Mixing Thinset, Applying It With A Trowel, & Other Tiling Tips


Monday’s backsplash post kinda dove straight into the middle of the project, so we thought while we were back to share our progress we should rewind a smidge to explain a bit more about the process for anyone else out there who wants to tackle something similar. First we had to prep the room. So everything came off the counters. Then down went the rosin paper (from Home Depot). It was recommended by our counter installation guy when we mentioned we were doing a backsplash. It’s basically like brown construction paper, but with an added moisture barrier that keeps any thinset drips from seeping through. We covered each of the counters with cardboard (for extra

Making Simple Burlap-ish Fabric Art Mats


Since lots of folks have asked for close up photos and more of an explanation about our little art switcheroo above the sofa, here it is. It’s such an easy project that anyone can do (probably for under $5 if you have the frames and some small photos or prints that you love (images from greeting cards or postcards could even work). So we figured we’d share the goods while we work on our backsplash (those goods will be up tomorrow am!). Our frames above the sofa started out with colorful paper in them ($5 worth of craft paper from Michael’s to be exact). That added some fun oomph for a while, but the beauty

432 Posts Down To 12


I’m a type-A kinda gal. I admit slash attempt to embrace that quality, because it’s just who I am. So to that end, after we did our first superlatives post back in July, I kept thinking about how it would be nice to have the earlier seven months worth of project breakdowns – to fill in the gap between January (two weeks after we moved in and essentially when we started doing projects) and July (when we started doing monthly roundups). It’s just fun for us to see a month at a glance, and we thought it might help some of you guys dig up specific projects without trolling through 432 posts in our archives.

Fab Freebie: Boxing Match


*** This giveaway is no longer accepting entries – see who won below! *** Random.org has done it again and crowned an oh-so-randomly selected winner. That lucky person is… Doris Johnson (who can’t contain her love for her puppy, Finn. She even included a link to his picture!). Congrat Doris… and Finn! It’s no secret that storage boxes and trays are pretty much our jam when it comes to organizing. And this week someone will be taking home the motherlode thanks to Rubbermaid’s new Bento series. Beyond just being pretty chic looking, the boxes have flexible dividers inside that pop out if you need to corral smaller items within and the trays – and also

Cutting Penny Tile Can Be Tricky: What Worked For Us


Oh man, backsplash-ing is 50% scary and 50% suuuuuper excitiiiiiiiiinnnnnggg! Sorry, got carried away there. Maybe it’s 90% super exciting and 10% eeeks. Anyway, we began wrestling with it a few days ago and it’s taking a bit longer than expected (we spent nearly three hours just figuring out how to cut it, prepping our work space, and mixing up thinset before ever getting started). But by the end of the day (after Clara had gone to bed) we had accomplished this: Isn’t it awesome? Well, at least the beginning of awesome. I keep doing awkward things like stroking it and saying “oh yeah” and then blushing and backing away slowly. There’s plenty about the

A Few Mail-Friendly Christmas Gifts


It’s time for: Secret Santa: Revealed. That makes me laugh because I imagine some man with a deep serious voice introducing a show with that name after Dateline or something. Anyway, since a bunch of you have asked for the Secret Santa dirt (and I couldn’t wait to spill who I had and to learn who had me!) here it is: I had… (drumroll? anyone? can I at least some table slapping or something?)… House Of Smiths! It was so much fun to pack up two little surprise care packages for her. The first one included two decorative frames from Michael’s that I personalized with some paint in the name of some Christmas cheer (they

Reader Redesign: Open Up


Since we’re clearly in a kitchen state of mind, we had to share Kacie and her husband Kyle’s makeover. With the help of their parents, they took advantage of their home’s open floor plan and created a sweet and much-more-functional spot to fry up some eggs in the morning. Here’s Kacie’s email: My husband and I just finished our first remodel! When we moved into our house one year ago we knew we were going to redo the kitchen and the flooring. The kitchen was completely closed in and all of the cabinets were poorly placed – there was only one usable drawer! I absolutely love to cook and this was not a cook’s kitchen:

How To Make Fifteen Minute, Fifteen Dollar Black Out Curtains


File this under “A Lazy Mom’s Trick To Get More Sleep.” I made no-sew, mind-numbingly-easy, shortcut-blackout curtains. Enough adjectives for you? I’m an over-explainer. Anyway, this isn’t the professional way, it’s the cheater way. Haha. First the why. Although the faux wood blinds on Clara’s bedroom window provided a decent amount of light-blockage, I knew blackout fabric would make the room pitch black in the middle of the day (which means it might help with the just-one-forty-five-minute-nap that we’ve been getting these days). To JoAnn fabrics I flew, and purchased 5.5 yards of blackout fabric (which sort of felt like the white fabric on roller-blinds). Thanks to a 50% coupon I got it all for

How To Paint Your Cabinets (Hallelujah, They’re Done!)


It’s finally here. The day that we get to wake up and pad into a kitchen that used to look like this… And see this… So here’s how we did it from soup to nuts. Wait, first let me gush a little more. Seriously, it doesn’t even feel like the same room. Scroll back up and picture yourself standing next to the fridge in the “before” shot. The cabinets felt about two feet away from you on all sides. I can’t explain it, but it was like the room didn’t respect my personal space and was always inching towards me. It was all up in my area. Now when I stand at the sink or

What Santa Brought Us


This was an exciting Christmas because in all of our seven December 25ths together, we’ve never woke up in our own beds to open the presents under our own tree as a family (i.e. we’d always traveled elsewhere). We did meet up with a bunch of relatives later in the morning to open gifts as one big crazy Petersik family, but we snuck in some present opening time as just the four of us earlier in the morning. Especially since Santa brought one little Petersik something extra special this year (as mentioned in great detail here)… Along with her play-kitchen Clara got lots of clothes, books, toys, and that favorite leopard hat of hers. But

How To Make A Homemade Play Kitchen (From A Cabinet)


We did it. Holy cats, we did it. Just a few days before Christmas we started Clara’s homemade play-kitchen (in secret of course, since she thinks Santa brought it)… and we actually finished it on Christmas Eve! Yes folks, it was a Christmas miracle. We went into it with a goal of spending under $99 since this basic play-kitchen from Ikea is that price – but we wanted to add a bit more detail like oven knobs that actually turn, an oven light that goes on and off, a wire baking rack inside the oven instead of a shelf, and a real faucet (not plumbed of course, but movable!). So here’s how we made our

Fab Freebie: The Simple Life


***This giveaway is no longer accepting entries – see who won below!*** Random.org is wishing a very happy new year to TWO of you by selecting you as our winners. And those lucky people is… KC (who after a recent move to a smaller space would really love to pare down her home to the bare essentials) and Katie (who needs to gets her computer files organized since she can’t find anything). Congrats! Since ringing in the new year usually means ringing in some resolutions about simplifying or getting organized, simplify 101 might come in handy. They offer online workshops (as well as free guides) to help folks get organized, stay focused, and reach their

Now, We Wait…


Ok, so we completed the door-painting process a few days ago (picture us doing the droopiest super-tired happy dance that you’ve ever seen) and we’re now into the “waiting game” portion of the cabinet painting process. But we couldn’t wait to share all the photos of everything both during the painting-process and now that they’re all glossy and finished, so here ya go: We used Benjamin Moore’s Advance paint in Cloud Cover in a satin finish (it’s a soft tonal taupey-gray color, so it’s not quite as bright as our glacier white counters for a subtle layered look). Benjamin Moore Advance paint (in the satin finish) actually came recommended by a few pro cabinet painters