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    We're two avid DIY-ers raising two rambunctious boys while tackling large and small projects, living to share our tale. All with the hope to inspire and encourage others.

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    It's gutter day! Fun to watch the process of seamless gutters being made. Went kitchen countertop shopping and came home with 6 remnants of soap stone. 3 of which are perfectly usable for the kitchen areas. Agreed to take it all for $100. Twist my arm why dontcha. This sky is on fire. This sky is on fiiirrreee. I'm walking on fire! Love this kind of wake up call.

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.

Two Year Check Up

This month marks two years of living at this house.  Like last year, I’m taking you on a room by room tour to show you the changes.  Here’s the plain entry the day we closed:

New-House-Entry April 13 2012

Recently, we installed a tongue and groove accent wall, new front door and window, modern light, giant Longhorns and cute art.

Button-Picture-in-Entry-Top-Stairs

We now have a bright, light filled happy space we’re not ashamed of.  Especially because this is the first impression.  We still have to replace the uneven, stained tile and railing, but this space is nearly complete.  The living room had great potential, but it felt too traditional for us.

New-House-Living-and-Dining-April-13-2012

Much of this room is still subject to change, but it’s functional and more ‘us.’  Painted light gray walls modernize it, while still feeling warm.

Living-Room-into-Dining-Two-Years-Later Coffee table plans are in the works, and I want to find a new rug and chairs.  Art, too.

New-House-Dining-into-Living-Room April 13 2012

But the modern twist on a rustic/Western style is coming together.  The newly finished sofa is perfect in here.

Living-into-Entry-Two-Years-Later

Hopefully a leather sofa will replace this one, but it serves the purpose until then.

Living-Room-Sofa-Two-Years-Later

Our dining room has seen some progress, but it’s not looking so hot these days.  Though it really didn’t look to great when we bought this place either.

Dining-Room-After-Move-In-April-30 A window replaced the door, and we’ve got one sheetrock-less wall while we deal with electrical changes.

Dining-Room-Two-Years-Later One of the least changed rooms is the kitchen.  Maybe this winter we’ll have some updates to tackle.

New-House-Kitchen-from-Breakfast-Nook-April-13-2012

Aside from removing wallpaper and painting, no action going on in here.

Kitchen-Two-Years-Later

In the adjacent family room, we’ve refaced the fireplace, added an insert, built shelves for a little nookpainted the walls a soft beige.

New-House-Family-Room-from-Pool-April-13-2012

This room is one of my favorite places to relax and enjoy the back yard views and wildlife.

Family-Room-from-Kitchen-Two-Years-Later

Our first remodel here, the main bathroom, was a full tear out.  Though it was one of the most recently updated spaces, the dark, showerless layout didn’t work for our two young boys or guests.

New-House-Main-Bathroom April 13 2012

Replacing the tub with a tub/shower, it now functions for kids and adults.

Main-Bathroom-Finished-Vanity

Across the hall, the small guest room was very dark.  North facing, small window, and a wall of 70’s oak shelving sucked the light and life out.

New-House-First-Showing-Guest-Room

A new egress window lets in more light while the white shelves and happy yellow walls add cheer.

Guest-Room-Two-Years-Later

A beige box of boring wasn’t really a happy place for two little boys.

New-House-Boys-Bedroom-April-13-2012

After asking for their suggestions, I scraped off the popcorn ceiling, painted the walls a pear green, and filled the room with color and kid friendly decor.

Boys-Bedroom-Two-Years-Later

The master was completely opposite from the boys’ room starting point with obnoxiously bright blue walls.

New-House-Master-Bedroom-Front-April-13-2012

So far, I’ve only painted over the shocking blue.  Soon, we’ll get new windows.

Master-Bedroom-Two-Years-Later

 

The biggest interior project from the past 365 days is the master bathroom remodel.  It was a dated yellow and red room of yuck.

New-House-Master-Bathroom-Toilet-April-13-2012

Now, its our updated sanctuary complete with a walnut vanity, clawfoot tub, and pretty slate and marble tile.

Master-Bathroom-Two-Years-Later

A few big inside changes, but our landscaping saw the most attention last year.  I’ll get to that in another post.  We’ve been adding plants and greenery!

Sometimes, progress feels like it moves slower than a turtle, even though we’re most often working on something.  It’s nice to look back to see just how much we really have done; to be reminded of our excitement at closing.  And look back at the ugly and plain space we inherited.

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