DIY Lamp Transformation

Our living room is a giant work in progress, but I just added a DIY lamp for our end table. We needed some extra lighting for the end table/cabinet that holds our tv components. I recently found a GIANT consignment store near our house, and I happened upon this little number just begging for some spray paint.

Why spend hundreds on a lamp when you can give a thrifted lamp a new look with a little paint?

Not that I don’t love peachy-mauve… but it wasn’t going to work in my house without some TLC. I liked the shape and I knew some spray paint and a new shade would do the trick. The original shade was so dirty and ugly I left it at the store. I covered the important parts with tinfoil, primed it and gave it two light coats of Rustoleum Heirloom White. Always be sure that a used lamp is functional before purchasing at a thrift or consignment store.

Why spend hundreds on a lamp when you can give a thrifted lamp a new look with a little paint?

Did I mention this lamp was $10 at the consignment shop?! The shade was $20 at Target. I hadn’t completely decided if this was the one when I took the picture so I didn’t take off the plastic 🙂 For $33 including the lamp, shade and can of spray paint, I spent a third of the catalog version. I saw a similar lamp in the Ballard Designs catalog, but with two small children, I don’t need a $219 lamp in our main living area!

Now I need to figure out the wall behind the sofa. I’m thinking about a gallery wall or some decorative shelves. Soon we’ll be on our way to finishing this room. I mean, for now at least.

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Fall Porch Decor & A Mini Tutorial

Halloween is over and most of the stores are jam-packed full of Christmas decor now, but I’m not quite ready to roll out the garland and ornaments quite yet. Fall decor feels more appropriate for the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. Yesterday I showed off our fun Halloween set-up; I’m still patting myself on the back for coming up with the pirate ship idea 🙂 Today I want to share our festive fall porch.

After Halloween, I ditched the skeleton and brought our front doorstep back to regular fall status. We had a couple smaller pumpkins leftover so I left them for now. With just a few simple and inexpensive items, we now have a lovely and welcoming front stoop.

fall porch decor

The wreath was $3 from Walmart about three years ago and has been used over and over. I bought the strands of berries last year and just attached them with some brown thread. The white planter is something I found in the Ballard Designs catalog for around $129. It’s gorgeous, but there’s no way I can spend that much for a square wood planter. I found this unfinished planter box at Home Depot for $20.


I sanded the entire outside and inner edge with medium grit sandpaper, then gave it a good coat of Zinser oil-based primer to help it withstand the extreme San Diego weather. A final coat of white paint leftover from the exterior trim on our house and it was all ready for showtime.

How do you decorate between Halloween and Thanksgiving??    

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Pirate Themed Halloween

I had so much fun setting up our Halloween decor this year! I don’t do much inside the house since the kids are still pretty young, but this year I took on the outdoor decorating. With the help of my sister, my plan worked out pretty well if I do say so myself (plus we got a lot of compliments from trick-or-treaters!) Our house was all about pirates!

A fun pirate theme for Halloween.

This guy was on our doorstep guarding his treasure. It took some coaxing to get him situated right but in the end it all worked out. The day was so busy that we only took a few pictures. My husband usually decorates outside with a bunch of random Halloween decorations. It was really fun to have a theme this year.

Our DIY Pirate Ship

Since you can’t see the doorstep from the street, we made a giant pirate ship out of cardboard boxes to set up in front of the garage. We had little skeletons clinging to the boat and lined the silhouette with white lights so it would be visible after dark. The trick-or-treaters loved our pirate ship!

A fun pirate theme for Halloween.

This is the best picture of the ship all lit up after dark and our little group of kiddos are sort of blocking it, but you get the idea. We lined the whole boat with lights, including the mast so you could still see the pirate flag at night. All in all, I like how it all looked and I’m already cooking up my plans for next year!

A fun pirate theme for Halloween.

You can check out our Wizard of Oz themed Halloween decor here.

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Fabric-Covered Cork Board

Recently I shared our new week-at-a-glance calendar that I nicknamed “mission control” and today I’m going to show how I made our new “command center.” Apparently I think I’m working for NASA over here!

The school year is off to a good start, and the new calendar has been a great way to keep track of what’s going on each week. We also need a spot for all the other stuff that needs to be organized and easy to find like emergency info, school flyers, etc. I wanted a bulletin board for our command center, but I didn’t want to hang a boring old cork board in my lovely new kitchen so instead I got a little crafty.

Use fabric to cover a basic cork board or cork canvas to keep your command center organized.


Cork canvases
Fabric (as much as you need for the size and number of your canvases)
Spray Adhesive
Staple gun & mid-weight staples or a hammer and brads or small nails
Ribbon, etc for trim (optional)

I started out with two 13×13 cork canvases that I found at Joann’s for about $8. I wanted something with a little dimension and the canvas style was perfect. The fabric came from the curtain aisle at Target. Sometimes fabric pops up in unexpected places!


Lay the cork board on the fabric, wrong-side up, using the hemmed edges as a guide.

Use fabric to cover a basic cork board or cork canvas to keep your command center organized.

Measure about 3 1/2″ from the larger seam so the fabric wouldn’t lay to thick on the finished side of the cork. I only measured in about 2 1/4″ from the smaller seam because obviously there isn’t as much thickness to worry about.

You can use chalk or fabric pen to mark out cutting lines so the fabric wraps all the way around the canvas. Then trim along the lines.

Attach the fabric

Coat the cork with a thin coat of spray adhesive and center on the fabric, making sure that the pattern is running straight across the front of the cork board. If the pattern is lopsided, it will look funny when the cork board is hanging.

Use fabric to cover a basic cork board or cork canvas to keep your command center organized.

Then wrap the edges of the fabric over the back of the cork board and staple along the edges using a staple gun. You could also use small finishing nails or brads, but a staple gun is faster and easier (and not very expensive). Staple fast… the baby will be waking from his nap soon!

Staple two sides that are opposite one another, being sure to pull the fabric taut. On the ends, I tucked the corners in like I was wrapping a present and folded it over as I stapled along the edge. Once everything is stapled down firmly, trim the excess fabric.

Hang your cork board

The cork boards that I bought came with Command strips for hanging. I figured since nothing too heavy will be hanging on these boards, I’d give it a try. I can always attach picture hangers later but for now here’s hoping they just stay up without any nail holes.

Next to our bulletin boards, I put up a new calendar that I printed out on mid-weight card stock from a blog I found on a link party. I can’t find the link now though so if it looks familiar, please let me know so I can give credit. The calendar is super cute and FREE and runs August 2012 to July 2013.

Obviously more will be going on the bulletin boards, but I really wanted to snap a picture of the project before it becomes a cluttered mess organizing masterpiece. Here’s our new command center!

Covering a cork board with fabric blends organization with decor.

Linking up to these awesome parties…

   Home Stories A2Z   The 36th AVENUE   Becoming Martha

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Fixing A Fidgety Duvet Cover

During the cooler months, we use a down comforter. A duvet cover keeps it clean, and honestly it looks nicer. I love our comforter, but it can also be a major pain in the rear. It shifts and shuffles around inside the cover until one of two things happens. Either one person has all the comforter and the other is basically under a sheet OR the duvet shifts to the bottom of the bed and the top portion is thin and empty. How can you prevent a duvet cover from shifting around?

A simple solution to prevent your comforter from shifting inside the duvet cover.

Word on the street is that some duvet covers come with ties sewn into the corners and sides to keep your comforter from fidgeting around inside its case. That would be most helpful. However, if your comforter and/or duvet cover didn’t come this way, as ours didn’t, you can do this on your own quickly and easily.

Supplies Needed:

*thread (I used white)
*a basic sewing needle
*ribbon cut to about 12″ for the ties (for a king comforter I used 7)
*ribbon cut to about 6″for the loops (one for each corresponding tie)


Lay out your duvet cover inside out on the floor. Then lay your comforter on top of the cover, matching up the sides and corners.

Starting with the top-most corner (as it will lay on your bed), fold one of the 12″ pieces of ribbon in half and hand-stitch to the outer edge of the corner of the duvet cover. I doubled up the thread to make the stitches stronger. Just use a simple stitch to hold the ribbon in place, nothing fancy. Trust me – if you could see this up close, a seamstress would be horrified 😉 I stitched a tie in each corner and then one in the center of each side except where the cover opens at the bottom.

A simple solution to prevent your comforter from shifting inside the duvet cover.

Next, take one of the 6″ ribbon pieces and fold it in half. Stitch the folded “loop” in each of the corners of the duvet itself, being careful to match up the placement of the loops to the placement of the ties on the cover.

A simple solution to prevent your comforter from shifting inside the duvet cover.

Once you’re done stitching all the ties and loops in place, just slip each of the ties through the loop and tie a nice tight bow. You could knot it too, but I wanted it to be easy enough to remove for washing.

A simple solution to prevent your comforter from shifting inside the duvet cover.

Here’s my comforter back on the bed. Easy as pie and now the comforter won’t be slipping all over the place. No more shaking it out every couple days to get it back in place!

A simple solution to prevent your comforter from shifting around inside a duvet cover.

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