though it is far from your typical glossy mahogany furniture.

Stump-Coffee-Table-Top

You can feel bumps, divots, and a few rough patches.

Stump-Coffee-Table-Top-Bug-Hole-Detail

Stump-Coffee-Table-Top-Detail-Toward-Stairs

For a hot second, we considered screwing the crack back together.  Clearly, we decided against that.  It could have worked.  Or it could have made the split even bigger.

Stump-Coffee-Table-Large-Crack-Detail

Overall, this was a quick, easy, and inexpensive project.  Free stump + a few hours of sanding + 1 quart of polycrylic + three steel casters = my love in coffee table form.

Stump-Coffee-Table-Edge-Detail

Based on the 17 photos, some very similar, in this post, I think it’s safe to say I’m smitten.  What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of cool furniture?

Historic Photograph Art

Ben and I celebrated 8 years of marriage on Tuesday.  Eight years!  That seems crazy.  Several weeks ago, I was wandering through a local consignment shop and spotted an interesting black and white print of old barns and a butte in the background.

Historic-Montana-Print-at-BarI flipped it over and it said it was a historic photo of the town Ben grew up in.  How perfect!  I bought it and saved it until Tuesday.

Historic-Montana-Print-Detail

Adding meaningful art to our home has always been my goal.  This sweet photo is the perfect piece above the bar area.

Historic-Montana-Print-Above-BarThough I gave this as an anniversary gift, an old photo would also make a thoughtful Father’s day gift.  A google search has tons of options.  Like this St. Paul scene:

Or Minneapolis with horse-drawn carriages.

Of course, don’t print a photo with copyright, but there are options.  Or you could photograph a special place and turn it to black and white to look more reminiscent of times past.

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