My Favorite {Fall} Things

It’s finally Fall!  You can tell because the weather is no longer in the triple digits here in Arizona.  We have cooled down to about 90 degrees.  ;-)  But even though we don’t officially need jackets over here, I still enjoy a lot of the traditional fun that comes with a changing season.  Like these…

I love these Pumpkin Caramel Latte candles from Bath & Body Works.  I have been burning them since October hit.  I even bought several of them because I loved the smell so much.  They make my house feel all warm and homey, like I’m baking away–which is nice because sometimes, I don’t set foot in the kitchen all day.  I always grab a few when they are 2/$20, and I make sure to use my coupons so they are extra inexpensive.  I love having a candle burning when I’m home.

I am also a big foodie, so when it is no longer scorching hot in my kitchen, some baking actually does take place.  One of my favorite yummy fall treats is November Cakes.  We made them back in August (here), but they are soooo gooey and caramel-ly (is that even a word?) that you just have to make them when the weather cools down.  My kids love them with a mug of hot chocolate in the mornings.

Another one of my favorite recipes is the Loaded Baked Potato Soup from Disneyland’s Carnation Cafe.  If you’ve never tried it, you must the next time you visit Disneyland.  It is amazing, and this recipe is pretty perfect.  Every time I make it at home, I get this overwhelming urge to go to Main Street USA.  It’s perfect for a chilly Fall evening, and you can find the recipe here.

But my very favorite new Fall flavor is this…

Oh my gosh!  This stuff is to die for.  I’m not even a big gingerbread fan, and I could seriously eat this by the spoonfuls.  You can pick it up at Trader Joe’s for about $4 a jar.  I knew we had to make something yummy with this as soon as we found it.

So I searched the web and found this yummy recipe from The Three Little Piglets.

I followed the recipe exactly, and they came out pretty dang good.  They have a little more of a muffin texture, so we even ate a couple without frosting.  My only advice would be to watch your baking time closely, because these will dry out fast.

We washed out a plastic berry container and packaged up a few for some friends.  Add some ribbon, and you’ve got the perfect Fall treat.  Yum-O!

How about you?  Do you have any Fall favorites you wait all year for?

When Good Projects Go Bad

One of my best girlfriends told me on the phone a couple of days ago that all my projects turn out perfect and that I’ve never had one fail.  I had to laugh out loud at that one.  That is far from the truth.  In fact, with most of my projects, I usually reach a point where things just don’t go the way I planned them, and I have to regroup and figure out how go from there.

If you have seen a few of my projects, you know I love chalkboard paint.  I made this snack tray for our game room…

…and this floor desk for my niece…

…but before I made those projects, I had made a huge chalkboard for our game room.

We use it for to keep score, play school, and we also decorate it up for the seasons.  We’re big Nightmare Before Christmas fans over here.  We’ve used the chalkboard for about a year now, and it’s holding up fabulously.

I even took an Ikea frame and made a chalkboard for Tatertot’s room.  I love to write her little notes and inspirational quotes to read when she comes home from school.

So you can see that I had already made several chalkboards when I attempted my snack tray.  I should know what I’m doing, right?  Well, it didn’t go as smoothly as I thought it would.  I attempted the chalkboard surface the exact same way I painted my other two chalkboards.  I gave them a coat of primer and followed up with two coats of Rustoleum chalkboard paint, which I used a dense sponge roller to apply.

After the last coat of chalkboard paint was mostly dry, I started taking off the tape.  This is what happened…

I could take a corner of the paint and peel it like you would an orange–primer and all.  Ugh!  I was so disappointed.  I was seriously thinking about hiding this little table in a corner of the garage and giving up.  As I was planning where to put it, I started picking at the paint.

After a few minutes, this was what I was left with.  These parts had adhered to the wood for whatever reason.  They would not peel up for anything.  I seriously considered leaving it like this. It started to look a little like Pangea breaking up when you looked at it from the side.  Maybe the kids would like it like that.  It was kind of artsy.  But, I bit the bullet and pulled out the paint scraper.  It took me an hour to get it all up.

Eventually, I was left with a clean, somewhat smooth surface.  On my other chalkboards, I’d used raw MDF, which I primed and then painted.  With this one, I think that years of oil-based cleaners must have left a residue on the cabinet door.  I thought I sanded it well enough, but apparently not.

So I pulled out my sander and sanded the heck out of it this time.  You could really see the water damage, but sanding and a new primer coat helped to minimize it in the end.

After it was all sanded and primed, I decided to spray the chalkboard paint on instead of rolling it on.  I gave it several light coats.  I did not want it peeling up again–and it didn’t!

So there you have it!  I’m so glad I didn’t give up on this project when it didn’t go as planned.  We love this little piece–and I learned a lot about chalkboard paint.  Once I figured out my mistake, I was able to avoid it when I made my floor desk.

i just love it when I’m able to turn a major project fail into a win!

Thrift Store Jewelry Box Makeovers

The kids were on fall break last week, so I made an effort to find some projects we could work on together.  The girls were recently introduced to thrift store shopping, and they LOVE it.  It is so much fun for them to find something old and give it a new look.  They are just like their mom!

So while we were at Savers the other day, we came across a couple of really cheap jewelry boxes.  It never ceases to amaze me how much junk treasure those girls can amass.  I hate finding it scattered all over their dressers, so this project seemed like a perfect solution.  Tatertot picked out the box above for only $2.99.

And Bug liked this simple one for $.99.  We got right to work ripping out the insides, carefully, so we could save them and recover them with a fabric that matched their rooms.

Once we had the insides removed, we took a tiny screwdriver and removed all the hardware.  Then we gave each piece a light sanding, wiping them down with a damp cloth after.

Once everything was scuffed up, we gave it all a coat of Zinsser primer, followed by 2 light coats of Rustoleum spray paint.  Bug just wanted plain white, but Tatertot chose Green Apple in a satin finish.

Now the Green Apple paint was pretty dang bright, so I toned it down with my Ralph Lauren glaze.  I use this on a lot of my projects because it just adds so much depth.  You can’t beat it.

I recovered the existing inside pieces with fabric that matched my girls’ rooms.  I simply used some iron-on hemming tape to make sure the fabric adhered without being stiff or clumpy, which you might get if you used hot glue or E-6000.  Then I used epoxy and clothespins to glue the liners back in.

Once you get the liners back in, you simply reattach all the hinges and hardware, and you’re done.  These little pulls had a tiny nail that I pried out with a small screwdriver; then I gently tapped the nail back in with a hammer.  Some handles are attached with a little screw that is only visible once you remove the lining.  If that’s the case, you’ll want to reattach the handles before you glue the lining back in.

Here’s what Bug’s looked like after.  She’s not one for a lot of drama or bright patterns and colors.  Remember that stained glass on the top?  I just replaced it with glass from an old picture frame.  I used a glass cutter (available at Home Depot for $7, and super useful) to cut the glass down to size.

She likes simple and clean.  This box fits her personality perfectly.

And this is Tatertot’s.  She wanted a monogram added to the top, so I just used my Cricut to cut one out of vinyl.  It adds a lot of drama, and she loves the zebra lining.  So different, those two girls.

We come across jewelry boxes all the time at thrift stores.  This project couldn’t be easier, and so much fun to work on with my girls.  I love that they didn’t take much time at all.  The hardest part was waiting for paint and glue to dry.  Now we’re on the lookout for a couple more to store lip gloss and hair clips!



Linking up:

Someday Crafts | The Thrifty Home | Domestically Speaking | House of Hepworths | My RePurposed Life | Chic on a Shoestring | Tatertots and Jello | Miss Mustard Seed | 30 Handmade Days | The Shabby Nest | Fingerprints on the Fridge | Be Different Act Normal | I {Heart} Naptime | DIY Showoff | The 36th Avenue | Beyond the Picket Fence | Seven Thirty-Three | Three Mango SeedsThe Shabby Creek Cottage | Tidy Mom | The Well Crafted Home | Six Sisters’ Stuff | Positively Splendid | Flamingo Toes | It’s Overflowing

A Few of My Favorite Sites {and a Sneak Peek}

Happy Monday morning!  I know, I’m groaning a bit myself.  But I woke up to a pleasant surprise this morning.  A couple of my very favorite sites are featuring a few of my projects.

Head on over to Someday Crafts to check out my Pottery Barn Inspired Shoe Storage cabinet.  I love Someday Crafts, and am constantly checking out their site for new ideas.  I’m sure you are, too!  But if for some reason you’ve never been to the site, you really must check it out!

Heather, over at WhipperBerry, featured my DIY Pallet Gate.  WhipperBerry is another favorite of mine.  She is crazy talented, and I love her blog.

And finally, a new blog I recently discovered, Domestically Speaking, featured my shoe cabinet as well.  I guess I have been living under a rock or something!  How did I not know about Maryann’s blog?  I really love it now, though, so if you’ve been living under a rock, too–go check it out!


The kids went back to school today, after a full week of fall break.  It was a little bittersweet.  I was ready to have a few hours to myself, but the house sure does seem quiet this morning.  Fall break was super chill.  We just hung out and worked on a couple of crafty projects together.  I’ll be back tomorrow to show you how we transformed some thrift store jewelry boxes into this..

Preeeeetty, huh?  See you tomorrow!

{Spooky} Halloween Vignette

Now that I have my shoe cabinet finished, I feel all motivated to decorate for the seasons.  I didn’t think I was going to decorate for Halloween, but then Beth over at Home Stories A to Z posted her Halloween Mantles Link Party, and I was inspired!  So I pulled out the Halloween box and got to work.  I needed a wreath, but I was trying to do this on the cheap, and wreaths are so expensive.  I found this little beauty at Goodwill.

Gorgeous, no?  Yeah, not really.  But once I pulled all the ribbon and hot glue off of her, gave her a coat of spray paint, and added some Spanish moss and a dollar store raven, she was perfect.

And the vase filler for my DIY cloche?  That came from Dollar Tree, too.

Only before I got my hands on them, they were quite different.  They were an almost fluorescent shade of white.  I swear they could glow in the dark.  I added a bit of my favorite Ralph Lauren glaze, and they were perfect!

But one of my favorite items has to be my faux mercury glass potion bottles.  I was actually considering making this very item when I came across them in Kohl’s.  They were on sale for $13.99 for the set, but I had a $10 off coupon.  All three bottles cost me $4!  I couldn’t even make them for that.

Everything else I already had, so this little vignette cost me under $10.  The kids love it when we decorate for the holidays, and I have to admit, I do, too.

Have a great weekend!


Linking up to:  Today’s Creative Blog


Halloween Mantels

DIY Pallet Wood Gate

I’m back today to share with you a super quick and easy project I made with some free pallet wood.  My brother-in-law has access to a lot of pallet wood through his work, and I’m always trying to figure out something to build from it.  When I built my shoe cabinet, I wanted some way to display wreaths or pictures on top of it.  Then it hit me!  Pallet wood!

I had all these pallets sitting on the side of my yard, so I went to work taking a couple of them apart.  I used a crow bar and a hammer (and ear protection…  YIKES!) to pull them apart.  Then I used my hammer to drive the nails back out through the boards.

Once I had my boards pulled apart, I cleaned them up and sanded them just a bit.  Then I used my Kreg Jig and some glue to join them all together in one big piece.

Now, at this point, I wanted some supports on the front, mostly for decoration.  So I went through the pallets and found some boards that were thinner and more narrow.  Unfortunately, these boards were also quite a bit lighter than the ones I already had, so I knew I was going to have to age these other boards somehow.  I laid out my board and made the cuts I wanted, so I could treat the cut ends as well.

I’d seen on Pinterest that you can age wood with a vinegar stain.  I decided to try it on my support boards.  I poured apple cider vinegar in an old washed out jar and put in a couple of rusty nails and a small amount of steel wool.  I let the mixture sit overnight and brushed it on my supports the next morning.  I found that this stuff works differently on different types and textures of wood.  To show you the difference, I treated a sample piece of pallet wood and a sample of standard pine 1×4.

These are the boards before being treated with vinegar stain…

I simply brushed on a coat of my vingear/nail/steel wool mixture…

…and then I let it dry for several hours.  I took this picture after it had dried for about an hour.

Now you could leave it like this, but my other boards were aged just a bit more than that.  Since I was trying to match the other boards, I brewed some strong black tea and brushed it on over the vinegar stain.

This was the final result.  I was really pleased with how it turned out.  Once it was dry, my newer boards matched my other weathered boards quite well.

It’s still a little wet in this picture, but I glued up my supports and attached them with finishing nails to complete the project.

I also hammered one of the old rusty nails in the front of the gate to hold a wreath, but I may change that eventually.

You can see how well the vinegar stain worked to age my newer boards.  You can hardly tell they were from two different pallets.  I love the warm, rustic look it adds to the entry…and you can’t beat free!


Linking up to:

My RePurposed Life | Whipperberry | My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia | Home Stories A2Z

Pottery Barn Inspired Shoe Storage

I’ve always wanted a really beautiful entryway.  I have had visions of a Pottery Barn picture perfect entry space since we moved into the house on Harrison.

I have loved this cabinet since I first laid eyes on it.  I can’t remember who makes it, but I’ve seen it on Pinterest a lot.  If it was Pottery Barn, it’s no longer on their website.  I really, really wanted something like this.  Instead, I have something like this…

This is what my entryway looked like last week.  YIKES!  I am pretty embarrassed to show you this, but this is what our guests saw when they first walked in the door.  Our first problem is that we are a family of pilers.  We pile our stuff on any available space rather than actually taking two minutes to put it away.

Our second problem is that we keep all of our shoes in a basket by the front door.  It works out great for finding shoes in the morning, unless your shoes are on the bottom of the basket.  Then it gets a little nuts.

Ana White Shoe Dresser


When Ana White posted the plans for a shoe dresser on her site awhile back, I knew this was a perfect solution for us.  It was narrow, so you couldn’t pile much on top.  And the shoes would be organized and hidden.  Perfect!  A few weeks ago, I finally got up the courage to build this piece.

Ana’s plans are pretty straightforward and easy to follow.  There were a couple of things I did want to illustrate, because I wasn’t quite sure how to do them myself until I got to building.  For the dividers in the shoe drawers, I sketched the rounded edge out on one piece.  I used my jigsaw to cut the curve, then I used that first piece as a template to cut the others.  They all ended up perfectly symmetrical.

Here’s a shot of one of the finished drawers.  They were amazingly easy to put together.

I used my Kreg Jig to join most of the pieces, with the exception of the 1×2′s attached to the back of the drawer.  I just put those on with wood glue and drywall screws.

Once I had both drawers and the frame built, I set the drawers inside to make sure everything lined up.  I can’t stress how important it is to check for square (A LOT) on this project.

I also used my Kreg Jig to attach the back cleat to the frame.  This is the part that will screw into the wall, so make sure you mark on the front of the cleat where your pocket hole screws are.  You don’t want to try to drill through screws when attaching this to the wall.

And because I can never make things easy, I decided to make a few modifications to Ana’s plan.  I really liked the look of that entry cabinet I showed you earlier.  So I added some mitered trim to my drawer fronts.  This is just a cheap ($2 for a 4′ length) molding I picked up at Home Depot.  I made mitered cuts…

…and attached it to the door fronts with glue and my brad gun.

I also decided to add an apron to the bottom of my cabinet.  To do that, I added about 3″ to the length of my side boards.  I used a 1×4 for the apron, but if you were using a different width of board, you’d need to adjust your measurements accordingly.

The last modification I made, was to attach a top to the cabinet.  I took a board that was about 3/4″ wider and 1.5″ longer than my top and routed the edge.  Then I aligned it so that there was a 3/4″ overhang on the sides and front, and I attached the top with wood screws and glue.  To make everything nice and neat looking, I attached cove molding underneath.

Once my cabinet was built and sanded, I gave it a few coats of Behr paint.  I didn’t use a primer because I wanted to distress the cabinet.  I didn’t want white primer showing through.  I used the Behr (Ultra, I think) because it has a primer built in.  I had it tinted to the Martha Stewart Silhouette color, and made sure to give it 3 good coats, sanding lightly between each one.

This was the trickiest part of the whole build.  Once I had a good coat of paint on my cabinet, we put the drawers in, inserted 1/8″ plywood spacers in the gaps and clamped the drawers in place. Then we drilled the sides and inserted 5/8″ oak wooden dowels for “hinges.”

Like this.  Once I had my dowels in, I realized that my drawers didn’t open wide enough, so we had to take out the dowels and sand down the bottom corners of my drawers.

Make sure you drill the holes for your dowels as far down and forward as you can, while still catching the corner of the drawer.  You may still have to sand down the bottoms of the drawers so they will open wide enough, but once the drawers are painted, you can hardly tell.

Once my drawers were all set, I cleaned up the cabinet, did some paint touch-ups  and distressed the piece with a sanding sponge.  Then, because the wood underneath was so light, I used a Minwax stain marker, in Early American, to go over the raw wood.  Then I wiped off the excess stain, allowed it a few hours to dry, and gave the whole thing a coat of finishing wax, like I did on my snack tray.

The last thing I did was to add drawer pulls and magnetic clasps to hold the drawers in place when closed.

I also added some webbing to the backs of the drawers to keep the kids from pulling the drawers out further than they need to.

And here’s the finished piece.  It was so hard to get a good picture of it, but it is really very pretty in person.  I love how it looks in the entry.  It’s too narrow to stack papers and soda cups on.   ;-)

The best part?  The shoes all stay organized…  and hidden!


Linking up to:

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia | Not JUST a Housewife | Home Stories A2Z | Someday Crafts | The Thrifty Home | Domestically Speaking | House of Hepworths | My RePurposed Life | Chic on a Shoestring | Tatertots and Jello | Miss Mustard Seed | 30 Handmade Days | The Shabby Nest | Fingerprints on the Fridge | Be Different Act Normal | I {Heart} Naptime | DIY Showoff | The 36th Avenue | Beyond the Picket Fence | Seven Thirty-Three

The Fall Decor is Going Up!

Ever have one of those days when nothing is going right?  Every single last project I was working on hit a snag yesterday.  The house was a mess and life felt chaotic.  I was D-O-N-E… and it was definitely showing in my mood, too.  Then I remembered I that it is technically autumn, even if it is still over a 100 degrees here in Arizona.  So I spent a few hours cleaning up.  Then I carted out all the fall decor and started putting a few things up in our music room, which is the first room you see when you walk in the door.

I dragged out my dollar store ceramic pumpkins…

…and my autumn vase filler.

My dollar store birds stay up year-round, but they still make me happy.  They were hideous robin-type birds from Dollar Tree, but they got the same makeup that my candlesticks did, and I adore them now.

And just like that my mood improved.  Have you ever made a few little changes to a room, and it makes all the difference?  My head feels clearer, and I can think straight again.  So now I am off to put up the rest of the fall stuff.  Those other projects can wait a few days.

A Chair Makeover – Animal Style

Today I’m super excited to share a project I’ve been working on for a few days–my very first reupholstery project!  Woo hoo!  About three years ago, I purchased two of these chairs off Craigslist for $20 each.  I had really good intentions, but I was also very, very scared to screw them up.  So…  I put them in a corner of my family room (which Mr. TypeTwoFun HATED), and let them sit for a few years.

About a month ago, TaterTot was complaining about how I always work on Bug’s room, and I never do projects for hers.  I placated her with a PB Teen magazine, and told her to put together some ideas for what she wanted.  Well, if you remember the glamour girl art I made for TaterTot last month, you know her tastes are quite different from Bug’s.  This is what she picked out for her reading corner…


Zebra Ooh La La Armchair courtesy of PB Teen

…only at $349 (on SALE), there was NO WAY she was getting this chair.  After thinking it over for a few minutes, I realized that my ugly family room chairs just might be a good alternative, but I’d have to tackle my fears.  So searched the Internet for some good reupholstery tips,  grabbed a pair of needle-nose pliers, and started ripping one chair apart.

Once I got the trim off the first chair, I realized that whoever upholstered these in the first place, actually knew what they were doing.  There were upholstery tacks where I expected staples.  Every tutorial I’d ever seen on the Internet, explained how to remove staples.  I used a screwdriver and the back of a hammer and attempted to get these out.  About 30 minutes later, I had removed 3 tacks.  Ugh.  I was so frustrated that I set the chair back in the living room and worked on another project.

A few days later, I was at Home Depot, and I saw a tack puller!  I grabbed it and went home to try it out.  Within 30 minutes, I had the old upholstery completely removed.  Easy peasy!

Once I had the old upholstery removed, I washed the frame down with some Dawn dish soap and water.  Then, once it was dry, I wiped it down with sander deglosser.  I didn’t even sand the thing.  I used Kilz primer and Rustoleum spray paint to paint the frame.

Once the primer was on, I realized that I wasn’t fond of the white color.  TaterTot is not the neatest child around, and I knew that white would just look dirty in her room.  We decided to paint the frame black instead.  That’s the great thing about DIY!  You can customize things to your liking.  The PB Teen chair didn’t come in black, so we would have been stuck with white.

While the paint was drying, I used the old upholstery to make a pattern for my chair.  I bought some canvas duck cloth in a zebra pattern from Hobby Lobby.  Now, I’m in no way an expert on reupholstery, so I’ll leave the tutorials on that subject to the pros.  I really relied on Design Intervention’s Reupholstery 101 tutorial for a lot of my information.  Her tutorial is fabulous, and I referred to it often.

I did, however, discover something I hadn’t seen mentioned before–an amazing little secret to perfectly sharp folds on my upholstery.  When I was taking apart my chair, I noticed the upholsterer had used cardboard in certain places.  I looked it up and discovered it was upholstery tack strip.  I found my roll at JoAnn’s for $11.99, and I used my 40% off coupon.  This stuff was a lifesaver!

This is where I used it on my chair.  It prevented my fabric from puckering between staples and gave me a nice sharp edge when I folded my material back over it.  You can see it on the finished product.

The last thing I wanted to mention was that I used a double welt cord to hide my staples once the chair was all put together.  Centsational Girl has a great tutorial on how to make double welt trim if you don’t have a double welt foot for your machine.

Once you’ve made your trim, you hot glue it over your raw edges and staples to give it a finished look.  It worked perfectly!

And here’s the finished chair in TaterTot’s reading corner.  I honestly can’t believe how easy this reupholstery thing is.  The hardest part was painting the chair frame.  If you’ve been dreading it, like I was, give it a try!  You might just be pleasantly surprised once you get started!

Have a great weekend!



Linking up to…

Miss Mustard Seed | 30 Handmade Days | Be Different Act Normal | The Shabby Nest | I {Heart} Naptime | Tatertots and Jello | The 36th Avenue | Skip to My Lou | Today’s Creative Blog | Someday Crafts | Domestically Speaking | My Repurposed Life | The Shabby Creek Cottage

This and That

I’m absolutely thrilled that my candlesticks are being shared over at Knock-Off Decor today.  If you haven’t been over to Beckie’s site yet, you MUST visit, but be prepared to stay awhile.  There are some great knock-offs over there!

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know that I’m trying my hand at reupholstery for the first time.  Yikes!

I was very intimidated by this project.  So much so, that I put it off for 2 years!  But things are going really well, thanks to some great tutorials I found around the Internet.  I can’t wait to show you this transformation and give my 2 cents on the whole affair–so check back soon!

And while we are talking about Twitter and Facebook…

You can follow The House on Harrison on Twitter here.

Are you more of a Facebook kinda person?  The House on Harrison is here.

And I’ve been pinning furiously on Pinterest lately.  I LOVE that site.  Wanna see what inspires me?  You can follow me here.

I’m off to try my hand on double welt cord.  Thank goodness for Centsational Girl!