Board and Batten Fireplace with Herringbone Marble tile

Corner Fireplace Revamp: Board and Batten with Herringbone Marble tile

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One of the things I didn’t really love about our house when we first looked at it was the fireplace. It was on an angled wall and had a cheap little mantle.


Corner fireplaces are always a bit of a pain to decorate around anyway. Do you arrange the furniture to face it and make it a focal wall? In our case the furniture just didn’t fit well facing the fireplace and we didn’t want the tv above it anyway. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with it, I just knew I wanted to do something…someday. Then the day came that we were getting hardwood floors and the day before the installers came I made a last minute decision to rip off the mantel and granite surround so they could remove the granite hearth and take the wood right up to the fireplace. It is just a gas insert and the floor doesn’t get hot in front of it so really no need for the hearth except to take up space. I thought I had a pic of this stage but I can’t find one so you will have to just picture it. A plain tan wall with ragged drywall edges around the firebox. It stayed like this for over 2 years! Then I finally decided to do something about it…a few days before having people over for my daughter’s 3rd birthday.

I bought some preprimed mdf and ran over to a coworker’s home for some table saw assistance. Her husband kindly cut some 45 degree angles on my boards so I could fit them into the corners of the wall so they would be flush. I wanted them flush so it would be easier to add crown molding down the road, plus I think it just looks nicer that way. First I painted the wall white. Next, I measured and measured some more and then started nailing boards to the wall. I did the top and outside boards first and then the cross ones to make sure they were secured in studs.


Take your time, measure often and repeatedly and use a level. This is doable without someone to hold the boards as long as you have a nail gun. I would have needed assistance if I had to hand nail them for sure. Once I had the cross boards in I cut some vertical boards and wedged them in to decide which pattern I really wanted. I had drawn them out on paper but seeing the design in person made it much easier to decide. I then measured again and nailed the rest of the boards in. I caulked all the seams and used the same white paint I had on the wall to paint the boards. So the tiling was not finished by her birthday or even Christmas, for that matter, but the wall at least looked more interesting than it had.

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We chose honed marble herringbone tile for the surround with gray grout.


I’m not really a put stuff on the mantel person and with it being in the corner it just ate up space anyway so we decided to forgo a mantel completely for a more clean look.

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One thing I did learn is to make sure you anyone you hire knows exactly what your vision is. I actually planned to have the tile run horizontally across the fireplace instead of vertically. At first I was really upset about this but it grew on me and now I love it.


I’m really happy with how it turned out especially since it is one of the first things you notice about the room when you first enter our home. I feel like our living room is slowly evolving into the room I want it to be.



Attractive Modern Ceiling Fan

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I don’t love the look of a ceiling fan but we use ours every day all year round so I really can’t replace it with a pretty chandelier as much as I would love to do just that! I wanted this fan from Del Mar so badly after seeing it at vintage revivals.


I just couldn’t wrap my head around spending $399 on a fan though so I kept my eyes open for modern, reasonably priced fans. Then the week before Labor Day I got an email from Home Depot saying ceiling fans were 25% off. Luckily, our fan had started making a ticking noise, so that was our excuse to get a new one. It probably just needed balanced but we wanted a new fan anyway. Greg and I both liked this Westinghouse fan but still preferred the look of the Del Mar fan. After reading reviews on both fans, the Home Depot one won out. It only ended up costing $103 and they shipped it right to us (quickly). After a couple frustrating hours Greg had it hung and we really loved the modern look and how it blended with the room’s decor.

ceiling fan beforemodern ceiling fan 5

Unfortunately, when we went to turn the fan on with the remote it also turned on our porch fans. The fans weren’t even by the same brand and were manufactured 9 years apart so we really didn’t expect them to interfere with each other. The thought of taking all the wiring apart again did NOT make Greg happy at all.. Luckily, after taking off the canopy I could reach the switches without messing with any wiring. It only took about 3 minutes. Now that we know how easy it is to change the frequency we need to do the same to our porch fans. One of them turns on at random and we think it must be on the same frequency as the neighbors’. So we were probably driving them completely crazy when we were installing and messing with the new fan. Anyway, for a ceiling fan I think this one is a winner and especially for the price. So what is your opinion on ceiling fans? Do you love them or would you rather have a pretty light instead?

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New Rug for the Hallway: Sewing 2 rugs together

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The hall has not even been on my radar as far as decorating. So many other rooms and projects were on the list before it. Our hallway is narrow and boring and the only thing I have done to change that is adding these lights, which was a nice start.


Then one day I got an email from Joss & Main with really fun rugs and I couldn’t come up with a spot I needed a rug, except the hall. But with the no return policy I couldn’t pull the trigger. I really think the only way to tell if a rug works is to have it in your space so not being able to return is a no go for me. The idea seed was planted though and I turned into an obsessive rug runner shopper and ended up purchasing a rug similar to this one from overstock which I really liked. It added so much to the hall, was nice and thick and just so much fun. I had purchased the 12 foot rug because that is the longest they had. I thought it looked fine but Greg HATED the length. It stopped right before the hallway turned and he thought it needed to go all the way. Since he felt so strongly about it, I returned it and kept searching. I was disappointed when I realized it isn’t easy to find a colorful, fun, reasonably priced 14-15 foot runner. In Jbug’s room I had used rug tape to tape 2 rugs together and they had held up really well so I figured I could do the same for the hall. There were way more 7’ and 8’ rugs to choose from and I found this great one at overstock. They only had one in stock though so ended up ordering from ebay. I was soooo excited when I opened the rug and loved it and amazingly so did Greg. Unfortunately that excitement plummeted after I opened the second one. They didn’t match. Noooooooo!


Hmmm, I thought maybe I could order a third rug and it would match one of them. Oh and Greg still wanted it longer so I figured I would order an 8’ this time around. On to the next hurdle, I went to open the closet door and guess what? It can’t open because the rug is too thick. Are you kidding me! By this point I am in love with the pattern of the rug and just want it somewhere in my home. I thought about Jbug’s big girl room but I didn’t have a real plan for her room yet. I also thought it may work for my closet makeover BUT with all the clothes and shoes back in the closet this crazy of a rug may just be too busy. So I am back to the hallway. Just remember where there is a WILL there is a WAY! I ordered a 3rd 8 foot rug from overstock and wished for the best. You have to just go for it sometimes, you know. Apparently this rug was not meant to be for me. The one from overstock somehow got lost and it had been the last one in stock. I ended up sending my ebay rugs back which cost WAY too much in return shipping. Then about a week or more later the overstock rug appeared on my doorstep. I had to peek just to see if it would have matched one of my original rugs. It didn’t so I was glad it was so late and declared lost because overstock then paid the return shipping. So now 4 rugs have been sent back and I have learned to only buy a rug I know I absolutely want to keep or that I can return locally. I was kind of giving up on the rug idea when I ran across these rugs on clearance at urban outfitters. We do have an urban outfitters in town so there was no risk plus free shipping over $50. I didn’t expect to like this rug as much as I do.

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It is light enough to brighten up the hall and I love the big scale print. Plus both rugs match each other AND it is thin enough for the door to open over it. Win, win. I did have to sew the 2 together which is not easily hidden on a flat weave rug but I think it turned out okay. For $39.98 I can’t really complain. To sew the two together I matched up the pattern as best I could, pinned and then just ran it through my sewing machine. I used a wide stitch since there was a lot of fabric. Next I trimmed off the excess. The patterns were a little off from each rug but I tried to match as best as I could.

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I also got a thin rug pad from rugpadusa to keep it from slipping and to protect the floor. I think it adds a lot to our hallway.The seam does bother me a little so someday when I do something about the closet door (I’m thinking sliding barn door) I will look for a thicker, plush rug where I can hind the seam. If you are in the market for a rug RugsUSA has a great selection and is having a huge labor day sale. I just ordered this one for Jbug’s big girl room for 70% off.

Here is a quick WAY before and after.

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I originally thought the hallway was too narrow for artwork but I couldn’t find anywhere else for this painting. I had it made for my husband as a wedding gift and the artist used a gloss coating. We have a lot of natural light in our home and everywhere we try to hang it there is always a huge glare across it. The hallway seems to be the only place it can actually be appreciated so for now that is where it lives. I’m trying to decide what I can add to the other wall to balance it out.  Do you think the hall is too narrow for artwork?

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Succulent Planter and DIY Hanging Solar Lights

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I’m having fun adding some life to our porch this year. We have had these 3 candle holders hanging on the porch for a couple summers now. They look fine but the problem is you can pretty much never burn real candles because of the wind, plus I wouldn’t want to catch our outdoor curtains on fire (See this post to find out how to keep your curtains from blowing in the wind). I tried to use battery operated candles but it was a hassle to turn them all on and take them in during bad weather. So my candle holders just hung there empty all summer long. This year that all changed.
Let’s start with the large orb candle holder.

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I thought this would make a great succulent planter so I ran to home depot and bought some cute succulents. I planted them all and they looked cute for a short time. Then they started dying. I know I have a brown thumb but I really thought I could keep succulents alive! I’m guessing they were getting too much rain or beat up too much by the wind or the pots were too small. Obviously I have no idea why they were giving up on life. Anyway, don’t worry no plants were harmed in this project. I replanted them in a large pot and placed it under the porch where it won’t get rain. Amazingly all the plants bounced back. Maybe my thumb is more tan than brown after all.


Actually I have to give my husband credit for saving the plants lives. After the 10th time of him telling me they were dying and needed repotted I finally did it. Notice all the other beautiful plants in the yard?

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Yeah, I have nothing to do with that.

As luck would have it I was browsing Michaels and found cute little faux succulents already potted in white planters. I think I can maintain fake plants pretty well. I hadn’t been to Michaels in a bit and was surprised to find a little section with all kinds of cute miscellaneous items for a few bucks each. The succulents came 2 to a pack and were $3 I think. They look a little fake if you are too close but they are perfect for what I needed them for. Because the planters were square they didn’t quite fit all the way down into my candle holder. To remedy this I used E600 glue to glue metal washers to the inside of the candle holder and then glued my planter to the washers. I tried hot glue but it didn’t stick to the metal. I really like how it turned out. So far these little plants have been able to stand up to the rain, sun and wind with no problems and the best part is I can’t kill them.

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The smaller wire candle holders honestly look just fine without anything in them but I wanted to make them more functional.

diy solar pendant lights before

First I brightened them up with some rustoleum spray paint I had in my spray paint collection. It was really easy to turn them into solar pendant lights taking about 5 minutes and $3 worth of materials purchased from dollar tree. All you need is a solar light (the kind that have stakes) and floral wire. Take the cup that holds the candle out of the candle holder and flip it over. After removing the solar light from its stake it will fit right into the candle holder. Then use floral wire to secure the light in place and shape a loop to hang it by.

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I wasn’t sure if the solar lights would get enough sun but they do. They actually stay lit all night too which really surprised me, especially considering they cost a buck each.

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I peek out at them every night before bed, they are just so cute. Now I want to turn everything into a solar pendant light!

No Blow DIY Outdoor Curtains

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The first time I saw our porch I knew I wanted to put outdoor curtains around it. I love the breezy, vacation feel they give a porch. I did not however think about how windy it is around here. They seriously just put up a sign on the interstate which reads, “Gusty Winds Next 8 miles”. It took me about 3 years to finally figure out the best hanging method for my curtains so I will share it with you. Here is how I keep my outdoor curtains from blowing away here in Tornado Alley.

The Curtains
I will start with the curtains. Our porch is 10 feet high so I had to sew them myself because most don’t come in that length. I bought marine canvas off ebay for around $5 a yard. This is the 4th year I have had them up and they have no tears and are in good shape. I take them down in the fall, wash them and store them with the patio furniture until spring. The first 3 years I used metal curtain rings to hang them. Each year I had to replace some of them and some had rusted and left small rust spots behind. This year I decided to add tabs from outdoor fabric. I like the look much better so hopefully they will hold up well.


Hanging the Curtains
I first hung my curtains by stretching a cable through eye screws we put on the frame of the porch. The problem with this was it was really hard to get the cable tight and it always sagged in the middle. The curtains would slide to the middle instead of staying where we put them.


Tightening the line and hanging the curtains was also a pain. It usually took me about 30 minutes or more of balancing on a ladder to get them up every year. Next, I decided to give conduit pipe a try. They are cheap and pretty sturdy. The short side of the porch is the perfect length for one pipe so I just drilled a hole in each end, threaded a spring link through and hung it from my already existing eye screws on the side of the porch.


For the long side, I used 2 sizes of conduit pipes and just placed the smaller one inside the larger. We can hang all the curtains within 5 minutes. It is sooo much easier plus it looks much nicer than the cable and no sag. Win, win, win!

Keeping the curtains from flying away

I discovered pretty quickly why many homes don’t have outdoor curtains around here. They fly all over the place. My first attempt to fix this was to weight the bottoms. I sewed twill ties spaced out along the bottom and tied washers on. I tied them on so they can be removed and the curtains washed. Unfortunately, the washers weren’t heavy enough to beat the breeze. Next, I strung a cable through the washers and used camping stakes to hold each end down.

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This worked better but the stakes would still get pulled out occasionally. Then I spotted the dog tie out in the garage.

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I picked up a few more and they worked perfectly. They stay firmly in the ground all summer and have yet to be pulled out. I do tie our curtains to the posts when storms are coming.

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I love our curtains. They give a little bit of a vacation feel to the porch plus add privacy and shade from the afternoon sun. So what do you think? Would you go to all this trouble for outdoor curtains?

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Lighted Wood Accent Panel (and cord hider)

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I meant to post on this much earlier but my keyboard and trackpad decided to stop working on my laptop. After some phone calls with apple support, a trip to an authorized repair person an hour away, and finally shipping it to apple it is fixed. So here you go! A post on how to make wood accent light panels.
These came about because I wanted something decorative to take up some white space on the wall but also wanted something to hide the cords from my bedside pendant lights. While designing the panels I came up with the idea to add lights behind the panel for accent lighting. To start you will need to decide how large you want your panel. I used 1.5” primed mdf for my frame but if I was to do it again I would use 3” pine and stain it. I was originally planning to use canvases so the primed mdf frame worked well with the canvas.

canvas frame

Then I decided the room needed a little bit more of a rustic accent so I ripped the canvas panels off and added the wood.
To make your own you will first need to build a frame using a pocket hole jig.

wood panel frame

Next, determine the angle you want for the design and affix your first piece of lath with a nail gun.

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I used lath because it is cheap and already cut in thin pieces. I got a whole bundle for $12. It is not however even or smooth. For a less rustic look you may prefer to use a different type of board. After the first board is in place, nail on the rest of your boards leaving a small gap between each one. After you finish this step your piece will look like this.

accent panel wood

I used a jig saw to cut off the overhanging boards but a circular saw or table saw may work better.

panel wood accent

Next I nailed lath pieces all around the outside of the frame.

accent panel wood light

I stained my panel after it was put together but pre-staining the lath would ensure all the edges are evenly stained. I used four different stains I had on hand and just randomly stained boards so there was no defined pattern. After the stain was dry I used coax staples and attached Christmas lights around the perimeter of the frame.

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The lights looked okay but as Christmas lights tend to do one string burnt out within a week. I picked up these lights on a recent IKEA trip and they look much better and were easier to install. Plus the cords aren’t lighted and can be hidden behind the bed more easily. To install the lights use the included hardware and screw into the frame. These lights are plugged into the remote I described in this post. Now the bedside lights and accent light are all controlled by remote. Here are what the panels look like during the day


and at night

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We surprisingly use these lights every day. In the evening we turn them on so we can pass through our bedroom without turning on the overhead lights. They are also nice to turn on in the morning to acclimate your eyes. I like how the panels add a little bit of rustic to the clean white and navy of the room. They serve the purpose I wanted them too, adding some interest to a blank wall and hiding the bedside light cords. The added accent lighting is just a great bonus.

How to make inexpensive weather resistant outdoor pillows

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The weather has been so nice around here the past week so we decided it was time to drag our lawn furniture up from the basement. We arranged it all and then I noticed how blah it all looked. Tan, some black and gray. No color at all.

After “schemeing” a bit I came up with all kinds of ideas to liven up our porch. Of course, some of these will probably take me all summer to complete. I did get some pillows made though so let’s start with them. Outdoor pillows can be expensive and hard to find in patterns you may actually like. Sewing your own solves the problem of patterns because there are so many great outdoor fabrics available. Unfortunately, outdoor pillow inserts are not cheap, especially if you want more than a few pillows. My first challenge was to find a filler material which was inexpensive and would hold up to the elements. I had run across bean bag filler when researching for another project so I checked into it a little more.


I found out it is waterproof and it is used in outdoor bean bags as well as indoor ones. So far so good but I had to do my own tests. I ordered a bag from walmart and put some in a bowl of water for 3 days. It tested well and didn’t absorb any water so I figured it would work for my pillows.

diy outdoor pillows

I made a trip to Joanne’s and picked up some cute outdoor fabrics which were all on sale for 50% off. I also picked up some outdoor thread and zippers. Get your zippers at walmart. They are much cheaper and the exact same as the ones from Joanne’s.

inexpensive outdoor diy pillows

Check out this tutorial for an easy way to sew zippers in pillows. After they were sewn all that was left to do was stuff them. Just a warning, these little beads will cling to everything so do this somewhere you won’t mind a mess, and not right before guests are coming over or something. Fill the case with the polystyrene beads and zip up. You can put less in for a more squishy pillow or more for a firm feel. They will feel a little more bean bag like than pillow insert would but still nice. You can also get them to “chop” like down filled pillows if you like that look. They are light weight though so put them away if storms are coming so they don’t blow away. I’m planning on using this UV protectant spray on them too so they will last more than a year or two (hopefully).

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I did buy one pillow. The cute bird pillow is from Lowe’s. I just couldn’t pass it up. Have you started decorating your outdoor space yet?